07.17.3013: Unraveling the Knot
Summary: Reena investigates the strange man she met in the Violet Siren, and Temple helps her find herself, in more ways than one. (Warnings for some vulgarity and implied sex)
Date: 17 July 2013
Related: A Puzzling Meeting
Reena Temple 

Somewhere in the poor section of Khar-Mordune.
See log.
17 July 3013

Reena has spent the last few days deeply curious about the locksmith she met in Landings. His view of nobility has her perturbed. Thus, she's come to Khar-Mordune to try and see what it is that has given him such a bleak world view. She's wearing a hooded cloak of dark grey over her pale blue dress as she moves through the poorer section of the under-mountain city. She walks the alleys, trying to get a feel for them, while keeping an eye out for a locksmith's shop. The closed in feel of the place doesn't bother her too much, as Volkan is so often shrouded in volcanic fog and the smog of industry.

Temple did say he grew up in slums and alleys, didn't he? A place where the downtrodded live. Every hold has them, and they're often not spoken of, by the well-to-do Citizenry and certainly not by any the nobility, save the bleeding heart ones looking to make an actual difference. Khar-Mordune is no different in that respects and while a hooded woman roaming isn't anything to look twice for, her posture might give away more than her looks. There's dums in rags, ladies of the night working their streetcorners, and drug dealers working their section. Most pay her no heed. Or care for that matter.

But she does find the locksmith shop. It's front looks cleaner than most, electric neon lighting in floating holograms saying as much. Temple's Lock and Key. Still in a rather unsavory part of town, which seems for a man who says doesn't do too horribly bad for himself.

"What's a pretty thing like you doing down here." states an unequally unsavory voice that emerges from the shadows. Someone had to pick out a noble under the hood sooner or later.

Reena turns her hooded head slightly, her face still cast in shadow. "None of your business," she says calmly, with an edge to her voice. She takes another step towards the locksmith shop, even as she curls her hand around the simple billy club looped through her belt. She is not a victim. She is Khourni.

"Figures. Another richy-rich noble coming down to kick rocks at us." the grin on the thug turns to a sneer. "Need to be taught some humility." And there's certainly a knife in the man's hand. As he starts to round on, regardless of the billy club, he doesn't get to use it.

Temple is just 'there', behind the man. "Tommy, Tommy, Tommy…" he almost coos, catching the man's neck in the crook of his arm. "What have told you before. This is -my- part of Down Below." A sharp needle look instrument, possibly something used in picking locks, seems to drop from out of his coat sleeve, coming up to his neck. "This is strike two, boy-o. Next time I catch you pulling your two-thug shit on my turf, I'll take more than two of your fingers." And sure enough, on the man's right hand, he's missing his pinky and ring finger. "Clear?"

"Crystal." the other man grunts. "Good. Now get the fuck out of here before I change my mind and let the woman bludgeon you to death." Letting him go, he pushes him away, a martial-art looking kick to the back to drive the point home. Temple will watch until the man is out of sight. "Fuckstick." he spits.

Reena's hand falls away from the weapon on her belt. She's not great with it, not like her siblings, but she has had the basics of training with it. When the man is gone, she looks to Temple and lowers her hood. Her hair has been braided back on the sides, falling in loose curls into the hood. "Nice friend you have there, Temple," she quips with a strained smile.

"He's not a friend, he's a pain in my ass. I'll probably have to kill him at some point if he keeps it up." Temple says, still watching the corner for a minute longer before turning back to Reena. "Have you been wandering Down Below trying to find my place?" he asks, a bit lost at the idea. "You know, you could've…" oh that's right, she gave him her contact info, not his. "Well, should get inside anyways." That long needle looking thing? It too is gone, likely back into the coat sleeve where it had came from. "Are you okay? I mean, nobody comes down here unless they live here. Or looking to score something. Need help?"

"I'm fine, Temple. I'm capable of protecting myself. Most Khourni are," Reena notes with a defiant light in her eyes. She does follow him towards the door though. "You told me things were bad here. I wanted to see for myself why you hold the nobility in such contempt." She grimaces. "Why have things fallen so far here?" she asks, genuinely wanting to know.

"Can you? Well, I should've let you handle him on your own, then." Temple winks, using the key, an analouge one to enter the shop. "You look like you can hold your own, sure." And yeah, he seems to mean that. Letting her inside, he locks the door behind her. Neighborhood being the unpleasant type and all. "I..huh?" he asks.

The shop is what you'd expect from a locksmith. Safes, demos of locks of all kinds, key making machines and other displays are set through the room with a counter in the back. It'd might look nicer if he had more funding, but it has a very backwater mechanics shop look to it. So he leads her behind the counter, and through the back door. "I don't hold the nobility in contempt, Ree, I just don't trust them. Out of touch. The fact that you didn't know that people like us exsist proves that." There's not accusatory in that tone, rather, it's factual. "But that's not your fault. A lot of the nobility don't know there's people like us from Khar-Mordune to the Ring to the Roar to Landing. The Citizenry just ignore us. A lot of us have come to call us that. The Ignored. Most want to admit that there's trouble in paradise beyond the Hostiles. But there'll always be people like us.

As he leads her through the back, where there's boxes of supplies, he shows her to his personal two room apartment. And the one thing that comes to mind is color. There are paintings everywhere. Watercolors and acrylics. Charcoal and pencil. And they're all good. Like 'he could've made this a career' good. From nature landscapes to views of nebulas and ships to portraits of nameless people. "I couldn't say why how it got there. The rich get richer and the poor get fucked over? Economics being pushed more for war funding than for employment and housing projects? Take your pick. COuld be any reason."

Reena's eyes sweep over the shop, and the storage area lightly, but without much interest. It's when she enters the apartment and sees the paintings that she stops in her tracks. She moves from one to the next in turn, and in silence, until she's looked at every one. "Why do you make locks?" she asks. "You clearly were given a greater gift. You could be painting portraits for nobles and living in Landings, easily, with this much talent."

"Locksmithing is a job that I like to do." Temple replies with a shrug. There more than a few nude portraits as well, but they're all tastefully done. There is one in particular that's been done on a immaculate level. It's a woman that bears his resemblence slightly. Relative, perhaps. "Art is something that I love. I don't want to be paid for it. I feel like if I did it for money, it wouldn't feel…" he looks a little bit speculative. "Honest." To be fair, while the cave-burrowed apartment isn't the ritz, isn't not dirty either. Whatever Temple may be, his living facilities isn't dirty. Takes care of his furniture too.

Reena moves to the one of the woman who resembles him. "Relative?" she asks, before she settles into a seat, folding her hands in her lap. "What do the people here lack that has left them in poverty? Skills? Contacts?" she asks, tilting her head slightly as she purses her lips.

Temple gets quiet for a minute. "Yeah. My sister." There's actually a bit of pain that goes into that. "I raised her when our mother abandoned us. Or was killed. Or went to prison. I don't know, but she left us. I raised her myself. Joined the military to help keep us afloat and one day…" he can't look at the picture very long. "She vanished too. Don't know what happened to her. Been searching for…far too long." Swallowing, he doesn't seem to want to talk about it too long. "Take your pick. Some of it is their own choices. Drugs, turning to crime, the list goes on. So yeah, some have it coming. Others, they turned to this stuff because they weren't given a choice, or they were simply raised into the enviroment like I was. And there's only so many jobs for so many people."

Reena looks sympathetic at Temple's history, but it's his latter words about the poor that concern her more. "What are they most in need of, services-wise? Medical treatment? Food?" There are wheels turning behind her pale blue eyes. She unclasps her cloak and sets it aside since things seem clean enough for the light cotton garment.

"Maybe? Housing would and some kind of…I dunno trade school type facility that doesn't shun away low-income or those with drug and crime history. People wanting to change their lives around. The military isn't for everyone, as much as everyone thinks we shold all be fighting. I do what I can for this area of Down Below. Keep the street clean, kicks out unmentionables." Granted, he doesn't comment on the ones that don't take 'get out' for an answer. All of his funiture and appliances seem to be from the previous generation, and most of them have had some work done to keep working. Likely by his own hand. "Care for a drink?"

"I'd love a drink," Reena admits. It took a lot for her to come here, alone, on a mere whim. "I do not have the martial talents of my siblings and cousins, Temple. I was trained for other things. Things that, perhaps, would have better purpose serving the poor in the various cities. I am medically trained, and also my dearest hobby is gardening. Perhaps I could do clinics in different cities, help children get immunizations and basic care. And I have thought of, perhaps, building community gardens. Anyone who helps tend them would have a share of the food they produce. It's not money, but it would teach them some agricultural skills and put food on their tables."

Nodding, Temple moves to his second-generation fridge. The door rattles when he closes it, but it works. It's a bottle of wine. "It's port." he clarifies. "If I want liqour, it needs to have a damn flavor other than rubbing alcohol." From the label it doesn't look like anything a noble would drink, but something an average-income Citizen would. And he pours it into…plastic cups. He gives a slightly sheepish grin. "Yeah, I'm really damn classy, aren't I?" Coming back over, he does look a little dubious about her suggestion. "Some have said as much, plans like that. Usually those people were Senators looking to get elected. If they ever did, we didn't see a damn change. But…maybe the people on the Crescent are a bit different. Heard they mean what they say." Is he dubious? Sure, but it sounds like he's been burned before, as he hands the glass over.

"I have no election to lie for, Temple," Reena points out. She accepts the plastic cup and its contents. Anything is better than that horrific firewhiskey from the drinking contest she was in. "It would, of course, depend on what finances I can scrape together for such a cause. Perhaps I could begin a fund, accept donations, and pester the nobility to 'do the right thing' lest I shame them in the papers for their greed." She smirks faintly, and sips the port.

Temple clearly has not met a noble like Reena before. And he says as much. "You're probably the nicest noble I've met based on face value." Is he wary of her? Sure, but given his life, can one blame him for being wary of just everyone? Especially when he has to have eyes in the back of his head where he lives. "That'd be pretty badass if you did something like that. At least Khournas would earn a couple of points in my book if something like that happened. Though I'd suggest doing something like in the Crescent first. Don't want to get in trouble for poking into Peake's problems."

"Agreed, it would have to begin at home," Reena points out. "Right now it's just a thought. I'll need to develop a plan, and pitch it to my Lord Father. Jevon isn't known for coddling the weak, but I think if I threaten to do it in Landings instead, if he refuses, he'll give in rather than be upstaged." She rubs a finger across her jaw. "It's playing with fire, to go toe-to-toe with my father like this." Her epiphany on Niveus seems to have given her a bit of courage. She looks at the paintings. "Would you paint my portrait?"

"Well, just don't get yourself torched over it." Temple notes, taking a seat next to her and drinking from his glass. It has a football team logo on it. Her's too, actually. "Always said the best ideas are sometimes looked at like they're the worst ideas. Especially when they deal with money. Money makes the Haven system go round." The remark about paintings has him looking at her. "I can if you want, sure." There's a glance towards the art case set by an empty easal. A grin passes his lips. "As long as you're topless." Beat. "Kidding, kidding, but yeah sure, I can do that." Another beat. "Did you mean…right now?"

"Well, the thing is, with a public food garden, outside of the initial expense, it renews itself year after year. The only things it requires are sunshine and some watering, and hands to make sure the weeds don't choke the life out of the plants," Reena explains. "I could easily take cuttings from the plants I already have, though those are mostly herbs and flowers. I'll need to get vegetable seeds. Perhaps Lady Talayla would help me." She shrugs at him. "Whenever you wish."

Temple takes another drink from his cup before he's getting up out of the couch. "And before you say anything else, I don't expect payment for it. Or anything for that matter. I just enjoy painting." Clearly, he doesn't need much excuse not to do some art, reaching over behind the couch she's sitting to grab a decent sized secton of stretched out canvas. Moving away again, he sets it on his easel. Moving again, he turns on a lamp attatched to the easel and then a room lamp behind Reena. Kneeling before, he looks over face. He lifts a hand up, then freezes. "Er…can adjust your head slightly?"

As he begins setting up, Reena unlaces the front of her gown and lets it fall, and following suit with her chemise and undergarments. She drapes herself over the chair she was seated in, languidly, clearly not at all ashamed of being unclothed in front of a virtual stranger. They have public baths on Volkan, after all. She adjusts her head when asked. "I won't insult you by offering payment," she promises.

It's not often that Temple is drug to a complete stop. He doesn't even notice that his jaw has dropped a bit. Sure, there's protraits where the subject is topless but it doesn't go past the shoulders, suggesting they were covering up at least most of the intimate bits. "Shit…" he manages to cough into his fist, then regaining his composure. It's a quick slip anyways. But by being given the go-ahead, a hand reaches forward, thumb and index finger touching each cheek and slightly adjust the way her head is pointed. More at an angle, to give a profile mixed with a bust view. "There. Feel free to talk and whatnot. Minor movements are alright, but try to keep the general look." And yes, he's a male, he looks at everything else, but doesn't keep his eyes below the neck for long. Then he turns back for his stool and easel, taking his cup with him and breaking out his art case. "Most feel like that they have to, but they really don't. It's my passion. Getting paid would cheapen it. And by the way, I was listening to other bits about the plants. Afraid I can't really help you out with that. I'm not botanist."

"I raise orchids. They're notoriously difficult, but that makes them worth the effort," Reena murmurs, careful not to move too much. Unlike her siblings, she has no tattoos or scars to show off for color. Her father made sure she was kept away from anything that would make her less attractive to a non-Crescent nobleman. "I'll see about talking to some others, who know animals. Perhaps a chicken coop for eggs too." She is clearly formulating her plan as he works.

It's a blur how fast Temple gets to work on her portrait. He's already gotten various colors set up on a color-stained peice of wood he's been using as his palete. And the brush strokes intially comes fast and quick. "This is pretty damn expansive idea you got brewing here. Though I have to ask: what made you want to do this? Beyond just meeting a guy who has a distinct lack of faith in how the nobility does shit? I mean, I don't consider myself to be all that important, y'know? I'm just a guy pretty low on the foodchain. If you told me I'd be painting a beautiful noblewoman in my own apartment, I'd think you'd been taking a bit too much Red Eye."

"I was on Niveus, during the toxin outbreak. I was sent there to help figure it out when they thought it was a virus. I couldn't treat it," Reena explains. "I am a medic, but not a biologist or chemist. It was beyond me. Then I found out my brother, the family black sheep, was becoming a squire. I looked at my worth to society and found myself lacking. I don't want to be forgotten my history, Temple. That may be selfish and conceited of me, but I want my life to have meant something." She wants to grimace, but forces herself not to for the sake of the portrait. "My siblings and cousins don't understand. They all have purpose, notoriety, acclaim, for good or for ill. I'm the 'other' Khournas. The one who rarely appears in the news or in the thoughts of others."

"Does being important really mean that much?" Temple asks simply, eyes darting from his canvas to her too many times to count. "If you had never heard of me, would you have mourned? Feel like you're missing out? No, course not. And it wouldn't bother me any bit. Being important isn't the be all end all goal in life. It's being happy with yourself, and knowing that what you did was the right thing. Altruistic, sure, but I've seen enough suffering in my life to want to do something about it. People may never know that I've spent the past couple of years keeping this section of Down Below clean of pimps and thugs. No one will know that it was me. And I'm okay with that. Because I know I did the right thing." He pauses to take a sip from his cup. "If one person remembers you, values your efforts, then it wasn't a life wasted." Pause. "I know I won't forget about you. You're not your siblings. You're you, take some pride in that."

"If I'd been deprived of seeing your artwork, yes, I would have felt cheated. I would have mourned not seeing something beautiful like your paintings." Reena sighs a bit. "It's the way of the nobility. We are pawns in a game of chess, and we are moved about the board for alliances and politics. We need to have value to be seen as worthwhile for such things. My father needs me to have value in order to secure a marriage that favors our House. I was trained all my life with that drilled into me. I had to be worthy and do father proud."

"Your life is canvas, Ree. You can make it whatever you, citizen or noble." Temple points out. "You can still please your father and be your own person no matter what anyone else thinks." But he does shake his head at the chess comment. "I don't think I'll ever understand why we're in the society we are. Maybe when the war is over, people will take a good hard look if things will need to be changed or not. But…guess that doesn't matter. But don't be defined by your title. Heh, here I am saying that when I'd probably make a right shitty noble. But I do have perspective, at least. It's a shame. Maybe if I was a noble, I'd have a shot at asking you on a date." A wink at that.

"You've clearly never met my father," Reena deadpans with a smirk she just can't help. Jevon is a right bastard, that one. "Anyway, I don't particularly date, even if you were a noble," she points out. "Have to make sure not to offend this or that potential noble House by being seen linked romantically to someone they dislike." She shrugs a little then turns her head to him. "Sex, however, is totally on the table as long as it's discreet." Maybe she's taking a page from Anabethe's book and just letting go of some of her too-tightly wound behaviors.

"Considering I never knew my father, I don't have much of a basis to go on." Temple utters dryly. "But I've watched nobility to get a bearing on how that whole thing works. Still, you still, like I said, you can still please your father and be your own person. Trust me, there's a way around everything." Pause. "Not everything I totally legal so…yeah, there's ways around everything. This thing you want to do? I think it's something that could get you a lot of popularity. Maybe not with the nobility, but the Citizens will really appreciate it, feel like they're not totally ign-" *clatter* goes his paint brush. He stops and looks at her. Yeah, his cheeks are flushed a bit, reaching back down to get it. "Bold." he says. "But sooner or later all that bragging is going to catch up with you."

"Do all men from the mountain have hang-ups about sex?" Reena asks with an amused expression. "I'm Khourni. We fight, we drink, we fuck. We just know not to get too attached, because most citizens wouldn't wish to be a companion, even if whomever the noble gets married to is ok with them having one."

"Noooo," Temple notes, pulling that least vowel out. "Take a look at my life Ree. I mean, seriously. Look around you. Raised in alleys, no parents. Lost my sister. Got in too many fights with drug dealers and gang bangers than I like to think. Joined the military. Got out of it. I've been an Ignored for all of my life. It's all I know. And a noble is naked on my couch with intention that I plow her like a field? You'll excuse me if I'm just -slightly- out of my element. I'm dirty trash to nobilty, that's the way it's always been." He's painting again. "You're hot, you're smart, and apparently you don't get enough credit. Why you're interested in my I couldn't really say, but like hell I'm going to question it."

Reena shrugs. "I like your biceps. Does there need to be more reason than that? It's not like I want you to marry me and make babies. Maiden's tits, man!" She rolls her eyes. "I don't know how my sister does it. I swear, she just smiles at a man whose sworn off women and he drops his trousers a moment later. I get naked on a man's couch and he's questioning me."

Temple just laughs. "Hey, didn't I just say I wasn't going to question it. Like I said, it's a -shock-. It's like winning the lottery. You don't honestly believe and then you have to ask a million on whether or not -that- just happened." As much of an artist he might be, as much as he loves art the way that he does, the fact that there -is- a naked woman on his couch is deterring him. So he drops his brush in his water cup, which is a rubby brown/black color. "It's from the pullup bar in the bathroom." He gets up coming towards her, unloosening his belt. "By the way, it's a great reason." Sitting down next to her, he'll see if she's going to put her money where her mouth and and lean over to kiss her.

Reena does, in fact, kiss him, with the pent-up hunger and frustration of a young woman who is trying to figure out where her life is headed, and if her heart can follow. Also with the fire of the Khourni blood in her veins. Her siblings have other outlets for it, through combat. Reena has been deprived of that outlet and it's as if that blood is eating her alive on the inside if she can't find a release for it.

Fade to Black

So. That just happened. What probably started and went on for a bit on his couch likely moved later on his bed because, well, that gets awkward after a bit. And like any bachelour flat, he is bed is just box spring and mattress on the floor. But it's a very clean room, like everything else of his. Cleanliness when surrounded by flith. Or maybe it's because he lived in dirt for so long he can't do it anyone. So, they likely wind up with a sheet haphazardly draped over them both. The locksmith is winded, looking up at carved stone ceiling, red-faced with a bead of sweat on his brow. "Huh. Well, I'll have to cross that off my bucket list." Not quite sure if she's a cuddler after sex, but the opening is there is she wants to scoot next to him.

Reena does cuddle up to him, briefly, before pressing a kiss to his chin. "Not bad, not bad at all. The abs are even better than the biceps." She winks and gets up, padding to the other room to reclaim her clothes. Apparently, she's leaving. "I have to get back to Landings for my shift with the Princess. But I'll be back for you to finish that portrait." And the look in her eyes suggests other things too.

Unlike most men, Temple actually likes cuddling and duly does so, kissing her forehead after the peck on the chin. "And the tits taste great. I needed a new pair of chew toys." Watching her get out of bed, he's rolls over to sit at the edge of it, reaching for his pack of cigarettes. A puff is taken before he gets up and set it into his ashtray on his nightstand. Walking up behind her, he gives her enough time to get her panties on before a big arm snakes around and wraps around her stomach. "You could always call in sick. I don't get many visitors coming by. It's been pretty nice. Your company is nice. Besides," he kisses her neck gently. "When was the last time you got to do something for yourself?"

"I don't really remember," Reena admits with a small grimace. She leans back into his arms and slides her hands over his forearms. "I could, perhaps, be convinced to beg off of my duties for the day." She turns in his embrace and grins at him. "What did you have in mind?"

"Then maybe you should do that." Temple agrees. "You already have good ideas on what to do. And if your heart's in the right place about doing it, all the better." While he certainly doesn't believe that nobles do 'noble' things for altruistic intention, that there's always a ulterior motive, there might be a glimmer that he's willing to give her that chance. "Finish that painting for starters. Then maybe show you what life is really like beyond the ivory towers." A glance at her. "But not in those clothes."

"Oh, and probably more fucking." he adds with a grin.

Reena grins and nips at his neck. "I like the sound of that," she notes. She steps out of his grasp long enough to send the Princess' staff a notice that she is feeling unwell today and will trade off with one of the other handmaids on the schedule. "I really do want to see the area. Do you know of a similar area in Volkan?" she asks.

"Thought you might." Temple muses softly. Letting her shoot off a message, he rummages around to actually put on drawers instead of wandering about in the nude, as much as it might let Reena down. "There's areas in every major hold. Most of them are in places people don't tend to normally tread. So yeah, there's a few in Volkan." He glances around his room. "You can borrow some of my…sister's clothes." His tone gets a little muted. "You're about her size."

A hand settles on his arm as Reena looks him in the eye, knowing the last bit is hard for him. "Thank you. I mean that." Then her eyes fall to his abs again. "You'd best get dressed quickly, or we're never leaving this place."

For a moment, Temple is quiet, giving a small smile at her words. Then he leans down to kiss. "I'm willing to give the nobility another chance. To prove they're not all selfish assholes. And if anything else, that you're different from the rest. Maybe if I show you what everyone else doesn't want to see, you'll understand that like few others do."

Reena returns the kiss and when they break from it, she nods. "I want to see it all, Temple. Every bit of it. I need to see it." She's been sheltered too long and she's been feeling like a caged beast longing for her freedom.

"Then I'd mentally prepare." Temple moves to the carved out closet, pulling out a very old looking box, labeled with a woman's name. It's dusty. He wasn't kidding when he said it had been years. For how clean everything in his place is, this is only thing that's considered dusty. Likely too hard to touch. "I'll let you keep your bra and panties." He pauses to get another good look at her body. His sister seemed to have bubbly attitude. Canvas pants with stitched knees. A long-sleeve shirt that looks like it was tye-dyed at some point. And a leather vest that looked like it held an assortment of tools that're no longer there. And a Arborean football baseball hat. "I'd also remove your makeup. People down here don't wear it. Unless you're a hooker."

Reena arches her brow at the sight of the outfit. She heads into his bathroom to scrub her face clean of makeup and put on the clothing. She puts her hair into two simple braids at either side of her head, so the baseball cap sits securely on her head. When she steps out, she holds out her arms and spins. "Will I pass for not-noble?" she asks.

By the time Reena has entered the bedroom again, Temple has his clothes back on. She gets a glimpse of the bracer-like device that's buckled to his forearm. It holds three knives that appear to drop right into his hand with the right twist of his arm. Shrugging on his leather coat, he grins a little "Throw some grime on your cheeks and you'll pass for a part-time engine mechanic. A few things. Don't make direct eye contact, don't ask too many questions. Ask me if you have, but not within earshot of anyone. You're one of the Ignored. Money, power, and status are forever out of your reach. The best you can ever do is survive. Questions like where will you sleep for the night and if you'll be able to eat tomorrow and what you may or may not have to do to make that happen. These are desperate people, and if they smell vulnerability, they will take it. If you with me, it'll help, I watch over this section of Down Below. But I'm not taking you to the Deep."

The noblewoman takes in everything he says with an intense look in her eyes. She moves to reclaim her small club from her things, and slips it in a pocket. With the press of a button she can extend it into a baton. Reena murmurs, "All right. Let's do this."

With a nod, Temple leads Reena back out into the Down Below of Khar-Mordune. "We'll make it look like we're heading to a dive not far away." The streets are barely in this area of the city, some flickering and some just straight not working. And now that they're out there, away from the security of his apartment, she can hear the sounds of the Ignored. Which only becomes more detailed as they walk the darker parts, the alleyways, the backstreets, and dingy sections. Shouting in the distance. Swearing. Children crying. Angry footsteps just a wall away. The sound of a hooker moaning in some corner with her John. The smell burning acidic drugs in the air. Coughing of the sick. Whimpering of the broken. They pass box houses, people huddled under dirty blankets. The hungry digging through trash and others simply sleeping in it.

This doesn't faze Temple, he wears a face apathy. Becomes he knows. He used to live that life. In comparison, he lives down here, but he's one of the lucky ones.

Reena is careful to only look from under the shadows of the hat brim, and only askance. She shoves her hands in her pants pockets and does her best to walk beside Temple with confidence, rather than arrogance, and purpose rather than vulnerability. She swallows, the smells and sounds may be worse to her than the sights. The scents and sounds of industry and volcanic fog covers all of it on Volkan. She has questions, many questions, but she doesn't voice them. Not yet at least.

And they continue to move through these forgotten passagways, with equally forgotten people. The Ignored, Temple called them. It makes sense now for Temple's resentment at the nobility and the rich citizens alike. The people who they were supposed to trust, to lead them, to protect them, have been forgotten, ground into this by uncaring nobility and selfish megaconglomorate coorporations. Theose that can't find a job, support families and thus turn to petty crime, drungs and other darker methods.

A fight breaks out nearby over a unopened can of corn, which is quickly stopped by a third, urging that they can still share what's inside. But others aren't so lucky. The remnants of other fights stain the ground. Blood on carved walls, a broken tooth laying on the pavement. As they start to near the bar, he looks down at Reena. "It'll take more trips than just this one. But are you beginning to understand?"

"Yes," Reena says in a very small voice. It isn't just the nobility and corporations though. It's the upper and middle class citizens also stomping all over the poor and the undesirable. These people have been shuffled somewhere out of sight, where no one has to see or hear them. "This is a bigger problem than you may realize." Because once the Hostiles make planetfall in any significant numbers, every human being will be needed to fight them, to fight together, to be unified.

And Reena is ignored just like the rest of them, not given a second look. So it's amazing what a change of clothes and no make-up will do for blending in. "It's like this everywhere. May be harder to find, but it's there." The bar they come to is a hole in the wall, it's door having been spray-pained over. "People know me here. You're my girlfriend for tonight. If people see you're with me, you're less likely to get your ass pinched."

It smells like stale cigarette smoke, antiseptic, beer, and maybe a hint of urine upon entering. There's a couple of glances, but not glares or stares, rather a few nods at Temple, recognizing him." In effort to solidfy the look, he takes her hand, interlacing his fingers with hers. "We'll get a drink here and you can ask any questions that're on your mind. Just not too loud."

Reena's hand is small in his, delicate, and not as callused as one would expect of a child of Jevon Khournas. She sticks with him, like a girlfriend might, pressed close and grinning. Her eyes stay in the shadow of the hat bill though, concern flooding them at the scope of the issues. She sits wherever he leads her. "I can see a few things that need to be handled outright. For one, clean water." People would be surprised how much clean water can prevent sickness and disease. "I'll talk Lady Ariana Larent and Doctor Helena Dalton about that. They would know more than I. Next is simple trash pick up. I may be able to convince some friends to help with that, or get them at least to give me some funds to pay some of the kids here to do it." She ponders, curling a leg over one of his to be able to whisper to him and not let their conversation drift out further. "Then we can make space for a community garden, train people to tend it, and come up with a distribution system for work and food. Chits of some sort would work." She has a wealth of ideas now. "And I'd like to look into building a proper brothel, giving the working girls medical care, clean places to meet their clients, and protection from the pimps."

After getting a pair of beers to make it look like they came in for a drink, Temple makes small talk for a moment with a couple of the rougher men in the joint. Nothing threatening, rather it looks like respect. And it's here that man looks to be in his element. He literally swims through like noble hobknobs with people at a party. A far cry from the bumbling man who stammered when she was naked in his home, wanting him. It's all for show though.

"Listening to her thoughts, he quietly nods at various points, but his eyes are never on her. They're on the door, the back door and partons he doesn't recognize. But he has been listening. "These are things that need to be done, but what you need to do is start in Volkan. The last thing you want is some uppity noble getting in your face thinking you're poking your nose where it don't belong. This shit can be some people embarrassing little secret. Others might not care." Either way, he listens to whatever she has to say when they at least finish half their beer, he suggests they head out back to his place where they can discuss it more privately.

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