07.04.3013: Deconstruction
Summary: With Ithaca vying to blend in better with the nobles, Nitrim arranges for a lesson on how to satisfy noble conversation: By making sure a rambling eleven year old feels he's being paid attention to.
Date: 03 July 2013
Related: None
Ithaca Nitrim 

The Central Arcade - The Westend, Landing
The Westend of Landing is also known as the Entertainment District. It is most active at night, where the neon lights sends the world into a kaleidoscopic glow. The Central Arcade is a wide, circular plaza with various thoroughfares spreading out like spokes on a wheel into the various regions of the district. At the center of the arcade is a round stage that nightly hosts various musical artists and groups to keep the party going even between venues. Neon piping is inlaid into the cement, creating various geometric patterns and creating pathways to various nightclubs and restaurants. AMP and Red Eye dealers covertly move through the crowds, trading doses for currency.

During the day, the Arcade is far quieter and more law-abiding, though by no means empty.

July 04, 3013

After a day of "business" in the Palace Towers, Nitrim arrives at the scheduled place and time where he is supposed to meet Ithaca. Having given her some cash and telling her to go buy some clothes, something nice for herself, he makes his way down the street just as the sun is starting to set. Coming to a public bench on the corner, he looks to one of the opposite corners and shares a long stare with a chocolate-stained child holding a robotic action figure. He gives the kid a broad grin and a wave, which the child returns. Nitrim turns and lowers himself onto the bench with a glance to his watch…and the wait begins.

Ithaca shows up at the spot, but she's empty handed and scowling fiercely. She spots Nitrim and moves to sit beside him on the bench, shoving the money into his hands. Clearly, her shopping adventure didn't go very well. Or at all, from the lack of bags in her hands. She looks like she has PTSD from the attempt, staring at her hands which curl and uncurl over and over.

Nitrim, at first, is amused but the sheer amount of frustration in her features leads him to dot his brow with concern. He extends a pointed finger upwards in another direction, as if asking someone to wait for something, before he leans over to nudge her shoulder with his. "What's up?"

"Bra size, shoe size, dress size, pant size, favorite colors, fabric choices, accessories, occasions, hemline lengths." She rattles off the things she was asked for by the sales people like a dreadful mantra. "I couldn't answer." She runs a hand through her shaggy cropped hair. "Sorry. I ran."

A pained, sympathetic sound comes out of Nitrim's lips. It's the kind of sound you make when you find a lost dog in the rain, or when you accidentally leave someone in an autowash. He reaches out to the center of her back and rubs it softly. "I can go with you to a tailor and we can get all of that stuff taken down and from that point forward it's all simple. Unless you'd rather I just go with you." He comments, offering her a drag off of his cigarette. "So…are you up for another challenge, or would you rather not?"

"Tailor. Can try that," Ithaca concedes, not willing to beg him to go with her just yet. She swallows and looks at him a little warily. "Ok." She's up for it, apparently. Certainly nothing can be worse than dealing with crazy salespeople working on commission, right?

Nitrim smiles, flashing his teeth to her slight enthusiasm. Being a Khournas he can't help but look a little draconic as he does so. "Alright. This one's going to be an interesting one. If you need to stop it at any time feel free to." He pauses for a drag off of his cigarette. "So…being around nobles means you're going to have to learn how to talk. You're going to have to learn how to talk about shit you don't care about at all. You're going to have to seem interested and make polite chatter, at least in most cases long enough until you can find a way to slip out." He raises a brow. "So I've arranged someone for you to talk to, and if you're up to it, I'd like for you to give this a shot. Thoughts?"

"Who?" Rook asks, clearly wary. She's talked this way all her life, its everyone else that wastes time and words with chatter.

"An eleven year old boy." Nitrim smiles broadly. He's the Devil.

That gets a brow creeping upwards. "A kid?" Rook asks. She frowns. She never really hung around with children much. In truth, in some ways she's stunted enough to be on their level. "Ok." She doesn't look too ok though.

"Yeah…a kid. Now since you can't offend the nobles, you have to take whatever this kid says in stride, use complete sentences, and make him feel like you're paying attention. Okay? He's a sweet kid. He talks a lot. It's going to drive you up the wall but you're gonna want to get used to a little conversation, too, okay? After all, how the fuck else are we gonna talk about horror movies." Nitrim grins and then raises an arm to the kid with a whistle…calling him over.

Rook gives Nitrim a rather skeptical look. "Why do we have to talk about them?" she asks. They're horror movies. She turns her head, to look over at the boy. She stares at him with her coal black eyes, about as intimidating as someone that little can manage to be.

Like a thing of horror, the eleven year-old child with chocolate smeared on his face skips across the cobblestones to come to a stop before Rook. No doubt, whatever money Nitrim has given him, has been devoured in the form of sugar and caffeine, and the child is ready to ask her about everything. He grins big and shows her his brand new action figure.

"So your friend said you were a big fan of RobotWars and I got this new GigoTron action figure. Isn't it COOL?" He asks, pausing and not even missing a beat before he just starts assaulting her with useless information. "My sister says that Cro-Tok is cooler than GigoTron but I think she's retarded because Cro-Tok always loses to GigoTron because HE is the good guy. But then she says I'm dumb for calling GigoTron a he because they're robots and robots can't be boys or girls…but then why are all the girl sounding ones pink, right?"

It is clear that Rook is trying to parse the endless stream of data being spewed by the child. It's hard to quantify or qualify, so eventually it just becomes noise to her. She nods her head, now and then, as if she's listening, but her eyes go quite vacant. She adds in a shrug here and there, because clearly the boy talks enough for both of them, and she doesn't need to add to the cacophony of words streaming from him.

The action figure in the kid's hand makes a CHAAAAAWWWW-PYOO! sound as he gives it a little shake. Offering it over to her, he kid suddenly stops his tirade of inforation and stares up at her face. "Do you watch RobotWars? Why do you have metal in your face? I think it's kinda cool…"

Rook stares at the toy as it's shoved at her. She takes it up and pats the seat on the bench beside herself. She begins poking at the robot, trying to figure out how it makes the noise. "No," she admits to the show. She flits a glance at him when he asks about her piercings. "Because it's cool." She pops open the back of the robot. "Want it to say something else?" she offers.

Nitrim scoots over to make room for the child, watching with quiet interest while he enjoys his cigarette. The eleven-year old all but ignores the Khournas lord.

"WHAT? You can make it do that? Cool!" The kid replies, hopping up onto the bench beside her. He reaches out to one of the pieces of rugged, spikey jewelry around her neck as she looks over his robot. "If you can, make it say Cro-Tor Sucks." He laughs. "My sister would hate that, which means I'd love it. Do you have any dumb sisters?"

Rook reaches into her bag and pulls out a small toolkit for computer work. She begins altering wires, pressing against chipsets, and all sorts of shenanigans. She holds up a finger to quiet the kid, an unspoken promise to answer his questions shortly, then holds the back of the robot near his mouth. "You say it."

The kid leans in to the back of the robot and puts on his best impersonation of GigoTron, the hero of Robot Wars. The kid's voice is low, rumbling, and intriguingly fatherly. "Cro-Tor sucks!" He growls into the receiver, and then settles back down to watch her work. He waits until he figures it's no longer recording to open his mouth, but hesitates, watching with wild-eyed interest.

With swift fingers, Rook rewires the robot for sending instead of receiving, and hands it back to him. "No dumb sisters. No sisters. No brothers either." That she knows of. She also plucks one of her dumpster diving treasures, a chain with a polished pebble strung on it, and drops it over the kid's head.

"Oh ACES" The kid exclaims, picking up the pebble and looking it over. The kid is clearly a street rat, with clothes old enough to suggest that his parents are in poverty. The toy, the sugar, the pebble on the chain, are all little treasures he's earned in the last six hours. He's on cloud nine. "Well…that sucks that you don't have sisters. Back at the Tourney we were able to steal some desserts from one of the stand and we got it to share together. It's nice having someone to hang out with." The boy is one from Nitrim's photographs, one he'd taken a snapshot with his sister at the tourney. One of the photos now on Ithaca's walls. "So do you know mister Nitrim pretty well? He's pretty cool. I'm gonna take some of the cash he gave me and get dinner tonight."

"He's my someone," Rook explains, like the boy's sister is to him. "Gregor's sometimes has stuff he will give free, if you're hungry, right at closing time." Stuff that will spoil if kept any longer.

"Gregors? I know Gregors. It's a little far away but if we get walking before sundown we could be back with food by dinner time. Thanks for the tip, lady." The kid replies, thumbing the back of GigaTron's arm.


The kid laughs aloud and gives Ithaca's arm a squeeze in thanks and then settles back into place. "So he's your someone? That's cool. I've seen him around a lot today. Earlier he was hanging out by the—"

Nitrim coughs, distracting the boy.

"The uh…grocery store." The kid grimmaces, casting a careful look back to Nitrim. "So why do you wear all black like that. It's kind of cool. Are you like…a bodyguard or something? Are you a sorceress?"

Rook gives the kid a good, solid look. Eye contact thoroughly. "Tell me the truth." In regards to Nitrim's whereabouts. She does have a strange way of getting that out of people. "I wear what I find. Black always matches," she says with a shrug. "I work with computers," she replies, scuffing her booted feet in the dirt.

"Urrr…em…" The boy starts to waffle, looking back to Nitrim to test the waters before his head whips back over to her. "He when to the who-"

"A friend of mine named Michael was in a bad place and I took him somewhere to ease what ailed him." Nitrim speaks up, looking over the top of the boy's head to Ithaca. "Independent workers, non-indentured, sweet people. Professionals and high paid. He's been in an out of war and had never…known the charms. I spent the whole time in the lobby, reading and chatting."

Rook looks confused for a moment, then Nitrim sort of clears things up. She shrugs a little bit at that. "Thank you," she tells the boy for his honesty. She doesn't seem too perturbed about it. "Should have taken him to the Ring. Help pay off some of their debts," she points out to him, over the boy's head. See Nitrim, paying indentured hookers is a good thing!

"He was at the hospital here and not fit for travel. You should have seen the man. He was downright about to cry over lost love. I couldn't let him die with the V-stamp." Nitrim admits, tapping the side of his head. His eyes flash over white. And I did not lie about not partaking. Though…that's where I met my friend for the business arrangement. The actress

"You're welcome! My mama used to be a whore until she got burned. Now my dad works the docks all week and stacks boxes. He comes home and takes care of mama." The boy speaks up again, smiling as he realizes he hasn't done something wrong. "So you're from the Ring and you work on computers! That's pretty cool. What's the Ring like? We don't have the money to visit it, my dad says."

Now it's Rook's turn to pause and really think hard. "It's cold," she says. "Not temperature but, cold." Clincial, mechanical, no sky above, no earth below, nothing there not brought by the hands of men. "Not natural."

"Oh. You know it got cold at my house once. It was snowing outside and I only had one blanket." The kid starts to ramble again, doing everything he can to be in Rook's visual space. "We had this candle that smelled like pine trees, whatever those are, and my mom wouldn't let anyone else light it because I'm not allowed to use matches since that one time I kicked over dad's lighter on the table. It caught my sister's dress on fire and…"

"Sorry," Rook says to the boy. "Sucks." She shrugs a little bit and leans back on the bench. The constant chatter hurts her head a little bit, but she seems to be able to close off part of herself from it, to stay sane. "How old are you?"

"I'm eleven!" The boy suddenly changes gears, hopping off of the bench to walk around to the side of the bench closer to her. He plants his hands down on the arm of the bench and looks up to her, taking away her personal space.

Nitrim chuckles softly.

"I used to be ten but I turned eleven a few weeks ago. Did you know that on the day I was born the video game Gorox the Destroyer was invented? Well, at least that's what my friends tell me. That's when the guy that made the video game thought it up, but it didn't come out until four years ago. There's an old beat-up copy of it at FUNtasia." He stops for a breath, grinning broadly. "Were you aware that in the Vale they make beer out of mule piss? My dad says that Valen stuff tastes like berries, which is weird because I tried some of it once when he wasn't looking and it tastes more like piss."

"Drink better beer," Rook advises. "Played that game. High score," she notes to the kid. She jerks her thumb at herself. "Rook." Which is her name on the various games. She has a lot of high scores at FUNtasia.

"You're ROOK on that machine? I beat one of your scores!" The boy laughs, pointing a finger at her. "Sure, it was one of the lower ones but that's the best that I could do. I'm CHUM on the box. Look me up." He beams and then looks down the street. It's starting to get dare. "I-I should probably head back home." He looks over to Nitrim, who nods his head quietly at the kid. He's earned his cash.

"I will," Rook promises. "Thanks," she adds, even though she's pretty sure what he's being paid is thanks enough.

With that, the kid hops away from the bench and goes running down the street in the direction of the poorer section of Westend. Nearly a block down, he looks back and waves to them.

"So…" Nitrim says quietly, resting his arm over the back of the bench behind Ithaca's back. He tilts his head towards her and nods upwards to her. "…on a scale of one to ten how hard was that to get through?"

"Zero," Rook notes. "Was just like him," she murmurs with a small shrug. Her mother was a whore, she was poor as hell, hungry, dirty. "Good kid."

"Yeah, he's a good kid. His sister's a pretty good kid, too. Did you recognize them from the images on my camera?" Nitrim asks, cocking an eyebrow towards her. Crossing one leg over the other, he scoots a little closer and offers her a drag off of his cigarette. "You don't think all of this training stuff is offensive to you, do you?"

"Recognized him. Yes." Rook takes the cigarette and takes a drag off of it. "I understand why. Just think people are stupid to value dumb shit when there's important shit that gets ignored." She hands back the cigarette and gestures after the boy. "Could have paid for him to apprentice in something, so he could earn his own money, instead of just paying him to talk to me." She looks at Nitrim with a little spark of warmth in her eyes, though. "But for you, worth it."

"I could have, and I may still. This is Landing though and there might be some issue if I start taking on families on the Saveur doorstep." Nitrim steals the cigarette back and brings it to his lips. A puff of smoke inhales into his mouth before it is released through his nose. "So…now that I've sent you all over hell and back today, all of those clothes things and this kid, what would you like to do? It sounds like the fighting is heating back up, so I want to make sure we get some time together before I slip off again."

"Tattoos?" Rook suggests. Needles are way less scary than clothes shopping and rambunctious pre-teens. She dares to sidle over to slip her hand into his for a squeeze at the mention of him being sent away. She'll be waiting. She doesn't need to say it in that many words.

"Yeah…let me call Zakk Pryde and see if he's available for an on-spot. We'll grab some take-out and head over to his apartment." Nitrim replies, giving her fingers a soft squeeze before he lifts off of the bench and keeps her hand in his, helping her off of the bench.

That actually gets a smile from Rook, when he continues to hold her hand in public. "Ok." She walks along with him, rubbing at the back of her hood a little now and then, trying to understand the weird leaping feelings in her chest. "Thinking of getting a snake instead," she murmurs.

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