Participants:

Aelia_icon.gif Cenn_icon.gif

Special Guest Appearance: Knight Commander Meredith Stannard & the Arishok

Scene Title Demons at the Door
Synopsis Cenn takes the Arishok to Meredith, who is already having a meeting of her own. Negotiations commence.
Location Viscount's Keep
Date Bloomingtide 30, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Tevinter sass & Meredith possibly smiling
Logger Dragony Goodness

It's not everyday a platoon of the Antaam marches right through Hightown like some dismal excuse for a parade. But if one can imagine how often that doesn't happen, adding the Arishok himself and a Templar who probably wishes he hadn't gotten out of bed this morning makes the experience all the more magical. The Commander is in the Keep today and the Commander is who he wanted to see. So when the main doors slam open (doors that have probably never been slammed in their entire existence) in the middle of the Steward attempting for the 9856374th time that yes, trade relations with the nation of mages did have to be maintained… at least it's for a good cause.

"Commander Stannard, I assure you that I practice no form of magic that is illegal or even considered bad form in the South." Aelia is in the midst of one of the more sticky meetings of her life, and that's saying something. "And I will submit to whatever test you may wish to conduct to prove that I am not, in fact, a blood mage. Further, I've no intention of running around performing magic in the city unless my life, or the lives of your own citizens are in peril." She didn't see such and event coming up all that often, then again, eight feet of grey and grumpy wasn't in the room yet. "I am here for my own research, not to inspire an insurrection in your Circle. Which I have every intention of only coming remotely close to when en route to speak to His Excellency." The Altus is dressed in the black and green of her nation, her staff slung over her shoulder, an ebony wood with a coiling green dragon at it's head. The massive doors slamming open certainly catches her attention, as it almost assuredly does everyone else. Aelia looks towards the entrance to Seneschal Bran's office with confusion, having no real conception of just how shitty her day is about to become.

If this is a fucking parade, this is the sorriest one Cenn has ever seen. For many people, this would definitely qualify as Worst Day Ever. For the Knight Lieutenant? Third Worst Day Ever, but that's still pretty fucking bad, and it's right on the Battle of Denerim's heels. Hope is still twisting, weeping with the wails from mourning people that followed Cenn out from Lowtown as he had left with the Qunari. Maker almighty, this was not the kind of terrible he signed up for when he'd requested to be transferred to Kirkwall. It's difficult to see, under all that armor, but Meredith, she would probably recognize the way the joints of his armor grind on his left shoulder, marking it for dislocated. He's not been able to get the shield off his arm, there's no way he could reach to place it upon his back. Not by a long shot, not until a Healer has seen to it, and he hasn't had time for that. A sheen of sweat is upon the Templar's brow, and his blade, though held relaxed, is still drawn. He doesn't trust as far as he could throw them with this fucking dislocated shoulder.

The sound of the slamming doors does not even have time to fade before Meredith Stannard is on her feet, pushing past the Altus and the good-for-nothing Steward. Seneschal. Whatever his pointless title was this year. Standing on the central landing overlooking the main hall, the Knight Commander cuts a fairly intimidating figure to the incoming Sorry Parade. There is no shock or surprise on her face - Meredith is too canny for any of that - but the set to her jaw changes and there is naught left in those eyes but flint and steel. Yes, Cenn, she does see you. In fact, she's choosing for reasons of her own to bypass addressing the Qunari altogether. "Knight Lieutenant," she calls, strident voice carrying without much effort on her part. "What is the meaning of this?"

The Arishok stands below, arms folded over his chest while he watches this first interaction. It is possible that one corner of his mouth twitches, but even if that were true, he is absolutely letting Cenn flounder about on his own.

There's a look spared for the Seneschal, but it is brief before the Altus is also standing, just about clearing the doors to Bran's office as the commander's sharp voice rings out. She stops a few paces behind Meredith, standing firmly in place. Her expression bypasses any form of shock to a hard set jawline and nothing but venom in those bright green eyes. Dragons, Maker, Paragons, Creators, Forgotten Ones and Andraste's sweet tits, REALLY!? Was the Maker's punishment for her heresy to conspire to have her hounded by savage oxen for the rest of her days? Though her right hand twitches, almost indiscernably, she makes no move for her staff, but the consideration of not carrying it around the city she was going to offer to the Templars is well and truly off the table. Haunting her like a ghost is the rancid smell of the Quamek but she manages to keep her lunch down, perhaps only with the mental image of the first Tamassaran she slew once she was free, but it stays the hell down.

No one likes this situation they're all in. Perhaps least of all Cenn, standing there injured, and now practically scolded by the Knight Commander. His instinct, with the pain and the shock and… Everything that was the colossal shitshow that was Lowtown's festival, is to snap harshly at the Knight Commander. He swallows that instinct down almost painfully. "Commander," Cenn calls back to her, stepping away from the Qunari, as much as he can manage without them bristling, "The festival in Lowtown was… Interrupted, when the Qunari tried to seize a Grey Warden mage. A fight broke out. A lot of people are dead. And the Arishok wishes to speak with you." He tries to keep his tone even, he really does, but this is just a little bit more than his, frankly, already damaged psyche can handle without cracking just a little. Hope is distracting as all get out, his shoulder is on fire, and he really just wants to turn around and punch the Maker forsaken Arishok in his stupid fucking nose.

Meredith hears soft footsteps approaching her from behind and resists the urge to curse under her breath. That useless piece of bronto f- But it's not the Seneschal she catches sight of; it's the Tevinter apostate standing back and off to one side. Meredith may be many unsavory things, but she is never uninformed. It would seem that there might be strategic uses for these mages, after all. Cenn's summation of events is… it sounds far-fetched, to be completely honest, but when that raised brow turns on the Arishok, he nods sharply. "Our task is the safekeeping of Kirkwall's mages," she explains, managing to catch both Cenn and the Arishok in said explanation. "The Grey Wardens are on their own. If it is one of their number which brought you to our city, I'm afraid there is little I can do for you." Maker, she sounds so reasonable.

"The pet of the Ghost is not our purpose here, though all uncollared mages are a threat." He gives a pointed look toward Aelia, but does not address her directly. "Nor are the other Warden saarebas. I have one purpose here and I cannot be dissuaded from it.

The Arishok's pointed look is met with an iron stare, Aelia of the House Zinovia is not afraid of this creature, and is unabashed about showing it. The temptation to try and murder the Antaam is might, Gods is it mighty, but while murdering the Arishok might earn her all kinds of honors back home, but she won't live to enjoy them, if not from the beasts than from the fanatic in the tin can, and that just wouldn't do. For the moment the magister-to-be's ambition outweighs her bloodlust and she remains still, observing the exchange.

Oh Maker, Cenn chafes at that. It was Meredith's orders that had him making nice with the Wardens in the first place. The Arishok had gotten him involved to begin with. One of the Qunari attacked him, thank you very much. The Templar is so very nearing done. In fact, he's really just about to toss his blade and shield to the ground and just walk out. Lyrium withdrawal, execution, what the hell ever be damned. This had not been on the tin. However, he opts not to speak. No, he just lets the Arishok and the Knight Commander speak. This is not the time to rail against his commanding officer. It's then that he notices the mage to Meredith's side, and his gaze lingers for a moment before he gives her a small nod of acknowledgement.

Whether something of his inner turmoil shows on his face or Meredith just has an excellent sense for the temperaments and sensibilities of her Templars, she catches Cenn's gaze with icy blue eyes and gives a minute shake of her head. Not here, not now, Lieutenant. It's all the consideration she gives him before looking back to the Arishok and his host of rogues and warriors. Kirkwall is a fortress, but it was meant to keep hostiles out, not to deal with them once inside. If things go sour, calling upon that infernal mercenary group will be necessary and Maker if she sees Hadrian Severinus' smug little smirk one more time today she'll knock his teeth in for sure. Best then, to keep hostilities to an absolute minimum. "Then Kirkwall may be in a position to aid the Antaam." Always best to refer favors to the group and not the individual with these brutes, she remembers that much. "What is your purpose?"

"An item of significance has been stolen. We have reason to believe the thief fled to this city." The facts are stated in a mild, even tone. "You will clear a quarter of your city's Lowtown. We will occupy this space for the duration of our stay. We will instigate no violence against your people or your city. Our mission will be unimpeded and at the end of its duration, we will pay for our stay. Any assistance you wish to offer is welcomed, but not required." It is exactly as he told the Templar. Exactly.

Aelia regards the Arishok with cold appraisal, listening to each end every word he says with great care. she's smart enough to not undermine Meredith's authority with the man, seeing as she may well be the only one in this city he may consider worth of his respect, but even that's a gamble. She did not bring enough guards, and would be paying those infernal mercenaries a visit. Her baleful gaze shifts off the Arishok and onto the Knight Commander, some of the venom being replaced with curiosity on the way. Let's see just how shrewd you are, Commander Stannard.

Cenn catches the shake of the Commander's head, and continues on just as he had planned. Silent, and trying to keep his left arm as still as possible. Not that the stillness helps all that much, between the weight of his armor and the pull of his shield. There's a grimace as the Arishok repeats his demands. It's almost disturbing, the verbatim reproduction to what he had said in the square. The Templar physically bites his tongue, trying hard not to spit venom at the Qunari right then and there.

Meredith considers the implications of the information she is given - and the information she is not. Regarding the Arishok in silence, she is so still as to defy the presence of life within her; it is a technique that is deeply disturbing to watch, but it is highly effective for its purpose. "You may have dominion over the city's warehouse district. Some few vermin have no doubt settled within it, but nothing that will prove a challenge for the Antaam." It's a gamble - anyone who knows Kirkwall knows why too - but if it pays off, it gains something and gives nothing. Nevermind that she speaks for the city as if it were hers. Dumar knows his place well enough. "And we will be happy to provide any assistance your investigation requires. All I ask is the name of the guilty party, when they are found."

The Arishok is patient. He watches the Commander consider the situation from various angles. It is only to be expected. That stillness, however, seems to interest him most; for the briefest fraction of an instant, his eyes go very wide indeed. "These terms are… acceptable." Chatty, ain't he?

Dammit, you stupid, stupid southener! Why would you write a blank check to a people you've never encountered and do not understand? At least, that's what the Magister-to-be is thinking, none of it shows on her face, unless you want to read into the slow, quiet outlet of breath from the 'apostate'. At least this meeting has been somewhat informative, as it seems Meredith is the Viscount here, not Dumar.

The very slight widening of his eyes gives life to the thoughts that Cenn does not voice. The shock, the affront. The Warehouse District, is she insane? Completely and totally insane? There are legal uses for warehouses, Meredith. But Cenn has no place to argue with her, and doing so would just cause more problems, if he knows the way the world works at all. So the Templar just shifts his weight, forces his expression neutral, and waits.

Idiots. Meredith Stannard is surrounded by idiots. It's evident in the sharp and hissed whispers from the various observers in places around the Keep's main hall, but notably no one argues her decision aloud. Well. Not total fools, then. "Excellent. One of my men will escort you." And as though that is the end of that, Meredith sweeps her gaze to Cenn with a sharp, "Lieutenant," and then turns on her heel in a very effective dismissal. "Altus." It's the combination of tone and title often used by commanding officers to inform their subordinates that they are intended to follow, but with Cenn so new and Aelia so… Vint-y, it's entirely possible the memo just might be missed.

Accepting the conclusion with only a still and placid look, the Arishok waits impassively for the appropriate (unlucky) guard to step forward, then follows him out. There is much work to be done.

Tevinter is a /remarkably/ hierarchical society, and Aelia was once a soldier. Thus, that implicit order to follow isn't missed, the Altus even does move to walk in step with the Knight Commander, it just chafes like all hell. But, it does not escape her notice that being seen as though to take cues from the Templar just might make the Qunari less anxious about her, and this city will certainly afford her no protection. So, that helps at least. Part of ambition in Tevinter is knowing when kneeling suits you best, after all.

To be completely honest, Cenn is just glad to be free of the damned Qunari at this rate. He's not entirely happy with being called along with the Commander, but he's not about to tell her no, and he does know the tone of 'follow' when it is used. As the Antaam turns to be shown the warehouse district, Cenn sighs, sheathes his blade (finally) and moves to follow the Knight Commander. It really is an awful noise, the terrible grating of metal on metal at his left shoulder, it is not supposed to sit that way. The noise is enough to make him cringe, but the movement, with some of his adrenaline faded, is what actually makes him wince. Not that he says a word about it as he climbs the stairs and follows behind.

Meredith leads them back into the office of the Seneschal, the door of which she holds open for both Aelia and Cenn to follow before slamming it shut. That it happens to slam shut in the face of the Seneschal - exiled from his own office, no less - is only providential coincidence. Surely. The moment the door is closed behind her (and the lemming politicians seem to know better than to open it themselves) Meredith turns to her Templar, stepping into his space and grasping that shield in strong hands. She lifts it with perhaps surprising gentleness, pulling it free only once it has no more force to exert on the injured arm. "Is this the only injury?" she asks him, narrow-eyed gaze sharp - though whether that's to discourage any lying or to detect it, who knows? Sorry, Aelia; she has a point here, but her Templars come first.

Aelia waits patiently with her arms crossed over her chest. It's a decision she doesn't hold against Meredith, she'd see to her own soldiers over a foreigner any day. Hell, Aelia would see to a few of her own slaves before addressing Meredith if their situations were reversed. "I have some skill at healing, if either of you wish assistance with the Ser's injuries." She offers, because what mage doesn't have that one creation spell?

Well, he wasn't expecting that. Not one bit. There's a wince, a quiet hiss, as the shield is lifted away, but it's a hell of a lot more pleasant than how Meredith could have removed it. Seeming a touch surprised, he gives her a nod of thanks. With the shield out of the way, he's able to support the weight of his armor with his other hand at the elbow. It eases his posture some. "Surpisingly, yes, Commander." Cenn answers Meredith. When Aelia speaks, though, he turns his attention to her. It doesn't linger, however, and he gives Meredith another small nod. He won't turn down healing magic, but it's really the Commander's call if she's going to permit casting in her presence.

Meredith nods once in Cenn's direction, satisfied in his answer. Aelia's offer is met with suspicion, Meredith turning to give the Tevinter mage a hard look while physically between her and the Lieutenant behind her. After a moment's consideration, she nods, stepping to one side so as to free Aelia's field of vision. One hand rests on her pommel, however. Just because she is not against the utility of magic does not mean she is not prepared to strike the foreigner down should the spell harm the soldier under her command rather than heal him. "Does the joint not need to be reset first?" What? That's the first stage of field medicine and she's well-trained in that.

Aelia is confused for a moment, not quite sure what she's done to provoke hostility… other than breathing, which they seemed to have gotten past. "For the magic I know, yes." She replies, putting on her best inoffensive smile. "I was an officer in the Imperial Legion, I know how to reset a dislocated shoulder. Getting the spaulder off would be step one, then resetting the joint, and then magic to help some of the stretched and torn muscles." Aelia explains, point by point because apparently that's the kind of day she's having. "For a more skilled healer, the spell would do that as well."

Cenn doesn't complain, but the look on his face says this is definitely the part he likes least about when this happens. But really, you get used to dislocated shoulders when you carry a shield around. Didn't make it any more pleasant though. The Templar doesn't even bother to wait for Aelia's explaining to properly finish. Letting go of his elbow, he winces but lifts his hand to his shoulder, having to fight to get his hand under the armor to its hidden closures with the way that it's sitting. But he manages it, lifting the metal away with some force and an awful screeching, it's wanting to catch on itself. Placing the pauldron aside, he doesn't actually wait for someone else to set the joint. He's done this enough times. Moving to the nearest wall, he braces his shoulder against it and pushes back slowly. Ideally, he'd let gravity do this work, that was the least painful way, but he's not about to clear off the Seneschal's desk to lay flat upon. It pops back, eliciting an expression from the Templar that threatens him being sick for a moment, but it passes.

Satisfied that the mage knows her business - and mildly intrigued by this Legion business - Meredith nods and gestures for her to begin. The hand never leaves her sword, though. If she didn't know firsthand how miserable and distracting a dislocated shoulder was, she'd have sent for Orsino or one of their trusted healers; the stress here is less that there is magic and more that its wielder is unknown and untrusted. She watches as Cenn removes his armor and puts the joint back into place himself with only the slightest sympathetic cringe at the pop and the expression on his face. There is only one further step, here, and then (provided all goes well) they can get down to their business.

Of course she knows her business, it's not like Aelia has been studying this crap since she was six or anything. Pfft. Still, it could be worse, swords could be drawn over the offer alone. She watches Cenn reset his won shoulder with a sympathetic wince before walking across the office to stand beside him. "I don't think I caught your name, Ser Templar." she says as she lifts her hands to his shoulder, taking a closer look just be sure she isn't healing an improperly set wound. Each of her movements are slow and deliberate for Meredith's comfort. Satisfied with Cenn's work the hand resting over his shoulder blade glows with the pale green light of a basic healing spell.

"Cenn d'Argent, my lady." The Templar says with a very small smile for the Altus. Well then, it seems this one knows what Tevinter ranks mean, at least. That's… Odd, perhaps. But when you grow up with the mother he did, telling him stories of her time in Tevinter, telling him stories of… Well, let's nevermind that little detail. As unpleasant as resetting the joint is, it is a right sight more comfortable than before. He takes a deep breath as Aelia begins her healing, willing away any linger suppression that could have come with the rush of the fight he's just had.

Cenn's cordial address makes Meredith roll her eyes - blighted Orlesians - but though she turns away quick enough to mostly hide it, there's a twitch of a smile in there as well. The green of Aelia's healing spell is reassuring, but Meredith's hand does not leave her sword until it is evident the casting is now over and done with. "You have my thanks, Altus." It's stiffly-offered thanks, but it's more courtesy than the mage has received thusfar. It is possible the Knight Commander has a soft spot, after all.

"Aelia Zinovia." The altus responds to Cenn, leaving her titles off for the moment. Once she's done she steps away from Cenn, resuming her position across the room from the Templars. "You're quite welcome, Knight Commander." She says by way of response to Meredith. See? they're not all kitten skinning blood mages. She turns to look at Meredith, the question as to just why she's here writ on her face.

Ohhh, Cenn catches that flicker of a smile. He's been keeping a count of exactly how many of those he can manage from the Knight Commander. Not to mention, right now, he'll take solace in small victories. There's a sigh of relief as the magic takes hold, eases the injury, and repairs it. That was a whole hell of a lot better. There's a grateful nod from the Lieutenant, but Meredith has handled the thanks, and he turns to pick up his pauldron once more, putting it back on with less haste than removing it had.

With the healing out of the way - and it is more of a relief than she'd ever admit to see her injured Knight no longer in pain - Meredith finds herself much better able to move on to the task at hand. Namely, the part that these two - and the Altus specifically - have to play in her next move. "The Carta and the Coterie will keep them busy for a week at least," she begins, extending an olive branch (of sorts) to the mage by explaining at least part of her logic. "The whole area's a hotbed of crime and villainy." The nicer, more legitimate ones are on the other side of the docks. And hey, at least the Qunari were doing them a service while being uninvited guests. "But that won't be enough to stall them forever." And that's where steps two and three come in. "What do you know about the devices they use to control their mages like that?" Oh yes, she'd seen those Saarebas in the Arishok's retinue. Those bastards are kind of hard to miss.

Aelia listens, nodding along with Meredith's explanation. "The inability to use overt violence will hamper their progress, it's true. But those that turn to a life in the thieves' guild or Carta are the sort that the Qunari consider prime candidates for conversion to the Qun." Aelia explains. "It will not be a huge bolster to their forces, and I do not know how many converts the Arishok will attempt without the Ben Hasserath at his side, but you'll have to consider the possibility of agents who cannot be identified by their race." Ben Haseraath selling themselves back into slavery has been a thorn in the Imperium's side long enough. "The devices used by the Arvaraad are leashes, it is a lifetime of torture that controls the Sarebaas. The rods are enchanted to administer pain as a punishment for mistakes, or to restrain the Sarebaas before they are killed." Aelia pauses for a moment, considering. "Unlike your Templars a single Arvaraad is in charge of a group of Sarebaas. Of one strays from the group for too long it is to be killed, as are all those it has come into contact with, Qunari or otherwise." The altus sighs and lifts her right hand to pinch the bridge of her nose, those who have suffered trauma are perhaps able to recognize what it looks like on another person. "I know more about how they are used, and the structure surrounding their mages, the Antaam and the Ben Haseraath. less about how the device actually works." She lifts her head again to look at the Knight Commander, "I apologize, it's not the exact information you were looking for."

Cenn, relieved now of his pain, is much more in a position where he can relax and just wait, listening. There's a look, as Aelia continues, that says he finds the Qunari's practices more than a little distasteful, but he stays quiet despite that. There's a reason Meredith hasn't dismissed him yet, and so he'll stick around.

Meredith listens, absorbing the information presented and processing rapidly the pieces which are new information and fitting them in with what is already known. The process yields but two questions. The first is simple, if potentially problematic. "If I could acquire a set of these devices, could you deconstruct it and find a way to disrupt it?" Apparently, she has a Plan. The second question comes a moment later and is more thoughtful. "The masked mages that were with them… each one had a handler. They were in pairs, did you see? Does that have some special significance?"

Aelia nods, "Given the resources, almost certainly." She replies to the first question. A small smile tugs at the corner of her lips, "You intend to make the Qunari deprive themselves of their own weapons. The Qun will obligate the Arvaraad to kill their charges if their control is broken." The second question is met with a look of confusion, she thought she'd just explained this. "The masked mages are the Saarebas, their handlers are the Arvaraad. A mage which has practically been reduced to an animalistic slave, and it's master." A small voice in the back of her head is worried about Meredith getting ideas. Though something else is concerning the altus too and she looks over to Cenn, "Were they two by two at the attack? Or was there a few handlers for many Saarebas?"

It takes Cenn a moment to answer, being a bit surprised by being addressed. "They each had control of but one mage, so it seemed." The Lieutenant answered. "At least, when one was killed, it was only one of the mages that…" He pauses for a moment, looking uncomfortable, "Was put down." It's the only term that fits for the efficient, expected killing that he had witness, but it churns his stomach to use it for a person. Or, what should be a person. Could be? He didn't actually know enough about the Qunari to know how to feel about this at all.

"Yes, yes, I understood that part, I was merely saying that they were one to one and not one to a whole - " But the mage is already on to the next step in that line of questioning, so Meredith lets it drop. Mages. Cenn's answer only confirms her own observations in the hall and so she nods, turning once more to the Altus. This was her point. "If one Arvaarad normally commands multiple Saarebas, why were these with only one? Why turn a charioteer into cavalry?"

The condescending was really more the fault of Aelia being from Tevinter, than a Mage, but oh well. The altus offers Meredith a slight not to concede the point. She frowns, why indeed would the Arishok break from the norm like this? A hand comes up to rest on her chin as she thinks. "It isn't simply numbers, he'd be deliberate about how many Saarabas to Arvaraad he'd bring, unless he's had people die on the way here." Bright green eyes narrow, "He could be particularly concerned about the Saarebas being corrupted, at least in his view, a wish them to have closer attention paid to them." Cenn's discomfort with his account is noted by the altus, and a tiny sympathetic smile is offered to the young man. "It's disturbing to see them for the first time. At least the vast majority of your order still thinks mages are people. The Qunari do not share your view. Let alone mine."

Cenn inclines his head to the Altus, still seeming uncomfortable. Though, the discomfort he has now comes more from Hope than from himself. The memories of the crying families, the innocent people slaughtered because… Why? What had the reason been for any of that bloodshed? The Lieutenant closes his eyes a moment, trying to make sense of it, but he can't find a good reason and he sighs quietly before forcing his eyes open again. There is, surely, still a reason he is here.

"I hope only it is something so harmless." Meredith shakes her head; hopes mean nothing in the real world, everyone knows that. "Disturbing as it may be, I will not turn down any advantage should the Qunari overstep their welcome. At this point, they may think death a mercy. There is some comfort in that." But she has work still to do, and so do they. "I will be in contact with you once I have obtained specimens for deconstruction and analysis. The Lieutenant will walk you home."

"It is profoundly unwise to turn down any advantage with the Qunari." Aelia agrees, "They won't even think of showing you the same courtesy." With that the Altus shifts her weight coming off the wall to stand straight. "One last piece of advice, Commander Stannard." Even if unbidden, Aelia doesn't care. "The Arishok will only ever abide by his own rules, and give no respect to yours unless it is convenient. He has promised you no violence, but likely does not consider the capture," her voice falters ever so slightly, "And forcible conversion of your people to be violent. Given leniency he will steal your charges from you and not return them until they are the same husks as his own mages." Oh look, her hands are something more closely resembling fists. "I'd like to think that you wouldn't abide such a horror committed against the Circle here. If not for their suffering then because he will turn them away from Andraste."

"Of course, Commander." Cenn says, pushing away from the wall upon which he has started to lean. It is then that Aelia makes her final commentary, though, and he waits for that to be addressed. He's not in any rush to have whatever conversation on the way back to his quarters that Meredith has planned.

Meredith halfway listens to what the Altus is saying, finding it much more informative to watch what she does while saying her piece. There's some distress there that doesn't match what she knows of this Altus Zinovia and the puzzle pricks at her. "I have a difficult time convincing the mages that it is necessary to maintain a night watch so that fearful folk don't climb in the window and stab them all in their beds," she explains dismissively. "I hardly think they will be convinced to submit themselves to such ridiculous measures, not in any long-term sense." But it is not the tone of someone inviting a debate; rather the tone of dismissal that still clings to some bare ghost of politeness.

There is a brief flash of anger or frustration on Aelia's face, and a feeling of no small amount of discomfort, ut both are quickly shoved back down where they belong. "I did say /steal/, Commander." Aelia says as she begins to turn to exit with the Knight Lieutenant. "Not that your mages would offer themselves up for the oxmen's torture." There is pain there, for the altus pain so severe that has been carried for so long it has become a quiet rage. A feeling that the knight commander may well be familiar with. "I will eagerly await the samples you've promised me. Maker watch over you."

Cenn is so tired of today. So deeply tired. So exhausted, in fact, that when Meredith speaks, he can't help the involuntary pinch his hand rises to perform to the bridge of his nose. Missing the point, Commander. His hand drops as Aelia speaks, making him aware of the action. More quiet waiting.
GAME: Save complete.

Whether Meredith does, in fact, miss the point, or whether she is simply not willing to discuss the internal affairs of her Circle with a foreign apostate is left up to individual interpretation. "May he watch over us all," she responds, though it is nearly by rote - kneejerk, while most of her mind is on other things. "Altus. Lieutenant."

Imperial Templars were so much simper to deal with. Still, it's Meredith's house and Aelia can respect that at least. The Tevinter Mage makes to open to door, half expecting to find the irate Seneschal fuming outside. Should she encounter him she simply keeps walking. Aelia is also done with today, despite having apparently missed some of it. Drinking to the memory of Andoralis in the privacy of her temporary home apparently had it's benefits.

Well, at least that's fucking done. Cenn follows Aelia out, but he doesn't speak. Today's just… Nope. He's done. So done. And once this Altus is home he's going back to his quarters, requesting leave from patrol, and sleeping until someone physically kicks him out of bed.


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