Snippet #2787007

located in Fódlan, a part of Fire Emblem: Apotheosis, one of the many universes on RPG.

Fódlan

A continent divided into three different factions: The Adrestian Empire, The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senka Rinaldi Character Portrait: Amalthea von Kreuz Character Portrait: Cyril Eisner Character Portrait: Sorcha Blaiddyd
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I.Y. 1180 - Verdant Rain Moon - Sunday the 17th
Garreg Mach Monastery - Early Evening - Muggy
Cyril Eisner


With the conclusion of the Roundtable Conference, the detachment consisting of Cyril and his students had said goodbye to their hosts and headed again for the Monastery. The two days of travel had been quiet, and there was something almost welcoming about the sight of the stone building sitting atop the hill, crowning the mountains around it. He wasn't sure he was relieved to be back, exactly; there were still too many unanswered questions in the place, sitting against the stones. Or maybe lower, in the very foundations.

But it wasn't so bad, to return. He found he was looking forward to falling back into the rhythm of classes and practices, even if the interruption had been enjoyable, in its way.

After the front gate was opened for them, he led the group inside, surreptitiously turning his eyes to the balcony overhead. Sure enough, there was Rhea. He suppressed a strange grimace at the realization and pretended he had not noticed. When Lyanna split off first and offered to take care of the reporting, he offered her a nod of thanks and took the reins of her pegasus mount.

Brushing down and stabling the horses, pegasi, and wyvern took about half an hour, and then the group splintered a bit more, with some heading off directly for dinner or sleep and others to check in with their respective professors. He found himself accompanying Senka, Sorcha, and Amalthea in the general direction of the dining hall.

The conversation seemed to be about Duke Alaric.

“Sen, you never gave me any details about that dinner you had!" Sorcha said, peering inquisitively at her friend. “How did it go?"

Senka glanced at Sorcha, a small smile crossing her face. She seemed to be doing that with some ease, lately. “That is because you never asked," she replied smoothly, but huffed at Sorcha.

“You had dinner? With who?" Amalthea asked curiously as she tilted her head up to glance at Senka.

“Duke Goneril," Senka replied, causing Amalthea's eyes to widen considerably, “he asked me to dinner with the intentions to court me the day after we'd arrived at Derdriu. The dinner itself was nice, though he'd confessed to not ever doing it before. He is... a kind man." Her expression seemed to soften at that, but she glanced back to Sorcha.

“We are going to keep in touch through letters, but his intentions are no longer there," she continued, causing Amalthea to arch a brow.

“Wait, so he doesn't want to court you?" Senka shook her head.

“He came to the conclusion that I already liked someone. I don't know who it could be, though. I'm only ever in the company of you, and Vridel and Mercer," she stated, her eyes sliding between Sorcha, Amalthea, and Cyril.

Cyril wasn't sure who the Duke could possibly have been talking about, either. He supposed there was Vridel—the two of them did share a rather close friendship, as far as he had observed. He didn't think it was anything other than that—but perhaps it was the kind of thing that could be easily mistaken for something else.

“Huh," Sorcha said, glancing between the others. “You know, if it was just based on your behavior, he might not have any idea who it is either. Maybe he was just reading things into how you acted that made it seem to him like you had someone, you know? When did he come up with this theory?"

“He wanted to know about my friends, and about you," Senka replied, glancing in Cyril's direction. “I explained how you were all important to me, and that you were the reason I was able to smile for the first time in a while," she seemed to explain as she kept Cyril's gaze. “He might have misinterpreted that as me liking someone, but he didn't seem upset by it. He told me that whoever it was, was... um..." she continued, pausing a moment to drop her gaze with the faintest color tainting her cheeks.

“He said they were lucky."

“Oh, that sounds really romantic, though! It's like the Duke fell in love with you at first sight and wanted to win your heart, but is chivalrous enough to know that he cannot," Amalthea stated, seemingly excited about it. Senka huffed a light laugh and shook her head.

“I don't think that's how that works, Thea. He didn't say anything like that, only that he thought I was... erm, well I'd rather not say." She seemed embarrassed by whatever it was the Duke had told her.

“Oh c'mon, Sen. It was probably really flattering, and true! What did he say? That you're beautiful? That you have a great smile? That you're amazing and brave and loyal? Don't leave us hanging here!"

Cyril had the distinct impression that this was probably the kind of thing a young woman would prefer to share with her friends and not her teacher, so he cleared his throat softly. “I can... walk a little ahead?" he offered.

Senka cleared her throat softly as she glanced in Sorcha's direction, the color on her face slowly becoming more visible. “He said I was exquisite," she spoke softly. She turned her attention away from Sorcha, after that.

“Oh... but we already know that," Amalthea stated as if it were, in fact, something they already knew. “He must have been really captivated, though, if he wanted to court you from just seeing you the first time. It really is like one of those stories," she continued, causing Senka to huff lightly.

“Perhaps, but... we have both come to the conclusion that we will be friends. I think... that is proper," Senka spoke, her voice still soft perhaps from her embarrassment.

Cyril could not pinpoint the cause of his discomfort, but he could at least recognize that he was indeed uncomfortable. He turned his eyes away from the conversation, letting them linger on the lake as they headed towards the dining hall's entrance. It looked like there were some guests at the monastery—a small party was clustered between the entrance and the place the small marketplace branched towards the water. It wasn't so unusual, though; he didn't think much of it.

Exquisite, huh?

It sounded like the kind of compliment a nobleman would use, to be sure. It wasn't a lie, and it was clearly meant with genuine intentions, so...

Why was it bothering him so much?

Before they were able to make it to the dining hall, someone called out to the group. It wasn't a regular student, or any member of the faculty. It was a man, perhaps around the same age as Jeralt, and he stalked up to the group as if he had finally found the source of some anger. At least it looked like anger since his eyes were narrowed and his lips were set into a fine line.

“There you are! I finally found you!" he shouted, making a straight line towards Senka. She looked slightly taken aback, but her face smoothed over as she tilted her head. “Come here!" he continued, however; Senka looked as confused as Amalthea did.

“I'm sorry, but I do not know who you are. I cannot fulfill your request," she replied. It only seemed to further agitate the man.

“Don't play coy with me, I know who you are. What you are," he replied, pointing an accusatory finger at her.

Cyril tensed immediately. He didn't like the accusatory tone the man was taking, nor his choice of terms.

It was Sorcha, however, who reacted fastest. “Excuse you, sir," she said sharply, drawing herself up to her full height and stepping slightly forward, protective in front of the others. “You will remove your hand from the proximity of my friend, and the rest of your person as well, unless you can provide a sufficient explanation for its necessity." Her eyes were cold, the clear blue of them hard, almost frosty.

“Don't interefere," the man replied, either not intimidated by Sorcha's display, or did not care. “Just hand the girl over to me. I'm telling you this for your own good. You're all putting yourself in danger by associating with her," he sneered, causing Senka to wince slightly.

“What do you mean? She's not a danger to us." Amalthea stated, standing next to Senka and placing a hand on her arm as if to keep her from moving.

“You have heard of the Wandering Beast stalking the area in Lord Kleiman's territory, right? It attacks people every night and drags them off to feast!" it sounded almost as if he were blaming Senka for it, and she dropped her gaze to the floor. Her hand went to Amalthea's, however; she did not remove it.

“That girl right there!" he continued, nearly reaching his hand out to grab Senka, it seemed, “She's the true identity of the Wandering Beast!"

“But... I'm not. I... I'd never..." Senka retorted, but her voice was low and almost pained.

“Why you—" Sorcha had taken another step forward, looking quite about to throw a fist, but Cyril blocked her progress by getting there first. His students shouldn't damage their reputations in such a way. They were either nobles or people who had other reasons to worry about what others thought of them.

Him, though. He was and always had been just a mercenary. If he could wield that to their advantage, then he wouldn't even hesitate.

He stood directly in front of the man, crossing his arms over his chest and staring down, wearing the dead-eyed expression that he knew unnerved people. The one that had earned him the moniker he'd never cared for. “That's a serious accusation you're making," he said, voice so low it was almost a growl. “And a baseless one. She's been on the opposite side of the continent for the last week, and here before that. I suggest thinking very, very carefully before you speak next."

He knew the effect he could have on people. Intimidation was the only reliable one, honestly. He wasn't sure why, but with the right expression and posture, people were just... afraid. He'd never much cared for it before, but he invoked it now quite on purpose. He wanted this man to be afraid of him. If he wasn't careful, he might even enjoy it.

The man took a step back, but he did not seem too afraid. Not yet, at least, but there were visible signs that he was getting there. He cleared his throat and glanced at Senka, and then back to Cyril. “They are not baseless! It is a known fact that Maurice's Crest is a symbol of disaster. Those who carry his Crest become beasts at night and slaughter innocent people," he stated, glancing back to Senka. “The attacks stopped while she was away. And that's to say nothing of the fact that she bears the cursed Crest of the Beast. It is only a matter of time before she turns back into a beast, and starts killing again."

“Even I know that's absurd! What does bearing a cursed Crest have to do with anything. Sen is the most kind and warmhearted person I know. She would never kill innocent people! And she's not a beast!" Amalthea stated, trying to defend Senka, at least. Senka, however, looked slightly alarmed.

“How... how do you know about that?" she questioned. The man merely glared at her, almost defiantly.

“You didn't think we'd find out? We Crest scholars keep a long history of Crests, lost or otherwise, and we were notified that a Crest-bearer with Maurice's Crest was attending this academy. And now that we know it is you, you will return at once with us to Lord Kleiman's domain so that he may pass judgement on you." Senka's eyes went to Sorcha, and then Cyril. Other than them, Vridel and Mercer were the only ones who knew about Senka's Crest. And none of them would have spoken about it to anyone.

Senka was visibly shaking at this point, and she took a step back. “I... I can't. I don't... you have no proof that I did anything wrong. Just... just because I have this cursed Crest doesn't make me a monster!" she exclaimed.

Cyril only distantly registered it when he lunged for the man, picking up with a fist in the front of his shirt and bodily hauling him off the ground. “The lady asked you a question," he said, tone low and soft in a way that was the very opposite of the gentle one he took with his students. “Who. Told. You?" He tightened his grip, just enough that the fabric started to strain.

The man's hands were around Cyril's, as if trying to pry them off, however; he didn't have the strength to do it. He just merely held on to them. “We received a letter from the monastery. I don't know who sent it!" he stated, staring at Cyril with wide eyes. “It didn't have a seal, only that when we received it, they said it was from here. The messenger. Ask the messenger! Whoever runs the messenger system in this place, ask them!" he was panicking now.

He narrowed his eyes. “Senka does not leave her room at night. As I have the one next door, I would know." Abruptly setting the man down, he roughly forced his head to the side so he was looking at Senka, then shoved him down by the shoulder in the first approximation of a bow. “Your panic does not justify your accusations. We will be dealing with the beast in a matter of days. Apologize to her." It wasn't a request.

The man was not happy about being forced to bow, and he gritted through his teeth. “I... my mistake," he spoke softly, almost too soft that it might have been missed.

“That's not a proper apology!" Amalthea stated, crossing her arms over her chest. The man was able to raise his head just long enough to glare at her, however; he lowered his head back down.

“I apologize," he finally spoke loud enough to be heard. “My accusations were baseless. Forgive me," he stated. Senka merely stared at the man, her expression one of mild fear, and shook her head.

“No. I will not. Because of you," she began, glancing around the small group of people who were gathering around to see what the commotion was about. “Everyone knows. Everyone knows about this stupid Crest!" Her eyes were starting to glisten, and her jaw looked to be tightening as if to keep her mouth from quivering.

Cyril felt his chest clench, a powerful instinct he could not identify welling in him until it felt like there was a hand clutching at his throat. He knew Senka hadn't ever wanted anyone to know about this. Knew it had to be painful, now, revealed like this to people who were strangers. The last months had been enough to teach him how vicious rumor could become, and if not from the mouths of these then eventually, this encounter would be twisted, people less concerned with the truth than with telling the most scandalous and shocking story.

“Leave," he told the man. “I'll bring you the beast's head myself, but when I do you're going to stand on the front steps of the monastery and spend all day telling everyone you see that you were wrong." With a dismissive click of his tongue, he turned back towards his students, feeling the severity leech off his face immediately. Sorcha had an arm around Senka, and slowly started to pull her friend towards the dining hall.

“C'mon Sen. We only have to stay long enough to grab trays if you want. We can eat somewhere private."

Amalthea trailed beside them as Senka shook her head. “It's fine, Sorcha," she spoke softly. “I... don't want them... I don't..." she swallowed thickly and rubbed the back of her hands near her eyes to wipe something off. “I want to eat in the dining area with all of you. I don't want to give them a reason to believe that man's words. If... I do, then... everything I've been working on, all the progress I've made," she paused, taking in a deep breath.

“It will have been for nothing if I let them win, right? And I don't want that," she seemed to force a small smile on her face when she glanced at Sorcha.

Sorcha returned it with a look of clear concern, but she nodded. “Okay," she replied, returning the smile with a small one of her own. “Then you can sit next to me, and... the Professor! How about it, Professor Cyril?"

He blinked, unsure why she'd think to ask him instead of Amalthea, but he nodded slightly anyway. “If you'd like," he said simply, leading the way up towards the building. His presence served to scare away a large number of the gawkers, and by the time they entered the building it was mostly free of such, the level of activity quite ordinary. And the sight of them was ordinary, too, by this point; Cyril took almost all of his meals with some subset of his students, and the three with him now were often spotted together as well.

Senka nodded her head slowly. “I'd... like that. Thank you," she spoke, glancing back in front of her, though her eyes were on the ground. It seemed she was placing her trust in Sorcha to lead the way. Amalthea merely smiled and nodded her head.

“Of course, Senka! You're an amazing person so don't let what that stupid butt of a face-man get you down, alright? We already know how great you are, and it's only a matter of time before the entire school does, too, and everyone else!" Amalthea spoke, causing the smile on Senka's face to soften.

“You all really mean the world to me. I am grateful to have friends like you," Senka stated as she glanced between Sorcha and Amalthea before her eyes landed on Cyril.

He had the sudden and uncomfortable desire to—he wasn't sure, exactly. He thought perhaps that being in Sorcha's place might have satisfied it, but he wasn't entirely sure. Cyril lowered his eyes for a moment as they got in line, collecting himself. Whatever it was, he was almost certain it crossed a line that ought not to be crossed, for her sake. Fighting it down, he pulled in a breath and reset his expression, looking back up.

“We're just as grateful for you," he said simply. “I'm sure it's not easy, but... try to remember that, if you can."

They'd hunt down whatever this beast was supposed to be, and then everyone would know that she'd had nothing to do with it.

In the meantime, though... he would be tracking down whoever managed messengers into and out of the monastery. He knew such information would not have come from any of her classmates. That left Hanneman—or someone Hanneman was required to tell about these things, and that list was exceptionally short. He needed to know if this had been Lyanna—

or the Archbishop.

“Hm, I will," she replied, her smile inching just a little further that it reached her eyes.

“And that's all we ask. Now, let's go eat, I'm starving!" Amalthea stated excitedly as they began to collect their food.

“For such a small person, you really do eat a lot, Thea."

“I'll take that as a compliment!" That at least got a light chuckle out of Senka.

Cyril huffed softly, leaving the other train of thought behind for now. Later would suffice; at the moment he had other things to attend to.

cron