"Her name is Evelyn Beatrix Andraste Trevelyan," her mother proclaimed to the Chantry mother accepting the sleeping child. The carriage had put her to sleep long ago, and her mother was relieved to be spared the otherwise inevitable tears that would have come at parting.
"That is a very unusual name," began the Revered Mother, slightly shocked.
"She was a gift from the Maker's bride herself," Lady Trevelyan cut in, "and her name was chosen to reflect that. It declares her family's devotion and reverence."
The Revered Mother looked solemn. It was hard on a child to be raised as a symbol, but she had seen it before. They tended to either rebel outright or embrace the objectification fanatically.
"I feel I should warn you that Evelyn was not happy about leaving home. She is likely to be quite emotional when she realizes that we have arrived and left. But such a parting would do neither of us any good. She knows her duty to the Maker and she needs to learn to submit to it."
The Revered Mother inwardly cringed. She could see this little one's life stretched out in front of her, and couldn't help but pity her. "As you say, my Lady. We will see her settled in the dormitory with the other girls, then."
"Yes," and Lady Trevelyan looked relieved at her efficiency, "There is no sense in prolonging the inevitable. We will be in the village until tomorrow morning if you need to reach us, and will write regularly, of course. Not often, no point in distracting Evelyn from her studies, but regularly. She is a Trevelyan, after all." She hesitated, briefly, letting her mask drop. "She sometimes has night terrors, Mother. Spiders and the like, running after her. If that happens, don't wake her, just hold her. She can get quite violent if awakened, and it just prolongs the nightmare."
The Mother nodded. "I'm not unfamiliar with such dreams, though," she hesitated, not wanting to offend, "you are sure that she is not a mage?" Just last month a child had been taken to the Circle after freezing all the windows shut in midsummer.
Lady Trevelyan looked shocked, and a little bitter, "None of my children are Magi! Are you suggesting..."
"Not at all my Lady," the Mother soothed. "I should not have said anything."
"Quite right, I will take my leave then." The room seemed warmer after she left, and the mother carried the little one to the outbuilding that housed the Chantry's children. Settled safely in a cot, the little one didn't wake, and the Mother wasn't sure if that was a blessing or a hardship. Perhaps, it was both.
"Evelyn Beatrix And..."
"Don't call me that!" Her fist slammed into the little bitch's face, bloodying her nose, surprisingly enough. The brat ran off crying to find a Sister. No doubt to tattle and receive sympathy. Asta, as she insisted on being called - Maker, who wouldn't, given her other options - was used to this. This girl was new. The others had learned that the normally studious and quiet girl could be brought to peak temper with the simple mention of her name. Soon after they learned to leave her alone. This was the first time she had drawn blood, though.
Asta was always alone when she was at the Chantry. Her Great Aunt Lucille had her visit occasionally, and had provided her with lessons in deportment and dancing, but those had been curtailed when her parents had learned of her reluctance in weapons training. She was supposed to be training to be a Templar, but instead of spending the time necessary to learn those skills, she mostly had her head in a book, tome or scroll. Even her mother was pleased at her erudition, but they still wrote rarely, and when they did the letters were filled with words like duty and sacrifice.
Asta had learned early to despise one and scorn the other.
"I will have to write to your parents, Evelyn,"
"Don't. Call. Me. That." Asta said through clenched teeth.
"Nonsense, your parents gave you a name before the Maker and I will use it."
"I won't answer to it," Asta said, almost by reflex, thinking more about the latest publication by Genitivi and how it corresponded to what she knew about the Daughters of Song than what the Mother was actually trying to talk to her about.
Realizing this, the Revered Mother leaned onto her hand, hiding her eyes and sighed, "Asta, sometimes we do not get to choose our own fate. You need to accept this, cease this rebellion. Your research is dangerously close to heresy, child, and your destiny as an initiate is at stake. What would you do, where would you go, if you didn't have the Chantry? You've been here for most of your life. You are more than intelligent. Think of the good you could do, turned to a constructive purpose, instead of undermining everything that the Chantry stands for."
The words had penetrated Asta's preoccupation, "What, by donning a chastity belt, shunning elves and dwarves, imprisoning and torturing mages, leading Templars into addiction, all while singing nothing but the edited, censored and abridged version of the chant? Because you know they took all the interesting parts out and banned them. Oh yes, quite a fat lot of good that does."
"Your parents have insisted that you be sent to the Divine's conclave. They have no idea of the misbehavior or the heretical research you've been involved in. I have tried to keep it from them all these years, but even in Ostwick they have been hearing rumors. My child, you want to make a difference? This conclave is the first and only real chance for peace between the Templars and mages since that... insane, misguided abomination blew up Kirkwall's Chantry. At your parent's insistence, and against my better judgement, we are sending you." The audience over, the Mother stood, and motioned for Asta to leave her.
Asta smiled. The Chantry might send her to the conclave, but it didn't mean she would stay.
Finally, a way out.