Avast! (attn: Eiryk)
Rowan stood on the deck of the Buccaneer, hands on his hips, breathing in the salty ocean air. He loved his boat, and she had taken several trips over the last few years with Cris. He'd promised to take Kem and Aishe out, as well as Alex and Eiryk. She was definitely a large enough boat. Even just a few days down the coast and back would be an enjoyable trip.
Crs was working tonight, some kind of security exercise, so Rowan had asked Eiryk to come help him clean. It would give them time to catch up, too. It felt like it had been forever since they'd hung out. Sure, they both had husbands now, and steady jobs that didn't include raiding, pillaging, and piracy, but they'd known each other for centuries. That thought boggled Rowan's mind. Centuries of knowing another person.
It wasn't like they'd traveled extensively together for that whole time, but they'd run into each other on numerous occasions. Those random meetings had become planned meetings, which had become a solid friendship. They'd never been lovers, although sure, way back when they'd definitely tossed each other off when the situation seemed to call for it. They'd shared human partners before (if a pair of twins counted), and they'd played 'wingman' for each other as well. They had a lot of history. Rowan wanted to make sure they stayed connected.
Of late it was warm enough that he was more than ready to take his own boat out. The Haxa was a 58 foot yacht/sailboat. Sails were very important to Eiryk.
After a super quick check and being satisfied that she was ready to go on a moment's notice Eiryk was more than happy to help Rue out with his behemoth. If he were a different kind of man the ship his pirate friend kept would make him feel inadequate... possibly in the extreme. As it was Eiryk was just happy to be on the water (other than with Alex on the water was where he was happiest (having Alex with him on the water and Eiryk was practically blissful)) and pleased someone could handle more than four people comfortably on their ship.
Still he cheerfully rolled his eyes at The Buccaneer, but he didn't just let himself aboard. Manners were manners.
"Ahoy there! Permission to come aboard?â€
Eiryk called in a clear voice that could easily be heard even below deck. He'd brought a thermos of his best coffee and two bottles of mead just because that was how Eiryk worked. But really Eiryk was just looking forward to to spending time with his oldest friend.
Honestly, other than Angus, he'd known Rowan longer than anyone and was still extremely tickled that is long time friend (formerly occasionally with benefits) was here in Nachton. He was happy that even though he and Rue had paired off it hadn't ruined anything. In fact it seemed to be for the best because, as near as Eiryk could tell, both he and Rue had gotten a new friend in each other's husbands and god knew Alex and Cris seemed the better for knowing each other as well.
He waited until Eiryk had joined him on the Buccaneer's lower deck. "There's honestly not much to do," he said. "I had a cleaning crew come through last week, so the basics are done. I just thought it would be nice to prep the cabins and such myself."
When he wasn't on the water, Rowan kept most of the niceties packed away; throw pillows, blankets, some of the outdoor furniture cushions and such. It was time to take them all out, air the linens, and make the guest beds. Eiryk knew the routine, for the most part.
The only part of the ship Rowan never packed away was the master berth; he and Cris had sneaked into it on more than one occasion just for a few hours' getaway. Even docked here, the gentle rocking of the boat and the private atmosphere could make it seem like they were a world away.
Noting that Eiryk hadn't come empty-handed, Rowan grabbed two glasses first. "I see you came prepared."
He said with his usual cheer, aftall he'd done or was planning on something similar, as he boarded. Honestly Eiryk wouldn't have minded a bit of heavier work.
With an ease developed over years and years at sea and on ships of all kind Eiryk immediately adjusted to the gentle subtle rocking of the ship. It was easy graceful and natural, for about thirty seconds and then he stumbled over something, air probably, and had to make a rather dramatic attempt at keeping his balance or going overboard. There was mead and coffee on the line so he managed to stay upright.
Although, he was stable again Eiryk was feeling a touch leery of his balance. There was absolutely no predicting his clumsiness. He could go ages without an issue or he would stumble or knock or drop something what felt like every thirty seconds. It sometimes was a wonder anyone put up with his disasters (minor and major). Still, with a good natured if slightly lopsided smile he handed both the thermos and bottles to Rue rather than taking the glasses.
"Of course I did, we're a very giving people you know.â€
He subtly poked at the centuries old viking vs. pirate debate before waving his hand at the bottles.
"You pick one is a traditional, just honey the other is orange blossom and ginger.â€
The labels were small sketches he'd done, one of a honeycomb and one of orange blossom and a ginger root, it would be easy to tell which was which.
"We'll just stowe whatever we don't drink here.â€
Eiryk habitually left several bottles on his own ship and typically made up an excuse to keep some about for Rue's ship as well. He wasn't stashing them exclusively for his own consumption either. To Eiryk's mind they should be imbibed whenever and by whoever Rowan wanted. He just liked giving people mead.
"Really? Were you known for giving before or after the raiding and pillaging and general 'taking of everything in sight including virginity?'"
How did Eiryk even say that without bursting into outright laughter? And also, how did he think they weren't going to drink both of these bottles?
Rowan chose to open the ginger one first, saying as he did so, "We'll finish this one, then the traditional honey, and then tomorrow night you can bring a couple more bottles. Honestly, it's like you don't even know us."
There was no way both these bottles would survive. And, their metabolism being what it was, they'd probably be at best just a bit tipsy after consuming both. Rowan did have more alcohol on board though, if room-prep got too boring for simple tipsiness.
Eiryk said managing to sound both cheerful and defensive at the same time. Usually he was happy to play with the stereotype, it was just easier and besides most people who knew him wouldn't guess in a thousand years he'd been a viking. As far as Eiryk was concerned his existence alone said you couldn't believe every two dimensional viking cliche.
"And I'm fairly sure I never took anyone's virginity... at least unwillingly.â€
Eiryk just laughed Rowan's pronouncement about the bottles. His friend was very probably right.
"Alright, I wasn't sure I could carry more without dropping at least one. If we need there is always my stash a few slips down.â€
Although he also had faith Rue could supply as well. He nodded satisfied with the one his friend had chosen to open.
"Good that's the one I would have started with. Now I have more of both of those if you want or I have a wildflower mint or a buckwheat honey with spice for tomorrow.â€
Although honestly, he'd probably just bring/give Rowan one of all four batches especially as he had a large order of honey on the way which meant more mead was coming.
"Now, where did you want to start and when are you taking her out?â€
He gestured for Eiryk to follow him up into the main deck while they chatted. Any and all of the mead Eiryk mentioned would be welcome, and Eiryk damn well know it. Rowan loved this particular hobby of Eiryk's.
"I had figured on taking you and Alex, and maybe Kem and Aishe, or whoever else wanted to go, for a weekend trip sooner rather than later. Maybe next weekend? And who better to help me than my interior design pal."
Rowan grinned broadly. There was nothing to actually design on his ship, but he couldn't help poking at Eiryk. "We just need to pretty it up some. Make the beds, fluff the pillows, that sort of thing. You can pick which cabin you want for yourself and your husband. And maybe we can take the jetskis out and make sure they're running all right. Turn the televisions on and off, make sure nothing needs a last-minute tune-up or repair."
Rowan had two of them docked on the bottom of the boat. They hadn't been used all winter, so it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to open them up a bit and top the tanks as well.
"I didn't particularly have anything else in mind to be honest. The cleaners do a good job, and it seemed like a nice night to hang out on a boat."
He took Rue's non-answer as more or less a request for all four and for no real reason was pleased with the unspoken compliment. Eiryk quite enjoyed his brewing experiments and always appreciated knowing they went to good homes, even he couldn't drink it all; Angus still got a fair few bottles, Ines when he could track her down, Pak, Alex' maker (although as Alfarinn had an actual history with mead he was a little nervous with his offerings), Kem and Aishe (in a slightly smaller quantity as she didn't drink) and a few clients, designers and others. He might actually broach an idea he had to Rue tonight.
"That sounds delightful, I think we should be free. Did you want us to bring anything?â€
Eiryk quite liked Kem, he still occasionally puzzled over how Kem and Pak had become such good pals but he enjoyed the elders' company, they had a number of common interests and of course he loved Aishe. Even of he didn't she and Alex had a very special relationship and he would have adored her for that.
"Oh hush. I'll do something nobel with my next life.â€
Honestly Eiryk quite admired Rue for his medical knowledge and skill. He might even be the tiniest bit jealous. But for all his quirks and flaws Eiryk knew his abilities and contributions were more creative than practical. It wasn't less it was just different, perhaps a bit more frivolous but no less sincere.
"Toss me some linens we'll get you hospital corners or shabby sheek, whatever you'd rather in now time flattery.â€
Eiryk actually had two blankets he'd made that didn't have immediate homes. One of the two, now that he thought about it, would look quite good as a throw here, he'd bring that along for their outing. The other he'd probably donate. Eiryk did that with a lot of his knitting work.
"Find me a night that isn't a good one for hanging out on a boat.â€
He challenged. They both had the sea in their blood in a very big way and neither of them fought it very hard.
"Not sure about the jet skis though....â€
Actually Eiryk very much enjoyed the jet skis but his relationship with them was a little dubious, he seemed to fall off for no reason at all. As he was a strong swimmer and usually had a good sense of humor about his lack of coordination he didn't shy away, he was just a little cautious regarding them. It did sound fun though.
He didn't even pretend they were back in the 1600's. This was the modern era and he had no problems paying for a service to stock his ship with any and all supplies required, including coolers of prepared meals, alcohol, desserts, and anything else he could think of. The cleaning service also laundered the linens for the tables and beds as well as doing the polishing and mopping and anything else that came up. Rowan remembered 'the old days.'
They had sucked.
He gestured for Eiryk to follow him and they headed to the first of the four guest cabins. "Linens are all in here."
It being a ship, even a luxurious one by any stretch, storage was at a premium. All the linens for each cabin were stored in drawers under the beds themselves, along with towels and such for the bathrooms. Rowan figured they could make the bed together in the interest of catching up and hanging out.
"I think this is the one you and Alex stayed in the first time you came out with me."
The room was decorated in sea colors; a blend of greys, greens, and blues. No one color was prevalent and they all seemed to blend in seamlessly with each other. It was a color scheme carried through the entire ship. This particular room was one of the fore rooms; it afforded slightly more room than the two aft guest rooms and had a small closet, which the other two guest rooms did not.
There were several set of sheets in each room; all high thread count but Rowan did draw the line at satin or silk; nothing was worse than sliding off the bed during sex. The colors generally matched the dÃ©cor; the sheets were grey, dark teal, or heather green.
"Color preference for sheets?"
Eiryk teased knowing full well that Rowan would manage just fine and would undoubtedly be prepared for such an eventuality. He might hover and dither and fuss a bit but he still gave full credit to Rue for being able to take care of all these things on his own. He was a big vampire after all. He'd survived a fair bit in his day so handling a friendly weekend out with friends would be cake.
Contentedly following along Eiryk agreed that was the cabin they'd stayed in the first time out with Rue. Neither of them was terribly picky about which cabin they stayed in but it was nice of his friend to remember. If nothing else Eiryk very much liked the color palette, in fact the whole ship looked quite good. he'd never gotten around to asking if Rowan had done the colors and decorating himself or if the ship had come this way. He'd be suitably impressed either way.
"I think the gray actually.â€
It rather matched the ambiance the best, in his opinion any way, the whole marine layer fog and all that.
Not having telekinesis it was much easier and faster to make a bed with two people rather than stretching across and walking around constantly. It was just easier to get things even straight and smooth. Eiryk wasn't kidding about hospital corners either. He'd staged enough rooms in his life that it was all second nature to him.
As they were managing the pillow cases and Eiryk was already debating a second glass of mead he decided to share an idea that had been ambling about his head for a while now. Certainly he'd ask Alex too it was just that Rue was here right now. Actually, he'd very much have to ask Alex, although Eiryk owned his own business this idea would probably benefit more from Alex' experience than his. Rue would just be a decent gauge if it was even a reasonable idea or not. Eiryk was fully aware he could get over enthusiastic about things and think too big.
"I've been thinking about opening up another little business. A shared brewing space... not everyone has the space to experiment or store things while they ferment or condition and some of the equipment... and it does seem that a lot of people are looking to at least play around with it.â€
Even though the kitchen in the Towers was a generous size brewing always took up time and space and on the off chance that things went sideways, not that his did too often thanks to years of experience, but when they did it was a mess and you couldn't just wait a few days for the cleaning service to come in.
Seriously, the Buccaneer was well-equipped. The perfect way to survive zombies in style. Not that that would ever happen.
They began to make the bed, Rowan mostly following Eiryk's lead. This was where he and Alex would be staying, after all, so however Eiryk wanted the bed made. Not that Rowan had strong opinions on bedmaking, anyhow. The only reason he managed to make a bed at all was because he respected his husband and the space they shared. Left to his own devices, he was happy enough to simply smooth out the covers and go on his way.
When Eiryk mentioned his new business idea, Rowan paused to stare at his friend. As Eiryk described what he wanted to do, Rowan felt his smile growing.
"That's an awesome idea," he said. "Like a brewing co-op or something. Would people have to pay a monthly fee? How would that work? I love it though. You'll have every hipster in the city in line to join."
Sure, they had craft breweries and artisan places in Nachton, but mostly they had storefronts here with the actual breweries outside of Nachton proper.
Eiryk laughed. There was no way Rue would be ditching his clan if there was any kind of bizarre zombie related emergency, people would be hurt and Rue would be there to fix them. Still it was a solid plan, open ocean was a great defense and didn't allow for sneak attacks.
"But I think we might be okay advancing with you in such dire circumstances.â€
For a second Eiryk thought Rowan might be preparing to laugh at him, that wouldn't totally dissuade Eiryk it would just alter his plans slightly. So he was quite pleased when his friend seemed to approve.
"Something like that. Honestly I need some room to spread out and experiment in and it might be nice to have a more collaborative space maybe help out the newbies.â€
It might not hurt Eiryk's feelings to introduce more people to mead. And even he could learn a trick or two about cider or beer or the like.
"I was thinking a space with a few kitchen areas, a flat fee to rent those in maybe four of six hour blocks, some rental or loaner equipment, some bottling space, and then a lot of climate controlled storage to rent by the month. I might even set it up to do classes and have some of ingredients for sale.â€
Eiryk was quite excited about it and had been thinking about it for a bit. He didn't need the money he didn't need the sideline he just thought it sounded like fun, his only goal would be to enjoy himself and at least break even.
"I should probably have an actual business plan and I'll need some staff and I'm not sure where in town to put it...â€
He trailed off grinning a little sheepishly rather realizing he was rambling.
"You think it might work though? I do hope so. I'm a little surprised I haven't found a space like it already.â€
He'd never tried his hand at brewing, but he definitely enjoyed what Eiryk did. He really liked the idea Eiryk was knocking around. It sounded like a lot of fun. He was pretty sure Eiryk wouldn't need any kind of start-up capital, but if he wanted a venture-buddy Rowan was willing. The upside to immortality was really seeing your long-term investments pay out.
"So yeah, maybe a business plan. Write one up. Draw it in crayon. Whatever. Have you told Alex about this? Because I can't believe he's not as excited about it for you as I am. I know you're great at design but this feels a lot more like something you would really love."
He didn't worry about Eiryk getting tired of brewing, or that it might be turning a beloved hobby into work. Eiryk had been brewing for centuries. Rowan was pretty sure he wasn't going to burn out.
"You know...â€ he said thoughtfully, "I might like that, But, full disclosure I'm fairly certain we're not going to make any money. I was thinking of it more like a toy, an experiment.â€
Eiryk huffed and looked quite indignant at the crayon comment. Rue was on his Christmas card list and knew better.
"I'll illuminate it, not too much gold leaf though, that would be tacky on a business plan.â€
Sure Rowan was the first person he'd run this idea by but he'd never do anything without talking to Alex. Eiryk, however, didn't think his husband would shoot it down.
"I haven't run it by him yet. I hope he likes the idea and maybe can give me some tips for a more retail and class orientation business. He got Roughing It up and running a lot more recently than I started the studio.â€
Even with his design studio Eiryk had an office manager who kept track of things like business licenses, insurance, and all manner of details. Oh he could learn it all again, but Eiryk did have a tendency to prefer the fun bits of whatever he was doing.
Rue was right, he did love design it was a lot of fun but he'd been toying with the idea of brewing commercially off and on for a while. This was rather a middle ground option, a trial run.
"I'm not sure I'm ready to switch careers yet and I'm definitely not sure there is a market for mead. After all the local wine industry is floundering and lord knows there are too many microbreweries.â€
Wait... had he just talked -himself- down?! That never happened. Eiryk was genuinely puzzled by the phenomenon.
They finished with the sheets and Rowan pulled out the bedspread. As they flipped it up and over the mattress, he said, "I think Alex would be happy to help. And you don't necessarily need to drop one career for the other. You could have someone help run one while you focus on the other. There must be plenty of fledgling designers looking to put something prestigious on their resume. You've been around for a while; it might be fortunate for them."
Rowan knew absolutely nothing about the design world. He did know that Eiryk never seemed to lack for work or funds, and that he'd never so much as uttered a whisper of insecurity about the health of his business. Maybe Rowan wasn't the sort of person Eiryk would talk about that to; he didn't actually know. He was a doctor, not a businessman, and had been for centuries now. When he wanted a change of pace, he studied a different area of medicine for a few decades. He wasn't sure he could see a career change for himself until piracy or forgery came back as viable options.
"No no it is all good. I just wanted to make sure we're on the same page.â€
As long as they both knew it was more a diversion than an actual money making venture it would be fine. Besides he'd never really had a business partner, not that many of his businesses were ever exactly typical. He wasn't the sort to put on a suit and tie and go into banking, supply chain management or computer programing. No he put on a perfectly tailored suit and tie and picked out colors and antiques, or he traveled and drew maps or he'd been a tutor for a fair number of years. None of these things really needed a partner. Although if he'd had the good sense to have a partner, a familiar, that time he'd tried to be a farmer that might have helped. Huh, should have thought about that at the time.
Oh that was true! For some reason it hadn't quite clicked with Eiryk that he didn't need to run both projects full time. It wasn't like he was struggling to make ends meet, this was more a matter of time than money for him. He'd cut his schedule back significantly when Alex had been sick. This would be notably easier, he could just go part time maybe even take a more supervisory roll rather than working projects himself. He wouldn't eliminate any of his employees, they just might do a bit of restructuring is all.
He'd have to review his books a bit but Eiryk thought he might actually be able to take on another employee, probably not a designer maybe a buyer or someone to keep track of inventory or something since he was typically the one who did the shopping even though Esi kept the inventory up to date. All of a sudden his mind was bubbling over with ideas again. Eiryk relaxed, this was much more normal than him scaling back his plans.
"If you're chipping in on this little venture maybe we should set up a spot for you to try your hand at rum or something equally clichÃ© and pirate.â€
Eiryk practically bounced at this idea. He'd done some distilling, some work with spirits just because he liked to brew just about anything and some of that knowledge was from/for his creator but he'd never tried rum or tequila. And of course Rue should make use of this set up if he was going to hand over some money.
He wondered how Cris would feel about that; if he might be interested in trying a new hobby. Not that he was lacking for hobbies. Rowan considered it as they moved into the reasonably spacious bathroom to set out towels.
Eiryk suggested Rowan give it a shot, and he nodded since his mind had been wandering along those lines. "Hmm. Pirate brewing rum sounds so clichÃ© though. I could do vodka. Or a nice liqueur. Although there's nothing wrong with beer."
He'd actually not mind delving into beer brewing. He'd read a little about it here and there and he thought it sounded interesting. The thought was gaining momentum as they continued with their light work, leaving the first guest cabin and heading across the ship to the one Aishe and Kem would use. This cabin had a similar color scheme, but instead of the green/blue/grey of a placid sea, this was more of a sea at sunset theme here, the colors primarily blue with small touches of pink, orange, and yellow. Rowan enjoyed this cabin. Not as much as the one he shared with Cris, obviously, but who would, when you had a master-sized bedroom to hang out in for any long voyage?
"Should we start looking for real estate? Did you want just a one-level storefront kind of deal, or maybe a basement for storage and aging, and a ground floor as the work space?"
Either option was fine with him.
This probably wasn't fair to a lot of new and first time business owners. It really was just far too easy for vampires of their age to just try something new and not even really worry about the risk. Well, if nothing else they'd be adding jobs to the economy so Eiryk wasn't going to feel guilty.
It really was a very nice ship. Every time Eiryk was on it he couldn't help but approve of Rue's purchase. It wasn't so much jealousy as absolute enthusiasm for boats the made it necessary for Eiryk to talk himself out of an "upgradeâ€ or just a second boat, but as they moved from one cabin to the bathroom to another cabin Eiryk did his best to channel Alex' sensible voice. Nope he'd spend his money on a brew space instead. Much more reasonable.
"And a viking brewing mead -isn't- cliche?â€
Eiryk half teased half challenged his friend. But he'd never push Rue to brew any one thing over another. It had to be something that interested you, almost more art than science in Eiryk's opinion and no one wanted to see a painting the artist did care about.
"You could age the beer in a rum barrel. I've had some good beers done in wine, tequila, rum or other barrels.â€
It could be a bit of a challenge too. Sometimes the flavors didn't blend the way you thought they would and it was less than ideal.
"I had been thinking one level but you might be right about the basement it would be a lot easier to keep that climate controlled. I like that idea.â€
See already Rowan was turning out to be a good partner. Eiryk thought that boded quite well for their little co-op.
Rowan shrugged at Eiryk's mention of clichÃ©. "But you're pretty much a walking clichÃ© already so it's not like you'd be going overboard. See what I did there?" He grinned at his own pirate pun. "At any rate isn't rum distilled, not brewed? Do you need special equipment for that? I know nothing about anything."
Unless you needed an organ transplant or emergency surgery, then Rowan was your vampire.
They continued to knock the idea around as they started on the second room. Rowan's suggestion about the basement and ground floor were welcomed, and he was glad to have come up with a decent idea.
"So that's a yes on real estate? Or I guess maybe I should wait until Alex knows. I doubt he'd love it if you told him I was already looking for a place. Or maybe he'd like to do that with you."
Rowan wouldn't mind that either. He didn't want to tread on anyone's toes, and real-estate hunting might be something Alex would like to do. As a partner, Rowan could take a peek at whatever they came up with and thumbs-up it if he wanted. He had really just made the suggestion about partnering with Eiryk because he very strongly felt like this would be a good thing for his friend. That didn't mean he was any less interested in the idea, though, and the more they chatted about it the more he liked it. He was pretty sure Cris would send to him soon and he would mention it to him then.
Certainly there was no worry about... well anything business or honesty related. They'd known each other for far too long and neither of them needed the money so it was a both a courtesy and an invitation to be more involved whenever he wanted or had the time
Eiryk groaned at Rue's horrible pirate joke and rolled his eyes at the idea he was cliche. Yes, of -course- he was the very embodiment of what everyone thought vikings we're like. Put him in a line up and he'd be singled out every time.
"Yes you do need special equipment for distilling, that is why I want to know if you want to try it or if you just think other home brewers would be interested and willing to pay for the privilege.â€
Eiryk was all for looking at real estate on the way back to the towers and almost said so, but checked himself when Rowan mentioned Alex. Honestly Eiryk was fairly certain Alex wouldn't be terribly surprised if he came home with a new business and a new building, it was just in his nature. He did try and keep himself under some kind of control though.
"Let me do some finalizing on the idea, try and sort out how much space we'll want and if we need any permits, run that by you and then I'll sick my realtor on it. Off the top of my head though I'm betting we wind up closer to the industrial district than the strip.â€
Space, price, zoning and permits would just be easier than on the strip. They'd not have to be far into the industrial district, but they might not have to be far off the strip either. Eiryk, however, thought the more industrial aesthetic would be quite attractive especially if it evolved into more than a co-op; if they started selling started a tasting room or maybe incorporated a restaurant or something.
"We'll need a name for this little endeavor you know.â€
"No. Don't buy special stuff for a hobby I may or may not take up. I'd go with the brewing equipment, and if and when the business takes off, see if there's interest in the distilling stuff too. That's just me though."
Rowan suspected he was probably more methodical and cautious in these matters than Eiryk, not that one approach was better than another. He'd just spent centuries, though, testing, diagnosing, and treating, so that had become very much his modus operandi in his work life. Outside of it, he was much better. But clearly, as he thought about this business, his 'work brain' was at the wheel.
"Wherever we end up will be fine. You're going to draw in hipsters like moths to flame." He grinned at Eiryk.
The subject of naming came up next and Rowan rolled his eyes upward thoughtfully. "You need something catchy. We should knock it around for a while. Maybe ask our friends."
They would no doubt be able to come up with a long list of names in a short time. What did you call a vampire-run brewery anyway? Alcohol... the other blood. Nope.