Day 015: You're Such A Human, Cottonmouth
Summary: A Skaikru and a Trikru teenager laugh together, talk of arranged marriages and acknowledge the possibility that they might one day have to kill each other.
Date: 25 May 2016
Related: Follows Doctor Knows Best.
Cassandra Tuan 

Upstairs Corridor — The Seat, Coesbur
This corridor is accessed by the stairs from the steheda's hall, and is a long and wide hallway filled with various doors. Each door on the right leads into a room that is often set aside for guests or special visitors to the village, and thus are the responsibility of the steheda and his family. There is only one door on the left that leads into the baths. At the far end of the corridor is a window that looks out at the apple orchard.
15 Days After Landing

Cassandra is only just waking up on the morning before the Summit, along with the other Delinquents from her delegation who've elected to stay behind at Coesbur rather than return to camp. Her long, black hair is frazzled in a wild mane, and her clothing, though cleaned the night before, is exactly the same she's been wearing day in, day out; not a comfortable existence, though Guestright with the Grounders wakes up for it somewhat. Her bedroll is at the far corner of the room, and she drags herself out of it with a glance over her shoulder and check everyone else is still here.

With the baths adjacent to the area where the Delinquent are staying, it is very easy to pass by them and keep an eye on what they are up to. But that is not what has Tuan coming by, rather he is coming out of the bath area because, well, he just finished with his morning bathing. Emerging from said baths this morning, dressed of course, he stops as the movement of Cassandra catches his attention and a short chortle of laughter comes from him as he looks at her.

It just so happens that the wild-maned delinquent is on her way to the baths herself, likely to tame her disheveled appearance and refresh herself. And so when she hears laughter ahead of her, she looks up with a bleary stare, spots Tuan kom Trikru and lets her eyes settle on the prankster for longer than they ought. "What?" she asks, cocking her head in an expectant challenge.

"You look… quite interesting this morning," Tuan responds levelly. "You know, I had half a mind to convince you that by giving you a fish it was actually a betrothal, but my sister convinced me otherwise of it. Said I need to be less cruel to your people." He smiles and reaches into his pack, pulling out some flower petals. "Here, it will help with cleaning." He motions to himself, showing to rub it like one would soap.

Stepping forward to reach for the petals Tuan offers her, Cassandra raises her eyebrow. "I'm guessing the flowers are the real betrothal, right?" she muses. "Well, I'll do what I must. Arranged marriages are a time-honoured way of ensuring peace."

That response does cause Tuan to laugh once again, genuinely, as he shakes his head at Cassandra. "Unfortunately no. Arranged marriages may be a tradition but not for some of us. Besides which, my Sister does not like you thus would not approve of such," he replies, still smiling. "I believe she described you as a viper."

A viper? Cassandra smirks, emanating a snort of amusement from behind closed lips as she closes her fingers around the petals, pulling them possessively back to her side. "You know, you should be glad that fish wasn't a betrothal, then. Aside from your sister's disapproval, I'm pretty sure you'd be ending up engaged to Pike. And he is so much worse than me." She takes a step closer towards him, grinning and canting her chin. "Who's your sister?"

"Ginia," Tuan responds casually enough. "The one that does the tattoos so many of you Sky People are interested in. Do not be offended that she considers you such. She would say that about a good many people where I am concerned. Protective of me." The explanation given, he looks down at Cassandra and tilts his head. "I find it interesting you did not argue however. Because it is true yes, that behind your smile, you are a viper?"

"My parents' parents' parents were astronauts," Cassandra reveals of her backstory, turning to the side lest she assault Tuan with bad morning breath. The epitome of teenager, her posture turns to a casual slouch. "I'm not an astronaut, or I'm guessing I am depending on how you look at it, but someone once explained quantum mechanics to me. It states something like, the way reality is perceived ends up being the way it really is? Or is that neuroscience? Probably both. Linguistics, too. Point is, if you and your sister think I'm a viper, I guess I am. It doesn't really matter what I was to begin with." She may be at least partially aware that little of what she's saying would make sense to a Grounder — if indeed it makes any sense to her — so she simplifies, in the form of a cliche. "Or… 'If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?'" She smiles, just like a viper would, if only a viper could smile. "I guess I could be a cottonmouth. They do eat fish."

Tuan listens to Cassandra's explanations, his expression blank to keep from revealing whether or not he understands. The end though does make him laugh, that sharp chortle like sound as he reaches out and, of all things, gives Cassandra's shoulder a gentle push. "That is what we call foolish. If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, no one cares. So are you saying we should not care?" He shakes his head a bit. "If you wish to be a viper, be one, but do not hide what you are. If you wish to be something else, then work to be that. But be honest with yourself first. What do you want to be, and what are you?"

Cassandra gives Tuan a funny look when he asks her that. "Sheesh. Leave something for after we're betrothed," she says. "I'm pretty sure I have the moral high-ground on you, though. You did trick me and Pike. He was so scared. You should have seen him crying all night." And here is probably where she's lying. Turning back to face him squarely, perhaps spurned by the push, she accuses, "I think that makes you a viper, Tuan kom Trikru."

"Actually, I am a mule rather than a viper," Tuan replies, chuckling softly with the smile still there on his lips. "The expressions you both had, very priceless." Then his smile fades and he seems to get serious. "It is important you see us laugh, to see us as we are. Otherwise, you may only see monsters set to kill you."

As quickly as Tuan managed to bring her to casual humour and joking around, she too soon turns serious. "Right back at you," she says to him lightly, glancing for a moment at the floor before back at his eyes. "I hope the Summit goes well. Gonna be real awkward otherwise if you end up having to put a spear through me."

"Yes, it would be awkward, but if it is what Heda declares, then it is what will be done," Tuan replies then nods towards the flower petals he offered. "That is now two gifts. A third places you in debt." There it is, his smile comes back some. "I believe I do not want a Viper in debt, they would most likely bite me."

Cassandra raises a suspicious eyebrow at Tuan. "Is that why you're giving me things? To put me in debt?" she asks, hand closed around the flower petals at her side. She steps around him, angling herself closer to the baths. "You know, I don't like it when people call each other vipers or mules. I reckon we're human. Both of us. Makes you wonder though, do some vipers call each other cats or mules or go, 'You're such a human, cottonmouth'?"

Cassandra again manages to make Tuan laugh, he seems to do that rather easily. "Human, yes. That is quite well. I always believed that horses saw us as annoying two legs that lay down to sleep." He moves so she can make her way more easily towards the baths, adding with a glance, "The gifts are to help you. You need to eat so you are given a fish. You need to bathe, so you are given petals to help clean. Gifts do not come with strings. Although, with me, often they do come with some teasing."

Amid all the talk of potential war and spearing, Cassandra grins again. "I'll make a note of that," she says, opening her hand to look at those petals longer, for a moment. "What gift should I get your sister?"

The question certainly catches Tuan off-guard as he stands there silent for awhile, something that he rarely does. Finally he nods his head and responds, "I believe, more than anything, my Sister values honesty. When I was younger, the only times she was ever disappointed in me is when I tried to deceive her over things I had done. If you want to give her a gift, give something that truly holds value to you."

In turn, Cassandra seems stumped by this, but she slowly nods her head while taking it in. "And what holds value to you?" she wonders.

There is no hesitation from Tuan as he responds. "My family, my village." The answer could almost be considered rehearsed but it is very genuine in tone. "My sister and family I protect with my life, my village I honor and my Heda I serve. Those are the things most valuable." He pauses, realizing perhaps something as he speaks softer. "When you are faced with death Cassandra kom Skaikru, everything else will fade away except that which is most valuable to you. Except that which means the most."

Steadily meeting Tuan's gaze, Cassandra tells him, "I have been faced with death." Recently, evident by her discomfort. "When your people grabbed mine and we went to get them back. Or when you shot arrows at us. Twice, I guess. But one of them was fighting for my life, the other was running."

"And what did you think of, what held value to you during those moments?" Tuan asks, tilting his head to look Cassandra. "You are in the forest, running for your life with fear pounding through your heart. Push through the fear, what holds value to you most, right then at that moment."

The memory is fresh in her mind; as she glances to the side, avoiding Tuan's eyes, the deliberation on her features is visible as Cassandra relives and thinks this over, before reaching a definite conclusion. "Can't really think of anything right now," she claims, shaking her head. She turns towards the adjoining baths, petals in hand, and smiles at the human-mule-Grounder over her shoulder. "I'll come say goodbye to you before we leave tomorrow, after the Summit. May we meet again."

Tuan speaks very softly, "I will think of you Cassandra kom Skaikru, that you may find something of value that pushes through your thoughts in dark times." He smiles softly and turns to depart.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License