Garou_icon.gif Seren_icon.gif

Scene Title Pride and Trust
Synopsis Garou asks forgiveness, entrusts secrets, and asks for assistance
Location Circle of Magi
Date 18 August, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Acceptance
Logger Seren

Two days after one evening spent… oddly and yet productively over brandy, Garou knows very well that if he delays this visit any longer, he'll chicken out properly and have zero ground to stand on the next time he has to stand between a friend and his ghosts. And he won't have that. He won't. So it is that Thursday's evening finds him bathed and fresh after a finished patrol, dressed comfortably so that the only sound he makes walking down the hallway is the music of metal on ceramic around his wrist. He's headed for a very particular mage's room and he's brought brandy. What? He's had good luck with brandy this week.

Seren has the habit of leaving his door open when he's in it unless he's actually sleeping, it gives those testier Templars less to complain about. The healer is currently settled on the floor, back against the wall, working on a small wooden figure that is beginning to look like a certain nightwing. And those bells? He hears them. So the dust and shavings are blown away from the palm sized piece of wood and he looks up, smiling. "Lieutenant," he greets in a tone that's pleasant and oddly calm.

It's hard not to return that smile. Even for Garou - who has an awful lot of practice - the urge is a strong one. So, for once, he doesn't fight it. It's not an expression seen often on this particular face, this smile that's not crooked or polished or charming; it's small and soft and genuine in a way not much about Garou ever gets to be outside of very specific circumstances. It's a big step for him. "Good evening, Seren." Manners make man, after all. "May I come in?"

Seren gestures toward the bed. "Please, come sit. One day I'm going to cause a scandal and put a chair in here," he jokes. "Then they'll be certain I'm up to something. I'm glad you came by. I was going to ask if you'd come but Revas has been fairly busy lately. She's with Cenn now. My next plan was to ask Valentin." His bird has a busy social life now. Who'da thought?

Mention of Revas brings that smile up to a grin and Garou steps across the threshold before using a bootheel and an elbow to close the door behind him. He doesn't sit immediately, instead turning to face Seren and shifting his weight from leg to leg in an uncommon display of discomfort. "I've something to say first and I don't think it'll… I don't think I'll get through it if I'm sitting." He's been a Templar for too long to do such things sitting down. But rather than continue, he seems to shift tracks entirely. "Brandy?" he offers, holding up the bottle in one hand and two glasses in the other.

Seren regards Garou for a moment, as if he's trying to figure out what this something is, then nods. "That would be welcome, actually." He's had enough experience with awkward conversations that he makes no mention of the topic. He's content to wait until Garou is ready to speak for himself. "It might help to settle the … interesting last few days that I've had." And that they've been that interesting seems to amuse him for whatever reason.

The assent makes this easier. Firstly it gives Garou something to do with his hands - pouring brandy into glasses and extending one down to Seren while the bottle and his own glass remain on whatever flat surface he found to pour on. When that is finished, his fidgeting stills - not in the way that means someone is no longer uncomfortable, but in the unnatural way that comes from exerting raw willpower over one's own extremities - and he falls into something very much like parade rest. "Your experiences at the White Spire were unconscionable. The men who broke their sacred oath were my men and I knew nothing. The actions were theirs but the failure was mine and you suffered for it in ways I…" It's a thing he actively has nightmares about - has done since the discovery that so rocked the foundations of his faith - and even so he has no language with which to describe the horror he feels; so he does not butcher it with trying. "Because the responsibility for the actions of those under my command is ultimately mine, I owe you justice. Since I am powerless as things stand to give you that, I wish to apologize and to ask your permission to write my former commander of this incident with a list of names of those involved. I no longer believe that my Order will see them punished for what they have done, but I do believe he will prevent them from doing it again."

"Lieu…" Seren shakes his head. "Garou, this?" He brushes the hair on one side behind his ear. "I don't hold you responsible. You know this? If it would help you put this behind you then yes. You have my permission. I can't say that I know the names of these men. I know it happened two days after I'd been brought in, because they were different than the guards who were there when I was brought in. …and I will accept your apology." The latter is a little more difficult for him, but he's never held Garou responsible. "I don't want this to be something that stands between us every time you speak to me. You shouldn't have to continue to pay for the actions of those men."

There's this moment when it looks like Garou's knees dip beneath him, but as he does not fall or otherwise stumble, it could very well be a trick of the light. "Thank you," he mouths, breath a bit choked so that there isn't much sound to go with the shape of the words. Nevertheless, he grabs glass and bottle before moving to slide down the wall and sit next to Seren, rather than on the bed as directed. The first sip is warm and soothing; there isn't much in the way of burn when he tosses back the entire glass, but the weight as it settles in his stomach helps. "It is a flawed facet of human nature, perhaps, but if I did not like you so well I do not think I would feel nearly so guilty." It is an odd and winding way of agreeing with Seren's desire that this not stand between them, but such is how Garou communicates.

"I understand. I'm glad this isn't going to hang between us anymore. I enjoy talking to you, it's hard to do with the awkwardness there." Seren is slower about his own brandy, choosing to enjoy the flavor of it rather than use it to steady his nerves- which are weirdly still steady after the week he's had. "It's also becoming difficult to hang on to the anger and desire to be out of here at any cost that I had when I arrived. This is a very strange place."

That last remark is enough to pull a huff of breath from Garou that might be laughter after another glass of brandy - which he's pouring but not yet drinking. "It may sound selfish, but I am glad," he admits. "Valentin does not often make friends. I would hate to see him lose even one." There's a moment of silence then that is not at all uncomfortable - at least for Garou. "And your company is bizarrely pleasant for me as well." Which is weird for him, because the number of people Garou actively likes he could count on one hand. It's easier doing this when he has Seren's body heat next to him but doesn't have to look anyone in the face for the sake of politeness. His knees get tucked up to his chest and he rests his arms on them, the glass turned lazily between his fingers so that the amber liquid within it becomes a tepid whirlpool. "There are also matters of some importance with which I need your help. But it requires a level of secrecy I understand not everyone is comfortable with."

"It seems strange that he wouldn't…" But then Seren chuckles. "As is yours for me," he replies. The topic of secrecy is brought up and he thinks it over, weighing his words. "If secrecy is what it takes for me to be able to help, then you'll have it. I don't talk about the things that are said to me by those I'm healing. They have to trust me with everything. It's the same when it's beyond my healing ability. There are few I would speak to about the conversations that Cenn and I have had, some of those things I wouldn't even tell those closest to him. I mention him because it's my guess that he's who you're here to discuss. He mentioned he'd talked to you. He also mentioned the brandy."

That does draw a laugh from Garou, though it is low and quiet and rumbling in a way that seems more akin to Tytos than to the human from whom it comes. "Have no fear, I come with no questions about Cenn. I take those to their source." But he does tip the glass in Seren's direction before drinking from it. "And there is only one bit of assistance I require that involves him directly." The childish sticking out of tongue and 'so there' aren't tacked on to the end of that sentence - and most people would probably not be even a little bit surprised by their lack when coming from this Lieutenant of all people - yet still there is something of that sentiment that hangs in the air between them. "Firstly, the most serious is this. There is a new mage to the Circle who desperately needs your care. Her name is Macenaya Korlhen and she is…" He pauses, searching for the words to carry the right weight of the odd desperation clawing at his chest when he can't truly give that desperation its own voice; it has no place in this. "The place she's in now is dark enough that she wishes to end her own life. Time has been bought, but not much of it. The first frost. Above and beyond my desire to see everyone under my protection well, I need her to find her will to live past that deadline and I know that being who I am there is nothing my interacting with her will achieve beyond making everything worse. I will speak to Valentin about his netowork of influence with the other Enchanters to not push her and I will speak to my captain about getting those Knights beyond my sphere of influence to leave her alone, but none of that will make the least bit of difference if you and… and possibly Katerina? I don't know, if you can't reconnect her to… something. Anything. I know it's an enormous task but please. I need her to want to live."

"She's the twin of the man Cenn lost," Seren supplies. "She…" He sighs. "I can't say that I haven't thought about it myself," he admits. "I've already spoken to Hope to try to find a way to keep her from giving up on her life. I've already offered Cenn a ceremony for Rylan that is meant to make a bridge of sorts between the one lost and those left behind." He takes a moment to finish the contents of his glass and reaches up to place his glass on the single table in the room. "The issue is that I think this twin was her anchor and I may have to find a new way for her to find that. I've already promised Cenn that I would look after her. I promise. If there's a way, I will do whatever it takes. I'll talk to Katerina as well."

Garou only nods; most of this information is not new to him and what is new is unsurprising. "Thank you. I did not know who else to trust with the asking." But he is quiet after, face gone a little pale and the muscles beneath gone a little tense. "I can't say that I haven't thought about it either," he admits, quiet and subdued. "But Seren, please… if it ever comes to it again, come find one of us. Valentin or myself or Cenn or - well, maybe not Cenn and Valentin means well but does not always do gentle very well with… you know what, me. Come find me and I will get the others and I swear on the Ashes we'll probably smother you but we've a special talent for chasing each other's darkness away and if you don't it'll be me or Cenn that finds you that's just how our luck is and that just… don't make us live through that. Please."

Seren shakes his head. "You have my word but… It seems that isn't going to happen now. I promised Cenn I'd be here to try to find a way to help him live. And now there is Macenaya, and the teaching I've offered Katerina, and making sure that Valentin doesn't lose you to another idiot mage who thinks she's a healer. At this rate I will be old before I leave this place." There is SO MUCH irony in his life. SO. MUCH. "It's not so bad now. I may not be able to go back to my clan, but it seems that I've found a new one here, and only a few of you have the ears for it."

Something about that makes Garou smile again, soft and small. He shifts his weight to a more comfortable position against the wall, leaning just a little more against Seren's shoulder - though not so much as to be presumptuous. "It would seem then, Seren, that you and I find ourselves on more than one shared venture." It's a truth that settles some of that desperation clawing at his insides; he hasn't really taken time to examine why yet, but Cenn dying is not even a little bit acceptable. "A clan, huh?" He muses over that a moment, caught between hope and fear. "That's not the word I'd have used, but I have the feeling telling people they're part of my pride out loud would probably not so much end well for me. So clan works." There's more he's got to say, but he's just going to sit here and think about that for a bit.

Seren chuckles. "It is very fitting for you. When you referred to Templars as wolves, it felt wrong applying the title to you." He shakes his head. "He says he doesn't know how to live, that he may not have the time to learn. He will have the time to learn." That determination? Yeah. He's not sure where it comes from either but he has it. "A clan works in much the same way, so we're thinking of the same thing. Something to be protected at all costs." As for the leaning, he doesn't seem to mind it. In fact, it seems a welcome presence and he relaxes with it. "Some how, we'll manage to make sure we don't lose any of them."

"There are two kinds of Templars," Rou admits quietly. "I thought once there were more lions than wolves, but now…" Now, when nothing in his topsy-turvy life seems at all certain, Garou can do nothing more than strive to be one of the few lions left. It warms him, hearing affirmation of those efforts from someone whose opinion he values - from someone who matters. "Secondly," he changes tracks altogether, "Cenn and I are going to be staging a fight somewhere relatively public in the next few days. I can't tell you why, yet, but I'm going to have to break his nose where people can see and in order to make it believable the entire affair is going to have to be rude. I have faith in Valentin above almost anything else left in this world, but the one thing about which he is occasionally less than rational is me. If he hears Cenn hurl whatever insults are going to start this thing, I can't be certain he won't knock his teeth out or do something equally as foolish - and if he is there and doesn't get upset enough to do something foolish because I've told him ahead of time, it'll look suspicious." He's put a lot of thought into this. "Would you mind having Revas stick to Cenn a few more days so you can come fix him up afterwards? I'd hate for him to have to sit through what I am sure will be a lengthy and maddening debriefing while still in that kind of pain."

Seren looks a bit wide eyed at that information, but he nods. After all, he's had to trust Garou with his life at a time when he wasn't really at his best. "She'll at least enjoy it. I think she's adopted him. Whatever you need, I'll do. It wouldn't do for Valentin to be made to look suspicious." He's sincere about that one. "Whatever it is that you're doing, if you need my help I won't ask questions. I trust you. I trust Cenn. I can't say I like knowing someone's going to be harmed but I'll trust that the reasons are very good."

"Revas? Is there anyone she hasn't decided is her long lost ugly hatchling?" Garou is, at least, amused by this particular phenomenon. He's got a soft spot for critters, don't tell anyone. "Thank you again, then. It is… a new experience for me, trusting people who are not Valentin." And trusting Valentin had been a new experience in and of itself. "But it's a good thing, I think." And that comment about someone being harmed? That's what makes him turn and actually look Seren in the face, mouth twisted into a grin that is entirely wicked. "I promise you, I will never harm Cenn without his full, explicit and enthusiastic consent." He tips his head to one side and huffs out another soft laugh before taking another drink. "That's my policy with everyone who doesn't make themselves my enemy."

Seren laughs. "I'm not sure she's met everyone yet, so it's possible." He reaches out to rest a hand on Garou's arm. "Thank you. For trusting me with this. It's odd, isn't it? Trusting more than one person." He chuckles. "Was he enthusiastic about the nose, then? Because I think he and I need to have a long discussion about good and bad pain after this." He waves off an answer. "I understand, and this is the other reason I trust you so much. Revas already has instructions to stay with him and to come to me if he has need, so even that much won't be out of the ordinary. She's been alternating between him and Macenaya."

The hand on his arm makes Garou stop. Stop talking, stop moving, stop breathing. There's this moment where time is not - where time doesn't matter. Everything is still and for the span between one heartbeat and the next, it looks like he might pull away. But he doesn't. He doesn't shy from it and he relaxes just a little bit more against Seren's side; this no longer comes easy to him. When it's part of Valentin's game, it's one thing. Right or wrong those people aren't real to him; they're toys in something that brings the love of his life joy. Letting someone beyond Valentin see him, touch him, it's not a small thing that he does. "Somehow this is your and Cenn's and Valentin's fault," he mutters, but doesn't explain more than that. "The nose was his idea. I had to talk him back from 'right here, right now' to 'later where there are witnesses', how much more enthusiastic can you get?" But, you know, speaking of 'good pain'… "The last thing is easy. I've heard a little more recently about Dalish rope work. I wanted to compare notes and maybe swap a few more… artistic styles." That crooked, wicked grin is back. "For educational purposes, mind you." Beat. "Though possibly also because I've revised my timeline. I was wrong about the month, I give it two weeks."

"Well, that's certainly enthusiasm. I'll have that chat with him once it's all over," Seren decides. "Whatever it is, it seems to make you content. I don't think I'll mind being one of the conspirators." He shakes his head and, though there's curiosity in his gaze, he doesn't ask. He's asked before, so he's fairly certain there'll be no answer. Still, he lets out a sigh that is nothing short of relaxed. "Oh yes, the knots. I'll show you, but only if you promise to keep it secret. It's one of those things we only teach eachother. For educational purposes. If there's time, I can show you how to make soft rope as well." He's the guy who almost escaped on a rope of smallclothes, after all.

That does give Garou pause. "Not that I anticipate it coming up, but on the off chance that it does - which, I suppose, is not, you know, completely outside the realm of possibility given that he's, you know, him - would keeping it secret include not showing Valentin? Because I don't keep things from him, not even little ones. I can't. We wouldn't work if we did." And knots may seem like a silly thing to not want to have to keep secret from someone, but the relationship between Garou and Valentin is… entirely inexplicable. Entirely. "…how soft is soft?"

Seren actually laughs at that one. "If I meant for it to be secret from Valentin, I wouldn't tell you at all," he promises. "No one else beyond us. It seems a small thing, but they're often how a clan protects themselves from attack and theft. Knowing how to tie them means knowing how to escape them if disarmed. Trust me, I understand the completeness of that trust. I've seen it." He gives a reassuring pat to Garou's arm. "I wouldn't ask you to do that. It's a thing that's fine to pass between members of a clan, after all." That last question earns a wicked grin. "Like the feel of the wind. It's all in the material you start with."

Between members of a clan. At some point, surely, this notion would lose its weight and impact - be something that could be said and heard without a wild range of intense emotion. At least Garou hopes so, because a lifetime of feeling exactly this way at the reminder that his family has grown beyond Valentin and Tytos would be… exhausting. "Alright, hahren," he teases affectionately, using one of the few elvhen terms he does know. "I'm all ears."

There's another bubble of laughter, and Seren has to wait until it subsides to speak. "It's in how you treat the material. The easy way is strips of soft cotton or silk. You can work the flax until it becomes pliant, sisal until the strands separate and soften. The thinner the material used, the thinner the rope. We use it for more than just securing things. They're used in making carriers for babies or- in this case- like you might use to carry Tytos."

Rou snorts laughter at that, draining the last of the brandy from his second glass and setting it to one side. "If you think I could harness Tytos for any significant length of carrying, you are severely underestimating his level of 'squirm'." There's blatant affection talking about that cat, though, in exactly the way parents talk about their children. "What about a plush velvet for a thicker rope?" Because the prey he's considering binding is significantly larger than either babies or lionettes, and significantly stronger than crates needing to be secured against the night. "Silk is easy enough to get hold of, but velvet's easier and doesn't attract as many vermin to your bureau." With his hand now empty, he bends it up to trace idle patterns over the hand resting on his other arm. "Are the knots different with the softer ropes? Do the weight-bearing patterns differ?"

"I was thinking him asleep," Seren points out. "He's a little like a very energetic toddler in that respect. Hard to keep in one place, much less carry so that he can't get into everything. "Velvet, yes, and yes the knots are different. They have to be secured from slipping, so there are different patterns to be tied, and different methods for binding arms and legs depending on the amount of struggle you're given. There are knots that can be loosened without untying them that we use for traps as well." The touch to his hand is accepted as if it belonged there. "We can't rely on metal pieces as much, so we've had to be creative."

"Ah, yes, asleep. Asleep might work, but good luck getting him out of his father's arms if he's going to be that soft and that still and that cuddly all at once." It's not until after the sentence is well out of his mouth that Garou seems to realize what he'd said. "Valentin. I meant good luck getting him away from - you know what, never mind. It's a nice thought, but not going to work for the cat." As for the rest of it, he listens attentively, though his fingers never quite stop their tracing. "Metal is useful, but generally overrated. I've actually worked with silk rope before. There was a… fashion in the Emperor's court for a while that… should never have been allowed to be a fashion out in public among decent people but all the same, I've done some work with material that slick."

"I know who you meant," Seren assures. "Serala's father was much the same. Her mother would want to put her in the carrier, but he would carry her whenever she was still enough to allow it." At least he's able to talk about them without as much sadness now. "Metal corrodes, not much use when you travel. Extra braid in the rope keeps slick material from slipping as much, but velvet, sisal, those things would work. Velvet will not bring nesting mice." The talk of using such things out in public brings a chuckle. "They did this? I can't even imagine… actually I can, but it's still hard to picture."

There is a part of Garou that recognizes there is something not quite right about the extent to which he and Valentin have woven this lionette cub into their lives. There is a part of him that knows this is not how normal people speak and treat their pets. There is a part of him that is still grieving the fact that this is probably all they will ever have. But it's all of him that's grateful for the smooth way Seren both acknowledges his gaffe and still manages to include them both in the ranks of actual fathers. It's kind in a way he absolutely does not have words for, so instead he lays his hand over Seren's entirely and squeezes once, leaving it to rest there. "There was a court enchanter who had claimed to enchant some rope against eavesdroppers. Of course this would revolutionize the Game, she'd said, but Orlais never does anything unless it can be done fashionably. Now where this fell down was that the spell would only last so long and conventional wisdom held that the longer the rope involved, the longer the spell would last so there was a period of about… oh, a little over a year where courtiers of all stripes were wandering about Val Royeaux and Halamshiral with twelve, fifteen and twenty feet of rope artistically attached to their person." It had been the most ridiculous fourteen months he could remember. "And then of course, the merchant classes had to try and emulate said fashions and it just simply got well out of hand there for a bit."

Seren is clearly trying hard to picture this and it's all terribly amusing. "So… they went about dressed like Qunari except over their clothes?" Because he's seen a Qunari or two, and there were ropes. "Over dressed Qunari. I wonder how fast they would have shed those ropes if only they knew. Imagine all of them unwinding themselves at once? All the while, all that fancy rope going to absolutely no good use." His joke stops at the use of the rope, never straying into making fun of the culture that entertained the notion. "Merchants displaying status with rope." To a person from a culture that sees it as utility and recreation, it's clearly so very odd, but he leans his head against Garou's arm until he's done stifling the laughter that goes along with the mental image. "It's a good thing they didn't add ornamentation."

Garou doesn't often stomach mockery of the home he loves and misses. But Seren somehow manages to fully enjoy this epitome of ridiculousness without ever straying into territory that even makes Garou uncomfortable. It is for this reason that he doesn't even stiffen when that head hits his arm and in fact lifts the hand from Seren's own to ruffle soft dark hair so different in texture from that he usually toys with. "They did," he admits, the ruffling turning to idle playing. "And it was not always over clothing." He clears his throat. "I spent time with a Marquess from the Exalted Plains who very much enjoyed pushing the boundaries of court propriety with her choices of rope and fabric. She used to have bells woven in - little brass bells. I learned I liked restrained partners from that Marquess." Soft laughter, low and dark, slips out between his lips. "I also learned that bells are better than bedsprings."

Seren chuckles. "I'm trying to imagine people with ornamented ropes, I keep picturing the wind-chimes we put in special places to mark them, except on humans." Jingle tree people. "Nesinni," he mentions the name almost as if it were a random. "Learning to tie knots and demanding test subjects. Most things in a clan start innocently. …and I wasn't much older than 18, I think. Arran was older, and I think it was mostly his idea in the first place." It's the first time he's said the names aloud outside of a dream. "I think Nesinni thought I was joking about liking it. Or maybe saying it because I'd always been cautious about her feelings." He shakes his head. "In a clan nothing is secret, yet there are and no one ever says anything aloud."

Garou has spent far too much time among a culture who never ever says what they're really feeling to be fooled by the casual way people throw away the words most dangerous to their soft underbellies. So for a good long while after Seren finishes, he doesn't say a damn thing, just sits there against the wall petting his hair and thinking. "They were yours, weren't they?" he asks finally, voice as gentle as its rough nature allows. "Nesinni and Arran. And Serala was your daughter." It's not as much a question as it might otherwise have been, but the silence that follows it is enough for Seren to correct him or confirm if he so chooses. "I am sorry for your loss, Seren." It is quiet, it is simple, it is sincere; it's not nearly enough, but it's what he has to offer. He lets it sit between them a little while longer before he returns to the topic at hand. "Nothing in this pride has ever started innocently." The smile isn't visible from where Seren is, but it's enough to add a bit of the charmer to Garou's otherwise rough and rumbling voice. "And Cenn is quite pleased with himself over inspiring a momentary chase instinct, so if I don't learn new things to practice on him, he'll be quite disappointed." And just because he's actually feeling a little bit silly, he tacks on one more thing. "And there's nothing sadder than a disappointed Orlesian." Yes, he's claiming the younger lion. No one tell.

Seren nods, silent at first. "They were, but they still live. I at least have that. They still have eachother and as long as they live, I still have the thought of them." Apparently repeating it eases everything. "Oh is he? Good. He needs to be pleased. We musn't disappoint him. So I will braid some ropes from cloth to show you the knots, and how they would hold someone with his build and weight," he promises. "…after all, we can't have two disappointed lions. We'd spend forever putting your pride back together, hm?' And yes, the entire idea makes him laugh. "What a pride you have put together."

"You," Garou corrects gently, his voice suddenly devoid of anything resembling joy and too much resembling pain. "So long as you live. And being gone is no easier than being dead, so don't ever let anyone say you shouldn't grieve however you - " He cuts himself off, tipping his head back with a dull thunk against the stone. "Anyone ever makes you feel like you're somehow less entitled to your grief and I will knock every tooth from their face." He huffs out a breath, realizing (with a thought that sounds an awful lot like Valentin's voice) that violence is not always the answer. "Or at the very least scare them so badly their head comes back out of their arse because fuck those people. I mourned my sister every bit as much as my father and they can - they can…" He sighs. "Never mind. I'm sorry." Another slow, deep breath in and another slow, deep breath out; that's when he can start petting Seren's hair again. "I'm ready when you are. Show away."

Seren reaches up to stroke a hand over Garou's cheek in a soothing motion. "Thank you," he finally offers, as if the intent behind the words is enough, and then reaches into a wooden box kept stored under his bed to pull out two arm length pieces of rope. They're held out far enough to be seen and he begins to tie. "I hope you have nowhere you need to be for a while. There are several for different purposes." But of course he's going to give lessons in each. The ropes don't matter so much as the patterns and those are remembered as if he had never lost the use for them.

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