She opened her eyes with a brief inrush of air and…exhale, drawing her hand quickly back from the small, glowing blue crystal orb. Marvelous stuff, this Azerite. Light knew she felt poorly for taking advantage of the world’s wound, but this crystal had already been shaped and readied by another of the less scrupulous of her fellow sages.

Hardly her fault if it suddenly disappeared from the man’s room. Granted, that might be part of the reason why she was in this mess to begin with.

The door creaked again, and the small orb was quickly hidden within her robes. She shifted her weight on the cold, damp stones and lifted her chin, settling her expression to a disdainful gaze on the tidesage who entered.

“Sister Aderyn.” The man grunted at her, carrying a small tray. A bowl of stew, a small pint of water. She nodded briefly and turned her gaze back to the tiny window that lay high up on the wall. Ignored the man. There was that, at least. Locked away in her small cell, seperated from the sea, but she could still feel the occasional, salt laden breeze, smell a hint of seaweed and water. She breathed in deeply. “Sister!”

“Be a dear and put the tray down, Brother Tidespring. You know what my answer still is.”

There was a soft clank as the tray slid across the stone. “And you know what their response will be. You have made an oath, Sister. You serve the Tidesages, you have devoted your time to this monastery. You cannot…”

“I swore an oath to the Sea!” That got a reaction, and the dark haired woman snapped her head around, glaring at him as she rose to her feet. Proud, uncompromising. “I swore an oath to my homeland. I did not swear to foregin influences. I did not swear to darkness. I did not swear to greed, and blackmail, and corruption. Tell them to take their words, their promises, their threats, and cast them back into the darkness they walked out of!”

A wave of her hand, and the water in the pint mug gave her enough power to toss the tray over, slamming with some force over the Brother and crashing it against the wall, bent and broken. The Brother, face dripping now, curled his lip in a sneer and turned back to the door. “I suppose you shall starve a little longer in this cell, then, until you see reason. Until you decide to use the gifts the *Sea* gave you to the greater good of your brothers and sisters. To this monastery, to your *family*. Not to empty oaths made to some admiral with a few ships.”

“GET OUT!” The tray and it’s cup shattered against the door as the brother slammed it behind him, chuckling. Aedryn clenched her fists. That bastard. He knew how to get a rise out of her and how it had succeeded. And, once again, fear crept into her belly. She hadn’t meant for this to happen. She didn’t think they would imprison her. She had seen the corruption creeping in, she had known the darkness was encroaching, for so many months, and she…

…had done nothing.

She slumped against the wall, sliding down to sit on the stones, gazing up to the tiny, barred window. She had done nothing. First, maybe, she had wished and hoped that maybe it would pass. A few bad apples. Then, when the visions were becoming clearer, the warnings more obvious, she had thought others would speak up. Surely the corruption wasn’t so widespread. Surely someone else would say something. The Admiralty notice these problems.

Surely…

And then it was too late, and in her own arrogance and cowardice she did nothing. Trapped on an island, keeping her head down until the fleet disappeared and the dark whispers crowded her dreams with purple light and shadows. Dodging questions. Avoiding the senior brothers and sisters who had fallen so fully to the corruption. Lying about her visions and and lying to herself to shield some part of her from the horror they exposed. And when she finally had enough and tried to escape, to warn someone on the mainland… here she was. They had known. They had always known.

And they had waited for her to trap herself. Become fearful. Tried to break her. So far she was lucky.

She rose, and standing on her tiptoes, tried to peek out the small window. To get one more breath of fresh sea air and sigh. One more light of hope she had left. Something was happening, something was moving. A woman, and a…man. Or something male. He would help her. He must help her.

He must…

Author Wallaroo
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