06.23.3013: Lest We Lose Faith
Summary: After a meeting, Cynan and Helena relax with some shopping and run into Nitrim.
Date: 23 June 2013
Related: Military Discussion Regarding Niveus
Cynan Helena Nitrim 

The Bazaar, Blue District - The Ring
Stepping off the lift and into the Blue District is almost like stepping into another world. The senses are assaulted with a complexity of scents, sights, and sounds. Light that abscribes to the same hours as the rest of the Ring glows from insets in the dark metal ceilings. The Bazaar is one of the central hubs of the Blue District — also known as the Entertainment District. There are dozens of shops and emporiums that clutter around the outer edge of the bazaar with stands and kiosks making organized chaos of its center. There are some shops that have been there for generations, including the famous — if not a little infamous — Gregor's Strange Meats. This is the place to find the weird and the bizarre. It is known that the Blue District hosts the impoverish and underworldly inhabitants of the Ring, making it not only the most mystifying but also the most dangerous district on the space station. There are several corridor-like thoroughfares that branch off from the Bazaar, leading deeper into the District.
23 June 3013

"Ohhh, such bureaucracy can be so dreadfully boring," Helena groans, stretching her arms above her head and pulling her ponytail free. Her hair falls in slightly tangled waves, and she uses her fingertips to massage her scalp as if experiencing a tension headache. "And I thought all the red tape in the medbay here was bad. No wonder people are fond of representing nobility as a bunch of nabobs sitting around tables, sipping wine and discussing the most recent election results or agricultural reports or something. If only they had served wine! Please tell me this isn't the bulk of your work, Cy, or I will go mad on your behalf."

The doctor leads the way through the bazaar, open at all hours as the Ring's populace works on varied schedules. She pauses beside a kiosk full of costume jewelry, sighing over a display of glass baubles that appear to be swirling vortexes of color - like a rainbow barfed and it froze into a block of glass. "I like these," she murmurs before stepping away and gesturing Cynan to take the lead. "Keep me away, or I'll spend money on things I don't need just because I can."

"Welcome to the military, Helena," Cynan responds, dropping the honorifics at least for the moment. "There is an ancient saying. War is ninety-nine percent boredom and one percent sheer terror. Apart from the incident several weeks hence, we have experienced nothing but boredom." He shakes his head, letting out a sigh, though he seems more amused than frustrated by the matter for now. "One would think that an existential crisis would eliminate the bureaucracy in a hurry, but it seems that adversity does quite the opposite."

There's a little shrug as Cynan follows his cousin through the bazaar, visibly relaxing with every step. Now that he has no particularly defined purpose, he's free to take in the sights and sounds, eyes flickering back and forth, and he comes to a stop at Helena's side. "They are quite beautiful, are they not?" Chuckling, he turns to one side, tilting his head for his cousin to follow. "No need to be /too/ frugal, now. But we shouldn't stop and purchase the very first thing you find amusing."

Helena heaves a sigh, casting one last glance at the pendants before trailing along after Cynan. "I just bought two dresses and two pairs of shoes. Well, nevermind. I did not purchase them. Lord Nitrim Khournas was rather gallant and not only covered lunch, but my after-lunch spree as well. I think he was most amused at the idea of me in a dress. I don't think people have seen it. I don't even recall the last time I wore one."

Clasping her hands behind her back, the woman realizes only at this moment that she is still wearing her lab coat. "I came straight from a clinic to the meeting," she offers Cynan by way of excuse while shrugging out of the garment. "Speaking of meetings, Lord Nitrim has sent me a message. I read it during the meeting. His words were couched rather nicely in mystery, asking to meet with me to discuss something of an import and nature too secretive to be passed over the InfoSphere. I must say I am intrigued."

"Probably the last wedding we had to attend, Lady Helena. Was that one of your siblings, or mine? They all do start to run together after a while…" Letting out a low chuckle, he adds, "It's good to hear that you were treated to such things, however, although it is not as though we are incapable of spending a bit on ourselves." Being a Dalton has its advantages. Being a Khournas, granted, has more of those advantages.

The Knight doesn't have a comment on his cousin's choice of attire, but he does reach out to take the lab coat off her hands, if she'd like. "Now, I cannot say I am terribly familar with Lord Nitrim. He was here following the incident with the Hostile, I remember, but that is the only time I recall being in his presence." An eyebrow quirks upward. "But that is intriguing. Is he… one of your sort, Helena? A mystic?"

"Mm, it was your sibling the last time, I think," Helena muses, shaking her head at Cynan and sighing a second time. "So many weddings, so many births, and here I am plodding along solo. All the while I know my mother is itching to hound me to death about marriage contracts and babies, but she knows it will be a waste of her breath. Someday they will find a marriage that benefits Dalton too much for me to ignore it, but until then - I'm enjoying the stag life. Oh, thank you."

After handing over the lab coat, Helena uncuffs her sleeves and begins to roll them up to her elbow, adding inch by inch to the 'casual' look she so prefers. The Awakened label Cynan offers causes Helena's nose to wrinkle; it is hard for her to identify with those of her kind. "No, I do not think so. He hasn't mentioned it to me, at least, but he could be. In any case, I doubt he would be a mystic. Hermeticism is more likely, assuming he was taught by someone within his family. Why do you ask? I wasn't under the impression that anything very secretive is happening with the Awakened. Then again, if it's secretive - why would I?"

"Yes, plodding along. While our brothers and sisters are carrying out the highly important tasks of keeping house and raising their children, we are left to content ourselves with holding the entire fate of Inculta in the balance." There's another smirk on Cynan's features, a wide, overt one, and the sarcasm - albeit good-natured - veritably drips from his tone. "When it comes time to marry, be it a month or a year or a decade from now, I imagine I'll be as glad for it as for any other duty. Until then?" His eyes flicker up and over to meet his cousin's for a moment. "I daresay we are not wasting our singleness in the slightest."

Give Cynan some credit - the wrinkling of Helena's nose isn't completely lost on him. "Mystic, hermetic, sorcerer, Awakened. I've spent far too much time studying tactics to keep the labels straight." He shakes his head. "I only mention it because I assume the presence of secrets when I hear of things that I do not know well, and likewise when I hear of a secret, I assume it is something with which I am unfamiliar. Matters relating to the Awakened are such a thing." A pause. "The rumors mentioned by the Knight Commander at today's meeting are another such thing. I'd heard them, but the intrigue behind them is puzzling."

Children. Marriage. Domesticity. As Cynan continues to recount the ways in which her siblings are 'serving' as opposed to her own, the color in Helena's cheeks begins to redden. The idea of being a wife and mother are enough to smother the woman in stress and disgust. So, she takes a very deep breath and stops firmly beside a kiosk selling decorative scarves of a light, synthetic silk. She rubs the fabric between her fingers while studying the floral pattern done in bold, neon colors. It looks far too 'alive' for the doctor, but her expression says 'I must have this.'

The tension leaves Helena's shoulders as the conversation steers back toward the Awakened and then further on to the rumors. "Ah, yes, that. You find it puzzling? I do not. It was clearly done so for sheer political gain. You will find politicians utilizing the war to their personal advantages - profiteering, even if it isn't monetarily. They seek to undercut faith in the current regime. I imagine it is a ploy of those in support of Lady Janelle. It's transparent and vulgar."

The walkway ahead thuds quietly to the tune of Nitrim Khournas' heavy, buckled boots. Eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses, he moves a lot more smoothly than the reports of his recent injuries would suggest. Having arrived from an elevator that leads to one of the lower levels of the Ring, he weaves through the throng of shoppers, forever shadowed by a black-skinned male in black-on-black; a bodyguard. Eyes forward and hands clasped behind his back, he slows at the sight of the two Daltons, veering his course towards them. Jaw tightening, the edge of his lip twitches into a polite smile, and he gives the two of them an appropriate bow of his head. "Lord and Lady Dalton. I believe this rather chance run-in is no less than fortunate. Are the two of you occupied, or are you welcome for a visit?"

Causing offense almost certainly wasn't Cynan's intent, but he recovers somewhat nicely when he sees his cousin's frustration, standing right beside her as she takes a look - and more than a look at that - at an attractive decorative start and giving her an approving nod. Decisively he pulls it off the kiosk as soon as she's done, giving a little nod to the proprietor as a little plastic card appears, almost as if out of nowhere, in his hand.

Before he can actually make the purchase, though, he's interrupted by the changing thread of conversation, and he turns to face Helena, shaking his head in frustration. "What I find somewhat puzzling, cousin, is that such matters are taking priority over ones that are decidedly more /important/." A little sigh. "Vulgar, you said. I can think of several decidedly less refined words to describe such behavior, but then, we are in polite company."

A little turn back toward the kiosk, and then he's interrupted /again/ by the arrival of Nitrim. Fancy that. "Oh, not at all, Lord Nitrim," he says, quickly turning to face the dark-skinned man, tossing the scarf over his shoulder to accompany the lab coat that's already there. That might, incidentally, get a disapproving glance from the owner of the kiosk, but there's no need to risk losing a sale. "By all means, come and talk. How does the evening find you?"

Even more frustrating than talking about ridiculous things like babies and marriage is the idea that another man is, yet again, buying something for her. For a moment, Helena quivers with the desire to give in to a childlike tantrum and stomp her foot to stop Cynan from what he is doing, but alas she is far too composed a woman to truly throw a fit. So, she exhales, reaches up to pinch the bridge of her nose, and then offers her cousin an affectionate smile. "Thank you, coz. You didn't have to pick that up for me."

Before she can reach out to take the gift and don it, however, Cynan slings it over his shoulder and they are interrupted by Nitrim's rather timely arrival. Turning toward him, Helena offers the Khourni a cheerful smile of greeting that falters only marginally at the sight of the lurking bodyguard. Hmm. That man was not present at lunch - she is certain about that. The interesting guard is given a quick once-over before she bobs her head to Nitrim in greeting. "We were merely browsing the wares after a ridiculously boring meeting, and had just decided to start talking politics. It's proper dinner fare, you see. A pleasure to bump into you here again, Lord Nitrim."

"A pleasure to bump into the both of you as well. I suppose I can hope this vulgar behavior is related to that rather boring meeting and not the drivel that's being threaded through the editorials. The pen is a cruel, cruel mistress, indeed." Nitrim replies with a smirk, reaching out to brush his fingers through one of the silk scarves hanging at the kiosk. The black and yellow silk threads through his fingertips until he lets it drop with a hrm, and then turns to face them more fully.

The Khourni lowers his chin slightly, eyes hidden behind his glasses scanning between the two of them before he motions to the next stall. He falls in line beside them, intending to walk along while they shop. "But if I overheard correctly, we might be of the same mind. I've been travelling through the Ways more than usual lately, when not out in the field, and I'm learning that there's a coordination difficulty that's getting in the way of what's important."

"Oh, but I most certainly do." Does a bit of Cynan's gaze just catch Nitrim's eyes as he turns around to face the shopkeeper? Maybe. It just takes a moment for the transaction to be finalized, and then, all in the same motion, he turns back around, pulls the scarf off his shoulder and reaches out to drape it around her neck. "Perfectly lovely," he says, with an approving nod and a small but genuine smile."

Having completed the task at hand, the Knight takes a step back, the better to face both Nitrim and Helena at once, and gives a little nod. "It is indeed amusing just how vulgar certain individuals can be even as their words are perfectly polite. The matters that pass the lips of high officers in otherwise boring meetings would put even the most absurd of tabloids to shame." After a moment, he adds, "One might even think that all the pleasantries were concocted precisely to hide such things."

Perhaps there's more on Cynan's mind, but he's interrupted rather abruptly by the buzzing of his own earpiece. "Speak," he says, flatly, to the faceless voice on the other line, and after a pause, "One moment." With a bit of an apologetic shake of the head, he addresses Helena first, saying, "It seems I will be called away for a time. I will see you back here later tonight, cousin." A little nod to the other, and a soft, "Good to see you, again, Lord Nitrim." Without further ado, without a backward glance, he's up and out of the store.

"It is hardly concerning yourself, Lord Nitrim. I do not pay particular attention to gossip, in any case, and I would not consider it a proper topic of conversation even if I did. It would be, at most, a secret, guilty pleasure." Helena looks to Cynan, and blinks in startlement as the scarf is looped around her neck. She smiles prettily at the compliment and reaches up to tie the garment into place before draping her lab coat over her arm.

Her disappointment is visible as Cynan touches his earpiece and then takes his leave, and she sees him off with a wave and well-wishing for his safety. Concern is visible in her features for approximately three seconds as she watches Cynan leave, but by the time she turns back to face Nitrim, she has returned to 'cool and neutral.' "There is, indeed, something obstructing the coordination of our forces. I attribute it to the deepening of the political quagmire surrounding the Crown Prince and his sister, and all I can say is that those lobbying on behalf of Lady Janelle should feel insurmountable levels of shame at pandering to her supporters while attempting to undermine Prince Emund's authority and capability. It's absolutely disgusting that at a time when we most need to be united, those in charge are in the midst of their own selfish power struggle." Well, she is definitely not one to mince words.

"Walk with me, Lord Nitrim. We were merely browsing, anyway." Turning, Helena steps away from the scarf stall and begins to stroll casually down one of the wide avenues of the bazaar. "I received your message while I was in a meeting and did not have time to reply. Your presence here is most convenient. I am curious, though, if you wish to discuss it here in such an open place, or if you have elsewhere in mind. You look troubled."

"Take care, Lord Cynan." Nitrim says to the man, stepping aside to give him room to take his leave. His eyes fall to the man's back, watching as he leaves him behind with Helena. "If you'd like to meet sometime, please send me a message. We're all never too far away from each other with the Ways." He dips his head to the man, crosses his arms behind his back, and then centers his attention on the remaining Dalton.

Quietly, the lordling takes note of Helena's posture, body language, and the distinct change of her demeanor as Cynan leaves, watching her as if she's behind a pane of glass. Strolling alongside her, he listens to her opinion on the current political situation with interest, though his eyes do stray to a circular kiosk selling vacation getaways. Bright lights flash in their direction, depicting the many nightlife getaways that could be found at Landing.

"Here is fine, but perhaps somewhere less open. I'd prefer more privacy, but I don't have a lot of time before I have to head back home. I'm blocking the stimuli to my injuries enough as it is, and my sister will be rather cross with me for travelling further." A smirk crosses his lips as he leads her out of the main thoroughfare to a hallway with less traffic. Once inside, he stops near a wall advertisement for a restaurant and turns to her. Her voice lowers, softly. "We can't control the flow of politics being non-heirs or further down the line, nor can we control the collective direction of the Awakened and how they communicate. Like Lord Cynan said, everyone's smiling with dagger-like teeth and the cross-country politics are starting to ramp up. The last thing we need are for the Awakened to not be talking with each other when the dreams come through." He flattens his lips, stepping in closer and lowering his voice towards her shoulder. "I'm putting something together for the greater good, and I'm going to need someone with a degree of objectivity that is willing to put aside House alliances to work together with a team."

Helena, too, spies the vivid displays of all the exotic - or at least 'not home' locales calling her name. Taking a vacation would be a marvelous and abhorrently irresponsible thing to do, so it is for the best when they turn away and cut off the silent cry of temptation. The doctor blinks as she follows Nitrim out of the main thoroughfare and onto a side walkway that appears to lead to exits and maintenance rooms, although one lonely shop selling 'psychic' wares like tarot cards and runes is open for business. No traffic passes through its door, however.

"I know, we can't—" Helena begins to reply, but stops when she realizes that Nitrim isn't finished. She turns toward him, eyes wide by what she hears; it isn't often that someone can surprise her, but she is, indeed, surprised to find that this apparent playboy is more than meets the eye. "You mean cross-country politics are starting to fall to pieces," she corrects quietly, although his meaning isn't lost on her. She glances away as he mentions meeting with more Awakened; the woman isn't precisely hiding her ability, but she isn't advertising it with use, either. As for dreams… "Dreams are private things to me, Lord Nitrim. I will admit to some hesitation at the idea of discussing them with complete strangers, people I do not know or understand, people who do not know or understand me. We might have this one trait in common, but it does not necessarily make us fast allies. Or useful. Or intelligent."

Still, it is food for thought. She is silent as she presses her back against the wall, letting out a heavy sigh and focusing her gaze on the toes of her boots. Her arms cross over her chest, fingers curled underneath her elbows. "Objectivity - that I can handle. Putting aside House alliances? That can be done as well, at least in this moment. I cannot see how currying favor with some and not all is anything other than a disservice. What exactly would we be doing? Dream chats over tea and cakes?"

Looking down to his own feet, Nitrim finds a small, crumpled up lottery ticket on the floor. No doubt the failed enterprise of one of the Ring's many citizens, he gives it a soft kick and sends it rattling across the floor towards the garbage can at the end of the hallway. It comes to a stop, wedged against the wall and the grated, circular rubbish bin. "I don't think they're falling apart, yet, but you've seen the news reports. Emund at Symion's side while the lightest suggestion that something needs to be done. Now you're witness to politics at this Meeting of the Lash-Vassals that even I heard about. If you and Cynan think that Janelle is maneuvering, then it's only a matter of time."

He pulls off his glasses, showing his milky, white eyes to Helena. Slowly, they bleed of the cloud, leaving behind his dark, green eyes. Immediately, he lowers his hand to his stomach and turns, flattening his back to the wall beside her, shoulder to shoulder.

"I'm talking about doing something more effective." He winces, slipping his glasses into the inner-breast pocket of his long, double-breasted peacoat. "We could sit together and talk all day about dreams, but I have this…theory." He turns his head, looking over to the profile of her face. "If we dream about the Hostile's movements, and the Hostile find out about it, then we'll become target number one. I say, to the Devil with the politics. A team of people need to gather to start investigating these theories in hope that we can make something concrete out of all of it. A small coalition, setting aside political lines, working in secret, would be able to do this without an overabundance of messy political chatter, Infosphere communications that might be infiltrated, and…gods hope it doesn't come to this, Houses deciding not to share information due to the forming politics." He swallows. "And, dear gods, please tell me if this is a horrible idea, and if it is I beg you to keep this conversation private. But…you're not the first I've asked, and you wouldn't be the first to accept if you did."

Helena is silent as the lottery ticket tumbles down the hallway. It is, perhaps, the most poignant symbolism of the evening. She is in the midst of admiring it in a macabre kind of way, but when she looks up to Nitrim, she gasps audibly at the sight of his eyes. The signs are completely recognizable, and in the more calm back part of her mind, she tucks away the information about Nitrim; as of this moment, she has been completely unaware of his Awakened nature. The letting go of his power while also slumping against the wall are, of course, not to go unobserved by the doctor. Immediately she puts a hand out to touch his arm.

"You've been injured. I completely forgot - how so self-involved I have been! Do not just sit here and take it like it a man right now, Lord Nitrim. Follow me please, and quickly. The clinic is not so far away, and we can occupy an exam room for a little while." Before he can protest, or at least before she can hear his protest, Helena steps around Nitrim and leads the way out into the main thoroughfare and back to the location of the clinic in the residential section.

"You are not wrong that we will be targets. Everyone is a target. They are here to wipe us out, not beat up our military before retreating back to the stars. We might be higher on their 'to do' list, though, and I cannot ignore that." Helena falls silent for a moment as they pass through groups of people, and once the crowd has thinned again, she resumes their conversation. "I think it is—I think the idea is good and bad both, my Lord, and I will not deny it. It would be foolish to think we could operate so smoothly, abandon so quickly our loyalties to our families and friends outside of a circle. How do we know that all of these precautions are pointless? How do we know that someone won't turn out to be a mole? Here, through this door. Sit down there."

They are at the clinic now, safely ensconced in an exam room, and Helena is busy looking through the hypospray selection for a pain killer.

"Oh come on now, Helena, you're not self-involved. I've been blocking my nerves all this time so no one would notice. My sister wrapped me up, and my stitches are all in place. I just…can't keep up feeling like my hands are in ice all day." Nitrim falls into line behind her, his back rigid and stiff as he walks slowly behind her like a blonde, aching shadow. "You of all people would tell me that the only thing worse than feeling pain is not being able to feel it at all."

Quieting, Nitrim lowers his head to the luminescent lighting of the clinic, offering a quiet, friendly nod to a passing nurse. It's the thing you do when accidental eye contact is made. Tight lips. Sharp downward tick. Once inside of the examination room, he moves to slide one of his haunches onto the bed, and lets out a soft groan as he tries to get his coat off.

"Hostile are here to kill us all. What if one house gets the idea that another simply doesn't need to survive the war?" Nitrim murmurs, voice lowered to a conspiratorial tone. "I'm not talking about abandoning our families and our loyalties. I love my family, my sisters, and as events are transpiring I'll eventually have a wife to care for. Loyalties can be a blessing and a curse. Someone, somewhere, is going to be asked to do something dishonest sooner or later. What then? All of these poor, faceless people no one cares about…" He sighs, brushing a hand through his hair.

"You're a doctor. The only way to get a correct examination is to remove the necessary clothing. No secrets. No plots among each other. We have ways of delving into each others' minds, and with that we can keep each other honest when we meet. No lords. No citizens. Just a shadow company." He swallows. "These are just ideas mind you, not the final plan. I just want to bring the right minds together to discuss this, and whoever's out can walk away, no questions asked. Gods, maybe even Emund would approve, I don't know."

Helena merely nods to the nurse in passing; much to her own secret guilt, she has yet to resign her post on the Ring. Instead, she has taken herself down to PRN status, and comes on to work the clinic when she has a moment free - and these days, time is of the essence. So it is no unnatural thing that Doctor Helena leads a man into an exam room and promptly closes the door. "Take off your coat," she murmurs, unaware of Nitrim's struggle with his clothing as she selects an appropriate pain killer.

Turning back, Helena's stern demeanor softens a degree as she realizes the man's awkward position and struggle with his coat. "Relax," she murmurs quietly when he pauses to take a breath, and she helps ease the garment from his shoulders. "If you say your stitches are in tact, and you can swear by your sister's capabilities, then I will not request to see them. This should help a bit, now, but lay back and rest a moment until it kicks in." She then swiftly delivers the hypo, and the soft click-and-hiss delivers the medicine to Nitrim's system painlessly.

Now that this is done, she pulls a chair up beside the table and clasps her hands between her knees. "We do not delve into each other's minds, my lord, and cannot," she corrects softly, glancing down to her hands as she does so. "Nor would such an ability breed honesty. Rather, I would foresee a lot of abuse and discontent. No, but you are right in that something must be done. A group of those voluntarily working toward a greater good for all - it is what everyone, in their hearts at least, is hoping they are doing." She sighs quietly. "Alright, I will go with you. I will see what I can do. What can be done. Am I right to speak of this to no one? Not even Lady Dalton or my cousin?"

Settling back against the nearly rubber-like material of the examination bed, Nitrim closes his eyes and manages to relax while the hypo is pressed to his skin. Like many, the young man can't help but feel as if there's a massive needle about to jam into his body, though none ever seems to come. His eyes roll behind his closed lids at the mention of his sister's medical prowess. "Well, I assure you my sister has no intention of doing poor work on me, and she's good at what she does, but I wouldn't put it behind her to sew a remote control taser into me."

A bit of sarcasm there. The smirk on Nitrim's lips is out of fondness, but a certain hardness to his brow gives mention to a recent pain, something deeply personal. He's mad at her right now, and his brows raise a mere second later to try to hide it from Helena.

One of his knees rises, bending to place his boot flat to the bed's top, and the young Khournas lord lulls his head to the side. Helena is framed in a sideways view of the world while the pain medication rushes through his system, taking away all of his woes. "You see?" He bares his teeth to her in a quiet grin. "Objectivity. Though, Gods, I don't know right now." He turns his head back to the ceiling, running a hand over his tired face. He's been off fighting the Hostile, fighting the tabloids, fighting his sister. By the way his eyelid twitches, he may have been fighting other things as well.

"I have nothing to hide, but that could be dangerous, too. I see the wisdom in that, Helena, I really do. All of this is piecing together, but I'm smart enough to know that not every piece is something I'm going to be the guy to think of." He sighs through his fingertips and lowers his hand to the table, head turning to her again. "If Lady Augusta Dalton reads current events, then I'm sure she thinks I'm a fool. Would Lord Cynan understand? My gut-instinct is to say we keep this quiet until we have the slightest clue what we're committing to, but…I couldn't ask you to take on my bad habits and lie to your family." A wry, almost pained smile. "Just look at what trouble it gets me into."

Leaning forward, Helena crosses her arms atop the table and rests her chin on them, gazing up at Nitrim and watching from a rather objective standpoint as the meds begin to slowly work their way into his system. A trained doctor can tell - perhaps even before the patient - right when it starts to go to work. Somewhere around the point where Nitrim's head flops to the side so he can look at her is the signal, and he offers him a faint smile in return for his. "We never know all the things, my Lord. Life is full of educated guessing, and right now I'm hazarding one by assuming you've had too much chemical stimulation and not enough sleep to compensate for your injuries. You've piled on the stress with the repercussions of your lifestyle, and are finally looking to change only to find you're too damn exhausted to make those great leaps and bounds you feel are necessary."

Hmm. Perhaps Helena has overstepped herself. She does not look too perturbed by the notion. "No, you will not be the only person to piece it together. That is the point of gathering a collective," she murmurs, turning her gaze away to stare at the wall beyond Nitrim. "You are not asking me to be dishonest. This is an extra-curricular affair. I will consider it something akin to a crafting circle. Neither Lady Dalton nor Cynan would care to know what new thing I've pasted or sewn together today, so I see no reason to burden them with the knowledge."

At first, Nitrim's heel softly grinds against the padding of the bed. It's around repercussions of your lifestyle that the eerie, creepy feeling of unintended honesty creeps into Nitrim's subconscious. While he's not a bad person, he's a person who's kept many secrets over the years. His pupils dilate slowly and an audible phlub-b-b-b sounds as his bootheel scrapes across the mat until his leg lays flat once more. He takes in a slow breath, and the air rushing out of his lungs as he sighs it out stutters, laughing silently from within.

"Seven days of fever. One day fighting the Hostile." He sighs again, the rings on his fingers scraping over his face softly, leaving little, pink marks in their tracks. "One war. About thirty-nine scandals…you know, Lady Helena, the trick with change is that when it starts that you don't get too wrapped up in yourself and start swinging at ghosts. I've you've any concerns, I'm fine, but yes, exhausted."

A bit of euphoria overcoming him, he wiggles his fingers. Metal clacks over metal in a sing-song manner as they find a safe place on his clothed, yet beneath the layer bandaged, chest. "SO…" He suddenly raises his voice, just a little. "…now that that is out of the way, how's the sand back home, Lady Helena? Planning to wear that nice, new scarf with your new, white dress?" He smiles to the ceiling, teasing her.

Helena merely observes Nitrim in silence, perhaps too afraid to speak any further about him lest she prod at fresh wounds unintended. As ever, her mouth is far bigger than it needs to be, and it is open more often than necessity demands. So when she does open her mouth yet again to reply to something she caught in Nitrim's tone, she thinks better of it and closes her trap right quick. The following silence is filled with the ticking sound of her nails drumming against the plastic mat, as if to cover up the awkwardness with the nonverbal equivalent to 'So…'

Not but a moment later does Nitrim say this word out loud in just the tone she had imagined, enough so that her response is to burst into a sudden round of giggles. The unexpected hilarity of his timing, combined with the sound of her own ridiculous snorting laughter, sends Helena into further hysterics. A full thirty seconds later, she's hunched over her knees, breathing heavily as her laughter slows. "Hoooo," she coos, exhaling loudly and straightening in her seat. Her cheeks are red - but in a good way - and her eyes are sparkling as she pushes her hair back from her face. "Thank you, my lord, and the sand is fine. Hot. Dry. Dusty. Just the way we like it. And I haven't found an occasion to wear the white dress yet. Or the other. But I had it in mind when I picked out the scarf. How are you feeling now? Can you sit up and move with a little more ease?"

Grim like most of the Khourni, Nitrim doesn't laugh with her, but the sudden snort that comes out of her nostrils sends Nitrim's belly to rise and fall with his own round of laughter. His forearm braces over his eyes, wrist dangling over his ear, and for the first time in days he enjoys a good, solid laugh.

Outside of the door, a passing nurse stops, looks to the door, realizes that it's not crying, and moves on with her clipboard in her hands.

"Ohhhhh Gods, yeah, I'm feeling a lot better. I'm not having to expel so much of myself just to nng—" He pushes himself up onto one arm at first, testing his torso for pain. Finding none, he slowly pushes himself to sit with his feet dangling towards the floor in front of Helena. He grabs his coat, sliding it onto his shoulder. Like a passenger on a space transport, he slips in front of her and casually moves out of the way. It's the polite thing to do. "Yeah, yeah I think I'll live. At least til I get home and Reena's found out that I've snuck off again. All of this being me is tough work, Lady Helena, and it comes at a great price, but had I not done it we wouldn't have had this chat and I wouldn't have top grade painkillers to help me get home." He turns to her, offering a hand for a shake. The levity passes, and his features drop just a little more down-to-earth. "We'll see each other again soon. If you can think of another one of us that needs to be at this meeting, let me know. I'll track them down and whatever profession they have I'll find some way to work that into the recruiting process." He laughs softly.

Although her laughter has passed, Helena can still giggle a bit at the sight and sound of Nitrim letting a little of the stress escape. Feeling accomplished, she pushes her chair back from the bed to get out of the way when he finally sits up in bed. She rises simultaneously as he hops down from the table, slipping her own lab coat over her shoulders and pulling her hair free from underneath it. The curls are definitely a bit tangled from her running to and fro today, so she uses her fingers in an attempt to loosen the knots while Nitrim is testing out his ability to walk and move.

"I'm glad you can make it home, at least. If you do bump into your sister, don't let her give you any more pain meds for another six hours or so. Otherwise they might make you a little more loopy than you might like." Helena hesitates, fingers caught against a snarl in her hair, before shaking them free and reaching out to clasp Nitrim's offered hand for a shake. "Thank you, my lord, for thinking of me in this matter. I was not - it's not very public - I mean, it's not a secret - I just don't…"

Laughing at herself, Helena exhales in frustration before trying again. "What I mean to say is that it's not a secret I am Awakened, but I do not usually discuss it with people or use my abilities outside of my private training with Lady Dalton. I must confess I am surprised you came by this knowledge, although not wholly surprised that it is knowledge to begin with. Still, I must pass congratulations along to your hounds; they have done their job well." She crosses the room toward the door and opens it for him, gesturing for Nitrim to walk before her. "As for others - my lord, I am a Dalton. I could name twenty without even thinking. I may pick one. We shall see. Goodnight, Lord Nitrim. Travel home safely. And again, thank you."

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