After practice, Kestra decided to find Bronwyn and seek her advice.
“What’s up?” Bronwyn asked as the Fae approached her.
Kestra answered, “Hi Bronwyn, I wanted to see how you are doing and was looking to get your advice. About how to handle some things I really don’t have much experience in.
One delicate eyebrow raised as Kestra spoke.Not much was delicate about Bronwyn, but she does have her ladylike charm when she applied herself. “You need my advice? Oh do tell.” She patted the ground next to her motioning for Kestra to sit next to her.
Kestra took the offered seat and spoke, “I know I come off a bit intense and self-assured at times; Lucan has known me all my life and I’ve always been very driven. All I every wanted was for my parents to be proud of me, then to be a great duellist, then simply to escape and now, I’m not sure if any of that is worth it if my friends die in the process. I know this is going to come to a head soon and it may be my fault.”
Bronwyn smiled.” Yes you do come off hot headed, and I tend to be over opinionated. Things are about to change my friend, but do not think for a minute this is the worst it will be. You are at a cross roads that I hope you choose to grow from it. You have the chance to see some of the cruelty if the world, some that has nothing to do with you in particular.
However, you are in the position because the greater picture demands it. The smallest stone when tossed can create an avalanche.”
Kestra opined as she scratched at her collar, “I think the universe could have taught me the cruelty of the world in a less painful manner.” A slight smile crossed her lips on that and then she said,”Bronwyn, I’ve cried, hated, pitied myself, prayed, been driven to murder and suicide in all the same moments. I’ve also felt ecstacy, but never love; and that terrified me. If I had simply given in to Vinneas instead of fighting him constantly I’d be nothing but a happy, pretty slave – toy; but because I fought him; he sent me out into the Crucible and thus into finding you, my friends. It all seems so out of my control, and I feel before the end I will forced to do something terrible, for cruelty’s entertainment.”
“Your choice has been made, as has mine. No doubt what you will do for him may be among the hardest of your life. Simply for the fact that you will live knowing you trades for your freedom. It is not an easy choice, it is a necessary one. We will all make such a choice in our lives, and yes I have made such a choice myself, and I want you to know that it was my choosing. I was blessed to be shown to paths, and I chose the one I will follow. Your choice will forge in you all a strength and determination you have not known before.”
Kestra took some hope from that, “I hope so.” she smiled. “I’m scared my growing hatred of him and those like him will turn me into something I won’t recognize; something you guys might not want to be around. I feel consumed with loathing for him and by extension all men of power who play dice with people. I don’t want you all to be caught up in that mess.”
As a follower of Torne you should know that we were caught up in it long before it started” she said with a smile.
“Destiny is the final outcome if all things, but we get to choose how we get there, an which outcome will be. For example, you will choose if you allow the hate inside you to fester and turn you into something you don’t like. Or you will overcome suche things and become a stronger more opened minded person. That is your choice.”
Kestra answered, “I’m striving for the latter. But I’m not sure I can do it alone. I’m glad you guys are here. And, I’ll be there for you, anytime.”
Bronwyn smiled and it didn’t fill her eyes. “I know.”
Kestra asked, “My troubles are what they are; but are you doing okay? That argument between you and Rowe was…unsettling.”
“He hurt me without knowing. But that is ok, I will get over it. For him I would do anything.”she said.
“He’s a good man,” Kestra replied, then asked, “how long have you known one another?”
Bronwyn leaned back in the grass. “Pretty much all my life. He showed up in Xyas one summer and we hit it off.”
“Have you two…” Kestra started to say, “…well, that’s not my business. The important thing is that we are all friends and will get through this together.”
Bronwyn laughed out loud. “No we have never been more than friends. His heart belongs to another, though he is just now realizing it. I wonder what it will be like when he finds her?”
“Don’t know. I have no real experience in matters of the heart, but I would hope he would find happiness with her,” admitted Kestra.
“So do I. It is hope that he has everything he desires in this world. He means a lot to me, there is nothing I would not give for him.” Bronwyn watched Kestra for a moment.
“Stay with the group for me. As hard as it will be, take in the good from what is to come out of the situation. Invest yourself in being more than you have been and grow.”
Kestra smiled, “I would like to. I hope to.”, her look became a bit more melancholy, “My fear is not staying with the group – you are my friends; but what I may be asked to do to win my freedom. If it hurts you guys or changes me in some fundamental way; I won’t go through with it – even if it means death or enslavement. And if the latter, Lucan will do what must be done. But, otherwise I have every intention of staying with the group, investing myself into becoming a better person. This time of slavery has
enlightened me in many ways.”
She paused, realizing Bronwyn’s tone, “Wait a second. You aren’t going anywhere are you?”
Bronwyn braced her hands on Kestra’s shoulders. “You may be hurt by what you will be asked to do, bit you must not hesitate. I am doing what I have chosen to do. I have been following this path since I was born. It is my destiny to give all that I am fir one I love, it will be cruel no doubt but good will come if it. Trust me and do not hesitate to give him what he asks. I ask you not to tell anyone as it will only cause conflict and the outcome will remain the same. Do this for me Kestra. Please.”
“Very well. I’ll do it,” she said with a mix of compassion for Bronwyn and a sad resignation to fate. She hugged Bronwyn, kissed her on the cheek and went back inside.