posted by jillyfae
three years ago
“Come, sit, have some tea.” Darana gestured across the small table, and Naessa attempted to settle down gracefully without kicking into anything. Smiling with relief when she managed it, she picked up her cup and breathed in the steam from the soothing brew.
“Scout-Captain Rielle will officially be in charge while I’m gone,” Darana stated, getting down to business immediately, “but she’ll listen to you if you have any concerns, and keep you informed of what she’s doing. I’m sorry to be leaving you here with less than our usual scout group, but there’s been rumors of a new Paragon, something to do with smelting I believe, and I really need to go in person to make sure our trade contacts in Orzammar are still strong.”
“Aunt and I get on very well, Darana. I know you’re concerned about that group of dusters we’ve been hosting the past few months, but they haven’t done anything untoward yet, we all know to keep an eye on them, and you’ll only be gone for a few days.” Naessa smiled at the worried Keeper. “Though, for all I’m not as good at, nor as interested in, trade talk as Ninnion, I’d really like to see Orzammar again. I got on well with the smiths last time, as you know very well. Even Ashoa gets to go with you this time!” Naessa’s cheerful tone proved she was much less upset about missing the trip than she pretended.
Darana smiled back at her apprentice in relief. “You know perfectly well how few of our Keepers have ever been married,” she started.
“Except for Grandmother,” Naessa interrupted.
“Well, yes, but she’s an exception to just about every rule, as you’ll realize when you meet her at the next Gather in a couple years. As I was trying to say,” she pretended to glare over her tea cup at her young charge, “we need to be sure Ashoa and Ninnion are comfortable with the political side of their marriage before we make their betrothal official. There’s very little precedent to support it.”
“Well, there’s no precedent for twin Keepers, so it’s not like Ninnion and I are expecting our tenure to be at all normal. Nor do we wish it to start anytime soon, I remind you, so be careful on your trip, and we’ll be careful here too. Maybe we’ll be lucky, and my parents and their squad will return before you do, and we’ll finally know something. It’s true the Wild Clans are pretty unstable, so our visitors could be telling the truth about their clan simply disbanding when it got too small.” Naessa didn’t sound any more convinced of this possibility than her mentor.
Darana sighed, her worry returning full force. “I just wish I could put my finger on what bothered me about them. Without any evidence, I have no cause to simply expel them, as it’s the mandate of all Clans to bring our people together. Luckily the probationary period is traditionally a year and a day, so we have time before I have to make a final decision.”
Naessa felt a growing case of nerves scuttle down her back as well, and tried not to squirm on her cushion. “You’re still planning on rejecting them when time runs out, even if my parents don’t discover anything, aren’t you? Do you think they’ll retaliate?”
“Let’s hope we never find out. Your father’s an excellent scout, and your mother’s just as good a spy, and they put together a strong team to trace the duster’s trail. With evidence to back up my ruling, there’s no way a half-a-dozen young elves can cause much trouble against an entire clan, however dangerous they think they are. We just have to make sure they don’t try anything underhanded before we expect it.” Darana sat in thought for a moment, obviously concerned yet again by her decision to leave the encampment.
Naessa reached out and placed her hand gently over Darana’s where it rested on her table. “It will be all right, Keeper,” she said softly, “you’ve trained us well. We’ll be fine.” Letting go of her mentor’s hand, she set her cup down, and stood carefully. “And on that cheerful note, we should both get some rest, as you’re leaving early in the morning, and I’d like to be awake enough to give you a proper farewell. Which generally takes an hour and a good strong cup of tea, as you well know.” After a quick embrace, Naessa left to return to her own tent, leaving the elder elf to attempt to quiet her worries on her own.