06.23.2013: Fear Creates Distance
Summary: Still fighting the inevitable, Erik gets caught in the crossfire.
Date: 23 June 2013
Related: a couple I will put later
Erik Johana 

Blackspyre, Watchtower Overlook
At the very peak of the Blackspyre, the lift opens up to a railed lookout, leaving all of the city of Volkan, Mount Drakan, and the Black Wastes laid out below. Even two hundred stories up, the sounds of industry can be heard, although it is a faint sound this high up. The smoldering heat has not diminished, however, and is in fact protected by the electrostatic fields wrapped around the top of the spire to keep out the weather. The lava tubes running through the city look like nothing so much as veins from this high up, running bright and yellow-red throughout the city.
Sunday, June 23, 3013

Walking out of the barracks with the Ibrahm at his side, Erik gives her a brief side glance, looking at the bandaging that is wrapped at the neck. There is a furrow of his brows, concerned etched into his expression, one he is attempting to hide or at least temper. "Ana… your wound. Was it serious?" It appears that the Cindravale will not be diving into alarming part of his brother's message, at least not yet.

Being the object of his concern is not really what the Ibrahm seems concerned about at the moment. Instead she seems somewhat distracted by the flower. Or at least she pretends to be so that she is not looking at him when he glances her way. Only when he speaks her name and follows it with a question does she look up at him and shrug one of her shoulders. "I have had worse. It wasn't ever terribly bad, no. And it's healed some since then. Why do you ask, Sir Erik?"

Another glance is made to the bandaging and being that he is not a trained medic or doctor, Erik would have to take her self-assessment at her word. "I was worried when I received my brother's message about you being injured." Amongst other things, but this is what he focuses on for now.

Once more hearing of his brothers message, Johana is reminded of the morning when Sir Niko had come by to see Sir Ellinor. And the message he had offered to pass that she had voiced her disapproval over. "I'm sorry your brother worried you needlessly, Sir Erik as you can see I am alive and well."

Unfamiliar with this locale as he is not a frequent visit of the Blackspyre, Erik's eyes looks over the area with a touch of uncertainty, one that is usually not present or kept well hidden. It is perhaps because he is also trying to tackle another issue, how to broach the subject of the Ibrahm's mood. His steps slow to a stop, perhaps wishing to focus on the conversation but also not knowing where to go to perhaps find more privacy, his gaze falls back on the redhead, "It was not needless, Ana. A neck wound is serious, and I am glad to see that you are indeed recovering nicely." There is the urge to pull her into his arms but with the message and this being a public location in the heart of Khourni lands, he stays his hand.

With his hesitation, Johana realizes his issue with the unfamiliar and hesitantly rescues him from the uncertainty. Making a decision, Ana leads him from just outside the barracks that are serving as the makeshift medbay to step into the Blackspyre. The entrance is the Grand Hall, Mount Drakan is visible through a large window directly in center, continually burning and spewing lava. The other walls are metal and boast trophies from past battles and drake hunts. The High Seat and table are near the window and provide a forefront for the volcano behind. Only briefly glancing at a view more filial to her than even the man beside her is, she leads him through and to the lift.

The lift runs through the center of the Blackspyre from the great hall through the residential levels to the Promenade at the very top of the tower. The walls of the elevator are covered in a single wrap around view screen showing the view outside the Blackspyre as if the elevator was itself the tower. As Ana presses the button for the Watchtower Overlook, she remains silent.

Entering the heart of the Blackspyre itself, Erik makes no complaints or offers no resistance as he is lead in, stepping into the Great Hall with the visage of Mount Drakan on display. It is most impressive indeed though the Cindravale is well schooled in keeping his expressions and reactions in check. Following Johana into the lift, his eyes gaze at the view screen provided, taking in the sights as the lift begins to move, "Blackspyre, the description I would give it is… powerful." No mention of the details of the letter is made just yet as they are in transit to wherever the Ibrahm redhead is choosing to take the visiting noble knight.

"It certainly is a wonder. Some never get used to the warmth here or the acrid scent of ash and smoke from the constant eruptions." Tilting her head to the side, Ana regards him a moment before giving a tight smile. "I think you would fall into that category. Some of the Valen are more… decoration than substance, I think." Before Johana can finish speaking the doors open to a railed lookout, leaving all of the city of Volkan, Mount Drakan and the Black Wastes laid out below. Even two hundred stories up the sounds of industry can be heard, though very faintly. The smoldering heat has not diminished however as is protected by the electrostatic fields wrapped around the top if the Spyre to keep out the weather. The lava tubes running through the city look like nothing so much as veins from this high up.

Stepping out of the lift, Ana approaches the railing and for some reason the last time she was here with Thalo comes to mind. Her brow furrows and she turns to the Valen, prepared to see if he will step out of the lift. Or remain inside. There is a silent challenge in her eyes that she isn't even aware of issuing as she awaits him.

With his concern for the Ibrahm on his way here overriding the his senses of the natural environment here, Erik had not noticed the difference in temperature here compared to his home. "Now that you have mentioned it… you are right, it is quite different." When Johana speaks of the Valen though, the Cindravale smirks in return as his gaze shifts from the redhead to the outside again, "It may appear as such, but I believe when we face battle, even the more 'decorative' knights will prove their mettle." Or fall in battle, so one way or another, the strong will survive and the weak will perish.
Stepping out of the lift, Erik is greeting with the impressive view from such an amazing height but the heat is making his formal garb stuffy and hot, something that he is not use to but a discomfort he is pushing away from thought. Boldly, he steps to the rail and looks out to take in the view of the city, the mountain, and the black plains of ash and pumice. It is very different from home where the Fields of Ares is flat and beautiful, here on the lands of the Khournas, it appears angry and volatile.

Just like the Khourni and Ibrahm possibly. Volatile. Fiery and passionate. Certainly nothing like the calm and cool Valen. As he looks out over the city, Johana tries to imagine him here. Living daily, his painfully proper demeanor amid the blunt and outspoken of her people. The merge does not appear to be a smooth one in her minds eye. Finally, Ana rests her hands on the railing. "There is usually no middle ground with Volkan. Either people love it or hate it. Some tolerate it, but I think that is not a way to live ones life." For now, her voice is softly musing, almost as if trying to see it through his eyes now.

"I can see why there is usually no middle ground here. It is as if all of Imperius's fury is on display here, revealing it's might and power for all to see in a bold display." Erik certainly appears intrigued, or even enjoying such a natural presentation of what their home planet is capable of. "And you are right, toleration is not a way to live, one must embrace the life and the path they choose, or one would never be able to live to their full potential." Raising a hand, he points in the direction of Obsidia, the city that is the seat of House Ibrahm and the glassy curtain of black rock, a wonder of these lands. "That is your home, is it not? I hear it is beautiful."

Johana straightens as he speaks of her beloved home. The greener part of the Crescent, where indeed the lovely Obsidian falls are forever frozen in place in an awe inspiring display of beauty unmatched by anything else the Ibrahm had see before. Or since. "Yes." Her throat tightens when she speaks of home, and her eyes automatically move to that direction. "That is where I live. That is where I will die." Not literally, because it could be anywhere on any battlefield, though her point is clear. That is where she will spend her life, without question and without regret.

For now, Erik only nods in response to Johana's words, understanding exactly what she meant with her words, she will always be an Ibrahm, something he has known since meeting this heir. The Cindravale's gaze continues to hold, his eyes locked onto Obsidia, most likely entertaining thoughts in his mind. There is a brief lapse of silence before what Erik may be thinking is finally shared, words spoken quietly but easily audible for Johana at his side, "The jewel of the Crescent. A place I would have no regrets dying for in battle, and a place I could see myself living in with no regrets at all." Whether the words have deeper meaning or just a deep compliment, the Valen does not explain further.

While his gaze seems riveted on Obsidia, Johana studies him, trying to gauge the sincerity of his words, a bit of fear in her eyes that she is unaware of. Of course on the surface he seemed quite sincere… Yet there was something that bothered her about his timely arrival. And again, the mention of a message from his brother after she had seen Sir Niko this very day… and the words that were exchanged at the time.

"It surprises me you took time from your duties to travel here. They seemed rather… important and set in stone so recently." Not a fool, the Ibrahm tightens her grip in the railing. "And this is your first visit here as well. What was so important that you take time off and visit Volkan now?" Her tone demands truth. Nothing candy coated.

The inevitable question has arrived, one that Erik was prepared to receive after having danced around it with conversations about her wound and then her home. There is no change in the Cindravale's well schooled demeanor though he is also use to the directness of Ibrahm as well as her Khourni counterparts. "My duties were important, but there are others just as capable as well to stand in if needed." And it appears that the young noble knight felt the need at this present time, "And as I said, I came here to find you, to see you when I heard you were wounded. I heard that you were… not pleased… about something."

<FS3> Johana rolls for Alertness: Good Success.

"How very convenient for you to remember others are just as capable as you and are able to appear in your stead should the need arise." With a dry and unamused tone, Johana approaches the matter. "I apologize your brother has brought you here for naught, for my wound is healing nicely and as for my displeasure, was it truly such an alarming thing as to distract you from your duties? Surely the moods of one Ibrahm do not…" Ah, then it strikes her. "Your family seems rather concerned about your relationship with me so suddenly." Blue eyes narrow and her fingers turn white on the railing.

There is no excuse or words to contest the verbal barbs that the Ibrahm flings at him, the passive mask still worn by the Cindravale. "It is not just the moods of one Ibrahm that is alarming, My Lady, but also her health." As for Niko's concerns about him, her, or the both of them, he does not go further into the explanation, not wishing to involve his brother or have that conversation sidetrack the subject at hand, one that they finally stopped dancing around.

"Sir Niko saw me well and able-bodied, so I am sure the concern had little to do with my health. However, I will be sure to thank him for expressing his concern through you." Loosening her hold in the railing, Johana drops her hands to her side as her eyes seek and once more find her home. "Thank you for coming, your presence is noted."

Now there is finally a break in the Cindravale's mask, his eyes narrowing and a frown forming on his face, the edge of his eyes tightening. His voice is still composed but his words are more direct now, "What is it, Ana?" A simple but direct question, the backdrop of the Crescent forgotten now as Erik's full focus is now on the Ibrahm at his side.

Johana is looking towards her home and misses the changes in his expression until he voices the question and she turns to face him. Only then does she notices the narrowing of his eyes and the frown. "What is it?" The retort is almost incredulous. Apparently he is supposed to know already the sin, whether real or imagined, that he had committed against her. Certainly she is hiding her fear behind anger. "As I said, your presence here has been noted, I will assure your brother of your attempt to smooth things over."

For a moment, Erik isn't sure what response to give to her words, studying the Ibrahm who has just easily dismissed him. With her answer being the same three words he had asked, the Cindravale had gotten no closer to what he does not know but even he has his pride. "I had thought that the times we've spent together would have granted me more than that, but since I am dismissed, My Lady, I thank you for the tour." With a bow of his head, Erik turns to head to the lift that brought them up here.

"Funny enough, Sir Erik, I had thought the same about my time with you." The words are spoken softly, perhaps not fully intending for him to hear. Although Johana does not make any further attempts to stop him from leaving, she does also step into the lift, reaching for the lower button that would lead them to the Great Hall on the ground floor.

<FS3> Erik rolls for Alertness: Good Success.

Luckily for the Valen, his ears are sharp and Johana's voice was not spoken softly enough, despite her intentions. Watching her step into the lift with him, he feels more confused than ever and for Erik, it does not sit well not understanding or even being able to identify a problem. This is a problem. When the Ibrahm moves her hand to push the button that would bring them to the floor of the Great Hall, the Cindravale's hand intercepts, holding the wrist before the button is pressed, "I have heard and seen that the Khourni and Ibrahm are usually very direct, but you, Ana, are being as cryptic as ever. What changed?"

When his hand snakes out to capture her wrist as she would have pushed the button, Johana does not look surprised, nor does she attempt to tug it away from him. Perhaps she did owe him an explanation after all as he does seem genuinely confused about the cause of her unhappiness. Which, truth be told, centered solely around him. "Since I last went with you on patrol," she gives him a meaningful look, of course there was her own lack of tent and they had had to share for the one night. "You have made it clear your duties come first and foremost, even in the Landing when I had ran into you as the protestors were marching through there was no effort made in prolonging our time. I asked you to the concert and again, you chose your duties. Only after your brother realized I was angry with you did you make any effort to come and see me and it was because of a message from him to you that you even came. That you tried to hide behind false concern for me has only angered me further." Only now does she attempt to tug her wrist free of his hold. "As you say, in your own words, I had thought our times together would have granted me more than that."

"That is not true." Erik says and he would have added 'and you know it' if he actually thought she might have. "Whether or not my brother had informed me of your mood, I would have come. I am concerned about your injury just as I was when I visited you at the Ring before." But she had a point about him choosing duty first, as it was what he has been trained since youth. "Duties… they have to come first, Ana. Otherwise what kind of knight would I be? I am not some baseborn citizen, as a noble, we have to set an example for our lessers. If I skip my duties as a knight, how could I even possibly send a letter to your mother, Lady Sir Ibrahm? Or my father even? I doubt she would tolerate failures or someone weak."

When he counters her words, Johana looks at him in surprise, allowing her hand to drop to her side without pushing the button on the elevator. "Honestly, I am not sure you would have come here. You never have before.." There is only a slight pause before she continues with her response. "I know all about duties, Erik. Trust me, they have been drilled into me all of my life and I gladly embrace them. I will do anything asked of me by my family for my House, no matter what it is." Only then does the rest of what he says register… "Send a letter to my mother?… Your father?"

"It was a thought I was entertaining, Ana, but… too soon. So I didn't bring it up nor have I shared my thoughts with my brothers." Erik says, his voice a bit more quiet now, especially since they were in the lift instead of the open. "Since we've had talks about the future, about your future. But before any of that, I at least have to be somebody in your Lady Mother's eyes. To just ask for your hand now out of the blue, that would be foolish and destined for failure."

For a moment, Johana holds her breath and then as he continues, she releases it and offers a smile that does not quite reach her eyes. "You will understand if I agree then that it is indeed much, much too soon. Perhaps it is best that you do not tell your brothers, for they may try and convince you that the timing is not off at all when I have to agree that it is. There is no need for talks of the future, for even as we speak it is busy writing itself. My options will one day narrow to a single choice my mother decides for me. Until that day, I believe we make a good team on the battlefield. Don't you agree?"

"It may be too late, as my brother sees us together and perhaps feels that we are a good match, and not just a match on the battlefield." Erik says with a slight shake of his head, knowing that Niko will most likely be asking about it, or rib him about his inaction. "As for the single choice your mother makes, I am sure the decision will not be set in stone without outside factors, no?" Perhaps being just a good team on the battlefield is not enough for this Valen.

"It is never too late, simply tell them it is much too soon for further talks. What your brothers feel when we are together, is probably much different than either of us feel, so their input, while it may be spoken out of caring for you, has little to do with me." Reaching out now, Johana presses the button on the elevator to lead them down to the Great Hall. After a moment, she looks back at him and shakes her head. "I am certain whatever my mother decides will be what is best for me. It may not be a match at all, for the moment, with the war."

Erik does not press the issue, perhaps in agreement with Johana's assessment of their relationship and situation. "True enough, Ana." As for her trusting her mother for a match, the Cindravale's does provide a word of caution, "It may be, though I am sure that some input from you may be better. You are the one who will be at his side in the future, not only for your own sake but that of your House as well."

"Honestly, Sir Erik, I am beginning not to trust my own judgment, perhaps she knows what is best for me more than I do. Certainly she knows what is best for House Ibrahm. Perhaps in time, if she has made no decisions, then I will give her a short list." Johana mentions almost offhand as the lift stops and they finally get to the Great Hall. "It was very kind of you to stop by, and I am grateful for your concern about my welfare. If you need, I could continue to assist in your patrols when I am not doing them on the Crescent."

That admission is something that puzzles Erik but for now he holds any questions in check, as the lift doors open up to the Great Hall once more. Too many eyes and ears here now, so the Cindravale accepts her words as is, "You are always welcome to the Vale, Lady Johana. That will not change. And I am glad to see that your wound was not too serious and you are recovering well." There is a respectful bow of his head before he turns to depart, to return to the Vale.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License