Day 031: The Puzzle Lays More Pieces Down
Summary: Pontus has a heart to heart with Kai about her screw-ups as a Second.
Date: 06/30/2016
Related: None
Pontus Kai Elias 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

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 heavyweight 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. Yeah 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> Orphean-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 staying 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

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 overhears 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 he 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'll worry about it." Oddly hands off? Or maybe it was 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 lets 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.

Warrior Barracks - Tondc, Trikru

The Warrior Barracks take up the bottom level of what had once been a magnificent museum. All that remains is this floor, which had housed the atrium and research labs. There is no evidence remaining of its once purpose, as it has been completely converted into barracks for the Kruheda's Warband. Through the entrance — up a series of wide stairs and through several gaps in the stone wall — is an open-air courtyard surrounded by high walls and pillars. The marble floors have lost their shine over a century of neglect, and the elevated platform features the half-destroyed remains of an elephant statue. From this circular room are several entrances to the barrack wings. At the back of the courtyard is an archway that leads out to the training grounds.

Each wing supports an open common area with tables and chairs for shared meals, and then individual alcoves for sleeping. A fire pit burns at the center of each wing, giving warmth and light when the sun sets.

Day 32

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 bannister 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 the other where he learned 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. More so 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 really 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… an 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 that 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 mores o 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 want 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 tilted his head "If you want to limp and fake it we can 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."

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