Tamarack was having a hard time settling for the night. Sleep wouldn't come, so she wriggled out of her bedroll and paced restlessly. She kept on going through conversations with Kiana in her head, and thinking of creative ways to torture Chargurt in between.
Taylar had first watch, so she decided she might as well join him. She wanted to pick his brain a little anyway.
"Taylar?" she hissed, having wandered a few paces away from the sleeping group and not finding him immediately.
“Yep” answered Taylar his voice barely above a whisper. He was sitting invisibly a few feet behind Tamarack, but he appeared as he spoke.
Taylar was fiddling with a tight braid of green hair which seemed to writhe and twitch all on it’s own.
“Having trouble sleeping? It’s been an odd day.” As he spoke he stuffed the braid of hair into his breast pocket.
Tam nodded several times firmly. “Odd is only the beginning of it. It’s been the worst day—the worst ever.” She sat down on the ground with a huff. “I can’t abide this whole mess. I know Ki’s been talking with you—I want to know what you know.”
“I cannot say that I know much. I know about Kianna and Chargurt.” Taylar mocks vomiting into his lap. “I know Kianna is going through a phase. But I also know that she is feeling”, Taylar pauses to seek confirmation of a word from Simeon, “patronized. I know some thing about that psycho horse and I know that she has recently achieved a boost in power which seems to make her almost Varden’s equal as a spell-caster.”
“Kianna wants to be seen as an adult, but she isn’t one yet. She has some serious power, more than someone dealing with becoming an adult should. We definitely need to be a little cautious with her based on the amount of power she could bring to bear if she gets truly upset.
“With us lot and Saite as examples she has definitely grown up with some funny assumptions and beliefs, but that is just the way of it.”
Tamarack sighed deeply, massaging her temples. “I’ve been trying to prepare myself for her becoming an adult… I knew it was coming. But all of a sudden—like this? We’ve always been able to share everything. I don’t understand why she would suddenly need to be… secretive… about this. I don’t understand why she’s so angry with me. And I really don’t understand why she thought she had to aim so low as to go to the one old lecher in town who would be guaranteed not to refuse a pretty young maiden.” She looked up, the corners of her mouth trembling slightly. “I know a lot of people are afraid of her… even her own family, afraid enough to cast her out. But she’s not a monster. She’s special. Gods know I’m not the mothering type, but dammit I did my best! I never wanted her to be like me. She could do worse than to take after old Tam, I s’pose, but… I thought that, if nothing else, I taught her that she was better. Better than other girls… better than me… better than all of Skyhold, even. And how she’s debased herself—it’s horrifying!”
Taylar looked at Tamarack. “Spending time with us has taught her that she doesn’t need to be tied to a man, to a stove, to a boring job, to a rack of babies. That she doesn’t need to watch every copper and horde every silver piece. Surely her actions show that we have taught her to be liberated. When you were her age did you treat sharing a bed with a man as debasing yourself? I agree she chose poorly, but maybe she picked such a strange bed-mate because she knew that it couldn’t go anywhere. If she flitted around with young boys she could break their hearts, but to Chargurt a tumble was only ever going to be a tumble. When I was young a number of gangs used to take their young members to see an old ‘earth maiden’, she was gap toothed, she smelt, and she wasn’t good to look at, but she would give the poor little mites a physical education in what bedding was all about; and no I didn’t go before you start thinking that. Maybe this was just her wanting a lesson in the way these things are supposed to go. If she had found a young hunk her own age, one of the logging camp lads for example, can you imagine how crushed she would be if he turned her down for being a freak? When we get back I can ask Sarah, she spends some time talking with Kiana they seem to share a flair for fashions and things of that kind.”
“Fashions…” Tam repeated bitterly. “Mayhap I shouldn’t have called her a slut, but what’s a body meant to think, the way she’s been lately?” She sighed again, the bitterness melting away. There was something in what Taylar had said, but she would never have thought that Kiana would be so simple-minded as to go to a dirty old man for a ‘lesson’ like some common curious adolescent. Kiana was far from common, and perhaps only Tamarack had insight into just how uncommon. But there was no way for her to put their relationship into words. She wasn’t sure she wanted to. It had seemed like something sacred, something wholly unique. And now she knew that only Kiana could say what was in Kiana’s head.
“We’ll see,” she finally concluded. “Maybe I should have a go at talking to her myself. Gods know I can’t abide this feud for much longer. Every scowl from that pretty little brow runs me through like a rusty blade. No—I can’t bear it no more.”
“I have heard brats in the street telling their parents that they hate them because they want to go on playing, or because the parent turns down a request for cakes or candy. I think all bonds of guidance ends up with at least some of the rusty blade feelings. What is more, is that as children get to be adults they begin to resent the guidance which they need so much. And adopted kids have a nasty twist of the knife in the fact that their parent isn’t actually their parent.
“If you think of all the normal hassles that children have growing up, especially young girls dealing with such things combining urges with societal restrictions, then you add in the fact that her own parents rejected her so she could be pushing to see at what point you will snap and reject her, then you add that she has magic, then you add that she had a unique bond to Zaomancy and Dargos creatures.”
Tamarack looked at Taylar, surprised at his insight. “I’d never give up on that kid. I guess it’s time for me to prove it.” She squeezed his shoulder gently. “Thanks, pup. I never woulda’ thought of you as a dad type, but maybe you’ll make a good one someday.”
“That’s the plan once the Dargos threat is dealt with.” Taylar touched Simeon’s slightly glowing hilt silently thanking his friend for his support through this conversation. “You know, it might be worth thinking about what Kianna wants to be called, for example, it is very easy for us to get used to calling her kid, or kitten, or whatever. When youngsters become adults they often want to reinvent themselves. If we will never give up on her then surely she can never be spoiled or debased?”
Tamarack gave a slow smile and nodded.