Dusk falls, a quiet eve. Bands of red war with ribbons of gold; orange slashed with mauve. The sky is held apart by cloud, pierced more and more by stars. Who can hold the sky together?
— Flamerule 3, 1368 DR
"You are irresponsible!"
She set her chin stubbornly.
"You stupid girl!" Ulraunt whirled. "I warned you–"
"Tell me." She implored, leaning closer. "Father, please. I have to know."
The Keeper of Tomes sighed and took a breath.
Waiting was a game of patience, and patience was a game of waiting. Too calm and the effect was lost; too earnest and eagerness was mistaken for petulance.
"That knife… why won't you listen, girl? It cannot be redeemed; no blood was shed but that of your mother's, hers in your place. You can't bend it to your will. I have said enough on the matter."
"Yes Father." Giving in was not defeat; her real goal would succeed for ceding this.
"Yes, child?" He asked after a moment, suspicious and resigned.
"Father… I." She hesitated deliberately. "My mother… she…"
"Is it true? She and…"
"Yes. She and Gorion were close."
"But Gorion and Firkraag…"
"That damn wyrm, yes. He, your mother, the wyrm, many more. Phylida."
"Phylida?" She feigned shock.
"Where do you think he goes? Fool child."
Ulraunt drew himself up. "We have different views."
"Father, I didn't mean–"
"I know you didn't child."
And now the thrust. "Surely there must be something you can share, something more to tell, or give? Anything that you can offer…" Her most pleading look.
He sighed, longer than before. Then slowly, he withdrew a locket from the desk drawer. It was new to her. "Your mother's."
Her breath caught in her throat.
Carefully, he slipped it over her neck and smiled, almost fondly. Perhaps it was fondness. Looking up, she offered him her brow.
"Kiss me, Father."
An hour later, she was in the catacombs. Gorion closed the stones behind them without gesticulation. The scent of damp sand and brine reached her nostrils.
She knew better than to ask.
"Ulraunt and I agree there are too many prying eyes." He began. Then, slowly, he took her shoulder and locked his stare with hers. "You cannot return here child. This haven is no longer safe. No matter what should come, the path you take is now your own."
"You're abandoning me?" The realisation stung.
"Never. Should we become separated… Ulraunt cannot extend you aid." Gorion hesitated. "This is a soulgem. A vessel, a container. It is empty. Should anything happen…"
She shook her head.
"Do not argue."
"I have expected this for many years, and made plans. Events occur sooner than I anticipated. You are prepared, child. Ready yourself; the journey ahead will be long and unforgiving. Your sire's throne lies empty and that is what awaits you. Between you and it lies a great many foes, those within and those outside. It is time we moved."
"Away from here. I have prepared a place. I will say no more." The sage hesitated. "Your locket will guide you, conceal you. Never remove it."
The temple where your mother– She unclasped the locket, gasping. Steeling herself, she took the first step. The catacombs beckoned. In her sleeves, she felt her claws glow. The twin tears, godlingsbane, hungered.