Day 035: Stray Cat Strut
Summary: At the training grounds in Tondc, Cassandra attempts to prove her worth to Arlin and Britt.
Date: 03 Jul 2016
Related: Reapercussions
Arlin Britt Cassandra 

Training Grounds in Tondc
Behind the barracks, and in an open sprawl of bare dirty and patches of grass, are the training grounds. It is surrounded by tall trees, giving a sense of boundary to this area, as it is dedicated to the warriors of Clan Trikru. It is meant for a variety of tasks, from the various fighting rings for spars and weapons' training, to the archery targets of wood and hay. There are a few silos that store training weapons and other gear that is always expected to be returned after a session is over.
Day 35

Kasandra kom Skaikru should really not be here, and yet here she is, just like last night when she was on the field of battle. She still wears her new local TonDC fashions, hair in a loose braid, and would be easy to mistake for a Grounder for those who don't recognise her — a particularly scrawny, inept Grounder, likely a late bloomer. She remains mute to avoid giving herself away through her inability to speak the language, and is seated on a crate, watching seasoned warriors and eager seconds practice. Overblown stories of the battle against the reapers at the Coesbur bridge are already spreading through the barracks, with one burly brute swearing he saw a mutated monster of a man as tall as a horse. The younger soldiers are in the midst of a large, chaotic brawl, with no apparent rules other than 'hit and don't get hit in return'.

Britt and Arlin appear to be in mid conversation as they enter the training ground together. "<In Trigedasleng> He said they'd just broken through the lines when the missile hit. Lost two warriors and Wick's Second." Both look like they've had little if any sleep since the battle yesterday, so it's anyone's guess why they're here instead of getting some much-needed rest. Britt at least has taken the time to take a bath and change her clothes, so she's not covered in Reaper guts. Even cleaned, her cheek is still a hot mess from the Skaikru battle, though, augmented now by the new slash near her ear. Eyes scan the young warriors fighting, and then the one sitting off by herself. And she does a double-take. "<In Trigedasleng> What the hell."

Arlin's not at all inconspicuous (nor the slightest bit abashed) in his yawning, not bothering to cover his mouth. In all fairness, his hands are preoccupied: the right one is rubbing at his neck while the left is busy scratching his ass. Also, in all fairness, it's questionable that he'd cover his mouth even if that wasn't the case. Even a cursory glance would suggest that he's had zero winks since yesterday. It's evident around his bleary hazel eyes and the tired slump of his shoulders. "<In Trigedasleng> At least he's okay." Cue the lascivious smile that may not entirely be for show. "<In Trigedasleng> I'm still willing to give him a once over just to make sure." The way the medic grins, he's already mentally playing what he expects to be Britt's reaction.

That said, he blinks a few times, trying to shoo away the exhaustion seeking to overtake him, but eventually Arlin's eyes find the form of the Skaigirl in question. "<In Trigedasleng> What are the odds we're both hallucinating the same thing?"

Unlike the Trikru, the Skaigirl managed to sleep just fine. Sure, she has a throbbing headache that won't let up until the misshapen bruise on her forehead does, and sure, she did watch someone she was trying to protect almost get killed. He might even be dead by now, for all she knows (or will claim she cares). But in fairness to the Grounders, she did not watch an entire village of her people get laid to waste — and if she had, given her stance on the Ark, it's unlikely she would know the same gut-wrenching sense of horror. After her conversation with Oxfor, she returned to TonDC with the wounded, offering her aid, and was given both a bed and a hot meal, both of which she took full advantage of. There will be time to lay awake at night later, when she doesn't need the rest.

One of the seconds manages a lucky strike, sending his opponent flying onto his back as legs give out. It's then that Cassandra turns her gaze, spotting the arrival of Britt and Arlin, both of whom seem to be talking about her. She stares back, warily, and leans to the side as if ready to spring and flee.

Cue eyeroll. Arlin's awfully good at getting that reaction from Britt on command. But then, he does get a lot of practice. "<In Trigedasleng> I'll let you know," she deadpans back. In response to his question about whether they're hallucinating, she quips, "<In Trigedasleng> I don't think I got hit that hard in the head." Though, like Cassandra, she does have a bitch of a headache. She veers in that direction, calling as she approaches the skaigirl, "Come to find a tree to practice on?" Yeah, never gonna live that down. In contrast to yesterday, her tone now has been dialed back from 'openly hostile' to just 'dry and snarky'.

Nope. Not hallucinating. For a moment, Arlin looks nonplussed in the actual definition of the word, then nonplussed in the inverted definition ignorant people necessitated into dictionaries everywhere, once upon a time. Which is to say that he doesn't look like he's about to cut Cassandra — not with a blade, anyway — as he trails after Britt. "Missed the orchard entirely." Because, no, there is no such thing as too many TREE FAIL wisecracks.

"I just like to watch," says Cass Bonheur, as she watches the two Trikru. After speaking, she sends a quick glance around the training grounds to make sure her Gonasleng isn't drawing any suspicion, but fortunately, no one seems to care. They are far too busy hacking away at each other, and most of them speak the language themselves, being warriors or warriors-in-training.

Britt smirks at Arlin's crack, and tilts her head slightly at Cass' bland response. She plops her tired old ass down on a tree stump not far from where Cassandra sits. Arlin probably saw earlier that her knee was bugging her more than usual after all the riding, walking and fighting yesterday. Not a pronounced limp, but still noticeable to the medic's discerning eye. "Good," she says flatly. "Might learn a thing or two."

Nonchalantly, Arlin reaches into a breast pocket of his reinforced, drab olive Army field jacket and pulls out some kind of root that he hands to Britt just as nonchalantly. Then he draws open said jacket to retrieve a small pouch from an inner pocket, the motion revealing the KA-Bar knife sheathed at his waist. Opening the bag, he shakes out two pieces of the blackberry hard candy Rinnan's so fond of, popping one in his mouth before handing the archer the other. The goodies are then returned to their safekeeping place.

"<In Trigedasleng> I like to watch, sometimes," Arlin cheekily remarks to Britt, lofting his brows once as he rolls that candy around in his grinning mouth, knowing she will know just what he means by that — and that she'll still tell him no. Maybe, one day, this kind of ribbing will get old for him. That day is not today. His sense of humor turns more snarky when he tells Cassandra, "Just watching only goes so far. A thing or two only goes so far. Especially if you plan to take another swing at me." He smirks a little, then considers a moment, sucking on the crystalized blackberry. "You show initiative. I grant you that." It's a compliment, even if somewhat blandly delivered.

The motion of Arlin reaching into his jacket to reveal his knife and shake out pieces of candy seems to startle Cassandra, who stares widely and blankly, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Those small purple crystals are biological weapons of some kind, of that she is certain, or he intends to produce something more threatening with which to physically choke her. She stays leaning slightly off to the side when Britt takes a seat, narrowing her eyes just faintly when Arlin remains nonchalant.

"I'm told I take too much initiative," the Skaigirl replies. "But you were threatening one of our wounded." Though she doesn't explicitly take the compliment, her posture straightens a touch, and though suspicious, her own manner remains low-key rather than openly hostile, too.

Speaking of the wounded, her eyes drift towards the fiery-haired Grounder beside her. "I saw you on the battlefield," she mentions to her. "Not last night. The one before, at the Dropship. Smaller dropship, I mean," since the Trikru may not know what a Dropship actually is, and what distinguishes it from the larger, fallen Ark. "Someone said you were shot in the face… and that you… weren't taking it personally?" The Skaigirl quirks a brow, evidently finding the notion dubious. "Guess we have that in common."

Britt doesn't notice Arlin getting out the goodies at first, so nonchalant he is, but once she realizes that he's handing them to her, she takes them with a murmured thanks. She takes a bite from the root first, nose wrinkling at the bitter taste. The candy is apparently being saved for a chaser. A soft snort answers his cheeky remark. "<In Trigedasleng> Over my dead body," she quips back good-naturedly. She nods a light agreement to Arlin's assessment. "More courage than sense or skill, but there are worse things." She might as well be delivering a progress report, speaking as though Cassandra weren't there to hear it.

The mention of the dropship battlefield causes Britt to tilt her head again, regarding the younger woman with a touch of newfound interest. "I didn't see you. But yes. One of your people gave me this." She touches the still-swollen, cauterized gash under her left eye for emphasis. "War is always personal, but… we do what we have to." Sitting down may not have been the best idea, though. Like a shark that dies if it stops swimming, the lack of movement causes the archer's headache and exhaustion to come crashing down on her in full force. She's not as young as she used to be, and running around all night with a concussion, dealing with the aftermath of Coesbur, has taken a toll. "<In Trigedasleng> Headache's flared up again," she tells Arlin. He probably told her to expect as much. "I'll catch up with you later." Cassandra gets a brief nod of acknowledgement, and then the archer is rising and preparing to move off.

There's the snort he was expecting, and Arlin smugly smirks. "<In Trigedasleng> Little good death?" Because Britt hand-delivered that opening for innuendo and he's not so rude as to decline.

The humor then fades entirely when he tells Cassandra in a tone that is perhaps unerringly calm and utterly matter of fact, "If you mean Greh, he only still lives because an oath I swore to another trumps the one I swore to him." Beat. "For now." He sucks on that candy some more. Quite uncouthly. "If you mean the one with scar tissue where his neck should be," AKA Asher, "Well." Arlin's lips purse a bit, two ticks shy of an expression once known as Duck Face, as he mulls over something, eyes cast aside a little as is normal when a person ponders, and his head faintly bobbing a bit. "You tell him he gets a free swing at me, then we are square."

Then, as Britt departs, he tells her, "<In Trigedasleng> I'll come check your knee in a few."

Cassandra's single braid reveals more of her face than is often seen, but one thing it keeps hidden is the majority of her bruise and head injury, which is swept by hanging strands of her hair. She pulls the left side back and holds it up, allowing Britt to get a better look.

"Your people gave me this," the Skaigirl replies, revealing a horizontal V-shaped scar pointing back towards her hairline. It could only have been caused by an arrowhead, and she's lucky it only grazed the skin and knocked her head sideways, rather than piercing her skull. But by the tone of her voice, she understands what Britt is saying, and hasn't taken it too personally either.

Cassandra doesn't mean Greh. She does in fact mean the one with the scar tissue where his neck should be, and the hardening of her expression at Arlin shows it. "Tell him yourself," she remarks, always needlessly confrontational. "He'll be fine." Not that anyone said he wouldn't be, but she feels the need to reassert this fact. "I told him we should… find somewhere." A pause, her lips receding and pursing nervously, in contrast to the protrusion of his own. "To take us in."

The hair sweep was for Britt's benefit, but Arlin's tired eyes are oh so keen when it comes to espying injuries. That's just how healers roll. Silently, he assesses and leaves it at that. The hostility is met with a mild shrug. "If ever I see him." His tone is that of 'no skin off my nose if I never do' as opposed to 'that guy is gonna die'. Then, for a moment, he looks incredulous. "Find somewhere." He sounds incredulous, too. "Take you in." Still looks and sounds incredulous, at least until it turns into an understated kind of droll humor. "I can see you a stray cat." That's something of a compliment, even if it may not seem so. "Scrappy like one." Sucking more on that candy, he muses, expression more guarded. "Not popular with your clan, are you?" Because it takes one social pariah to know one.

Scrappy? Cass narrows her eyes, on guard for an insult, though she detects the note of a compliment in the backhand — it's enough to placate her enough that she no longer looks ready to flee. "I can be useful," she says defensively, and with a touch more confidence, reinforces, "I am useful." She lets her hair fall back over the scar, her eyes following Britt for a moment longer as the redhead departs. To speak of one's status as a social pariah is bad enough in the company of one, so she waits until there are no longer two to continue. "I'm not talking about fighting. You're the Morgan, right? The medic. I know… plants."

Abruptly, the Skaigirl hauls her Grounder-made bag onto her lap to hastily dig through its contents. If only she hadn't trade the majority of her medicinal herbs for new clothing… but she does have a scrap of willow bark, which she proudly holds up, and then retrieves a tab containing three round pills. "And things." She needs those antibiotics, and they're not for trade, but she thrusts them out for Arlin to see: Skaikru medicine.

Being compared to Morgan prompts a derisive snort, but Arlin's at a point in his life where his work does all the talking that needs to be done. Still sucking that candy, hazel eyes widen a bit and he vaguely shakes his head in a needling, non-verbal 'so?' when Cassandra says she knows plants. It's not like that's a rare skill among the Trikru. The pills, though… those draw the medic's attention, apprehensive yet interested. "What are those?" Cautiously curious.

"Antibiotics," Cassandra enthusiastically explains, catching onto Arlin's curiosity and using it to bolster her own sense of scientific wonder. How often does an Ark-born teenager get to talk shop with someone who doesn't know more than her? "They fight infection." She pulls back her hair again, pointing to the scar. "Prevent the wound from festering. So my head doesn't fall off." That last embellishment may have been a step further than is realistic, but she pops one of the pills out of the tab for him to see in her hand, then swallows it. Her metal water-flask is taken from her bag a second later to help it go down.

"They're made from fungus. You know, mushrooms," she soon after explains. "We use plants and things like you, but we condense them into more portable and bioavailable forms."

The medic makes a soft noise that can only be best described as a thoughtful grunt. Antibiotics. Arlin actually knows what those are, even if this is the first time he's seen any not a century passed their expiration date. He also knows that they only work on bacterial infections. Sure, he could play dumb, try to see what Cassandra knows and shares, but for good or for ill, he's far too forthright for duplicity. "And you have the means to make such, stray cat?" Again, he looks and sounds incredulous. After all, moments ago, she was intimating that she was looking to leave the Skaikru and presumably all their medicine making tech.

Both the Trikru and the Skaikru seated on the verge of the skirmish appear to suffer from the same problem: chronic forthrightness. She does take a moment to consider the possibility of lying, but that would be a short con, and she's in it for the long-haul. Eventually the truth of her limited abilities would come out. "No," she admits. "But I know the science behind it. And I know people who do have the means." She tucks her bounty away, lest greedy eyes become too tempted to snatch, and her hand coils readily around the strap of her bag.

The confession conjures a smirk, Arlin's gritty baritone voice further roughhewn from a need of sleep as he wryly quips, echoing the Skaigirl's words from earlier, "You just like to watch." The turning of his head a few inches to his right coupled with the lofting of his brows emphasizes the punchline. "So you know plants but are in no position to make your Sky medicines from them." Sky medicines that the healer seems entirely unperturbed that she's putting away. "And you seek to leave your clan, which suggests the people you know probably have no interest in making them for you." Because if she were well-liked, why would she consider leaving? "Tell me then, stray cat, what do you bring that the Trikru do not already have?" There is something challenging in his tone, but not unkind as much as one who has neither time nor interest in horseshit.

Cassandra can certainly feel that the pressure is on, and her brows knit as she does, indeed, watch Arlin intently. "Information," she slyly suggests, in a low tone of voice. "An ally. Someone you can trust not to bullshit you for their own self-interest, unlike Greh, because I don't have any self-interest." Her suicidal fighting styles and self-admitted excess of initiative may prove that, even if her phrasing is a little off. She copies the Trikru pronunciation of Lucian's name. "Someone who understands technology and science, which is what the Mountain uses to cow you. Or maybe you just like stray cats." Her finger points to the barracks and beyond, and she insists, "I can learn to fight. And I can do anything your people can do and more."

There's another snort, immediately followed by an epic rolling of tired hazel eyes that seem particularly green this day. "Every one has self-interest," is dryly pointed out with a level look. For a moment, he rolls that candy around the inside of his mouth, tongue clacking the treat against his teeth. When she mentions the Mountain, though, there is a flash of something that cuts through the dullness of his sleep deprived gaze. It comes to a slow boil in the clenching of his jaw and the sour press of lips and the crinkle of his brows. This is not a man who is cowered, which might prompt one to reassess the context of the anger he's spewed at the Skaikru for bringing down the Mountain's wrath.

Eventually, though, it all smoothes into a smug smile at Cassandra's claim that she can stand toe-to-toe with the Trikru and then some. "Not tree climbing," Arlin snarks before turning to depart, quipping, "Careful, kitten. Some people skin strays that wander places unwanted."

"Good thing I always land on my feet," Cass quips in return, rising to her own. She dances to the side when a spear goes hurtling too close for comfort near her head, then glances back at the smug, grinning second who threw it. Scrunching up her face in what might even be the beginnings of a hiss, she follows Arlin out of the training grounds, before taking a separate route.

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