|bethen avilla ; the circle mage (bethe) wrote in thedas,|
@ 2010-03-03 19:57:00
|Entry tags:||! narrative, & 9:45 (5) molioris, @ bethen avilla|
Who: Bethen Avilla & Mona Seward (NPC)
Where: Vigil's Keep, Amaranthine
When: 15 Molioris, 9:45 Dragon. Early evening.
Summary: Bethen discovers what happened to Desiderio and tries to deal with the consequences.
|"Desi?" Bethen called to the shut door, not loud enough to disturb anyone else who might have been in their rooms at the moment, but with sufficient volume that she thought her voice would carry through the sturdy oak. It was solid and heavy, made to keep whatever was within secure as was appropriate for a defensible castle, but porous enough between the slats bound by a strap of steel to allow sound to pass. She couldn't see between the boards, though, the summer heat causing the wood to swell without warping its construction. She shuffled the tray of food to balance on one arm, rapping her knuckles against the the surface a second time. "Are you all right in there? I brought you some soup and bread, and some milk, just in case you were ill or needed something to settle your stomach. Everyone's been worried, they haven't seen you come out of your room in a while. I thought it might be bad seafood or something. This isn't exactly our normal Tower diet, is it?"|
She smiled at her own frivolous suggestion, even though he couldn't see it through the closed portal. It was easier to make a joke and try to maintain levity than make it obvious how worried she was for him. He didn't like it when she fussed, but Beth couldn't help feeling maternal toward him. She'd been this way toward him since the first day they met, and had continued to play the role of older sister and caretaker well until he was a grown man. He probably appreciated it just as much he did his actual brother's looming over his shoulder at inopportune moments. Maybe he wasn't hungry. There were other things to talk about, though. The mage carried on, "You missed an important meeting today. I took notes, though, so we can review them if you're feeling up to it. I'll help you pack, too. We're supposed to leave in the morning. Maybe you'll be well enough by then for travel?"
Still no response, just a long, deafening silence. Too many awkward pauses had taken up minutes of her life in the last week alone; she was getting sick of this treatment, but...it wasn't entirely undeserved. Bethen hadn't exactly consulted all of her friends before marching up to the First Enchanter's office to volunteer herself for a cause that could get her killed. She didn't tell Desi about it until after she'd already been chosen by the Warden-Commander and it had been publicly announced to the rest of the assembly. He had every right not to want to talk to her, since she had neglected to converse with him first. Beth sighed heavily, "I hope...I hope you're not upset with me, for going through with this. I'm sorry if-- I didn't mean--" She had been thoughtless about how he would interpret her actions and how they would make him feel, but she hadn't done it without thinking about him, at all. "You know I care about you, right? And I never meant to do this to abandon you, or just to be a hero, if that's what you thought. You're my family. I promised that I would always protect you, I swore it on my life. And being a Grey Warden is the best way I can do that."
"Please let me in, Desi," she pleaded quietly, hoping that her apology and her word still meant something to him, even if they maybe shouldn't have. There were other things she still hadn't told him yet, worse things that he could absolutely hate her for, and it was unbearable to think that something like this would be the end to their connection. But she always had the best of intentions, and had them backfire miserably on her, didn't she? Tiredly, the woman leaned against the door, "Or at least say something. Can you even hear me in there?" She pressed her ear against the door, wondering if he was actually asleep, and then maybe she was just embarrassing herself this entire time. But there was no sound from within -- not the slightest bit of shuffling, stirring, or snoring. Her hand darted for the knob; she jiggled it, but it didn't give. No one had seen him since the night of the Joining -- save for maybe Constans, but speaking to the Tranquil was doubly painful after the courtyard incident, and so she hadn't bothered to ask him. Fear seized her as she continued to hopelessly rattle the handle, irritation rising in her voice, "Desiderio... Open the door. I mean it. Don't make me melt this lock."
"HE'S GONE! Andraste's great flaming--" the young woman began to shout as she stormed into the Warden Lieutenant's office, the apples of her cheeks vibrant against the rest of her pallid skin. Mona looked up from her paperwork -- a never ending stack of bureaucratic mess that flowed in and out because none of the other commanders had the sense nor the patience to deal with it -- with a stern glance that immediately silenced the mage standing before her desk.
"Slow down, Bethen, and please close the door." The words and that grave expression were like a bucket of ice water, and immediately the mage spun around to follow the command, letting it click shut quietly rather than slamming it. "Take a seat." That order, too, was followed, though Beth didn't recline into the cushion as much as she perched on its edge. Looking remarkably like a First Enchanter (and perhaps that was why she'd been drawn here first, even though this was a matter that should have concerned the Warden-Commander the most), Mona removed her dwarven-made reading spectacles and folded them with utter calmness before setting them down next to her quill, every movement deliberate and controlled, in spite of the sudden torrent that had just appeared before her. "Now, what happened?"
Though Beth had just barely caught her breath, she immediately launched into her rapid fire of statements once more: "Desiderio Ledaal has gone missing, he's not in his room, no one's seen him for two days, and I have to find him."
This was news to her, but Mona still looked completely unconcerned by the first part of the sentence; it was only the latter half that she had any reaction to, responding flatly: "You can't."
It wasn't what Beth was expecting, though at this point, every day seemed to bring a new kind of surprise. She blinked, panic giving way to frustration, "What d'you mean I can't? I have to--"
She explained in just as even a tone as she had a moment earlier, "You're a Grey Warden now. Tracking down apostates is not your--"
"Apostate?" Bethen echoed with disbelief, taking offense to the word, as if Mona didn't have any idea who she was speaking of (though she obviously did; she had identified immediately that the young man in question was a mage without needing to be told, and it wasn't as if she had ever met the boy or heard his name prior to his arrival here). Anger flickered in response, but died out quickly; she had no reason to be mad when the former enchanter was entirely correct. She swallowed back her frustration, turning it into a plea, "He's not an-- He's just...he's confused. If I find him, I can talk to him, and--"
"You don't have time for that." The way that Mona seemed entirely unperturbed and unflinching, like a sculpture carved of ice, caused the fury to rise in Bethen again, though it wasn't exactly directed at the older woman. No, she was only truly pissed off at Desiderio for acting so rashly and to be so foolish, but it wasn't helping at all that her superior didn't seem to care one way or another. The young man -- the boy, still in her mind -- was in peril, and this mage who had grown up in the same Tower that they had didn't have any sense of loyalty or compassion for her own kind.
Without thinking about it, Beth's voice had raised a pitch and a level again as she got to her feet and shouted back, "I don't care! I have to! He's alone out there, somewhere, with monsters and demons and darkspawn... And I promised that I would protect him! I swore that I would, after...after what I did." Saying it out loud, finally admitting the truth to someone who wasn't in his grave or all the way in a house in Denerim, was a huge relief. The unimpressed look that Mona gave caused her to wither, though, and she sat back down before she was told to do so.
There was at least some form of visible change in Mona's expression, though. One dark brow had been arched, but nothing more than that, and her tone conveyed no real understanding or sympathy. Nevertheless, Beth was glad that she'd only received that much and hadn't been reprimanded as she deserved for her outburst. Mona cleared her throat, "I don't know what you're talking about now, but it does not matter. You have your assignment."
Her protest was quickly cut off with one very rational line: "He is an adult, a full mage, is he not?"
Again, the wiser mage knew exactly what to say to give others pause and consideration. Much as Beth was loathe to acknowledge it, still clinging on to whatever shreds she had left of an easier time in her life, she couldn't deny the truth of the situation. It broke her heart to say so, but she answered the question with honesty, "He-- Yes. Yes, he is... And I know he's not a helpless child. He's...not a little boy anymore, but...he could get himself hurt out there, or worse..."
As Beth grew quiet, Mona picked up again, this time offering at least a small amount of reassurance and hint of a smile, "Others have run away before and come back safely. If it's a misunderstanding, if he was just spooked by what happened here, and most importantly, if he doesn't fight back when they catch up to him, he'll be fine." It wasn't a guarantee. Just a hope. Beth knew that, and knew that Desiderio had a record of rebellion, but she wanted to believe that Mona was right in thinking he could be smart enough to avoid making further trouble for himself. Slowly, she added with a nod, "I will inform the last templar, what's his...Kendric. Yes. He'll know by morning to start his search."
Though her temper had been soothed, Beth was now perplexed, even dismayed, "Morning? How can you wait that long? He's already been gone for two whole days. Just...disappeared, like that, and no one was the wiser, no one was watching." Now she was annoyed again, this time at the templars she knew were in the castle at the time it must have happened -- of course their friends had every right to be concerned about them while they were in the ceremonial chamber, but why hadn't either of them thought to keep an eye on their charges? Why wasn't Aurin doing his job instead of worrying about her and Alderic? Even if she had died that evening, she still would have been angry about his neglect of duty, even from beyond the Veil.
"Where is his phylactery?" Mona interjected suddenly, so quick and sharp that Bethen wasn't even certain what she had said.
"What were they-- His phylactery?" replied the younger brunette, thrown for yet another loop. Where was the enchanter going with this...?
"Yes. Where is it? Ser Maddock said that he had just gone through his Harrowing not but a few days before you left."
"I-- I don't know... I would guess his phylactery was probably in transit to Denerim, when we left the Hold. But they were delayed, because of all of the preparations for our journey. It may not even be there yet." And as she gave her answer, the fog that hung over this line of thought was lifting. Mona wasn't really asking her because she didn't know herself; she was trying to get Bethen to understand what was going through her mind.
She steepled her fingers on top of her desk, "And why do you think he would run?"
This was the most puzzling of all questions, though. Beth didn't know, and if she had, she would have stopped him before she could even be sitting here to discuss it. But...Mona didn't ask why he did, so much as why she thought he would have. There were so many possibilities, but there was one that they all shared, the one that would have made her consider doing the same in his place. "Because...he's always wanted to see the rest of the world. Like I did. Like all of us do."
Mona tilted her head in acknowledgment, and it was now obvious that she hadn't at all forgotten what it was like to be in their place. She was a mage, too. She had made the same choice that Bethen had just made. They were not as different, and the world and her experiences had not changed her nearly as much, as she'd previously assumed. Though her demeanor was reserved and introverted, Mona still had some rapport with those of her former organization. "And you don't think he would do anyone any harm?"
"No, no, of course not. He's a good boy." Well...as far as Beth knew, at least. He was angry and hot-headed, and for perfectly justified reasons, but he wasn't a cruel or malicious person, and he had the potential for greatness if he just applied himself to a good cause. As reticent as she was to see him follow her into dangerous territory, she had some hope that he would have the opportunity to prove his worth and eventually gain enough trust from the Circle that he could have a longer leash in the future.
"Then I'll wait to inform the Chantry." Another surprising remark.
"He wants to see the world, doesn't he? I'll give him a head start." Now the woman was smiling, genuinely and with some sympathy, though perhaps there was a hint of vindictiveness to it, as well. Mona was not a fan of the Chantry, to be sure, but given how oddly tender she had been at Ser Maddock's passing, she didn't anticipate that there would be some satisfaction in seeing them fail to perform their duties properly, or in delaying them from pursuing them further. She had seen a similar side to Irving before, but only once and only for a second. But Mona wore this expression with delight.
"I don't understand..."
"You don't need to. What you need to do is focus on your own task, your own life. Desiderio made his choice for himself, not you. There are more important things to trouble yourself with than one young man. We both know this. I can't have you distracted when you need to put everything you have into your duty. Your powers, your wits, your heart. Everything." That was the real price they were paying, wasn't it? That was what Mona had given up, to be the person she was now, the kind of mentor and leader that the Grey Wardens needed. The smile had faded by then, giving way to something that looked like regret. It was Mona's turn to grow quiet and pensive, and that insight into her thoughts was shrouded once more.
"I...don't even know what to say."
"You don't have to say anything. Just keep quiet about this, and allow us to handle it. Now go finish packing and get some sleep. I know it will be difficult, but you have to trust me."
"I...I do. Thank you, Mona."