The Road to Sotavento

Robyn rolls her eyes, she looks to the priest and
Diplomacy (27)
bows her head, "My deepest apologies sir, we are tired and cold and had a very difficult landing here. I can only assume that the stress of these matters has seriously strained my companion's good sense. I trust that you will not take offense if I ask my friend to step outside with me so that we no longer further upset the harmony of your household. I trust that you will let my other companions remain to take advantage of your generosity." She turns to Carriad, "You are my staunch comrade in battle and have proved yourself of great value to me; I hope that you will take a moment to step outside this house of worship and speak with me."

Urranian spent the minutes following the Return to Nature cerimony for the souls of the dead soldiers and his heated discussion with some of his newfound companions in silence and in the back, meditating what went wrong.

Was I too harsh? Am I holding others to too high of a standard? They clearly haven't seen the light yet, but they will never see it if they are blinded by personal hatred and philosophical arguments...

He held back when the group entered the Church and signaled Xcas to wait outside. He was far enough that the old priest hadn't even noticed the large bear. Entering the Church, he noticed the bruise on the girl's cheek and when Cairrad got into an argument with Soelan and the priest he decided that his duty was to protect the young girl.

He tugged Elanor's dress lightly to get the shocked girl to bend slightly and murmured in her ear, have you ever seen a bear, my dear? Would you like to see one and pet him? He is right outside and he doesn't bite. He smiled, hiding his sadness, hoping that the girl would jump on the chance to leave the confrontation

The congenial meeting goes south quickly as Cairrad points out the barely-visible bruise on Eleanor's left cheek. Father Hamen puffs himself up, face going reddish as he is put to task for what he has done, and replies with a strained barely-controlled anger.

"It is absolutely my responsibility to discipline her when she has not the good sense to listen to her guardian!" His teeth are gritted in anger and his cheeks nearly quiver with rage as he replies. Immediately the other companions begin to try and defuse the situation, whether mollifying the priest or suggesting they take the discussion outside.

Meanwhile, Urranian whispers to Eleanor who at first looks fearful of the priest's anger but quickly develops an anger of her own. The tug at her dress comes as a bit of a surprise to her and at the halfling's invitation she takes the opportunity to step outside in order to remove herself from the line of fire.

Robyn and Soelan manage to calm Hamen down somewhat and his next statement is held in a more measured tone. "Have you ever tried to raise a child, guardsman? I can assure you it is not so simple. Eleanor is headstrong and foolish and wishes nothing more to do with me. I am not her father and yet I have treated her like a daughter. Is such insolence to be simply borne without comment?" His rage seems nearly spent as he takes a deep breath before continuing.

"I was once a fighting man like you are. I am not proud of my temper, nor proud of... of hitting the girl. But I don't know what else to do with her at times. I cannot keep her mind from ideas of the city and adventure even though I try to fill her life with worship and devotion instead."

Outside, Eleanor cautiously approaches the white bear and with more than a little reassurance manages to place a trembling hand on his fur. "Oh! He's so soft!" she exclaims giddily, smiling and allowing a faint tinkling laugh to escape which reminds the listener of a finely tuned bell. As she strokes the bear's fur she lowers her head and speaks once more, though this time the topic is one more serious.

"Father Hamen means well," she explains, her voice holding a mixture of respect and anger. "And he's cared for me as long as I can remember. But he doesn't see that I've grown up and I'm ready to leave the church. A life of quiet service to Phelis... is not one I can bear. I need to see things, go places... just like he did! Before I could even think of settling down like that." Her words are sad as though she sees the necessary conflict between old and new and yet is still driven by her wanderlust.

"You're... you're travelers, aren't you? Maybe you could convince the Father to let me come with you for a time! At least to Sotavento. I've never been past Solea and a city like that..." there is more than a trace of starstruck longing in her voice as she speaks of what is, by all accounts, a smallish city in the scheme of the world but is indeed the largest the island has to offer.

Soelan pauses for a while as the priest describes his problems with her. Speaking up to the priest, he takes a distant look, as if he is remembering something.

"I would like you to think very, very carefully before answering these questions and responding to these statements. Phelis calls people down several paths, and many of them are overtly full of violence. Tell me... does she have the divine spark? That is, can she manifest supernatural abilities through her prayers? If she can... what form do those abilities take? Are they the minor abilities involved in tending to the needs of a small community, or are they more associated with the smiting of Phelis's enemies? When she communes with the divine, what enters her mind? Devotional awe, or the call to battle? Perhaps she shows proficiency in skills that she had not been taught? You said you were a fighting man, did you ever find her having found your weapons, maybe even after you had hidden them,
practicing weapon arts against a vertical wooden post or tree
at Post, and bizarrely competent at it? Perhaps after she communed, she knew things she couldn't possibly know -- like, oh, let me just throw this out here -- perhaps intricate details on how to effectively combat the Undead?"

My dear, Urranian sympathetic green eyes locked into the young girls, a sad smile on his face. I do know well that wanderlust. I traveled to many places with my Circle. Still, your tutor knows you well and loves you, as you said. What you feel as suffocating is just him trying to protect you from the dangers of the vast world.

He gave a quick mental order to Xcas and he rolled over to let her scratch his belly. What would you do in Sotavento, my child? Cities are cruel towards innocent with no protection and no job...

The Father seems confused by Soelan's sudden outburst of questions and sputters momentarily before replying. "Eleanor? No, no, the girl... I mean, I taught her some weapons training myself. A young woman should be able to defend herself should the need arise, and I'd not be having any daughter... ahem... any ward of mine go out into the world helpless. She's shown some aptitude with it, yes, more than most perhaps, but nothing spectacular. I don't think she finds it much more than a hobby of course, or perhaps a way to get out some restlessness." He looks at Cairrad with embarrassment before he continues; clearly this sudden shift in conversation has not cleared his mind of the would-be guardsman's accusations.

"I've never seen her bring about any miraculous change with her prayers, other than calm her own temper. No, Eleanor is just... just a normal girl. Her father... rest his soul... told me to keep an eye on her for anything unusual. He wouldn't tell me much of anything, and I never met her mother, but for some reason I think he was worried she'd turn out... strange, like you're suggesting. She was so young, then, and after her father fell in service... well, she became my responsibility."

Meanwhile, the girl and Urranian continued to speak outside. Eleanor giggled in pleasure as Xcas rolled over to let her rub his belly as she turned her head to reply to the halfling. "I suppose... go to the Deerfelds'? They're friends of the Father, a trading family that moved here from the mainland. I'm sure they would be able to use a serving girl or maybe I could work in their store until I found a place for myself. Even just a visit... I wouldn't have to stay forever." The girl's tone is nothing short of pleading.

Listening to the conversation unfold, Cairrad felt fury rise inside him. The man openly admitted to beating the girl and here Soelan was trying to... to what? To figure out if she had some special talents? For the life of him the elf could not understand why. Would that somehow make her more worthy of their aid? Would it somehow justify what had been, from the sounds of it, repeatedly done to her? The thoughts made him sick to his stomach.

Gritting his teeth to keep himself in check, he swiftly turned on his heel and made for the door, stopping only long enough to turn back to the priests and say "You can't hold on to something forever," before exiting the house so that Robyn could say her piece.

Robyn bowed her head once more, apologetically before following Cairrad outside. Once there, she looks at Cairrad, "Was this very like something that happened to you... or one you cared about?"

"Does it have to be a personal tragedy for it to matter?" Cairrad snaps, almost instantly regretting it. Slumping against the wall, he abjectly waves a hand to where Eleanor stands in the distance, thoroughly entranced with Urranian's bear. "No... no, it's just something I saw far too much of in the slums of the cities we lived in. Something that wasn't seen by anybody who could do anything about it. Why is it that you humans can't even act civil towards your own children without somebody standing over you to ensure that you do?"

Soelan pauses, taking the answer in, before looking as Cairrad storms out of the room. "Yes, it does sound like she is having that normal time of rebellion, and not being called to service. I would suggest that perhaps you could go on an expedition with her? Let her see the nearby towns a bit, talk to and meet new people, albeit with you there? I wouldn't ever encourage you to leave your duties here at this church unfulfilled, but surely, given sufficient time to send word to the other people of the cloth on the island, you could find a temporary substitute to mind this church, and spend some time with her as a traveling preacher?"

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