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Return From Darkness

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            Oppressing darkness came from all sides, surrounding her.  It was her world now.  It was true darkness, for there was no sign of light everywhere, the very flames of hope had been doused.  Everything was a black void, an Abyss ever fed by despair.  It should have consumed her soul years before.

            Yet a soul was energy, it could be transformed; but not destroyed.  That is what the Grey Wardens hadn’t understood.   A soul could be forced from the body and kept from taking a new host, such as an archdemon could do, but it wasn’t destroyed.  Yet, she had shared in the archdemon’s fate when she killed it and had not returned to the Maker’s side, but traveled with the nightmarish creature to a bleak plain of reality.  The creature had traveled off to Maker knew where long before. 

She, however, railed against her fate.  She refused to give in to the brutality of her reality.  There was no light from without, all she could do was reach for the spark of light within her.  She had lost all sense of time in the blackness of her existence.  She had no idea how long she had held on to the memories of her life to enable her to remember who she was.  She could remember the feeling of being held in her mother’s arms, a mother she had lost too soon.  She remembered her father carrying her on his strong shoulders as she boldly commanded his men and looked over his Teyrny.  She remembered playing on the shores of the Waking Sea with her brother.  She remembered the first time she’d held her infant nephew in her arms and the first time she kissed a man.  She also remembered the one time she’d fallen in love, those memories were the brightest of all.  The feelings of euphoria and joy, she was content to just be in his presence.  Then there were the more tender moments, being safely in his arms and the ardor of his kisses.  The excitement and devotion when they made love.  Their souls had united and been as one.  Alas, that hadn’t kept her at his side, though when she’d plunged a sword into the archdemon to save her people.  It had to be him or her, they had run out of choices, but she rarely thought about that.  It was the happy memories that were the light that kept the waiting darkness from consuming her.

She was startled when she heard the crying, she wasn’t sure where it had come from, but followed it.  There was a flare of magic and a strange green light.  Light.  She reached out for the light.  She could see a being now, it was no longer crying but screaming.  In an eternity of darkness, there had not even been sound.  The screaming hurt.  She saw a familiar looking symbol that was pulsing.  Whoever it was needed help.  What is wrong?  She realized she’d thought it at the other woman, it had been so long since she’d used her voice.

I can’t, I can’t.  I killed them all.  They made me Tranquil, I couldn’t control my magic in my anger and I killed them!  Don’t make me feel that all again.

Tranquil, wasn’t that a mage whose emotions had been stripped?  This creature was not emotionless.

“Maker!”  She could now hear the other woman’s voice.  “Don’t make me feel this I’ll do anything, I’ll…”

There was another light, this one blue.  A woman took the screaming not-tranquil mage’s hand and then reached out her other hand, it seemed to be held out to her.  “I will take care of you, Desdemona Trevelyan.  You will not have to deal with what was done in my name alone.”

Who were they?  She wondered.

“Take my hand,” the woman in the blue light still held her hand out to her.  “Elisabeta Cousland, for too long have you suffered in the Abyss for sins not your own long enough.  I need you in the world of the living once more.  Don’t worry, I will take care of this one,” she put an arm around the person she’d called Desdemona.  Her fate and powers are now yours.  Reclaim the life that was taken from you, return to the land of the living, and save our people once more.”  The other women disappeared and she found herself in a land of green, at least there was light.

“Hurry!”  There was someone else in there with her, an older lady dressed in the restrictive robes of the Chantry.  “We must get out of here!  Quick, they’re behind you!”

Sure enough, spiders were chasing her.  She ran.  There was a portal of some sort in front of them.  The elderly sister grabbed her and threw her out, letting the spiders grab onto her instead.

Elisabeta Cousland, the Hero of Ferelden, breathed air once again and then collapsed.