Chapter 9 – The Awakening
Part 4: Skills Unmatched
The following morning, after her testing, the Keep was buzzing with rumor; everything from Ienarath having been killed to The Caller appointing her above Celeste as Conjurations Master. When she woke up and stepped out of her quarters, she was assailed with questions, the most common by far was, “What did she summon?”
One of those interested in knowing what Ienarath faced was Rolgbi, one of Sifkni's and Fellgrim’s friends. The three of them were rarely seen apart and were easily three of the most irritating mages in the keep. They were all very proud of themselves and their accomplishments, which, though impressive enough, were in all actuality few in number. They especially liked to bully the women, as if they were somehow lesser simply because they were not men. But, they also knew that the few women in the keep were exceedingly talented, including The Caller, so they had learned to scale back their verbal assaults and keep them mostly among themselves. Unfortunately because she was young, and Sifkni was charged with mentoring Ienarath in alchemy, she had to endure a great deal more than the Celeste and Andromeda.
“An atronach,” answered Ienarath as she walked to find some breakfast.
“Seriously?!” Questioned Rolgbi, “what type?”
“Yes, and it was a storm atronach, why?” Asked Ienarath, casually.
“Well, I mean, it’s not like the daedre I had to face, but still, that’s an exceptionally difficult test,” Rolgbi answered.
“Well, yes, it was. Hold on. A daedre? Pfft! Probably more like a skeleton with a daedric helm.” Ienarath laughed.
“Don’t you question me, girl! Or I shall show you what I’m capable of!” Spat Rolgbi. “But,” he continued, “lucky for you, I have more important things to do at the moment.” He then quickly turned and stormed away.
Later that day, Ienarath recounted her testing with Celeste, as well as Rolgbi’s claim. “A daedre?” Celeste choked on her tea. “He actually said that? No, it was nowhere near that. I believe is was a pair of skeletons.”
Ienarath laughed, “no wonder he stormed off in such a huff. I told him he probably had a skeleton wearing a daedric helm.” Celeste snorted into her tea a second time, and then said a bit more seriously, “Yes, well perhaps that’s where he got it from. But seriously, Ienarath, be careful of Rolgbi. I’ve said this before, but he, Fellgrim, and Sifkni can be dangerous if provoked. Well, you already know a great deal about Sifkni, but the other two are much the same. Just be careful.”
“I will,” assured Ienarath. “And speaking of Sifkni. Well,” Ienarath started with some hesitation, “I don’t know, Celeste, but I really don’t feel that I can learn anything more from him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an amazing alchemist, but I think I’ve outgrown him.”
“Do you?” Questioned Celeste with a raised brow.
“Don’t look at me that way. I’m not saying that I’m better, I just think that I've reached a point where I would benefit more by doing some self-study. By actually putting his lessons into practice. I mean, how can I possibly concentrate during our lessons when he’s hovering over me like a vulture. And I’m not talking about hovering and scrutinizing everything I do. I mean hovering and trying to look down my robes.”
“I see. Well, make the best of it for now. After The Test, it’s generally expected that the acolyte will strike out on their own. The Caller will let you know what she expects. And a word of advice. Don’t say anything about this to Her. It will only work against you. The Caller expects a person be able to take care of themselves. Period. She’s a visionary, and we all follow her because she will be great some day, and by extension, so will we. But, such vision requires focus, and settling arguments between members only serves to distract Her. If you cannot deal with it, you will be seen as weak, and cast out from the coven.
“Anyway, I must go, and I expect to see you in two hours time for conjurations.”
With that, Celeste left Ienarath to her breakfast.
Ienarath was a bit dismayed by what Celeste had to say. She didn’t see how a ‘keep it to yourself’ attitude helped the group. But what bothered her most, though she could not put her finger on it, was that deep down, at a subconscious level, she didn’t agree with Celeste about The Caller.
The Caller was not a visionary.