Day 032: Eli In Tondc
Summary: Kai takes Eli to the public gardens in Tondc, runs into Starling and Pontus, and has a few things explained to her.
Date: Day Month Year
Related: Growing Pains
Elias Kai Pontus Starling 

Public Garden and Orchard — Tondc, Trikru
The public gardens of Tondc inhabit a long, narrow strip of land between the marketplace and a narrow babble of the divided Potomac. They are divided up by narrow footpaths that have been here since before the bombs, and help create a variety of garden beds to host primarily edible plants. The garden is tended by the citizens of Tondc, which also means it provides for the citizens of Tondc. Those who work the gardens are given permission to harvest from the vegetables and fruits in exchange. Toward the back of the gardens, near the riverside, are many fruit-bearing trees that are heavy with apples and cherries in the summer and autumn months. Toward the midway point is the large building used for the Warrior Barracks — all crafted from stone, metal and wood.
Day 32

Morning, early morning, and though Tondc is awake, it's in that lull before the whole great cacophony of the place is in full swing. Which is quite possibly why there are two Skaikru in the garden. Or, rather, one former Skaikru and her Niron. Kai's dressed in her usual fashion. Armor. Sword. The right glove of her armor is missing, it didn't survive their trip to Coesbur in good enough condition to warrant repairing it.. at least, not yet. But the kid she's with? So very not Trikru at all. She's letting him pick their wandering through the edible selection, though she's made it clear that it's very 'look, do not touch' kind of an exploration, because damned if she knows anything about plants.

While he's tired, Elias still looks fairly well-kept. He's free of any sort of warpaint and wears a white t-shirt and navy blue trousers. Very, very much not Trikru and he certainly looks all the more out of place for it. The young man casually rattles off the latin, scientific designations for each of the plants he finds, but he doesn't reach out to touch any of them. "Huh. Seems like the flora just went on like nothing changed. At a glance, anyways." There's a roll of his shoulders then before he shifts his attention back to the plants and trees.

Pontus was on his way back into the village? Either he was gone or up super early, or just never ever ever sleeps. He had none of his hunting armour on presently; just heavyseight cargo pants, a few belts that wrapped around to keep the lateral knives at his lower back quiet, and heavy boots that made no noise. He was not the welcome wagon anyone ever wanted to see, and was generally regarded as the last one many got. He had more scars than a leather couch that wrestled with a house full of cats, and as much ink in a very oddly elegant scroll that covered most of him like a tree or maybe map. He was making a slow bearing directly towards Kai. The only thing in hand presently being a roll pack slung diagonally across his torso. Yeha without that hood up it was a amazing this guy survived this long considering the damaged that failed to kill him successfully… or he can't even die right. There's always that too. "<In Trigedasleng> Orphan-bird, where's your First?" It wasn't an accusatory tone, but it was for certain a question.

"I've watched them, only those that work the soil are allowed to take from it, which is fair enough.. but you can see just the.. variety of things that can be found around here. Does it help?" Kai asks of him in a muted tone,"Over there. Where you see the others.. that's the barracks. We're not going to go near there, Sonia's people would probably recognize you. That other one, that's the bathhouse. It's.. well, we'd have considered it offensively wasteful up there, but they have these tubs full of warm water where you can sit.." it's the Trigedasleng that brings her attention away from Elias to Pontus with the dip of her head by way of acknowledgment and then it's slight shake,"I can only guess you're asking who this is.. Pontus kom Trikru, this is my Niron Elias kom Skaikru."

Since the Grounder isn't paying him any mind at the moment, Elias does glance his way and squints briefly at his words before he returns his study to the plants. In his hands also is a pen and paper upon closer inspection of him and he appears to be jotting down notes onto the page…which is likely some soy-based weave of fibers. "Well," he finally answers Kai with a nod of his head. "It tells me that old practices of agricultural science are going to be just as successful now as they were then." A slight lift of his shoulders is given then before he slides his gaze more fully to Pontus when Kai's attention shifts in that direction as well. With the greeting there, he tries not to stare at the scars on Pontus' face. "Ah laik Elias kom Skaikru," he tries, practicing the words still.

Pontus came to a stop shifting his weight to his back foot. His one hand rest on the cross strap of the pack across his chest idly; his Left hanging casually, though one might note near one of the blades at his back. Apparently he never trusted an unknown factor. Slate grey eyes shifted between the two seeming to wrap a concept around Elian. Finally he just gave Kai a hard stare (he had a winning deadpan and some great resting asshole face. It's true). Finally he said "<In Trigedasleng> Your first. Wren." The name stood out. Weather it was weariness or irritation he let go of habit and actually bothered to use English. "Hmm." Well that wasn't much a response. "Ah laik Pontus kom Trikru kom Coesbur. Kai, Your first, where he at?" He paused and a second look was given to Elias like -seriously more Skaikru?!- but he only nodded to him as if accepting the greeting.

"Wren." Kai repeats the rest of the words to herself, though mercifully there's a more proper explanation of what he means and finally she dips her head in a quiet ah,"He came this way when he left the compound this morning, but I do not know where he went specifically." she offers with a tight, tired ghost of a smile, by comparison her resting bitch face is just a baby wannabe, her own grey eyes flicking across the Trikru she can see before returning to him with a slight shake of her head,"He gave me the day with Elias." there's something defensive in her tone, but she does add after a moment,"I don't see him, do you want me to look for him, sir?" in the politest tone she can manage.

The nod is returned to Pontus, though Elias is happy to leave well enough alone in regards to pushing any further contact. One more further look and he's then panning his attention back to the plants as the two of them talk. After jotting down the last of his notes, he opens the cargo pocket of his pants so that he can slip the pen and pad back into it to stow it. The pocket is buttoned then and left. Elias doesn't have resting asshole face, but his shoulders are slightly slumped and he looks weary.

Pontus was standing in the orchard halfway between the bathhouse and the pub heading that way. There was a nod to Kai and he said in terrible English, but at least it wasn't hostile… we think. "Mmm." Yeah not helpful btu acknowledged. "<In Trigedasleng> He staying for morning meal?" And seemed to clarify, "First meal. He stayiing for it?" It was a question, not an invite. He wasn't the one to throw out invites at what he considered Wren's table or Peake''s either.

"I do not know." Kai answers honestly, she's dressed as usual, with Elias next to her, and in the face of Pontus' questions subsides back with a look at the obvious skaikid, shoulder's hunched in a defensive, almost irritable posture,"We were looking at the plants so that Eli knows what to look for to help grow food at Alpha." she reaches for the skaiboy's shoulder, sliding her arm about him,"Why? Is the warband returning to Coesbur today?" she does at least ask with margin less defensiveness.

"No," Elias croaks out as his attention is still captured by one of the trees, though it is in response to Pontus' question. "If the outlying villages are pulling back, you're going to need your resources. And more, maybe." With that, he squints up at the larger male and shakes his head. "I'm burden enough just being here. I can manage my own food." There is a quick nod to Pontus then before he looks to Kai and shakes his head. "Eh," he sounds as Kai slides her arm up and around his shoulders. "I'm here to help, Kai. Not cause trouble."

Starling makes her way through the Orchard as if she was looking for something or someone but she seems to be pondering something important as she nibbles her bottom lip and makes some type of grunting/mumbling noise as she pauses by a tree. This is when she finally looks up and notices Pontus, Kai and… Elias. The later is blinked at slowly and then the woman's head tilts to the side as she watches him, and over hears Kai, clearly wanting to investigate this new male and she moves with graceful steps till she comes up at Pontus and looks at Elias from another direction. Finally before she greets or offers anything, she turns those blue on blue eyes to Kel, "Does Wren know he is here? And if so what did he say?" See there is a way that you go about this.

Pontus tilted his head at the footsteps and craned his head slightly. Starling was there. One tattooed eyebrow ridge arched as ne does as her question. He response was a shrug of his bare shoulders. Since the question was voiced common he answered in the like. "Dunno. Not my second, not my problem. When it's Rain? Then I'lll worry about it." Oddly hands off? Or maybe its the way their customs were. Still he had zero guile and boggled asking out of either judgement or curiosity. He looked to Elias and said to Kai, "<In Trigedasleng> Make sure this one is good enough for you. At least he respects the laws of the table. It shows well." He looked around the orchard with a squint, likely for his brother. He let Starling translate for him if she felt need to. He'd likely do a shit job blatantly asking Kai 'By what virtue do you deem this guy worth bedding with?' and likely end in a brawl somewhere and frankly, that's what the pub was for. Really it was better if Starling did the talking.

Kai's attention is caught by Starling's arrival and question, the younger woman's expression going both tired and flat at the same time,"Wren is aware." she offers in a reluctant tone that likely speaks volumes that the words themselves do not. She's not willing to turn away from the pair but does offer to Eli quietly,"I know." her gaze skittering from Starling up to Pontus she says in a quiet and firm voice,"He has given me the day with Elias. He made it very clear that he did not wish to speak to me for the duration of that time. As such I would ask if you want to yell at me too, to please wait until he's at least seen the rest of the garden so that he will be able to use that knowledge to help grow food for Alpha."

Starling's approach doesn't make Elias any more tense. Really, he just looks tired for the most part. Clean and well-kept, but tired nonetheless. The young man eyes Star for a moment of regard, but he doesn't push contact with her as he's not addressed. As Pontus speaks, he shifts his eyes towards him then and considers him for a moment now. The comment about him isn't understood, but he gives a nod of his head in return to Pontus. Kai's statement draws his attention then and he gives a slow shake of his head. "Not just for Alpha if I can manage it," he says then squints back at the plants once more. "I'm trying to…estimate…" he says, giving a so-so waver of his hand. "Anyways. I at least think I can help."

Starling arches an eyebrow at the tone of voice from Kai, and she tilts her head to the side as she flickers a look up and down the pair carefully, "Keep your anger for those that you can fight, Kai.." This is the soft words from the woman, who pauses to place a hand on Po's bare back as she slowly let's her eyes run up and down the new male. She has never seen a male sky-person, so she takes her time to look him over, her look is direct, pondering but not in the least upset by what she is seeing.

Starling then turns her eyes back to Kai for a moment, and flickers a grin. "Well, that means nothing and something. But he can yell at me as well, if this the one you talked about?" She let's the question stay and moves on. "I will let mother know another will be at the table, or at least need food. Take the time you have been given and enjoy it, free time for Seconds are very rare. Oh, and try him out a few times in the out of doors, since you need to make sure he's what you need…" With that, she turns back and touches Po again. "<In Trigedasleng> Lets go talk to Wren, this is going to be interesting, if she has pissed him off to much, well… I'll come up with something…"

But instead of just ignoring Elias she flickers him a grin, "Hello, I"m Starling, Kai can tell you about the others you've met. If you want to work on growing food and such. I"ll see who I can find to talk to you, after I've talked to my brother. Kai not understanding our ways, does not mean your knowledge or you seeking knowledge will be ignored. Food will be offered, if it's by my mother or eldest sister? Or an adorable 10 year old? I suggest you not turn it down.." she winks at the younger couple and then turns back to Po, slipping an arm around his waist to nudge him on.

Pontus listened intently to Kai, and for all the world he looked like he might be pissed… but it was Pontus and a great deal of that was the fact that he was constantly surveying everything and the scars just makes him a daunting figure by default. It's not like he was trying to go out of his way to do that. When Starling slipped an arm around him he turned and kissed her temple taking a pause. That whole gesture in the middle of public was an entire conversation in and of itself.

Turning to Kai he considered her offer and shook his head looking at she, Elias, and back to her. His lips pressed together thoughtfully for a moment and the words that followed were quiet, and not actually angry. There was a delivery tone that said this was a suggestion, but it'd be unwise to refute it as he followed their traditions to the last letter and she was not his second. "Speak with me a moment." This could go really poorly. He looked around and it seemed to carry the inference of 'to the side unless you want to do this right here' evident in it.

"I'm not angry Starling, I disappointed him, and I understand there is going to be a cost for that. At this point I am simply endeavoring to make sure that it was at least worth the trip for Elias." Kai offers in that same low, tired tone,"But yes, this is my Niron, Elias. Eli, Starling is one of Wren's sisters, if you recall." her eyes track to Pontus, then back to Starling in silent request for all that her arm leaves Eli, offering the skaiboy a long look,"Yes sir." the words of acknowledgment and the obvious intention of following where he leads.

Elias smiles thinly at Starling, inclining his head in a nod to her. The young man really does look tired. "I can't really offer anything in return at the moment," he tells her with a slight wince of an eye. "If you insist on hospitality, I'll remember the kindness." There's a nod of his head then to her before he turns his attention once more to Pontus. The look he gives him is certainly a terrifying one, but even though Elias is certainly no warrior, he doesn't appear to be the sort that's easily shaken. As Kai's arm leaves his shoulders, he clenches his jaw just briefly before relaxing and giving a look once more to Starling. "It's nice to meet you. Thank you."

Starling glances up at Po when he asks to speak with the second, those eyes meet his and then she gives him a smile as she leans up and runs her lips against his softly before drifting off to let him speak with Kai. Kai's arm is touched and another smile is offered before she moves over towards Elias's side. "Then you understand trade for trade, but hospitality is different, it is offered freely. That is all you should remember for that. As for your knowledge.." She ponders and motions for him to join her by a tree and she climbs up to pull off an apple and tosses it down to him, "Tell me what you think of that.." It's a challenge and an offer as she swings her legs from the branch she climb to in a blink and just smile down at him. It's clear she has spent time tending to the grounds since they arrived, in trade for the fruit she offers her family.

Pontus gestured for Kai to follow him and seemed to be considering something a great deal. It was to Starling he said quietly, "<In Trigedasleng> I won't be long. Can you make sure he's okay? This shit isn't his fault." His boots carried him purposefully towards the Warrior barracks. He could do this and unload his gear at the same time. He didn't turn around because he expected Kai to keep her word and follow and seemed to trust her to do so.

Kai does follow, she doesn't usually go near the barracks because, after all, some of Sonia's warband are still here and she's not suicidal enough to want to taunt them too much with her mere existence. But that is where he leads, so that is where she follows. Shoulders squared and eyes willfully trained on Pontus' back rather than turn a possibly challenging eye towards those that might be in the barracks at present.

Pontus waded into the once museum. Long strides carried him through the centre and up the half spiral stair faded over time. He didn't walk back towards the training grounds but stopped. It was a good vantage point and the second floor had a nice view of the tile below it a bit down. Let's just hope he's not the homicidal maniac he looked like. He unshouldered his pack and set it down; forearms coming to rest on the banister still in tact of polished stone. If he was worried about one of Sonia's soldiers saying something he didn't show it. He wasn't shy about confrontation. He was picking his words and seemed to take his time. Finally he looked back to Kai and nodded for her to join him and he spoke.

"Wren is, for all purposes, my brother in all but blood. For his sake I'm doing this." He took a deep breath and picked a place to begin. There was no malice in his tone though. "You know why he's upset, Kai kom Skaikru?"

If he is, it doesn't seem that right now Kai's particularly determined to stop him, halting close by and adopting a posture with her feet apart and hands clasped behind her, that flat-eyed expression on her face as neutral as she can maintain, like she fully expects that there's going to be yelling in the very least,"I disobeyed him." is the answer she offers, it's not an answer given with resentment or defiance but something closer to defeat,"I understand that bringing him here was a bad idea, sir. And that he would be perfectly within reason to banish me. I am prepared to face the consequences of my decision, and I expect that part of that will mean that I will not be permitted to see Elias for whatever period of time Wren decides is appropriate. It was not my intention to offend."

Pontus shifted his weight to one foot crossing a boot over hte other where he leaned at rest. He listened to her answer and tilted his head and squint his scarred eye saying "Yes and no. Also he won't banish you. It'd look poorly on him. Yes. You disobeyed him. That's not the sum of it though." He looked at her for a long time before admitting, "You remind him of Lark. I can see why. You're proud. I see that. It's not a bad thing. She was…. spirited. Defiant, ferocious, and mostly protective of her people. She was to the end of her song. Moreso she was a good person and one of integrity. I still respect her for this. It's in part why he took you on. I think he sees that potential to finish where she started and left off." He has never used this many words in a season, but right now he was sharing them for her benefit and let that sink in.

Clearly, those were not the words Kai was expecting, given the sheer length of time that she's silent after they are uttered,"I did not know his other sister." she finally says in a quiet voice, relaxing just marginally in her posture with a look towards the entrance,"It is not about pride, it is.." she expels a breath through her nose,"it is fear." she elects to admit,"Indra gave the Skaikru a month to bring those who destroyed Thripoda to justice. And not as Wren's Second, but soldier to soldier, I gave the kruheda my word that I would do what was necessary to see that happen." she chins in the direction of the door,"If they fail, I may be called upon to fight those I grew up with, and that is the choice I made when I agreed to become his Second. The more that the Skaikru strain Trikru lands and Trikru resources, the more likely that becomes. What he knows of plants, may well help them feed their own, and help repay in some measure what the Skaikru have done to this land. This may well be the only time I may see him while our people are at peace."

Pontus listened. For all he seemed like a stubborn ass he listened patiently. He nodded as she professed her promise soldier to soldier which merited a side tilt of his head, "Then you must. It's a good plan. Dunno I'd have thought of that." Likely he'd have just wiped out the threat perhaps, or it was a compliment. He paused working on picking the English translation. He knew English but hated to use it. Hell he didn't relaly use his own tongue much either. "Fighting your own isn't easy. Being a Second? Less so." He looked to her with a look that professed he understood well enough. "I was a Second for six cycles. It is… and important time, Kai." He knew she knew that but saying it was, in a sense, reverent to him.

He stood up and turned getting a look about her and shared, "Wren, Thesda, and I were Seconds together to our Firsts before the war with the Ice. It's a tradition that is passed on. When Trikru say we will be your second it's not learning alone. It's a…. word? Promise. It says I will be the extension of yourself. I will become your will. My honour is yours. My failures are yours. My trust is yours and yours mine." He hoped tohat what he was sharing translated well enough. It wasn't perfect but he was patient. Scouts rarely rushed face first into shit even if his face seemed evidence otherwise.

With a faint expression that was maybe sympathetic to her situation he summed up, "You disobeyed him. It's not that he needs control. It's because it shows to other warriors a lack of respect. That his considerations are … Well that those who look think 'Wren cannot keep his Second in line. Wren is no leader. If his own do not listen why should I?" He might not care about his reputation, but I do and moreso others do." It was a tonal shift that offered to her without rancor, "It is a long tradition we do not share with outsiders, but he shares with you by Indra's law. I do not think this mistake weighs lightly on you. You wish to do right by him learning the old ways will help. THAT is how you can show reverence. It's not an act of subordination but respect for him. Those before us. Those before them."

"And I will." Kai grunts quietly with a dip of her head for his words,"I am honored that he chose me, Pontus. I know there is much that I have yet to learn, and I am starting very late by Trikru standards, but that does not mean that I do not appreciate that this will be a difficult but worthy path." she shifts as he turns to look at her, expression still somber,"It's a promise I mean to keep. But he was clear that he did not wish to speak to me for the day, so out of respect for him I am staying away. I feel that I can do nothing to make things right with him at present, and so I should at least make this act of stupidity worth it from the one thing I can salvage. If there is a proper way to show my regret I would appreciate knowing it, just because I do not yet know Trikru ways does not mean I do not wish to know them, or live by them. It simply means I do not know them yet."

Pontus slouched into his lean on the railing and listened to her. He'd give her all day to get the thought out if she needed to. The meat-quilt nodded slowly and said thoughtfully to her, "I believe you." It might be the biggest compliment he's acknowledged to her but he seemed to mean it. "You will make things right with him tomorrow. He's mad because he cares. That's why we get angry at shit. You only get upset because you care about something. That you're angry with yourself shows respect for the path. That's good. You are a second. YOU WILL FUCK UP." He didn't yell but there was emphasis followed by a lopsided grin. "I fucked up too. So did Wren. It happens. You started late, but you will catch up. Listen. Learn. Adapt." At her last phrasing he ran his tongue idly on his bottom lip glancing the architecture in thought. "You will succeed. He wasn't… able to save Lark when he was there. I know he'll fight to save you. He's not going to let you fail. He needs this, as much as you, and… whatever the Alliance is." Slate grey eyes shifted back to her observing her feelings on the matter. "You are my Brother's second. I will not let you fail when you don't wat to. If you want to know about the traditions beyond your studies?" He could not fucking believe he was saying this, "You are welcome to ask me and I'll tell you what you need to hear." The Scout gave her a nod. His word was his law, and there was a respect there for her. She wanted to learn. The historian couldn't refute that. "I'm going to teach you a phrase. Tomorrow tell Wren, "Sir, I fucked up. I know why. I will fix it."

Kai grunts quietly,"My father just cared about whether I was fucking up his legacy." there's just a ghost of a smile,"Thank you, Pontus. I will try. It just seems like there's.. so much that I don't even know where to start sometimes. And I will. Make it up to Wren. Eli already understands that he will have to wait, after today. That I have things to make up for." she nods towards the door,"Can we go back? He's probably afraid you're kicking the shit out of me in here and bless him but he's not a warrior, even if he sometimes feels like he needs to compete."

Pontus glanced at the door and got a rarely found wry grin on his face and tilts his head "If you want to limp and fake it we cna scare the shit out of him. Be kinda funny to see his expression." He chuckled and nodded to her shouldering his pack again. "I'm gonna grab a drink. You're going to go be a good host. If you get stuck find me. I'm going to go watch Starling give Wren a headache for a while. This'll be entertaining." Okay so he wasn't without his amusements. A weathered hand slapped Kai in the shoulder and headed back out.

"Oh you should have seen his face when they found me fighting that guy." that one, down there, specifically, the wiry red-headed guy with the busted face that doesn't quite match Kai's.. clearly he got the better end of the 'deal', but maybe explains why she's still got fading bruises on the right side of her face,"After that and this one.." she raises her forearm and the stitches from the other still healing injury,"I think it'd take more than a limp to scare him." there's a ghost of a smile from her,"Thank you. Truly. And hopefully less of one than I gave him.. I'm going to go rescue him and get him home before he figures his mere presence here is going to get me killed."

Starling shakes her head gently, "What you don't understand, it is not you together, atleast not that I can see, she brought you here without telling anymore. As she is not one of us truly, that was what has caused the issues, and as Wren's second, she needed to ask him. So don't assume just yet. That only gets you in trouble. Po is also not upset, he is trying to explain things to Kai, it's better coming from another Warrior, than myself or Wren…" She gives him a tight smile. "Watch as much as you can, there are things that you are missing, once you can adjust to that, then trading of ideas will mean more.." She stretches slowly and then leans back again as she waits for the others to return.

Because it's likely the things that Eli's looking for immediately when Kai emerges from the barracks; she's not sporting any /new/ injuries at least, for all that her expression seems about as tired and somber as it was when they went in, for all that the look she casts Pontus' way is respectful and placid. She beelines back towards Eli and Starling without particular haste, and without dragging her feet.

Pontus waded back out of the once-museum-cum-barracks and waded over to Starling "<In Trigedasleng> Grab a drink with me?" He'd used up his words for the day and was STILL parched and was going to do something about it. There was a paused look back to Kai and a simple nod that followed. They were on the same page. No more words needed to be spoken on the matter. He looked to Elias and then pointed further down teh orchard. "Kai, take him that way." Apparently useful things to his purpose continued in the other direction.

"What I don't understand is everything," Elias says plainly to Starling with a lifted brow. Taking a deep breath then, he levels his gaze on the woman and takes another bite of apple. After chewing and swallowing, he once more lifts his shoulders. "I have to give up a lot of time I could spend with my last piece of home, my last family, and no one's told me why yet. It's frustrating. I'm trying." Taking a breath then, he looks back towards where Kai and Pontus emerge and lifts his brows, ticking his gaze from one to the other. His eyes tick from one to the other before he shifts his attention to Star again. "Missing?" he asks, furrowing his brows. When Pontus speaks, he looks back in that direction before turning his attention once more to Kai, giving her a questioning look.

Starling pulls herself up as the pair arrives,she flashes a smile in Elias and Kai direction, but then she moves to slip her hand into Pontus and glances towards the bar. "<In Trigedasleng> Yes please, honey wine would be a good start for the day.." She isn't yawning but she is close.

Kai does snag him, turning in the direction that Pontus indicated as she slides her arm about his shoulder again,"Sorry Eli. That was.. well, not as bad as I thought, but still. It would have done no good for me to have disrespected him and caused more issues." she murmurs as she leans over to give him a kiss on the temple,"There's more fruit trees and that sort of thing back over this way he said. Something about.. invasive species?" not like she knows what the hell that means,"It'll be okay."

As he's pulled, Elias widens his eyes just a moment, but then follows along dutifully so that he can see what it is Pontus was suggesting he see. "Mmm," Elias says with a nod to her. "An invasive species is a plant, animal, or fungus not native to a local ecosystem that could do significant damage to it," he says with a nod of his head. "That's why I'm being very careful about growing in planters and keeping my specimens isolated. There's always the possibility of danger to other crops if the wrong species are introduced. That's why it's important to be very careful through the planning stages." He stops then, but keeps walking with her in silence for a moment. "So what was that all about?"

"It's complex." Kai grunts,"Pontus.. doesn't like us, but Wren is like his brother. So he explained to me what I need to do, when Wren's ready to talk, to make it up to him, and why it is important that I obey. Most particularly because by their view, if he cannot command the respect of his Second, why should other Warrior's respect him? Which is a fair point. There's.." she shakes her head,"It's not like my father. Not like the Guard. Remember the clothes that he gave Fi? His sister's, Lark's? Apparently he believes I remind Wren of Lark.. which is.. massive. But it's all.. very complex. Cadet training was simpler than navigating their customs."

There's a light shrug of Elias' shoulders as he walks along, looking up at the trees as he does so. Mostly, he's quiet and just follows. "Sounds complex," he agrees, shifting his attention from plant to plant still and squinting his eyes. "What I still don't understand is why I can't see you," he says shifting his gaze to her once again. "Is it just one of those 'because I said so' things?" He sighs and gives a shake of his head. "On our way back, we should look for places to meet that aren't Jaha or Tondc. Either place we're at is just going to be trouble."

"Because I didn't ask his permission beforehand. Because people are still mad about the whole we-shit-Ark-all-over-your-land and Thripoda.. I mean, fuck, my red-headed friend is in the barracks." Kai nods back the direction she came from,"Which means that he's going to have to punish me simply to show that he is capable of keeping me in line. It's not because of you specifically, it's because his respect affects the safety of people like me and Silver. But, yes. Not today, but next time I can go out, we will find somewhere safe. Today.. once we have finished here.. I will take you home. And then I will start the dance of the penitent."

"Punish?" he asks, sounding a bit incredulous. Elias stops then and looks to her, raising his brows. "Punish /how/ exactly?" Clearly, Elias isn't particularly happy about this. "He doesn't have to do it in front of Grey and Fiona, does he? That would be…" There's a shake of his head then and he draws in a breath. "I get that respect goes a long way here. I understand necessity. I'm sorry - this is starting to get shady as fuck." Elias looks at her plainly. "I wasn't respected enough for him to come to me man-to-man and explain /why/ I can only see you ten days a month. I need a little more before I'm going to be okay with this. I'm not happy with just…being okay with someone I don't even know making decision about your life and telling you when I can and cannot see you. You don't see why I'm having some -pretty- serious reservations about this?" Elias gives her a furtive look before shifting his attention to the trees. "You're more important to me than anything, than life. I'm sorry if I'm not just content to trust someone with that with no explanation."

"Eli." is the single word Kai utters,"Take a look around you. These people work in harmony with one another. Their laws and customs might seem strange and harsh, but as you saw with Tuan, and at the Bridge, and between Britt and the foot patrol.. clan is everything. It's not the Ark, they don't float you for making dumb choices here. Likely I will have to do extra exercises, maybe they will have me muck the stables, that's up to Wren. Whatever it is, I am going to do it.. and if that means in front of Grey and Fi.. yes, I'm going to do it." she stops her steps to look at him, leaning over to give him a kiss,"Trikru become Seconds as young as ten years old, Eli. I've been watching them, I'm not being expected anything of that they don't expect from children, here. This isn't a job, I'm not training to be a Guard. This is my life Elias. Most Warrior Seconds get shit in the way of personal time, by their standards giving me ten days is exceedingly lenient as it is. But you need to respect that this is my choice."

The kiss is returned softly, but he blinks at her a little bit. "Is it too much to ask that I hear that from the man that I barely know who has your life in his hands?" he asks with a furrowed brow. "The problem isn't that you made the choice. It's that you're /too important/ for me to accept it on faith alone. I love how they work here. I do." He takes in another breath and looks up again. After a long moment of silence, he finally returns his hazel eyes to hers. "I respect your decisions and I don't think I'm being a dick about this. You have to remember, Kai, how important you are to /me/. I need you to respect that and that your decisions effect me too. I can support anything you decide, but I haven't been filled with an enormous amount of confidence so far for how this has gone down. I've been a wreck for /days/ over this." Pressing his tongue out between his lips then, he wets them and then settles his gaze on her. "You know I'm your biggest cheerleader. I just need that same respect back, okay?"

"It is a matter between him and me, Eli. You are not my keeper, and you do not have a right to dictate whether or not it is acceptable to me." Kai utters gently but firmly,"This is not the Guard, Eli. This is not a job. This is my life. And if the Kruheda came and said 'we are marching on Azgeda', I am sworn to do so. Not 'let me check if that is acceptable with my Niron'. You and I both are used to the Ark, our laws were written down and simple to follow, the punishment for not doing so was also very simple. This is not the Ark. Their laws aren't written down, they are taught, and understood, from birth. Passed down from generation to generation. It is not safe, it is not going to be safe. And for you I will fight to come home every day, but that doesn't mean that I wont go out there and fight. Because that is the life that I have chosen."

"That isn't what I'm suggesting. I know I'm not your keeper and I have no say," Elias says, his shoulders slumping a touch. He then just shakes his head and starts wandering off down the garden of his own volition and direction. "You're…I trust you. I do. I'm asking you to appreciate how hard this is for me. I'm losing /everyone/. Everyone, Kai. And I'm losing them all at once." Pressing a hand to his forehead then, he takes a few deep breaths and lowers his eyes. "It's not a guilt trip. I just…I don't have anyone else to do this with. And I need you for this right now."

Kai lets him wander, remaining where she is and placing her hands on her hip to press her lips together with a slow shake of her head before she closes her eyes,"This was a mistake. I shouldn't have brought you here. I wanted you to see the best side of them but I miscalculated, and I'm sorry." she offers in her quiet voice,"This is no different from when we went searching for the hunters, or fought Sonia's people. It's no different from when we ran the blockade, Eli. I understand that you don't want to fight, I accept that, and I love your mind, your intelligence, it is your skills that are going to make a world of difference, for everyone. And I respect that in order to do that, you will be with them at Alpha. But I can't be. We will be together, if we are both patient, if we help our people make peace with one another. If I finish what I have started here and become a Warrior. But it requires us both to be strong. I know you can be, and you know I will be here for you. But it does mean that things like me screwing this up is something I need to pay for. In their way. It means that I am going to be out there, that in order to insure that you and mom and Leo are safe that I'm going to fight, and I need you to be okay with that."

Elias nods and folds his arms slowly over his chest, taking a deep and steadying breath. "I /am/ okay with that," he says, shaking his head. "And I'm not. I /am/ strong for your sake, Kai. I've been as awesome as I can about all of this." He turns to her and looks her in the eyes, sighing again. Pressing his tongue out between his lips again to wet them, he does finally speak again. "It's not like I'm a coward in this. I'm telling you I'll wait for you. That I support you and I understand. I'm not asking you to reconsider or choose between where you belong and me. I'm not begging you to come back." Chewing the corner of his lip then, he keeps his eyes on hers and shakes his head. "I want to do all of that. Everything inside me is screaming to do exactly those things. I need you right now because right now I feel like I'm losing everything. I really need you to understand that." Again, he sighs and he gestures to her. "You think I see no value in these people or their ways, but I do. When shit gets dark for you and you're missing me, you have people to turn to. I get to talk to myself late at night like you're /there/. Do you know how crazy that makes me look?"

Kai does open her eyes again to look at him,"I do understand it. And I can only offer you what I have already given you, Elias. I can't make you promises that I'm not going to be able to uphold, as it will do neither of us any good. I had hoped that things would be different, that maybe you would be able to and want to stay here. Because bluntly, that is the only thing that we can change right now. Wren has committed his honor, and his people have chosen to abide by his decision and welcome me as part of their clan. I would not be able to live with myself if I betrayed that trust, so I cannot return to Alpha with you. It is clear, to both of us, that today is not the day that you could move here to be with me, if you even wanted to. As I said, I miscalculated. And now I will have to make up that ground and work to the point where I can make the request in the proper ways.. and still it would boil down to whether or not you wished to move. The alternative is that it will always be like this. You will always have your commitments to the Ark, and I will have my commitments here, and we will only be able to meet as lovers in some private spot for the pair of us. Which I am willing to do, for you, but that's a decision you need to make for yourself. I can't make it for you."

Elias pinches the bridge of his nose and hangs his head for a moment. Taking a deep breath then, he once again levels his gaze on her. "Nevermind," he says in a quieter tone and shakes his head. "You don't understand because you're trying to put forth solutions when there are none. There is no fix. Right now I need love and I need the ear of my best friend." Hazel eyes tick to her and then back to the ground, his chest heaving with a breath. "I need you. Don't frutrate yourself over the answers. There isn't a good one. Can't you just…say that this is bullshit and it sucks?"

"It is bullshit, and it sucks, and we both knew that these things would be true." Kai points out as she prowls over to him to reach for his hand,"But it doesn't.. change anything. Eli. You have my love, you have my ear, but we're not children. Everything we do has consequences, and that's never going to change. That's part of life. And yes, it does suck. I want you here, more than anything, you know that. And I suspect you would be happiest if I returned to Alpha with you full time. So to me it's.. what do we do about it?"

"Why do you have to stay /here/? Why can't you go back to Coesbur once the Reapers are gone?" Elias gives a shrug of his shoulders to that. "I could live in Coesbur. That I can do. I can't do here." There's a look around and then a shrug of his shoulders. "I'm not saying it's not nice. Just…" He shrugs his shoulders at that and sighs. "I can't leave Alpha. I have /hundreds/ or even thousands of people, Skaikru and Trikru, that I have a responsibility to. And I can't do that without a lab and equipment. The cost of me leaving is in lives right now. You think I'm there because I love the Ark? You're the only good thing I have in existence, Kai. I can't just sit on my hands while people suffer. That isn't me."

"When Coesbur is clear, I will be going to Coesbur. Right now, it is not." Kai says quietly, squeezing his hand gently before she draws him back towards the main gardens,"Until Wren releases me, where he goes, I have to, that's part of being a Second." she nods towards the barracks and a young kid no more than twelve following after an older warrior with their armor,"Once I'm released, I am recognized as a full Warrior in their society and where I live and everything else is my choice. My training helps, where I fail, as they remind me, is that I don't know the laws yet. He can help refine my fighting, but that's what will hold em back." she leans over to kiss his temple,"And I know that's why you choose to stay there. I choose to stay here because we have friends in the Mountain, and I want them back, Eli. Clearing Coesbur puts us closer, it means that when I practice the bow, and riding, and all the rest of it, I can also scout the Mountain and try to find a way in. And the sooner that happens, the greater chance they will still be alive. The stakes may be directly smaller than the people you are going to help, but you know Cameron would do the same for us."

"I'm not arguing that at all. Or anything," Elias says with a gentle shake of his head. The squeeze to his hand brings a sigh to his lips, but after a moment he turns to her again. "I know we're not children. I know consequences all too well. I've never once backed away from responsibility since I've been down here. And yes - I really think you /should/ get our friends back from the Mountain." Blinking then slowly, he looks away again, but does lean in to the kiss at his temple. "I didn't see having to go it alone, I guess. I suppose I'll get used to it."

"You're not going it alone. There are many of the other delinquents there, you have my mom there too. And I will come and see you when I can.. but Eli.. how did you see it happening? Did you think I was going to run away from this? Give up? Tell me.. what did you expect?" Kai asks of him softly.

"Of course I didn't expect you to give up," Elias said with a wrinkle in his nose. There's a look back to her once again and he shakes his head. "I expected to be able to see you more. I thought this bullshit was finally done. I don't know." There's a sigh of frustration then and he furrows his brows. "There is no one there," he says pointedly and with a heavy sigh. "No one that's not itching to leave already. And the people from the Ark are just…strangers now. They couldn't possibly understand."

"And that may happen, just because I screwed up, doesn't mean that it can't happen. It has only been a few days Eli." Kai wends her way unhurriedly with him among the garden,"All I can do is ask for your patience. All I can do is suggest that if they want to leave, you do too. But you wont, because your work is important. And with this, in this.. I screwed up. I should have done this differently, and I did not, and now I have to deal with that, and unfortunately, that means by default.. so do you."

"We'll never get to see each other unless I make a place for us to meet," Elias says quietly, giving her hand another squeeze. "You won't come to stay at Alpha during your ten days and they don't want me in Tondc again, likely. Wren certainly doesn't." Shaking his head then, he heaves another sigh. "So I have more work to do. It would be handy if you could get someone to help in that matter." Rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand he lifts his shoulders again. "You mean pay for it. For the satisfaction of others. It's all we ever do. People like Cam thought we had a chance for freedom, but…there just isn't a such thing."

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