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Inconvenient Reminiscing
Thu Jun 15, 2006 22:37 (XFF:

"They're certainly expanding the ranks of the Black Tower of late."

Lord Moran was a large man – not heavyset, just large – with dark hair and odd green eyes that appeared almost translucent. He'd come outside to meet Ceto Amaya, though for what reason she had no idea why. She had been expecting to actually have to go into the manor to meet the man, but here he was, standing outside by the door and watching her in a way that was as odd as those eyes of his. He appeared to be measuring her up to the minutest dimensions – but what dimensions these were, she had no idea.

Ceto Amaya was suddenly reminded, more by her tight grip on the reins than anything else, that she was sitting on a horse. It seemed amazing that she could have forgotten, being as unskilled at riding as she was, but upon actually riding up to the manor, all thoughts of horses, riding, and the various failings that accompanied both had flown from her head. She dismounted – very, very carefully – and managed not to tumble to the ground in the process. I have managed to go the first few minutes without making a fool of myself, she thought, not without some pessimism. Outwardly, however, she was all politeness and decorum; she handed the reins of her horse to a groom who had seemingly appeared from nowhere and bowed to the lord. "I am Soldier Ceto Amaya din Marin Silver Star, Lord Moran," she said. She had not used her salt name in an introduction for quite some time now, but now felt like an appropriate time to do so.

"Atha'an Miere in the Black Tower?" Lord Moran said, raising an eyebrow. "I'd known that the Tower had been allowing women for some time now, but I'd never heard of an instance of an Atha'an Miere recruit before." He was still looking at her in that odd way, but his expression seemed almost amused now. "I must say, I'm also rather surprised that they're sending Soldiers to people such as myself. How much experience do you have in this sort of thing?" There was an unspoken "girl" after that statement, left off but still nearly audible. People tended to call Ceto Amaya "girl" quite often – her small stature and innocent demeanor made her appear younger than she actually was.

Ceto Amaya smiled, despite finding this man rather off-putting. He was… strange. "I have more experience in these matters than you might think, High Seat." She didn't really, but there was no reason to tell Moran that. I know how to deal with people. I can convince one man of one thing, surely, she thought.

She followed Lord Moran through the door of the manor – a good door, very solid and heavy… why under the Light was she thinking about doors? – and stepped into a hallway. The floor was of some sort of fine stone that complimented the door, and various tables standing against the walls held decorative objects. Ceto Amaya spotted a few fine examples of the Amayar's porcelain, what people on the mainland referred to as Sea Folk porcelain. "You've a fine dwelling, Lord Moran," she said politely.

He looked down at her – he was far taller than she – and smiled in a slightly disturbing way that somehow made his eyeteeth look twice as long as they actually were. "I am fond of it," he said. "I enjoy fine things." He ran a fingertip gently down the curve of one of the porcelain vases, and then continued on his way down the hall. Ceto Amaya followed closely, trying to keep up with his much longer stride.

"Lord Moran," she said, after realizing that the man was apparently done speaking, "is there perhaps somewhere where we could talk? I've been sent here to discuss an important matter—"

"Ah, I imagined you would be here for some important reason," he said, cutting her off smoothly. "The Black Tower does not send out emissaries lightly, I imagine? Yes, I am sure what you have to discuss is in fact quite important." Ceto Amaya shut her mouth, raising one eyebrow in slight annoyance – of course, Moran did not see this, for he was still walking in front of her, and now apparently holding a conversation with himself. "The Black Tower wouldn't send out its Soldiers," he was saying, "possibly its Dedicated, and likely its Asha'man, but to be so in need of people as to send out the Soldiers, this must be a matter of great importance indeed. But one would think that there would be an Asha'man with you…"

Ceto Amaya listened politely as he carried on in this manner for a few more moments, and then reentered the conversation smoothly as his monologue began to wind down. "Yes, High Seat, a matter of very great importance indeed. As I asked previously, is there somewhere where we would be able to talk?"

"There is indeed," said Moran. "However, I have someone important to attend to at this time – I do apologize. You came at a rather unfortunate time; I was just on the way to meet another guest when I realized that you had come, and went to meet you instead. If you will go with Alima—" he gestured toward a blonde serving woman who had, like the groom, seemingly appeared from nowhere— "she will show you to where you will be staying."

"Lord Moran, this is not a matter of great length; if I could just have your time for a moment—" but Ceto Amaya was cut off again as Moran strode off in the other direction.

"I really must be going," he said, not looking back at her, "but we shall discuss this later!"

Ceto Amaya stood still, looking after him, for a moment, willing herself not to allow her irritation to show on her face. Blood and ashes, but that man is so odd! she thought. After taking a moment to collect herself, she turned to the serving woman, Alima, with a pleasant smile, which the woman did not return. Her eyes flicked toward the retreating back of her lord, then she said, softly, "He's like that, miss. All the time. It's just… how he is."

Whatever that was, Ceto Amaya quite agreed that Lord Moran was it, but it was certainly not her place to say anything; more importantly, anything that she happened to say would have a chance of getting back to the High Seat, and she needed to stay on the man's good side. So instead, she merely continued to smile and asked, "Lord Moran said that there was a room for me?"

Alima nodded, and began to walk further down the hall, gesturing for Ceto Amaya to follow her. The serving woman stopped at yet another very fine example of a door, and gestured for Ceto Amaya to go in. "Make yourself comfortable, miss. Your bags should already have been brought up." She curtsied and walked away. Ceto Amaya nearly called her back, but she couldn't have said why; she felt an overpowering need to ask someone what she was supposed to do now, why she was here, why Lord Moran already wouldn't listen to her…

Well, I'm guessing I know the answer to that last one, she thought. I'm a young girl, and a small, cute young girl at that. The fact that I'm an Atha'an Miere and the fact that I'm a Soldier makes me an interesting oddity, but it doesn't make people take me any more seriously, I suppose. She sighed and shook her head, knowing well that being pessimistic wouldn't help her at all; nevertheless, she was unable to get into a better frame of mind. She opened the door and entered the room.

The room matched with the rest of what she had seen so far, tending toward the decorative. It wasn't overly fancy, and not enough to become tacky – in actuality, it was quite pleasant; however, Ceto Amaya had never really seen a need to spend much time on decoration, so the room's décor was somewhat lost on her. Pleasantries were one of the last things on her mind, at any rate. However, one thing attracted her attention – there was a small bowl on one table made from Amayar porcelain, clearly for aesthetic purposes only. Ceto Amaya walked over to the table and picked the bowl up, turning it in her hands very carefully. Light, if she were to break something so expensive…

She hadn't had a thought of her nightmare since she had arrived at the manor. Time had dulled her feelings some – she no longer saw Munin's face watching her fall every time she thought back to the dream. But she still felt that stab of guilt in her gut, because she knew that Munin was right, even though the Munin that she had seen had been nothing more than a creation of her mind to keep her "occupied", if it could be called that, as she slept.

"Did I forget about her?" Ceto Amaya said softly, turning the bowl over in her hands. "Am I forgetting about her too easily, now that she's gone?" She could still bring Munin's face to her mind with no trouble – shoulder-length blonde hair, bright blue eyes, a sweet smile. Munin had been extremely stubborn, and it had usually shown on her face when she wasn't smiling, and often even when she was. Munin also tended to hold grudges – she wasn't one to forgive easily, and she had a very good memory. If she were alive, Ceto Amaya thought, tracing the lip of the bowl with a finger, would she be able to look past all the things I've done since I last saw her? I don't think I'm quite the same person anymore. She suddenly thought back to a time when she and Munin had been walking around Tremalking about a year or two previously…

Munin spotted another young woman walking a ways away from them, a pretty girl who was a few years older than they. "I can't stand her," Munin said, conversationally. Ceto Amaya raised her eyebrows – Munin tended to be vindictive, and was often overly judgmental. Munin noticed Ceto Amaya's look and grinned. "I know, 'be nice'. But it's so difficult at times. I mean, look at this girl – I know for a fact that she thinks she can get anyone to do anything based on her looks." Munin made a face – Ceto Amaya thought Munin was pretty, but most people referred to her as plain, and people who were pretty and "knew it", so to speak, easily annoyed Munin. "And if she can't get someone to do what she wants just by flaunting herself," Munin said, "she usually goes past that. Constantly brags that she can get a man to do whatever she wishes him to. Why are people like that?"

All the times Ceto Amaya herself had done that exact thing since coming to the Black Tower came to her mind. All the times that she had thought it "easier" to use her looks, to just act the clueless, helpless young woman to get someone to do what she wanted. Would Munin hate her for that, if the girl were still alive?

Perhaps Ceto Amaya had been "like that" when she had still been on Wind Song, before she had come to the Black Tower, but Munin had never known. Ceto Amaya had been, and still was, good at being exactly the sort of person that the given situation called for – she had never manipulated Munin because Munin had been her friend, and Munin had never seen that particular area of Ceto Amaya's personality because Ceto Amaya had never wanted her to see it.

And now this situation calls for an Ambassador, Ceto Amaya thought. She could do no good to the Tower or to anyone just sitting here, lost in her own thoughts, with her dead friend stuck in her head. "I love you, Munin," she said aloud, albeit quietly – what would the people here think if they heard her talking to herself? – "but I've got something important to do… I can't keep thinking about you. Right now, it… it's better that I just forget." She set the bowl back down in one sudden movement, and then winced at the sharp clink the porcelain made as it hit the wood of the table; she picked it back up and sighed upon finding a small hairline crack in the bottom. Nothing to be done about that… she could only hope that no one came into this room and decided to randomly pick everything up.

She examined her bags to make sure everything was where she had left it, and then exited the room. Hopefully she would be able to locate Lord Moran – she had no idea why the man appeared so intent on brushing her off as he might a fly, but she would not be brushed off quite so lightly. She started off down the hall, boots clicking against the stone floor. The man was odd and possibly not quite right in the head, and Ceto Amaya was eager to get away from this place; despite her resolution to complete what she'd been assigned to do, she was not comfortable being here, and was eager to get out as quickly as possible. Before she could accomplish that, however, she had to convince the High Seat to send military support to Molvaine Gap… it probably wouldn't be easy, but anyone could be convinced of anything if the right type of persuasion was used.

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    • Inconvenient Reminiscing — Soldier Ceto Amaya din Marin, Thu Jun 15 22:37
      • Unwanted EnlightenmentSoldier Ceto Amaya din Marin, Mon Jun 19 01:28
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        • An Incomplete ConclusionSoldier Ceto Amaya din Marin, Fri Jun 23 21:17
          "Lord Moran, you have to do something!" Ceto Amaya grimaced; she had no business telling High Seats what they had to do. "I have to do nothing, girl," Moran said, raising both eyebrows in a look of... more
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