07.02.3013: An Ashen Unification
Summary: The Granthams meet with Nitrim to discuss his squiring and Nitrim's fears for the Chantry.
Date: 02 July 2013
Related: References recent ideas found in Awakened Insurrection
Nitrim Flint Devon 

Watchtower Overlook - Volkan, Imperius
At the very peak of the Blackspyre, the lift opens up to a railed lookout, leaving all of the city of Volkan, Mount Drakan, and the Black Wastes laid out below. Even two hundred stories up, the sounds of industry can be heard, although it is a faint sound this high up. The smoldering heat has not diminished, however, and is in fact protected by the electrostatic fields wrapped around the top of the spire to keep out the weather. The lava tubes running through the city look like nothing so much as veins from this high up, running bright and yellow-red throughout the city.
July 02, 3013

Nitrim has left his coat behind in favor of a black, sleeveless shirt that leaves his bruised ribs bared where the pommel of his longsword doesn't cover. Having arrived home just this morning, he's had the night to sleep off the black eye that rests on the left side of his face, and his rapidly healing split lip. Like a kid that's been in a scrap at a schoolyard, he looks ruffled and tired, but far less pale and sickly than he did when the Granthams first arrived at Volkan. Now, he stands alone with his arms stretched out on either side of him, leaning against the railing on the Watchtower Overlook. Hissing, steaming rain sounds all around as a torrential downpour makes contact with the heated ground below. A tray of food and drinks have been brought out, set beside an old book, as he seems to have made this place his perch for the evening…

Flint hasn't been a big fan of stairs. Not recently, anyway. Not after getting rolled over by a group of angry Hostiles. So while he might on death's sidewalk anymore, he's certainly not healed up fully either. But the elevator only goes up so far, the rest is a short flight of stairs. Breathing is a slight strain, given the fact that his chest almost caved in on him when his armor gave. The rain is a nice relief though. Don't see too much of that on Ignis. Well, unless one counts ashfall. "Nitrim." he sounds upon arriving.

It has been a long and tiring few weeks for Devon. She had been spending much of her time seeing to the wounded Granthams back at the Pit, patiently looking over their wounds with the kind of healer's touch and aura that she had gained before the death of her husband. She had thought of staying there, relegating herself to the Pit once more, but she talked herself out of such nonsense. She steps now out onto the Watertower Overlook with a kind of subdued grace. She is not too far behind Flint, though long enough for him not to assume she was stalking him nor avoiding him. She smiles, lightly, to the pair. "Uncle… Nitrim."

His back to them, Nitrim offers a tilt of his head at the sounds of their voice before he turns to face them. He leans back against the railing and ashes his cigarette into the wind. His green eyes, one of them wreathed in black, glances over them before he pushes off of the railing to step closer to them. "We've spent more time in the field than we have talking, haven't we?" He asks them, giving them a wry smirk. "How have you been?"

"I've felt better, that's for sure." Flint grunts, albeit with an easy, if pained smile. "Don't got a lot of energy to stand around though." So the first thing he does is take a seat the most convenient spot on a stone bench. "Oh, hey there." is the greeting to Devon. "You look about as well as I feel." noticing her exhausted state. "And yeah, I guess we have been spending more time fighting than actually conversing. Or drinking. Your sister really know how to put it away."

Devon folds her fingers together as she considers the question for a few moments, allowing Flint the space to answer first before she offers a bit of a nod. "I'm tired," she confesses as she steps closer to Flint and sweeps into a seat beside him. "Marah has been keeping me busy at the Pit lately." She offers her Uncle a wide smile that is tired, but still sly. "You must feel beautiful then, Flint… I assume that's what you were suggesting."

"Yeah, Anabethe's a trooper. She's got reserves I could only hope to one day have." Nitrim replies quaintly, a nod of his head before he brings his hands over his beaten face, rubbing softly. He speaks through his fingers to them. "It's been a long week, yeah, and it's only going to get longer. I guess that's why they made us durable." He lets his hands drop and goes back to his cigarette, cracking an eyebrow to them. "So what are the standing plans between the three of us? We just keep base out of here, rush off, fight the Hostile, return and lick our wounds till this is over?"

"The Legion goes where it's needed, that's the long and short of it." Flint shrugs. "I suspect that some might consider us little more than mercenaries, considering how we just go where the fighting is, regardless of where it's being fought. Unless my sister needs the Legion to go somewhere in specific or she has a particular plan. But that's what we do, that's what we've always done. Not exactly a fun life, but a fulfilling one to those who actually want it." There's an eyeballing of Devon. "I -always- feel beautiful, Devon. Usually on the inside." Grunt. "Just didn't put on my makeup today is all."

Devon slides her gaze over toward Flint briefly before she looks back to Nitrim with a simple nod of her red-dyed head. Though she does smirk back toward Flint. "Come now… if Marah hears you calling the Legion something like mercenaries." She does cast her Uncle another cool smile as he speaks on his beauty — which she just internalizes as her own. "The Granthams will go where we are needed however, yes."

Devon senses: Nitrim sends mentally. "I've hesitated to ask. Are you okay?"

You sense: Devon there is a pause, and then she softly replies, "It has been a long few weeks, Nitrim, dear… I'm alright. We will talk more."

The side of Nitrim's mouth cracks open, baring a toothy grin to their banter while he listens to their explanations. With a tap of his bootheel to the railing, he heads over to the serving tray and pours himself a glass of bourbon. "Things got so rushed on Niveus we barely had the time to talk, and now we do. I have been busy on and off the field, though, and things are getting complicated. I wish I could simply just cram everything into a simple box, but that's probably my own fault." He looks back over to them. "Back at Ignis, do you have any good connections to the Chantry? I've been trying to put together an audience with them."

"If Marah heard me say that, she'd probably comment that we should ask for better pay." Flint remarks wryly. "No, maybe not mercenaries, but more willing to fight past our own paramounts borders. Can't say the same for everyone." Leaning back on the bench, there's a nod at Nitrim. "Can't say the same. Mostly it's been a lot of 'don't move' and 'take those pills' or 'hold still for this shot and stop hitting on me'. Doctors sure are picky." There's an exchange of looks with Devon. "I go the chantry on a regular basis, but I couldn't say I'm 'in good' with anyone there. Why?"

Devon glances toward Flint briefly before she settles her attention back on Nitrim. "The Chantry and Ignis has always been on good terms, and it would not be difficult for any one of us to persuade a meeting with the Archpriest of Ignis." She takes a short pause before she rolls her shoulders. "Does this concern the dream we all had?" Her gaze reminds on Nitrim, weighing him under those glass-collored eyes.

"Yeah, it does." Nitrim replies simply, bringing the glass of cold bourbon to the side of his face. The black eye is well along its way to healing, but the cold helps with the strain. "It concerns the dream as well as the things that Hostile said to me at Niveus. I don't think they care much for our gods, which means at the very least the Chantry deserves a warning." He moves back to the rail, leaning against it to watch them. "I want your opinions on this."

The Ash Knight looks between the two like at a tennis match. "Uh…the non-Awakened is lost." he states at the end. "I hadn't heard there'd been a new dream. I feel like I'm missing out on some special club sometimes. Anyhow, why do you think this has relevance toward the Chantry? You think they're in danger? I heard what that Hostile said. Find it interesting they even convern themselves with theology. Though, to them I imagine we're flawed creatures. A stain to galatic society. Makes you wonder if they've encountered any other races and went to war with over that. Although," he turns to Nitrim. "You did goad it into talking."

Devon glances over toward Flint as he expresses his confusion, and she breathes out a bit of a sigh. "A nightmare came to us a couple nights ago, Flint… I was being dissected alive… muscle, bone, organs… and when I looked up into the face of one of the Hostiles, I saw the symbol of the Chantry branded on my forehead." She glances toward Nitrim. "What did the Hostile say to you, Nitrim? I did not hear it." She was too busy trying to rescue a life, after all.

"Yes, I did goad it into talking. Chalk it up to my ability to be mildly enfuriating to everyone I come into contact with." Nitrim muses, a bit of black, self-depricating humor as he eyes Flint over the rim of his glass. He quiets as Devon answers Flint, and when she finishes, he speaks up again. "It said that our six were obsolete and have been replaced. Add the dream that both Devon and I had to that choice bit of dialogue and reports that one tried to see if we'd attack it while holding child…and I think you're right, Flint. I think they think our emotional attachments make us weak." He pauses. "I don't know if I'm the first to actually speak with one, but I think it's worth taking precautions over. Killing our gods and places of worship would demoralize us."

The Ash Witch frowns a bit as she looks between the pair of men, brushing her hands down the smooth gossamer of her skirts as she does. "Do we find ourselves truly concerned about the judgment of the Hostiles about us?" She arches her brows up a bit. "I imagine that there is very little about Havenites that the Hostiles find to be endearing. They do seek to annihilate us."

"Maybe one day we'll find out why." Flint shrugs. "They did start this war. I wonder if it could be as petty as it seems. A disagreement over faith. That is, if the HOstiles have one. Have to imagine they do. Of some kind. Personally, I've never thought this war made any sense, but then again, if you look at history, most wars were started over stupid reasons." He nods at Nitrim. "Wouldn't hurt, at least. Though, I don't think they realize that even if they did destroy a place of worship wouldn't hurt morale. Well, I dunno, not to me. You don't need to have a chantry to have faith." ANother shrug.

"If you ask me, Devon, I could care less what they think about us, but what's important to me is that they may very well have an opinion on us. There's far worse things that can be done to and at a chantry to demoralize us than simply destroying it." Pausing for a sip of his drink, Nitrim flicks the ashes from his cigarette away from him, lifting a shoulder in a quiet shrug. "But I'd hate to have information and not use it to try to set some precautions. Say they did hit the Chantry, I couldn't live with myself for not saying anything because I thought they'd think it was a stupid theory."

"I am by no mean suggesting that the Elders not be informed," Devon says with a slight arch of her brows. "They are prophetic for a reason, Nitrim… but it is hard to determine exactly what the outcome will be. The dream was not clear." But are they ever? "I've heard there are Awakened who can guide their dreams… if we could find one, perhaps we could understand more about this particular instance." Then she glances toward Flint briefly. "If there is an assault on the Chantry, the Granthams will be there to defend it."

"Well, obviously." Flint notes to Devon. "That goes without saying, but what I'm saying is that trying to destroy a building is just going to piss off the majority, not throw them into despair. If I were Hostiles, I'd be targeting shipping yards, manufacturing and training facilities. I'd be amassing to take waygates and if I couldn't take them, outright destroy them. Either they're testing our defenses, which is what I suspect, or they've downgraded in their tactics. I don't even call this a war yet, this is just mild skirmishes. It hasn't even -begun- to be bad. When they want to hurt us, we'll know it. Right now, we're just flirting with each other."

"I agree with both of you, on all counts. We should find someone that can delve into our dreams and see if we can find anything more, and Flint, you're right, this hasn't even begun to get bad yet. We're still dancing around bonfires and sending out banns." Scrubbing his black-eyed face, he thumps an elbow back against the railing. Hitting that one horrible spot, he grimmaces and rubs at the back of his elbow for a moment. "So…" He sigues, letting a moment's pause in between thoughts. "…about the Ash Legion, myself, House Grantham and politics. There's been talk of me tucking in close to the Granthams for a while. Is there anything that you need me to know, or be prepared for, if I'm to squire?"

Devon bows her head gently to Nitrim, offering her own nonverbal agreement. She folds her hands in her lap in a common, relaxed gesture. She flickers her eyes between the pair of men before she glances over toward Flint to let him answer this question. She may have been a trainee of Flint at some point, but she was never a squire.

"Eh, morale is good an all, but I've seen the old vids of cities burning. And the death toll in numbers I'd rather not repeat The last two times we've survived by the skin of our teeth. We're going to lose people, and I wouldn't be shocked if we lose entire houses to the war, but that's things that nobody wants to talk about. The war hasn't come home yet. Everyone in Landing? They're wearing smiles as if nothing bad is happening." He snorts. "If I were in charge, I'd dig up files on whatever we did to the fourth world and aim it at the fifth. But so far, nobody has the balls to take the steps needed to end this war in a single night. There isn't a day that goes that I hope one day Grantham will no longer be needed for reason it was created, and I say that as someone who loves his house, but I know what we represent." Taking in a breath, he nods at Nitrim again. "You'll be with me the majority of the time. When we're not fighting Hostiles, we're training. You're starting late, so we're going to have to give you the crash course in knighthood." Pause. "Expect to be sore a lot. And when you're too sore to train, you'll be reading."

The Khourni lordling nods his head solemnly, listening to Flint's expectations. In one quick gulp, he downs the last of the bourbon and turns his eyes to Devon, watching her reactions. Quieted, he sets the glass down on the wide, flat railing of the balcony and looks to Flint. "Understood, Sir Flint. Well and understood. Please don't take this as a sign of lack of work ethic, but will I be moving from Volkan to the Pit, and do you have any rules about my social time, if alloted any? Will I be allowed visitors and if I have any private business, does it become our business as bond? I would gladly be your squire and battle brother."

There is a hint of a dark cloud that gathers over her — metaphorically — at Flint's words. She glances toward Nitrim at his inquiry on his social habits and whatnot, though she seems to be maintain slight reservation as she gives Flint the space to answer this question.

Devon senses: Nitrim sends mentally. "I'm overextended. I've been too busy for my own good. I need to slow down."

"Your social time is your own, just be careful how you spend it. You are responsible for what you do in your off time, but if you fall behind because of it, you're going to feel it. The Legion does not make exceptions, you are responsible for how you act, and all own up to their own accountability when they have to. Visitors are fine, but when it's training time, it's training, no excuses. And your business is your own, unless you want to include me in it. Though, if I find something out that you're doing that's unbecoming, I'll take it out of your hide. If I find out through someone else because you didn't have the courage to tell me to my face?" He doesn't go onto to explain what the punishment for that kind of disrespect might be. "If you want to be Legion, Nitrim, I gladly welcome that. We have already split blood together, you are already my battle brother. But as a squire, your well-being, mentally and physically is my responsibilty."

You sense: Devon replies gently, "You should. Weakening your will is dangerous during increased training, and you will need to focus."

"I won't fall behind." It's not a promise, it's a mission statement. With the tabloids and all of the rumors surrounding his private life lately, he's caused himself enough trouble. The last thing that Nitrim needs is for more scandal, and he seems interested in taking a much needed break from it. Though, there's enough contemplation in his eyes to suggest he just may have a few irons in the fire he will have to slow down on. "It's time for me to do away with childish things at become more focused on my development. The longer this war goes on, should I survive the length of it, people are going to need me to be in between them and the Hostile, and your wisdom is going to be what shows me my limits, Sir Flint." He pauses to light a fresh cigarette. "I have an unlimited capacity for introspection. I won't be an arrogant student." He looks to Devon and Flint, eyes swaying between them. "I won't dishonor the trust you've put in me."

"I don't question that," Devon says finally in regard to Nitrim's pledge. She offers Flint a gentle smile with a tilt of her head toward him before she returns her attention toward Nitrim. "It will not be easy, but it never is. I don't doubt your ability to make it through this, Nitrim. Or I would not have suggested it."

"Sounds like you got the right idea, then." Flint seems to be approving by the response. "Keep in mind, your goal is not to impress me or make me proud or any kind of that shit. You're doing this for yourself, not anybody else. The Legion is for those who wish for a second chance, to wash away the mistakes of their previous one. Be reborn in the fires of Ignis. It is rewarding for those who seek it, but it can be a thankless job. Also, a painful one. But pain keeps us connected to our nature. Bloodshed and death is bred into culture, we must be attuned to that. And if you embrace that, you'll find that most cares people have outside of Ignis are transitory in nature. Or, at least, that's how I view it. What's left is clear understanding of the world. It partly explains why we take no part in politics. They don't effect us because we know what our duty is. Whoever sits on the throne doesn't change that."

"No, that's the goal for everyone else. For me, this is personal. I'm not bad at politics, but this is something entirely different." Nitrim shakes his head and steps over to the two of them, lowering his head in a nod of respect. "I'm not afraid to admit to either of you that there's demons I intend to kill and I see this experience as much a spiritual one as it is physical. I want to go to Ignis, and as much as I love my family I think the journey will do me well." He pauses, letting out a quiet sigh. It's all but sealed now. "Who's hungry?"

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