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seeker's circle

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”’——the Voice of the Maker rang out; the first Word, and His Word became all that might be.’ Ahem. ‘There was no word for heaven or for earth, for sea or sky—’”

She pauses and sighs under her breath, feeling nothing but exhaustion clouding her thoughts. The bard—no, the sister—hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep for nearly two days. No matter how safe she felt under Andraste’s gaze, she could not get rid of the feeling that she was being watched—and the anxiety overwhelms her, makes her see figures in the distance where there is none. Marjolaine proved herself capable of doing whatever it takes, but surely she would have no need to murder Leliana in her sleep?

She would, her younger self warned. You would have done the same.

But she wouldn’t have…would she? She had told Dorothea that she would exact vengeance, focused on her anger when the pain was too much to bear, but when she saw Marjolaine…she could have killed her. The older bard was inches away from her, and yet she lost the will to fight. All she wanted was an answer to the question that haunted her all along—why?

All Marjolaine offered her were excuses. That angered her, for if her wound hadn’t ached—if she hadn’t remembered the things Raleigh did—she would have accepted them. Accepted her, and become her creature once more. Her hands gripped her copy of the Chant of Light tightly, eyes darkening and she takes deep breaths, tries to calm herself down before the tainted, horrible parts of her float back to the surface.

One day, it simply becomes too much.

Perhaps it was the pressures of trying to be accepted by the brothers and sisters, combined with her paranoia of waking up to another blade in her abdomen—but Leliana packs her essentials (nothing sentimental; it wasn’t as though Lothering offered valuable objects) and goes to the Revered Mother to bid farewell.

"Leliana? It’s odd to see you up so early." And it was—just before the crack of dawn, most initiates and devotees would not awaken for another hour. But she couldn’t deal with them right now; they wouldn’t dare speak ill in the cloister, but she knew they would celebrate among themselves once they realized she was gone.

"Revered Mother." Goodbyes were always unnecessary, and she could have chosen to leave without formally excusing herself—but when others have lose faith in her, the Revered Mother did not; she wouldn’t feel right if she hadn’t given the courtesy of a farewell. "I…I’m leaving."

"Leaving? Where are you going?"

"Away—I can’t stay here. I can feel them watching me. I know what they’re here for.” There was a figure that didn’t disappear no matter how hard she rubbed her eyes, always watching—always waiting. She needs to flee before they corner her.

A sigh escapes the older woman’s lips. “Are you running from them, because you fear they’re going to hurt you—or are you running from yourself?” the sister halts, face twisting in confusion. No, you misunderstood—“Leliana, you are not the first person to run to the Chantry when life became too much. And I know you will not be the last. But this is a safe haven; no one will come to harm you, because the Maker watches over us all. He will not allow you to be hurt in His house of worship.”

She must not seem convinced, for the Revered Mother stood from her chair and continued. “Here, have this. ’Maker, though darkness comes upon me, I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm. I shall endure. What you have created, no one can tear asunder.'” Leliana feels something cold and metallic pressed on her palm, and she draws her gaze down—it was a circular disc, simple in design and she doesn't understand its purpose. The Revered Mother is more than willing to explain. She was patient. "This is the Seeker's Circle. When you are faltering—however little it may seem—I want you to look at this; and remember the Maker's unending patience, and Andraste's unquenchable passion."

It was these words that ushered Leliana back to her quarters that morning, and convinced her to stay. She still saw figures in the distance, still felt them watching her every move, but her hand quickly reaches for the wheel resting on her chest—against her rapidly pounding heart, she clenches the metal tightly and gives herself time to calm down. Seek the light. The figure blurs with the green, and she knows it would never go beyond the trees. It wasn't real. She was just seeing things, as per usual.

"Sister Leliana!" a young woman calls behind her, and she turns to be greeted with brilliant eyes and a bright smile. She lets go of the amulet, though it continues to comfort her through its weight on her bosom, and walks back to the cloister. No matter what comes her way, she will hold onto her faith. The Maker will always be there for her—she could feel His presence resting warmly on her shoulders.

She grasps the amulet with an excessive amount of delicacy; the past eleven years had been kind to the necklace, but she fears the slightest recklessness will cause the circle to shatter into halves. She remembers the conversation that led it to her possession—Maker bless the Revered Mother’s soul, she hasn’t heard from her since she left—and it had opened her heart to devotion, even if she kept one foot from fully crossing the threshold.

Seek the light. The Revered Mother told her to heed these words, and the torch had been carried onto Justinia—who wished to see her towards light. Every step she took was to the descending steps, ever so dark and unbearable. She thought she would never see light again.

Seek the light. This utterance passed down from two Revered Mothers, to the Seeker herself—through a veiled letter. She was given this Circle so that she had comfort in times of despair. To have faith, so that the Maker may reward her for her devotion—however wavering it might be.

Seek the light. She realizes then, as she steps onto the rookery’s balcony, that maybe He already has.

She looks down below, fixing her gaze on the familiar form of the Seeker. She’s holding a book, no doubt another one of her romance novels. Leliana allows herself to relax her elbows on the railings.

Perhaps she has found her light.