08.14.3013: The Darkening of the Light
Summary: Nitrim and Ashleigh meet, they spar, and she offers him hospitality
Date: 14 August, 2013
Related: None
Ashleigh Nitrim 

Training Room
In scene…
August 14, 3013

Ashleigh's trip to the beach has come to an end, responsibility at home necessitating her return. The day's business has already been concluded thanks to her mother having done the majority of it in the morning. Afternoon now free, Ash makes her way to where the knights and squires and other soldiers train, a practice sword strapped to her back, her attire a light set of armor.

With Flint Grantham tucked into a hospital bed, one face that was a Grantham mainstay for weeks at the Pit is haunting the training room. Lord Nitrim Khournas, while still not released as Flint's squire, is slaving away at a heavy bag. His long coat shrugged off into the corner of the room in favor of a sweat-soaked tunic, he jams his wrapped fists into the bag with little, angry grunts. All of his practice equipment present, it seems the man is working away a great deal of personal issue with the bag before him.

There's a moment where Ash considers moving past where the sounds of facing off with the bag comes from but something stops her from doing so and she instead heads in that direction. Nitram is watched for a while at the same time she sets her sword down, the way he throws his punches taken in. "Pivot from the waist some. It will put a bit more power behind it." Advice given, she starts to warm up, stretching her arms up over her head.

As a head of sweat crawls down Nitrim's surly brow, he casts a heated pair of eyes over to Ashleigh. As she suggests, he puts more of his hip into the next punch, which adds a great deal more force to it. "Thanks," he calls over to her, dropping his shoulders into a follow-up punch. "I heard you'd been away, Lady Ashleigh."

"I was, yes," Ashleigh says with a little upnod. "I was called in from the field only to then find myself needed after Flint was injured. We had spent some time on vacation but my duties demanded that I return home." She watches Nitrim again before shaking her head, smirking a bit. "I'd ask how you are but I think I can tell by how hard you were hitting that poor, innocent punching bag."

"A couple more hits and I'll get my money back, just you watch." Nitrim grins into his turn as his fist slams into the bag once more. With no lack of controversy following the man everywhere he goes, it might actually be possible that a punch bag owes him money. "I'm here on idle, between lengthy betrothal and waiting to see if Flint will heal, I just have to find dark corners to hide in. I'm not overstaying the welcome am I, Lady Ashleigh?"

Ash's mouth sets into a thin, tight line as she considers Nitrim, the tightening of her lips a reaction over his mentioning her uncle. "We are hoping he'll recover swiftly. It might take a while but…" Her eyes lower a second, the stress in her body leaving her. "You're more than welcome here, Squire Nitrim. I will have a room prepared for you, if you'd like, or we can arrange for you to stay in the barracks with the others."

"That would be kind, I'm not one to choose, wherever you think best." With one final jab, he comes to a stop and reaches to the bag to steady it. Brushing the wraps across his forehead, he regards her, recognizing that look on her face. "He's a good man, strong, I don't have much doubt that he'll be fine. Though I've paid my dues in sweat for the man, with so much…trouble as of late. With Lady Devon's banns to my cousin, Victor."

Ashleigh chews the inside of a cheek when she listens, her shoulders slouching when Devon's brought up. "I do hope she'll be alright," she grunts before standing straight again, her expression slightly pained. "While I believe this will be a chance for her to move on I fear that a mistake is somehow being made. And I don't mean that I feel your cousin will be an unsuitable husband. I just… I don't know."

"I'm sure Lady Devon and Sir Flint have their own opinions about that, you should ask them." Dixon intones quietly, throwing out a carrot to a large can of worms that will no doubt shed more scrutiny on the chaos that Nitrim has been known to leave in his wake. "Between then and now, though, I train because of the war, and because the best I can do is be ready. We are all changing as people, I guess. Aside from the obvious, is all well for you?"

A light snort is given before she shakes her head, something said getting Ash to do so. Just what that is that gets her to is made clear when she speaks. “I don’t know why I should… ask, that is. All we’d be doing is hashing out our opinions which, in the long run, really don’t matter. Choices have been made that are out of our hands…” After that’s said she sighs and manages to smile. “I’ve been well. Hand is healing and I’ll have full use of it in a few days.” Her left hand is raised to show off the bruising and the swelling that’s only now starting to go down.

Leaning to the side as he holds onto the bag, Nitrim's dark, green eyes narrow to get a better look at her hand. "Oh that's a nice one, well done." His serpentine smile slips into place as he brushes a hand through his sweaty, blonde hair. "I've been in four, maybe five sorties? Many of which I've gotten put into the hospital." He pulls at the neck of his tunic, showing the hint of a scar over where his collarbone was once broken. "By the end of this I imagine we'll have so many more to compare."

Ashleigh feels bad for her bristliness but the day has already done well to wear thin on her patience, several things having already been done to step on her toes this morning. Thankfully Nitrim doesn’t seem to take offense and the conversation continues on. “I’ve been in fights before the Hostiles’ arrival.” She definitely has her own scars, most of which are not exactly able to be shown without some form of improper exposure. “This is probably one of the lesser injuries I’ve have had to endure.” The scar of Nit’s is looked at and given a nod, her smile growing. “That isn’t too bad. Had to have surgery?”

“The surgery wasn’t the part that was the worst. The worst of it was having to be immobilized while it healed.” Fingertips drumming on the dull canvas of the heavy bag to the tune of some old, hard-to-recognize song, he steps from around it and starts to unwrap his hands. “I learned the hard way that day that psychometric shielding doesn’t stop a hovercart from the mines.” Now it’s his turn to smile just a little more broadly as he comes to a stop, facing her. “There’s a litany of pain between being a child and being not, isn’t there? Oh the woes of being old enough to make your own way.”

“Well no. Shields usually does very little for things like that.” Frowning, Ash slides her sword from her back and sets it aside, it being decided that she’ll put off training for a bit. “So have you given any thought to what you’ll do now that Flint’s rehabbing,” she asks gently, too curious not to ask while being gentle enough to try and not poke too much at subject that are most likely sensitive to talk too deeply about, the rest of what Nitrim had to say previously nodded to and even given a sad little smile.

One hand unraveling over the other, Nitrim finishes the first of two wraps with his eyes to his hands. He turns his head to the side and lets out a soft cough, fist over teeth, and then lifts his shoulder in a vague, non committal shrug. “I really don’t know,” Nitrim admits, wrapping the excess tape into a ball as he raises his eyes to hers. “I was set on being here at the Pit for years before the banns started flying. Bridges were burned. Friendships were broken in half. To be honest I’m not entirely sure how welcome I am here at the Pit anymore. For the first time in my life…I feel a bit like I’m waiting to see where I bounce.”

Ashleigh’s never been through this herself but she can tell that Nitrim’s troubled, that being something she’s all too familiar with. “I could help with the training. Not necessarily take you on as a squire since you’ve already given your vows to my uncle, but I could help you keep in practice if you’d like.” Her hands fold in front of her, fingers laced together. “As for the friendships, I wouldn’t worry about that too much. If they were truly your friends then the bridges would not have been burned.” Her shoulders rise slowly as she sighs, then, her eyes now holding to his. “And you’re welcomed here, Nitrim. And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise let me deal with it.”

As he begins to unravel the second and last wrapping of tape to his hands, Nitrim’s surly eyes cast a look to her sword, followed with an understanding nod. “I’d appreciate that. Not long ago I was convinced I wanted the early death of the Ash Legion, and since I’ve been away the last few weeks I’ve missed training here. There’s something about the heat that reminds me of my home.” His lip curls into a smirk, showing his teeth to her as he finishes his work. “Sir Flint was a closer brother to me than my own. Now?” He shakes his head on its way back to her gaze. “Again, I appreciate it. I find places to haunt. It’s what I do.”

“I understand. The Legion is… it’s is truly an honor to be allowed within their ranks. Don’t worry. We will see to it that you are able to join us.” She then blinks and frowns, that being when Flint is brought up again, this time in the past tense. “It isn’t like he’s dead,” she almost growls, her anger unable to be concealed. “Do not talk of him like he is so. He’s very much alive and breathing and we have hopes that he will be able to walk again.”

“Flint was dead the day I met him, as are everyone in the Ash Legion. No,” Nitrim holds a palm out to her, as if to tell her to slow down. “I meant before these chasms formed, he was like a brother to me. I don’t think he feels that way anymore, even if I am his squire. For a few days he wanted to finish my training. A week later — who knows? I should probably try to speak with him again.” The tape is wrapped up and throw over where his coat hangs, and Nitrim plucks the front of his shirt out to dab at his face with it. “I admire you Grantham. Your want for bullshit is nil. It keeps me thinking.”

“Ah. I apologize, Lord Nitrim. I misunderstood. My reaction was knee-jerk and for that I am very sorry.” The bristly attitude drops as soon as it came up, it leaving Ashleigh feeling embarrassed once the flare of annoyance ebbs. Looking at him curiously, then, she watches how Nitrim moves, trying to get a feel for how he does so. “Speak with Flint, please. Even if only socially. I think he’s been feeling lonely since his accident.” Her head angles to the side, her hands resting on her hips. “I was taught not to take crap from anyone… but now you have me curious. What does how I am have you thinking about?”

Nitrim’s goateed chin rises and falls in the affirmative as he drops his shirt, leaving him to brush back the sleeves over his hermetic-designed tattoo work on his forearms. He’ll go see Flint. That is settled. “We live in a society of people who simply say shit that they do not mean. It makes people like me have to exist; people who have to learn how to lie just so that they’re good at smelling their own. It’s what I love about Volkan, and the Pit. Our people aren’t so different, but I’m the lousy bastard that tries the game from the other angle.” He smiles to her, throwing himself under the political bus. “You don’t strike me as a viper, more of a wolf.”

“I can not afford to say what I do not mean. That is the last thing someone in my position needs. But even before I was made heir after my brother’s death I was very much a ‘you get what you see’ kind of person.” Ashleigh’s posture relaxes some, then, the tension almost visibly leaving her body. “I am more like a jungle cat, my Lord Nitrim. I pounce.”

Some of the tension in Nitrim’s coiled, aching neck lets out as he laughs. He turns back towards Ashleigh and folds his arms over his chest, which has seen more muscle than it did when he first visited the Pit. Tearing his fingertips from his forearm, he motions to her. “But even jungle cats drop on their prey. They hit from the side. They don’t fuck around when they do, but they’re tactical, sinewy things.” His eyes flash as once again, he bares his teeth. “I’ve got my practice sword. Are you up for a fight, Jungle Cat?”

Ashleigh angles her head to the side, considering Nitrim and his words, her expression almost wary. “I suppose I could stand a bit of sparring,” she eventually says with a bit of a nod to go with it, “although I am not sure my hand will be able to handle too much in the way of sustained use.” That offending body part is glared at before she pulls her sword out of its sheath and she moves towards the practice area.

Nitrim slows near his practice sword, turning it over in his hands and gazing over the blunted blade. Chewing at the edge of his lip, he moves to the center of the room and points its tip to the ground like it's a walking stick. "There's no one else here, Lady Ashleigh. If you'd rather wait till you're all better, there's no loss. You're the knight, I'm not, but this is your land and I'm at a loss to where else we could go and what else we could do." He laughs under his breath as the urge for a cigarette claws the back of his throat. "And I could use a shower."

There’s a pause and then Ash shrugs, shaking her head. “I could use some practice although perhaps swords are not the best way to go at the moment. How about some good old fashioned hand-to-hand instead? Just for a bit and then I’ll let you go and get washed off.” The sword is resheathed and put to the side, Ash then drifting towards the center of the ring. “Come on. Let’s see what you got.”

Nitrim tosses the practice sword aside with a dull clatter. Having already been working on his hand-to-hand all morning, he is more than willing to oblige. As she approaches, his body lowers into a fighting stance as he creeps in towards her. Keeping his weight on the balls of his feet , he smirks and lashes in with a feinted jab to test the way she blocks. "You prefer hand to hand to sword?"

Ash watches as Nit approaches, taking in his style and how he holds himself, her brow raised as she does. “No. But it’ll be easier to get some exercise in without having to rely on my grip.” Making a fist with her injured hand still hurts but at least she’ll be able to last a bit longer, perhaps. Depends on how it reacts to the impact of fist against flesh. She moves to try and get the first strike in, her right hand send out towards the other noble’s side.

Quicker than he looks, Nitrim brings down his elbow in time to send her punch to his side glancing off of his arm. Fully expecting her to be careful with her hand, he smiles at the weight she put into her punch and turns at the hip, following the same move and sending a punch towards her hip. "Glad to see you aren't —" He grunts into the attack. "Going easy on me

The punch to her hip is taken, the knight knowing that sometimes you got to take one to give yourself an advantage, Gritting her teeth, Ashleigh shakes off the pain before making with a right roundhouse aimed for Nitrim’s stomach only to then spin and try to elbow the poor man in the face. All this time, she’s very quiet, focused on the fight and not conversation.

Already guarding, with hands down by their hips, Nitrim catches her wrist before it makes contact with his abdomen, but the block leaves him exposed. Her elbow swings around and connects with the side of his head, sending him stumbling to the side. The hit is a solid one, sending Nitrim's vision filled with tiny little birds that he has to punch through…namely a pair of knuckles aimed at her brow. "Fuckin' NICE." He manages, a congratulatory

The bad thing about being Ash is that sometimes she tends to get a little too self-assured and her pride sometimes gets the better of her. Such is now when she’s watching him have to recover from her attack. Grinning, she puts her hands down, leaving her open for that blow. She turns her head slightly, keeping it from hitting her where it’d really cause her to hurt but even then she yelps when his knuckles find the soft spot over her left eyebrow. There’s no blood but it swells and it’s going to leave a knot for a day or two. “Ow…. mother fucker…” Pausing, she puts a hand to that welling bump to make sure she won’t need a bandaid, her expression amused. “We keep this up and the sparring match might be over faster than it got started.”

With a laugh, Nitrim presses his fingertips to his temple and pulls them back, checking for blood. Seeing none, he looks to her brow. They'll both have bruises. It makes him laugh again. "Me mother fucker? Elbow in the face," He points to the side of his head with a shit-eating grin. "You wanna keep goin'? No ones gonna come yelling at you if you knock me out. Trust me." It's said in jest, but it's kinda sad that he says it.

“Let’s stop. You can get your shower and I can get the stuff Mother wanted me to do this morning done. But like I said. Talk to Flint. I will as well. See if he’ll let me help with your training, alright?” Her right hand is now extended, Ashleigh choosing to do that instead of bowing, a show of respect despite the lack of formality. “Don’t you worry, alright? We’ll make sure everything is taken care of. And I’ll see about getting you a bunk here… in hindsight, Flint might find that more suitable for one being trained.”

Glancing down to her hand, Nitrim steps in and lets to of the side of his face. He reaches out to take her hand into a firm grip and gives it a simple shake. "Thank you, Lady Ashleigh, your kindness is both unnecessary and welcome. If that bruises, tell them you have better than you got, okay?" He smiles and lets to of her hand, turning to retrieve his clothing. "Good luck with your work. I can be reached by message if you need me."

Ashleigh’s not exactly sure how to take Nit’s voiced appreciation, compliments and thanks still not something she handles well. “It might not be but… uh.” Faltering verbally, she merely shrugs and laughs. “I’ll let them know. Thanks.” Her hand slides from his and is used to wave before she gathers her stuff and goes to deal with her duty as heir.

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