The patriarch of the Vitalis family demanded a volunteer— could you demand such a thing?
An elf shuffled forward and offered her arm reluctantly. The guard’s pauldrons clinked when he yanked her forward. Slaves were slaves. A normal fixture in their lives. But she wondered what it would be like.
To be in their shoes. To cater to the whims of powerful, wealthy men like her father. To be procured like a set of ingredients.
She was made to watch the moment steel cut flesh, when blood was drawn. He seemed pleased with himself, for what he was about to do with it. Even more amused to see his daughter squirm at the sight as he wiped off the blood.
“One day,” He said. “You will have to do the same.” The blood-soaked towel he used was handed to the same slave.
It felt wrong.
In the heart of the Hinterlands, she was Adelaide Sprye.
Not Tevinter nobility. Just Laidy.
The sweetest barmaid you could find. If you were nice to her, she’d pour you half a cup more.
But anonymity came with a price.
Keep your head low. Be no one. Agree with everything.
How was it really any different from Tevinter?
She saw then, that once unbound by shackles, the definition of freedom blurred.
It felt wrong. Worse.
To hold the very power every single one of them feared— the ability to destroy an entire Chantry, where they kept their Maker and Andraste. Would they turn her over when they knew what she really was?
Of course, they would.
Apostate. Maleficar. Blood Mage.
The words were hissed, spat when they were uttered. Men who are a danger to themselves and to those around them for drawing power from the unholy and the unnatural. She likened their plight to cornered— frightened— wild animals once. Then they told her they had to be put down, like the beasts they were. She nodded, for fear of giving herself away.
Hundreds dead and thousands more would die. She wondered if they were right to say,
Leash them tighter.
She lit a candle with a flick of a wrist. Force of habit, but only when no one was watching.
It was not blood magic. It was not as wrong.
In the same candlelight, she watched templars and mages alike descend upon the Crossroads. It was a blur and the Inquisition was to thank for it.
And she did what she did best— stay out of sight. Still, she was not spared from the aftermath and the horrors once she emerged. It was not all blood magic. She knew. And yet the screams do not leave her dreams.
If she had not grown so reliant upon magic, perhaps she wouldn’t be shaking while the old widow bandaged her bloodied hand.
A highwayman, she recounts, attempted to take her coin purse by the river. Somehow she pushed the dagger away by the blade and fled.
“Fool of a girl,” She was chastised. “Should have let him take it.”
She stared at where she sank the edge of the blade on her palm.
It was a just a little fire for some rope.
A little flame a templar watched her light from her fingertips. When their eyes met, the sound of her own breathing and heartbeat deafened her.
Run. She willed herself to.
But he was a templar- quicker, stronger. He would have cut her down, but she sliced her hand on the blade.
They told her she was lucky not to be hurt— By the templar? No, the highwayman— that he did not give chase.
But men often could not when they were dead. And now his cries haunt her dreams too.
Her uninjured hand balled up and clenched til her nails dug into her skin.
She has become what they feared. She wept.