01.24.3013: A Dalton and a Hard Place
Summary: Nitrim takes a trip to the Ring for reagents and runs into not one, but TWO scary Dalton ladies.
Date: November 14, 2013
Related: A few hours before the events of Empirical
Evey Helena Nitrim 

The Bazaar - Blue District, The Ring
Stepping off the lift and into the Blue District is almost like stepping into another world. The senses are assaulted with a complexity of scents, sights, and sounds. Light that abscribes to the same hours as the rest of the Ring glows from insets in the dark metal ceilings. The Bazaar is one of the central hubs of the Blue District — also known as the Entertainment District. There are dozens of shops and emporiums that clutter around the outer edge of the bazaar with stands and kiosks making organized chaos of its center. There are some shops that have been there for generations, including the famous — if not a little infamous — Gregor's Strange Meats. This is the place to find the weird and the bizarre. It is known that the Blue District hosts the impoverish and underworldly inhabitants of the Ring, making it not only the most mystifying but also the most dangerous district on the space station. There are several corridor-like thoroughfares that branch off from the Bazaar, leading deeper into the District.
January 24, 3013

The Bazaar on the Ring at Occulus is, at all times, a place with a life of its own. With hawkers selling wares and dozens of rare stalls brought in with silks, strange nicknacks, and electronics for sale, the place itself is sometimes closer to a swap-meet than a standard shopping center. As always, the lure is to enter the Bazaar and wander in search of treasures you weren't entirely aware you wanted…which is exactly what Lord Nitrim Khournas is doing today.

With his long, black coat sweeping the floor near his heavy boots, the Young Drake of Khournas is walking alone with his hands clasped behind his back and his eyes scanning in the direction of the Hermetic wares. In the distance, a stand carrying all kinds of mystical effects such as blood and antlers catches his eye, and he moves in its direction.

At a neighboring stall, Lady Evey Dalton is wearing a flowing yellow dress and her leather riding boots. She's eying some glove selections and humming a bit to herself. The flow of people going around her. And then, out of the corner of her eye she spots Lord Nitrim himself.

The possible purchase forgotten, she moves to him with a wide smile. "Nitrim!" She gives a way and takes a few steps closer. "Of all the people - how are you?"

Nitrim slows, his ear quirking at the sound of his name. Assassins and thieves rarely call your name before attacking, because it's not a surprise if you yell first, and if you yell first it's not a surprise. The voice sounds feminine and cheery enough, which forces the lordling to turn his neck in Evey's direction. New scar tissue on his neck, a series of dotted remains and purpled flesh left behind that was not there the last time he visited Detrius, twists with his neck as he manages a quiet smile.

"Lady Evey." Nitrim's smokey voice roils out towards her, resulting in a quasi-formal bow of his head as his coat-tails sweep the floor in his turn. Since he last visited the Dalton's he's put on a degree of muscle…and a degree of looking far more beat up than he did three months ago. "I'm well! I'm well, at least no worse for wear than usual." He motions to her, finishing the slow smile. "You're looking well, how have you been? It's been too long, my lady."

There's a grimace from Evey amidst her smile, she gives him a once-over with her scanning eyes. Then she gives him a quick hug. "It would appear you've been off saving the system again, have you?" She says with a bit of a tease to his wounds. "And I think we know each other well enough to be on first name terms now, yes?" There's a sparkle in her eye as she looks to the booth where he was heading. "Looking for a trinket?"

After she releases her hug, she'll seem thoughtful. "I've been…busy. In so many ways, but talk to me. Tell me some stories - you must have a few from your latest and greatest."

Squeezing gently into the hug, Nitrim laughs against her shoulder and shakes his head wryly. "Yes, yes, we've known each other for years when I drudge myself up from my Cave of Seclusion to let myself get a little sunlight." Nitrim muses, taking a step back from her to look down over the front of his shirt and smooth it into place. "If it weren't for friends I'd be as white as Niveus, aye?" His head jerks in the direction of the stall and with one very animated, very obvious stretch of his long legs toward it to signal that he's going to stroll that way, he starts their walk.

"Stories, you say?" Nitrim smirks, brushing a claw-ringed hand through his short blonde hair. He has stories. The tabloids have many more. "I've been on and off of the war-front, been delving into deep, dark holes where things should not be. Our invaders have a habit of stabbing me in places where I'd rather they not. This," He points to his neck with a frown. "…was that explosion at Obsidia." He looks to her as he strolls. "Have you been getting the dreams as well?"

Evey gives him a playful smirk. "Or maybe you were just brightening up all our days. Believe it or not, Detritus can be a dark, dark place." She strolls close to his side, catching the not-so-subtle hint on their direction. There's no rush in her stance, as if she didn't really have a plan or appointment for the moment.

Does Evey read the tabloids? Certainly. Thankfully, she was asking about the things she couldn't read about, the actual Nitrim before her. Her hand reaches up reflexively towards his neck at the mention, resting there softly. "Damn hosties." She says quietly before removing her hand. At the mention of dreams she gives an eye-roll. "Am I an Awakened Dalton or ain't I?" A grin and chuckle follow the comment.

"You know," Nitrim replies, tilting his neck so that she can get a better look, her hand to the scar that was one of the many that nearly took him. "I've heard of people having dreams that I never had. Something about a knight being executed, and it's something that for the life of me I know I never had. But I've seen the dreams come true, some of them I know touched places where I went. It's been…grim yet amazing, to say the least." Nitrim sighs, stretching his jaw out as she removes her hand. "Like being at the center of a storm. Like being important."

His words trailing off, Nitrim slows as they near the stall and his eyes shoot up to jars of rare animal blood and chalks, all the trade of a certain breed of Hermetics that focus on the universe and its black mathematics; Nitrim's specialties. "Your Lady Cousin, Helena, has been a good friend to me these last few months, and isn't afraid to jab me in the ribs where I need to be jabbed. I like you Daltons very much, Evey, and if it weren't for me having so much to do I'd have visited more these last few months."

"Well, I'm not quite as divinely inspired as some, but, don't you think we are kinda important Nitrim? Like, there's something in the universe that's arisen in and through us…it's different and special." Evey says quietly, but then smirks. "Not that you'd actually need dreams to make you important, of course."

Her eyes scan the booth's offerings casually, but it's rather apparent that little here holds her interest. "Helena's quite the person, isn't she?" There's a wide grin from Evey. "And we Daltons rather like you, Nitrim. I might even just like you myself." She adds.

Nitrim lowers his jaw from his browsing of the hooks to focus his dark, green eyes on Evey's. A slender, blonde brow quirks gently towards her, his eyes slitting like the snakes he is known to be so fond of. Fun and all, he ends the look with a playful grin with flashed, white teeth. "I wonder sometimes if you Daltons place your trust in chaos, Evey, because if anything I am chaos. Still, you and your cousin have always been good to me. I'm rather fond of the two of you as well." For a second, his grin widens before his eyes shift back up to the racks.

Taking down a few vials of blood, some rare ashes, and a few nicknacks in brass, he holds them out to her for her viewing. "Now, the question begs itself, Evey, do I go with the goat's blood or the ram's blood? You've always been partial to ram, correct?" It's a joke.

Eying him with a friendly smirk followed by a headshake, Evey chuckles a bit. "Nitrim, all people are agents of chaos in their own way. And the one's who aren't may as well be machines." There's a thoughtful look in her eyes as he talks of Helena.

"I'm quite offended you've forgotten my preference has always been for lion's blood. Pure power." Evey retorts teasingly. "Ram's blood is for lesser spells, sheesh." She even adds a playful pat to his arm.

Batted at the arm, Nitrim laughs and holds the ram's blood vial where Evey can see. The two of them have been swallowed whole by the Bazaar at the Ring, and are standing at a merchant's stall selling Hermetic wares. As can be expected, the brash Khourni drakeling is teasing the slightly older Dalton with vials of blood.

"Lion's blood? Ambitious." Nitrim tsks, his eyes lowering back to the vials as he gives Evey a light shove with his elbow. "I've always found it a little pure for my tastes. It seems like a bit of a lie when I use it. I'm not entirely sure." He adds, blithely, as he sets the vials down on the counter and reaches for a bag of caustic-smelling incense. "So tell me, Evey, what is your take on the recent dreams? Most noteably the one I've been having where I'm staring off at that distant star. Do you think it's a view from the Hostile homeworld?"

"We each have our uses, though I rarely would use blood at all, Nitrim. I have my cards, after all." Evey smiles and eye-rolls. "You think the 5th World has swirled off into orbit of another star? Intriguing. And what might that mean? Part of me wonders if it's not Old Earth, either, though I imagine your theory far more popular and likely."

After a minor - and, thankfully, unpublicized - breakdown, Helena has returned to her main duties as a trauma surgeon on the Ring. So it is no surprise for the barista at the coffee kiosk to recognize the Doc when she stops by for a drink, greeted with a cheerful smile and a simple question: "The usual?" Returning the smile with a grateful one of her own, Helena drops into one of the unoccupied plastic chairs nearby and kicks up a polite and casual conversation with the barista while he makes her drink and she checks messages on her tablet. The talk, for those close enough to overhear, is nothing more than the same topic that seems to come up everywhere: what we should do about the Hostiles. Helena's responses are the vague "Mmhmm" and "I understand" and "I see what you mean" while she types out a quick message.

"You give me far too much credit, Evey." Nitrim laughs as he fishes out his wallet and pays for the reagents. They're gathered quickly into a felt bag and offered to the lordling, who leaves a sizeable tip for the shopkeeper. "But I think if it were the Hostile homeworld on a destabilizing orbit, it might explain why they're so hungry for our land, right?" Nitrim looks to her, flashing his teeth to the brunette as his arm extends to nudge her shoulders, gently, away from the stall. "Speak of the Devil and she'll make herself known, Evey, is that your cousin, Helena, on what appears to be yet another stressful work-related call?" He looks to Evey with no lack of conspiracy on his face. "What does she need, truly? Annoying company?"

"That'd certainly be a sound theory. And we blew up about a third of our usable land last time, so I'd imagine that'd just make them more desperate, eh?" She follows his conspiratorially aims. "If I know my cousin, there's little she needs besides a vacation." Evey says loudly and with a smirk. "But annoying company shall have to suffice for today." She grins to Nitrim before making her way to Helena.

Oh coffee - Helena's very lifeblood, it seems. She grasps her cup welcomingly with two hands, squinting at her tablet as if in wait. Her gaze flickers up for a moment to take in the passersby, and a shift in the crowd reveals both Evey and Nitrim. "Speak of the devil," she murmurs, unknowingly echoing the Khourni's most recent sentiment. With a faint smile, she lifts a hand to wave at them in welcome before using a foot beneath the table to nudge two seats out for them. "I just sent you a message, Lord Nitrim. And ah, cousin! Your lovely face brightens my day. I hope you have news of Lord Cynan, for he has been much too busy to entertain me, and I am feeling slighted. Sit, sit, both of you. Coffee?"

As expected, a second later there's a chirp at Nitrim's side, sending the Khourni to make a mock look of surprise. Jaw agape and a hand over it, his brows shoot up. "I wonder who that could be?" Reaching to his hip, he brushes his coat aside and flashes the two Daltons a wiley grin as he pulls the datapad free. Bumping Evey's hip, he turns and drops to a bench and flips the screen to life. Sure enough, there's a message from Helena there. "Please, I've got more coffee in my veins than blood these days," Nitrim replies, his side pointing to Helena where his new scar, a series of tiny puncture wounds on his neck dangerously close to his vital arteries, blares bright as day. In truth, the man looks tired. "Evey, should I have fun with this and spell out my message while typing it or just answer her, in person, from this bench?"

"Helena!" Evey says with a broad smile as she departs Nitrim's side to give her a tights squeeze-hug. "Coffee sounds wonderful. And Nitrim, you should telepath your message to her. Wouldn't want to catch a lady off-guard, now would you?" She teases and is off to quickly order her mocha.

Helena offers Nitrim a bland stare before raising a hand to signal to the barista that the Khourni and Evey are both 'with her.' "Your drinks are on me despite Lord Nitrim's best attempts to rile me," she says in an even tone while smiling her sweetest and most saccharine yet. "And he would catch me more off-guard by talking in my head than he would by sending me a surprise message," she continues, wrinkling her nose at the mention of telepathic abilities of any kind. "I was half-expecting you to still be torturing yourself with a shut-in life back home, but I'm glad to see you're out and about. And surviving, too! You should update me on whatever tabloid gossip I've been missing."

"Off-guard?" Nitrim muses, lifting a brow after Evey as she saunters off to the barista. "Oh no, the mention of my tabloid fame is a nice, nice shot indeed why thank you, Lady Helena." Nitrim bares his teeth in a mock look of anger, directed towards the blonde of the two Daltons as he rises to follow Evey to the nearby barista. Quickly ordering something tall and strong, he slips his datapad away. "I don't think it's possible to catch her off guard, Evey, save for those brief moments of humor when being stitched up. I choose the worst times for jokes." Nitrim pauses to pull out his cigarette case. "Shut in life has been…difficult. I've managed to avoid the crowds of photographers, pit myself on the front lines, a brief hospital stay, but I've been well behaved, thank you. There is no new gossip."

"The benefits of being a doctor. Helena knows the rights wounds to both harm and cure." There's a bright, proud grin as she takes her mocha and sits across from her cousin. Looking a bit guilty, Evey will looks to Nitrim as he pulls out his pack of smokes. "Got any to spare - shut in?" She chuckles a bit before addressing the previous concerns to Helena. "Cynan's being Cynan. You know he's got to be all monastic and recharge from time to time."

"One could even say it was — below the belt." Helena mimics a drumroll with her knuckles on the table, flashing a genuine grin toward Nitrim. She waits in silence while the two fetch their coffees and return to their seats, creating a cozy little gathering in the middle of the busy bazaar. Evey's comment draws out a quiet laugh. "Monastic? Can you believe I've never heard that word used to describe him? But it suits perfectly, I think. Yes, he is being Cynan, ahaha. Well." She laces her fingers together around her coffee cup and looks between Nitrim and Evey. "What shopping did you two do today?"

"I have plenty to share." Nitrim replies to Evey, taking a seat in between the two Daltons as he fishes out a cigarette for himself. One cigarette pops into his lips and his eyes wash over in white, sprouting a flame over his fingertips. Blindly motioning to the side, he offers the open case to Evey as he dips the tip of his cigarette into the flame, takes the first drag, and then offers the flame to her. "Well, I'm certainly visiting less clubs than I used to and am catching up on my reading. I'm still keeping busy with other work. I'm a lot more than just tabloid drama and lies." He pauses, chuckling out a small cloud of cigarette smoke. "I bought some ram's blood. Evey's thinking of taking up Hermeticism. Bwu-ha-ha."

"You've known my brother all these years, Helena." Evey says with a smile. "Let me go run off and find myself - alone. Monastic definitely fits." While there's teasing, it's quite clear that she cares for Cynan all the same. She'll take the cigarette and puff it in the flame, glancing a bit guility to her cousin the doctor as she does. "Wait…your work involves things other than tabloiding and fighting?" Mock shock from the other Dalton. "And poor fellow here seems to be having some after-shocks of a concussion. His memory seems off. Helena, would you check on him please?"

"Hermeticism? I think she's having you, Nitrim." Helena waits politely until both cigarettes are lit and the conversation can continue; her expression is carefully neutral, as she is hardly one to judge. If she fans any smoke out of her face, it is done in as subtle a manner as possible. "A concussion? Really?" Attention piqued, Helena frowns and leans forward to stare intently at Nitrim as if perhaps able to glean his status simply from his eyes. "What happened? Have you been scanned? I swear you have a death wish, you reckless man. What memory issues?"

"Your dearest cousin, Helena, is trying to suggest that I have nothing else to do with my time other than cause tabloid rumors and fight with the rest of the drakes." Nitrim turns his head so that Helena can see his eyes, well, what's not all-white about them. When his hand snaps free of the fire, he grins and punches it gently towards Evey's knee like an angsty teen-ager. Eyes wide, Nitrim points to them and assures Helena that he is, in fact, just fine. To show her further, his eyes unfog and are green once more, and not one bit crossed. "I have been training Dahlia, have been working on my journals, and have been giving these dreams a great deal of thought lately. I've also been visiting a girl who's made a bit of an anomalous appearance over the InfoSphere as of late and is not a romantic interest. Don't sell that to the news. Please."

Helena senses: Nitrim sends before his eyes uncloud. I will be gathering everyone again, soon. This time, believe it or not, no one is angry at me. However, Ithaca is pregnant with someone's child. Not mine. She's bull-rushed into being a mother.

"Well, dear cousin, I believe we may have found ourselves a story to sell." Evey chuckles for a moment, but her smile softens as she gently places her hand over onto Nitrim's. "And you know, as always, your juicy gossip's safe with us." The tease has a bit of caring behind as she pulls her hand back to take a drag on the cigarette, making sure to keep the smoke out of anyone's face. "And no actual concussion - I was just trying to make sure he knew I wasn't actually interested in using his ram's blood."

Helena is, perhaps, more confused by these explanations than she should be. Leaning back in her chair, she glances between the two with raised eyebrows. "I feel like there's some vague euphemism being bat around here, and it's going completely over my head. So I will assume you mean literal ram's blood - in which case, 'Eugh, Nitrim, why?!' - and also that you know I don't even read the tabloids, so I wouldn't waste time going to one. Also, I don't spend my money on anything, so I don't need any more. Bases covered?" She ticks off the points on one hand just to be sure. "I will openly admit to being surprised at your degree of restraint, Nitrim. I was sure by now you would have fallen in lust with another hopeless case intent on being a victim of your love for sampling everything on and off the menu."

Helena sends telepathically: Naturally. And is it yours?

Nitrim sends telepathically, No ma'am. to Helena.

Nitrim's hand, a mess of claw-gauntleted rings in copper and his house's sigil, curls in when Evey places her hand over it. The tips of the clawed rings dig gently into his palm as the young drake turns a rather severe shade of red. Cigarette trapped between his lips, his eyes narrow to Helena, twitching as she calls him out for his fabled, tabloid-screamed sexual appetites. Nearly choking on his cigarette smoke, he has just enough time to snatch his hand out from beneath Evey's to catch it and hold it aside while he exhales. "Ram's blood is an alchemical reagent in relation to an upcoming change in the zodiac." Nitrim's voice distorts at the smoke caught in the back of his throat. A second later he blows the smoke skyward and looks with horror to Evey. "Don't believe what she says, she's very aware that the tabloids tell a false, far more entertaining version of the truth." A blithe grin forms over the man's face as he shakes his head. "You know, I love Inculta, Detrius, and the Daltons. My sisters would love to watch this conversation."

"He did mean Ram's Blood, which he favors over other bloods in whatever voodoo he poses at Hermeticism." Evey grins widely to her cousin and that transforms quickly to laughter, though she remains a touch confused now by Nitrim. "And Nitrim, I think you're in fine company. I read the tabloids but believe none of them. Helena doesn't read them but believes every word she hears. It

"It's a win-win or a lose-lose, depending on your perspective."

Perhaps the doc is deriving a perverse sense of pleasure out of watching Nitrim squirm, having seen him as the man in control the majority of their encounters. Her smile is pleasant, and she looks away for a minute or two to allow him time to compose himself out from under her 'all-knowing' gaze. "I wasn't aware I was echoing the tabloids, you know. Perhaps they present more of the truth than that for which we give them credit." The corners of the blonde Dalton's mouth twitch, threatening to spread into a cheshire grin. "You know, dear Evey, that I hear almost everything straight from the proverbial horse's mouth. I am not one for idle gossip. So this ram's blood, Nitrim: do educate us, please. I am very curious about its uses, and I am not even being patronizing when I say that."

Looking back to Evey, Nitrim tilts his head and gives her a playful little smile. "Voodoo?" Nitrim replies, brows slanting as his teeth bare to one side, challenging her. "Maybe you and I should get together at some point and wager a little bet over divination? What's better, bones or cards? So far, the stars haven't ruined my vision." He offers a hand for her to shake. "And, in fairness?" Nitrim pauses dramatically. "It wouldn't be funny if the tabloids weren't close. I assure you, I'm scum." He winks, then turns to look back to Helena.

"I do try to be fair to you, Helena." Nitrim retorts, arm still held out for Evey as he chuckles towards Helena. "But…I am working hard at being the drake I am meant to be. I spent too long being…thoughtless and am entering a cocoon stage. Ram's blood," Nitrim changes gears with a cant of his head. "There are certain stars that resonate to the creature coming into place soon. I use them in rituals to try to draw in dreams and divine better visions. It's a part of a formula. It's far less voodoo than mathematics of a sort."

"You're gonna regret this, Nitrim…" Evey snarks back challengingly as she takes the extended hand and gives it a firm shake. "Why rely on the materials here when the stars truly tell you all that you already need to know. It's an art, not a science." She chuckles back matter-of-factly.

"And, certainly, Nitrim, some of us just know how to keep all the good stuff out of the tabloids." She gives him a shameless wink and then is putting out her finished cigarette.

Helena laughs quietly, tossing back the rest of her coffee before leaving the cup on the table to be collected after she leaves. "Lord Nitrim has many regrets, Evey, but I doubt any of them will ever involve you. I, however, am not a gambling woman, and I hate these dreams with an intense, fiery passion that I possess for little else in this life. I will stay out of this and leave you two to discuss the merits of ram's blood over chicken's when the Eastern Wheel passes through the Astral Tide before the winter solstice or whatever." Rising up from her seat, Helena slips her tablet beneath her left elbow before reaching out to touch Evey on the shoulder briefly. "I'm glad to have seen you here, cousin. I am not as often at home as I wish. Lord Nitrim, I believe you. I really do. All of it. My break is over, and I'd better get back on shift. Those reports don't write themselves."

Giving Evey's hand a firm shake and a warning, I know what I'm doing of a glance, he turns his head up to Helena as she stands. Once again, the scars at his neck, once painful and now a memory of a dark day, tug against his skin as he looks up to her. A beauty marred, or the devil's good looks he once relied on, he frowns and casts a serious nod to Helena. "Please, we'll meet for lunch again soon. Or, if Detrius is available and can be arranged, I am more than willing to visit the desert again. Let's not make it so long again, aye?" Nitrim bids to her, then reaches for his cup of steaming coffee. He sips, ashes his cigarette, and then looks to Evey. "I'm so winning this bet, Evey."

"Please do try to pace yourself, Helena." Evey says with a smile and hint of concern for her cousin. "I'll come check up on you myself." A wide grin as she turns back to teasing Nitrim. "Now listen here, you. I realize you're quite used to getting your way in the moment, but this stuff isn't suited to your combat mentality. It requires subtlety and skill…like a woman." And a wink again from the Dalton.

"You?" Nitrim replies, turning his hip into the back wall of the bench and bringing a knee to rest between his body and Evey's. One arm over the back, he bends his arm at the elbow for a drag of his cigarette. "We're calling me a you now? Clearly there's some ram in you." Ewe. Puns. Nitrim SLAYS. His smile is dark and evil, like Dahlia, his beloved snake companion. "Lady Evey, I assure you that although I have been an excellent weapon in the war so far, I have plenty of subtlety and skill. I'm not known for my brute strength, but my wit." He blinks. "And bad press."

A lazy leg from Evey bumps into the young Drake's knee and rests there as she chuckles at him. "You just go into comedy, Nitrim. It's your true calling apparently." She sips her mocha as she eyes him, appraising his puns and…wit. "Bad press is just the beginning. And subtlety seems far removed from you. But how shall we go about settling this wager?"

"If you only knew, Evey." Nitrim muses over the rim of his cup of coffee. His eyes narrow and a serpentine smile forms on his lip as his cigarette hand trails to the side, rolling over to gesticulate as he speaks. "There's really two of me around. One of me is the spoiled, drama-laden boy the tabloids see. I won't deny the other one is drama-laden and has the same fleer for dramatics, but is very subtle; like a shadow." Nitrim sips and lowers his cup to hover over his belt buckle. "I keep my hands in too many irons and too many fires for my own good. The question, though, is how can we verify that our divinations, cards or bones, came true? How do we predict something? Perhaps we could bet on who the next verifiable marriage banns will be over HNN?"

There's some polite chuckling from Evey as he talks about his two selves. "I think somewhere in between your perceived self and the public's perceived you may be where the truth lies." She twirls a curl of her hair thoughtfully over the wager. "Well, we've knocked down one of the surprises of the year with the Anvil and the Young Lord Peake, I would think…okay, you're on!" Her face is smiling with determination.

"Who would have guessed that?" Nitrim laughs, eyebrows meeting together gently as he leans back for a grin. "I mean I had my understanding about Lord Aidan but the Anvil? I had no idea. Well, maybe…" Nitrim stops, brows tilting into a moment of reflection as he plays back previous gatherings through his head. The concentration about damn near kills him. "So you want to put a wager on this? No matter what the speculation is, I refuse to sign copies of books." He points to her, smirking. "And then we'll have to decide a night to put the stars to the test."

"Is any bet worth it's salt without a wager behind it." Evey looks to him with a smirk. "What books have your penned, oh great author?" She teases him and seems to enjoy it. "Oh, right, I forget that you can't just read the stars any night, Mr. Mathematician. I find that the cosmos always speak, if you'll attune yourself to its patterns. It's like…having learned and language but you're only able to understand it in one accent." She shrugs.

Nitrim blinks, lips curling into a predatory grimace as he reaches out to give her shoulder a gentle shove. His fingers turn to point at her face. "I saw what you did just then. I saw it, don't think that I didn't. I've penned no books there's just that—" Nitrim stops himself with a shake of his head. "No, back to what I was saying. I saw what you did. I can read the stars any night but if we do it on separate nights it might not be right. The visions change with the stars and some nights are clearer than others. I want this to be fair. Because if I win, I am going to demand you have me tailored a few outfits of comfortable Dalton-style desert wear. Silks. Linens. Something…menacing."

She takes the shove with an ever widening grin. "Nitrim, you tell me not to believe the tabloids, right? I'm just trying to follow what you asked of me." Evey's voice is obviously a little too innocent. "You're right, of course. I'll let you pick the night." At his suggestion of a wager, she browquirks. "You want menacing silks?" Another chuckle. "Alright, and if I win…" She hmmms.

"Yeah, well, both you and your cousin have a knack for giving me the same look when it comes to the tabloids. High Lady Dalton sees all and she's passed that down to the rest of the house. There's some things a man cannot hide under that gaze and a bit of guilt is one of them." Nitrim admits, fairly, with a shrug of his shoulders. With a claw-tipped ring, he taps his ashes to the floor and brings the cigarette to his lip. Listening and watching her mull over her potential winnings, he chuckles a small cloud of smoke to the side. "And know that the tabloids follow me everywhere, Evey. Nomatter what you say next, know that being seen with me comes at a price."

"Family trait, sorry Nitrim." Evey says with a hint of compassion. "The light shines in the darkness…or something like that." Her hand grasps his shoulder a bit firmly. "But know you've no reason to feel guilty, not in front of me." Her brown eyes are firm and serious for a moment before the hand is removed. "And all things come with pros and cons, no need to be melodramatic." She smiles softly. "You have to take me on an adrenaline rush I haven't done before. Like gliding or dune surfing…but obviously not those."

"Adrenaline and I are old friends." Nitrim sets his cup down and brushes a hand through his hair, eyes drifting over Evey's shoulder to consider. His jaw slacks and his tongue presses to the inside of his teeth, as if to say that? Nooo. Maybe Clearly the gears are turning. "I can think of something." Nitrim finally decides, eyes shifting back to Evey as his ringed hand extends, offering a shake to seal the deal. "It's a bet. Sealed with a shake, no less." He grins. "You'd better know a good sandsilk merchant. I don't intend to lose."

"I look forward to this surprise." Evey says, confident in her own merits. "Though, I imagine your creativity will be pressed to its limits in solving my end of the bargain." She sips her coffee playfully now. "On what night shall we meet for this meeting of the Awakened soothsayers?" A wink.

"I have a few appointments to make, I'll be sailing soon with the Hollolas and then back to Volkan. My sister, Anabethe, has a couch above the warehouse where we'll have some privacy and a large table to paint and prepare the ritae on." Nitrim replies, waiting for his hand to be shaken with an animated flexing of his fingers, wide eyes, and a grin that screams make with the handshake, lady. "And no, my creativity is strong, as are my abilities. Give it a few days and I'll send you a greeting to guest at Volkan. If not the Warehouse club, I've a balcony at the Blackspyre. Less tabloids up there."

Evey takes his insistent hand in a firm shake. "Oh?" She seems perhaps a tad bit disappointed, but just for a flash of a second. "Well, one must keep their appointments." Another sip of the mocha. "A recluse who's turned into the busiest man in all of Haven." She smirks briefly.

"I was never truly a recluse." Nitrim replies, brows tilting at the strange expression that flashes over her features. His hand squeezes hers firmly, giving it a gentle, fair shake. He motions for her to lean in, amicably making that let me tell you a secret motion. "A year ago I was a recluse, maybe, but these scars come from somewhere, and since Lady Soleil's death I've been fighting to be on my best. Though there are friends, houses, places to be. It's been good for me to be seen, out and about, and there's a pleasure cruise coming up held by the Lord Commodore." Nitrim leans back with a grin. "You going?"

Evey squeezes back before releasing the handshake. She leans in close, seeming quite interested in what he has to say. Her face turns into a frown at the mention of Soleil's death. "I wish…I wish that were easier for you, in all respects." Her head shakes quickly, trying to rid her voice of its sadness. "But I know you truly are as busy, perhaps busier, than the rest of us." She's still leaned in close as she gives him a smirk. "Why would I go, hmmm?"

"Because it's going to be a good time on the seas, and we could all use one." Nitrim replies, a certain sadness coming over his features as he rubs at the scar on his neck that nearly took him. His head cants to the side as he watches Evey's face, frowning gently towards her. "Can I be honest with you, Evey? I … sometimes miss the way things were before this war began; where I could be me. Now, it's like an obsession. I just can't stop moving, like a shark. If I stop I'll die. Soleil was…" His frown deepens, voice lowering as the honesty filters through. "…regardless of what the tabloids say, it still wounds me. It was, literally, a fatal mistake of mine and I'll face to face her in the afterlife."

Her hand reaches across again, this time to his face. Large, sad brown eyes looking up to him, just wishing they could help. Evey gives him a soft, sad smile. "Nitrim…I know it does, truly." It rests there for a few moments. "You'd let me know if I could help, right? With anything?" She takes the hand down and changes tone a bit. "Because I could do with working on things other than Harvesters or the holier than thou awakened stuff." A chuckle, bit forced, comes from her. "So, pleasure cruise it is then! And I promise to have you laughing."

Nitrim gives Evey's palm a wry, sad grin, one of the grins that you give someone when something funny happens at a funeral dinner: you smile, but take the joy out of the motion. His cheek tugs against her palm as he shakes his head, and by the time he's done shaking, the palm is gone. "Yes, I'd let you know if I could help. Truly, now that I'm no longer being called murderer in quiet whispers when I walk around, it's been better, I've just been left some hard questions. Laughs would be nice, vital even." His demi-fake smile fades as he draws from his cigarette, turning away from her to blow the smoke. "So would you punch me in the arm if I told you that I've been running myself ragged over this Awakened stuff? That I've helped a girl through her Awakening, that I've been chasing down dreams? Did you…hear about the facility failure on Ignis?" He looks back to her, brows lifting. "I was there. If you wanted adrenaline, Evey…" He chuckles, letting that thought trail off.

"Vital laughs it is then!" Evey says, hands back to her, trying not to think too much on a particular moment where she might have yelled at such a whisper. "I don't think I'd punch you, yet. But is this the young women from your latest round in the tabloids?" She says, looking to him out of curiosity without judgment. "And as for the bomb…that was just crazy. I'd imagine them to do that on Inculta first."

"The bomb was where I got this." Nitrim replies, hand moving to his neck to rub gently. Frowning in such a way to suggest that the man hates the scar, a marring of his overall visage and although he isn't known for vanity, it still burns. "I'm gonna see that fight every time I look into the mirror. As for the rumors…" Nitrim's head tilts, an almost guilty smile cracking to the corner of his lip as he maneuvers his head within her range of vision. "You have no idea just how close I've come to being thrown out of a window. I wouldn't be surprised if he had someone follow me here. There is no lack of straight I have to walk for the while, because you know that all of those tabloids, all of that news, it was bad, really bad." He looks away to stub out his cigarette. "I'm in damage control mode. I need good press or no press. Any more bad and I'm ruining my house."

Evey nods understandingly. "Well, how can I help you drum up some good press? Let's get you involved in some charitable works, that's always helpful." She smiles to him warmly. "And obviously you might be more…selective in your indiscretions, but after certain literary masterpieces, that might be obvious to you."

"Honestly, there's not enough press coming off of the warfront and I'd rather not be known as Nitrim the guy that sets people on fire. In fact, I'd rather the only people that see what I do out there be the other soldiers and the Cantosans." Nitrim replies, a resolute nod of his head as he stubs his cigarette out and rises, offering a hand to Evey to help her stand. "Charitable works and by Six anything that doesn't get a camera in my face with alcohol or women dancing against me in short skirts." He laughs, returning her warm smile. "I'll be more selective, I'm sure…" He trails off, his neck and cheeks turning a slow shade of read. "FuckMe tell me you didn't read it, please?"

Evey is agreeable at first, nodding in agreement with his ideas of warfare and glory. She takes his hand as he helps her stand. And then he's flushing red. "Nitrim, for someone with quite the reputation, you blush so easily." There's a shake of her head. "Not yet, it's on the list though." She teases…but is she serious?

"That book. Will be. The death of me." Nitrim replies, brows furrowing together as he wishes away the flush to his cheeks. Remarkably…it works. Allowing her to have her hand back, he motions to the exit back to the hallways proper and takes the first step, offering to lead her back to society as a whole. "Fiction. Remember. Fiction." Nitrim replies to her, with enough warning to his look to suggest that there might be a chance he's defending himself against the book. The author never said it was Nitrim, but the standing rumor is that it is in fact his likeness in the book, and the story may be real. His eyes shift from her face to gaze forward, watching their path as he walks. "Unless it's awesome." He grins.

"I'm sure you'll find someway to survive. You always do, Nitrim. You're nothing if not a survivor. Against them all." Evey says it with a bit of pride. And then she's rolling her eyes. "And it's those statements you should reserve for behind the scenes. Isn't your Lady sister involved in that Notice Project thing? You should do some work with them…" And they continue to walk towards their destination until they must part their separate ways…

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