07.27.3013: 18%
Summary: Devon and Victor continues to bridge that gap, though the chasm is wide.
Date: 27 July 2013
Related: Why? and Field Dissection
Victor Devon 

Living Quarters Greatroom
This room, as the entry to the living quarters of the Khournas family, is about as sumptuous as things get in the Blackspyre. The floor is sheathed in black tile, heated from below by veins of magma running through the tower itself. Deep red carpets have been layered over the tile across most of the expanse of the room, softening footfalls and providing a visual sense of warmth to go along with the physical one. One wall of the greatroom is taken up by a large 'fireplace' where one of the heat-proof transparent tubes filled with lava can be seen pulsing and roiling its way up the tower. Around the other walls are a scattering of drakeskins, paintings of battle and hunt, and shelves of holobooks. Several couches and chairs are gathered in clumps around the room, providing seating for twenty or so with ease. Opposite the lift is a corridor that leads back into the actual living quarters and a private drawing room, with the entrance to the corridor guarded by two men-at-arms at all times.
July 27, 3013

Combat can do strange things to someone. Or to a relationship that was all-too-awkward between two someones. Killing the shit out of Hostiles is always good for morale, and even inspired a bit of nice talk afterwards… who knew. Now back at the Blackspyre, Victor has slung his axe up over the back of one of the warmed metal chairs — surprisingly comfortable when you're used to it. He's slumped back a touch in its wingbacked embrace, a chess board and several bottles on the table between him and the other chair in the little clutch. The bottles are not his usual unlabeled brew, however, but are wrapped up in brown paper bags, masking the contents. He dropped a message to Devon not too long ago, letting her know that he was going to be in the greatroom if she… wanted to know. No presumption of 'do you want to talk,' no presumption of a request for her present, just letting her know that he's back from whatever tasks fill his days when he's not fighting.

Devon had not been in Volkan when the message came to her comm, but it surprised her how it cued a slight smile on her lips — so surprised that she actually felt a moment of confusion in the wake. Her journey from the Chantry of Volkan to the greatroom of the Blackspyre was not a long one. When the lift doors opened to yield her, she takes just a moment's pause before she intakes a deep breath and steps insight. A vision of violet, she stands out quite easily against the usual darkness of Volkan architecture. Her glass-colored eyes search over the room before she spies the smooth head of her betrothed, and then she takes him in. His clothing somehow surprises her, though she hides it well. She gracefully steps forward, approaching him with a whisper of silk and soft slippers.

Victor looks up at the opening of the lift door, already starting to look down again when he blinks once and then turns his eyes back to the newcomer. The Ash-Witch usually wears white or gray or other colors appropriate for Ignis, but the lavender is… something else. He nods, pushing himself out of the chair with both hands, "That was quick." His gravelly voice has a hint of a chuckle to it, and he gestures over to the other brushed metal chair, "You've been keeping yourself entertained? Plenty of hurt people to see to, yeah?" That draws another chuckle — and a wince — as he drops himself into his chair again, "How's your arm doing?" Evidently, they aren't exactly at the kissing greeting stage in his mind, and a handshake just seems awkward.

Devon continues forward as the man stands, and she glances down to the paperbag-wrapped bottles and the chessboard before she lifts her eyes to meet his own briefly. There is a hint of a curious smile on her lips, and it lingers there before she starts toward the offered chair. She sweeps her hands down the rear of her dress as she claims the seat, though she sits more at its edge rather than falling back into it. "I was at the chantry," she explains to him. "I'm… not entirely sure what to do with myself here. Lady Grantham had been seeing to a number of duties in The Pit that I'm sure Anabethe would just get annoyed if I attended to." She looks down at her arm which is now dressed in one of those structured casts, and she offers him a gentle nod. "It should be right as rain in a couple days." She notes his wince, her eyes searching his frame. "Did you see to the House doctor as I suggested?"

Victor nods his head in understanding at her explanation, although the last point causes him to chuckle softly, "If it had anything to do with dealing with food supplies, resource management, or just about anything else that doesn't involve hitting something over the head or getting drunk, I'm sure that Bethe would love the help." He nods at the comment on her arm, although he shifts in his seat a little at the question that follows, sitting a little forward in his seat to pull the paper bag down off the front of one of the bottles, displaying an Ignis brand of mead… a high-quality one. "Took a stroll over to The Pit between cleaning up my armor and running through the tape from that fight."

Devon looks uncertain, fingers of her right hand gently plucking at the violet silk as she considers offering Anabethe some assistance, and then she bobs her head gently. "I'll ask her, but I don't want to step on any toes." She then casts him a small smile before she drops her eyes to the paperbag-wrapped bottles as he reaches for one. She blinks as he reveals the bottle, and she actually reaches for it as if to see if it is real. She lifts her eyes to his, and she is actually speechless — not because of the bottle itself, but because Victor made the effort. Then she clears her throat, and she offers him a soft smile. "Thank you… Victor. Do you have a pair of glasses?" She starts to work off the paper and wire so she can pop the cork.

Victor sits back in his chair to watch the reaction, and finds himself watching the pale skin revealed by the lavender dress instead. The sudden silence causes him to chuckle, snapping his eyes upward again. That chuckle trails off, however, as she asks about the glasses, and he blinks. In Victor's world, beer is totally drunk straight from the bottle, and mead is totally beer, right? Crap. Shrugging a little, he shakes his head, "I may have forgotten glasses." Luckily, this is Volkan. Pushing himself up out of the chair with his arms again, he moves over to the wetbar at one side of the room, collecting a pair of highball glasses — not quite right, but they'll do — and then starting back, "You don't do anything crazy like put mead over ice, do you?"

Devon does not appear to notice where his eyes have wandered as she looks up to meet his eyes in time with his own upward glance. "No ice. You can drink it from the bottle, but this deserves glasses." She closes her eyes as she takes in an inhale from the bottle. Then she stands as he returns with the glasses. She takes one from him so she can fill the glass — or at least half of the glass. "Have you had mead before?" She lifts her eyes up to him as she trades the full glass for the empty so she can pour herself some of the rich, dark liquid. There is a warm contentedness about her, for now at least.

Victor hands over the glasses one at a time, getting his back in return. The question causes one corner of his mouth to curl up in a little smirk, "Nope." He brings the glass up to smell the liquid, blinking in surprise, "It smells sweet as all hell…" It's not a complaint, or a castigation, just a statement. He sits back down in the warmed chair, leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees, studying the way the mead clings to the glass as he tilts it this way and that, "They said it was the best stuff they had on hand. Figured if I didn't know your label, might as well go for the good stuff." And then he takes a sip, his brow furrowing at the taste. It's not an expression of distaste, but it is one of uncertainty. Swallowing, Vic shrugs, then lifts up the glass again, "Different. Not bad." And he takes a bigger sip.

Devon does not immediately sit. She gently corks the bottle as she sets it down on the table between their seats. She turns slightly, showing off her profile to him as she holds up the glass of amber liquid up to the light of the windows. She admires the way it shimmers in this not-the-same-as Ignis light. Then she takes a sip herself before she glances over toward him. "Different, but just as strong as your Volkan brew, if not stronger." She cradles the cup together before she steps aside to take her seat once more. She looks across the breadth toward him. "I may ask if I can inspect the bodies we brought back."

Victor looks over that long stretch of back displayed by the dress, admiring the way the ever-shifting lavalight plays over it. Taking a third sip, he smiles faintly, "It can't be that bad, can it, Dee? Is it really more than like eight percent?" Sure, he could have read the label and found out it was closer to eighteen… Her comment causes him to lean back in the chair thoughtfully, resting both elbows on the arms of his chair and cradling the glass before his chin, "See if you can figure out just what the hell happened to them? Probably be good. The Laskaris are fucking idiots, but even I don't think they're twisted enough to carve up Hosties like that. Put their heads on spikes around town, sure, but that was like… a butcher's work."

Devon doesn't bother to correct him, perhaps with a touch of cruelty. She sips softly at the sweet, almost caramel liquid, remaining gracefully poised at the edge of the seat. She breathes out a small sigh at his words, shaking her head. "It wasn't though, Victor," she says, still not quite ready to use his more common diminutive. "It was a surgeon's work. The cuts were precise and diligent. They had gone in deep enough to remove nerve sensors, which means they required precision tools. Those bodies were dumped where the carrions would find them." She looks at the window briefly, fingers touching the soft curls of hair at the back of her neck. "I worry about the intentions of such an act."

Victor puts down another swallow of the mead, frowning over the glass at the thoughts her words drag up. "We know that Hostiles pull out the metal parts of their dead, but I've never heard of them carving up the ones we drop." His blunt fingers tap against the glass for a moment as he thinks, "I heard something about crazy fuckers who were worshiping the Hostiles, could they be drying to get more info on 'em?"

Thought Devon is already quite wintry in her complexion, it is hard not to see how she pales. She looks down into her glass of mead, watching the way the dark liquid swirls slightly at the faint gesture of her wrist. He will be her husband in months to come, someone that she is suppose to share those deep, dark secrets that haunt her to the core. Someone to bring her comfort. Her throat tightens a bit before she looks up at him with those pale, glass-colored eyes. "I've seen them… those who worship the Hostiles." She shakes her head a bit, releasing a soft sigh. "I had been part of the rescue party that investigated one of the mining facilities on Ignis that went dark. There had been a breech, a mix of chemicals that induced hallucinations and heightened the sensitivity of our amygdala, which caused those hallucinations to manifest in the form of our greatest fears." She takes a thick swallow of the mead before she looks down at the thumb of her left hand, Zayne's old wedding ring heavy on the knuckle of the digit. "Down there, we came across humans who were attempting to emulate Hostiles."

Victor tilts his head at the reaction his words have, starting to sit forward. Her initial response causes a sharp blink, and but he doesn't interrupt, taking a slow sip of the mead and then setting the cup down on the table alongside the bottles and the chess board. Lacing his fingers together, he leans on forward on his elbows, studying the change in her expression as she speaks. "Shit. I didn't know that was you." He follows her gaze to the heavy ring, his already-low voice dipping lower, "And yours were of your husband." The hallucinations. The assumption comes out flat, considering, the big Khourni evidently not sure how he feels about that, but not surprised by it either.

The Ash Witch takes another sip of her mead before she answers. She releases a steady exhale that does not loosen her shoulders as much as she would have liked, but she carries forth without much more hesitation. "Yes," she says calmly as she lifts her eyes to meet his. "But they weren't him, I know that. It did not make the experience less real, but I don't believe everything I saw down there… except what the worshippers looked like. According to my best assumptions, they were utilizing cybernetics and gene therapy to bridge… the gap." She taps her fingers against the glass. "I'm beginning to suspect that the careful removal of the cybernetics from those Hostile bodies may be… for a similar purpose."

Victor surprises himself by scooting forward a little further on his chair, reaching out with his left arm to cup his fingers around the back of her head, a light touch meant to draw her attention to him and center a familial sort of feeling. She's seen him make the same gesture before, with his cousin, although that was a good bit sharper. As she settles on with more purpose, he nods, letting his arm slip away again to rest atop his thighs with his other, "And someone's probably already looking into them. Wonder if we should get in contact with whoever's doing that, bring them in on this?"

Glass-colored eyes lift at the touch of his hand to the back of her head. She holds his gaze for a long moment, before she almost shyly averts her eyes once more, though it is only so that they may flutter shut for a moment as she finds comfort in that gentle touch, but then it is gone. She straightens back her shoulders a bit. "I think we should," she says after a heartbeat. "I've also asked that those who were with me in D-4 perhaps get together for a meeting… we shared experiences down there, and I believe that they may have some of their own insight." She then shakes her head, breathing out a short sigh. "But I'm sure this is not the type of conversation you were hoping for."

Victor doesn't hesitate to respond, "Bring 'em here. A couple beers'll take the edge off." That reminds him, and he reaches over to pour more mead into his glass, then offers to do the same for her. Setting the bottle back, he collects his glass and takes a sip. "Get people talking easier." So maybe there was a plan beyond 'get drunk if things go badly' behind him bringing the six-pack to their initial re-meeting. "If this is somethin' that's happening in the Crescent too, I'd like to be there." His quiet, gravelly voice turns the last words into a question, a request for permission. "And hell, I just figured we should keep talking. You did the fighting with us thing, so now it's time for me to do the hanging around talking thing, yeah? Fuck if I care what we talk about."

Devon lifts her eyes toward his once more and the request for permission, and she bites a bit at her inner cheek. Then she offers a soft nod. "Johana, Erik, and Nitrim were three of those who were with me down there, and I'm certain that they will have no issues with you being present, Victor." She offers out her glass as he refills them, watching as the liquid fills the tumbler. She is quiet for another long moment, and speaks only after she has taken another swallow of the caramel liquid. "You mentioned your mother was a Saimhann," she says after a moment. "Do you follow after her then?" Which suggests she is speaking about his religious practice.

Victor takes another sip of his mead, his half-sprawl becoming a little more liquid the more of the surprisingly-potent drink he gets in him, "Ana and 'Trim are good people. Erik…" One shoulder lifts and falls, and he raises up his left hand, waggling it from side to side, "Eh. He's a Valen." Draining away another sip, he looks into the half-empty glass, "It's not so bad once you get used to it. A bit too much like wine for my taste, but… better than most wine." Right, and there was a question in there too, "I pray." The big Khourni shifts in his seat a bit, as if he could feel his mother's gaze from wherever she is in the 'Spyre, "Maybe not as much as I should, and I maybe blaspheme more than I should. But I believe." And apparently he believes in another drink, because there it goes.

"The Gods don't care if you blaspheme," Devon says almost knowingly. "It is your actions, not your words." Speaking of actions, she reaches out for the mead bottle and corks it to avoid further pours. She sweeps up to her feet as the silk falls around her legs in a graceful, clinging fall. She sweeps forward as she goes to place the remainder of the mead with the other selection of drinks in the Khourni greatroom. There, a piece of Ignis amongst Khourni. The thought makes her smile a bit. She starts to look over the other bottles there, idly gahtering the mass of her violet hair over one shoulder to clear it from her bare back. "You better be careful with the rest of that though… it will go to your head."

Victor chuckles at the first part, "Good." He takes another sip as she continues, and then he laughs again, shaking his head in dry amusement, "So just the fighting, drinking, smoking, and fucking. Got it. Good thing I don't have anything to be ashamed of." The last comment would be sarcastic from some, but not from him. Watching her move over to the bar, he blinks, then shifts slightly in his chair, so that she is between him and one of the lavatubes, which does most entertaining things with those thin layers of silk. The bare back is enough to somewhat distract him none-the-less, but he definitely blinks when she offers her warning, looking down at the little layer of mead left in his glass, "Shit… this is strong." And because it is, and he's feeling chatty, or as chatty as he ever does, he inquires, "So when's it okay to ask about Zayne?"

Devon offers a soft chuckle to his words of things to be ashamed of, and she glances over her shoulder vaguely. "I suppose I have put a damper on the latter of those," she says dryly before she starts to pace away from the wet bar. She idly touches the cast on her arm as she wanders around the room, but she does pause when he asks that question. She clears her throat a bit, bowing her head slightly as she regards the fall of silk before she then shrugs her shoulders a bit. "I suppose… now…" She starts toward her seat once more, realizing she needs her drink for this conversation. "What do you wish to ask?"

Victor waves away the dry words from the wet bar, "Never really worried about it all that often." His dark eyes watch her touch the cast, his lips tightening together before he downs the last of his mead and sets the empty glass aside. "Suppose I'm just curious about him. But it doesn't have to be now." He shakes his head, "Probably shouldn't have asked anyhow." A low, rumbling chuckle lifts from his chest, "Fuck, I've known you for what… two days now? Besides lunch months ago? What better time to ask about your first husband?" That last question definitely has an air of self-directed sarcasm in it.

Devon lowers into her seat once more, reaching for her tumbler. "You say that now," she says about his worrying, but she doesn't continue that thought before she rolls back her shoulders a bit. She takes a thick swallow of her mead before she glances down into the glass briefly. Then she shrugs her shoulders a bit. "Not every Lord of Haven is destined to be a woman's second husband…" She worries at the inside of her cheek a moment before she continues, "I met Zayne when we were six years old. I had been given to House Grantham as a hostage after my father thought that interferring in Grantham politics would benefit House Volen. I was payment for his mistake." She shrugs her shoulders a bit before she takes another sip. "Lady Grantham meant to marry me to one of her sons, but I developed a close relationship with Zayne and proved that I would make a good wife to the man who would take over her duties."

Victor settles back in his chair again, resting his elbows on the heavy arms, one hand just dangling, the other gathered up to touch fingertips to the side of his face. He doesn't interrupt, but listens quietly, finally putting in his that gravelly voice of his, "So what you're saying, Dee, is that I'm getting a deal. A woman fit to marry a Young Lord." Amusement filters into his voice, and one corner of his lips curves up into a hint of a smirk.

"Or you're being given something that was suppose to be beautiful but has been uglied with grief," Devon replies, her voice heavy with self-depreciation. Then she shakes her head a bit as she taps her finger against her glass. "I have no expectations for this, Victor… I don't hope that you will replace Zayne, or even provide a bandage over that old wound." She looks aside briefly before she drains away the mead from the glass, and sets the tumbler side. She does offer him a brief smile after a moment. "You are a far better dancer, though."

Victor shrugs helplessly at the first comment, nodding his shaven head toward her lavender-enfolded form, "I'm not seeing anything ugly here, Dee." He shakes his head slightly, "And the only expectations are coming from people outside this room." He pauses, then looks up to the guards standing mutely by the door to the family rooms, "And those two." Her final words cause him to sweep his head back to her quickly, his brows furrowing. One finger comes up to his lips, the universal sign for silence, and his voice drops to an even lower rumble than usual, "Do you want everyone in the 'Spyre to know?"

Devon colors a soft pink at her cheeks as he compliments her, and she looks aside a bit. "You know I didn't mean that," she says softly before she sets aside the tumbler, though she is not given much of a chance to go further into this particularly weighty discussion before he shushes and rumbles at her. Her brows arch a bit as a smile starts to gently curve her lips, and she glances toward the guards briefly. Satisfied with something, she leans forward a bit to proper her elbows on her knees. "Dance with me?" She requests in a soft whisper.

Victor admits readily, "Yup." To the first part, at least. The second draws his brows up, and his shoulders tense, drawing him out of his slouch to lean forward, elbows on his knees again. His dark eyes are narrowed, turn down and away, the big Khourni curled slightly like a dog expecting to be hit. For all that, when his eyes flit up toward the pale gaze of his betrothed, he speaks clearly enough in a gravelly murmur, "You don't understand, Dee. I don't do that. It ain't me, the me I am to all the knights, the soldiers, my family. That ain't me." One hand gestures around the room, rather than to himself, "I'm a hard-drinking, hard-smoking, hard-fighting asshole who's always got their backs. That's what the piece of shit that raised me made me. Dancing? That's one of exactly two escapes I got from him."

Devon watches as his body language speaks things that she is surprised to see by the otherwise confident Khourni. Despite the explanation behind his reply to her request, she still looks rebuffed. She finally replies with a simple nod, though it is not in the affirmative. "No, I suppose I don't understand," she says quietly. She offers him the slightest twitch of a smile that does not even attempt to touch those bottle glass eyes. "Thank you," she says after a moment. "For the mead… it was a thoughtful offering." She starts to slowly stand once more.

Victor seems to realize that one shoulder has curled in, and he pushes it out, squaring up their breadth again, as his lips purse in distaste at the situation. When she withdraws, even with that smile as barely-there as he dress, he pushes back against the metal weight of his chair, grimacing as his side pulls, the side he definitely didn't go to the House doctor about. "You're welcome." He doesn't go further into the matter, running one hand back over his bald pate, "Sleep well." It's a simple farewell, and there's something withdrawn about it.

So close, and yet so far away. Devon sweeps up to her feet as the lavender silk falls back into place around her. "Good night." She inclines her head in a polite exchange — polite and a touch cold. She starts to step away from the table with a flutter of that fabric, her hands clasped into loose fists, particularly around the hand brace of her cast.

Victor is made of the blood of Khournas, fiery lava, so he looks when she departs, watching the proud, squared shoulders and upright back, the little curve of skin at her sides where the dress cuts forward under her arms, and his gaze continues upward. As she crosses the room, he rumbles, "Dee. You should see the doc tomorrow about your arm. Let someone with two hands take a look at it. I'll go if you will."

Devon pauses at the lift, turning slightly toward him as those pale, ice-colored eyes look across the length of room toward him. She frowns, but offers a small nod of her head. "Alright," is all she says before she turns in time for the lift doors to open. She steps into the car as she tucks a bit of violet hair behind her ear. She looks back into the greatroom before the doors slide closed.

Victor is still looking, but the frown and the single-word response ensure that his gaze remains on her face, not any other part of her. The rocky surface of the Khourni is back in place, and he merely blinks slowly as she looks back over her shoulder at him. The doors close, and he rises to his feet, looking over to the guardsmen to see if they have any smart remarks incoming. They most definitely do not, and he moves over to the wet bar, reaching into the refrigerator beneath it to pull out a beer and pop the cap off it.

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