10.17.3013: Trial by Fire
Summary: Cyrielle braves The Pit to speak with Flint and Ashleigh regarding Nitrim.
Date: September 24th, 2013
Related: Summoned from the Trees
Ashleigh Cyrielle Flint 

Atrium of the Ouroboros
At the topmost level of the Pit is the entrance hall of the Red House, known as the Atrium of the Ouroboros. It is a sprawling expanse of dark stone with linear veins of soft, luminous orange running through the voids between the hewned blocks. The glowing grout creates geometric designs across the floors that come together to create an enormous ouroborus. The floors radiate with the warmth of the lava that is piped through the Red House and the Pit to lead it to the foundries far below. A shallow dome of transparent composite caps the atrium, allowing the ash clouds and flicker of embers to be seen above. Occasionally, the skies are clear enough for the dull peek of stars to shine through, but otherwise the skies are covered in a thick layer of grey and red.

Toward the back of the atrium from the enormous staircase that leads up from the Hall of Heroes are several banks of lifts that lead down into the rest of the Red House.

Thursday, October 17th 3013

The Red House was called a 'forboding fortress' once by those who don't often go to Ignis. The dark stone walls laced with firey orange gives off a haunted feel, which is not offset by the massive stone ouroboros that's laid into the floor or the glowing embers and ash that skitter across the clear domed roof above them. It is not a pleasant place to live, but the Grantham have never said otherwise, which is likely why there's massive stone statues of former deziens of Ignis immortalized leading up to the Red House. Only the brave and honored get their own statue, and only after their dead.

That being all said, the climate is something that anyone that lives on Ignis is used to, perhaps even enjoy it. Flint Grantham is one of those people, who's handing out assignments for the day, all of which sound slightly economical in nature. While he'd never say it publically, he's beccome something of an impromptu Castellan for his sister, Lady Marah Grantham, doling out the work that she needs done. And of course his own too. He is, as always seated in his wheelchair.

It is funny the things that cause one to travel away from home. Cyrielle has seen more of Haven in the past couple months than ever before. And here, her first visit to one of the moons ruled by vassals of Orelle. The Hollolas is rather out of her element. As she's led through the halls to where she might find the man she's calling upon, she's keeping a fairly cool external visage.

The young woman is attired in a dark grey shift that fits snug to her form, skimming down over her hips. Beneath, she wears slacks of a dark blue that flow about the sturdy (and somewhat unladylike) boots upon her feet. Her arms are left bare, revealing the tattoos that etch their way to just above her wrists. Her hair is woven in a loose braid that drapes over her shoulder.

The attendent leaves her at the entrance to the Atrium, moving to near Flint's shoulder, waiting until he has a moment to murmur: "There is a Lady Cyrielle who wishes to meet with you."

Lightning causes by volcanic eruptions snap and arc across the dome high above, making the various vidscreens set into the wall flicker ominously. This doesn't seem to bother anyone who's currently in the room, used to the angry nature of Ignis. Ther former heir of Grantham turns his head at the acknowledgement, eyeing Cyrielle out of the corner of his eyes. "Alright." Then he looks back at those gathered. "That's about it for today. No exact timeframe, other than having your tasks done before midnight. My sister needs the data for her meeting with High Lord Orelle. No drinking until then."

Flint is dressed down, but that's just Grantham nature. Noble attitude is something of an afterthought here on Ignis. He's wearing something simple, hell, might even be something that a Citizen would wear: simple work pants and work shirt, the only difference is the pin of a ouroborus on his collar. Once that's all done, he turns in place then rolling toward Cyrielle. "Lady Hollolas. What brings you all the way out here to Ignis?"

A lack of noble attitude is something a Hollolas can easily get behind. Especially when there's work to be done. Politics and propriety can often only get in the way. Cyrielle's expression shifts slightly — a tightening at eyes and jaw — upon taking in the Grantham in his wheel chair. Her fingers twitch slightly near a short, silver rod at her hip, but she moves forward to meet him somewhere in-between without grabbing for it. Her limp is faint, but there. Perhaps the heat is keeping it infused and limber today.

"No need for the formalities, please. I hold no ranking in the navy and my sister will be Lady Hollolas someday." She settles back upon her left foot, leaving the right one to rest with a light touch. "I was… uncertain whether it was a busy schedule that kept you from the message I sent." Or, it is implied, that he had purposefully chosen to not respond.

"Ah, right. Nitrim." Flint nods. While for his age, he should've been head of Grantham, but that doesn't mean he doesn't hold a decent level of sway. Not as much as Marah or Ashleigh, but people do listen to him. There's a look around the atrium, tossing a particular look at a guard nearby. There's some unseen communication going on and subtley the majority of workers seem to find other jobs to occupy themselves with, leaving only a handful of Legion soldiers watching guard. Turning back to Cyrielle, he shrugs. "I was still debating on how exactly to word my response. Looks like you beat me to it. Nitrim is like a little brother to me. There's aspect I see myself in. At the same time, we periodically piss off our family, and that's one thing he's seems to be pretty damn good at. Espeically with all of his recent actions and his constant man-whoring. Which if you're gonna do that, I did, but I kept that shit to brothels. Anyways, you seem to actually care about his image. And as much as I care about him, my patience only goes so far. So," he puts his hands into his lap. "what do you think we should do about that?"

It's with a slight tilt to her head that Cyrielle listens. For all that she's keeping outward signs of emotion in check, she is very attentive. It's clear that she came with the intent to take whatever Flint has to say seriously. Initially, her response is a slight twitch of lips; near a smile, but not quite. "I care about a deal more than his image, but his image is the crux of the problem at this time. I do understand that patience only goes so far and I am not asking you to stretch it further."

Clasping hands before her, Cyrielle shifts her stance slightly. She's watching Flint, both respectfully and with an eye for any reactions he may give. "I'm asking for support for him and any advice you may have. He truly wishes to repair his reputation and we are already discussing methods to do so within the public eye, such as working on the Notice Project with his sister, Lady Reena. I'm sure you know that he prefers to remain secretive in assisting the people of Volkan and Haven as a whole. I've suggested perhaps he be willing to lift that veil for a time and let the public begin to see that he is more than just a playboy."

Ashleigh has been told that they were expecting company at some point but, without a definite time, she didn't know when to get ready. So just imagine her hurry to make herself presentable when the announcement that Cyrielle is here. A pair of breeches and a tunic in the orange of House Grantham has been donned but her boots are in hand, the heir of the house padding in on bare feet. "I am so sorry. I…" Pausing, she leens against a column so she can get that footwear on.

Before Flint can answer, there's Ashleigh, bootless. He sighs. "Seriously, Ash?" he remarks across the atrium. Usually, the paralyzed Ash Knight is as easy going as can be, but when there's guest, he always seems to up a mantle of professionalism that's not rarely seen. Makes one wonder if he didn't want to be head of house simply because it would've too much of a pain in the ass. "You put a bra on too, right?" he adds. Ah, there's the old Flint. Shaking his head to looks back at Cyrielle.

"Is that so?" he eyeballs her up and down. "Well, then for your sake, I hope you don't get hurt like rest of his flavors of the month. That might be harsh, but I've spent the last couple of months watching him move from one woman, to another, to own neice Devon, then back to one, then engaged to another, broke the engagement, went back to the original aaaaand….now I've heard he broke up with her for you." he lists off. "Am I following that correctly? Because I sure as hell can't be assed to remember what woman he's sleeping with at any given point in time. And yet, I keep hearing how he wants to 'make it better'. That's about as well-used a line for him as is 'I'm sorry'. He says he wants to be an Ash Knight, that's one thing I have kept hearing from him. But somehow, I've never seen him here. Maybe you're seeing something I'm not, but my former squire has a lot of asses to kiss before people are going to take anything he says at face value."

Dark eyes flicker towards the young woman entering and there's a slight raise of brows. Still, Cyrielle notes the reaction from Flint to the woman entering and gives a small tilt of her head. There is a gleam in those eyes at the latter comment and something within seems to in one relax and steel her reserve.

"It is not harsh. It is fair. I am not going blindly into the den, as it were." She lifts a hand, however, at one statement: "He did not break up with Rook for me. He attempted to get her to understand that he is a noble and she cannot be the single-most important factor of his life. She could not handle that and left." Clearing the air on that, she tilts her head slightly. "I am not expecting a clean slate or anyone to fight for him." Except herself, perhaps, but she's working her own routes. "I simply believe he needs to know that people, despite what he's done, still care for him and that they will support him in his endeavors to better himself. I am not certain on this, but… I think he may feel as if nothing he does will matter, especially in his father's eyes."

Yes, that is indeed the Flint they know and love. Ashleigh snorts as a response to his less-than-nice question to her as she gets her boots on and she comes over to where the others are. Lady Cyrielle is given a bow and then her uncle's given a hug before she settles in. "So we're discussing Nitrim, is it?" The tone of her voice is flat, held carefully level to keep her own feeling on him in check for now. She looks from the woman's face and then to Flint's a brow slowly arching. "I am sorry, Lady Cyrielle. I do not mean to be rude. Has my uncle offered anything to drink or eat? I can call for something if you have need of refreshment." The main topic of conversation is left alone for a moment. Ash is content to wait until she's asked for her opinion on Nitrim before speaking.

"Then he should've thought about that before he started dipping his wick with her for the…what? Third time?" Flint replies. There's no anger, more like a bit resignation. "Or he should've taken her as a offical companion and that would've been the end of it. But he didn't for whatever reason. I don't know what he needs to validate his own exsistence but jumping from woman to the next is not the way to go about it. If that's what he wants to do, I can suggest some very nice brothels. And I would also suggest, however close you two are, and no, it's better that I -not- for both of your sakes, that you either keep that under wraps before either of your father's catch wind to it. The fact that you're standing here speaking on his behalf when it's not Bethe, or Victor, or Reena, but you, says a great deal about that, doesn't it?" He waves a hand, dismissing it. "If Nitrim wants to be accepted back into into the Legion, he is going to have to work that he actually means it this time. I want dedicated Legion members, not ones that flount off their responsibility when a new peice of ass comes trotting into his life. Until he can prove me to, to Ashleigh that he means what he says, he will not get a single bit of training until that point. The Legion takes all, but only those wishing to help themselves. And so far, Nitrim has seemed perfectly content to revel in his inhibitions." Now he looks over at Ashleight. "What's your opinion, Neice?"

Everything Cyrielle and Flint say are taken into consideration although it is a subject that weighs a bit heavily on Ashleigh. She was hoping that Nitrim would turn his life around and come train with her. "I think part of me foresaw this," she murmurs, trying to keep that under her breath. A slow, deep breath is taken in before, with a shake of her head, she speaks, more to Cyrielle herself than to them both in general. "Nitrim has not shown the dedication necessary to become one of the Legion. While it was my intentions to train him in my uncle's stead, several months have passed since I made the offer to help him. Several months that have passed without word… he hasn't even so much as sent Flint a message asking him how he is, as far as I can tel."

Rising to her feet, Ashleigh paces a little, looking faintly sad. "Do forgive me if I can not give more support than to wish him and you both well, Lady Cyrielle. But I have to agree with Flint. Until a time when he proves himself willing to dedicate himself to the training, I can not in good conscience train him or sign off on any endorsement…"

"Rook wanted to be his wife, not his Companion. She implied she was fine with it, until I showed up. Since he would not throw away his nobility for her, she left." Cyrielle frowns faintly; a slight downward twitch of lips and a furrow in her brow. It smooths away shortly thereafter as he continues. "I have recommended he avoid brothels and clubs for the time being, as the press seems very keen on taking every opportunity they may to pull more from the situation. Even an innocuous visit to a club is open for doctored images."

Her eyes go to Ashleigh and there's a soft breath. "I am not asking you to put everything aside and train him regardless. The knowledge that you will, should he show dedication? That is all I seek. That he still has people who support him. He is afraid that even if he does dedicate himself and pull through all of this, he will find himself without anyone. The knowledge that you will be there waiting may be enough to steel his reserve should he find himself…" A glance, then, to Flint. "Tempted."

"Make no mistake Layd Cyrielle," Flint starts, and it's only at that point where there is even a glimmer of anger, but unlike their enviroment around Ignis, it's tempered. Sudued. "this chair is the only thing that has stopped me from beating some damn sense into Nitrim. On multiple occasions. Because that's one thing he does need that nobody has thought actually do. He needs a good ass-kicking, so until some of his reprecussions start to kick him in the balls, he's going to keep on thinking he can get away with it. Something I would his brothers or maybe his father would've…-should have- done by now. I know if Ash had done the same as Nitrim, myself or her brother would've already put a hurting on her."

"But…" he looks at Ash. "I don't want to speak out of turn of the heir here, but Grantham may be willing to give him one more chance to prove himself to the Legion." He lets that sit for a moment before adding, "The -last- chance. If he comes to us, showing he's finally willing to dedicate and put the toys aside, maybe things will change. But if he fucks up again, he will never be an Ash Knight. Even we will only go so far. If he's truly willing to redeem himself, this is place for it. But -only- if he -means it-."

Talk of relationships of Nitrim's, past and present, is left alone, it not being anything Ashleigh wants to be a part of. Not her place. Still pacing a bit, Ash simply listens to what Flint says as well as absorb their guest's response to what she said previously, her head bowed in thought. "I think my uncle has the right of it. Nitrim will be given one more chance. But only one. And only…" The shuffling steps cease and the red-head stands there, turned slightly away from the others. "… only if he comes in person and apologizes to Flint for having shirked his duties as his squire. I will not put a time limit on this and in fact request that he waits until he is abosultely sorry and that he is able and willing to behave in a manner befitting a Legionaire." Piece said, Ashleigh shrugs.

"I would like to accept your offer of a drink." Cyrielle had not forgotten- it was simply less important for her than making sure her purpose for traveling so far did not lose steam. The woman has steeled herself- with a strong back and stance, despite how she favors her right leg. She could have been martially inclined herself, had her path turned out different.

"I do not disagree that he has required some sense knocked into him. Nor do I intend to look the other way or lie to myself should he fall back to old, ill habits. I see beyond what the press paints and I see great things for him, but I know they will only come should he apply himself." She unclasps her hands, spreading them somewhat in plea. "You have both answered my questions. Voiced and not. I expected no more than what you offer and I thank you for it. It is my hope that he will see the opportunity as well and pay proper penitence and mind."

"Lets' hope." Flint nods. "In any case, Lady Cyrielle, you are welcomed to stay here at the Red House for as long as you need." It is a business visit afterall, guestright is, of course, offered. "But I have my own work I need to look into and take care. So if you'll excuse me." Giving a nod, he starts to wheel himself away, stopping Ash to take her wrist and give it a comforting squeeze in goodbye. Then, he's off.

An order for a small decanter of wine is placed before Asleigh sits back down, her body wearily resettled into the chair she occupied moments before. "I do hope you'll stay, Lady Cyrielle. It would be nice to get to know you outside of the commonality we share in Nitrim." Of course, there's all the protocol to go behind Guestright but Ashleigh is hoping that she won't have to remind the other Lady of that. "I thank you for your understanding in the matter of Nitrim and the Legion," she adds then with a slight smile. "I know it must not be easy, what you're hoping to accomplish where Nitrim's reputation is concerned. I just hope that the effort you are willing to put into the repair of it will not be for nothing."

"Of course, Lord Flint. I appreciate your hospitality." Cyrielle has not forgotten propriety and while she may find a certain discomfort in the place so foreign to her, she won't forgo it merely due to that. She's a Hollolas. She can weather it all. Once the man departs, she returns her focus to Ashleigh with a small nod of appreciation for the order of wine. "I would be more than happy to get to know those that Nitrim considers a part of his extended family. Especially those he names friend." She draws in a slow breath, releasing some of the tension from her shoulders. "It is not easy, but nothing worth doing is." A mantra she is finding her lips form often. "I do not believe it will be for naught, but there is no way of knowing unless I try."

Ashleigh frowns slightly. "I must admit that I don't know if I can call myself a friend. I really haven't been reaching out to him when he's needed us. And where it can be rationalized as having to do so to make sure that House Grantham's own reputation wouldn't be tarnished… I did him a disservice."

One of the staff comes out from somewhere within the building, a tray bearing the wine and two glasses, the first filled offered to Cyrielle. The second is poured for Ashleigh and the decanter is left on a low table before they return to their work.

"Well, perhaps then this is a time for all to make ammends." Cyrielle accepts the glass with a small gesture of her chin to the staff member. She takes a sip, savouring the cool liquid against the warmth that seems to infuse everything. "Balancing matters of reputation across Houses, never mind our own… It is not the easiest of tasks. I am very grateful that you are willing to give him a final chance. I really do feel as if he will work hard this time."

The first drink always seems to be the best, that being when the wine is at its coolest and most refreshing. It is a fact Ashleigh is reminded of now even after many years, it causing her to smile and even sigh in delight. "Then we should toast to new beginnings and hope." The glass she holds in her hand is held up for a moment, the toast concluded by the gesture. "Belatedly, I must apologize for my haphazard appearance when I arrived. I usually am not so… well. Impolite. But in my rush I hurried out of my room and forgot to put my boots on." As it was, she probably was lucky to even have remembered them in the first place.

There's a rise of her own glass at Ashleigh's words and Cyrielle's initial sip after the toast is a soft laugh. "There's no need for apologies, m'Lady. I assure you that I am not so caught on propriety that I will feel slighted." She is, afterall, wearing attire that reveals some of her tattoos. "I came on business, yes, but it is of more a personal nature. I honestly prefer to see the… chinks in the armor, as it were. To know that I am not the only one who has to put a deal of effort and preparation into appearing the role."

Ashleigh dips her chin and grins, looking sheepish and wry at the same time by doing so. "It is nice to know that the one you seek to speak with is human like you are, yes. And with all my failings and such, I am probably a bit more human than most." Joke made, one last sip of wine is given before she leans back, her glass set down. "My mother keeps trying to shape me into the kind of person she thinks our house needs. But I think all she sees sometimes is just how unlike my brother I am. He would have been more fitting for the role I have had to assume in his passing." Another chink revealed in that statement, Cyrielle is being shown more of who Ashleigh is behind the icy air in this single meeting than many get to see after knowing her for months.

"I like to believe we all have our failings to make us human. Some more than others." Cyrielle has another sip of wine, settling her own glass down as she swallows. She brushes hands lightly over the front of the long tunic she wears. "I think our parents see their job as shaping us to be better than they see themselves. At least, I hope that is the reasoning for what they put us through." She smiles softly in Ashleigh's direction. "I am sorry for your loss. I do not know what I would do if we were to lose Fiona."

The sympathy is appreciated but Ashleigh has troubles showing it. The smile she wants to give to convey it comes out more like a grimace and she winces at herself when she realizes that she must look like she swallowed something sour. "Thank you, Lady Cyrielle. It has been five years since Zayne's passing but we still miss him as if it were only yesterday." The decanter is poured from, her glass refreshed, but even in this short span of time it has grown tepid. "I do not mind that Mother is in need of making sure I am ready. I just wish she didn't feel like it required such an iron grip."

If the grimace affects Cyrielle, she gives no sign of it. She doesn't move to refill her glass just yet. "I wish I had some advice on that front, my Lady. I fear it is one of those things we will not understand until we have to tend to wild, young beasts called children ourselves."

"It is more than alright, Lady Cyrielle. I think this is a case where I just have to learn to cope with my mother's over-protectiveness and such. But thank you." Ashleigh rises and gives their guest a bow. "I should go and make sure a room is properly prepared for you, Lady Cyrielle. If you will please excuse me."

There's a tilt of the head in Ashleigh's direction. "Of course. If I may, I think I will take leave to see some of what The Red House has to offer. Thank you and Lord Flint for hearing me out. Hopefully, good will come of this for us all." Cyrielle does, in preparing to move around more, remove the silver rod at her hip. A switch is thumbed and it extends out into a cane. "Should you have time, before I depart, I would enjoy speaking again."

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