howtoactfereldan: (judge me whole)
Cullen ([personal profile] howtoactfereldan) wrote2015-10-30 09:58 pm

(no subject)

There's a large rock by the inlet. Cullen likes it -- likes sitting in the shadow of it, resting his head back against it, looking at the sky and the water and trying to get his mind to quiet. Sometimes it even works.

Here in Milliways the sun is setting; it's the middle of the night in Kirkwall. Cullen appreciates the option to sit in sunlight.

Yesterday -- today -- whatever -- it was long. Bad. Aid from Starkhaven was supposed to arrive, but they got held up on the road, and so it was Cullen and a patrol who found the dead children --

-- but he's not going to think about that. He's going to watch the light play on the water, feel the welcoming stone against his back, and if his eyes drift closed -- there's little harm, yes?
followers_of_she: (Meredith 2)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 04:23 am (UTC)(link)
Little harm save leaving himself vulnerable to attacks from mages and abominations. Not that there is ever much difference between the two.

There are no footprints in the sand, nor the sound of anyone else breathing in the vicinity, but still there is the shadow of a woman standing over him, dressed in heavy armor and with a greatsword on her back.

"Knight-Captain, what is the meaning of this?"

Her voice rings out, fairly demanding obedience. Making people jump has always been one of this particular woman's skills.
followers_of_she: (Meredith 1)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 04:29 am (UTC)(link)
"Oh do you, now?"

The sternness of her blue gaze is unwavering, though it may occasionally be interrupted by a redness that floods into the whites. Maybe the sun is irritating her eyes.



"And will you apologize to those who perish screaming when your attention is not on your duties? Provided you survive your inattention, of course."
followers_of_she: (Meredith 2)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 04:41 am (UTC)(link)
Is that the smell of corrupted lyrium in the air?

Surely not.

"It's good you make no excuses, Knight-Captain. But an account of your weakness is still in order."

Just to make sure he understands where he erred.
followers_of_she: (Meredith 2)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 04:53 am (UTC)(link)
"Left. Your. Post."

Each word drops into the silence between them like caltrops, studding the ground and this conversation with knives.

"Have I taught you nothing, not in all this time? Mages cannot be trusted. One second without oversight and they might do anything."

Anything at all. Her eyes narrow, lines filling in an old, old pattern of doubt and suspicion.

"Did one of them suggest you should come out here, Knight-Captain?"
followers_of_she: (Meredith 1)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 05:01 am (UTC)(link)
"Oh, Cullen."

Her expression is, for one moment, unguarded, face haggard and old and exhausted.

"Not you, too."

The smell of rotten, tainted lyrium grows stronger.

"I thought you knew better than this. They're always looking for a way in. All of them."

The scream of Orsino's blood-magic conglomerated horror hangs heavy and damp in the air, a flicker of shadow and blood that dies and is gone.

"One moment of weakness to creep inside your guard and bring you crashing to your knees."
followers_of_she: (Meredith 2)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 05:10 am (UTC)(link)

Meredith's response is quick, sharp, and merciless.

"You were ready, or so I thought, to understand the truth. About mages, about what we are, about what we must do to protect ourselves, our charges, and the entire world from the threat that mages pose. You saw it yourself, just like I did. The Order thought you were ready, as well. And now here we stand, with you listening to a mage's advice, fretting about their happiness, their safety, their sense of autonomy."

Each of those words she spits like a curse.

"Watching over them like a mother hen with her chicks. Sickening. Does the Order mean nothing to you, that you should bring us so low as this?"
followers_of_she: (Meredith 1)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 05:19 am (UTC)(link)
The Knight-Commander merely stands, stance square and powerful, ready to sling down her greatsword and tear the heart out of any threats in her vicinity.

That she doesn't do so now shows great forbearance. Or so history suggests.

"And apparently I was wrong. You didn't know. You have no idea. So how best to show you, I wonder? What lesson do you yet need to learn that will finally make you see what they are?"

At that her eyes blaze red, fierce and sickly burning, cracks lining her face and also emitting that searing crimson glow.

"Or maybe -- "

Those lines fade, and all she is is that haggard woman from moments before.

"Maybe we don't want you. Perhaps we don't need you. Certainly we don't if we can't use you."
followers_of_she: (Meredith 2)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 05:27 am (UTC)(link)

"Are you questioning me, Knight-Captain?"

There's a dangerous silkiness to her voice, faint overtones of resonance that don't belong there.

"Be very, very certain of yourself. Some things a Templar of the Order cannot take back."
followers_of_she: (Meredith 1)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 05:31 am (UTC)(link)
"The Maker."

Scorn drips from her voice.

"What does the Maker know that we do not? He is the one that made mages in the first place, and look at what that has done to us."
followers_of_she: (Meredith 1)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 05:43 am (UTC)(link)
"It was the only way!" Meredith roars, red glow exploding out of her, armor shooting out defensive spikes even as her voice vibrates across the water.

"There will be no peace, no rest, no safety for any of us until they're dead. Until they are all dead."

The smell of blood and half-burned corpses briefly swamps the putrid lyrium.

"Mages are the enemy. They are a blight on the skin of this world, and I will see them razed from it if it is the last thing I do! The last thing any of us do!"
followers_of_she: (Meredith 1)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 06:05 am (UTC)(link)
"Do you not want safety? Security? Peace of mind? Freedom from fear and regret and the terrible uncertainty of choice? I gave you those, Cullen."

Her stare is direct, and in the red of her face the pure blue of her eyes is clearly visible.

"Only I ever could."
followers_of_she: (Meredith 1)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 06:16 am (UTC)(link)
And then that scorn is back, but this time it reaches her all-too-human blue eyes, no trace of red to be seen.

"What use to any of us is a peaceful Templar?"
followers_of_she: (Meredith 1)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 06:25 am (UTC)(link)
"Cruel? This is cruel? I used to think you knew what cruelty was. Abominations and demons and the sight of someone you love turning into something that wants only to destroy you."

That is cruel. Her speaking of it is not, or so suggests the faint hint of softness in her eyes.

"And now you think a few blunt words are too hard to take?"
followers_of_she: (Meredith 2)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 06:31 am (UTC)(link)
"And you see how little it changed, how little it mattered. Shouldn't it have mattered, Cullen? Shouldn't you, my Knight-Captain, have continued my work?"

Her good, good works?
Edited 2015-10-31 06:32 (UTC)
followers_of_she: (Meredith 2)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 06:41 am (UTC)(link)
She looks faintly puzzled, perhaps at his nearness, perhaps --


"I am only what the great city of Kirkwall made of me. What they needed me to bee."

As Orsino was only what it made him, and so, too, the Viscount and the Seneschal and all the rest.

"How can you stand to do less?"

Faintly, echoed on the breeze, a different question.

What will you do instead?
followers_of_she: (Meredith 2)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 03:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Meredith, shoulders square, eyes intent, takes her own step forward into Cullen's space.

The corrupted lyrium smell comes with her.

"Bring them to the slaughter, Cullen, let them wipe each other out. Be an example of the only way there is to deal with mages. The only way to keep the world safe from their depredations. I -- yes, even I -- was too weak at first to do what had to be done. But now, now -- better they die as children than grow up to become monsters."

That last is snarled right into Cullen's face.

Her breath smells like the grave.
followers_of_she: (Meredith 2)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-10-31 08:30 pm (UTC)(link)
"And will you do it again, now? Can you do it again, Knight-Captain, tired and foolish and weak as you are?"

When rest is right to hand, a task and a purpose that one does not have to think to carry out.

What person could ever do such a thing?

Meredith's eyes are very, very blue.
followers_of_she: (Meredith 1)

[personal profile] followers_of_she 2015-11-01 12:31 am (UTC)(link)
She screams in frustration, stabbing her greatsword into the ground in a burst of red light. The sound of stone cracking in its moorings is incredibly loud.

"On your head be it, Knight-Captain."

And then she is gone.