07.13.3013: The Unwashed Masses
Summary: The Khourni and their guests, Sir Flint and Lady Viannea, descend upon the bathhouse that rests deep beneath the Blackspyre.
Date: 13 July 2013
Related: None
Nitrim Viannea Anabethe Johana Flint Victor Reena 


Bathhouse — Volkan, The Crescent
Built down low in the Blackspyre where it can easily access the geothermal heat that powers the entire city of Volkan, this bathhouse is set aside for the use of those sworn to House Khournas and their guests. The room is sheathed in large black tiles, warmed by the magma behind them. A large pool centers the room, surrounded by narrow lines of red and silver tile, while a handful of smaller tubs built for one to four people fill up the remaining space. Each of the tubs is heated blood-warm, leaving wisps of steam in the air. Towels sit alongside tubs of bath-salts on small tables near the separate men's and women's changing rooms.
July 13, 3013

Deep within the Blackspyre the Bathhouse has become a place where Nitrim Khournas has been found the past, few weeks. Training with Sir Flint and his various brushes with death have sent him no longer getting lost in long stares to Volkan, but instead filling the gaps with therapeutic measures to deal with his sore, tired bones. Though rumor may have it, the young Khournas lording has also taken to keeping rather private, quiet counsel as of late, and the Bathhouse for its steam, heated pools, and black tile is a place for thinking and relaxation.

In the corner of the bathhouse, where the tile is sometimes the most warm, Nitrim sits alone in one of the smaller pools. Bare torso cresting out from the water at mid-chest height, his scars, bruises, and most recently the remains of a break to his collarbone can be seen mingling with his tattoos. Arms spread out to side to side on the warm tile, an ashtray to the right and a bottle of something brown and alcohol-laced to his left, he tilts his head back and enjoys the constant bubbling, steaming din that settles over the room like a white noise.

Finally able to make good on her promise to come by and see Volkan, Viannea has used the Ways to surprise her friend with a visit. It takes a bit of asking around but she's eventually directed in the right place, that being the baths where she finds herself now. It's not exactly the kind of setting she's used to, although she can thankfully blame how flushed her face is to the heat and humidity in here, and by the time she manages to make her way to the bath Nitrim occupies she's blushed clear down to the hollow of her throat and even lower.

Silent is what Vi is when she reaches it. She doesn't want to disturb the Lord while he's relaxing, after all. The sound of her foot fall and then a quick cough is what she allows to announce her presence although he might not hear her right off if the bubbling of the water is loud enough to conceal the sound.

At first, only one of the man's eyes cracks open at the sight of approaching footsteps. His head lulls over onto his shoulder, eyes skimming across the floor to confirm that yes, they are feet, they are bare, and they don't belong to a man. Slipping a cigarette from a case beside the pool, into his mouth, he presses the tip to his palm where a flash of white eyes and a flare of a vague, fire-light heat washes over him and the cigarette is lit. The first drag taken, he follows back to the approaching woman, eyes rising to her face.

"War does have a way of making it near impossible to keep a schedule, doesn't it?" He asks, quietly studying her.

Yes, Vi's feet are bare as is the rest of her although that latter fact is not yet made obvious. Not yet used to displays of exhibitionism, she has a towel wrapped tightly about her to protect her modesty. "Yes. It does," she replies shortly, her eyes held firmly to Nitrim's face. "I hope I haven't come at a bad time," is then said in addition. "If you'd rather be alone I can leave and meet you elsewhere when you are done relaxing."

Somewhere across the room a shadow moves, the person it belongs to hidden by the steam that billows up from one of the other baths. It serves to reminds here that they're not alone, much to her embarrassment, and for a fleeting moment she finds herself hoping that he'll ask her to leave so she can get dressed again.

Reading Viannea's body language in a rather open display of assessment, Nitrim can't help but notice the shadow in the back of the room. His eyes tilt from hers to a lean of his head that sends him looking past her and the towel she's wearing, tracking the motion. Cigarette held to the side, he smirks and looks back to her with a shake of his head. "No, it's quite alright, it was getting rather boring in here nonetheless." He admits, hand dipping just beneath the pool of rather opaque water to get it wet, then run it back through his short, blonde hair. "If you're here to rest as well, please, by all means, join me."

Breaking eye contact, he makes an open display of turning his head to the side, giving her the time and room to slip into the water without needlessly exposing herself. Far more comfortable than she is, perhaps open nudity being something more common in the bath house, he busies himself with refreshing his drink. "I have to apologize, we did have tea plans at Khar-Mordune, but I've been seeing Lord Aidan far more than I have you as of late. Though I'm assuming you fought at the spine and I had my troubles on Ignis, and I've just recovered." Drink poured he motions to a surgical scar where his collarbone rests. "How have you been?"

Nitrim will get a hug for his being so attentive and accepting of her modesty later on but right now she doesn't think of anything but how to get into the water without showing herself off too much. Thankfully Viannea's presented with the solution when he looks away, giving her the time to toss the towel to the side and slip into the water. Like her host, she too has scars although hers are much older, recieved when she was younger and took part in some of the skirmishes between houses. Nothing truly impressive and soon nothing to see as she settles in and the water rises to just under her chin.

"You can look now," she eventually sighs out, the heat of the bath melting away the nervousness she felt. Vi glances at Nitrim and smiles. There's even a bit of ogling to be had although she does try to be covert in how she gives him a good looking at. "We can have tea later," comes a suggestion once Viannea's done with that, "or you can take me out drinking later, if you are of a mind to do so."

"We could have tea now, though I'm sure we'd have to yell loud enough to get wait staff down here. But sure, since you're in Volkan now, Lady Viannea, I'll give you that tour you requested now that I've got this…" Nitrim turns back to her, cracking a smirk as he exhales his drag of cigarette. "…light smattering of personal time allotted to me." He laughs, shaking his head from side to side. "I will say, no complaints at all, ever, because I'm not one to cry or beg, but I'm starting to understand why squiring is better when you're ten and have nothing better to do with your time than watch cartoons."

Taking his glass of bourbon into his hand, Nitrim's teeth bare as he swallows the sip, letting the burn soothe its way down his throat. Swirling the brown liquor in the glass, he sets it down again and focuses his attention on Viannea. "So the question still stands, My Lady, how have you been? You look as if you're in one piece and grinning enough that humor hasn't lost you. What is the new with yourself?"

Viannea forgot to answer in her haste to get into the bath and she groans at herself and lifts a wet hand to cover her face. "I am fine." The hand eventually gets shaken off and used to wipe her face dry, the blush finally receeding a bit. "I took part in the ambush. Sadly Aunt Agnes did not come away uninjured and I believe my brother was hurt as well and I do believe there were several others injured. But we managed to win so I suppose the injuries were not in vane." A mental checklist is taken then as Viannea tries to find something else of importance to speak on. But between being sapped of her ability to speak once relaxation hits a certain point and the lack of anything truly interesting to touch upon, Vi merely takes to laughing and giving a shrug. "Pass that bottle over here," she eventually grunts. If he's going to drink she might as well do so herself, yes?

Leaning her head back, she closes her eyes and smiles, her expression softening. "I am very excited by the thought of you being able to show me around, Nitrim. I have been looking forward to this. It'll be a much needed respite from everything else that has been going on. And I do hope you'll forgive me for not staying in touch. But between your squiring and my being busy…" Her left eye is cracked open as she says that, Vi wanting to catch Nitrim's reaction to her apology.

With a slight splash of water, Nitrim's arm reaches from the pool to the bottle at his side. His ringed fingers wrap around its neck and he leans out across the pool, offering it to Viannea. "Here you are…" He announces its arrival, careful to not hover the bottle in front of her closed eyes. One delivered, he leans back to his previous recline and takes up his glass. In lieu of her apology, he smiles and shakes his head from side to side. "No, please, no reason to apologize. I haven't exactly been the easiest person to track down either. I would have written after getting hospitalized but I only had one arm at the time to work with."

His eyes darken over as a recent memory creeps into mind. It's something he distracts himself with by looking away and brushing a water-heated hand to his face, rubbing at his forehead. "Consider it all a wash, Lady Viannea. We'll do better going forward, I'm sure. Besides, here we are now in the pit of the Blackspyre, having a drink. It worked out in the end, aye?"

It was a day for relaxation in the warm water of the baths and Johana has taken the time away from patrols, battles, dates.. the latter more stressful than any of the previous two. Wearing a black bikini, she's got a wrap loose around her waist, sarong style as she pads barefoot towards the area where she hears the voices. A bracelet made of obsidian stones is around her ankle, toenails painted a vibrant red. Once she is near enough to recognize the faces beyond just the voices, she gives a surprised look between the two already in the water. "Oh hey." This is to Viannea, then a sly glance to Nitrim accompanied by a wicked grin. Apparently the Ibrahm has drawn her own conclusions. "Room for another?" Though she does ask, she's already dropping her towel and removing the wrap from her, preparing to get in.

The bottle is taken and drank from but, unfortunately for the one who now has it in their possession, Viannea coughs when she takes that first swallow. Not used to drinking such potent liquor, the burn steals her breath from her and puts a temporary halt to the conversation on her end. A soft wheeze sounds from her and then the coughing starts, lasting for a bit longer than Vi wants it to. By the time she regains her voice it is a bit hoarse. "Thank you for your understanding I do hope we can find a way to spend more time together." Pause. "Between all the bouts of fighting and squire-ly duties, of course."

When Johana comes over and greets them she blushes, noticing that the other Lady Knight is wearing swimwear. Whooops. Makes for a renewed sense of embarrassment over her own current state of… not-dressed. "Feel free," she says in an invite to her fellow Knight. The smile Johana gives Nitrim is seen but left uncommented upon. Best not to speculate as to what is being assumed, correctly or otherwise.

"Fucking Knight, Leo," Anabethe grumbles as she limps into the baths, holding a hand over her ribs beneath a very short robe. "Fucking hammers." The Drake with her laughs at that, clapping a hand to her shoulder. "Hostiles are using them too, Bethe. Besides, not like you haven't cleaned my clock enough times. Can't blame us when we get a little of our own back." Anabethe replies with a single finger, to more laughter, before shuffling over to Nitrim's pool. She doesn't even bother with a bikini, shedding her robe and slinking into the water with a groan. "I hate hammers," she announces.

Nitrim, being a brother to a rather tattooed and well-liked sister, has a certain sixth sense when it comes to knowing when to look the other way. All he needed to see was robe and he nonchalantly cracks a grin over towards Viannea, eyes lighting up. "We're all moving targets now, yea? Well all of those squirely duties and fighting-things are on hold at least for the next hour or so, so keep the bottle. Rest up. You're in good…" Anabethe splashes in, and Nitrim is now able to view the pool as a whole. "…company. Sister? Lady Johana, have you met Lady Viannea Peake? Viannea, meet Bethe. We're accident prone."

Clearing his throat, Nitrim smiles to his sister then turns his eyes up to Johana for a quiet, appreciative smile. In greeting, he holds out his glass of bourbon to her, giving it a little shake as if to say come-and-get-it. Teeth flashing to her, he mouths the word hello and nudges his head towards the pool. "No intrusion. Fuck it, Jo' get in. I'm glad to see you, too."

Noticing the blush only makes Johana enjoy embarrassing her all the more, for the cute factor of the pink cheeks. Stepping into the water, she sinks down with an appreciative groan of satisfaction. "I've been looking forward to this." When Beth joins also, she grins, unable to help herself from hearing the conversation. "Hey Beth, nice day for a bath hmm?" But it's Nitrim who captures her attention with the glass of what can only be bourbon. She waggles her brows and walks over. "Thought you'd never ask." Reaching for it, she lifts a shoulder. "Kind of, kind of not. Michael talks about her a lot, but properly introduced? Not really." Glancing back over at the Knight, she nods. "It's a pleasure, Sir Viannea." She sinks back down into the water, between Beth and Nitrim so she doesn't interfere with the other two.

The first swig is swiftly followed by a second and then the bottle is held out to Anabethe. "It is a pleasure to meet you both." Viannea's embarrassment has already started to fade, it having flared something she puts out of her mind. What her mind is working around now is the subject of Michael. Johana's mention of his having spoken about her makes her curious but she doesn't ask. Probably better if she remains ignorant. "I have to say… it's nice to be able to get away," comes another comment, this one spoken to the others as a whole while she gives the only man here a grin and even a wink. "It is also equally nice to be able to break out of my shell a bit."

"You Peakes aren't careful I'm going to start thinking you like our mountains better than your own," Anabethe greets Viannea with a wry smile, wincing slightly as she leans back against the edge of the pool. "I keep running into Aidan all around town. Now we've got another one in the baths." She winks at the other woman, reaching out to take the bottle. "Welcome to the Blackspyre. Just keep an eye out for the squires. I hear they've got a tendency to follow pretty girls around like puppies." She grins, then takes a long swallow before offering the bottle over to Johana. Pass the bottle in the bath!

Browwaggling back at Johana, Nitrim points to the glass, gives Johana a wink and a thumbs up. It's the expensive stuff. "Michael…Michael…Michael… you know I haven't seen him since Landing, I really do hope he's staying out of trouble." Nitirm replies, stretching his arms out before him. Palm wrapping against his fingers, he leans back into a stretch that seems to be going well until it's not. Whispering "fuck" under his breath, he settles back into a slouch beneath the water and starts to massage his collarbone. He lulls his head back to face the ceiling and closes his eyes, grinning pointedly at Viannea's wink.

"And what better to crack that shell open than war, bourbon, and good company, Lady Viannea. It's damned near impossible to not want to put aside the trapping of being a public servant with a little self love and relaxation." One of Nitrim's eyes cracks open, swaying from Viannea to Anabethe with a lift of his brow. Oh how dare she. Then the thought occurs to him that self-love didn't necessarily mean— "I saw what you did there, Bethe. You do know that I can freeze the water right over there, right?" He laughs, beaming a smile to his sister before he leans back again, eyes closed. "I should have brought a hammer, Bethe."

If Johana had noticed any interest in the subject of Michael from Vi, she doesn't mention it at the moment, but she does relax in the water, the heat from it helping to relax her more fully than she had been for awhile. "Yeah the Ibrahms seem to hang out here a lot, Beth, but if I had my way you'd be my family instead of a good friend." Winking playfully at Nitrim, course she's just teasing him like always. Leaning towards Beth, she accepts the bottle and passes it along to Nitrim, opting to keep the glass instead, taking a long drink from it. "Mmm.. You have such good taste." Lazily swirling the bourbon in the glass while listening to him speaking about Michael. "He's growing up." But the stretch followed by the curse word garners her attention instead. "You getting any better yet?"

Flint has been MIA for the past week, beyond the random check-up on his squire. Training had been postphoned until Nitrim was rested up. In that time, the Ash Knight has all but vanished, stating only once that he 'needed to deal with the demons in his head'. Whatever that was, he didn't go and say, but he was gone for almost a week. But now he's back, having returned, and he's gone out in search for his squire. Which eventually leads him to here at the bathhouse. Given the places humidity, it's not smart to enter fully clothed, he's decided to go without clothing articles. Entering where little more than a pair of sweatpants, and sandals, and his mirorr-surfaced wrap-around sunglasses, he steps inside. "Heard you'd be here." he greets. Also, to note, Flint has tattoos, lots of them, which probalby isn't all that shocking on the Cresant. It's one big design that covers the majority of his arms and upper chest, but draw in mind to not be shown when fully clothed.

Viannea cracks Anabethe a smile, one that's part playful and part genuinely warm. "Got to do what I can to further relations between our house and the others," is quipped playfully but she then sombers at the memory of her last few visits with Johana's squire. "I haven't seen Michael in a while, myself. I too hope he is well." Flint's arrival has Vi looking up and over to him, her body dipping a little further under the water. Back to being slightly shy, she lifts just the fingers of her left hand above the surface to waggle in a wave of sorts at him. "It's becoming quite the party, isn't it," she asks Nitrim, forgetting to respond to anything else that has been said to her recently.

"This water drops half a degree and I'll stab you with the ice," Anabethe informs her brother blandly, tipping her head back against the edge of the pool to look over when Flint approaches. A faint smile quirks, and she whistles a catcall. "Nice ink, Grantham," she approves before lowering her head again to look to Johana. "We're family anyhow," she points out. "Ish. At some degree. Reena could tell you the details, but Mom's Ibrahm."

"Only the best, Jo." Cracking an eye open again to Johana, Nitrim can see over her shoulder the heavily-inked form of Flint approaching. With a laugh, he splashes some water over at her. Eyes washing over into white for just a few seconds, he takes the bottle from her grip and look to the pool. With more approaching, the spa-pool is going to become slightly more comfortable. Glancing to either side of him, he stubs out his cigarette and scoots a little closer to Viannea. "Yeah, I'm turning over a few leaves no thanks to my sister and that man there, Flint." He nods upwards, sharply to the man. "Sir. I'm ready to go at your word. Shoulder is all healed."

Turning his head to Viannea, Nitrim slips back under the water to his shoulder and leads into an explanation. "What they mean by this, I think, is that I've become more mature in the last two months than I have in six years? I'm not entirely sure, but Bethe and Johana are amazing, truly. Peake wouldn't be wrong to fall in love with them and want to more Khar-Mordune to Volkan." Stretching his shoulder again, he settles in against the wall, rubbing at his collar.

The only one in the bath that is even semi-dressed, other than Flint, the black straps of Johana's bikini can be seen tied around her neck, the triangles of her bikini covering her somewhat modestly. In her hand is a glass of bourbon that originally belonged to Nitrim, but the Ibrahm seems in no hurry to return it. There's laughter in her eyes as the Khourni siblings threaten each other back and forth. "I'll take -ish anytime. Most times I feel closer to you guys than I do my own twin. He keeps mostly to himself and now he'll be going all Orelle on me." At Flints arrival, Ana offers him a warm smile. "It's good to see you are well, Sir Flint. That last mission you took us on.." For just a brief moment, she gets a haunted look, but she manages to push it aside. "I tell you it took quite a bit of talking with Thalo to get my head back on right."

As Nitrim splashes her, she lifts her glass, not wanting to chance any water with all these naked people splashing into her drink. "Only the best," she agrees, watching while his eyes turn white. Lifting her glass towards him, she takes another drink before offering back to him with a very amused grin. "Mmm hmm. I knew you had something to do with that. I can find some on my own." Arching a brow. "Quite easily I might add." Only when she finishes speaking does she laugh, clearly enjoying herself.

Viannea remembers Flint from the other day when she payed Nitrim a visit during his training, the fact that she has met him before helping to put her at ease as does Nitrim's sliding closer to her. "It is good to see you again, Sir Flint. I do hope all has been well with you." Half an ear is given to the conversation Anabethe and Johana are having but she doesn't interject, not wanting to interrupt. Leaning in to bump a shoulder against Nitrin's gently, she ponders his words before nodding, slowly. "We all grow up at some point in our life," she half-whispers to him. "Some just do so faster than others, it seems."

"Few leaves, sure, if some leaves are boulder-sized." Flint remarks, walking to the edge of the pool where the four are located, kneeling down. There's a glance at his shoulders. "Oh, this? I forget people never see me without a shirt. A half year of work." The questions about how he is, gets a bit of a sigh. "Being better? Hard to say if you ever get better from somehing like that, but you learn to move on, if nothing else." A glance back at Anabethe. "Nice tits." in replies in kind in remark about his ink.

Anabethe glances down at herself, nodding slightly. "So I've been told," she agrees with Flint. "Armorer bitches about them every time, though. Swears the change in angle's why my chest plate keeps giving at the ribs. Personally, I think it's got a little something to do with getting hit there by fucking war hammers, but what do I know?" She grabby-hands for the bottle again then, taking another swig once she's claimed it. "What went down on Ignis?" she asks, arching a brow as she looks between Nitrim and Flint. "Anything the rest of us should be worrying about?"

Shoulder nudging against Viannea's, Nitrim tilts his head to speak quietly with her. "Boulders help, too. If I don't get any better at dodging them I'm going to end up wheeled around on a cart, but yes…boulders have a way of speeding up the real world." He glances to her with a smile, takes another swig from the bottle, then offers it to Anabethe. He whispers something and then presses his shoulders flat against the wall once more.

The mission. The D-4 facility. The mere mention of it casts a few dark shadows over Nitrim's features as his eyes fall to the murky water that protects the majority of their dignities. Tongue running over his teeth, he twists his head head in a scant nod, eyes lifting to Johana, then Flint, gauging their facial expressions. Finally, to Anabethe, he gives her a concerned look. "We learned a lot about ourselves back on Ignis. It's why I didn't write when I was hospitalized. I needed to clear my head, Bethe." His eyes wash over into white, and then to try to calm the situation, one of his hands peel out of the water and he sends a soft gust of frigid air her way. Nice tits? Way to help out the Knight.

Gods, Viannea shouldn't make light of what Nitrim just said. Being injured in combat really is not something to be joked about. But when he says what he does about the cart she can not help but to break into the biggest shit-eating grin ever, one that's about ear to ear it is so wide. "If you do wind up needing that I'll be sure that you have the prettiest girl known to man push you around, Dear Nitrim." The smile fades when he speaks into her ear and she, in turn, whispers back, doing so quickly so the conversation's flow won't be made to slow because of her.

Checking out the ink too, Johana doesn't comment on it, but she does involuntarily laugh at the return comment to Beth, and the one she volleys back to the Grantham. When Beth asks about what went down on Ignis, she stiffens slightly, looking to Nitrim and Flint, waiting for their answers. All she knew is what happened to her. Suddenly her gaze settles on Nitrims and her expression becomes pained, her hand clenching on the glass, unable to tear her gaze away from him. She blinks a few times to clear some mental image before her expression softens and she realizes what it was she had seen in her mind. Reaching out a hand, she just squeezes his shoulder, however briefly, saying nothing else about the incident on Ignis herself. Seems like it wasn't only her it still haunted.

"Seven people went to D-4, Anabethe." Flint starts. "I'm not sure any one of us really came back. Oh sure, we're here physically, but I saw seven good people crumble to things that only they saw and heard. Myself included. You know what's the worse enemy? Not the ones at our gates, ones that we can actually. It's ones you can't fight, where weapons mean nothing. It's enemies that're in your own head. I don't care how tough and stalwart a knight or soldier claims to be, we all have things that scare us, things that'll break you if you let it. Seven people walked into hell on Ignis. And we all saw the Devil's face. I think, in time, we'll recover, but I don't really know if any of us will be truly whole again." A shrug at that. "I left and spend five days on the Plateau. Just me and and an ex-o suit. Performed Legion rites at dawn, midday, and dusk. Tried to clear my head out. I think I did, for the most part. But, I won't forget what happened there. Because it won't let you forget."

A frown flickers across Anabethe's features as she watches Nitrim, sympathetic enough that she doesn't press the issue. As she watches Johana's and Flint's reactions, she sobers further, shaking her head. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there with you," she says, quiet. "Dad needed me on the front lines here, or I would have been. Anything I can do to help?" she offers.

"Well, Flint, I assure you I'm fine and ready to return to my duties. These sorts of things are…common with me. I've had that dance before." Whatever it was Nitrim thought, or said using his mind, there seems to have been a reaction, but Nitrim wouldn't admit it so. A flat smile crests his face as he reaches to his shoulder, squeezing Johana's hand. A quiet look is sent Anabethe's way as he lifts his arm up and out of the water to reach over Viannea's shoulders for his cigarette case. As he's known to do, he ignores his internal monologue in favor of acting as if nothing, at all, is wrong. "Me being pushed around on a cart but a bunch of pretty girls, eh?" He laughs, coming back to his seat with a cigarette, which he lights with the use of the power in his blood. "That's rather sweet of you, Viannea, and won't I be the absolute envy of the social elite. They'll likely crush their own legs just to make sure they could get a prettier cart and prettier girls." He huffs the first drag, holding the cigarette up and away from them. "Us nobles can be silly things…"

The recounting of the events that took place has Viannea frozen in place, her now-teary eyes held to Flint's for as long as he speaks. When he finishes she shivers, something Nitrim will undoubtedly feel thanks to how close she is sitting beside him when it happens. After he fetches a smoke she leans even closer in but instead of whispering to him she merely rests her chin on his shoulder. "Listen to him," she murmurs to the others here, her tone kept light despite the ice that forms in her gut. "I bet Nitrim is thinking of all the ways he can mame himself so he can be doted on and spoiled…" For as much as she's trying to distract herself from the worry she does a piss poor job at it and she now falls quiet, not sure what to say.

Much like Nitrim, Johana doesn't linger on it. She's learned a trick and she pushes it out of her mind as best she can, as she's been able to do for awhile now and she channels the fear into a very convincing nonchalance. When Nitrim squeezes her hand back, she gives him a confident smile and leans back against the side of the bath, downing the remainder of the drink in the glass and placing it on the side. Remaining sitting by herself at her part, she gives Beth a flash of a grin. "Much as I love fighting at your side, I can honestly say I'm glad you missed it." Flints words are too true, so she doesn't acknowledge them other than a flicker of a glance over him. It won't let you forget. No truer words have ever been spoken.

Flint shakes his head. "Be glad you weren't, Anabethe." he coutners. "I respect you more than most, I wouldn't want you to of experience that. But…" he looks at Nitrim and Johana specifically. "I failed all of you. The responsibility for what happened is on my shoulders. I led all you into that nightmare, and while we all came back, there's a bit of guilt I feel about it. And I wasn't able to save anyone, including myself. I know I should be grateful that we're all okay, live to fight another day, all that stuff, but… I wish I could've done more. In the end, it's Nitrim we have to thank. He's the one that killed that thing we found at the bottom of that pit. He's the real hero." That said, he brightens a little at Anabethe's offer. "Well…if you ever want to show me your bedroom some time, I'm sure that'd be a fantastic way to help." At least, he's gotten back his sense of humor, ever after what happened.

Anabethe snorts a laugh at Flint's suggestion, cupping her hand in the water and splashing the Grantham knight. "Not if you're gonna cry on me. I mean, I've gotta draw a line on the things I will and won't do in the bedroom," she drawls, though her smirk suggests she isn't entirely serious. "Anyhow. Nitrim's a hero, you know. He's Khournas. Runs in the blood." She flashes a grin at her brother, then leans back in the pool once more. "Been thinking it's time to take a trip out in the Crescent, though," she adds to those already gathered. "Check up on things, hear a few cases. See if we can track down some of those loose Hostiles. Little victory might do something to wash that taste out of your mouth."

Eyes to Viannea, Nitrim laughs softly and settles his shoulder so that he's not such a rigid perch. "Yeah, you're right. I'm probably like to start running head first into walls to get—" He starts, and then something Flint says stops his sentence dead in his tracks. Forget that he just made a pass at his sister, his Knight just called him a hero. It doesn't even register to the man that he's holding a cigarette, and it nearly falls from his grasp into the pool, though his dextrous fingers are able to hold firm. Scanning the eyes in the pool; Viannea's, Anabethe's, Johana's, and Flint's, he forceably has to swallow, feeling a quiet weight on the back of his neck. "T-thank you, Flint." Nitrim never stammers. Though, as he's known to, he distracts the situation with a drag from his cigarette followed by a pull from the bottle. "Though I hurt poor Johana and you in the process, Erik too. I guess I'm not the scalpel I thought it was. I'll be bynamed The Rhino in a year, I'm sure. Lord Collateral Damage…"

Offering the bottle back over, this time to Johana, he seems to have regained his composure as he cracks a fake, playful laugh over to his sister. "Well all things considered, Bethe, I approve of him. Pay him no mind, he didn't fail us. He led us through and through and kept us together. Isn't that right, Jo?"

Where some people's bodies are marked with tattoos, but that of Victor Khournas is marked with scars. Ranging from time-paled bite and claw marks from drakes to wounds inflicted by Havenites, to even the more recent — and pinker — marks of Hostile weapons, although those are perhaps surprisingly rare, the scars map out a painful life. There are tattoos as well, a few tribal patterns here and there between scars, and the drakes and axe of Khournas in a couple of locations as well, but the tattoos seem fitted around his scars rather than in the usual prominent locations. All of that is easily on display as he wears only a knotted gray towel about his waist. His right hand is filled with a six-pack of unmarked brown bottles, and his all-in-one cigar case. Spotting the splashing nobles, he snorts loudly, growling teasingly, "Maiden's pink tits… can't I get the fuck away from you people?"

Lady Reena Khournas has had a rough week or so. She's still having trouble sleeping after that nightmarish poisoned air debacle on Niveus, so she's come home for a soak in the bath house to try and relax. She steps out of one of the changing areas in a towel, with her hair carefully tied up in a tight bun atop her head. Recognizing the laughter and voices, she heads towards the bath her siblings et all are in. "Fancy meeting you here," she murmurs, tiredly. There are dark circles under her eyes and she seems like a yawn is ever about to emerge.

"Oh. Now he gets all humble and shit on us." Shaking her head, Viannea darts a hand under water to try and tickle Nitrim's side at the same time she's careful of his injury, perhaps being lucky enough to get a bit of an attack in on him before she's distracted by the arrival of more people. Victor and Reena both are given a nod and a welcoming smile but she remains put, leaned in against Nitrim's side.

"Indeed he did lead us through. We're here and alive and I have to agree, Nitrim, you're quite a hero." As the others arrive, Johana seems grateful for the break in the conversation. Instead of offering more on what happened, she centers her attention on Beth. "If you're in for a scouting mission, count me in too, I'd love to be able to go out again and track down the loose ones." Accepting the bottle from Nitrim, she lifts it to her lips in a long drink, nodding to the newest arrivals. "Vic, Reena. Welcome to the party." There's a friendly smile for them as she offers the bottle towards Beth.

"The only crying I do is when my sister makes me watch particular movies that no man would ever admit to shedding tears for. Or stubbing my toe on my sister's coffee table." Flint remarks in a faux-lofty manner. "All of this recent stuff was supported by meditation on the Plateau." Pause. "And copious amounts of Pit mead. In time, the events of D-4 will fall into legend, and the Ash warriors will recall in the meadhalls of the Khournas that slayed the giant machine-human abomination." The low laugh at Nitrim is somewhat dark. "I kept you alive, that doesn't mean I kept you sane. And that, more than what the voices showed me, is what will stick with me. But I'll tell you this; the rest of them are still out there. And when I find their nest, I -will- hunt them down. And I know six other people that will be looking for payback. Because those six know the kind of threat that they represent." Finally back to Anabethe. "No crying, I promise. Unless it's ones of joy." A wink to that.

"All right," Anabethe declares as more people arrive, "It's officially time for a bigger pool." Completely confident and unabashed, she stands up to climb out of the pool as naked as the day she was born. Which conveniently gives her a chance to try to steal a bottle out of Victor's six-pack. Of beer. She has her own collection of scars, though the tattoos that cross her body in shimmering silver lines do something to distract from them. Once she has a beer in hand, she walks over to Flint, holding out the bottle. "Got an opener?" she asks with a challenging flash of a grin.

"Oh come on it wasn't that bad, I'm not being humble. They all got shredded because of me." Nitrim laughs, splashing to the side just a little to try to get away from Viannea's tickling with a jerk of his abdomen. To avoid dropping her jaw off of his shoulder, he opts for the stretch out method to try to get away, at least until she stops and Reena and Victor arrive. Teeth bared, a dark shade of red comes to his ears, though he'd never admit being a little proud of himself. Squeezing Viannea's knee to fight back, he averts his eyes as Bethe gets out of the pool. With a mock pair of angry eyes to Johana, he huffs. "Oh don't you start, too. Back me up a little. I'm the one that got crushed, not you guys. Being just insane enough to not be driven insane isn't a merit badge."

Letting go of Viannea, he motions over to Victor and Reena. "Vic! Reena! Meet Lady Viannea Peake she's a guest of mine, oh and Lady Viannea, please extend that to Lord Aidan. Now…I have to escape all of this…mushy compliment stuff." Nitrim laughs, splashing as he stands out of the water and walks to the edge. In pure Khourni fashion, plain as day, he steps around the poor and takes a long swig from the nearly empty bottle of bourbon. Setting it on a nearby table, he moves to the edge of the largest pool…and throws himself in.

Victor looks over to Reena, slowing so that she can catch up and reaching out to pat the back of her shoulder lightly, "Good to see you back home, Reena." He sets down the six-pack and cigar-case at the edge of the large pool, "And you know that any time there's Hosties to crunch, I'm in, Beth." He snorts at her mention of the opener, "Pussy." He sets aside his towel and slips into the big pool, pulling out a homebrew beer of his own and twisting off the cap with his hand. "If I'd known this was a party, I woulda brought more, but it looks like 'Trim's got it covered." At least, he assumes that it was his male cousin who brought the bottle of something stronger. He doesn't eye his cousin, but he's not exactly flinching away from her like Nitrim either. He nods to Viannea, "Welcome to the Blackspyre." There's a glance to Beth and Reena then, one eyebrow lifted in question. It's a silent, 'do we like this one? is this one staying?'

Reena moves to the larger pool with her hand covering a yawn. She drops her towel, seemingly as modest in this setting as her elder sister and younger brother, and slides down into the bath with a groan of relief. She closes her eyes and rests her head on the lip of the pool. "I can imagine tomorrow's tabloids. Khourni family bathes together. Surely some sort of ritual sacrifice which helped oust Alexandros Cindravale." She reaches an arm languidly back to fumble blindly for a beer.

"Enjoy the compliments while you can." Flint points out. "You'll be praying for them once we get back to training. You haven't even begun the ex-o suit training." A grin. "I'm gonna make you -strong-." Walking back to retrieve her said beer, the Grantham unabashedly checks out the heirs goods. What? He's a Grantham, they're kinda blunt and have no shame. "What, none for me? I didn't think you were the sharing type." The massively tattooed Ash Knight takes the offered beer in hand. "That's cute. Playing the 'innocent' role really isn't your thing, Bethe. Cute though, I'll give it that." Clasping his hand around the tip, there's a jerk before a hiss of air sounds the release of air pressure before handing it back. "Anything else you need opened? I'm pretty good with pickle jars too."

Nitrim grabs Vi's knee just the right way, causing it to not only be tickled but for it to jerk when he manages to manipulate those nevers. A spray of water is sent towards whomever has the current misfortune of sitting directly across from her although they'll be spared being hit by the larger droplets since they don't travel very far at all. Glaring directly at Nitrim once she recovers… well, that just gives her a lovely view of his naked butt when he climbs out, causing the poor girl's face to catch fire almost. "Oh…" Ahem. Think… think about anything but naked men. "Fighing. Right. If you wind up a man short and need someone to fill in the ranks, poke me. I'd love to fight along side of you all." And to Reena and Victor she dips her head. "It is a pleasure to meet you both." *repose for Ni*

When the others move to the other pool, Johana does too, standing, but she's wearing a black string bikini that hides the more.. intimate areas. Reaching for her towel and her wrap, she brings them over as she sits on the edge first, certainly not turning away from the ones not wearing anything at all. It doesn't seem to bother her at all. Reena's words make her laugh. "Sounds like a good plan. We should see if it works." Nitrim gets a going over as he also moves to the bigger one, and she grins to Vi. "Looks like he's a keeper." Giving her a wink before slipping into the water.

"Ritual sacrifice of Hostiles, you mean," Anabethe snorts to Reena. "Emund needs to get his head out of his ass before he wakes up one morning and finds someone else running his kingdom." And coming from Anabethe 'that's what I've got siblings for' Khournas, that's saying something. She takes the beer from Flint with a smirk, holding his gaze as she takes a long swallow. "Innocent's not really my thing, no," she agrees after. "But you can't blame a girl for wanting to get an up close look at the goods." Which she does, with a pointed elevator look before she goes to climb into the bigger pool.

Victor shrugs at Reena, "Son-of-a-bitch had a stick up his ass, but he got us fighting." He nods at Anabethe's response as well, "There's a reason they've got the restrictions they do though." He ducks underwater for a moment, then pops back up, rubbing the water from his face and bald scalp, "I'm sure that someone from House Khournas'll poke you if we're a man short and need a spot filled in, Lady Viannea." And then he looks over to Johana and her daring-in-any-other-company attire, "Really? Damn, you've got to get down to Volkan more often. Too much tourist crap up in Obsidia, makin' you soft." There's a teasing growl to his gravelly voice, and a rich laugh alights on his lips along with the words.

Reena claims her beer and uses the lip of pool to pop the cap off. She pries one eye open. "If you were wondering if the gossip in Landings was at least be more interesting than here," she mutters, "it's not. If I have to listen to one more discourse on what designers are going to be worn to the Sauveur-Cindravale wedding, I may wind up drowning myself in the Solarium pool." She sips her beer and settles in comfortably.

With a loud splash, likely less serene than the bathhouse is supposed to be, Nitrim takes his time under water until his smoker's lungs force him back up to the edge. Rising to his full height, buried to the hips in water, he turns his freshly tattooed back to the others and moves to the lip. Arms over it, he presses the front of his body to the tile and folds his arms as an impromptu pillow. "Oh, believe me, Flint, I know well that I have no clue what I'm in for, only that I'm going to be spending a lot of time feeling like I'd rather be stabbed to death than lay down on a pillow." He pauses, laughing. "Hey, you wouldn't be the first to nearly drown in that pool, REENA." Then, he wipes the water from his eyes and closes them, allowing himself a few moments of silence to collect his thoughts while the party shifts.

Viannea stands up and gets out of the pool, just as naked as Anabethe is but unlike her Viannea's still not exactly one to handle being publically nude well. Her towel is gathered and wrapped about her, the wet ends of her hair allowed to drip try. "Be careful of who is around to hear you say that, Johana," she then says once she's assured she's covered up from the top of her chest down to just above her knees. "If my brother hears you say that he just might get it into his head to try and convince Father to arrange a marriage between our houses." Not that it'd be a bad thing, of course. Vi's just not ready to get married. Or at least she feels as if she's not ready yet.

"I prefer the ones that know what they're doing." Flint muses. "The ones with experience, but don't brag about it. And if you tried the 'shrinking violet' routine, it really doesn't fit you. Espeically when you can cleave a Hostile in two. Which, I've seen." Rather amused by that look she gives him, he smiles. "So long as you don't mind me enjoying the view. And I always have been a fan of admiring the…scenery." As with everyone else, he'll follow along to the larger pool, deciding that this is a good time to kick off the sandals, and drop the pants. "No one who joins the Legion ever does until it's far too late, Nitrim. When you get the survival training, you'll be doing good." Sliding into the water, he'll take a seat next to Bethe.

Johana takes the teasing from Victor well, glancing down at her bikini then back to him, arching a brow. "I used to think leaving a little mystery, a little intrigue, never hurt. Though I have to admit, seeing the goods on display here, I may have to rethink my decision on that." Not pointing out anyone in particular, but she definitely does look around appreciatively. "There's a lot to be said for tourism though. This is my favorite tourism spot of anywhere. Or is it voyeurism?" Responding to his laugh with one of her own. When Vi mentions an arrangement, she grins. "I'm with you there. I know it has to happen, but give me a little time to live first. I'm just discovering what it is I like from the opposite sex."

Eyes opened, Nitrim looks down the row past Flint and Anabethe to the old pool, watching Johana and Viannea speak at a distance. Catching the profile of the Peake as she gets out of the pool, watching quietly as he remains pillowed onto his forearms. His words are directed to Flint. "I see it like this, Flint. When I find myself to the point of extinction and from that day forward I'm never really sure whether or not I survived it, from that point on life is what I make of it." Huffing softly as he hears Victor, Johana, and Viannea teasing each other. Eyes closing once more, he pushes off of the wall and wades to the center of the water, letting the heavy salt content keep him afloat in a more meditative stance. He raises his voice to the room. "With all of us here, we should all patrol together, or dinner, or something…"

"Ten years ago, I was a little different," Anabethe admits to Flint, settling in the large pool with her beer. "Ever obedient daughter. Let the world walk over me in the name of duty. And then…" She trails off, shrugging. "Now I'm less inclined to follow orders without asking a few questions first. But I've heard a few reports from the mountains about some of those missing Hostiles. Nothing concrete yet, just little rumors back and forth. Still, since the Drakes've been with me fighting Hostiles, we haven't had a chance to run the usual circuit and hear disputes, so we ought to get a trip in."

Victor snorts a laugh at Reena's commentary, "Lace. And frilly things. On the groom at least. Drakefire's got plenty of balls to wear something practical. And is that shit even still on anymore? The Valen aren't crying like little bitches about Sir Alexandros getting canned?" He beer bottle, carefully held up and out of the water even as he dunked himself, is brought up to his lips, and he takes a slug of the stiff brew within, pointing the bottle at Johana to indicate that he'll be responding as soon as he swallows, "Hey, this shit ain't just on display. We work hard, we've got to relax hard too, and there's nothin' short of a damn massage that does a number on your muscles like a good hot soak."

The water flashes white for a moment near the center of Nitrim's pools, and his eyes close over into white, reaching out to others.

"You deserved it," Reena quips at Nitrim, her lips curving in a slow smile with her eyes closed once more. "Arboren lettuce my lily white ass." She takes a long pull from her beer and sits up a bit, looking around the pool somewhat groggily. She gives Flint a brief looking over, as he's the only man she's not related to here. "I'm the ever obedient daughter now," she mutters. She shrugs at Victor. "I haven't heard otherwise. It's a love match from all accounts, and neither is an heir or even main line, so I don't imagine politics will affect it much."

Stepping close to the Lady Knight, Vi leans in close to speak quietly to her. "I just hope I will be able to be with a man before I get married off to someone," her quite admission being as to how she's not even been with someone. Hopefully the others are either too far to catched her hushed confession or are otherwise too busy with their own conversations to hear what it is she just said to Johana. "As romantic as it might be to be pure on the night of your wedding, I find the entire idea to be impractical and even a bit distateful." Not that she's in any rush to fix that.

"Ten years ago…" Flint laughs. "Damn you make me feel old, Bethe. Ten years ago, I was training new Legion troops. But I think I can relate, a little. Back before my funeral, but I was an Ash Knight, everyone expected me to take things over for running Grantham when my old man was tired of it. And I was ready to be heir, no questions asked. That is, until I finished my training, and I realized that I'd never be best for Grantham. And, you know, it takes a lot to admit that someone else can do the job better. Marah likes the job, she does a better job than I ever could. It's Ashleigh that's too much like me," he has to make a small laugh at that. "Still, we're smart enough not to get involved all this political busllshit." A nod then. "Why, Anabethe, you sure do know how to say all the right things. Checking me out and offering to me to find a fight? Why, it just warms my cockles." Beat, aling with a toothy grin. "You gonna hog that beer all to yourself or what?"

Hearing the reasoning from Victor, Ana laughs, "I have to agree. I come here more often than you know. Mostly when it's vacant and I am alone." For a moment, her gaze drifts to Nitrim and she reaches to tuck a few red tresses behind her ear as she offers an ever so slight nod, though then she leans in to listen to Vi. Ohhh, "I think it's a good idea to explore a little. I ah.. found out the benefits of that myself." Like Vi, her voice is soft. "But it's only been the one man that I've been with. It's probably a good idea to see how compatible you are before."

Nitrim swims from the center of the large pool towards the stairs that lead out of it. A quiet expression on his face, he cracks an eye towards Reena, which ends in a smirk peaking at the corner of his lip. "It was an accident, Reena, but it was good times. I'll buy you a new dress, aye?" He extends his arm towards her. His aura flashes and his towel, having been left all of the way across the room, soars across the distance and floats into his hand. Only then does Nitrim tie it around his waist. "Bethe, Flint, Victor, Lady Viannea, Johana, everybody…I think I need to rest in quiet for a while. Later this evening I'll be ready to be about. See you all then?" He slicks a hand over the top of his head, matting his hair back.

"That was kind of the plan, yeah," Anabethe grins to Flint as she takes another swig. Before she can say anything more though, she catches Reena's words and instead passes the bottle wordlessly to Flint. "Reena, you know if there's something else you want to do, I'll talk to Dad for you. You don't have to- No one wants to force you into something miserable, least of all me."

Victor shakes his head at Reena's response, although his snort now seems to be for the absent couple, "Idiots. Too much to do with just fighting the Hosties to get involved in all that shit." He moves over to one side of the pool, stretching his legs out toward the center and skootching down so that his shoulders are just barely high enough to spread his arms across the lip of the pool, "If I light up, no one's gonna splash me in the face and ruin my damn cigar, are they?" Whatever Beth and Vi are whispering about is clearly not meant for his ears, so he's not even trying to listen in. He does, however, grin over at Flint, "Well, Beth'll get to keep running around killing shit with us," the Drakes, "for a while, but she's gonna have to learn some of the political bullshit some time if she wants to be High Lady." Lifting up his bottle, he adds, "And I pity the hell out of her for that task." The last is added with a grin at the cousin in question. As Nitrim excuses himself, he lifts up the bottle again in salute, "See you 'round, 'Trim."

Viannea nods slowly. "I think I'll need to take Aidan up on his offer and let him take me on a visit to one of the…" How can one say 'brothel' in a tactful manner? Oh well. Perhaps Johana will know what she means without having to say it. Nitrim's words of parting has her giving him a wave and then she's drifting to where the others are so she can sit by the edge of the pool. Not having heard any of the wedding chatter or the talk between Anabethe and Flint makes for a quiet Vi who is trying to catch up.

Reena stretches out her legs, trying to ease the tension running through her, and then cracks her back repeatedly. "A new dress would appease my vicious side, yes," she replies to Nitrim with a faint grin. Anabethe's offer is met with a smirk. "I think we both know that father is not going to change whatever plans he has for me because you talked to him, Beth. I'm resigned to it, however. I just had too much to drink the other night and was more…forthcoming with words than I normally am." She flits a look at Victor. "Only if you don't share, cousin."

"You know where to find me, Nitrim." Flint remarks easily, taking Bethe's beer and wordlessly drinking before handing it back. Before looking back, he's only been partially listening to conversation at hand. "Er, is this a family matter?" he asks after a moment. "Y'know, don't want to pry or anything, but I take it the topic is marriages, eh?"

"What, you think I go along with Dad's orders because I really like them?" Anabethe arches a brow at Reena, taking the bottle back without looking. "Look, there's no harm in talking to him. Especially if it's making you this unhappy. And if you won't do it yourself, I'm glad to go into the drake's den and do it myself, okay? I just-" She sighs, leaning back against the edge of the pool and taking a drink. "You say another thing about paperwork and responsibilities, Vic, and I'll wash your mouth out with soap. Those are dirty words, and not the good kind."

Victor twists at the edge of the pool to reach for the cigar case, "I've never been more jealous of my brother and 'Trim than when my lazy ass is sitting down and can't reach the booze or cigars." Collecting the case, he sets down his beer to go through the ritual of using the case's integrated equipment to clip and light a couple of cigars. "Hey, you're the Heir," a chortle touches his words, "You get the good shit and the bad." He holds the first cigar out to Reena, then prepares another for himself, holding up the box, "Anyone else?" Flint's words to the group cause him to shake his head and chuckle, "Marriage is for when I'm too damned old to kill Hosties anymore." He pauses, then admits with a grimace, "or for whenever the fuck the boss-man needs a guy to throw at some likely lady."

"Don't worry about me, Beth. I'll be fine," Reena says calmly. "If you want to teach me to be a little less vulnerable in a battle, perhaps I could start coming out with you as a field medic. The Six know you need my healing skills often enough." She thanks Victor quietly for the cigar and takes a pull from it.

Viannea claims a cigar but doesn't look like she'll be smoking it, either going through the motions to take Victor up on his generousity or planning on saving the cigar for later. "Thank you very much." She sets it upon a dry spot on her lap while making sure it isn't going to go rolling off into the pool. "All this talk makes me glad I was not born first or somehow otherwise made to endure having to suffer a marriage I do not want," she adds then, giving Reena a slightly sad smile after she says that.

"Damn skippy." agrees Flint towards Victor. "That's one less thing for me to worry about." he adds, then flicking two fingers in his direction at the offering of a cigar. "That's the -other- reason why I let my sister handle all that stuff. Granted, there was Zayne till he passed, but Ashleigh will do just fine. But at least that shit ain't being pressed on me anymore." A laugh is registered over towards Viannea. "I was born first, but I turned that down after I knew I wouldn't be as good as Marah. Put the person best fit for the job in the role, doesn't always have to be the first kid."

"The whole marriage thing really isn't that big of a deal," Anabethe shrugs. "As long as you don't marry a complete asshole who gets a big head over it." She wrinkles her nose, taking another sip of beer. "Fucking Nik. The paperwork's another matter," she admits. "Not really my thing. Especially not when we've got important battles to fight now."

Victor offers up the case with its clipper and lighter to Viannea, then shrugs when she just keeps the cigar, setting the case down and collecting his beer again. Settling back on the submerged bench, he spreads his hulking shoulders out across the lip of the pool, cigar in one hand and bottle in the other, and lets out a long, contented sigh, "Yeah. This is the life. Kill the shit out of Hosties, come back home for a soak." He takes of pull of his beer, then lets his head rest back against the lip of the pool as well, "I still say you shoulda let me throw him off the top of the Blackspyre, Beth. We could have made bets on how long he screamed before his throat seized up or he had a fuckin' heart attack. And I'm sure some of the Drakes'd be willin' to give you some basic lessons, Reena." Lifting his head again, he smirks broadly, "You know that you'll have to wear armor though, right? And armor doesn't come in 'drop-dead-gorgeous' outside the Vale." He'll tease Bethe, he'll tease Reena, it appears he'll tease most anyone.

"Of course it's not a big deal for you, Beth. You're an Heir - you aren't going anywhere. Those of us further down the political ladder have to worry about where we'll end up. Like freezing our knickers off on an ice moon, or stuck at the dinner table with some poncey Valen," Reena says with a shudder. She smirks at Victor and flicks water at him with a toe. "I can make even armor look good, Cueball."

Having gotten into the water and waded around some, letting the conversation flow around her, Johana moves to the side, near Vi, lowering her voice once more. "Surely you can do better than.. that. I'm not saying it's not a fair thing to do and leaves you free of emotional attachments, but maybe someone you were a little closer to if you told him from the start what it was for, it'd be better?" With a quick look to Reena, she studies her a moment. "Is everything alright?"

"But is that a huge deal?" Flint wonders aloud. "But I guess, to me, the political has never been one worth climbing, unless you're a Senator. Then it might have some measure of value. I mean, sure you could get married to someone you hate, but isn't that what Companions are for? I mean, really, at this point, marriage is just an excuse to keep the human race going." A shrug. "Shelter isn't so bad. I thought it was pretty when I was there. Well, at least when we weren't staining it red."

"It's not like you're banished when you get married, Reena," Anabethe rolls her eyes at her sister. "What's it matter where you fall asleep at night? It's not like it's not going to be climate-controlled. I mean, I wouldn't send you to the Ring," she shudders. "That doesn't count as a place. It's just…limbo. Floating around. In space. Being all…weird, and shit. But otherwise? You can be where you want. And if nothing else, there's someone whose job it is to put up with you. So there's that."

Viannea knows that it's wrong to find Reena's words amusing, especially considering she seems genuinely distraught at the idea. But she can't help but to find herself having to fight the urge to smile and then lift a hand to her mouth to feign a cough when she realizes it's a battle she's losing. "I am sure it'll all work out to your advantage," she says between fake bouts of clearing her throat.

The Ash Knight laughs a little at Anabethe. "You haven't actually been to the Ring, have you? That description isn't exactly fair, you know. It's bigger than most of the Lashes. And it's not just all climate controlled levels and sterile clean rooms, there's actually a level dedicated to plant growth?" A smirk. "You sound like a goddamn Leonnida, Bethe. And to be fair, we're all floating around in space, just a matter of perspective. Ring and the Lashes have an orbit just like the rest of the planets."

Victor puffs on his cigar, blowing the smoke in a thin stream up and away from those present, "C'mon Flint, Niveus should be dropped into a fuckin' tumbler with about three fingers of good whiskey." Which is to say, it's an icecube, although one wonders about the size of the glass and fingers necessary to make that work. Looking back to Reena, he shrugs, "Hell no… I make armor look good." Which is to say, like a crawler — low, broad, thick. "Besides, you'll get tossed to someone the boss-man actually wants to keep happy. I'm just the sop he'll throw out there when he wants a vague alliance." Shuddering a bit, he grimaces, "But I hope to hell it's not the Vale. Gods-damned people like their fucking meals-on-hooves around too much."

"Yes Johana, everything is just fine," Reena says with a practiced smile. No she's not all right, but she's used to pretending. "I'm just overtired after a stay on Niveus, battling what they thought was a virus, which turned out to be a toxin instead." She eyes Flint a moment with a soft chuckle. "Easy for you to say, Sir Flint. You just have to stick your sword in a wife then go off and do Knightly things away from her. You don't have to carry the spawn for nine months then birth it, feed it, and raise it. Now imagine having to do that with someone you despise in a place you hate." She grins and resumes her calm, closing her eyes and sipping her beer.

"You can keep the human race going without marriage. Trust me, I've considered it. We've got frozen sperm from very worthy donors who would ensure the greatest genes. As far as companions go, I'd never go for that unless I just completely despised the person I married, it's just not who I am." Lifting herself out of the water, Johana perches on the edge, reaching for her towel to wipe her face as the water beads up on her lashes. She shivers and chill bumps spring up all over her body. At the mention further of kids, she grins. "You could get a surrogate to carry it. I may do it. So I don't have to leave the battlefield. Just use my egg and whoever my husband eventually is and carry it for me."

Flint shrugs at Victor. "When you live on Ignis, seeing the exact opposite like Niveus is…well, a little appealing. I mean, I can't exactly talk. Niveus has…ice. Lost and lots of ice. But at least it looks better than a world full of lava flows, hardly breathable atmosphere and constant ash storms that sweep over the planet at intervals. I love Ignis, but there's -a lot- about it that other may not find all that appealing. And honestly, I can't in good concience fault them for that. If I wasn't born in the Pit, I'd wonder why the hell would people live there at all, given one step out of the Pit's walls could mean a death sentence."

"The spawn are not that bad," Anabethe shakes her head to Reena. "Mikail's got none of his father's assholery. He's a good kid. Probably because I didn't raise him," she adds, rubbing a hand at her brow with a faint wince. "Look, all I'm saying is life is what you make of it, okay? That's who we are. Look at Volkan," she says with a tip of her chin toward the door. "Or the Pit. These aren't places where you'd generally say people were meant to live. But we've made homes out of them. We've taken fire and sulfur and toxic fumes and death and we've turned them into homes. If we can do that with whole planets, with fucking volcanos, I think it can be done with other people."

By now the subject of marriage and babies and being pregnant has Vi fairly well discomforted since it is a reminder that she's probably failing in her duties as a Lady of House Peake. Not that her parents would ever say outright if she is but she's twenty-two and getting older with every passing birthday and they probably do hope she'll find herself a husband soon. Pushing up with a hand, Viannea gets to her feet and smiles to everyone here despite her discomfort. "I think I should go and secure myself some lodgings since it seems that my visit here will be extended by a day or two. Thank you all for the lovely company and interesting conversation." A bow is made, hand clutched to her towel to make sure it won't fall off, and then she's off to get dressed.

Victor snorts at Johana, "That's just… odd." He drains down the last of his beer, setting the bottle aside and grunting in thought. "I mean, it makes some sense, 'cause I've seen you and Beth fight, but shit… just something odd about it. Blame Carron," that would be his father, who he calls by his first name — talk about odd, "for all the old-timey bullshit." He shrugs over at Flint, chuckling and drawing on his cigar, "You've seen the Black Wastes, yeah? And Mount Drakan ain't much different." Raising a hand to Viannea, he puts in, "Talk to the majordomo about a room in the Spyre. If you're stayin', the least we can do is put you up."

"That's exactly the reason why I won't get married, Lady Reena." Flint admits. "If I ever wanted to do the 'dad' and the 'married' thing, I'd want to be all in it, and I can't in good conscience do so while I'm so preoccupied killing stuff. So, I swore I never word, not just for my sake, but for others. And yeah, I've made a donation at the sperm bank, should I come to a grisly demise somewhere down the line. I may be a lot of things, and I'll admit to the majority of them, but a deadbeat father wouldn't be one of them. I know responsibility when it hits me in the mouth. There's no honor in that kind of father, no matter the reason for not being there. But because I know I wouldn't be able to hold up my end of the bargain on that, it's just better that I not tempt fate, eh?"

"It's all moot anyhow. It's not like anyone is scrambling to wed me," Reena points out. "Being exposed to something deadly on Niveus was a bit of a wake up, is all. I took the measure of my life, and what my future holds, and it's amounted to nothing but being a bargaining chip. I can cook a fine meal, embroider a favor, sing a verse, and dance a waltz. But at the end of the day, what does that contribute to anything? Nothing." She waves slightly to the departing Peake and puffs on her stogie.

"It contributes everything," Anabethe protests. "What do you think the rest of us are fighting for? Why would we fight for- For what? We fight so that people can do the things you do, Reena. So that there can be art, and beauty, and places where people don't have to sacrifice heart and body every-" She stops herself with a huff, reaching up to push a hand through her hair. "Quit sulking," she finally snaps. "Put on your big girl panties and appreciate what you've got, because your life is not that bad." Apparently, Anabethe is her father's daughter.

Ready to go get on with the remainder of her own day, Johana rises and loosely ties her wrap around her hips again, her towel in hand. "Odd hmm?" Giving Victor a playful smirk. "I'd rather fight the Hostiles than stay home spitting out babies.. It's technology and I'm definitely not adverse to using it to my advantage." With a grin, she winds up her towel and attempts to pop him lightly with it. "See you guys later, Beth, Flint, Vic. If you ever want to talk Reena, just hit me up, yeah?"

Victor points to Anabethe at her protest, "That. Well, except for the big girl panties, I don't want to know shit about your panties." Because bathing naked in the same pool is completely different. Tucking his cigar into one corner of his mouth, he turns back to Reena, "And bullshit. I'm sure all your admirers are just scared shitless of your big sister. I'm sure there are plenty of poor bastards around Landing pining now that you're away." He nods to Johana, "Oh, I get it. Like I said, blame the fat fuck." Apparently Nitrim isn't the only Khourni male with daddy issues.

Reena's eyes snap to her sister. There is a wounded look beneath the angry blue. "You have noidea what my life is like," she says in a clipped tone. She rises and stalks towards the changing room with her beer and her cigar in hand, not bothering with a towel. "Thanks for the booze Vic," she calls back, giving Johana a small nod at her offer. Then she's gone.

Flint just listens to this repartee between Khourni siblings, leaning back against the edge of the pool. It's a somewhat odd insight the Grantham gets at viewing the family societal culture of Khournas. Watching three of the ladies get up and leave, Reena in particular, he just kinda shrugs. He's silent to all three have left the pool. "Comparing lives to one another and seeing who has it worst never goes well. Think it effects everyone in their own way. Some…just want to be valued more. Be worthy of something. Anything." Beat. "Is there anymore beer?"

Probably the only one without Daddy Issues, Johana gives Victor an easygoing smile. "There's no blame." Tossing her towel at him she laughs before walking out.

"What, you think I go along with Dad's orders because I really like them?" Anabethe arches a brow at Reena, taking the bottle back without looking. "Look, there's no harm in talking to him. Especially if it's making you this unhappy. And if you won't do it yourself, I'm glad to go into the drake's den and do it myself, okay? I just-" She sighs, leaning back against the edge of the pool and taking a drink. "You say another thing about paperwork and responsibilities, Vic, and I'll wash your mouth out with soap. Those are dirty words, and not the good kind."

Victor twists at the edge of the pool to reach for the cigar case, "I've never been more jealous of my brother and 'Trim than when my lazy ass is sitting down and can't reach the booze or cigars." Collecting the case, he sets down his beer to go through the ritual of using the case's integrated equipment to clip and light a couple of cigars. "Hey, you're the Heir," a chortle touches his words, "You get the good shit and the bad." He holds the first cigar out to Reena, then prepares another for himself, holding up the box, "Anyone else?" Flint's words to the group cause him to shake his head and chuckle, "Marriage is for when I'm too damned old to kill Hosties anymore." He pauses, then admits with a grimace, "or for whenever the fuck the boss-man needs a guy to throw at some likely lady."

"Don't worry about me, Beth. I'll be fine," Reena says calmly. "If you want to teach me to be a little less vulnerable in a battle, perhaps I could start coming out with you as a field medic. The Six know you need my healing skills often enough." She thanks Victor quietly for the cigar and takes a pull from it.

Viannea claims a cigar but doesn't look like she'll be smoking it, either going through the motions to take Victor up on his generosity or planning on saving the cigar for later. "Thank you very much." She sets it upon a dry spot on her lap while making sure it isn't going to go rolling off into the pool. "All this talk makes me glad I was not born first or somehow otherwise made to endure having to suffer a marriage I do not want," she adds then, giving Reena a slightly sad smile after she says that.

"Damn skippy." agrees Flint towards Victor. "That's one less thing for me to worry about." he adds, then flicking two fingers in his direction at the offering of a cigar. "That's the -other- reason why I let my sister handle all that stuff. Granted, there was Zayne till he passed, but Ashleigh will do just fine. But at least that shit ain't being pressed on me anymore." A laugh is registered over towards Viannea. "I was born first, but I turned that down after I knew I wouldn't be as good as Marah. Put the person best fit for the job in the role, doesn't always have to be the first kid."

"The whole marriage thing really isn't that big of a deal," Anabethe shrugs. "As long as you don't marry a complete asshole who gets a big head over it." She wrinkles her nose, taking another sip of beer. "Fucking Nik. The paperwork's another matter," she admits. "Not really my thing. Especially not when we've got important battles to fight now."

Victor offers up the case with its clipper and lighter to Viannea, then shrugs when she just keeps the cigar, setting the case down and collecting his beer again. Settling back on the submerged bench, he spreads his hulking shoulders out across the lip of the pool, cigar in one hand and bottle in the other, and lets out a long, contented sigh, "Yeah. This is the life. Kill the shit out of Hosties, come back home for a soak." He takes of pull of his beer, then lets his head rest back against the lip of the pool as well, "I still say you shoulda let me throw him off the top of the Blackspyre, Beth. We could have made bets on how long he screamed before his throat seized up or he had a fuckin' heart attack. And I'm sure some of the Drakes'd be willin' to give you some basic lessons, Reena." Lifting his head again, he smirks broadly, "You know that you'll have to wear armor though, right? And armor doesn't come in 'drop-dead-gorgeous' outside the Vale." He'll tease Bethe, he'll tease Reena, it appears he'll tease most anyone.

"Of course it's not a big deal for you, Beth. You're an Heir - you aren't going anywhere. Those of us further down the political ladder have to worry about where we'll end up. Like freezing our knickers off on an ice moon, or stuck at the dinner table with some poncey Valen," Reena says with a shudder. She smirks at Victor and flicks water at him with a toe. "I can make even armor look good, Cueball."

Having gotten into the water and waded around some, letting the conversation flow around her, she remains at the side, near Vi, lowering her voice once more. "Surely you can do better than.. that. I'm not saying it's not a fair thing to do and leaves you free of emotional attachments, but maybe someone you were a little closer to if you told him from the start what it was for, it'd be better?" With a quick look to Reena, she studies her a moment. "Is everything alright?"

"But is that a huge deal?" Flint wonders aloud. "But I guess, to me, the political has never been one worth climbing, unless you're a Senator. Then it might have some measure of value. I mean, sure you could get married to someone you hate, but isn't that what Companions are for? I mean, really, at this point, marriage is just an excuse to keep the human race going." A shrug. "Shelter isn't so bad. I thought it was pretty when I was there. Well, at least when we weren't staining it red."

"It's not like you're banished when you get married, Reena," Anabethe rolls her eyes at her sister. "What's it matter where you fall asleep at night? It's not like it's not going to be climate-controlled. I mean, I wouldn't send you to the Ring," she shudders. "That doesn't count as a place. It's just…limbo. Floating around. In space. Being all…weird, and shit. But otherwise? You can be where you want. And if nothing else, there's someone whose job it is to put up with you. So there's that."

Viannea knows that it's wrong to find Reena's words amusing, especially considering she seems genuinely distraught at the idea. But she can't help but to find herself having to fight the urge to smile and then lift a hand to her mouth to feign a cough when she realizes it's a battle she's losing. "I am sure it'll all work out to your advantage," she says between fake bouts of clearing her throat.

The Ash Knight laughs a little at Anabethe. "You haven't actually been to the Ring, have you? That description isn't exactly fair, you know. It's bigger than most of the Lashes. And it's not just all climate controlled levels and sterile clean rooms, there's actually a level dedicated to plant growth?" A smirk. "You sound like a goddamn Leonnida, Bethe. And to be fair, we're all floating around in space, just a matter of perspective. Ring and the Lashes have an orbit just like the rest of the planets."

Victor puffs on his cigar, blowing the smoke in a thin stream up and away from those present, "C'mon Flint, Niveus should be dropped into a fuckin' tumbler with about three fingers of good whiskey." Which is to say, it's an icecube, although one wonders about the size of the glass and fingers necessary to make that work. Looking back to Reena, he shrugs, "Hell no… I make armor look good." Which is to say, like a crawler — low, broad, thick. "Besides, you'll get tossed to someone the boss-man actually wants to keep happy. I'm just the sop he'll throw out there when he wants a vague alliance." Shuddering a bit, he grimaces, "But I hope to hell it's not the Vale. Gods-damned people like their fucking meals-on-hooves around too much."

"Yes Johana, everything is just fine," Reena says with a practiced smile. No she's not all right, but she's used to pretending. "I'm just overtired after a stay on Niveus, battling what they thought was a virus, which turned out to be a toxin instead." She eyes Flint a moment with a soft chuckle. "Easy for you to say, Sir Flint. You just have to stick your sword in a wife then go off and do Knightly things away from her. You don't have to carry the spawn for nine months then birth it, feed it, and raise it. Now imagine having to do that with someone you despise in a place you hate." She grins and resumes her calm, closing her eyes and sipping her beer.

"You can keep the human race going without marriage. Trust me, I've considered it. We've got frozen sperm from very worthy donors who would ensure the greatest genes. As far as companions go, I'd never go for that unless I just completely despised the person I married, it's just not who I am." Lifting herself out of the water, she perches on the edge, reaching for her towel to wipe her face as the water beads up on her lashes. She shivers and chill bumps spring up all over her body. At the mention further of kids, she grins. "You could get a surrogate to carry it. I may do it. So I don't have to leave the battlefield. Just use my egg and whoever my husband eventually is and carry it for me."

Flint shrugs at Victor. "When you live on Ignis, seeing the exact opposite like Niveus is…well, a little appealing. I mean, I can't exactly talk. Niveus has…ice. Lost and lots of ice. But at least it looks better than a world full of lava flows, hardly breathable atmosphere and constant ash storms that sweep over the planet at intervals. I love Ignis, but there's -a lot- about it that other may not find all that appealing. And honestly, I can't in good concience fault them for that. If I wasn't born in the Pit, I'd wonder why the hell would people live there at all, given one step out of the Pit's walls could mean a death sentence."

"The spawn are not that bad," Anabethe shakes her head to Reena. "Mikail's got none of his father's assholery. He's a good kid. Probably because I didn't raise him," she adds, rubbing a hand at her brow with a faint wince. "Look, all I'm saying is life is what you make of it, okay? That's who we are. Look at Volkan," she says with a tip of her chin toward the door. "Or the Pit. These aren't places where you'd generally say people were meant to live. But we've made homes out of them. We've taken fire and sulfur and toxic fumes and death and we've turned them into homes. If we can do that with whole planets, with fucking volcanos, I think it can be done with other people."

By now the subject of marriage and babies and being pregnant has Vi fairly well discomfortated since it is a reminder that she's probably failing in her duties as a Lady of House Peake. Not that her parents would ever say outright if she is but she's twenty-two and geting older with every passing birthday and they probably do hope she'll find herself a husband soon. Pushing up with a hand, Viannea gets to her feet and smiles to everyone here despite her discomfort. "I think I should go and secure myself some lodgings since it seems that my visit here will be extended by a day or two. Thank you all for the lovely company and interesting conversation." A bow is made, hand clutched to her towel to make sure it won't fall off, and then she's off to get dressed.

Victor snorts at Johana, "That's just… odd." He drains down the last of his beer, setting the bottle aside and grunting in thought. "I mean, it makes some sense, 'cause I've seen you and Beth fight, but shit… just something odd about it. Blame Carron," that would be his father, who he calls by his first name — talk about odd, "for all the old-timey bullshit." He shrugs over at Flint, chuckling and drawing on his cigar, "You've seen the Black Wastes, yeah? And Mount Drakan ain't much different." Raising a hand to Viannea, he puts in, "Talk to the majordomo about a room in the Spyre. If you're stayin', the least we can do is put you up."

"That's exactly the reason why I won't get married, Lady Reena." Flint admits. "If I ever wanted to do the 'dad' and the 'married' thing, I'd want to be all in it, and I can't in good concience do so while I'm so preoccupied killing stuff. So, I swore I never word, not just for my sake, but for others. And yeah, I've made a donation at the sperm bank, should I come to a grisley demise somewhere down the line. I may be a lot of things, and I'll admit to the majority of them, but a deadbeat father wouldn't be one of them. I know responsibility when it hits me in the mouth. There's no honor in that kind of father, no matter the reason for not being there. But because I know I wouldn't be able to hold up my end of the bargain on that, it's just better that I not tempt fate, eh?"

"It's all moot anyhow. It's not like anyone is scrambling to wed me," Reena points out. "Being exposed to something deadly on Niveus was a bit of a wake up, is all. I took the measure of my life, and what my future holds, and it's amounted to nothing but being a bargaining chip. I can cook a fine meal, embroider a favor, sing a verse, and dance a waltz. But at the end of the day, what does that contribute to anything? Nothing." She waves slightly to the departing Peake and puffs on her stoagie.

"It contributes everything," Anabethe protests. "What do you think the rest of us are fighting for? Why would we fight for- For what? We fight so that people can do the things you do, Reena. So that there can be art, and beauty, and places where people don't have to sacrifice heart and body every-" She stops herself with a huff, reaching up to push a hand through her hair. "Quit sulking," she finally snaps. "Put on your big girl panties and appreciate what you've got, because your life is not that bad." Apparently, Anabethe is her father's daughter.

Ready to go get on with the remainder of her own day, Johana rises and loosely ties her wrap around her hips again, her towel in hand. "Odd hmm?" Giving Victor a playful smirk. "I'd rather fight the Hostiles than stay home spitting out babies.. It's technology and I'm definitely not adverse to using it to my advantage." With a grin, she winds up her towel and attempts to pop him lightly with it. "See you guys later, Beth, Flint, Vic. If you ever want to talk Reena, just hit me up, yeah?"

Victor points to Anabethe at her protest, "That. Well, except for the big girl panties, I don't want to know shit about your panties." Because bathing naked in the same pool is completely different. Tucking his cigar into one corner of his mouth, he turns back to Reena, "And bullshit. I'm sure all your admirers are just scared shitless of your big sister. I'm sure there are plenty of poor bastards around Landing pining now that you're away." He nods to Johana, "Oh, I get it. Like I said, blame the fat fuck." Apparently Nitrim isn't the only Khourni male with daddy issues.

Reena's eyes snap to her sister. There is a wounded look beneath the angry blue. "You have noidea what my life is like," she says in a clipped tone. She rises and stalks towards the changing room with her beer and her cigar in hand, not bothering with a towel. "Thanks for the booze Vic," she calls back, giving Johana a small nod at her offer. Then she's gone.

Flint just listens to this reparte between Khourni siblings, leaning back against the edge of the pool. It's a somewhat odd insight the Grantham gets at viewing the family socitietal culture of Khournas. Watching three of the ladies get up and leave, Reena in particular, he just kinda shrugs. He's silent to all three have left the pool. "Comparing lives to one another and seeing who has it worst never goes well. Think it effects everyone in their own way. Some…just want to be valued more. Be worthy of something. Anything." Beat. "Is there anymore beer?"

Probably the only one without Daddy Issues, Johana gives Victor an easygoing smile. "There's no blame." Tossing her towel at him she laughs before walking out.

"Oh my gods, could you sound like more of a whiny teenager?" Anabethe mutters under her breath as her sister makes her way out of the baths. Siblings. High-born or low, child or adult, there's going to be bickering. "You sound like Sophie!" she shouts after Reena. Because that's totally better. And adult. And the worst insult she can come up with at the moment. "Poor me, nobody understands me." She snorts, taking a swallow of her beer and offering the last of it to Flint. See? Guest-right! You get the last of the beer. "She needs to get laid. Hell, I need to get laid."

Victor offers a salute of his cigar to Reena as she departs, "Any time." He looks over to Flint then, "Welcome to Khournas-family-drama. We kick each others' ass, but anyone comes after any one of us, look the fuck out." He grunts at Flint's question, gesturing toward the four remaining bottles from the six-pack, "Grab me another one while you're at it?" He manages to pull his cigar out of the way as Johana tosses her towel at him, he catches it with his other hand, chuckling and shaking his head, "We keep throwing clothes at each other, someone's gonna think we are gettin' laid." Although the comparison to Sophie causes him to grimace a bit, "Knight on a fucking crutch, Beth… really? I'd have to throw her off the Spyre if that was true."

"Bethe, -nobody- is as bad as Sophie. Or if there was, I think Imperius would get sucked into a black hole of crying teen angst drama." Flint grunts, lifting himself out the water to get himself another beer. "Nah, ain't nothing I haven't already seen. If you guys haven't figured it out, Grantham is a lot like Khournas. Though, our arguments tend to turn into fistfights and then we laugh it off and get wasted in the meadhall. Me and my brother would tear a hall apart, that'd turn into an all out bar brawl, and a hall full of drunk Legion…heh, everyone is just looking to get in a few good punches. The old man tanned our hides a couple times for that." Glancing back at Anabethe when he gets back in the pool and retaking his seat next to her. "Well, I don't think that'll be too hard for you. But yeah, she needs to visit the brothel sometime. Get that pent up aggression out."

"All right, maybe not as bad as Sophie," Anabethe admits, rolling her eyes with a sigh that fits right in with the teenage drama. "I just don't know what to do with the sulking. And it is sulking. But she won't fix it, and she won't let me fix it, so I don't get it. What's the point?" She mutters a frustrated sound, then shakes her head. "Anyhow. Whatever. At least Nitrim's got his shit together so they aren't both sulking at the same time."

Victor nods his agreement at Flint's points, then hauls himself out of the water, "I am not going to worry about Reena sulking about having to marry some son-of-a-bitch she doesn't know. She knows we'll kick his ass if he's bad to her. But I am gonna go float and soak a bit, then get myself a damned massage. I deserve to be pampered, damn it." He smirks hard at that, "And yes, she's hot as hell," the masseuse, apparently, "And yes, she's a Citizen." Collecting another beer and an ashtray for his cigar, he pads over to one of the smaller pools, "See you 'round." Because talking obviously isn't relaxing enough for the big Khourni.

"You can't change people until they're willing to change themselves." Flint offers. "Anything you say is just going to reinforce what she's already doing. So. Let her do it until she realizes it isn't the way to go about it. You gotta let people, even siblings deal with their own fuckups. When they want to come to you, they will. Nobody can be 'fixed'" he states with a simple shrug. Giving a tilt of his beer bottle to Victor, he watches him trod off. "Don't worry about her. Whatever happens, she'll be fine in the long run."

"I just don't want them to be miserable, is all," Anabethe grimaces to Flint. "Have a good time, Vic!" she calls after her cousin, lifting a hand out of the water to wave. "Let them know I'll probably be by later, too." She leans back then, letting her head rest against the edge of the pool. After a moment, she twists her head to look over at Flint. "You," she notes, "Are trouble."

"Sometimes they have to be miserable to understand that there's a better way. But growth only comes from within." Flint isn't much for advice, but when he is, sometimes, it can be barely relevant. "You can disagree with what she does, just don't resent her for it. I mean, that's what being siblings is all about." Her look towards him gets nothing but another toothy grin. "Who? Me? Trouble. Pft, I think that's the nicest compliment you've ever given me. How am I trouble?"

"Just close enough to being appropriate to give a girl hope, and with absolutely no interest in being appropriate," Anabethe summarizes, lips quirking in a faint smirk. "So. There's that. I mean, honestly? Reena can worry all she wants, but it's not like there are worthwhile prospects coming out of the walls. We start finding some of those and she might have something to worry about, but right now? I don't see Dad going for any of the ones I've seen lately."

"Guilty as charged." Flint replies, blunt. "We can discuss just how appropriate you'd like me to be later, if you want." he offers just perhaps a touch sly. "Is that really what she's so concerned with? A decent marriage proposal. Sure, I get the whole wanting to keep the house strong jist, but that's not the only she should be concerning herself with. Have you suspected that it might be because she doesn't seem to be the type that thinks all that highly of herself? Or is she making it a bigger issue than what it really needs to be?"

"Sweet cheeks, when it comes to laters, the last thing I want is appropriate," Anabethe laughs low, shaking her head. "I honestly don't know what the issue is with Reena, though," she admits. "I really don't. No one's making her do anything right now, so it feels like, to me, she's getting all worked up over something that hasn't even happened, you know? Maybe you're right, maybe she doesn't realize how useful she is in her own way. But she is. No one's saying she isn't except for her."

"That's why I gave you the option. Wasn't sure how you liked things." Flint winks, though he does take a moment to glance about for a moment before continuing, pausing in drinking his beer slowly. "I think she sees the family, your family, and feels more like the odd one out than Nitrim might. You're all contribuiting to the war effort. You're all soldiers, you're all doing good things for everyone. What's she doing? How is she contribuiting? As someone on the outside, it looks like she's feeling useless, and the only way, if I had to guess, in her head the best she can do is get a strong, but it doesn't sound like it's something she really wants to do. But it's all she can do. I dunno, I'm just playing couch psychologist. And she has more to offer than just getting herself married. She does have more to offer, but I don't know if anyone has told her that. And even if they did, would she believe it?"

"We've all told her that," Anabethe grimaces. "That's why we've pushed her to be different. We're all knights, and we need someone who can be the other things a house needs to run. What she sees as something that makes her less valuable is what makes her more valuable to the rest of us." She sighs, waving it off. "Anyhow. No more. I don't want to talk about it anymore. Let's talk about something more fun."

"She'll be alright. This all sounds like something that isn't going to be fixed in just a few conversations anyways, so there's really no point in rushing it." Flint nods, continuing to nurse that beer of his. "Something more fun, eh? You never really have talked about stuff you do that consider fun. Beyond the drinking, killing, and fucking bits. Which, seems fun to just about everyone. Granted, I could ask just how much flirting you're interested in before we both stop beating around the bush. Or you just go ahead and ask me the twenty questions bit. I'm easy to please."

"Those are pretty much the things I consider fun," Anabethe chuckles, reaching up to push her hair away from her face. "Hunting drakes. Fixing people's problems. I like fixing things, though I never really got a chance to indulge in that," she admits. "If I wasn't going to learn about fighting, then I needed to learn about running the place. No time for me to stop and learn how to tinker with things."

"Is this a mechanical type of fixing or a more psychological one?" Flint earnestly, before adding, "Ah, the mechanical kind. That's actually not something I'd expect from you, so it's a bit interesting to hear. Anything in particular. Or just a more overall, in general kind of thing. Suppose you could still do that in down time if you wanted. Hell, I work in the mines when I'm exactly needed for military related matters. Always thought it was kinda odd that I found manual labor fulfilling, almost enjoyable."

"I think machines and the like are a hell of a lot easier to fix than people," Anabethe points out with a crooked smile. "You get the right parts, you figure out what's causing the problem, you fix it. People are a little more complicated. But like I said, it's not something I've ever really had the chance to indulge. Some day, maybe. You know, if we manage to kill all the Hostiles and suddenly I find myself with a lot of spare time on my hands."

"Maybe in you will in your lifetime, I don't know about mine." Flint chuckles. "But I think that's something you should seriously look into if you have the time to do. Which is easier said then done sure, but if we don't find time to just do something that….satisfies us, I guess for lack of a better word, our lives will be nothing but the war. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to be one of those people who no longer have a purpose." He smiles. "So don't go fucking crazy. Don't let the war become your life, if you can help it at least."

"Become?" Anabethe echoes, arching a brow with a low laugh. "The war already is my life. Always has been, from the day I was born. That's what I was born for." She shrugs, sinking a little lower in the water and tipping her head back to get her hair wet from root to end. "But, you know. I'll do my best not to go fucking crazy."

"Mine too, but doesn't mean my life is the sum of just that." Flint replies. "And it is for a lot of us, but if you survive to see the end just remember, there's going to be a lot of people who's 'lives are meant just for the war'. What happens to people who they believe no longer have any purpose? I don't if that's a future I really want to see, a whole lot of veterans without jobs or much of anything. But…I guess that'll be a bridge to cross when we get to it."

"That's going to be Mikail's problem, I think," Anabethe says with a faint smile. "Or his kid's. Mine is to make sure they get to the point where that's an issue they have to deal with." Sitting up, she reaches for the empty beer bottle, fidgeting with it a bit. "Can I ask you something personal?"

"Eh, your kid will turn out okay, I think. If he's anything like his mom, at any rate. You take enough time out of your life for him. Can't say that about other families, noble or citizen. I can't abide by deadbeat parents." Tipping back his own bottle, he kills it off, setting it aside. Turning to face her better, he nods. "Shoot."

Anabethe turns the bottle between her fingers, pensive. "How'd you do it?" she asks, looking back to Flint. "Giving it up, I mean. Not that I'm thinking of doing it myself," she adds quickly. "Dad'd flip, and I love my siblings, but even if I'm not great with the books, I'm good at this. I just…I can't wrap my head around the idea of stepping away from it. From the duty."

For a moment, Flint doesn't "Doooo….ah, okay." There's a nod, and a smile. "It wasn't something that I did lightly. Before, I go into why, there was one thing I realized back then." But there is a sigh. "And it was a question my old trainer told me the night before my funeral. He asked me 'What do you want for Grantham? Jacob, if you don't have the faith that you would do a good job at being in charge, what do you think is your duty? Doing a job that you've been unsure about or passing the title onto someone who you know will? Looking out for the best for your house is duty, and isn't know that doing just that?'" A laugh. "He was a damn smart man."

"Mmmm." Anabethe nods slightly, setting her bottle aside once more. "Makes sense. You have to do what's best for your people. It must've been hard, though. I don't think I could do it. But then, like I said, I'm not convinced my siblings would be any better at it than I am." She turns toward him, propping one elbow on the edge of the pool and setting her head in her hand. "Take care of Nitrim, all right? He's…special."

"I do what's best for my house, even if it's something that other people, nobles may not totally understand." Flint nods. "I mean, who declines being the head of a house? I mean, I know it happens, but not very often, even less that it's willingly done. It wasn't something I did lightly, it's likely the hardest choice I ever had to make. But I had to do right for the Pit, not just Grantham. Marah is a good leader, she knows how to deal in politics, even if that means being neutral in most things, but that's just our way. Not very personalble, but I suppose that she wants me around. Kind of a moral support leader, since the people grew up thinking the house was going to be mine to rule. But do I regret it? Not for a moment, it was the right choice then, and it is now. Besides, being head meant I'd have to get married and have kids, neither of which I really want. A real honest lover might be nice, someone to trust and confide in but…one day, maybe." ANother nod. "Your brother is good kid. More potentical than most. He'll get put through the ringer, just like how I did, but he'll be better for it."

Anabethe nods once, smile faint. "Good. He may be a punk, but he's my punk. And if you let something he can't recover from happen to him, you make any of his fears actually come true? I'll take you apart piece by piece." She pauses, looking the Grantham over for a moment. "Which, really, would be a waste, so let's not do that if we don't have to."

"I have no intention of breaking your brother." Flint assures. "Besides, what we went through on D-4 is far worse than anything I could ever put him through. That was mental, emotional. My training is more physical and spiritual in nature. He seems to want to be reborn on Ignis, to get beyond whatever he thinks of himself now. That's what the Legion is meant for. Besides, I think he'll make a fine Ash Knight." He pauses. "Whatever demons your brother has faced already has made him stronger for it. He's a good man and I consider him a friend on a very short list." A small smile follows. "For the record, the only thing I'd want you tearing off me is my clothes. Justing saying."

"Well, I'd hope you're not really into me tearing other things off," Anabethe laughs, grin flashing. "That'd get awkward. And short-lived. You can only tear off so many pieces of a person before there's not much left." Leaning back, she stretches before she turns to pull herself out of the water once more. "Think I might have to go get that massage now," she sighs, bending down to retrieve her robe. "Got my ass handed to me this morning during training."

"Clothes." Flint repeats. "Just -clothes-." With a laugh, he rises out of the water as well. "Well, I'm not about things getting awkward." Whether or not she bends over for his benefit or not, he's still going to look. Sigh. Stop being a man, Flint. Anyways, he goes to get a robe of his own. "Massage, eh? I'd offer to help, but I doubt I'd come close as to being as good as a professional." Slinging the robe on him, he pauses. "So. Anabethe." he starts. "Feel like getting drinks later after your appointment?"

Anabethe's smile spreads as she shrugs into her robe, pulling her hair over her shoulder. "Thought you'd never ask," she replies as she ties a loose knot in the tie of the robe. "Meet me at the Warehouse around ten?" she suggests. "Nothing like working up a little bit of a sweat on the floor to get you good and thirsty."

"Deal. I'll see you there, then. Need to wash the chorline off me anyways." He grabs his sweatpants and flips on his sandals. "Have fun getting the sores rubbed out of you. I'll see you there."

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