08.31.3013: A Stroll Around the Coliseum
Summary: With the plains and meadows on high alert due to recent Hostile activities, Solon takes Ariana on a horseride around the coliseum.
Date: 31 August 2013
Related: Never Have I Ever and Hostile Relations
Ariana Solon 

The Coliseum — The Fortress, Phylon
Four grand walkways, raised hundreds of meters in the air, come together from the cardinal directions to the colossal center that is the Coliseum of the Fortress of Phylon. Most of the time, it is an expansive promenade that makes up the entire lower level of the citadel-like arcology. It is round in shape, surrounded by columns from which statues of rearing white horses have been carved out of the lower third of the solid stone. These statues are easily three meters in height each, with the remainder of the smooth column stretching still high above them. A rib vaulted ceiling looms high above, and chandeliers of glowing globes of light float just shy of its arches and spread artificial light across the Coliseum.

Everything about this space could make an individual feel small and lost, but the constant bustle helps alleviate these fears. Foot traffic comes from the Ways at the ends of the four walkways, and from the lifts that are spread throughout the outer edge of the narthex. Neither horse nor crawler car are uncommon, emphasizing that this is a central point of travel. The aforementioned lifts are large enough to comfortably fit a handful of destriers and their riders with room to spare. They whoosh up and down the lower exterior of the Fortress, giving access to the terraced city below. There are separate lifts that access the Fortress above.

31 August 3013

The Coliseum of Phylon is as busy as anyone who has visited Phylon before would expect. Traffic bustles from all directions with travelers heading between the Ways, the Fortress, and the lower city. Travelers that move toward the Ways, or those coming from the Ways seem to give a small party of riders a respectful distance. This party seems to be made up of seven horses, yet only six riders. Leading the group is Solon Cindravale on his black destrier. Next to Solon is a pure white mare, saddled but with no rider. Behind Solon and the riderless mare are five Valen knights armored and fitted out for battle. As word arrives via a messenger of the arrival of Ariana Larent, he sends the messenger back with orders to direct her to his current location.

Having the entire day off from her scientific research has definitely come as a breath of fresh air to Ariana. Frustration and weariness has plagued her for a couple of days now that during this brief reprieve from work, she has decided to visit Phylon for a bit of 'fresh air' and to observe the natural beauty of the meadows here. Before she journies on with her sightseeing, as a show of respect, she stops by the Fortress of Phylon so that she may greet her Cindravale relatives and to see how her Lady Mother fares. This is when she catches wind that the Young Lord of Cindravale would be found at the Coliseum, so she decides to pay him a personal visit there, before traveling onward.
Dressed in a luxurious pale blue gown with lace trimming, she approaches the Coliseum with graceful steps, stopping near the benches that are normally reserved for nobility. She looks to be in high enough spirits with her chin lifted gently and a quiet smile spread across her lips. Expecting some sort of practice and training to be going on here when she was led to this location, her cool eyes watch in anticipation for whatever show will unfold before them.

As he spots Lady Ariana, Solon raises a hand in greeting before leading his destrier and the mare over to her at a swift walk. As he nears her, he dismounts from Hengroen, seemingly still favoriting his midsection ever so slightly. "My Lady." He says softly, sketching her a bow in greeting. "It is good to see you. I apologize for not being able to meet with you earlier, but I do hope that your visit with your Lady Mother went well." A smile is offered to her as he turns slightly to pull the mare forward. "I was wondering if you might like to take a ride around the Coliseum as we talked?"

Ariana is pleasantly surprised that the young Heir would put a halt to his practice to meet with her and so as he approaches, she graces him with a sweeping curtsey that makes her skirts rustle gently. "Young Lord Solon, I wasn't at all surprised or put off at your absence earlier, but I am honored that you spared this time to meet with me today before my departure. I'm hoping to see more of the Valen countryside before it grows dark. I've already done a little bit of windowshopping earlier with my Lady Mother." She then blinks lightly at his suggestion, not at all expecting such an offer. "I would love to, My Lord. I have been far too busy with my research that I've found far too little time to come for a visit."

"The countryside, My Lady? I am not so certain that is the safest thing to do. A patrol engaged two scouting parties of Hostiles not three days ago. It should be safe to travel to the outskirts of the city, but I admit that I would feel remiss should any harm befall you. At the very least we can ride here free of worries, yet still feel the exhilaration of being in the saddle." He then guides the mare to a position that will make it possible for the Lady to mount, his hand extended to her to help her do exactly that.

"A Hostile attack? Here?" Ariana's words come out in exasperation though she says nothing more until the mare is drawn closer and then she is assisted gently up into her saddle. "Thank you, My Lord." She murmurs, "I was hoping to be able to bask in all of the beauty that can be found in the Vale, but I suppose that will have to wait." Sitting tall and elegant within her seat, a dainty hand holds onto her reigns as she favors the Cindravale heir with a polite smile. "Do let me know when it is safe to wander the open fields again. I think… I would like to hold a picnic of sorts with a gathering of our noble friends."

"We are still unsure as to what the motivations of the hostile party were, but we have increased our patrols for the time being to ensure that they engage in no further mischief." After she has taken to her horse, he mounts his own destrier and moves alongside her. "A picnic sounds nice, My Lady. Once we have ensured the safety of the surrounding areas, I will let you know and we can make plans to do that very thing." Solon offers Ariana a reassuring smile, his eyes taking a moment to take in her outfit. "I must say you are looking quite lovely today, My Lady. You have quite the eye for fashion."

Trailing alongside Solon and his steed, Ariana looks comfortable enough in the saddle. Despite lacking the space for horse riding on Nubilus, she spends much of her time on Phylon, when she can, to simply learn to ride. "I would appreciate that, My Lord. I love staring up at the blue skies from the meadows and to see how expansive the lush green fields are as they disappear beyond the horizon. I never ever feel claustrophobic when I'm in the Vale." She brings this up almost as if it were a constant thought on her mind strangely enough, but to his compliment, her smile brightens a tiny bit more even her cheeks do not color, "Your words are always kind and generous, My Lord. This gown was actually purchased from one of your shops here."

Solon isn't surprised that Ariana's gown is from the Vale, Ancelina's influence is written large in her youngest daughter. "I am quite pleased to know that our shops offer clothing that is to your satisfation, My Lady." He tilts his head as he glances to her, his mind contemplating something before he asks, "When would you ever feel claustrophobic, My Lady? Nubilus might not offer the wide open plains for one to ride through, but I distinctly remember wide open skies and a magnificent cloud sea to take in. Perhaps you should spend some more time here in Phylon with your Lady Mother. The hospitality of House Cindravale is always open to you, My Lady."

"I look to my Lady Mother's wardrobe from her younger years and I still adore the Valen styles that were in fashion during her youth." Ariana says with a smile on her lips as she speaks of such comfortable familial things. That smile fades soon enough and she is quiet for a moment as she continues to lead her mare on the path which Solon leads her. She then slowly shakes her head, "Oh, it is not that. Nubilus is as lovely as always, but…You may have already heard, but I shall be marrying into House Arboren to the Young Lord Declan Arboren. The Arborenin forest is not so open and in many areas, the thick branches and plentiful leaves of the trees tend to block out the sunlight."

"Lady Ancelina has a reputation about her for being quite fashionable, I would say that using her as an example can bring about nothing but good results." Solon listens attentively as Ariana speaks about her tribulations dealing with what seems to be quite horrible conditions, so many trees prevent a good charge from being mounted, so what good are they? "Yes, My Lady, I did hear about your betrothal to Young Lord Arboren. He seems a worthy candidate for your hand in marriage, if you do not mind me saying so." He lets the horses walk for several more yards before he decides to weigh in on the subject of the Arboren forests, "I understand that it must be quite the change, adjusting from a place such as Nubilus to such a radically different place. You should ease into such a transition, or perhaps Young Lord Arboren can suggest locations where you can partake in activities to clear your mind, such as riding."

Ariana's eyes gaze out at the benches and seating areas as they make their way around the expansive coliseum floor. Every so often, she returns to look upon Solon, especially when he speaks and his words do bring her some comfort, "He does truly try, but I'm afraid that he knows very little of me and my tastes. And I do know that this is the period for us to get to know one another and learn more about our intended." A pause. "Our worlds just seem so different. Our lifestyles. Our way of thinking." Looking ahead once more, she decides to add in, "He did take me along a horseriding path once and we found a little clearing in the woods. He has told me that there are many such gems as that, but just the idea that the forest makes good hiding places for Hostile or other wild animals do make me concerned." She then shakes her head quickly once again, "My apologies, My Lord. I'm just prattling on about this culture shock that I am experiencing… though I know that may come off as quite petty."

Solon is quiet for several moments as their mounts continue to move around the Coliseum at a gentle pace. Finally, he speaks, having formulated his words carefully in his mind before doing so. "My Lady, I do not mean to pry into the business of you and your betrothed, but may I assume that the two of you have spent most of the time together in The Spine? If so, then perhaps the solution that may prove to be the most simple is to have him spend time with you in the places that mean the most to you. He is showing you who he is, show him who you are." The faintest smile is offered to her, a rather sheepish expression crossing his features. "I apologize if I have overstepped myself, My Lady. I only mean to try and offer what comfort I can."

Ariana doesn't seem to mind the advice given her as she listens to the Cindravale heir with a curious attentiveness. Here, she smiles gently, her attention once more following the path which their mounts travel, "I've done that, yes. I even took him shopping here in Phylon, seeing as the Valen fashions are so very different from the Arborenin." She refrains from tossing out any insults at this moment regarding Arborenin fashion. "I've given him a tour of Summit and we even visited Obsidia in all of its beauty despite the harsh Volkan landscape." Returning her gaze to Solon, the faint smile remains, "There is no need for apologies, My Lord. I do appreciate your advice and I will continue to see what more I can do. Like I'm always told, the Waygate is only a few steps away if I'm ever needing an escape. After our meal taken at some… Alehouse of sorts, I do owe him a dinner at one of my favorite and far more fancy establishments. I've already made reservations." After a moment's thought, she decides to move the conversation to other things, feeling slightly selfish. Thus, with a gentle laugh, she murmurs, "I didn't mean to focus the conversation on my plights. What of yourself, My Lord? How have you been faring?"

Solon listens politely to the Lady's response, nodding when appropriate. Her change of subject doesn't seem to phase him at all, rather he goes along with the flow of the conversation in stride. "It is nothing to worry over, My Lady Ariana. As to myself? Things have been going rather well, although I was wounded when we took the field against the hostiles recently." He pauses for a moment to gesture towards his abdomen. "After I dismounted to engage a Hostile in melee combat, we decided to exchange wounds. I received the worst of the exchange, though our Rovehn allies ended the Hostile moments later."

Ariana's eyes lower once Solon brings up his injury and she looks content enough regarding his condition. "I'm glad that you are healing up well then, My Lord. Those things can be found everywhere and their attacks seem so endless." Falling silent for a moment, she then opens up with some sensitive news, "It would seem that the Hostile have been cloning some of our soldiers from the past war." Quietly, she watches for the man's reaction, if any, but continues on after half a minute passes, "Our current guest just happens to have nearly the exact same DNA match as a soldier who went missing in the second war. They even share the same name. Sarah."

"I have the Lady Elodie to thank for my good fortunes, My Lady. She is quite skilled in healing." And an excellent addition to the House his tone seems to imply. Her news about the Hostiles causes him to reign in his horse, and stare at her, his blue gaze meeting her own blue eyes intently. "The Hostiles are.. no, if the Hostiles are simply clones of those who fell or were captured during the Second System War, does that mean the Hostiles that were fought then were clones of those who fought during the First System War?" His mind takes this in, his outward appearance is stoic, but his eyes are intense. "Are you certain about this? This Sarah, could it not be some sort of ploy in order to divide those who are resolved to seeing the Hostiles ended?"

Ariana's eyes light up when Elodie is mentioned, "Lady Elodie? I am very certain that you and your House are in her good and capable hands. I'm sure that she could work alongside my Lady Mother to ensure that your sick and wounded are cared for." The Hostile discussion is certainly a heavy topic and for now, she turns her attention forward, bringing her own horse to a halt as she looks all the more thoughtful, "Sarah One-One-Three, our captive's, DNA is a near match to a Sergeant in the Ibrahm military that was considered MIA and then KIA some time during the Second System War. Saying that, not even /we/ have come anywhere near to perfecting any sort of cloning technique, but that is the only explanation that we've been able to come up with thus far." Thinking further on this, she decides to state, "Whether Sarah One-One-Three is a clone or not, she…. it, is still not Sergeant Sarah Owens. Just a monster with her genetic structure."

Solon offers a polite nod, "Indeed, my cousin Sammel is quite fortunate to have been matched with her. Your Lady Mother has also been quite an asset to those who have been injured. I have given her my thanks on several occasions, but sometimes I do not think that I can thank her enough." He smiles to Ariana, and his countenance seems to brighten up for a moment before returning his thoughts to the Hostiles. "Why is her name Sarah One-One-Three? Is the the one hundred and thirteenth clone of this Sergeant Sarah Owens? Regardless, the fact that they are cloning old soldiers to fight us is an insult that demands a response." What that response may be is anyone's guess, but it would appear that Solon is not happy about this development.

"That is what I believe, yes. Sarah One-One-Three of One-Five-Eight. So there may be possibly one hundred and fifty eight clones of Sergeant Owens." Ariana says with a slow nod, but makes certain to add, "But this is not confirmed." Her words quicken now, "From one of the video feeds which I've observed of an interview done with Sarah One-One-Three, the Hostile does mention having parents, of sorts. Parents who choose their children based on their DNA markers and caste. Sarah One-One-Three has a brother who was also chosen in this manner." It's as if she can almost feel Solon's ire by these findings and so once more, her attention drifts onward. "I agree, My Lord. There are some of us on the science team who want to capture more of these Hostile to run tests on. Far more invasive testing than we have been allowed so far, but I'm sure that a petition will be sent up to the Crown Council regarding this."

"One hundred and fifty eight clones?" Solon's voice shifts from the light tone he normally uses to one of sheer incredulousness. He bends his head down and considers all of what has been said so far. After several long moments, he lifts his head to stare at her, sighing ever so slightly. "My apologies, My Lady. I have been rude, let us continue our ride as we speak." He motions his horse forward once again. "I will try to speak with my Lady Mother as soon as possible to see what pressures she can put on the Crown Council to allow for this research to happen. You have given me much to think on, My Lady, and I fear, right now, that for every man or woman we lose in the field and cannot recover, we permit the Hostiles to continue to grow."

Ariana is silent once more, to let all of this information settle in for Solon. Once he urges his own horse forward, she does the same. "There is no need for an apology. This information is disturbing, I know, but… I will speak to Doctor Hadrian Orelle if you do wish to offer your support in this endeavor for further testing of our Hostile prisoners. I know that he truly wishes for more backing. That being said… we do not want to alert the populace of this just yet. Just as you have experienced, this news does bring out mixed emotions. Some of anger, some of confusion. Especially as Sergeant Sarah Owens has at least one descendant that we know of who continues to live on the Ring. This news may very well be devastating to the families of those cloned."

Solon considers meeting with this Dr. Orelle for a brief moment before nodding, "I shall meet with this Dr. Hadrian Orelle, My Lady. Do you want me to try and obtain any other support for this? I can attempt to do so with all discretion should you wish it. The issues you bring up have dire implications in a number of different areas." They continue to move along at a steady pace for another few moments, before he glances over at her, deciding to shift the conversation once again, perhaps thinking that the talk of Hostiles is too gloomy a subject to continue to speak of in her presence. "Do you mind if I ask how you are finding the mare you are riding? Her name is Snowcloud, and she is quite a wonderful animal."

"I believe rallying up some quiet support will be very helpful." Ariana quickly agrees, "Though, we must be careful on what is said as to not raise the ire or sympathies of our people. In fact, I've already heard that there are sympathizers lurking about. Why they would sympathize with such a monster? I truly have no clue. Sarah One-One-Three states that it's people never fight amongst themselves. Which already goes to show that the Hostile are clearly not human, despite what the tests say. The only emotion they seem to have, if you can call it an emotion, is a strong hatred toward us and our extermination, I would guess. However, I am thinking of speaking with our guest to see if there is any inkling of human emotion within them." A smile soon returns to her lips when Solon brings attention to her mare, "Snowcloud? That is quite a cute name. She has been easy to work with so far and despite some dark conversation, the ride has been very smooth."

Lifting a hand to his chin, Solon rubs it in thought as he answers, "You are right, My Lady. Perhaps I may not be the best person to try and gather support for this cause. I have many flaws for such tasks. Regardless, you will have my support in engaging in these research projects on the Hostiles." The next words out of Ariana's mouth seem to have quite an impact on Solon. He bends forward slightly, a flash of disgust coming onto his features before he is able to master himself. "My Lady, I… I think I may have misheard you. Did you say that there are those who -sympathize- with the Hostiles? Why would anyone do such a thing? Have they not seen what the Hostiles have done to our people? Our families? Haven cannot be safe, the people of Haven cannot be safe as long as the Hostiles exist." He shakes his head, a mixture of sadness and anger flashing through his eyes. "I am glad that you have found Snowcloud to your liking, she has slowly been trained to serve as a Lady's mount. Steady, quick, but with a temperament that has grace and poise to give her rider peace."

Oh, Ariana is perceptive enough to catch the look of utter disgust on Solon's pretty face. Her horse even slows down for a pace so that she can ensure his well-being, "My Lord…" And then it all too clear. "So I have heard and from viewing the recorded interviews, it does seem that there are those who wish to try and relate to our captive. That doesn't mean that their words were not a ploy to get Sarah One-One-Three to open up. In fact, it was the now Young Lord Aidan Peake who mentioned these very sympathizers in his interview with Sarah One-One-Three. Perhaps due to the tale that we of the Haven have abandoned them on Cantos many, many years ago. Thus, the Hostile call us the Children of the Abandoner." Looking forward once more, she adds in, "When the Fifth World went out of range, they tried contacting us for our aid, but received no such help and so many of their people died of starvation. It's as if they do not think that maybe we didn't receive their messages way back then due to the distance of our planets? So now, they are on this warpath for revenge or so it would seem."

Solon slows his own mount, pausing to take in every single word the Lady has to say. "I… must apologize, My Lady. The very idea of sympathizers sickens me to my very core." He takes in a breath, and then straightens up, returning to his normal posture. "I should interview Young Lord Peake and see if his what he said is accurate or if he was making it up to gather information. The very idea that there may be some who be traitors to the cause of Haven is something that requires some measure of action to be taken." He turns to face her, "Children of the Abandoner? I view this moral highground they take with a slight amusement given the fact that they feel it is necessary to clone our lost soldiers to form an army to attack us with. It seems it is they who have abandoned the path of decency and honor. I must thank you, Lady Ariana. You have firmed my resolve to continue to fight the Hostiles until my last breath has been taken from me."

"That may be wise, My Lord. I wonder who else knows of these sympathizers." Ariana asks as she taps a lone finger against her lips, the motion making her look thoughtful. "Of course, we do not want much of this getting out without further research and, I suppose, we very well don't know who these sympathizers are. It does trouble me that there would be anyone who would sympathize with these monsters who probably killed off a family member or close friend of theirs at one point, if not made their life harder with the fallouts of war." As Snowcloud moves in a slow and steady pace, Ariana says almost warmly, "I am grateful that you have taken your time to meet with me today, My Lord and this little trek around the coliseum has been somewhat uplifting, even if part of our conversation touched upon a darker and dangerous subject. As you are the heir to a Paramount, I thought that this was information that you should know."

Solon offers Ariana a solemn nod. "You are right, Lady Ariana. Any inquiries must be discrete. If you know someone who can make such inquiries in such a fashion, I believe it would be well to employ their services in such endeavors." He knows that he wouldn't be the best candidate for such a thing. As much as he hates drumming up attention, who he is, what his position is… these are things that can draw the limelight whether he likes it or not. "My Lady, you need not thank me for the time we have spent together, it is my pleasure to greet such an esteemed guest to Phylon whenever possible." He offers her a slight bow of his head. "In fact, it is I who must give you my thanks for bringing these matters to me."

"It is difficult to say, My Lord. But I believe that no one in my close circle," How very few many there are, "are in league with the Hostile sympathizers. I can see about whether they have heard anything more on this or not." Ariana says with a single nod. When Solon honors her with his kind words once again, Ariana cannot help but sit with her back all the most straight, looking as prim and proper as ever upon her saddle. If that is even possible. "We have a long road ahead of us, My Lord. And there is still much to be discovered regarding the Hostile. I've heard of many who do not care to learn about their culture, but I am curious about them. For all I can see, they only know anger and the thirst for revenge against us. I wonder if there's anything more that may be repressed, that we can poke and prod out of them. If feelings are difficult things for them to handle, if they even have emotions." There is a clear determination in her eyes when she says this, almost as if this research is a personal one for her.

"I am afraid that the motivations of the Hostiles are often beyond me. I view myself as more of a soldier, a warrior here to defend those who cannot defend themselves against this threat that threatens our very way of life. Should you, or anyone else for that matter, devise something that can allow us to really take the fight to the Hostiles, I know that myself and every other man and woman who is committed to this fight will have a deep appreciation for those efforts." Another polite nod is given, his face showing his sincerity. Deciding it's time to move off the subject of Hostiles for good now, Solon remarks, "Come, let us finish our course around the Coliseum, My Lady. Perhaps in the near future we can have a true ride through the country side and allow the wind to part our hair and feel the freedom one feels when galloping under open sky." There's a rather dashing smile given to Ariana as he continues their path, the rest of their conversation turning to polite chatter about things involving Lords and Ladies.

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