Not Every Man For Himself


Bowen.jpg Lorayit.jpg

Date: 11/3/10
Location: EW: Gardens
Synopsis: Bowen follows up with Lorayit on the package needed to be delivered to Southern Hold, and the tanner order Lo wanted to place. In the process the two discuss their respective troubles and how they are dealing with them. In the end, they seem to reach a level of trust between each other.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Bowen

Cue the night after the card game. It’s a late evening in the Weyr gardens – the moon providing enough light that one really didn’t need a glowbasket to get where they were going should one chooses to venture out at this time of the night. Lorayit is sitting on his customary rock with a usual bottle in hand, the blonde gardener currently looking over sheets of something in one hand. There’s a brown wherhide bag almost hidden in the shadows beside him and the rock, left open to reveal rolled up maps and the like within. Anyone studying him would note the tense shoulders and the tightness around the eyes while he appears engrossed on what’s on the front sheet – his mouth pulling down into a discernable frown.

Bowen is usually a quiet man to begin with, though it's not out of a desire to sneak around. As such, his approach may or may not go unnoticed, though he's not attempting to be stealthy, so some of his heavy bootfalls may draw notice of anyone attentive to such things as he casually strides into the gardens and looks about. Not finding Lo amidst the flowers and herbs themselves, he glances up on the rock, and if Lo's not already noticed his arrival by now, Bo will politely clear his throat and greet simply, "Evenin', Lo."

Lo seems so into the sheet infront of him that he just may well have not noticed Bowen’s approach. It’s as such that he appears taken aback to see him there when he hears the greeting, his blue eyes narrowing slightly before he realizes who it is. The dark expression clears for the most part, not wanting to appear before the tanner that someone like him would indeed have a dark side that warranted such an expression. Straightening up, “Ah, if it isn’t my favorite tanner!” he cries with forced ease, the sheets getting immediately slipped into one of his inner coat pockets as he does so. Raising the bottle he still holds, “Come to share with an old gardener?” Well, he’s hardly old, but the young man’s smile seems so infectious that it would probably be hard not to forgive the man his words. He’ll scoot over on the rock to give the big man room should he want to join him, his demeanor as easy now as it always is.

Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case may be, it’s late enough and they are at enough of a distance that the slight narrowing of Lo’s eyes is there and gone with Bo none-the-wiser. But Bo does, indeed, notice the hides being put away, and with the greeting he smiles a bit more than the stoic man usually smiles, though it’s genuine and seems to touch some of the weariness in his blue eyes from the past couple of days, but he hesitates to take advantage of the invitation, “Thank ya kindly, Lo, but I don’t wanna ‘mpose none. Looks like ya were tryin’ t’get some hidework done b’fore I came on ‘ere.” He hooks his thumbs in his pockets and simply nods, “Don’t reckon I need ta keep ya long if’n yer busy. Ya said ya wanted t’see me b’fore I went on ta Southern. Might need me t’carry sumpthin’ on fer ya?” He does lick his lips, briefly, after speaking, and makes another glance for the bottle. So, it’s clear he’s really just trying to be polite and not intrude or impose.

“It was nothing of import,” Lorayit dismisses the hides as easily as he swats away a fly. “I always have time for my friends, no matter the time of day.” Unless of course he was in middle of business, in which that would be a whole different matter – but tonite wasn’t that kind of night. Holding out the full bottle towards Bowen to add action to his words, “I do have something for you to carry on, yes,” he answers that easily, his feet then sliding him to the ground so that he could reach the wherhide bag in the shadows. “Take a hold of this bottle while I go get it. When you and your lady get to Southern, go find a woman named Ermina. She’ll have the pack of seeds I need for the garden, and I’ll need you to deliver her this I’ve got here…” his voice voice trails as he bends toward the bag somewhat, but he won’t dig until Bowen takes the bottle offered.

Bowen nods a little at the mention of it being of nothing of import, but doesn’t comment. There’s little hesitation when the bottle is offered. He’s still feeling a little stiff and sore from the tussle with Kaskan the night before, not to mention dealing with some sensitive feelings over his own private insecurities. So, the bottle is more than a little welcome at this point. He takes it, though doesn’t drink yet, watching Lo bend to retrieve something in the shadows, and seems completely trusting of the gardener at this point. “Shouldn’t be a problem. Where will we be findin’ ‘er? Th’ gardens?” Because Bo reasonably assumes the seeds being passed back and forth are between members of the agricultural community.

Once the bottle is taken, “…ah! Here it is,” Lorayit straightens after having pulled a tightly bound package from the bag. It’s medium-sized and rectangular, the touch wherhide surrounding it stiff to the touch. There’s something loose within if shaken, but the gardener doesn’t shake it as he simply hands it over to the tanner. “Ermina usually hangs in the kitchens,” he says, oddly seeming to find Bowen’s question amusing by the lift of the corner of his mouth. “You may be able to catch her in the hold courtyard, or the stables. Ask the little ones running around,” and he waves a free hand about. “They seem to know where she is at all times.” Once the instructions are given though, the blonde man finally takes a closer look of his friend and lets some of the ease slip from his face. “Are you alright, man?” he asks, concern somewhat coloring his voice as he flicks a studying glance over the big tanner.

Bowen doesn’t shake the package, at least not in front of Lo. Though it’s less about subterfuge and more about proper manners being beaten into him from his hen-picking mother from an early age. Not that he always uses proper manners, but when he doesn’t it’s usually an intentional diversion from his natural state of being. “Kitchens, got it,” Bo says, package in one hand and bottle in the other. He only looks at the package long enough in a way such as one who has been given a parcel by a friend might look at it, either to commit it’s look to memory so as not to be lost or just casual interest. If he finds anything odd about Ermina being in the kitchens, he doesn’t show it. But then, such associations can easily be rationalized between gardeners and farmers and kitchen help. At the final question, though, Bo seems to actually sag a little and he sighs. He’d run a hand over his face in a mild show of exasperation if he had a hand free to do so. Instead he just seems to look more and more weary. “I’ll be aw-right, I reckon. J’st people I thought I could trust ‘re doin’ alotta shootin’ off their mouths … gettin’ hard t’know who’s friend an’ who’s foe, yanno?” This could be just a reference to the talk of his woman getting bedded by another man, but he’s actually including the experience with Kaskan in this sentiment, as well, though of course he doesn’t expect Lo to know anything about that one.

“She’s the sweetest looking thing you’ll ever see…er, well, you might not think so since you got your lady, and all,” Lo amends, the ease in his voice coming back now that he has passed the package on. “She’ll take good care of you both. Remind her about the seeds though, will you? She might forget to bring it up, and I really do need them.” Settling back on the rock now so that he could relax and appraise the tanner more closely, “Another has wronged you?” Lorayit seems to take heart at this, the blonde man bristling in regard for his friend. He straightens up from his lean, frowning as he notes Bowen’s weary expression with a slightly dark gaze. “Is it Max again?” he gets the obvious one out of the way first, his voice cold. One would note that the tone was rare in the gardener, but it was there as he stares the other down. “Did something else happen, Bo?”

Bowen seems to enjoy Lo talking of Ermina like he does, not seeming to take any offense to it. It just seems natural and uncomplicated. A man praising his woman. With a slight smile, Bo nods and somewhat reluctantly hands the bottle back to Lo once he’s resettled on the rock. “Wager she will. Thank ya kindly.” There’s a pause as Bo settles onto the rock beside Lo with appropriate personal space observed between them, “An’ I will,” remind her that is. He takes his hat off then and runs a hand through his hair before saying, “No, not Max ‘gain,” he says soberly, softly, “’Nuther fella. An’ not wronged me directly, I reckon, but he teased m’ woman, ‘mbarrassed her, an’ that’s just as much a wrong t’me, if not more. I had t’give him a talkin’ to,” and with the way Bo says it, it was a talking with his fists and not his words. He sighs a bit, then says, “M’pa, he used t’talk of fellas, good men, men ya could count on not t’go b’hind yer back an’ stab ya deep … j’st been a might disappointin’ is all. I’ll get ov’r it, I reckon.”

At ease with talking about the Southern raven-haired woman, “I’m good friends with her brothers up north,” Lorayit explains their connection, though it’s certain that the gardener and her had been together a time or two back when he used to live in Southern. “Not like most women, I can tell you. She’s uncomplicated.” Yeah. As much as Lo complains on complicated women, the man seems all too drawn to them otherwise. Once the bottle is back into his care, “Thanks for doing this,” he adds more genially on Bowen making the run, the blonde man staring at him before nodding firmly. At hearing that this time it was not Max, the man gives no reaction. He does react to the next bit, his frown a bit more pronounced before he asks, “Do I know this man? What did he say to her?” Cuz, gentleman that he is, he has an issue with men teasing women too. Well, he teases, but Lo likes to think that his teases are not out to harm anyone – especially not enough to have her man come after him with fists going. “I hope the, ah, talk went well?” he tacks on, his amusement in his words before he takes a drink. And, well. Lorayit was feeling bad for Bo – first Max, now this other guy? The gardener could only shake his head at such blatant disregard for friendship, and he puts to him, “I’ll never stab ya, Bo,” in a vow, a hand stealing over his heart. There’s even a slight emphasis on the pronoun. “I can understand how you must feel, with such honorable men – it seems – turning out to be little more than the ilk that walks the lands.” Leaning forward earnestly, “You say the word and I and the boys can go teach him a lesson,” he offers, the ‘boys’ likely being the farmers that Bowen played cards with the night before.

There’s a faint smirk at the talk of Ermina’s brothers knowing Lo, which to Bo’s way of thinking means Lo must have really convinced them of his good intentions to their sister. It could be completely different, of course, but in some matters Bo can be a little naive. He nods a bit in appreciation of an uncomplicated woman, his thoughts going to Che and his gaze moving out to gaze at the gardens as he continues to listen to Lo. There’s another nod to the expression of gratitude, but Bo doesn’t speak in turn to it. “Feller named Kaskan,” Bo responds, not seeming to think anything of giving the name since, the way he sees it, Kaskan spat on his attempt at an olive branch the night before. “Eh, he wuz teasin’ us both ‘bout gettin’ hitched, which if I’d ‘a been ‘lone in th’ bar, I’d ‘f j’st rolled m’eyes an’ slugged ‘im in th’ shoulder ‘r sumpthin’. I can take ribbin’ b’tween men. But she wuz with me an’ it started th’ men in th’ bar all a fussin’ an’ bein’ crass t’ward ‘er. So, I got ‘er outta there, pink as ya can ‘magine, but th’ next time I saw ‘im, I sure as shells told ‘im he wuz t’watch hisself.” He flexes his hands, remembering it really vaguely, but remembering it just the same. Even if it ended up being more of a draw there at the end, his parting words were what counted for Bowen. He smirks faintly then, “Went as well as can be, I s’pose.” He nods again to Lo’s statement of not stabbing Bo, and the tanner turns his attention from the gardens back to Lo, regarding him somewhat studiously before saying, “No, don’t reckon ya will, Lo,” stab him in the back that is. Then Bo turns back his study onto the moonlit gardens once more, drawing his knees up a bit to rest his forearms on them in casual pose. “Reckon such things is where ya find th’ true measure of a fella,” he states solemnly to Lo’s next, and then when Lo talks of him and the boys roughing up Kaskan, Bo turns his gaze back on him again, but his face is devoid of expression beyond anything but sober acceptance, “Thank ya kindly, Lo … if they ev’r try anythin’ like that ‘gain …” his words are in a somewhat ominous tone, suggesting he’d seriously consider it. Though, anyone who saw how close things got between him and Kaskan would probably understand why Bo might feel the need for extra help in that regard. Of course, that’s assuming Bo would stoop to the level of ganging up on someone rather than just having a fair one-on-one fight.

“Kaskan” Lorayit says the name to himself, drawing a blank. “Never of him. He’s weyrfolk?” Lo tries to make an effort of knowing most of those in the Weyr – well, knowing of them anyway – but there’s always many that fall beyond his radar. When Bowen explains what happened to warrant such a fight, the gardener settles back some and slowly brings the bottle to his lips without taking his eyes off the man. “What’s wrong with getting hitched?” is the first question that comes to him, now knowing about Bowen’s past all that much that he finds the question to be valid. He appeared sorry that the whole situation went downhill from the jump, shaking his head at the rest and reaching the bottle out towards Bowen again. “Me and my brother had to beat down a young man that was harassing our sister,” he relates the tale, his blue eyes going to the sky above Bowen’s head a bit as he tries to remember. “Stupid git thought that he could just say whatever he wanted and think there would be no repercussions. Had blood all up and down his front like some woman had spilled her Benden red on him.” He smiles a bit at the memory, but then his eyes focus onto Bowen and adds, “Some men just can’t be trusted.” He says this in a way that he – Lorayit – could be trusted, however. “Those of us more worthy need to stick together, my friend. This Kaskan gives you some more trouble, come find us,” he is serious in giving this, his eyes full of both meaning and perhaps something dangerous. “Max, even. I am loyal to my friends…which speaking of,” he straightens a bit, clearing his voice. “Remember that little piece of business I mentioned to you before Berel interrupted?”

Bowen furrows his brow, taking one of his usually long moments to respond to Lo’s question, “Ain’t sure. Met ‘im at th’ bar. Could be.” There’s another long moment before he responds with a little shrug to the question about getting hitched, and lets it go at that with the rest of the discussion continuing. He nods with genuine approval over Lo and his brother beating a man for harassing their sister, taking the bottle as it is offered and downing a healthy draught just shy of being greedy. After he swallows and hands the bottle back with another smaller nod in gratitude, he murmurs, “Aint dat th’ sorry truth,” on some men being untrustworthy, and more of an echo of Bo’s earlier words. “Thank ya, Lo,” he says sincerely, “Reckon if he ain’t takin’ my warnin’, I might j’st hafta come find ya. I ain’t shy ‘bout talkin’ with m’fists,” he says, “an’ I’ve seen m’way through a brawl ‘r two, but this fella, he’s had some trainin’, I can tell. Might take more ‘n one t’get th’ message cross t’him,” stated softly and ominously, and just as dangerously serious, “Max, too.” But also said with a mild expression of distaste, as if the fact that he has to resort to such measures doesn’t sit well with him. That doesn’t mean his resolve to keep his own safe and happy and away from taunts or “illegal poaching” is wavering. Bo is a man who will see to his duty to the bitter end, or what he thinks is his duty, whether he enjoys it or not. He looks back at Lo then, his expression still slightly darker than usual, but showing interest in the business. “I wuz drinkin’ ‘lot dat night,” Bo says with a wry twist of his lips, “But I think I remmer. Whut ‘bout it?”

“Huh.” Bowen can believe that by that single sound, Lorayit’s filing that name away to be checked out later. Getting the bottle back, he doesn’t question further on the shrug following his hitched question, but the gardener seems to be filing that away, too. “If he’s had training, then he isn’t no weyrfolk I know of,” Lo notes on the man after hearing that Kaskan got skills. He takes a pull from this bottle before continuing. “Curious what kind of training, though. Deo used to the fight in the circuits up north”, he adds on one of the farmers – the more rowdy of the group if the tanner could remember. “I can ask him to send casual word up to the men he still keeps tabs with.” If not for Bowen’s, then for his personal knowledge, anyway. It might seem like the gardener’s making a big deal out of a brawl between two men, but the man that works for one of Pern’s notorious renegades likes to keep his options open. Kaskan could be a problem. Or, he could be recruit potential if he wasn’t beholden to anyone. The blonde man nods evenly when Bowen agrees to the possibility of his help in the matters of both Kaskan and Max, Lorayit oddly pleased. On to business, “Right. Got some holdless folk that could use new boots,” he gets right into it, regarding the tanner intently now. “They all can’t afford them, so I’m good with footing part of what’s owed.” Beat. “If you’re interested,” he adds more casually, letting a smirk linger on his face. “Big order like this could take time to make, but if you’ve got the time after your run down Southern’s way…” and there’s a shrug, easy.

“He wuz practicin’ with a staff when I came up on ‘im,” Bowen explains with a shrug, and then scratches at some of the itch under his chin from his stubble growth that day. He doesn’t seem too inclined to think it’s worthy of further investigation, but he’s not about to tell Lo not to if he’s got the resources, especially when it might come in handy for Bowen himself, one day. “I t’ink Jaya knows ‘im better. Ya could ask ‘er. She sees ‘im more at th’ bar, I reckon.” Then there’s another nod, and Bowen returns his attention back to the gardens, “I ain’t heartless ov’r those in need o’ such basics. So long as th’ cost o’ materials ‘re covered an’ it ain’t hurtin’ m’existin’ jobs none, I can do it fer ya. How many we talkin’?” He slips into business mode, rubbing his chin now a little in consideration, “I’ll need t’take measurements, too.” He’s not going to ask about dying or special leather treatment that would cost more, figuring if these were holdless people who can’t even afford boots, they aren’t going to be asking for special features.

Lo lifts a brow at something said. “What man you know practices with a staff?” he’s asking that a bit incredulously before he shakes his head. Leaning forward as he takes a long drink, “Well, that’s odd enough to get some answers if I ask around,” he tells the tanner with a nod. He was going to add more until Bowen brings up his target. Well, any person showing interest in his Bitran target suddenly becomes the gardener’s business. His expression slightly changes to one of intensity, it being hard to hold back his interest at this bit of news. Passing the half-empty bottle over to Bowen with as much non-chalance as he could muster, “So he spends a lot of time at the bar?” he asks this as if only looking for information on the man himself – as if it has nothing to do with the barkeep. “Hanging around her, or just into the booze and cards?” He’ll pause, blue eyes narrowing a fraction before he moves on to answer Bowen on his business. “Forty,” he gives the number of the pair of boots needed. “For now. It’s up north way. Nabol. Might take you away for a couple of days if you’re looking to measure them out. Don’t worry about the material costs,” the gardener adds this with a brief lift of his chin. “It’ll all be taken care of. Just call it my way of giving back to the lands.” Perhaps it was, but one never really knows if there’s a hidden agenda in everything Lorayit does.

With a little shrug again, Bowen mutters softly, “Kaskan’s th’ only one I know of,” who practices with a staff. If Bowen finds the intensity in Lorayit’s expression over Kaskan’s interest in Jaya, he doesn’t show it. He does take his time to answer though, genuinely thinking it over, “No, don’t reckon he does spend alotta time at th’ bar, th’ way Jaya wuz talkin’, but some.” He’ll take another sip from the bottle and then pass it back to Lo, “Ain’t never seen ‘im play cards,” granted the first time Kaskan never really had a chance, and the second time Bowen and Cheusia were leaving about when Kaskan showed up. But he’ll let his words stand unclarified, be it intentionally putting Kaskan under Lo’s scrutiny if for no other reason than to give the guardsman something more to think about or to see what Lo does, or just because Bo doesn’t think to clarify. The number draws Bowen’s eyes up, though the look is one of mild astonishment, which would be expected for such an order, not a look of suspicion. “Nabol, eh? Aw-right. Ya needin’ dem all at once or should I get ‘em t’ ya as I get ‘em done? A few atta time?” He doesn’t discuss the materials cost any further, either trusting Lo to come through with the marks when it is time, or just not thinking it important enough to discuss right now.

“Exactly,” Lorayit readily agrees on Kaskan’s weapon of choice, taking the bottle back from the tanner. He even nods on the part about the Bitran barkeep, this time choosing to remain silent as he mulls over what is said. There’s a slight frown at the most before he says, “Well, like I said. This man gives you more trouble, shout. Bet the fellas would enjoy a good brawl with a staff-wielder.” He smirks a bit at that, his gaze full of meaning. Yeah, he just bet they would. On the business of the holdless needing boots, “A few at a time would be choice,” he answers, appearing amused by Bowen’s reaction by the number given. “You can imagine how quick a holdless goes through boots, Bo. Even Bes and me had only one pair to our names when we left home in the Reaches. These folks would appreciate something durable and comfortable on their feet!” This man could be Pernese version of a politician – even the sleazy kind. Gesturing with the bottle, It will be a good cause, Bo. You’ll see. If we’re of the same accord, I’ll get word up to Nabol and see if we can set something up as soon as possible.”

“Ayup,” Bowen says amiably after one of his long pauses, “Reckon I will, Lo, if he tries anythin’ more like that. Thank ya kindly. An’ any of ya fellas need an’ extra hand fer any fella whut’s givin yerself an’ yers a hard time, ya j’st let me know, too. Like ya said, Lo, us hon’rable fellas gotta stick t’gether.” He nods then and adds, “Ayup, count m’ in fer dem boots, Lo.” Then he gestures with the package in his hands, “As soon as I get back from Southern ‘nless ya would ruth’r I forego th’ trip t’ get alla boots dun.” He starts to slide off the rock now, using his free hand for leverage.

Honorable fellas. Lorayit actually smiles at that, nothing duplicitous in his demeanor as he remains on his rock. No tightness there, nope. “You’d be a good extra hand if we need it,” he answers to that, his tone wry. “I’ll keep you in mind, though. I really appreciate you saying that.” Having Bowen’s muscles behind him and boys would help a lot of things – should anything turn up in the trouble department. If Max even gets in the way of his mission, with the tanner having issues with the man, Lo was seeing potential back-up in him. He nods once, gratefully when the other agrees with the business arrangement. “There are those that will be eternally thankful,” is all he says to that, running a hand over his mouth before tacking on, “Let me send a word up to Nabol first, my friend. Take care of Southern first, then we’ll talk about those boots.” He’ll clap his hand to Bowen’s shoulder if he can in a grand gesture of gratefulness that perhaps saying it won’t convey. “You’re a good man,” he says, the tone genuine. “Wish I were more like you, Bo.” Someone’s conscience getting the best of them? It always seems to be whenever he’s around the more moral Southern tanner. It was putting him a deeper, thoughtful mood – and such thoughts were the kind that could put you far in the ground, or worst, when you have a renegade for a boss that’s currently unraveling at the seams.

Lorayit isn’t the only one here experiencing some inner conflict. Bo is too, and not all of it is due to the grudge he’s keeping against Max in unhealthy transference of self-loathing. He nods a little to the appreciation, and then again to the order of things, Southern first, then the boots. “It’ll take a few days fer me t’get all th’ provisions an’ fer m’woman t’make arrangements fer her shifts.” He’s still not even sure he can convince Cheusia to go with him, in the first place, which will pose an interesting conundrum for the tanner. “Want me t’stop back in th’ night b’fore we leave an’ let ya know?” The side of his mouth pulls up in a slight smile to Lorayit’s next, returning the clasped hand to Lo’s shoulder in kind, “Right, Lo, cuz helpin’ a feller pick a flow’r fer his lady he’s tryin’ ta woo, an’ offerin’ ta get his back in a fight ain’t good? Yer aw-right in my book, Lo. Don’t sell yerself short, Buddy.” And with that, he finishes slipping off the rock and adjusts his hat a little with his free hand.

“Take all the time you need,” Lo is easy there, leaning back to settle more comfortably on his chosen rock. “No one’s expecting you to come on time there. Especially Ermina. Not really necessary to find me,” he answers quickly with a brief incline of his head. “I’ve been flitting in and out of the Weyr of late, so it’s safe to say that I might not be around when you do get going. Been having some outside Weyr business that needs looking in.” Yeah. ‘Garden’ business, apparently. Bowen’s kind words really touch the Reachian country boy-gone-bad, all acts and dramatics of easiness seeming to vanish in light of it. He regards the man steadily, nodding a few times in acknowledgement of it before he looks away towards the flowers blooming in the pale moonlight. The words slow in coming as a self-deprecating smile flits in and out of his expression, “Yeah, well. No one can’t say that I don’t care about my family,” he drawls the odd response low, his eyes narrowing slightly without seeing the garden before them. “Everything I ever do is for my family, Bo. They’re all I’ve got in this life. My methods, they may seem…” he pauses, flicking a free hand to let that suffice for a negative word he doesn’t want to utter. “Done some things I ain’t too proud of, friend. But. Got my brother to look out for. Got people I got to protect, see. Gotta do by them. If that makes me a good man, then I’ll wear the shoulderknot, Bo. Bet your winnings on that.” It’s probably the most honest thing the carefree man’s ever said, though it’s likely the whiskey has something to do with it. His blue-eyed gaze focusing on the tanner then, “Thanks for coming by, for doing this,” he says soberly, respect in his voice. There might be a touch of guilt there, too – guilt at Bowen’s misplaced words, but a man has to do what he has to, right?

While one can’t say that Bowen handles the package in his hand as gingerly as if it were made of porcelain, he does seem pretty careful with it as he stands there, looking slightly upwards to Lo as the other man speaks. “Aw-right,” Bo finally states after another of his lengthy pauses once Lo finishes talking of timing the trip and his own schedule, seeming to respond to all of it with that one word. He doesn’t pry, at least not on those business affairs outside the Weyr. He regards the other man in quiet study, which isn’t a stretch for the already quiet tanner, while Lo talks of his family and his brother. He doesn’t comment on how similar Lo sounds to Max, at least in regards to looking out for his own like that. Bo can be obtuse about some things, but not that obtuse, and in particular in regards to social interaction between men. Women, well, he’s still learning obviously. To his expression of thanks in the end, Bo merely nods a little, but he doesn’t turn to leave. The quiet moment stretches out and then Bo finally says, “I like ya Lo,” not like, ‘I wanna pick flowers for you like’ but yeah, “I ain’t usually one t’pry, but I can’t help but get th’ feelin’ yer in sumpthin’ deep an’ troublesome …” There’s a pause and he adds, “I’m guessin’ it’s related t’yer brother … I’d like t’help if I can. Ya wanna tell me ‘bout it?” It’s a question put in a way that suggests Bo will not judge and will probably only ask it once, being a man who doesn’t pry, normally, and leaves men to their own business and affairs.

With Bowen agreeing to all the arrangements put forth, Lo is willing to let matters of business go by taking a long pull of his drink. When the tanner mentions that he liked him, the gardener gives those words considerable thought. His own silence is a heavy one – a thoughtful considering the fact that Bowen’s words are starting to hit closer to home than he’s used to. His gaze falls on the sky as if the words to say would be there for him. He frowns some at the mention of his brother, this being the first time that the tanner had really asked him a personal question. Not that Lo’s been asking personal questions all that much out of Bowen himself – he could understand that a man kept his own business to himself and only shared when it suited him. So it’s along these lines, when Lorayit returns his gaze back to the big man, that he chooses his response. With an almost melancholy, but appreciative smile, “Not much you can do, Bo,” he lets him know, leaning back he starts to regard the man anew. “Got some serious shit on our tails – gambling debts gone bad, that sort of thing.” Which was the truth for the most part. “Don’t wanna bring you down into it,” not yet, anyway, if the man could be trusted, “because this prick we owe’s a nasty piece of work.” It’s not everyday that he admits his leveled hatred of the Bitran crimelord named Vaputero, but then, it’s highly likely that Bowen wouldn’t know whom he was speaking of. In fact, the man was almost looking relieved to be getting it out in the open. Like his words were distasteful to him, “My brother’s mired in it, Bo. Can’t get him out. Not yet, see, but trust me,” and there’s a strange light entering in his eyes, the man leaning forward to make sure Bowen knows the serious level in which he speaks, “the winds will change. If you’re still around when that happens …” he significantly lets that trail off before leaning back, letting Bowen reach his own conclusions. Yeah, he will work for Vaputero because he has to to protect Besutol, but the gardener had to also admit that he had a taste for that dirty line of work he’s in that’s keeping him from wanting to storm the big Bitran tomorrow. He will bide his time until the right opportunity comes along, and Bowen might be a valuable ally in that.

Bowen takes all that in with his usual calm, stoic silence. There’s no judgment in his eyes, being a man who enjoys the card tables himself, and likely a runner race or two, or even a fighting match, should the occasion ever call for it. Bowen doesn’t even offer a nod in acknowledgment for anything Lo has said, which could be an indicator that it’s more or less along the same lines of what he’s already suspected, or simply that it doesn’t really matter what the trouble is as much as the fact that it’s trouble and needs dealing with. Bo continues that quiet regard as Lo lets his voice trail off, and with a longer than usual pause, the tanner shifts his weight from one boot to the other, not out of nervousness but in preparation to take that first step in leaving, before saying in his usual slow Southern drawl, “Weeeell, I don’t reckon I know much o’ th’ world. Ain’t seen nearly as much of it as yerself, Lo. But I do know this much … when yer leadin’ a convoy of wagons an’ dem robbin’ raiders come ov’r that hill t’set ‘pon ya an’ yers, ya circle dem wagons, an’ ya protect yer own as well as yer neighbors’ j’st like dey were yer own. An’ when dat pack o’ wild felines carry off a youngin’ in th’ night, ya don’t think, ya j’st do. Ya get yer posse up on runners an’ go aft’r ‘em whether she was yer youngin’ ‘r not.” Philosophy of life, according to Bowen. Buy the book. “Survival ain’t ‘bout ‘every man fer hisself’, Lo. It’s ‘bout pitchin’ in an’ doin’ whut’s right fer all, yerself an’ yer fellas an’ their own, whether yer stake innit is pers’nal or not.” Which is really Bo’s way of saying he has Lo’s back, even if it’s risky and even if Lo and his brother got themselves into this mess. Though it’s all stated in a way that could be interpreted as ‘don’t be an island’ or ‘don’t try to be a solo hero’, too. With this, he tips his hat congenially, “I reckon I’ll see ya ‘round, Lo.” He starts to move off as he adds, “Y’take care, now, y’hear?” and unless stopped, will continue on out of the moonlit gardens.

Those were truly words from the wise, and Lorayit is silently treating them as so. The blonde man could read the meaning behind the words easily enough, regarding the tanner with the manner of respect afford one that has been through all that Lo has – which Bowen admits that he hasn’t. It’s obvious that the words are taken in, mulled over and will be mulled over for the rest of the night. Well, he didn’t know all that much about doing what’s right – considering the number of turns he’s been knowingly doing everything wrong - but he nods all the same to the genuine sentiment behind the words. He wasn’t going to mar those parting words with a response or a verbal farewell, either – he lets Bowen’s voice linger, only giving the man an understanding grin and a brief raise of the bottle as if in toast to him as his response. It was better than words, better than anything that could have been said, and it’s with a heavy heart and a rare conscience that the gardener watches the tanner leave his garden.

Closing Credit Theme Music: Big & Rich - "Between Raising Hell And Amazing Grace"

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