Chapter 78 - Finished
Rowan’s bond with Marcus and Alena led her to the library where she found them in the company of a very grim looking Alderin. She actually spied worry reflected in Alderin’s expression when she entered the room, which turned to relief when she realized Rowan was none the worse for wear.
Their eyes met, and Alderin didn’t need to say anything, Rowan already suspected the night before that Alderin wasn't aware that there was an ulterior motive to the Watcher’s plans. She also noticed that Alderin took in her new attitude with something that might just be pride.
The watchers used and betrayed both of them. A few years earlier it might have been a crippling blow to Rowan, but now she knew she should've expected it. She wasn’t naïve, and she realized what these people represented.
Alderin hadn’t expected it, and Rowan felt sorry for her. Alderin dedicated her life to the Watchers, and Rowan suspected that after the stunt they pulled, Alderin questioned their motives toward her as well. She was different, and that made her a useful tool, but it didn’t make her one of them.
Rowan glanced at Alena, and a slight frown touched her brow as she noted a slight coolness in Alena’s manner toward her. She sensed the distance in their bond too. Alena was angry at her and with good reason.
“You were politely asked to leave,” Alderin announced with a small grimace, but this wasn’t news to her guests, they expected nothing less.
“We have what we needed,” Alena bit out with a slight note of testiness to her voice, and Alderin gracefully accepted Alena’s attitude.
“When Alderin made this deal with me, she had no idea what her masters planned,” Rowan felt obliged to say.
“I thought she read minds?” Alena countered, and Rowan almost smiled. Once they were away from this place, Alena intended to have a little conversation between sisters; Rowan guessed that much from Alena’s attitude.
“They teach Most Watchers to control their thoughts. If they cannot, then they’re not Watcher material. Most of them are barely adept, but the elders can hide their thoughts even from Alderin. A long time ago a human like her, almost caused their downfall, and they learned from their mistake,” Rowan felt obliged to explain, and took advantage of the opportunity Alena’s words provided.
Alderin was clearly unfamiliar with this story, but she would make sure to find out. Rowan had chosen her words with care so Alderin would realize why the elders didn’t trust her with their secrets.
They gathered what they brought with them and what they transcribed. Alderin did them the courtesy of fetching them horses, and they were ready to go.
They would need to hurry; Rowan thought as she gauged how high the moon sat in the sky. She turned to climb her horse and found Alderin in her way, looking grim.
“Forget about it,” Rowan soothed, and Alderin shook her head.
“It wasn’t just about you Rowan,” Alderin bit out, and there was so much inner pain there. Rowan nodded, it’s the first time Alderin called her by her real name. Angel was an immature child, and this awakening was a fitting end to her former life.
When Rowan joined the Watchers, she hated her name because Victor chose it for her. Hearing it come from Alena’s lips had scored her soul at first, and angered her, but she was never really Angel either.
It’s true what they say about names; they define people, and Rowan represented the woman she had grown into, while Angel had become a bad memory. Angel was what she would be without her new family.
Rowan reached out her hand to Alderin, and the woman shook it firmly before she reached covertly into her cloak and passed Rowan a small parcel which Rowan secreted into her own cloak.
“Sometimes, we fear what we should trust and trust what we should fear. Familiarity breeds contempt, and I forgot that; I also forgot that sometimes it’s enough to be different. I will always be your friend,” Alderin was both earnest and intense. The words carried a conviction that Rowan didn't doubt and Rowan nodded before she mounted her horse.
They rode swiftly off, and Rowan never glanced back. She considered this chapter of her life as finished, and she would never return to it.
Rowan would miss Claire and regretted not having the opportunity to say goodbye. She would even miss Alderin, although she suspected Alderin would not remain with the Watchers after what happened. Unfortunately, that would leave Claire on her own, but Alderin couldn’t trust the Watchers anymore.
Rowan's experience taught her that if you trust in people with such absolute conviction, and they betray you with callous disregard which reveals their true feelings, then there is no way to trust them again. The Watchers would see nothing wrong with what they did, and since Alderin no longer believed their motives, she would question everything about them, but also her life. She needed a clean break and a new start.