04.01.3014: The Chill Of War
Summary: The result of a tourney knight in a total war.
Date: 15 December, 2013
Related: None directly, many indirectly.
Nikomachos Ellinor 

Ellinor and Nikomachos' Apartments, Royal Tower, Landing
The main room of the small suite is centered around a large vidscreen on one wall and wide windows overlooking the northern coast of Landing on another. A couch and a pair of chairs are turned to face the vidscreen, and the remaining walls are lined with shelves of books and films. On the opposite wall from the vidscreen is a pair of double doors leading into a study that has evidently been a little crowded by the addition of another person to the quarters.

A double-sided desk runs down the center of the study. The left side of the room includes a map of the Haven System with a red drake for a sun, a clear plastic enclosure for a little stoat, and an armor rack holding a draconic suit of Defender Armor. The far wall from the door holds an extensive weapon rack including spaces for several swords, a series of daggers, and a shattered length of tourney lance. That piece of lance is on the far right of the weapon rack, alongside an armor rack holding a gold and bronze fiery suit of Defender Armor. Behind that side of the desk is a painting of the Plains of Ares, the paint electro-treated so that the grass waves as if caressed by the wind.

Beside the vidscreen in the main room is another door that leads back to a neat, tidy bedroom with a four-poster bed, wide windows along the same wall as in the main room, and a walk-in closet and bathroom on the opposite wall.

1 April, 3014

Nikomachos had their rooms to himself, with Ellinor out on an errand. On his own, the chill starts to creep in, even if the northern snows are already starting to turn to rain. He's had his AI turn up the heat three times now, and still he sits on the couch with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders, huddled as if he were on the frigid floes of one of the polar ice caps. The vidscreen is on, playing a marathon of Second System War movie classics, but his eyes do not focus on the shifting colors, and the sounds go unheard. A patch of synthskin is still wrapped about the left side of his neck, holding his still-healing wound closed, but it goes unnoticed, his attention on… nothing, gray eyes staring through the floor as he pulls the blanket closer around him

The doors to their shared apartments whoosh open, yielding the redheaded Sauveur with her arms filled with packages. She pauses just within the small foyer to toe herself out of her boots, calling into the den. "Niko… the noodle place was all out of sweet chile… are you alright with orange?" She drops off the packages she picked up from the arcology of sundry, though keeps her hands on the plastic bag of noodle bowls. She starts toward the vid, but it is only when she comes around the couch does she notice her husband's state. "Niko?" She asks, her voice a bit uncertain.

Nikomachos blinks at the whoosh of the door, although it doesn't really seem to settle into his brain just what that means. The Vale-born man has a faint sheen of sweat on his brow, but that's likely due to the fact that it must be ninety degrees in the room. Only after Ellinor comes back toward him does he snap out of his fugue, shifting the blanket around his shoulders and blinking up at her, "Hmmm? Sorry Ellie…" his eyes drop away from hers, and he reaches up to wipe at his forehead with the blanket. "Was just feeling a bit cold." He's lying, obviously. Or at least downplaying his situation.

The Drakefire Knight frowns. "It's like a hundred degrees in here…" She turns her head a bit. "Syrus, normalize temperature." There is a soft beep of the AI as it begins to follow through on the command. Ellinor sets down the bag of noodles on the side of the couch, dropping down beside him. She immediately reaches forward to begin feeling his brow as if suspecting a temperature. "Are you feeling alright? Fuck, Niko… you're sweating like crazy." She starts to peel away the blanket, attempting to rid him of the insulation.

Nikomachos blinks hard, ducking back from the hand, "I'm fine…" and indeed, he's no hotter than he should be for having been in a blanket in a 90-degree room. His shoulders roll, but he gives up on the blanket, dabbing at his brow with his sleeve to get rid of the rest of the sweat gathered there. "Just… feeling a bit cold." He relents a little, shifting around in his seat so that he's not just curled up, "Haven't been able to get it out of my bones. Just…" His hands rise up to run his hands over his face, "been freezing."

That's when the worry starts to set in. Ellinor feels all over the outside of the blanket, as if gauging the amount of sweat in the fibers. She turns a bit on the couch to look him over. "I can call the infirmary," she offers weakly. Then she glances over toward the vidscreen, and then back to Nikomachos. "How long have you been feeling… a bit cold?"

Nikomachos shakes his head, looking down at his hands and then tucking them into his armpits. "They checked me out twice already." His usually-clear voice is low, barely more than a mumble, "Just can't get warm." Evidently, this has been going on for a while then. "I feel fine, I can keep smiling, keep working, but when I'm here on my own…" He draws in a shuddering breath, "The cold comes out of my bones."

"Niko…" Ellinor murmurs, looking abruptly crestfallen at the words of her husband. She starts to worriedly folding the blanket, ignoring the damp sweat. "Since the Swamps?" She asks as she lifts her pale green eyes to him. "I know… it was a terrible situation…" She twists her lips a touch nervously. "You shouldn't just… keep smiling, keep working… why didn't you say anything?"

Nikomachos nods his head at the first question, letting his head drop down and curling up a little on the couch, "I'm sorry, Ellie." One hand fusses unconsciously at the synthskin patch at the left side of his neck, "I've been trying to stay strong. Didn't want to worry you. Thought I could kick it." For him, the sentences are outright short. His deep breath inward is accompanied by a shudder, "I can kick it. It's just the cold. The way it comes on so sudden." He offers up a brittle smile, with just a hint of his usual curl at one corner of his lips, "You said something about no sweet chile?"

Ellinor is not ready to drop this in favor of noodle bowls. Her brows work together into a deep furrow over her green eyes. "Nikomachos… you were a jousting knight." She tries to keep those words gentle even if they carry a sharp point. "War is a lot different than suffering a few poor placed strikes with a lance down in the lists. You shouldn't be trying to kick this on your own…" She sighs as she reaches for the bag, scooting it toward them.

Nikomachos laughs readily enough at Ellinor's reminder that he was a tourney knight not so long ago, a summer flower, but there is none of the easy cheer of his usual laughter, "And yet here I am, killing people, killing humans, even if they're Hostiles, nearly being killed myself…" His gray eyes squeeze shut, then open again, and a pained sort of grimace twists his lips in place of a smile, "And I've had to try to force others not to treat Hostiles as children with skinned knees. Six save me, I'm one of the stronger ones in some companies."

The Sauveur woman is quiet as she begins to unpack the noodle bowls. She bows her head slightly as she reads the labels on each bowl, handing him the sweet orange. "We all knew this would happen," Ellinor whispers. "This is what being the Generation of Vengeance is all about." There is a faint choke in her voice, but then she shakes her head. "Maybe you should…" She shrugs her shoulders a bit now, confidence in her own words dwindling. "We should eat," she says softly, offering him a gentle smile.

Nikomachos continues to draw himself together, closing his eyes for another moment, and then blowing out a breath. When his gray eyes open once more, he is more composed, offering up a little touch of a smile as he takes the noodles, "It is. And I'll keep doing my duty and everything else that comes alongside it." His smile fades into something a little more full, "Never let it be said that a Sauveur of Cindravale cannot handle everything thrown at him. He may just need something to take the chill off now and then." His voice is stronger, but still… not strong.

"I know you will, Love," Ellinor murmurs softly toward her husband as she surrenders the chopsticks along with the bowl. She unpacks her own bowl — a chicken and veggie bowl with spicy sweet sauce. She arms her own chopsticks, though she seems quite lackluster all the sudden about the meal. She pokes at it a bit. "You don't have to handle or face everything alone…" She doesn't look up from her noodles as she says this.

Nikomachos pops the top of his noodle container and tosses it onto the coffee table, poking around at his noodles and chicken a little idly with the chopsticks. "I didn't want you to worry. There's enough to worry about with Houses staying separated, an offensive starting, Doves being elected, and a new horse to train." Settling back into the sofa, he leaves his chopsticks in the noodle bowl to reach out and put a hand on Ellinor's shoulder, squeezing lightly, careful to avoid the wounds he knows lurk beneath her clothing.

Ellinor keeps her eyes lowered as she pokes at the noodles. She does look up vaguely at the squeeze to her shoulder, and she offers him a light smile. "I wouldn't worry… I would help you." She then rolls her shoulders a bit before she finally takes a bite of the noodles. "You realize that Oleander only has four more weeks left… then we will have a baby that we both have to help each other raise." She lifts her eyes to meet his again. "You know?"

Nikomachos pokes at his noodles again, stirring them up before he meets her gaze, "I've been counting the days… well, more or less." His smile takes on a wan note, and then he starts to gather up a collection of noodles, "I've heard that babies can be rather warming." He drops the bunch of noodles back into the bowl, then shifts across the sofa to sit a little closer to his wife. "I'm doing everything I can to ensure that we both make it through the war, Ellie… everything I can that doesn't keep us from doing our jobs. I just worry that it won't be enough."

Ellinor lapses into silence as she pokes at her noodles, looking a bit lackluster for a moment. "I could… I could request reassignment… maybe join the Watch." She takes a bite of noodles, though she seems a bit uncomfortable while she does. "It has… actually been something I've been thinking about."

Nikomachos pops another collection of noodles into his mouth, only to stop chewing at Ellinor's words. The chopsticks go back into the bowl, and he carefully chews and swallows before he responds, "Ellie, you're more of a battlefield knight than I am." He winces a little as he turns toward her, holding his neck a bit stiffly before he settles in to face her, "I don't think that you would be able to live with yourself back here, would you?"

Ellinor shrugs her shoulders a bit. She takes another bite of noodles, chewing on both them and her thoughts. Then she bows her head a bit. "I don't know… I've been… thinking about it." She taps her chopstick nervously against the side of the bowl. "Maybe if I joined the Watch, then I could be close for our baby… and maybe you wouldn't have to worry about me out there."

Nikomachos shakes his head, "No, then I would have to worry about you going crazy." Stirring up his bowl more, he picks at the noodles idly, "We can be pretty close to the child either way, Ellie. Even if we're both riding out to battles across the System, we can be home within a day or two at most." He leans forward to set chopsticks and bowl on the table and turn back to rest his hands on Ellinor's knees, "Are you starting to have second thoughts about whether we can bring a child up while fighting, Ellie?"

The Knight nods her head even while her gaze remainds averted. She twists the bowl wearily in her fingers before she reaches forward to set it down alongside his own. She glances up to meet his gaze finally, and then she breathes out a small sigh. "Gone for a day, for two… maybe back to back or with mere days between… that doesn't seem like a good way to raise our child, Nikomachos." She ducks her head again. "Maybe one of us should stay closer to home."

Nikomachos nods, "Yes, but working at the Citadel, defending Landing except when we have to take a day trip to a fight… that is a way to raise a child, Ellie. At least for our generation." His hands squeeze on her knees, "Every parent has work that they have to do, work that keeps them busy." A shudder runs down his spine, "Besides, the way this is going, I'll be sidelined for a couple of weeks after every major fight. They'll just have to get used to seeing me in a hospital gown." There's a bit of a smile to his lips at the word, for all that gooseflesh runs over his skin.

Ellinor shakes her head a bit, shrugging her shoulders under her thin tunic. "We have options, Nikomachos… we're Sauveurs." Then her words die on her lips, and she bows her head again. She offers a vague nod before she casts him a strained smile. "We don't need to talk about this anymore… okay?" She reaches to give his hands a squeeze, and then starts to stand slowly. "I think I'm going to see about a shower, alright?"

Nikomachos nods his head slowly, "We will manage. If we were anyone less than we are, we might not, but we will." He turns his hands palm-up to return the squeeze, "I'll put the noodles in the cooler to heat up after." He rubs his hand across the synthskin on his neck again, letting out a breath, "Sorry for the scare earlier, Ellie."

"Yeah," Ellinor says with a half-hearted smile. She squeezes his hands gently before she starts to step away. As she heads toward the bedroom, she starts to pull loose her braid while a great weight seems to settle around her shoulders.

Nikomachos gathers up both bowls of noodles, moving over to the fridge to deposit them for safekeeping, "Not even going to invite me in, Drakefire?" A hint of a teasing grin touches his lips, a bit of his usual cockiness settling into his expression, "That's not very hospitable…"

Ellinor hesitates at the doorway into the bedroom, glancing over her shoulder toward him. She is quick to smile, and she shrugs her shoulders a bit. "I didn't know I had to extend an invitation," she says idly, though she does tap her hand against the doorframe lightly. "I was just going to be quick though…"

Nikomachos tucks the noodles away and straightens up again, following after his wife, "Then I'll just come in to get warm, not to heat things up." Crossing to her, he presses a light kiss to the side of her neck, his right hand touching her waist, then moves to follow her into their little bathroom.

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