12.30.3013: Effing Hammer
Summary: Anabethe commiserates with Klaudea on having to face Sir Thalo's hammer on a regular basis, and Klaudea ends up coming clean.
Related: None
Anabethe Klaudea 

Gym Volkan, The Crescent
There are plenty of advanced weight lifting machines in Haven. This gym doesn't have a single one. Instead there are racks and racks of dumbells and barbells, punching bags hanging from the ceiling, and two roped-in sparring rings. Small racks near the sparring rings hold protective gear so that sparring doesn't result in broken bones or concussions. One wall is formed entirely of a floor-to-ceiling mirror, one has the entrance from the commercial district, the third has entrances to changing rooms for men and women, and the fourth is a window overlooking the gray and red expanse of Volkan.
30 December, 3013

It's early morning in the gym, which means it's a rather busy place. Lots of Khourni getting their work outs in before the rest of their work day begins. Among them, Anabethe has claimed a spot by the mirrors, going through a series of what looks like either yoga, or martial arts katas. Possibly a little bit of both. And for all her motions are smooth and controlled, the thin sheen of sweat on her skin shows that she's working at it.

The morning rarely see the squire there, precisely for the crowding. Usually, she prefers to run in the morning, but the wind and rain today chased her inside to find a treadmill instead. As all the treadmills are currently in use, she puts her name in the waiting list, and waits at the edge for one to free up. Stretching as she waits, she notes a familiar face in the mirror, and turns to look through the others until she can see Anabethe in person. She takes a step to greet the woman, but then, has a second thought, and instead watches the Knight going through her katas or stretches instead.

There are a few spots where Anabethe is a little slower, a little stiffer. She's still rebuilding after another round of broken ribs, and in the more strenuous motions, it shows. But she straightens as she finishes the motions, letting out a slow breath and rubbing at her side. "Not the end of the world," she murmurs to herself, picking up a towel and slinging it over her shoulder. As she moves away to make room for someone else, she catches sight of Klaudea, heading toward the squire with a flicker of a smile. "Hey there," she called, tipping her chin up in greeting.

Klaudea gives a half grin as she watches the stiffness, the expression sympathetic as she's been there at some point or another. As the woman greets her, she gives a proper nod/bow, "Good morning," she replies. "Loosening up the kinks?"

"Where I can," Anabethe replies ruefully. "I really ought to try not breaking my ribs the next time around, or they're going to have to replace them with something a little stronger than bone. Getting in some warm up before Thalo starts kicking your ass again?" she asks the squire in return.

"Cybernetic rib cage?" Klaudea offers with another smile. At the mention of Thalo, she glances over towards the treadmills to see if one has opened. "Something like that. It's Sir Thalo's regimen. Running every morning, then sparring. Lunch, a little time to digest, and then another spar or weight training." She gives a grin. "If he uses anything other than that hammer of his, I can almost hold my own with him." There is less boast and more wonder in that statement, since you could probably fit about five Klaudeas in Thalo's armor.

"Fucking hammer," Anabethe sighs sympathetically. "Believe me, I know the feeling. The bitch of it is, with as big as he is and that damned hammer, you can kick his ass the whole fight, but if he manages to hit you once with that thing, it's over. Might as well have been losing all along."

Klaudea grins. "Or just have him hit you in the beginning and get it over with," she adds. "Less demoralizing that way. You don't get that, 'yeah, I'm doing great' feeling just to have it squashed out of you." She shakes her head. "I don't see me ever being able to pick that thing up, never mind swing it. It's good to know I'm not the only one who feels that way, though."

"Honey, anyone who's ever had to go up against Thalo feels that way," Anabethe laughs, rubbing the towel at the back of her neck to mop up sweat. "I'm sure you're doing fine. He's hard, but he makes good knights. I've always kind of envied that ability, honestly."

Klaudea can't help the answering smile, but she nods. "I'm not upset. I mean, it has to be good practice, right? If I can hold my own with Sir Thalo, then hopefully I'll be able to take out a few Hostiles, instead of getting splatted my first time in the field." She glances to the treadmills again. "I just don't like disappointing him. He's hard, but not in a mean way."

"He's a good Knight." Anabethe reaches for a bottle of water, taking a long drink. "You're lucky. I was actually thinking about seeing if he'd take on Mikhail," she admits, smile flickering. "Decided to go another way, but it was a serious consideration. How's it coming?" she asks, looking to the other woman.

Klaudea nods. "He is. I was surprised when he said he'd take me on. He tested me when he had to tell me that Sir Urik had fallen in combat, to find me another knight. But then," she gives a shrug, "I'm not sure why but he said to report to him." She bites her lip at the question, her shoulders unconsciously coming a little more to attention. "It's… rocky, right now, I think. But it has been good, on the whole."

"What's got it so rocky?" Anabethe takes another drink, moving slowly and stretching her legs out as she does, cooling herself down. "If you don't mind me asking, that is."

Klaudea considers the Khournas heir for a moment, chewing at her lip again. "There were some things that Sir Urik and I had worked on besides my training," she explains carefully. "When they came to light at the warehouse, Sir Thalo was not happy that I hadn't trusted him earlier. And I think he got the wrong idea." She lifts one shoulder and pushes at a smile. "Hopefully it will just take time and hard work for me to prove it isn't as bad as he thinks."

"At the- Ah." Anabethe arches a brow, then nods, pushing a hand through her hair. "So that was you, then. Warehouse was…a surprise for everyone." She leans against a support pole, letting out a long breath. "Personally, I think it showed that we all need to spend more time being clear about what we do and how we do it. I can't hold a line alone."

"It was me, Sir Anabethe," she says quietly. "Your brother and sister have actually been helping me lately, although they didn't know it was me. They will keep my secret." Her voice has lowered a bit, barely heard above the activity around them. "Sir Thalo doesn't wish me to continue until he's certain of my intentions. It is hard, and I am hoping that I can convince him soon to let me go back, although, with Hostiles lurking, it's probably more dangerous than ever, now. Before, I only had to worry about being mugged, or crossing the path of an angry drunk. Those were sometimes bad enough. He may consider it too dangerous."

Anabethe pauses for a moment at that revelation, then sighs. "Of course they have. Because if they just used the normal channels, they might have to admit that they're not exactly on the outside looking in," she murmurs wearily. "Honestly, Klaudea, if you want to spend your free time helping people one on one, I don't have a problem with that. But I also don't see a need to keep it a secret."

Klaudea furrows her brow at Anabethe's response, not comprehending the normal channels, so she answers the question that she can address. "I think it's because there's a saying about hope springing eternal," she replies to the last. "Especially where our loved ones are concerned. I keep hoping my father will one day.. see the light? But he will never do that if I am openly defying and, to his mind, shaming him."

Anabethe snorts softly. "Welcome to having a father," she says ruefully. "But it sounds like yours is even more fun than mine. What's your father do, Klaudea, that helping people stay safe counts as defying and shaming him?" she asks with an arch of her brow.

Klaudea shakes her head. "I don't help people stay safe," she says quietly. "Not so much. I do teach some of the young ones self defense. But that's a recent thing." She shifts on her feet, suddenly uncomfortable. "I've been taking food and medicine to the factory workers since I was ten years old. Some of them work in my father's factory. The managers tell my father the workers are lazy and practically overpaid, and he believes them." She lifts one shoulder protectively towards her ear. "It was easier when I was a kid. No one pays any mind to another dirty kid in a ratty cloak and scarf. But when I started getting older…"

Anabethe is quiet for a long moment, looking troubled by that explanation. "What's the problem with the food?" she finally asks, posture shifting slightly, just enough to give her more of a sense of business. "Is it a matter of availability, or price? Or are we talking about time?"

Klaudea blinks at Anabethe's question. "I - never thought about the price of the food. The managers will find ways to not pay workers if they can. If someone is injured and can't work, they're not working so they don't get paid. Things like that." She expels a breath. "I mentioned some of the problems with the way managers can find loopholes to keep the wages down with Lady Reena and Lord Nitrim, but since it is Obsidia, it is something they said they would bring to the attention of Young Lady Sir Johana and Lord Sir Erik."

"Who…are newly married, and the Valens aren't exactly the most down to earth people around," Anabethe grimaces, rubbing a hand at the back of her neck. "Which doesn't inspire a lot of hope, when it comes down to it. Klaudea…I'm glad you're doing something to help. Don't get me wrong. I've always believed that people should do what they could, rather than just complain. But you should also make use of the resources you have. Tell people who can help you."

Klaudea nods slowly at the last. "It has been a help that your younger siblings have been inclined to donate resources, and Lady Reena is bringing things to light. Some people just don't want to admit, I think, that they can be wrong." She gives a little chuckle. "Espcially fathers, I think." Glancing back, she notes a treadmill freeing up. "I better get my run in, so I'm not late for my sparring. Thank you for talking with me, Sir Anabethe."

"Glad to," Anabethe nods, taking a step back. "And if I run into Ana before the others do, I'll talk to her. Or her mother," she adds with a flicker of a smile. "Good luck, Klaudea," she nods once more.

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