The ale felt sharp in the cold as it hit the sylvari’s lips. She has to hiss and cough as it passes and travels through her, the leaves curling then undoing themselves all across the body.

 

What a way to start Dragon Bash.

 

She mumbles about the nature of the drink as she turns over the glass over the railing, watching it fall until hitting a Norn couple beneath. The smile twitches while they begin to bark, pointing around as if to find the culprit, but not even registering the pair of vibrant eyes glaring down, judging, studying-

 

“Rude.”

 

Adilia’s ears twitch and she stiffens in place as she spins on a heel to the direction of the voice. It takes her a moment with the snow and crowds, but she does focus on one specific form standing in dolyak cloaks, wrapped tight and wearing armor covered in mud and blood. The hair whips in the wind, and those blue eyes shine in the light of the lanterns.


The Guardian had finally shown up.

 

“Just wanted to see if it would freeze.”

 

“You know alcohol doesn’t. I know it doesn’t. That’s not even a proper experiment.”

 

“And why do you care,” Adilia snaps, putting the empty glass on the nearest table and stepping back to the railing to rest over it. 

 

Gal exhales a heavy sigh and shakes her head, also taking a step to the railing and putting her hands on it. She doesn’t look at Adilia, instead leaning forward and looking over the area, letting herself take breaths in and out at a slow pace. 

 

“Is that why you contacted me, brought me out of the heaven that was Divinity and into the damned cold. To tell me how to behave at a party? I told you when you got lost, I didn’t want to come back-“

 

Gal stops her with a shaking of her head and the start of running gloved hands through the hair to lose snowflakes. It’s here that Adilia looks harder this time, letting her gaze move over the woman and take in the rather unusual changes of appearance since she last saw her. 

The blue eyes are dim, exhausted. Her skin looks paler, and the body is hunched and limp, as if she was carrying stones under that cloak and wool. The woman did not hold herself up as high as before, as proud as before…She didn’t hold herself up at all.

 

The woman was a shell.

 

“I was out this way anyway, didn’t want to go all the way back to Divinity for five minutes,” Gal finally speaks, stopping the attempt of snow removal after seeing it wouldn’t change a thing. She looks to Adilia quickly, but dares not hold her gaze.

“And what is so important in these five minutes.”

“….I am going away. Again.”

Adilia takes a pause, then finally sighs. She turns back to look over the railing, ignoring the still bickering couple below and now watching holograms move in the air, playing on repeat for all to watch. She looks from the corner of her eye to Gal, a look of annoyance now coming to view. Well, part annoyance and part concern, but why should the human care. She wasn’t her caretaker, and she wasn’t going to try and hold back the needed words here.
Not this time.

“ In the middle of a war, where people need you. You’re telling me you want to basically go awol.”

“If you want to call it that_”

“That’s what it is. You’re two steps shy of cowardice, so be happy I say that.”

Gal has her mouth open as if ready to snap back to the sylvari, but instead air is the only thing that escapes. She doesn’t know what to say to counter such a comment.

Adilia takes the moment instead.

“Why.”

“………I’m tired. I’ve tried to constantly push, keep my mind focused on what I’m good on, but… I need to reset. I can be back in time for our push past the bridge, b_”

The agent sighs again, her back stiffening and the glow starting to become visible in the low light. She hears her, but at the same time, she feels that emotion bubble up. The emotion of watching from a distance and seeing this mess…

She’s tired.

“Let me tell you this, because you’ve seem to forget what I do.”

“I Haven_”

“Shut. Over six months ago, I came to Divinity to gain some old information, maybe see if the Mantle was dead, confirm it all really because I was too new to really join people. When I was there,I found you and thought you were good to follow. Since then, I’ve watched your life, read your journals and files and checked on people involved with you, even to now. You know what? I will admit, It’s sad. It’s sad that you…You…You think running around, fleeing from your guilt is the only option you think there is.
“Guilt. That’s all that spells out in you. Guilt you weren’t there to protect, to save them all. Guilt that you can’t keep everyone safe, guilt that you aren’t strong enough anymore. Pale tree, even leaving the orders was because of guilt! And now, when you should be trying to move on and show everyone you can do good and fight, you want to run! AGAIN! Instead of trying_”

“What. Try what Adilia.”
Gal’s voice was cold and cracking when she finally spoke. It cuts like the wind and ice, and her eyes glowed their unnatural blue in this light.
The smaller looks to Gal now, their eyes finally locking. There is no falter, there is no backing down. Adilia has her own words to say while Gal has hers. Both want the field.

“Try and talk for once. Actually be human.”

“Talk. Do you know how much I’ve tried to do that? Do you know how difficult it is to talk about this, about feeling like I’m the reason why people are hurt. The reason why people are still having to deal with this hell. Do you know how difficult it is to admit that I don’t want anyone else hurt and that I would rather die than deal with that again. The fucking trauma Adilia. On both sides! You d_”

“Say I don’t know it, and I will shoot you.”

She lets go of the rail and steps closer to Gal, going so far as to shove a finger into her face. When she speaks, it’s just as low and cold.

“And you are. You are the reason why people are hurting. Not from dragons, but because you have to be the most damn selfish human I’ve met….Part of me wishes you could make up, talk to them and your friends and let them know who you are, the part you hide, but the more you talk, the more I want push you over. I’m even wishing he doesn’t come back because you don’t deserve him, or that woman you let tail after you. They deserve better than you!”

“….Get your hand out of my face.”

“No. You need to listen for once.”

“I will, you need to get your hand_”

“Try to do something and I will send you over.”

“You won’t. Now get your damn hand-”

“Try me.”

Those words do more than the agent thinks.

The action is swift: Gal steps back with one foot and knocks her hand from her face with an elbow, the arm getting twisted in her grasp so she had Adilia locked in place, near nose to nose with the Guardian. A simple move, and one that could twist that arm hard.

But Adilia knew better.
She spins, grabbing a hold of Gal’s wrist and undoing the hold. She spins her on her heels, taking her off balance and getting her dizzy. Adilia then slams a foot down behind one of hers and throws a fist into the center of the chest, just hitting hard enough to have Gal stumble, right over that foot-

And right over that railing.

The crowd surges. She forgot they weren’t alone. They watch as the Guardian yelps and stumbles back, hitting that rail just right to send her head down and over. There’s a few shouts so they can reach out, but before they can reach Gal or even Adilia, the sylvari is on it.
That hand wraps around an ankle and she presses her body into the wood. The weight of the other does yank her arm a bit, but she holds on.

There, in the bustling air of the party, dangled a woman now struggling not to fight and cry.

“Gallant Vindleton, you listen.”

She’s still squirming in her grip, fighting not to fall but also to reach her hand so to call for Obon. The blue eyes glare back, and teeth are glistening in rage.
Adilia does not waver.

“You listen to me. You know I am right. I am right about your guilt. Your carelessness. But you have to stop this. This running, this hiding….What good does it do for you. Don’t you want to stop?”

As the words drift down along with shouts of pulling her back up, Gal’s squirming is becoming less and less. She’s breathing harder from the quick exhaustion, and her face is turning color from the blood.
Slowly, the sound of breathing and sniffling floats up.


“They never stopped. I keep being reminded of what I’ve done…I’m so tired, I’m so fucking tired.”

Adilia sighs, adjusting just enough so she had leverage to pull up the other. When it was time of course.

“Running away won’t stop them. You’ll just gain more pain, more guilt. You know Jormag won’t turn you away, and that’s where you’ll die.”

“I just want- I just want to stop this. I want to stop feeling this and I want the voices gone.”

“Then fucking deal with this! Don’t run for once. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, WHILE I AM HOLDING YOU FROM DEATH. Deal with this and maybe you can see them all again. Maybe find a center where you can love everyone properly. Deal with this and just maybe, you can see yourself.”

Gal falls quiet outside of her sniffling and breathing. The crowd is still watching, but none move to help. Adilia waits.

“I’m so alone Adilia.”

She opens her mouth to say something rather snarky, but decides against it here. 

“I know.”

“I don’t want to be. I want to make things right.”

“Good. There’s the starting point. Now we just need to deal with the rest. Maybe avoid the front lines, stick to the hall of yours. Maybe take care of the stables, you’ve been into that-”

“Adilia.”

“Yes?”

“I’m about to pass out. Please pull me up.”

Author MaddAce
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