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Magic vs. Might (Fates.Gamble & Touch Of Temperament)

Fates.Gamble

Revendeur de Destin
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
239
Location
Somewhere out there...
#26
Arawn could have easily disputed No’a’s hopes for a ‘better future.’ She was delusional if she thought the control of the Wardens would be wrested away within Jivin’s lifetime. Their power was too great, their influence too deeply ingrained within the system. Nothing short of another Tariq would be enough to crumble their order, and the boy’s future would certainly be nothing to look forward to if that came to pass. As far as Arawn was concerned, Jivin couldn’t have asked for a better future than the one they just gave him. No longer would he be dragged out of his phone and put to the sword should the wrong people find him. Arawn couldn’t fathom why she would risk that simply to restore a power that most people got on fine without. Regardless, they had bigger problems on their hands than debating the hypothetical.

His concerns hung on the air as No’a studied him, her hint of a smile masking whatever thoughts might truly be running through her head. He waited as patiently as he could, though in truth he was eager to move on from this place as quickly as possible. Thus far these mountains had provided him with nothing but dilemma and suffering, and the sooner he moved on from the site of his blasphemous actions, the better. A look of doubt crossed his face when she suggested Jivin remained a mystery to the group. She could very well have been right, but something told him these mages were more informed than she expected. Not only did they seem to know all about her, but they’d also known where and how to successfully ambush his party. But she at least seemed willing to cover her basis and accept the possibility they knew more than they let on.

Before he could articulate his thoughts on the matter, No’a changed the subject, jumping back to the mark on his chest. Arawn frowned, folding his arms tightly over his chest at the comment and suggestion. “I didn’t think you’d be so concerned about that. Trying to make sure we hunt the rest of your kind down with even more efficiency?” More interesting was her evident attempts to hide what she believed the tattoo truly was. She may have been careful to avoid calling it magic, but it was clear from her tone what she thought. And just like that, they’d moved on, back to the topic of the mages hunting them. The disagreement was clearly written across his face, though he waited until she was done speaking before he gave his piece.

“You’re a fool if you believe they’re all so unskilled,” he said at the end. “Why send seasoned veterans to ask after a healer? I’ve seen what at least some of them can do… No; the ones who attacked us were different. More highly trained than the rabble I dealt with. More than that, someone had to gather these cultists together. Do you truly think they’d follow someone without a proper knowledge of magic and what it can do?” Of course, the rest of her argument couldn’t be denied. There were few and less true masters these days, and after the purge of the Wardens it was unlikely anyone would ever attain the supremacy that Tariq and his predecessors had, but Arawn had seen prodigies before. No doubt there were a fair few others hiding out there as well.

No’a still seemed to think Jivin was more or less safe from them. Arawn cast a look of doubt at the boy while she doted over him, looking as thought a mother who was being forced to leave her child. Seeing how protective she was of the boy, he decided to say no more on the matter. This was her life, and he had no place interfering if she thought this was the best course of action. It was such an abstract concept to think that way. Here he was, forming an unlikely partnership with a mage… Asking her opinions, even fueling her magic with his own blood. It was more than a little unsettling, but a manner of relief passed over his face once she finally dismissed the power. The hum of energy drained away and Arawn was able to relax; as much as one could given the circumstances anyway.

Her next revelation snagged his attention, making him forget all the discomfort once he realized what she intended to do. Getting the mages to focus on her instead… it was a bold initiative. Her resolve was admirable, in fact. Despite the obvious fatigue, she’d already gone right back to work, tending to all her things as though she planned to blow through that door and get the chase on right away. Given how she’d managed to dupe both himself and one of the mages already he had no doubts she was fully capable of dodging the ones who would come. She’d made it this long before the Wardens ever caught wind of her… Not many could claim that feat. Her plan of action got Arawn thinking about his own, tangling him up in his thoughts. On one hand he was glad this whole affair with No’a was coming to the close. On the other he couldn’t stop worrying over the idea of her just running off into the vast nowhere. She knew too much about what he’d done, and while he was willing to let Jivin live on the condition he be stripped of his abilities, No’a was still a fully fledged mage. Whatever treason he committed here, he was still a Warden and she a mage.

“I’ve been considering that,” Arawn confessed as she faced him and made mention of their bargain. “Short of taking your own life, there is no favor I can ask of you that would not be sacrilege…” With a heavy sigh, Arawn shook his head and finally looked up to meet her gaze. “I have a sworn duty to uphold. You know I can’t just let you go… Not in good conscience.” He couldn’t help but utter a dry laugh at his own remark. As if his conscience had any hopes at this point. Not only was there a measure of guilt to the lives he’d already taken, now he had to suffer the secret of what he’d done to save a life as well. It took a long moment before he spoke again, and his voice was heavy with uncertainty once he did.

“But, I’ll be honest… You seem a good and genuine woman to me, No’a, no matter what power you’re cursed with. I do not want your death on my conscience either. But you know what I’ve done… what we’ve done. How can I trust that the truth would never come out?” Even if he swore her to secrecy, the Wardens could pull a song from the lips of any mage once they had them in their torturous clutches. “Can’t kill you. Can’t let you go…” The Warden looked positively frustrated with the situation, but something came to light in his eyes. “Perhaps there’s a third solution…” he fell quiet for another moment, weighing the pros and cons of the idea in his mind before finally suggesting it. “You could come with me to the capital. Place yourself at the mercy of the arbiters of the Wardens and beg their absolution. I will plead your case; tell them of how you saved my life and turned over the other mages without hesitation.”

Arawn wasn’t certain if his suggestion would go over very well with her. Not only was he asking her to place her life in the hands of the men who loathed everything she stood for, but also to publicly reveal herself as a supporter of the Wardens. Even if they did grant her mercy, she would inevitably be hated by both sides; the Wardens for what she was, and the mages for what she’d done. Arawn knew the chances of a favorable outcome were almost nonexistent, but at least it would give her a chance. More than that though, were his own selfish reasons for wanting to keep her nearby. Not only was it to safeguard his secret, but he knew these cultists were just as likely to hunt him down as they were her. If they traveled together that left his enemies only one direction to go: Right into his trap.
 
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