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About Roen

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    A Free Sworn

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    Roen | Nabi
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  1. “Do you hear them?” Nabi placed her left horn against the boulder, both hands also laying palms flat against the rock’s surface. She could feel its warmth through the scales on her cheek, it had been resting in the summer afternoon, basking in the sunlight. A smile broadened her lips, although it soon disappeared as she focused on her other senses, namely her hearing. But even after quieting her breath, almost to the point of holding it, there was nothing. Only the birds chirping to each other on a distant branch, and the rustling of leaves whispering in the passing breeze. But the boulder itself was silent. “I hear nothing.” She pouted as she lifted her head from where it was resting, turning to the woman who was seated next to her on the grass. Chanai gazed upon her daughter, lines of mirth appearing at the edges of her eyes. “You don’t hear them like you would the calls of vendors or sounds of the ocean waves.” The older Xaela lifted one of her daughter's small hands and placed it upon her chest. “Do you hear my heartbeat?” Nabi’s lower lip rolled out further, her eyes narrowing on their joined hands. “I feel your pulse.” Chanai nodded patiently, pressing her daughter’s palm over her heart. “Yes, but when I speak, or take a deep breath,” and the woman inhaled slowly, filling her chest, “...or when I laugh.” She let out a quiet chuckle, her head canting to regard the child in front of her. “You can hear it, through your hand. Feel how I feel. Even if I were to speak no words, you would know if I am happy. Or sad. Or scared.” Nabi’s eyes narrowed, listening intently, concentrating on her mother’s every word. “So, I am not listening with my horns, but with other senses…?” she asked softly. Chanai nodded. “That you are. Learning to listen in other ways, lets you hear those who do not speak as we do.” With a slow lick of her lips, Nabi nodded then looked back to the large boulder she had been concentrating on. She had picked it out of all the other rocks in Kugane, because it sat where the flow of the water was most gentle, sitting between the bridge and the willow that swayed within the Rakusui Gardens. It was her favorite spot, and also where the koi often lingered beneath the water. Her hand that was still resting upon its smooth surface slowly slid along the grains of the stone, fingers relishing in the warmth that gave way to something cooler when it touched the grass and the water’s edge. That’s when she felt it. A sense of serenity and quiet emanating from within the stone. It was as if the rock was gazing at the glittering surface of the water, perched at the edge of the pond. It relished in the sun’s warmth, and there was a measure of peace in its stillness. It had been here a long time, brought by strong coarse hands, after being carried down from a higher rockier surface that held the Kugane Castle. Even though its previous perch afforded clear winds and view of the vast open sky, here by the pond, there were quiet conversations that drifted by, gentle ripples that tickled its underside, and birds that filled the air with their cheerful chatter. Nabi found herself smiling wider than ever. “It’s happy here,” she murmured. “Napping beneath the sun. Daydreaming of all the seasons.” She blinked up at her mother, beaming with excitement. Chanai ran her hands gently over Nabi’s hair, brushing it back from the girl’s eyes. There was pride in her smile as she squeezed the hand she still held, although for a moment, something else flitted over her visage too. It was a touch of melancholy, something that Nabi had glimpsed on more than one occasion. It did not escape the younger Xaela’s notice, who blinked and tilted her head. “What’s wrong?” Chanai shook her head, her expression easing with affection. “It comes so natural to you,” her mother observed quietly. “Even without any practice.” She took a deep breath and took the girl’s other hand, lifting it from the boulder to clasp it in between hers. “My sweet daughter. You will sing to them all someday, and many will awaken, realizing they have a melody in them too, their own part to play.” She pressed her lips gently upon the child’s fingertips. “Until then, remember my lessons.” Nabi blinked a few times, a slow frown narrowing her eyes. Was her mother still talking about the rocks? But before she could ask, she felt the touch of the woven metal over her wrist, as her mother slid her bracelet back in its place. It was rare that she allowed it to come off for any lesson. But when it did, the times were brief and precious. “It’s over already?” Nabi sighed, disappointment deflating her. “It is enough for today.” Chanai raised a finger in between them, already heading off the protest that was on the tip of her young daughter’s tongue. “You know the importance of keeping this on you.” She brushed her forefinger over the braids of gold and silver, spinning it once around her daughter’s wrist. Nabi’s lips pursed to one side, but she nodded dutifully. Such lessons on earthly magic from her mother were rare and so she appreciated each and everyone of them. Little did she realize then, that it would be the last occasion where her mother would allow the bracelet to come off in her presence, and the final time where Chanai would teach her how to strengthen her connection to the earth. It didn’t matter though, since her curious nature would have Nabi practicing on her own when she returned to the gardens now and then. She started to learn where each boulder came from, determined to regale her mother with all their stories one day. Nabi never had the chance, for her mother passed away before she could hear the tale. A breath was slowly released through pursed lips, composure and focus settling over her form as Nabi felt the tension leave her shoulders. The obsidian waited in front of her, one that had been retrieved from the undead Jhungid warlord, the same stone that held the magical runes etched by the udgan Toragana. Now it was up to her to decipher the mysteries that could be hidden within, to discover the history that was hidden within the workings of this dark stone. She lowered her hand slowly upon the polished surface, her palm coming to rest flat against it. I’ve learned a lot since that day, mother. You will see. Her lips parted, as if inhaling a breath to begin a song. That’s when the runes upon the obsidian started to illuminate beneath her touch, arcane symbols suddenly coming to life.
  2. I had this line art commissioned for Batuhan Kharlu and Arasen Kharlu! I love the stoic expression on Batuhan and the sly smile on Arasen. Very apt for those two. And i love the details of their horns, the unique scales upon their face, and the necklace of bones that Arasen wears. The artist cane be found here!
  3. (sometime before this happened...) It was but the briefest glimpse. If Nabi had blinked, or had she been only focused on her own fears, she would have missed it. But it was unmistakable. She saw doubt. Regret. Hesitation. Where her cousin’s amber gaze usually shined clear with focus and precision, it now looked to her searchingly, even as his larger hands held her own immobile. There was anger, it burned the brightest, but behind that cold heat, she saw a man adrift, swimming desperately for shore. She saw a man seeking reprieve. Nabi had been petrified with worry and despair. She was taken against her will from her own clinic, a mysterious sickness weakening her body that she couldn’t even say a word as she was carried away from the House of Sparrows , through the piers of Shirogane, and onto a ship she didn’t recognize. She witnessed a Jhungid warlord as he was shot clear through the head, by Shael’s gun no less, then another less fatal wound inflicted upon Anchor’s leg by the same weapon. She knew not how he fared as he was dragged off, unconscious, to another part of the ship. And Arasen had been part of it all. He and Batuhan had visited her apothecary that morning, and he was the one that spoke to the Jhungid udgan as if they were familiar with each other. So why was he looking so lost as he held her prisoner aboard a ship now in the middle of the ocean? “Your mother understood,” he rasped, his hands shaking with fervor. “She knew this was the only way. For a woman like her to have gone through these lengths, to produce a child purely meant as an offering to the gods, it is cruel. But it is because she understood.” It was then that fear began to ebb, releasing its hold over her heart. Mayhap it was because her cousin reminded Nabi of her mother. She hadn’t seen the similarity until this very moment. After all, he had been feeding them half-truths and manipulating her emotions to his own end, all to achieve the prophecy that her mother foresaw. But they were both driven, and they both bore the burden of the knowledge that their visions gave them; this unbearable weight upon their shoulders that none others could see. Her mother had been the strongest woman that Nabi knew. But there were those brief moments of weakness that would overtake her, and they didn’t escape the notice of her young daughter. Nabi had caught her mother weeping by her bedside once, when she had taken with sickness. It was just a cold, her mother had assured her, but later she was awoken with quiet sounds of muffled sobs and discovered moist stains of tears on her blanket. Nabi was so confounded to see her mother so, she had always been the most unflappable person Nabi knew. It frightened her to the core, and she just reached out with her hand and laid them upon her mother’s. It was all she could offer in her fevered state, she didn’t know what to say. Her mother kissed her knuckles and cooed back to her, coaxing her back to sleep. They never spoke of it again after. Ever since learning of the truth behind her birth, Nabi had reminisced about her years with her mother in a different light, as though looking through a new lens. Only then did she recognize the moments of silence, where her mother’s enduring composure would be shed like a cloak when she thought she was alone, and she sat by the window and stared out to the horizon, looking worn and sad. “None of that matters,” Nabi whispered to her cousin, her head bowing. “What she intended at first. She risked her life to save me. And all I’ve ever known is her love.” Her vision blurred and heat flushed her cheeks as the memories returned to her unbidden. “In the end, she didn’t want it. She must have seen this wasn’t right. That this isn’t the way!” Her voice was starting to shake with emotion, and her glistening eyes rose, looking imploringly to her cousin’s. There was a soft smile that dared to emerge, pushing past all other anxieties. Her mother too had been haunted by the darkness of those visions. But their visits were brief and scarce. Instead, she had bathed in the sun with her daughter most days, gathering herbs, washing the laundry, and watching fireflies. “But if someone like her, full of love for others, could try for such a thing… then, then you must care for others just as much.” Her hands relaxed even as his grip tightened around her fingers. “I know she suffered, looking back. She had moments of quiet and solitude. So you must be suffering too. Carrying all of that burden.” A tear rolled down her cheek, her insides trembling but not with fear. “But she found peace. And happiness. When she chose the life she wanted to lead. To love and laugh instead.” Nabi looked to him earnestly, offering him a gentle, inviting smile. “You can too. You don’t have to do this.” You don’t have to be so lost.
  4. Roen

    Roen and Khadai

    Since this was imported, all my descriptions were lost. The artist can be found here: https://www.deviantart.com/jn3-gimorro
  5. “Mama! Mama, come look!” Nabi’s enthusiastic call drew Chanai’s attention from her work, as she set the mortar and pestle aside. There were various herbs and reagents organized in front of her on the desk, some soaking in oil and others chopped up or ground into powder. A small pot bubbled on the firepit nearby, filling the air with scents of windtea leaves and lotus roots, a sweet tangy scent woven in with the crispness of freshly cut leaves. Noting the time that was still left on the distilling process, Chanai wiped off her hands on her apron and rose from her seat, crossing the room to tilt over her daughter’s shoulder who was leaning out on the windowsill. The young child’s wide eyes were fixated on the small chrysalis hanging from a stem of a climbing vine along the outside wall. “I think she’s about to come out!” Nabi whispered, as if speaking too loud would disturb whatever it was she was witnessing. Chanai leaned against the windowsill behind her daughter, the spring breeze greeting her with a welcomed cool caress. It also rustled the cocoon hanging from the plant nearby, but it moved mostly due to the passenger within. The spun shelter wiggled in place, although there was no visible break in the shell itself. Nabi hunched closer, waiting patiently, then after a moment of no progress, she turned back to Chanai, a worried frown tugging her brow low. “Do you think it can’t get out? Should… should we help?” “Give it some time,” Chanai reassured quietly, her expression turning soft. “Finding its own way out into the world is part of its journey. It helps it develop its wings, its strength.” Her daughter looked up to her with eyes filled with awe, before she quickly turned back to the chrysalis. She clenched her small hands into fists in front of her and leaned in with a whisper. “You can do it, little butterfly. I believe in you!” A quiet chuckle softened Chanai’s features as she watched her daughter stand vigilant, encouraging the tiny creature to emerge. But soon her gaze drifted to Nabi’s back, and eventually came to rest upon her shoulder. The amusement began to fade from her, a pensive sigh sagging her shoulders. That was what she was doing, wasn’t it? Trusting that her own daughter would find her way out of her sheltered upbringing? Chanai did her best to build that cocoon, to protect her from what would inevitably come looking for her. And she knew, she would not be there to protect her child. Each time that realization returned, a pang of sorrow bloomed anew. But she had accepted that fate long ago in the ruins. Did she do too much? Chanai had only taught Nabi the very rudimentary lessons on runic incantations. And her other lessons were never solidly tied in with her daughter’s abilities. She knew she had much to teach Nabi, and yet had held it all that back. She did everything she could to try and suppress her daughter’s growth when it came to her aetheric abilities. Was she right in doing so? In holding back all the knowledge and truths about her origins? It has to be this way. For all the visions the Sight had granted her about her daughter’s prophesied end, Chanai had come to reject them all. All but one. She had to believe that what she saw in that one singular divination would eventually grant her daughter the life she would choose for herself. That it would lead her to surround herself with others who would love her and protect her. And those same people would help Nabi grow, and become the woman Chanai knew her daughter could become. And that was all she could hope for. Without her knowing, Chanai squeezed her daughter’s shoulder, sadness suddenly gripping her chest. Even though she was certain she had come to terms with what must be, even though she had made her peace with it, there was still an undeniable longing to see for herself the future she would sacrifice everything for. But she knew she couldn’t. Nabi gasped with surprise, mistaking her mother’s gesture for one of happiness as the spun shell began to crack open at the top, a small pair of legs emerging first. The child began to bounce in her seat joyfully as she started to murmur more encouragement, glancing back to her mother to also share in the wonder of it all. But she paused when she spotted the older Xaela wiping at her eyes, the smile on the young face fading into one of concern. “What’s wrong mama?” Chanai shook her head and patted her daughter’s back, bringing a warm smile back onto her lips. “I was just worried. That it might be too much for the youngling alone.” She leaned closer and kissed her daughter on her head with a soft coo. “But I was right. A beautiful butterfly will emerge and soar the skies.” A beaming smile broadened Nabi’s lips from ear to ear and she nodded and turned, in time to squeal at the pair of antenna that was curiously exploring about the fresh new air. She bent closer to greet the small head that poked through. “Well, hello!” she chirped at the new critter with an enthusiastic whisper. Chanai leaned forward as well, tucking her chin alongside her daughter’s small shoulder, watching the butterfly pull itself out of the thick cocoon. Such small moments were wonderous miracles, and she would not miss any moment of it. She would cherish as many of them as she could, for as long as she could. They both held their breath as the small thing fluttered its wings loose then tentatively spread them open, displaying its glorious colors for all to see under the spring sunlight. For such a beautiful fragile thing to emerge from its dense shelter, Chanai knew all the trials would be worth it. She had to believe that as she placed another soft kiss on her daughter’s head. “You too will fly free, little one.”
  6. Stolen Kiss by Ruen You can check out more Ruen art here!
  7. Roen


    Roen let out a long sigh, her shoulders sagging. She set her pack down next to her on the ground, her gaze following the Tsenkhai until she could see her no more. A small frown furrowed her brow and she flicked Ashur a narrowed look. “I know some things about her tribe. But my friend was ever wont to speak of things only when necessary.” She rolled her shoulders, loosening the muscle there. The Xaela woman, as petite as she was, hadn't tired easily through their journey, even after travelling quite a distance. “But she knows that I am not wholly ignorant to the ways of her tribe. And so what she has spoken of so far, it is in line with everything I know of them.” Roen canted her head in his direction, her voice lowering. “Does that mean I believe she is being utmost truthful in all things? No. She is definitely not wanting to share more than necessary.” She tutted. “Actually, much less than necessary.” Her eyes looked to where she had seen the woman last, then drifted to adjacent yurts and stands and many other Xaelas. If she wasn’t trying to focus on the mission at hand, she would be quite fascinated about this place. Roen felt a small pang of disappointment, one that wrought forth a quiet sigh. She had hoped that eventually when she came here, that Kasrjin would be here too. And he, in his stoic and limited way, could introduce her to a place like this. It would have been an amusing scenario. “She is purposefully not telling us many things, and in that, it concerns me.” Despite her suspicions, all she felt was frustration and impatience where the secrecy was concerned, rather than fear. “But I think you and I both know, we still need to follow her lead. She is the only one we have so far.” She paused, her attention going from one merchant to another masked Xaela, before looking back to regard Ashur. “Unless you think we can gather more information from some of these traders?”
  8. "Mama, what’s on my back?” Chanai was wringing a rolled up cotton shirt when a voice from behind made her pause. She wiped her brow on the back of her wrist, turning around to see Nabi standing just a few fulms behind her with a small bundle of soiled clothing in her arms. If it wasn’t for the question, the sight of the child trying to balance a pile of robes much too big for her small stature would have brought about an amused smile. But even the view of her seven-year old daughter trying valiantly to help her mother do the laundry, couldn’t alleviate the dread that settled in the pit of her stomach. She knew that someday she would have to explain. But under the bright summer midday sun with washed sheets hanging about all around them, the older Xaela found herself without an easy answer. Had someone else pointed it out? Surely, the child could not have spotted it herself. It was almost laughable. That one such as herself, would be caught unawares by something so predictable. Sight or no, Chanai should have been better prepared to be asked about a strange pattern that was on her daughter’s back since the day she was born. Was it that it was something she herself truly didn’t want to acknowledge? She had come up with a different answer each time she had imagined this moment. But they all felt lacking in some way. Or untrue. Perhaps there really was no acceptable response. She had willed herself to forget it all in the tranquility of the mundane life that Hingashi provided. Matters like a sun spent doing laundry with her child was what was important, rather than ancient visions and prophecies. Chanai sighed, letting the wet linen slide back down the washboard into the lathered water of the wooden tub, canting her head in her daughter’s direction. Nabi was trying to set down the clothes she had collected, even as they began to haphazardly spill out of her grasp. She always was such a helpful child. Squatting down next to her, Nabi looked up at her mother curiously, those golden eyes round as saucers. “How did you come to see it, my love?” Chanai asked quietly, shifting the contents within the bucket, which prompted Nabi to scoot closer. The child concentrated on the task at hand first, to carefully tie up her sleeves as Chanai had done, although they was lopsided here and there and they only made it half way up her forearms. The older Xaela made no mention of it, only smiled faintly at the effort. But her brow remained pulled low even then, she was struggling for an answer. “Aunt Mimiyo thought it was a dirt stain at first. But it didn’t wash off!” Nabi dunked a shirt into the water, leaning forward with the effort, her arms submerging well past the elbow. She didn’t seem to mind her sleeves getting wet. “She said you knew.” Chanai watched the folds of fabric within her daughter’s small hands starting to balloon up with the trapped air within. She moistened her lips slowly, her lingering affection slowly giving way to something more thoughtful. “It is… a mark of a prayer,” she said quietly, soberly. “I prayed that you would come to me, and you did.” Her voice trembled with the weight of the truth in those words. Nabi’s eyes blinked wide, her mouth opening in a gasp. She straightened with an awed look, the laundry suddenly forgotten. “A prayer! So… you asked the gods? About me?” The wonder in her child’s expression, what mother would ever want to deny it? Under any other circumstances, Chanai would have done everything in her power to see such a thing to its full bloom. But this sun was an exception. In the face of the light that shined in Nabi’s eyes, her own darkened and lowered. “For as long as I could remember, I wanted one thing. I was so certain that it would be the only thing that could bring peace to my heart, that I’d be willing to sacrifice anything to achieve it.” Her hands had gone slack upon the edge of the vat, droplets of soapy water dripping from her fingertips. She was looking off into the distance, and rather than seeing the streets of Kugane, there was a familiar meadow that stretched out before her, a sea of green and gold swaying with the summer breeze. She had been so sure, for so many years, that she could restore the beauty and that feeling of serenity to the blood soaked lands of the Steppe. There was a pause before Nabi’s voice brought her out of her reverie. “You look sad, mama.” The child had stopped her own plunging of the soiled clothing, instead placing a wet hand over that of her mother’s. More droplets fell from their touch, rippling the water below. Chanai sniffed, blinking back down at her daughter. Her smile was tentative at first, but soon it warmed with all the affection that bloomed in her heart. “No, my love. I’m not sad. I am… sorry.” She shook her head, those words bringing about a stirring in her chest. “But not because of you. You are my little miracle. My beautiful winged thing.” She squeezed the smaller hand in hers, bringing it up to brush it gently against her cheek. “You brought love to a heart that was ailing. I was trapped in darkness, seeing only the shadows. But you brought light into my life. Now I see love where I thought there was only death. Freedom and hope rather than inevitability.” Chanai turned, her head dipping as she leveled her gaze to that of her daughter’s, the intensity in her voice and expression wholly summoning the young Xaela’s full attention. “I wished for a change, Nabi. The mark you bear is one born of twilight. When the bell tolls of change and rebirth.” Her hand squeezed tighter, and her eyes flicked to the glint of woven metal that hung from the child’s wrist. “It is a great and terrible thing… for it can free you or bind you.” “I don’t… I don't understand,” Nabi whispered, her eyes now starting to show fear as it darted between that of her mother’s. “I’m scared, mama.” Chanai bowed her head, a long sigh deflating her chest. The truth was too hard. Nabi was not ready for it, and she was not prepared to share it. Was she hoping that by blurting it out, that she would find some release? Relief from her guilt? Or forgiveness from the young and naive heart of an innocent child? “I am sorry, little one.” She caressed the child’s knuckles with her thumb, shaking her head. “You are my greatest gift. I only want to give you the life you deserve.” She brought her lips to Nabi’s hand, before setting it upon her lap and straightening. She smiled down to her daughter, giving her the most warm and reassuring look she could manage. “The mark means nothing now. Only a memory of a supplication long forgotten.” She gently tucked away an errant lock of hair behind the child’s horn. “Don’t show it to anyone, from here on.” Her fingers gently held the child’s chin, lifting it to call upon Nabi’s gaze intently. “It is something we left behind. Same as our home. Now we make a new home here. A brand new start.” She extended a forefinger to lightly twirl the bracelet around the child’s wrist. “And remember this, a gift from both your father and I. Make sure it is with you, always. It will protect you.” Chanai searched Nabi’s eyes, and there was something unwavering in her words despite her gentle tone. “You promise?” There were many questions in her daughter’s wide gaze. But despite her curiosity -- and mayhap even a hint of fear -- one thing shined bright and certain in the child’s eyes. A trust in her mother. And so Nabi nodded earnestly, and Chanai pulled her in for a gentle kiss upon her forehead. I too will promise. I will make it right.
  9. Roen

    Shael and Anchor.jpg

    “I know they don’t like each other, but they trust each other when it counts. And I think eventually, a friendship can bloom from that.”
  10. Roen

    Cigarettes and Fireflies

    Album of cool art I've collected! Either commissions or just awesome art drawn by a talented friend. (I am looking at you Ruen)
  11. Commission: Standoff “I know they don’t like each other, but they trust each other when it counts. And I think eventually, a friendship can bloom from that.” By Drist
  12. Roen


    Roen nodded to Ashur somewhat reluctantly. Whether the woman answered her question satisfactorily or not, the Xaela was all they had. But Roen wasn’t about to admit that out loud and so early. At least, not until she was given a better idea of what they were dealing with. The paladin still wasn’t sure how much to trust her, but the Tsenkhai did speak of Kasrjin with a measure of familiarity. Was she his friend? Would she even answer if asked? Roen doubted it. “So then,” she sighed, the release of the tension in her shoulders just barely noticeable. “I suppose we are the foreigners for the job.” There was a quick glance given again to Ashur, just to be sure her companion did not have any other questions. She was starting to get the idea that the Ishgardian was as wary about this as she was, but willing to see it through. “We came ready for travel,” Roen assured, although there was a twinge of doubt in the back of her mind. She had planned for a trip to the Reunion, but not as far as the glaciers. “We will need to resupply at the Reunion.” She tilted her head in the Tsenkhai’s direction. Like it or not, this Xaela would be their guide into the unknown. Neither Ashur nor she had ever traveled to the Steppe before. "When do we start?"
  13. Roen


    Roen listened and watched carefully. As far as she could tell, there was no deceptive air about the woman. Perhaps it was all masked by her confidence and the sure way she held herself, but small pauses and cracks here and there in her otherwise seemingly infallible countenance told her that she could believe the Xaela's words. Or at least, believed that their intent was aligned with one and another. Roen did finally stopped pacing, just studying the Au Ra across the fire with her arms crossed. She occasionally gave Ashur a quick sidelong glance, to gauge his reaction to it all. His focus on the end goal was obvious enough, but with him sitting, and his line of questions told her that he was becoming a little more at ease with the discussion at hand and the auri woman. But something still didn’t feel right. Or perhaps it was because it was too fortuitous that they ran into each other. “So if your people are not supposed to be at the Reunion for years, then just what are you doing out here on your own? If you are a Tsenkhai, are you not one of their leaders? Why are you looking to hire mercenaries to steal something from your own people? Will all your people be against us?” She tilted her head. "Just what kind of opposition should we expect to encounter?"
  14. Roen


    Roen blinked, feeling a bit placed on the spot. There were tidbits she had picked up regarding the details of his tribe, but it wasn’t as if Kasrjin had been overly forthcoming when it came to the ways of his people. And her explanation of what had happened to him was disconcerting to say the least. Make someone a monument for their heroic deed? What kind of tradition was that? If she knew anything about her friend was that Kasrjin was definitely not the type to want or even enjoy such an accolade, much less being held captive. She slowly moistened her lips and shifted her weight, beginning to walk slowly around the fire. She was too restless to sit as Ashur did, especially if the Xaela was also not relaxed enough to do so. “It was not as if he sat down and gave me lessons about his people. We just talked. Over a period of time that we knew each other. He was honest. Almost to a fault.” She cleared her throat. Why was she even defending him to this woman? “He told me he was injured long ago, and was kept in a… stasis? Then brought back into the body of another. One who used to be Tsenkhai. And he still had some memories of him.” Roen’s eyes flickered to the Xaela. “But he held to the belief that this keystone was essential in keeping the ways of your people. And that the temple, where aether was held static, it was becoming more erratic and your people used…” She paused with a frown, straining to recall what Kasrjin had told her. At the time, she found it all rather difficult to understand. “An alphabet, a manifestation of the aether, to communicate, to learn, to predict things. To thrive.” Roen mulled over her own recollection for a moment, before she canted her head pensively. “So without the keystone, the aether would just dissipate into the land, away from this temple? And your people would learn to live without this… Correspondence?”
  15. Roen


    It was sounding too perfect. Everyone was getting what they wanted. It was almost too good to be true. Roen still hadn’t forgotten the betrayal that Kasrjin had suffered, and it was amongst his own tribe. This Xaela was just yet another proof that things weren’t as cohesive and communal as he had believed his people to be. “Before we agree to this plan, I need to know more,” Roen insisted. “What will happen to your people without the keystone? And just why is Kasrjin even a prisoner after what he did? This temple you speak of, is it where you keep…” She paused for the right word. “Souls?” Roen had too many questions. She shot a look to Ashur, wariness clear in her eyes, but mostly to implore for patience. Undoubtedly he too would have more questions following her own... seemingly unbelievable ones. “Do you know of the place where we retrieved this keystone? Because that place was…” She licked her lips, now truly at a loss for how to describe it. “...Unbelievable. And it wielded magic far beyond any scope of understanding I had.”
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