|Genius Or Nutter|
|Summary:||Nicodemus meets Dominick.|
|Date:||19/01/2012 (OOC Date)|
|Related Logs:||None, directly|
|Old Carriage Shed — Braeburn House|
Evening. The sun is fat and sinking on the horizon of the quiet property of Braeburn House, suppertime come and recently gone. Fingers of deep reddish-orange light stretch between the trees in the rolling back gardens, very slowly turning to shadow. Lights flicker in several windows of Braeburn as lamps are lit, though most of the outside is going dark for the night…
…except in the old carriage shed. There is actually a door to it now, rather hastily constructed, but the 'windows' are still just holes made from poked-out stone and through those some candlelight flickers away.
The sinking sun brings with it a somewhat sweaty knight returning home from training out in the fields beyond. He whistles, soft and cheery as he makes his way towards Braeburn House, sword bouncing against the sheath across his back. Nicodemus pauses, though, as he comes past the partially-repaired carriage shed, brows lifting at the lights flickering within. "Hallo?" he calls with a quick rap to the makeshift door. "Who's about in there?"
"Shit!" The voice from inside is male and not one Benedict's ever heard before. "Don't touch the door! Wait…" There's the sound of some rattling and a two-part thud before whoever's in there talks again — now the voice is coming from one of the holes in the left of the stone hut. "Over here."
One brow lifted, Nicodemus moves away from the door to peer into the stone window. "Hello?" he calls again, leaning a little closer to get a glimpse of the voice's owner.
The green eyes that meet Nic's at the faux window clearly don't recognize him. Behind him one can get just a glimpse of the interior, spattered with many glass and paper projects at once. Up at the ceiling there's some kind of rope or wire stretched halfway across the room that seems to be leading towards the door — it's out of sight before that can be confirmed. Dominick plunks his folded arms on the stone lip, leaning forward awkwardly over the edge of the table shoved up against the wall right there. "You've said that twice now. Anything else?"
"Sure," Nicodemus offers, studying the other man as he crosses his arms over his chest. "How about 'who in the world are you and what are you doing in our old carriage shed'?"
"Oh, that." Dominick clears his throat as his long arms unfold. "Dominick Augusten, of no consequence quite yet. Lord Ser Campbell Groves hired me to…" A vague gesture. "Do…things." He eyes the slightly older boy carefully. "Since you said 'our' shed you're probably family and I'm going to be in trouble for being rude. But before you do that." His index finger springs up vertically. "I did just save your life."
"Ser Nicodemus Groves," the young man introduces himself, glancing at the door again. "Noooo," he begins slowly, "I'm afraid that horse won't ride, Master Augusten of no consequence. Saving me from whatever scheme you've hooked up to the door isn't saving my life, if you're the one who endangered it." Leaning a little to see past Dominick and into the window he queries, "What have you got hooked up to the door, anyhow?"
"Well technically you're the one who endangered it. You knocked." Dominick rocks his weight back on a heel and elbow as Nic gets nosy. The setup at the door is odd at first glance — taut wires running from ceiling to not the door itself but under it, as though he'd removed the big piece of stone right on the inside of the door, run wire under it, and replaced it. "An automatic machicolation," he explains, though it lacks pride. "Or well, it might be one day. It isn't actually connected to anything, so it wouldn't have killed you really."
"Connected to anything?" Nico asks, leaning a little further in the window. "What would it connect to that could have killed me, just lying there like that?"
"Tar, quicklime, stone…" Dominick glances up, jerking a thumb towards the ceiling over where a poor soul would stop once inside the doorway. "Even an arrow if I could get one to set off right." He pushes off the wall, walking over to the diagonal slope where the wire runs from ceiling to floor. "It's pressure, you see. Stepping on this stone here sets it off. You can come in if you want." Through the window, apparently, as he blithely does absolutely nothing to make the door any safer.
"Huh," Nicodemus murmurs. He climbs in through the window without much more than a blink, looking again at the wires and where they lead. "Interesting," he murmurs. "So, what else've you got?"
The interior looks like it's been through a fairly recent manic spell, and is just now being put back together. To look around there are phases of chaos and organization in different pockets. The walls are covered in drawings and diagrams, many of Braeburn House itself. Tables lined with glassware (probably on Campbell's coin) containing what might be chemicals or tinctures of some kind in many colors, some giving off distinct odors. Little gadgets are everywhere. Plumb bobs and rulers and a compass and a few that look cobbled together by hand. Wooden structures half-built and shoved up against the walls. If the young man sleeps in here it's not entirely clear where.
Dominick picks his way through wires, scratching at the side of his blond hairline. "Lots of things." But a slight squint first, at his visitor. "Are you His Lordship's son?"
"One of them," Nicodemus agrees, "home from Gulltown." He drifts over to the pictures, peering at them and canting his head to the side a little. He picks up one of the jars holding a red, translucent, viscous liquid, tilting it from one side, then the other. "I think I might be impressed. Or, otherwise, you're a nutter."
"Whatever's less dull for you, m'Lord," Dominick remarks, waving a hand. "Hey." That same hand then darts out, palm up, towards the jar Nic's got. "Give me that and I'll show you something." This is delivered as cagily as someone offering trade drawings of naked women.
And Nicodemus is appropriately intrigued, handing the jar over with raised brows. "Well, show me, then, and I'll decide which I find less dull."
Dominick cracks a grin, rescuing his red concoction from the noble grasp. Setting it on the table, he brushes his hands together as he looks around, finally selecting one or two little dishes of powder from the myriad lying around. "I've been all through your Lord Father's house for the last three months and I've not seen you before," he remarks as he collects. "Where'd you come from?"
"Gulltown," Nicodemus says again, "in the Vale. I was squired there. Have you?" he laughs, "Been all through the house. Are the doors still safe to walk through?" He steps over to the table, peering down at the little plates of powder.
"Oh." Gulltown, right. Dominick makes the sound distractedly as he does what it is he does, taking a pinch of some dark brown powder and a pour of the bloody red into a separate container. "The doors are fine. The windows might be another matter." His bright green eyes finally look back at Nico. "Give me your hand." The way the command is issued it's almost not a command at all. Wrapped up in the undertone is an unspoken if you trust me.
Nicodemus bites briefly on his bottom lip as he considers those unspoken words. And then, with a small shrug, he does indeed offer up his hand for Dominick's experiment. "What's wrong with the windows?"
"Nothing. Just wanted to see if you'd believe me." Dominick smiles at the other boy, and then it's to work. He turns Nic's hand palm-down and dips his fingers into the thick red liquid, using the pads of his fingers to then start liberally painting Nic's skin with a thick coat of it. He goes back for more in gobs, though the stuff dries quite quickly into a kind of shell just like paraffin.
"You're kind of an ass," Nicodemus murmurs bemused. He watches as the whatever-it-is goes on his hand, fingers flexing just slightly against the hardening coat. "Well, it's very… um… quick drying?"
"Ah ah ah…" Dominick puts his fingers up under Nic's, stopping the movement. "Won't be long, I promise." There's another layer in this complication, apparently. He sprinkles a little water into a whitish powder and drags a fingertip through the paste it forms. With this new paintbrush he traces something on the back of Nic's hand in white, a design invisible on the thin reddish coating. "Now, my Lord…" Now? He picks up a broken piece of wood and holds the splintered tip in a nearby candle flame. "…just be nice and still."
"If I lose my hand for this, I'm breaking your jaw with the other one," Nico warns quietly, though he watches the whole process with fascination.
"Good thinking. I should have painted both," Dominick murmurs mostly to himself, and dead serious. He withdraws the burning stick end from the candle and lowers it down just above Nic's hand, close enough that the heat of the flickering yellow flame readily warms his knuckles. Barely an inch away he puts the flame in front of his mouth and gives a sharp breath on it.
The wind jumps the flame sideways. It ignites on the back of Nico's hand, slowly and steadily following a backwards path along where Dominick had traced that white paste — a perfect circle. And there it burns merrily on top of Nicodemus' skin, its heat very clear but not scorching the noble boy's hand.
Nicodemus sucks in a sharp breath as he watches the flames lick his… well, almost lick his hand. "That is incredible," he whispers, eyes wide as he stares. "Can you imagine what this could do on an arrow? Or a blunt weapon or…gods, even a blade?"
Dominick snorts at the thought of a flaming blade. "I'd suppose you wouldn't have much left to fight after you scared the boots off them." He watches Nico's hand burn for a few seconds and twists around, grabbing a sopping wet rag out of a bucket on the floor. "Here, might want to put that out. Doesn't last too long." His green eyes flicker back up, one slightly squinted. "On arrows, huh?"
"If the flames could survive the speed of firing an arrow, it'd be a great boon," Nicodemus says, accepting the rag and blotting out the flames on his hand. Still, the idea of a flaming sword makes him grin a little savagely. "It'd be a sight."
"Maybe it could…" Dominick snatches a quill off the table, tapping the dried ink end against his palm. "What color would be best?" His face cracks into an abrupt grin. "Bright red? Oh, I'll have to pay a visit to the coppersmith tomorrow, I have an idea." The pointed swipe the quill makes across the air nearly goes straight into Nic's left eye.
"Hey!" Nicodemus cries, ducking out the way of the flying quill. "Watch it there. Red would do. Or blue, so some don't even know what they're seeing." His hand in the cast moves again, crackling it and working the pieces off his skin. "Where did my father find you, anyhow?"
"I've made green fire too. Wouldn't that be a headache?" Dominick sounds delighted by that prospect, searching through papers until he finds one of his inkwells buried. "Me? Oh. I sent His Lordship an idea." His quill bobs, vaguely indicating the window. "He didn't like it. But he said I ought to think up better things if I tried so here I am. Not quite knightly, not like you." He plunks down on a stool, holding his hands out under Nic's shedding of his waxy skin. "Give me that, I can salvage some."
"Not quite, but it'd be far less fun to be a knight if there was no one to defend. You make your concoctions, I'll use my blade and the word will turn on pleasantly," Nicodemus says, offering the scraps back to Dominick.
"We're not all as helpless as we look, you know," Dominick replies, sounding amused. He dumps the waxy bits back on the table in a clump, the warmth of his hands sticking the bits together awkwardly. "I'll make that flamed sword for you but you've got to promise if you ever have occasion to use it and you're still got your head on afterwards you'll tell me the tale of what happened."
"That's hardly a promise you'll have to force," Nicodemus assures with a grin. "If I ever get the chance to wield a sword afire, I'm not sure anyone would escape hearing the tale. I didn't say you were helpless, but not every person's obliged to be a warrior, either."
"No small favor," Dominick pushes the heap of sticky wax aside by a bottle, retrieving his quill. Instead of writing with it he stands up, as though the notion to write had been just as promptly forgotten. "I want to win wars too. Just not the usual way." A quirked grin. "What else can you use besides a blade?"
"On fire?" Nicodemus asks, "or do you mean more generally?" As Dominick lifts up the quill, he leans bak a little, squinching one eye shut. Just in case.
"Generally." Dominick's hand makes one of his characteristic wide gestures, and he eyes Nic's face a moment. Then the quill. Then his face. He smirks. "Well I can see how to set you at a run, m'Lord. Hope you aren't ticklish as well, that would just cinch it."
"No," Nicodemus replies with a sniff. "No. Certainly not." Still, the quill gets a final wary glance. He considers before offering, "Faster-loading crossbows. Lighter or more flexible armor that retains its strength. I like your strings. Something on a larger scale might be a good deterrent for a cavalry charge. I'll consider and let you know what else occurs to me."
"I'm no metalsmith for armor," Dominick admits. "Not yet anyway. Faster-loading crossbows though, that I just might be able to…you know, I was just playing with some spring-loading devices the other day, and if you could get me a crossbow to experiment on I could try something out." The quill's still in his hand and as Nic look at it again so does he. Then back at Nic. "It's not going to hurt you." He holds it out, pokin Nico's shoulder with the feathered end. "See? Look."
"No not that end," he agrees. "It's the pointy bit in connection with my eye that has me a bit leery." For the crossbow, Nicodemus considers, scratching at his jaw. "I'm not sure we've a crossbow to spare for experimentation, but I'll see what I can do."
"Oh, you worry too much." Dominick tosses the quill down. "See what you can do, then. I can work with that. In the meantime I've plenty to do anyway. Land surveys aren't even done yet." He sits back down on the stool he'd abandoned not a few moments ago. Even sitting seems to be a highly kinetic thing for his lean body, regathering energy rather than relaxing. "So what are you…going to do here?"
"Um…" Nicodemus shrugs a little, "well, we haven't tacked down specifics. I guess I serve my father and older brother. Eventually, I'll probably get married and make some little Groves. That's usually the way of things."
"I suppose," Dominick says, his nose making a slight wrinkle. "Though you never know what'll happen between now and then, I guess." He folds his arms on the table, his eyes flickering from side to side as he looks over Nicodemus' face. "You don't look like the type with lead feet."
"Sure, I might not live long enough," Nicodemus agrees with a faint smile. "Lead feet? You mean I've an itch for travel? Well, I suppose some day that's true enough."
"Gulltown's a start," Dominick says, grinning slightly. "I'd see every bit of every land if I could. I'd make an atlas bigger than anything that's ever been before. Do you know how when you put a drop of water onto something and you look own at it, everything under looks bigger until it soaks in?"
"I suppose I knew that if I thought about it," Nicodemus replies, "though I can't say I've much thought on it before. If you make an atlas too large, it'll take you jus as much time to look through it as it would traveling to the places it depicts."
Dominick waves a hand. "I'm not talking about the atlas. A drop of water. You have noticed that it does so, right?"
"Yes, I've noticed," Nicodemus replies, one brow lifting. "What're you leading to with it?"
Dominick smiles, leaning over his table and grabbing a small hastily-bound sketchbook off his shelf. "One day, m'Lord…imagine this." The pages of the book are filled to the brim with drawings and writing, flipped quickly by his long fingers to the middle. Exactly what's on that page is hard to discern, but it looks like exactly what they're talking about — drops of water. The scribbling all around them is fairly unintelligeable. Above the droplets are a few sketched cylindrical things, with lines and angles all around. "A drop of water, made of glass. Perhaps glass. I haven't figured that out yet. But it would be large and balanced up to a man's eye to let him see the distance just like that. You know?" He asks as if he expected Nic to have no trouble following this off-the-wall notion. "What man will have the advantage on the field? The one who sees his enemy from the greater distance."
"Water made of glass?" Nicodemus queries, peering down at the drawings. "Huh. Well, if it could be done, it does sound as if it could be useful. For scouts, perhaps, even more than generals." Still, the idea that the thing is even possible… the knight's expression suggests he is not yet convinced.
"Water made of glass. Or rather, the shape of water, made in glass." Dominick looks down at the intricately fanciful drawings and scratches at his chin, nose faintly wrinkled. "Can it be, I don't know. I know nothing of glass yet to say. But." He taps the page with the tip of his finger. "Men have to dream of something." He looks up from the page at the noble knight. "Don't you?"
"I suppose they do, though mine are far less complicated," Nicodemus says, smiling faintly. "Certainly, they require less sketches."
"Think that makes you the smarter one, m'Lord." Dominick smirks, smoothing over a page with his palm. "If it can all fit inside your head."
"Or simpler. Or forgetful." Nicodemus shrugs. "I guess the gods will judge in the end. Certainly, I've nothing in my head like this." He taps the sketchbook as he smiles faintly.
Dominick shrugs one shoulder, scooping the sketchbook shut with a papery thump. "Better than nothing in your head at all." He slides the book away with a tender care that he hasn't afforded to anything else in the room, pushing it into place with his index finger. "I've a lot more I could show you if you want. Provided you don't get so busy making miniatures."
"Making mini-… oh! Right. Children," Nicodemus laughs. "Well, I'll try to keep a little time free for other things. Let's see what else you've got."
"Not right now, I'm busy," Dominick says, with a irritation that appears and vanishes as quickly as a whiff of smoke. "But, I mean. You can come back. Whenever you want."
"Unless you're busy," Nicodemus points out with a smirk. "Well, I'll be on my way, then. It was… interesting to meet you, Master Augusten."
"You're very polite," Dominick observes, his lips twitching. "Goodbye for now then, Lord Ser. Another time." He's already reaching for some glass bottle of his as he talks and by the end he's not even looking at Nico while he talks, busy starting some new and awful experiment.