Chapter 1: Hope's Last Stand
It was a fickle thing, hope.
It frolicked in the dreams of the dammed and equally in those of the saints and heroes. It did not find judgment in wishes or desires, it just gave them the audacity to aspire for their fruition. It gave light to where people thought none could be seen and positivity to where it could not be found.
But, hope— hope could be painful as well. It can feel like claws sinking into your chest and like vines strangling your lungs; like walking through fire and wondering why it burned. It was as painful as love and just as rewarding.
To hope one needed to be brave, for hope was not just for the naïve or for the young and youthful; it was for the desolate dreamers who see too much, it was for the struggling minstrels looking for their voice, it was for the warriors wondering if they were doing right, for the wife who cries alone at night and the man in a cell waiting to die young.
Most of all, it was for the hunters with no arrows and dull blades in battle, for the knives in the dark looking for a light, for the slaves of Tevinter holding out for one last rebellion, for the keeper doubting their place in the clan, the Nobel’s daughter looking for freedom, and for the elves looking for a home. Hope was a flickering glow of green, like the fade. For the fade was in everything and everywhere, much like hope was in everyone and found in all motions.
As the sky tore apart and the fade was rendered destabilized, Hope watched the fire in the people of Haven be reduced to just embers of a once mighty inferno. The essences of Faith, Purpose, and Curiosity that had once flocked to the conclave were now screaming in a way no spirit should, as their very beings twisted in on themselves. Hope watched as a boy, the Vallas'lin still fresh in his skin and on his soul, fell from the veil-wound.
He was post-Elvhen, nothing but a shell of his ancestors, echoes of a history ravaged apart and put back together with the pieces missing. He, and many others of his likeness, was Elven; mortal. A name only belonging to a new generation, a new wind, a new way of life and culture.
Most of all, he was unconscious.
Hope was there to see it all, the soldiers scurrying around the mountain, the ashes of the fallen scattering in the wind, and the scouts finding the mortal lying prone underneath the torn veil.
It watched as they carried him away, in shackles. It watched as the wolf hidden under sheep’s wool spilled not-lies but not truths either. Hope was always there, drifting just beyond tangible perception, just on the other side of the veil; waiting.
It was fascinating what the world was capable of, what it was able to dream of. Hope floated listlessly, thoughtfully musing over Thedas and all its wonders— and horrors. The terrain of the dreaming left nothing to be desired, for it was all Hope has known and all it loves, as much as it can love. Existing for as long as it has though, its learned to feel more than one aspect and more than a singular purpose.
Hope was made from scattered pieces of the El'vhen'an two millennia before, more specifically the rebellion. It came from the slaves and their whispers of freedom and ‘Fen'harel enaste' passed along like ships in the night. Hope formed from their relief of the blood-writing, from the quiet sobs of liberation as they're smuggled from their masters under the cover of moonless nights, and from the cries of deliverance uttered on tongues in the name of The Rebel.
Hope took shape before the fall, between mountains and streams; over rocks and rivers and under valleys and stones; Hope was a part of it all.
Before the fall, skies were not empty and almost soulless as they are in the Age of the Dragon. They were filled with towers and spires of spun glass and sparkling crystal, spirits floating from one land-space to the next, formed in the great trees of the Arlathan forest, and most of all, it was dyed a beautiful turquoise.
Hope only had a few centuries to experience before the Evanuris painted it with blood and the crystal spires were tinted with the red of it. The dreaming was always a semblance of this distant past, but one had to be of the veil to see it.
Staring at the doorway that was ripped open in the fade, Hope drifted ever closer. Smaller windows had opened throughout the Veil and its physical counterpart, Thedas. It wasn’t sure if it should risk going closer, spirits had already been conflicted and turned into demons, Hope didn’t want to cease to exist. Watching the sky lash out once, twice, and then a final third time, before reverting back into the churning mass of torn threads and unraveling strands of the dreaming; Hope didn't have much assurance.
“You should not be standing so close to the Breach, ‘ma falon”
Hope did not start nor startle, but it felt like it should with how unexpectedly Wisdom came upon it. “Breach? Is that what they're calling it?” Hope questioned softly, curious and drifting ever closer.
Wisdom moved closer to Hope, “Yes, the people of Thedas call it the Breach.” She spoke quietly in Elvhen, the Arlathan'vi'dirth flowing sounds coating her words and her soft luminescent blue contrasting with Hope’s emerald green glow. Wisdom, for as long as Hope could remember, was always there. She’s been in the shape of an Elvhen woman since Hope’s formation, her wispy short hair moved like it was underwater and floated with a gracefulness one would not see with corporal beings.
Wisdom’s visage was in great contrast to Hope’s, for Hope did not take the shape of any likeness to an Elvhen or otherwise, man nor woman; Hope was a fox, green and ethereal in its shining light. “I suppose it is a fitting name as any other” Hope mused, still dangerously close to the Breach’s pull.
The fox and the woman lied at the base of the Temple of Sacred Ashes. They were watching the spirits skirt around the Temple in quiet trepidation, some unlucky few being dragged through into the waking world and their last imprints being of a stark terror so strong it echoed in ripples across the fade.
A sigh broke through Wisdom’s mouth and the fox's lips quirked minutely at the corners. “Your wolf is calling on you, Sileal” Wisdom breathes a quiet laugh and shakes her head ruefully at the beckoning wisp bobbing just within eyesight behind the duo.
“Yes, it seems he is.” They share an amused glance before Hope dips it's head down in a nod of acknowledgment, “Sule sal harthir.”
Wisdom smiles softly, ”Sule, but do call on me lethal'len, I will be here for you always.”
The fox watches as She leaves, following the call the Wolf put out. He was most likely worried about Wisdom being so close to Haven. Hope turns back to the churning mass, pondering.
It wanted to help the People; Elvhen and otherwise. Hope had wanted to craft a waking body ever since it learned how. When the dreaming and the waking were still threads of the same fabric, it was possible for spirits to craft a living, breathing vessel; to be able to grow from a single purpose. Pride had turned into The Rebel, Justice had turned into the All-Father, and Perseverance had turned into the All-Mother; why couldn’t Hope turn into something of merit as well?
Hope drifted even closer, lost in its musings. A rent, a crack, a rift opened up not even a few feet from the spirit. It was startled enough for the fade construct of a fox to jump back and its hair to go up on end. Hope watched the rift, mesmerized by the shifting, swirling colors of the world past the beyond. Make a body, the thought drifted through its mind lazily, like a barely-there whisper of a thought. The rift called out to Hope, the loose strands fraying at the ends, begging to be plucked, begging to join once more with the waking.
How could Hope refuse the beckoning call?
Chapter 2: Revelations of a Different Kind
So, this chapter is unrelated to the previous one.
Which means the main character is NOT the same as in "Hope's Last Stand". It's just a dialogue piece that I was working on. It was a writing exercise to see if I could portray certain atmospheres for my character(s) and the correlating expressions to suit the mood.
Also, I apologize for any grammar mistakes (It's currently 1:43 am) I usually function with low-grade sleep deprivation on a daily basis soo....
Additionally, I really like trying to write my characters with very set characteristics and morals (not saying that they're all "holier than thou" or unable to change their beliefs, but rather very assured of what they believe and their way of life. For example, if I write from the point of view of a Dalish elf who is a firm believer of "For the clan, of the Clan, and by the Clan" and the Creators for which they revere, then by golly my character is going to have a problem the Chantry aren't they? And you best believe there be a lot of Dalish mannerisms and opinions flyin' around)
(P.S. that was a bad example for one reason only, I haven't written a story with that scenario.....yet.)
“No!” her voice cuts through the air with a sharp finality, “it is you who does not understand." Halesta's nostrils flare, the only sign of the raging emotions below the calm intense surface of her features. Enasal is taken back and affronted, but she does not let him finish weaving his unintentional falsities. “You’re stumbling in the dark; like a child scared of the shadows. You Dalish poster and bluster your way through life like ignorant children.” She spits, untamed vitriol spewing from her mouth unchecked. This world was confusing in its hypocrisy and racism.
The quiet consorting between Bull and Dorian ebbed to silence. The feeling of Solas's casting stopped and halted, his back to the fire; tense. Enasal flushed with embarrassment and prideful indignation, “What would a Shemlen think they could possibly lecture me on in Elven culture?” he makes to stand up and loom over Halesta and her eyes narrow at the patronizing tone and arrogant stance.
“You hide in your clans and stew in your arrogance. The Dalish believe they are the last of true Elves,” She says elves like it's dirt coating her tongue. The group takes note of her tone and many become defensive: The Iron Bull's good eye sharpening and his body tensing for confrontation, Varric tightens his grip on Bianca, and both Dorian and Solas still; Solas even more so as he turns around slowly to watch the confrontation by the fire. Halesta ignores them and stands as well, “You preach about the Evanuris and Arlathan as though they were paragons of perfection. All the while you look upon your kin in the alienages in disdain and in disgust; doing nothing to help them.” She loses the placid intensity she once held in demeanor, her hood still covering the majority of her features.
Enasal can’t help the righteous fury that flow through him. He had been dancing to the tune these shems like a puppet on a string. He was tired of the humans telling him what to do, what to be, and passing criticism on his very existence. He can't help but lash out, “You humans are all the same! You revile anything better than what your stupid shem minds can comprehend!” Panting and seething he stares at this ‘agent of the Inquisition’ in disgust. He was the Herald, a title he was uncomfortable with, but one he could use to make her life more difficult, nonetheless.
The fire crackled between them, casting shadows across their features making both look more sinister and fiercer than conceivable. Halesta smirks, a tired, drained thing that flits across her face and she laughs incredulously, “Human?” she scoffs shaking her head in exhaustion. She tilts her head back just enough for her hood to fall victim to gravity and slip off her head, bearing her face for all to see.
A dawning realization crashes down on the entire camp and they stare at her ears in shock; her pointed ears to be exact. Halesta just shakes her head, staring at Enasal. “Not all elves believe in the Dalish and their superior attitudes. You’re just as lost as we flat-ears are, maybe even more so.”
Chapter 3: To Find a Home
There will be a few chapter based around this universe specifically. Mainly because it was a story I was attempting to write.
Our main charater is an ex-slave from tevinter and an elf. I would like to expound a backstory and all that, but my heart still holds onto the hope I'll finish this story. So for the sake of not offering spoilers of a story that i might never write.....
“Down the river, we go
Down, down, down the stream we row
Through the river and up the sea-beds we roam
Over rocks and sticks, we move slow
I just want to find a home”
The soft singing slowly ebbed to a hum drifting over the slow tides; the sun barely poking out from the horizon. The ripples and waves tugging on the ragged edges of a worn sheer white gown, small feet peeking out from under the cloth.
It was a small girl, her skin pale and pasty as though sunlight was a commodity she did not own. She was rocking ever so slightly to and fro, stirring up the small granules of sand surrounding her. The girl could be no more than fourteen summers, and yet there lied a babe in her lap, cradled in her small worn hands.
It is here, where our story begins. The wheels of fate already in motion and the die of chance have since been cast. This girl, not yet woman-grown, was our stone. A stone thrown in a stagnant pond, creating waves of nothing, starting in this new place with nothing.
She was singing to keep from crying. She was humming to keep from screaming. The girl was alone in a world where allies were everything and youth was short lived.
So there She sat, humming her throat raw and rocking her brother; gaining as much comfort as She was giving.
A piercing cry broke through the air, the voice was high pitched and keening for a loss they did not quite comprehend. It echoed in the deep caverns, reverberating round and round; the source of this soul-wrenching sound was a child, a baby at close to eight moons old.
“Shh, little baby, hush.”
Spindly arms, thin with malnutrition and bloody from hardship, wrapped carefully around the dirty clothes holding the babe within. The young owner of said arms, rocked back and forth, swaying to the sound of waves crashing into the cave outside.
The wailing slowly quieted down to just small, nearly silent, whimpers of hunger and longing for the one they called mother. The baby boy stared up at his sister with watery eyes and sunken, hollow cheeks. His skin was flushed and hot with fever, and his clear grey eyes clouded and hazy with dehydration. Hers were probably very much the same.
She tilted her head back and breathed deeply and shakily; trying to hold back the tears of frustration that welled up in her vision. She didn’t know what to do, father told her to take care of the little arrow with all her heart; but how could she when she didn’t know what to do?
We're dying, she thinks hysterically. We have no food, no clean water. It's the middle of fall and the days are only getting colder as they pass.
She blinks back the tears that continue to gather. We'll either die from exposure or from lack of nutrients; its just waiting to see who finishes the job first. Her mouth drops open slightly and a quiet, wretched sound utters soundless from the depths of her soul.
This world was all wrong! Where were the crystal spires and the gold-laden trees?! The world was as foreign as the sky she was now beholden to. Where were the spirits? She figured they had been banished from Tevinter, not the whole world.
She had been young and fleeing with her parents when Arlathan fell, barely out of her fiftieth year and as short as her fathers waist, but her memory couldn’t have betrayed her this badly. Her babae's stories were nothing like this wretched reality, where was the life in this land?
Chapter 4: To Find a Home Pt. II
A second snippet, one much longer than the last, of 'To Find a Home'. This one rakes place around the bulk of where i wanted the story to begin, interspersed with flashbacks. The first chapter involving 'To Find a Home' was an important plot piece tbh, it was the beginning of a string of bad decisions that ends up leading to her carrying around a large amount of guilt.
This chapter, however, is after her decisions have been made, long after. Like, I'm talking a few centries after.
"There is no greater agony
Than bearing an untold story
Inside of you."
Crystalline blue waters stretched out as far as the eye could see. The cries and screeches of birds unseen rang high and clear through the air of this otherwise quiet and serene mid-day hour.
There, just off the shore of Tevinter, lied a Cogue ostentatious in style; it was a merchant ship. The planks of the deck were pristine, each and every single plank wiped down every morn. The only unclean blemish on the surface was a woman; an elf to be exact.
Her head was tilted back, her eyes closed shut, and a look of peace upon her bare face. Her features were sharp from one angle and soft from another, a living contradiction. The woman’s eyebrows are softly arched and lead down to a delicately rounded nose. Her mouth was slightly parted, soft, even breaths slipping through thin lips; lips that were chapped and cracked from lack of water and hard labor beneath the scorching sun.
The woman’s eyes snapped open; startled and scared. Her dark hair swooshing through the air with how abrupt her turn was at the derogatory call.
A human man, thin and withered in his old age, stood at the prow. His hair, under the dirt and grime, was blonde with streaks of silver sprouting from the crown of his head; he was the captain of the ship. His face pulled up in a grimace; the dirty smudge on his cheek pulling in protest at the movement.
“You didn’t get passage to jus’ stare at the sky. You’re s‘posed to be workin’ to pay yer fare.”
Her hands tightened minutely around the mop’s handle, she forcibly relaxed them. “Of course, serah.” Her head dipped down in a sign of subservience she didn’t feel.
His eyes narrowed. He nodded his head once and turned to march back to the helm.
The woman’s lips curled briefly in distaste before smoothening out into a straight line; the practiced apathetic look of a servant...or a defiant slave.
The soft rocking of the ship upon the waters brought nightmares and memories better left forgotten.
In the dark, dank, musty air of the bilge, a lump sat in the corner; shivering.
There were stacks of provisions in sealed crates lying all about. A rat or two scurried across the floor, searching for substance no doubt.
The cold lump stayed huddled against the walls of the fancy Orlesian trading boat. It’s eyes shining in the dark, reflecting the dim light of a lantern a few feet away.
It was the swabbie from the deck; the elvhen woman.
She had been in Dairsmuid of Rivain, just east of the Tevinter Imperium. It was there that the Cogue docked for careening in Rialto Bay. The ship was carrying goods to Tevinter from Antiva, of course, she didn’t know that at the time of her boarding. If she had, she would’ve most likely never bartered herself passage on the vessel.
When she boarded the Cogue she was under the impression it was heading for Fereldan. The woman didn’t realize they were making a stop in Tevinter until the ship was passing through the Venefication Sea and happened to spy the White Spire standing tall to the south. By then it was too late to ‘abandon ship’ as it were.
She stayed below deck as much as she could during the stay in Neromenians’s port. They stayed for five days before leaving with a much lighter cargo and fewer mouths to feed. The further away the vessel got from the Nocen Sea, the better she felt.
They had just sailed through the Ventosus Straits a few moons prior; considering the softer motions of the waves, it was safe to say they were entering the Venefication Sea once more.
Her teeth chattered in the silence of the bilge.
She had been offered a small bunk in the cargo hold with the other swabbies and staff, but after some young drunk bastard tried to climb into her cot she wasn’t going to stick around.
The cold paired with the sea-salt smell threatened to send her mind back to Tevinter.
She should’ve stayed in Rivain.
The yell came from a Templar barking at refugees like the chained beast he was. Spittle flying from between rotted teeth and the yellow pallor of his skin telling the story of a drunk. His hand raised and fell in one stroke upon a frail-looking elderly elf.
The spray of blood and clouds of dust mixed together in a rust-colored curtain; swirling between the feet of cowering civilians and jeering Templars without preference.
The Templar’s face twisted in a disgusted sneer as he looked between the blood-stained gauntlet adorning his hand and the elf on the ground struggling to stand.
“Rabbits, can’t even take a little tap, “ he scoffed mockingly before he bent over to wipe his hand on the man's back.
“Should just put you outta your misery.” He stands back up and shoves his foot down on top the elf; pushing his face in the ground before commenting towards an elven couple grasping each other. “Being the pointy-eared bastards, you are, I'm sure you'll make like rabbits and spawn one to replace him.” His gaze lingered on the woman; leering.
He made a grand show of unsheathing his blade from his side; it glinted in the sun like a terrible omen and he raised it above his head as the refugees began backing away, terror written on their faces.
His mouth quirked up in a smirk, “Knife ears,“ he scoffed, “worthless, the lot of—“
Screams rang out and cries of confusion were sounded from the throats of Templars; well, not from all the Templars.
The elderly elf stared up at the Templar staring back at him, as they locked eyes their gaze moved slowly and morbidly to stare down at the arrow protruding from the Holy Knight’s gullet.
He gurgled, a wretched sound of shredded vocal cords trying to rub together; before His body jerked violently once more.
The elf on the floor scrambled back as best he could with bleeding extremities and scraped hands, his eyes wide. Another arrow had lodged itself into the Templar’s eye socket; the eye bursting like a grape underfoot.
He fell face first into the small puddle of the blood he once abhorred; his heart no longer beating.
There was a moment of silence as the dust settled around the fallen form. The Order staring at the body of their Captain and comrade; and the refugees holding their breath, waiting for the punishment and blame still on its way.
And then, the pandemonium began.
Great cries, hysterical in delivery, are coming from the civilians and The Templar Order pull their blades from their sheaths; a symphony of ringing metal filling the Planasene Pass.
A short, stocky Templar strode to the front, his face thunderous and accusing, “What did you do?!” he was staring at the congregation of elves slowly being pushed to the front, away from the human refugees. His eyes locked upon the elf who had been struck earlier, he was being supported by two younger elven lads.
The Templar's eyes narrowed into slits, disdain radiating from his core as moved purposefully toward the trio. “Knife Ears! What did you do!?”
“Alright you caught me, I was puttin’ the mad dog outta his misery.”
The feminine voice came from behind him and not in front like he was expecting. The elves were just as startled.
All attention was riveted on the small collection of trees in front of a large grouping of rocks; the voice came from there. The tree branches parted to reveal a bare elven face, her ears standing proud adorned with a few piercings. Her calm smoky-blue eyes had a glint of humor as she stared at the group taking up a portion of the pass.
“Sorry, was he your friend?” the question could've been sincere if not for the mocking smirk gracing her lips, the light breeze playfully ruffles strands of her brown hair as her head cocks to the side; earrings glinting and tinkling in the high noon sun.
The tension was palpable in the air. Everyone was tense except, seemingly, the elven woman watching the congregation of people in the pass below with calculating amusement and a hidden gleam of righteous anger behind her eyes.
The woman had a hard time not glaring at the Templars; it was a fight and a half to keep the grimace off her face at the sight of elves cowering and at the humans who pushed them to the front like sacrificial cattle; closer to the bubbling raging mass of iron and lyrium addiction.
Her sensitive ears caught the faint sounds of a child whimpering and the frightened rapid breathing of the elven man that was struck once before. Her observing was cut short by a slender hand tapping lightly on her ankle in a pattern of threes.
Her smile never faltering she shifts her weight onto the balls of her bare feet in preparation for the chaos yet to come.
“So, what’s a bunch of Templars doin’ escorting commoners?” She raised an eyebrow and a corner of her mouth twisted slightly, looking less teasing and more like a clever Fox watching her prey. She continued with the false accent, “—shouldn’t you be out razin’ in ‘The name of the Maker’ and chasin’ apostates?”
There was a flurry of metal ringing as the Holy Knights physically bristled at the mocking words coming from the mouth of a Rabbit.
The Mage and Templar war has been going on for nigh on two-and-a-half years; a bloody, brutal couple of years in truth. Templars burning crops and houses in pursuit of Apostates and Abominations. Mages fleeing and never stopping or looking back at the mess left in their wake; hurting people in the name of freedom, some unknowingly, some very much aware of the outcome of their actions.
It was a vicious cycle without an end in sight.
“What would you know, Elf?” The self-appointed pseudo-leader stepped forward threateningly. “There is no place for a Rabbit at the Maker’s side.” The stocky man guffawed and jeered with malicious intent laid bare for all to see.
The ‘Your kind is not wanted’ goes unsaid, but not unheard.
Smile still in place despite the newly clenched jaw and lack of amusement apparent in her cooling eyes. Ashara shifted her arm to lean her shoulder against the trunk of the tree she was standing in.
“You’re right, ” she nods her head in agreement before dramatically furrowing her brows in a show of faux-inquisitiveness, “—but what does the Maker say about nugs?”
The area was silent, disbelief palpable and confusion rampant in all that heard her inane question.
The sudden clattering of claws on stone and blaring squeaking comes from the cropping of rocks behind the tree she was in. Small pink rodents stampeding their way down the mountain in a wave of wrinkly flesh.
The copious amount of nugs scaling their way down the mountain at rapid pace could almost be numbered in the hundreds. The sight while unrealistically comical, was just about to be a scene straight out of an Orlesian haunted play.
She cocked her head to the side, “I’d run if I were you.” She quipped, “they’re quite hungry you know.”
Her eyes snapped open and with a gasp, she awoke to darkness.
Her heart was pounding and with the blackness surrounding her, it pumped even harder. It was a terrifying moment, waking to a familiar scene, but unable to remember how you got back there— there in the horrifying dank darkness of a ship’s bilge. The cold sea water still salty on her tongue from where the ocean leaked through the walls and splashed her awake; it tasted of blood in her mouth.
Heavy footsteps sounded from the stairs leading to her hiding place and her body tensed. The small tightly wound ball of mana slowly unfurled from it's hiding place; tucked behind her sternum as opposed to where others had it at the base of their ribcage.
Light shined down the stairwell and with it brought a new type of fear; the steps were getting louder.
It's when the intruders face is illuminated in the dim light of his lantern that she remembers herself. She remembers that there is no large body pressing against her side or a smaller one nestled on her bosom. A gaping hole opens up where her heart once rested; grief clawed up her insides.
“Psst, Ashara" The man’s pointed ears were telling enough of his identity that it further grounded her in reality. His thin face was pinched with pain and worry; his right hand was pressed tightly against his left side.
She whispered just as quietly as the elven man did, her voice held a hidden strained quality to it.
The man moved the lantern towards the back corner of the ship, his feet following her call. It's not until he spots her eyes reflecting in the lighting, just as his own are doing, that he knows where to go.
With quiet and nimble footsteps, ones that greatly contradicted those coming down the stairs, he manages to squeeze his way between the crates. Of course, not without a pained breath being hissed from behind his teeth.
His back pushes against the same wooden boards behind hers, their knees brush.
“I couldn't find you in the cargo hold, did you get lost?” his face is still contorted with pain, but now confusion joins his features as Ashara shakes her head. He opens his mouth—
“I find it unsettling to go to bed bunked with drunk men so close to me, " she mummers quietly to him, her hands rubbing her arms to help warm her body.
His mouth closes slowly and his brows furrow, there’s a flash of understanding that streaks through his stormy grey eyes. He knows what she's implying, human men had taken advantage of more than a few elven women when drunk; almost as many as when they’re sober, at least drunk men might pass out before they can get their pants down.
“Did anyone try to touch you?” he asks the question quietly and thoughtfully, as though he had great musings running through his mind. Ashara's eyes narrow.
He snorts at the reprimand hidden in her tone before wincing at the sharp pain radiating from his side.
“Don’t worry, I'm not completely without wits,“ he mutters, traces of a grimace still lingering at the corners of his wry smile, “I won't do anything that they can catch me for.”
He grunts at the abrupt shove from Ashara, but they're both smiling. They ignore each others pain, his a physical one and her’s a mental one. They both needed levity and silent comfort, over words of worry and empty promises of hope; because there was none for elven bastards and former slaves alike.
A loud gleeful cackle breaks through the air like a whip, obnoxious snorts, and giggles interspersed between breaths. “Did you see their faces?!” Another full-bodied cackle makes its way from the mouth of a tall lithe elven girl stumbling around the ambush site. “Stickin’ it to the Holy twits” she continues as she kicks the corpse of one of the knights in question; morbid amusement still dancing merrily in her murky blue eyes. “Hey, you gotta love kickin’ ‘em down huh, Elfy-bits?” a childish smile playing across the corners of her lips.
Ashara sighs as she tends to the elves that were injured in the impulsive raid. Several of them flinching at the vicious way her blonde companion was desecrating the dead knight. “Death is never something take joy in.” Ashara ignores Sera and her mocking gestures at her words. Her hand moves slowly, hovering over a particularly gruesome nug bite on a small boy’s arm. The child watches in awe as the flesh starts to knit together.
Ashara can’t prevent the sad smile that flits across her face briefly. Her fingertips raise to lightly brush away the silver fringe hanging in the elven lad’s eyes. He couldn’t have been more than five winters-old.
His small hands reverently trace over where the teeth marks had once marred his forearm. The small child looks up at Ashara and she can’t help but see another wide-eyed little boy transposed over this little boy’s visage.
The small boy drags his eyes away from Ashara’s own and blinks away the dazed look he once held.
Ashara’s lips quirk, amused. It was a fitting name for a child with hair of silver and eyes of sterling grey. A young woman makes herself known as she squeezes herself between a group of humans; a relieved smile lights her features. She’s so overjoyed and relieved that she doesn’t notice the affronted humans she bumped into making a start in her direction.
Ashara’s eyes harden into chips of ice; the young mother remains oblivious to it all, but her son— Eirlen— does not. He watches with childlike wonder as the-woman-with-the-magic-hands glares at the humans; he watches as they back off when faced with her ire.
“Eirlen, da’len are you hurt?”
“ ‘m fine Mamae. The magic lady used-ed magic and fixed me!”
“…used.” His mamae corrected absentmindedly, watching Ashara warily. “You’re the one that led the raid.” Ashara winced internally at the hint of accusation hidden in her tone.
Lights flickered, dim and dark, wavering shadows cast upon rough stone walls and the sound of metal scraping upon the ground, rattling and shaking.
Labored breathing came behind her, stifled sobs came from in front. Her small hands latched onto her Babae's worn linen shirt, twisting and turning the fabric between shaking fingers.
Harsh guttural sounds from the human mages grated on her ears, the trade languages were all hard edges and sharp intentions; nothing like the soft lightness of her mother tongue.
Where was her Mamae and is'ma'lin?