It was just after brightening when an exhausted Celeste finally returned to her parent’s home from the Vladim Estate. She’s glad that Millibeth is safe but even gladder that Ash would not be dragging her around the Rock instead of being able to get some sleep. It feels like it has been forever since she has seen her bed and she is looking forward to sleeping for the next several hours. She takes the key from its hiding place and lets herself in. She softly calls out for her mother to let her know about that she is home.
“Celeste? I’m in the sitting room. We have a visitor.”
Celeste wonders to herself who would be here at this time of the brightening. A sense of foreboding washes over her. She enters the sitting room; across the table from her mother is a man. She knows this man, the way he carries himself, his smug superior attitude, those malicious eyes. A headband covers the focus implanted into his forehead. Even without his mask she instantly recognises the Templar, Inquisitor Tobias. Two untouched cups of tea sit on the table.
“Hello Tobias.” Celeste says coldly.
“Ah there you are Celeste. I was just telling your mother what a lovely home she has. I see you play the harp, do you play the harp well?”
Penelope tries to interject however neither of them pays her any heed. The tension in the air is palpable.
“What are you doing here?”
Tobias ignores her question.
“I understand that such things are often taught from parent to child, was it your mother who taught you?”
Celeste stares daggers at Tobias.
“You should really come to the Iron Citadel tomorrow at mid-brightening so we can discuss it further, or I could always come by again and continue our discussion with your lovely mother.”
Tobias stands and bows towards Penelope.
“It has been a pleasure my lady, but I simply must be off.”
As he walks past Celeste she says softly to him;
“They know nothing of this Tobias, leave them out of this.”
“Tomorrow at the Iron Citadel Celeste. I will see you there.”
The door closes behind him. Celeste stares at the door.
“Mother. Do not trust that man. He is a bad man. He is an inquisitor for the Templars.”
“But the Templars are here to protect us Celeste. I mean I had heard some rumours but…”
“Trust me on this, if you see him again get out as fast as you can.”
With that Celeste retires to her bedroom.
Sleep eludes her. She stares up at the ceiling, fists clenched in impotent rage.
“What can I do?” she thinks to herself, “If I give myself in then that will be it, but my parents are in danger and they have no idea. How can I protect them? Maybe I should. I don’t want to but if it saves them then maybe…”
She remembers the feel of her magic, the wonders it can do, the lives she has saved with it and the mischief she has caused. To have that taken away, to have it stripped from her, would be like losing a part of herself. Yet it was her parents. Those two very special people in her life who had taken her in as an infant, who had loved her with all their heart, who had sacrificed so much and yet asked for so little.
Hours pass and no closer to an answer Celeste readies herself to meet with the others at her late master’s residence.