Day 021: Caught In The Middle
Summary: Tuan, ill with the blood fever, talks of war, blood and choosing sides with Britt.
Date: 09 Jun 2016
Related: Don't Mind the Wall
Tuan Britt 

Somewhere in the forest between the Delinquent camp and Coesbur.
Day 21

Ok, so it might have been a rather foolish move on Tuan's part to go in and actually physically check on some of the Skaikru despite the fact he knew they'd been exposed to Blood Fever; but sometimes one just has to act foolish. After they had departed the camp, Tuan had made his way with the others but kept a very strong distance. He knew he was exposed, so as the rest of the Grounders had established their camp he had kept trekking along to a spot even further away. Barely in eyesight in fact as he had built a small fire and had settled himself in next to a tree with his pack hide blanket pulled about his shoulders to contemplate the small orange-red flames that flickered.

It's early yet, Britt being accustomed to the OMG-O'Clock rise times of the farm and then the army. After camping with the others, she has now gone ahead in search of Tuan. Britt is far from a master tracker, but she gets by enough to follow his tracks to his campsite. "Hello," she calls out once she spots the campsite through the trees. Still some distance away, not wanting to surprise him.

The lack of sleep was nothing new for Tuan, he'd often struggled of late to find proper sleep and the headache he had been battling that had come on within the past few hours was certainly getting worse. However, the sound of a voice is enough to shake him from his reverie and look up in the direction of where the voice seemed to originate from. "Who's there?" He clears his throat and tries again a bit louder. "Who approaches?"

"Britt kom Trikru," comes the response, though the name may not mean anything to him. She's not from Coesbur. The voice, at least, hopefully sounds familiar from the prior evening. "I came to see how you were faring." She comes a little closer, but doesn't incroach upon his camp without invitation.

It does take Tuan a moment to realize that he does recognize the voice; the one that had called him boy and his brow furrows a bit. "I am alive." The retort is short but then he grunts and motions with his head some to show that she may approach. "I was within range of those that are sick with blood fever, and I have it as well." Closer inspection of his features would show that he is not exaggerating as trickles of blood have started to appear from his eyes and nose to trail down his cheeks to his chin.

Britt comes closer, then, perching herself on the edge of a fallen log not far from where Tuan is sitting. Her bow was in her hand, as usual, but she leans it against the log so that she can unsling a canteen from her shoulder. She holds it out in offer to him. "It passes quickly, though it feels like years."

With little initial word, Tuan accepts the canteen of water, taking a drink from it before coughing, turning to the side to let the water and blood mixture from his lungs spill out to the ground nearby. "I have had it before, but never like this. I am still weak from the Sky Flu I fear." Each of the words comes out slowly, struggled out. "This is my punishment."

Britt nods. "I had it bad once, when I was your age." Back in the dark ages, ahem. "I am sorry there isn't more to be done." She watches him for a moment, then asks. "Why do you think it punishment?"

"Most things are some kind of punishment." Tuan says quietly, stifling a cough behind his hand. "When things are not in balance. Eat to much, and your stomach hurts, don't eat enough and it hurts." He takes another small sip from the canteen before once more coughing on it. "This is my punishment for being too ready to go to someone's side."

"The Skaikru girl?" Britt surmises, based on his actions the previous evening. Bending over, she picks up a stick and uses it to draw three X's in the dirt, arranged like a triangle. "Heda, Kruheda and Steheda," she identifies each X. Then she pokes the stick into the center of the triangle. "And us, caught in the middle. It's a damn mess."

Tuan nods his head towards Britt, a frown on his lips first when she mentions the girl and then again when she draws her triangle of doom. "It is a mess. One which does not sit well with here." He taps his heart gently. "I am not afraid of a fight, but I do not want to die for a wrong fight." He trails off then quietly, "But I did go to Tripeda. I saw." A shudder passes through him, whether it is fever or memory is a toss up. "There is no correct answer."

A solemn nod agrees with his sentiment. Britt glances back in the general direction of the delinquent camp. "They are not an invading army, that much is clear. Unless it be the most ill-trained, ill-disciplined army in history. But they are still perhaps a danger to us, especially if their guns invite the Mountain's wrath." She frowns. "Sometimes there's only wrong and more-wrong."

"If they have guns, and knowledge of such things." Tuan speaks softly, "And their people from the sky can help them, why is it not possible that they could also be helpful in facing the mountain?" The young man offers before hacking up probably a small part of his lung due to the blood and getting it out before continuing. "They do not have enough blood to make do for Trispeda. So something else must be made to suffice."

"Mmm," is Britt's initial non-committal grunt. She watches him cough, a sympathetic frown touching her lips briefly. "Something must even the scales for Thripoda. But slaughtering them - if they had nothing to do with it - that does not sit right. I believe the Heda may see the value in them as a potential ally, but until then - I wouldn't let others hear you speak of taking on the Mountain." She changes tack a little, asking, "How well do you know them? Was it you who taught the girl the Trigedasleng?"

Tuan shakes his head just slightly, "I know them a bit. Several came to Coesbur and I spoke with a few then." He pulls his hide blanket about him then against a shiver. "The one who speaks well, Fiona, I have spoken with her twice. I have not spoke much of our language with her, but she is smart. Very smart, and she desires to learn, and respects who we are." There it is, there's a bit of tone to his voice that goes beyond statement and beyond admiration.

"There were a few besides her, at least, who seemed willing to reason," Britt grants, inclining her head while she gauges his reaction. "What of this Kasandra? She seemed quite eager for your head, in particular." She pokes idly at the ground with her stick, smoothing out the triangle of doom.

That causes Tuan to grunt, almost amused. "That one is .. my sister has put it best. She is a coiled viper hiding behind a smile." He manages a little chuckle that results in him having to spit some blood. A hand reaches up to wipe at his eyes, causing a streak to go across his features. "I believe she sees me as all that is Trikru, so if she has conflict with Trikru, the conflict is with me." Tuan pauses then tries to explain. "The monster that represents everything you are afraid of."

Britt slants him a perplexed look. "Lucky you, to be the scapegoat. Well, it says something for them that she and the others did not shoot us on sight." Hardly a resounding endorsement, from the droll tone of her voice, but it's something.

The man nods slowly, "I am only guessing of course. I do not pretend to understand the thinking of Skaikru. They, all, have very odd ways. But I do believe some of them simply want to live and to do so in peace alongside Trikru. The problem I believe is that they do not know how to. And neither do we." Tuan says it quietly then looks down, "That is what I meant yesterday, that we are acting like Azgeda. That we are looking for a fight first rather than looking at other options."

Britt considers his words, her lips pressing into a thin line. "I remember my father telling me about the day the Mountain rained fire down from the sky. Two villages destroyed, scorched off the earth, just as Thripoda." OK so technically it wasn't exactly the same but Britt wasn't there. She just heard the stories. "I cannot fault the Kruheda for thinking this was the same. Blood calls for blood, and there is no dishonor in that." Her expression darkens. "There is a vast difference between that and what the Azgeda do."

Tuan looks at Britt and nods his head, "I agree. If the Kruheda took her actions in response to what happened in Thripoda." There's a pause then, "What I do not understand is how the call for war came before any scouts returned from Thripoda."

"You don't know that," Britt points out mildly. "Coesbur is but one village. Your scouts may not have returned, but that doesn't mean there were not others. I know only this - the Kruheda must have reasons. I think she has seen enough war to not take such doings lightly." She shrugs. "Whatever the reasons, we are here now. Thripoda is gone, the Skaikru are in some way responsible, even if by accident. Be careful which side you choose."

Tuan shakes his head at Britt's words, looking at the woman. "As I told another recently, if we are choosing sides then something has gone wrong." He pulls his blanket about him. "I have seen nothing but attempts to live next to each other and peace from these Skaikru. And nothing but aggression and war from those sent by the Kruheda. I am too young to disobey, but not old enough that I have given up on questioning what I am told."

Britt raises an eyebrow at his 'old enough' comment, looking bemused. "And yet still young enough to believe that we haven't already begun picking sides." She taps the TriangleOfDoom again, the edges barely visible from where she wiped it away, for emphasis. "I don't know much about these Skaikru, but I know this - they are not our people. Whether they prove to be our allies or our enemies - that remains to be seen." She rises, then, just a little stiffly as creaky bones protest, and retrieves her bow. "I will go and tell Arlin how you're faring. One of us will be back. No one should have to suffer the blood fever alone."

Tuan looks up, "Some of us do deserve to suffer it alone. It is alright. I must pay my pennance for what I think and feel." He offers a small smile to Britt then, blood coming from the corner of his lips. "I will try to get myself to a nearby cave, but I will not come to the rest of you until I am healed… And I would ask none of you come to me."

"I don't know about Rinnan, but Arlin's a healer. He's tended to it plenty.” Or so Britt assumes. "And I've had it enough to build an immunity. We have no fear of it. But if you're foolish enough to martyr yourself in suffering, I can at least help you to a cave before I go." There's no malice in her words, even when she implies his foolishness - merely a wry bemusement.

Fade out on Britt helping Tuan to the cave.

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