Day 050: What Is A Second?
Summary: Cassandra asks a simple question and gets a variety of opinions.
Date: 7/18/16
Related: Branwada Skaikru
Cassandra Britt Sev Khesu 

Lake Arkadia
A lake.
Day 050

Cassandra is a peculiar creature, and one with peculiar habits. Though she possess all the attitude of your average teenager, and worse, she also happens to be an unlikely morning person. Up each day before the crack of dawn, today finds her at a jog — a sad, bad jog. It looks impressive for all of three seconds before she stops, leans on her knees, resumes and then starts again. She eventually gives up, huffing and puffing, drenched in sweat, and settles instead for a leisurely stroll towards the Trikru camp by the lake. She unslings her bag from her side, producing an empty hydration pack to refill.

Cassandra isn't the only early riser. Britt has been up for awhile also, and sits down by the edge of the lake. A large, filled waterskin beside her hints at her original purpose there, but she hasn't headed back for her camp yet. Instead she sits, thoughtfully watching the lake. Catching a hint of movement out of the corner of her eye, she slants a look at the strolling Skaikru girl. "<In Trigedasleng> Good morning, Kas-Andra," she calls out, her words slow and clearly-phrased. "<In Trigedasleng> I hope the day finds you well."

Perking up at the sight of the red-haired archer, Cassandra turns to listen to the words spoken with care, her eyes focusing on the other woman's face across the water. She is able to repeat the first phrase flawlessly, clearly comprehending, although the second one stumps her. "<In Trigedasleng> Good morning, Britt kom Trikru," she replies, moving to kneel down at the edge of the water. The much-needed break has her racing heartbeat start to slow, and her breaths become less dismally audible. She refills her pack, pulling the drinking tube to one side as it starts to inflate. "I… dunno what that second phrase means, but I been meaning to catch you."

Britt gives an approving nod at the pronunciation of the first bit. "<In Trigedasleng> I hope the day finds you well," she repeats slowly, then explains. "I hope the day finds you well. Out for a run?" It's half-statement, half-question, as she observes the younger woman's labored breathing.

"Ash…" Cassandra starts, then pauses. She struggles to find the right terminology there even in Gonasleng, and looks like she instantly regrets trying at all. "My friend… told me I need to start working out. So I can climb a tree and stuff." Lifting a finger, she points up towards the sky, before instead hooking a thumb to indicate the crashed ring of Alpha Station behind them. "On the Ark, 'cause we didn't have much air, running wasn't allowed. Not that I minded. It isn't much fun. But yeah, apparently that stuff's important down here on Earth." She settles down by the water's edge, lifting the tube to her lips to refresh herself before she attempts the new phrase. "<In Trigedasleng> I hope the day finds you well." While her pronunciation could be better this time, it could also be worse.

"You and your trees," Britt says with a soft chuckle. "You know they have a nickname for you now - Akorn. It was not very charitable to laugh, I'm sorry. I suppose you did not have trees to climb, either, on your Sky Ark." She lets out a soft sigh, and muses, "Life was very different there. It is hard to picture." She gives a soft nod to the pronunciation of the new phrase.

Cassandra hitches a shoulder and shrugs. "Been called worse," she says with good humour, truly not sounding offended. "I'd laugh too if you came down to the Ark and tried to tried to fire a gun, probably…" Given the sensitive nature of the Trikru's view on firearms, her expression does sombre quickly. "Not that you should. But yeah, your ways are different to ours."

A pause, and then the Skaigirl eyes Britt curiously, evidently with a question burning on her mind before she asks it. "So, been meaning to ask… what's a Second exactly, in your culture?"

"Or tried to work some of your technology." Britt offers a tamer example, since yeah - the gun thing causes her mouth to twitch a bit somberly. "I'm sure your youngest child could outdo me easily." The question causes her head to tilt a bit. She presses her lips together, trying to think of how to explain it in a way that would make sense to the skaigirl. "A Second is more than a student - more like… an heir. It is someone who follows in your path - if you're a warrior, or a maker, it does not matter - and someday it is hoped that they will take your place in the clan. You are responsible for their training, they are responsible to learn and obey."

"Obey…" That's the word that catches Cassie's ear, and she gives a slow nod of her head before taking another sip of water. "What happens if a Second doesn't obey? You float 'em?" The Skaikru term comes to her automatically, synonymous with murder; so to make things clearer to the Trikru, she draws a finger across her throat and tilts her chin to the side.

"Float?" The word gets a confused squint, until the gesture clarifies. "Oh. No. We do not kill each other, save for those who commit the most awful crimes." Britt shakes her head. "It is up to the First to decide how best to punish disobedience - it is not unlike being a parent, in that way. But should the Second prove unworthy, then they will be dismissed. Sometimes they can redeem themselves in some way or convince someone else to take them on as Second, but usually? They live disgraced. Never truly finding their place in the clan."

A look of respect fills Cassandra's eyes as she regards Britt. Elevating her claim on their differences, she adds, "Your ways are better than ours." She soon averts her gaze from the Grounders, lifting a foot into her lap and bringing down her fingers to fiddle with her shoes. Unlike the rest of her brand new outfit, they are old, damp, and riddled with holes. "You were a Second once? Does everyone got to be a Second? And how long for?"

Britt shrugs. "Different circumstances, different ways. There are things that the Skaikru does that I think are horrible, but I expect you may feel the same about some of our customs." She nods to the latter question. "I was my uncle's Second, yes. The time varies. You are released when your First says you are ready, so it is different for everyone."

The statement about Cassandra's likely feelings on some of the Trikru customs has the Skaigirl turning her head to stare out across the lake. Clearly the answer is yes, from her newly-imposed distance, but not something she's comfortable discussing. All of the Hundred have seen things, with the culture-shock more acutely felt by some than others.

"I got offered an apprenticeship, in TonDC," she says to Britt, though her eyes avoidantly waver. To prove her statement, she digs her fingers down her neckline, producing a rough-carved wooden token on a string of braided beads, emblazoned with the image of a leaf. It's a symbol from the Healing House. "From a herbalist. Marta. The one with the wooden leg. But… I dunno if I can accept it. I got stuff here." She glances over her shoulder towards Camp Jaha in indication, despite not having come from there this morning, and her clear distaste for most of her own people. "And I'd rather be a warrior. Explorer. What's the point of leaving one box in the Sky to join another down on the ground?"

Sev is busy assorting the collection of thing outside of his wagon. Seems he's been sorting stuff into two piles of 'things he wants' and 'things that are junk', keeping the former pile a bit off to the side. There's an evaluating look, seeming pleased with his job, if he can ever look pleased about anything. But that's when he sees Cass and Britt not too far away. One last look at his pair of piles before grabbing his satchel and heading in that direction, seeing what's going on.

Khesu had returned from hunting yesterday empty handed but with a gash on his leg that made him limp. Nothing serious, only a mishap while running or leaping that caused him some pain but no real injury. It is now cleaned and lightly bound though his legging still has a tear in the leather. No particular favouring of his leg today as the Trikru warrior tries out his new armor, wearing it around to get used to the feel of it.

Khesu's dark eyes seem intent to watch the tall grasses, wandering out from the Trikru camp. He pays attention to the flowering things and leisurely drifts slowly further away from the camp as he watches and follows … something. One might think the hunter was wool gathering, but he seems to have a purpose to his watchfulness and drifting.

As he slowly comes closer to where Britt and Cassandra are speaking together, Khesu can over hear snatches of their conversation.

"An apprenticeship? Did she say she would take you on as Second?" Apparently the phrasing matters. "I don't know this Marta, but you must have impressed her very much if that's the case. Being a Second is a serious commitment, so… if you have doubts, it is best not to take it until you are certain." Britt sits near the lakefront with Cassandra, the morning hour early yet. Upon seeing Sev and Khesu walking their way, Britt offers the mean each a slight nod in turn.

Cassandra shakes her head in answer to Britt's question. "She called it an apprenticeship. Opportunity. Said there'd be tests to pass and she'd vouch for me to their leader if I did. Went back the next morning where she said to meet her, but couldn't find her. Guess she had patients to see." When she hears others start to approach, she tucks her token back under her neckline, rearranging her armour to hide the braided string. She turns to give Sev and Khesu a nod, quirking a smirk at the former. "<In Trigedasleng> Is she bothering you?" she asks the trader.

"<In Trigedasleng> She's trying to learn the language." Sev utters to Khesu by means of explanation. "<In Trigedasleng> If she learns nothing else, she will certainly be able to say that phrase with clear clarity." Maybe that was supposed to be humor, the trader is somewhat a bit dry and forward. "Your inflection is somewhat off, but understandable well enough. And no, Britt rarely bothers me, and I would foolish to say otherwise, but thank you for asking." Flat-faced as always, he pauses a moment. "Speaking of," he looks over at Britt. "Being chased after for more lessons?"

Britt gets an up nod from Khesu, such as he retains for friends and others whom he respects who aren't say, the Heda. His gaze lingers briefly on Cassandra and he faintly returns her nod. There is no anger or annoyance displayed towards her. Sev's progress is observed for a moment but most of this Trikru's attention seems to be on watching insects that are buzzing around the tall grasses and scattered wild flowers. Khesu drifts a bit further, trying to follow the honey bees to see where they go, perhaps with patience follow them to find their hive.

Mead is, after all, favoured by the Trikru and their hives lost in the demise Coesbur, along with their food crops. Amusement may be in his dark eyes for what Sev calls out to Khesu for one side of his mouth curls a little.

Britt smirks at the exchange between Cassandra and Sev, then shrugs to the Skaikru girl. "I have no idea what she was talking about. Perhaps the healing house does things differently in Tondc. I have never heard of an 'apprenticeship' outside becoming a Second, or of any sort of specific tests involved. At any rate, a Second goes where their First goes. So if you were seconded to a healer in Tondc, you would not get to explore much, if that matters to you." She watches Khesu for a moment before turning her gaze back to answer Sev's question. "Talking about Seconds. Apparently someone in Tondc offered her… something." Britt's still a bit perplexed by that.

"<In Trigedasleng> Khesu kom Trikru," Cassandra calls in greeting to to the dusky-skinned warrior. "<In Trigedasleng> I hope finds you well." She waves as he turns to pursue those honey-bees, not realising that her second newly-learned phrase made less sense than the first. She turns back towards Britt and Sev, glancing between the pair of them as they make their exchange, then concurs with another nod. "Seems like… a lot of responsibility," she surmises.

"A Second's life is one of hardship, toil, and pain." Sev puts it in about as simple a matter as can be. "But it is done for a reason. You are treated with only as much respect as you offer. If you do well, more is expected of you. If you do poorly, it is the First's right to dismiss you. My First was a perhaps unpleasant man who expected perfection at every turn. He did not look upon failure kindly. The expectations for Healers is high, which is why it is a field where few succeed in. Which is also why villages tend to only have one or two healers at all. It is much the same with warriors, as I would expect." The last he gives Britt a look, perhaps on whether that's true or not. "Most who fail at being a Second often I think find themselves working the fields for a farmer. Or other simple labor-related tasks." That all being said, he eyes a look at Cassandra. "Do you wish to be a Second? It is not decison to be made lightly."

Hmmm, no, the pattern is lost. Khesu stands very still, watching and listening, having gotten distracted and lost track of the bee he was tracking. His dark eyes do not come back to the others as he seeks another bee gathering nector to begin following patiently. His baritone rumbles low, "<In Trigedasleng> Kasandra kom Skaikru, I am well." He ignores his sore leg, intent on the honey bees. The tall warrior changes his tactic to simply drop down into the tall grass and sit. Patience and watching will help give him a direction in time. It may take him a while but he will find the hive eventually. Meanwhile, he causually listens to the others.

"<In Trigedasleng> I hope the day finds you well," Britt corrects Cassandra gently. "And yes, it is. A great commitment, on both sides." Britt's face grows more somber then, and she breaks eye contact then to look out across the lake. Distracted by one of the birds there, maybe. She shrugs after a moment. "In the end, your training will be completed and you will have the respect of your First and the clan." She offers a quiet nod in agreement with Sev's points. "Being a Second also means pledging your life to your First, and to those above them. Putting your clan ahead of yourself."

"<In Trigedasleng> I hope the day finds you well," Cassandra corrects herself in a low murmur. She's fidgeting, picking at her ratty old shoes with the same distraction that Britt shows, her own brow furrowed deep in thought. For now, she seems not to mind the lack of eye-contact as she considers the advice offered to her by the two grizzled old Polis veterans.

"Then that's like asking if I want to make love, isn't it?" she answers Sev, but only after Britt has said her piece. "Do I wanna? Sure. Guess it really depends who with, though, and how." To her own people, Cass 'Boner' Bonheur has a reputation for being loose — maybe even professionally loose. It's a good thing none are here by the lake at the moment, or she would likely be laughed off.

"It is a greater calling. Something above your own wants and needs." Sev remarks. "Though, looking back, he did take a selfish young man angry at the world, his parents, and made him into something better." Him? Angry? About anything? He seems to think on it a moment longer before giving a half-shrug. "It is a growing process I think all Second's go through. Realizing there's something bigger than themselves. Family, to the village, to the clan, and to the Coalition." He raises a brow then at Cassandra. "Depends. I'm picky about who I sleep with. I would suppose a question you should ask yourself is why you want this, as opposed to who or whatever field you find yourself in. While in most things, I would say a reason is not needed, the fact that it 'is there' is reason enough. But being a Second, that is perhaps, an exception to the rule. If only because it molds you into the person you'll be for the rest of your life. It's a defining peroid of time in one's life. Causes a lot of self-doubt." Then, a glance over at Britt. "At least I know, I would find myself laying in bed at night, wondering if I could really complete the task set out for me."

Oh, aye, Khesu is amused at what Cassandra says about lovemaking and comparing it to being taken on as a Second. a nod is given to Sev, agreeing with him. Khesu speaks low in Gonasleng, "It is more akin to taking a Houmon, than a Niron. A life commitment, sometimes very difficult, but much meaningful. If a Trikru takes you for a Second, you must become Trikru, as well as learn the skills your First would teach you."

Britt's eyebrows go up briefly at the thought of Sev as a selfish young man angry at the world. But otherwise she stays quiet, mostly just listening. She does nod agreement with Khesu's assessment. "One is a path for life, the other a diversion along the way." Though that statement for some reason causes her to frown mildly.

For all the many words of wisdom that Sev and Khesu offer, it's Britt's one line that catches Cassandra's attention. Her elbows rest on her knees, toes pointed towards the water, but she turns her head aside to smirk at the older woman, eyeing her appraisingly. For whatever reason, she nods her head in agreement with her, and not the others.

The Skaigirl considers Sev's words at greater length before she offers up an answer. "It's a second chance." Pun intended. "What's a Niron?"

"For some it is." Sev it is. "It was my second chance." No, he doesn't elaborate any more on that. "Only a fool ignores redemption in the eyes of their own people. To be more than what others think you are." Idly, he moves to the shoreline, then bending down, hand sifting through the wet sand, picking up a round, flat rock. He palms it a moment, then swings his arm a particular way, flinging the stone. It skips across the water three times. "Niron means lover. Not a houmon, just someone you happen to be sharing a bed with at the time. The skaikru word for it, from what I've figured is 'signifigant other'."

Khesu is maybe curious of Cassandra's interest and how deep it goes, but the other two seem to be answering her questions plenty well enough. He doesn't generally talk much anyway and is more apt to keep his silence unless he has something needful to say. Instead he gets himself back up, watching the flow of the bees and begins to drift through the tall summer grasses to follow the necter gathering of the insects. Bit by bit he is drifting closer to a clump of nearby trees. Though the day is warm, a light breeze comes in off of the lake and slowly building clouds give occasional relief from the sun.

Discussions of Houmon and Niron are a vaguely painful subject for Khesu anyway. One best left to the others.

"It can be," Britt agrees somberly with Cassandra's statement. Sev's comment, though, causes her to tilt her head a bit. "Some give it a bit more meaning than that." Some including Britt, but her definition is by no means universal. "But I think we can all agree it's less than houman, which is someone you've pledged yourself to, to spend your life with." She shifts her gaze then to Khesu, eyes showing an obvious yet unspoken sympathy. And while the subject is nowhere near as painful for Britt as it is for Khesu, it nonetheless entails some degree of discomfort. And so she rises, scooping up the waterskin she came down here to fill. "I hope you find your path, Kas-Andra."

Sev's words on redemption visibly bother Cassandra, who narrows her eyes across the lake. "Never much cared for what others think of me," she claims, though being human, is probably lying — to herself. All the same, she nods her head in appreciation of his definition. "Niron," she repeats, then turns towards the departing Britt. After taking another sip of her water, she too rises to bid her adieu. "Hope it crosses yours again, Britt kom Trikru," she replies, trying on a more formal manner of speech with the air of someone who's distinctly uncomfortable doing so.

There's a long bit of silence from Sev, who repeats the same process, looking for a round, flat rock, and flinging it across the lake. Only three skips that time. "You're right, you know." he states plainly back at Cass, leaning down for another rock. "In long stretch of things, how you're viewed by others means little, though enough negativity can get you banished. Or worse, viewed as a traitor, which would make one less than a person. What matters, in the end, as it was a question I had to ask myself, is what it meant to me. Not to anyone else, but to me. Were I could go back and tell that angry boy a few things, I would. But," there's a crack of a rare half-smirk. "He probably wouldn't listen."

Khesu slowly makes his way over to the trees, following the bees. It doesn't mean their hive is in that small copse, it may be further on, but there he stops. This Trikru warrior once more stands still, watching and listening as he looks up into the trees above him. The voices of the others are now more muted but he can still hear them. For the most part he remains aloof, as he has done since he lost his Houmon and their child. The trees cast a dappled light upon him, searching carefully for any sign of honey bees that might come and go from a hollow cleft or other protected place.

"Sounds lonely, not caring enough about anyone to care what they think of you," Britt surmises, though it's said in an almost sympathetic way rather than being leveled as some sort of judgement. Cassandra's parting comment gets a little nod of acknowledgement, and offers a somber, faint smile at Sev before wandering off.

Not being an overtly sentimental sort, Cassandra frowns at Britt's suggestion, hitching her shoulders to make herself look tougher as the archer departs. She then turns to Sev, her expression more accepting of his newly spoken words. "What he have to be angry about?" she asks. Having just come down from a jog before arriving here, the Skaigirl now takes a moment to stretch her limbs, crossing an arm over her torso.

Something in Sev stirs. He's about to throw another rock, when his arms pauses just a hitch, before being thrown. Five skips. "The injustices thrusted upon him, made him resenttful. Couldn't stand his family, his own people, his life. But they are old scars now well healed. Not something worth speaking about." His usual monotone cools just a degree. Then he goes back to looking for another rock to throw. Skipping rocks, seems like it's something cathartic to him.

Khesu wanders out of range of sight, still following the bees. He quietly slips further away and continues his hunting.

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Finesse+finesse: Failure. (5 4 6 6)

Cassandra turns to examine their surroundings, noting that she and Sev are now alone by the lake. The Trikru camp still bustles not far, and the ring of Alpha station looms in the other direction, but she can't see other people at this early hour of the morning. She leans down to pick up a stone, trying to mimic his motions. As she slings it, however, it only sinks with a plop.

"So. When do we start?" she asks.

"Begin what?" Sev asks, tossing her stone fit for flinging. It's flat, round, and can fit in the crook of the pointer finger. Then he grabs another one, apparently picky about the stones that are fit for throwing. "You language lessons? I have been waiting for you when you wished to start. You are the one that wants to learn. The student must come to the teacher for knowledge."

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Finesse+finesse: Good Success. (5 2 7 8)

Raising a hand to catch the stone tossed her, Cassandra eyes it for a moment, weighs it in the palm of her hand, and then turns to fling it in the same manner that he has. She looks rather surprised when she actually manages to skip it, though being inexperienced, it only bounces once. "Well. Here I am," she says, standing a little taller with the pride of her success.

"In those that I have encountered that have joined the Trikru in the past that was not their clan, they had to learn the language as well," Sev remarks. "<In Trigedasleng> It's called immersion," he says, though clipping out the words slowly, enunciating a bit clearer on purpose. "It's called immersion," he says again. "<In Trigedasleng> The more you hear, the more you will understand. But you must become saturated in it until it becomes ingrained knowledge." Then it's back to Gonasleng. "The more you hear, the more you will understand. But you must become saturated in it until it becomes ingrained knowledge." Again, as before, each time he speaks his native tongue, the words are said slower.

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Wit+wit: Good Success. (8 4 2 6 6 2 4 8)

Though she has trouble following, Cassandra manages at least the first part. "<In Trigedasleng> It's called immersion," she repeats. "It's called immersion."

"<In Trigedasleng> The more you hear, the more you will understand." After that, though, she's lost. "The more you hear, the more you will understand." Though her look is blank, she nods her head after parroting. "What about the basics?"

"Well enough." Sev nods, perhaps that's enough in terms of approval for him. "I admit a degree on teaching one a language from the very beginning is difficult. I could tell you to be around Trikru more, listening, observing, but I would wager you do that already. But…basics. Yes, that probably be a bit better." Where to start, that is the hard part. He looks at the stone in his hand. He holds it up in front of him. "<In Trigedasleng> Stone." No need to repeat in English, since he's indicating it. "<In Trigedasleng> Me." He points at himself. "<In Trigedasleng> You." He points at her. Then the hand points at the lake. "<In Trigedasleng> Lake."

"<In Trigedasleng> Stone. Me. You. Lake." Cassandra seems to at least have a solid grasp of the two pronouns, having heard them before. She nods her head at his comment on spending more time around Trikru. "Do you have a book or something on this?" she wonders.

"<In Trigedasleng> You and I with stones near the lake," Sev says then, as if putting all the words together with a few more basic words tossed in to chain it all. "Not that I know of. Books are a rare thing with our paper. New books are created but it is a slow process. One such that creates them spends a long time making one. But to our language? I could not say, it has always been something inherently taught to children. Though, you bring up a good point. Perhaps something like it should be created."

"<In Trigedasleng> You and I with stones near the lake," Cassandra repeats, and it seems she's smart enough to grasp this without needing him to make the translation explicit. "You and me, with stones near the lake?" She grins, waiting to find out if she's correct. "Maybe yumi na create something laik dei." Now she speaks in a hodgepodge mix of Gonasleng and Trigedasleng.

Sev nods at her correct usage of the phrase. "Good," he replies, but her thought has him considering her words, as mixture as they might be of two languages. "It is certainly something to give a degree of thought towards. I am unsure if such a book exists, but perhaps it would be prudent reference for those wishing to learn. Those not of the clan. Or of another clan that wants to know," he offers, then adding, "It's not just your clan that does not know the language. Not all clans in the Coalition are versed. It is the main language but…" Then he really seems to think. "I will consider your idea. It is not an incorrect one."

"Helping you do this will be a good way for me to learn," says Cass. "And you could get good trade for it." She indicates her chin towards the Ark, then turns her head back towards him. "Let's continue," she beseeches.

Cassandra turns out to be a patient and highly capable student. It's not a wonder that on the Ark she was something of a teacher's pet. Hanging around the lake for a while, eventually she thanks Sev in his language, dips her head respectfully, and turns to resume her earlier jog towards the hills.

"Let us try to figure something like that out once you get a better grasp at the language," Sev offers, but clearly he isn't beyond the idea. As for teaching, the trader is a decent teacher. Clearly it's not something he's done, and for the most part, he works on a great deal of basic language, covering as many simple words, phrases as he think of, eventually offering to hold a very short and simple conversation. Nothing complex or complicated, but letting her get a feel for the syntax for than anything else. Once she has to go, he'll nod and he'll be around the next time she wishes to continue again.

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