When Tavia opened her eyes, she found herself in darkness and silence. It was hard to see where she was exactly, a dark room somewhere. The sudden change in location was more than a little alarming, but it was vastly superior to still being in the same place as Ikarios.
She sat up, looking around as she tried her best to remain quiet. Ikarios might not be in the immediate vicinity, but he, or someone else working for him, could be close by. Without really knowing where she was, she couldn't afford to draw attention to herself.
She was lying on the floor, but unlike the hard linoleum of the hallway, this was the rough carpet of what might have been an office, or maybe a really small lab. It was difficult to tell the size of the room with the lights off and the door closed. It was simply too dark to see much of anything.
Had someone saved her? Tavia didn't remember anything after that sword had...had what? What had that even been? She had seen the Artificers with Abram try time and again to get that thing working. She just picked it up and boom, Althier everywhere? That was some kind of joke right? That Ikarios kid had done something, he had to have.
There couldn't be any other explanation. Tavia couldn't use Artifacts.
"Are you awake?" a voice whispered from the darkness.
A yelp escaped Tavia's throat before a hand reached out and covered her mouth.
"Shh," the dark shadow she was just beginning to be able to distinguish from the surrounding darkness said. "You need to stay quiet. We didn't get very far from..."
The voice trailed off. It was hard to tell in the darkness, but the owner of the voice was male, and young. Maybe a little older than Tavia at the most, and filled with worry. She focused on the dark shape moving in front of her. Her eyes were beginning to adjust to the darkness, but she couldn't make out much about him.
Tavia nodded and the man removed his hand. He was crouching nearby; his outline was just barely visible against the darker room, but his features were impossible to make out. If she were to guess, he seemed to have light skin and even lighter hair, but that could have just been a trick the darkness played on her eyes.
"Did you save me?" she asked, keeping her voice to a whisper
The man didn't answer right away, but she wasn't able to see if he was doing something else.
"I guess," he said after a moment. "I'd say you saved yourself, really."
"I think I just got myself into more trouble," Tavia muttered. "Should have just given him what he wanted."
There was a sharp intake of breath from the man.
"You don't honestly believe he was telling the truth, do you?" he asked. "Ikarios is a liar. You can't trust him."
"You know him?" Tavia asked.
Movement that might have been a nod preceded his answer. "Unfortunately, ah, but I'm not his all or anything like that."
"So just who are you?"
"Listen, I don't mind answering the many questions I'm sure you have, but for right now, I think we should focus on getting out of the institute."
The man was probably right, this really wasn't the time or place for questions. She wasn't sure how safe or secure they were in this place, but if they kept talking there was a higher chance they'd be discovered, and Tavia wasn't sure she'd manage to escape from Ikarios again. All that taken into consideration though, there was one thing she needed to know right now.
"I get it, but I'm not going anywhere with you until I know who you are? I was pretty sure all of the staff on this floor were long gone, and you know that Ikarios."
The shadow stood up. He moved to where Tavia assumed the door was and stood still for a long moment. Listening to what was outside, probably.
"Hallway sounds empty," the man said.
Tavia scowled as he blatantly ignored her question. He placed his hand on the panel beside the door and it slid open. Light from the hallway flooded into the room and Tavia blinked, covering her eyes for a moment as the bright lights blinded her. When the pain receded, she uncovered her eyes and looked up at the man standing in the doorway.
Light skin, almost snow white, and hair, short and silver, just as Tavia had guessed. He was slender, and so overwhelmingly light in coloring he seemed almost ethereal. The man looked back at Tavia, frowning as if unsure why she was still sitting. She stood as she took in his face.
Angular features and silver eyes. It was like he had lost all forms of color. He was so pale, Tavia might have called him a ghost, had he not touched her before.
"My name is Evos," he said. "and well," he looked away to the side, "...no, I'm not one of the staff."
Tavia stiffened. Was he one of them? The Wardens, or whatever Ikarios had called them? Wardens of what anyway? Wardens protected things, but Ikarios had ordered an attack on the institute, and despite Tavia's personal feelings toward the place, the people of RIOAR weren't attacking anyone. It seemed like nothing more than a one-sided terrorist attack.
"Ah, I'm not on his side," Evos said.
The emphasis on "his" made it clear who he was talking about, but Tavia wasn't inclined to believe him that easily. Mysterious savior or not, she wasn't naïve enough to think she could just trust him.
Evos watched her with an uneasy expression, as if he wanted to say more, but didn't know how to.
"I know you have questions," he finally said, "but really, we need to get out of here first."
Tavia looked around the room. It was an office after all. A large desk with three chairs, two in front and one behind the desk. There were pictures of a personal nature, someone's family and children, hung on the wall, and a console sat on the desk. Other than that, it was just Evos and Tavia. There wasn't anything else in the room.
"Where's the sword?" she asked.
"Please," he said. "I'll explain everything later."
He gestured toward the hallway, but Tavia took a step backwards. There wasn't anywhere to escape to if he actually was an enemy, but she wasn't about to just do what this mystery man said. She glanced back, but there was no way out but to go past Evos. The office only had one exit and no windows. If Evos did turn on her, there was no way to escape.
"If I wanted to do something to you, I would have done it while you were out," Evos said. "Why wait till you woke up?"
It was a good point. A logical one, but that didn't help the nervous squirming in her chest. When it came to trusting random strangers, Tavia needed a bit more to go on then "I could have hurt you, but I didn't" to trust someone. Though she wasn't sure that she really had much of a choice in this particular situation, not if she actually wanted to escape.
Someone had died to protect that sword. Regardless of whether she could trust Evos or not, she didn't think she could just forget about the sword. She wasn't obligated to make sure Ikarios didn't get or anything like that, but Daina had made sure Tavia got it before she died. It left her with a bitter feeling she didn't like.
"The sword," she said. "Where is it?"
She met Evos's gaze, staring into the pale silver eyes with what she hoped was a strong enough resolution to convince him. If she was to be honest with herself, this was all far beyond her, but a stubborn part of her was keeping her grounded and focused.
Evos sighed, his shoulders slumping in defeat. He looked away for a moment, and then returned his gaze to Tavia.
"That's...well. You see, it's complicated, but I'm the Ageless Sword."