Part of the Thy Kingdom Come Arc
Part of the Rise of Larket Arc
Summary: Hildegarde and Kelovath discuss possible next steps.
Hildegarde's War Camp
Kelovath had been spending all of his within the medical ward of the war-camp. It wasn’t exactly an enjoyed experience, but he knew that’s where his skills would be utilized to the fullest. For now though, it was time for a break. Even now that he was actually sleeping, the amount of time and work put into the patients was exhausting. He had left the ward and made his way down the staircase, with the full intention of walking outside to enjoy the coolness of the air. Instead, his attention shifted to the nearby fireplace and a smile crept across his lips. The amount of times walking by the fireplace, this was the first that the paladin had –really- noticed it. Time could no longer be measured in the middle of a war, but little things like an icy fireplace could certainly slow things down. With a shrug, the man walked over to it and stood there, letting his brown eyes watch over the cold-looking flames. Somehow though, they were warm. The heat was enough for the paladin to feel it through his armor, but even though his first thought was to go outside, this was enough. It certainly was the little things in life.
Hildegarde had been busy trying to keep all in order at the war-camp. She was overseeing the training of warriors, ensuring that there was plenty food and water, that there were provisions and supplies for all who needed them and then some. She was fully intent on going about more business for the day when she stumbled across Kelovath staring into the icy flames. When they had last seen one another, Hildegarde had been in a bad way. If it weren’t for the tender care of Josleen, she likely wouldn’t have felt much better at all. “Kelovath,” the knight hailed, making her way over to him and joining him by the fire. “Ah… You too have been enraptured by its mysterious warmth,” she commented with a faint smile. “So many find themselves stopping here to gaze into the depths of this here fire. For some, it reminds them of home. And for others… well, for others it is just an oddity to look upon.”
Kelovath was lost in thought while staring at the flames. So much had happened since the attack at the war camp. As well as the numerous unknowns surrounding those events. The biggest question that came to the mind of the paladin was, ‘What next?’. He could never answer it. If felt like he was being pulled many different directions. Becoming unsure of his own actions and decisions. In his armored hand, he held a single white rose. Instead of looking at the flames, his eyes shifted to the rose, a puzzling looking soon to follow. It wasn’t cursed, nor blessed. Right in between. His head lifted suddenly at the voice of Hildegarde and the paladin turned to face her. “Hildegarde.” He whispered with a smile, then offered a nod. “Ah. Yes. The fire. It’s…Calming.” But not peaceful. That hasn’t been found yet. When the Queen made her way closer, Kelo shifted his attention back to the fire, but still held the rose. “How’s…Everything?” Vague question, but there was so much, too much, probably, to ask about specifically.
Hildegarde seemed to ignore Kelovath’s initial question, given that her attention was caught by the white rose. She had one identical to it, though she didn’t parade around with it or show it off. Had come to her through unusual circumstances, circumstances that she thought must have been born of her imagination if it weren’t for the existence of that rose. “Ticking along, as can be expected,” she answered after snapping her attention back to the here and now. “Supplies are demanded, not all are met. Tasks doled out, tasks completed. Everyone just seems to be going through the motions,” she answered with a small shrug of her shoulder. “And you…?”
Kelovath continued to hold the rose, but not give it any attention. His thoughts were scattered once again, but he was still able to listen to Hilde. “The motions. I know what you mean.” He sighed, shaking his head and looking to Hildegarde. “I’m well. Spending my time at the medical ward. Helping however I can.” A quick smile showed, the paladin glancing around the room now. “It’s amazing that this place was just…Empty. It’s beautiful here. Under any other circumstances, I think more people would agree.” Again, his eyes were brought back to the flames. Quieter this time, Kelo asked, “How are you, Hilde?” The question was much more than simple conversation. He wanted to know. The change in tone was obvious enough.
Hildegarde was no healer, but she knew that the job was a stressful one. “A tiring task,” she said quietly, “and one I am glad to have you assisting with. The gods know we need all the help we can get in these trying times,” she said, grateful for the help of Kelovath, Josleen and even Sabrina. “Have things in Larket eased enough that you find yourself able to be here more often or?” When last they had spoken, Kelovath had made his intention for Larket quite clear. It made sense that Hilde, as a fellow would be monarch, would like to know about its present state. “Rumours of a yeti scare many people away. That and there are many rumours about abandoned places such as this. Hauntings, curses, spirits. Yetis. All sorts,” she said with a wry little smile. Obviously she didn’t put much stock in these rumours, but the giants were suspicious and superstitious. She didn’t put stock in it because she didn’t want to spook them. If she believed it, they too would grasp onto the rumours and let it spiral out of control. Spiral out of control. Just like Hildegarde felt might happen to her. She knows precisely what Kelovath is asking, it’s been asked of her before. “You know what life is like as a warrior. You know… You know the things we see, the things we do,” she said softly, as if confessing sin. “I… I sometimes feel that I am doing better. Then things go awry and I am no better at all. My hands shake something fierce, yet Ashe tells me I must act as a Queen; not just a soldier. Not a knight. But… well. How can I be a Queen when I feel like my mind and soul is so fractured?”
Kelovath kept his gaze on the fireplace when Hildegarde asked about Larket. “I…Haven’t been to Larket since the attack on the war-camp. When I decided to travel there, I was…Detoured.” The last word was spoken carefully. It wasn’t the right word by any means, but in a way, that’s what happened. “But before the attack, there was an incident. A councilmember was killed. Right in front of me. By another councilmember. Her name was Andurla. Murdered by Macon.” His eyes closed for a moment, holding back a tear. Not the place for it. “Macon has been deemed a traitor of Larket. I was at the war-camp to discuss it with you, when we were attacked.” Keeping his gaze on the flames, the paladin continued to listen to Hildegarde explain the goings-on surrounding the camp. Regarding the fragile state Hilde calmed to be in, the paladin finally looked to her. “I will not tell you to ask for help. Or to ask for guidance from Aramoth. But I do suggest it. You told me, that there is more to my being than Arkhen. You were right. I see that.” He smiled at the thought of their previous conversation. Much simpler times. “There is more to you, then just you, Hildegarde. A warrior, most definitely. An inspiration to those that follow you, absolutely. A Queen? That is still your choice. And even further, should you accept the title, the choice of what kind of Queen. But, regardless of any of that; you cannot do any of what you seek to accomplish, without help. Start with Aramoth. The Gods are…” He stopped, not really sure how to finish the statement. A soft smile showed itself yet again and the paladin reached out with an armored hand, not holding the rose, and patted Hildegarde on her shoulder. “…Here for us. And only here, because of us.”
Hildegarde had been in such a state for a long time now that she truly thought herself beyond redemption when it came to this malady that seemed only to trouble the warriors of the world or those who had seen the truly despicable things the world could offer. Aramoth was silent in these things. Many said this was but the curse of being loyal to Aramoth; an affliction sent by other and more jealous gods; a test of faith sent by Aramoth. Others said it was simply the mind being the mind. There was no true answer out there, it seemed. “I’m sorry to hear about Andurla,” she said sympathetically. “This Macon is certainly a traitor, but… you wished to discuss that with me? Please, do, if you still wish,” she offered. When his armoured hand patted against her shoulder, she chortled for a moment. It was typically her in his shoes, offering the comfort and the sage advice. “I do not know how to act Queenly. But I know it is what I must be if I am to protect Frostmaw. I can only hope Aramoth approves of my path.”
Kelovath pulled his armored hand away from Hildegarde and started on about Larket. He explained what happened the day that Andurla was murdered. How Artia and himself saw it happen, saw Macon flee, but not before commanding the fermin to attack the pair. About how it seems Macon was controlling the fermin the entire time. And with the loss of Andurla, Macon, and Andurla’s husband (who stepped down), who was also on the council, it looked as if Larket would soon be thrown into chaos with no leadership. His worry about how the council was falling apart, but on a good note, the fermin attacks had slowed down significantly. And, in a more serious note, how he felt torn to leave the war-camp because of certain obligations he wanted to fulfill. “I believe I am supposed to be here. To support your efforts in this war. I believe Arkhen supports your path, even if Aramoth may not. I mean, what are the chances of my arrival to your camp, then a day later, it’s attacked?” And the days to follow were full of chaos, with a few sprinkles of moments he’d never want to forget.
Hildegarde listened to the details and grunted by the end of it. It wasn’t a dismissive grunt of disbelief, but a rather thoughtful kind of grunt. “It is interesting that this Macon commanded the fermin. It would certainly be more believable that someone was working with the fermin and thus could help spread poisons and give the fermin far superior access to the city than the sewers might allow,” she reasoned thoughtfully. “But you say that this Macon has absconded. That fermin attacks have since slowed down. While that may appear to be a relief, I would worry that this quietness on their part and the disappearance of Macon is not leading to something far more dangerous than could have previously been pulled off,” she cautioned. As Kelovath details how he feels torn about the war-camp and the troubles of Larket, the knight cannot say much to that. “It is to my benefit if you stay, of course. But I cannot ask that you sacrifice Larket for my sake. I don’t suppose Jesen and his men have come to see you yet, have they?” she asked. “They would make a good defense for Larket whilst you are gone,” she reasoned. Yet with talk of Arkhen approving of a path that Aramoth may not approve of, the knight grins. “Are you daring to try and persuade me to worship Arkhen over Aramoth? My, my. I did not realize the gods thought so dearly of me.”
Kelovath agreed with Hildegarde about Macon. “I don’t think that day will be the last I’ll see of Macon. He hid his secret for so long. Surely a greater plan is in the works.” That made the paladin think even more of Larket and that he needed to be there. But…”No. Jesen never arrived in Larket, to my knowledge. Artia is still there, but…” At that, he gave shrug. One person could truly only do so much against the unknown. “I fear for Larket, but I also need to trust those that have been there the entire time I was not.” A chuckle escaped him at the mention of converting faiths. “Oh, no, Hildegarde. Your faith in Aramoth is well placed. But, it couldn’t hurt to have a little more assistance when it comes to the Gods.”
Hildegarde sighed softly at the news that Jesen had not arrived in Larket with his hundred strong men. They would have been a massive advantage to Kelovath and Artia’s efforts against the fermin. “That is a shame. I wonder what became of him and his men,” she said. The Silver nodded when he said he feared for Larket. She feared for Frostmaw. She feared for the world in general. As they continue to joke about the gods, the knight cannot help but grin. “I do not think Aramoth is a jealous god, but… I would not wish to risk his wrath!”
Kelovath laughed and nodded to Hildegarde. “Aramoth would be one God to not make angry.” It felt like the day shifted into an entirely new one. Even joking about something as serious as the Gods, at least they were joking. And smiling. Even if brief, the thought of war seemed to be gone. Although the conversation did not answer Kelovath’s question, ‘What’s next?’ he was glad to of ran into Hildegarde. Hopefully, his words helped the Queen, but if not, there was always next time. He always offer advice to those that need it. Sometimes, even to those who didn’t ask for it. A deep breath was taken in and the paladin looked to the flames. Then to the rose. It was brought to his face and the man gave it a small sniff. He disliked the smell of roses. But, the smell alone was not the reason he then threw the flower into the icy flames of the fireplace. It was a test, more than anything. One Hildegarde wouldn’t see the result too, more than likely. The flower did in fact burn in the flames before Kelovath and Hildegarde. “Hm.” A soft sound, usually associated with thinking. He glanced to Hilde and whispered, “What’s next?” It wasn’t directed at any specific subject or person. A simple question, that the man was unable to find an answer too.
Hildegarde certainly believed that Aramoth would be the one God to not want to anger! Joking and laughing was good. It felt as though these sorts of moments were far too rare in times of war and it was nice to enjoy them. As Kelovath sniffed the rose, the knight watched him quietly for a moment. Had she dared to do anything with the identical rose she had? She had stuffed the rose into her coat and hadn’t truly bothered with it since. “I must march to Frostmaw and soon,” she said quietly. “The longer I delay, the more I risk Balgruuf and his men being well prepared enough to repel my forces.” The knight stared into the flames and contemplated quietly. “We must march. I cannot sit around for much longer.” Kelovath stood and watched the flames dance over the white rose, soon reducing it to nothing but ash. He nodded once, “I see.” A soft response, followed by, “I hope my path continues with yours.” It was spoken unsurely, like he almost didn’t want it to. Deep down, he wanted to go back to Larket. There were people there who needed him. To lead them, possibly. But that was unknown. The war was certain. Fighting would be unavoidable. Injured that would need healing. Larket might need him, but Hildegarde’s war-camp did need him. It was also more than just the injured and the war that kept the paladin at the camp, but that would never be said aloud. Not to Hildegarde anyway. His arms lifted and crossed over his breastplate. “The future is so uncertain, but…I think peace will eventually come.” Words spoken with a smile. And of course they’d come from a paladin.
Hildegarde looked to Kelovath and mirrored his motion from before, gently placing her hand upon his armoured shoulder. “But not in your heart,” she said quietly. “There is no shame in that. Your people need you, Kelovath Khamsin, and if you leave them I suspect you will feel guilty should anything happen to them while you are gone.” The knight’s camp enjoyed his help and it was beneficial, but she could not make him stay if he had no real wish to. “War is the struggle towards peace.”
Kelovath only moved his head to look at Hildegarde and a nod soon followed. “I suppose you may be right…” It was a weak reply, but true. It makes sense, what the woman said. The possibility of Larket needing him was there. Shouldn’t that be enough? They were –his- people. His home. As close to family as he’s ever had. A tough decision, but one that needed to be made. And soon, from the sounds of it. Still, a few things needed to be figured out. He glanced to the other side, opposite of where Hildegarde currently stood, and looked down to the nearby couch. As he assumed, sitting there on the cushion, was a white rose. He actually smiled when seeing it, but Hilde wouldn’t have been able to see it. The rose brought back a memory to the paladin, even though the event took place only a day ago or so. But it was a happy enough memory to force another smile across his lips. He turned, picked up the rose, unintentionally hiding the flower from Hildegarde because of his armor. “I suppose I should head back to the medical ward for now.” He’d need to decide on his own ‘What’s next?’, but if he could help it, that’d include someone else. The man turned, now holding the rose at his side, and smiled to Hildegarde. “I’ll let you know if I decide to leave. Otherwise, I’ll be around.”
Hildegarde nodded at his words, “And if you decide to leave, do not go without saying goodbye,” she said with a little smile. The knight would not push him for a decision any time soon, these things could not be rushed after all. “Oh, if you are going to the medical ward, will you give Lady Josleen my thanks? I shall try to visit her soon, but, er… she knows I am busy,” and she was afraid to see Josleen again.
Kelovath smiled, turned and waved, “I’ll let her know to be expecting you.” He replied with a quick laugh before heading toward the staircase.