Day 045: Before The Judgment
Summary: Trikru and Skaikru review the video taken from the Mountain scouting mission, only to be interrupted by the arrival of the Heda herself.
Date: Day Month Year
Related: Judgment
Benning Jumar Kai Khesu Lexa Morgan Pontus Rinnan Sev Starling Thesda 

Trikru Camp — Outside camp Jaha
Room description
Day 45

Kai slept, well, late. For her. Because of exhaustion. But the grey-eyed girl is up. And well, is Trikru enough these days apparently that a dip in the lake was on the books to wash herself off of four days worth of road grime. Right now she's grabbing the towel she left on the rocks to wrap about herself; not quite so bold as to just wander back to the tents starkas, but at least better than her first time in the bathhouse.

Benning is down by the willow trees checking them to see if they are healing well after her and Elias took the excess bark for the Skaikru. She looks over the indentations and makes a pleased sound because the trees are recovering nicely. She does notice Kai's morning bath but leaves her be since it's rude to interrupt someone when they're bathing.

Morgan has been up and about for HOURS, not having slept at all well for obvious reasons. Lip's still passed out somewhere and Grey's been off somewhere, probably making reports to half the people in the camp or something. This leaves him watching the Trikru camp waiting for any of them to show their faces so he can pounce. Lucky Kai, she's the first.

After arguing - again - with Britt, he had returned to the station to watch from there. And there's Kai, easily recognizable by her (lack of) coiffure. As she heads to the lake, he heads toward her. As she takes off her clothes, he decides questioning her can wait a few minutes. By the time she has the towel, he's impatient enough to not wait till she's actually dressed. "Tell me everything." he says as he approaches.

Khesu bathed in the lake himself yesterday and had to dodge off into the trees when people then kept showing up. But he's fairly clean and even smells of soap with both his beard and his thick dark hair combed. In today's heat though his dark hair was wadded up and tied back again as is not unusual for him until cooler weather. Having been up most of last night he lays at the edge of the Trikru camp with his head on his bed roll and has been dozing. Evening activity starts to rouse him and one eye opens to watch those who are coming and going.

Kai's acquired a fair array of future scars over the last few weeks; along her right forearm, and the still stitch-ridden lines in her neck and over one of her collarbones. Once she's got her towel wrapped around her and tucked in for modesty she can't help but squint at Morgan with a grunt,"Good morning to you too Morgan." she offers, not particularly surprised by his presence for all that she nods in the direction of Elias' tent staked out near the hothouse,"Where you want me to start?" she asks as she heads that way unhurried.

Benning continues to inspect the willows nearby but of course her ears twitch at the mention that Kai is willing to talk about her experience. Last night everyone was so exhausted, she got limited information from the travelers that returned. What little they did share worried the Trikru so she stays to 'overhear' what Kai will tell Morgan.

If one person doesn't much care when they're 'rude' when it comes to work and progress, it's Jumar. He does, however, stop on the same hill he first time. He surveys the camps for specific individuals.

Seeing the one that Kai is with though, Jumar can't help but give his traditional 'big old grin'. He brings up his dataslate, then starts to head over. "Well, that didn't take long." Is that a teasing tone? Jumar's teasing tends to be dry. "I have a visual aid, if anyone's interested." Jumar raised a brow, along with that dataslate in one hand, "I was actually hoping to see if Kai was interested in that interview now, but apparently it'll have to wait." Jumar smirks.

Morgan walks with Kai over toward Elias' tent. "You left here with Grey and a bunch of Trikru. You can jump ahead to where there's something I need to know." At the voice, he looks over his shoulder. "The video is done being cleaned up? That was quick. We can watch it while Kai explains what's happening."

Kai can't help but squint in Jumar's direction as he arrives, though turning her head away with the purse of her lips makes her note Benning and offer the Trikru girl an up-nod of her head by way of acknowledgment and invitation,"Y'both can wait for a hot second while I throw on some clothes, though if someone wants to find me some coffee that wouldn't go astray, either." is what she opts for, ducking into Eli's tent and dropping the flap behind her. It's not that she can't hear, or respond, but a few seconds to dry and throw on some clothes in privacy is definitely a thing,"We got hit with acid fog just inside the expected line. No samples. The whole area's a dead zone of no fauna and none of us were feeling suicidal. We reached the point where the video starts a few hours in? We were losing tree cover when we camp across a cliff section that had a tunnel in it, that's where the video starts. It was a construction ingress for Mount Weather, which you'll note on the sign."

Benning takes the hint and murmurs, "I'll be right back with some coffee." And then she heads back to camp so she can grab some that should still be warm because the kettle was on the fire earlier. She will be a few minutes as those continue the conversation without her.

Khesu bestirs himself to sit up from dozing at his bedroll and rubs grit out of his eyes. This Trikru gets up and messes with the fire left from last night to stir the coals and readjust the placement of partly burned wood. He himself cut more wood early this morning but hasn't brought it into the camp yet. He glances to Benning coming over for the steaming pot and finds a mug for himself to pour some of the stimulant once she's done. He could use some waking up.

Pontus was wading in from around the lake. He disappeared a bit after the debriefing for reprieve and grievances. He was soaked head to toe and drying fast. Clothes and gear were dry and sticking to him a bit; shirt in hand. Those tattoos crawled all over him like a continuous mural of thorns that also passed for a road map intersected with layover scars from a number of previous wars and battles. Starling, with him, also soggy, seemed to have gotten the scout talking a bit and he was ready to try being around people again. At least ones he knew. He nodded to each of them in turn.

"Tell me about the acid fog." Morgan says to Kai. "What did look like? Smell like? I talked to a chemist who'll want to talk to you about it so she can try to figure out which one it is. Do you know how it was triggered? Do you think you were seen? Set off a trap? What?"

"Editing doesn't take long unless it's days long. It's learning anything from the videos that's the problem." Jumar simply shrugs, then. "I can come back later if you prefer." Jumar just grins, "I've seen the Trikru don't really care much for nudity, so figured it was alright." Dry teasing again? Possibly. "Either way, I was hoping to get your input on this, Kai, what with your expertise on the subject." Ok, that was definitely not teasing. "I'm hoping to get a report on this stuff to the Chancellor and Guard soon as I can, I have a shitton of other work to do." The dataslate is still in his hand, but Jumar starts to press buttons on it as he raises it into eye level for himself.

Starling walks along with Po, a tilt of her head at something said before, but she simply nods towards him as her eyes take in those still around camp. She didn't notice Kai ducking into her tent, so is very confused by both Morgan and Kumar speaking to someone not there. A curious look and then she is moving towards the restarted fire, her shirt sticking to her skin and her hair loose, dark red and very wet. A touch to Khesu's shoulder as she comes near and then she ducks into her wagon to get something, she probably returns when Benning is moving past and she reaches to touch Benning's shoulder as well before heading back to the fire with a glance to see where Po has settled down.

"We didn't get that close. It was a greeny-yellow." Kai calls from inside the tent, throwing back the tent flap as she emerges with her boots and a pair of socks that without doubt have been stolen from among Eli's supplies,"Heavier than air. We didn't get close enough for a smell, didn't notice any traps triggered. The terrain doesn't lend itself to that kind of a trigger, so I can only assume seen, but if so they had it hidden pretty well. It swept down the mountain, so we ran, hid in a cave until the shit passed and then continued." with her boots in one hand and the socks in the other she paces towards the fire, and Khesu and Starling, absent her armor for once but clad in a shirt and pants made by Starling. Jumar gets a dubious eye before she gives an acknowledging grunt,"Bring it. You can skip along the first section of it. We followed the rails where the tunnels branched and it was slow going for discretion but you'll know the relevant part to stop when you see it." somewhere about the pile of Reapers and the dude in the hazmat suit.

Now he has a stimulating drink to help him wake up, Khesu stands around the fire blowing on it to cool it while he watches the others. If he can overhear snippets of Kai's conversation with Morgan and Jumar, all the better. But he's not very close to them to catch every part of it. Starling gets a look at her touch to his shoulder, noting her all wet again. A lifted brow but no comment. Khesu walks back to his bedroll and sits down to rummage in his pack. From within it he draws out a small box carefully wrapped with a strip of leather. This he unbinds and opens up to remove his pipe and a small pouch of kinnikinnick blend. A liberal pinch is taken of the tobacco to pack the small pipe bowl before he looks for a thin stick to set into the fire to light it with.

Benning smiles at Starling as she passes her to take the steaming cup to the tent where Kai is in. She gives a smile to both Morgan and Jumar, "Excuse me…" She then calls out to Kai, "I've got…coffee." It's not really coffee but it is made from a bark that has a coffee like taste. Very stimulating. Hopefully Kai won't notice the difference."

It's around the time Benning comes over that she and the rest of the camp can start to hear the video played on the dataslate. Yes, *sounds* are coming from that *thin piece of technology*. "I'll need a cursory examination with your eyes, then I'll need to go over it a few times to scrub it for any information we can possibly get. Last time I did this, I just edited and submitted. This time, I want to get some relevant data." The dataslate is turned around to be put on a nearby surface, "I'll let you look it over a first time without interruption, if you please. If Morgan wants to help, he will as well." Jumar gives a pointed look to the Med-tech.

Benning smiles at Starling as she passes her to take the steaming cup to Kai. She gives a smile to both Morgan and Jumar, "Excuse me…" She then tells her with a little smile, "I've got…coffee." It's not really coffee but it is made from a bark that has a coffee like taste. Very stimulating. Hopefully Kai won't notice the difference.

"I wonder if it's something on automatic. Maybe with a random interval so it can't be predicted." Morgan muses, giving Benning a nod. "Did you see where all the gas went? Did it just dissipate?" Moving over, he stands behind Kai where he can see the dataslate. "Yeah, we can see the video first. I want to see how we're going in to get Cam." Jumar's comment is ignored.

<FS3> Starling rolls Resolve: Success. (6 3 8 2)

Pontus looked to Kai and said "<In Trigedasleng> Second." Yeah that's her. "You aren't going back out there where they were following us just you two and crossing the river?" Because that was some crazy theory here. He waited for an answer before any other thoughts formed. A hand rubbed his cranium and flicked the water away.

That tinny sound that comes from the dataslate does get Khesu's attention at once! He looks a little startled, forgetting to actually light his pipe. The taper stays in his hand as he's squat down on his hams, head turned in Jumar's direction. This Trikru moves to stand fully, dark eyes glued in that direction. Finally an absent up nod to Kai joining them by the fire. Khesu lights his pipe, draws a few slow puffs from it to set the ember and then walks over closer to where Jumar has his 'thing' that is making noise and pictures. Aye, he's curious. Enough so to have left his 'coffee' like drink behind in it's cup by his bedroll.

"Thank you." Kai murmurs for Benning, boots dropped with the socks on top to take up the offered cup with a grateful smile for Benning, but then there's dataslate. She looks it's way before being distracted by Pontus' call,"<In Trigedasleng> No Pontus." offered his way before she switches to Gonasleng,"They have the video from Grey's camera and that one.." she nods at Jumar,"Is going to take the information to the Skaiheda. He wants us all to provide what we've seen to help build a tactical overview of the situation, but I have no intention of going against the kruheda's wishes." again at least.

She takes a drink from the cup as she turns her attention back towards the dataslate,"You see how wide it is? This is pre-fall structure. It's got embedded metal rails in the ground here for moving something along? Which I believe we saw later on." where it forks she notes,"The breeze and rails kept leading further in, logically if there was going to be a place into the mountain the rails had to be part of the system so we followed it to.." she waits until there's the sounds, and sights, of Reaper feeding, heavy metal carts, the inevitable shifting around as the group comes to a halt,"We didn't see the door at first. We could hear that there were other tunnels that you can't.. well, you can sort of see one there. But there were other Reapers moving around. Coming towards the area. Gideon pulled her bow and we were going to, when.." there it is, the door opens, and the guy in the hazmat suit. And the Reapers lining up docilely for injections and her lips purse as she watches it, comparing her memory of the doorway and the Mountain Man with what she see's on the slate. And then there's Kai's very, very angry face from where Grey sat in front of her to stop her from aiming at the dude and then there's an 'ooooooooo' and the sound and rustle of plastic and a couple of thuds that thrum into the cart just off to the left of vision and the camera view goes back to the guy in the hazmat suit as he backs up while talking into the radio, back into the lit room while the Reapers get distracted by the noise and the agitation of being denied their fix.

And then there's Lip. In the cart. With an all but dead Trikru wearing nothing but bandages for modesty, and flailing and struggling to get the pair out of there while the group clearly backs away from a growing group of advancing Reapers. And Lip being Lip. And threats being exchanged amounting to 'shut up or die',"We went south once we left the tunnel to throw them off the track.. the warrior died unfortunately.. there was also.." there is it, a tone on the video,"We thought it might be for the fog? Or security? But we saw neither. The decision was made that it was more important to get Lip back here so we came back as fast as we could."

<FS3> Starling rolls Resolve: Failure. (3 6 5 3)

If anyone ever wanted to see the expression on Khesu's face when he figuratively shits himself, this is it. The tall Trikru warrior stands close staring at the video, his eyes wide with surprise! His mouth is slightly open, his pipe completely forgotten as he watches the images of the scouting party.

He doesn't dare to too close to the thing that's playing the video but after a long moment of listening to Kai's narration, he finally breathes, "By the Flame." Yep, his heart rate has jumped up seriously but he doesn't bolt. Doesn't try to bust up the dataslate to pound it into itty bits, but he does pry his eyes off of it long enough to glance at Kai and Jumar, and the reactions of the others, hardly believing what he's seeing and hearing.

Finally Khesu steps forward and very cautiously puts out a finger to try and touch the screen unless somebody moves to stop him. Jumar holds that thing all the time so surely it's not going to try and eat him, right? Are there /really/ people trapped inside of that thing??

<FS3> Pontus rolls Resolve: Good Success. (6 8 5 4 7 7)
<FS3> Benning rolls Resolve: Failure. (1 1 6 2 6 6)
<FS3> Khesu rolls Resolve: Success. (8 6 4 5 1 5)
<FS3> Kai rolls Resolve: Good Success. (1 2 3 3 8 8)

Starling was surprised by the sound and she swirls around to see what was causing it. As Kai has come to the fire, that means the…talking/playing thing is close enough to be heard… then seen. Those blue on blue eyes stare at the screen, blinks once.. twice, then look to Po with shock in her eyes before back in time to see the warrior in bandages and then she gives a harsh sound before she stumbles back as if smacked and ends almost in the fire as she moves towards her wagon blindly as if trying to get out of sight, before she falls to her knees and is very sick, or so it sounds as she is trying to hide the fact. Which doesn't happen, but still!

Pontus stood stone still. He's never seen himself on a screen before. Seeing- RELIVING that moment was not something he wanted to do. now. or again. ever. He just watched, jaw tightening. Slowly, and calmly he nodded to Khesu. "Yes. Many. And behind that door the Mountain Men, more, and the Skaikids." Dark grey eyes locked on his hunting partner. Everything he had expressed was there. Seeing it was entirely a different thing, and if anything the scout sage undersold it.

Benning gets wide eyed as well and backs away from the slate that shows images of her people at the mountain. She knows it's just tech but the wrongness of it…it bothers her to the point where she puts the fire between herself and the slate that Jumar is holding. She manages to sit down but her knuckles are white as she clenches the bench.

The Engineer doesn't flinch at all from the video. He's already had his "Well, isn't that a kick in the balls" moment with the video. "Interesting…" Jumar squints at the screen. "That doesn't sound like any sort of alarm or whatever, does it Kai? I can't think that that would be an alarm." The dataslate is sitting on a table, and Jumar would most definitely get between them as the dataslate. Hey, this shits a lot of work to repair!, "did you see any of the Reapers as you were going anywhere? They were *right there*, I can't think of any reason they wouldn't have chased you." Jumar pointedly ignores the reactions of the Grounders for now. He figured he'd get a few groans from this.

Pontus looked from Khesu to Starling wincing. He stood perfectly still not needing to see himself, Kai, Gideon, and the others all over again. Once was enough. Finally he looked to Benning, giving Starling a moment there, "<In Trigedasleng> You ok?" As if he or Kai should be asking them that question instead of the other way around, but he did. He looked back to Jumar, "They halted at the front of the cave like hounds called to heel. The smell was unreal. There are not words for that." His jaw squared and he looked back to where Starling was and gave her a moment.

Morgan watches it all quietly, leaning forward so as not to miss anything. If Pontus wondered why Morgan had been wearing a strange metal tube on his head at Coesbur and Grey had something similar at the mountain, now he knows. "That looks like an airlock. Jumar, we're going to need a way to blow it up. Both ends of it. Why are they so docile? I thought those injections were what was making them Reapers. But if it's something to increase hindbrain functions and degenerate the higher ones, that doesn't make sense." Maybe he was wrong about the purpose of the chemical. It doesn't matter in the long run though. "So I was right about the tunnels." That offsets being wrong about the injections. "Britt mentioned they lived in tunnels. Tunnels around Mount Weather had to connect to the base somehow. And they can obviously control them somehow."

Jumar perhaps wisely blocks Khesu from touching the dataslate and the Trikru doesn't try to force the issue. His own dark eyes stay glued to the video for as long as it lasts, not wanting to miss even a second of that strange far sight, looking into the recent past like some kind of magic. It doesn't even matter if Skaikru and Trikru are crowded together sharing personal space because Jumar's device is so enticing. Only once it stops playing does Khesu step back, still more than a little unsettled, and silent.

Kai takes another drink from her cup, she's got the stomach for watching it, it seems, something clinical in her attitude at the moment, though once her cup is finished and she can set it aside with a look towards Khesu with a grim nod of her head she holds a hand out for the dataslate so she can review,"If I had to take an entirely uneducated guess Morgan, I remember my dad talking about this guy who had been dosing himself on stimulants. When his supply got cut off he went completely psychotic and it was part of 'this is why we work in teams and always assume a target's dangerous'. Killed three guards off of memory and that after they shock lashed him. Lip wont talk to me. Obviously he fell from some portion above and if we have an understanding of what is up there that's a second ingress point. So that's at least two points of ingress between the door and the chute. We can reasonably infer that they're aware that we were there so bluntly tactically we're operating on limited time because only an idiot wouldn't decide to increase and change their security procedures. What Lip knows of it's layout will help, obviously.. I want to know what was in wherever he came from.. is it where they make them? Because obviously what we saw were not new converts. But whatever is above this location if a team can get up that point and enter the rooms above it gives two known points of entrance in addition to potential down the other tunnels. I'm certain that with enough hydrazine in the least the door isn't going to be much of an issue and as a noisier ingress my recommendation would be to send the Guard in that way if the kruheda will agree to a joint attack.. but I would hit both at a minimum, pronged attacks are more difficult to repel." which is part of why she wants to examine it again, checking what she can see of the door and other approaches with a thoughtful frown.

"What Pontus said. They chased us to the entrance point and then.. stopped. We saw no others beyond that point, but we also didn't stick around for it. And he's right.. the smell of those tunnels was awful. But that's why I figured the tone was an acid-fog warning.. we didn't get hit with it again so either we got lucky or there was something else going on."

<FS3> Starling rolls Resolve: Success. (6 7 3 2)
<FS3> Benning rolls Resolve: Good Success. (3 8 4 7 4 4)

The woman who disappeared behind her wagon is gone for the rest of the video and the conversation on what happened, there is a snapping sound as if something gets hit very hard, but that is the last sound for a few moments. Finally a very very pale Starling steps out from the side of the wagon, her eyes dark with emotion before she @emit The woman who disappeared behind her wagon is gone for the rest of the video and the conversation on what happened, there is a snapping sound as if something gets hit very hard, but that is the last sound for a few moments. Finally a very very pale Starling steps out from the side of the wagon, her eyes dark with emotion before she reaches inside and pulls a bottle from the wagon, the hand she uses is bloody but that is ignored as well as she takes a deep breath. Bottle held in her hand, her eyes find Pontus and she very slowly and very carefully makes her way over towards him.

"Tonally? No. A warning, maybe. But not an alarm klaxon." Kai grunts,"Of course, that's assuming based upon what we would consider to be a klaxon, and doesn't necessarily reflect their tactical operations."

The woman who disappeared behind her wagon is gone for the rest of the video and the conversation on what happened, there is a snapping sound as if something gets hit very hard, but that is the last sound for a few moments. Finally a very very pale Starling steps out from the side of the wagon, her eyes dark with emotion before she reaches inside and pulls a bottle from the wagon, the hand she uses is bloody but that is ignored as well as she takes a deep breath. Bottle held in her hand, her eyes find Pontus and she very slowly and very carefully makes her way over towards him.

Benning starts to calm down once she realizes that the pictures in the tablet are from the past and can't harm here and the others. It almost is fascinating, the way the pictures play. Very different than when Jumar showed her the maps. She looks to Pontus and nods to him, now that she's gotten over her initial reaction she's doing much better, "<In Trigedasleng> I'm okay Pontus." She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly.

Pontus frowned and said to Kai sternly, "Yeah well whoever this Klaxxon is I will fight them. They're not going to get away working for the Mountain and hunting our people for the sport of it." He was… angry. And clearly unaware of what a klaxxon warning was. Seeing Starling buck up he walked over to her and pulled her forehead to her shoulder and kissed the top of her head. He understood completely, after the conversation they just had.

Khesu has kind of gotten a grip on himself. He notes poor Starling all pale and retched up but Pontus is there to comfort her. His own breathing is still slightly elevated but he has enough sense of self back that he glances down and notices his pipe burned out. He backs off from the dataslate since Jumar stepped between himself and it and goes back to find his cup of 'coffee' and the taper in the fire to relight his pipe. The ash gets knocked out and quietly the big warrior squats back down to repack it with a fresh pinch of kinnikinnick. Yep, real quiet, thinking and digesting what he'd just seen and heard.

The Order from Morgan *yet again* is ignored. "We can talk about demolitions once we know what we're actually doing, Morgan." Jumar casually states, "As it is, I'll see what I can find out about that sound. Will you be available for going over this video elsewhere for notes soon, Kai? I'd like to make this more in depth than a recording of you with a narration."

Morgan sits back, turning to look at the mountain. "So there was no mist near the tunnel? I wonder if that means where there's mist, there's no Reapers and where there are Reapers, there's no mist. If that's the case, we won't need the rovers to get through it. Or we take the rovers and avoid the Reapers." Options! "Whatever. So we get to the tunnel, blow up the doors to get in then go find Ca.. the others."

Starling doesn't fight Pontus, she just leans against him her forehead pressed to his chest, very slowly her arms come around him and she just stands there, the bottle still held in her fingers. She is not really paying alot of attention to the others, which, let's face it isn't normal, but for once she takes the comfort offered by another.

"<In Trigedasleng> Loud." Kai says to Pontus, it's not the word she's looking for but still,"<In Trigedasleng> Not warrior. Loud." she utters in her pidgin Trigedasleng, as if that might somehow make sense. She plays the video back and forth a couple of times before handing the dataslate back to Jumar,"I am at the mercy of my kruheda, Beckinson. I will be as available as my First and the kruheda allow me to be." there's a look in Pontus' direction specifically before the grey-eyed girl elects to drop onto the log so she can start unraveling her socks and pulling them on,"We only saw the one lot of it, when we first crossed into the territory. But yes. I suggest that the sooner the Skaiheda is made aware of the full scope of the situation tactically, the better. It is important to have as complete a picture of the situation as possible, but wait too long and the security vulnerabilities aren't going to be exploitable any longer." at least, that's her opinion.

"And they could kill the hostages." Morgan puts in, upgrading them from captured to hostage.

Benning can't speak on this and chooses to listen. She nods at Kai's mention that this decision is in the hands of the kruheda. She hopes her kruheda has ideas on what to make of these pictures and stories that the Trikru bring back. As a child she was told stories of the Mountain and they seem worse than what her father and mother told her.

Jumar snorts at this, "yeah, I'm well aware of how your new leader thinks of actually bothering to do anything with the Mountain. Good luck with her." Jumar's is casual, with a hint of amusement. "I'll let you know when a good time is once you have your approvals." Jumar's tone makes it no secret what he thinks the chances of that are. "I'll leave you to it, then. I have work to do meanwhile." With that, Jumar picks up the dataslate and starts to head back to Camp Jaha.

Pontus was holding Starling's head, she still looking ill, and stalwart in his efforts of revenge noting to Kai simply, "I don't care if he's not a warrior and very loud like Skaikid-Lip-that-Falls. I will fight this Klaxxon and feed them their teeth." Yes. It was on. To Jumar he said, "We do not need fortune. The Heda speaks. We listen. There is no fortune needed."

Sev has been around, though the trader clearly tends to keep to himself most of the time. Makes sense, you're off by yourself, you get used to it. He's sitting on the open tailgate to his wagon, having gotten his 'workshop' supplies and is currently it the process of doing whatever it is that he does to make healing items out of them. Now, looks like he constructing some kind of paste, a container of greyish looking stuff is set aside while he's in the process of grinding herbs with a mortar and pestle. There's an occasional glance over the Trikru/Skaikru gather, but he's content to sit in silence, smoking from a wood-carved wood that's clenched between his teeth.

Starling shivers softly before she sighs and gently nuzzles Po's chest before she pulls back slowly, but doesn't pull away, "<In Trigedasleng> She I think is talking about a sound of warning or such.." It's whispered but trying to figure that out has let her kinda become calm, kinda. She just turns her eyes from Po to Kai and nods to her but then tugs at Po and nods towards the bench behind him before she drops herself down, sitting the bottle between her feet.

All right. With his cup back in hand and his pipe relit, Khesu settles himself to sit and lean back against his bedroll once more. Finish his interrupted drink and smoke, as well as watch and listen to the others for a bit. Whatever he thinks of these various things he keeps to himself. He, like the others, must wait for Indra to hear this report and see what she says.

"That is the other reason, yes." Kai offers grimly to Morgan,"There are twenty-two of the hundred left alive in there. But talk to Lip. He said something that has been bothering me. He said 'they let our peoples go'." her gaze goes up to Morgan specifically as she reaches for her boots,"I think.." she purses her lips together with a look over the Trikru, a weary look,"he might have been saying the twenty-two aren't the only one's being held." she catches just enough in Starling's look and nod that she doesn't clarify further for Pontus for the moment.

"A klaxxon is an alarm, Pontus." Morgan explains. "Or something similar. A loud noise." He nods to Kai. "Oh, I definitely intend to talk to Lip." He needs to find out every last thing about how Cam is and what's happened to him. But then he frowns even more as Kai goes on. "You think they have Trikru prisoners too? That makes sense. Britt said sometimes the Reapers capture people and not just eat them. I'm guessing so the Mountain Men can turn them into Reapers." Somehow. Maybe not with the injection after all. "That's why we need to experiment with a live one and see if we can reverse the process to some degree. Then maybe if we get one early on, we can cure them." Like their people.

Pontus huh'd. He nodded accepting this new term mulling it over. He was a tad disappointed. "Good knowledge to have. How do these alarms-traps get set off?" at Morgan's question he said "No Trikru volunteers to become a snack food. Yes they have our people. The bodies of them, there, your person's own testament to the room they had of our dead quantify this." At the tugging he had a seat on Starling and Kai's log.

"This Lip…why does he not talk?" Benning asks Kai, recovering enough to ask a question, "Did he get injured?" She nods in the direction where Jumar is leaving, "He was very loud so they did not cut out his tongue." She doesn't understand why Lip hasn't already told everyone what's going on.

Khesu glances up and over towards Pontus and Morgan at mention of Trikru prisoners and dead. He doesn't mention his missing Houmon and their unborn child again. His dark eyes watch them in particular, then he looks to Kai at Benning's question about Lip's silence.

Sounds like politics to Sev. Or war stuff. Or death stuff, most of which he doesn't seem all that interested in. A knife hangs upside in its holster near his right shoulder is withdrawn with one hand while the other picks up a particular yellow/orange follow beginning to slowly and carefully trim petals off from the whole. These are dropped into the mortar along with the herbs that are already ground into a rather colorful powder. The carved pestle begins to grind then, the sound of stone on stone. Another glance at the group, lip twisting in mild thought.

"Yes. I believe they have Trikru prisoners, too." Kai grunts softly as she starts lacing up her boots,"Too many ways to be certain, but in this case? If I was to take an educated guess? Triggered by security personnel somewhere in the mountain." there's a look towards Benning and a press of her lips,"He was at skaigeda. He refuses to speak to the Trikru, we are his enemies in his eyes." the we there is very deliberate,"He has made it clear that he will not speak with Arkkru, he will only speak with Skaikru." which may mean the hundred, at least from the way she nods in the direction of Morgan,"I don't, bluntly, give a fuck who he talks to, as long as he talks. And the sooner, the better." her eyes slowly shift in Khesu's direction, she hasn't forgotten what he said yesterday, and the seventeen year old certainly looks older and more tired than her years when her attention settles on him.

"He'll talk to me." Morgan states. Aside from him fitting Lip's requirements of who he's willing to talk to, there's an implied threat in his tone just in case he doesn't.

Kai's gaze is met. Khesu does nothing to avoid meeting her look but still he says nothing. His own face is devoid of emotion. Quietly he studies her in turn before he breaks eye contact and gently knocks the ash out of his pipe. Patiently he cleans it and puts it back into the carved wooden box, nestling it with care with the tobacco pouch to cushion it. That in turn is wrapped with the thin leather strap to keep it closed before he puts it away in his pack. The last of his drink is finished before he looks to Starling and speaks low, "<In Trigedasleng> Will you look at my armor now? I will need it soon."

Starling glances up as she hears Khesu's voice and the word armor, she takes a sip from the bottle she has and then nods slowly, "<In Trigedasleng> Of course, let me get my tools.." This is said softly and she stands, sitting the bottle next to Po, and kissing his check as she moves back to her wagon. She has to stop by Benning though and gives her best friend a very tight hug before moving towards the wagon. It should not take her long before she will make her way towards where Khesu and his things are.

Benning gives her friend a tight hug, knowing that the same gripping fear that was in her stomach was similar to what Starling experienced. She lets her go and murmurs, "I love you…" She glances over at the others and there is that concern again. Maybe the Skaikru boy is so traumatized he does not want to speak of things.

Sev puff lightly on his pipe, adding some ash from it into his mortar, that gets ground up as well. The powder is then dumped into the container that holds greyish looking stuff. Possibly fat, or at the very worst, boiled down urine. A simple looking mixing tool is used to blend the paste and the powder together, which begins to turn it into a odd greenish color. He stops just long enough to sniff the contents, resulting s small nod. A wooden lid is set over it. Another puff or so, and he hops off the tailgate of the wagon, finally deciding to venture over in that group's general direction.

Pontus gave Starling's shoulder a squeeze and let her go do her thing. Having more space he moved which spot on the log he was sitting on and observed the gathered. He watched she and Benning with a concern that was residual from hackles being raised by having to view the footage of the threat again. He took a deep breath and leaned elbows on fingers. These were his people and those he resigned to do this crazy shit for. If nothing the affirmation was comforting.

"Yeh, well, someone keeps telling me that beating people is not diplomatic." Kai drawls for Morgan, once she's got her boots on she collects the cup Benning gave her to go pour herself some more of the stimulant rather than go for food, scrubbing at the back of her head with her knuckles as she prowls back to her seat,"But I will, in a completely non-sexual way, kiss you if you manage to get him to talk and tape it for me, Morgan. He has the best tactical view of what's happening in the Mountain and I want it."

"It's not diplomatic but it can be effective." Morgan answers. "But I'll be nice unless I need to not be. Just save your kisses for Elias." He wouldn't have thought to record it though so he'll need to get a dataslate. Probably a good idea to start carrying one around anyway if there's enough of them. Least till things quiet down. "We need to know what happened in there."

The first notice that someone — or a small group of someones — is approaching the Skaikru settlement is almost unnoticed. Guards at the elevated guard post are putting their hands to their ears, relaying information through the crackle of the short ranged comms. For the Trikru, it is a low blare of a horn — deep and resonate. It is long — longer than any other heard so far. Those who have served in the Ice Wars know it means one thing: The Commander is coming.

Horns. And Kai has no idea what they mean, just that all things considered it may well just be a call to arms. The grey-eyed girl jerks to her feet, cup abandoned and looks to the other Trikru to assess whether or not she should sprint for her armor and weapons. But.. no, not that sort of horn. She can't help but furrow her brows and look in the direction of the approaching people, asking of the group,"Who is it? What's happening?"

Now, there's a sound that Sev hasn't heard in a long time. He almost forgot what that sound was, but even he takes notice of it, head turning towards the sound, puffing on his pipe silently. Now things just got a whole lot more interesting to the nomad.

<FS3> Kai rolls Alertness: Good Success. (7 3 5 2 7 5 7 2 5)

Morgan lifts his head and looks around. "What's that? I mean, it's a horn obviously but why is someone blowing a horn?"

Starling need not even come to him. Khesu gets himself up and takes a minute to remove his light armor from his pack. It's mostly a torso piece as well as bracers and is better than nothing at all. But it is mostly boiled leather, some hard plastic, and heavy cloth, not good strong metal or ceramic, aside from a few small metal pieces added to it. The bearded Trikru brings it over to her wagon to meet her half way and to see where she might prefer to work. "This strap is worn and needs to be replaced. I do not know if you can do anything to improve any of the rest of it." His rumble is quite low in volume, handing it over into her capable care.

The sound of horns echo over the broad lake. Khesu looks up at the sound, knowing like others of his people what it means. He leaves Starling with his armor and walks a few steps away from her wagon looking if he can see the source in the direction he came from.

The horns mean the Commander is coming and the people who are directly attendant to those horns should do their best to materialize as well. Rinnan appears, as one does for these kinds of things — with a sudden, purposeful approach. She'd been out reaping the benefits of a few snares, by the look of the three that dangle from a line over her shoulder as she approaches with a double time that seems to be interested in honing in on from which direction 'the boss' comes.

Benning straightens up, knowing it's someone important but not sure who. She's never fought in the Ice Wars so she doesn't know that it means the Commander is coming. Whatever fears or thoughts are gone as she stands tall for whomever is coming. She does murmur to Kai in Trikru, "Someone important…" Of course the girl can probably already figure that out.

Starling takes Khesu's armor and nods towards the end of her wagon, that is where she has him place it and then pulls herself up to look it over, she opens her mouth as if to offer something and then blinks once, at the horn. She has been told about the different horns, and heard a lot, so it's enough to stop her from commenting on the armor.. But she doesn't move, just peers from where she is to see who and what is about to happen, and yes, she glances towards Pontus quickly.

Pontus caught it. A tattooed eyebrow arched at the sound and it was to Khesu he looked to before rising to his feet tossing a look to Sev before standing at ready. It was a moment of glancing to know where all of his things were if the Commander came in here and said move now. It wasn't even something he thought about; he just did it out of reaction.

Three horses come riding into camp, not slowing until they are nearly at the center of the camp. Two of the three horses carry a pair of impressive warriors, their faces covered in skull masks and their armor dark. It is the smaller rider that is the real focus of interest.

Lexa kom Trikru is an impressive figure, but is quite short by the numbers. She carries herself with a tall poise, and her movements are liquid — like a dancer's. She wears a long, divided crimson-colored jacket, that fans out when she dismounts her sable-colored gelding. It is tucked under a gun-metal grey, tiered pauldron on her left shoulder. Her armor is black, heavily belted, and the number of sheaths on her person is almost exhausting. It is the katana-style sword at her back that is the most impressive. Her hair is long, dark, and pulled into a half-pony tail that is mixed with small braids. Heavy wings of ash pull back from the corners of her eyes, making that grey gaze stand out sharply as she surveys the camp. It is the small coin of intricate metal set between her brows that identifies her as the heda.

"I don't know.. someone's coming." Kai murmurs for Morgan, stepping over the log with a look towards Benning for her Trigedasleng with the vaguest kind of smile as she shuffles herself into a clearer line of sight to squint at the approach, stepping back just slightly at the sight of the warriors as her eyes trail over them, and then to the third, studying the girl with open and avid curiousity. Slap her with a fish but that's a pretty warrior even by her measure, except.. the grey-eyed girl's brows furrow with vague puzzlement, something's nagging at her and she just can't put her finger on it right away.

Morgan stands up at first sight of the horse because horses! They're more interesting than the riders in fact but eventually he does focus on the short one who seems to be the one in command. "Who's that?" he asks, looking from one Grounder to another for an answer.

Starling blinks slowly, she tilts her head to the side, those blue eyes taking in the horses and then the coin in the center of the woman's forehead. Finally she focuses on Lexa herself and her eyes widen. Lexa impresses the hell out of people, and this moment she breaths out softly. "The Heda, Lexa kom Trikru.." There is hushed respect in those soft words.

"The heda." Sev remarks over to Morgan. "Commander of Coalition. There is no one higher in rank than her with our people. Indra is our leader, but she is Indra's leader. And of all the clans." he says, watching on. "So, I would be very quiet and very respectful in her presence." is about all he says on the matter. Even the aloof and distant healer stands up a little straighter in her presence. About the only person who likely could. Well, okay, maybe Indra could too.

Benning bows her head to the heda. Even though she has never met Lexa before, she recognizes the symbol on her forehead and what that means. She makes sure to give respect to the legendary leader that leads the coalition.

"But.." Kai starts to say with some puzzlement, but color the fledgling Trikru as at least smart enough to work out that yes, shutting up is a good idea, the girl bowing her head for all that she can't help but continue to watch the Heda as surreptitiously as possible, trying to work something out with something akin to nausea settling on her face.

Rinnan says nothing, which is probably unhelpful to those she's standing around once she draws near enough. The arm not holding the string of rabbits bends at the elbow, her closed fist brought into the center of her chest in an silent act of some kind of respectful distinction. Her eyes are slightly averted away from the ash-swept center of Lexa's face, which might be the pairing to the closed fist to the chest.

Khesu fought in the Second Ice Wars and has seen Lexa before if perhaps only at a distance. Almost but not quite as tall as Wren, the Trikru warrior studies her as she and her entourage arrive with her well armed escort upon their horses. His dark eyes roam over them all and come back to Lexa herself. Like many others among the Grounders, he inclines his dark head with respect for her presance. As is often the case with him, he remains silent and lifts his head after a moment to sample the reactions of others among them, especially the Skaikru.

Pontus watched the Commander arrive. He was half dressed, but it didn't stop him from being at the ready. A fist tapped his shoulder and a respectful nod was given. Really though it was less pomp and circumstance and more of just being acutely aware if he was going to get flash-dafted again so he could respond as was needed. Such were the lives of scouts.

Lexa winds the reins of her horse in her hand, and then offers the gathered lengths of leather to Gustus, who takes them with a dutiful bow of his head. "<In Trigedasleng> See to preparations. All Trikru must be before me in one hour." Her gaze cuts to the massive ring of Alpha Station looming above, and then she says in a firm, steely voice, "<In Trigedasleng> No Skaikru." (Which oddly enough sounds exactly the same in both trigedasleng and gonasleng…) Then the Command moves with determined strides for Indra's tent. Her gaze slides over Rinnan, she offers the most minute of nods. When she speaks next, she does so in gonasleng, "See to it that the Skaikru's kruheda is informed of my arrival."

The heda. That definitely makes her more interesting than the horses. Though once Morgan's gotten a good look at her, it's the reactions of the Trikru that interest him more. Glancing over at Kai, he asks "Which category do you fall under?"

"I am Trikru." there's no doubt in Kai's mind, the answer automatic and firm as her attention shifting to Morgan with a slow blink of her eyes and then across the gathered Trikru, measuring whether or not she should go collect her gear as part of the preparations to attend.

Lexa wants. Lexa gets. "Yes, Heda," Rinnan states efficiently in Gonasleng with a curt, respectful nod for Lexa. She turns, with a directed purpose intent on following Lexa's voluntell through.

Khesu waits until Lexa has turned and gone to Indra's tent. Then he lifts up his baritone, "You heard her! Skaikru must leave. Inform your Skaiheda that our Heda, Lexa kom Trikru has arrived!" Yeah, he sure as shit can raise his voice to carry out over that lake when he wants to. The warrior (and surely others) will make certain the Skaikur comply with Lexa's order. Khesu draws his axe and will carry it in hand to make certain people know he means it. Only Kai he makes no move to oust.

Pontus nodded and said simply "<In Trigedasleng> Yes Commander." More marching orders. Fun fun. He didn't question it at all but stopped, and looked to Kai. "Find Wren. Tell him. He gets to decide that. It'll come back on him." his focus was on his brother's Second right now. If Lexa decided otherwise he didn't want to know what would become of that reprisal. The word bad came to mind. He had his own shit to worry about though and was out to get a hold of his affected travel companions and recover his gear to be ready for whatever was needed of him. Khesu got a slap to the arm. Apparently they were off to be agents of the wrangling. Men of action…actioning.

Lexa nods to each affirmation, and then disappears into Indra's tent, leaving a sense of weight around the group of Trikru. There she will stay for the hour. The two warriors who came in with her hobble the horses and see to preparing a seat for the heda.

Morgan nods to Kai as she answers. "Good luck with that. But don't think you can't come back if things don't work out." he tells her quietly. Another look toward the heda and he heads back to the station.

Kai can't help but frown at Pontus, for all that she nods acceptance, rather than heading for her tent for her stuff heading towards Wren's tent with stiff shoulders and an expression of disappointment lingering on her face. Morgan's words aren't addressed by her at all as she walks off, blatantly choosing to ignore his words for now.

It doesn't take long for Thesda to make her way toward the collective. It's probably just her impeccable timing that prompts her arrival, and she watches as Skaikru are headed back to their camp. There's an inquiring lift of her brows as she moves into the throng, but she doesn't ask any questions outright.

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