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A Moment of Eternity

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Something was pressing hard into the side of her face, something cold and sharp. Mumbling, she tried to bat it away and get more comfortable, snuggling further into her pillow. Except the relentless jabbing into her cheek was getting worse and she must have kicked her covers off as she felt a chill seeping deep into her bones. And that rather unpleasant sensation across most of her face didn’t feel like her hair clasp had worked its way out.

Groaning in her semi-stupor at the thought of having to wake up, she tried to open one eye and promptly shut it again as a glaring lance of green shot across her vision and added to her thundering headache. 

Urgh, Andraste save I keep my eyes closed till my head adjusts itself. I didn't think I'd drunk that much last night! No more substandard Chantry wine for me ever again.

And why would they choose such a grotesque green colour for drapes?

She was going to kill Cadan when she got up. Sure, it was all his fault she drank way too much last night, leading her astray as usual.

She tried to chuckle but ended up with a mouthful of dust.

Maker, did I sleep in a stable? What happened last night!

She tried to move her hand and reach for the hair clasp that was digging into her cheek but found her limbs made of lead and unable to move. At the same time, a low pitched hum not dissimilar to the sounds she recognised in the Fade began to resonate in her brain.

‘Fade?’ she whispered to herself in shock, as everything suddenly tumbled into place in her head in one horrendous lump.

She was quite obviously not in bed, recovering from having too good a time last night. In fact, those sorts of nights had been non-existent since the rebellion hit.

She still didn’t quite dare open her eyes, letting her senses extend around her to absorb her surroundings and pretending to play dead until she organised herself. It didn’t take much to tell her that she was firmly lying face down in the Fade in the most uncomfortable position possible.

What in Andraste’s name has happened to my left hand?

It felt like she’d grabbed a load of hot coals and forgot to let go. She must’ve been hit by some sort of debris that knocked her out. There was no one else around her. Nothing living at any rate. So far, no demons which was good. Playing dead wouldn’t work on them anyway and she needed these few minutes to gather her energy and form some sort of plan.

Deliberately pushing thoughts of the Conclave and all the implications there were in waking up in such a manner to one side, she squinted one eye open, then another in growing horrified fascination.

This is the Fade but unlike any part of it I have walked before.

The scholar and academic in her rapidly absorbed in clinical detail her surroundings, black but for the eerie green light fading in and out in clouds around her. The battlemage in her immediately sought out any potential threats and how to best nullify them. The human in her was wincing in protest at how battered her body was.

Damn it! My left hand hurts!

Breathing deeply to control the pain in her head and to fight the waves of nausea, she managed to get herself sitting upright and rested for a few seconds, before finally standing up and taking a good look around.

She could still feel her magic humming through her veins, and something alien that had joined that familiar tune in her body. Quickly controlling her breathing again in an attempt to calm herself down, she looked around for a way out. Seeing a light in the distance and, with no other options but to follow it, she started to walk towards it.

Just at the same time she felt a warning prickle on the back of her neck, she heard the scuttle and scratching of rather large predators heading her way at an alarmingly fast rate. With no time to think of a better idea, she started to run in the opposite direction, casting a terrified glance back to see hundreds of darkspawn skittering towards her. Running faster, with no idea where to go aside from the dubious security of the light in front of her.

How in the Maker's name am I going to get out of this alive?

Scrambling up a rocky ledge to put some distance between herself and the darkspawn, desperately she climbed up higher, hoping against hope that there would be a way out of the Fade at the top.

‘Andraste guide me!’ she cried, as she felt the darkspawn clawing at her heels.

Suddenly, the light at the top of the slope manifested as an apparition, reaching out to her outstretched hand with a blast of green kinetic energy.

Divine Justinia? How.....

She flung herself towards the light in one last desperate move to escape as the darkspawn started to swarm over her feet and ankles. She felt the world shift with a huge bang and fell headlong into darkness. She heard shouting, felt strong arms gathering her up, and then knew no more.