06.25.3013: The Charms of Detritus
Summary: Two Daltons welcome a guest from House Khournas to discuss current events.
Date: 25 June 2013
Related: Lest We Lose Faith
Cynan Helena Nitrim 

Use your imagination!
June 25, 3013

In spite of the war effort, and in stark defiance of its name, Detritus is fully prepared to receive a distinguished visitor this evening. The last rays of sunlight stream over the desert, fading light illuminating the city and bringing its sharp lines and angles to the fore, and within the walls of the seat of House Dalton, several dozen servants scurry about getting the entire receiving area in order. The space is simultaneously grand and comfortable, with the main hall arrayed in the colors of the ruling House and a small sitting area set up off to one side with several comfortable chairs arranged around a small table.

At the rear of the main hall is Sir Cynan Dalton, dressed in a sand-colored robe worn over a tan doublet and matching pants, looking almost calm for the moment as his blue eyes peer over the hall. Only the frequent glances at the nearest timekeeping device betray the anxiety that likely lurks a bit beneath the surface. "Our guest will be here any moment," he barks out to no servant in particular, though there are several who come to attention almost immediately. "Make certain that everything is in order." Accordingly they scurry off.

A flutter of activity near the mouth of the main hall suddenly tightens up, a telltale sign that said distinguished guest is approaching. Wearing his sword and a grim brow, like many Khourni are expected to, Nitrim's heavy boots sound against the floor as his long legs take great strides. Free of his dark, heat-absorbing black cloak, he has taken the liberty of dressing in a more local style, with comfortable white silks over tan-colored breeches. As he enters, he strides past the servants with the bearing of a young, rich lord and crosses the distance to bring himself within sight of his hosts.

Nitrim comes to a stop, and with a hand casually rested over the pommel of his sword, he lowers his head respectfully, and the side of his lip quirks into a friendly smile. "Lords and Ladies of House Dalton, it is an honor to be received in these majestic halls. Your people, your city, and your sights have been kind to me through the afternoon."

"You act as if we are receiving the Hand himself, Cynan," Helena chides, striding toward him at a hasty pace while struggling to secure a hoop in her right ear. She curses beneath her breath as the jewelry slips from her fingers and hits the floor, and she crouches to fetch it. Just as she is straightening, she turns to spy Nitrim's approach, and although it may not be entirely ladylike, she reaches up to secure the earring back in place. So, by the time he arrives before them, she is prepared to offer the Khourni a smile.

"You have been enjoying yourself, I hope?" She inquires of Nitrim, glancing sideways to Cynan before looking back to their guest. "It is a pleasure to have you as our guest, Lord Nitrim Khournas."

"And why wouldn't I, Helena? One never knows when he will make an appearance, after all." That's enough to get the slighest hint of a grin and a chuckle from Cynan as his eyes follow his cousin on her way down. "How very graceful of you," he remarks, though his gaze swiftly leaves her to head for the doorway, and he's positioned to face in the proper direction in plenty of time before Nitrim makes his appearance.

"Allow me to bid you welcome, Lord Nitrim Khournas," he repeats after his cousin, greeting the man with a short bow. "I trust the trip here was as uneventful as ever?" With the Ways, that's practically a given, but it's still polite to ask!

"I thank the both of you, kindly." Nitrim's lips part in a genuinely happy smile, tilting his attention to Cynan. "Lord Cynan, your main hall and your knowledgeable, stoic demeanor are a match for the strength that the city holds in its people." His eyes tilt to Lady Helena. "And Lady Helena, your capability and beauty are a match for the temples of light themselves." A beat. He steps forward, received. "Yes, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. My aide was able to show me where I wished to go in the city, at least the places he thought I would find interesting. I even managed to fall in love with the comfortable silks that work so much better here than they do at the Crescent." He lifts his arm, motioning to the white fabric of his robe.

Coming to a stop before them, he laughs softly and lets his coy little smirk fade to an expression far more warm and less showy. He tilts his head up, glancing to the decorations before finding them once more. "Perhaps it's growing in the steaming rains and ash that I did, but there's a certain magic to this place, isn't there? Where I'm used to a bit of fury in the atmosphere there's something unmistakably introspective about this place. It's a welcome quiet." He folds an arm behind his back, puffing out his chest just a little. "So…how have the two of you been? It's only been a few days, but you both look as if you've been doing well."

Well isn't he the pretty one. Helena restrains her impulse to look to Cynan again, but instead laughs quietly as Nitrim pays them compliments that almost seem undeserved. "You are too kind, Lord Nitrim. Be welcome to Detritus, then, and let us dispense with these formalities." Tugging on her dress to situation her hemline back at knee level, Helena listens to Nitrim's words and tilts her head to gaze upward. "Fury in the atmosphere? You have not been graced with one of our sandstorms, then, my lord; you would consider Inculta far less peaceful."

As the conversation winds down into something less stilted, Helena turns to lead the way farther inward into their home; she is, apparently, headed toward the residential wing. "I cannot answer for my cousin, but I have been well enough - busy as busy can be. And you, my lord?"

"Your kind words are as appreciated as ever, Lord Nitrim." Cynan, too, seems happy enough to dispense with the formalities. "Detritus has plenty to offer, does it not? I am glad that you were not quick to dismiss the appeal of the desert." His lips quirk upward. "And might I add that your ability to ingratiate yourself is quite impressive, indeed."

There's a little nod in Helena's direction, and then he adds, "Likewise, I have been quite well. Exceptionally busy, but the preparations are going as well as they ever have, no?" Smiling gently, he falls into step behind her, heading toward the residential wing.

"Ingratiate myself? No, I actually happen to like the two of you. So often our little social circle is filled with people saying things that they don't actually mean, but I've honestly been looking forward to this visit, Lord Cynan." Nitrim replies freely, following along beside the two of them as Helena leads them. Unfamiliar with the palace, he often turns his head, gazing to a piece of art or relic that he's never seen before. Like being in a museum for the first time, everything is new. "I had a brief stay here over a month ago to meet with some friends at a nightclub in the city, but wasn't able to stay any longer than a few hours. I was rather happy that the two of you were willing to receive me."

After a brief pause, Nitrim tilts his jaw to cast a gaze down the plane of his cheek to the two of them, though he manages to get the most of Helena's back as she's the one doing the leading. "Myself? I'm terribly busy. We've guests from House Grantham staying with us, preparing for the war effort side-by-side. With everything in motion it's been one tactical meeting after another, making sure we're staying on top of everything needed to keep our Citizens safe. My mind has been rather dominated lately with a need to focus on what's happening before us. I'm grateful to see that Volkan nor Detritus have been encroached upon."

Helena laughs quietly, keeping her pace slow to allow Nitrim all the time necessary to stare. "This is true, cousin. You should hear how he speaks with those whom he does not like; the disdain is practically palpable, like I could mold it into a ball with my hands and lob it at them. Through this archyway is the residential wing, Lord Nitrim, including living quarters, private dining, a library, indoor and outdoor loung areas, a greenhouse…I could go on, but I shall not."

Abruptly, Helena pauses beside a pair of doors that lead out into the inner courtyard. "I had thought since the breeze is nice today, and the light is already on the other side of the house, we could take drinks on the terrace." She pushes open the doors to reveal a stone-paved terrace set with tables and chairs that overlooks a courtyard that boasts a traditional fountain centerpiece. "We may not have been affected yet, Lord Nitrim, but it is only a matter of time. The Hostiles seek to eradicate us entirely as a species; nobody shall be spared. Plese, sit and have something cool to drink."

"Ah, but you have presented a false dichotomy, Lord Nitrim. Just because you are sincere does not mean that your words do not have a purpose." A little smirk from Cynan as he likewise slows his pace down to let the man take things in. Hey, he's a full decade Cynan's junior, he's welcome to spend some time exploring. "It is good that you have had the opportunity to cooperate with the Granthams," he adds, fairly nonchalant despite the rather somber subject matter. "If there /is/ a positive aspect to this war, it is the opportunity it has provided for us to work in concert." A very tarnished silver lining, but it's a thing nevertheless.

"That seems an entirely agreeable idea, cousin," Cynan remarks as they step out onto the terrace. Of course, given the present circumstances, there's a sentry there, but a little tilt of the head from the Knight and he scurries off to find some other place in the fortress to guard. Without further ado Cynan finds himself a seat and lowers himself down, tipping his head back and closing his eyes for a moment to just enjoy the breeze and the feel of what's left of the sunlight on his face. "You've chosen the best of times to visit Inculta, Lord Nitrim," he adds.

Just before the double doors, Nitrim nearly stops and leans back to get just a bit longer of view at a piece of old, cracked pottery that looks centuries old. His eyes trace the faded inking on the jar and the figures that have managed to survive the passage of time. When he can lean back no further, he slowly curls back up to his full height. "I'm sorry that piece was…amazing. I think it would take me a week to get my fill of all of the art." He shakes his head slightly, waving off the side-tracked commentary. "Everything I say has a purpose, Lord Cynan. My Lord Father has taught me well to not speak unless it's something purposeful. We Khourni can be a smoky people, but we're spirited and proud. Disdain, however, is something that the Khourni are also willing to show. We've a sort of hardened society that doesn't mince words. Which is…" He smiles from Cynan to Helena. "…precisely why I took to learning how to mince them.

The Khourni lord's eyes turn to the courtyard, scanning over the fountain on their way to the table. Like the rest of Detrius, the terrace has a temple-like quality to the man, who regards it with a moment of silence. Stopping near a chair, he pulls it out, offering to get it for Helena while they speak. "Not to get to the point too quickly, that's part of the reason why I've been so excited to speak with the two of you. The Granthams are taking the field with your own soldiers at Niveus. Briefly, it seemed we shared certain concerns, but the conversation was cut short. I thought that we could gather, as friends, and see if there's anything we can do to ease each others' concerns."

Helena is quiet for several minutes, enjoying the out-of-doors - the fading sunlight, the sound of the fountain, the rustling breeze, and even the clink of armor as guards make their rounds about the house. For the most part, she can ignore their presence and the doom it fortells; in the meantime, it is better to indulge in a little good company and something to drink. When Nitrim pulls out a chair for her, she thanks him with a silent smile and folds her dress beneath her before taking a seat.

Just as her backside hits the chair, a servant shuffles forward for an order, and Helena glances to Cynan once before lifting her chin to look up at the young man. "Three Waters of the Desert. I am not sure if Lord Nitrim has experienced this drink before, have you, my lord?" Without waiting for a response, she flicks her fingers dismissively before resting her elbows on the table. "You are right, cousin. He could not have timed a visit more perfectly. What is it that concerns you that needs easing, my lord?"

"I /was/ told that the Granthams would be participating in the combat there. That, in fact, was the subject of the exceptionally boring meeting that Lady Helena and I attended prior to our last encounter." Cynan's eyes stay shut for a few moments longer, and when they finally slide open, they gaze off toward the courtyard, not looking at either Nitrim or Helena in particular. "Preventing the Hostiles from getting a foothold on the Lashes is, after all, a top priority for us here on Inculta."

An approving nod is Cynan's response to Helena's drink order, and he remarks, "A local favorite. You are in for quite a delight, Lord Nitrim, if I may say so myself." Chuckling, he adds, "Cool and refreshing. Precisely what one needs on a warm summer night." To his cousin's question, he quirks an eyebrow upward, and the glance he gives Nitrim indicates that his own curiosity regarding those concerns matches hers.

Nitrim smiles as he pulls out his own chair, lowering himself quietly in it with a glance to the servant. When Helena orders for them, his head turns its attention back to her with a shake of his head. "No, no I haven't. Please, Three Waters of the Desert would be just fine." He looks down the front of his robe, adjusting it before he gets settled in. For a moment, he looks like a news anchor adjusting his microphone before going live. "Travel's for the menu, isn't it? Trade as much of your culture with me the two of you would like." A little joke as he lifts his head once more, scanning their faces.

The ten-thousand pound gorilla of a question left between the three of them, Nitrim seems to age just a little. The flashy smile, the swaggered demeanor, and the Khourni resolve fade once more into something more…personal. "You know…it's a shame we hadn't met on these terms years ago, but perhaps it wouldn't have been the right time." He rubs his chest softly, then lowers his forearms to the armrests of his chair. "I couldn't help but overhear your concerns about the politics that were leeching their way into the vassal meeting on the Ring. I have…similar concerns. May I ask? Who do you suspect King Symion will name heir to the empire?”

The breeze sends a few tendrils of Helena's hair dancing, and she reaches up to tuck them behind her ears. Her attention drifts away for a moment to gaze silently at the fountain, absorbing the quiet calm and allowing it to suffuse her body. She only looks up when the servant returns quickly with three tall glasses already beading with condensation. Their contents are mostly clear with only a faint pink blush to them. The drinks are placed in front of the three, and the man in Dalton livery fades into the background.

Leaning forward in her chair, Helena sips from her glass before looking up to Nitrim. The drink is very light with a hint of fruit and the lightest touch of carbonation. "Had we met years ago, I would have probably been putting bandages on your boo-boos and reporting them to your mother, my lord. Things happen when they are meant to, and not before—usually." She hesitates, however, when the talk shifts to politics, and her gaze darts toward Cynan. She wets her lips with another sip and clears her throat.

"Princess Janelle, if the choice were to rest solely with him. The Paramounts will have something to say, however, and—and I think the Prince might have curried more favor. Or, rather, his mere inaction has garnered him more sympathy from the people, while the Princess' active campaigning of sorts has collected more negative attention. But if you are asking me if the people would choose appropriately…" Helena is hesitant - very hesitant - to supply a true opinion, so instead allows her voice to trail off. Perhaps Cynan will fill the void.

"I should admit, Lord Nitrim, that I haven't spent nearly as much time in the Crescent as I'd like. Perhaps I will find time to pay /you/ a proper visit in the near future." Cynan's smile is subdued, but still fairly genuine, and when the servant returns with the drinks, he takes his and sips it gladly. "In the meantime, by all means, partake of as much of our culture as you would like." Sip. Sip.

It takes a long, long time for Cynan to offer any opinion at all on the weightiest matter at hand, as he's content to just glance back and forth between Nitrim and Helena as they discuss the succession crisis that officially doesn't exist. Doubtless he's aware of the expectation placed upon him when his cousin hesitates, but he's in no rush to add… in fact, he takes another long sip from his glass. Finally, he intones, "It is my opinion that no one knows more about the proper governance of Haven than the King, and it is in his decision that I will trust." Beat. "You can be assured, however, that my full loyalty is behind the Regnant, whomever that may be."

In a posture practiced often, Nitrim follows the two of them with his eyes while they speak. Letting each and every last syllable is uttered. First Helena, then Cynan, his head starts to bob slowly in reflection. "But we all three have concerns, don't we? Like the two of you, I agree, it's the King's decision to make and whomever is decided will be my King or Queen. That's how it is, plain and simple. I trust the King's wisdom." His arm snakes out, slowly, to his glass and he brings it to just under his nose. Breathing in the fumes softly, he swirls the liquor in the glass. "I just…get this feeling that our polite society will say a lot of the same and mean differently. People are playing at this." His eyes lower to his glass for a sip. He smiles faintly, saluting them with the glass. He likes it. "Let us pray that this is a simple matter and that the King comes back to health, because our people need the best of us. We have a duty to them." He tilts his head, as if to accentuate his point. "And why I came here is because I see the two of you as people who understand that duty we have to others. You're medically trained. I'm…a strange creature, but I care." A soft smile.

"Of course, they are owed our loyalty," Helena murmurs in agreement with Cynan, and the niceties roll off of her tongue just as easily as any other politely vague sentiment can. "My concerns as they stand are unimportant in the grand scheme, and no matter what I can say or do shall change what is to occur. It is better to focus my energy on matters that are actually under my control, which is why I am ever so happy to tend to my duties instead." In the following silence, Helena takes another sip of her drink and watches as two Servants pass along the terrace and cross the courtyard to a doorway on the opposite side of the building.

When she looks back to Nitrim, his words earn an arch of her eyebrow and an amused smile. "I am not sure what I would be as a person if I were so wholly self-involved as to deny the people my abilities. Everyone has their part to play, but those who elect to do otherwise… Well, they have my pity." Just then, something beeps, and Helena reaches up to touch her ear.

Whatever she hears, the doctor's brow furrows in consternation, and she places her glass firmly atop the table. "I am afraid, my lords, that said duty is calling me away. One of the clinics submitted their inventory, and apparently a questionable shortage requires my attention." With a sigh, she rises from her seat and gestures for the men to continue. "Hopefully I will not be long, but I need to change and find Servant Linden. He has volunteered to accompany me, and I have a feeling I will need his calming presence. I apologize, Lord Nitrim, but promise to return as soon as possible to continue this conversation. In the meantime, enjoy the charms of Detritus."

"Of course they are playing at this, Lord Nitrim. The question, rather, is whether it concerns myself." The Knight gives a little shrug. "I will confess some degree of frustration when the politicking interrupted our military preparations. Otherwise? My priority it to protect Inculta, and all of Haven. I will be glad to see the current situation resolved as quickly as possible, gladder than I will to see one particular outcome over the other. Much like you will, I imagine," he quips, lifting the glass to his lips.

Before Cynan has even had a chance to take a sip, though, he, too is interrupted by a buzzing in his ear. "I am listening," he mutters, and there's a pause - along with a final sip from his drink - as he listens to the voice on the other end. "The west wall, you say?" Pause. "I must apologize, Lord Nitrim, for being such a sub-optimal host. But, regrettably, my own duties call as well." He gives Helena a nod and a wave as she slips away, then takes a moment to adjust his cloak as he gets to his feet, eyes resting on Nitrim's for a moment. "Likewise, I will return as soon as I am able. In the meantime, consider the castle to be fully at your disposal."

"Good. Good that the two of you take accountability and that the two of you have duty." Nitrim quickly sets his glass down and rises from his seat to properly excuse them. His hand smoothes down the front of his tunic and for the slightest of moments he glances to the hem of Helena's dress. A soft laugh crosses his lips and he brushes his hand through his hair, damning the almost comical frustration of the times. "There's about a thousand things I want to talk to the two of you about, but no, please. Go. Service is our birthright. They are far more important than I am and with luck we'll have time later." His eyes bounce between theirs, a hint of concern hidden in the dark green. "Be safe. Both of you."

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