09.18.3013: Talia, the Green Snake and the Blue Sister
Summary: Nitrim takes Reena to meet the strange girl her ran into on a back alley in Obsidia
Date: 8 September, 2013
Related: None, yet
BlueSister Nitrim Reena 

Smog Alley, Obsidia
That poor section of Obsidia that no one ever sees, because they don't want you to see it. It's tucked away behind the mountain where the factories and their workers are stashed so they don't interrupt the pristine beauty of the falls and the city.
18 September, 3013

The smog over The Alley keeps the streets in an almost perpetual dimness, so time of day is sometimes hard to tell, unless it's full night or full noon. So, it's one of those times in between the two, but if the foot traffic is any indication, it's probably in between shifts at the factories, as people of differing states of dull weariness or dull alertness rub shoulders along the walkways. Around the knees of this throng, Phelan slips about like a little quicksilver fish, popping up here and there, but, contrary to what one might think of seeing such an urchin in a crowd, his hand never reaches for a pocket.

Reena has developed an outfit for the various Down Belows. It's a simple pale taupe cotehardie with a hood, and a plain red sideless surcoat, that looks very much like the simple garb most of the poorer citizens make do with. She has a basket in hand, in which she hides her datapad beneath layers of what look like boring sewing things. She's asked her brother along for protection. "I just want to look around a bit, see what that anonymous woman was talking about. I can get the area on the list for the charity, for eventual development."

Finding the place again, Nitrm accompanies his sister this time with a far more common hooded coat that hangs low over his eyes as he walks. Still, his black leather gloves slip around the filter of a cigarette, trailing smoke as he walks. Expecting the right people to be perceptive, he's worn the same boots as he did the last time he arrived. "Sure thing," Nitrim replies quietly to his sister as they walk. "Whoever that girl was she knew this place well. She's bound to be not too fa—" He stops, nodding his head in the direction of the boy snaking through the crowd. "That's the boy. He'll know where she is."

Since boots are about the height of the youngster, and he is definitely perceptive, when a turn brings him up facing the boots he halts. He performs a perfunctory, yet mostly correct, bow to the Lord, before looking up towards hooded face. "Are you going to do more tricks with fire, Lord Nitrim?" he asks curiously, his head then tilting to look to the woman with him. He pauses, glancing between the two, then gives her a quick bow as well, but, as is usual with children, he is more interested in the amusement he knows. "That was really cool. Sister said that the snake was probably your.. oorah? What is an oorah?"

Reena looks from her brother, to the boy, and back again. Rather than do or say anything to startle him, she defers to Nitrim, swinging her basket lightly with both hands, and keeping her head bowed so her face is in shadow beneath the hood.

Glancing down to Phelan, Nitrim's goatee'd lips crack into a mirthful grin as the fire-animals he made for the boy are brought up. He looks over to his sister and gives her a little shrug. He's good with kids. Who knew? With a brush of his gloved hand over his jaw, he nods his head to the boy. "Aura. Aura, like saying orange." He replies to the boy, reaching down to pat the kid on the shoulder. "It's good to see you again, lad. Say…your friend with the scarf. We're looking for her. Do you think you could take us to her?"

"Aura" the child parrots obediently. "What is an aura, then?" he asks, this time asking with the correct pronunciation. "You mean Blue Sister? She goes over to Old Man Simmons on Wednesdays. She brings him his medicine. I can show you where it is…" he trails off, giving a little twist of his body with his hands clasped behind his back, the trailing of the words seeming to suggest a bargain, but his bright eyes don't seem to imply money.

Reena reaches into her basket and she pulls out a loaf of fresh bread, handing it to the boy. "We really need to speak with her, if you can bring us. I'd really appreciate it," she says quietly.
Long distance to Orren: Klaudea chuckles

"See…I have connections." Nitrim murmurs to Reena, pointing to her in a rather brotherly way. A little proud of himself, he starts to walk after the boy and then realizes that he's asking for a barter. Nitrim stops and laughs, rubbing at his jaw as he waits to see how the loaf of bread goes over.

Phelan is busy looking at Lord Nitrim, but the loaf of bread only distracts him long enough for him to take it, give it a sniff, and a smile as he bobs his head. "Thank you, milady," he says, then returns his attention to the man. "What is an aura?"

Reena seems amused by the enterprising streetrat. She tilts her head slightly to see what Nitrim has to offer him.

"An aura…" Nitrim replies, looking to the tilt of Reena's head with a smile of his own. His fingers turn and a coin is produced, which he offers down to the boy. "Is a manifestation of energies brought on by the combined forces within the body of an Awakened. It's a culmination of their markup." He delves into shop-talk. "But mostly it's just like a sign of who the person is. Like a drawing."

The lad tilts his head to the side, considering, the coin not seeming to interest him at the moment while his mind is busy churning the information. "So, does that mean you are really just a big, green snake?" Phelan asks. However, Nitrim has upheld his end of the bargain, so he turns and skips into the thinning crowd. "This way," he calls over his shoulder.

Reena bites her tongue, choking back laughter and any comments that pop into her head. She whistles a little tune, nothing to see here.

"Something like that." Nitrim replies to the kid, starting to walk behind him. As they go, he reaches out and gives Reena's elbow a soft shove as he falls into line, trailing the child out to find the Blue Sister. "I'm more of a large, overgrown serpent, I suppose…"

Seeming satisfied with the answer, Phelan skips through the crowd, looking back on occasion to make sure he hasn't lost his 'tail'. He turns a corner, and then there's a little shriek, followed by his laughter.
When they round the corner, they'll see the boy squaring off in a basic boxing crouch against a figure in a faded blue hooded cloak and scarf. She holds her hands up on front of her as she crouches. "Now, show me the left jab," she tells him, watching as he pivots and strikes out at her hand. "Getting better, just turn your body a little more to get some more weight behind it. Try again." The boy gives a fierce look, and then his left fist jabs out again, this time she gives it a shake as she stands up. "Ow! Now that's what I'm talking about, kiddo!" the hood lifts, and she notes the boy isn't alone.
The curtsy she performs to both of them isn't overly prolonged, but it is quite proper in every particular. "My lord, my lady," she greets, then stands and gives a curious tilt to her head.

Reena dips her head in greeting. "Forgive me. I do not have a name to call you by," she admits quietly. She looks to Nitrim for help in this.

Nitrim lowers his cowled head as well in near-time with Reena. It's a gesture the two have practiced often. Taking a step to the side, he turns to watch the Blue Sister, motioning towards Reena, the Blue Sister will understand the rest, as he's said he'd relay the message.

The eyes above the scarf crinkle a little at the siblings' synchronized nods. "It's all right, my Lady. I don't go by a name here, I take care of the people as I would if I was their sister."
"And she always blue," Phelan pipes up. "That's why I call her Blue Sister."
A hand with a pale gray leather glove comes to rest on Phelan's shoulder, and the young woman, as she doesn't seem old, gives a nod. "And it is a nice name, Phelan, thank you," she says. The hood moves to look to each of the Khournas again, resting more on Reena. "I am guessing, my Lady, that Lord Nitrim has kept his word and relayed the message I asked him to pass on?"

Reena dips her head in a nod. "He did, and I've relayed it further to those who are in a position to look into it, legally and with authority. I'm sorry I can't be of more help in that. But I have come to look around and see about getting the area on the charity's list for eventual aid. The list is long already, and I regret it may take some time."

"It's the only real way to do it." Nitrim replies to the others, keeping his voice nice and low. Standing to the side to let the two ladies meet each other, he slips a cigarette out of his pocket and lights it with a flash of flame from the palm of his hand. "I know some of these alleys, though not many of the people, Sister. I'll be the first to admit I'm a bit of an ash-viper slithering through the garbage when I've come here, but she has some really valid points."

The scarf hides most of the woman's response, but she doesn't seem to be displeased. "That is what I was hoping, my lady. I thought if anyone could send it on to the right people, well…" she pauses and glances to Nitrim, "I figured you could as well, my lord, but it would possibly carry more weight, or make more sense, coming from someone who is already trying to improve the conditions for people caught in a place where they have little choice." She glances down, "Phelan, it looks like you have something to take home to your mother for dinner," she notes, giving the boy a ruffle on his head. "Go ahead. I'll stop to see your mother after I talk to Old Man Simmons." The boy pouts a little, but a gentle nudge from her hand as he starts to edge away brings a quick, dutiful bow to the Lord and Lady, and then he's back away, watching Nitrim as he goes, a hopeful look in his eyes.
Once the boy is gone, she nods. "I can tell you most of the families that are hit hardest, which places need cleaning, where a clinic would be helpful, most things that you-'ve expressed an interest in changing. I've been wondering around here since I was a child."

"I'll do what I can to help, personally, until the charity can work at fixing the issues," Reena says quietly, watching the boy skitter off. She looks back at Klaudea. "Do you still reside here?"

"These are Ibrahm lands. They're not ours to meddle in, though we have friends among the Ibrahm." Nitrim replies, falling into place alongside his sister as he regards the Blue Sister. "All of the information that you can give my sister will help her in what she seeks to do. Of course, I love my sister and what I can do to help, I will. I'm far more interested in the care of the people than most would think." Nitrim's tone goes sour, made black in mood by the recent news and troubles that have surrounded his name.

"I do not /live/ here any more, but my family is here," Sister replies to Reena, but then her head tilts to Nitrim. "I have been raised to serve the Ibrahm, Lord Nitrim," she replies neutrally. "I know our boundaries like the back of my hand… and that we are a vassal of Khournas. Sometimes it can help when people know where the Paramount stands." She's quiet for a moment, then, she actually closes the distance to the nobles, and reaches out to lay a hand on Nitrim's arm. "I know, my lord," she says quietly, however shadowed her eyes, they look up to his. "My lady, I would be grateful any assistance you can personally give, as my funds are running low currently. There's been a lung sickness in the drudge quarter, and most cannot afford the medicine the doctors prescribe for them."

"Take me there," Reena says calmly. "I have my medkit in the basket. I can help," she notes. She looks at her brother, with worry in her eyes, then back to the woman.

Nitrim is cold, wrapped in a dark cloud that he can't seem to shake easily, even with the Blue Sister's hand to his shoulder and the look that his sister gives him. Patting the Blue Sister's hand, he looks over to his sister and gazes long to her, allowing a hint of the hurt that he's feeling to show through. "It's fine." Nitrim says, drawing the cigarette back to his lips. "We came here for other reasons and there are people that are sick. There'll be time for other things later. Just—-refer to me as Shadow or brother while we're down here. Don't use my name for the now." He replies, evidencing his need to shrink away from the public view as his fingers leave the woman's hand. "Please…lead the way."

Sister dips her head, "as you wish, Shadow," she replies, then cants her head to Reena. "Do you wish me to not use your name, my lady?" she asks as her hand drops away and she turns to lead them through the warren of alleyways. "I should make a quick stop at Old Man Simmons so he doesn't worry that I have forgotten him this day, if that is all right."

"You can call me Talia," Reena says. It's a play on her middle name, her grandmother's name Italya. She links her arm through her brother's, silently bolstering him, and gestures for the Blue Sister to lead the way.

A faint smirk tugs at the corner of Nitrim's cheek at Reena's preferred name, recognizing it easily. His arm squeezes in, a kind of hug the nobles sometimes use as it is hard to spot, hard to catch. Lowering his head, Nitrim starts to follow after the Sister and steps over a small pile of alley-garbage, trailing the smoke from his cigarette. "Wherever you need to take us, Blue Sister. We are your guests now. But…I thank you for your kindness and your choice of anonymity behind that scarf is something I appreciate. Sometimes people who do the right thing shouldn't have a face, because it's the right thing."

Sister nods, and glances back as she stops in front of a door. "I will be right back out," she says as she knocks. "You need not worry, where we are going, you are unlikely to be recognized." At the call from inside, she enters, closing the door quickly behind her, and, true to her word she's back out before too long. On the one hand, her clothing seems to take pains to blend in, but her manner of walk and her posture lack the slouch and slump of those who have heavier burdens on their shoulders. There's something of her posture that, to the practiced eye, denotes someone who can take care of themselves,- the lightness of step and the crook of arm indicating a readiness to strike.
They turn a corner, and down a sloping alley where there is not only the smog of the factories, but the low hanging smoke of fires in cans. From some of the houses, coughing can be heard, or from people sitting on doorsteps outside as they talk to their neighbors.

"And sometimes you can only guilt others into doing the right thing by using the power of your identity," Reena notes to Nitrim. Thus what she's been doing. "A little of both can go a long way to making a better life for a lot of people." She waits patiently for the woman to come back out of the house, and when they enter the alley, she grimaces, tightening her grip on Nitrim's arm. It's too much like Khar-Mordune's Down Below and the Black Sector of Volkan. Any doubt poverty existed beyond the capital is wiped out.

Distantly, Nitrim nods to the squeeze Reena gives his arm, they've seen this before, the black-lungs of the factory workers and the sick conditions that come from years of prolonged exposure the noxious fumes that come with factory work. Without thinking about it, Nitrim reaches for a scarf beneath the hood of his cowl and places it protectively over his mouth, both concealing his identity and giving him a slight protection from any infectious microbes floating around the wind before him. His eyes soften at the sound of the coughing, and the words escape his lips before he can catch them. "Six protect these people…my gods…"

The fact that the woman in blue arrives with others, rather than alone, means that somewhat furtive glances are cast her way, but no one speaks at first. Turning, Sister notices Nitrim's action and there's a twitch of her head backwards from the grunt she emits with the unseen smirk. "Now you know another reason I wear the scarf," she says in a low voice. She walks towards one of the doors and knocks twice. "Basia," she calls out, then waits until a woman opens it and pokes her head out, holding a dirty cloth to her face.
"Did you bring the medicine?" Basia asks, the question making her cough into the rag.
"I have some medicine, but I have brought something better for you, Basia," Sister replies. "I have brought my friend Talia. She is trained in medicine, and she can help you." Turning, she allows the woman to now see past her to Reena and Nitrim. Seeing Basia's glance to the latter, she adds, "do not worry. Her friend protects her when she has to go to places like this. He will not harm you."
With a nod, the door is finally opened, and Basia shuffles back inside. "Iban is not doing any better," she tells them, leading them down a dingy hall to a small bedroom. A couple of barefoot children come to another door, but no further, to look at the visitores.

Reena lowers her hood, knowing they probably don't know what the youngest children of the paramount of their vassal look like. "I'm here to help." She sets down the large basket and pulls the sewing items from the top, revealing her med kit and datapad below. The kit comes out and she opens it, setting out items she'll need to test and treat with.

Slipping in with the others, Nitrim stands near the door, looking as if he's helpless to the situation. He knows enough medicine to kill and to patch up wounds, but he's far from doctor material. Still, he's no stranger to hardship or death, and his visible eyes fail to recoil in sadness. They remain calm, peaceful, and passive like light cresting over a mirror. As Reena moves forward, he gives a long look to the Blue Sister before he finds a spot against the wall to lean against and fold his arms across his chest.

The man in the bed is propped on some flattish pillows, and he coughs often, doubling over. The rag he holds is discolored, and his eyes dull as he looks to the women and man who enter. Blue Sister hangs back, letting Reena take the lead and do what she needs, although she remains close enough to be able to act if requested. At some point, her head lifts slightly, and even though she doesn't really turn to look at Nitrim, there's something in her stillness resembling a deer in the forest that knows a predator is watching them, and hasn't decided yet whether to run or remain calm.

Reena begins her examination, passing her datapad over the man's chest, getting a view of his lungs. It's not an uncommon illness among those living below the smog levels. She digs in the kit and pulls out a few items, antibiotics, mask for filtering his air, a cough suppressant. Then she reaches her hands under her surcoat and undoes a jeweled necklace. "Is this what the majority are suffering from?" She asks the woman.

As Reena starts to work over the man, Nitrim's eyes sharpen. He's been worked on many times by his talented sister, but it's rare that he gets an opportunity to watch her at work outside of a military capacity. His eyes trace over the datapad, and perhaps sensing another set of eyes on him, he lowers his head and turns to look in the Blue Sister's direction. The fold of his arms tighten, uncomfortable, but only in posture as he looks to her, trying to find the slid in her scarf to memorize her eyes, starting to suspect and trying to place her.

Since Reena doesn't seem to need her for the moment, Sister turns to look at Nitrim, the worry for the man apparent in eyes that are open windows to her feelings, even if the color is still hard to define in the shadows of her hood. About the only thing that can be gleaned is that they aren't dark, but what sort of lighter color is hard to tell. Then the lady's words bring her attention back. "I believe so my- friend," she covers the almost mistake as she steps toward the man. "I am not a medical expert, but the symptoms seem the same to me. Is it possible to keep it from spreading?"

Reena hands the necklace towards the woman, and writes down a list of things. "If you can set up a place for treatment, these are the things they will need, and that should buy most everything when you sell it. Antibiotics, masks to be worn outside of their homes, and for the ones suffering, cough suppressants and oxygen treatments. That will require tanks and masks, and a safe place to store them where there is no open flames or heaters."

There's a gasp from Basia at the sight of the necklace, and she looks between the Sister and her 'friend'. As for the woman receiving the necklace, she holds it long enough to take it in, then she pulls it underneath her cloak to tuck it away. Her eyes narrow in thought, but the angle of the brows drawn together is troubled. "I am not sure where one such as I can sell this, but…" there's a sigh into the cloth, and a squaring of her shoulders. "I may know someone who does. I can buy the things once I have the funds."

Reena hands over the rest of her supplies of masks, antibiotics, and cough suppressants. "This is all I have with me, so distribute it to the oldest and very youngest first, the teens and younger adults can hold out for the resupply."

The supplies are tucked away, except for a mask handed to Basia, who coughs intermittently, even if it's not as bad as her husband, yet. The blue hood nods slowly a couple of times as she is already thinking of who may need what. She turns and goes back into the hallway, squatting down to eye level with one of the children. "Zuza, can you please go over to the old foundry? If no one is squatting there, yet, we can clean it and use it as a treatment place. Some of the old storage rooms can be locked, I can get power supplies for them to reprogram the lock codes."

"I will try to come back in a few days and check on things," Reena says quietly, as she puts her kit and datapad back in the basket, and the sewing items on top. Her hood gets drawn up once more.

As Reena starts to pack up, Nitrim's eyes shift over to his sister and then to the sick man in the bed beneath her. Once again, concern returns to his eyes as he rises from his lean against the wall and scrapes his boots across the floor. Watching Reena closely, he steps over to the Blue Sister and lowers his voice, speaking to her in hushed tones. "How many altogether would you say are suffering this sickness? Less than a hundred?"

"Thank you, Talia," the Blue Sister remembers the name given this time, and she gives Basia an encouraging nod. "It will be all right. Zuza can find me at the Dobrevs. I'll go there first, then the Ransas." She pauses to allow the guests to preceed her down the hall and to the door, back into the street, but then Nitrim is stepping up to her with a question. Her eyes cloud as she tries to figure. "At this time, yes," she nods. "It hasn't spread much beyond this neighborhood, they're mostly unemployed, or work at Felton's."

Reena heads for the door when beckoned. This is the second necklace of hers she's sold in the last few weeks to help people she couldn't get to with ehr charity quick enough. She pauses when the others stop.

"How likely is it to spread, is it contagious?" Nitrim asks, assuming that it is, but it's the sort of question that people ask when they have a distinct need and want to be sure. As if sensing the answer, he tightens the scarf in front of his face and turns his dark green eyes over to his sister. It's a shared look, a grave look that he passes over to her. He was having a rough day to begin with, and now he's got something else to concern himself with.

Glancing towards the woman already waiting for them, Klaudea shrugs her shoulders, continueing her walk. "I don't know if it's contagious, but if it was, I would think that it would have spread by now. Unless it's one of those slow-acting diseases." She looks to Reena for clarification as they draw closer, then out onto the street. "Can you find your way back on your own? And, Shadow, if I could have a word before you go, I would appreciate it."

"It's not contagious. It's from exposure to unclean air over long periods of time. The air filters here are clearly not functioning," Reena says quietly. She arches a brow at her brother, then nods her head. "I'll step outside.

"Lovely, so it's because of a mechanical device, or a screen that fits through it." Nitrim drolls under his breath, a fog-like sigh escaping his lips. So much for wanting to have a cigarette, though oddly enough breathing through the filter of an unlit cigarette might be good for him at this time. Returning Reena's arched brow, he nods softly to her, suggesting that he'll be with her soon. Head bowed, he brushes his gloved hands over the front of his chest and looks to Klaudea. "Sure…" He murmurs to her. "…what could I help you with?"

Reaching into her cloak, Blue Sister pulls out the necklace that Reena gave her. "This," she says quietly. "I don't- well, I /do/ know fencers, but they are people I steer clear of. I can't afford to have the Watch take me for anything, they will unmask me. And I can't sell this with my true self, it would raise too many questions. I was thinking of someone, but even that-" She pauses to figure the explanation she's fumbling for. "People around here trust me because I don't mix with those who break the law. I can't risk that trust."

"Tell you what…" Nitrim replies, reaching into his pocket. He pulls out a wallet and holds it where the others can't see and digs the cash out of it and hands it over to her. "Take this for now and get these people taken care of. I'll get more of that where it came from later, it's no issue. It's the right thing to do." He replies, slipping the necklace into his pocket. "I know a few fences and that cash should tide you over until I get what this necklace is worth." He replies, looking to her eyes again, trying to place them with a nod of his head. "I'm assuming we know each other, or you know me and I've seen you before. At the least, I'll make no attempt to unmask you. Be safe." With that…he slips out into the alley.

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