How long has it been.

It’s the thought that repeats through the Guardian’s head as she messes with the buttons and laces of her uniform, tying knots and tightening the belts to hold her coat in place. The Ministry had called her in, requesting an update on the dragons, and if there was any way for her to bring back samples or some form of truth for their eyes. Hell, it was straight begging they were doing.

How long has it been since they begged for a return to give them some form of knowledge past their gilded doors.

She wasn’t sure why they had called her so out of the blue, but it was indeed curious. Maybe it was due to the recent upheaval of the members, their rankings shuffled and questioned and looking closer to a removal than anything. Maybe they wanted something silly to calm the nerves. A story or just simple facts, just to keep the days from dragging into oblivion.

How long has it been since they smiled over good news or good tales.

More tugging on the laces, then a quick dust off the tip of the boot with a sigh. It’s repetitive to her, enough so that the eyes linger over to her desk where the notebooks of travel and knowledge lay ready to travel. The twine was wrapped around them with care, some with a worn cover and some with solid spines. All repetitive and…dull.

How long has it been since I’ve been proud of my work.

She finishes up its knots and tucks them beneath polished leather and pressed leggings, proceeding to straighten up and run her hands over the coat. The eyes keep glancing between the clothes and the mirror, the blue glowing in the dim light. But soon, they stop as she spots something in the corner. Something unfamiliar.

The bramble is twisted and extends into the air behind them, violet blossoms pulsing in sync of shallow breaths and quick hand movements that dance across the notebooks. Those hands were tracing dates and locations etched into the soft front, pushing papers around as if to find a hidden note lost in the fray. They did not turn around as the other looked on, reaching to a blade sitting to the side of her mirror without moving her gaze away.

As fingers wrap around the grip of a stashed weapon and she leans back, the sword leaves the ground and hovers, the muscles stiffening in preparation of a swing. Her breath shallows, and she steps closer, a foot behind another. Another step. Another. Closer. The figure does not move, only continuing the frisking among papers.

Another. Another. The blade gets lifted up, flat but ready for a strike. It rises higher, and she drops her shoulder and begins the swing.

“Gallant Vindleton-Turlough, I appreciate your caution, but please refrain from stabbing me.”

She buckles, the blade slips in her hands and she has to stumble back to keep it from falling on either of them. The tip hits with a heavy clatter, the reverb causing the grip to slip in her hands and come to rest again on the stone. Then, her eyes go wide and the lips curl in agitation.

“What in all the lands- You nearly got killed. Who-”

The figure stops with the paper filing to face the human. Her violet eyes shine behind the sunglasses that sits on the tip of her nose, both eyes and flowers pulsing at pace with her breath. She’s smaller, but that doesn’t deter her from having heavy pistols hang on her hips and clothes to nearly swallow her. A smile stretches across her face and she dips a head.

“Adilia Caldone. Agent to Whispers, top blackmail artist and keeper of photography.” 

She gives the Whispers agent a look and reaches out to her blade again, letting fingertips trace over it. Adilia notices the move fairly quick, and without a break in eye contact reaches into her coat to withdraw an envelope that is covered in etchings with a wax stamp holding it together. “I have proof, by the way.”

“Can you tell me exactly who?”

“Not to say! Mostly because you’ll die for knowing.” The smaller one drops the envelope onto the desk then disappears in a shadow, and soon reappears closer to Gal, taking a journal and flipping through the pages with the still wide grin. “All I do know as of now is that you’re important, and I needed to talk with you about something vital.”

The Guardian’s brow furrows in slight confusion at this madness coming from this sylvari, eyes darting to face to envelope then back to the face, as if trying to confirm her suspicions. This had to be some twisted joke, and she was just behind on it. But if it was, then why send a simple agent to talk to her and looking so…

“Can I ask you something…Why do you look like a spirit threw up on you.”

Adilia is quiet for the moment, then barks out a laugh with an intense smile, one that almost sends a jolt up Gal’s spine. “Ah! You aren’t very into fashion, I take. Well, since we’re all suffering might as well add onto it by making your eyes suffer too.”

Gods, she was dark.

“That’s not, I just-”

The glasses slide down further the nose, revealing just how bright as well as intense the glare was. “I need to work beside you Gallant. You know we keep close eyes on the Ministry, but now we need to gather everything we can, in case of coup. As much as I detest this place and detest such people, your job is as close as I can get to them for this task. And the sooner we get onto this, the sooner you can be released again and the sooner we’re done with them.

“And don’t worry, we can falsify my records to get in. I’m excellent at that.”

Now this was something she was rarely asked about. Lie and manipulate with the help of the Order of Whispers to get further into the Ministry, get a hold of their files and records. Maybe find out the reason for lost money, for extravagant parties, for hushed whispers about the Queen and her safety.

Her gloves hands rub at her temples and she begins a mutter, taking paces around the room while Adilia just remains in her place, hands flicking papers and checking journals. Gal has to snatch one out of her hands quickly, and tucks it underneath the arm before going to pacing once more with more muttering. Outcomes, so many outcomes. She could get in trouble, get hurt. Her husband, her life, her guild……So much at stake.

Then, a pause.

How long has it been since I did what was right.

Fingers tap against skin, her breath is steady. Then, the blue eyes look to the other and she says with a low tone, “Can you promise that you will not get me caught. That I, or those close, will not be harmed.”

Adilia, who had moved onto a new journal when the previous one was snatched away, pauses in her reading to look back and nod. “We will do everything in our power to keep you safe, as well as your husband and…More. We can start immediately as well, get you all squared away and get me settled. Then, once in, I can start the process. All you would have to do is just be normal.”

Another pause, another tap against her temple, then a hum in response. It takes what feels like an hour before Gal nods then looks to the doors. She’s there in a few strides, and the doors get closed and locked. She looks back to the now excited Adilia and lets out an exhausted sigh as she returns to the desk and drops her coat over the back of her chair. It settles with a creak as she drops into it, but she pays no mind. Instead, she motions to the envelope then begins the process to pull back her gold waves of hair into a loose bun.

“Alright, where do you want to start Lady Caldone.” 

Author MaddAce
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