01.08.3014: Stop And Listen
Summary: Reena speaks to Thalo about Klaudea's situation.
Date: 04 November 2013
Related: Explanations
Reena Thalo 


Barracks — Volkan, The Crescent
At the base of the Blackspyre are several floors of barracks, training facilities, armories, and cafeterias, all built to house the defenders of House Khournas in rough comfort. Soldiers are bunked in rooms each large enough to sleep 50, with lockers and desks alongside each bed. Deep within the barracks levels, close to the training areas, are communal bathhouses, some set aside for single-sex use and others open to members of both sexes. There, the soldiers and nobles of House Khournas can soak away the aches of a hard day's labor. The corridors are all narrow enough that two soldiers could hold them against a tide, except those leading from assembly areas to great doors that open to the exterior surface of Volkan, allowing the soldiers of House Khournas to march out already in formation if need be.
08 January 3013

Reena has been out of the infirmary for a few days, but not yet cleared to return to New Atlantis. She's taken advantage of the time to catch up on her charity endeavors, and has finally gotten around to hunting down a certain Knight Lieutenant whose squire she made a promise to. She steps into the barracks, her hair, still blonde, left loose and wavy. She's wearing leather breeches and a simple red blouse with boots. She peers around, looking for the Wall.

While the Wall doesn't live in the barracks, he's often here. If he's not doling out duties or punishments in the form of 'training sessions', then he's usually working out, or on patrol. Today he's just finishing up a 'training session', with one Knight groaning on the training floor, clutching at his side. Thalo lets out a sigh and looks over to a nearby Squire, "Go get a medic." and then a glance at the Knight is given, "Wuss." And with that he moves out of the training area, not having taken notice of Reena yet.

"You dorealize we need them to be whole, and not all kinds of broken, to fight the Hostiles, Thalo?" Reena quips, stepping up alongside him with a small smile. She clasps her hands behind her back. "Looks like you're back in fighting form, good to see."

"Not much use against a hostile if he can't take more than two hits." Thalo replies, his tone laced with a scoff and he moves to a chair, grabbing a towel on his way, "I didn't break anything…I don't think…" He takes a seat, wiping at his brow and neck, "One of these days, I'll retire after getting shot and stabbed and nearly blown up."

"Hopefully after ending the wars once and for all. From your lips to the gods ears." Reena pauses, reaching to hand him a fresh towel off a pile. "Your squire came to see me, Klaudea," she says quietly. "I think you and she need to talk. She hasn't been doing whatever crazy things you think she has. I was working with her before the bombing, to set up secret medical aid facilities for the poor in Smog Alley. The air quality there is horrendous, Thalo, but those with pull in that area," notably Klaudea's father, "are not interested in the Notice Project helping there. Mostly because they are running their factories with less morals than a drunken Laskaris."

"One day, Reena…One day." Thalo replies in a somewhat lowered tone and then his gaze narrows just a bit at the mention of Klaudea, "She better not have run around my back, hoping you'd get her out of it." He takes the offered towel, wiping down his chest now, still watching Reena, a little wary.

"Klaudea's alter ego was helping me get supplies to safe areas and smuggling me around to treat the worse cases. I've been giving her some funds, selling my own things to get them, to help out there," Reena admits with a grimace. "She hasn't been playing vigilante. She's just been playing angel of mercy for those who need a meal or medicine or a place to stay." She tilts her head slightly to regard him. "Compassionate as the Mother is a tenant of Knighthood. Bravery, Justness, Attentiveness as well. She's been behaving as a knight should, rather than just speaking words. How many of us, knights and nobles alike, would risk the wrath of politics and merchants to help the innocent who have been made casualties of greed or convenience?"

"So where do you rank deceitfulness on your list? I never called her bravery into question." Thalo replies without really losing the glare, "The Squire and Knight relationship is one built on trust. If I can't trust my squire, then I don't need that squire. Furthermore, you knew what she was up to. And you either knew she didn't have my consent, or she lied to you as well, which further proves my point. Eitherway, there is a loss of trust that will take time to rebuild."

"She has her reasons for not telling you, but they are hers to tell, not mine. I will assure you, the reasons are valid ones," Reena says quietly. She aimlessly unfolds and folds a towel in her hands, emulating how her hands have been tied by politics and red tape. Some areas have her spinning her wheels instead of being able to better lives. "You need to set aside your hurt at her keeping you out of this, long enough for her to explain the situation to you. Then, if you're still furious with her, so be it. But promise me you'll hear her out? I didn't know who she was in the light until in the infirmary, but having spoken with her, I understand the need for deception."

"She's explained enough. Her father disapproves of her trying to help poor people. My feelings aren't hurt either, I would have to be a fool to have my feelings hurt over a girl lying to me. If I can't trust her in one respect, I won't trust her in any. Why should her brothers and sisters in arms trust her to have their backs in the future? What if she's needed and is instead skulking around in the shadows to sneak food to some family." He pauses taking up his shirt from the table by the chair and slipping it on, "I'm sure the family needs the food, but the war needs the soldier. Knights have one life to live. We don't get the freedom of doing whatever we want, whenever we want, while keeping our title and honor."

"Do you realize who her father is?" Reena asks, arching a brow. "Vadim Blackfells. THE Vadim Blackfells. The rich man who believes the poor are poor because they are lazy. Who forbid his daughter to even attend a Notice Project Workday. Who has blocked all efforts to reform the laws that govern how factories are run and workers treated. All the bad things that happen to poor people, in his eyes, are their fault. To work against her own father, because he is wrong, is more courage than I've ever seen. I can't even fathom defying Jevon. Could you? I'm engaged to a comatose man who holds me accountable for getting his sister released from virtual imprisonment because it lessens the weight of his grudge against them. But here I am, still waiting for Kadmus to wake up, wed and bed me, because my father said so. And I'm about as defiant an ornery a noble girl as there is."

"I know perfectly well who her bastard father is. And if she chose to defy him openly, I'd support it, and her. Defiance from the shadows isn't courageous though. It means she's afraid of losing her fathers money, and perhaps his respect. Given her attitude towards his beliefs, it doesn't seem like his respect means shit to her, so then it's probably the money." Thalo doesn't seem to be backing down, and if anything, he's gotten a bit agitated, taking up a cigar from his belt slung over the table and lights it up, puffing a few times, "Honestly, I don't even really fucking care why she's doing what she's doing, it's how she goes about it that tells me about her character. So when she to put on her big girl pants and handle her differences with her father like an adult, then we can talk."

"His money only means to her what it can do to help others. Do you see her wearing fancy dresses and tiaras? Or even shiny new boots? Everything he gives her, goes to those who need it. If she gets cut off, she's not sure what she can do. She's not a noble. She's not yet a Knight, she has no other income," she points out quietly. "And despite him being a jackass of the utmost horribleness, he is still her father, Thalo. That's something hard to break from, take it from me." She grimaces and looks sadly at him. "Otherwise I'd have stood up to Jevon, told him I wanted to marry for love rather than title, and walked away. But I can't lose my family. I can't."

"Let's not forget fancy armor and weapons." Thalo retorts, "And what does being a noble have to do with it, Reena? I managed without being a noble just fine. And none of this is the point. We make choices, and we must accept the consequences of our actions. So explain to me what I should think of a Squire who goes running off to a noble she knows has some sway over her Knight so she can whine and cry about how badly he's treating her?" He takes another puff from his cigar, "She wants to be let off easy? To avoid suffering and punishment? What sort of a Knight begs for that? It is my job to judge her, and her worthiness of the title she wants so badly. It is my job to determine if she is fit for the challenge. So please, enlighten me as to how her behavior indicates she is worthy of Knighthood…" Thalo's gaze has gone cold now, and he puffs at his cigar again, waiting.

"She didn't actually. I sat her down to talk to her and see what else I could do to help her efforts. And she mentioned that you were angry with her for them and was considering stopping them all together because being a Knight means that much to her," Reena notes. Then she snorts. "As if I have any sway over you, Thalo. Puh-leeze. Now if she'd gone to Johana, that'd be sway," she says with a faint smile. At his challenge she shrugs. "She cares for others more than herself. She risks estrangement from her family and the only life she's know in order to help those that most people don't even see. There is a reason I called it the Notice Project. The poor call themselves the Ignored, for good reason. She's a good person, Thalo. A compassionate one, who believes in justice for everyone, not just the wealthy or entitled. And she doesn't need to be seen doing it publically. There is no ego involved in what she does. None. Unlike me. I like the limelight the charity brings me as much as I like helping." She pauses and sets a hand on one of his lightly. "The question isn't whether she's fit to become a knight, but whether we as nobles and knights are fit to hold those titles if our people are suffering without our help."

Thalo hmmms quietly at her words now, canting his head to the side as she speaks. He takes another puff, and then rolls his eyes a bit, "Ana never had enough sway either." He smirks at that and then offers a faint shrug, "Knights protect, rich and poor alike. I've got hostiles encroaching at every turn. You think I don't help the poor, Reena? You think that by defending our walls, I'm not helping them? I meant it when I said that we have one life to live, and we all make choices. Knights choose to defend. If her choice is to feed the hungry, I won't think less of her because of it, but that is not what a Knight does. If she wants this life, she needs to commit to it, or find another path. I don't have the time for a Squire with her feet half in the water."

"Then talk to her. And I'll let her know if she wishes to be a Knight, I'll take over her work in Smog Alley secretly, if she can arrange it with her contacts for me," Reena says. "And you're a big liar. I think you had as big a crush on Ana as I did on you. Back when things were less complicated." She sighs at that and tosses the folded towel back on the pile.

Thalo remains silent a moment and takes another puff from his cigar, "What sort of work in Smog Alley? I'll not have you trapsing around in the dark unprotected." And then he rolls his eyes, "Complicated indeed. I've go enough to worry about without romance getting in the way. Besides, one of these days, I'm going to get run through good and proper by one of those Hostiles and then women everywhere will mourn me, and that'll be enough." At that, he smirks broadly.

"When the workers in the factories get sick from the conditions in the workplace, they get fired rather than treated. They not only lose their jobs, but they are in desperate need of medical treatment. You know those treatments you and Vic and I take for granted to clean the cigar gunk from our lungs? They need similar things, but they can't get them. They're sick because of where they worked, and dying because they were fired and can't afford treatment. We've set up a treatment center there, and I've been selling my jewelry to buy non-perishable food supplies to distribute to the families with elderly members and children as best we can." Reena may be overstating her need for the limelight doing this much in the dark. She snorts a little. "If you get run through, the rest of us won't be mourning long, because that'll mean they won the war and we're all as good as dead. I'd almost have defied Jevon for you, if you'd wanted me, you know. Almost."

"Look, I am aware of the poor conditions, and if I had Knights to spare, I'd be sending them down to keep the peace. I don't unfortunately, nor do I have Squires to spare. Training to be a Knight is difficult, and takes years to master." Thalo replies with a sigh, taking another puff from his cigar, "That being said, if you need protection at your clinic, then let me know, and I'll work something out." As to her last point, he falls silent again, at least for a few moments, "Jevon would have either stripped my spurs, or made me a Captain. Not sure which."

"I think that would have depended on whether or not I'd been the 'good child' or the 'bad child' recently," Reena says with a chuckle. "Oh who am I kidding, as long as Nitrim breathes, I'll never be the bad child." She flashes him a wink. "I'll get out of your hair, but let Klaudea know I'll keep her work going as best I can."

"You can let Klaudea know about that. I'll talk to her, but I'm not sure how soon, or to what extent yet. I've got a lot of thinking to do, and I want to keep my emotions clear on this subject. The issue to me isn't the Notice Project. It's how she conducted herself, not why." Thalo offers a smile, "But still, I'll do what I can for your work."

Reena leans down to kiss his cheek. "Thank you. Be safe out there, please? We need you, Thalo." Then she heads out.

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