07.06.3013: First Day of the Last
Summary: The first day of Nitrim's squiring to Sir Flint begins…
Date: 06 July 2013
Related: None
Nitrim Flint Viannea 

Barracks — Volkan, the Crescent
At the base of the Blackspyre are several floors of barracks, training facilities, armories, and cafeterias, all built to house the defenders of House Khournas in rough comfort. Soldiers are bunked in rooms each large enough to sleep 50, with lockers and desks alongside each bed. Deep within the barracks levels, close to the training areas, are communal bathhouses, some set aside for single-sex use and others open to members of both sexes. There, the soldiers and nobles of House Khournas can soak away the aches of a hard day's labor. The corridors are all narrow enough that two soldiers could hold them against a tide, except those leading from assembly areas to great doors that open to the exterior surface of Volkan, allowing the soldiers of House Khournas to march out already in formation if need be.
July 06, 3013

Moments after the tabloid cameras took their images of Nitrim arriving in the Ash Legion's camp, the day became long for the Khournas lordling. His rings, his baubles, he pendants, his prized coat have all been stowed away in a small footlocker in favor of more comfortable clothing. Fifteen minutes into his setup at camp and he's been in the yard, fighting, lifting, running, and earing a collection of bruises that he'll never forget. Hours have passed since the beginning of his ordeal…and the issue of a leftover invitation to Peake for Lady Viannea's visit hangs somewhere lost in the man's memory in a place that has been replaced with pain, exhaustion, and physical labor.

Now, Nitrim finds himself walking with a backpack filled with stones and gear, slaving the last few steps to the front of the camp. His sleeveless, black shirt that bares the tattoos on his arms and his muscular sides is coated in a layer of sweat. His blonde hair is slick, trailing beads of sweat down to his jaw, where they fall to clip the ashen floor beneath his feet. Having succeeded in the last mile of his jog, only barely, he shrugs the back off of his shoudlers to the dirt with a groan and reaches to his hip for a canteen of water. Doubled over, hands on his knees, his back heaves as he fights to catch his breath.

When Flint said the training to be a member of the Legion of Ash, he wasn't kidding. The usual jovial and joking Grantham has been anything but, so apparently there's two sides to the man when there's need for it. The training clothing is plain, and he's taken part in it himself. No one, from the lowliest recruit to the most respected knight or military officer in the Ignis military is any different from one another in terms of attire or duties in training. Everyone does a fair share. So while he may not of trained as much to keep an eye on his newest squire, he's done his part. As Nitrim doubles over, Flint comes to stand next to him, looking down. "You will find that your body will give up long before your mind does. It's a matter of your head coaxing out just how more you make your body give before it says no more." There's a glance at the backpack full of rocks. "In time, you'll find reserves you never know you had. But not bad for a first day."

And while Nitrim might possibly think his ordeal is over now that the run has ended the opposite might be true. It all depends on how he takes Viannea Peake's arrival, of course. Instead of the swishing of skirts it's the creaking of well-worn leather that might announce her arrival, her attire protecitve (yes, she did remember the advice she was given). Someone is spoken to who then points her in the direction of where Nitram should be found, that being the direction she's currently heading in.

Nitrim has so much trouble breathing due to his constant cigarette habit that he can barely get a word out, nor take some water. Instead, he pours the canteen over his head and the back of his neck and rises to his full height. Finally getting enough water into his mouth for only a sip, not wanting to make himself sick. He speaks to Flint. "My mind…is…what I've got. I can go places. Dull the pain." He says between labored breaths. "Thanks, Sir…" He also manages, slicking his hair back. He looks towards the entry to the camp and spies the approaching Lady of Peake, and still having trouble talking, he nudges Flint's elbow with his own and nods upward in her direction. He bares his teeth and coughs hard, a dry, smoker's hack. "Lady Viannea Peake was…invited…to Volk."

"Pain is life, Nitrim. Anybody who says otherwise is selling something." Flint remarks. "This is at least controlling how much you can tolerate. What you're doing, I did for a damn long time. And my teacher was…heh, well, he was an interesting man. But, I've taken into account your skills and I'm not going to sit here and try to jam weapon skills down your throat. We're going to play to your strengths. I may not be Awakened, but I know how to harden someone's willpower." There's low chuckle after. "Don't thank me yet. It's not tomorrow and you're not nearly as sore as you're going to be." The nudge gets him to look away. "Another guest of Blackspyre?" He asks nothing more. Politics or other house matters is none of Grantham's business.

By the time Vi's close enough to hear anything she has a wry grin on her lips although it is impossible to tell if she indeed overheard the conversation or not. "I am sorry for stopping by without so much as giving word of my intentions but I had to see if what I read was true or not. So. A squire, Nitrim? Truly?" Flint is given a bow of her head and a smile that is less amused and more sincere. "Please forgive me. I am Lady Viannea Peake. I was given an invite to see Nitrim but then decided to come out and cheer him on during his training. I do hope I won't be hindering your efforts."

"I won't fail til my body gives out. You'll get the last of me." Nitrim sidelongs to Flint as Viannea approaches. For a second, Nitrim's eyes roll back as a wall of black fills his vision, but he manages to stay upright. The poor man has been worked to the bone, and there's more coming. He plucks the front of hhis shirt and fans it in and out to allow the sweaty, unfaithful air of Volkan into the space between soggy shirt and bared torso. "It's alright, Lady Viannea. It's true, yes. I…" He smiles, huffing out a tired breath and looks over to Flint. "…before we started I went to Khar-Mordune to get a lay of the people and the land. A chance run-in." His tired eyes shift back to Viannea. "This is my home now. I've vacated my room at the Blackspyre. Do you want me to arrange with my sister for your visit? I belong to Sir Flint and my training now."

"The body can be pushed and pushed to degrees most people can't comprehend. We are amazing organic machines." Flint notes, continuing his observation. "And your training will be a trial by fire. And the Legion will take this lump of unshapen potential and make it into something sharp and dangerous. In time, you won't recognize the person you see in the mirror, but it'll be for the better. Your tempering has only started. The hammer has yet to fall. When we train on Ignis, that's when the real training begins. All this? This is just a warm-up." Training for the body, and the mind in the Grantham's view." As for the Peake Lady, he turns back. "He'll need the moral support. His brothers and sisters in the Legion are a family, they won't let him give up, but more is never bad. And it's fine, you have to know when to push and when to let up. I want to train, not to break."

Viannea darts a quick look towards Nitrim, her brow knitted in thought. " Unfortunately the chance for an extended visit did not present itself this time," she starts, "If you'd be as so kind as to arrange a meeting for sometime soon I would appreciate it. Thank you." The serious air falls away from her then and she reaches out to tussle the younger man's sweat damp hair. "If you need any help getting Nitrim into shape let me know, Sir," she then says to Flint, all teeth in a near-wolfish smile. "I will be more than happy to lend my services if you need someone to kick his sorry can."

Viannea darts a quick look towards Nitrim, her brow knitted in thought. " Unfortunately the chance for an extended visit did not present itself this time," she starts, "but if you'd be as so kind as to arrange a meeting for sometime soon I would appreciate it. Thank you." The serious air falls away from her then and she reaches out to tussle the younger man's sweat damp hair. "If you need any help getting Nitrim into shape let me know, Sir," she then says to Flint, all teeth in a near-wolfish smile. "I will be more than happy to lend my services if you need someone to kick his sorry can."

Viannea's hand comes away slick with Nitrim's sweat and grime from his training, though the man laughs quietly as she offers to help beat him into shape. Only an official squire for a few hours and he's already got people lining up to pound his ass into a whad of cookie dough. "When I'm given free time I'll send the message. I'm sure Anabethe and Reena would love to meet you, as would my Lord Fa—excuse me." He turns his head to the side and bends over, coughing hard. His lungs, wracked in pain from the lack of cigarettes and the punishment, nearly take him apart. He has the ability, as an Awakened, to dull his pain, but he chooses not to. His hand grips Flint's shoulder for support until he eventually rights himself. He swallows, hard, and looks to the two of them. "I told Lady Devon I am ready to see this through to the end, with the Legion. To the death rites and death itself." He looks like hell, but the commitment is in his eyes. He looks to Flint for an answer to Viannea's question. Already, the young Khournas knows it's no longer his decision. He isn't the lord here. He's one of the soldiers under Flint's command.

"Maybe." Flint says after a moment. "The training of a new member of the Legion is something Grantham takes seriously, more so than most things. We'll see how he fares in a week or so. And if he's ready for one on one sparring, I'll let you know. For right now, there is none of that. Must prepare his body and mind for the trials he will encounter. And do that." he glances at Nitrim. "Not every of the Ash Legion has to be the strongest warrior, but each must inspire his peers to battle at his side. If the ones that know you best find nothing worthy in you, you should wander the wastes of Ignis and die alone before you weaken my Legion." These are just the beignning of the hard words. "The Legion accepts all, but all do not pass. And I want to see you succeed."

Flint is listened to while Vi peers about Ntrim's feet once he's done only to then point as if trying to tell him a lung of his has been hacked up onto the ground just before the toes of his left boot. "I do understand, Sir. And far be it for me to mess up what does sound like a delicate balance. I shall refrain from any sparring with Lord Nitrim until the time you believe him ready." Viannea lifts a hand to her mouth to conceal a smile, one that grows as she watches Knight and squire.

Wander the wastes of Ignis. The words strike a vein of severity in Nitrim's brow as a drop of sweat beads and falls off of it. Is that what's in store for him, potential death? The muscles in Nitrim's lips, jaw, and neck tighten as he nods to his Knight, signalling that he understands the risks. "The Ash Legions are my brothers now. I wouldn't be a weakness that would force them to fail. When will be take to Ignis? I've heard strange rumors about the Pit…do we suspect the Hostile may have landed there, too?" Concealing that slight vein of worry, he looks from Flint to Viannea as he takes another sip of his water. He lets the cold water gather on his tongue before he swallows it, breathing now returned to normal. His eyebrow cocks at the smile she's hiding. For just a second his eyes narrow and he snorts out a quiet laugh. "Thank you for the offer of support, My Lady. If the time comes I look forward to the spar, though for now I am rather resigned to being worked in like a piece of farm machinery. I'm setting aside my old distractions in favor of unlearning all of my bad habits. I am very serious about this squiring and my service to Sir Flint."

"And it will be that very desire to see yourself remade that will see you through. You will be reborn on Ignis." Flint looks away from the two of them. "Few really understand Ignis save for those who were born to it. Ignis…is a place of great gifts. It kills the weak, torments the slow, and destroys the stupid. Survival is an honor and there, citizens of the Pit -thrive-. We covered the planet with our civilization, only for the Hostiles to burn it to the ground twice over. Each time, we grew stronger. When we are wise and powerful enough, we destroy the Hostile forever." There's a pause as he stands there, contemplating. "As for Knighthood Nitirm, I won't lie. It will not be easy. For ever squire there is also the risk of death. Becoming a Knight is excruciating. I passed through tests that made me wish to die. I carry the scars on my soul. I prefer rites to the Crone at every dawn and dusk to keep me honed into the nature of the Legion. Our spirit is one of violence and death, I, as well as all Ash Knights, must be attuned to that." The small verbal lesson given, he nods. "There is…something going on on Ignis. We're going to investigate it. Right now, we don't know what it is. Could be something, could be nothing, there's been no contact with the facility. But we'll find out when we get there."

Viannea's amusement falls away like so much ash falling to the ground, Flint's seriousness finally getting the better of her. Sober of mood now, she nods while remembering her own time as Sir Agnes' squire. "Sir Flint has the right of it," she agrees with a nod. "Being a squire is as dangerous as being a knight is. Perhaps even more so in some regards. You will need to hone your wits as well as your body." A gaze falls over Nitrim only to pause upon the sight of several scars, the sight of which spurs her into reaching out and touching one of them. "I have the feeling you might already know this, though."

"In the last six weeks I've dreamed and felt tearing off the skin of my face to reveal circuitry beneath. I've been tortured, dissected, and quartered by Hostile." Nitrim replies to the two of them, lips flattening as Viannea reaches to his arm where he took a projectile from Hostile scouts. The polearm stabs to his stomach and chest are far worse. Glancing to brief eye contact with Viannea, he pulls his shirt aside to reveal his abdomen, letting her see, though his eyes turn back to Flint. "At twelve I dreamed I doused myself in fuel and set myself on fire. At eleven my skin shearing off. At ten climbing an impossibly tall cliff with only my hands and a death drop below. At eight my eyes melting from their sockets to the sound of my screams. At two…" He pauses for effect. "…my Lord Parents brought in an expert to tutor me. To help me mentally cope with the dreams. Half of my dreams are wonderful and every one of them feels prophetic when I'm in them." He reaches up to brush a hand through his slick hair, sighing. "Let's hope my body can survive the same way my mind has, aye? I'm sane enough to know fear."

"You sound like a friend of mine." Flint admits. "Though he didn't come out of it nearly as well as you seemed to." Considering that for a moment. "Well, sounds like you have a good grasp on your mind, we'll see where that takes us, eh? Steeling the mind is sometimes easier than doing so with the body. When your amor's eviromental systems can't block out the heat of Ignis's surface. Or the climbing the sheer cliffs of the Aventius Plateau, or suriviving in wastes for days with little food or water. Survival is key on Ignis. And you, young squire. You will learn what it means to survive as well as what it means to truly live." A nod is given to Viannea. "That's very true. Being a squire is just as demanding as a knight. Sometimes moreso. Not only do you have the responsibilites, but you're earning yourself a place."

"I need to return home," Viannea says after looking at a device that's been kept hidden on her person, the time taken note of. "Nitrim, I'll come by and see you again as soon as I can. Sir Flint, I do hope that things will go well for you as well as the squire." She bows a bit more formally this time before turning to leave in the direction she came from.

"Yeah, be safe, Lady Viannea. Thank you." Nitrim says with a dark look in his eye as he pats down his pockets. Instinctively looking for a cigarette and realizing that he has none. He mouths the word fuck and turns to Flint, folding his arms across his chest. "Sir, if there's anything I've learned about fear is that it's internal. Fear comes from within. Little kids have fear because they don't want to feel pain or some monster under the bed to hurt them. Sometimes it's smart to be afraid, sometimes it's not." He coughs into his fist again, this time a little one. He glances around, making sure there's some space between them and others around them. It's confession time. "I had vices. I didn't want to survive my mind, I wanted to numb it out. That's all gone now. I need to know that when survival's on the line I won't do it again and that I'll break myself before I give in. Otherwise…I worry that I'll go back." He claps a hand over his Knight's upper arm and starts to move off. "I don't intend to be some shiny fucking tourney knight, Sir. I want to be the walking dead."

"Fear is always a choice. Survival isn't." Flint comments aside, watching the Lady move off. "You're going to fine. And if you feel yourself start to relapse, there's people here to talk to. Not one person in the Legion hasn't something they wanted to change. To make themsleves better." A small smile then. "Get a soak in the hot tub, loosen the muscles from tightening up. You'll want to be good to go when we head out to Ignis."

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