Three days had passed since encountering Fen'nan and he was even seeing more of Renan in the Vir'Dithara, a few times with her Keeper and another young elf, and Solasan had grown to appreciate their company. However, his own problems at home were growing more concerning and as of late, he hasn't been able to get any decent rest and it was starting to show. His wards for some reason were growing less & less helpful over the passing days, and his lack of sleep from waking up a few times in the middle of the night was getting him increasingly fatigued with each passing day.
He was using all of his tricks to help better his sleep, using incense, tea, and even the wards combined, but nothing seemed to help with any regard to help him get a decent night's rest. Solasan even consulted the city's healers, asking the Keeper of Renan's Clan, and even the scholars of the Vir'Dithara for a solution, but none seemed to help as well. He needed a solution and fast.
Spending a day with Renan and Fen'nan helped out a bit and her magic helped with easing the pains of his exhaustion. Fen'nan had grown to like their company as well, and he even offered his own aide despite his magic being weak compared to his combatant skills which were excelled. Fen'nan had consulted his own family for any ideas, and he turned up with nothing, much to Solasan's dismay.
"Perhaps try sleeping a night without them," Fen'nan suggested making Solasan look up at him in surprise, the bags under his eyes portraying his state of exhaustion, "You've sought every solution possible and nothing's helped. I think the best thing to do is to just let it happen." His face showed fear as well as concern at the idea. He'd never gone a night without the aide of blocking his connection to the Fade while he slept, and he feared doing that now would lead to bad things.
Renan rubbed Solasan's arm and saw him look toward her and he could see she had a look of concern, "I know you have your fears of your dreams and the Fade, but I'm afraid Fen'nan is right. The best you have is to let your dreams happen. If anything should happen in the Fade, like demons or such, you're powerful enough to face them. Not just with your magic, but also with your own strength. A mage like yourself has indomitable focus, and the Fade twists and bends by one's sheer force of will. Demons there WILL try to play tricks, yes, but so long as you outsmart and best them, you'll be fine. Should one attack, you're strong enough to face one."
"My battle magic isn't that good," Solasan objected to which Fen'nan scoffed. "Better than mine, and yet do you hear me complain," he spat out, "I found a way to make my magic work with my battle techniques, even if they're not strong. I just found the right situation to apply my magic, and the same will go for you. If you have the right motivation, your magic will show stronger than you ever thought." "He's right," Renan said siding with Fen'nan, "You're a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for, Solasan. In the Fade, your magic will protect you. You just have to cast it and you'll be able to protect yourself."
Hearing their words of encouragement, Solasan started to feel a bit better toward his own sense of doubt and rubbed at his neck anxiously, if not sheepishly. "I.. Thank you," he said softly before looking up at the two of them, "I suppose I can.. try. That's all we can do: try. But.. If it's not too much trouble, may I ask you accompany me into the Fade? The last time I went on my own, I encountered a great beast and it scared me so much, I fell out of bed awake. I know it might sound like a petty request, but I wouldn't ask if I didn't trust you."
"So quick to trust, huh," they heard Fen'nan chime up lightly, "We've only known each other a few days and yet you already display such a great deal of trust in us?" "I can tell you're not lying for one," Solasan interjected with a small smirk before taking a sip of his tea, "And, secondly, with how your assurances are about this, I feel I'd be safer in the company of others in that realm of dreams." It took a moment before Renan chimed up with a smile, "Of course. And I'll even bring my sibling along as well! He'll be delighted to hear of such an opportunity."
"By the way, going off subject for a moment, but why did your Keeper address you as her Second? Don't Clans usually have a First to the Keeper, not a Second," Fen'nan asked bluntly. Renan had a nod with a small smile before taking a sip of her tea then proceeded to answer, "Because my brother and I are twins and both born with magic, and since we both were capable of succeeding the Keeper, she took us both in as apprentices. He's her First since he's older, I'm her Second since I'm the youngest. I don't mind though, we both hold a place of honor alongside the Keeper and that's enough for us."
The two young men nodded at her humble response, and Solasan had a small smile. "Your brother can join us," he said with a bigger smile, "The more, the better I feel." "Thank you," she said with a big smile, "Do you want to head to your home now or later tonight after the sunset?" "We can meet around the eluvians around sunset and I can direct you to my home," Solasan replied directly, "It's been a long time since I had guests so I fear I may have to straighten up a bit to make it a bit presentable."
"That's plenty of time, granted you don't get stuck in a book you randomly find under a desk," Fen'nan mumbled lowly with a sideways glance making Solasan scratch his cheek sheepishly. He has had a bad habit of that in the past, but he'd try not to be sidetracked. With their plan set, they parted ways from the small diner they were enjoying lunch at together and went toward their own destinations: Fen'nan went back home, Renan went toward her Clan, and Solasan headed toward home.
Truthfully, he was scared but he was glad he wouldn't be doing this alone.
Once arriving home, Solasan got to working on his home to make it presentable for his guests. He only had one guest room, but truthfully, his couches and bed would suffice for the time being. He'd let them decide amongst themselves who got which one when it came time to sleep. Over the course of the next few hours, he managed to get the guest room cleaned up as well as organizing his office rotunda, and even tidied up the living room and even started up a simple stew over the fire to let it simmer while he was out. Seeing it presentable for his upcoming guests, he seemed proud of his work before straightening himself up and headed out to meet with the group at the eluvians.
Upon arriving at the eluvians, he found Fen'nan already standing there & waiting for him with a single bag flung over his shoulder, and seeing him approach, he gave a light wave of his hand. "Been here long," Solasan asked with a smirk before Fen'nan shook his head a light 'no'. "Only a few moments before you," he replied simply before spotting Renan approach with another elf, but they appeared.. different than Renan had described.
The young elf seemed a bit more feminine than what Renan had described her brother to be, and even their form seemed more slender and curved than a masculine form. They saw their hair as white as Renan's was but a bit greyer with a thick braid going down the back from a high ponytail. When the two boys saw them approach, Solasan saw they had pale blue eyes much like Renan.
"I take it you're Renan's brother," Solasan asked lightly & they gave a slight nod. "My name is Theneras," they could hear his voice sounded a bit feminine trying to sound masculine. "You don't quite look like a young man," Fen'nan pointed out bluntly to which Renan stepped in to her brother's aide. "Theneras is my brother and he is a man," she said firmly to which Theneras had a smile seeing his sister jump to his defense.
Solasan wouldn't speak up after seeing such a display so he had to keep his manners, "My name is Solasan, Theneras. Thank you for joining your sister with us on this little venture." "The pleasure is mine," he responded in kind & Renan poked Fen'nan in the chest as she introduced him, "This stoic tower of bluntness is Fen'nan. Don't mind if he sounds grouchy, as we found out the hard way." He gave a light nod to his sister's warning and the three followed Solasan to his home for the evening.
Upon arriving, they saw it was a simple hovel for one person, but comfortable enough of a living. They settled into the living room as he stirred the cauldron of food, and seeing it was finished, he distributed a bowl for everyone with a serving of bread and tea. "So, when we enter the Fade, will we be together or will we be separated," Fen'nan asked while he stirred his stew cool. "It's hard to say for sure," Renan replied, "Sometimes groups who fall asleep together will say they've been together or apart depending on the circumstances like if there's magic involved or perhaps demons, but we're not using a demon's methods to enter the Fade."
"And since I won't be using any wards tonight, that shouldn't hinder us any," Solasan noted before taking a mouthful of bread. "And all this to help you overcome your fear of the Fade," Fen'nan asked with a tone so flat it may as well have been paper, and Solasan nodded. "I've been needing this for a while, and every time I had faced it on my own - be it from a failing ward or simply forgetting to set one before sleeping - I've always encountered dangers in my dreams, and not just from demons.
"I just want to make sure I can traverse there safely without any real threat to endanger myself and others, although plenty of elders have told me that there's always danger in the Fade," he stated. "And there is, but we just have to overcome it," Theneras said after enjoying his bread, "That's all we can do. And if you're looking for certain answers in the Fade, we can help you find them if you can't find them on your own."
"I appreciate the aide for such a selfish request," Solasan thanked lightly & Renan patted his shoulder, "No mage should have so bad a fear of the Fade like you do, so we offered to help you overcome it. And over time, I know you will." "Thank you again," he said with a soft smile before finishing his first bowl and went for another.
They enjoyed their dinner as it got late and prior to getting some sleep for the night, they discussed amongst each other who would get what bed and couch for the night; Renan settled for the couch in Solasan's office rotunda, Fen'nan took the guest room bed, and Theneras offered to have the living room couch. Solasan was anxious about this happening, and his urge to start a ward had risen, but he fought it knowing it had to be done. Settled for the night to come, they all laid down their heads and began to dream.
Their vision was blackened at first but then cleared when they saw wisps of green around them and everything seemed hazy. The first one to come around was Fen'nan and he stood in his spot stretching a bit as if preparing for a fight before he felt the presence of another. Turning to look, he spotted Renan and Therenas appear behind him as they opened their eyes and observed the Fade around them. Lastly, Solasan appeared behind them seeming tense like a child preparing for a hit but none came.
When he opened his eyes, he saw the other three in front of him then spotted Renan turn to face him and had a beaming smile on her face. "You did it, lethallin," she said with a beaming tone and held onto his arms in pride, "You're in the Fade!" "It would seem so," he replied taking a look around seeing the rocky terrain and floating pillars of stone as well as the never-ending sea of green flowing around them like trails of smoke.
"So far so good," he noted softly to which Fen'nan had a light, dry laugh. "Give it time," he interjected, "Once they sense your magic, demons will be here in no time flat. Such is the curse of every mage, but you can fight so, therefore, you can take them on." "Actually, I've never fought a demon in the Fade, something else did that for me," he said sheepishly giving his cheek a scratch.
"What do you mean you never fought a demon," he heard Fen'nan bark out harshly, "You said demons came after you in the Fade and that's what made you afraid of it, to begin with!" "I did, but it wasn't me that took them out. Something else did, a larger much more powerful entity," he clarified, "It was like a large black wolf with red eyes and it seemed to come after me when I woke up and was safe in my room."
Fen'nan rubbed at his face with a groan of aggravation to which Theneras chimed up, "That doesn't matter. What matters is that we're all here and now in the Fade, and we're going to accompany our friend until the night is done and he's well rested." Hearing the objective in mind, Fen'nan looked at Theneras then to the other two before letting out a sigh and nodded. "I did agree to it, and my word is my bond," he said lowly.
Hearing his complacency, they settled before starting to explore the Fade as a group. They could hear the demons lurking in the shadows and stones around them, but the demons could notice the size of their group as well as sense how strong they were as a unit. They all might have the capability for magic, but they know better than to be outnumbered four-to-one. Every now and then, they encountered wisps and spirits of wisdom, compassion, and even one of faith giving words of comfort to Solasan from his growing tension over the Fade.
He was growing more and more relaxed with the group helping him in the Fade, and it was becoming more evident as they kept exploring. They found pillars that had entries carved into them and even saw shelves lined with books containing words of past travelers of the spectral realm. They even saw the eerie towering icon that had the writing of 'The Claws of Dumat' etched into its side, and they knew it was an ancient Tevinter artifact, THE ancient Tevinter artifact that helped them break into the Fade to enter the Black City in the old legends.
As the night started to draw to a close, they could feel a shift in the energies around them. Fen'nan was the first to notice, and he had his hands rested to his sides balled into fists as if ready to fight, but when he turned to face the unknown enemy, he saw he was soon in another area & separated from the rest of the group. Calling out to his companions, they could hear him in the distance then noticing his absence which raised tensions.
Theneras was the second to vanish as he helped look for Fen'nan and he saw he was separated from the group, appearing in an area similar to a disheveled library. Calling out as well, they could hear he was further away, and Solasan was growing increasingly afraid of the growing separation. Reaching for Renan, he soon felt she wasn't where she was. She, too, had vanished leaving him alone.
His breathing grew heavy as did his fear, and the nearby demons could sense it as well. He and his group were separated and he was left practically powerless, but after a few moments of isolation, something made the demons flee and he was left standing alone in the tense silence. Solasan heard the other three called out again as if trying to find each other in a seeking game, and before he could take a few steps forward, he felt someone's eyes on him. Frozen in place, he did not dare look, but when he mustered the strength to look behind him, there it was.
Standing in a clearing, the large black wolf stood in the distance, all six red eyes on him and head hunched down as if it were ready to charge. He saw the wolf and he could practically hear his heartbeat in his ears before his body flinched as if trying to run, but the wolf made the first move. It was now charging full-tilt toward him. His body and mind were telling him to run from the beast, to try and reunite with his companions, but something.. Stopped him.
No. He couldn't keep running from this anymore. He would face the beast head-on.
As the large wolf was running toward him in heavy, bounding steps, he took a few running steps forward before coming to a screeching halt and seemed to square his shoulders up as if to brace against the beast before letting out a loud yell as if making a stand against the massive canine. Seeing him roar at him made the wolf stop several paces away as if in surprise at his action. When his yell died down on his breath, he took a moment to settle himself and saw the wolf had stopped in place.
Seeing the wolf raise its head as well as its ears, its red eyes dimmed to a softer, more gentler shade of green, as if satisfied with the result before sitting in front of him. Solasan had a light head tilt seeing such a display, but the wolf let out a soft huff catching his attention, and cautiously, he started to step closer to the beast. As he got closer, he could see just how majestic the large wolf was as its green eyes watched him intently, but with no sense of malice behind its gaze.
Standing a short distance between one another, the wolf lowered its head down to his level and he could see the six glowing eyes observing him as he also looked up seeing the gaze upon him. "You used to scare me," he said softly, "But, not anymore. If I'm to be an adult, I cannot run from my fears. I do not know why you saved me back then, nor why you would scare me out of my dreams every night when I was a child, but no more. I face you now, great wolf, and I request answers."
Hearing his words, the wolf raised its head before a blue shine enveloped the beast and it started to diminish in size before Solasan. As the form got smaller, he could see more clearly the shape of a man with pointed ears take its place and stood a bit taller than himself and even taller than Fen'nan, around six foot even. When the light faded, he could see the man clearly now.
He appeared an ancient elf bearing what appeared to be golden armor and chainmail underneath while a wolf pelt was harnessed around his shoulder and torso secured at the waist. He has his arms folded behind his back, and he had no hair upon his head, bald as any wizened elder. The elf opened his eyes, and Solasan could see a dimmed shade of blue in his orbs but seemed gentle upon seeing his smile to match his gaze.
"Aneth ara, da'len," he heard the elf greet with a slight bow of his head, "So, you finally faced your fears, your own personal demons and now you face me here in the Fade." "Who are you, exactly," Solasan asked softly looking up at him still in slight shock over the sudden transformation. "One of the ancient past, one who sought to change everything for the better for the elven people," he replied gently taking a few steps closer, "And one who broke the chains of those who joined me, a father, a husband, a friend, and the one who struck down the Evanuris for their misdeeds."
"You're Fen'Harel," Solasan breathed out in awe to which he saw the elder nod still keeping his smile.
"Now, I suspect you have questions."