03.27.3014: Remembrance and Vengeance
Summary: Kassie comes across a drunk and angry Lionel.
Date: 17 December 2013
Related: Mott's Open Mic Night and Black Flies
Lionel Kassandra 

The Pale Horse Tavern, The Caravan
This tavern is famous. It is perhaps the only reason that the Pale Horse Caravan — being older and a bit outdated — has not yet been retired. It is nestled between a pawn shop and fresh foods market. It has a mottled wood facade with stone exterior wainscoting, and a simple round wooden sign hanging above the glass-inlay door. The only windows are those facing the Market Center, and the glass is obviously handmade — by a glazier apprentice no less — with visible imperfections and ripples. The interior of the tavern is all warm woods and deep reds which only makes the rearing white horse carved into the various wooden surfaces stand out more. The primary seating is along the long, corner bar with mismatched stools. There are booths that sit opposite of the bar, the red upholstry of the benches looking worn and threadbare.

The proprietor of the Tavern is an ageless man named Sam Daniels who some joking believe has been around since the First System War. He maintains a menu of hearty foods that are all cooked over open fire stoves in the back kitchen. He favors local brews and distilleries, and he doesn't tolerate misbehavior in his house. Some refer to the Pale Horse as a bar for soldiers, horse herders, and other dirty jobs. In other words, this is not a high class establishment.

March 27, 3014

So, Sir Lionel Keats still isn't sure he's gotten over being a dead man. He has been spending a lot of time at the bar — any bar, really. Drinking is a relatively easy past time for the Rovehn Knight, and he is quite a heavy weight which means that he can spend a lot of time on this particular hobby. Tonight, he is still a few sheets from three to the wind, but he's getting there. He drops back another shot, slamming the glass down on the bar before roaring in a jovial voice, "Another!" He sweeps his arm wide. "Another for everyone!" Though the bartender is smart enough not to allow the Knight to be that free with his wallet.

Whoever cheers for the free shot is not only an idiot, but a disappointed idiot. Luckily, Kassandra is neither. The Valen knight slinks into the pub dressed all in black (to match her soul) and with her thumbs slung through her belt loops. She elbows people aside, be they women or children or old ladies, and edges her way up to the bar. What brings her to the caravan? Fuck if she needs a reason, right? "Someone knows how to live up their days off," she comments, her wry voice cutting through the drunken din like a dash of ice water to the face. She lifts a hand, gesturing for the bartender to pour a second shot for her. "Sir Lionel, even drunk and disheveled you cut a dashing figure."

"What… what is this you speak of?" Lionel says, slouching in his stool as he turns toward Kassandra. His bushy brows lift dramatically over his blue eyes. "Days off?" He then grins a bit. The Knight scratches dramatically at his chest while the bartender delivers another shot. The man behind the bar does cast Kassandra a precarious look, and then glances toward Lionel. His expression definitely suggests that Lionel needs a friend. "Well, thank you, Kassandra… you are absolutely gorgeous as always. Want a seat?" He gestures to the empty stool beside him.

"I do, but it wouldn't match the furniture at my place," Kassandra retorts, slipping onto the stool beside Lionel. She doesn't wait for him to laugh at her joke, but instead accepts the shot glass and raises it to him in a salute. "Let's see… Let's toast to — short, relaxing days and long, steamy nights." Not like she's ever had a long, steamy night, but she can pretend to be one of the boys right now. She watches Lionel for a split second before knocking back her drink, slamming her glass on the bar, and nudging it forward for a refill. "What brings you out boozin' today, Lie?"

"So say the Gods!" The Mane downs his own shot with the Cindravale, swaying backwards in his stool slightly before he rights himself. Lionel looks thoughtful in the wake of that question, squinting at the colorful glass bottles behind the bar. Then he looks back to Kassie. "You heard about Applehold?" He asks, his speech slightly slurred. "I was there, you know… died, too." He nods his chin to the bartender as he pours them both another pair of shots. "I don't recommend it."

Kassie reaches out to clap a hand on Lionel's shoulder in what could be interpreted as a brotherly gesture, but mostly it serves to keep the Mane from sliding off of his stool. "I heard about Applehold," she replies slowly, holding Lionel upright with one hand while curling the fingers of her other around the refreshed shotglass. "I'm glad you dodged the white light, my friend, but it doesn't really tell me why you're here."

Lionel sways a bit under the weight of the clap, but he does seem a bit more balanced on his stool. He squints a glance over toward the Valen Knight, and his gaze is a bit unfocused. Then he reaches for his shotglass again. "You know Nitrim Khournas?" He asks, though he doesn't wait for a reply. "Godsdamn bastard had the nerve to make a toast in Arboren about how we should all love that we are alive, and drink in the names of those dead… and I got… angry." The Mane shakes his head. "I get it… House Khournas suffered their own loss recently… but I was dying on a fucking field while an entire farming settlement was razed to the ground while he was weeping into his silk sheets about his dead sister."

"Ah." The mention of Nitrim Khournas earns Lionel a stony look, but the knight is likely too far gone to notice or care much. The Valen dismisses it quickly, tossing back a second shot and signalling the bartender for - yes - a third. She is going to need it. "And so you think he doesn't really understand what he means when he toasts to the names of the dead? Actually, Lie, it's a bit loud in here. How about we go take in some fresh air and talk where I don't have to shout into your ear. I'll get your tab."

"Yeah, alright," Lionel says broodily as she offers to get his tab. He starts to stagger up to his feet, though he nearly trips in the process. He yanks his greatcoat off the other empty stool, chucking it nonchalantly over his arm. "We'll have to like… go out to the Bottom if you want fresh, fresh air… not that the Caravans don't have fresh air." He gestures grandoisely to the bartender. "My good man… farewell. I take my maiden and make my leave." And probably get punched for calling Kassie a maiden.

Kassie's fist is making contact with Lionel's arm before she even realizes she's swinging, and the Valen has the decency to look at least a little bit ashamed of her knee-jerk reaction. Before they can inadvertently start a brawl, Kassie holds out her wrist to be scanned so they can pay, and then she ushers him out of the rowdy pub. Once out into less noisy places, she places her fingers on the back of one of Lionel's arms as if ready to walk linked arm-in-arm. "Do you want to tell me about it at all? You don't have to."

"Thatta girl," Lionel says in the wake of the arm-punch, the man grinning in that wonderfully boyish manner. Then he allows the Valen to escort him toward the door, arms linked quite affectionately. What will the tabloids say. He glances her way, not speaking until they have stepped out. "The Sage came to me, Kassie…" He shakes his head. "I was on the brink… he was casting judgement… and then he sent me back." He looks down a bit as he heaves on his coat. "I'm not done here…"

Kassandra listens in silence, and while her expression is impassive, her demeanor is open; her head is half-turned toward Lionel and she reaches up to touch his shoulder briefly to signal that she is, indeed, paying attention. After a moment's worth of silence, the female Valen glances up to see where they are going. "He was casting judgment? How do you know? What did he say?"

"I was a little shit before I became a squire, Kass… and I was a little shit when I was a squire," Lionel confesses in a hush. "I would have gone south fast if not for my Knight… I would have been at a work camp or worse." He rolls his shoulders a bit under his greatcoat. "The Sage knows these things… I haven't even told Jere about…" He shuffles his feet a bit once they have stepped outside in the fresh air. He breathes out a slow exhale. "They're all dead, Kass… it was like the Cape of Amran all over again… how many are going to die before this all is over? How many fucking nobles are going to make grand speeches and toasts about how we should be happy to be alive, about how we should remember the dead… remember them?" Lionel sneers a bit. "Remember them?"

"Remember them," Kassandra replies firmly, not nearly so besotted with the drink as Lionel. She follows his train of thought and latches on to it, trying to keep her friend in the present; the drunken mind so loves to wander. "If we forget them, then we forget the purpose of our fight. We're forced into this war, Lie. We're not here because nobles decided it was time to shake things up. We are on the same side, and you can't forget that. Yeah, sometimes the spoiled ones are ridiculously unaware of the truth behind the cliches they spout, but that doesn't make their words any less meaningful. A lot of fucking nobles are going to make a lot of grand speeches, but that doesn't fucking matter, does it? Because even if they weren't, we'd still be here trying to survive the days in between the battles hoping to the Six it isn't our family next. So in the long run, the nobles and their speeches, whether or not they understand or believe in them - they're as pointless to have as they to not have. Don't let the piddly shit work you up, Lie, or you're going to fucking lose it."

Kassandra's words are rewarded with silence. The Mane has dropped heavily into a bench in the neighborhood blocks. He broods, arms crossed, body slumped. It is the last statement from the Cindravale woman that draws his flat, perfect blue eyes up to meet hers. He intakes a deep breath that helps sweep away the drunken haze. "I'm fucking tired, Kassandra…" He rubs the heel of his palm against his left eye, feeling a terrible pressure in the back of his skull. "I have bleed pints all over this planet, and I will bleed pints more. I don't want to remember…" He looks away briefly, sitting with his thoughts for another heartbeat. "I want vengeance."

Kassandra drops down to take a seat beside Lionel, gazing outward and away from him and allowing the knight a moment to collect his thoughts. She props her elbows on her knees and her chin in her hands, and for a moment looks almost like a demure female. But only for a moment. She tilts her head, sending her loose hair over one shoulder while she focuses her gaze on Lionel's face. "Of course you are tired. Nobody would expect anything else of you at this point, but it's also just the beginning. All that you have bled - that is a mere taste of an appetizer, and we haven't even moved on to the entree yet. You're right, you will bleed more, and you will get our vengeance. It will not be had at the bottom of a tankard, though. You will get a piece of it every time you shove the pointy end through the chest cavity of one of those bastards."

Lionel finally looks upward, through the transparent composite barrier, at the stars. He breathes out a heavy exhale that seems to deflate him heavily onto the bench. Almost boldly, he slumps to the side against Kassandra and rests his cheek on the ball of her shoulder. Kassandra might be the noble niece of the High Lady of the Vale, but she's a compatriot and fellow Knight. Plus, Lionel doesn't have a lot of shame. "Time to get sober, then," he says after a moment. "Alcohol thins the blood." He bundles himself up a bit more, as if cold. "When's the next patrol?"

Kassandra might be all of that and more, including a downright she-wolf, but she silently drapes her arm around Lionel's shoulders and gives him a one-armed hug against her side. "If you tell anyone I'm being nice, I will deny it and then give you a bloody nose," she whispers quietly into his ear before clapping him on the shoulder in a brotherly manner. "That is the talk I like to hear. The next patrol is in about an hour and a half, which gives us plenty of time to pump some coffee into you and dunk your head in a bucket of water." She rises up from her seat, stretching her arms above her head and executing a quick series of muscle stretches to warm up for the job ahead. "Hey Lie," Kassie murmurs, dropping her arms to her side somewhat awkwardly and offering him a crooked grin, "thanks for trusting me enough to talk about it. This kind of touchy-feely crap doesn't sit well with my family, but I think it's sometimes necessary. Also, you didn't hear me say that. Now get up before I dump you into a cold bath."

"Like anyone would fucking believe me," Lionel replies in the same whisper. "You're reputation is impervious." Then he groans slightly as she stands and mentions the time until patrol. He nods slightly as he starts to roll forward so that he can ease himself up onto his feet. He pauses in his upward draw to lift his bushy brows at her thanks. Kassandra is being nice and saying thank you… Lionel is the man. He would flex if he wasn't so fucking tired. "Look, Kass… you're a friend… you can be all touchy-feely with me whenever you want." There's a beat pause before Lionel reverts to his old, brassy self. "I'll even let you talk about your feelings now and then." And that boyish smile warms at his lush lips before he stretches his tired shoulders. "Alright… coffee…"

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