Day 020: In A Bind
Summary: Britt and Arlin reunite and discuss their precarious predicament regarding Indra's declaration of war.
Date: 2016 June 06
Related: Things About War
Britt Arlin 


Village Center — Coesbur, Trikru
The village of Coesbur is a middling-sized settlement of the Trikru clan. It has two major entry points, both of which funnel into the village center. The first entry point is from the west, and is across the Cioesbur Bridge which stretches over one of the branches of the divided Potomac. The other entry point is from the east, and provides a direct route to the road to Polis. The village center is really nothing more than a large dirt courtyard surrounded by a variety of structures. While most of these are Grounder-built, there is one that survived the apocalypse. It is a tall, octagon-shaped stone building made of brown and red brick. Its roof is domed, and made of tarnished, greened copper with inlays of colored glass. Broad, white steps lead up to the two-door-wide entrance to the building.
Day 20

The Seat is where they said Britt might find Arlin, so that's where she's bound to. She stopped long enough to water and stable her horse, and it's no small relief to be back on her own two feet again. Bow in hand and satchel slung across her back (since she hasn't really found a place to stash her stuff yet), she walks toward the old stone building. Keen eyes scan faces as she passes, looking for the one she seeks.

Clompy-stomp. Clompy-stomp. Clompy-stomp. Arlin's not at the Seat, but he appears to be heading that way, with his typical heavy footsteps. There's an intensity to his expression — a certain press to his lips, heft to his eyes, and crinkle to his brows — that comes when he's deeply contemplating things most people would be surprised to discover him even considering. For wisecracking eye candy, he has a pretty solid mind and both the willingness and ability to use it, as need arises. Even so absorbed in thought, his situational awareness is still enough that he avoids any mishaps. However, it's no so keen that he notices the unexpected presence of Britt.

"Careful. Someone might think you're thinking about serious things." The deadpan tease announces Britt as she finally notices Arlin and veers in his direction. Can't have him ruining his cover as wisecracking eye candy. She says nothing more until she's come within a more comfortable conversation range.

Blink-blink. Hazel eyes widen with surprise, but it still takes a moment for Arlin's brain to fully register the source of the feeling. Once it does, a broad grin threatens to split his face. "Brittastic," he greets, vacillating between delight and puzzlement, for he's happy to see her and not entirely certain why she, an (admittedly badass) archer(y instructor), has been sent here. Is Lexa simply being considerate enough to field the reinforcements from people the medic likes and trusts? Easily, though, he cracks back, "You know we're in trouble when I'm left to do the heavy lifting." Beat. "Thinking." Beat. "Whatever."

And then Arlin is angling forward to more properly greet the redhead with a friendly headbutt — whether she wants one or not.

"Clearly that's why the Heda sent me for backup," Britt replies with a smirk. Or maybe it was her experience, or her outspoken curiosity about these Sky People, or the fact that Lexa just wanted to get the gang back together. Who knows. Not Britt. The headbutt is met with a familiar reaction - a scrunched-up grimace not unlike someone about to taste something unpleasant. But she accepts it in stride and asks, "Keeping out of trouble?"

"Always," is the puckish, and questionable, reply. One of the things Arlin likes about Britt is how she doesn't punch him (Rinnan would never admit to them being love taps) in the kidneys. He probably would still try to make her face scrunch up even if she did, though. (Britt punching him in the kidneys, that is. Because, really, Rinnan will never cop to love tapping.) Proper greetings finally conveyed, the medic steps back to do the usual assessment, eyes gliding down, then up, to determine how the archer is physically faring. "How's your knee?"

"Still there," Britt quips, glancing down at the limb in question. Today would appear to be a good day, since she wasn't limping at all when she walked up and there's no telltale strain on her face. She doesn't dwell on that, though, instead jerking her head back the way she'd come from. "I saw Rinnan just now, but we didn't talk long. You want to tell me what's going on with these Skaikru?"

Damn right, it's still there. Arlin's ego doesn't seem to swell, though. Good work speaks for itself. "Well, you let me know if it starts gettin' cranky." And that's that. To the rest, he snorts and smirks and rolls his eyes. "I'm not even sure they know what's goin' on." Without warning, he starts walking, as he has a habit of doing. Standing still doesn't much suit him, and it's possible that he doesn't want to discuss certain things in so public a place. "I'm assuming you were briefed on my first report." The one about how the Sky People have guns and something something nuclear reactors and radioactive missiles and fuck my life.

Britt inclines her head, automatically falling into step beside him when he starts walking. She frowns when reminded of his report, a troubled look creasing her brow. "Yes, I got the highlights." If not the full report itself. "Definitely a potential for trouble." Queen of the dry understatement here. "Any news since? I heard something about a sickness?"

Based on his internal timeline and Britt's line of questioning, Arlin's surmising she probably was dispatched before Lexa received his second report. "I'm guessin' you didn't hear about Thripoda." A small village nestled between the shores of three small lakes, a bit east of Tondc and not quite as northern in latitude as Coesbur. "Obliterated. Nothing but dust and scorched earth… Fumes…" The corners of his eyes and mouth tighten, and he roughly, albeit quietly, clears his throat. "Most of the lakes were evaporated." Lightly, he wets his lips with a small glide of his tongue, before there's a tick in his clenched jaw, and his shoulders hitch with tension he strives to roll out while finding momentum for his next words, which grate against his throat, further roughening with emotion his already gritty baritone. "Only one known survivor. A little girl. Maybe four-years-old."

Clompy-stomp. Clompy-stomp. Clompy-stomp. Those heavy footsteps are burdened, but Arlin plows through it and moves on, that stricken, slightly sour look being shoved aside with an audible inhalation and exhalation of breath through his nose. "Anyway. The kruheda declared war on the Skaikru. Someone jumped the gun, though. Sent the blood sickness ahead of Indra's schedule." Which may or may not go over well with the savage Trikru leader. "I have a few suspects but won't know for certain until I see who shows up."

Britt sucks in a sharp breath at the news of Thripoda. Clearly she hasn't heard, events having moved quickly while she was traveling. She mutters an oath under her breath. "The Skaikru did this? With those weapons you spoke of?" Dark brows knit, considering the implications.

Did the Skaikru do this? In a manner of speaking, "Yeah." But something in his voice suggests it's not quite so straightforward, which clearly rankles him somewhat. "They have this thing. They call it a dropship. It came from their city in the sky: the Ark. This… dropship is what brought their vanguard. One-hundred of their young. Criminals, all, of one kind or another. Old enough to be Seconds, most of an age to be completing such training."

Something to his right catches his attention, and his hazel eyes sharpen and narrow into a glare. It's a horse. The man nearly sneers at the creature, the left corner of his upper lip twitching. Psychic daggers thrown, Arlin snorts a little and smooths out the lines of his mouth and brows. Where was he? Oh. Right. Dropship. "The Ark is dying. So they claim. Running out of food and water, air to breathe. The people still in the sky are coming down. The Skaikru already here claim the dropship carrying more of their people wasn't due for another two days. That something went wrong. The explosion was caused by fuel. They say it was an accident, but we have no proof either way. And blood will have blood. Indra has already decided, as did whoever didn't wait for the kruheda's call to war. And the heda wants us to watch and learn, to assess the gifts and threats the Skaikru present, but it's kinda difficult to do that if the first wave is wiped out."

Britt taps her finger along the grip of her bow, still frowning. She walks in silence for several paces, her head jerking up when Arlin reacts to the horse. That lightens the frown a touch. "Still at war with the horses, I see." Then it's back to seriousness again. "I would think the threat is obvious, if they can wipe an entire village and lake off the Earth by accident," she mutters darkly.

Without missing a beat, the medic replies, "They don't have the decency to all die, so, yeah." The Horse Hate is strong in this one. As for the rest, "We don't know if it was an accident," Arlin somewhat sourly points out. "They claim it was, but we don't know. There were no human remains. The entire village is gone. If there were any people aboard that dropship, they also would've been vaporized. And Oxfor agreed to a ceasefire with the Skaikru already here, and he feels honor bound to honor it." Which, by Indra's standards, would be treasonous. "And no one is questioning that blood will have blood, but some question if the vanguard should be held responsible."

But that's not all, judging by his darkening mood.

A fleeting smirk is the only response to the Horse Hate, Britt's brain occupied by more troubling thoughts. "Whether by accident or by intent, the threat is clear. Surely the Steheda wouldn't go against the clan for the sake of outsiders? Criminals, at that. The word of the Kruheda trumps his truce." Black and white much? "Blood calls for blood, but if it truly were an accident…" She slants Arlin a sidelong glance. "Strikes me of going to war if my horse kicks you in the head."

"There's talk that Oxfor's grown soft and too trusting. If he has his way, he would take no side." Cue another eye roll. "I pointed at that was taking a side, and I reminded him that the price for treason hasn't changed." Now he's glowering, all of this hitting too close to too many raw nerves. Not that Arlin's ever spoke of being from Coesbur or why he left when he was still a boy. He certainly never discussed the fate of his father, who was tried and executed for treason, for doing what he believed was in the best interest of the clan even if that meant breaking the law. Britt may have heard stories during the Ice War, though. Dark and distrustful whispers coupled with disapproving looks cast in the medic's direction.

He snorts and grimly smirks at the archer's analogy. "Horse should be taken out as a matter of principle." Because it is a horse and they are horrible. Even so, he gets the gist of what she's saying. "If they have missiles and nukes up in the sky, we're pretty fucked." Only pretty? Quite an understatement, that. "If the Mountain Men realize they have guns on the ground — again, fucked." Arlin's no great strategist, but he's certainly no idiot, contrary to what some people may believe. It's true that he has more heart than sense, that he has a bad habit of leaping before looking, being visceral and bold and impulsive as he is, but even he can see that this immediate retaliation is folly. Perhaps his duty to the Heda lends him some much needed perspective. It's not every day that someone prone to responding to the here and now plays the long game. That in and of itself might raise a flag or two.

Whether any flags are raised or not, Britt doesn't comment on that. She does offer a bleak nod to his assessment of the situation though. "Bows and swords will not stand to missiles and raining dropships," she agrees. "If what we believe about their strength is true, it seems that perhaps they might be an ally against the Mountain Men. Not so much if we slaughter their vanguard." She makes a face, though, as a thought strikes her, "What kind of people sends Seconds and criminals as a vanguard?"

What kind of people? Arlin turns his head just enough to give Britt some incredulous side-eye. Why the hell would I know? It's easier to focus on that than the searing thought of the Mountain Men. Of what happens when people try to take them out. And yet, his expression turns guarded, curious, uncertain, and perhaps the tiniest bit hopeful past all the simmering anger and lingering pain. Those feelings churn in a froth, ultimately blending so much that he soon enough is one shade shy of his Resting Jerk Face. The medic's mulling something significant that he's not yet willing to give a voice.

But then, Arlin being Arlin, he manages to dubiously get out, pitched lowly for her ears only, "You'd see the Mountain burn to the ground, would you?" That's dangerous talk in a tribe ruled by fear when it comes to those foes, and the piercing way his gaze sharpens suggests Britt's response could be a make-or-break it moment.

Britt blows out a soft breath, considering her words carefully. She also casts a brief glance around to make sure no one is in earshot before she answers. "None of us have any love lost for the Mountain Men. I follow the Heda." A firm statement, lest Arlin or anyone overhearing might think she was suggesting treason. "But I think - if she were able to call one of these 'dropships' down on top of the Mountain, the situation with them might be very different."

Passionate people generally are quite terrible when it comes to concealing their feelings, and Arlin is no exception. Even so, he schools his expression into something cautious, but his eyes probably betray a want for retribution and a hope to find aid in such a quest. When he finally replies, it's a sound somewhere between a thoughtful 'hmm' and a grunt. It would seem that Britt's answer is good enough.

Then, suddenly, self-aware, hazel eyes dart to survey who else is around, and he quickly licks his lips the way he frequently does when anxious. A few seconds later, he's smoothing out the features of his face into something still troubled but less raw. By the time he's again looking at Britt, a faint frown has formed, and he lets out deep breath through his nostrils. "Anyway. We're in a bind. No telling what the Skaiheda will do if we wipe out the camp. Seems best practice to further assess and strike when we have a better idea of who's responsible and how to defuse the threat once and for all."

"Such things are not up to us, Arlin," Britt cautions, the statement equally applicable to the Mountain as to their current bind with the Sky People. "If the Kruheda has declared war, and someone has already unleashed the blood sickness, then things are already snowballing." But from her frown, she's none too thrilled with that bleak reality. "Even if the Heda would overrule such an attack, we'd never make it to Polis and back before the attack came."

Wise words, but who can say how much they are taken to heart? Instead, Arlin focuses on less (somehow) upsetting facts. "Someone unleashed it before word came from Indra. Not that I foresee her being upset." He smiles a bitchy little smile, tight and curdling until it withers away. "Like I said, my orders are to assess the Skaikru. I really can't do that if they're dead, now can I?" Therein lies the rub. "Whoever's responsible will be attacking soon. Best bet is to find them first and see if they can't be reasoned with." A sardonic chuckle follows. "Likethat'll work." His mouth crumples in crankiness, eyes following suit as he looks down and away for a moment to collect himself. With an air of weary resignation, he sighs. "Well, fool's errand or not, I'm gonna try. You're welcome to come along to make sure no one kills me." At least the smirk contains some self-deprecating humor.

"Reasoned with? You think you can talk them into going against the Kruheda's order?" Raised eyebrows are ready evidence of Britt's skepticism. She shakes her head, then stops walking, a contemplative look taking hold. "Victory doesn't have to mean massacre. If the Skaikru could be persuaded to surrender, or the war leader could be persuaded to capture instead of kill… Of course we don't know who's leading the attack…"

Britt stops and it takes Arlin two more steps before he halts. Turning around, he loosely crosses his arms, as though he's settling in for something. "Do I? No. I'm realistic. Where I'm unrealistic is believing I still need to give it a go." Musingly, he cants his head and considers something the archer suggested. "Perhaps she'll be willing to take hostages with the intention of applying pressure to those responsible." Please? Pretty please? How lovely would that be? Yeah. He doesn't think that's likely either.

Britt considers that, but her dubious expression shows she holds out little chance of their success. "Failing that, maybe we can persuade her to take some of them alive." Cold-hearted much? Hey, they're outsiders who maybe bombed a village. "As you said, the Heda wanted us to learn about them. We can't do that if they're all dead." She shrugs. "At the very least, I can try to make sure you don't get yourself killed." That added dryly.

"The very least," Arlin wryly echoes. He lets out a huff of air and uncrosses his arms, then cants his head to the left and then to the right before capping it off with a roll of his shoulders, as if that somehow will shrug off the metaphorical weight his been carrying. For the most part, he seems successful. "A'right. I'll go speak with Rinnan. Rest up, and I'll see you soon." With that, he departs.

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