03.20.3014: Infiltrating the House of God
Summary: Nitrim has a chance run in with Jeremias, an Awakened Chantry priest. A very large risk is taken, and a new investigation to an old conspiracy begins.
Date: 10 December 2013
Related: The Primus Problem and Hostile Web II
Jeremias 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.

March 20, 3014

Mid-Day at Landing, the Westend is a bustle of entertainment, mid-day pub crawls, and the occasional brothel girl slipping free from their place of business to flirt with the streetside coffee vendors. Less cosmopolitan that many of the swanky, upscale shopping districts, there's still the distinct smell of beer over the sidewalk from the open carry environment from the night before. Custodians travel the streets with hoses, washing stains into the gutters, while trash collectors move down the rows, emptying the garbage into hovering trash compactors.

Across the street from one of the brothels, a small pub lies still open, with a patio that overlooks the streetside. Relatively empty, the familiar drake-emblazoned coat of Nitrim Khournas is present, his heavy cowl drawn low over his eyes as he enjoys a large cup of coffee, a small plate of some kind of future-era quiche, and a datatablet on his lap. Scrolling down over recent discussions on Hermetic posting boards, he taps the cigarette quietly, looking up once at a tap at the railing that separates himself from the streetside to not in return to the well-wishing of a passing prostitute who's recognized him.

Coming from said brothel from across the street is one who might look out of sorts on this sort of afternoon, and in this sort of place. However the West End is ever bustling and a great example of humanity, and the perfect place to minister to those who need it. But, that is not entirely what the Priest, who is coming from said brothel is doing instead he seems to be in conversation with a prostitute who has followed him out. Brief, and animated, an envelope is passed over and a kiss on the cheek exchanged by both.

Cassock is smoothed and the holobadge at his breast is tapped to show the simple star of the Chantry as he crosses through the street and over to the aforementioned pub. A skirt around the railing-as opposed to going through the traditional means of entry. There is a glance towards the Khournas clad male, but Jeremias does not approach just yet. INstead he stares to the building, as one hand comes up to tug at his ear, briefly.

Tap Tap. Nitrim flips the page of his book, if it could be called that. The dimly lit screen displays the animation of the scanned page turning, revealing a diagram of pentagrams and spinal column locations in a rather gruesome graphic of a female body on the yellowed pages. With the claw-tipped end of his copper jacketed finger gauntlet, Nitrim scrolls the page down, reading in silence. The cowl over his head shifts, casting his blonde goatee in an angle towards Jeremias' feet, and the corner of his lip tugs into a smile.

"It's always sixteen-hundred somewhere, isn't it?" Nitrim murmurs to Jeremias, eyes turning beneath the cowl back to his reading. "They make a strong coffee with the right added ingredient, and if I remember hearing right they're still serving the remains of their breakfast pie."

"Oh, I'm not hungry, already ate." Take that for whatever you wish it to mean, The priest is not without a grin there, before he is turning and looking back towards the young drake. A lick of his teeth before he is turning and making for the table, hand to chair-and down he goes without even asking. Apparently talking to Jeremias is just as much as an invitation as anything else. Eyes glance back to the book and then back up to Nitrim, squinting as if to make features out under the cowl.

"Coffee though with a nip sounds like my cuppa. What do they call it, a Dalton sunrise? No-that's not with whisky…That's an orange an something else." A brief grin there before he is patting his thigh, for something. "I noted your dragon." a tilt of his head. "Would sorry for your loss or the loss of your House be too forward?"

Another tap. Another page turn. The cowl rises just enough to bare the nose of the drake as Jeremias sits, and Nitrim's blank expression wears simple on his lips. Reaching into his pocket, Nitrim pulls out a case of cigarettes and opens it to face the Chantry member. "No, it wouldn't be, and thank you. She was a healer and not a soldier, but from their perspective we're all the same beast."

Tapping a button at the corner of the datapad's screen, the book shifts away to darkness and the tablet is set upon the table. Hood remaining in place, Nitrim switches out the datapad for his mug of coffee, which he brings to his lips. "I'll buy you a cup then, part of my ongoing support of your craft and your faction, Mr. Sextus….?" The question hangs, as if asking for a name in return.

"From their prospective, I doubt they care if someone heals or kills. If one's a babe, or a human in their prime. They'll cut em down the same." Jeremias adds with a bit of weariness in his voice. The cigarette is taken as a muted "Thanks" is given. No lighter needed, as his eyes flash a vibrant blue, and a light shows in his hand. Soon smoke is twirling up, as he takes in a drag. Exhale, before he is glancing back to Nitrim.

"Jeremias my son. Or brother if you prefer. Master or mister seems too bloody formal." A grin finally given around his smoke, and then another drag. "Which Khournas are you? I don't read the papers much. I prefer books as to the tabloids."

"Nitrim, if you will." The Khourni lordling replies as the cigarette case closes shut with a final CLAP. The bronze-plated case is set aside and the cowl finally rises to show the man his face. He casts his somewhat dead, tired eyes across the table to the Chantryman, searching the man's face in a show of cold reading and immediate sizing.

"I don't frequent the Chantry often." Nitrim continues, shuffling in his chair for what is becoming an actual conversation. "But that shouldn't be much surprise to you, we Khourni come and go with the Six as we please, though I've never met a fellow Awakened brother, at least this close, Jeremias." Nitrim pauses, cowl shifting as his head cants to the side. "Have you much experience up close with our Cantosan invaders?"

"Oh, I've heard a lot about you." Jeremias says, and like that there's no look or judgement to the tone, just though as if he's finally placed a face with rumors and other things. A glance back as he catches the look, and his lips upturn in a smirk, but the priest is content to smoke.

"Nor do I, I am often here an there. But, I do love it." one would in order to be a priest or so someone might imagine. Still he nods, as if knowing the sentiment, before eyebrows rise. "You've not? " a bit of a surprise there. "There's a few of us- We're mostly nice souls, though Sister Martus can be a fucking bitch." a laugh as he pauses to the next question And there he tilts his head. "Well, I am usually not asked that. I've been asked can you still have sex-is it boring being a priest-but if I have fought a What have you-well a first for everything." Cigarette is plucked free and ash, flicked to the ground. "I do, have much experience. I am a member of the Chantry Guard, when called into service. I have a sword, an everything."

Jeremias nudges a genuine smile out of Nitrim's lips, and some light returns to the drake's eyes at the man's kicking the door down style of ice-breaking. A soft, raspy chuckle flits up from the center of Nitrim's chest as he, once more, reaches for his cigarette. "You're a speaker for the Six, not as dead as the bodies in the Necropoli. I find it strange that people actually think that all of your lot give up things like enjoying life simply for being men and women of the cloth; swords and all."

"I've a bit of experience as well." Nitrim's words follow the natural tributary, speaking on their invaders, of swords, and of everything. "I've fought beside my brothers and sisters, spoken with our Cantosan visitor here at Landing. It's been an interesting war, so far." A pause settles over the man as he brings the cigarette to his lips. "Though strange circumstances surrounding that execution at Primus. One of your own, eh? Seems even within your midst there are hawks and doves."

"Preconceived notions. We're to be lambs and not lions. They forget we are knight, as much as we are the maiden. Father an all as well." Or at least to be representative of such things. "How can I empathize with someone if I never know the fruit?" A shrug and when his cup comes he's thanking the server and taking it in lieu of smoking on further. A sip and he looks back towards Nitrim. "I have a child-though I never see him-or her." he adds before another sip taken

"I figured you would-men of their house are expected to fight beyond you know, fucking some noble's daughter an bringing them a child." Now he is smoking. "Aye, I'd say so. No entirely major pushes-more like bloody bed downs if you ask me." A longer strategy, but that is just his view on matters. "There are. And there are Heretics and martyrs." A frown there. "That ordeal with brother Metrius was a bit of a shame."

"You've a child then you've a stake in seeing this war through to an end that'll give that child a life, aye?" Nitirm speaks up from his typical, smokey monotone. The words breathe out with a cloud of blue-gray smoke that floats above their heads and dissipiates into the atmosphere. "Of course, I'm unwed, and will be for the forseeable future due to things you've no doubt learned of me through the whispers, but…I suppose it never was expected the first of my brood to go would be a non-combatant." Bitter smile. The cowl lowers to cover his eyes once more, giving Nitrim an almost sorcerous look to him.

"So, since you're the chantry priest that knows fruit, has a child, throws mystical fire, and has the same dreams, allegedly, that our people do…" Nitrim's claw-ringed fingers rises, wavering between the two of them in a back-and-forth way. "…what's your take on the solution for this war, and what do you know surrounding Metrius Sextus' crimes?"

"I do." Jeremias says with a nod. "I've never met-It's not allowed." families, marriage-that lot. Still he takes a noter drag, before opting to stare into his coffee mug for added mysteries and inspiration. Steaming it is brought to lips and a sip taken. Not as hot as when first delivered. "Why do you say that?" Jeremias adds with a raise of his cigarette hand. "Surely your father will pass you off if you do not find a love match." being who he is and what he is, he knows these ins and outs as to what is allowed marriage and such.

The next words have him watching Nitrim for a second, before he leans forward. "Son, I can promise you-where as the Six are merciful, the universe is not. And the Crone does not discriminate in her taking, she simply takes because that is the task for her. It does not explain death, nor make it easier. But it is." A sigh. "Who did her service?"

That question though can be answered anon. Instead he is pushing on. "I know your meaning…Go on." he's trying to follow the train of thought. "Oh.." When Nitrim comes to the question Jeremias pauses for a second. "I was not on that case." Investigation if you will. "But, I heard it was a lover's spat." a snort there. "Personally…If I am to take dreams and ether whispers into the equation, there is likely more."

In perhaps a look of uncaring, deflecting body language, Nitrim's hand brushes at the air as if waving away a fly at the question of who performed Lady Reena Khournas' funerary rites. The scowl that matches the hand gesture on Nitrim's face is an unsaid thing, if he does care who the priest was, he'd rather not speak about it. Instead, he leans just a little closer to Jeremias so that they can speak in lowered tones.

"Is that what they said; a lover's spat?" Nitrim questions with an almost knowing smile. The serpentine manner of the drake's speaking presses down on the topic like a heavy weight. He ashes his cigarette and brings it to his lips to dangle while he speaks. "I like to think that humans are flawed creatures, Brother Jeremias. Humans being Havenites and Cantosans alike, but we have dreams and they don't, and when the dreams are prophetic, they don't lie." Another pregnant pause falls over the oft-dramatic Khournas. "Would you consider it wise, at all, to trust your fellow man in this day and age?"

The priest's caring comes from making sure someone was sent on in the right manner, and that body and soul were cared for. Beyond that he not being the Priest assigned to the Khournas' hold, keeps him from having too much knowledge of the family-other than what he is gleaning now through Nitrim.

Coffee and cigarette are all but abandoned. He keeps the conspiratorial closeness, as Nitrim allows his smile to show, Jeremias, just shrugs briefly. "It's a myriad of things that were said. None known save for the Council, the Inquisitor assigned, and likely the Archpriests." Thus showing whatever it was determined is likely kept tight. "Do I think we are perfect? Maiden's cunny-no." and there a brief sign of the star is made as if to apologize for such a swear. "I don't believe dreams lie, nor do I believe man is perfect. Only the Six know perfection." A common Chantry line. "But if you are asking me if I can trust in my fellow man?"

Now it's the priest's turn for a pregnant pause. "I would consider it essential."

The cowl lifts slowly, just enough to show one of Nitrim's insightful, green eyes staring into Jeremias' own. Entire blood-supply's worth of heartbeats pass, as the singing of birds, din of conversations passing the street, and the unwelcome CRUNCH of a trash compactor doing its work fill the space between the two men. If their conversation were a movie, it would be a prelude to a whisp of dust and a rolling tumbleweed passing between the two of them.

"I would consider it a luxury." Nitrim replies, killing the background noise away with his words.

Turning, Nitrim peels his eyes away from the priest to snuff the life out of his cigarette in a neo-plastic tray emblazoned with the logo for the pub's preferred tap-ale. The weight of his hand pressing down against it sends the little dish to tap against the table's top. "I'm sure Metrius Sextus thought the same, Jeremias."

"If you consider it a luxury, my son, then you are doomed to never trust and never be trusted." Jeremias adds, as he leans back in his seat there. Eyes keep hold of the young Khourni lord as if weighing everything he has heard, and now with the man he is learning about before him. "A man who cannot trust, cannot be trusted. Proverbs of the Sage. Chapter eight, verse thirty two." As if the Holy Writ is a definative authority on the matter at hand.

"Don' spill the ashes boyo. I'd hate to be the one to mop it up." chided softly, without weight before he is looking back to Nitrim. "I never said trusting was an easy or simple thing to do. But, my son if you are to truly live and not just survive you need to trust someone" stressed there. "Perhaps Brother Metrius chose the wrong lover, or perhaps he is truly guilty of his crime-whatever it is. We cannot say. " UNless of course someone knows more than the Priest does. "But, I'd not stop trusting to save my life."

"Oh there are people I trust. Know that." Nitrim's lips, the only visible part of his face, curl into a blithe smirk that disappears behind the rim of his mug. The apple that lives in his throat rises and falls as he swallows, sending the pepper-work of scars that line the side of his neck straining with the effort. As all good drinks go, the sip ends in a generous ahhh of a sigh, and the scrape of the ceramic mug against the tabletop is gentle as the mug finds its home again. "Those people are a bit of a motley cast of characters, for all of the right reasons, and in few occasions that trust has come with a bit of a leap of faith."

There's a subtle shift in the Khournas as his head turns, his low, black cowl cutting off view of his lips. Arms folding in his lap, Nitrim's eyes fall closed, turning white beneath his trapped lids. His fingers, even the ones with the finger-gauntlet rings, lace against each other, and the drake's mind reaches out to Jeremias' with a touch akin to knocking on someone's chamber door.

"Is there any reason, Jeremias Sextus, that I should trust a member of the Chantry?" Nitrim sends telepathically to the man, the emotion accompanying the message one of outright scrutiny. "Sealed records. Private investigation. Inquisitor and a rather quiet execution. I know curiosity when I see it and I sense you're rather curious; that bitter taste of needing to know is a mouth full of sand when you'd beg for water, isn't it?"

"Good." Jeremias allows as he flicks his cigarette off into the street. A watch to where it goes, before he is looking back towards the lordling. Eyes ever clear in the study of how the man moves and what he displays on his visage. The emotions he chooses to wear and the others that don't make it from the wardrobe. All of it weave an interesting tapestry, that makes the man. "I never said you should trust everyone. Just someone." a grin there as he catches the shift and he looks down to the rings. His own hand idly moving to turn one on his own finger. As the knocking comes, The Priest's eyes flash back, And there's a nod.

The door is opened.

"I believe, there are plenty of reasons to trust and let the right one in." Jeremias returns via the same means, even as his head tilts. "I know the dream, which is in your mind, because it is one that has been in mine for some time. And so-with this. One wonders about the cavity. But, as that dream progresses, there are Priests helping to try and cleanse it." He let's that sit before he looks down and reaches for his drink. A swallow as the conversation non verbally continues. "So I would say yes-these things are quite curious. And I would be lying if I did not say I was not curious. But I would say It's more or less trying to figure if I have been drinking piss-when I should be drinking wine." A grin there.

Nitrim remains still in his lean, every bit a dark, cloaked statue stolen from the Necropoli and settled down comfortably on the patio of the Boar and Pheasant streetside pub. Unmoving and reigning in his body language, to the prostitutes and noon-time drunks, Nitrim and Jeremias appear to be two quiet men, staring off into the ether in the middle of a dulling conversation. It's exactly the way Nitrim wants it to be.

"I remember the dream well." Nitrim murmurs into the man's mind with a certain finality to his tone. One bit arrogance and one bit the Hermetic expert-type mannerism. "And I know what Metrius Sextus died for, but I do not know if it is for the right reasons. I do not know, Jeremias, if Metrius was executed for the right crime in question and for you to ask around, or for you to walk away from this conversation, a certain grade of -risk- is entered into the equation."

A fresh cigarette is raised to Nitrim's lips, and with a flicker of his flaming serpent aura, the tip is lit. "So I'm going to give you a task, and make it clear that what happens to me alerts these people I trust. What happens to you alerts me to whether or not the Chantry can be trusted. Terrible game, isn't it?" A brief pause. "I need to know if the body of Thomas Sextus has been located. If it has, I need to know what has been listed as his cause of death and -what- is in this sealed investigation. Could you risk that for a stranger with a reputation such as mine?"

Nitrim's request is heard and there's a brief glance given the other awakened. A faint raising of his brows, and for now Jeremias is silent on both fronts. Instead his mug is swirled and then taken again with a long drawn out gulp. All it's contents held comically in the priest's mouth before he is forcing down a large swallow. Coughing lightly-Jeremias does bring his hand up to cover his mouth.

Then.

"Then tell me, what he died for." A simple request there, as he shifts in his seat, almost non comital in his visage. "I understand the risks and rewards of your request. And I can easily look into the Body of brother Thomas. Mind you I'll need a reason, but I am sure I can fabricate something or the other." And there Jeremias breaks the non verbal communique. "Could I? Aye, I believe I could, if we are looking into the same thing. Which would be a cavity."

"I'm looking into -far- more than a cavity, Jeremias Sextus; far, far more." Turning in his seat, one of Nitrim's long, jacketed arms reaches out to the ashtray, and with his index finger he taps the top of the white paper length of the cigarette. A clump of ashes fall. "I'm looking into the bigger picture at large. The lie. A lie, I feel, may be very key to understanding how what could protect, potentially, the lives of millions at stake."

Cigarette held to the side, Nitrim's free hand turns to the quiche-like breakfast pie before him. The side of the fork cuts a path down the final wedge remaining, and the food is carried aloft on the fork past his hungry lips, his teeth, and his silvered tongue. "Brother Thomas Sextus called to me for help, claiming something dark may be happening inside of the Chantry at Primus. Elders Sabine and Remus…may not be your friends. They were, after all, likely high in the decision to execute Metrius. I followed after Thomas and I found where his murdered body was left. I left it where I will -not- tell you it was left. I left it there to leave no sign of my passing." Again, Nitrim's mind slows to a pause as the fork moves for another bite. "A little over a month later, Metrius Sextus was executed for a lover's spat in a very quiet, very private and closed matter; no mention of Thomas. I won't tell you what Thomas died for, though I assure you I know why he was murdered; it's something I cannot trust you with. However, if Thomas' poor body has not yet been found, and Metrius was executed and listed as a potential lover's spat, then this means the initiative is still in the favor of the people who know the truth. Are you following my train of thought, Jeremias?"

"It is still a Cavity." said again, though this time He raises brows again. Clearly he is listening still to the other words, even as the lording smokes on. Which to any onlooker would make the priest seem insane. And that's fine. His hand rubs over his face before he is looking back towards the pie and over towards Nitrim again.

Silence.

"I believe, Nitrim my son. What you are telling me, is that Metrius Sextus was killed either in connection to this missing Priest, either because he did so at someone's bidding or for another reason that is still connected." And now eyebrows slowly raise.

"Something or someone has been silenced and the ties to it, likely silenced as well." Conspiracy? Of course-there has always been that thought. A atop of fingers against his jaw. "Let me see what I can do."

"I don't know why Metrius was executed, and if it was to ensure silence, then I have to assume that other people are willing to kill to keep those secrets silent as well." Nitrim motions to himself, the prime example. "Thomas Sextus is dead. He was silenced. A blade to the throat and a hidden body tends to suggest that, so I would take that into consideration both while you dig and if you come up empty-handed. I know why he was silenced, and I assure you, it was worth killing over to keep it from getting out, only Thomas was successful. We owe him all a debt of gratitude, and his name should be remembered for it some day."

Rising, Nitrim reaches into his pocket to pull out some currency. The coins clatter across the table; a tip left for the fine employees of the pub. "Murdered Chantry members were found on Cantosan ships, Brother Jeremias, inexplicably, and I need an ally in the Chantry. I'll drop a coin in a box to the Sage and manage to pray you're not going to get me killed for this."

Turning to leave, Nitrim scoffs to Jeremias rudely. "Try as you will, Priest, you've no right to try to save me from myself. Save your preaching for the drunks." A bit of roleplay, the smirk on Nitrim's lips playful to Jeremias, in the know, but to outside perception rather rude and arrogant in appearance.

There's a blink that comes upon Jeremias' face, before he is looking to the coins. Playing the part of the stunned priest, he leans back, and awkwardly tries to rise, before spilling over his chair. There's a grimace before he is looking back to Nitrim. "One day, my son-One day The Knight's Shield will not be there for you! What will you do then?" called out for those looking on. Which would be few. But, the message was given, and the priest is turning to set about the chair to rights and dust himself off.

"Somehow I believe it'll be my own throat before it is your own, Nitrim Khournas. Six Speed you." Do not think that he did not hear you rightly, because he did. And that leaves him with even more questions than he has answers for.

Spotting a brothel-worker he knows, the almond-eyed beauty looks up at the meager, streetside spat with a laugh at her lips. Rakish and proud, Nitrim presses a hand to the small of the woman's back and squeezes, looking over his shoulder to Jeremias as he grows smaller with each passing step. "I'll buy myself a new arm, Brother, and bury my woes in beautiful women." With a shared smirk with the brothel girl, he leaves her and slips away.

"Six Speed you, Jeremias. If this goes as deep as I suspect, it's not just our throats I worry for." With the final words, Nitrim's eyes uncloud and like pooled water rolling down a drain, his presence leaves the mind of the Chantry-Priest.

The crowd shifts…and Nitrim is gone.

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