Participants:

Garou_icon.gif Seren_icon.gif

Scene Title Scars
Synopsis Seren decides to reclaim his scars, Garou finds him
Location Mage Wing, Circle of Magi
Date July 11, 2016
Watch For Mentions of past hurts
Logger Seren

It could be said that Seren's least favorite time of day is night. It's not just the silence and the fact that Revas is occupied elsewhere with her nightly hunt, it's that he's alone with all of his thoughts and memories and even the good ones are daggers. The bad ones? He's looking at those in what passes for his mirror and doing his best to not throw the brush in his hand at the glass. This is his new nightly ritual and he's decided to change it. The thing holding him back? It's gonna hurt. Cutting the skin always does, but cutting the skin of his ears? He'd hoped it would kill him the first time. Still, he picks up the small tool usually reserved for detailing his carvings and pushes his hair behind the ear before taking a deep breath. One cut, two, three- did it bleed that much the first time? He certainly screamed more, but that would give him away in the here and now. Still, he HAS to stop to heal and the healing has to go slow enough to encourage scar tissue instead of avoiding it. Hopefully before anyone notices his magic use, hell be done.

Patrol is not Garou's favorite thing to do. Interior patrols are even less so. His job is to keep things out - he's not so much worried about the keeping them in. But interior patrols at night? Not only does it feel like a pointless invasion of privacy, there are at least ten better things he could be doing at night. All of them involve Valentin and at least four of them involve sleeping. So needless to say Rou does not tend to take interior night patrols all that seriously. He passes a set of very enthusiastic moans with a wolfish grin - he doesn't hear one he recognizes so watching has zero appeal - and is honestly about to say 'fuck this for sausages' when he smells it.

Blood.

It's just the barest whiff of iron - and most people would tell him he's imagining things - but it sticks in the back of his throat and makes a cold sweat break out on the back of his neck. And maybe it's just the ghost of a memory after all, but it makes him stop and feel for the places where magic is tugging on reality. It doesn't… feel like blood magic, not tainted and oily and rotting, but he can't shake the nauseating sticky smell now and he can't just leave it alone. So he pushes open an unfamiliar door and just… stops dead.

The truth is, Seren probably looks a mess. He at least had the presence of mind to remove his modified robe, but the cuts he'd been making bleed a LOT. There are healed marks along his neck that disappear behind the fall of his hair, and he hasn't managed to keep the blood from getting into that, either. But then the door is open and it doesn't matter who is there. He's already fighting off panic from his own actions, the Templar there? May as well be one of the men responsible for this in the first place and all he has is a sharp carving knife and a total inability to consider that he coulduse magic to defend himself, or at least try. "I'll kill you first." Which would be perfect if he had a better weapon and hadn't just reverted to his own language.

There is a long and terrible moment where it isn't Seren's face he sees. It's blonde and spiky hair with cornflower blue eyes and loud freckles dusted over nose and cheeks and chin. It's laughter and then it's fear and then it's empty - those same blue eyes slightly crossed and staring forever at something the rest of the world can't see. It brings bile into the back of his throat and puts a tremor in the Templar's hands, but he does not reach for his sword. Because eventually the here and now reasserts itself and he remembers. He remembers long summer evenings talking about the 'boring magic stuff' - and Valentin's initial good humor that slowly turned to something softer when he realized that Rou had been serious about wanting to understand. He's older now. He knows more than he did when then was now. It takes him a moment, eyes sliding closed long enough for a hard swallow to get his voice in line; to remember that Seren is a healer and that healing and blood magic Do Not Mix… to know that he is more than his past mistakes. "Would you like a towel?" At least he so very desperately wants to be. "There is a linen closet at the end of the hall. They're ugly, but they make for good bandages in a pinch."

The accent makes Seren's arms tense and there's real fear in those eyes until Revas announces her return at the window. Then he startles so much that the knife falls and-somehow- the room becomes here and now again. He knows this person, or at knows Valentin trusts him and now he can see all the blood and put himself in the other man's shoes for a moment. "I know what you probably think, and you're wrong." He pulls the hair back to tuck behind the ear that he hasn't touched yet. "I … I just needed to change this."

The bird's return at the window startles Garou, too, though not so viscerally. "That is… a fair assumption." If only partially correct. "But if I truly believed this was what it looks like, I would hardly be offering to help." That's a lot of words in one go for Garou. It's so much harder to make them come out in the way - with the nuance - he wants them to. He watches as the set of unaltered scars is revealed and hisses out a curse in Orlesian. "Maker's breath, what did that?"

Seren isn't much given to bitter laughs, but this is one of those occasions."Templars did this. It's a joke, you see? They're knife ears. It's what they're for. Except that we skin rabbits in Orlais," he informs, not bothering to try to mimic the accent. "Your men smelled of bad wine and sweat, but even drunk they had no fear. No sound escapes those cells and so what if it does? No one cares." It's nearly an accusation, and his point is proven by showing the long marks between his shoulders. "So I suppose the answer is wild animals."

Plain and simple shock is not a phenomenon with which Garou is… really at all familiar. So when everything slows down to the point where it feels like even his heart has stopped - when he exists in this infinite moment of terrible, suffocating silence - he doesn't have the first clue what is happening. A healer could tell, probably, but Garou is no healer and self-diagnosis is sketchy at best. When reality comes crashing back in, it is with a vengeance that hurts him. Lungs burning, heart pounding, something sharp and sour on his tongue. "They… who among them?" he growls, broken and ragged and desperate for any shred of anything he could do about this… this… this abuse. "Even with such a strict reputation, this Commander would not condone such atrocity. She can't. These men must be brought to justice." Oh, Rou…

"You think it's going to matter? It didn't matter in Orlais, it isn't going to matter here, so far away from where it happened." Seren finally picks up the knife to sterilize it again. "I'm tired of carrying there marks. I'm changing them. If I have to have these scars, they're going to belong to me. … But even if I knew the names of these men, I'm not naive enough to think they'll ever be punished. For a human from an important family, but no one will care that someone played games with a wild rabbit. I don't think you're that naive, either." Now he's going to clean up the blood.

"It's not naive!" Garou shouts - surprising even himself with the volume, vehemence and desperation in his own voice. And then much quieter - broken, defeated. "It's not." It takes a force of sheer will to roll his shoulders back from where they'd hunched forward in a childish, defensive posture, but he does it. "You do Commander Moreau disservice. He is not an unfair man. He would have seen…" There is this niggling doubt that nips viciously at his heels and Garou quashes it with a growl. "I would have made him see." His arms come up and fold over his chest in a maneuver that is half projecting strength he desperately wants to feel right now and half a motion of self-comforting he is not at all willing to acknowledge. He cannot deny the man the right to make the scars his own; it is a need that he understands on a primal, instinctive level. "I am sorry." Because he isn't anyone important but he does care - would have cared then too if he'd known… and oh, how that not knowing gnaws at him. He had just started to get his feet beneath him, to feel that truly he wasn't powerless, but this… "This occurred because of my negligence." It never occurs to him that the mage could be lying. He doesn't even think to question it. He knows enough - whether it's conscious knowledge or not. "I will… I will stand guard." Because he cannot undo this, but he can make sure Seren isn't charged with blood magic because of it. He turns, then, to close the door and go, but pauses mid-step. "If there is anything you require - … " But there is no way to finish that offer without sounding trite, so he just stops talking and starts moving again instead.

Seren tenses and it's clear it takes real effort to not try to shield himself physically from that shout. "Others saw," he points out. "A few saw it happen and did nothing, others saw the result and did nothing. Those men felt free enough to do this, they weren't afraid of punishment." He takes the cloth from the water basin to wipe away the blood and the scars- thankfully thin things that are a shade lighter than his skin- do look more like a design than random cuts. The design nearly matches his vallaslin. "Lieutenant. This…" He sighs heavily. Really? He's reassuring Templars now? No one tell him he's been doing it for a while. "This wasn't your fault. Those cells were designed for those who would be forgotten. Those men were only doing what was in their hearts and felt they had permission to do." He puts the cloth down to pour an odd smelling tea from its pot into a cup and walks over to hold it out. "It should help steady you. …and thank you."

The soft sound of his rank is enough to make him pause with one hand on the doorframe. He takes the tea feeling - and looking, if we're honest - like one of those dwarven golems; cold, heavy, numb stone. Rou isn't much one for herblore - that's not so much what they train Templars for these days - but the cup is at least warm in his hand. "Those were my men," he answers hollowly. "It was my task to lead and control. I thought…" He'd thought better of his whole order, to be perfectly blunt. "That they got away with this falls on me." At least in part. "But thank you." For the tea. Kirkwall's nights aren't cold yet, but he is. Something to warm his hands and smell nice is welcome, even if his stomach is still too twisted to drink anything down.

"There is nothing you can do about the past. You can't unwrite it and you can't obtain forgiveness from the dead. Make sure your eyes are open here. …even if you can't stop bad things from happening, you can say they happened." Now Seren just looks tired, but he gestures toward the cup in Garou's hand. "Try to drink it. Once you're calmed from the shock you're going to be exhausted and your stomach will not be your friend. That will help your energy level and keep you from having to clean your shoes and the floor. I'm certain you won't want to fall asleep as soon as your head meets a pillow."

"I - " But Garou closes his mouth almost as soon as he's opened it, reminded by the fatigue in the mage's face that this is not actually about him. And he can't… begrudge that, either. Not when Seren's being so… weirdly nice about it. Somehow that almost makes it worse. "I will try," he promises - though whether that is about the tea or the other thing is left… pretty ambiguous. He doesn't mean it to be, that's just how Rou ends up communicating nine-tenths of the time. "Knock on the door when you are finished and I will take the bloodstained linens before I go." He's less likely to get questioned about them, after all.

Seren looks like he might protest for a second, then nods. "Thank you. …if what you saw brought back something uncomfortable, I'm sorry. It's all I seem to do in this place." Apparently he's willing to accept ambiguity because he takes the knife back out of the sterilizing bowl and nods. "It won't take much longer." Although the nightwing at the barred window might be a little upset by all of this, so maybe a little longer than it would have otherwise so that he can reassure the bird. For now, he's going to get back to the painful task he'd started before he loses his nerve.

"My own sins come home to roost," Garou mumbles, mostly to himself, but nods once and closes the door behind him. He has a vigil to keep.


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