“I want to know who he was,” Dagna said to Knight-Captain Cullen. “Before he was made Tranquil. Why was he made Tranquil, anyway? Did he fail his Harrowing?”
Cullen shrugged his shoulders; an odd-looking gesture for a man wearing a suit of heavy armor. “I haven’t a clue. He was Tranquil before I was transferred here as a fresh recruit. It must have been done when he wasn’t too old – twenty, or twenty-five at the latest. Why? Why do you want to know?”
Dagna wanted to know because out of the fifteen waking hours of her day, she spent usually eight of those in the same room as Owain. Not to mention that they slept in the same room as well.
She knew that the Tranquil remembered nothing about their lives before the horrific transformation that removed their contact with the Fade. They had few personal possessions; she knew this because she, in a moment of weakness and curiosity, had snuck a peek into Owain’s footlocker. It held only basic personal care items and clothes, none of which were remarkable or unusual.
When she asked Irving the same questions concerning Owain, she immediately felt somewhat surprised at the reaction these inquiries elicited. She watched as Irving squirmed in his seat, his lips twisting into a line for a moment.
“I always welcome your curiosity and your questions, Dagna,” Irving murmured softly, his face, again, taking on a mask of serenity. “On this subject, however, you would be better off to leave it alone. Many mages don’t appreciate others prying into their private lives. As Owain is incapable of caring whether you do this or not, I must act on his behalf.”
Dagna sensed the reprimand in Irving’s words, but felt driven to know more. “I probably spend more time with him than anyone else in this tower! He can’t decide for himself, so what’s the big deal?”
“The ‘big deal’, as you put it, is that he, and the other Tranquil, are my responsibility,” replied Irving smoothly. “Owain is not shaped by his past, unlike us mages. We can choose whether or not to satisfy your curiosity regarding our lives before we arrived in the tower. Tranquil are Tranquil – no more, no less.” He frowned, but Dagna somehow sensed that this expression came not from what she had said, but something else that had gone unsaid.
And so, the topic went away, and Dagna let it drop, though her curiosity remained. She found herself observing the Tranquil for signs of individuality. Alarisina, a bald woman with a very soft voice, seemed to pause every time she would pass the statue of Andraste, staring at it with the distant, blank gaze characterized by her Tranquil state. Gosorn, an almost skeletal man who swept and scrubbed the stone floors of the tower, always slid his fingers through the streams of water that came from the indoor water pump as he used it to fill his tin bucket.
Owain seemed unconsciously attracted to blue things. It took Dagna the better part of a year to notice this – the blue quills that he kept in the stockroom for his own personal use, the blue ink that he used on ledgers and notices. When he repaired the books that became damaged for various reasons, he always used blue paper and blue linen, and one day, Dagna noticed that his stockings were all knitted with blue yarn.
None of the other Tranquil seemed to be attached to a color in the same way. It was a mystery that would go unsolved, with questions unanswered about a man who remained very much a mystery to Dagna. Their lives and personalities had been stripped from them, but she saw a glimmer – just a small one, of the soul that once used to rest beyond their dead eyes.