09.09.3013: Revelations Good and Bad
Summary: Talynne finds out more about what's been going on in the life of Balius and Demos, which would be considered as the Bad. But on the good side, Talynne has something to tell Balius as well.
Date: 09.04.2013
Related: 'None'
Balius Demos Talynne 

The Bottoms : The Caravan, The Vale
Wherever the Caravan of House Rovehn may be, the stretch of plains where they set up their temporary settlement is known as The Bottoms. They favors flat lands where there is plenty of room for each of the large, wheeled caravans to set up comfortably — usually ranging from a one and a half to two square miles of open space. There is an organic way in which the caravans arrange themselves, almost naturally establishing districts and neighborhood blocks with roads of trodden grass winding their way between them. It is exceptionally rare to come across a parked caravan that doesn't have its ramp ways extended and exterior doors open. When weather allows, most of those caravans with housing units have their windows open, noises of everyday life mingling with the sounds of the plains.

Surrounding The Bottoms are the various horse herds, each of which are looked after by dozens of riders. Destriers, thoroughbreds, and walkers all mix and mingle together into cohesive groups. Hard light fences and paddocks are erected to provide safety and necessary shelters for the herds.


Between ways and other methods of transportation, the geologist Demos finds himself once more amongst The Bottoms of House Rovehn's caravan. Assuming communication went through, he'd sent word to Lady Talynne he would like to visit with her. Face-to-face time sort of a visit to discuss something or other. This following shortly the core sample trip gone bad.

This as hints of fall waft on the winds, turning leaves in the northern forest towards a yellow-green and sucking moisture from the grasses of the plains, he is delivered and left to wander amongst the light dust that gathers from those trampling on the ground itself. Hopefully he got the location right to meet her at her best convenience. He hobbles in that dust, a stiff leg, full of all that is needed to heal it, there is still stiffness there if not a brace itself, in/on his right thigh. Squinting his eyes, he looks around as his eyes adjust to the brilliant late Summer sun.

Of course, Talynne had made herself as available as possible, choosing to remain in one place for the time she waited on Demos' arrival. Instead of riding along with a group of Destriers or training any one specific horse, she was in the process of pressure washing down the individual components of one of their quick set barn-style units. Really it just looked like she was spraying of sheets of thin carbon fiber, then setting them out to dry. She looked hale and hearty, just wearing a pair of leather breeches and a soft, laced up cottony shirt that was thin enough to dry quickly when she finished with the rinsing of the walls. As she spotted Demos coming closer, she shut off the somewhat loud hum of the pressure unit and gave him a wave, motioning him closer. "Demos! I'm glad to see you made it!" Was called as he came close enough to hear her without shouting.

Waving his left hand and lumping along, Demos returns, "Lady Talynne, I'm glad I did too." From the loud distance, but moving closer to conversational, "More importantly, good to see you though, and that you could spare me some time. Half, admittedly, an excuse to visit the Plains here you know. Closer to home then some of the forests and oceans of this planet." That said he looks at the sheets and the work she was conducting, "I'm not interrupting, or need me to pitch in a hand, I don't want to be much of a distraction."

"You're welcome to come and have a seat and relax, I'm just doing some idle chores." Talynne grinned to him as he came closer, motioning over towards a set of folding chairs that had been set out when she'd arrived. "I brought a couple of drinks and some snacks in case you were hungry or thirsty from your trip out." Setting down the hose unit she'd been using, Taly turned to face him and offered a wider smile. "I can't imagine not having them to come back to, I have no idea how they survive on The Ring.. I think I might actually become a mad woman if I ever had to stay there more than an hour or two."

Pondering the seat offered, Demos is reluctant to move but eventually budges to take it. "I contemplated the same thing, after the first breach of the wall on Detritus. I made sure to visit a few times just in case the decided the city was compromised and …" Best not to think that far into it. Bending, he puts one hand down on the bench before forcing the thigh to bend to the seated position. "But the ring has its own beauty, including the splendor of Occulus itself and the moons every night. Then, I'm lucky, my apartment has a portal I suppose. Something in the quiet, unheard whir of the air, its reassuring in its own way."

"Hmm." Talynne grinned at him with the description of his room, shaking her head. "I still would need all the open, I get too deep into the Arborenin woods and I feel like I'm having trouble catching a solid breath." She winked and moved over to the other chair, relaxing back into it easily with grace. "How are you doing? Has everything been well with your studies?" She opened the basket type contraption in between the two chairs to reveal a couple of different drinks to choose from, some fruit, some different snack bars and such. Even cookies, if he wanted them. "Feel free to have juice, or water.. or this weird algae thing. It tastes good, but I always feel like ate after I drink it." Talynne grinned and picked up a bottle of water for herself.

Pondering between what to drink and a cookie, his hand lingers near the algae stuff, as if its some challenge of Demos to try anything new. Then again, coming off the Ring, that's probably the norm up there. "Is is sustainable," he ponders before grabbing, as if wondering it has enough caloric content to replace food in general, maybe he's heard of similar things. Regardless of his choice, he nods, "Research is going well, but, I sort of have a rising concern of late. I think someone has taken a special interest in what I've been doing and I'm curious now to follow the trail to see where it might lead on who this could be."

"That seems interesting." Talynne looked at him curiously. "Why would someone take a particular interest in what you're studying? Do you mean a specific type of rock you've been looking at, or just your studies in general, as in they're following you?" She took a long swallow off of her water, looking utterly comfortable despite the fact that she'd obviously been out here for a while already this morning, cleaning up the barn pieces. The dry, finished pile was much higher than the waiting to be cleaned pile, so that was good.

"More the following," says Demos in return, flipping or twisting the cap of the algae stuff and letting some slip down his throat. There is a pause just before the swallow, as if he's letting it breath to get a good taste of it. Then a nod of his head, there is some agreement with the consumption of this stuff. "I don't know if Balius has mentioned that, of late, we've received a few odd gifts. It started after he started interning for me, and we're slightly confused to their meaning and intent. But since those gifts, on two occasions now, I've had a few miscreants attempt to rob me. I mean, going out do to what I do, on the fringe of civilization, sometimes things like that happen. Rebel groups, citizens against the System, that sort of thing. But this is too frequent for my liking."

"I haven't heard anything of the gifts, but do you know who you're getting them from?" Talynne asked him curiously, her brows raised. "I mean.. well how odd are the gifts, I guess? If you're being sent something that you should be cautious with, or that's valuable… why would you keep it? Why not return it to the sender?" She seemed to be thinking about the situation, tapping her fingertips on the bottle. "Did you check the gifts to see if they had listening devices or some sort of transmission stuff attached to them to send out so that someone knows what you're doing and when you go to do it?" Talynne grinned slightly, obviously a victim of too many crime vids.

Demos is considering a response to the where it may have came from, but is caught at the idea of there being some sort of transmission from the gifts to whoever. Having started to stiffen his back to respond, he slumps a little, looking for knuckles to put his chin on. It won't quite work without bending over to far, so he lets the closed hand fall to the arm of his chair. "I hadn't thought of that one, its plausible," he conceded, "I got my gift going to see Balius, it was delivered right before I found him to offer him the internship. It was an apple, cut in half and carved into a skull, with a black flag tooth pick stuck into its right eye, flag at half staff. I didn't see the boy who delivered it, was too late to follow him. Balius received some dead bird as I recall."

Blinking in surprise, Talynne turned to face Balius with a dark frown. "Those don't sound like gifts, Demos. Why would anyone want to gift someone a skull, and a dead bird? Seems more like.. warnings. Or threats…" She shook her head and took a drink of her water. "When you combine that with the fact that you're being attacked while you go out on your forays, wouldn't you assume that they were decidedly not meant in the kinder vein you could consider death and it's symbols?" Taly chewed on her bottom lip for a few moments and finally sighed. "It's not a wonder, really, why he didn't tell me about this, I'd have brought it immediately to the authorities."

There is agreement from Demos about them being warnings and threats, as if he'd chosen gifts as a bridge to the topic itself. "I don't know if going to the authorities would amount to anything, except maybe to aggravate them, if these are indeed a series of intertwined events." Somewhere its probably an assumption they are while he wants more of a factual basis just the same. "The failed robbery in Khar-Mordune followed by a similar failed attempt on Ignis does have one thing in common. Both the fellows in the caves on the man who took us out in the crawler both mentioned knowing where we were going. My concern is between the domains involved, I'm not sure how serious various houses would take arising acquisitions against citizens given the current threats of Hostiles, especially if most of the finger pointing is hypothetical based on a couple of muggings and symbolic threats."

"Right, but was there something specific you were researching on these trips, or were they just, truly, general gathering runs? If you talked about some special reason behind the trips you were taking recently, and they might have overheard it because of being able to hear, they'd know a good bit more than you already figure they do." Talynne pointed out, looking concerned. "And while I get that the authorities might not care as much about this as they do about the impending threat of hostiles at every moment, it would still be good to see if they've heard of it happening to anyone else. Because even though there is some level of concern difference for citizens versus the city as a whole, I would think that if there is a large crime contingent they'd want to know, or already know."

"Point well said, I should file a report, even if nothing comes of it," nods Demos in considering that, "Well, Ignis is on file, the driver we were supposed to meet eventually came out to find us, no choice on that one." As an afterthought almost, considering her other words. "The two attacks both involved removing of specimen's from the site. A few stalactites from beneath Khar-Mordune for Lady Viannea and then core samples on Ignis. I suppose there would be enough paperwork out there that anyone looking for Balius or myself could find us that way." Then he sits up a gain, his balled hand on the chair tapping it until a fingers comes out of the ball as if to make a point. "You know, Khar-Mordune, they didn't know Viannea would even be with me. Knowing she was a knight helped them make their retreat."

"Knights have that effect on people." Talynne grinned slightly, her tone exceedingly amused. "We tend to remind others that it's not appropriate to attack those that are better trained." The wink that she offered was teasing. "Of course, I might suggest that you bring along someone better trained to defend you than the man I happen to find more delightful than breathing." Taly spoke that last bit with a slight blush before taking a drink of her water. "Oh, on that note.. I have some good news, but I haven't yet been able to share it with Balius, so I'm a little loathe to bring it up to you without his knowing."

"Well, that makes me curious you know," grins Demos not being specific between her blush at the thoughts of Balius and her joy of him, or the news she might have for that individual. Leaning back in his chair and slurping more of the algae down for the moment, he nods his head. "I'm tempted to ponder the news, but I shall do my best to respect that you wish to save it for his ears first." He has no idea really, but is smiling ear to ear perhaps. Maybe simply because he thinks it could make Balius happy, or so her good attitude seems to suggest. "I'll have to fore bare what I've come to ask you then, simply because this news sounds rather important for you to tell him."

"Fore bare.. why? You can ask me whatever you'd like. I mean.. I can tell you the news that I have for him, I just don't want him to hear it from you instead of from me." Talynne smiled to him. "My mother has agreed to give Balius a partial scholarship to attend Academ." Her smile grew wider. "While it won't cover everything, she still agreed despite the fact that he's an Arboren Citizen, which is wonderful. She checked is entrance examination to see how he'd do, and it looks good for his medical side. Though he's going to have to buckle down on a few of his subjects." Talynne chuckled happily. "But with our partial, he could pay for the rest with work, or gain another partial scholarship from another source and be paid for entirely."

Pondering how to ponder his question once she opens the floor Demos pauses then smiles more at the news from Talynne. "Rest assured I won't tell him, that will remain your area. I've spoken with him the same, I'm willing to offer what little I can to help cover lab fees and text books each semester for him, with a small stipend for any hours he can pick up around the lab. This is great news Talynne, I'm glad your house is sponsoring him in this way. I'll keep on him to send your mother a formal letter of appreciation, between his studies."

"I'm going to tell him to do so, once I give him the news." Talynne nodded. "He's got to keep up the good with her because right now she approves of him. Mostly from Heresay, as she's never met him, but it's still good reviews. Him being polite and matching formality to her willingness to support him is the only way to help assure that." Smiling, she looked at Demos thoughtfully. "You notably didn't respond to my question though, what is it you're holding back in speaking to me about?"

Demos nods in agreement to Balius staying in that good grace, a slight pause at pondering how the boy might take it considering some of their topics. Smiling in that discussion, it fades some at his own question. Not going away, just a slight dampening. "Well, I have a potential lead worth questioning, from when I was shot. My go to knight has gone through a few loses of her own recently, I wanted to ask if you wouldn't mind going with me to see if I can find the individual that sent the mercenary at us on Ignis. Simply as a set of eyes."

Looking at him, Talynne nodded. "I'd be willing to do so, though I'd ask that you put in the report first." She pointed out to him, then looked him over thoughtfully. "Do you need to wait until you're more able to use your leg? I don't mean to draw attention to the fact that I noticed your limp, Demos, but I'd be worried that you not being able to walk could hinder your getting out of the way of an attack if one were to come while I was kept busy with something else."

Considering that a moment, Demos looks about towards the larger crawlers for a moment. "I hadn't thought of that," he admits, bringing his gaze back to Talynne. "I was hoping somehow it was just like a middleman, and I would ask who had hired him." His smile goes a little more, realizing that would of been more jeopardizing then even waiting to go until his leg healed. "I'll file an official report with Khar-Mordune civilian authorities, simply so the attempt is noted in their data files for reference in case of other such instances. The gifts though, that might not be good for anything, unless we somehow rate high enough to earn some investigator. But, I like the idea of checking them for recording and transmitting devices." A pause, a hint of a smile again, "I'm ahead of myself Talynne, I should of started all that with a thank you.:"

"There's no need to thank me, you could find that none of my suggestions prove fruitful." Talynne smiled to him gently. "I'd still be willing to accompany you, however. I just feel that being careful about it might be better in the long run. You and I may not have anyone listening in to our conversation right now, but we could, and we wouldn't know it. Not until someone was there to attack at your moment of being distracted. Or mine." She pulled another long swallow of water from her bottle then nodded to his algae drink. "Do you like it? I find they're perfect for days when I have to do intense training with the Destriers. Not much time for a meal then, and they'll sustain me well."

"No, I like caution, I just didn't know what all I should be cautious about. A detention here or there, something to mess up field work while another scoops in, that's one thing. But at the point of being shot, its a little more serious," agrees Demos, as if thankful that he has someone to bounce the idea around with. Holding up his drink, "Its rather interesting, I'm curious if they have a version using seaweed from New Atlantis now." The return of a real smile he looks at it through the light, "And perhaps deceiving, I can see drinking one after already having ate. But, in the lab, it would save time getting up for a break just to get a lunch. I'd almost think it would work in the heat of Inculta, but then again, its a touch thick and might not be as good as a cool water there."

"I'd imagine in that sort of heat you'd want something that had enough salt to keep you up on your electrolytes, so some sort of infused water would likely be the best." Talynne nodded. "But you have to go with something that has a little taste, of some sort, otherwise you risk the gag reflex on someone who might not be suited for the tinge of whatever minerals are in the water. You don't want to cause people to get sick if you're trying to keep fluids in them." She smiled widely and shook her head. "Though to be fair? There have been times where I've watched more knights than you would figure drink rain off of leaves. We get thirsty, and you aren't always close to your supplies. You make do, but if you can provide for your people better than just them making do, I'd always suggest it."

"I think I'm in agreement on that," says Demos, though she did say a lot there. "Most commonly there is a consumption of slightly citric water and the consumption of flat, salty bread during breaks while working in the heat. That and having a longer break during the day with a favor towards dusk and dawn. Not quite the same as knightly duties, but stonework takes its toll. Perhaps after the reports and looking for this friend, I can invite you to Detritus. Assuming they manage to deal with the Hostiles at the walls and no further breaks occur."

"There's always the possibility my duties would invite me there, anyway." Talynne smiled to Demos and gave a wink. "Though yes, it would be interesting to see it. Especially from a local's perspective. I've found that visiting any area with the benefit of an eye that has known the place for a while is far more interesting than just stepping over and taking a peak on my own. I like the stories behind the structures, and the fact that there are things that make the realities more real than anything else could be."

Pondering that a moment, Demos becomes curious, "Have you been there before? I simply did not want to assume. Most I have met prefer to avoid going there simply because of the heat. And being from Detritus, I've found little fault with that, avoids true overcrowding. Easier to work in that environment without so many people. Maybe that is the sense you have of being in the open and away from the Ring? I wonder if someone has researched this …" Then a pause, he stops himself for wondering too much by finishing off his algae drink.

"I've never had reason to visit Detritous myself, no. But if there is battle there, it's sometimes that the Knights get called out to a plant to defend, if the battles grow too intense." Talynne watched him curiously. "The ring is different, though. It's enclosed, all surrounded by nothing natural. That's what bothers me more than anything. Here.. well." She motioned around them, the fact that they could see for miles in any direction and the breeze carried the scents of nature, gently, dancing along the heavy, thick grasses. "There's so much space, so much to see. Even when there are many people in one place, you don't feel surrounded." She looked up to the sky, smiling broadly. "I can't touch the sky here. It's an eternity away. But on the Ring.. the ceiling is right there, and it never goes away, you're always held so tightly."

"I can appreciate that," responds Demos, especially when it gets to the encasement of the Ring. "One might argue, that is the purpose, without a sky or a horizon to think about, there is a higher level of focus. One tends to favor the tasks at hand rather than the idea of what else is out there. It seems utilitarian in a good way to a research, and all the scientists I imagine. Its not hard to find another opinion, or another discipline, just a few doors away. Then, I imagine, the life of those in service to the scientists of the Ring, their life is probably worse off. I have heard there are rooms in the lower sections that aren't for individuals, but whole family units, three beds atop each other in tight quarters. Getting up and going to work is the only way to get some free space. Yet, something motivates them to stay on the Ring. Its curious, I haven't thought about it so much before actually."

Talynne physically looked horrified at the mention of the lower living quarters, staring at Demos in gaping shock. "Why.. who…" She closed her mouth as she didn't seem to have anything intelligent to say for a moment, and instead chose to take a drink of her water before speaking again. "The thought makes my stomach turn.. I can't imagine ever asking anyone to live like that. Even as a child, the pods were too constraining for Eiris and I. We'd escape, take the horses and run. I swear there were days we just never came home because we'd find something to eat and start a fire, then fall asleep out there. But Mother never feared for us. She knew we'd take care of each other." Talynne smiled warmly at the memories. "It was impossible to keep us from leaving though, I can't imagine how hard it was for her to actually punish us, Eiris would just imagine herself elsewhere and the work punishments she gave I always found.. soothing." Talynne laughed.

Having no explanation for the living conditions, Demos imagines its not much worse then some other places, knowing families that did the same in his home city, just on the Ring lacking the mobility to simply get up and move more. His smile returns at the talk of the lady's childhood, not as bright as before, but warm and caring. "Soothing, almost like meditating? I think in that we may be alike Talynne. That is how it is with rock. Selecting a piece, working its shape, place it where it will stay forever. Or one would hope. There is a lot on the surface of every rock on a stone wall, but for the rest of the world, its a stone wall, not ten-thousand individuals each with their own depth of qualities that must come together to be one. Yes, soothing, I can appreciate that in work. Did you turn out the way she thought you would then, all that punishment, you are contained or ever more wanting to be free?"

"I don't believe that mother knew what to expect of any of us. Leandra has always been so proud, so fierce, such a good knight." Talynne chuckled. "Eiris.. she's her own woman. I'm so completely biased about her, as she is by far one of my favorite people in all of Haven. She wants so much to know what it is the universe wants from her, but she doesn't know how to direct herself to find it. Watching her discover herself has been a pleasure, no doubt. Possibly the one thing I will always cherish is seeing her laugh, watching her be happy. As for me.. I've always been driven in purpose. I think my mother knew it never was Eiris that finished our work punishments, and that it was all me. But it's also why she supported me in attaining my knighthood, because I wanted so badly to understand what the Destriers I train would need to be able to handle."

"That is rather intriguing, a lot of correlations," says Demos as she talks about herself and her sisters. "Without sounding weird about it, that passion in your own drive, and the intrigue of watching another look for their purpose, it sounds a like Balius. At least from my perspective, but with him, in some cases, it seems suggesting there are certain responsibilities he has to accept to have that dream, or find his purpose, seems like an obstacle to him. As much as I'm affording him within the extent that I can, I can see without you, he still might be pondering even applying for a Crown Scholarship. As if the Light of the stars have suddenly aligned."

Looking at Demos curiously, Talynne canted her head to the side. "I don't think that I've pushed him towards involving himself thoroughly into the Academ, I don't like to push when it comes to people's choices. I like to see them finding something that brings light to their eyes. Whenever Ris manages to capture some idea that keeps her attention, the joy there is positively intoxicating. Better than anything that might get you inebriated." Taly chuckled softly and shrugged. "I like to think that I'm a lucky passenger in that gets to see the process of lives unfold around her. I have my life, I know what I love about it and what I enjoy. What sings in my blood is unlikely to call to anyone else like it does me.. but I don't want others to love what I love. I just hope all can find something that makes them feel the same way."

"Yes, sorry, that joy you have when someone else discovers something, I think that encourages him more than someone saying what is and isn't, how he can achieve something and what will set him back. I am pragmatic in that regard. I was taught teleology at a young age, I find reason and purpose around that, sometimes too straightforward. I think just being with you, he also realize he can enjoy the journey itself too, and that is where he wants to be most, living in that moment."

"Ah, I see what you mean now. You think just the sheer joy of someone being happy for him and reacting with a rush of pleasure is far more evocative of his eagerness than you giving him a list of stuff he has to focus on." Talynne grinned to him and gave a wink. "Could be very true, could also be that the only way I ever got Eiris to do anything was to show her how very proud of her I was when she did it. Then she'd do anything. I think I conditioned myself long ago to fully admit to someone when they please me, that way, they continue to do so. Otherwise, they just seem to forever be guessing. Why not make the world a far more delightful place and let them know what you enjoy?" Taly chuckled and shook her head. "Too many people make like complicated on themselves."

"More praise," grins Demos with that realization, not that it hadn't occurred to him, but to hear it again perhaps. "I suppose in that Light, it is that someone would want to please and knowing they've caused pleasure would induce similar favorable actions and reactions. I was good with the meditative state of my work, realizing within I could do what I set my mind too. My mentor must of realized that, but then the mentor-myth grows. If I idolize him enough, I let myself reason he know that was the best way for him to get to me. I apply the thought to myself and try to do the same for Balius, I would fall short and only see it is my own failure. I'll reward him, I found a great baker in the Bazaar, even one not from the Ring would love the pastries there. I'll bring some in for the lab tomorrow morning I think." A slight chuckle at the train of thought that led there.

"Was it the same one that we went to last week?" Talynne asked Demos curiously. "Their pastries were absolutely delicious, and honestly I've made another trip to the market since then just to get them." Taly grinned and shrugged, finishing off her water. "I always found that reward worked better than anything else when teaching the horses. You have to be stern, you have to be forceful, but if you reward them, they become eager to learn what you have to teach. Anything else takes longer and doesn't stick as well."

Nodding with a sheepish grin, Demos replies, "The exact place, yes. It was splendid, we met that fellow Lincoln there. Seems to manage some sort of business, has a few female employees, because he kept talking about how it would be good to get some treats for the girls, motivate them to work better. I need to try it." A chuckle in the moment, "I was hoping taking Balius to that core sampling would be something to get him out in the field, and not merely near the hostiles, but simply to be out and about, that idea backfired. I still need the samples there too, but I'm reluctant to invite him along again after the bad experience."

Laughing softly, Talynne shook her head and just looked at him. "I don't figure you expected it to happen the way it did. But I do think it's good encouragement to bring him out with you. He soaks up experiences like an eager sponge. It's a wonderful thing to see." Taly nodded as if sure of that concept, then set the empty water bottle into the box between them, grabbing hold of one of her cookies and taking a bite of it. peanut butter chocolate chip.. yuuuum. "Maybe we should bring him with us next time in case we need someone bandaging us up."

"That's true," grins Demos, "After my leg, I suppose I should have him along anytime I go out. Better then waiting for rangers to respond to any distress signal. If not for him, my leg wouldn't be fairing so well as it is even."

At Bottoms, Talynne and Demos seem to have found some chairs and a cooler of drinks and food stuffs that includes refreshing drinks as well as cookies and such. Talynne has recently been attending to the cleaning of some of the fabric used to put up makeshift stables while the caravan roams, Demos still has a stiff leg, braced. The two appear in pleasant conversation.

Stumbling up with his satchel and green tunic, Balius smiles at the two together as he does a quick double-take, seeming amused. "So, this is where you two do all your plotting…" he remarks from a few feet away. As he walks up, he searches for another chair and winks at Talynne as he takes a seat.

Smiling widely in surprise, Talynne looked up as Balius seemed to materialize out of nowhere. "Well hello there.. and we're only plotting if we actively engage in the idle plans we've made. Otherwise, we're just ruminating." She grinned over at Demos to give him a wink before she looked back to Bey and reached for him, catching at his hand after he picked up another folding chair and sat in it. "I haven't seen you in forever." She seemed to be forcing herself to remain in her seat, and her smile was nearly absurdly wide.

Nodding agreement, Demos pauses, "Now wait, I'm not quite that old." A chuckle just the same then, "And its only a plot if we win too, else wise its also idle speculations. Good to see you." He says partially sitting up, looking for any empty chair about as if inviting, though he himself is, technically, a guest.

Bey's hand takes Taly's in a firm, needing grasp as he sits. He looks betwixt the two of them. "It's been a good while, with all that's been going on…" Balius trails off a moment, pondering Demos. "How's the knee coming along, treasure hunter?" He smirks to his mentor.

Talynne's hand was very firm in Balius' and she likely tugged him close enough that he nearly fell over in his chair. "It's been a very good while, what's been going on?" Now the concern was thick in her tone. Any immediate happiness at his arrival melting into a slight frown as if she was worried she might be upset at what he had to say.

"Its recovering, no complaints," responds Demos, "More worried about getting back out there to get the real samples we meant to collect initially." Offering it in fairness to the question, but then going more quiet over the concern of what has been happening with Balius. He reaches for a cookie finally, something with chocolate, or chips, or both.

"Chiron just…disappeared, said he was training. But he was with the group at the Waygate by the Cape…and we didn't know…but he's alive! " The words stumble out a choppy jumble, as if they'd only been incoherent abstracts for the longest while. Bey leans his head on Talynne's shoulder as he let out a sigh of relief. "But it's all okay now. Basically just threw myself into the stable work to drown it all out…" He says guiltily, the thought of telling those who cared most about him coming delayed.

A few moments passed a Talynne attempted to process the information she was given, her mouth dropping open. She hugged Balius closely, rubbing her hand down his back to soothe him. There was decided look of hurt on her face that Demos possibly noted before she washed it away with a blink and nodded. "Good, good, I'm so glad he's alright." Her tone was quiet but sincere, and she squeezed Balius again for good measure, schooling her face into a very close approximation of relief.

Considering that, Demos takes in Talynne's reaction to this news from Balius. "And, you have friends you know," he amends, as if to suggest, he didn't have to throw himself into work and loose himself. But the scholar won't push that topic, he only recalls taking time to speak with Balius about the potential loss of his home following the breach in the wall. "Good indeed that everything is alright, any news on how soon you will get to see him again?"

Enjoying the embrace, Balius obviously misses any of the look on Talynne's face. He grins as he sits back up, keeping the contact of their hands. "Yeah, I should've but…Ma and Da were going crazy with grief. I just kinda needed to be there for them…" His face flushes red though. "What are we drinking? He says, looking to the cooler.

Still holding Bey's hand, Talynne squeezed it firmly. "Here, let me get you something. Some juice and some jerky maybe? Or a cookie?" She asked before she let his hand go and reached into the cooler. "I can only imagine what it was like for your parents, please tell them that I'm glad to hear your brother is well, and I'll send you home with something for them to help so they don't have to cook for a couple of nights." She nodded and waited for him to tell her what he wanted from the cooler.

"I'm trying the algae stuff, but I think there was enough in the one that I should transition to water now," says Demos for his part, letting Talynne make the offer for some food for the Quellton's while Chiron is making his way home. That said, Demos stands up, "I should excuse myself for a moment or two, I've been pinged a few times while we discussed that issue." The scholar leaves it at that, pulling a small device from his pocket to check messages and give the two a moment or three to themselves, if not more.

With a nod to his mentor, Bey will give him a wave. "Take care of that leg…and no lone wanderings. " Balius smiles as he looks back to Talynne. "Juice please…I missed you." He says, emotion welling to the surface, eyes sad with the distance apart.

Talynne nodded, still facing the box filled with stuff. "I missed you, too." She cleared her throat softly and pulled a drink out for him, turning to hand it over with a slight smile. "Here you go, enjoy. I have a little to finish up here before I head back to the caravan, do you have time for that or should I leave this and go get something whipped up for your family real quick so you can go?" Her tone was still concerned, and it was obvious she didn't want to make him wait.

Seeming to consider her tone, Bey will look at her confused. "I was…hoping to stay…" Green eyes appraising Talynne with new found concern. He takes the juice but puts his other arm around and scoots his chair closer, perhaps a little awkwardly. "Taly…I missed you." He leans in for a deep kiss, emotion raw behind it.

"But.." Yeah she can't speak when she's being kissed, lacking certain free parts of her anatomy. So instead Talynne kissed him back, a sad note to her as she made a soft sound, and finally tore her mouth away, clearing her throat. "Stop.." She shook her head and pressed the back of her hand against her mouth. When she looked at him her eyes were slightly shimmering, then filling with tears that she blinked to keep in check. "I missed you too, Balius.. but.. I haven't seen you for days and you didn't even think to send word that your brother was missing.. didn't think to tell me that your family was suffering. I could have sent help to relieve the stress your family was under, provided staff for the stables to help the horses while you all had to deal with it. Instead.." She blinked and shook her head, moving her hand. "I'm not upset at you, not angry.. I just didn't realize how much I am disconnected from your life. It hurt, and I'm getting over it, but it's impossible not to feel anything with your mouth on mine, it makes me feel everything."

Bey stares back for what seems like an eternity, the sadness in his eyes matching hers. "Taly…" Bey takes a deep breath, surprised by the reaction. "Most of it was the unknown…and…" He doesn't know actually. Frustrated with himself, Balius ponders, refusing to break her gaze. "The Quelltons are a proud lot…you saw Ma when she saw you first…" He smirks, recalling his mother's quick trip to put her makeup on. It is fleeting though. "And I didn't know what to do…I wasn't thinking…" He sighs again. "Taly…you are my waking thought. Everywhere I go, it's like your fingerprint is there. I should've sent word…I know…but it was all I could do just to get out of bed, really. It's my own stupidity." And Bey starts to come up with the mental list of ways to blame himself as he looks away, ashamed.

"It's not stupidity, Balius, please don't apologize. I completely understand." Talynne nodded to him and wiped at her eyes, offering him a wan smile. "You have nothing to apologize for, and nothing to admonish yourself for." she cleared her throat and reached into the bucket for a drink for herself, allowing her to turn away as well, and giving her an excuse to stare down so she could at least get her eyeballs to stop being so dumb. She found another bottle of water and cracked it open, chugging down a few swallows before she even looked back towards him. The slight mask of shock she'd been wearing had faded a little by then and there was color back in her lips, and her eyes weren't brimming. "I didn't intend to say anything, so I apologize far more than you can imagine. It's.. just me being a girl, I can assure you."

Hand reaching up to her cheek, Bey's eyes will look at her, nothing else at all on his mind. "It was foolish of me to hold it all in…" Bey frowns only slightly. "I want to share all my life with you, and…that includes the hard stuff. Hell, it probably means that 'specially." is hand continues to caress her face. "I'm so used to protecting those I love…I'm not good at the other part…" He looks away awkwardly, trying to simplify

"I already told you, there's nothing to correct. While I know your mother said she nice things, I realize that I won't ever be a part of your family. And it's really OK, I promise. If you hadn't kissed me I likely would have just been able to keep it out of your notice." Talynne laughed darkly, then shook her head. "Not that I'm blaming you for kissing me, all I wanted to do the second I saw you was throw myself at you and kiss you hello. I was being polite for company." Talynne smiled slightly and shrugged. "Just.. stop worrying about it. I'm fine. Oh, and I have some good news for you."

This is not acceptable, but Bey accepts words and kisses won't fix it for now. "Poor Demos…" He forces a smirk at the tease, another burden to process now placed on him. He sips his juice now to prevent grimacing. Forcing a smile now, he looks to her. "What's the news?"

"He would have been scandalized for sure." Talynne nodded in agreement. Her tone was still quiet, but she was really, really trying, and her smile was less forced now, even if she wasn't beaming at him. "But yes.. uh. I hope this is an alright time to tell you good news.. " She frowned slightly then shook her head, clearing her throat. "Well, my mother has agreed to provide you a partial scholarship to Academ, for the entirety of your medical training. She's said that if you work you can likely pay for the rest yourself, or you can always find another partial subsidy to cover the rest of it. And the support in no way depends on us being together, so even if you never become my companion or if, for some reason, I die or we aren't together, you'll still have the funding from House Rovehn."

"I think it's always a good time for good news." His smile too is less forced. "And we'll always be together if I have anything to say about it!" Bey's smile widens at the announcement. "And one of these days, I'm gonna have to meet that woman!" He swings his arms around Talynne is a large hug, laughing more so as an emotional release than anything else. He whispers into her ear. "And you're gonna take me with you into battle, so none of this dieing talk." He squeezes her tightly, still grinning.

"I think that there are times I can't, my love, so you'll have to deal with the fact that you're with a Knight. Sometimes we don't come home. And while I'll do my utmost to ever prevent such a thing, I certainly don't want you having unrealistic hopes that you'll be with me every time I go somewhere. You can't be leaving your family to ride with me into battle all the time, Bey." Talynne squeezed him and kissed his cheek. "But I'm very glad you're happy about the scholarship. I had hoped for possibly a full scholarship, but we have Rovehn citizens we're putting through school as well. She did say I should put in a good word with Arboren for you, so they provide the rest." Taly shrugged softly and leaned back to smile at him softly. "I'm sure you'll meet my mother one day, in the mean time though.. could you please write her a thank you letter? It will go a long way towards making her appreciate you."

Having already thought of this, Bey will nod. "Yeah…I was just thinking of what I might write to the Lady Rovehn…" Balius has never written a letter to a noble, much less the head of a house! "I just don't want her to find me…unworthy…." Of the scholarship? Or of Talynne? He seems to have ignored any comments about knights and death. "I ran into Lord Darious the other day." He says, offering an exit to discussions on the chaotic waters of nobility and the casualties of war.

"I hope he was doing well, the last time I saw him was that night he'd stayed here." Talynne nodded and offered Balius a squeeze, then slowly released him. "And I'm sure that what matters the most about the letter is that it's heartfelt and a true attempt to make sure she understands your gratitude. Anything else is up to you." Talynne winked to him. "And it'll be alright, you're worthy of it, she already checked your test scores."

Laughing, of course she had. "Well, he wants me to sing at some charity event…" Bey seems concerned thinking about it all. "And he needs to sleep more and drink less, I think." Bey smirks a bit at a memory. "So, what are you working on, anything I can help with?" He takes a large swig of juice and then stands up.

"You don't need to, my love, I'm just finishing off pressure washing the panels. I was mostly done before I sat down with Demos." Talynne smiled to him and shrugged. "If you'd like to go maybe shower and help yourself feel refreshed, I could meet you inside in about half an hour after I finish putting everything away? It'll help if the kitchen staff sees you're here, so they make all the extra meat for you in the morning.. and tonight." She chuckled softly and moved over to the now dry panels to start stacking them up.

He shakes his head. "You saying I smell?" Bey winks and rushes over to her, once again wrapping his arms around her. "But if you insist…" He turns her towards him, eyes matching his smile. "At least a kiss before I go?" His arms pull her close to him, a near sigh of relief echos throughout his body that she's again there.

"I don't want you to go and shower, admittedly.. I want to be much closer.. but if you stay much closer, I won't let you away again for likely many, many hours.." She made a soft protest before giving in and wrapping her arms around his neck, Talynne murmured softly and nodded before her lips touched his. There was a brief moment, like she might be holding something back, but then she melted against him and moaned into his mouth as she released what seemed like months and months of need into that one sound. Her mouth opened and she claimed his as thoroughly as she ever had, until their bodies were plastered as closely together as they could be and still be dressed.

Returning her needing tones, Bey seems adrift in the missed sensations, hands moving up and down her back. He stumbles only briefly at her reaction, which had been the one he had long since learned to expect and love. He's breathless, pulse racing. Balius has needed her more than he let himself realize. Breaking for a gasp of air, he can't grin any wider as he looks to her. "I suppose if we only have hours and hours…" He smiles and returns to kiss her again.

The sound she made in response to his words was unintelligible, because she really wasn't thinking. It was a brief, needy cry as he took his mouth away, as if he was just teasing her. The next kiss was almost begging to be stopped by lighting, it was so charged with the electric desire racing through her veins that it likely made them glow like they were on fire, or at least she felt that way as she finally drug in a breath and separated their lips. "Days… heavens above I need days.." Her hands slid down his arms then, until her hands could get to his waist and she could shove them up under his tunic, touching his bare skin with a little hiss of surprise as if she were shocked he was real. "Months… but I'll start with not letting you out of bed for the next week."

"Sounds like a plan to me." Bey laughs and returns to her lips, feeling again centered in the world by her touch. Consumed by the need for her and only her has become his overriding goal. Dinner, work, studies, family, war…it all disappears in the frenzy of his love and passion.

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