|Ashur|| The folly of man once blighted the earth; a holocaust of fire rained down like God's wrath and swept the land in nuclear fury, poisoning the land, the water, the air; swathes of green became twisted empty deserts. Perhaps it is natural, nay, inevitable, then, that generations later a clever soul would seek to recreate what was lost.
Enter then the Scrap Forest. The trees are twisted things of recycled metal; the leaves are thin blades, their veins stenciled, rust streaking through them like autumnal glories. The roots are like talons hooked into the dirt, and the trunks, the branches winding hunks of metal bent like crooked broken limbs.
Where a normal wood might dapple the light and paint the ground in soft shadow, the metal catches the afternoon light and glimmers; the canopy burns like an ocean of fire.
Beneath that scorched ceiling, seated on a bench, is a giant of a man. He seems as much a facet of nature as these great trees, though where they are metal mockery of wood he is a flesh simulacrum of stone-- a mountain with limbs, and hair, and radiant golden eyes, whose skin is golden, whose hands are rough, and whose overly-broad and hyper-masculine form is swathed in a queer chalk-whitened outfit few recognize as a toga.
The braids of his hair hang and sway in a faint warm breeze, and in his hand is a metal leaf.
|Camilla|| Camilla, for all her desire to find a place to sit and collect her thoughts, did not expect to find this place nor someone else under the metal canopy. Seeing the man as he sits there, metal leaf in hand, she chooses to quietly and slowly walk past him, seeking another bench to take as her own. She finds this bench and sits on it, quietly lost in her thoughts and her own little world.
She is a picture of youth and beauty, at least by most standards. She stands only a few inches shy of six feet, and has a fairly athletic, lean, and muscular build that is still gifted with the curves and gracefull lines of a woman in the right places. Her hair, is long, ruler straight, and raven black. Her eyes, as they look about before seeking the ground, are a vivid, icy, blue.
About her body, a standard set of clothing for a wastelander, and a bag, a healers bag by the looks, with a medical kit in it, rests. It, hung by a single large strap. For now though, she does not seek conversation with the man present, just a moment to sit and think.
|Ashur|| The juggernaut lifts the blade to his face and uses the narrow spear-point tip to scratch through his black beard. An itch lingers beneath the skin, and he uses the abrasiveness of the metal to satisfy himself, clawing at the roots of his boar bristle facial hair. Once, twice, digging in, until any harder and he risks cutting himself-- only then does his hand fall, and he draws a deep breath, barrel chest expanding around his lungs. Most of the brute's upper body is exposed; the heavy toga clings to his left arm, and is knotted behind the right shoulder, but much of that arm, the breast, and portions of his side and abdomen are revealed. There is more scar than skin.
"Ave, woman," and she'd surely recognize the Latin of the Legion, "tell me true: what think you went through the mind of this forest's maker? Such skill and creativity, such effort went into it-- yet it is wasted here, a splash of beauty in the shit-heap of the Shantytown. Would it not have been better to turn that artistic vision toward improving the homes?"
His voice is a rough, growling bass, more bestial than not; it shakes the bones. There is thunder in him. She also might recognize the crisp, militant speech patterns of a typical Legionnaire.
|Camilla||Camilla's gaze slowly turns to face the man, hearing the latin of the legion and recognizing it, here, this far from the Legion, it causes her to simply stare. It seems the simple fact that this man might be of the legion, in just that one word, and that one way that a man of the Legion would call to a woman, is enough to see her paralyzed in fear. She does not, at this point, respond to his question, no, she just stares.|
|Ashur|| The natural response to being asked a question is to answer it; Ashur, loathing the unnatural, is quiet and patient in expectation of it. But rather than a woman's voice, his answer comes on the wind, a gentle sigh that cuts itself on the razor edge of the metals. There's a sharp, whistling quality to that wind when it gets into the hollow bits through the gaps in the branches.
The man turns that great head of his, braids thrown behind him like a lion's mane. He is animalistic in aspect and gesture-- maned like a cat, snorting like a bull and just as muscled, and returning her silent stare with a fierce and hawkish gaze of gold. As regal as his clothing might be, everything about his look otherwise screams savage-- even the flowing white cloak draping behind him, ornate as it is, fails to make him civilized.
"Yes, yes," he rumbles, lifting and waving a hand dismissively. "You are in the presence of the almighty Ashur. The forest, woman-- focus."
|Camilla|| "Your name, has nothing to do with it, nor does anything you exlaim as fact or fiction about your greatness..." she replies kurtly and with very little tact, and with a lot of spite in her voice. Her icy blue eyes stare at him now and she looks prepaired to take flight, or reach for something to attack him with, and seems to be thinking the two options over.
"As to this forest? I'd naught thought about it, or it's origin, or where it would better be placed and for what reasons. I do not live here, and did not grow up here."
|Ashur|| Ashur has slain hundreds, if not thousands; he knows well the subtle signs of aggression, the particular tensing of muscles, sliding of the eyes, leaning of the body's weight that indicate desire to strike or flee. A beast like him must surely be intimately familiar with such instincts.
Yet he does not mirror that aggression. Quite the contrary-- the sight of it seems to amuse him, and he lets loose bellowing laughter. A vibrant sound, rich and unguarded-- and one that dies as quick as it came, leaving only the quiet intensity of his eyes that now never leave her.
"Mind your manners, girl," he warns her. "I won't forgive an attack simply because you have a pretty face." A moment's pause, and then he smiles. "A traveler, then? Or a vagrant. Hnn-- well. This is no place to live."
|Camilla|| Cami's body remains in its tensed state, and she remains ready to attack the man or flee, though the obvious shifting of her weight and posture speaks to the flight, and not the attack being her chosen course of action. Though, for now, she does not attempt anything.
"You speak to me as if you hold power over me, and you do not, not now, not ever." The spite in her voice is almost palpable, and cuts the air as she speaks. She does take a moment to look around and the returns her gaze to him and shakes her head, "No, it's not, but it's all these people have and some of them saved my life today. So, I have a mind to stay and save lives and do what I can to repay their kindness. I've nothing else left to loose or look forward to. As to what I am? I'm a healer, as should be plain by my bag and my spoken desire." This one, is well spoken, and perhaps well read, which is a bit of a rarity.
"I only ask one thing of you, Ashur, why are you in this place?"
|Ashur|| "What base grudge demands you speak to me so, medicus?" The man has humored her spite thusfar, but the fey mood fades, and his jaw tightens at her blatant and unprovoked disrespect. "You are a stranger to me; have I slain a brother or husband? Cease your hate, if so-- they were privileged to die beneath me." His right hand-- and she can see now the bulky power fist that encases the hand, wrist, forearm, a heavy brace of steel and piston that reaches near his elbow-- tosses aside the metal leaf, fingers clenching tight enough to make the knuckles white and the leather and metal of his glove creak and groan.
"I tire of your mouth. Bite your tongue and walk away, fool, before I chastise you."
|Camilla|| Camilla simply stares and responds plainly, "Honestas, Industria, Prudentia, Legionary." The response is the code of a slave of the legion.
"I may be a stranger to you, but I am no stranger to a man of the Legion and I know who you are. I know who you all are.." she adds. She sees his fists clench and chooses to stay, "Oh yes, raise your hand to a woman who is not capable of defending herself. Such a big, powerful, man of the Legion. Come then, and chastise me, if you think you've the strength of will to lay hands on me when you can see plainly I am in no way able to defense myself against you Legionary.." she snaps out at him.
|Ashur|| It has been a long time since the virtues of a slave were last recited to the man. Oh, he's heard them in his thoughts, when thinking of the degenerate and untempered people of El Dorado-- knowing that most of them would be better enslaved, given some purpose, trained and disciplined until they were almost people and not the wretched doomed things they are.
But to hear it spill from living lips? That was another life. A lifetime ago.
"A runaway," he reasons, staring down at her from his perch upon the bench. "I see. It is expected; with Caesar's death and Lanius' ascendance, there are surely more rebels than those of New Rome. The wastelands are likely full of the dessicated corpses of slaves who thought they were more. Well-- enjoy your freedom, girl. The Legion shall never be what it once was; it lies buried with Caesar. Your life is your own now."
|Camilla||Cami sits, and she waits, she waits for him to move at her as only she's seen a Legionary do and she waits for him to strike her, but it doesn't come and that, is a shock as well. She blinks a few times as she listens to him, "I didn't only run, I made sure the last of your legion brothers to lay a hand on me was found in a pool of his own blood.." she adds as she sits more upright. Though, when he says the last part, she looks confused, "So, you'll not try and take me back?" she asks, utterly dumbfounded.|
|Ashur|| "Take you back to what?" It is Ashur's turn now to spit poison-- that growling voice roughened and darkened with bitterness. "I told you, the Legion is dead. What stands now is a shambling corpse too slow to realize its own rot and weakness. What once was a clenched fist, united under a great vision, is now a pulp of fingers broken into a hundred pieces."
"I severed my ties with the Legion already. There is no place for me there, no more than there is you. We would die on a cross together if I did."
|Camilla||"Spoken like a true Legionary..." replies Cami plainly, a long sigh escaping her lips after. "Well, then, I no reason to hate you and none to fear you, at least at the moment.." she adds as she keeps her eyes on him. "Yes, well, I've no desire to die on a cross, with you, or without you..." she adds as she stands up slowly, keeping her eyes on him. For a moment, she hesitates, but sighs yet again and simply says, "I am Camilla."|
He tastes the name. Rolls his tongue on the final syllable, speaking it into the wind that sighs once more through the metal trees. And then he rises, bones creaking, and the sheer size of him is apparent now in a way it wasn't when he sat-- a monster of a man, bulging with the raw muscle of a super mutant, sprawling limbs covered in hair and vein and striation and scar. When he stands before a person, he can eclipse the sun.
"El Dorado is no friend of the Legion. Once, under the previous mayor, it had trade relations; that tie has since soured, and those here fancy themselves heroes, champions of justice." The arm with the power fist folds behind the small of his back, beneath the lustrous white of his cloak, while the other folds across his stomach. "They neither understand nor respect the dignity of a slave, the place of a woman, or the nobility of the Legion. You will not be taken back to them by the people here. If you are skillful in the medical arts, as you say, seek out the clinic here. A girl by the name of Iris manages it, and one of my brides, Kurokumo, works there. She is the finest healer in the state; one of them can surely settle you in."
|Camilla|| Camilla listens and watches as he recites her name in that way, it simply causes her to pause and watch him as he stands up her icy blues keeping him in focus. "I am glad to hear that, to hear what this place is.." she replies as she to stands upright finally and despite being tall for a woman, is utterly dwarfed in stature.
"There is no dignity in slavery, in being owned. There is no /place/ for a woman but the one she makes for herself and there was never, ever, any nobility in the legion. Maybe one day you'll see that you were lied to, and the legion was naught but a man's desire to be seen as a god."
|Camilla||"Oh, I've already meet Iris and been the clinc, it is where I am staying. I am sure I will see your wife there in time then."|
|Ashur||"You are an ignorant girl," the man responds, looking down at her with heavy eyes. "You can recite the virtues, but it is clear you never understood them." He pivots on a booted heel and turns his back to her. As he walks away, his tread heavy as an earthquake, he leaves one final message, not even turning to face her. "There was nothing nobler."|