Topic: The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
Subject: Shaken but Resolved
"If we,” Aranwen shook her head, “I - were just a bit quicker at getting through that door…" Aranwen gritted her teeth. It was one thing to survive a trap, but they were not out of danger.
“How are you?” Ch’dau asked Aranwen, regarding her closely.
Ch’dau’s steadying paw was warm, and as he examined her, Ch’dau could see Aranwen’s eyes were a bit slow to look back to his own. She lifted a hand to her forehead, “I am not hurt. She didn’t hurt me. But I feel as if I were being held underwater,” She took a breath, closing her eyes a moment as she centered herself, feel the ground, feel the air, listen to your breaths, she repeated to herself, before her eyes opened, refocusing on the others, “We should…”
Kithran listened to the bladesinger’s stoic answer as she picked up her dagger and the red-haired doll, thinking of the way that mask had been mouthing soundless words to the Sylvari woman. She had never seen anything like it before, and knew very little about magic, but the things that Morgana could do . . . .
Kith looked down at the doll in her hands, and back to the bladesinger, having lost track of the conversation for just a moment.
“Your oaths, Sylvari, will you recite them for me?” Unsure and uncaring if she had interrupted anything, Kithran watched her weary, golden eyes look back at hers.
Aranwen blinked, turning to Kithran, “To reciprocate aid given freely; to take the lives of others who would claim them for malevolent purposes; to do what I can in making safe the path ahead, for those who would come after,” she repeated her original oaths.
The half-Syl took a step toward her, her gaze locked on the woman but her senses ready, searching for another one of those dark shades to strike at any moment, “And you remain loyal to these?”
Aranwen nodded, “If we weren’t, then I would not be able to fight. At least, not with the strength of song that I have been trained to wield.”
Kith grinned, “Right, of course. Then I have just one more question and we can go bound after these scary slitches,” she held the red-haired doll up to Aranwen, “Who is this? In that room we faced a mini Kithran and mini Ch’dau, but this is not you. Why did she use this one for you?”
Aranwen flinched, “... Saeriel, my wife,” She whispered before replying, her voice stronger, “I lost her thirty years ago,” She added, before one eye closed as her face twisted in a look of physical pain. She shook her head roughly, before finally averting her gaze from the doll, choosing to look instead at Ch’dau, “I don’t know her game, but all we know is that she, Morgana, also remembers what happened. That battle we lost.”
Kithran’s eyes widened in surprise as she looked again at the doll, at Aranwen’s wife. Aranwen’s lost wife. She continued, softer, but she needed to know, even if it would turn out to be a lie, “And if this visage or some closer form came into conflict with one of your oaths, what then?”
Aranwen shook her head, “I don’t see how it could,” She replied instinctively, “Morgana might have made a toy doll that bears her resemblance, but we know that’s not her.”
Aranwen rubbed the bridge of her nose with a hand as she squinted, shaking her head once more, “She, Morgana, she told me I wouldn’t be able to open those doors in time. I don’t think they even budged when I slashed at them. She asked me to follow her, she claimed Saeriel was waiting. But that’s impossible,” She looked towards Mosic, “It’s impossible for that kind of a miracle to have happened, right?”
Mosic frowned, unsettled at the thought, “As far as I know, such a miracle is exceptionally rare, and it would have had to have been performed close to the time of death. Not thirty years past,” The cidal priest shrugged his shoulders, “Morgana also does not strike me the kind of being that can invoke the favour of any gods. Most likely to be lying, deceit and falsities are stock and trade for many such unreputable characters.”
Aranwen nodded, relief spreading across her face, “When I refused, Morgana… she…” Aranwen frowned, shaking her head again as she had several times recently, “We were talking. I know that. I remember that. But the words… I can’t… why can’t I…?” She sighed, “Everything just, kind of goes dark when I try to remember. That feeling of, almost like being underwater.”
The warm paw on her arm gave a comforting squeeze, “Will you be able to go on, khatun?” Ch’dau asked from beside her.
Aranwen nodded, “We’re uninjured,” her eyes focused as she took stock of their situation, taking up the role that Ch’dau saw in her, a title she wanted to have truly earned, “We need to keep going; if it was a trap, then the lack of an alarm was to keep us off guard, but it also let us get this far uncontested. Therefore, having survived, we are in a better position to take advantage of the opening that wasn’t supposed to be here. There will be greater resistance going forward, but that is unavoidable. I will join Ch’dau in front; Kithran and Mosic stay behind us. You know the layout, Kithran, so you’ll need to guide us with directions. We’d best be moving. I don’t know how far Morgana’s scream reached, but we think it’s safe to say that we should consider the guard on alert now.”
The half-Syl nodded, more wary than ever of the Syl but left with little choice, and pulled the dark blue hood back up over her head.
Ch’dau’s hand finally fell from Aranwen’s arm as he turned his eyes to Kithran. “Did you find what you were looking for in there, kibibi,” he asked, gesturing vaguely to the ravaged room behind them.
“No, by my understanding it is on the floor above us, anyway, but I had to check. Oh!” Kithran ran back into the room for just a moment before skidding to a stop before them once again, slinging her shortbow over her shoulder, “Thank you for reminding me, I may not yell at you so much later.” She gestured toward the stairs, “After you.”
Aranwen nodded, steady on her feet now as she stepped forward in the direction Kithran had indicated, her blade held ready at her side. She looked to Ch’dau, offering a warm smile, “Together, then.”
On the floor of the study, the doll that was dancing along the floor remained still and unmoving, its dress now returned to a pure white colour...
Posted on 2020-01-07 at 15:31:10.
Edited on 2020-01-07 at 15:46:00 by Reralae