07.20.3013: Breath of Fire
Summary: Ellinor summons Nitrim to discuss the "Kassandra Incident" at Niko's bachelor party.
Date: 20 July 2013
Related: None
Ellinor Nitrim 

Ellinor's Office
In the scene. It's an officey-office.
July 20, 3013

Lady Sir Ellinor Sauveur did the only thing she knew how to do in regards to this whole mess: she sent Lord Nitrim Khournas a summons. It was polite with a faint edge to it. Whatever Nitrim may have expected calling upon the young half-Khourni, he might find that her apartments are quite a blending of the Sauveur grace and affluence with the Khournas edge. Due to her impeccable way of demanding things — quite unlike her spoiled sisters as she falls back on logic and a stalwart air — the wide and vast windows overlook the Northern seas with a nearly unobstructed view. Everything is warm, sharp, and precise with purposeful lines, corners, and a minimalists palette.

The central room is a typical greatroom with a giant viewscreen and floor to ceiling shelving units of books and films. Her study is just to the left of the room, the double doors thrown wide open to invite Nitrim into the trophy room. She has a magnificent painting with a drakeskin canvas that depicts an almost Old Earth DaVincian-style map of the Haven System with the sun being a golden and red drake coiled in on itself until it forms a vicious sphere. Her desk is made of solid black oak with a menagerie of creatures carved up the legs. Her stylized drake armor is displayed to the left of it, and to its right is a weapon rack.

Ellinor herself is standing at the window, looking out at the distant swells of sea, patient and ever statuesque as she waits the Khourni's arrival.

The day has been unspeakably long for Lord Nitrim Khournas, who first receives the message back on Ignis from the dark confides of his private room there. Aching and trying to sleep from an overly-aggressive training regiment that he has the expressed understanding of knowing just why the training is so hard, he's been fighting the urge to sleep. In the darkness, he blindly lifts his tablet to hover above his face. The golden glow of the monitor flashes over him and he lets out an audible sigh, dropping the tablet to the mattress…

Less than an hour later, Nitrim is given access to Ellinor's chosen place of meeting. Still sporting a technicolor of stained hair, he's pale, gaunt and sporting dark circles under his eyes that match the black bruising that lines his shoulders. Leaving the coat he's always been seen with back with the cleaning crews, he creeps into Ellinor's study with his hands clasped behind his back. Eyes sweeping the decorations in silence, he finally clears his throat quietly to announce his arrival and closes the doors behind them. He knows what's coming…at least he thinks he does, and if his judgment of the distinct this is not a request undertones in Ellinor's message are any indication, this will be his fifth ass-kicking of the day.

"You wanted to speak with me?"

Precisely following the question, a smooth and accurate voice perks up from her desk computer, announcing briskly, "Sir, Lord Nitrim Khournas has arrived. He have been stored for later identification. Would you like to assign a pseudonym for later acknowledgement?"

Ellinor quirks her brows down at her computer before she turns a touch on her heels to regard Nitrim with a slight narrowing of her pale green eyes. "I don't know, Syrus. How about 'Undeniable Dumbass'?" She steps toward her desk now, snapping her fingers. "No, wait… 'Egomaniacal Prick'. Or maybe…"

She appears to be preparing a third before her AI politely interupts with an inquisitive: "Perhaps I will ask again at a more opportune time, Sir."

The Knight rolls her shoulders, pressing her hands down on her desk as she stretches out her arms and legs to release a touch of tension that rides up through her body. She is silent for just a moment before she lifts her gaze to him once more, her jaw set as a touch of anger wrinkles her forehead. "I don't even know where to begin," she says after a heartbeat. "I have so many options. I mean, I suppose I should start about your absolute disregard for this House… or I could take it even more personally and wonder if you were trying to insult me, but we'll start with what your fucking actions last night meant in the eyes of House Sauveur. Sure, let's start there. What the fuck were you thinking?"

The roll of Nitrim's shoulder and the way he looks away, tightening his jaw, is proof that this meeting is his fifth ass-kicking of the day. Sucking in the corner of his mouth, he closes his eyes just a little and lets a soft sigh escape him. He looks the other direction, not finding anywhere else to move towards or lean on that'll make what's happening to him any better. So, like a Khournas, he turns to look directly at Ellinor and her angry, heated eyes.

"I'm not in your House yet, Sir Ellinor." Nitrim starts out, boldly. He may be an egomaniacal prict or an undeniable dumbass, but he's not one to shy away from conflict. Though…there is some self-sacrifice in the corner of his eyes. He's been taking a self-earned beating as of late. "But in terms of thinking, I wasn't. I'd expected all of the nudity and water balloons and absolute nonsense to maintain a certain degree of not-giving-a-fuck that ended abruptly, as per current faire, with me. So with that, I owe you an apology."

"No, but your fucking actions reflect on you, and who you are as a person will reflect directly onto this House. Frankly, I thought all this immature, Daddy-Doesn't-Love-Me shit was behind you. You were being squired, on your way to knighthood. And maybe the Granthams don't go for the full definition of what it is to be a knight. Maybe they just like swinging their hammers around, but you're gonna be a fucking Eagle, Nitrim… act like one." Ellinor shakes her head as she starts to move around the desk, arms crossing at her chest after she points a finger at him. "Oh, no… you don't owe me an apology. You owe Sir Kassandra Cindravale an apology." She slumps back into the edge of the desk. "Look, I don't fucking care about the prostitutes… if Nikomachos wanted to thrust up another woman before we got married, then that's something he works out with me," Ellinor explains to Nitrim as she keeps those aggressive green eyes on the youngest Khourni. "But, if anyone tells you not to fucking touch them, you listen. Kassie told you no, and you slapped her ass anyway, and then you allowed the entire fight to escalate."

"First things first don't you fucking think for a second just beca—" Nitrim bares his teeth back to her, about to deliver some harsh words of his own, but he stops himself. His fingertips flex behind his back and he swallows his words, knowing full well that soon she will be family. He looks to the wall and bares his teeth for just a second. He doesn't even look to have the strength to fight this one.

"As far as the prostitutes go, so that you're clear, you and I, I never intended for him to fuck them, nor expected them to. Call it merely a last brush with horrible, agonizing, painful temptation that we men fuck with each other over before the grand send." Nitrim replies, looking back to Ellinor. Hands unclasping, he brings them to rest before him as he rubs into the webbing of his right hand were a bruise shines bright as day. "But I can see what the outside world truly sees me as. I respect your honesty."

With a bitter cloud over his shoulders, he shakes his head and takes a step closer to her. "I will make a formal apology to Sir Kassandra without a stitch of my particular blend of arrogance attached to it, on behalf of myself only so that it doesn't drag the Sauveur name into it. I will pay attention to the behavior befitting of an Eagle, Sir Ellinor." He pauses, tilting his head just a little, giving her a rather pointed look. "But as far as this Daddy-Doesn't-Love-Me shit, goes? I'd like for you to understand something, just so you and I see clearly. When I join this House I'm very well aware that I'm only an asset until I prove it. This was a mistake that I made. I have no intention of touching women other than Lady Soleil. I don't have issues with being told no."

"I don't go in for the lying, shmoozing bullshit," Ellinor snaps off in reply about her being honest. "But, you do have one thing wrong about what you are when you join this house." There is a sharp bite to Ellinor's laughter as she pushes herself off the desk, turning her back to him as she paces behind her desk. If she was a wildcat, her tail would flick and her shoulders would roll with pent up aggression. "The second you take your vows to Soleil, you simultaneously take vows to this House… Arboren, Cindravale, Khournas, and Orelles all are the vassals of our Liege Lord." She points out toward her apartment doors. "You know the guy… he sleeps down the hall from the rooms you'll be sharing with Soleil. His name is Emund, our King fucking Regnant. When the Cindravale and Khournas throw punches, it is our job to intervene and cease conflict. Kassandra is the niece of the woman who has sworn her blood and sword to the Royal House of Sauveur, who are promised that if ever asked, she will lay down her life for the safety and sanctity of Haven, and what did you do? You treated Kassie like a common whore last night." Again, Ellinor laughs that empty laugh. "Fucking ridiculous that the man with a bra on his head was more mature than the man who has been selected to marry into the Royal House of Haven."

She pauses long enough to bring up her fingers to pinch solidly at the bridge of her nose. Then she breathes out a sigh. Her voice settles a bit more. "Look… Nitrim… when my younger sisters were growing up, my mother always told them don't do what Soleil does. Maybe she's gotten better under Janelle's tutelage. Janelle doesn't put up with anyone's shit, and she will make sure that no one is a stain on her or her House. Maybe Jevon and Uncle Rennic threw you two together because it was, well, might as well roll all the family shit together. I'd like to think that there's more to both of you than that."

Stirred, Nitrim has to switch weight from hip to hip and brush a hand over the top of his head until he can use it to mat down the hairs standing on the back of his neck. His gaunt, tired eyes turn to the window and he decides to move over to it. Stopping a respectable distance from the glass, he slides his hands, palms out, into the back pockets of his pants. "You're right. I'm no longer some end-of-the-line that's not expected to excel. There's a new channel to maneuver. New names, new faces, new rules…"

"Ellinor." Nitrim starts, lowering his voice as he turns to face her again. His rich, smoky voice takes on a more somber, honest tone that doesn't hide just how exhausted he is. "There is far more to both of us than that, far more than most people see. Perhaps you'll see it some day but her and I both are fighting against the past right now to make better for ourselves. I have been working…so very hard." He straightens a little, though being the shit-rolled-together stalls him mid-speech. "My reputation. What the people see; the tabloids? It will die. You're going to see things in me that few have. If you only knew what I've fought through to get where I am, you'd understand."

Ellinor looks up at his speech, but she grimaces. "You and Soleil are not the only two people in Haven that are trying to overcome something, Nitrim. You are not the only two with scars that run deep, or wounds that have started to fester. You and Soleil are from prominent families, and you have both lived good lives." She raises a hand to stall him. "Please don't try to sell me the speech that you two have been tortured, that you have suffered." She slumps into the window frame as she looks out at the sea. "You want to see torture? Go visit the woman with seven kids who lost her husband to the recent Hostile skirmish. Or the six-year-old boy whose family is now a bunch of Chantry priests because all that was found of his mother and father were a couple cannisters of harvested organs. Or maybe go talk to the Rovehns who lost twenty five families — mothers, fathers, children. But you and Soleil? You are from two of the richest families in all of Haven. You've always had food on your table, always had clothes in your closet. You don't care if you drop a few thousand on Red Eye and AMP because, hey, who gives a shit." She glances over toward Nitrim now, her green eyes sharp and almost luminous between her dark lashes. "I'm not doubting that you've both fought some kind of uphill battle, but… please… don't give me the tortured soul speech?" She returns her focus back out at the sea.

"Tortured. Soul. Speech." Nitrim repeats the words quietly, brows lowering as he slowly turns his head to look to Ellinor. For a long, painful moment he lets a silence settle in between the two of them. Tongue running over his teeth, his tired eyes blink and he turns to angle his shoulder to the window, facing Ellinor.

"In a way, you're right, Ellinor. Spoiled brats with rich parents and too much freedom prior to this fucking war to waste ourselves however we felt, never expecting our parents to be able to sell us to matches, right? We've never had trouble finding comfort or luxury, you're right." He chews his lip, giving her a shake of his head.

"While my brothers and sisters were at tourney I was in the streets making sure to see how those people live. While this war has been going on I've been tirelessly, and I do mean tirelessly, running from one campaign to another and bearing my wounds while making the necessary intelligence and political rounds to keep wheels turning, at least on some fronts. Of course, no less, under the guise of the tabloids wondering just who I'm fucking I've ushered one recent Awakening, fought right alongside you in places, and have been paying distinct attention to the many undercurrents that are funneling danger into our society, and oh…I assure you there are many."

Before Eliinor can reply, it's now Nitrim's time to hold his hand out to stall her. "And while all of this, I dream rather regularly of my skin being torn apart, vivisected and dissected rather painfully I might add in a series of dreams that only Awakened can have. This spoiled brat has had them since he was as tall as your knee. So when I give you the tortured soul speech, Ellinor, understand that there are actual, tangible tortures and not petty nonsense and a deep need for sympathy weighted behind it. We all feel pain, Ellinor, and as nobles its our birthright to suffer an utter lack of self so that those people in the streets aren't mutilated by our mistakes."

"I will afford myself many more misteps, Ellinor." Nitrim closes, eyes sharp and despite the fatigue that is closing havoc over his body, he's quite conscious and aware. "We all wear our masks. I hope you understand mine."

"Oh, fuck you, Nitrim," Ellinor snipes back. "You're so full of shit and you know it. Don't go giving me this speech that you getting high off your ass and having to go through intensive rehabilitation to get you off Red Eye was some self-sacrificing journey to get to know your people better." She curls her lips back over her teeth a bit. "Do you know when Queen Lyla died, my mother went to King Symion and asked him… Why don't you just abdicate? Let Emund take the burden. Give yourself time to grieve, find some peace before they return." Ellinor looks over toward Nitrim with a tip of her chin. "And he said to her… they won't be able to afford to give up when the grief sets in." She points down from their lofty tower to the bits of Landing seen below. "They have to fight even when their hearts are breaking, even when their souls are rendered, even when their bodies are empty. They fight for Haven, and so we fight for them. Tell me, when you were wallowing around in the dark corners of Volkan, when you saw someone who was truly suffering, were you so high on Red Eye that you completely forgot that, that person trusted that his Lords and Ladies would look after him? Would make sure that he did not suffer needlessly? Swore themselves to him just as he swore himself to them that they would protect, serve, and guide him? While you were on some fact-finding mission, some fucking intelligence gathering, people were genuinely suffering around you. People you could have fucking saved. Don't you go trying to put me in my fucking place. I know plenty. Thanks."

Her brittle smile turns into a hard smirk. "You think just because your nightmares are fueled by your Awakened gifts that my nightmares don't mean shit? You think I haven't dreamed terrors that wake me in a cold sweat, that I haven't tasted my own blood in my mouth at night? Don't go lecturing me about what I need to understand.

The admission that Ellinor at the least suspects about the Red Eye hits Nitrim dead center in his chest. At first, there's a flash of anger, but then the gears start turning. With a lift of his chin to take his eyes away from hers, his hands come out of their pockets to disappear behind his back where Ellinor can't see the welts his fingernails are digging into his palms. As she continues, the words just blast over him like mortar-fire. One after another after another. The Khourni just stands there like a dying horse being kicked repeatedly, staring off into the distance. She has scored an indefinite hit on the game board.

"I was done being the rock bottom, because I knew soon people were going to need me to be better than I was." Nitrim says flatly, eyes turning from that one bland spot on the wall to find Ellinor's. "I take this far more seriously than you think, Ellinor. There are far too many of us that play at giving a damn when they don't, even if some of us are late to the game." Nitrim adds as he turns his back to Ellinor, looking to her door. With another bitter, futile shake of his head he takes his first steps toward it. "I'll leave you to a nap after gorging that rather large appetite of yours, Ellinor."

"I'm not playing a game," Ellinor says dryly toward Nitrim as he starts to consider a retreat. She steps around her desk now, her aggressive strides carrying her toward him fiercely. "That's the fucking issue. Everyone thinks that this is some game, that it is all about who can move their pieces around a game board better than the other person." She does not fear him, she steps right up to him and almost goes nose to nose with him. "You think I'm gorging myself, that I take some fucking joy out of this conversation? I said I thought there was more to you than what everyone else says, stop trying to shove me into that corner where you put your enemies, Nitrim. I'm your fucking ally."

"FINE." Nitrim barks into her face, finally breaking rank. He stops dead in his tracks and looks away from her, bringing his hand up to rub the side of his face. Clearing his head, he places his hands between them, almost as if he's going to shove her back, and then he stops. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

"Ellinor, when I'm married into this house I can't just go running off to save my family every second I feel they need it. I'm going to be here and though so many of you aren't strangers to me, my responsibility will be to you and then to them, all of them, as not faceless entities but as a wider net than I've ever cast before in my life. I can do it. I know I can. I'm tired of being this stupid, selfish thing and I was honestly ashamed about the Kassandra thing." He replies, lowering his voice and nixing the harsh I'm out of here body language. He's trusting her with this truth.

"And yes. I was an addict. Yes. I whored. Yes and yes, and when I did some things I staked my family's reputation on it. It was thoughtless. There were times that I hated them, Ellinor, if only because I couldn't tell who I hated more, me or Jevon for treating me like some quarantined mutant and I'm very well aware at just how pathetic it is that it's hard to get over that. I am a fucking drake, Ellinor."

Sighing, as if he's just shrugged off a thousand ton weight, he places a hand to her shoulder. "We get in shape or we die, right? I swear, I don't think that this is a game. It's like a game, there's pieces but people are dying. I wish it were as simple as just fighting the Hostile, but it's not, because everyone knows that something's just not right right now…" He trails off, then raises his eyes to hers. "But I'm with you, okay? I am."

Ellinor doesn't even flinch at the bark to her face, and her jaw juts with anticipation of this verbal spat turning physical. But instead them are both given a moment to breath. She relaxes through her poise, shoulders still perfectly aligned with the length of her spine. She doesn't drop her eyes from his, relentless greens staring dead into his own gaze. Then she crosses her arms at her chest as he spills his guts to her, but her expression does not change. No judgement, no shunning, no sympathy. She just listens. Then her nostrils flare a bit before she gives a faint snort. "Nitrim, I don't really give two flying fucks who you were or what you did. I don't even think you should go lie yourself down before the Crone like the Granthams do to get over your shit." She doesn't shrug away his hand from her shoulder, but she does grasp solidly at his wrist. Her gaze is steady, calculating, and finally she nods. "Alright, you're with me."

"Alright, you're with me." There is a beat pause. "You fuck me over, I fuck you over. Deal?" And then she smirks. Definitely a bit more Khourni than Sauveur at the moment.

Nitrim squeezes her shoulder, and perhaps a bit too hard, which is the Khourni way. Embraces, when not meant to be sensual, (and even sometimes then) are rough, direct comforts. He lets go of her and retrieves his hand, flexing his fingertips from that all-too-familiar pain of aching digits from climbing and swinging heavy weapons. "Deal. This is a no-fucking-over relationship, you and I, from this day forward. The last thing I want is for the Sauveur to inherit a problem child, and it might do me good to inherit some new allies." He admits, glancing to the door over Ellinor's shoulder and then he nudges her out of his way in an almost brotherly fashion.

"Now, if you'll fucking excuse me, Ellinor, I'm going to find a dark, black pit where no sound or light can infiltrate for a few hours or else I'm going to fall over dead in your care, and that…will cause an apology letter of your own." Nitrim adds, nudging her shoulder softly as he passes her. Wasting no time, knowing well their understanding has been met, he slips out and leaves her in her office to finish her work.

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