Savyrius sat down close to the fire. While the weather in Divinity’s Reach never reached the freezing point, the day was cold. The wind came from the east and carried the cold from the Shiverpeaks into Kryta. Savyrius knew it would take another few days before the cold wind would leave Kryta.
Another gust of cold wind entered the bar as someone opened the door. Savyrius heard heavy boots walking towards the bar. The new patron was wearing a full armor set and took off the helmet. Savyrius glanced sideways and saw long dark hair falling down.
“A glass of your finest wine, please.” She said to the bartender. She put down the helmet on the bar stool next to her and did up her hair.
“One of your favorites. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen you here, Tenise. I’m glad to see you’re still in one piece and that your face is unscathed. Wouldn’t want that pretty face mutilated.” The bartender said with a laugh.
“Always the charmer, Byron. That’s why I always wear my helmet, you know that. Just to please you.” She winked and took a sip of her wine.
“How are things at home?”
“Ah, ever busy with the three little ones at home. Amanda is always asking when you’re coming back. She misses playing with you. I tell her she should find more friends her age. And boys will be boys. They’re troublemakers, but Suzanna keeps them in check. One of them still has an imprint of her hand on his bottom, haha.” The bartender’s laugh overtook the entire bar and people turned around to see what was going on.
“Sir, could I have another beer?” asked Savyrius. The bartender turned to him and said “Sure thing”. Savyrius followed the actions of the man as he poured the beer. He caught the woman looking in his direction. She raised her glass and smiled at him. Savyrius received his pint and raised it to her.
She went back to her conversation with the bartender and he stared at his beer like it was the most interesting thing in the world. He had noticed the unusual colour of her eyes. That combined with her dark hair and tanned skin, he guessed she was also from Elonian descent. He knew his ancestor was the hero of Elona. Savyrius had inherited her affinity with magic and her name Savyr Belain. She’d moved to Lion’s Arch after her adventures. The family had settled there and only moved just before the initial attack on Lion’s Arch a few decades ago.
He looked at her again. She was charismatic and showed poise even while wearing heavy armor. He realised she needed more in her life than socialising and backroom politics.
He focused on his pint again, afraid that he’d come off as a creep staring at a pretty woman.
Dinner time was approaching and a group of men left to have some family time. The bartender moved to clean up their table.
“I don’t see a lot of people from Elonian descent here.” The woman started talking to Savyrius.
“How do you know?” He looked up, surprised that she knew who he was.
“I try to stay informed even when I’m gone.” She said and winked at him.
Savyrius’ mouth fell open and he gaped at her for several seconds. The woman took another sip of her drink.
“I go where the wind takes me, but Divinity’s Reach will always be home.” He said, eventually looking at his pint again.
“I hope you don’t go where this wind is coming from. You’ll freeze to death,” she joked.
“No, it was actually the wind that brought me here, where it’s warm.” Savyrius smiled.
“I’m kidding though. I don’t know much, but I do know about you. My grandmother told me about other Elonian families that settled here. She told me there was one family that had a close connection with nature and the elements. They have more Krytan blood mixed with theirs than my family and maybe even Canthan blood. I became curious and I wanted to see who they were. I saw you when you were a kid, trying out a basic spell. I never thought I’d see you again. We meet again.” The woman turned towards him and held out her hand. “I’m Tenise Williams. I serve the people of Kryta and will do anything to protect Divinity’s Reach.”
Savyrius shook her hand and said, “My name is Savryius Belain, but you probably already knew that.” He smiled at her and saw her smile in return. He noticed how soft her hands were as she let go.
“Your hands are soft, As if you’ve never used a weapon before.” He realised he’d said something stupid and he turned away from her. “I’m sorry, it’s none of my business.” To his surprise she started laughing.
“You’re right. I keep my hands soft, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never wielded a weapon before. I don’t engage in close combat often and prefer the staff and sceptre. As a guardian I have my own set of magic spells to heal injuries. But I also know how to keep beauty around. I’m probably much older than you think I am.”
“Well, I’m twenty-six. If you saw me as a boy, and you were older, I’d say you’re in your late thirties?” he asked with caution. Asking about a woman’s age is always risky. His grandmother and mother punished him often enough to stop mentioning age around them. He bet on the safe side. Younger than he actually thought.
Tenise bursted out in laughter. “Byron, did you hear what he said? He actually thinks I’m in my late thirties. It’s a nice compliment though.” The bartender was washing glasses and turned around when he heard his name.
“Kid, she could’ve been your mother. She used to babysit me when I was a toddler.” Byron’s smile revealed a few black holes where teeth used to be. “Her healing powers affect her aging. How she does it, no one knows. It might be one of the best kept secrets in all of Kryta. I heard Queen Jennah requested regular anti-aging sessions, but Tenise said she couldn’t do it. She would’ve been even richer than she is now.”
“Hey, you don’t have to give away all of my secrets. A woman needs some air of mystery around her, otherwise she loses her power and charisma.” Tenise snapped at the bartender, but he just waved away, laughing. He turned back to the dishes and whispered something about asking for it.
Savyrius looked at her with surprise. He never expected his guess to be off by so much. Her hair was a shiny dark brown and didn’t show any sign of white or gray hairs. Her skin was wrinkle free and probably as smooth as a baby’s bottom. If she’d said she was his age, he would’ve believed her without a doubt.
“Oh please, close your mouth. It’s rude to stare at a person like that.” Tenise waved her hand at him. She asked Byron for another glass of the same wine and a light snack. She picked up one of the egg rolls from the platter Byron put on the bar and bit off the end.
Savyrius finished his glass, left coin on the bar and wanted to walk away, but Tenise ordered him to stay a little longer. He didn’t know what she wanted of him, but he also didn’t dare to go against her wishes. He felt slightly intimidated by her, even when he had no reason to feel threatened. Maybe it was the air of authority with which she talked to him. He waited on his stool until she finished her egg rolls.
Tenise took her time to finish her light dinner. She didn’t look at him at all. Byron leaned forward to Savyrius and explained that Tenise doesn’t like to be disturbed while she’s eating. It was best to wait and then ask why he had to stay.
The woman paid, grabbed her helmet to put on and gestured Savyrius to follow her. “You better work some of that fire magic of yours before you freeze to death.” she said. The moment the two walked out of the tavern an icy wind greeted them. Savyrius lit his inner flame to keep him warm. His robe wasn’t going to be enough with a Shiverpeaks wind blowing through the city.
He followed her, but she wouldn’t say where they were going. “Somewhere warm”, that’s all she said. They walked through Divinity’s Reach until they reached the Elonian quarter. That wasn’t the official name, but most of the inhabitants of this district had an Elonian ancestor. They’d grouped together when Divinity’s Reach was first built, all sharing a common ancestry.
They walked along a walled garden that had a mansion hiding behind it. Tenise stopped in front of the ironwrought fence. It was obviously made by charr hands, but with grace and elegance. The fence was decorated with flowers and small animals not found in Kryta. He guessed they were from Elona.
“We’re here.” Tenise said as she took off her helmet and opened the door. “Welcome to my house.”
They passed through the hall and turned right. There they were met by an icy glare.
“This is Keeva. He helps me out when I’m not here. He knows everything about this library. You’re welcome to come here any time and Keeva will let you in and help you, should you need his help.” Tenise said introducing a tall, dark-skinned man with a sour look on his face. Savyrius noticed that the man didn’t have any facial hair. Not even eyebrows or eyelashes. It made him look even scarier. Tenise guided Savyrius into the library and whispered “Don’t mind his looks. He looks scary when he doesn’t smile, but he’s the sweetest man in the world.”
“Are you.. Is he..?” Savyrius stammered.
“What? My lover? My husband? Haha, none of that. We have a history together, but nothing intimately. I’ll let you figure it out yourself. If you read enough of these books, you’ll know.” She winked at the young man.
Savyrius looked at the shelves they passed: all of them held thick tomes, from the floor all the way to the six foot high ceiling. He knew the Durmand Priory had a grand library, the vault of all their knowledge and research, but this had to be the biggest private library in Kryta. “Why have I never heard of this library before?” he asked his host.
“I only show this to people who I trust and who will appreciate its contents. This is the life’s work of my family and many others. I’m sure we have some contributions from your family as well. I’ll have Keeva look it up, if you’re interested.”
They reached a wooden reading table covered in notes, pens, ink bottles and books. Tenise walked around the table and picked up a book. She handed it to Savyrius. “Check page 84.”
He turned to page 84 and saw his family tree. His own name was listed at the bottom.