Raengwen frowned and pursed her lips in disapproval. Duchess Atropa and the Court of Thorns. She sounded like a fearsome one, the leader of a group to be taken seriously. It made her furious to know that this Duchess had caused her friend even more harm than what he'd already endured; to even think of it sent her heart fluttering madly in her chest. How much more could he have possibly endured before losing himself entirely?
"How cruel," she said. "How was it that you were able to endure all of it without so much as breaking? You are most certainly strong, with a tenacious heart to boot. I'm curious to know how it is that you were originally able to escape from the Nightmare Courtiers. Did Lockbriar return to help you, as well?" More so than herself, she thought. Raen had been weak, had succumbed to her own suffering, broken under the weight of the Deams and Nightmares, yet Trisbaine continued to stand tall, even with all of the scarring plainly visible for all to see. He did not shy away or cower and spoke calmly of the most atrocious acts.
"I have heard of them before," she said. "Mainly through word-of-mouth, however. My party never crossed blades with them back in the day. But the rumors that surrounded the Court of Thorns were rather dire. Do you know if they are still around?"
Raengwen did her best to keep her facial expressions indifferent when Trisbaine admitted to working on rekindling his relationship with their Mother. Her sanguine disposition might have seemed a bit out of place at that moment. If being a good son was good enough for him, she was pleased to hear it, but wasn't sure how well it would go if she tried to do the same. If anything, just looking into the eyes of her Mother might trigger a massive episode of seizures and visions she'd worked tirelessly on holding back over the last two years with a strict schedule of meditation.
"I commend you for your efforts. Good on you, my friend." She raised her glass before emptying it with a final sip and setting it back down on the table. One of her legs crossed over the other as she leaned more comfortably into her seat. Already, she could feel the warmth within the lifeblood that pumped through her veins, and the weightlessness of her head. When she opened her eyes, she focused them on the table once more.
"I don't think I could do it... To think I might have once gone running around the forest with my brothers and sisters under our mother's generous guardianship without a care in the world," she spoke with spite clearly written in her voice. Raen's eyes lifted to meet Baine's. "Well, such things have no real place in the sort of society that is a reality outside the protection of the Grove and the Pale Tree."
It was those sort of thoughts that had helped in Raen's wondering of whether or not she should abandon it all and go her own way, even though she hadn't known at the time what it was that she would do when she left, she'd done it anyway, and it had been for the best in the end. At least, that was what she continued to tell herself.
It didn't really surprise her when the cinnabar-colored Sylvari offered a remark in confirmation of his own relationship with Panacaea.
"The healer has many good friends and is connected to all sorts of people from all walks of life, offering aid wherever she can, setting biases and prejudices aside simply for the sake of doing the right thing. I have a lot of respect for Panacaea."
It was that type of kind-hearted personality that could reach the hearts of many. There were people that needed her, and Panacaea wouldn't turn her back on them, having a pair of capable hands and powerful magic that might take some of the pain away, if only for a moment.
"You are bonded then?" she said. It wasn't so much as a question as it was a statement. She felt the pang of pain and regret upon hearing he had a wedding and she just so happened to have missed it. It hadn't helped that she had thought Baine was dead... and how was it that she had never once come across him again in all of her travels? It seemed almost impossible, and yet that was the hard truth of serendipity. Raen humored the thought that they might have fought on the same battlefield at one point in time, backs turned against each other for the entirety of it.
"When was this? I am sorry I missed it. You should introduce me to the lucky one," she spoke softly, closing her eyes and smiling. "Verily, I should like to meet them."
Raengwen was almost at the edge of her seat when he talked about his Dream, listening to and watching him with deep concentration. Years of meditation had proved to be helpful in profoundly regulating her attention. She had never once placed an inquiry about it in the past to him, not even during the time they had been travelling together. In spite of all they had learned about each other, not once had the Dream been mentioned or brought up. He hadn't known about hers and she hadn't known about his. Raen understood entirely over the loneliness he spoke of when he was trapped in this other strange world with the Asura, being cut off from everything and everyone. His feelings had been her own during her coma, trapped like a prisoner inside of her own mind. Unlike him, however, she hadn't even the company of an infuriating little pest of an Asura.
Raengwen stared at the small print on his jawline, instantly recognizing it for what it was, and glared.
"You should have killed him when you first had him in your sights," she suddenly found herself saying, all thanks to the alcohol in her veins. She looked him straight in the eye when she spoke.
"I, Raengwen of Night, live by very simple rules. One of these rules goes like this: You shall aid those who aid you and harm those who harm you. Give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. No doubt Gjerr and Riah's experiments caused the demise of many Sylvari. Is that not so? In that case, why did you not bring Justice upon him sooner? Wouldst not all your troubles with Gjerr been avoided?" Raengwen turned the glass in her hand with her fingers, watching her bright cold eyes from her own reflection.
"You must think me hardhearted for saying so, but I wouldn't have so much as hesitated to relieve their small bodies from the weight of their large bigoted heads....."
Yes, I, Raengwen of Night, am a wretch.
She couldn't admit aloud that her affection for her friend was being twisted into hatred for those who had tormented him, along with many others. This was the same hatred that forced her into seeking out the Nightmare Court, thinking she might gorge herself at last with a lust for blood. However, she would have gone further with the Asuras upon hearing the full extent of their crimes than a merciful dagger to the neck. She would have sought to break their Asuran pride and made their torment last as long as possible.
"The Durmand Priory," she spoke almost in disbelief, her small smile stretching into an amused grin and her eyes crinkling slightly. "You? Well, no, I can definitely see it. I recall you having the greatest sense of adventure.... tell me... Did they dub you their honorary Protector of Maps?" She joked, giving a soft chuckle.
The day was only getting better and better. Bain's enthusiasm had adhered to her, lifting Raen's spirits higher and leaving them floating to spheres of utter comfort and cheer, widening her smile inside out. If her guard hadn't been lowered to its lowest already, it might have just dropped further, entirely off the face of Tyria.