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Belwas sat on the edge of his bed fidgeting with the engagement ring Vesa had returned to him and wondering where in Oblivion Soren and Ray were.  He knew Vesa had left and that their friends had gone after her.  Ancano had been gracious enough to tell him that much despite being obviously put out by the whole thing.  But that had been three days ago.

Bel closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose as he sighed deeply.  He couldn’t deny that he’d gotten what he wanted, but it had the double edge of proving the truth of the old adage ”watch what you wish for”.  He should be able to breathe now.  He should feel freer.  All he felt, though, was hollow.  He glanced at the ring again and it occurred to him that he probably deserved it.

Bel considered putting the ring away in a box somewhere, but for some reason, he couldn’t quite name, slipped it onto his pinky instead and went outside to the bridge.  He walked until he reached the mid-point and turned to face Skyrim.  He could barely see Winterhold for all the darkness and falling snow, let alone anything beyond, but he wasn’t paying attention to the scenery anyway.  His closest friends were out there somewhere, probably with Vesa if they’d found her, but if they hadn’t, then only the gods knew where they could be.  Or where she could be.

He thought back to the night in the Frozen Hearth.  He’d been too drunk to see and too drunk to care.  When she’d placed the ring on the table, he’d felt nothing but the same, all-consuming numbness he’d felt for months, with bitterness as its bed partner.  Now, though, sober and with his friends gone, Vesa gone, that numbness was starting to give way beneath the weight of what he knew would be a crushing despair.

Bel knew he had a choice to make.  He could sit here and wait, unknowing, or he could leave the safety of the College and find some answers.  And since action was always more comforting than inaction, answers more so than unknowns, it wasn’t really a choice at all.

Bel headed back inside and to his room feeling less like he’d made a decision and more like the decision had made him.  As he packed what he’d need, he plotted his route.  He’d start at Vesa’s family home.  Most people were inclined to go home in times such as these.  When their world crumbles.  If she wasn’t there, he’d wait.  If she’d been there, he could at least find out if Soren and Ray had caught up to her.  And maybe, he thought, glancing at the ring again, he could leave this in her house somewhere, return it to its rightful owner.  Gods knew he didn’t have any use for it.

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