Day 019: Things About War
Summary: Grounders get together to discuss the fact that Indra kom Trikru has declared war. — Event
Date: 4 June 2016
Related: The Destruction of Thripoda
Oxfor Veks Que Afaye Wren Rinnan Thesda Grimm Arlin Chesa Kiera 

The Seat, Coesbur

This room is a sprawling, octagon-shaped room that acts as both the staheda's hall and a gathering place to discuss village issues and decisions. It's main access point is a pair of reinforced doors that swing inward invitingly. There is a large round window just above the doors which allows low afternoon light to stream in during the day. There are several windows along the angled, adjacent walls on either side of the doors, but their glass has been painted in a thin layer of colorful paint. Inside, the marble floors have lost their polish, but they still hold the ghost of a woman in a blue Roman-style dress, standing withe spear over the words Sic Semper Tyrannis.

The ceilings of the room are high, and the light emerges from a great firelit chandelier hanging at the center of the domed roof. Directly across the doors, on the opposite side of the room, is a series of short steps that lead to a massive chair sitting before a wall of stained glass.

19 Days After Landing

It is late when the Thing is called. The sun has almost fully set, sending a wash of twilight shadow across the village as the Trikru begin to gather, entering the seat through the primary doors. Oxfor kom Trikru is already seated at the back of the hall before his dark windows of stained glass. Torches have been lit, washing the hall in light and shadow. The steheda looks stoic, large hands folded together before him, one palm working over the knuckles of the other hand. He watches as everyone files in, and takes up seats or finds a place to stand at the back.

Those who went to investigate the crash from the sky have been invited to be near the front so that they can offer their debriefing. Oxfor will nod to each in turn, but not speak until everyone in the hall has settled.

Que comes, and finds that place on the wall that he likes, a bit out of the way, but where he can see everyone. He leans there, crossing his arms over his chest, and staring.

Veks is near the front of those gathered, as the Houndsman was one of those in the scouting party. With his head down and his shoulders slouched, thumbs hooked into his belt, he looks to be absorbed in some private thought or another.

Kiera is late; however, she is also a rather stealthy, so it is possible she was already here and not late. Whichever the case, she is in the back shadows, watching and listening, while trying not to 'appear' late.

Wren has decided to show up, sans his axe for a change. And because everyone else so far has not said a single word about what they witnessed, neither has he. Standing with the members of the scouting party, he keeps his arms folded across his chest, little indication that he plans on talking until he's spoken to.

Chesa enters with her brother who moves off to stand with friends, their parents having stayed at the farm tonight. Finding a place for herself to sit, she nods to a few, but soon settles down and waits to see what is going to be said tonight.

Afaye is not eager to be in the front of the meeting, if only because there are so many eyes watching them speculatively as they take their places. She rolls her shoulders as if shifting beneath the strain of an ill-fitting jacket and sidles into a spot beside Veks. She has no intention of disrupting his quiet moment, but instead turns her head to scan the gathering for familiar faces. These are given a brief smile before her attention swivels to Oxfor.

Were Arlin a manipulative sort, he would've arrived toting some war torn ragamuffin, smudged with tear-streaked dirt and full of tangles. Being that he is not, the four-year old, burnt sienna-skinned girl riding on his shoulders has been properly bathed, her clothes cleaned and dried, her belly filled with food and drink, and her hair combed out. With what time that remained before the Thing, he even managed to acquire (okay, made) a rather basic crown of buttercups, woven and laced enough to not fall apart, that the wee one wears with all the aplomb that little girls wearing flower crowns possess. It matches the larger version that he is wearing — with just as much aplomb despite not being a four-year-old girl. His, though, is a bit crumpled in places where tiny palms periodically clasp his noggin. A third such crown, middling sized, is being held by the medic's passenger. All three, by this hour, are starting to look wilted.

Among the other scouts, the man and child duo stand. The girl is a bundle of nervous energy and unabashed curiosity. Arlin is sporting his Resting Jerk Face.

Veks's head turns slightly as Afaye steps in beside him, a brief sidelong glance flickered her way. "So much for a quiet summer," he says to her, one corner of his mouth higher than the other in a wry twist. He glances around himself, eyes traveling up Arlin to the flower-crowned girl sitting on his shoulders. Pale brows pull together until a furrow appears between them, then smooth away as he looks forward to Oxfor again.

For a moment, Oxfor's weariness is broken by the sight of Arlin and his crown of flowers. He blinks, leaning back slightly to take in the man and then the girl. His mouth tightens a bit, letting him muse slightly under his breath. Then he nods, accepting this new status quo for the time being. He takes in a deep breath, and rumbles, "Tonight we are here to discuss what has happened to the east after the newest…" He hesitates, searching for a word, "incursion from the Sky." He glances at those here to represent the group.

"I have spoken with our scouts… they headed east, and found the village of Thripoda to be completely destroyed, burned to ash and lakes mostly dry. It is uncertain if anyone besides one," and he looks at the flower-crowned girl, "survived the crash. I have been visited by a member of the Skaikru camp who has told me that this was another one of their ships bringing more skaikru to the ground… which we expected would happen… but that they lost communication with the Sky and that the so-called dropship fell too early."

His mouth tightens. "I have questions, as may you… but I will pose the first." He looks at the group. "Were there any signs that their people were onboard the vessel when it crashed?"

Que takes the news that Thripoda was destroyed with a dark frown, and a tightening of his muscles. But that's all, for now, his attention focusing upon the little girl with a slight twitch of his brow.

Chesa listens, blinks a few times at hearing of Thripoda is gone, following Oxfor's gaze to the young girl upon Arlin's shoulders, then back to the man in charge. Quietly does she remain, to continue to listen.

"There were signs of nothing." Wren says at first. "No bodies of either villagers of Thripoda or whatever skaikru may of been on their ship. There were few remains, very few, but no way of telling what tribe the body belonged to. In the end, I suspect whatever…source of power made the ship fly exploded. Those of us who were watching the skaikru execution saw the explosion from that far away, like a star had fallen and burst. Burned away the land, buildings, a good portion of the lake. Why wouldn't it also burn away any bodies as well? There was strewn metal from their ship a good distance from the village." He has a shard that he had picked up, offering it to Oxfor to look over with his own hands, should so choose.

Thesda hasn't much to say, as she takes up her usual perch that enables her to loom over anyone. She caught everyone on the way back and did not see the devastation, and seems content to witness rather than participate in the Thing for now.

Perhaps a bit late to the gathering, Grimm slips into the area quietly and without ceremony. As he was not part of the scouting party, and hasn't been to the crash site, Grimm doesn't speak up, instead staying back to listen to the others speak.

Offering a quiet laugh to Veks' wry observation, Afaye leans in toward him to murmur, "You would have been bored." With a flutter of her eyelids, she turns her attention back to Oxfor just in time as he opens the meeting. She is quiet for the time being, allowing the others to speak of their findings, but when Wren mentions a distinct lack of identifiable remains, she offers a solemn nod of support. "Wren has the right of it. What remains we saw were beyond recognition, and we did not dare poke about inside what remained of their—ship. The smoke and the stink made it hard to linger long."

Rinnan is also here, having pulled up an out of the way piece of wall until the proceedings began in earnest. The 'school of fish' tendencies that are Warriors when things are needing to be official or in some semblance of that, has her weaving through the small crowd until she's standing next to Arlin. Her eyes twitch upwards at the flower crown on his head, but perhaps wisely choosing to not offer sarcastic commentary - verbal or otherwise.

"The lakes were boiled away from the heat. The bodies that were left were like the bits off a pyre." This from Veks, looking up to Oxfor as he adds to the other scouts' assessments. "Even the dirt was burnt."

"But do we know for sure their people were in the 'drop-ship', and this was not a weapon? Some kind of sky missile? That it just happened to destroy a village is not something I find very likely." Que frowns slightly, but he does eye the girl a moment, thoughtfully.

Alas, no amount of pre-Thing pretty pretty flower princessing can belay the grief-stricken impact that hits the little girl when talk turns to grave (no pun intended) matters. The poor dear looks a bereft and anxiety-ridden as one might expect, brown eyes starting to get misty, tiny chin wrinkly with the pouting of a starting to quiver lower lip. But then Rinnan arrives, like some great benediction, and Arlin quietly tells her, looking somewhat relieved by her presence, "We have a gift for you." With a gentle squeeze of the girl's leg, he prompts her to place the third crown atop the warrior woman's head, as he dips down enough to facilitate that, not caring how absurd it probably looks. It's not much of a distraction from the horribadness at hand, but anything is better than nothing, and the child readily complies, reaching out to bestow the buttercups.

"If they had weapons like that, and really wanted to use them, why Thriapoda?" Wren looks over at Que? "Why a village in the middle of nowhere when there are plenty of better targets to pick from? Using a weapon like, and I don't believe it was a weapon, would've been a waste. There would have been no tactical advantage to destroying the village. Were it it I that had control of a weapon like that, I would strike a larger city of commerce. Disrupt trade, take out their leaders and cause general strife. I would not do it be leveling a village that had no tactical advantage." he explains simply. Like he's thought about just that topic at length. Probably because he'd love to take out the Azedga's main centers. That's what /he'd/ do anyways.

For whatever reason, something spoken or seen prompts Thesda to roll her eyes. And yet, the scout still says nothing.

Oxfor frowns, but nods all the same as the group shares their insight. He leans back in his chair now, arms resting out across his knees. He listens to each in turn, allowing the conversation to continue forth without his interruption, but then he raises his hand toward Wren and Que, and shakes his head. "You are not the Skairku, Wren kom Trikru." He uses the full name meaningfully. "We cannot assume what the Skaikru is willing to use, the resources they are willing to waste, or even what they are willing to do. We have only our experiences with their youths to consider." He exhales deeply. "The Mountain Men have destroyed entire villages in the past to send us all warnings… I do not know if I can discount any possibilities yet." The steheda pauses, adding with a deeper, more thoughtful voice, "But, I do not think that the camp was involved in whatever this may have been."

Wren's words earn a hard, sour stare from Veks. "The 'dropped ship' the first hundred Skaikru came in didn't burn everything around it to ash," says Veks, looking back to Oxfor, hand lifted as if to underline his point. "He's trying to save his pet Skaikru, as if she- as if any of them- matter more than the hundreds-" Beat. His jaw twitches for a moment, lips thinned, before he continues. "/Hundreds/. Of our own. Her leaders sent her and the others here. Her leaders did this."

"I think it's a bit silly to assume the Skaikru at their camp would do this," Afaye pipes in, crossing her arms over her chest and glancing sidelong to Veks with an arched eyebrow. "The ones up there?" She jabs toward the ceiling with an index finger to punctuate just where 'up there' is. "We know nothing about them. They could have done it on purpose, and I won't argue that. But the ones down here? I am highly skeptical that they even knew Thripoda was there. They do not venture very far outside their own camp as it is. How could they know? How could they do it from here? They can barely survive as it is."

"The skaikru are incomprehensible to me. I do not understand them at all, and as such, I can not assume that they would think like us." Que's voice is still soft but firm, "But I agree with Afaye. I doubt the skaigeda had a hand in this. Their skaiheda, though? Who sends criminals and untrained children to scout? Who can understand such a leader?"

Rinnan looks caught off guard for just a moment as she is crowned by the little girl's efforts. This was unexpected, and as such, her eyes are drifting to Oxfor to gauge his reaction for the gesture in an otherwise very serious gathering. She doesn't, however, remove it and instead, sort of just slightly adjusts the centering of the crown on her head. If it's going to be up there, it should probably just blend in more. She glances upwards at the girl and offers her a brief grin in thanks, before her gaze skips to Arlin for a moment.

"We found in the wreckage the piece of metal I left for you. I am not certain what 'DANGER: Hy-druh-zee' is or if its material to anything but it was carrying dangerous elements, which would either by opportunity or by exact design be used as a tool to disrupt this accord, in some way?," Rinnan states, with a uncertain air as if she's spent the better part of the last few days trying to math up all sides and coming to no good conclusion.

"Even if we all agree the children of the camp are not responsible," Thesda's voice comes from above, "It still does not refute the fact that blood must have blood. But is there any blood to take in return for this atrocity?"

"They can barely find their way back to their own camp after shitting in the bushes," Veks agrees with a snort, nodding to Que's and Afaye's assessments. Being indoors, he doesn't punctuate his contempt with a subsequent hawk-and-spit. Manners, yo.

And Veks gets a very deadly warning look. The sheer fact that they're in Oxfor's presence is probably the only thing saving him at this particular moment from getting taken out back and beaten like a red-headed stepchild. "I don't think the skaikru have the means or even wherewithal to complete something like that. I can't speak for their leaders on whether or not it was an accident, but an accident is what it appears to me. I also agree with Afaye, I don't think this was their doing." The mention by Rinnan makes Wren thoughtful. "Their fuel. I only know the name when I asked them about the ship they arrived in, I couldn't tell you what it is or how it works."

Oxfor looks first to Veks and then to Afaye, and finally to Que. He does not yet speak to Veks's mention of Wren's skaikru pet, though it does cast a line of worry in his brow. His mouth is tight again, and his brow has fallen heavily over his eyes in deep thought. He casts a dubious glance to his far right, where the shadow of Keta stands near the stairs to the second story of the Seat. The tall, statuesque woman offers her partner a slow and deep nod before she begins toward the stair, taking with her a pair of young children who start to put up a protest at being shown out of the hall.

Oxfor's knuckles flex and pop as he works out some tension in his hands. He thanks Rinnan's contribution with a faint nod of his bald, scarred head. "I cannot argue with what we think the Skaikru means are," he replies to Wren. He frowns then. "I have received word from the kruheda hours ago. Indra kom Trikru has called our warriors to her… war has been called on the Skaikru." Beat pause. "All the Skaikru."

Rinnan briefly regards Arlin and knows well enough to recognize that he's compartmentalizing, although there are tiny tell-tale signs she could pick up on after all these years that suggest a tumult of feeling only kept in check because he's focusing on the needs of the girl atop his shoulders. For now, he continues to remain quiet, intently listening, his expression shadowing towards brooding but kept aloft as he lightly bounces on the balls of his feet in attempt to keep the girl distracted from the discussion. Faintly, he smirks at mention of Indra's plans.

Still silence from the woman who hovers over the Thing. Her own expression musing, Thesda is taking careful notice of the reactions of those who have gathered.

Que frowns more, but to Oxfor's declaration, he has nothing to say. There's a slight nod of acknowledgement as he glances back to the direction of his workshop, where he begins mentally considering how quickly he can start producing some spare weapons.

For Afaye, it is not even a matter of argument. That the order has come from Indra seems to be enough for her, all justifications and bitter debate aside. She inhales deeply, and much like Que begins mentally calculating exactly what work she will have to do in order to assist in answering the call. This breath escapes between her pursed lips in a faint hiss of air, and her gaze rolls from the ceiling down to Veks at her side. Her eyebrows arch upward in a silent inquiry.

Wren says nothing. Oh, he may want to say something, but he's certainly not going to. Not here and not now. Resignation is etched on his face, as if expecting this was the answer that he was going to get. Because anything else wouldn't be as easily predicted. And this was the most likely of outcomes.

Who's got a death wish, a hazardously over-inflated regard of his own abilities, or both? That would be Veks, considering he meets Wren's glare of cold murder with a positively insouciant lift of brows and a smirk before looking away. Oxfor's announcement ruins his gloating, however; he grimaces a little as he looks to Afaye. "That's no war," he says to her. "That's slaughter."

Rinnan doesn't… look exactly surprised by Oxfor's pronouncement. It's either the professional adoption of a blank, almost blasé expression that every Warrior at least gets a textbook course in (personal mileages probably vary with success) or this just isn't new to her. Either way, she does at least look at Thesda and nod faintly in agreement with her question. There's blood must have blood and then there's the scale being spoken of here.

"I have a suggestion, staheda." Thesda, again, idly looking at her hands as if she's wondering just how much blood's going to get under her nails.

Afaye shakes her head slightly and puts a placating hand on Veks' arm. "They will fight back. It will be a war, even if a very short one."

"There is no honor in this." Wren musters enough to say that. "No honor in killing innocents to a crime they have no committed."

"I have not answered her call," Oxfor says then, glancing across the entire hall now, doing his best to gauge the crowd. There is a murmur that starts to carry through, mostly of concern. "We have agreed to a ceasefire," the steheda reminds them. "Maybe not with the entire Skaikru, but with their camp. I, like many of you, do not think their camp was to blame for this." He grimaces. "But this is not a choice I can make alone… do we uphold our ceasefire with the camp, do we answer our kruheda's call…" He looks a bit darker now, almost haunted with decision, "or do we aid the camp?" His gaze slides to Veks then, as if agreeing with his assessment.

Oxfor then looks over to Thesda, and he nods to the woman. "Speak your suggestion. I am here to listen."

"I do not think it wise to ignore the call of the kruheda." Thesda says plainly. "Even if you send only some of our warriors to her, you fulfill that obligation. And once there, she can be addressed, to perhaps convince her to stay her hand. And as additional measure," the scout's mouth presses in a thin line, "Send your swiftest messengers to Polis. Request intercession from the Commander. Lexa is not one to waste lives unnecessarily. If Indra refuses to hold off, perhaps the Commander will consider it."

"I… wouldn't openly flaunt a refusal to the kruheda without some sort of diplomatic channel happening quietly… somewhere," Rinnan hedges uncomfortably. Her arms fold across her chest in a manner in a tight discomfort with having to think about this. It's just maybe easier when you don't. "I mean with Polis. The camp too but… if the uh, we end up fighting the current on the political mood too early and things are… more than they seem, especially if it turns out that the Skaikru as a larger clan did do this on purpose…." Rinnan's arm knot dislodges to tug uncomfortably on the fishtail of a braid. "…this is the sort of thing people remember, later on, when things are bad."

"There is honor in obedience." Que looks to Wren with a hint of a challenge, "But perhaps Thesda speaks wisely. If the kruheda takes the clan to war, perhaps the Commander must be made aware, even if it is simply to direct the nature of this war and uphold the strength of the Coalition." He frowns slightly, "But surely we can not aide the skaigeda. It is one thing if we were to hold that our ceasefire is binding, it would be another to turn to treason against our kruheda's will." He seems disturbed by this notion, though a thoughtful expression turns towards Rinnan, and he nods to her, in agreement.

Lifting her chin, Afaye gestures toward Thesda. "She speaks a better option. I will not help the Skaikru. This would openly defy the call for war to do so, and I refuse to commit such treason." One hand flaps vaguely in Que's direction by way of agreement. "They are useless enough without it, anyway. That boy couldn't even keep his horse under control; it showed up here after we got back." She snorts loudly in derision as if proper care of a mount is a hallmark of a capable human being. "Send a few to the kruheda, send a few to Polis, and the rest of us can go about our business. Without the Skaikru." She cuts a glance to Wren and presses her lips into a thin, grim line of skepticism.

Oxfor listens to Thesda and Rinnan in turn. "I would agree… but not to sending our warriors, even some… I have agreed to a ceasefire, and I cannot order even some of our warriors to go to answer the kruheda's call." He then begins to nod slowly. "But, I agree that a channel of communication should be open with Indra." His mouth thins again, making his expression a bit strained. "And perhaps the heda." He sounds almost uncertain about involving Lexa. "But only if Indra stands by her decision to take this war to the camp."

"Send Wren to Indra." Thesda suggests. "He has a talented tongue when it suits him, and he is a warrior of merit so his arrival would not be questioned. Indra will allow him to speak to her, and perhaps he can convince her, since she is…invested. But we all know that our kruheda is a fierce woman, and the Commander more temperate. I still say we should send our swiftest to Polis. We will not have enough time otherwise if Indra declares a march toward the skaigeda."

"No, Wren is a warrior. Send a non-warrior to the kruheda," Afaye pipes in. "Preferably someone only vaguely sympathetic to the Skaikru camp, else they put us in an even more precarious position with their weakness."

Rinnan quietly, at Afaye's suggestion, points to Veks. "There's very little mystery about his thoughts about the Skaikru and he can maybe… present his concerns as someone who is going to be swept up in this conflict by approximation, which is a kind of stakeholder where it concerns war as it shows up on local doorsteps?" She clears her throat, looking briefly at Arlin with a brief 'I don't know, why I said that either' shrug, and goes silent.

Grimm has been silent to this point, lingering on the outskirts of the group as he listens. He hasn't hasn't had need to chime in as of yet, being unattached to the Skaikru camp. He frowns a bit and glances over to Oxfor, "Should someone need to report to the heda, I will go." Apparently going to speak to Indra isn't as appealing to him. Having made his offer, Grimm falls silent once more.

"I would go, but if I do not, I would aid them. At least to point of making their chances of survival better than nothing." Wren finally says. "Standing by doing nothing is something I won't do. Because I will not watch ninety innocent people be slaughtered for something they didn't do. When the rest of them come out of the Sky, then I think there should be a clear reckoning, and I have /no/ doubt about that But until that day comes, doing nothing is worse. If no one wants to dirty their hands in this business, that's their choice. Besides, by honoring the cease-fire may be seen just as bad as assisting them anyways. Doing nothing, guilt by association." Then, a shrug. "Besides, I enjoy the challenge in a lost cause."

There's another snort from Veks, following Thesda's words. "He can tell the kruheda everything he's learned, yeh?" His weight shifts as he says it, though, as if the snakiness doesn't feel as satisfying, this time around. He starts to fold his arms across his chest, then freezes when Rinnan points at him in an awkward elbow-winged pose. /Et tu, Brute?/ "What would I tell her that she hasn't already decided? They'd be more useful to us as leather. It should be someone who believes they're a cow better milked than slaughtered." He finishes folding his arms across his chest, pulling them in tight and somewhat defensively.

"Just because you are sending warriors does not mean you are sending them to fight, Oxfor." Thesda points out. Scouts are a cunning sort, it would seem. "Especially if their true purpose is to give her cause to pause. Then you fulfill the letter of the kruheda's call and we do not seem as traitors for placing an agreement with strangers over the orders of the head of our clan. That is why I suggest Wren be the one to go." She nods at Grimm. "I am willing to go to Polis as well." But she's not insistent.

Perhaps volunteering her close friend was not exactly what Afaye had in mind. A thin crease of disapproval marks the center of her brow as she tilts her head toward Veks in a silent appeal of 'It-wasn't-me.' His response causes her to relax, however, and her hunched shoulders slowly straighten. "Sending Wren will guarantee we're having babies with them inside a year," she mutters to Veks, and her eyebrows draw down in a glower.

"We must face an honest truth here," Oxfor says then, speaking to the whole. "Lives will be lost no matter what we do here and now… if Indra has called warriors forward, then war has already begun." He looks serious now — as if he hadn't been serious until now. He begins to stand, drawing himself to his full, monstrous height. "There is no doubt in my mind that Indra has already made the first move." Then he frowns a bit as the suggestions continue to roll in, and he rubs at his jaw a bit. Then he glances over to Rinnan and Wren, and Wren's words draw a deep frown on his mouth. "And would you be the one to send to do that, Veks?" He asks of the man before he regards Thesda then, and nods slightly. "Very well… I will send a party to speak to Indra… but I wait to send someone to Polis," he says to Grimm and Thesda in turn, "unless Indra refuses to stand down. The Heda may be Trikru herself, but this is first and foremost a Trikru matter, not a matter for the Coalition." Not yet at least in Oxfor's mind.

Y'know who doesn't have a second suggestion? Rinnan. She's gotten super good at falling silent and just listening, with a heated interest in looking like she's part of the flower crown wearing furniture. Veks does get a sort of apologetic moment of regard, or maybe she's got an eye tick.

"Is there anything we could tell the kruheda she does not already know?" Que looks to Oxfor questioningly, "That they are leaderless, barely adult-grown at the best of them, and that they pose no threat to us? Even though I do not trust them, this I would say to her, but I fear she would not care to listen." He does frown slightly at Oxfor, "Is it not for the heda to determine what matters are her concern, steheda? There may be blood that calls for blood, but this is a matter of a new people who may be waging war upon us. Or not. Their thousands with guns. And even if it was an accident, they have the power to accidentally wipe out one of our villages. I would not presume to know what the heda will choose to do, but I fear we may be thinking of refusing her the right that is hers, to choose."

Arlin's jaw clenches, but his teeth aren't grinding. (Yet.) His stare is hard, but luckily incapable of drilling a hole into the floor. For quite a moment, he stands like that, still gently bouncing on the balls of his feet. Eventually, there comes a point where his nostrils flare with a snort, his eyes roll, and he steps aside for the nearest wall and starts to pace a little, under the pretense of tending to his shoulder-topping passenger.

When he finally does deign to speak, his already naturally rough voice is more so, singed from bullied back emotion. "The lost cause will be your life, Wren kom Trikru, for Indra's way is the only way that is best for the Trikru." Arlin's words drip with enough scathing sarcasm that he'd be standing in a puddle were he not slowly pacing. "And there will be a reckoning," of that he sounds resolute, "whether or not it is their young for our own, whom their adults gave no consideration — neither our nor their. Those children sent from the sky because they were disposable, a vanguard of their criminals and cast-asides." In case people forgot.

"Word has already been sent to the heda," is the last Arlin relays, having seen to it himself, "but only of what transpired. No appeals have been made, so, by all means, go plead your case." That might be somewhat snide but no less honest for it.

"They have nothing worth defying our kruheda for." Veks remains certain of this. The rest of his words are less sure, and put forward to those gathered with a bit of unease. "But a war against those hundred Skaikru- even if they're bait, or meant to distract us before the rest come- where's the honour in that? It's catching a trout and pretending it's a shark. We are better than that." /Aren't we?/ This seems to be what the Houndsman is wrestling with, not coming up with a clear answer even for himself.

"So, are we decided that we will send someone to the kruheda, then?" Afaye inquires, glancing around as the room falls silent for a moment. "If the only decision is who to send, then I am going back to work."

Oxfor looks to Que at his words, and the large steheda offers a short nod — more thoughtful than agreeing. Then Arlin speaks, and Oxfor's expression becomes stoic once more. He should have guessed that the Heda would not remain completely unwitting to what is transpiring, but something in the depths of his eyes suggests he would have liked more time. Lexa — no matter her youth — is a force of vengeance all on her own.

"As I hear you," he says to the group, "I hear that sending a group to speak with Indra is best advised, and that we remain neutral in our standing until then." He does cast a look to Wren, but refrains from speaking to the man's own desires. He was captured by the Skairku, same as Gideon — a presence that is admittedly missing at this very Thing.

He looks to Veks now. "Hundreds of Trikru lives are lost, Veks," he says, speaking to the houndsman in his rumbling basso. "I do not think the kruheda dares to value a hundred Skaikru over hundreds of Trikru." His mouth thins. "Honor or not… death has come to Trikru in force." His gaze ticks to the child still mulling around with Arlin. He nods absently to Afaye.

Seven hundred and change, including a booty call, but who's counting? Veks doesn't quite /shrink/ under Oxfor's direct stare, but he /does/ unfold his arms and gesture unhappily at the air between them. "Is this war to answer Thripoda? Then the blood is owed by those who destroyed it- the leaders, Up There, not the children they threw down to see how they'd land." He hunches his shoulders inward, jamming his thumbs into his belt, and turns his conflicted frown down to the floor. Kinda-sorta defending the Skaikru feels /gross/.

"Enough with calling them children, they are adult-grown; I am weary of those barely out of swaddling casting the word 'child' around so easily." Que grunts, shaking his head, "It dismisses that these are dangerous people who are not to be underestimated. Remember, in rescuing the captives of theirs, how many of us did these children armed with unmade scrap kill? Did they not sit summit with our steheda? I do not believe the skaigeda is responsible, no, but let's not dismiss them. Either way, it is not for me to say if war should be called or not. The kruheda calls. Our loyalty is to her. Are we Trikru or are we not? Indra holds our honor, on behalf of the heda. But it does not dishonor us to advise her as best we can on what is truly dangerous— those who have yet to come down. But it is in her hands that the decision will lay. Hers or the heda's. We will not stand treasonous against our Clan, surely." He snorts, "We are not like the skaikru with their many voices arguing over decisions, are we?"

Thesda says flatly, "I still think we should seek out the Commander, staheda." She pulls in her legs from her perch, jumping down and letting her feet hit the floor with a smart clap of noise. "I think that if Indra will not hear us, the decision will come too late to go to Polis to be of any use. This is a strategic decision." She looks over at Que mildly, the corner of her mouth quirking in wry amusement. "Funny, not long ago you suggested I was foolish when you were defending your right to disagree." The gesture she makes then was once called long ago a kanyeshrug.

Que's words draws Oxfor's head around, and he considers the maker with a deep frown. He nods slowly, obviously heeding Que's words. "Our loyalty is to her," he repeats, almost reassuring Que. "And they have shown adeptness to violence, yes." He draws his hands together, rubbing them as if they are covered in chalk or dust. He feels the deep callouses and scars of his own warrior days… back when Azgeda was the ones facing down a Trikru blade. "Que… as I hear you, you say we should heed Indra's call, but also advise her on what may be coming down soon."

When Thesda speaks, Oxfor holds up his hands in a silencing gesture. "You are here to advise me, my stegeda. Seek to beseech me, not each other. I know our experiences with the skaikru are not the same. I wish now to decide if we go to fight with the rest of Trikru or we uphold the ceasefire with the camp." He looks to Que. "I agree with you, Que, that the biggest threat is yet to come, that both kruheda and heda alike must prepare."

That's apparently all that Wren needs to hear on Oxfor's end. Apparently it's still a decision that has yet to be decided. And the large warrior, while looking none too happy, has enough respect for their leader to not say anything out in the open. So he just decides that leaving is a better choice.

"I said you were being foolish to declare that my having an opinion is a challenge against the steheda's right to decide, Thesda kom Trikru. Your memory is failing you young." Que sniffs, though that's said quieter than usual as he is continuing to lean against the wall, and it seems he would say more, but Oxfor gets his silencing gesture going. He nods to Oxfor, "Yes, that is my advice, my steheda. We convince her, or try, not to waste lives against the skaigeda who are not only blameless, but would be easily slaughtered. I do not dispute that blood must have blood, but *their* blood would fall upon hungry earth and would not satisfy, not when the true guilty have yet to bring their guns to our land." He hesitates, "I fear that hesitating to inform the heda would deprive her of what she may need to know."

As Wren starts to withdraw himself, Thesda pads over to him, the only acknowledgement of Que's reply an echoing sniff of her own. When she comes closer to the large man, she puts a hand on his arm. "Stay." she counsels. "Please." Tugging on his arm if he allows it so that he'll bend down and she can murmur in his ear.

"That's not the decision to be made." That would be Arlin's distinctive baritone again, as he rejoins the scouting party, then steps past them a bit to come to the fore, his buttercup crown more askew because the girl's decided to cup his head betwixt her hands. "It is not a matter of whether not you," not we, but you, "fight with the rest of the Trikru or uphold a ceasefire with the Skaikru. It's a matter whether you stand with the Trikru or against them. Siding with the Skaikru is siding against the Trikru. No amount of pretty words, of righteousness or reasoning changes that. No shades of grey. That is the nature of Indra's law." There's a sharpness to his expression and tone as he says it, knowing too well the cost of doing what one believes is in the best interest of the clan even when it goes against the law. "The price of treason hasn't changed, so be certain you are ready to pay it when it comes time to settle accounts. And if you believe that to maintain this ceasefire is in the best interests of the Trikru, then you'd best figure out a way to sway the kruheda, and soon."

Oxfor grimaces, but nods finally in agreement to what has been said — particularly Arlin's words of warning. He sets his hand on the back of the chair where he stands beside it, looking down at the empty seat. When he looks up, his face is set and steady. "I do not doubt that the heda is already aware." He casts a glance to Arlin and to Grimm, and then nods slightly. "Her emissaries can return to her if they so desire. Indra is our kruheda, and our loyalty is to her." He flexes his hand slightly against the chair's back. "I will take volunteers to depart for Tondc to speak to Indra on behalf of Coesbur. As for whether we will remain neutral, that is something I will think on and take more counsel for."

"I think we are all saying the same things with only different motivations," Afaye offers, clasping her hands behind her back. She nods to Que and Arlin, and even takes a moment to watch Wren begin to make his way out of the building. When Oxfor calls for volunteers, she looks away just like a kid would in order to not be chosen. Her gaze rests on Veks for a moment, but she says nothing. Her expression is easily described as 'troubled' complete with wrinkled forehead and deep frown.

Wren takes a long look at the hand that Thesda uses to put on his arm. Then at the woman herself. His lips thin out, pondering, before finally sighing. "We're lying to ourselves if we think we can stay out of this. Eventually we /will/ have to pick a side. Either we join in the war effort and wipe out the skaikru, or we're made a target ourselves because we tried to stay neutral. Because I doubt Indra will make much of a separation between neutrality and association in this case, when so many have already died. If that's what we're going to do, we had best be ready for what comes about it." Another look at Thesda. "I will support Thesda's idea of going to send someone to see Lexa. She may prove more understanding on the issue."

Thesda inclines her head to Wren, and removes her hand. She seems to have little faith that Indra will be willing to listen, but then that level of persuasion is not in her scope of talents.

After he had said what he had to say, Grimm had once again fallen silent, not interjecting as the others expressed their ideas. When Oxfor indicates he has leave to speak to Lexa, Grimm offers a single nod in his direction, "I will go to the heda and get her counsel." he confirms, mostly to Oxfor though.

"We'll remain here until instructed otherwise," Arlin informs Oxfor. The sidelong glance indicates Rinnan as being the other part of 'we'. Nothing is said to counter Grimm because the scout's marching orders from the Heda might differ from his own.

Thesda may be disappointed that she's not on the road to Polis, but someone is, and that's good enough, it seems for her. She offers a nod to Grimm in thanks, and is apparently content to keep her peace.

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