(right.)

What… am… I?

The beast towered over me, perched on its clawed toes, its twisted and ugly flesh covered in layers of sharp, smooth black carapace. It looked oily. Monstrous. It had horns on its head and beady, glowing eyes that bore into mine and seemed so familiar. As familiar as a mirror.

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2

dedicated to @estherroberts 🖤

i’d like to think bridget kept some remembrances of esther, and maybe once in a while she even fondly reminisces about their schoolgirl days

9

part i

beta’d and edited by curagas <3

alright, i feel like i need to explain some stuff here so… this whole thing is like a counterpart to “loose ends”, where inaho was dying instead. and this time inaho really regretted that he had forced slaine to live from the start. it’s all because that, after all the time they had together, he began to respect slaine as a person rather than just some kind of responsibility he had to bear. 

happy ending, right?

Arguably the best feeling in the world is when you read, watch, see or listen to something and you have this little “Aha!” moment of “SO THAT’S WHERE THAT MEME COMES FROM!" 

You’d never thought to question it before, but now your life just makes so much more sense. You understand why your friend said that thing or what context the meme is from. You understand the reference. You belong.

Her hair was like burnished copper, streaked with flaming shafts of radiance cast by the dying sun, bleeding red on the horizon.  The splotch of freckles thrown across her dewy skin was filtered rubicund in this light, eerily reminiscent of splattered plasma thrown across the ridge of her nose, her cheeks.  There were colorful feathers in her hair, woven into the straight waterfall of red, and these, too, (even polychromatic as they were) had caught the light and sparked crimson.

He did not even need to utter a command to his sentinels — those few that remained had already splayed out, moving wraithlike through the long shadows cast by the charred remains of the Dalish aravels.  He knew already what they would find — or what they wouldnt

Abelas might have glanced down at the artifact taken into his care — an ancient elvhen device, older than himself.  Older, perhaps, than Arlathan itself, but not even he could  not ascertain all its secrets, not even from this artifact with which he had once been so familiar.

{ perhaps it was no wonder he had been led
here, to the ruin of the People, to this girl—
}

—But he did not need to look.  The artifact had brought him to this place, and the girl would lead him in turn.  He knew that she was the last of the People that lingered here, in this place that had once been full of life.  It was now little more than a graveyard, and Falon’Din had long ago abandoned his charges to the Void.

Whatever could be gleaned from this smoking ruin of a camp would be information alone — the only survivor stood before him, her eyes bright and intelligent.  Yet Abelas was old, and he could read in the youth that which was not advertised in words.  Her eyes showed the fear that she would not admit, and he looked down at the blood on his hands.  It was hours old, dried into pitch and flecked off the oxidized bronze of his gauntlets.  The symbolism was already enough to twist his gut, to curl his lips into something bitter and cruel — but he did not.  He was as stoic as a carved slab of veined marble, even as the metallic tinge of blood sat heavy in the air.

There was a pregnant silence between them, and the former sentinel knelt with deliberate slowness.  His eyes were nearer to level with her own, and he captured her with the focused intensity of his gaze.  The artifact had given him a vision of this girl, saved only by the virtue of luck - or fate - and pinned as her own mother had bled out over her.  The enemy had not seen.  And so she lived, even as the others had died.  Abelas was not one to be moved by feelings of pity, but he did understand what it was to be alone and without a people.  Without purpose.

“You’ve a destiny, da’len."   He would not offer her words of comfort.  Nothing he could do would censure the pain, the unjustice done her.  The maddened apostate he had slain — possessed, and leading a bad of marauders — would not undo, in death, the horrors they had committed in life.  There was only the assurance that they would trouble only her memories.  Nothing more.  "Nothing can take that destiny from you.”

In his piety - or his z e a l o t r y - he was confident that Mythal’s hand had guided him here.  He knew not what role this girl might play in the unfolding story that was yet to come — but he was certain of her definite place in it.  Abelas had never believed himself the foci around which all things necessarily pivoted.  He had been pledged to the goddess’ service as a youth, and in it he would stay, he felt, as long as he drew breath.  Even when there was no clear place for him, not in this brave new world — he would stay.

Beneath long red lashes, her eyes were large and clear.  There were doubts, he was sure, that must have churned within her, but any sign of it could not be seen.  To his tremendous surprise, she reached out and enfolded his hand within her own, no longer afraid.  She was not beholden to sorrows, as he was.  Even in the midst of all this death, she had found reason to smile — she had seen a stranger do her a kindness, and she would see it returned in time.  It was not something that Abelas could fully comprehend, this elasticity of spirit.  This hope that she carried, burning brightly, in her breast.

“I know.” She said.  “My name is Sanaa.”

And her words were laden with the promise of change.