Avaliana scrolled into the tavern just outside of Quicksilver College. Though not carrying her normal cargo of shipments for Davek the barkeep, she took a free seat and ordered a round of food and drink. There were always some familiar faces at the tavern, but today it was fairly quiet. The summer festivities had everyone out and about. She enjoyed the heat as always, but Avaliana preferred the drier heat of the deserts rather than the humid climate of Silverwood. Listening in to some of what her fellows discussed, Avaliana noticed a common phrase. "With whom have you sided?" Why would a bunch of Guardians ask such a thing? Were they not all on the same side?
"Sorry," she finally asked a nearby Dwarf. "But what are you all talking about?" The dwarf was all too happy to describe a series of sporting battles between Ascended. Some sought to protect all of Telara and the cosmos from evil while others believed they should rule with their great powers. Others still remain indifferent and believed in a philosophical approach to striking down fellow Ascended for good sportsmanship. Avaliana didn't dwell on it too much as she noticed a timid Tashwen and Manluas enter the tavern. Ascended beating each other up for bragging rights did little to interest her.
While she knew Tashwen to have...curious ways at times [she had not forgotten the random mouse nibbling incident], Tashwen was normally fine. Today however she made a show of hiding behind her silent husband.
A quick inquiry clarified why the fellow rogue was acting like she was being hunted down - at some point, Tashwen had overdone it and upset Davek to the point of being asked to leave. Avaliana liked gossip, but other than some clear glance of angry sent Tashwen's way, she didn't know much abut what was actually done and figured it best not to pry. Leaving the pair to talk with the others gathered by the table, Avaliana rose to pick up her order. Around the same time, Manluas, by request of his wife, walked to the bar counter to place an order. It would seem Davek was quick to grasp that the order was meant for the cleric's wife and he immediately ordered her to leave. Whether this statement angered Manluas was unclear, but what was clear was his reaction. Pulling a lengthy whip with metal spikes from his parcel, Manluas threatened the elven barkeep with it. While he never struck Davek outright, the cracking of the whip against the floor was enough to anger Avaliana.
"Put that thing away, Manluas! At least behave like a decent Ascended."
In her mind, Davek had every reason to refuse to serve someone, even if the person was a friend. Manluas however saw his view as just, citing that Davek had the gall to serve Defiants in the tavern after they had killed several of the guards stationed around Argent Glade. The truth of that was one Avaliana could not confirm but there was no ban on who Davek could serve in his place of business. What did serving a thirsty Bahmi have to do with not wanting to serve a High Elf that had wronged the owner? She was impressed by Davek's initial declaration to refuse an Ascended rather than merely bow. He had his pride. Sadly he also knew fighting Manluas would be a one way ticket to the soulstream.
The two bickered back and forth about who was the bigger coward, the one who chose to impose his view regardless of popular opinion or the one who felt it was unfair to push the uneven weight of an Ascended down on one who could never fight back. The argument did not come to proper conclusion, but when Avaliana eventually left the tavern, she had a new insight on why the Vigil may have brought her back.
For all the power the Ascended now have, the Vigil was not terribly clear on how that power was to be used. Most of it was trial and error with some guidance from the Messenger of the Vigil. Once all the dragons are slain, once all the evils have been purged, what are these immortals supposed to do with themselves? It would seem other Ascended, both Guardian and Defiant, have asked themselves this very question.
Avaliana did not want to shelter anyone. Had she maintained the sheltered life her birth parents wanted her to have, Avaliana might have died well before they moved to Port Scion. One can't hide all evil from the world. It would cut into trading time and she felt the people of Telara knew better. Fighting to learn what it means to be an Ascended was a personal inner battle, not one for the battlefield. Seeing how Manluas treated a mere civilian made her realize that the Ascended of today had the power to be the demons of tomorrow, preying on the weak and able who simply could not match their might just like Alsbeth and Kain. There would always be one Ascended too drunk on their own power, and the people would suffer for it unless there was someone there to arm them, to teach them how to defend if need be against a foe that could not die.
Avaliana felt she could be one of those beings. An Ascended leader of the people. Someone who could bring Telara together so such nonsense over sides could be done with. The Ascended should not be at each others' throats nor at the throats of non-Ascended who could not fairly fight them; the Vigil did not return them to be bullies. They should be taking in those who can only fight once and train them. Ascended of sound mind from both the Guardians and the Defiants could bring their peoples together as one kingdom. They should lead them so that when the Ascended ride into battle, all of Telara is there to fight with them.