Rated M for mature content and for the hell of it. I need a beta! One who can help me with my tenses if possible.
I own nothing it belongs to Bioware.
Mage Amell was a curious woman. A woman who liked to test boundaries at times and abide by all the rules at others, she was well known in the Circle of Magi tower. She was not by any means an overly pretty woman, or even an overly powerful one. There was the general consensus among the inhabitants of the Tower that she was simply another average, run-of-the-mill, or ordinary sort of woman.
But mage Amell was special.
Her hair was a plain sort of brown and her eyes a regular shade of hazel. She was not among the exquisite beauties of the tower that had unusual hair or eyes that enraptured the hearts of men near and far. Mage Amell was not short or even tall, her average height often lead her to be over looked and blend in with the background of her home.
Though there were many mages whose power far surpassed hers, she was not weak by any stretch of the imagination. More often than not she would be dead center in her studies. She was average in every sense of the word by all outward appearances.
Mage Amell was known to be nice at times and mean at others. Just like all of her fellow mages and apprentice mages, her mood changed from day to day. She was not gifted at music or dance. She was no exceptional wit at conversation or master of tactics. To meet her once would leave no lasting impression upon the soul.
But mage Amell was special.
She was a woman who was used to being over looked and took that many times to her advantage. You see, the woman known as Mage Amell was a being that possessed a very mercurial nature. Her intelligence lied in what she did not say or do. Solona was a planner. She thought out situations with a tenacity that would cause others to walk away in weariness.
Her harrowing had been rather uneventful all things considered. It had taken her the usual time to pass, not because she could not figure out the game, but she knew that coming back too quickly would cause notice. The last thing Solona could afford was notice. Any extra attention from the First Enchanter or from the Knight-Commander would cost her dearly.
One could not escape if one was being watched closely.
She was not a conniving person, but a cautious one. Her blessings came from her time to be left alone unnoticed. No one paid much attention to a plain mage in a library. Templars were known to watch the pretty or the dangerous. Mage Amell was neither of these things; she was the spirit of determination. So who would look twice at something you walked past every day? Her plans of freedom had been two years in the making.
Whispers of failed attempts by her peers kept her grounded for a time. The urge was always there to run, to flee, and to escape. It would not be suppressed lightly. Mage Amell knew better than to act foolhardily and rush herself into action. Half of the success of her plans lay in waiting for opportunity. It was a near exhausting game to play; acting the part of a wallflower.
It had taken months of flitching items from the storeroom and pantry alike. She had made sure to take duties that allowed her access to these areas. One night or two a month she would volunteer for kitchen clean-up this got her some praise from her elders, but not enough to be a concern. She often could be seen helping Owain in her spare time, when the other tranquil were busy. Mage Amell made sure never to insist upon helping or to be disappointed when her plans were interrupted by a careless word or gesture.
Mage Amell knew the value of patience.
Patience had kept her secure when other fools like Anders and Kerian had taken off from the tower. They were always brought back within a month or two. Mage Amell knew they had not planned well enough. Though she could send out correspondences about where would be a good place to travel, or rest what would undoubtedly be her weary body; she did have ample chances to chat with the local quarter master who traded with the merchants outside the Tower.
She had learned early on in her time at the tower that merchants had loose tongues, provided you had time and coin for their wares. Mage Amell always had time. The coin had been harder to come by in the Circle than one would believe. It had been resolved by her willingness to barter goods instead of coin. A simple enough solution, for the purpose of her plans.
Precious information would tumble from the quartermaster's lips like water in a brook. What could he possibly know of her plans? She was but another customer of a large cage where outside news was brought. So he gave her tidings of places in need of relief from war, places that were teeming with new wealth and life, and places she should avoid. He just never knew how well she headed the information.
Mage Amell was a wise sort of woman in her own right. She had never been one to excel in book learning, or even her lessons. It could be said that she was a decent herbalist, but not a master by any means. It was a pitiable excuse that she had spent so many hours mapping the tower that she had let her studies fall to the back roads. It had served her purpose well in the end. The first lesson she had learned in the tower was that attention is deadly.
Attention brought with it demons of two natures. It brought with it the demons that wanted her soul and the ones that wanted her life. Mage Amell had grown up a cautious woman who prided herself on being unremarkable. It had given her plenty of time to copy the mannerisms of her means of escape.
A merchant was truly a gift in the hands of patient mage.
It had taken weeks of subtle comments. Weeks of gentle touching and coy looks. Mage Amell was not a conniving person, but she was cunning. She watched from the shadows of obscurity like the templar's she knew to fear. She had learned the way to tilt a head to appear shy. She knew the exact way to smile slowly to show true affection to a male. With her efforts she had gained more useful knowledge than items alone could buy.
She had social interaction in the tower. Mage Amell understood that it was impossible to forgo it entirely even thought she wished it otherwise. Her friends were nice enough people, but they were sparse. Mage Amell knew better than to make lasting connections in a place she had no intention of staying in.
The largest conundrum she had come across was how to deal with her missing phylactery. How did one capture a heavily guarded object? The answer is that one could not. Her time in the Circle had taught her that the fervor to find an apostate normally died after one year's time. After one year the hope of finding the mage was dead and gone. There would be obligatory ventures out to find them, but they lacked the ferocity of the first hunts.
Mage Amell would only have to be on the run for one year before it was safe to settle down. Something, which she was confident she could accomplish, provided that she had all of her options planned out; a confidence she had clung to for the last two years. Now her planning would pay off on this night.
She had hidden her bartered or stolen treasures well among the various niches of the statues lining the chapel within the tower. It was a place that mages never went, and templars were hesitant to disturb. The revered mother was old enough that her eyesight was failing. It had been an insult too tempting to resist.
Mage Amell worked quickly to stow some extra potions and small amount of coin in the lining of her robes. She wore her other outfit underneath her traditional mage robes. It had taken some effort and scraps of cloth to make the pockets on the inside of her skirt. She had heard of bandits that stole purses and pickpockets with nimble fingers that robbed you blind. She would not make the mistakes of others and take a bag with her. They were cumbersome and mage Amell had no time for such delays.
The centerpiece of her plan would be attempting their own escape soon. The mage Anders had been planning to leave on this night. Mage Amell steeled her will against the last minute worries and doubts of things she might have overlooked. She searched her mind but could not think of one. This boded well for her meticulous nature.
She did not doubt that the mage Anders would be caught within the month again. He was brash and hardheaded. A shortcoming mage Amell had little care for. It would be her that sounded the alarm of his escape and use the ensuing chaos as cover for herself. She would not even have to wait terribly long from now.
The quartermaster had done well this night. He had brought with him a woman about her age and build to peddle his wares. The same woman he had brought, upon her insistence, for the past three weeks. She knew that a sudden appearance of another would only make her plan less likely to succeed.
"Might I see your wares?" her voice was calm and even, betraying nothing. She was simply a part of the background of the Circle.
"Certainly! I have fine items from Antiva this week." He called to her gaily. His eyes perusing her as they always did.
"Antiva? I must see them." She tilted her head and nodded after a moment, as if in thought.
His arm extended toward and pointed the way toward a more secluded crevice where his wares sparkled in the candlelight. "This way my dear. Katharine?" he bade to the other brunette woman who looked at him in curiosity. "Could you fetch some more supplies from the dock?" The girl nodded her compliance and walked through the door of the tower.
Her eyes narrowed slightly at his comment. Mage Amell was not pleased by his choice of words, but there were no witnesses to their exchange. "Are you ready?" She whispered quietly for his ears alone.
"Yes, my lovely mage, I am as ready as I can be." His gaze was hungry upon her body and she fought the familiar feel of repulsion.
"Wonderful." She murmured and past him. "I am sorry, but these are not to my liking. I can tell from here." Mage Amell shook her head for added affect to the negative.
"Are you sure? There are many fine pieces." He began winningly.
"I am certain." She bid him farewell and walked her way back through the tower to the mages quarters. She gazed at each passerby and templar to note their location. Her memory for such things was unparalleled.
Mage Amell was special.
The mage Anders was already missing. She snorted angrily. She had lost time and it worried her. Mage Amell walked as coolly as her jagged nerves could allow. She was little more than a ghost in the tower. No eyes watched her or even acknowledged her presence.
Her steps down to the first floor weighed with finality. She was the essence of determination. Just through the door she in took a deep breath.
"Anders is missing!" Her keening cry drew the focus of the statue men who leapt into action, much like she knew they would.
"Are you sure?" one asked "How did he escape?" Mage Amell lowered her head and took deep breaths. Time to practice had made her words second nature.
"I looked in on him; he had said he wasn't feeling well. He wasn't there so I asked around and no one had seen him all night." She forced tears into her eyes with little exertion. "Should I tell the Knight-Commander?" Her innocent look had taken many months to perfect in front of her vanity. She had been too cautious to use it before now.
The men seemed to take her words in stride and one went up to check the validity of her story, the other went with her to the Knight-Commander and once more the course of events seemed to follow her plans. Predictability was its own sort of poison.
They neared the main entrance of the hall and her eyes sought out the quartermaster who nodded slightly to her. The girl 'Katharine' had come back with her arms laden with goods which were now being spread about the ground.
Mage Amell was never one to leave things to chance. The Knight-Commander would be enjoying his evening indulgence of bantering with the First-Enchanter at this time of night. The templar escorting her cursed at the empty room.
"I'll wait here for you to return." She offered helpfully. He eyed her suspiciously, but she looked meekly back at him. The templar sighed and left. Mage Amell counted to ten and then ripped off her mage robe. The blue fell away to reveal a plain green gown similar to the one Katharine was wearing. It was not exact, but that could not be helped this late in the plan's execution. She pulled her hair back into a tight ponytail to alter her appearance significantly.
Quietly and quickly she left the Knight-Commander's quarters and headed over to her partner in crime, who saw her and carried forth with her next needs. "Katharine would you be so kind as to fine the First Enchanter for me?" The other woman nodded and agreed to go find him. Mage Amell waited until she was out of sight. She walked out of the way the woman had gone.
"Are you sure you need me to find him?" Mage Amell quirked.
The quartermaster grabbed her and kissed her roughly. "Soon my lovely, very soon." She fought her repulsion.
"Yes darling." She cooed at him even though it sickened her stomach to do so.
"Never mind. Here take these supplies out to the docks, we will not need them." He unceremoniously dumped several items he had carelessly grabbed into her waiting hands.
"Yes of course." She answered sweetly and walked toward the main entrance. This was her moment of truth. All of her years of fading in the background would be tested by this one moment. She looked at the two templars barring the way expectantly.
"Lower the gate!" One hollered and she stood waiting for the door to open. "Ma'am." They said as she passed by.
Being ordinary did have its advantages, one of which she was reaping all the way to her freedom. The merchant was expecting her to wait by the boat until he came out. Mage Amell had different plans. The boat keeper whose name she did not know, greeted her.
"I haven't seen the likes of you before." He said politely.
"I'm a helper of the quarter master." She responded with equal politeness.
"I didn't see you on the way in." His voice rose to be a touch suspicious.
"You wouldn't have." Mage Amell laughed. "I was a cook there in the tower until he hired me this very night."
"Hired you? Tonight?" He looked at her in disbelief. She tilted her head to show confusion, bit her lip to show nervousness, and widened her eyes to appear innocent. Many things could be learned by being overlooked.
"Yes. You don't think I will be a good merchant?" Her voice dripped with false sincerity.
"Oh no! Of course not. I am sure you will do fine girly." The boat keeper smiled at her. Mage Amell had precious little time left.
"I have to go across to the other side of the lake please. I have to make arrangements at the tavern." She smiled widely as the man agreed and helped her into the craft.
Halfway across the lake she ceased being Mage Amell and became Solona. The newest apostate mage on the run. The added items of the quartermaster cradled safely in her arms to sell, she relaxed. Soon, she faded into the night.