"It Will Go Down in History" is an EU thread that takes place about a month after Grey's coronation day.
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Grey Bergman: The new Chief of Haligan Island emerged from the front door of her house with her new scribe, her former comrade and friend Ingrid Rehan. Grey said a quick goodbye to her mother over her shoulder before taking off with Ingrid at her side. The sun was starting to rise over the village, and Haligans were already emerging from their homes to do their daily chores. People waved to their new Chief as she and her scribe walked by.
Today was another day that Grey set aside for her and Ingrid to work together on the island’s records. So far, they had been focusing on the events of the Grounded Dungeon Rebellion feeling that it was appropriate for the people to know the details of the events that occurred on the mainland. Today, they would write about the witch attack that killed their former comrade, Kiri and so many of the rebels.
“Greg is taking over for me today,” Grey said to Ingrid as they walked up to the Great Hall, “so we can take as long as we need.”
Ingrid Rehan: "That's good to know. This is one record we probably shouldn't rush," Ingrid answered, smiling wryly. She was surprised by how calm she felt as she sorted through her memories, remembering everything she had seen, heard and sensed as Perch Hall was torn apart. We remember nightmares so clearly. I'm glad that it can be useful for once.
"So, where do we start?" She asked as they entered the building.
Grey Bergman: “Hmm,” Grey thought for a moment as they walked over to where the records were kept. “I guess we should start with what happened on that day. I was with Haddock and Stonegit for most of it, but perhaps if we work together, we can fill in the blanks.”
Ingrid Rehan: "All right. I was actually in the fortress when it began, so I didn't see how it started and only learnt about it afterwards." Ingrid sat down at the table and reached for her writing tools. "Did you see it?"
Grey Bergman: The new Chief paused for a moment as the memories flooded back. It was only five years ago, and yet it felt longer than that. However, the memories were as clear as day.
“Blunt and a few of Tree’s old friends helped us escape from the pit Loki put us in,” she began. “Not long after we were back…Orskaf showed us. I remembered I assumed it was him from what Haddock told us about him. We saw him taunt King Haddock for a little while.”
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid nodded, jotting down notes. "That's what I was told. I don't think Orskaf had anything to do with the witch, though? The two of them just happened to arrive at the same time."
Grey Bergman: “That would’ve been my guess,” Grey said thoughtfully. “But after Haddock and Orskaf had their argument, Orskaf…” she sighed, “he…delivered the final blow on Kiri and stabbed her…”
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid clenched her teeth. She hadn't known Kiri personally, but she knew Kiri had been a huge help to the Rebellion and a highly proficient fighter. They had to lose her at the time she was needed most. "I know," she said quietly, allowing a moment of silence to pass before she continued.
"I heard the first explosion and by the time I reached out with my mind to sense whether it was a magical attack, the witch felt like a storm cloud hovering just above. She was the most powerful being I came across, aside from the deities, of course. I didn't get out right away; the familiars were wrecking havoc inside and I stayed behind to tell the witch hunters where the monsters were. It saved the time of finding them."
She turned to Grey. "The attack continued for quite a while after I got out, but...you were outside, right?"
Grey Bergman: The Chief nodded as she thought more. She continued to remember the events that transpired that fateful day. The screams, the debris everywhere, the strong winds…
“As soon as Kiri was finished, her body was just lying there…” Grey said. “Orskaf destroyed this gem, and as soon as that happened…this…cloud emerged over Perch Hall. It became so dark. Debris was flying everything…people were screaming. It was nothing but chaos.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Orskaf...destroyed a gem?" Ingrid repeated, her eyes narrowing. "How? Are you sure the cloud appeared right after that?"
Grey Bergman: “He…tied it to an arrow and fired it against a nearby building,” Grey said. “That was when it shattered. It was pretty loud for something so small, and then…he stabbed Kiri. That was when the cloud appeared. Why? You really think there was a connection? I mean other than Kiri being a witch hunter…I don’t see any other connection.”
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid’s heart was pounding. No, that can’t be possible…but why else would he have done it? “The colour,” she said, forcing her voice to be steady. “Did you see what colour the gem was?”
Grey Bergman: “Uhh…what does the color have to do with anything?” Grey asked suspiciously.
Ingrid Rehan: Setting her quill down, she took a deep breath and didn't reply for several seconds. "Not much, but...I have good reason to suspect that it was a soul gem, the power source of someone who has made a contract with the white cats. How much do you know about the implications of a contract?"
Grey Bergman: Grey shook head. “Not too much to be honest,” she said. “I mean…I remember people talking about white cats in the rebellion, but that’s it really.”
Ingrid Rehan: Her gaze dropped to the table and she desperately tried to push away the horror that was encroaching on her mind. "The white cats would tempt you with a contract by saying that they would fulfil a single wish of yours, any wish, and they would also grant you immense magical power. You only have to find and destroy witches in return. The cats don't lie; they just tell partial truths.
"The soul gem lets a wish-maker use powerful magic, yes, but using it or feeling despair taints the gem. It must be regularly cleansed by grief seeds, which can be found after defeating witches, but even that method doesn't last long. I don't know when it stops working. All I know is that the tainting fuels despair, and despair fuels tainting, and the vicious circle continues until something terrible happens. I thought it was death, but no... It's worse.
"My magic-sensing tells me that witches are the embodiment of corruption, the monsters that are left when something bad has consumed all that is pure. Think about it. Corruption, contamination, tainting - don't they all mean the same thing? The witches' power is the same power that destroys the wish-makers."
She looked appalled and utterly disillusioned as she lifted her eyes to Grey's. "That means... All the witches, Walpurgisnacht included, used to be human."
Grey Bergman: The new Chief felt her jaw dropped as Ingrid finished her explanation. She did not hear this from anyone in the Rebellion when this situation was going on.
“So…wait, wait, back up,” Grey said jolting back out of her shock, “you’re saying that…Kiri…the girl who loved tea…our former comrade…made some kind of deal with these white cats…and got this soul gem…thing from them…? And…that…that is what caused that witch attack thing…? And that witch attack that destroyed the Rebellion used to be a human?”
Ingrid Rehan: "Yes, that witch was also the result of corruption," Ingrid replied grimly. "It's possible that Kiri caused it, but we have no proof that it was her soul gem. It could have been anyone's. But no matter who it belonged to, I'm pretty sure that destroying it caused that giant witch to come into being.
"The remaining question is... Why was the gem so much more powerful than the other ones? It should have only created a regular witch, but instead we got a monstrosity that would have done who knows how much damage if Hel hadn't intervened."
Grey Bergman: Grey thought for a moment as everything finally sank in. This certainly wasn’t what she was expecting…How could Kiri fall into temptation of corruption by a white cat and then destroy Perch Hall? Surely, she wasn’t intending on this to happen.
“That’s true,” she finally said. “There’s something we’re missing here, but what?”
Ingrid Rehan: "I'm guessing that it was still the white cats' doing. I think they stopped actively looking for people to trick after Perch Hall got destroyed, or at least stopped wandering around our camp all the time. It must have had something to do with Walpurgisnacht... But we'll probably never find out exactly what they were up to, and speculation wouldn't do us much good."
She picked up her quill again and willed herself to focus. "We're better off returning to what we came here to do. So, should we write about the witches or save that for a separate record?"
Grey Bergman: Grey was about to protest moving back to the description of the witch attack when she realized that Ingrid was right. As much as she would love to delve deeper into the mystery behind Walpurgisnacht, they needed to get back to work. People needed to know about this moment in the Grounded Dungeon Rebellion.
She took a deep breath and focused as she thought about Ingrid’s question. “Uhh…” Grey tried to think, “well, perhaps, it couldn’t hurt to write a little bit about them and elaborate in a separate record.”
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid nodded. "That makes sense." She resumed scribbling down her notes and, after more discussion with Grey about her specific ideas, began working on her draft. Together they made good progress, even though Ingrid's mind kept returning to a different time.
She remembered the desolate, grieving week after what they thought was King Haddock's death; sensing but never seeing the white cats that prowled around camp day and night, finding out all too late that they shouldn't be trusted; the suffocating dismay she felt when she found out Elia was a victim; Elia's hollow voice when she said she was leaving...
She must have already sensed what was happening to her...and I thought she was dying and that it was the worst possible thing.
Two things Elia had said suddenly flashed through her mind, and she froze.
Not long after the two of them met, they had once talked about defending themselves. "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I ever killed someone, even if it was completely out of self-defence. I don't know if that's honourable or just plain stupid..."
And the day Ingrid found out Elia had made the contract: "I can help people with this power, you know. Who knows how many people a witch can kill before someone finally finds and destroys it."
Ingrid didn't notice Grey's concerned gaze or the ink blot forming under her motionless quill. She only thought of one question.
Did she kill herself?
Grey Bergman: Grey noticed that Ingrid suddenly went silent when she finished speaking. At first she assumed that she was writing while the Chief was speaking, but her quill wasn’t move across the parchment. It was leaving an ink blot on the paper. Grey immediately became concerned for her friend and gently reached for her hand.
“Ingrid?” she asked. No answer. “Ingrid, are you okay?
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid snapped out of her daze as she realised Grey was talking to her. "Oh, um, I'm all right. I just..." she sighed. "It's a day full of awful realisations, I guess. Can we take a break? My train of thought has gone out of the window."
Grey Bergman: Grey was about to protest when she realized that she and Ingrid probably needed one. They did just have an information overload with what was probably the worst tragedy in the history of the Grounded Dungeon Rebellion. She sighed and smiled warmly at Ingrid.
“Sure,” she said. “Let’s grab some lunch, and then later we can get back to work.”
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid stayed silent for a short while after that. Free from the focus of record-writing, her thoughts went scurrying in a dozen different directions that were far from cheering. She soon realised that the melancholic flood of thoughts wasn't going to stop unless she did something about it.
Maybe...if I just talk about it a little, my thoughts wouldn't be stuck in this endless loop?
"Are you opposed to talking about gloomy things during a meal? I mean, I have a bit of a gloomy question, but it doesn't have to be now." She made sure to keep her tone somewhat light.
Grey Bergman: The new Chief raised an eyebrow at her old friend as she brought food over to the table they sat at in the Mead Hall. Ingrid always seemed so cautious in asking questions, but Grey’s warm smile remained on her face.
“Ingrid, I may be the Chief,” she said as they sat down, “but you don’t have to ask permission about what kinds of questions to ask. You can ask me anything really.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Well, thanks," Ingrid answered with a small smile. "It's just an odd thing to ask over lunch." After a pause, she continued. "Writing today's record reminded me of something I did in the Rebellion. I mean, something I didn't do."
"It was a big mistake and the consequences were awful. I know that once something's done, it's done, and I should just try to fix it as well as I can and then move on...but the guilt stayed, and although it's fading with time, it still comes back with full force sometimes. I realised earlier than my mistake might have caused even more damage than I thought, so it kind of distracted me.
"I'm not even sure what I want to ask, really. I guess I can do with some advice on how to deal with this?"
Grey Bergman: Grey nodded as she took in Ingrid’s question regarding guilt for something she didn’t do. She had to admit that this question sort of shocked her, but nevertheless, she told Ingrid she could ask her anything. And the new Chief would hate to make things awkward with her scribe. She stroke her chin thoughtfully trying to figure out the best way to answer.
“Well, I guess it would depend on what it is you’re guilty of…or at least what you believe yourself to be guilty of,” she said. She didn’t want to pry or cross certain boundaries with her friend, but she proceeded with the best advice she could muster up. “I mean…Ingrid, if this was something that you couldn’t control…then there might be any way to change it, and you need to find a way to accept it. I’ll be honest. There are times where I feel guilty for not being there when the Warden accidentally paralyzed Haddock in Ragnorak…or when my father was killed in battle.”
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid nodded in understanding. "But what if it was actually my responsibility? I failed someone who had placed all of their hope in me, and there wasn't even anything I could do to change the aftermath." To think that we who can sense magic should be the guardians and protectors, and I couldn't even protect the ones closest to me... I didn't understand the desperation Elia's ability made her feel until that happened.
Grey Bergman: Grey thought for a moment. This conversation was certainly taking an interesting turn. What was Ingrid implying? Should she pry? Was it even prying? “Well…” she began. “I-I guess it would depend on what it is that you were responsible for. You know, if something you did was your responsibility, then you should own up to it, accept that this thing happened…whatever it was and continue on. If you don’t, then you never will make peace with yourself or grow as a person.”
Ingrid Rehan: “Yeah, that sounds like the best thing to do.” There was another moment of silence as both of them returned to their food. Ingrid didn’t pick at it even though she didn’t have much of an appetite. There was nothing Grey had said that Ingrid hadn’t thought of herself, but simply talking about the problem did have the effect she wanted.
“Anyway, thanks,” she said, smiling at Grey. “And, er, I know I was being very vague but I was asked to not tell anyone about what happened. That’s really it.”
…I hope that didn’t just make her more curious. Technically, Elia had only asked her to not tell anyone that she made a contract, but Ingrid thought that telling Grey about other details would be a bit too much for both sides. “I could have prevented my cousin’s death” struck her as the least cheerful topic that could be discussed over a meal.
Grey Bergman: “Y-you’re welcome,” Grey said as she finished her meal. “I hope it helped even though I didn’t know the–” She stopped and looked at Ingrid as if she had grown an extra head. “W-Wait, what do you mean you couldn’t–?” She stopped herself from finishing the question.
Should she ask? She hated the idea of prying, especially when this was clearly something Ingrid didn’t like talking about, but she couldn’t help but be curious. However, she valued her friendship with Ingrid too much to cross any boundaries. So, she simply smiled. “I’m glad I could help.You know you can always tell me anything right?”
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid cast a vaguely bemused look at Grey when her friend kept cutting herself off, but quickly dismissed it and smiled back at her. "I know, and thank you for that."
She downed the rest of her food. "So, shall we go?"
Grey Bergman: “Yes, back to work!” Grey said as she finished her meal and pushed the plates aside for the barmaid to pick them up. “Let’s see…” She examined the parchments. “Where did we last leave off?”
Ingrid Rehan: "We just started talking about Hel’s intervention," Ingrid replied, settling into her chair. "I actually sensed rather than saw how she defeated the witch, since the magical power involved was so strong and overwhelming I could barely see without becoming dizzy. But you said you saw it happen?"
Grey Bergman: The Chief nodded. “Well, not up close at least,” she quickly added. “We had just saved Tree, Warren, and Akkey from that vortex the witch created. Not long after we made it back to the ground, there was darkness in the sky. I could’ve sworn we heard Hel’s voice talking to the witch, but I couldn’t really hear what she was saying. Then I thought I heard a loud thunder. When that happened, everything….just stopped…”
Ingrid Rehan: "That's pretty much what happened," Ingrid confirmed. "Hel appeared out of nowhere as deities tend to do, and her form...her form was colossal, so many times Walpurgisnacht's size. It only took her a moment to snap the witch in half, and everything it had been controlling fell apart instantly." She paused to scribble down some notes for what the record would cover. "They didn't really struggle with each other, so it makes sense that Hel might have used that time to speak. We just have no way of telling what was said."
Grey Bergman: “I could never understand why though,” Grey said. “I mean…she’s a deity, isn’t she? Couldn’t she have thought of some other way to save us without killing that witch? Why take a life?”
Ingrid Rehan: "I think it's--" Ingrid suddenly broke off, eyes widening. "Wait, let me think..."
She stayed silent for a good half minute, frowning in concentration as she called up memories, noticed connections she hadn't thought of before and tried to make sense of them. Then she slowly exhaled and resumed speaking.
"I think an important question here is what you define as a life. Witches, from what I could tell, are physically just concentrations of magic sustained by corruption. Think about humans, demons and other creatures with magical power: They all have some kind of a body, a core or essence that makes them what they are. Magic is a part of them, but it doesn't define them.
"People who become witches have their bodies and minds consumed by corruption. So if their bodies have become magic itself and their minds are reduced to that magic's nature, which is the drive to kill and destroy, is there anything left in them that makes them human? Anything that makes them alive?"
Grey Bergman: Grey thought for a moment as she let Ingrid’s words sink in. She realized that her scribe had a very valid point. These…witches were human at one point, but making this deal…with the white cats…
“If their sole drive is nothing but kill and destroy…” the Chief said aloud, “then…they could possibly…be…dead in a sense…”
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid nodded. "I just thought of something else, though. When a witch is destroyed, it would drop a grief seed that can cleanse a wish-maker's soul gem, remember? I never really knew what a grief seed is, because it originally holds no magic but it can pull a certain amount of corruption from a soul gem into itself. So, it's...some sort of a container.
"But it makes no sense that a witch can randomly create a non-magical, non-corrupted item that just happens to be very helpful to wish-makers. Considering that everything in here seems to be a cycle, with people hunting down witches only to become witches themselves, does that mean soul gems...become grief seeds in this process?"
Grey Bergman: “But…that wouldn’t make much sense, Ingrid,” the new Chief said raising an eyebrow. “Orskaf destroyed Kiri’s soul gem. How could it become a grief seed…whatever that is?”
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid was mildly surprised by how Grey seemed to wholly believe that the soul gem was Kiri's. While it was indeed possible, she just couldn't understand why the witch hunters' leader, of all people, would contract with the white cats. But she chose to make no comment.
"You're right, but we don't know when exactly a grief seed is created. It might have just been the counterpart of a soul gem, instead of what a soul gem physically turns into." Ingrid shrugged. "I was just speculating, because...I remembered that if a witch can still have anything human left in them, it would be their soul. That also sounds a bit far-fetched because there's no obvious reason for the soul to be kept around after the body and mind are destroyed by corruption, but perhaps something is required to be the focal point of the mass of magic that a witch is made of?
"If that's true, a witch's core or identity would still be their human soul, and the only explicable place to contain that soul would be in the grief seed. The grief seed remains intact after a witch is defeated, though, so Hel destroying Walpurgisnacht can just mean that she removed a major threat, not that she killed someone."
Grey Bergman: Grey furrowed her eyebrows together and widened her brown eyes as she slowly realized something. “Because Walpurgisnacht wouldn’t have stopped,” she said. “I mean…if this witch was robbed of her humanity, except for her soul then…she wouldn’t have stopped destroying everything….for any reason. If it wasn’t human, it couldn’t feel anything that a human or any mortal would feel. Hel really did save us that day, and…and the grief seed seems to protect the last bit of that person’s humanity.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Yeah, the damage would have been unbelievable if Walpurgisnacht wasn't stopped so quickly. It could have just roamed around tearing up the land and the towns, and I doubt anyone other than the deities or a band of very powerful mages could have defeated it." She sighed. "Do you know if its grief seed was ever found?"
Something else, obscure and half-formed, was nagging at her but she pushed it aside after a brief examination. I think that was enough depressing theories for one day.
Grey Bergman: “Honestly, I’m not sure,” Grey said shaking her head. “Hrinthe never mentioned it when we found her.” Her heart leaped a little. “There’s a chance it’s somewhere in all that rubble…unless someone else managed to find it.” She hated the idea of the last remains of Kiri being abandoned in the debris, that used to be Perch Hall all alone.
Ingrid Rehan: "It's too bad that human souls are one thing I can't sense, or I would have probably found it when looking for--" Ingrid's voice died in her throat, but she found it again before Grey could speak. "For a friend," she continued hurriedly. "Hrinthe might very well have found it, though. It isn't the sort of thing she would tell everyone she meets, and if it really was Kiri's grief seed... Well, loyal dragons do a lot for their riders."
Grey Bergman: Grey widened her eyes at the realization. Why didn’t she think of that? She thought back to when she and Haddock found the young girl/dragon wandering around the rubble not long after the attack. She spent all that time gathering the dead and laying them out to rest in the clearing. Kiri’s dragon could’ve picked up a scent or something and found the seed.
“Oh my gods, why didn’t I think of that?” she asked aloud. “She probably found it after the attack.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Mhm. She would have made sure the grief seed wasn't left buried and forgotten, at least." Looking down at the papers, Ingrid sighed. "As much of a nightmare Walpurgisnacht's attack was, a relatively good thing came out of it: After it happened, the white cats practically disappeared, and I found few of them elsewhere. It seemed that creating the regular witches was no longer their goal."
But they were still willing to grant the wishes of those who seeked them out. Ingrid knew because she had done just that, five years ago in the thick of Ragnarok battles. Even though she had known it would be a fatal decision, she had still been terrifyingly close to making the contract herself... Even now, she couldn't look at a certain person from the Rebellion, the person she wanted to help, without feeling a flash of guilt.
No, I don't regret it, she told herself firmly. After all, I've been recovering and now I have my memories, a sort of home...and a good friend. This is more than enough.
Grey Bergman: The Chief once again grew concerned at her friend. She didn’t like the way Ingrid looked…almost as if she was remembering something horrible. She gently placed a hand on Ingrid’s to avoid startling her.
“Ingrid, are you sure you’re okay?” she asked. “You seem very distracted.”
Ingrid Rehan: Wow, I really need to pull myself together, Ingrid thought. "Don't worry about it," she replied with a reassuring smile. To her surprise, she didn't have to force it. "I'm just, er... I'm not sure how to explain. I'm getting distracted for a completely different reason every time. Just now, I got reminded of the time I met a white cat myself. I guess I'm more emotionally involved in what we're writing about today than in our other records, so it's harder to concentrate than usual?"
Grey Bergman: Grey stared at her friend. She hadn’t realized that Ingrid had encountered a white cat before. Guilt panged at her for not bothering to find out if this was going to be too much for her, especially when it involved her late cousin. She sighed sadly and gripped Ingrid’s hand tighter.
“I’m sorry, my friend,” she said. “I had no idea. We can stop if you want.”
Ingrid Rehan: "What?" Ingrid said, startled. "No, it's okay, we can keep going. It's been a few years since it happened, after all, and it wasn't that bad to begin with. Plus, we've come this far."
Darn, I seriously should have tried to focus more... Now I've made her worried, she thought. It hadn't been a pleasant day, but Ingrid was still glad to have found out so much and she doubted there was any need to put off the project.
Grey Bergman: “Ingrid, I’m serious,” Grey said gently. “If you need to talk or anything, let me know. I’ll be glad to listen. You’re my friend.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Thanks, Grey. That means a lot to me. But I'm pretty sure I'll be fine once we stop having major, terrible realisations all day long!" She laughed. Wow, I've definitely gotten a lot better. These memories don't have the same impact on me anymore. "I had no idea that writing a record can lead to so many discoveries. I don't want to complain since they're useful, but it is getting distracting... In all seriousness, I would have told you if I can't handle writing about this, so please don't worry about it. I just need to concentrate a bit more."
Grey Bergman: The new Chief chuckled at her friend’s statement. Ingrid wasn’t wrong. Writing this certainly did bring on new discoveries for both of them, and most of them centered around Kiri’s connection to white cats and witches. She was still worried about how Ingrid acted today, but nevertheless, she had to take her word for it that she was okay.
“Be sure that you do tell me if you can’t,” said Grey. “I may be Chief, but I’m also your friend. I’ll understand.”
Ingrid Rehan: "All right." Ingrid smiled appreciatively at Grey before turning back to her notes, starting to piece them together and form a complete description. "Let's move on, then. I think we're about two-thirds done, depending on how much of the aftermath you'd like to document?"
Grey Bergman: “Hmm,” Grey thought for a moment as she stroked her chin, “I think the events leading up to the move to the dungeon and the dungeon move itself should be enough for the rest of today.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Okay, we'll do that," Ingrid nodded. "Let me finish up this description first..."
From then on, the two of them focused on their work and Ingrid was careful to not let her thoughts wander too much. The worst part was over, though, and her heart felt lighter by the time they finished writing the record a few hours later.
"History is so interesting," she commented as she tidied up the table. "To think we lived through all that and were making history as we went along..."
Grey Bergman: “I know right?” Grey said ecstatically as she gathered up the papers on the table into a neat pile. “People everywhere will know the full story of the Grounded Dungeon Rebellion…and we lived to tell the entire thing. We were probably the first to stand up to demons and to become friends with them.”
Ingrid Rehan: "As far as I know, yeah, we were the first. Or rather, you and your friends were and you convinced everyone else to follow suit," Ingrid smiled, pushing the chairs into place. "That was pretty amazing. You're even going to make history outside of the Rebellion, with a little luck."
Grey Bergman: “I guess,” Grey said as she placed the papers in the shelves with the other official records. “Try a lot of luck though. People are still wary of demons despite what Nala has done for us in the Rebellion.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Well, I do think some demons mean humans ill so there's a reason for us to be wary. But one thing we can do is to show others not all demons are like that, and I'm sure you can find a way." Ingrid looked towards the Great Hall's entrance as she spoke, trying to see if it was getting dark yet. "Hey, what time do you think it is?"
Grey Bergman: “Hmm..” Grey said as she looked at the entrance of the Great Hall as well. The Based on the lighting peeking in through the large double doors, the sky was turning pink, and it was in the West. That could only mean that the sun was beginning to set. Her eyes slightly widened as she realized that they were pretty much working on this particular record all day. “It looks like sunset is just beginning, which could mean it’s almost supper time.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Ah, right. So...should we go and eat or would you like to head somewhere else first? It looks like we're done here." Ingrid glanced at the table again to make sure nothing was out of place.
Grey Bergman: “I think we can just go and eat,” the Chief replied as she put away the last few papers. “The barmaids are putting out some good food tonight, and we should get to it before the whole village stampedes in. Plus, my mother wants us to meet her, Asha, Greg, Warren, and the kids for dinner tonight.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Let's go, then," Ingrid replied, falling a couple of steps behind Grey as the two of them left the Great Hall. They hadn't walked far before Ingrid spoke again, quieter this time.
"Actually, if you do want to know...I wouldn't mind telling you what I think I'm guilty of. You know, what we talked about during lunch? I could see you were curious." She looked more amused than anything else as she spoke, but inwardly she felt quite nervous and hoped this conversation would turn out helpful instead of extremely awkward.
Grey Bergman: Chief Grey stopped and stared at her scribe…her former rebellion comrade. This was quite out of the blue. Yes, she reassured to Ingrid that if she needed someone to talk to, she could always turn to her, but…she hadn’t expected Ingrid wanting to actually talk about it so soon…and so suddenly. She furrowed her eyebrows together.
“Uhh…sure, if you are in fact comfortable with it, then please by all means,” Grey said nodding while trying not to sound confused with her friends sudden eagerness to talk about whatever has been bothering her.
Ingrid Rehan: The corner of Ingrid's mouth twitched. This definitely wasn't a good start, but instead of feeling embarrassed like she normally would, she had a sudden urge to laugh. "Er, I mean... Whether I tell you depends on whether you want to know. For myself, it doesn't matter either way. Let me rephrase: I asked for your advice on something I feel guilty of earlier today, but I didn't tell you what it is even though I knew you were curious. I've thought it over and decided I don't mind telling you if you still want to know. It's really just the details that I can't give."
Grey Bergman: “Oh no, I do want to know,” Grey quickly said placing a hand on Ingrid’s shoulder. “Really, I do, but…I only hope that you’re not just telling me because you feel like you owe it to me or something. If you truly feel that you can trust me and that it would help in some way to get it off your chest, then again please by all means. I’ll listen.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Don't worry, it's not because I feel obligated or anything," Ingrid replied. She noted that there might actually be a slight feeling of obligation in this, but she was at least sure of the most important part: She wouldn't feel uncomfortable telling Grey about it. Knowing this, she forged ahead.
"What happened wasn't complicated. My late aunt and uncle sent Elia to live with me in the Rebellion because their lives were in danger, and they couldn't trust anyone else they could reach. Two months later...she died. What really haunted me was how easily I could have prevented it. If only I had paid a little more attention to the dangers around us and warned her about it, it wouldn't have happened. She was my responsibility, you know. Her parents trusted me to keep her safe and sacrificed so much to save her life, and it all came to naught because I didn't pay attention."
The wryness returned to her expression as she met Grey's eyes. "Uh...that probably gave you more questions than answers, sorry."
Grey Bergman: “Well, kind of,” Grey said with her eyes widened. She thought back on the day…what happened between her and Ingrid as they put the records of the witch attack together. Ingrid had asked her how to deal with something if you felt guilty about it and thought that the whole thing was your fault. She grew quiet when they tried to figure out how the grief seeds worked and what the white cats had to do with the witches. She stared at Ingrid. “Elia…was she…I mean…was it because of those white cats that…she…?”
Ingrid Rehan: "It was," Ingrid confirmed quietly. "She didn't want the person she made her wish for to find out and feel guilty, so she asked me to not tell anyone. I doubt it matters unless I explicitly say who it was, though. And...about today...it's all right, really. Elia soon found out the real consequences of making a contract but refused to tell me what they were, so I just...assumed it was death. Today we found out it's not quite that and I got a bit of a shock, that's all."
Grey Bergman: “Her humanity…” Grey concluded in a whisper remembering their conversation.
Ingrid Rehan: "But from what I know about Elia, she would...she would have killed herself before she let herself become a witch. The corruption sets in gradually and unlike others, we can sense it. Elia never wanted to kill, and a witch can take so many lives before someone strong enough finally comes along and destroys it..." Ingrid took a deep breath, trying to get rid of the tightness in her chest. "It's the better option out of the two, I guess."
Grey Bergman: Grey stared at her friend for what seemed like an eternity as tears formed in her eyes. It didn’t take long to figure out the exact cause of Elia’s death all those years ago. Elia did what she could to protect her cousin and the entire Rebellion…to prevent what happened with Kiri from happening again. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t know what she could possibly say to something as serious and horrible as this. Instead, she reached forward and hugged Ingrid tightly.
Ingrid Rehan: Ingrid hugged back and the two of them stayed like that for a moment, silent and still. Grey's presence helped a great deal, she realised. Grey was a caring friend, exuding warmth and compassion, and it had been so long since Ingrid had last been with a friend like her.
In fact, now that she thought back, the last person Ingrid hugged was Frodi. That was a month before he died during Walpurgisnacht's attack.
She was really getting tired of all these realisations.
But there are always a few good things... she thought as she pulled away so that she could see Grey face to face. "Thank you," she said, hoping her eyes could convey what her words couldn't.
Grey Bergman: Grey simply smiled as she and Ingrid broke the hug and pulled away to stare at her friend. Even though Ingrid thanked her, she knew for a fact that Ingrid was grateful just from her eyes. She knew without a doubt that Ingrid trusted her and valued her as a friend.
“You’re very welcome,” she said.
Ingrid Rehan: "I need to thank the Warden, too, for letting me see Elia one last time at the funeral after Midgardsormr's trial. Remember all the spirits who came to watch? Elia actually went to the witch hunters' base soon after she made the contract, so...I didn't even know when she died. I was so very glad to see her spirit that night and know that she wasn't suffering anymore." And Frodi as well...
Grey Bergman: “I know that feeling,” Grey said nodding to herself. “You know, I never really told anyone this, but at my coronation…Hrinthe, Kiri’s dragon, allowed me to see my father again. It…It was comforting to know that he was okay…even though he couldn’t physically be there to celebrate.”
Ingrid Rehan: "Wait, you father was there during the coronation? That's wonderful! So he saw you become chief..." Ingrid shook her head in amazement, smiling. "It's so comforting to know they're not really gone. I had no idea Hrinthe has that ability, too."
Grey Bergman: “Neither did I,” Grey said chuckling at the memory, “but she told me all about it. She said that like Nala, she could be a medium too and create an image of my father. I was actually talking to him, Ingrid. He was standing right in front of me!”
Ingrid Rehan: "I'm so glad you could. Hrinthe must be one special dragon," Ingrid remarked, gradually returning to her former cheer. She glanced at the darkening sky. "Well, that took longer than I thought it would. Should we go and meet up with the others?"
Grey Bergman: The Chief looked up at the sky as well, and saw that it was indeed close to dinner time. Her mother and adoptive siblings were probably waiting for them right now.
“Yes, I believe we should,” she said smiling. “Mom has always been a stickler for punctuality.”
Ingrid Rehan: "All right, let's go." As they set off and lights began appearing in the houses, Ingrid reflected on the day's events. It had been productive to say the least, and there were some things that would take a while to sink in. Witches, the contract, Elia...
But they're all gone now. I shouldn't dwell on them so much.
They say time heals everything and I think it's true. I do have a future to plan for...and by now I believe this is a life worth living.