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Message Sent

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She got the first one on an early Tuesday morning. 

She had thought it was her alarm at first, fingers shuffling through her sheets to find her phone and shut it off. Instead she found she had about 50 minutes left for sleep and one new message. 

—xxx-xxx-6421 7:12am 
Merrill you are late. F.H.

Ellana frowned heavily at the text, the bright screen making her squint. 


She didn’t recognize the number, even with the same area code. And SHE was not late for anything. (Not that she remembered.) And her name was NOT Merrill. Nor did she know any… F.H.

Her fingers hesitated. The ‘who's this?’ standard question that came with odd texts was interrupted by a telltale ‘…’ animation. Writing more then. 

Groggily, Ellana waited, debating just turning off the phone and going back to sleep. 

—xxx-xxx-6421 7:13am 
Bring 2nd Edition of Ralaferin Archive, Gods and App. Rituals. I forget the author’s name. F.H.

It took her a second to digest the amount of large words in one text. Who talked like this? She flopped onto her back, eyes peeled wider now as her thumbs drew up the digital keyboard. 

—xxx-xxx-4409 7:14am
hey i think you have the wrong number

The sweeping sound alerted her that the text sent and her phone fell ungracefully from her hands back into the sea of sheets. She twisted, curling back up on her pillow even as her mind swirled. 

Ralaferin? Weren’t those the huge old books on Deshanna’s shelf at home? The old ones with the funny pictures of Elgar’nan? 

Her sheets vibrated and chimed. Ellana’s eyes opened. 

She dug it out again. 

—xxx-xxx-6421 7:16am 
Merrill? F.H.

Ellana huffed out a sleepy breath of laughter. Her thumbs danced quickly on the screen. 

—xxx-xxx-4409 7:16am
nope. ellana.

Considering the screen for a moment, she watched the ‘…’ animation pop up once more just as her mind gave her the answer and she raced to interrupt them.

—xxx-xxx-4409 7:16am
but i think authors name is g something

The little typing animation stopped.

—xxx-xxx-4409 7:17am
gash? gishan? gishhhhhh

—xxx-xxx-6421 7:17am 
Gisharel. F.H

Ellana smiled lazily at the reply. They did it. Puzzle accomplished. And she still had about 40 minutes for sleep. 

—xxx-xxx-6421 7:18am 
Sorry for bothering you, thank you for the answer. F.H

—xxx-xxx-4409 7:18am
np. your lucky you happened to text a dalish ;)

They began typing again, then stopped. Then began again. She blinked at it lazily, patience only available due to her tired mind. 

—xxx-xxx-6421 7:19am 
Thank you lethallan. F.H

Her smile widened happily, Dalish helping Dalish then. 

And with that Ellana dropped the phone with a thud to the mattress, turning forcefully away from it and back to the fluff of her pillows. 40 minutes more, maybe 45 if she skipped her hair. 

She got another a few days after during a a lecture on perspective journalism. Not exactly a lecture she was interested in, but Varric had begged her to go with him so they could go for drinks after. 

Ah, the things she did for friends. (Especially the ones responsible for career referrals.) 

She had to dig her phone out behind the secrecy of her notebook, smiling with expectation of whining complaints from Varric in the teacher’s row, but instead finding one from that unfamiliar number. 

—xxx-xxx-6421 5:24pm 
When is the next Arlathvhen? F.H.

Ellana smiled, eyes flickering up to make sure no one was paying her any attention. 

—xxx-xxx-4409 5:24pm
merrill late again?

—xxx-xxx-6421 5:24pm 
She never answers me. F.H. 

—xxx-xxx-4409 5:25pm
its in another year. springtime. not many attend anymore though

—xxx-xxx-6421 5:26pm 
Thank you again lethallan. F.H. 

She smiled tapping her phone and thinking of leaving it at that. Happy with the sudden claim of kin through the odd distance and strangeness. It was a warm feeling, not unwelcome. 

—xxx-xxx-4409 5:25pm 
Np, lethallin.

F.H. didn’t respond, but Ellana spent the entire time thinking quietly of her curious Dalish stranger (a man, since he did not correct her endearment) and the coming Alrthavhen, mind completely absent from the modern critical issues in the field of journalistic reporting. 

Another came on that Sunday, while she was checking out some groceries. Placing the last of the yogurts on the rolling checkout, she fished out her phone.

—xxx-xxx-6421 12:39pm 
Do you know how to delete apps from a main screen? F.H.

Ellana could only glance at it and laugh while she paid and bagged her things. She carried the jug of water and a few brown bags to her car, slamming the back door shut on them and dipping into the drivers seat before pulling out her phone once more, a smile still on her face. 

—xxx-xxx-4409 12:45pm 
how do you not know how to do that?? 

She watched F.H. type, and when the anticipation seemed to make the wait longer she texted him again instead. 

—xxx-xxx-4409 12:46pm 
are you super old lethallin?

It was a little while before they answered, enough to worry that she may have been rude. 

—xxx-xxx-6421 12:48pm 
Old enough to be lost I suppose. F.H.

She chuckled. 

—xxx-xxx-4409 12:48pm 
hold down the icons until they start to shake. 

She drove home and the temptation to look at the sweeping texts sent to her was excruciating. She practically rushed into her parking spot and ripped her bags from the back seat, dropping them to the counters when she was finally inside. 

Grabbing her phone, she checked on him. 

—xxx-xxx-6421 12:49pm 
There they go! F.H.

—xxx-xxx-6421 12:50pm 
Genius. F.H.

—xxx-xxx-6421 12:50pm 
Thank you again Ellana. F.H.

With a proud little smirk she took the time to sift through the options, clicking and typing until she added the new information to the contact. 

She delighted in watched the title of all his old messages change from the series of numbers to ‘F.H’ instead. 

np hahren

She waited, occupying her wait with a check on her email and a scroll through a few social media accounts. She was already giddy when the notification popped up on the top of her screen. 

—F.H. 1:35pm 
Oh very funny. I’m not that old. F.H. 

u text in full sentences w/grammar! only old people do that

His little ‘…’ was immediate. and she thought about telling him he could respond so much faster without all the appropriate flare. 

—F.H. 1:36pm 
And those who appreciate language, da’len. F.H. 

Ellana very nearly rolled her eyes, shaking her head and tossing the phone to the couch before going back to sort her groceries. 

The next time, she texted him instead. 

Her pen tapped idly on the light paper and small leather binder. Dorian had disappeared, probably to the other end of the bar to talk to the big-guy-bartender and left her in a tiny dilemma. 

15% of 22 bucks?

She rolled the pen, feeling a bit guilty for texting him so late. He had a similar area code, but that didn’t mean he was in the same timezone, and if he was as old as she had first joked… maybe he was alseep? 

Not that she had been thinking about all this since the last time they talked…

—F.H. 9:51pm 
Really? F.H. 

She quickly defended herself

u send me dalish pop quizzes all the time!

She waited anxiously, legs bouncing at in the little booth as she searched the heads of the crowd for Dorian. He couldn’t be talking to Bull that long, could he?

 —F.H. 9:52pm 
This is a tip? How many people? F.H.

just me

—F.H. 9:53pm 
3.30. 25.30. F.H.

She jotted down his answer, slipping in her credit card and standing the little folder properly. 

youre the best!

It wasn’t until Dorian returned with a puffed up chest and a blushing face and they collected their things to leave that she got a response. 

—F.H. 9:59pm 
Apparently, da’len. F.H.

She cradled the phone in her fingers, cheeks matching Dorian’s as they both walked home, wondering if he had added her to his contacts list too.


"Who are you talking to Ellana?" Dorian asked, nudging her shoulders with a curious smile. 

"You know, I'm not really sure."