Day 049: Nokru Like You
Summary: On the trail of a boar, fate unites an unlikely Earth-born teacher with her Sky-born student, leading to an offer and a new lesson.
Date: 17 & 19 July 2016 (log took two sessions to complete)
Related: Follows Draw, Notch and Shoot, Kom Skaikru and occurs the morning after Inevitable Assault. Leads to What is a Second?
Cassandra Gideon 

Somewhere in the wilderness
Signs of a boar's passage can be seen near a stream, amid many trees.
Dawn, 49 Days After Landing

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Survival: Great Success. (2 8 5 1 1 2 7 7 8 5 1)
<FS3> Cassandra rolls Stealth: Success. (7 4 3 5 6)
<FS3> Gideon rolls Alertness: Good Success. (8 6 4 1 8 4)

After taking a shock-baton to the back and stomach, Cassandra is understandably avoiding Camp Jaha right now. Asher is off doing what Ashers do, and the girl, starting to get hungry, has decided to venture out of her hideaway to get some food. This is more difficult than it sounds: for the last three hours she's been on the trail of what looks to be large, tusked bacon-on-legs, and the hunt is frustrating at best. Upturned mounds and scuffed hoof-marks scar the dirt she's following, and the trees she passes are freshly scratched. She skulks, not wanting to give herself away should her prey spy her in the flesh before she spies it, her bow and arrow held at the ready in both hands. Every so often she pauses and crouches to collect useful plants she spots, stuffing them into her bag – but never taking too much, lest she spoil the land for future harvest. She comes now to a stop by a small stream to sever some goldenrod at the stem, keeping an eye and ear out for any telltale sounds that her larger quarry is nearby. The sun has barely risen, shining from the east in a pale blue-gold sky, at the crest of nearby canopies.

It is probably fate that Gideon is hunting the same boar as Cassandra. She has taken the time to track the animal, moving slowly through the trees rather than on the ground, in hopes of not attracting the beast's attention. She is drawn to the stream, and she has an arrow notched. She is drawing it back, thinking the boar is at the bank. But as she spots the prey, she lowers her bow and shakes her head. "Cassandra," she murmurs to herself. Then she starts to slide out of the tree after replacing the arrow and bow at her back. "You are noisy," she says louder, announcing her presence.

Because Gideon is not noisy, Cassandra is startled senseless when a noise breaks her reverie. She starts to turn and point her arrow back at the woman, until she too realises that it is a woman and not a boar that's caught her attention. A woman who, by rights, should be rather disappointed in Cassie's reflexes to point her arrow at a funny angle before even getting her bow ready. Gideon taught her better than that.

"Eden, Gid, I thought you were a pig." That's probably not the best hello to offer a woman who can crush you with her pinky, but Cass is too relieved to regret it just yet. "You following me?" Suspicion sets in her brown eyes, though she simultaneously looks intrigued, and impressed.

Gideon shakes her head slightly at her reaction, though she smiles in a kind of amused way. She slides fully out of the tree, landing softly on the ground and advancing toward the girl. As she does, she withdraws a waterskin from her pack, and kneels down to refill it at the stream. She doesn't look up until the girl announces her suspicion, and she smiles in a kind of lopsided smirk at her.

"I thought you were a pig," she repeats. Then she caps her skin and places it back in her pack before taking up handfuls of water to her mouth, quenching her thirst and then splashing the cool water around her neck and shoulders. "Hunting a boar alone can be a dangerous affair." Says the woman who is doing the same thing. Then she quirks her chin. "Team up?"

"Fair," says Cass, nodding her head in acknowledgement to the suggestion that she is quite pig-like. Now that Gideon is closer, she makes it a point to adjust her grip on her bow and arrow, showing that she does in fact know how to hold the weapon properly, per the Trikru's prior instruction — Tri here being Latin, given thrice-shifted loyalties.

"Starved," the Skaigirl then adds, glancing down at her stomach. "Splitsies?" Cassandra never uses more words than she has to, even when she really should. Even so, her offer for how they ought to split the bounty can't be that firm, as she's already rising to her feet and turning her gaze to scan for new signs of the trail.

Gideon nods in mute approval to the adjustment of the bow, and then she finishes washing up her arms and shoulders before she stands. She looks down at Cassandra, head tilted a bit. "Why are you starved? Meals have been decent enough in Camp Jaha…" Her gaze narrows slightly. "Though… I have not exactly seen you skulking around." Apt description if Gideon says so herself. Then she sets her hand on Cassandra's shoulder and points due northeast. "<In Trigedasleng> There," she murmurs. Then she reshoulders her bag, and begins to wade slowly across the stream.

Much like the suggestion that she could be likened to a pig, scrawny as she is, the term 'skulking around' is taken by Cassie in good humour. When Gideon alerts her, even though the dialect of der is a bit rough on the ears, she narrows her gaze and turns it towards the stream, following after the much more experienced Grounder as quietly as she can muster. Over the soft splash of water they wade through, she whispers, "Not-really-feeling-happy-Camp-Jaha-r'now." Given a few years, no doubt this Ark-born teenager would end up devising a sleng of her own: her words are grumbled so low as to become one long monster-word unto themselves.

<FS3> Gideon rolls Survival: Good Success. (3 6 6 6 8 5 8 1)

"Mmhmm," Gideon says as she pulls herself onto the opposite bank, neverminding the water in her boots and soaked pantlegs. She glances over toward Cassandra. "There have been times in my life where I have felt the same," she offers in her own soft voice. She continues to follow the trail the pig has left – because pigs are not exactly stealthy and tend to leave obvious paths, unlike deer. She ducks under a low branch, noting a bit of broken bramble. A thought crosses Gideon's mind, and she looks back over her shoulder to Cassandra. "We have that in common. But…" She looks back to the path. "A person cannot be without a clan, Cass. Without a people… they become nobody…" She shrugs her shoulders. "What happened that has diminished your happiness?"

Diminished your happiness is an odd turn of phrase, and so Cassandra turns to give Gideon a funny look. Not being an openly sentimental person, she hitches one shoulder in an emphatic shrug, donning a mask of apathy. "Been doing it for a while," she replies, clarifying after a beat, "The Nokru thing. Skaikru's not the Clan for you, Gid, take it from me. Personally, though, I think you're like me. We don't need anybody telling us what to do." She gives her ratty old shoes a little shake, these being the one item of clothing on her person that isn't brand new from TonDC. The river-water just goes pouring straight out of the bottom, which begs the question of what fungus must be growing on her feet by now.

Gideon looks over toward Cassandra, brows arched. Then she returns to their path, not replying for several paces. When she does, she slips almost entirely out of her stalking steps to turn to Cassandra. "It has nothing to do with someone telling me what to do, Cassandra… if authority was not accepted, the Grounders would not have survived after the bombs were dropped, and the world almost wiped clear of life." She nods her chin toward where Alpha Station looms over Lake Audo. "Just as with your own people, if someone did not give the orders, and others did not follow, your people would not have survived in the Sky. There has to be those who lead, and those who follow, or chaos ensues." She then puts up her hand smartly as if she heard something, and she immediately drops into a low crouch. "Get down," she hisses.

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Alertness: Success. (1 5 2 7 3 4 1)

Though Cassandra is listening, and looks to be interested in what Gideon has to say, she has no time to think of a reply when she hears that hiss. Apparently she can follow orders perfectly well when her instincts tell her that it's a matter of survival, no matter her issues with Camp Jaha; in the moment, the Skaigirl follows Gideon down into a crouch. She glances first to the archer's eyes, following her line of sight, then trains her own ear towards their surroundings.

A sparrow is issuing its musical, screeching chirps in the distance; Cassandra Bonheur, Earth Skills expert and Dawn Chorus aficionado, knows more about bird-calls than is really sane, and instantly recognises it. A squirrel is leaping through the trees overhead, its scurrying form seen briefly following the rustle of its messy landing. But none of these things are of significance, and whatever it is that Gideon hears, Cass cannot make it out.

Gideon looks at Cassandra then, head tilted slightly once she drops into a crouch. Her smile tugs ever so slightly, and then she puts her finger to her lips, indicating that the girl be quiet. When she speaks, she does so carefully, "Why did you do what I told you to?" The question is whispered, and Gideon does not come out of her crouch. She merely looks at Cassandra, waiting for the answer. Her gaze cuts slightly over her shoulder, but if she sees something, she is back to looking at Cassandra.

Cassandra turns to stare at Gideon again, and looks impressed. Wily as fuck, these Grounders are, as she's told her fellow Delinquents many times before. "'Cause you told me to," she replies, which she seems to realise is a lame answer, along with the lesson Gideon is trying to impart. "You helped me though. Taught me to shoot. Armed me." Pointedly, she holds out her bow. "My people wouldn't even give me a gun, which in retrospect, probably worked out for the best. Just yesterday a guard stuck me with a shock-baton in the stomach for no good reason." Alright, so there was a reason, and a very good one at that, but that doesn't mean the violent criminal isn't sulky about it!

Gideon smiles slightly to Cass, and she nods a bit. She rests her forearms across her knees as she remains in her crouch, hands nowhere near her bow. She then gestures off-handedly. "Then let me teach you more, Cassandra kom Skaikru… I'm going to be hunting and teaching your people how to survive down here… and I would like a…" She is thoughtful for a moment. "An assistant. Someone who can help me show the Skaikru how it is done… you are both Skaikru and capable." Her brow arches slightly at the bit about the guard, but she merely nods. Something to bring up after she has this more important conversation. "I do not know if Skaikru take Seconds, but… I am offering you an opportunity. I'm willing to teach, you're willing to learn."

Second. Cassandra knows what that word means, but what she doesn't know is what it really means. She holds Gideon's gaze for several seconds, reading what she can in the Grounder's expression, but then furrows her brow and looks away to consider. The word 'opportunity' has the opportunist's attention hooked, but there are visible reservations.

"We call 'em apprentices," the Skaigirl eventually replies. "I hadn't really settled on mine yet, on the Ark, but it was probably gonna be something involving research. Involving Earth. Here." She nods her head to indicate their green surroundings. "So I guess I just graduated without a 'First'."

Looking back to Gideon's moss-hued eyes, she asks, "I want to learn. But what's it mean to be a First, to your people? This healer chick in TonDC told me there's tests involved. If I don't pass 'em, you can float me? Give me cuts?"

"Funny, I'm from here, you know," Gideon says, tone dry. She offers Cassandra a small grin then before she falls back into stride along the riverbank, searching again for the boar trail. She looks over toward Cassandra, head tipped. "Tests involved?" Her brows arch slightly, but that smile widens a touch. "Lukot, life is a test." Then she shakes her head. "Cuts? No. A warrior gets a mark for each meaningful kill they have done…" She pauses, pulling back her jacket and loosening her shirt a bit to reveal her own line of kill marks… small, but deep knicks that have left risen scar tissue. "Some warriors have dozens." She then closes the jacket back up. "But, I'm not a warrior anymore. And I don't really think you want to be a warrior either."

The mention of kill marks has Cassandra perking up, and she peers on over to examine Gideon's. This is the closest that she's ever been to a Grounder, in terms of being able to learn about their culture without diplomatic masquerade, and she absorbs all she can with mute fascination. Her attention on the hunt has been broken, and she's now just following the ex-Trikru's lead, trusting her to note signs of the boar they're tracking.

"Lukot," she murmurs under her breath, memorising the word, before looking back up to the archer's face. "What do I want to be?" The question is asked with sincere curiosity for Gideon's opinion. Cassandra doesn't sound like she knows.

Gideon laughs then at the question, shrugging her shoulders. "I'll be honest, Cassandra… you are a tight-lipped, opaque mystery… you don't share much about yourself, you tend to let anger mask anything that could be learned about you, any connections you could make… you want to know everything about everyone, but you don't want people to know about who you are." She flashes Cassandra wry smile. "But, if I had to guess? You want to be seen as useful, as valued, and as someone that isn't so easily forgotten, put aside, or replaced." She tips her chin, smiling at the tall girl now.

Flattery will get you everywhere. The mysterious Cassandra flashes Gideon a sly, tight-lipped grin and quips, "Don't you have a boyfriend, you flirtatious minx?" Alright, so flirting 'back' with potential authority figures isn't the best, nor most appropriate way to ingratiate oneself, but it isn't new territory for Cass 'Boner'… and even around Giddy, apparently she can't help herself.

"Really, I just want to survive," she corrects with a shrug, hitching her bow. "I earned myself a name on the Ark, and it's not a name I chose, but it's a name I kept." She chews her lower lip, glancing away again as she considers, then asks, "And what do you want, Gid? With the Skaikru, I mean. Why teach me, why help us?"

Gideon scoffs at Cassandra, offering a wry look. "You are too skinny for me, girl." Then she sobers again, shrugging her shoulders a bit. "Because I can." Simple answer, but she goes on. "The Skaikru have potential… and not just because they have technology, or shiny guns… and I want to be part of that. I'm not valuable to the Trikru… they have plenty of warriors, scouts, archers…" Fuck-ups. "But, I think I could be valued by the Skaikru." She shrugs. "And there is of course Grey, as well."

Cassandra looks mildly offended at the statement that she's too skinny for Gideon, which is effective in curbing her flirtation. She pauses her step to look down at herself, checking the veracity of this statement, and then even glances over her shoulder to assess her behind. Good enough for Asher? Now she's insecure!

The comment about Grey gets a nod from Cassandra, who turns her attention back from her own figure (or lack thereof) towards Gideon and more serious subjects. Apparently this makes sense.

"I think, me… I'm a Nokru, like you. We got that in common, Gideon kom…" She trails off mid-sentence, because she isn't sure what the correct clan name is any more, and then picks up with a new one. "I'm not valuable to the Skaikru. And they ain't valuable to me. I can only really be valuable to myself and, umm… maybe a friend or two. If they let me." She raises a hand to scratch at the back of her neck.

"I don't want to be a Nokru, Cassandra," Gideon says, her voice serious now. She looks at her young friend as she continues to walk along the stream side. "Declare yourself a Nokru, and see how everything changes… Pontus was kind to speak to me, but no other Trikru did. Perhaps the Skaikru would still accept you, but if you do not have a clan, you do not have anything. To be Nokru is to be a ghost." She shakes her head slightly. "If you honestly think that, then you are thinking quite little of yourself… and that's a shame, because I think you are selling yourself short… and that seems quite unlike you." She flashes her a slight smile, and then stops, turning to fully face Cassandra. "Come back with me… be my Second, my… apprentice."

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

Cassandra twists her lower lip between her teeth, clearly considering things. Here's a strong, attractive, fierce and capable Earth-woman she respects offering what so few have in quite some time: belief in her; respect in kind. The Skaigirl's mistrustful resolve is strong, all the same, and she asks, "What will you teach me? What will you want in return?" Now that Gideon is facing her fully, she herself takes a moment to look around at their surroundings, searching for new signs of the boar. Something does catch the corner of her eye, and she turns to fixate upon a distant bush along the stream.

Gideon's gaze follows Cassandra's, but only briefly as she in turn examines the young woman's profile. "How to defend yourself, archery if you still wish it, how to use everything around you to survive, and how to make sure that others survive as well. You want to be someone who learns what this Earth is about, then I will show you. I will take you everywhere I go, you will learn through experience and example… and it won't always be easy. You will have to work, and work hard, but that work will always have purpose and be rewarded." She tilts her head as she looks at Cassandra. "In return? That is not what this is, Cassandra… I teach you, you learn, and then you use what you have learned. That is what it means to be a Second, and what it means to be a First."

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Stealth: Failure. (2 1 1 4 2)
<FS3> Cassandra rolls Archery: Success. (4 7 3)

Cassie doesn't turn her attention away from what's caught her eye. The large bush near the stream is moving, and its colouring is strange: black hide is visible between the mottled, dark green leaves. The longer she squints, the more the figure starts to take shape: a scuffing snout, a cloven hoof, barely visible in its hiding spot.

Now is the time to show Gideon what she's learned so far. The Skaigirl crouches, approaching the creature with slow, quiet steps, readying her arrow in her bow. "Fine," she says. "I'm in. But I… need to think about it. Need to know exactly what I'm getting into. Need to talk bout it with…" What she needs is to shut up. The boar's snout freezes, its ears perking behind the bush as it slowly turns its attention towards the approaching Skaigirl. This creature is large, possesses sharp senses, and is not to be outmatched by the would-be Second. Just as Cassandra realises her error and tightens the bowstring, it squeals, breaking from its hiding spot to charge into the river.

The arrow that flies from Cassandra's bow is not a bad shot. Gideon has surely seen better, but also worse. It sails through the air, landing in the bush and becoming trapped amid the branches and leaves, but by the time it does so, even if it would have been strong enough to pierce the boar's thick hide, the beast has already broken cover.

Gideon does not actually chide Cassandra on the being extra loud thing, because she really wasn't trying to help at this point. She does cast the girl a wry little smile. Then she nods slightly. "Do what you need to do, Cass… you know where to find me." She straightens up slightly, and then rehooks her bow into the clasp on her quiver. "I need to go back… keep hunting… but also be mindful of their tusks." She casts the girl a grin, and then starts back across the stream.

Cassandra's shoulders sag as she watches the tusked beast retreat into the trees on the other side of the bank. It will take forever to track her food down again, if indeed she can, rather than going hungry tonight. She turns her attention back to Gideon and gives a nod of her head, but doesn't relinquish her own bow just yet. "The Ark," she guesses, with a hint of wariness in her tone. "May we meet again."

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