06.21.3013: Secondhand Scrying
Summary: Nitrim calls upon Sophie to discuss his plan with the Awakened. They discuss Sophie's current potential prophecy. He suggests she learn to spy.
Date: 21 June 2013
Related: Sophie's prophecy can be found in No
Sophie Nitrim 

Watchtower Overlook — Volkan, Imperius
At the very peak of the Blackspyre, the lift opens up to a railed lookout, leaving all of the city of Volkan, Mount Drakan, and the Black Wastes laid out below. Even two hundred stories up, the sounds of industry can be heard, although it is a faint sound this high up. The smoldering heat has not diminished, however, and is in fact protected by the electrostatic fields wrapped around the top of the spire to keep out the weather. The lava tubes running through the city look like nothing so much as veins from this high up, running bright and yellow-red throughout the city.
June 21, 3013

The message was sent, and despite the current wartime landings, Nitrim Khournas made sure that his guests at Volkan would be able to make it safely to the Blackspyre. He stands alone, waiting on the Watchtower Overlook that dips into a panoramic view of Volkan below; easily his favorite spot in the fortress. Cigarette in hand, he's looking generally less pale these days, with more strength to the lay of his shoulders, and as his guest arrives, he turns to the doorway and smiles quietly. "Welcome…I am glad you received my message. Did you have any trouble in transit?"

"Not at all. As luck would have it, I was already here, in Volkan." Sophie comes striding into the overlook with a casual smile upon her face, "please forgive the state of my attire. I had thought to arrive just after Lord Asher gave me a tour, and did not allow myself the time to change." She presently wears a very simplistic outfit, overly so for a member of the royal family, with a long black cape, a green tunic, and a small dagger belted to her waist. She fully approaches her host and offers him a bow of her head, "greetings, Lord Nitrim." She looks up, "might I ask what this is about? You were marginally unclear in your missive."

"Marginally unclear on purpose and nevermind your dress. Saveur grace travels in all forms." Nitrim bows his head to her as well, his cigarette laden hand sweeping to the view beside him in a practiced gesture. He slips the cigarette back between his lips for a drag, which he exhales to the sky above and leans back against the protective guardrail, attention now on her. He waits a pause before he continues speaking. "It…has occurred to me that while we are faintly related, we've something in common. We both get the dreams, don't we? You are an Awakened."

Sophie smiles wider, "I am glad you do not mind. I ordered my guard to stand outside the door, since I did not want to appear improper with an armed escort in your home, my Lord. I hope you do not mind?" She takes the time provided in Nitrim's silence to appreciate the view just beside him, amber eyes widening at the sight, "what an impressive outlook, though I must admit to preferring the untamed beauty of the Arborenin Woods." Finally, when the man once more speaks, she bobs her head in the affirmative, "indeed, my Lord. Even if I Awakened much older than most."

Nitrim's eyes trail over Sophie's shoulder to the doorway, glancing to where her ever-present guard would surely be. "No, no I don't mind at all. You're rather safe here, nonetheless. The Hostile haven't gotten close enough to threaten the Blackspyre." He nods his head, glancing down his shoulder to the rather volcanic setting below, dotted with factories and the large city of Volkan. His brow lifts, his head tilts, and his shoulder lifts. To each their own. "Well, My Lady, you're one of many I'll be contacting in the days ahead. Not to cut directly to the chase, but we've had a number of dreams and gods willing we will have a number more. I've been giving all of this a great deal of thought, and the one thing that occurs to me is that we, as Awakened, are not communicating with each other. We're a split community, by means of banners and ideologies." He looks back to her, reading her face. "Do you agree with this statement, Lady Sophie?"

Sophie chuckles softly, "it is a curious thing, the Hostiles. Though we may prepare for them for half a millenium, they are already on our front lawn. A constant enemy that disappears and returns while numerous generations pass." She firmly nods her head to Nitrim's question, "I wholeheartedly agree, my Lord. Gods willing indeed that we acquire more dreams. I am of the mind that the dreams are there to help us, one way or another." She laughs softly, "yet I must offer you a warning. Someone already tried to organize us, but the group tore itself apart through distrust and suspicion." She pauses for a moment, allowing herself some time to consider what she should say, before relenting and providing, "I have sent a letter to each official head of the three Awakened disciplines, asking of their thoughts on the matter of applying for an eight seat on the Crown Council. They were all open to the prospect to varying degrees, though suggested I speak with those in charge first. Unfortunately, with the newly arrived war, as well as the news of my Uncle, they are simply too busy to see me as yet, I should think."

The lord of Khournas' lips part into a toothy grin at the mention of the failed Awakened gathering. It's as if to say my point exactly. Slipping the cigarette back into his lip, he takes a final drag and stubs it out into a nearby ashtray, ornate with the imagery of drakes in flight along its tall length. "Funny you should say that. You know, one of the dreams I had was a number of days before the Hostile first attacked. Had I mentioned something about it, it might have saved lives. And then I, too, heard about this gathering of Awakened that didn't go so well. My own brother suspects a small possibility that the Hostile may be seeing through us, but I disagree. Still…these theories are dangerous, as is our disconnect."

He turns, clasping his hands behind his back. Brows lowered grimly, he starts to pace along the length of the overlook, motioning for her to join him as he walks.

"I intend to create a group without borders or banners. Merely Awakened, brother and sister to each other, with a laser-beam focus on investigating these dreams, why we get them, and determining whether or not we can be an early warning system for Haven." He holds up a finger. "But…there's a concern. If the Hostile get word that there are Awakened, and that we can do this, we'll be put in immediate danger. Because of this, we would have to be…" A beat as he flips through his internal lexicon. "…selective in our communications. Never too much broadcasted over the Infosphere, but through minds and emissaries."

Sophie glances towards the ornate draconic ashtray, her attention focused upon the object in momentary wonder. Only when Nitrim speaks yet again do her amber eyes turn to face him, "I agree, my Lord. While I would not place aside the concept of the Hostiles seeing similar beneficial dreams as us, and thus being Awakened as well, I very much agree that the disconnect between human Awakened is dangerous. I am certain there are simply too many dreams that singular individuals have, that are lost to the public eye and ignored when they actually come true." She joins Nitrim on his walk, striding beside him with her cloak flowing across the floor, "I must admit that I am not blessed with the same…scope of powers as most Awakened. I can barely communicate five kilometers myself. There are many questions to answer for this to work. How will we choose our emissaries, and who would we send our warning to that could relay them to others? Who would trust them as prophetic?" She pauses a moment to swallow and nod her head, "the earlier meeting mentioned the idea that the dreams should be shared and discussed amongst us as well. Of course, nothing came of the concept, as we swiftly pulled apart over other concerns." She tilts her head to the side, "how will you keep us together and concerned with the right topics, my Lord?"

"Bond." Nitrim's one word answer seems well thought-out enough. He slows just a little, tightening the grip of his hand-over-wrist at the small of his back as he lets the word settle for itself. After a few moments of letting its weight settle, he looks back to Sophie. "There are talented citizens, as there are talented nobles. I heard there were some orders given that day at the gathering, and while I can't fault them for it, the first step is to create a society of equals focused on a set of simple to follow ideals. There will be no lords or ladies when we meet. Only brethren." His eyebrow twitches and he turns his head back to the walk forward. "The second step, is to work together to combine our knowledge so that we will know what to investigate. The orders, they have their place, but politics has gotten in the way. Interpretations are many, but we should come in closer, tighter, sharing our styles not as differing ideologies but as multiple manners of dissecting the problem." He smiles quietly. "Lastly…with all of the theatre I've seen lately, a little fleer for the dramatic would do us some good. We've got trickery the Hostile couldn't intercept. We could be quiet, subtle, faceless. Machine minds may very well be prone to trickery, and while the Awakened that play within the political sphere will do their business, in the dark, we would do ours and whisper our warnings to the right people in the right ways, and use our skills to help Haven win this war."

Sophie blinks at the single word, stopping in her tracks for just a moment in order to digest the seemingly simplistic outfit. Quickly, she moves to catch up, acting as the devil's advocate to reply, "that…might work. Still, there are many Awakened and many would wish to join us in order to acquire a certain amount of power in the workings of Haven. It will not be easy to bond hundreds of Awakened together, I imagine…" She nods her head, "however, creating a group of equals is a good idea, so long as everyone is kept determined to serve the ideals of the…" She waves her hand casually to the side, "coallition." She listens further to his plans, smiling and nodding her head. Her steps become a bit lighter, eyes gleaming with enthusiasm, "there is actually a particular dream I have not managed to gather much support for, though we can discuss that another time…" At the last and final suggestion, she actually lets out a small giggle of excitement, "I would be overjoyed to be a part of such plans, my Lord. I imagine you have not yet acquired many supporters, since otherwise we would be conversing among many others, I think. But you can already count me as a willing member."

His smile, and the flash in his eyes, meet the enthusiasm of Sophie head-on. His stride comes to an end and he turns to face her, offering his arm to her for a shake. "It's…not a finalized plan, but I like to think that this is not Nitrim Khournas' brigade of Awakened. It would be our brigade of Awakened, and we can work on the details as time goes by. Right now I'm looking in the tens. When we get to the twenties, thirties, we'll have to get more creative but with the right mindsets at the helm I'm sure we could handle it." Seeming rather pleased with how their conversation has gone, he stands up a little straighter and rubs his many-ringed left hand through a strangely sweaty lock of blonde hair. "This makes you and I allies now, so whenever you wish to discuss this dream of yours, or should you wish to write it to me in grim detail and leave it here at the Blackspyre for me to read, I give you my word that it will be between us until we decide just what to do about it." A beat. A bow of his head. "Shall we eat? I'm rather hungry."

Sophie halts in her march the moment her companion does, cheerfully finalizing their alliance, "well, I would be glad to be a part of our brigade. Brigade sounds too militaristic though, I should think. I would put forth the title of the Coalition of Awakened. Though perhaps it might be best to call it something…subtle, in case the Hostiles catch wind of it…" She taps her chin for a moment, before shaking her head, "no matter. I am nonetheless pleased to be a part of it." She grins at Nitrim and shrugs her shoulders, "I would be happy to tell you right now. An…associate of mine dreamt of an eagle, hooded and jessed, placed in a cage with a purple and gold scrap in its talons. The cage rested atop the skull of a drake…" She frowns, furrowing her brow, "though another suggested the skull symbolized the Drake Mountains, this place certainly housed a collection of skulls…" At the mention of food however, she is swifly distracted and bobs her head happily, "I am half starved myself."

Like a pilot taking a U-Turn, Nitrim motions back in the direction they came, towards the door, and towards her guard. Always walking as if expecting her to follow, never prodding or guiding, he rests his wrist over the hilt of his longsword for comfort as they go. "Well…" He starts slowly, eyebrows knitting together. "Our great hall houses plenty of drake skulls as well. Saveur, though, purple and gold well—if the dream is prophetic it seems to be absolutely slathered in imagery of both of our houses. Perhaps another way to look at it, is that the eagle could be you." He pauses for dramatic effect, tilting his head slightly as he works out his words. "A little bit Saveur, the purple in one talon, perhaps a little bit Khourni, gold in the other. Locked in a cage upon a drake skull? For all you know this could mean you might be someday stuck, here, at Volkan. Just…try to remember that despite how ominous some of these dreams may seem, they don't necessarily mean ruin. Has your father spoken to you about any plans to marry one of the Saveur to Khournas?"

Sophie merrily follows the man all the way back towards the exit, expression filled with interest for the future. She blinks at the interpretation however, "what a curious way to look at it, my Lord. I had not thought of that at all. I was certain that the skull symbolized the Drake Mountains, and that the dream was suggesting I go there so that I might locate something useful. Since these dreams tend to help us, after all." She licks her lips uncertainly, amber eyes going distant at the thought of being locked up in Volkan. Eventually, she blinks again and offers in response, fingers worrying at the laces of her bodice, "Father has said nothing of any sort of marriage plans…though I am rarely involved in their discussions. Usually, I am considered either too young or too fragile to include in much of anything, especially with the Hostiles here these days…" She frowns, "have you heard anything about marriage plans, my Lord?"

"For you?" Nitrim laughs softly, shaking his head. "No, nothing about you, nothing about myself either. My father makes plenty of decisions concerning me without consult, as is his right. I've heard nothing either, though a drake skull? Bah—" He shakes his head once again and comes to a stop near the door, holding it open for her. "It's an inexact science. It could very well mean a Khourni is about to die, as skulls are rather direct in their symbolism. How well do you trust this associate of yours, and how adamant were they that it was one of the more hard-hitting, prophetic-style dreams?"

Sophie sighs out softly, looking relieved, "though I am empathetic to your lack of a voice with your father, you will forgive me for admitting that I am glad I am not the only one. I have been treated as though made of glass much of my life, and I disdain the thought that I am still viewed in such a way." She smiles as the man holds the door open for her, walking through and furrowing her brow in consideration. Once she has passed the portal, she turns about and slowly offers, "I…do not know him well, but he came running immediately to my side after experiencing the dream. This dream was too vague to be anything else but prophetic, I think. Though our dreams are very…insubstantial sorts of things. I suppose it would not go amiss if it happened he dreamt a normal dream…" She sighs softly, "yet I have to concede I want this dream to be meaningful, since I wish to be a part of something important. Too long have I remained in my room or drawing in the Arborenin Woods. I wish to be useful, especially with this war." At that, once Nitrim returns to her side, she begins walking beside him once more.

Like most Khournas, Nitrim has a rather public face that doesn't seem to react to sympathy, though perhaps the slight tilt of his head is good enough, as is the nod he makes. His rings scrape softly against the door handle as he closes it behind them. Spotting Sophie's knight easily, he nods to the man and continues on the path towards the dining hall. "So you have to make a decision. Do you risk alienating people with theories, second-hand no less, or do you suffer having the opportunity to say something and do not?" His head lowers, watching her out of the corner of his eye while his heavy boots make dull thuds against the carpet. As they pass an old suit of armor, he reaches out and flicks his finger against its chest. Bong.

"I would warn the Saveur, though not dramatically. I'd simply tell them that we sometimes have these dreams and one happened to dream about a trapped eagle in a cage. Verse it as second-hand scrying to not implicate yourself, you're just doing your duty as a loyal Saveur, and then watch." He pauses, his voice lowering. "Because if something happens that does fulfill that dream, you're one step ahead. That is what you tell no one."

Caedmon bows his head in return to the Khournas noble, before moving to silently step behind the pair as they make their way elsewhere. For Sophie's part, her eyes widen and she stares up at Nitrim in surprise, "precisely, my Lord. I thought I should at least say and do -something-, lest I sit there and watch this possible prophecy come to pass, knowing I did nothing at all to stop it." She smiles in appreciation to his empathetic words, though the sound of a finger flicking against an old suit of armor momentarily startles her. She gasps, flinching briefly until she realizes the source, which elicits a nervous chuckle. That chuckle is replaced by a shamed frown, glancing down at her feet, "I-I…I told my sisters everything already. Ellinor and Lyrienne, that is. They…they were not impressed. I suggested that I should go on an expedition to the Khournas Mountains, place myself as bait to…whatever may be there, since the skull may symbolize such a location. And then since I would be implanted with a tracking beacon, I would have others rescue me. Ellinor thought it was too dangerous and she did not have the time nor manpower to help. Lyrienne thought it was too wild an action based on too great an assumption. And I…w-well, I may have had a heated argument with them both."

"What I'm about to say, My Lady, I assure you I mean absolutely zero disrespect." Nitrim preambles, taking one cautionary glance back to Caedmon with a rigid-handed salute that cuts off of his brow. It's a symbol of respect, something he can offer the man before he risks offending his charge. "You're a small fish, right? Kept in your cage for years, sickly, clearly not the might and abject warlust that Lady Ellinor has, aye?" He reaches to the side of his neck, scratching softly as he reaches out to tap another suit of armor on its chest, this time with merely a dull thud. "So no, you're not going to be allowed to risk an expedition into our mountains where the Hostile might very well pull you apart piece by piece. Then it would be our asses in a cage. We couldn't allow that any more than your sisters could." He slows, stopping near the door to the eating hall. He lowers his voice a little more, casting a conspiratorial look to her.

"But you are a small fish in a big pond, and that makes you powerful in a way that others don't see. All of these big, impressive people with big, impressive names and little Sophie's been in her cage for years. She's no power player is she? Why, she may just scurry past your leg and none of these big, powerful people would ever notice would they?" He smiles. "You can see, hear, draw what you see and hear. When the dreams come your way, spy on the behalf of a better future and play defense in the only way My Lady can. Let your sisters assume the risks. Be their guide."

Caedmon warily returns a similar salute, though a frowns marks his features and his head tilts curiously to the side. Sophie, on the other hand, frowns as though she expects what is to come. When she hears what Nitrim has to say, she appears surprised at the contents of his lecture, "I…you're right. I'm always looked down on like I am incapable of achieving anything close to what my sister can…" When she hears another flick against a plate of armor, she only glances that way a mere second before her amber eyes rise to Nitrim's own, "but I want to do something, my Lord. What if it turns out there is something there that will help the system war and we fail to gain it because we were too cautious?" She blinks at the follow-up to Nitrim's speech, having trouble for a short while to gather a reply. She furrows her brow and slowly offers, "I…you mean I should offer them what I know, and let them deal with the consequences of action or inaction?" She licks her lips, "what if they don't listen to what I have to say?"

"Lady Sophie…" Nitrim says softly, brotherly. Turning, his back rests against the arched wall that supports the portal to the next room, choosing to take their conversation here before they head inside. His hand raises to his chest, fingers splayed against this. "…please understand this is coming from one of your own, someone who's been overlooked. There's nothing to be ashamed about. Your time will come. Just be careful to not try to force it, because without planning your moves carefully you risk cutting off your ability to maneuver. One horrible failure will result in an inability to get anything done later down the line." His hand lowers, fingertips tapping against the pommel of his sword. "Present yourself as level-headed and capable. Merely provide them the means to act on it or not at their own behest. If they choose not to and should have, you'll be vindicated. If they choose to and you're right, you'll be vindicated. The trick is to let it be their choice. That's how you step up the ladder. In the meantime, our Cabal, coalition, society, whatever we end up calling it, will be there for you."

Sophie stops in front of the man and waits curiously to hear his response. When he offers it, she lowers her gaze to the floor and softly replies, "I…I guess I can understand. If I had gotten even worse injuries in the battle of Godwinstown, it is possible I could never again have the ability to fight." She looks up, smiling lightly, "I appreciate the sentiment that you will stand beside me, my Lord. I truly do. I just…it feels like it would be difficult to let go an opportunity because others thought it was not worthwhile…" She licks her lips, nodding her head, "still, I understand. Maybe if I supply them with more proof to make my case, they will end up helping me…" She pauses uncertainly, shifting from one foot to the other before asking, "do you act as you suggest, my Lord? Or are you one of those big, impressive people?"

"I am…" Nitrim starts, lifting his head to the ceiling, baring his throat as he does so. His lips part into a grimmace, followed by a pessimistic chuckle. He continues as his head drops back into place, like a guillotine. "…not on of those big, impressive people. I aim to be, though, but not because I have a hunger for power. It's because I've been gifted with what I am, the only of my line, and like you I feel I have a responsibility. There's only one way to do this, though, and that's to be reliable and useful, and the only way to achieve that is with some semblance of accuracy." He blinks twice, shaking his head softly to clear some manner of cobwebs from his vision. The light bit of sweat at his brow suggests that he may have a fever. "By all means, your heart is your own, but I take the walk before you can run approach. It preserves credibility."

Sophie watches curiously as Nitrim raises his head skywards and grimaces, purses her lips uncertainly at the strange act. When he looks back down to her, she slowly asks, "the only of your…line? But I thought…" She blinks, "ah, you mean you are the only Awakened among your siblings. I did not realize the Khournas were so lacking in such power." She shakes her head, "nonetheless…I…I guess I must agree with you, my Lord. You are wise with your suggestions. I will…try to keep myself from attempting this expedition to the Drake Mountains, but you still give me much to think about." She offers him a smile and steps towards the door, "shall we have dinner then, my Lord? I am quite famished."

"Oh, the Khourni are not lacking in power. My brothers and sisters are as deadly as they come. They haven't had much of a need of an Awakened in their operations until now, and I'll be assisting them" He bows his head to accentuate his point. "…so that when they have need of my skills I will be the first person they turn to." He smiles and nudges open the door, holding it wide for Sophie and motioning her and Caedmon through. "If you do decide to go to the Drake Mountains, please tell me, at least give me the opportunity to assist you if I can. We're going after the Hostile soon. We'll be in the neighborhood. NOW…" He laughs, slipping in behind them. "…please, tell me more about Landing? Are the end-of-the-world parties still going on? I'm told there's a concert coming…"

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