Day 012: A Grounder Thing
Summary: The Grounders get together for a Thing to discuss the delinquents. — Event
Date: 20 May 2016
Related: We Are Grounders] Arc.
Oxfor Que Gideon Roose Thesda Arlin Tuan 


The Steheda's Hall, The Seat, Coesbur

This room is a sprawling, octagon-shaped room that acts as both the staheda's hall and a gathering place to discuss village issues and decisions. It's main access point is a pair of reinforced doors that swing inward invitingly. There is a large round window just above the doors which allows low afternoon light to stream in during the day. There are several windows along the angled, adjacent walls on either side of the doors, but their glass has been painted in a thin layer of colorful paint. Inside, the marble floors have lost their polish, but they still hold the ghost of a woman in a blue Roman-style dress, standing withe spear over the words Sic Semper Tyrannis.

The ceilings of the room are high, and the light emerges from a great firelit chandelier hanging at the center of the domed roof. Directly across the doors, on the opposite side of the room, is a series of short steps that lead to a massive chair sitting before a wall of stained glass.

A corridor leads off deeper into the structure off the back-right wall.

12 Days After Landing

It is early afternoon when the Thing is called. The Sky People visitors are shown out of The Seat to give the village a sense of privacy during one of their meetings, and Trikru begin to file into the hall. Oxfor is already seated at the back of the room before the wall of stained glass. He is looking a bit tired, but it has been a very long two days in and out of the village. There has been lots of rumblings in the village as the Sky People wander around the village proper — emotions range from pleasantly cautious to low-simmering anger. Not everyone agrees with Oxfor's conditional trust, and it is causing some disquiet in the village. It surprises no one that he has called a Thing, so that he can address the issue of the Sky People, and listen to the concerns some may still have.

Que enters, dresed in his linen and leathers, his expression one of calm solumnity. He moves over to his favorite spot, the wall right over there, and leans against it, crossing his arms and watching his fellow villagers as they make their way in.

Gideon is amongst those shuffling into the Seat. She has set aside most of her weapons, so she enters in just her long, heavily-mantled duster. She has washed recently, cleaning the oil and ash from her skin and hair. She moves to stand by Que, arms crossing and shoulders resting into the wall. She has a nice view of Oxfor from here. She is straining her head, looking around, as if trying to find someone in the crowds.

Roose enters the Seat with his dog, Spirit, in tow. Without a word he make his way to an out of the way spot in the back and sits on the floor cross legged. Spirit immediately lays next to his friend, resting his head on the floor, which earns a calming stroke of appreciation from the man.

It's been some 12 years since Arlin kom Trikru last set foot in the village of Coesbur, being approximately 13-years-old when his family left for who-knows-where some three years after the gruesome execution of his father. If it were up to him, he never would've returned to this place of painful memories. As the story goes, it wasn't up to him, so here he is.

There is no fanfare to announce this unwelcome homecoming, although some in the village may pause and whisper and marvel how much he's grown into a man looks too much like his father for anyone's comfort. No fanfare, but his arrival is far from quiet. Perhaps he spent too many years growing into a "city softie" back in Polis, or maybe he simply is in the habit of boldly carving out chunks of personal space with heavy steps. Whatever the case, Arlin is here, and he takes a position against the wall near the doors, folding his arms as he keenly observes, his expression sharper and more guarded than his typical Resting Jerk Face.

Tuan had recovered rather well after being stuck in the side and drained by the Skaikru. His fever broke merely hours later and within a few hours more he was starting to show strong signs of recovery. This is why he has drug himself to The Thing, with his normal clothes on and only a lighter blanket over his shoulders against the day. A normal color returning to him he still keeps a distance from others out of precaution.

Que turns to regard Gideon a moment as she comes to stand by him, a small smile touching his lips and a nod by way of greeting. For now that's enough communication out of him, but its him being friendly. Upon noticing Arlin entering, he blinks, a shadow of surprise flickering across his features.

Oxfor waits for the flow into The Seat to subside, and then moves to stand from his seat. He stretches as he does, rubbing a bit at his stomach. He then raises his hands, spreading them out before him with a low rumbling, "We begin!" It sends a small hush through the crowds, and Oxfor drops his hands. "Our sick are healing, and healing well. The Skaikru have been working with our healers to see that the illness does not continue to spread, and that those falling ill are seen to quickly." He breathes out a steady exhale. "I have therefore agreed to their wishes to a Summit." His gaze passes over the group, and when his gaze falls on Arlin, there is an immediate lapse in his words. He finds himself kind of staring at the returned Trikru, but then shakes his head, returning his gaze to the group.

Don't ask how, but Thesda has managed to wedge herself against part of the room's structure in such a manner that she's looming over the proceedings like a crow on a wire. The woman sometimes called Wantoppa watches the entire expanse of the main area like a hawk, nodding when she sees Tuan, lifting her chin a little in greeting to Arlin before focusing on the chieftan's words.

Gideon intakes a breath at Oxfor's words, and she shifts almost uncomfortably at the wall beside Que. She shifts her gaze across the gathered Trikru, as if trying to make sense of thier own reactions. Then she breathes out a soft, "Great…" She then also takes note of Arlin, and her brows arch high over her eyes in her own surprise at seeing the wayward Trikru returneth.

Roose notes the arrival of Arlin with a few blinks, as he registers the other man's presence. Then his attention is back kn Oxfor, patiently waiting without comment for him to finish what he has to say.

Que says, quite softly, to Gideon, "Did you know that he was coming?" He doesn't sound angry or disturbed, or that he's upset about Arlin's appearance. He simply sounds curious. Questioning. Otherwise, his dark eyes flicker over the others, his expression thoughtful.

The reactions he's receiving are an upgrade from the brutal bullying he still recalls, this latter perhaps accounting for the mild rolling of his shoulders. Arlin doesn't shrink, though. In fact, a sardonic smirk forms, growing more smug when Oxfor falters. He even uncrosses his arms to remove the hella beat-up, two-tone grey ball cap he was wearing, as if perhaps this lack of decorum is what prompted the chief's pause. By all means, please continue is what his impudent expression suggests.

The giant Trikru stretches his shoulders a bit, and the gestures out to the group. "We will be having more of them around our village, but I caution you all… they are still an unknown. They are young, and their elders will be joining them soon. We cannot assume that peace will come, and will stay." He shakes his head slightly. "If we cannot find suitable terms, our hostilities with their camp will continue." He gestures out to the group now. "I will now hear any concerns or questions you have…" He then moves to sit once more. His gaze returns to Arlin briefly, and he narrows his eyes thoughtfully.

"No," Gideon whispers to Que. "Last I heard, he was still serving the Commander in Polis." Her eyes turn to the taller, far burlier Trikru. Her brows arch high over her eyes in silent question, and then her gaze shifts back over to Arlin. When Oxfor invites others to speak, she remains quiet. And thoughtful.

Tuan glances around, realizing no one is really offering thoughts or concerns as of yet. Despite his youth, he does straighten a bit and clears his throat to speak. "As one treated by the Skaikru, those I have seen have been considerate of us and interested in understanding who we are." He looks at Oxfor, "But I have no encountered many of them. May I suggest Sheheda that for those that come to our village, we send some to interact with them and learn their ways as well?"

With a nod for Gideon, Que purses his lips, his expression thoughtful. "The one named Greh kept his word to Wren to lead us to our fallen. They have helped heal the sickness." Que's voice carries across the Seat, but only barely. "Yet, they went straight for the Mountain Men on their arrival, and the sickness came from them to begin with. No heda seems to bind them." He shrugs slightly, "Can they be trusted, steheda? The balance of the scales seems to lean against them on this, but I am only a craftsman. Still, I am curious about what knowledge and skills they bring."

Thesda speaks up, albeit quietly. "Wren wants the blood of the one who killed Lark in the skirmish." She puts no inflection in her words, choosing to have no horse in this race.

Oxfor listens to Tuan and Que in turn. "I am hesitant, young Tuan," the steheda admits, though he does nod after a moment, "but knowing if what they offer at the summit is something they can give is of value to me. Learning their ways? That suggests our ways are not good enough… but knowing if they can give what we require? That is something of importance."

Then he regards Que at the back, and he nods his brutish head thoughtfully. "Your concerns are mine as well, Que… I have walked through their village and seen nothing but disorganized strife… though I have heard rumbling that their heda is still in the sky…"

Thesda's words draw a deep frown on the steheda's face, and he nods again. "In that, I should give them those warriors who killed theirs." His tone does not outright dismiss Thesda's input, but does provide further chud to chew in this hall.

Arlin listens, intently, even as his hazel eyes slowly drag across those assembled. Perhaps he's gauging reactions to the talk of the Skaikru, or trying to determine who he recognizes, or maybe both. The impudence has left his face, replaced with something keen yet pensive.

"I don't think trust is the issue. They have risked their lives to earn it." Thesda notes thoughtfully. But whether they have power to make promises, Oxfor is right about."

"I do not speak for Wren, but I think that may have changed, Thesda." Que's voice is still that low, deep quiet. He purses his lips, glancing over to Thesda, "What is a promise without trust? The Sky Clan is so strange and unlike us. Is there any common ground we can find with them to build trust upon? It is the foundation I worry over." He taps fingers against his arm, "Then again, they honor their fallen. Perhaps that is the first stone laid down."

Oxfor nods thoughtfully with Que, and he rests both hands on the curved, carved armrests of his seat. He breathes out a heavy breath. "We do not know, Que… in order to have them come and treat our people, I promised them a Summit. They are eager to learn, but I am suspicious and uncertain… and we have little idea of what comes with them should the rest of their people come down." He holds up a hand, showing his patience. "We must be ready… cautious…" He looks to Arlin now, and his chest inflates a bit before he speaks. "I imagine the Commander is waiting to hear how this all unfolds, Arlin kom Trikru?"

"She is," Arlin simply says in a gritty baritone that easily carries the enormous weight of that name drop. There had been rumors that he had performed so well in the war against the Ice Nation that the Commander charged him to her direct service, sending him out in the field in her stead when deemed necessary. It would appear that those rumors are true. "Watch, listen, and be suspicious. Those are her orders."

Que listens to Oxfor's response, nodding his head at several points in agreement, and then turns to watch Arlin respond with a slight tilt of his head, "More will come, they admitted. Thousands. They would not say specifically." He shakes his head slightly, "Yet they, or their ancestors, built a city in the sky. I would know what they know of building, if it could be learned safely. Knowing their lores could strengthen the village, the clan, the coalition." After a pause, he adds, "Or destroy us." Que is on the fence about all of this, clearly.

Oxfor snorts, but it is an almost good natured noise. "As if we would be any other way," he rumbles. Then he rolls his shoulders, knuckles cracking and fingers flexing. Then he nods. "We are, of course, pleased to have you back, Arlin kom Trikru." Though something in his tone suggests he would have liked the Coesbur man's return to have not been a surprise. Then he releases a heavy sigh. "Que kom Trikru… prepare a small group to go to the Skaikru camp…" He grins faintly toward Arlin as he adds, "Watch, listen, be suspicious. See if they really have anything they can offer us, or… more importantly… if this Summit may truly be with a group of exiles." He breathes heavily. "If more are to come… thousands… I want the Trikru to be prepared." Beat pause, glancing toward Arlin. "I want the Commander to be prepared."

Gideon has remained quiet and introspective as the Thing continues. Then Oxfor mentions a group being assembled, and the curious archer is almost off the wall and taking a step forward. But, she quickly slinks back, hoping no one noticed… of course, Que is standing right beside her…

Hazel gaze flicks to Que when the craftsman speaks, and there is a look of recognition that dawns, one that brings a momentary hint of warmth to Arlin's face, subtly coalescing at the corners of his mouth and his eyes. Then it's back to business. "When?" Because that's an important tidbit the Commander surely wants to know.

Then Oxfor addresses him, and he replies a bit wryly but lacking in rancor, "I go where I must." Like a good soldier. "And I speak with every confidence when I say we all want to be prepared." Out of habit, he rolls the frayed-edge bill of his cap that's been rolled so many times over the decades that it's a miracle it's yet to snap. "Are their healers still here? I would speak with them and assess their treatment of our people." Unlike Gideon, Arlin doesn't step forward. It's a foregone conclusion that he will be among those who will directly observe the Skaikru.

"As you command, steheda." intones the quiet Que in a voice that, though still quiet, has a steady hardness behind it reminiscent of a stone that's just beginning to roll down a hill. He glances sidelong at Gideon, and can't help but grin, a quick flash that makes his dark eyes look like they sparkle briefly, but for the moment, he says nothing. Apparently he thinks making specific arrangements should be done after the chief's business is concluded.

Oxfor grunts in agreement, though his shoulders give another roll. "They are… Morgan kom Skaikru and Silver kom Skaikru… they have been working with Keta and her brood." He gestures offhandedly toward the hallway that leads to their temporary infirmary. He then starts to stand again. "I leave you, Que, to consider who to take with you to their camp… and Arlin kom Trikru…" He offers a short nod. "Welcome home."

Que gives a quick, decisive seeming nod to Oxfor and pushes off the wall, and casts a sidelong look at Gideon that seems to hold some mild, if fond suspicion, but he doesn't say anything to her yet. Crossing the hall and approaching Arlin, "Arlin kom Trikru, it is good to see you again." His voice is still quiet and stoney, but a bit warmer then usual.

Welcome home. Except it ceased being home a long time ago, and there's a tightness in Arlin's expression that surely hints at his feelings. All the same, he respectfully inclines his head and replies with nothing more than, "Steheda," before rolling the bill once more and re-donning his ball cap that reads Special Forces | Ranger | Airborne above an arrowhead logo containing an upright sword slashed by 3 lightning bolts, all rendered in black thread that has seen better days.

Oh, but then he's being approached, and his expression turns more amiable. "Que kom Trikru," he greets, extending one hand to clasp forearms. "It's good to see you, too." And the way those hazel eyes tick up, then dip down, and leisurely glide back up to meet the craftsman's gaze with a sly smile of approval suggests it's not just for kindnesses shown years ago. "How are your parents? Well, I hope."

Clasping forearms in return, Que nods his head in affirmation at the greeting, but then sighs. A deep, quiet sound. "You have grown up, and you do service for the Heda. You have found an honorable path. I am glad to see it." Though his voice says he isn't surprised. "They are dead." he does say though, and only a darkening of his eyes show grief, "She died fighting in honor, and the heart sickness took him. It is well they are together." He turns his head a bit, regarding Arlin, "You will come join my expedition?" Then he turns and regards Gideon a moment, "And I think you will be up to mischief if you do not." His eyes narrow slightly, but there's a look of some fondness on it, "Besides, you can lead the path. I do not know the way."

Tuan, who has remained quiet this entire time because that is what he is taught to do speaks up towards Que at last. "I would not be opposed to joining." He offers it with a glance around and small blush at his forwardness. "If they are all of my age, perhaps they would find me more disarming and be more open with intents."

Gideon watches as Oxfor makes his leave, and then her shoulders are relaxing a bit. She looks over at Arlin as he approaches, and she finds herself drawn into a curious silence. She looks over at Que, and then to Tuan. She almost seems a bit coy when she offers, "I know their camp." From inside the dropship. "I offer you my services."

At the praise, Arlin looks the tiniest bit bashful, as though complimentary words about his person being spoken by someone other than himself isn't a common occurrence. Upon hearing the news of Que's parents, he retreats into solemnity, and offers condolences in a smoky tone, "Our loss is the soil's gain. They were good people. Their ashes bless the Earth." He places his other hand atop the craftsman's forearm to clasp more firmly, then lets go and turns his attention to the Archer, eyes narrowing as he attempts to place her. She was only ten when he last saw her. "I know your face," he tells Gideon, before scrutinizing Tuan, "but not yours." For the Scout was even younger.

Soberly, Que nods his head to Arlin's condolences, allowing his expression to show some mourning before he pulls it back into seriousness. He looks to Tuan, "So be it." is murmured with a slight nod to young scout, "Someone old, someone young. Someone familiar, some unknown. A craftsman, a scout, a healer, and an archer. We four shall do." He suddenly barks out a laugh, a rich sound that is surprisingly loud coming from a guy who is so quiet usually, "We shall show them that it is possible to send a delegation without sending half a village and with discipline."

Gideon arches her brows a bit at Arlin's words to her, but then her smile returns in a low, almost simmering quality. "Gideon," she offers simply. Then she regards Que as he carefully assesses the group he has assembled, and she laughs a bit. "Don't be surprised if we are both welcomed and unwelcomed at the same time."

Brows loft and eyes widen with some semblance of surprise that fades into something more musing. "Huh." Arlin considers further. "Then it remains to be seen whether their ineptitude is a bane or a boon — or even ineptitude at all." Because, remember the Commander's orders: Be suspicious!

Oh, but then Gideon is arching her own brows, which somehow tugs one corner of Arlin's mouth into a saucy smirk. "Gideon," he repeats in that gritty voice of his, warming with some semblance of humor. "I think I'll remember." Which is what he concludes after giving her a once over. Perhaps so he can recall more than her face. That bit of flirting out of the way, the medic asks, "Are they so at odds amongst themselves?"

Que inclines his head slightly to Gideon, voice soft still as he says, "That will be telling, if it is the case. They come to our land and think not to welcome us to what is ours? I will observe this closely." To Arlin he gives a thoughtful look as he crosses his thick arms over his chest, "They are bound to no heda. They all speak as if they should be heeded to." He says this as if it were an alien thought.

Gideon frowns thoughtfully as she regards Que and Arlin. "They are also mostly all children, or those just on the edge of adulthood." She shrugs, being rather young herself in comparison to those around her. She shrugs her shoulders a bit. "And they have all broken their people's laws in some fashion… sent here as punishment." Not exactly, but Gideon hasn't wrapped her head around that whole thing yet either.

Bound to no heda? The look on Arlin's face can best be described as 'da fuq?'. It settles in the furrow of his brow and the set of his eyes. No, this does not compute. "Perhaps their heda is still in the sky." It's a point set aside when Gideon speaks of crimes, which prompts a darkening of mood. "So they've been exiled but are still in contact with the others of their clan?" Yeaaaah, no. That's not how it's supposed to work, so someone please be so kind to help him figure it our before his brain implodes from trying too hard.

Que inclines his head slightly, looking thoughtful still, "Criminals. A vanguard. And thousands more will come. The Heda did not need to tell us to be suspicious." Then he glances at Arlin, "If the skaiheda remains in the sky, she does not seem to have /control/ over the skaikru on the ground." He folds his hands together, grabbing each knuckle and bending it until it cracks, and then again, and again.

Gideon looks about as confused as Que and Arlin, so she shrugs a bit wearily. "I don't know… I can't make sense of it yet. It seems as though that their city is dying, and so they need to come here." She tilts her head, looking upward at the ceiling, almost thoughtful. "They didn't think anyone would be on the ground anymore." She nods with Que's assessment. "These are questions we should find answers to."

"A vanguard." Beat. "Of criminals." Beat. "Lovely." Except it totally isn't. "And you're telling me that they have no steheda?" Arlin might look and sound more incredulous if he could wrap his head around it. "How can they even stand Summit?" No one can speak with authority in their stead. Plz sum1 maek it maek sns, k.

At this, Que simply shakes his head slowly, having finished cracking his knuckles and folding his arms over his chest again. Though he's shaking his head, its with a decided expression of agreement on his features for Arlin's concerns. This is one of his patented Quiet Mountain Moments (made somewhat less impressive by the mutant gigantism gene that is rampant in the village) where he simply looms and stares between the two.

Gideon frowns deeply as she crosses her arms at her chest, her posture becoming a bit lopsided as she rests her weight into one hip. She looks at the steheda's seat, and then across the slowly emptying hall, and then she releases a small, if not frustrated sigh. Her gaze shifts to Arlin and Que once more, and then she shrugs. "They do not want to die," she says flatly. "And they know we would kill them."

Speaking of death, Arlin snorts, "Who ever does?" Want to die, that is, then inquires, "How many of ours have they killed so far? And how many of theirs have we slain?" He has no idea what the current body count is.

"It is understandable that they do not want to die, but this land that is ours, ours, and it is a hard land." Que's voice carries an edge of uncertainty, "Between the Mountain Men and the Reapers, we have much to guard against; not to mention, I am no warrior, but I would not turn my back on Azgeda for a moment, no matter that they stand beneath the Heda in the Coalition. If they live or die by their own acts, they live or die, nature has taken them or let them endure. For /us/ to involve ourselves… is it worth it to accept the risk?" He sighs softly, after that little speech of his, "Such is the decision for the steheda. Our only concern is information, not judgement. We are to watch, listen, and be suspicious."

Gideon listens to Que, and even agrees with him on most points as she nods. Then she breathes out another sigh, but this one seems to center her rather that stoke her own frustration. She looks at the pair, and then rolls her shoulders a bit. "Yes…" Her expression becomes a bit uncertain. "Just to watch, listen… and be suspicious."

Gideon looks at Arlin then, and her shoulders tighten a bit. "Seven." Beat pause. "Seven of ours to two of theirs."

Arlin lets out what could be called a thoughtful grunt in response to Que's words. To Gideon's, he nods, eyes narrowing ever-so-slightly at her uncertainty. At the tally, though, those very same eyes widen with disbelief before the rest of his features rally into an incredulous expression. "Seven." Beat. "Of ours." Beat. "Versus two of theirs?" Just in case he misheard. No, no. Does not compute. "Warriors?" Because that makes a difference. No offense, Que.

Of course it makes a difference: it is warriors that are expected to die for the clan, that is why they are esteemed. Que simply nods his head slightly, but adds, "Plus those who died from the sky sickness." But with that he shakes his head slightly, "I must go plan what supplies to take. Tomorrow at dawn we set out." And he turns at that to head off.

Gideon shakes her head, raising a hand a bit. "Oxfor ordered we capture, not outright kill…" Then she sighs heavily, and nods. "But they had very little interest in capturing in return. I don't even know why Wren and I were spared beyond attempting to get information from us… They wanted revenge." She rolls her shoulders slightly, and nods at Que's words. "Plus those who have died from the sky sickness." She then nods to Que, and looks back to Arlin. "With that, I should get a bath in before I'm hauled off to the camp of dirty youths."

Again, another thoughtful grunt, Arlin's expression turning overcast. To it all, he simply nods. "I wish you restful sleep and will see you at dawn." With that, he departs to check on the recovering ill.

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