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((Closed)) A Chance Encounter

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It had admittedly been some time since Trisbaine had been to Divinity's Reach... and for good reason. Every time he had come to the human capitol, drama had followed. Once he had to relay a story to the Seraph about a charr running away. Another time? Use his elemental magic to freeze poison flowing in someone's veins. There had even been a time when he had ended up running from the Seraph and climbing a wall along with his big brother Vailynt. To be fair, though, he had been rather drunk. Alright, that drama he had brought upon himself! Still, the Reach had a terrible track record for him.

He sighed out, considering this as he looked over the streets. But, his wife loves this place. Vilathara absolutely loved this place, and he was here to get some of the tea she adored from that shop in Ossan. A nice surprise for her when she came home, yes! He had braved far worse places after all. Sylvari sometimes came here still after all. Well, rarely. But, if things got dicey he had his magic and he had his guild com. Besides, surely today he looked presentable!

He had been sure to wear his best attire for this trip, a fine silk ensemble in his trademark colors of red, black, and white. A gauntlet rested on his right arm, and most of his vibrant red skin was covered. In places it still showed, The upper part of his arm was laced with white scarring, barely visible below his sleeve. There were dagger scars on his face, an asura hand-pint along his jaw, and an electrical burn about his neck. But perhaps what was most striking were his eyes: a bright white that were nearly unmistakable. Trisbaine was a hard figure to miss with his height at six feet three as well, a rare sight amongst his kind. And his fronds well, they were quite white and near blinding with their glow. Though, thankfully, he had a hat to hide those.

Still, the eyes were unmistakable to any who had ever met him.

Now, where was that tea shop again? He had been here once before! So many people here, how did anyone find their way about?
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Posted Jun 9, 15 · OP
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Raengwen Gilorn was sure to keep her eyes scanning the road ahead, seemingly demure and watching the area beneath thistle-lashes.

Her boots clicked on stone as she walked on the cobbled street of the Western Commons, one last stroll before she reported back, her garments packed in a bag on her back. Everything checked and accounted for, trails smoothed and hidden, the inn free of implication. If the Krytan Ministry tore down her door on the morrow, none would be the wiser. After all, no one but a nice and quiet young sylvari had stayed there. Sociable but rare to know beyond cordial smiles and teatime.

Oh, how she loved going undercover in Divinity's Reach, always a motley of people—she recognized the travel-worn, dark faces of merchants; some hooded sorts with their heads together in the corner. Several children ran past, playing a game of "Pretend" as they waved around poorly-carved out wooden swords above their heads, trying to whack each other with them.

The Busted Flagon is near, she thought to herself. Perhaps a round to celebrate my victory. No, one did not expect such behavior from a Sylvari, more so of a Norn, but Raengwen was not quite the ordinary offspring of the Pale Tree, having divorced from it long ago. She could do as she pleased.

Suddenly, something shined like a priceless pearl as it was caught in the sun's midday rays, catching her immediate attention. She peered at the source, the bright white eyes flashing most astonishingly as they moved out of the light. What she saw next was the scarred red bark which made up what little exposed flesh there was, yet the attire gave him away entirely, if not the brilliant white foliage gathered into a ponytail on top of his head.

Her stomach dropped at the familiarity of what she took in, and froze mid-stride for a moment as her mind became illuminated by dark memories of the past. He walked passed without so much as a word or a second glance, having been scanning a row of buildings across from her, as though he were looking for something.

Raengwen cleared her throat, her attention having been diverted from the tavern towards the thoughts of the scarred Sylvari. Eyes as hard as gimlets flashed, a gaze that had seen much, for all that she appeared young, landed on his back as she turned around. She felt too numb for a proper greeting, recalling the memories which made her blood turn cold as if blandly curating a museum. A shaking hand reached out to land on his shoulder.

She only hoped he wouldn't suddenly knife her.

"I know your face," she whispered.

And not from my dream.
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Raengwen Gilorn
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Posted Jun 9, 15 · Last edited Jun 9, 15
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Here tea shop, tea shop. Come out wherever you were! Argh, one little shop should not be so hard to locate. It was like finding a needle in a haystack! Step lightly, step carefully. The Reach had some of the worst of Tyria's criminals wandering about. Well, there were good sorts too but, you seemed more likely to encounter the bad types. He had been so far into his thoughts that he was thrown completely off-guard when the hand landed on his shoulder.

Near immediately, his form dissolved. All she would feel is a mist through her fingers, as what had been solid petals and bark floated a short distance away. The voice, however, immediately caused the condensed droplets to slam back together again. Were it not for his hat, one could be darn sure every frond on his head would be standing upright. As it was, his eyes were wide with shock.

"R-r-raengwen?" he finally managed to sputter out. One could see his ears twitching back and forth at a rapid pace. His thoughts, indeed, were racing about his skull. He had done that when he was younger as well, a process those near to him liked to call 'Dusking.' only these thoughts were not quite as kind to him as his normal ones were.

Two years ago. It was over two years ago since he had last seen this woman. Over two years ago, when they had both been captives of a terribly sadistic court. When he had last seen her, it was out of one eye, resigned to believe she would die as well either physically... or inside as a courtier. He was their example to her. Look what happens when you fight. Look what happens when you fight your fate, you poor broken saplings. This was all preventable. Oh, it would grow back. Eventually. But it would never be the same. Scarred. Watch us take him apart. Put him back together again. Was it wrong? Likely. Are you learning yet? You're next.

His breath caught in his throat, his empathy anxious. Normally, he was considered a fair stoic sort. Compassionate enough, but always in control. But, he found, that mask was rapidly shattering faster than he could pick up the pieces. Keep it together Baine, construct a new one. He was better than this! Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Two years ago. He had seen a man burn himself alive, rather than be turned. He had loved, Calla, only to have that person turn and hurt him. He had watched once brothers in arms turn against one another, kill each other until only one remained. He had been placed in one of those damnable pods, where time held no meaning.

Breathe.

Breathe again.

There was a bit of a shake to his shoulders, a near sway to his steps.

Breathe.

"It... it really is you..." he managed. Words. He knew words. One at a time. He gave a helpless smile that did not really reach his eyes, as his mind worked to right itself again. "I... it is. You're alive. And... and here and okay..."
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Posted Jun 9, 15 · OP
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"So, you do remember me," she said, her voice completely calm and even, but her narrowed misty eyes betrayed the immense tidal wave of emotions which threatened to consume them both. The training given by the Reverent Order to kill any sense of sentiments or emotional attachments was being rapidly peeled back. Trisbaine was, after all, one of the closest friends of her past, someone she had thought long dead. Perhaps he was really a specter, the ghostly visage before her just a figment of her imagination? No... she was a mesmer, and knew all about illusions. This was not a trick of the mists.

Raengwen was able to easily recall that time as though it had happened only yesterday. The weeks after escaping hadn't been easy. Forced into a Nightmare she didn't want, feeling the pain her body underwent as it did its best to grow back her lost appendages. Even as deeply submerged as she was trapped within the subconscious world of the Pale Tree. When Raen had been struck and lost consciousness, she wondered, maybe, if he could hear her thoughts at all, so far away. Did the Pale Tree's connection with the Sylvari go that far? Maybe not.

But she had thought them anyway, thunk as hard as she could, squeezing her eyes shut all the way from the world of Dreams. She had missed having someone to talk to, and sometimes the loneliness ate her up right inside, jumped in the impulse to cry out at someone in the Dream or the Nightmare, tug on their foliage, anything. But nobody could ever hear or feel her, and the trauma had remained for an unspeakable amount of time after waking up from that torturous coma.

Mostly she had worried about Trisbaine, wondered if he was still alive, and if he was, she had hoped he would rot swiftly, not to be preserved a chilly wraith, but to crumble, desiccated, a hollow shell of a sylvari, back into dead wood, if only to stop the pain, the agony.... Nightmare Courtiers had done things to him they might not have if she hadn't been there....

Yes, the guilt had eaten her up for a time, as she had felt the great weight of responsibility on her shoulders. If only she hadn't suggested... Oh, but it was such a beautiful beach, wasn't it? And it had been such a long journey. But they were already so close to home, why not keep going? But her feet hurt, and she was oh so tired....

Raengwen found herself picking out his features, so different from the unsullied and enjoyable sapling that she'd kept company with after meeting him in Lion's Arch two years ago. An image of the pallid, almost lifeless Sylvari, waiting to be chopped by the Nightmare Courtier once more was brought to mind. There had been the smile of a predator planted on the Courtier's face as he made slow, shallow cuts with his dagger down his arm. Trisbaine had let out a pain-filled scream as he tried to break free of his bonds, but it had been utterly useless. The Courtier had pulled the knife as sap dribbled slowly from the wound. Leaning down by his ear, he had said, "Do you want to join us now?"

Raengwen shuddered.

She swallowed back the lump in her throat, wondering what those haunting eyes were thinking now as they rested on her. Cold eyes hungering yet for the warm touch that might bring calm. She'd never been so happy to see those eyes again, and it showed through the broken smile on her lips. Not even the strongest Sylvari could have survived what they had done to Trisbaine, and yet, there he somehow stood, alive, with shock written in his eyes as he remembered...

But she couldn't hold it in any longer. Ignoring the eyes and ears of the public, Raengwen closed the distance between them, threw her arms around him tight, allowing the tears to flow freely, her shoulders convulsing....

"It's you-hou," she whispered. "It's really you-hou-hou. You -rreally are a-ali-i-ive. You're really h-h-here. I'm so-ho-rry. I'm s-so sorry, Tris- Trisbaine. It wa-as all m-my fa-ault!"
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Raengwen Gilorn
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At her far more controlled voice, he found himself drawing a pained smile. It is, however, genuine. There is relief, if not disbelief in his empathy, his expression. Had he lapsed again, somehow, all these years later? Was this a trick of his imagination? No. No, he could tell this was real. He could feel it was real. "Of... of course I remember you," he replies, taking in a slightly steadier breath. "How could I forget? I... never forget my friends..."

Never. Friends, allies, family... they gave one strength. In a world like Tyria, one needed all of the strength they could get. It could be terribly cruel, after all. This was a word of courtiers, Inquest, bandits or worse. He'd never forget any of them. She was no exception.

His own recovery had been done away from the world he had known, in human lands. The one who would become his mentor took him to a human noble's home, where he had the time to regrow what had been lost. Where his flesh grew back as best as it could, his missing fronds filled in. He was completely separate from the sylvari world for a time, which in the end proved to be for the best when he finally did return to it.

And then Raengwen stepped forward. Pulled him in close. He did not tense up, did not mist away or lightning step. Instead, all of his carefully crafted defenses... just were not there. He might as well have been without magic at all. In that moment, he was not a Priory Magister, nor the Exemplar of Verdance. He was, in all actuality, a scarred young man. An old friend. And she was, in turn, a scarred young woman. An old friend. He hadn't the mind to scramble to pick up the fallen masks, the shattered control. He'd do that later. But right now... right now..

He hugged her back. She would smell the faint scent his fronds carried of peppermint again, although he would certainly have filled out in frame since those old days. He had been eating well, at the very least, even if he somehow carried... more scars. How? What sort of life did he lead to lead to that? Did it matter, right this very moment? As she started to apologize, he shook a bit himself. He was never a crying man. Well, hardly ever. But this was an exception. They were making a scene. He didn't care. Let them gawk. Let them stare. Right now... right now...

"This... that... none of it was your fault," he tells her. "It was them... not you. Not you..." He shakes his head. "Never you. Blame them..." His own voice is a bit cracked, as he swallows hard and continues. "Don't hurt yourself that way..." He realized, then, he could not feel her empathy. Soundless? She had to be. He could not blame her. Not after everything. Still, the realization struck him a touch harder than it should have.

No. He was not alone in this, she just felt differently. And she was here and... and now what? "We.. uhm... I... we should talk," he manages to choke out. "Catch... catch up." He takes in a deep breath, but makes no movement to break off the hug. Not yet. She was here. he was here. It should not be possible but here they were.

Here they were.

... And he thought after the Rift incident life would stop holding surprises.
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"I-I did blame them, but-- but I also blamed m-myself," she sputtered, halfway choking on a sob.

Oh, but if he only knew how she had blamed them. Emerging from the Grove for the first time since the incident as a grim and cheerless Soundless, one might wonder if she got any satisfaction from helping to hunt for the Nightmare Court. She couldn't deny the sweet satisfaction in the slaying and the spilling of blood-sap belonging to the treacherous, vicious members of the volatile group. Perhaps she would tell him yet.

Her chin rested on his shoulder as the sob drew itself unwillingly from the bottom of her chest, wriggling fitfully and quaking her shoulders as it struggled from her chest. No, she was not without emotion yet. A small shudder, all but imperceptible even to the one she hugged, wracked her frame, the very thought rendering her completely unnerved for but a moment.

Raengwen release her grip on him, taking a step back. She brushed away the stray spiked vine of hair that had fallen across her face. There was no hollow relief upon pouring her emotions, only a tightness that spoke of a thousand tears unshed and firmly bottled away. But she was back now, pupils fixated solely on the Sylvari before her with frightening intensity.

The Sylvari proceeded to throw the security of stone walls back up and around herself, piling stone on stone to keep her oaken heart safe and whole yet behind their cold protection. How could she do anything less when she had such a profession as she did? People died, and that was that, said her sensible logic, but it did nothing to abate her shame and defeat.

Raengwen allowed her eyes to wonder then. She often found herself alone, as was her usual, and preferred style of companionship (or so she had made herself believe), fighting her way through the daily grind. Rare was it that she actually entertained company, aside from the odd Reverent agent now and then. And lately there had been too much work. Raen's truest nature seemed almost a mystery to the world at large.

However, when she had to deal with a genuine social interaction such as this, when she wasn't lying or acting for the sake of her profession and actually had to be herself, it always proved to be difficult and draining. Lying just so happened to be much easier, but Raen didn't want to revert to pragmatic training, not with him. Raen had regained her composure, having wiped away her tear-soaked-face with the sleeve of her coat arm. Her voice was steadier than previous as her shivering heartwood began to settle down.

A sigh of relief exploded quietly from her lips, making her realize that she had in fact been holding her breath.

"Ah, yes, of course we should," She chuckled finally in answer and tossed her hand carelessly, her look returning to hover over the other's scarred figure. Why did the word Talk sound like a synonym to a torture chamber or basement now?

"I was just about to head over to the Busted Flagon, but if you have someplace better in mind, then by all means."

Lead the way.
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Raengwen Gilorn
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Trisbaine gently shakes his head, looking at her with sympathy. "I... know the feeling though. I blamed myself for quite some time as well. If I hadn't shown off my fire skills, or had been a bit more careful..." He sighs out, ears flicking back. "Raengwen, it only serves to hurt us more if we blame ourselves. Lets them win a bit more. I refuse to allow that." He tries again to offer a faint smile, but its easy enough to see through.

It was a slight uncanny though, when she stepped back and he could see her fighting to regain control. Put back up her defenses. He inhaled deeply. He really should do the same, he had done it so many times before after all. His own past, his own work, led to the need. Inhale deeply. Exhale out. In. Out. He understood entirely, so he did not take it personally. After all, it had been two years. So much had happened in two years. Was he not a stranger to her now?

...He grimaced, realizing this.

When she started to speak again, his ears went back to a neutral position as he nodded. He would trace his way back to the tea shop later, really. It was no place for a talk like this. At least in a place like the Busted Flagon, they would not draw attention no matter how the conversation turned. And he remembered where it was. So he started to lead the way, his steps calm and steady. "The Busted Flagon is fine, just please do not tell my wife I was here!" He replied, a soft chuckle escaping his lips. A touch unsteady. He was all unsteady still. Why? He had faced down wannabe Asuran gods, completed a Hunt, helped bring courts down. Why did a simple conversation make him nervous? This was ridiculous! Brambles!

The trip there was pretty quiet, as he sorted for his words but could simply not find the right ones. Thorns, this should not be so difficult. He led the COMMUNITY branch of Verdance for goodness sakes, socializing was supposed to be his thing! And yet here he was like a mute sapling, quiet until they came upon the worn bar. "Ah, er, here we go," he replied, opening the door for Raengwen. The Busted Flagon was... well the same as always. Seedy, the citizens scattered inside were varied and worn down for the most part. Rough as they came. Still, at the end of the bar was an open spot. He guided them towards it, pulling out the chair for her before he took a seat himself. The bartender, a charr long of tooth, merely growled out "What will it be weeds?"

"A white wine for myself Sir, and whatever my friend would like," he replied, nodding towards Raengwen. The charr merely snorted, but went off to fill the order. Baine though could swear he heard the fellow mutter something about 'Fruity wimps...' He sighed out, deciding to ignore it. Starting a fight with a charr was the LAST thing he wanted to do tonight.

As their chosen drinks arrived, he took a long sip. "Ah... where to start, where to start...? I suppose the beginning might help," he commented, shrugging his shoulders. "After I... escaped would you believe I was captured briefly again by another courtier. Although she was of another court, and used different means. She... might have gone farther, but I was rescued by a rather gruff Soundless and her medic husband. With them, I healed in human lands. I would have been fine never seeing another sylvari, but oddly enough it was my Hunt that intervened. I tried to go to Mount Maelstrom alone, and Ruinali intercepted. I... was angry. Frustrated. So want to guess what I did?"

He grimaced, taking a deeper swig of his wine. "I went to the Pale Tree and yelled. Another sylvari, named Oaken, saw me and dragged me away. It was... him who recommended I join a group named Inflorescence. I did, and slowly... they helped me come around. it was not without its rough spots however, I was pretty stupid in those days. I was cursed, poked in the butt with a rubber saber, attacked by nightmare bees, stabbed, shot, burned, grenaded... but with each instance I learned. Each bad thing helped me become better. And... I grew closer to the sylvari I worked with. We became a sort of family, if not a bit missed up."

He looks over at her, tapping his glass a moment. "Admittedly, what happened to Inflourescence however is... a touch trickier to talk about." He glanced down a moment, taking in another sip. "But I learned much from it as well. "Our leader... went Nightmare. The organization disbanded. But Oaken... he brought it back together under a new name: Verdance. He actually... named me as a leader. Me of all folks! I could tell you so many stories about what happened during that time... love to really." He paused, ears flicking back as another thought crossed his mind.

"...Do you remember Calla?" he whispered quietly, eyes closed. Of course Raengwen likely would. Calla had been a fellow prisoner... until she turned Nightmare and set to work near immediately. "At one point early on she... came to see me. Still... still in love. I had to..." There was a slight shake to his shoulders. "I had to do what was needed. So that is one less courtier to worry about..."
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Posted Jun 10, 15 · OP · Last edited Jun 10, 15
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Spoiler: SorryShow

In a nod, she let Trisbaine pass as he lead the way. She looked into the distance towards the road from which she had arrived, as if to bid farewell to her escape route. Or maybe she was wondering if another agent lurked around the corner, watching closely. It did cross her mind for a split of a second if she was to fetch Mikias for tea as well, the said Sylvari being close to her and all that, but she figured fast enough that Trisbaine wouldn't have been as open and honest with more company. Not to mention the establishment was probably too public and crowded for him.

Shaking her head in an amused hum, she took after Trisbaine slowly, keeping a professional distance behind him.

Raen's bright, cool hues rolled around when the doors opened and they entered, making a vague investigation of the room. She stepped in swiftly after Baine. Her gait slowed down, head moving around like it was awaiting to be cut off by some hidden blade from the ceiling until it settled to linger above the tables. As the soft footsteps of the other drew further, she noticed herself having fallen behind. The knock of her boots echoed from the walls of exported stone when she accelerated sharply for a few hasty steps.

She sat down with him at the only vacant table in the room, one at the very back, which she was pleased with. That way she could keep an eye on the people in the tavern. Raen formed a smile out of politeness when the Charr walked up to them to take their order, trying to keep it as far from solemn as she could.

"Do.... you sell Amber Ale here? No...? What about... Juniberry Gin? No Juniberry, too? The Salma District and the Plaza of Balthazar? Oh. Well, then... what do you sell here? Do forgive me, it has been a while. Ah, in that case, I'll have that."

To the unexpected growl from the Charr, she answered by arching his brows innocently and turning her look away from their angry gaze, letting it travel to inspecting her hands and cleaning her fingernails, one of her many strange habits. Wonder if the Charr has some hidden killing devices in their pockets... The Charr returned quickly, bringing Trisbaine and Raengwen's their desired beverages. Her eyes remained on the Charr when she took the beverage given, grasping the glass gently and hoisting it in appreciation at them before he left them.

Her eyes lingered on the Sylvari across from her when he began to speak of all that had happened after his first experience as a captive of the Courtiers. Raen frowned deeply, her brows coming together. He had been captured and tortured once again after his first attempt at escaping! It brought a sour taste to her mouth. She did her best to make it go away by taking a large swig of her red wine.

"That is most unfortunate," she spoke softly. "I can hardly believe you were captured again. But I am glad you were rescued. Verily, we might'nt've met again if you hadn't been.... I will drink to that."

The discussion in the background crept in the edge of her attention, but still listened carefully at everything that Trisbaine had to say. A rare and genuine smile parted her lips when he admitted to yelling at the Pale Tree. She, too, had once argued fiercely with the Pale Tree when she had made unrealistic demands of the Avatar to change Raengwen's status as a Valiant. Raen just wanted to be normal, to live without the visions and that constant itching on the back of her neck. The Avatar's constant sense of tranquility had pissed her off to no end; how could she have made light of Raengwen's situation?

"The Avatar of the Pale Tree is effectively--" she paused, looking for the right word to describe, finally deciding on one. "--deliberate," she spoke with a low tone of voice. "Perhaps it is why we could never get along. By now, you must have felt it. I am Soundless. But... please let me explain to you why that is.

You see... After I made my escape from the Nightmare Court, I took a fatal blow from a beast most foul on my journey back to the Grove... My injuries prevented me from protecting myself properly. I lost consciousness and my soul fell into a tug of war between the Dream and the Nightmare.

Panacaea brought me back.... she is a wonderful healer, but even in my waking life, I continued to have seizures and visions. It was... another kind of torture entirely after what I had already endured with the Courtiers. I couldn't handle it... didn't want to handle it... had to cut myself off, or I would have verily gone mad. I am envious of how you have managed to remain true to your Valiant nature, to remain strong in the face of all your troubles. But at the same time, I feel happy for you. I'm hopeful that you can fulfill your Dream someday.... If you haven't already, that is... have you?"

Nevertheless, Raengwen was happy to hear of how he had survived and healed with what sounded like a group of kind and trustworthy Sylvari, 'cept for the one that turned to the Nightmare Court, that is... That was just pitiful. At least they had managed to create something from the ashes of the former group.

She sipped, watched him over the edge of her glass. Baine seemed sorrowful, gestures and tried smiles reaching from under a muting gauze. She thought it improper to search for an answer in the matter of his former lover, for their presence was no longer immediate, not to mention how intrusive such an investigation would be when he was the one who chose to sever that relationship... permanently.

"I... am sorry it had to come to that." Raen struggled to say anything then, after Bain's heartbreaking revelation. However, she did not wish to make him dwell on it for too long for fear of him falling into a great depression, and somehow managed to form the words which continued to pour from her mouth like flowing water.

"I am not one of those who is inclined to believe that everything happens for a reason. Such optimism is..... how do I put this lightly? It is plain foolishness. Should you point to a ridiculous accident of good luck and say, 'This was meant to be' when you could have just as easily ended up dead? I speak of the tortures which befell us, of course." She waved a hand in the air with disdain.

The philosophy Raen shared with Baine was the foundation of why she believed the races of Tyria had risen up to fight against the Tyranny of the Dragons.... While the Dragons could afford to be indifferent towards the world they wished to destroy and start anew, it wasn't an affordable thing for those who lived in that world to become indifferent to them. Were they all to simply roll over and play dead?

"This is why I hunted the Nightmare Court after recovering from my injuries, aside from sheer vengeance, I must admit... Was I to allow them to continue to wreak havoc on the innocent? Oh, no... I think not. Yet, I did not find you amongst those that we rescued.... I had... believed you to be dead, along with Calla." Raen lowered her solemn gaze to the table.

"Though, my thoughts on the Court have changed since that time. I have had two years to think on it, after all. I do not believe them all to be entirely wicked. After all, the one who helped me escape was a Courtier, as well. He was the one that fell... one who was captured along with us. Lockbriar was his name. I have met Courtiers who disagree with the forceful conversion of others to their cause.

Verily, there are extremists, such as the ones who ambushed and hurt us... You and I, Calla and Lockbriar. We just so happened to be a few of the extremists' many victims.... but there are those who seek the Great Balance, as well. It is a belief I have chosen to place my trust in... but Don't worry, I am hardly a Nightmare sympathizer. On the contrary, actually."

Raen had long forgotten her wine in her rambling, having vehemently fixed her eyes on him, and she paused briefly, before blinking and smiling sheepishly.

"Forgive me," she said. "I have run away with myself. Where are my manners? I hadn't even asked if you enjoy suchl discussions. Much has changed with me, just as much as changed with you. I am no longer that innocent and cheerful Sylvari you met on the road."

By the Gods, it was incredible how Trisbaine could get her talking. Raengwen, the normally silent and solitary Sylvari, choosing her words carefully and wisely before even bothering to open her mouth, oftentimes giving one-word answers and speaking in short sentences. He had the effect of bringing the old Raengwen out. The Raen that found joy in the little things, smiled and trusted easy. The Raen who didn't hesitate for a second to approach a random stranger on the road to ask for directions....

Raen gave him a soft gaze and a kind smile. It was good to see him again.
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Raengwen Gilorn
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Posted Jun 11, 15 · Last edited Jun 11, 15
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Trisbaine listened idly as she listed off various drinks, raising a brow at some of them he had never even heard of! Of course, it was likely obvious from the fact he ordered wine he was not exactly a... seasoned drinker. There was a reason for that! But today was a rare exception. Today, he was not Exemplar Trisbaine of Verdance. He was not Magister Trisbaine Cragsoul of the Priory. Today, he was just Baine.

...It was a rare thing, that.

He sighed, when she mentioned it was an unfortunate thing. "It... it was. I was lucky I was only there for about a week or so. The irony though? The courtier in question was one Duchess Atropa... a leader of the Court of Thorns. Court of Thorns... well. They were the major group I went on to fight against in Inflorescence." He gave a helpless shrug. "Life's funny that way sometimes." Although he did not wear a look of humor on his expression.

He had taken a drink, when he noted her smile as he mentioned his rant. This gave him pause. The normal reaction was shaking of the head, or wow you were a stupid sapling. but to understand it? It made both of his long ears twitch. But as she explained, he slowly came to understand. She had been just as upset back then, just as angry. Having a fate handed to one, a fate that if you ignored pounded ceaselessly at the skull... it was a heavy burden.

"I am... still working on my bond with her," he admits quietly. "Well, was before she was effectively knocked out. I was there the day that happened of all ironies, can you believe that? But I hate remaining angry with anyone. I never held onto anger well..." He taps his fingers together. "Ele and fire and all... it never goes well." He shakes his head. "Well, you saw what Cright did, back then." Rash emotions, ele. Cright during those captive days had gone up in a whirlwind of fire. It was Baine's greatest fear he would someday do the same.

"Pan... you know her too?" he asked, amused and pleasantly surprised a moment. "She really is something else. She was at my wedding, a bit of time ago. She is quite the lady indeed. I'll have to thank her, the next time I see her." He gave a soft smile then, which faded as he realized the topic he'd have to explain next.

"My Hunt.. ah it is over yes but I should tell you the entire story." He took a deep drink of his wine, eyes closing a moment. "I used to think, my Hunt was simply keeping the Inquest from harming innocents. It was not until a fellow Dusk saw my sketchbook that she realized I had drawn Inquest facilities she had seen as well. They were from an Inquest project: TERMITE. And we realized, my Hunt was drawing me there. So I gathered a team, and we went to investigate farther. Only, nothing is ever, ever so simple." He shook his head.

"There is where I met an Asura named Gjerr, and his assistant Riah. His works were numerous, his crimes many. She was fiercely loyal to him, and cruel. His experiments... well. He had learned to weaponize empathy against sylvari. He was capturing and draining sylvari of their energy. He had... started to experiment on himself. His goal, in the end? It was to see and understand the Eternal Alchemy. To become a God, and fix everything he had ever done wrong. To be... in control." Both ears flicked back then.

"It was... a long road. We fought one another for over a year. They are the reasons for many of the scars I bear to my head. The burns, the dagger, the... carved R. He had surprised me at times, I him. We knew each other better than perhaps anyone else. There came a time we even had to work together, when the Inquest had accidentally opened a... Rift allowing these monsters to pass into our world. Bad, if nothing else, he never lost sight of his goal. He had found the anchor to the Rift, what allowed it to stay open, and decided he had to have it. It was pulling him in. I tried to save him and we... both fell in." Baine closes his eyes, inhaling deeply. There was a soft shake to his shoulders that was not from the wine.

"There are other worlds than these," he explains looking up. "We landed in a place that had deep purple skies and sands of white. There was us, and the Walkers. But we were sort of just... guests. We could not affect anything. He shot me in my chest, and nothing happened save for the bullet shattering. I am told in our world, a week passed. For Gjerr and I it was... six to eight months. We lost track of time. I tried to map it, but there was no mapping it. It was... endless and shifting dunes. So I was trapped with my enemy. But worse..." He looked over, his expression actually pained.

"...I was cut off from everything. My family, my friends, my kin. It was as though I never existed, severed entire. My Hunt could not be felt, everything I had ever worked or fought for? Not there. It was a walking death. I knew... what it was to die. I know this all sounds impossible, crazy. Maybe it is. It definitely is. But... it is what it is. Gjerr and I passed the time talking sometimes. We were friends. We were enemies. We were rivals. We... shared a strange connection. I understood his reasons, and he mine. The pair of us, eventually, reached a mutual pact. We would dive off a dune, and it would be my greatest shame I considered it. But thankfully, fate intervened."

"Our friends had not forgotten us, and we were pulled out. Months passed. I... would leave Gjerr alone. Surely, the experience had touched him somehow. He would stop experimenting. And then... we encountered one of his labs. Active. He had... not stopped. And he brought us to him. Using the anchor, he had gained immesnse power even he did not fully understand. For my sake, he would leave us alone if we left him alone. Apparently, I had left an impression. But... we could not leave our kin to suffer. So, we went to fight him. It ended badly on all ends. Nobody died, but we thought they had! He had targeted people, one on one. Like an execution line. Oaken. Ruinali... brothers. Sisters. Allies."

"...And then he came to the Source, my home. But this time we were ready. We had a counter, and it worked. One group went after Riah, the second after Gjerr. Both were brought down. In the end, Gjerr and I were the last standing. He... destroyed my arm. But I was not about to go down. Too much to lose. And in the end... he gave a slight smile. Told me to kill him, or he would kill me. It was... the hardest thing I ever had to do. I finally understood my mentor, when she said the good of the many for one. I... took my dagger to his throat. And with that, my Hunt was over." He looks towards Raengwen then.

"I learned a lot because of it. Gained scars, learned lessons, grew closer to my family and allies. I gained an appreciation for the world on a larger scale. But it was not an easy road. I do not know what I would do were I ever called again..." He grimaces. Never. He hoped, never again. As she mentioned the Court, he looked pensive. Ears twitching again.

"When I was younger, I definitely had the sort of kill them all mentality as well. They were tortured, they needed to be put to rest. They were dead. But... I know better now. They have lost a part of themselves yes, forever changed. But, a few do not operate simply to kill everyone. My general rule of thumb now is if they harm mine or myself, then I handle them. If they are torturing kin, I handle them. So I can see where you are coming from. And thank goodness you are not! I'd worry truly if you were! I have known a few sympathizers in my time and the ending is always the same: they end up joining them." At her last, he ended up smiling gently.

"Raengwen, I am a Dusk. Not just that, I am a PRIORY Dusk! I live for such discussions!" He chuckled softly. "I often find the Noons are groaning at me to shut up." He gives a helpless shrug. "Brambles, you just have to forgive me if I ramble in turn a bit! So... ah, I should ask any questions?"
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