The two newcomers were taken quietly to Candle Adaar’s chambers under the cover of darkness.
As soon as the door had closed behind them Candle turned to one of the pair and said confidently, “You’ll be Hawke.” There was no mistaking the Champion’s distinctively scarred and tattooed face, which after all had appeared on wanted posters across the continent. No one had mentioned to Candle the Champion’s stooped figure or twisted shoulders, though.
Hawke cocked her head upward to look up at Candle. Her smile was brief and tense, and Candle caught a flash of broken teeth. “Tyb,” she said. “Please.”
Candle inclined her head in acknowledgment before continuing, “And the Hero of Ferelden, yeah?”
The Elf stood a little taller. She nodded silently. There was a pause before she added, “Darlyn Tabris.” She was tiny even for an Elf, though Candle didn’t sense any sort of fragility in that smallness.
“Candle Adaar,” Candle said. “I’m the Inquisitor, I guess you’d say.” She made a face to show that she knew how pretentious that sounded.
“Is that a joke?” Darlyn asked. Candle couldn’t tell how she meant it. Her tone wasn’t hostile but it wasn’t exactly jovial either. Later, Candle would learn that Darlyn had trouble recognizing humor.
Right now she was mildly confused, but tried to play it off. “Well, just between us the idea of me being in charge of anything - especially something as high and mighty as an Inquisition - seems like a bloody damn joke to me.”
Hawke laughed. “I know that feeling,” she said.
But the Elf was frowning. She shook her head, and started to say “I meant the -” but seemed to get stuck there, stuttering over the last word repeatedly. Her frown deepened, but it was an inward-looking sort of frown, and Candle didn’t feel as though it was directed at her. Finally Darlyn brought on hand to her forehead and swept it down the left side of her face.
Candle understood at once. “My scars,” she said, running her own hand down the angry red flesh that covered much of that side of her face, and Darlyn nodded again. “Is the name Candle a joke, because I’ve been burnt, yeah?”
The Elf nodded again. A sort of formidableness was conveyed in the gesture; she didn’t seem embarrassed by her inability to articulate the question, only a bit annoyed. Candle thought she’d like the Warden.
She was not especially self-conscious about the scars themselves - in any case, Tyb’s was arguably worse - but usually she didn’t like to be asked about it. This was a question that she’d been asked so many times that by now she was thoroughly bored with it, but coming from Darlyn she found it didn’t bother her much.
“The name came first,” she said, and explained briefly how years ago she had used her magic to make lights for the smaller street kids, so they wouldn’t have to be afraid of the dark. “The rest was just an unlucky conquincidence, I guess.”
The Warden shrugged and cast her eyes away from Candle’s. She seemed disappointed by the answer, and though Candle didn’t understand exactly why at the time she would come to understand it was because Darlyn had been pleased with the idea that she’d caught a joke.
Candle stepped toward the pair, offering her hand, and Darlyn took two jerky steps back away in the same instant that Tyb came forward to intercept. She shifted her staff, which she had been leaning on, from one hand to another to take Candle’s hand. The grip was fragile, and Candle could feel a tremor in the fingers. Candle was careful with it.
As they shook hands, the brief, anxious smile made its appearance on the Champion’s face again, but there was something firmer in her eyes. It was a reprimand and a warning, and Candle made a mental note not to try to touch Darlyn again.
“We’ve got a lot to talk about,” Tyb said. She gestured with her staff toward some chairs in corner. “Let’s sit down, alright? My knee is killing me.” Darlyn was moving before Tyb had even finished speaking, and Tyb followed after more slowly, one leg dragging.
Candle paused, admiring how skillfully Tyb had managed the situation, before joining them.