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Questioned

Lirriel's picture

Really, how much longer could they keep her here?

Rhiswyn idly paged through a romance novel. She had already read it, but there was nothing else to do. Jormund visited when he could, though the debate continued upstairs as to her disposition. The Crusade’s inquisitors could not determine how much truth she told.

Outside the comfortable little cell, a tap-tap-tapping came down the hall, halting in front of her door. Low voices spoke, and then the lock turned. Rhiswyn put the book aside. She clasped her hands on her lap, feet flat on the floor, back straight. Maybe today…

She drew in a sharp breath when Jarren Linder walked into the cell, leaning heavily on his staff. “How dare they?” She demanded, glaring past her father to the guard outside, who hastily closed the door again. “You shouldn’t be making this long of a journey, and not at this time of year.”

“Princess…”

“I should demand to see that pompous high inquisitor and give him a piece of my mind—“

“Rhiswyn,” Jarren said. She fell silent. “I asked to come here. I thought it may help.”

She frowned. “I’m quite all right, Daddy. It’s not as if the Crusade would mistreat me.” He didn’t need to know about the trouble on the road from Kun-Lai, she decided.

Jarren shook his head, shuffling over to the cot. “I thought it might help them,” he said, sitting with a heavy breath.

The extra weight he’d put on with age had suddenly melted away, leaving him far too thin. The half-ring of silver-white hair that wrapped around the back of his head was thin and patchy. Age spots, and dry patches that she could tell he’d been itching, mottled his fair skin. His voice sounded rough, his breathing labored. His brown eyes still looked clear, however, and they regarded her with a mix of concern and…disappointment?

Rhiswyn looked away.

“Crusaders came to search your apartment and speak with me, perhaps others you’re close to. They had to explain to me exactly what was going on. What have you been doing, Princess?”

She didn’t answer for a long moment. “Something I thought worthwhile. Turns out I was wrong, and now here I am.”

“Rhiswyn, look at me.”

She did, reluctant. The Shadows thickened around them both; that twinged at her heart. His dark eyes held her blue, demanding answers.

“Did your work for the dragon endanger the Alliance?”

“No! …Not that I know of, anyway.”

“Did it harm the Horde?”

“I don’t believe so. That really isn’t his aim.”

“What is?”

“He means to protect Azeroth, as that is the charge of his Flight and he is the only one left. That is, at least, the line we were given. I don’t know any more if that’s true.”

Jarren studied her for a time, and then asked, “Did you know what he would do at the temple?”

“No,” she said. “I told Dolraan, I told the High Inquisitor, and I tell you, Daddy, that I only know that I was ordered to be disruptive during Lady Proudmoore’s testimony and get myself locked away. I believe because my association was an open secret, and I attended the trial. I don’t know about other Watchers. Most were openly affiliated, and I understand that many have vanished since.”

Jarren watched her for a time, and she felt the tendrils of his mental presence. She made no effort to deflect him. Perhaps she had become too reliant on the protections her employer had offered, or perhaps it was simply that her father had been her first instructor in the Shadow as well as Light, and she could never—would never—resist him.

“Do you know what he plans next?”

“No. Daddy, I was just a messenger; I didn’t even report to him directly. He barely spoke a word to me, really. There was my initial joining of his group, a brief moment once after I delivered a particular message—I don’t know what it was—and that last day in the temple, when he put on his show of disappointment for the benefit of the Shado-Pan.”

“Why?”

She shrugged. “Perhaps he felt magnanimous; if I were seen being chastised, and then left behind because I had gotten locked up, well obviously I couldn’t have anything to do with his actions, could I? Especially since I didn’t.”

“If you had been there? What then?”

“I don’t know. I wasn’t there, so I can’t really say.”

“Not an answer, Princess,” Jarren said, voice gentle.

Rhiswyn’s cheeks warmed. “Well, it’s true! I would probably have tried to heal whom I could. I understand many things happened very quickly, and no one realized his involvement until Prince Anduin said anything.”

Jarren sighed, turning his gaze aside. The Shadows receded. Rhiswyn looked away again. She fought the sudden urge to cry; she was not a little girl, caught in a misstep. She instead focused her upset into anger at the Crusade’s inquisitors, for involving her father.

“I think you’re not telling everything,” he finally said. “But you’re not lying, either.”

“Of course not, Daddy. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?” Despite her attempt, she couldn’t keep a slight hitch out of her voice. She could never lie to Daddy. How could he think otherwise?

His arm came around her, pulled her close. His lips pressed against her forehead. “Don’t worry, Princess. You’ll be out of here soon enough, and back to your carefree lifestyle. I just hope you’ve learned something from this.”

She scrunched her eyes shut as she leaned—as lightly as she could—on his stooped shoulder. Indeed; she needed to be more careful in the future, for one.

For two, the empathic connection had gone both ways, and Daddy was far more ill than he had let on. That scared her more than anything. He had allowed her to learn it on purpose.


The next day, Rhiswyn Linder was free.

Comments

Nirahsa's picture

((This was a really different

((This was a really different perspective to see Rhiswyn from compared to how we normally see her in public. I liked it! ))