“Careful, Neris! I just finished that one, we don’t want to smudge it right away,” Vallera said, pushing the freshly painted mask to the side as she shifted to accommodate her daughter on her lap.
“Mamae, hahren said that I could be at the dance!”
“Did he, now? Then you need a mask, da’len.” She planted a quick kiss on the top of Neris’s head. “Do you remember hahren’s lessons about the gods?”
“Why?” Neris asked tentatively.
“Well, because for the wolf dance in the new year, the children wear masks of vallaslin. Which of the gods do you favor, hmm?” Vallera waited as Neris pouted and looked away from her eyes for a moment. “I’ll give you a hint. Do you favor like me, the flames of S…?”
“Yes! Good girl,” she said with a smile, “Or maybe the wings of D…?”
“Dirthamen, yes, like your…” Vallera looked over to the edge of the camp, where Neris’s father conversed with one of the lead hunters. “Your papae?”
“No.” Neris shook her head to the sides and Vallera laughed.
“So… what do we do?”
“I want to be a hunter!”
“Yes, I want to track down the Dread Wolf and defeat him like Sulanin!”
“Oh, to find Fen’Harel you’ll need the guidance of Ghilan’nain, but to defeat him you’ll need the blessing of Andruil,” Vallera paused, “So whose will it be, da’len?”
“Yes.” Neris smiled.
Vallera laughed at her child. “Alright, my love. Do you want to paint yourself?”
Neris nodded, amber eyes fixed on her own.
“Very well, let’s see what you come up with,” Vallera said, kissing her daughter’s cheek three times in quick succession, and handed Neris her painting brush.
My piece for @thedosianlny, featuring toddler Neris and her mamae, Vallera, Lavellan’s clan artisan, painting masks for the Dance of Fen’Harel, where the children don vallaslin masks and help the dream warrior Sulanin defeat the Dread Wolf.