Participants:

Arran_icon.gif Seren_icon.gif

Scene Title Ar Lath Ma
Synopsis A ghost from Seren's past returns.
Location The Gallows
Date 15 Kingsway, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Mention of heretic Dalish asses
Logger Seren

Mages are usually allowed to roam the gallows as they like, with some restrictions, and Seren has been walking the borders of his world on a daily basis. At first it was to try to find some sort of weak point, but now it's more of an exercise to keep himself from feeling as closed in as he actually is. The stone arches and pillars off to one side are his current goal, though it seems that Revas is leading the way without much effort from the mage to set a direction during this midday stroll.

Arran is there, in the shadows as he has been since morning, simply waiting. His distaste at having to be near the Gallows is palatable; even as a boy in this city, he hated this place and what it represented in the past and now in the present. He watches Seren with eyes narrowed and when Revas comes directly to him, he holds up a leather-clad arm to offer a place for her to land and nip at the black feathers still decorating the ends of Arran's braids.

Seren is, quite frankly, emotionally exhausted. These walks are a chance for him to recover in a way that doesn't involve hiding in his room. So it's little wonder that he doesn't quite understand what he's seeing at first. Even once Arran's presence registers he simply stares for a few seconds before looking completely confused. "A…Arran…" But then it finally hits him that he's not just wishing or dreaming and he can't react, he can't speak. He manages a whimper that's voiced as he walks over and merely rests his forehead on the man's shoulder.

Revas shifts to Arran's shoulder, allowing the man to wrap both arms around Seren. "You're looking more alive than I thought a dead man would look," he comments, trying to sound casual and failing to hide the quiver in his voice or the way his own body gently shakes. He sighs and tilts his head slightly to touch Seren's.

Seren reaches up to grab the leather at Arran's back with one hand, then the other and he'd say something- he wants to say something- but his voice won't cooperate and his brain can't reinforce the order. He's crying, because of course he is, and his throat doesn't have room to speak until he finally forces the words to come out. "Why did you come?" Not that his words are backed up by the way he's holding on. "You shouldn't have come here. This place… nothing is right about this place."

Arran shushes Seren gently as he might do with their daughter, his fingers carding through Seren's hair slowly. "Vhenan…. I know what this place quite well. I grew up here. It's you who shouldn't be here, but here you are." There's the brush of Arran's lips over Seren's hair and then the soft breath of a sigh. "I've been looking for you for three years. I never stopped. And then for you to finally confirm you're alive and in Kirkwall? I never wanted to return to this accursed place."

"I sent that letter so that you would stop looking and stay with our clan where it's safe." Seren finally manages to speak without having to force the words. "You shouldn't have come here." He repeats. "I won't lie and say that I'm disappointed that you did, but so much has changed since I was taken away." He finally lets go his hold and takes one of Arran's hands to lead them over to a stone ledge inside the covered area. "And it's probably better for me to tell you about them now."

"Seren, did you truly think I would stay away?" There's a note of frustration in Arran's voice and he shakes his head. "No. I could not just ignore that fact that you were alive and I knew where you were. What kind of man would I be to abandon you? Even if you tell me you have another, it wouldn't change how I feel about you. Don't you want to know about Serala? Or Nessini?"

Seren doesn't so much sit as his legs simply give and he holds on to the edge of the stone to steady himself. Mention of his daughter and her mother brings fresh tears and he has to wait again before he can speak. "Of course you wouldn't. I'm nearly afraid to hear news about them. Are they well? Does… does Serala even remember me? You realize that the people in charge here aren't going to allow this? If they catch us… this place is full of madness."

"I know, Seren, I know… Yes, it's worse now than it was when I lived here and I can only imagine the horrors you and the other mages have to endure. I also know I can't simply walk away with you. I didn't just show up here. I spent time figuring out why you were even here to begin with," Arran states, helping to keep Seren upright as best he can. "Serala knows her daddy is not with us, but she knows you are still out there and would be with her if you could. She… well… she's growing up fast and is very smart. Nessini is a good mother and she's been trying on her own since she and I parted, but it's difficult." There's much left unsaid, but that is for another time.

Seren shakes his head. "Here, it hasn't been as horrible." And when you can say life has been less difficult in this particular circle, you've seen some shit. "I… even if you could I can't go back. Not yet, maybe never. I missed you. Both of you, and Serala…Things are different now." He reaches up to brush his hair behind his ears and trains his gaze on the ground. "It used to look worse, but I changed it."

"Seren… home is where you are. I said that to you before and I mean it still. I haven't been back to the clan for sometime now. After Nessini and I separated - we did try to make it work - I have been searching for you as best I could. I go back from time to time, but it's not really home for me anymore," Arran tries to explain, shaking his head. But then he sees those scars and his eyes widen. He lifts his hand to trace fingertips over one ear and there are tears in his own eyes. "I'm sorry I couldn't find you."

Seren looks immediately guilty. "I shouldn't have gone." He admits and he would have said more except there's those fingers along his ear. He tips his head, taking in a sharp breath and closing his eyes. "No, don't be sorry. I'm grateful that they couldn't touch you." The words come out in a shaky voice. "I'm sorry that you were left alone. I never meant… I tried to get away from them, but they shackled me."

Arran is quick to shake his head. "No, love, this is not your doing. You went out to gather herbs for Creators' sakes. No, I don't blame you. I may have been angry at your message, but we do not blame you. I blame only the ones that kidnapped you and dared to harm you. I heard rumors… were you taken to Orlais?"

"Val Royeaux." Seren answers as if the name is still a sour thing in his mouth. "They put mages in cells like prisoners at first. That's where this happened. I did the best I could, they at least are my own scars now. But I don't want to talk about that. You're here and… Creators, I want to keep you near me and never let go of you, but this place…"

Arran smiles, maybe the first real one he's had in a long time. "I can't believe I've finally found you. I wish we could be alone somewhere…" He glances around and frowns. "I know that's not possible right now, and I think they would notice if you suddenly picked up a non-mage roommate." Yes, he is trying to interject a bit of humor. It's a pathetic attempt, but he is trying.

Seren takes hold of one of Arran's hands, tugging him closer. "We'll find ways." He assures. "We must be very careful. Creators, the things they would do to anyone I asked for help… I would merely face tranquility at worst." He chuckles. "We can't even dress you up as a Templar. You don't fit the mold." But now he's going to lean in for a kiss because he has missed this man."

Arran was doing his best to avoid grabbing Seren and kissing him, but Seren started it first and he doesn't exactly have any willpower left after three very long years. All he can hope is no one is truly watching them as he at least shifts so it's his back being presented, which mostly hides Seren's frame. When they finally come up for air, he presses his forehead against the other man's. "No, but I could pass for a servant. Once I change my clothing. No doubt they still have plenty of elven servants."

Seren reaches out to trace the line of Arran's vallaslin. "You would have to hide this. They have no servants here with vallaslin." And he'd have all kinds of ideas about that if he weren't distracted by the nearness of his lover after all of these years. Which means he's going to tip his head to capture another kiss. It's probably a good thing there's no one really in this end of the Gallows courtyard at the moment, he'd be in trouble.

"Or I tell them I was born here in Kirkwall, which I was. I can give them the names of my parents. I ran away to join the Dalish, but that didn't work out and I'm home again. Or maybe I just tell them how I was kidnapped by the terrible mean Dalish and I escaped," Arran suggests. "I was a city elf for the first fourteen years of my life. I haven't completely forgotten it." Then he's being kissed again and it's really all he can do to pull away again. "Seren, I know what Templars do to mages who break the rules… You are making this horribly difficult."

Seren rests his forehead against Arran's and nods. "I know, I know. It's just…Creators, Arran, I missed you. It was like being without air. Even when I decided I couldn't go back because of the things that have happened… Even then I never stopped missing you. I won't sleep without taking something tonight. I have much to tell but…" One more kiss. It can't hurt, right? Because he does mean to speak about these things.

Arran slides his hand over Seren's hair, picking up strands of it and letting them slide through his fingers. "I thought I would never be able to do this again. You know, I was so angry when I read your letter. I wanted to come here and just yell at you, but I can't. I ran away from here with the intention of never coming back. How can I fault you for thinking you can't return to the clan. Home is where you are, and I mean that. So.. what now? You haven't yelled at me for not telling you the truth about my origins."

"I can't yell at you for that. Your past belongs to you and you could have come from anywhere and I would still love you." Seren assures, reaching up to trace the line of Arran's jaw. "I'm sorry I angered you. I just… I couldn't imagine you coming to this place. My hero you might be, but here… I was afraid this city would crush you."

Arran shakes his head and turns to kiss Seren's fingers. "I know what this city is. I know that things can change in 11 years, but try living in an alienage sometime. Or you know, don't. I would rather you didn't have to be here at all." His smile is touched with sadness as he gazes back at Seren. "I wish this were only knee-deep water and you were drunk. Then I could carry you off into the sunset."

Seren might have said something about any of those things, but that last? It reduces him to tears and he rests his forehead on Arran's shoulder again. It takes several minutes to get himself under control and, once he does, the laugh that signals it is perhaps a little bitter. "I'm afraid I'm to my chin and knee deep in mud, vhenan."

"I wasn't trying to make you cry again, emma lath," Arran replies, looking rather apologetic, rubbing one hand over Seren's back, comfortingly. "Is there somewhere we can sit while we talk? You said you had much to tell me, and I want to know. I have things I should tell you, too."

Seren nods, sniffling and trying to get himself more under control. He gestures to some crates at the other side of the covered area they're in and walks over to sit while doing his best to dry his face. "There is so much I barely know where to begin. There are people I care for now who are here. One…one that I am trying to convince to live, one who convinced me to be more responsible, and one…" And that's where he sighs. "One is rather complicated. Perhaps you should tell me what you think you should tell me first?"

"You've met someone and you think I'll disapprove?" Arran asks, picking up one of Seren's hands and squeezing it, turning so they can't be seen by most onlookers. "And no, you don't get to deflect me on this one. You started and you should finish. But Seren, if you were able to find someone who brings you comfort in this place, then I am grateful to that person, not angry with them."

Seren shakes his head. "No, I don't think you'll disapprove but… It's not really that simple." Seren answers as he shifts uncomfortably. "He's a human, but his mannerisms. The way you tip your head and your eyes light when you hear a story that interests you. At first it was merely that he'd lost the man he loved and was kind to me even when I'd been accusing toward him. I wanted to help him find peace. He also doesn't know." And he can say that because he has NO IDEA that Cenn actually understands the language that those words are being spoken in. It's just an awkward sandwich. With a steaming cup of fucking-awkward on the side. "We've only spent one night together, and I'm fairly certain he sees me as a friend. Which doesn't matter, as long as …I told you this is complicated."

Watch Arran try to process all that.. it's almost comical. He blinks, then almost grins. "Wait, are you saying that you're new lover is a shem that reminds you of me?" Because he wasn't really expecting that and it is terribly flattering when you've truly missed the one person in this world that you consider yourself truly tied to. "Oh Seren…. I doubt anyone who spends the night with you only sees you as a friend. You give yourself too little credit for how you draw us in."

Seren watches that process as if he's lost in the desert and those expressions are an oasis. "He's a human, yes. I try not to use that word for him. I did once and he acted as if I'd slapped him. His lover was Dalish and while that's not my story to tell, he lost this man and apparently I was a reminder." He gives a brief laugh at that expressed doubt. "You are biased, vhenan. The truth is, I don't mind. If I can see him happy, then it will be enough for me. There is also the twin sister of the man he lost that I am caring for, and I'm afraid those details belong to her, but…" It's here that his shoulders slump. "Sometimes it feels like I'm trying to climb my way out of a hole in the sand."

"I'm biased he says…" Arran will roll his eyes now, thanks. "So he reminded you of me, but he's also his own person, and in turn you remind him of his Dalish lover, but not the same. Leave it up to you to find the most complicated means to an end, Seren. Not that I'm scolding you, but you were born to take care of a clan and that is what you'll do, no matter where the clan may be."

Seren shakes his head. "Perhaps with the instinct, but I still want for years of practice." He can easily admit that one. "There are others, but it's dangerous to speak names. Especially here." He shrugs. "And that's the complication."

"Will this new lover of yours object to me? Or is this your way of telling me that he's your chosen one?" Arran asks, perhaps wary of what the answer may be, but needing to ask all the same.

Seren whimpers at that question and moves to bury his face against Arran's neck. "Creators, vhenan, no. Please never doubt that I love you. I wouldn't do that."

Arran breathes a audible sigh of relief. "I'm happy to hear it's not that, because I love you and that isn't about to change. But emma lath, I've always known of and understood your capacity for love. It's one of the things I love about you. I know I'll always have to share you in some way."

Seren nods, silent for just enough time to get himself together again. "I will always love you, I will always love Nessini. Nothing can ever change that, not even this place."

Mention of Nessini does shift Arran's expression slightly and he sighs. "And we'll always love you, but Nessini… she's chosen to find happiness with another. He's a good man and he's cares for Serala too, yet he isn't jealous of what Nessi had before so I can see Serala whenever I wish."

Seren lowers his gaze but nods. "I can't begrudge her this. I doubt we'll see each other again. As long as he's good to them. Creators, I regret not seeing Serala grow up. Yet I would not leave those I've found here. Oh Arran, how did life become so complicated? It seems like an age since I put Revas' feathers in your braids."

"And I am in desperate need of fresh ones," Arran points out, smiling. "Vhenan… life was always complicated. You just had other shoulders to help you through it. And it sounds like here you do too, and maybe…" Arran sighs and glances around. "Maybe the Creators wanted you here to help. Maybe this is the clan you were meant to be Keeper of. Because I've never known you to back down for anything and I can see that you think yourself needed here."

Seren pulls two long feathers from his pocket and sits up straighter so that he can reach those braids and unwind them. "I have, at least, made promises that I must keep." He replies as he pulls the feathers from their clasps and puts the fresh ones in. Once that's done, he begins the process in reverse. "I can't say whether that's true or not. Yet here I am and I…" He sighs. "I sometimes feel as if the weight of this place will crush me."

"Then it will crush us together, because I'm not leaving you again, so please don't ask me to," Arran replies, leaning in to steal a quick kiss. "So, do I get to meet him? I think I should get to meet the man who reminded you of me."

Seren nods. "I'll ask him. You have to understand that I have to discuss this with someone who understands this place better than I do. But as soon as I can arrange it, I will. They've heard some things about you. I shifted the details because I thought it better than giving away the details I have."

Arran nods back. "I understand. You know, when I said I would become a servant here to stay near you, I meant it. I want to be able to see you, but I don't want to risk your well being either. Which means, I'll let you guide this."

Seren gives a faintly fearful laugh. "It's a good thing I know someone with more experience, then. We'll have to worry as reasons come and figure it all out somehow."

Arran traces his fingers over Seren's cheek and jaw. "Don't forget I know how to take care of myself. I'll be alright, I promise. I'll keep to the shadows and I know places to hide if needed."

"If you think that's going to keep me from worrying, have we met?" Seren teases, holding out a hand. "I have faith in your ability to take care of yourself. I also have a great deal of fear of losing you again. We'll manage somehow."

Arran takes the offered hand and gives it a shake before bringing it to his lips and brushing a kiss against Seren's knuckles. "You didn't lose me, I lost you. Literally. But now I'm not going anywhere and well, you can't leave here either. So no one is lost and so long as you don't send me anymore messages like the last one, we'll work through it."

"No more letters. No more trying to tell you to stay where I know you're safe. I was never able to protect anyone anyway. That's the worst part about all of this." Seren lets out a long sigh and, for just a second, he's just so damn tired. It's gone by the next breath and he manages a smile. "You're right. I'm never leaving this place while I'm still breathing."

Arran frowns. "I didn't mean it like that. I think we'll figure out a way, just not right now. Not yet. That doesn't mean I'm giving up, and you had not be giving up either or I will take you over my knee. Don't think I won't, Seren."

"Don't make promises like that until you can keep them." Seren replies. "Because this is already not easy. I will have to walk away from you in a while and… and go back to my room and pretend you're not this close. …but you're right. I shouldn't say things like that. Most of the time I'm determined that they'll have to watch me leave and accept it. There are just days when it looks impossible. But let's forget that. You came all the way here, you know this place. You're going to be alright? I hate the idea of you living in that alienage. Those places… they're pens where they keep those they don't want but need to control."

Arran shrugs. "I could camp outside the city, but then I wouldn't be close enough. The alienage… at least I understand the place. There are those that may remember who I once was and I can use that to my advantage. And your description of the alienage is really the same as this Circle. Everything about this city is a trap… a cage…" He sighs then.

"You don't belong in a cage. Just remember that, because this place has a way of making you believe it. It at least can make you believe that you will never breath air as a free person again. I suppose that was the whole point. They've just exchanged one type of slave for another." Seren at least manages a smile. "One day they'll run out of chains, or the ones they've chained for so long will break free. …and I honestly don't want to be here when it happens."

"Remember those words for yourself, vhenan," Arran reminds, leaning in closer and once more claiming a kiss. He wants so much to draw it out, but knows they can't and breaks it off before they can cause problems. Even so, he's a little breathless and he's smiling. "I'll have to make do with that much for now."

Seren nearly chases that kiss down again but stops himself. "Trust me, I try. That's why I walk around the edges of what they allow me. To remind myself that I'm going to go past that one day. I may not be able to go back to our clan, but I'll be free one day. And they can all kiss my Dalish heretic ass as I do it." He does have some fire left.

Arran chuckles. "Well until that day, keep yourself safe. Promise me, emma lath, that you will take care of yourself where I cannot." It pains him to have to say that, but there's no playing the part of the hero for Seren. Not this time.

"Don't worry. I stay just defiant enough for them to keep me out of the dorms. To tell you the truth, I really can't stand the idea of them thinking they've beaten the idea that I'm entitled to freedom out of me. Not literally, I haven't been flogged yet. I'll keep myself out of trouble." Seren may or may not dislike that promise, but he's willing to make it. "No, vhenan, you are still protecting me. You came all this way, didn't you? Just to remind me that there is still some part of home I can return to."

"Home is where you are. That has always been true for me," Arran repeats, squeezing Seren's hand in his. "No matter what, I love you. I always have. I always will. That you are alive and here for me to talk to again, well… it's not really enough, but I won't tortu re us both by describing what I want to do and in that I will feel some jealousy for this other man. But at the same, I'm glad you had that comfort." He glances around and his shoulders slump. "I should probably go before the wrong person takes notice."

Seren reaches out to catch one of Arran's hands, twining their fingers and looking for all the world like he wants nothing more than to beg him not to go. "You already torture me." He points out. "It's all I can do to convince myself that consequences aren't something I should ignore. We'll have time together, somehow. I'll find a way. Be safe? I don't know what drove you out besides the iron bars of this place, but the idea of something or someone harming you…" He sighs and claims another kiss, letting it draw out until he forces himself away. "Go. I'll… I'll go hide in my room for a little while until I've recovered from my tears. Revas will go with you, so that she can locate you again if I need to send you a message."

Arran smiles gently. "I'll make sure she can find her way and we can always send messages that way. But I'll be fine, emma lath. I'm not the same person I was back then, in many ways. I'll look for you tomorrow if you're able to come outside here again." And if not, he might be considering other ways to see Seren, but those will go unvoiced for now. He gets up reluctantly and starts to walk away, turning to glance over the shoulder not occupied by Revas.


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