The Little Mage
“Don’t let her get too far away. If she runs off, I’m not taking the blame for this.”
Xavier shook his head, sick and tired of listening to Fionn talk about how much he hated mages, how this young girl was too dangerous to be allowed to walk around. The younger templar would often say that she was getting too far away, though in reality the little mage girl — who Xavier still hadn’t been able to coax a name out of, and her parents were too busy crying about losing their daughter to even talk — was as about as harmless as he had been when he was her age. Probably even lesser so, because he could remember going through a phase of kicking people in the shins when he was around the six-year mark.
“Oh, please. She’s just a little girl. A nameless one, yes, but I am working on that. Anyway, she’s six. I’m more of a danger to you than she is. And trust me, I’m not just saying that. If you carry on treating her like she’s about to explode and wipe out the whole of the bloody planet, instead of like a child who is probably scared and confused, you’re not getting back to Kirkwall without a few broken bones,” Xavier warned. Fionn made some sound along the lines of a ‘tchh’ and rolled his eyes, but Xavier didn’t pay him much attention. Having stopped in the middle of the road to tell Fionn exactly what he thought, the little girl had actually wandered a decent way away. The pair had to jog slightly to catch up with her, and for once, Xavier was happy to be forced to wear the armour of the no-ranked templar.
“We’re almost back to Kirkwall, you know,” he said once he’d caught up with her. “Do you want to tell me your name soon? So I can tell the First Enchanter? I’m sure you don’t like the idea of being called mage for the rest of your life.” He offered his hand, and after a moment of hesitation, the girl took it. “Or I could name you, if you’d like? I mean, I don’t really like calling people ‘mage’ since you’re still a person. Although, I don’t really like the idea of naming you either. I’m definitely not your father. Or your mother. At least I hope I’m not your mother.” That earned a smile from the young girl, even a little laugh. Which was progress, really. After a little while of Xavier trying to win her over with jokes and even resorting to ‘if you tell me your name, I might even let you sit on my shoulders for the rest of the way,’ while Fionn ‘tchhed’ an awful lot, the girl introduced herself. And then Annie spent the rest of the trip to Kirkwall on Xavier’s shoulders.
It was a shame, really, wasn’t it? That he was taking her to the one city where mages seemed to be at their craziest. He mentioned something about wishing she could have gone to Ostwick instead, when he was back in the templar barracks reading and Fionn had interrupted with some cruel comment about how she’d probably end up going mad. He even opened his mouth to say that Xavier would probably be the one who had to kill her at her Harrowing, but he only got halfway through the sentence before Xavier gave him a look that shut him up for the rest of the day.