05.08.3014: The Dog House
Summary: Klaudea gets herself out of the Dog House just long enough to remember what the outside looks like.
Date: 3 January, 2014
Related: None
Anabethe Klaudea Thalo 


The Public House Volkan, The Crescent
Tucked into a corner of the commercial district, this dive bar has low ceilings clouded with smoke, a collection of round tables, square booths, and a bar with stools along one wall. It can do greasy pub food, and has a fine selection of beers, whiskeys, and scotches, but not much more than that. The bar stools are the swiveling type that are bolted to the ground so they cannot be used as clubs in the event of a brawl, and the chairs are flimsy things that make poor clubs in their own right. At the back is a shuffleboard table, two pool tables, and a couple of dartboards, often with a good deal of side betting going on.
8 May, 3014

So Thalo has been away off and on since the Valen assaults on the major Hostile encampments began. He didn't say much about why he was gone, just that he was going to see how the Valen's do it. Apparently the Valen's do it in massive numbers, if the news has anything to say about it. So when Thalo is here, he's been here, at the Public House. Judging by the quarter empty bottle of whiskey sitting on the table before him, he's been here for a little while already.

Eyes sore from looking at her tablet for too long, Klaudea decided that a game or two of darts, and maybe a pint, would help. With that in mind, she pushes into the Public House, casual clothing and hair in loose ponytail. The sword has actually been left in her locker for once, and she glances about to see if any of the squires she knows are up for a game of darts. Before she sees a likely candidate, though, the Wall's presence is hard to miss. Still ordering her pint, she waits for the bartender to hand it over before approaching the knight.

After a spell spent largely in Volkan, at the Blackspyre, beefing up on logistics and strategy, Anabethe's spent the last few months hardly ever home. She's been in every battlefield on the Crescent, and a constant presence on the front lines. Put simply, it shows. There's a lean hardness to the Khourni heir that wasn't there before the war started, and she's almost always nursing some injury or another. While there was little softness to her to begin with, much of it seems to have been burned away, amber eyes almost fever bright as she leads a group of soldiers on leave into the tavern. "On me!" she calls out to the barkeep, waving a hand around the pub. Apparently, House Khournas is buying tonight.

Apparently not one to turn down a free drink…or bottle, Thalo looks up as Anabethe calls out her offer and holds up his bottle by the neck and calls out, "Another bottle, on her!" and with that, he takes a long swig. Then Klaudea comes into sight and the grizzled Wall hrms quietly, leaning back into his chair, canting his head to the side. "Out for a beer…You know alcohol and training don't mix, right?"

Glancing around her at the other squires, some who have obviuosly had much more than a single pint, Klaudea curls one hand protectively around the base of her beer, but opts not to approach, yet. "Training doesn't start up against for another ten hours. I should be all right by then," she replies. "Haven't missed a morning exercise, yet."

Once drinks start to go around, Anabethe weaves her way toward Thalo, grin flashing at the big knight. "Well, there's a face I haven't seen in some time," she greets, rapping skinned knuckles on the table. "Welcome home. Heya, Klaudea," she adds with a friendly nod for the squire as well, making herself at home. "How was the Vale? They teach you to ride, or did you just end up with hooves for feet?"

A glance to Klaudea, then to Bethe before Thalo offers up, "It's an extra ten full armored up downs if you falter at morning exercises from the drink." Is he serious? Probably. And then he looks to Bethe again, "Ride? Fuck that shit." he offers with a smirk and another swig, holding the bottle out towards Bethe, "It's been good experience, got to sit in on logistics and tactical meetings with the Knight Commander. Got a little face time in. Apparently that shit is important when you want to get promoted beyond my level."

Klaudea gives a smile to Anabethe at the greeting. "Hello, Sir Anabethe," she greets, and finally decides to shift closer to Thalo's table. "I've never been hungover at morning exercises before, Sir Thalo," she reminds quietly, her expression slightly stung before she takes a sip from her pint. "If it's anything like business, face time can be more important than your actual resume."

Anabethe grimaces to Thalo, taking the bottle and taking a swig of her own. "It's a load of bullshit, is what it is," she grumbles. "Ironically, I can get face time all I want. What I can't get is someone to own up to the fact that I'm not just here because I've got the blood. That I might actually have a clue what I'm talking about." She passes the bottle back, dropping her chin onto one fist. "Fucking Nikomachos Cindravale gets promoted before I do. Probably trying to make it up to his father," she grumbles.

"That's cause you don't drink enough, Klaudea." Thalo offers by way of helpful advice. "Gotta drink like the Wall if you're gonna represent the Wall." So she should die of alcohol poisoning apparently. And then back to Bethe, "We all got a sob story, Bethe. Ain't a Knight in my family ever made it past Liuetenant, and we've been serving faithfully for generations. We're good enough to train the squires and make sure all the Lord's and Lady's know how to fight, just not good enough to lead em." He leans back, taking up the bottle and swigging from it again. Then he pulls out a cigar from his inner tunic pocket, along with his cutter lighter combo device. He snips off an end and lights it up, taking a few puffs.

"Maybe I could be a paper Wall, if I drink that much," Klaudea offers, glancing up to him. Anabethe's problem of being taken seriously earns a sympathetic nod, and she finally rests her elbows on the table, taking the sage advice as an invitation of sorts. "Some family traditions are kinda made to be broken," she offers as her own advice in return.

"If it makes you feel any better, I can't get the lords and ladies to listen to me half the time," Anabethe offers with a wrinkle of her nose. "I've never seen people so utterly incapable of taking orders. You get any group of nobles out on the field, and you'd best hope it's just a free for all, because that's how we all seem to be functioning."

A smirk is offered, and a swig is taken. The Wall remains leaned back in his chair, "Paper Wall?" He hmms quietly and looks back to Anabethe, "I've led enough nobles in the field to know that they generally feel…particularly entitled. Get a poor man, give him some armor and a weapon and train him from a young age, but with no real chance to move up the ranks, odds are he'll follow orders and be grateful for the opportunity. Take a noble, train him froma young age, and he'll act like a punk with no common sense whose liable to get you killed so he can chop off an extra head for the mantle."

The smirk is noted with something that might be relief on the squire's face. It is a wonder how she can manage to not telegraph her next move in the training ring when her expressions outside it are so easily read. As the talk moves on to the difference between poor and nobles, she looks down quite studiously into her drink, hands loosely circling the base of it, but leaving it untouched for now.

"I keep holding out hope that the further we get into this war, the more we'll realize it isn't a game," Anabethe shakes her head to Thalo. "Some of the nobles on the field still seem to think it's all about flash and glory, and the right now. Not enough thinking for the long term, the big picture." She rubs the crook of one finger over her cheek, pensive. "This keeps going on, maybe we'll start to realize there's more to be said for consistency than flash. Though the Valens seem to be doing their best to disprove that."

A beat pause and Thalo glances to Klaudea, brow quirked faintly, "Nothing like an entitled rich kid, is there?" he smirks again. Maybe that smirk isn't a good thing? "You're out of the dog house, kid, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten." That, for him, is about as good as it gets. Another puff and he looks to Bethe, "The show of force was…impressive. Over the top, but he's attempting to keep losses to a minimum with an overwhelming show of force."

There's a pained look to Klaudea's face at the mention, being referred to as an entitled rich kid clearly cuts deeply, but she swallows and doesn't say anything. She gives a shake to her head. "I was actually thinking about Phelan, Sir," she says quietly. "I haven't been able to see him for almost six months, now. He's old enough to squire, and I think he would be a good one, but I don't have any way of introducing him to a knight." She takes a sip from her drink. "Morrigan said he could maybe find a place for him with a mercenary corp to learn to fight. It's something."

"Yeah, but at what cost?" Anabethe takes a drink from a server, sipping. "I was talking to Declan Arboren a couple weeks back. His intel there? It shows the Hostiles are digging. Literally. Caves. Tunnels. Which, you have to admit, sort of makes sense. If Cantos is the bitch they say it is, then they'd be living under the surface, right? Closer to warm cores. Protected from the elements. So sure, maybe they sacrifice some troops to the Valens. But maybe other ones are just digging in deeper, like…like ticks."

"Who the fuck is Phelan?" Thalo inquires, oh so caringly, with a mouth ful of booze and cigar smoke. Classy guy, this one. "Fuckin' mercs don't train you to fight, they train you to be cannon fodder. Some just get lucky enough to avoid death." He falls silent a moment, taking another swig, "Digging, eh?" he frowns a bit and nods to Bethe, "You got intel reports? Something legit?"

"Phelan is a street kid with little food who has been outgrowing his shoes faster than his family can afford to buy him new ones," Klaudea replies quietly and firmly. "I've known him since he was… probably since he learned to walk, and I've been teaching him and the other kids to take care of themselves." She clenches her jaw, but her voice remains low, conscious of those around that could overhear. "I saw how 'entitled' I was when I was ten years old, Sir Thalo. Since then my allowances, as much as I could spare and keep up appearances so my father wouldn't ask what I was doing with my money, has gone to him and others like him. It was why I went to Sir Urik. I wanted to be in a position, free from my father, where I could help those people survive the war that's coming to them. If I was a knight, I'd squire Phelan myself." She takes a deep breath. "But I'm not."

"Declan did," Anabethe nods to Thalo. "I can see if I can get some copies. But we can't keep acting like they're just some dumb plague. They're on the offensive, and that means we're forced to react to them, while they've had all the time in the world to plan." Klaudea's concern seems to seep through to her awareness after a moment, and she sips her drink as she looks to the girl. "Training to be a knight isn't cheap, you know," she points out slowly. "It's a calling, as much as anything else."

"Taking on some kid you looked after may seem noble, but you can't be a proper Knight to a Squire when you've got that kind of emotional investment. You can't be hard on em when you need to be, beat them into the infirmary and expect them to forgive you. It's hard enough to train Knights, it's stupid to try and train someone you actually care about like that, Klaudea. You want to do the kid a favor, try to get him in front of a Knight who might take him on." A beat pause and he adds on, "And you aren't a Knight yet because I haven't decided you're ready for it." Thalo takes another puff from his cigar, that cold gaze fixed on his Squire now, "But Bethe is right. Squiring aint cheap. You may have given your money away to kids, but you kept enough for armor, weapons, the kind of shit a kid off the street can't afford." And then he looks back to Bethe, "Get me what you can, I'll take a look at it, see if I can't get someone to listen if I think it makes sense. Course it may cost me my Captain spot. If it does, you're gonna owe me so many bottles of whiskey, you're household will go broke."

"I am aware, Sir." Klaudea's voice is quiet about his not thinking her ready. "I am also aware of exactly how much money it takes to be a squire since I've been budgeting it for the last seven years for myself." Her hands flatten on top of the table. "It's not about being noble, Sir Thalo, it seems that you think the same way as Lady Reena… that I should seek some recognition for doing good deeds, as if that is why a person does good deeds. The only recognition I need for the small amount of people I've helped is in the mirror" Her jaw clenches. "How am I supposed to bring him to the attention of a knight who will train him when I forbidden to go help him? How am I supposed to get another knight to even look at someone I suggest when everyone knows that my Knight leaves me behind because I'm disgraced and can't be at his side to learn from him? If you have a suggestion for someone who needs a lad who's managed to keep himself clean despite the odds being against him, and has little combat knowledge, I would be more than happy to see that Phelan has a chance to meet them." Although there is passion behind her words, Klaudea's voice remains level and calm, although the hazel eyes turned on the wall hold more fire than calm waters.

Anabethe snorts softly at Thalo. "Cost you your Captain spot. You're the fucking Wall, Thalo. You want it, I'll mention it to Dad, it'll be done," she shrugs. "Can't do much for myself, but my word's worth something, at least." She takes another sip of her drink, eyeing Klaudea for a long moment. "Pretty sure the knight I trained with isn't squiring anyone at the moment."

"Seeking recognition? What directly the fuck are you talking about Klaudea? When did I tell you to go seeking out recognition? I sure as fuck don't do it. Might I remind you that I've done my share of good deeds for the people of Kournas as well. It's called killing fucking Hostiles and before that, it was killing gods damned insurrectionists. And when this war is done, I'm sure there'll be someone else for me to kill to keep our people safe. You think there's glory in that? Or honor. In a world without war, there is no place for men like me. I do what I must to make the world a better place, and I do it without seeking a shred of glory. I don't go parading myself around so I can get pat on the back for what I've done. So what makes you think I want you to go around seeking recognition? What I want is for you to do your fucking job, not whine about how hard it is to do it. You want him brought to someone's attention, then ask, and I'll do what I can." And then of course Bethe makes her offer and he points across the table, "There ya go, I'm sure her old Squire will at least meet the kid and see if he's got what it takes. I'm not about to stop some poor civilian kid from having his shot." He sighs and slams a fist down on the table, causing his bottle to almost fall over. Snatching it up, he takes a long swig and lets out a sigh when that is done, "I'm tired of having this same argument with you, Klaudea. One day, you'll learn that sometimes, you just need to keep your mouth shut if you want to make it. There's your lesson for the day." A beat pause, is offered and he looks to Bethe, chuckling just a bit, though there's a sort of sadness to it, "Right…if only life were that easy."

"I have /never/ EVER complained about how hard my job is, Sir Thalo," Klaudea is quick to reply. "EVER. I have done /everything/ ever assigned to me to the letter, and I am the first squire to show up in the morning because while the rest of them spend their time off drinking and trying to find someone to …" she purses her lips and then actually says it, "fuck… I'm trying to help other people, or study demolitions and electronics, things that will hopefully be more useful than how much alcohol I can drink or how many notches I can put in my bedpost. So I'm not hungover in the morning or trying to remember the name of the person next to me." She takes a breath or two, her fingers curling so that her knuckles press into the wood. "I'm not saying that you're telling me I should seek recognition. I'm saying that you're giving some sort of impression that you think all /I/ think about is being noble and lofty, and that I'm just some brat with a rich fatther who isn't truly dedicated to becoming a knight because I didn't tell you what I was doing with my free time. FREE time. Not time when I was supposed to be training." She stands up and pushes away the beer. She turns at Anabethe's offer and gives a nod, finding a sincere smile in all this frustration. "I would appreciate it greatly if you could put in a word, Sir Anabethe. I can have Morrigan bring him around at whatever time your knight can be available."

"Aaaaand that's my sign," Anabethe drawls as the words start to fly, picking up her drink and clapping a hand to Thalo's shoulder. "Let me know if you want a word in. Klaudea, let me know when your friend can come by, I'll talk to my old knight, see how he's doing and how he feels about a squire. I've got drinks to buy." And then she's off, to do exactly that.

Apparently one too many buttons have been pushed this night and the Wall rises from his seat, and flings the bottle with what remains onto the wall next to his table, "Learn to fucking listen, Klaudea. I just told you to learn when to shut the fuck up. You think you are the only one with a reputation at stake? The only one whose reputation has been hurt? I've got a squire who publically tries to argue with me at every turn in /front/ of my peers." All of this is said in a low growl, his voice doesn't raise at all. He leans in now, still at a growl, "You are on your last fucking leg with me. You pull some shit like this again, and not only can you find a new Knight to finish your training with, but you'll be finishing it from a hospital bed." He pauses a moment and snuffs out his cigar on the table top, "Have I made myself entirely clear?"

The squire stands in front of Thalo for a long moment, meeting him eye to eye and not even flinching when the bottle crashes into the wall. She doesn't back away when he leans in, only shifting her eyes to keep them level with his. A very unfamiliar emotion flames in the hazel gaze, but to make it very clear that he's clear, she doesn't say one single word. The beer is paid for anyway, she doesn't need to take care of that. She turns around and walks out the door.

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