S4E9-RowanValorn

Rowan

Rowan gets up off the floor. The boy Pip had been called to bed by his mother and she no longer had an excuse to sit on the ground in the middle of the Inn. As she stands, she sees Quinys and Erys head upstairs together. Her anger from before had faded, but she was still left with a confusion she had never felt. Was this what it was like to have companions? To feel this way all the time? She figures she should probably head to her room for the night. Probably another small walled room with no good view of the sky, when she sees Valorn still sitting at the table the elves just left. Considering for a moment, and feeling emboldened by her earlier conversation, she approaches. "Valorn, may I sit with you?" His name sounds strange in her voice and she tries to recall if she had ever said it out loud before.

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn had developed a bit of stalled melancholy on his face, not as a result of the elves leaving, but more due to not having to keep up an appearance. He feared he looked more gaunt than he intended. This week was always going to bear down hard on him. He was supposed to be back by now. Suddenly, he saw Rowan walking towards his table, and he shrunk back his not-so-subtly sorrowful visage. He took another nurse of his ale as she asked him. "Of course, lass. Always a pleasure to drink with a friend."

Rowan

Rowan sits down at the table. She looks at the dwarf. He looks tired, but she doesn't remark on it, not wanting him to think she's rude. Not being an expert at beginning conversations, she sits silently for a moment, her hands folded in her lap. While he makes no move to speak, she feels the need to break the silence. "I…I wanted to thank you, for back in the basement today. You stayed behind and helped me when the others had left until I made it away from those skeletons. It was nice of someone to stay." As she had been with Erys, there was a note of bitterness in her voice she could not hide.

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn noted the awkward pause, but didn't think much of it. He wanted the tiefling to speak first, and drive the conversation a little. He hadn't heard much from her, and it would be good to connect a little. Valorn was very pleased to hear her words of thanks, and smiled. "Ah, it's nothin' worth thanking me for. You woulda done the same for me. Your natural, built-in armor probably saved our lives. I should be the one thanking you!" Valorn's wide smile turned to more of a normal, speaking expression. "I'm nothing without my armor. As a smith I was nothing without my tools, and as an adventurer, I'm nothing without my mail. Faith is meaningless without good works to back it up."
Rowan

"Is that why you protect them? Your faith?" She speaks without thinking, only afterwards realizing perhaps this is a personal question. "What I mean to say is, between the two of us I feel we take the brunt of it in many of these fights. I thought it was because we were all together with common purpose, but today after the fight all they could do was bicker with each other. I thought the elves may come to blows." She raises her voice to practically a yell "Why should we bleed for them when they cannot contain themselves long enough to accomplish a goal?" Rowan falls silent, sitting back in the chair. Once again her speech has gotten away from her without her intending it to.

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn's brow ruffled. He was unsure of what the tiefling was talking about. Bickering? Sure. Blows? Wow. A little bit of context is added to the recent few hours. But he was asked about a more important topic. "I will answer your first question first. Yes, I protect them because of my faith. There is intrinsic value in such things, of course, but I had never known the glory of battle until I fully took up the cause of the cleric. Moradin's grace and honor give me a sense of purpose." Valorn gazed towards the ceiling for a moment, then turned back towards Rowan. "As for your second question, as I cannot simply say 'For Moradin,' I will give you an answer that was told to me many many years ago. We protect them, we care for them, we bleed for them not for them but for ourselves. Just as in forgiveness, we do it for our own values, and for our own virtue. We help the wicked and we heal the cruel. We are better than them, and our grace is more important than our desire." Valorn's sense of righteousness after this lecture was suddenly extinguished when he remembered that every single thing he had just said was a version, if not an outright verbatim quote, of Bavina's words. He hoped Rowan wouldn't think he talked too much. He had been thinking about his wife a lot lately.

Rowan

Rowan listens intently. She desperately wants to understand, wants to have a reason for why she feels this way, but she is left with more confusion. She assumes that Moradin is his god, she knows that there are other gods that people worship beyond nature, although she doesn't know much about them. Perhaps Edric could suggest a book that would inform her about different gods. She would have to remember to ask him. But values and virtue and grace? These words hold no meaning for her. "I am sorry, I do not understand. There is no better or worse. There is only the will of nature. The bear will protect her cubs because they are her children, but she will slaughter the fawn all the same. I will protect the others because I need them to find Gundren, for he is a valuable ally. If they cannot hold themselves to that, then why should I be bound to them?"

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn is, well, he wouldn't say surprised, but he is very interested in Rowan's stated views as she tells them. He hopes he will not offend her. "We disagree on our premises, but that is due to our deities. I praise the All-Father, Moradin, the Creator of all Life, and you seem to worship the will of nature. Our values – the things we care most deeply about in this world – come from that initial spark. Even with your differing worldview, I would say that the reason you should stick with them – with us – is because, as you said, you need them to find Gundren. Until they fail you of that, which, nobody is saying they absolutely won't, all you can do is help them as best you can."

Rowan

Rowan smiles at the acknowledgement that none of this is certain. She is glad at least in that she is not alone. "I suppose you are right, and I will do my best to protect them for a while longer. I just have a fear that I cannot describe, that these disagreements the elves have with each other may not end with words. That something else may come before we complete our task and it may tear us apart." Her mind flashes back to the demons in the woods, the overwhelming feeling of fear and intense need to run. In a instant she understands, she is finally able to name this feeling inside of her that had been festering since they escaped the cell. She needed to talk to Onys. Rowan stands quickly and turns to walk away before remembering that leaving so abruptly is likely rude. She turns back, "Thank you for talking with me. It was very helpful. Have a pleasant evening." Without giving him a chance to respond, she heads upstairs.

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn watches, as she leaves him, and walks upstairs. He didn't even really get a chance to say goodbye. I suppose that will be the way with this girl. So be it. Valorn takes another sip of his ale, decides to finish what little of it is left, and starts to head upstairs himself.

S4E9-RowanValorn

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