07.28.3013: Social Indigestion
Summary: Antaeus and Kassandra meet randomly in Landing and talk of death, Hostiles, and social drudgery.
Date: 28 July 2013
Related: Non
Antaeus Kassandra 


Gardens of Erkwin - Landing
While the Arborenin may like their greenery wild and lush, the Gardens of Erkwin are carefully and precisely manicured, even if they are no less green for all the attention they have received at the clippers of gardening drones. Broad expanses of grass are trimmed to exactly the same height, grown to exactly the same verdant shade. Hedges are neatly clipped back into exacting shapes. Some form mythical creatures, others living statues of famous historical figures, and one section even rises in geometric patterns to create a hedge maze. Between the hedges and lining paths of crushed gravel are beds full of flowers from all over Imperius — and before that, from all over Old Earth.

As beautiful as the gardens are, however, all of the paths lead through them toward the stadium on the water's edge. A final parade of flags draws the attention of most onlookers up toward the bulbous blue shape of the stadium's half-roof, which is lit from within by the glow of the lights when a tournament is taking place or a soccer game being played.

28 July 3013

Kassandra isn't one for mucking about much with technology, but she will concede enough to utilize the ever-present earpieces for communication. She is currently yelling into one rather heatedly, cognizant of those around her, but with a devil-may-care cast of her gaze the onlookers tend to turn away. "I am not apologizing, Father," she grumbles hotly, turning to face a tall topiary of a knight on horseback; the local gardeners are getting rather elaborate these days.

"No, I won't, and he can eat horse shit for all I give a good damn," Kassie finishes, taking inspiration from the nearby artwork to add flavor to her curses. 'Father' replies over the earpiece, and the words are loud enough that people standing within three feet of her can hear them, even if they can't make out the message. Rather than answer, the young Valen pushes the button to end the call and slips her earpiece into her pocket. "Asshole."

Antaeus casually strolls around the gardens, taking the time to follow the advice given to him by his sister and mother about taking things slowly for a few days as he recuperates from his injuries. His eyes take in the sights of the gardens, enjoying them for what they are, but also thinking that they pale in comparison to the gardens near the Sky Palace of Nubilus. Of course, he may be biased there. His reverie is interrupted by a woman shouting at what seems to be her father. Curious, he makes his way over to the source of the shouting and spots a woman. Blinking at her language, he takes a step towards her and after she seems to end the conversation he asks, "Pardon, but are you alright?"

"Yes, so bugger off," Kassandra barks in reply to Antaeus, looking up in surprise at being approached while simultaneously pushing her hair back from her face in a haughty gesture. But after another second she realizes the error of her ways and has the good grace to blush, albeit minutely. "No, no, I'm sorry, ignore me. When I get mad, I get good and mad."

Taking a deep breath, Kassandra pushes it out through pursed lips before eyeballing Antaeus from head to toe and back again. Her posture eases into something resembling 'friendly', and she crosses her arms over her chest tightly. "No, yes, I'm fine. Just an argument with my father. I am sure you know how those go. It'll be alright. I'm sorry if I disturbed your walk, I just couldn't hear him over the noisy shoppers back there." She gestures with a lift of her chin toward the expansive shopping area of the Grand Esplanade.

"I see." The hint of a grin plays upon Antaeus' face as he takes a moment to eye the woman up and down. "I think anyone can understand getting angry, that's for bloody damn sure." He says this lightly, his grin widening. "As for arguing with my father? It's actually rather hard to argue with him given that he's the Captain of the Titan's Wake and I am one of three Lieutenants. I don't think he would go as far as tying me down to the front of the ship and then ramming a Hostile vessel, but one never can truly tell." This is also said in a light and casual manner.

"You didn't disturb my walk at all, honestly it was a nice distraction. It can be kind of boring to just walk around, but it's not like I can do much else. Doctor's orders and all that." He rolls his eyes and shakes his head, a sigh escaping his lips. "I'm being rude myself. I am Antaeus Larent."

Kassandra smiles in response to Antaeus' own, and the tension dissipates. She lets out a quiet laugh at the description of his relationship with his father, and casts her gaze upward to the sky at the mention of ships, Hostiles, and Lieutenants. "A marine, are you? I do not envy you that lifestyle in closely confined corridors and the cold vacuum of space." She shivers to demonstrate how distasteful such a way of life would seem to her, a Valen knight used to the openness of the Wilds.

Turning, Kassandra starts up a slow walk along a path leading further inward in the garden. On the left, the buds of Old Earth flowers are open, displaying their colorful petals to the sun. "A pleasure to meet you, Lord Antaeus. I am Kassandra Cindravale." She pauses to let the revelation settle, just in case the tabloids have caught up with her. After a moment of silence she continues: "Doctor's orders are always to play it safe, and that can grate. I trust your injuries were not too extensive, considering you are up and about and not confined to a sickroom."

Antaeus gives the woman a shrug, a smile still gracing his features. "Space has it's own beauty and simplicity about it, but it's a matter of doing one's duty. We all must serve in our own ways, and it at least offers a level of excitement that is far beyond sitting in some stuffy room studying all day." He shudders to think of what could've happeneed if he had made the unfortunate choice of becoming a scholar.

As she turns to walk along the path, he moves with her, keeping up with her. "Ah, a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my Lady." A deep bow of his head is given to her, but he appears not to make any signs of knowing the name from any tabloids. After all, tabloids!? "When the Doctors are your own mother and sister, I'm afraid that their orders start to be more strict than they need to be at times. I took an arrow to the chest from a Hostile, rather unfortunate, but at least I cut the bastard in return."

"I have not had the good fortune of being pegged by their flying shrapnel," Kassandra replies to Antaeus, glancing sidelong toward him as if attempting to see his wound through his clothing; it is impossible, of course. She reaches up to trace the line of a scar that follows the curve her cheek and then back around along her jaw. "This was from a lucky hit that slid up beneath my helmet. I am sure one of the unlucky squires had quite the time of it cleaning all the blood out. I can agree with you that anything else, at least, is far better than sitting in a room all day."

Kassie moves to the right and in front of Antaeus for a moment to allow other walkers to pass them, and then returns to her previous position once they have the path to themselves again. "How do things fare on Nubilus? I am trying to keep up with the news, but I have so many reports to sift through and my own shifts to take up that I find my free time is more limited as the days progress."

Amusment fills his eyes, his head shaking slightly, "I'm not sure anyone wants to have that 'good fortune'. It hurt like hell, that's for sure." He glances over at her and spots her glancing at him. His eyes catch her tracing her scar. "I hear scars add character. I guess I'm going to be putting that to the test with a nice circle shape up near my shoulder."

As she brings up Nubilus, he lets out a wistful sigh. Nubilus might not be much to some people, but it was home. "Things are doing well there, I don't know if my father plans any events or not to celebrate my sister's betrothal, but last I heard everything seems to be doing well. I have to admit, I don't really pay much attention to all the gossip and news that float around. My focus has primarily been on the hostiles, though maybe I get a little too focused sometimes."

Kassandra listens quietly to Antaeus, glancing to him once or twice while simultaneously admiring the surroundings. For all of her unladylike rough-and-tumble, she can still find flowers pretty. She stops long enough to pluck up a bright orange one and sticks the stem behind her left ear.

Antaeus' comment about gossip draws her attention back to him and has her laughing lightly. "Then we are wholly in agreement, Lord Antaeus. I am horrible about keeping up with the social events and announcements. It is always a surprise to me when my mother informs me there is a wedding to attend. 'Who is getting married?' I will ask, and always she will say, 'How can you not know? They've been betrothed for months!' So please do enlighten me as to your sister's situation so that I may extend the appropriately formal congratulatory remarks."

Antaeus laughs lightly at Kassandra, "I always found the gossip surrounding people to be droll. I'm constantly being told that I need to keep up with things and…" He waves his hand in a dismissive gesture. "Bah, the only news reports I care about right now are where Hostiles are attacking and in what force. These betrothals and weddings are more of a distraction and…" He doesn't quite follow up with what he might think of the huge slew of arranged betrothals going on.

"My sister, Ariana, has been matched up with Lord Declan Arboren. The announcement was recent, and I can tell you that I only knew of it because my father told me about it. I can't even tell you when they are planning the wedding."

"Ahh, I'm not sure I am acquainted with either…" Kassandra is silent for a moment as she considers, but she shakes her head to Antaeus. "I can't say that I know them. Anyway, at least there is a month of betrothal in most cases, and sometimes longer. It allows the families time to prepare all of the details about the wedding and so on and so forth. In these uncertain times, though, I am not sure how people are handling it; perhaps some weddings are being hastened. I know my brother's wedding was a month after the betrothal."

Antaeus tilts his head slightly, considering. "I suppose that sounds about right. What I can tell you is that she's been trying to pressure my father into finding someone for me. I'm quite amused that she's getting married off first." Allowing him that precious, precious freedom for just a little longer. "Maybe now she'll go and try to play matchmaker to all those Arboren's instead. It's not wrong to wish that, is it?" Tristan, that poor bastard will be in for one helluva time.

Kassandra laughs quietly, pausing along the path for a moment and studying a topiary while considering Antaeus' words. "What I have learned in my scant years alive is that those who are intent upon fixing everyone else's life are the ones who completely neglect their own. The betterment of self and not the 'betterment of your betters' should be a personal goal, if 'betterment' must be one at all. Of course, I know nothing of your sister, so I am not speaking of her. I am sure she is simply well-meaning and wishing to spread her own joy. Well, perhaps I am even over-assuming there; it is a joyous occasion, right? Or was it arranged against her better judgment?"

The Valen knight seems interested enough in the conversation that she turns to face Antaeus, arching an eyebrow and clasping her hands behind her back in that militaristic fashion which seems universal among soldiers. "I think ultimately the decision lies with your parents, so perhaps her attempts are relatively harmless unless she has hold of your father's ear."

Antaeus lets out a hearty laugh that is quickly halted by a grunt and a wince. "I shouldn't let myself laugh like that. I'm not sure if I would say that it was done to spread her own joy. My sister has a strong sense of duty, as I do. She just sees it that it's the duty of my older sister, Veryna, and myself to go out, find spouses and have lots of little babies. I don't necessarily disagree with her, mind you. I just think that with the Hostiles doing what they are doing, it is imperative we see to our defenses first."

As she turns to face him, he does the same, his right arm going behind his back in a similar posture. His left arm remains at his side. "I can't really say for certain, right now I'm not really all that worried about it. My father's got his mind on the war more than anything else, and my mother's busy helping care for the wounded. So for now, I guess I can enjoy my freedom to the fullest, eh?" A mischievous little grin begins to show itself on his features.

"I apologize for making you laugh, my lord, and will endeavor to speak only of serious matters," Kassie replies in a sly tone accompanied by an amused grin, neither of which seems to agree with her words. "As for duty, I understand with the motives, but do not necessarily agree with the methods. Having children may be a duty, but that is for peacetime. During wartime, our duty is to serve and protect each other in any way possible. Adding mouths to feed or putting our women into a 'delicate state' runs rather contrary to this. Let it be in the time we recuperate after the final battle that our women start popping out children by the dozens."

Obviously Kassie feels rather strongly about this, and perhaps she has had this conversation a time or two with her own mother. "So yes, enjoy your freedom as much as you possibly can while you still have it, Lord Antaeus, but don't let anybody drive you into something so senseless as a rushed marriage while at war. We have hotter irons in the fire right now."

"Oh, please don't feel the need to strictly be serious. What is that old saying that goes around… no pain, no gain? Or was it something else." He snorts in wry amusement, his eyes twinkling. "You are right, I can't really see how putting any of our Lady Knights out of commission for a few months truly serves the greater war effort. If we can manage to end the war sooner than later, there will more than enough time for the Lords and Ladies to do what needs doing. Of course, there's room for that now too, I suppose." He blinks, realizing what he just said, and gives her a sheepish grin. "Apologies, my Lady, probably should be more careful with what I say." He blames the pain-killers.

"I really have no urge to rush headlong into marriage at all, and it's good to see that there are others that feel the same way. I wonder if it's a more widespread feeling, but our generation's just being pushed into things to suit our mothers and fathers needs."

Rather than being embarrassed, Kassandra is entirely too amused by the accidental play on words. She offers Antaeus a knowing glance and then a burst of laughter, reaching up to flick her bangs back from her face. "Indeed, even if it's just for twenty minutes in a dark corner before someone's guard shift begins, there is always room for what needs doing. But on a more serious note, I understand what you mean, Lord Antaeus. There is a time for marriage and family, but now is not that time. We must be giving of our entire self to all the people now, not just the select few we cherish."

Whew, that was, perhaps, a little deeper than Kassandra was intending to go. She has inadvertently revealed that she is not, in fact, the villainous spinster she pretends to be. At least sometimes, anyway. "I think it may be that our parents really are pushing us into following in their footsteps, but it is perhaps not meant to be taken so unkindly. When the days grow darker and more desperate, clinging to tradition can offer some sense of comfort and control."

At the mention of twenty minutes in a dark corner, he laughs again, again getting cut off with a wince. "Oh indeed, you are right, there." He gives himself a moment of pause to let the bit of pain die down, while he does so, he gives her a rather appraising glance. It's not every day one runs into a woman who runs with a comment like that. He has to grin. "Yes, the Hostiles are a threat to not just as individually, but to the entire way of life that's been built. I daresay it's vital that the bastards be stopped."

He finds that he is really enjoying his little talk with this woman. "When the days grow darker and more desperate, there's going to be plenty of places for people to find comfort if that's what they really want, or all they want, especially here on Landing. I rather feel that when things get to that point, that is when we'll all need to stand up and do something drastic to the Hostiles." What that might be though, well, that's anyone's guess.

"What our drastic measure might be is anyone's guess," Kassandra replies, echoing Antaeus' thought without knowing she is doing so. "It isn't my job to come up with the ideas, only to follow through the with the orders. I will happily perform whatever measure it is they come up with if we know we will be rid of the Hostiles forever. For good." Even if it means giving up her life - although this detail remains unspoken.

Kassandra moves sideways, finding a bench built into the hedgerow along the path and sits. She pats the seat beside her by way of invitation before leaning back and crossing her legs at the knee. "It is really all I care to do, and all I am good for in this life. I was trained for this moment, and I will follow it through until either I am or dead or they are. Although if I am not dead, I am going to be incredibly bored with my life after this. Maybe. I have a feeling we have only just begun to see the Hostiles in their numbers, truly, and that there is more to come. More destruction, too. Our people…" This thought is left unfinished and she glances away for a moment.

Antaeus nods, not surprised that she was able to pick up on his line of thinking. "Indeed, there are a lot of us who follow orders, whatever those orders may be." Though, his father has been grooming him over the years to possibly rise to the rank of Captain at some point.

Stepping over to the bench, he sits down right where Kassandra has patted, a small sound of relief coming from him. Leaning back, he asks, "It might be that it is what you trained for, but I think there might be more to life than fighting the Hostiles. Considering that this war could go on for a good, long time, you might find yourself ready for a period where there is less to worry about. Reaching over, he puts a hand gently upon her shoulder. "Perhaps, and there will be death and destruction. It's up to us all individually to make sure that our deaths, when those come, mean something."

Kassandra offers Antaeus a brief smile at his comfort, nodding in understanding. "I mean to make mine count to the fullest and take down one of those bloody bastards with me. Twenty - thirty - hundreds! if I can. It is wishful thinking, but it is a comforting thought nonetheless." Her smile widens despite the macabre subject, and she reaches up to adjust the flower behind her ear before the gentle breeze knocks it loose.

"I highly doubt I will want a family to take my mind off of the worry. I think they would merely intensify the feeling. What do you do in your spare time, Lord Antaeus, besides stroll in gardens under the strictest of mother's orders?"

"Maybe thousands?" He offers with a grin, "Who knows, perhaps you will go down in history, young knights a thousand years from now will know of your deeds and wish to emulate you in every way." Or maybe not, he's not sure if he's the best role model for the youth of tomorrow.

"My spare time? Wait, I get spare time?" He chuckles softly, sadly not joking as much as he would like. "Well, when I do get shore leave, I tend to waste my time in some bar, or at the casino on Nubilus, sometimes winning, sadly more often losing. How about yourself, my Lady?"

"Emulate me?" Kassandra barks out a laugh that at the irony. "I got drunk at my brother's bachelor party and proceeded to try and strangle one of his guests. The political ramifications of this have not yet fully been established, but I have a feeling I'll be pulling a lot of extra guard duty in the months to come. So, I doubt I will have anything in the way of spare time here very soon."

Kassie's smile softens a bit, and she offers Antaeus a shrug. "When I have free time, I often opt to relieve someone else for a shift. I know many good men who have wives and children, and my own family is far too busy to go picnicking or anything of that sort. So, I pass the gift of time along the line. I will party when this is over, or when I'm dead. It will be a ghost party dancing on the mass graves of beaten Hostiles. Ah, sorry, am I getting too dark again? I spar with my brothers. I used to do tournaments, but I don't see any of those in the near future."

Antaues blinks in surprise, "My, what happened at that bachelor party that caused you to do that? Did the guest say something that insulting?" He's curious, probably because he hasn't really heard about any incidents at any bachelor parties. Go go tabloid obliviousness. "Extra guard duty doesn't sound like it's that bad, given that you volunteer for it."

Shifting slightly in his seat to adjust his posture, he sighs. "I think you should do something other than take on new shifts, if only to let loose every once in a while. I like going out and getting a few drinks, it's easy and something you can do with friends or alone and tends to wipe my mind of any worries." And the brothel, let's not forget those trips to the brothel here and there, though it probably is best to not mention that.

Kassandra grunts. "I did let loose, and it was disastrous. I don't get much enjoyment from a party, especially when I sit back and watch everyone pair off and do many ridiculous things in public that should not be done - myself included. Then again, my brother's bachelor party was conducted in a brothel, so what happens in a brothel stays in a brothel, hmm?"

The Valen shakes her head, glancing away for a moment to watch as a group of teenagers walk past, chattering away about some new and upcoming 'vid. When they are out of hearing distance, she resumes the conversation. "I'm not trying to be Pitiful Polly, but I don't have friends. I haven't bothered to get any. I haven't found a need to distract myself from the rigors of life, yet. And there's also the idea that if I remain distant and aloof from the social circles, I will not fall prey to the matchmaking ways of bored parents. I thank the Six that mine have better things to do. For now." Nevermind that with Niko married off, Kassie is next in line.

Blinking Antaeus tilts his head as he gazes at her. "Was it held in a brothel. Really? Damn, that sounds like it could have been rather interesting instead of most of these dull social events that I find myself getting dragged off to." Note to self, try to convince Tristan that Declan's bachelor party should be held in a brothel. Fun for everyone! Right?

"I'm not someone who's going to tell you to get out there and dance around the social circles, but I do think that going out and grabbing a drink here and there kind of breaks up things here and there. You know, I sometimes grab a drink with Lord Tristan Arboren. He's not someone anyone could classify as overly social. You should come have a drink with us sometime. We can bullshit about exploring caves, or killing Hostiles, or whatever. You know, things that are more interesting than who's off getting outfitted for a wedding dress next."

Kassandra flutters her lashes at Antaeus in mock femininity, clasping her hands beneath her chin and then gasping loudly. "You mean you don't care about who is getting married? The dress! It's like the most important part. If the dress isn't perfect, the whole wedding will be ruined. You men, you are absolutely insensitive to the things in life that matter to women—gah, that was painful. I can't keep that up for long."

Reaching up, Kassie rubs at her eyes. "I think I sprained my eyeballs trying to look adorable. I will never know how my sex manages all of this fluttery crap. Alright, fine, I will go out for one drink - no, I won't even drink. I'll have water. But I'll go out and shoot the shit with you two. I met Lord Tristan once, I think."

Laughing lightly, trying not to hurt himself again, Antaeus shakes his head, "The dress is that important? Really? Here I thought that the important part was taking if off after the wedding and getting right down to the fun stuff." His laughter continues at her discomfort with batting her lashes. "It can't be that hard, can it?" He tries to mimic what she was doing, and fails. Miserably. "I guess it can. Damn."

"I suppose I should mention that the place we go to only serves ale. If you order water, you get ale. Want to order wine? Ale. The ale is good though, and unless you are a lightweight one shouldn't do any harm. Besides, I pledge that Lord Tristan and I shall be on our best behavior around you."

"Sure, men might think the wedding night is the fun part, but it's the wedding details that really satisfy the woman. Insights into a woman's mind - there you have it. Don't ask me why it is this way, though, because I don't know." Kassie offers Antaeus a wink while he tries to flutter his lashes, and the result makes him look like he has something stuck in his eye. "Ahaha, okay Lady Antaeus, leave that to the practiced women. You're starting to scare me."

When the talk turns to the pub and the hanging out bit again, Kassie sighs inwardly. She isn't particularly antisocial, but she is a bit gun shy. "Fine, then I will drink ale with you and Lord Tristan at this unnamed place. Be forewarned that it isn't your behavior I am worried about so much as my own. I can take care of myself if anyone tries to get handsy."

"I'll have to take that advice to heart then. If I ever have to deal with any wedding stuff, I'll be sure to be more attentive to all the details, to make her happy of course." Is a gentleman like that, after all. "Yeah, I think I scared myself trying to do that. Ugh, being born a male makes life so much simpler, I think." He lets out another soft laugh, even if he does need to rub his eyes a little.

He gives her a quizzical glance regarding her 'behavior'. "I'm not too worried about your behavior, but if someone does feel like piping up about it, I can break off the leg of a stool and introduce their head to the business end of it." He nods sagely, as if this is a perfectly good solution to every problem.

"From the griping I have heard in the past, it pays for the man to be at least somewhat involved in the planning. It makes the woman more—giving." Kassie waggles her eyebrows as she says this, allowing Antaeus to insinuate just what it is a woman might give. "And men do have it simpler. I have found myself wishing I could have just been brother number two instead of daughter number one-and-only. Ngh."

With a sigh, Kassie stretches, raising her arms up and tilting her head from side to side. "I don't know the last time I actually sat down and had a chat with, well, anyone." Before she can finish this thought, an incessant beeping begins emanating from her pocket. It's a notification of messages, and it appears she has more than one. "I'm sorry about this. Excuse me for a moment." She fishes the earpiece free, picks off a piece of pocket lint, and then sticks it on her right ear. "Play," she announces clearly, and then listens intently.

As the seconds tick by, Kassandra's smile dims and eventually disappears and is instead replaced by a deep frown. "Play," she orders a second time in a much more subdued voice. "..play.." comes the third, and by the end of a minute she's rising out of her seat. "Lord Antaeus, it appears that not one but two of my brothers were injured badly. I hate to cut our visit short, but I need to see them."

Antaeus laughs, insinuating quite a bit about what a woman might very well want to give. "There are many days where I'm glad to be brother one and only and have three sisters, but there's also days where I wish I had three brothers instead of three sisters." He nods as she gets distracted by her communicator. Watching her move away, he considers how enjoyable his time has been today.

He frowns at her when she delivers the news about her brothers being injured. "I understand, my Lady. I hope that they are both able to recover quickly and with no complications." He grunts as he stands up and then gives her a slight bow. "I enjoyed our conversation, and I hope to run into you again, Lady Kassandra."

"I enjoyed it just as much," Kassandra replies to Antaeus, and her words are rather genuine bordering on passionate. Perhaps the news of her brothers has affected her more than she is willing to let on. The Valen approaches Antaeus and holds out her hand for a proper shake, which may not be the most ladylike thing to do, but it is the most knightly. "I hope they recover quickly as well. My father has been dealt enough blows by now that he needn't another, and with Niko so recently married and Sammy just betrothed…" She lets the thought die, shakes her head, and summons up a smile for her new-found friend. "Hit me up on the 'Sphere and shoot a message my way when you want to go out for that drink, Lord Antaeus."

Taking her hand, he gives it a gentle, but firm shake. "I understand, my Lady. Again, my best wishes to you and your family." He nods to her once again. "I will be sure to shoot you a message for that drink, Lady Kassandra. I hope that the conversations that occur will be most interesting." He gives her a grin. His eyes may end up following her as she walks away too.

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