Day 060: A Matter Of Pride
Summary: Veks and Britt visit a recuperating Rinnan, and then Nathaniel shows up looking for a sparring partner.
Date: 28 July 2016
Related: None
Veks Rinnan Britt Nathaniel Wren Thesda 

Warrior Barracks, Tondc

The Warrior Barracks take up the bottom level of what had once been a magnificent museum. All tthat remains is this floor, which had housed the atrium and research labs. There is no evidence remaining of its once purpose, as it has been completely converted into barracks for the Kruheda's Warband. Through the entrance — up a series of wide stairs and through several gaps in the stone wall — is an open-air courtyard surrounded by high walls and pillars. The marble floors have lost their shine over a century of neglect, and the elevated platform features the half-destroyed remains of an elephant statue. From this circular room are several entrances to the barrack wings. At the back of the courtyard is an archway that leads out to the training grounds.

Each wing supports an open common area with tables and chairs for shared meals, and then individual alcoves for sleeping. A firepit burns at the center of each wing, giving warmth and light when the sun sets.

Day 60

The influx of the returning warriors from the mountain has added a few extra heads to the kruheda barracks. Among those is Rinnan, who has been assigned a bunk just off the entrance hall. Occassionally, some ruddy faced child of no more than 13 or 14 comes by and checks on her, mainly by peering at her from the foot of the bunk with a bit of reluctance until Rinnan opens one eye and mutters something like: "Still breathing." She is not as bad off as she was in the days before but ready to go out and swing for the fences, she's definitely not. Arlin's return from Polis came bearing blackberry candy and a personal stash of painkillers, in the form of opiate-based medication.

Propped up against the headboard of the bunk, Rinnan seems to be enjoying a respite from the nagging pain in her still immobile right shoulder and arm in the form of Mother Superior and Her Warm Gun. She's dosing lightly, one hand clutching the blackberry candy sack. The outline of one of the hard candy pieces visible along one cheek, what with having dozed off with it in her mouth.

Britt hasn't been staying in the barracks, for those keeping track. She's been staying with Erson's sister Ashe and her family, freeing up room in the barracks. Erson himself is still in the healing house, though. At the moment she's returning from the training grounds, bow in hand and in mid-conversation with another warrior - someone from another village that she knew once upon a time.

This is where the big kids live. Yes, Veks is long since deemed an adult, and yes, Veks has a perfectly reputable trade of his own, but there's still a trace of a kid creeping somewhere he oughtn't to him. Warriors talking here, laughing there, gambling hither, sparring thither, and everywhere, the injured in their cots. He winds his way down and across the rows and clusters of beds until finally spotting Rinnan propped up in her candy coma. There, he stops short, lips pressed together for the duration of a sharp breath, before quietly edging forward. Sneaking up on the injured. Great plan, Veks.

Rinnan is nearly resplendent in her opiate-coated postponement of alertness. So beatific in her placidity that she doesn't have time for this whole paying attention thing. Drugs are just that good, kay? Asleep, though, she is not as one of her hands driftings up to her cheek and scratches idly at the prickly flutter of errant itches that pain medication brings. Her hand is about to drift down to her lap but- nope! There's another, and her free fingers chase the itch scaling down one side of her neck. She shifts slightly, clearing her neck and cracking open her eyes, Veks and Britt amorphous as her eyes blink in a slightly dull flitter. Vek's edging forward presence and Britt's red hair and then the rest of her seen but not /seen/ yet.

Britt finishes up her chat with Nameless Old Comrade, who then heads on out of the barracks. Britt, though, having noticed Veks and Rinnan over yonder, heads in that direction.

Thesda arrives from the Public Garden and Orchard.

She's awake. Veks rakes his bottom lip a couple times with his teeth before a crooked and uncertain grin flickers into place. "You gotta new string of ears around here somewhere, yeah?" he says as he parks his behind against the mattress. He's close enough he can probably reach Rinnan's mussed hair — and definitely eye the bag of mystery treats.

Thesda makes her way into the barracks, looking around with a deceptively placid expression. It takes her a few minutes to spot where Veks is loitering, and heads in that direction. Britt is of course, a familiar face, so she nods, and her brows cinch together when she realizes Rinnan's convalescing here.

Rinnan's hair? There are days when its rows and rows scalp-tight braid fleekness. This day? Not one of those days. It's in two messy, boring braids that mostly don't smell like dried blood and grain alcohol anymore. Mostly. And they're totally for the grabbing, as Vek's hand learns. His action comes without a surprise knife to the ribs. Instead, her glassy eyes focus down on Veks' some more and her mouth sluggishly pulls upwards into a hazy smile at him. No word on the ears score. The bag of candy in her hand lumphed foward toward him. She /must/ be high as hell. Her free index finger points and then lifts to find its target in the approaching Britt. "You're here," she appreciates with a shlumpy grin before the finger drifts aimlessly towards Thesda. "Theezzzda," she announces with an equally appreciative tone that may also be letting everyone know the name for the Thesda shaped object in the room. Which. Turns out? Is Thesda.

Britt inclines her head back to the quasi-familiar form of Thesda. "You look like you got some of Arlin's good stuff," she observes lightly to Rinnan as she approaches the cot. Veks gets a reserved smile as well. The archer looks tired, but apart from a bandage on her left hand, none the worse for wear after the assault.

Who's a good enough human being that he won't take advantage of painkiller-muddled sensibilities in order to score mystery treats? Not Veks, that's who. "What's in 'em?" he asks as he digs his hand in, thumbs open the twist of waxed paper, and pops the blob of hard candy into his mouth before Rinnan can even answer. Britt gets a lift of his chin, brows shot up in a mixture of curiousity and concern as he considers the archer's injuries, and Thesda gets a quick flit of a grin as he swaps the candy from one cheek to the other. "Mom says the big fight's coming up soon." He glances between them after saying it. Trying for the latest warrior gossip? Hell yes.

Thesda ambles her way over to the trio, bumping her hip against Veks' form before looming over Rinnan's supine body. It only takes her a moment to guage how out of it the woman is, and Thesda is unable to resist a finger, gently touching it to Rinnan's nose. "Boop." To Britt, she offers a faint what-can-you-do smile before nodding in affirmation to Veks. Thesda's gone into her default quiet mode, more expressions, posture, and gesture than talk.

"Yes," Rinnan hazily confirms the impending doom about to be visited upon the Maunon with a relish that looks forward to the doombringing. There may be a slight disconnect between present circumstances and provident thinking on this score. Rinnan's nose twitches, bunny-like, up at Thesda for the boop as her hand lurchs forward and then up to offer Thesda some hard candy. "Purpleberry," she informs Thesda and Veks dualy in the selection on offering, even if that's not technically a thing before she jostles the bag a little at Britt in offering. Her tongue is a dark smeer of purple for her own visit with the candy contents. "You should give some to Erson," Rinnan proposes, probably not meaning the candy, as she grins slightly at Britt which seems to pre-suppose that she hasn't already.

"More a slaughter than a battle," is Britt's grim opinion on the matter. "The entire weight of the coalition against a few hundred that are mainly makers? The only question is whether they're fool enough to fight to the death or surrender." The jostling bag gets Britt's attention, and she takes a piece with a murmured thanks. "I'm not sure he's up for eat…" Then she catches that grin and rolls her eyes. "For pity's sake, is that all anyone can think of?" Caught somewhere at the crossroads of embarrassment and irritation, she just frowns.

Veks snickers deep in his throat when Britt rolls her eyes. "Feels strong enough to me," he chimes in, giving the edge of Rinnan's cot three or four bounces by way of demonstration. His grin spreads wider, to slappable proportions, before he clears his throat and tries to stifle the cheekiness. "Oughtta try one," he says to Thesda, grabbing the pouch of blackberry candies from Rinnan to hold them up to her. They're jiggled temptingly. Free candy. You know you want to. "They might as well fight," he reasons as he tries to lure Thesda into taking a candy. "Won't be nothing but heads on spears if they surrender."

Thesda got called away somewhere.

Britt's consternation at the buoyancy of that 'can do… anyone' spirit even in times like these falls on slightly confounded ears. Rinnan blinks with slow affectation, like a cat caught in a sunbeam before she picks up what Britt is putting down. "Ohhh," she drawls a little, jostling slightly with the up-down-up-down of Veks' testing of her cot and grinning like a hyena at Veks' less than delicate ribbing of Britt. "I was talking about Arlin's medicine. But you can do that too if you think he needs it." Her mouth forms a slightly leery grin at Britt, opiates being no barrier to being an asshole. "Maybe we can send the Sky Children down the hallways first and we will operate the gons," she proposes, a bit resentfully even if perhaps proposing that one should operate a gun makes that person the least qualified to do so. Her attention span shifts off the fight talk for a moment, evaluating Veks for a moment as her grin switches temporarily from airy leer to quietly exultant. "You're here," she pronounces with a relieved air that Veks is in fact here making inappropriate comments about Britt's personal life and not… elsewhere. "You should help us kill everything," she voluntells him, murder subject: back on.

Britt is normally pretty good-natured about such ribbing. She tends to get it a lot, especially from Arlin. So it is a little uncharacteristic of her to just scowl sullenly and let it go without further comment. Touchy subject, maybe? The Maunon, strangely, less of one. "There is much talk of sparing the 'innocents', whatever that means beyond the children. And some of the Skaikru have made it clear to me that this is no longer their war now that their people are safe. They are there to 'minimize bloodshed'." Her voice practically drips with disgust.

Nathaniel arrives from the Public Garden and Orchard.

People have seen him come and go around the city lately, but this marks the second time Nathaniel has entered this specific building. The first time, the various people around watched him handily defeat Fayet in a sparring match, with only one hit to himself to speak of. Now, the black, sleeveless t-shirted Arker walks in the door and glances around, taking in the inhabitants.

The candy clicks against Veks's teeth as he flips it around in his mouth while watching Britt. After a few quiet slurps, he seems to decide to let the topic go, and instead looks back to Rinnan. "Heard you was callin' for me," he says. "Better not be for yer laundry." Smirk. He tugs faintly at the end of one of Rinnan's messy braids, grin fading to a more thoughtful expression as he does. "Steheda said blooded warriors only," he says, looking between Rinnan and Britt as he shrugs. His expression sours a little as he glances deeper into the barracks. "Mom wouldn't vouch for me."

Rinnan has priorities: 1. Blood, it must have same. 2. Fuck the Maunon 3. Fuck their weak, worthless children. 4. Murder Bullet Point 2. 5. Murder Bullet Point 3. 6. The order of this list is not important.

She nods, therefore,with sagacious resolve for the underlying premise in Britt's voice: These Maunon gonna die. It is known. "<In Trigedasleng> The Sky Whelps can cry their soft handed tears and sit on their softly licked asses," she resolves, her thoughts on this issue bloodlessly delivered… if a little hazy for the drugs she's on. Veks' tug on her hair nets him another hazy smile. "Did not," she denies the factual basis of this besmurching happening, this asking for him what with all the bleeding and the sweating and the contemplation of the end of your life. Nathaniel, being a slightly familiar face, draws Rinnan's eye and it might also be the sudden and immediate total hush that falls over the hall.

Britt seems relieved that the other topic has been dropped, though a faint frown still lingers. Veks' comment about his mom causes her to look his way. "<In Trigedasleng> She couldn't even if she wanted to, Veks." Which Britt is quite sure Ibem wouldn't want to. Rinnan's remark gets a weak snicker, which fades when the hush and muted glares drawn to the skaikru guardsman draw her attention in that direction. "Nathaniel kom Skaikru," she calls to him, trying to keep her tone as neutral as she can manage. "This building is for warriors."

Britt's reply just pulls Veks's pale brows toward eachother in something fast approaching an outright /sulk/. He shifts slightly on the edge of Rinnan's cot, clearly wanting to argue, but instead blows out a sigh and shrugs, broad shoulders hunched and defensive. Whatever. Probably wouldn't be any fun, anyway, overthrowing the Mountain. Hmf. The ripple of muttered words and sudden lull in conversation pulls his attention up and over to Nathaniel. Immediately, he sits up straighter, his expression moving from sullen to unfriendly.

Nathaniel gives a smile to Britt, "So I've heard. It's the best place for sparring, and I was just checking in to see if anyone around here was interested in sparring." The suddenly and total hush is not lost on him, and he brings up his hand, gesturing backwards out the door, "but if I'm not welcome here, I can leave you be."

Rinnan's head tilts, one sloppy braid flopping over her shoulder as she stares a moment of objects out of place confusion at Nathaniel in the hall. She blinks slowly again like a cat basking in a sun beam, the blackberry candy in her mouth shifted from one side of her mouth to the other with a barely audible bargle of hard candy on teeth. "You treat us as leavings. You treat our thresholds as yours," she informs Nathaniel rather bluntly, not taking a quick exit poll of her companion's feelings on the matter.

"You should not be in here without invitation," Britt says sharply. A few of the other gathered warriors grumble their agreement. But then she notices the sulking Veks and shifts her gaze from him back to Nathaniel. "But since you want to spar… Veks will fight, won't you?" She fixes him with her stern Auntie Stare(tm) and says, "<In Trigedasleng> If you think you are ready to face the Mountain's warriors, surely you can put this Skaiboy in his place."

"No one has told me I was not allowed in here without permission, and that this was off limits. When I asked you about it, you said to try here. I apologize, then." Nathaniel gives a polite nod, then starts to walk out. Once he hears that Veks is interested, he glances backwards. "I have no wish to insult anyone here by stepping outside my bounds."

"You Skaikru, all the same." Veks's English is most generously described as 'remedial'. It's slower than Britt's or Rinnan's, and far more thickly accented. "Seven hundreds of you should be heads on sticks." Considering his expression, he's all but ready to start that heads-on-pikes collection now — at least until Britt speaks to him. It's so unexpected that the surprise blanks his expression for a moment. "<In Trigedasleng> Him?!" he blurts, stabbing a finger toward Nathaniel. "<In Trigedasleng> But-" Pale eyes flit to Rinnan, then out around the nearest few warriors, before returning to the Skaikru in a hard, wary frown. "Fine. You. We spar." He stands up, setting the pouch of candy back in the crook of Rinnan's arm.

Face. It must not be lost, especially when there's Veks' pride and the distant hope of gettin' it in with one of the ladies present. Rinnan blinks with a dull penny shine at Veks' agreement to fight Nathaniel, her heavy lidded eyes narrowing cautiously. But, she forebears on saying anything, instead looking at Nathaniel once more in a thoughtful mental calculus on the matter before she sucks briefly on the front of her teeth and throws a slightly raised double eyebrow at Britt. Instead, now, she's getting up, if slowly from her proped position in this bunk. Her hand swipes out to take the candy with her.

"I said to try the training ground," Britt clarifies. Which, although easily accessed through the barracks really should have another way in from outside. Perhaps not an obvious one, though. Not like Nathaniel has a tour guide or anything. (Guilty, your honor.) "I didn't realize it needed to be spelled out. Perhaps among your people it is common to wander into living areas uninvited," she says dryly. She nods to Veks. Auntie is intent on teaching someone a lesson. "As he said, come along if you like." She moves over to offer Rinnan a hand up if she wants one, but doesn't imply weakness by imposing her help if not wanted.

"If there's no door barring it… yes, it is common." That takes care of that, and Nathaniel turns to come back inside, moving to the training ground. "Culture shock, fun stuff." Anyone who studies Nathaniel up close can see he's very fit. He'd probably be olympics material if such a thing existed anymore. His arms are athletic and toned, and his stance is one of training in an unknown style, his hands up defensive and his posture a bit aggressive. "Ready when you are… Veks, was it?"

The time-honoured tradition of passing wisdom from the older generation to the younger — by pushing them face-first into the fire because nobody, anywhere, ever, learned anything by doing it the easy way. Veks is a smart enough cookie to realize someone's trying to teach him a lesson, but not so smart he doesn't think he can learn it better himself, and so the look he shoots Britt is full of stubborn belligerence. He'll show you, Auntie. He'll show you SO GOOD. "Veks," he affirms to Nathaniel as they exit to the Training Grounds proper. He paces off a half-dozen steps from the Skaikru, swinging his arms as he sizes up his opponent. While his own build is honed from a lifetime on the Ground, he's also half a foot shorter than Nathaniel. Is he quick enough to make up for the lack of height, weight, and reach? Time to find out.

"There was a door," Britt points out dryly, though it's quite possible that someone had left it propped open. It is the middle of summer, after all. She's just busting his chops though, to an extent, and doesn't seem too horribly upset about it. Before the fight begins, Britt sidles up to Nathaniel and mumbles something so softly that (hopefully!) only he can hear. "We fight hard, but not to injure. Fight dirty, or to do lasting damage, and I will kick your ass." She pulls back then, eyebrows arched to see if Nathaniel understands the warning. Her previous experiences sparring with Skaikru have gone…less than well. Protective Auntie is protective!

How does one fight someone with half a foot and fifty pounds on you? As nimbly as possible — and it's in this way that Veks shines, showing there's maybe a reason he still has all his fingers despite a love of juggling knives. His technique isn't formal or standardized in any method a Skaikru might recognize, but any advantage the unfamiliarity might give him, he loses to Nathaniel's height and reach. Multiple times, he tries for a strike, only to have his blows blocked and counter-struck away. A foolhardy rush earns him a solid fist to the neck, sending him spinning down into the dirt. The laughter and jeers start immediately, and it might be stung pride alone that gets him back to his feet.

In the end, victory comes from a well-placed but lucky shot that Veks lands against Nathaniel's solar plexus. The Trikru might not have much store in books, but that doesn't mean they didn't learn that if you can't breathe, you can't fight. He staggers back, panting, watching to see if the Skaikru continues the fight.

Unlike Veks or any of the other Trikru, Nathaniel has no pride in this fight, and it shows in his style. Whatever the Guard teach him, he's apparently been trained more for throws and subdues or redirection. His strength lands him some good hits though, and as that rush comes, Veks is treated to a clothline sweep from his elbow as he dodges to the side.

Then Veks gets back up. He's winded, but it's easy to tell Veks is more working on adrenaline for the Sargeant. As they dance some more, a last second feint on Nathaniels part leaves him vulnerable for a half second to a fist right into the solar plexus. The hit sends him doubling over and into the ground, wheezing. Nathaniel put up a great fight, but even a veteran like himself can lose to a lucky strike.

"Good…. stuff….." Whhhhheeezzzeeee….

Britt watches the fight with a critical eye. Yes, Veks showed his Auntie. He showed her good. And if Britt is a little surprised that Veks managed to hold his own against the taller, bigger-looking Skaikru guardsman? That surprise is overshadowed by the proud smile that creeps across her face seeing him knock the bearded man down. But she's not entirely a dick about the victory, offering. "Well fought, both of you."

Rinnan watches with a stoic resoluteness. It's one half social graces about this sort of thing; one half being high as fuck that probably makes everything happening before her eyes go down on a slight delay and viewed through a hazy tunnel. Veks' collapse into the dirt sends her eyes towards Britt, slightly narrowing at her in a moment's consideration of how to procede. But then Veks hauls himself up and fights on. A few deft blows and some fancy footwork follows and then… it's over. And Rinnan stands up from her half-lean against the rusting chest freezer that's in the courtyard, that's probably some kind of storage device. She nods with distinction at the end of the fight, the stoic one.

Adrenaline? Hells to the yes. There's the entire warrior population of the nearby countryside /and then some/ potentially within view, as well as Britt and Rinnan, both of whom he'd walk through coals for. The threat of soul-searing levels of shame is a mighty motivation. Veks hawks and spits off to the side as he straightens, and grimaces as he shakes out his arms, then tests his fists by curling and uncurling them. Still there? Still there. "You Skaikru fight with more than guns and whips," he says as he approaches Nathaniel, bruised hand held out for a shake. It's grudging praise, of a sort.

"I…. prefer…. Arker…" Wheeezzzzeeee, "But….fine… Skaikru….."

It takes about half a minute for Nathaniel to get his breath back enough to get his bearings again, before he gets up onto his knees and takes the hand without a problem. Never let it be said that Nathaniel is a sore loser in a spar. "I'd love to do some more whenever anyone here has time and I get my breath back… but I have a feeling I've outstayed my welcome." For a man who clearly states he isn't a warrior, he sure has the temperament of one.

Wren arrives from the Warrior Barracks.

Britt does not notice Rinnan's glance to her in the middle of the fight, her eyes locked on the combatants. But Veks' knockdown didn't seem to trouble her overmuch. After Veks and Nathaniel shake, she comes over and gives the houndsman a congratulatory clap on the back. Nathaniel's offer gets a brief glance, but no comment. Possibly because of the bandage still on her hand. Then she gives Veks a critical once-over. Jerking her head a little to the side, she tries to get him to step over with her. Whether he does or not, she says softly, "<In Trigedasleng> You did well. So you want to go to the Mountain, do you?"

Rinnan wanders towards Veks, looking at Nathaniel over her undamaged shoulder for a moment to regard him as he regains his faculties. She stops short of being altogether too close to Veks, waggling her eyebrows just slightly at him in a slight tell of approval for his performance. But, at Britt's question, she falls back into her neutral mein, eyebrows raising in secondary emphasis to the question called at Veks. Well, do ya?

Well, Wren doesn't need to hang around the healing house all day. Or his parent's place either, for that fact. So he goes for a stroll, letting Kai wrangle her Skaikru friends for a bit. Doesn't need him glowering all over the place behind her shoulder. So he goes to hang out in the barracks for a bit, before the sound of combat draws him outside. Though it looks like he just missed the fight, so he'll just hang back and observe if any more breaks out.

Nathaniel starts to stand, his hand going into a pocket on his jeans as he grabs what looks like a circle of material (athletic tape) and starts to wrap it around his hands since there are no other takers. Healing is important after all, and keeping his hands from developing joint issues after a fight like that means they need a few hours of immobility. The stuff is easy to remove.

He does note Wren just came in though, and the Guard Sargeant gives a warm smile and a nod to him, "Greetings. Just finished a spar here. You luck a lot better this time." Nathaniel looks over to the crowd around Veks, then starts to walk to the exit, "I have a standing offer for any Trikru who wants to spar with an Arker. I'll extend that to you if you ever feel interested."

"You find Wren kom Trikru," says Veks as he shakes Nathaniel's hand, slapping his free hand over it for emphasis before releasing him. "You spar him." It's like the fisticuffs version of 'FOR A GOOD TIME CALL-'. He backs away, then, shooting Rinnan a brilliant, if breathless, grin, before a more serious expression falls over his face when Britt speaks to him. He doesn't answer at first — nor after several seconds, instead watching Britt watch him. Finally, he says, "<In Trigedasleng> They owe my mothers, my sibs, and me."

Britt gives a somber nod to Veks. She understands. "<In Trigedasleng> You have as much right to justice as anyone," she agrees. "I will speak to your mother." Her lips draw together into a thin line, recent events weighing on her, and she says, "I should go. I will see you both later. Rest well, Rinnan." Veks gets another clap on the back and then she's leaving out the back way.

"<In Trigedasleng> I was just checking out what was going on back out here." Wren shrugs a little, before raising a brow at Nathaniel's offer. "I don't spar before a battle. Save my energy for the Maumon. Perhaps next time." But then everyone seems to be leaving. Just as he got here too. What a let down.

Rinnan isn't fighting. It might be the damaged, immobile arm. It might be her want to save it up for the coming storm of the Mountain. But she does twitch ever so in reaction Veks' blinding grin, her instinct to slug Veks in the shoulder in reward for his win evident. She forebears, letting the more weighty question of Veks' intentions towards a certain Mountain be made clear in front of all the other warriors gathered in this courtyard. Her good hand snakes out, bag of candy juggled between fingers to catch hold of the bottom of Veks' shirt and she tugs gently for a moment before releasing. Her eyes roll up and over, indicating the door she's about to move through before she turns and moves towards that very door. Passing Wren on the way, Rinnan offers him a soft, dare it be said warm grin of hello. He held her hair once. They're kin now. It is known.

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