Chapter 1: The Secrets of Dreams
The Fade is barely visible, in a sort of static going in & out of detail but still able to make out figures and shapes making everything a blur.
The Fade appears a large place, intimidating to a small child, and he has every right to be afraid. He's lost, scared, and the demons of the Fade are lurking & honing in on his power, his magic.
As he's almost struck by a Wrath Demon, something destroys it instead. A large blast of magic disintegrates it to ash, making the other demons flee for their own lives. The boy is safe, and he sees the magic has come from a blurry & massive lurking black figure with bright red eyes. He is frozen in place as this beast looms over him as his vision clears up a bit, and from what he can tell it's the shape of a huge wolf.
Now more vividly, he sees the huge wolf, with all six eyes on him.
The young man jerks awake as he fell onto the floor with a yell, and despite the hard landing, he's grateful to be awake from the dream; or was it a memory? It was hard for him to tell anymore.. With a groan, he gave one of his pointed ears a rub, having landed on it when he hit the floor and looked around through his disheveled oaken brown hair in his face. His vision clears before he sees he's no longer in the Fade, in his dreams, but now he's in his office rotunda. He sees his desk, messy and slightly organized with a project he was working on & papers were littered not only on the edges and surface of his desk but also fluttered down onto the floor as well.
Seeing the state of his work, he let out a disgruntled sigh; seems his magic reacted to his dreams again.
Brushing the long hair back from his face and a light swear in Elvhen, he rose up stretching before getting to work on reorganizing his desk before checking his sundial by the window. The shadow from the dial indicated it was past any decent hour for sleep, but these days, his want for rest has been very few & far between. It had even seemed like his body had almost grown accustomed to three or four hours of sleep as opposed to the eight from a year prior; he hasn't had a decent night's rest due to his growing amount of dreams constantly forcing himself to wake up.
He'd been plagued with nightmares & terrors ever since he was young and he often relied on his dream catchers, wards, incense, and even a specially made herbal tea to help with blocking him from the Fade just for a chance at a full night's rest. As much as he loved his magic, he hated that it meant being so thickly connected to the Fade and having constant nightmares. Because of them since his youth, he's grown deeply afraid of the Fade and never wants to go back, even in his dreams. Tonight, he saw that his ward had lost its power and needed a recharge which would explain why he showed up in the Fade in his dream, or at the very least a memory of the Fade.
Getting his books closed back up onto the desk and shelf, he stretched again giving his neck a rub feeling it was stiff from having slept on the couch in his office again. It was a growing occurrence that he's been sleeping in his office more from how busy he's been with his studies and projects in between working at the Vir'Dithara as a Librarian apprentice. He had slept in his office so much that he had even moved his own bed from his first room into the office so now he has his room - his office - and a guest room in his small home.
Between working and having his studies going on, he didn't have much of a social life - being very awkward around people, but when encountered with the right people, he can carry a decent conversation. But that's rarely happened with two or three others in all of Vir'Vhenas and Vir'Dithara combined which resulted in only one or two close friends. Going to his ward, he set it in the moonlight beaming in from outside and started to work on giving it a slight charge, still exhausted from having woken up so suddenly from the nightmare. He couldn't decide whether or not he should stay awake or try & sleep again after charging up his ward, but for now, he just focused on the task at hand.
It took a while for him to fully charge the ward, but when he was finished, he didn't start it up but instead let it sit in the moonlight for a while longer as he tried to wake himself up a bit more. He could make some tea to help wake him up, but his dislike of tea was a bit of a bother; with the exception of the specially-made herbal tea that blocked his connection to the Fade, and even that was a bit of a hassle sometimes. His sapphire eyes glanced around his office-room some more as he brushed more of his hair from his face also rubbing at the slight stubble of hair underneath the thick locks.
After a moment of debate, he decided he would stay awake a while longer, it'd be hard for him to get back to sleep with or without the ward, and some nights his dream catchers weren't of any help & he was also out of incense. He may have suffered from sleep deprivation, but he would make the best of it. If he couldn't go back to sleep, he may as well do something useful with the time he's been given.
Stepping out the rotunda and into the rest of his home, he made it to the furnace where he prepared a light fire with his magic and drew some water from the nearby barrel setting it into a kettle before propping it over the fire. Standing up stretching a bit more, he fixed up his tunic slightly from the wrinkles and having pulled up from him kneeling, he wouldn't bother with putting his hair up yet. As he waited for the water to boil, he walked to a nearby bookshelf and plucked out one of the books, a copy of one of his favorite series, "Hard in Hightown" written by the famous Dwarven author Varric Tethras from all the back in the Dragon Age. This was issue three, and he had quite a few more to go until he was finished. He also had "Swords and Shields" and even "The Tale of the Champion" on the same shelf as part of his large collection of novels, and even had a few manifestos from past mages and scholars, such as Brother Genitivi and even the elven warrior, Shartan.
Sitting on a nearby couch, he opened his place back up from where he had it bookmarked - Chapter 12, Page 127 - and proceeded to read on about its contents; about Donnen's seeming lack of attention as he stared on at a tapestry of Andraste's burning while he actually was and onward about the viscount's son, Seamus Dumar. While he read, he felt himself waking up more as he read more of the pages catching his attention more & more and wanting to know how it continues. Eventually, his ears perked up having heard the water coming to a whistling boil, and he marked his place again before getting up and getting the kettle from the fire before preparing himself a pot of herbal tea.
He could only hope it helped..
He read a bit more as his tea steeped a bit and after getting to the next chapter, he poured himself a cup even sweetening it with a bit of honey for good measure. While enjoying his tea, he looked around at his trappings seeing his simple, but humble lifestyle. There were some ancient Elven and Dalish influences here and there, as well as some more modern touches from his Age. Some bows and arrows were in a sealed glass shelf against a wall, and even his staffs were locked away in their own shelf right beside it. He always admired his family's staffs, and even made his own out of ironbark and various gemstones littered along the hilt with a blade at the end, and an orb at the top all while enchanted with a lyrium-addled rune to help protect against elemental damages as well as cast elemental damage, but only with ice.
He could see so much history patterned around his home, the memories of gaining each making him smile. Any insight of memory made the lad smile for he knew they contained a history worth studying into. The young elf always had always been fascinated with his studies to where he had deeply-rooted respect for history and what answers the past had to provide.
After all, the past Inquisitor Renan had uncovered so much from her discoveries such as the first Inquisitor Ameridan being a Dalish Elf who was also a mage, which the Chantry had covered it up like a king's dirtiest affairs. They had even revealed the truth of his lover, Telana, who was hidden away as well to where she was almost erased from history were it not for the Inquisitor Renan. After the truth was revealed, they made sure the world knew who they really were, and even the Orlesian family who was benefitting off Ameridan's name acknowledged the truth, however begrudging it was, and gave their respect to his and Telana's Clan of origin. Inquisitor Renan even helped to uncover the past truth of the Seekers and helped one Seeker Cassandra Penteghast to help rebuild them to be even better.
There was so much to learn from the past, and yet, he was told many times to let the past be. While it did develop who they are now, there was no point in dwelling on it too much, the elders would often preach. Some things were worth acknowledging, much like one of the Divines from the Dragon Age, Divine Victoria, reestablished the Canticle of Shartan, giving the Elves nothing but the utmost respect in her time as Divine and it carried on from one to the next leaving it unchanged.
Even studying the past of the Ancient Elves was worth studying in his eyes, as when much was lost, the Dalish would work as hard as they could to restore what was lost and that, in his eyes, was admirable of his lineage. He knew he was descended from Dalish Elves, with only one or two ancestors being of city origins, but he knew the Dalish were more teemed with history than their city counterparts. And those topics are what he devoted his studies to: discovering the past and building off them for a better future, much like Fen'Harel had done in the ancient past three Ages prior. Then again, Fen'Harel was a very ancient Elf who had lived through so much history and had even ascended to godhood after his legend was cleared up a bit while the Evanuris were demoted by the People after their truth was revealed and their vallaslin was never worn again by the elves while Mythal's remained and even a set of vallaslin had been created for Fen'Harel in his honor.
Their history remembers how Fen'Harel had done the impossible by not only restoring the world of the Elves but with the aide of his lady wife, Asha'Fen - meaning "Wolf Woman" in the ancient tongue - they were able to make it better not only for the Elves, but for all other races as well with only the Qunari seemingly wiped out entirely, but only a few were spared, such as the littered Tal'Vashoth who had broken free of the Qun, the Vashoth who were born free of the Qun, and Inquisition's Iron Bull and his Chargers as they were proven to be loyal to the Inquisitor when pressed by the Qunari.
History also remembers his hidden sanctuary that rests deep in the mountains and only accessible by eluvians as there are no entrances in, on, or around the island and its surrounding towers. But, since Fen'Harel's passing the ancient halls have remained empty as no one had access to his eluvians for only he had the passphrase to activate the labyrinth of those mirrors of his most precious sanctuary. While he did have control of most of the eluvians back then, before his death, he granted part of his labyrinth to his most loyal followers to let the People use them for transport as they have done in the ancient past, and the Crossroads were accessible again for the elves to travel.
All this he had discovered from his research into the ancient past, and while some thought it a fruitless effort, he had gathered all of the information together and presented it forward, and due to his drive to learn more & what all he presented, he was offered a position as a Librarian once his apprenticeship was complete which required a total of five years of study and practice. He'd never worked in the Vir'Dithara, only ever studied and read their books, but once his training was complete, he'd be a fully-fledged Librarian and he'd have even more access to ancient knowledge. He was already three years done, two more would be easy.
The sun was starting to slowly rise when he had finished his pot of tea, and seeing the sunrise, he knew it'd be too late to try & get some sleep now, so he'd prepare for his day of practice the Vir'Dithara. Every day of training was different, some days would be filing, some other days would consist of aiding in restoring pages, and the odd day consisted of relocating an eluvian from one section to another or even restoring a fading mural. He didn't mind, he always found each day different and each day also had a different quota, but what was even better was the fact that their Head Librarian was a very kind & caring woman who encouraged her underlings all while keeping firm about their duties.
He fixed up his apprentice tunic and even tied up his hair revealing the shaven half of his head underneath as he let his hair hang down in a ponytail to his shoulders before gathering his things into a shoulder bag, and set out to travel to the Vir'Dithara from Vir'Vhenas, reaching an intersection of eluvians that crossed in each compass direction. So long as you knew your destination, you'd reach it safely. For him, it was the south mirror, and once in the Crossroads, locate the eluvian that was rested between the bookshelves which was rested above the eluvians for two locked realms. One of them being Fen'Harel's sanctuary which he hoped one day he could see..
Reaching the space of bookshelves in the Crossroads, he spotted two other elves waiting by the glowing eluvian in their own apprentice garb. He knew them well, two other apprentice elves named Elgar and Athim who were both young men around his age of 20 and were as different as the books they handled.
Elgar was a young man a head taller than them both and perhaps maybe a year or two older as his sculpted features depicted not only his age but youth as well. His hair fell short around his ears and neck with a shade of dusty blonde while his eyes gleamed a shade of forest green. Athim was a smaller lad and thinner as well who seemed a bit timider but would still greet with a smile. His features were a bit more smoothed out than Elgar and seemed a few years younger than his senior companion as his hair glistened a light shade of red in the light of the Crossroads that was tied into a loose braid hanging down to his shoulder blades and his eyes shined a shade of brown similar to a cup of black tea.
As he approached, he saw Athim wave to him with a big smile and called out to him, "Shem, shem, lethallin," in a chipper tone making him smile a bit hearing the title. When in arm's reach, the Athim chimed up again, "Seems we beat you today, Taren. And it's a bit rare isn't it?" "That's not my name yet," the young elf chuckled lightly, "I know it's our practice to change our name when we join a cause, but I haven't decided to change it to that yet. I still have my first name, Solasan." "And yet you don't object when anyone else calls you 'Taren' lethallin," Elgar joked with a smirk crossing his arms over his chest, "You always respond to it." "Because I know it's going to be my name one day, so I'm training myself to grow accustomed to my new name," Solasan said defending himself and Athim nodded lightly.
"Just as how my name will change to 'Revas' once I become a full-fledged Librarian," Athim chimed up seeming happy at his new name of choice before looking up at Elgar, "You never did say what your new name would be." Elgar let out a light huff with a dismissive wave of his hand, "Why ruin the surprise? You'll figure it out one day," he admitted light-heartedly making them nod before they all stepped through the eluvian and into the Vir'Dithara while carrying on their conversation.
"Why did you choose 'Revas' as your new name," Solasan asked lightly while adjusting his bag slung over his shoulder. The apple-haired youth had a big smile replying with, "Because when I'm a Librarian, I'll encourage those the freedom to explore the Vir'Dithara to their heart's content! And what about you? Why 'Taren'?" he asked in kind. Solasan seemed timid scratching at his nose a bit before replying shyly, "W-Well, because while 'Taren' is pretty straightforward because it means 'mind' in Elvhen, we all have to expand our minds as we study, as we learn new things every day. So my new name is a reminder of what we store our knowledge inside."
"That, lethallin, is what we call a brain," Elgar teased jokingly while giving his temple a poke making Athim laugh as Solasan shooed his hand away. They proceeded down the steps often coming across the Archivists as they wisped through the Vir'Dithara and spotted a few eluvians leading to other parts of the massive library all throughout. They even spotted the one straight across propped up into a large golden hand that led to the upside down chamber that hovered just above their heads which was always an amazing wonder in itself.
Since the Vir'Dithara has been rebuilt into a stronger library, scholars and travelers alike who seek its knowledge have been brought to the massive library in hopes of learning as was its purpose so long ago & into today. They could see them: youths & elders from humans, Elves, & Dwarves alike roaming the rooms and scouring the shelves for anything they needed, some with assistance & others without. It was good to see such peace between races Solasan often thought, as they had suffered enough bloodshed throughout the ages and was hoping this peace would last forever.
Elgar broke to the left to step down to another eluvian as Athim and Solasan went straightforward to the eluvian in the large propped up hand. As they stepped through the eluvian led to the upper chamber, but upon reaching the large room, they went in separate directions to fulfill their own duties for the day.
Every now and then they'd be approached by the Head Librarian, Ghilana, an elven woman of her mid-40's with silver hair and glistening eyes of violet who was a voice of reason & guidance in the halls of the Vir'Dithara. Very few knew her story, but those that did hold her in the highest respect in her profession regardless of status in the library from apprentice to Librarians alike. She knew every word in every book available and knew where everything was and where everything went should it be misplaced. She also had control of the eluvians of the Vir'Dithara so if she should get to someplace quickly without taking multiple paths, she could simply do so with just a gesture.
The day seemed to pass quickly for Solasan, but soon his fatigue was starting to catch up with him from earlier, but he pushed through to get his duties done. His Librarian elder seemed to notice and he brought him to attention with a snap of his fingers. "Are you losing focus, da'len?" the elder elf asked gruffly to which Solasan gave a slight nod in response, "I did not sleep well, hahren. More nightmares continue to plague me despite my efforts to block them. This time it was.. It was as if I was appearing in & out of the Fade before everything became crystal clear."
"The more you block your connection to the Beyond, da'len, the more it will strain you," his elder gently advised, "As one skilled with magic, it is where you go to dream, as all but the dwarves go to dream, and in the Beyond, yes, there are malevolent spirits there, but so too are there helpful spirits. Spirits akin to wisdom & compassion as well as hope and valor. Their counterparts, the demons, are just their will gone awry and they are the ones to prepare yourself against.
"Your fear of the Beyond is understandable, lad, but you cannot prolong the inevitable," he noted lightly, "What exactly did you see in the Beyond?" Solasan seemed hesitant to explain but took in a breath before replying, explaining how it seemed more like a memory from his childhood as opposed to it being a regular dream of the Fade. He also described how the large mass chased away the demons before seeing it was a large six-eyed wolf that seemed to loom over him dangerously, and it seemed to catch his elder's attention as they walked the halls to an unknown destination.
"Quite a curious sight, lad," he noted curiously before scanning through the books on a third shelf before pulling one out with a blue spine lined with a gold rope binding, "Why in the Creator's name would you be seeing that in your dreams?" "I'm not certain, hahren," he responded as the elder flipped through the pages before his ears seemed to perk up at an image. Turning the book, he revealed to the young elf the image he had been searching for: a mural image drawn and painted as a recreation of an ancient mural, but it was the sight of the wolf that made him flinch lightly before taking a step back.
"I thought as much," his elder noted softly before turning the book away as Solasan spoke shyly, "But.. The wolf's eyes were red, not green like in that picture.." "The six-eyed wolf is the symbol of Fen'Harel, da'len," Solasan heard his elder remark lightly, "Curious how you saw him in your dreams, much less in the Beyond. Fen'Harel was laid to rest three Ages ago with his lady wife, Asha'Fen, after restoring our lands & culture, so he shouldn't have had the motive to patrol the Beyond as said in his old legend."
That was a curious notion his elder had made, if Fen'Harel was laid to rest with his wife, then why did he see an apparition of the Dread Wolf in the Fade? And why after HIM of all people? Many would've seen it as an ill omen, but that was many Ages prior and now the Dread Wolf has become a different image throughout time; to some, an image of hope, strength, & wisdom, and to others, he stood as an image of opposition, rebellion, and might. Solasan just had more questions than he did answers..
He'd have to look into it another time, but for today, his elder dismissed him of his duties to let him head home & rest. Before heading home, he requested to borrow a few books that held mention of Fen'Harel to do more research into the meaning behind the troubling dream. Solasan had taken five books home as there were more than he could carry on the subject, so he made his way back to his small home, even gathering food from the market for a small meal that night.
When he made it back, he settled himself down onto the couch, but his drive to study more into the meaning behind his dream, however, was pushed aside by his exhaustion that was catching up fast now that he was off his feet. With a light flick of his hand, his magic started up a nearby ward and he slumped back onto the cushions as his bag fell onto the floor, and his eyes closed from the heaviness they've been feeling for a while now. Hopefully, he can rest with no dreams this time..
Chapter 2: Chance Encounter
After a bit of rest & studying, Solasan goes to stretch his legs and bumps into a girl who has odd dreams just like him. The difference between them is while his are nightmares that he frequently blocks with sleep aids, hers are more like warning signs that she accepts with cautionary stride. He offers to help her discover what they mean before signs of trouble finds their peaceful city after three Ages of peace.
Here's another one OMG XD
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Solasan felt himself stir awake from his slumber, thankfully no nightmares again and his ward was still going at a light pace with its gentle humming from the magic that kept it going. But checking his sundial, he saw that he only slept for a few hours, evident by the lack of sunlight outside and Thedas's two moons were starting to rise outside. Getting up stretching, he checked his things in his bag finding his food was intact, but in need of some quick preparation otherwise, it was going to go bad.
Getting a small dinner fixed together, he took the chance to also read one of the books he had brought home and read the contents of the small book. The beginning quote was of interest, "There is precious little we know of Fen'Harel," and the book he held in his hand was so thin, that was no joke. Entries written by different scholars and Dalish Keepers were basically compiled into this one book telling of how he was kin to the Creators as a brother and friend to the Forgotten Ones before he sealed them away. Future entries tell that he sealed them away as an act of vengeance for them murdering his oldest friend and fellow goddess, Mythal.
"'They killed Mythal," Fen'Harel had once spoken to Inquisitor Lavellan," Solasan had narrated aloud while he let his food cook over the flame, reading the text & he noticed it seemed to be written in a newer hand from previous entries, "'A crime for which an eternity of torment was the only fitting punishment.' When she questioned about Mythal being one of the Evanuris, he replied, a crack in his voice, 'She was the best of them. She cared for her people. She protected them. She was a voice of reason. And in their lust for power, they killed her.'
"Fen'Harel admitted that the People fell for what he did to strike the Evanuris down, to prevent them from destroying this world, but he still held onto the hope for restoring what was lost. And so he did, restoring what was long lost to the People and while the Evanuris and Forgotten Ones did return, he noted to Inquisitor Lavellan he had plans for them." Solasan had a pause with an arched brow before checking on his food, "Seems that didn't go so well, seeing as how they're still around after three Ages while he is gone & buried," he noted flatly before going back to the book and started to read silently to himself on the entries inside.
He gathered his food together and after reading the five books he had so far, he let out a light disgruntled sigh running his hand over his hair then down his face. Most of what he read, he already knew about Fen'Harel but he had no answers as to why he was having nightmares about him in the Fade. He could try the more frightening method of finding out first-hand what the Dread Wolf wanted, but it meant confronting the beast in the Fade before he could have a chance to speak with the ancient god. If that was even the case..
Solasan shook the thoughts from his mind before eating at the last bite of his food as he racked his mind for more thoughts and possible means of finding answers if he couldn't find any in the Vir'Dithara. Even if he were to ask the Archivists, their answers would be hugely vague as their thoughts and memories were one jumbled mess between one another. What he had available was only a few of a large number of books with the mentions of Fen'Harel inside, and he was pretty sure they were just going to mention old Dalish stories and legends of the Evanuris in the times they were referenced as the Creators.
He put the books away in his bag and set his dishes aside on the mantle before giving his forehead a light rub feeling a bit of pressure build up. Perhaps a bit of fresh air would help clear his thoughts from all this mess. With a light resolve, he got up making himself a bit more presentable before heading out leaving his books and bag at home to roam the streets. No destination in mind, just wandering to take in the night air and letting his feet do the work.
He did his best to avoid crowds while on his venture outside, and he spotted various sights among the city that he had grown accustomed to. Old aravels traveling through from neighboring cities all pulled by the majestic halla that the elves were often associated with, he also saw old shops selling their wares, and even children playing in the streets with their parents close by. Solasan managed to avoid larger crowds of people and it was as if his feet took a shortcut to the central eluvians and reached his usual south entrance, but paused.
He looked at the mirror debating on whether he should step through for.. whatever reason his feet had brought him there. The young man saw very few people coming and going from the enchanted mirrors, but he was wondering if he should step through and.. to where? Where did he want to go? Where could he go? He had no destination in mind, he just wanted to roam and clear his thoughts. Gathering a breath, he stepped through and into the Crossroads seeing the winding paths again.
He wandered the Crossroads calmly this time for who knows how long, his mind wasn't in control, he let his feet do the navigating this time. His feet then stopped in front of a locked eluvian, its glass dimmed and dark from inactivity but still maintained its sheen showing it was still intact. But, when he looked around the eluvian, he saw statues of howling wolves and large white banners flowing in the light breeze as well as the sound of rushing water nearby.
He was at the entrance of Fen'Harel's hidden sanctuary.
But why would his feet take him here? The eluvian is locked as it has been for three Ages now, for hundreds - if not thousands - of years. Letting out a disheartened sigh, he reached over gently setting his hand on the dimmed mirror feeling its energy resting dormant inside before looking up at one of the statues of the wolves. "What led me here," he asked softly, "What are you trying to tell me? Why do you scare me out of the Fade all the time with such a beastly form? Are you trying to kill me or is it.. Something else? Why approach me in the Fade, much less like.. that? I thought you were laid to rest after your duty was done. Not in Uthenera, but death this time.. It's not like I can find out, all your secrets are locked away, you made sure of that.
"But, if there's one thing I can do, it's to keep trying," he said lightly before closing his eyes letting out a deep breath as his hand curled into a fist against the mirror, "You never gave up, even with challenges in your way. You were often evoked as a curse but now you're practically honored as a god you never wanted credit for.. Ironic, isn't it?" He opened up his eyes looking up to his reflection in the darkness of the eluvian as if trying to find an answer, but none came.
With another sigh, he removed his hand from the glass and straightened up before looking back over to the wolf statue again and gave it a light bow before turning and going back on his path toward home this time. Stepping back through the eluvian, he found himself back in Vir'Vhenas and roamed a bit more through the streets until he bumped into someone taking him completely by surprise. After coming out of his daze, he looked over to see it was a young elven woman about his height, tanned skin with snowy white hair that went no further past her neck and pale blue eyes as she seemed in surprise as well.
"I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bump into you," he apologized lightly not noticing the burning feeling his cheeks, "I was just enjoying a walk out and I guess the night air got me distracted." The young woman had a soft laugh noticing him getting so flustered and gave a small dismissive wave, "It's alright," she replied lightly, "If anything, it shows you have a lot on your mind, or perhaps nothing. Ir abelas," she noted before continuing, "I'm Renan of Clan Ghilanassan." "Guiding arrow," he translated as his ears perked up a bit to which she nodded lightly in response.
"My name is Solasan, I reside here in Vir'Vhenas," he said in kind, "Your Clan name sounds like it can be referring to a compass's arrow. Are you travelers or have you settled in city limits?" "We've been wandering for some time now as we not only breed halla, but we also collect artifacts from the request of our elders. We're stopping to rest our halla and make trade with the merchants of the capital," she replied, "We've been needing the supplies desperately, especially since things have been.. strange as of late." "Oh? How so?"
"Well- No, no I'm sorry, I shouldn't impose my problems onto you," she apologized softly but Solasan shook his head, "Please, I insist. After all, we Elvhen must look out for each other." Hearing his kind offer, she gave a nod before speaking up, "We.. Have had odd things happen in our travels. Other than our halla acting odd, some of us have heard strange things in the forests as we've traveled. Whispers and what sounds like battles. The Veil must have been thin in those areas, but it's still worrying all the same."
"Sounds like that could be the case," Solasan remarked, "The forests surrounding our home capital is rather steeped in history from the ancient times. The chance of there being a battlefield in the old days wouldn't be too far out the realm of possibility for there to be activity to press so strongly against the Veil. Has anything else strange occurred?" he asked in light fascination, if not concern. Renan looked around lightly then back to Solasan, "I've told my Keeper about this, but she has come up with no answers. I've been.. having strange visions as of late, and with me being a mage, it's definitely been a mix of many different things at once, some of them are painful. Sometimes they're spirits, sometimes they're demons, and sometimes they're.. something or someone else."
"Someone else?" Solasan asked softly and she nodded, "It's been very vague as they've never had a certain form, but I can tell it's a woman's voice speaking from it. Sometimes it's an animal, other times it's a person, but she says the same thing each time. I dare not repeat them around my clanmates since they've been fidgety as of late," Renan paused to look around before urging him to follow her in a direction heading toward a secluded park, "She's told me to keep a vigil for her husband, for he's needed to be reborn. And.. that she needs help in finding him."
This stumped Solasan as he rubbed his chin in thought, "A spirit in need of finding her husband for a rebirth? That IS unheard of," he noted, "I've never heard anything like it in all of the Vir'Dithara.. but I can hope someone there has answers. If not the Librarians, then perhaps the Archivists.." "You're familiar with the Vir'Dithara?" Renan asked as her ears perked a bit as he responded with a light, "Yes. I'm under a Librarian's apprenticeship so I've read much of what the great library has to offer."
"Do you think it's possible for me to find an answer there," she asked lightly trying not to sound too eager, "I need answers, and my Clan can only provide so much. Can you help me find those answers?" "I'm in need of answers to my own dilemma, but I will help you in any way I can until you and your Clan have to depart. How long are you in town?" he inquired to which she looked over at her clanmates tending to the halla getting their harnesses off. "I think we'll be in town for a few days, a week at the most," she replied and he rubbed at his chin again. "That should be plenty of time to get at least SOME information as to what's been going on," he noted.
"Do you know how to reach the Vir'Dithara from city limits?" he asked before seeing her shake her head a light 'no' before he pointed toward the central eluvians, "Just follow into the Southern Eluvian and you'll enter a section of the Crossroads that will have the path to the Vir'Dithara. The eluvian leading to it will be surrounded by bookshelves littered with books and desks. It should be open to those who wish to learn."
"Thank you again for your willingness to help," she said lightly and Solasan had a soft chuckle, "Well, I must be honest. Your dilemma sounds most intriguing, no matter how odd it may sound for a spirit to ask for aid. Very rarely do they ask for help from the living, but when they do, it's mostly for simple matters such as a command or to give a sample of wisdom to one's questions."
"Indeed they have, given my experience in the Fade," Renan noted lightly before looking over to the eluvians, "You said the southernmost eluvian right?" "I did," he replied lightly, "If you'd like, I can accompany you until you find some sort of answer. I can even direct you around the Vir'Dithara with ease." She seemed in thought a moment before nodding, looking up to him with a smile, "I'd like that, thank you." He walked with her the few steps to the mirrors, and they stepped through to hopefully find some answers.
Not far, however, hiding amongst the aravels was a tall, thin figure that noticed them and heard their conversation taking note of their worries concerning the dreams and their emerald eyes seemed to glisten with anticipation.
HEYO thanks for reading the second chapter! Please leave a comment about thoughts and even hints about what might happen next ;3
Chapter 3: A Wolf with Clues
After doing some research in the Vir'Dithara and with no luck, they explore a bit more and come across a young man trying to access the eluvian leading to Fen'Harel's sanctuary before he flees after being spotted. The next day, they find him again and get his name as well as some answers.
It seemed a certain undefined amount of time that the two young elves spent in the Vir'Dithara, and for all the books they've looked through, even with aid, they found no answers. They had struck out. With a disgruntled groan mixed with a sigh, Solasan rubbed a hand over his face as if agitated.
Renan heard this as she was closing a thin book, and she stepped over giving his shoulder a rub before spotting him turn back to look toward her. "I know we had no luck finding answers, but I thank you for at least helping me find one," she said softly, if not sincerely, "I don't think even the Keeper would have been able to find answers either, given her limited access, but she would encourage us to try another day. There are many books and many scriptures out there in Thedas. Who's to say I won't find my answer out there?"
Solasan took in her advice and let out a sigh with a nod. "You're right," he admitted as he gently closed the hardback book in his hands, "It is not easy for me to admit defeat, but I know when I'm at a dead end. Let's rest for the night, and I'll help you again tomorrow if your Keeper will allow it." "I'm sure she will," Renan said with a soft chuckle in her words before the two worked on putting the books back on their proper shelves.
Once he walked with her out of the Vir'Dithara, they came to the Crossroads again seeing its vast space change a bit in the distance. It was always changing with each path that was changed between the eluvians; some connected, some disconnected and others conjoined, but the Crossroads always led from path to path to the destinations. Walking down from the Vir'Dithara, they came across the sealed Eluvian that led to the old abandoned & submerged lyrium mine. Inquisitor Lavellan had submerged entirely with water it so long ago to prevent Qunari forces from mining for more lyrium for a sinister plan back then, and now it was nothing more than a drowned ruin.
Going upward from the mining entrance, they spotted the entrance to Fen'Harel's sanctuary with.. a tall, cloaked figure at the eluvian. They could see their hands on the glass of the mirror, as if trying to examine it, perhaps open it in some manner; were they trying to use magic, or were they simply examining the enchanted mirror? Solasan didn't want a risk chance of them possibly shattering it, but who would in this day and age?
As they approached, their steps were drowned out by the sounds of the waterfalls around them, and they approached the unknowing figure with the intent of figuring out their purpose. When they got close enough, Solasan reached out and gave a gentle tap on the shoulder with two fingers, making the figure leap away quite a long distance before turning to face them with their hands on the hilts of twin daggers. A rogue?
Taking a closer look, they could make out a young man, slender but firmly built, and despite the hood over his head that darkened out his features, they could see his pointed ears underneath. He wore all black with touches of red on his attire, such as on his belt sash and even wore a red ribbon around his wrists. It was another elf, but why was he acting so hostile?
"Calm yourself," Solasan urged gently, "We mean no harm. We just saw you at the mirror and want to know your intention here." The young man had a light scoff before they heard him speak, sounding gruff but also sounded around their age of 19 or 20, "Ghil-Dirthalen, galas quenathra?" So he speaks fluent Elvish, he noted. Hearing his question, he responded firmly taking a cautious step closer with hands slightly raised showing he was no threat.
"I'm no Ghil-Dirthalen, but we've just come from the Vir'Dithara, and we happened to see you at the eluvian to Fen'Harel's sanctuary," he replied, "That eluvian has been locked for three Ages now, there's been no means of opening it. Fen'Harel made sure of that before he passed. Was that it? Were you trying to open it?" "Fenedhis lasa," he muttered out lightly before turning back to him with his twin daggers now half-unsheathed, "Ma banal las halamshir var vhen!"
"Wha.." Solasan's word trailed off and his brows went up hearing such a statement that sounded close to an insult, "I do no such thing! I am an apprentice to the Librarians of the Vir'Dithara! With our knowledge, we will make things better, not just for the elves, but for our unity with the other races, as is the name of the Age we live." Another scoff from the young man before he sheathed his blades and dashed off. But, before Solasan could pursue after him, they saw a wave of his hand dismiss part of the pathway behind him before disappearing into an eluvian leaving the two highly curious, if not dumbfounded.
"Why did he think that we're not helping our people," he heard Renan ask softly. Solasan could only shake his head before turning back to her, "I'm not sure, but let us hope we don't encounter him again. He seemed dangerous." She gave a nod before she saw another path open up for them that would lead them back to their destination of Vir'Vhenas and back to safety. He walked her back to her Clan where they saw her Keeper walking from a group of resting halla in the park and toward them having spotted them emerge from the mirror. A woman quite slender for her age, but her silver hair showed age as well as a few lines in her face that accompanied a pair of knowing amber eyes.
"And where have you been, da'len," they heard her ask gentle, yet firm. "Ir abelas, Keeper," Renan apologized softly, "I should have told you, but I explored and this young man, Solasan, helped me explore the Vir'Dithara." "Oh? The ancient library," the Keeper recalled to which the two youths nodded, "I see. Your thirst for knowledge has always been known to lead you astray, da'len, although you must tread carefully. Sometimes the truth you seek may not be the answer you want." "I understand, Keeper," she acknowledged with a soft smile before the Keeper turned her gaze to Solasan.
"Ma serannas, da'len, for looking after my Second," she thanked softly, to which Solasan responded with a light bow of respect. "She was in seek of knowledge, so I led her in the right direction since I am familiar with the Vir'Dithara." "Renan is known not only for her proficiency in magic but also for being so easily fascinated by new findings." "Well, it is of our heritage to discover things of our ancestral past, Keeper." "That may indeed be true, da'len, but with our homelands restored, there isn't much to find anymore, but traces keep appearing in old artifacts. I do not fault you for taking an interest in the past.
"But, for now, let us retreat for the night. It is late, and we all need our rest," she noted lightly to which the two youths nodded in response before Renan turned to Solasan with a smile. "Thank you again for your help," he heard her say softly before he gave a light smile before giving his own response. "I did offer to help, and so I did keeping to my word," he said with a smile, "And if you ever need help in the next few days to come, I'll be around or in the Vir'Dithara, and now you know the way there." "Indeed. Goodnight, Solasan," she bid as her farewell with a light wave before going with the Keeper back to the aravels.
He gave a light wave as well, before noticing the burning feeling in his cheeks and in a flustered state, he hurried home as well, but halfway home he remembered the young man they encountered in the Crossroads. Upon reaching his door, he was full of questions about him: what was he there for? Why was he there? Was he trying to get in? What class was he? WHO was he?
He could try to ask around, but it'd be awkward asking for a strange young man who wielded twin daggers since he doesn't really do well in a social gathering. But, he could at least keep an eye out for him if he should ever spot him again; it was all he could do for now. As for him, he set up his wards for the night before settling out of his apprentice's robes and into something more comfortable to try and sleep for the night. In his bed this time rather than on a couch.
The following morning went the same, with him preparing for his day before going to the Vir'Dithara with his fellow apprentices, and this time he spotted Renan with a Librarian as they assisted her in looking through the shelves. The burning feeling came back to his face again, to which Elgar and Athim were playful about it, with Athim pointing out the rosiness in his cheeks and Elgar poking at his cheek making him let out a groan at their teasings. But, he quickly grew to ignore it as they went on their own way for their duties.
When his path crossed with Renan's in the Vir'Dithara, he was more than glad to help her out and even saw she was glad to spot him again in the library. As they went through a different section from the night before, they also spotted others in the area with them, but one caught his eye in particular. A young man, tall with long white hair tied up high and revealed a half-shaven head much like Solasan's with deeply tanned skin as he wore elegant robes akin to that of a noble son, but his robes were consisted of black and red with a few touches of silver here and there. He appeared no older than they were and carried no weapons on his person as he skimmed through the books. More curiously was a thick silver ring that rested on his right middle finger; it was engraved with a pattern, but what pattern?
The young man must've felt their eyes on him, because he then turned spotting him and they could see his eyes green and deep as a lush forest, but also seemingly dangerous as his gaze on them was fierce and intimidating. Renan quickly looked way but Solasan kept his eyes on him. He opened his mouth to say something, but the young man took a book down before going on his way. But, Solasan wouldn't be deterred. "Was there anything you needed from the shelves? I highly doubt you'd want the copy of Elgar'nan's scripture of fire," he firmly asked before seeing the young man stop in place with the book still under his arm.
The young man turned back to them with his gaze still strong and he spoke up, voice sounding eerily familiar, "You'd be surprised what a noble youth will want to look up about the ancient past." "I had a feeling you looked familiar," Solasan said low and firm, "We saw you yesterday at the Crossroads. At the eluvian to Fen'Harel's sanctuary." They noticed his hand tighten around the spine of the book. They found him.
"Who are you? Why were you there? And why were you so eager to attack us," Solasan started to ask but the young man had approached quickly and slammed the book against his mouth silencing him with a stern shush of his own. Up close, he was a head taller, around Elgar's height, and he had very slender features for a young man his age. Getting a hold of the book and putting it back, Solasan saw him motion for them to follow as he walked into another part of the Vir'Dithara, and they followed keeping close.
After navigating through the shelves and halls, they came across the center of the library where the large golden tree rest in the middle like a fountain but held no water, just magic flowing freely. From there, they took a seat at the edge of the fountain's edge and the young man rubbed at the middle of his brow with a sigh.
"Of all places to find me, it had to be here," he said flatly, "BUT, Mother insisted I find something for her that wasn't in our own personal library." "Who are you," Solasan asked gently, but firm. They saw him look over at them with his fierce green eyes before letting out a sigh, "I am Fen'nan and of which House I belong to, that's none of your business." "Perhaps, but I can take a guess from what I saw yesterday," he heard Solasan say which had him eye him curiously.
"From what I saw on you yesterday, you had a black bodysuit and even red sashes on your waist and wrist and even now, you wear red and black on your person. Your very name means 'wolf's revenge' or 'wolf's vengeance'," Solasan started to deduce, "And with how you handled the paths yesterday to get away from us, that takes immense power to alter a path so easily if not with one's own sheer force of will in the Crossroads. You're a formidable warrior as you've shown to wield twin daggers as you did yesterday, aside from that, you have signs of being a powerful mage. From all those factors, I can say with absolute certainty, you're from the House of Hawke, a noble family in Vir'Venhas known for their powerful magical lineage aside from a few others."
As Fen'nan looked in shock, so too did Renan, and she tried so hard to contain her excitement. "YOU'RE of the House of Hawke," she asked on a hushed whisper, trying not to exclaim it aloud, and Fen'nan rubbed at his forehead again seemingly agitated. "YES, I am," he said in light defeat, "And as to how you figured that out, that's annoying. But, I digress." "But how did the Hawke family even grow to be a family of elves," Renan asked almost dumbfounded, "I thought the Champion of Kirkwall, Aurora Hawke, was a human."
"She was, but her husband was an elf named Fenris," Fen'nan answered firmly, "But since he had no family or House name to rightfully attach himself to, he took her name 'Hawke' when they wed and the children born of them were elves despite having a human mother." "Why did he not have a family name?" they heard Renan ask softly. "Because before they were married, Fenris was a slave to a Tevinter magister," Fen'nan explained, an obvious sign of venom in his voice at the mere mention of slavery, "When he broke free of that life by killing his former master, he went on to forge his own future with Hawke."
"And what of Hawke helping the Inquisitor with Corypheus three Ages prior," Solasan asked lightly, "Rumor stated that while she did maintain a family line, it's said that she disappeared around the time Corypheus was defeated." "She took her family first to Kirkwall where she had a close family friend look after her family while she helped with the Inquisition before doing other things and returning home until Fen'Harel's gathering of the faithful."
"That's quite a detailed recollection of your family history," Solasan remarked to which Fen'nan quickly responded, "With my lineage on both sides, you may as well thought we were like the Penteghasts - that our bloodline ran thick with gold. And our family stories are practically legendary on both my mother AND my father's side. He was from the Clan Lavellan, but when he married my mother, they wanted nothing more to do with him."
"Clan Lavellan? That's the same Clan as the Inquisitor," Solasan noted. "In part," they heard Fen'nan say flatly. "What do you mean 'in part'? Inquisitor Lavellan hailed from that Clan." "Have you not read ALL the stories of Inquisitor Lavellan? How they used two names interchangeably? Because they were two separate people. They were twin Inquisitors, Assan and Renan Lavellan, and I am descended from the brother of the two, Assan, from my father's side." The two blinked in surprise at Fen'nan's revelation and Solasan had a chuckle, "Seems I was right on having a powerful lineage, but only half-right."
"It would seem so, and it seems you share a name with the sister Inquisitor," Renan heard Fen'nan point out which made her blink in surprise. "True, but, I'm sure she had a different name before then, I mean, I'm not THE Inquisitor herself" she noted lightly remembering their ancient naming practices. "Who can say? It was so long ago," Fen'nan noted before standing up stretching a bit, "But, I did not answer your questions completely.
"I answered WHO I am, but not why I was at the mirror yesterday. I found something in my family's collections of relics and I wanted to see if it was enchanted. That's all." "What kind of relic," Solasan asked standing up and saw Fen'nan remove something from his finger revealing the silver ring to them and Solasan saw the engraving in detail. He saw a large wolf engraved into it, not a depiction of "The Dread Wolf's Betrayal" as commonly etched into the sylvanwood rings, but this was more like a guardian symbol than anything.
"What is this exactly," he asked looking it over more for any other signs of engravings and heard Fen'nan reply lightly. "This is one of many rings that was a symbol of Fen'Harel's most loyal followers. Fen'Harel himself was said to have a ring just like this while his wife, Asha'Fen, had a ring similar to it from their wedding day. Why it was in my family's collections I have no idea." "You thought the ring might've been enchanted somehow," Solasan asked lightly to which Fen'nan nodded in reply. "It's a very old ring, so who knows what secrets it held," he replied, "Plus, with my sensitivity to magic, I thought I felt something within the metal so I thought it was a key of sorts. After all, Fen'Harel DID leave access of the eluvians to his most loyal followers so I thought it passed down through the generations somehow, but that deduction turned out to be wrong."
Solasan nodded and took a moment to look over it more before his eyes seemed to widen at a realization.
Reaching into the collar of his tunic, he pulled out a necklace that had two rings on the thick silver chain and one of the rings on it was a near perfect match to Fen'nan's ring, but a bit more aged. "Seems your family was descended from those followers too," Fen'nan said taking notice to the similarities as Renan did the same looking amazed and Solasan was in a surprised shock but handed the ring back to Fen'nan who proceeded to put his ring back on his middle finger as Solasan placed his ring necklace back into his tunic.
"It seems I need more insight of my own family line," Solasan muttered softly resting his hand over where the rings rested against his chest inside his tunic. "You don't know your own lineage," Fen'nan asked with a dry laugh. "My mother raised me on her own after my father died shortly after I was born," they heard Solasan explain, "She did the best she could, but she often told me that with how little she remembered her own family told her of their lineage, she didn't have much to tell me. But, she DID mention our ancestors were part of Fen'Harel's armies back then, same with my father's side. She didn't know how though.."
"History does tend to leave details vague as the centuries pass on," Fen'nan said crossing his arms across his chest and Solasan had a chuckle, "True, but history also tends to repeat itself. I'm certain we'll find answers along the way," Solasan said firmly with a light smile, and Renan asked the last question asked from earlier: "And WHY did you try to attack us? We showed you we meant no harm. And WHY did you insult Solasan?"
"I made an assumption with that insult until he proved me wrong. And I attacked because it's a reflex," Fen'nan responded flatly crossing his arms a bit tighter across his chest, "Fight or flight reflexes are common amongst all races, not just animals, and we're no exceptions. When you startled me, I merely gave us distance before showing I would fight if I had to. My parents trained me in all manner of weaponry, including magic, but I prefer to battle with a blade." He paused to give a sly smirk, "But, that doesn't mean I don't integrate a bit of magic into my attacks while I'm at it. They just never notice until their limbs have iced over." "Clever," they heard Renan say with a smile making Fen'nan's smirk get even sharper.
Solasan seemed lost in thought about all he'd found out just from one young elvhen man. How was his family connected to Fen'Harel and his armies? Did they even know him? Or were they just other agents of his? And how did Hawke and Inquisitor Assan Lavellan's family line get intertwined with Fen'Harel's war against the Evanuris? Did his twin sister, Renan, get involved as well? Which sides did they pick when it came to Fen'Harel's rising? He had even more questions than answers, but after his long pause, he just looked up and simply asked, "I know we've uncovered so much but.. Which book did your mother ask for?"
Blinking in slight surprise, Fen'nan looked down at Solasan before giving a light smile and replied with, "The legends of Mythal. Seems I need help finding it after all." The other two had soft laughs before Renan patted Solasan's arm, "Well, he's one of the best here. He knows where all the source material is, as he helped me yesterday with my own search." "Well, I can't take all the credit," Solasan admitted sheepishly, if not being modest, "The Head Librarian here knows far more than any other apprentice and Librarian put together." "Well, I think I'll find that out firsthand," Fen'nan said with a motion forward toward the center eluvian in the room.
With a soft chuckle, Solasan led the way as he took them to find the books Fen'nan needed on Mythal.
There are some parts where Fen'nan spoke in Dalish/Elvish so here are some translation notes:
"Ghil-Dirthalen, garas quenathra?" literally translates to "One who guides seekers of knowledge true, Why are you here?/Why have you come?"
"Fenedhis lasa" is a common curse but it hasn't been defined of yet.
"Ma banal las halamshir var vhen!" means "You do nothing to further our people!"
"Ir abelas" said by Renan to her Keeper is simply "I am sorry"
""Ma serannas, da'len" said by the Keeper to Solasan means "My thanks/Thank you, little one/child."
Please leave a comment if you enjoyed! X3
Chapter 4: Delving into Dreams
After much hard thinking, Solasan decides it's time to face his fears and let his sleep travel him deeper into the Fade. But, he has a condition: he cannot do it alone, so he asks for Renan and others to accompany him in the Fade while they sleep, only things never turn out according to plan as he finds out the hard way.
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."
Chapter 5: White Wolf, Black Wolf
After meeting Fen'Harel - or rather Solas - in the Fade, Solasan gets answers as well as a gift from the Dread Wolf before chaos ensues. In the midst of a random attack of demons, he puts this gift to good use and quickly discovers he's not the only one with such a gift.
Upon meeting the ancient elf, Solasan had so many questions to ask but calmed himself to asking them one at a time as to not overwhelm the elder before him and heard him answer them as best as he could and with complete honesty. They had walked & talked for an undefined amount of time, and in the distance, they could hear the cries of his companions' silence either from being awoken or have found one another and returned to the waking world. Solasan was reassured that his friends were safe and was growing to enjoy the conversation with the ancient elf and had more questions for each answer he got. He learned so much that wasn't in any history book and was amazed at each new piece of information.
The ancient rebel revealed his first name as "Solas" and how Fen'Harel came later as an insult he took as a badge of pride; his own name was even mistranslated from ancient to modern translations. How it was hinted that modern elven translates the word "harel" to mean "dread" however the ancient term "harillen" would mean opposition, so in short, his name literally meant "rebel wolf" instead of "dread wolf". It truly made sense to his title as a god of rebellion now.
On top of that, he heard the intimate first-hand account of details that no scholar would know of; information such as his time in the Inquisition until he revealed himself as Fen'Harel to the twin Inquisitors, and how he grew close to the twin Inquisitors befriending them both. He even offered the truth about their vallaslin which they both bore the full-set vallaslin of Mythal and even offered to remove them with a spell. Solas even told details of his wife & family, how they joined his side and his cause, and even recalls a temporary truce long enough for their wedding to proceed, with previous members of the Inquisition - and even the Divine Victoria herself - there as friends to which he noted a few of the group were quite rambunctious, like Sera, Iron Bull, and even Varric teased around a bit.
He stated how afterward, he led his rebellion with his wife at his side, even when she was pregnant with their third child, and even how long the rebellion lasted up until his death. And, even more personally, he even recalled the last memory he had alive: the day of his death. It was actually the death of him AND his wife struck by one arrow shot by Andruil meant for him, but his wife wanted to protect him from the shot. She underestimated just how strong Andruil's shot really was and it skewered through the both of them like it was slicing through bread.
On top of that, the arrow was enchanted and made out of a single piece of crystal and when they were struck, its magic activated and froze them over completely, immobile and frozen in time in a long-lasting embrace of lovers. His last memory was holding his wife and telling her how much he loved her as she had said for him. Since waking up in the Fade, he's been trying to reunite with her having been separated by the Evanuris, most likely as their own act of vengeance for what he had done to them and the Fade has always kept them apart for countless centuries. Solasan could hear the pain in his voice at the mere mention of their deaths, but he wouldn't press the matter more. He would try to move onto another subject.
"Why have you been pursuing me all these years," he asked softly and saw his expression shift from grief-stricken to an all-knowing sideways smile. He straightened up and looked down at the youth, "You possess a very powerful spirit, da'len," Solas responded gently, "And one that I know you doubt, which I feel is very often. You have so much potential locked inside, you just need the right key to unlock your true power." "And I supposed you know how to help with that," he heard the youth ask making him chuckle a bit. "I do, but I will not force it upon the unwilling. Words once spoken by Mythal herself," he said softly.
"I offer you this, a chance to unlock your fullest potential with me as a spiritual aide of sorts," the ancient elf offered, "I would ask that you not speak of our connection, however. Many would hear of your story and think you were connected with a demon when I am far from it." "And what would you gain of this," Solasan asked with piqued interest. "A chance to see the modern world through your eyes," he replied honestly, "I had been in searching for ma'vhenan for so long here in the Fade that I have not had a chance to peek into the modern Age." "Well, it has been three Ages since your rebellion, hahren," Solasan noted.
"Exactly. Having the chance to see the world of the elves through your eyes will give me insight that I might need later," he said lightly, "Perhaps in exploring the modern world through you, I can find a potential way of finding my lost wife." "I can help you in any way I can in finding her," he heard the young elf offer, which made a soft smile grow a bit bigger on the elder elf's face. "Thank you, da'len," he said gently before extending a hand to him, "So, I offer my aide, my wisdom, my guidance for a simple tag-along in spirit, and I will even provide some aide when it comes to your magic. Will you accept, da'len?"
Solasan looked down at his extended hand for a moment and even considered accepting. The doubt must have been showing on his face, for Solas then spoke up softly, "I will not interfere in your own personal affairs, but I will offer words of wisdom now and then. I can even aide in moments of trouble and dismay if you merely ask for it." Hearing more details of his offer, the young elf slowly raised and extended his hand into the elder's own, and gave it a firm shake.
Solasan could feel a powerful energy surge through them both, from Solas into himself and looking up, he saw the ancient elf's smile grow bigger. With the smile, he saw his eyes glowing a greenish-blue color, as well as four more adjacent eyes opening over the two into a set of six glowing eyes as if it was the sealing of the deal. And then, he awoke with a gasp of breath, but not before his eyes glowed a shade of green-blue for a split second.
Sitting up in bed, he rubbed his head a bit, feeling more rested than he had in the past few years, but looking over, he didn't see Renan on the couch and the blankets seem pushed off, as if in a hurry. Listening closely, he could hear some concerning sounds outside: sounds of an attack somehow, but where and why now? He practically leaped up out of bed and upon stepping out, he saw that Fen'nan & Theneras were also gone in a hurry. He grabbed his custom made staff from his locked shelf and rushed outside to see a concerning scene.
He saw it was still early morning, the sun barely rising up when their region of the city was attacked seemingly by demons of varying kinds; wrath demons, ash wraiths, and even shades were attacking driving people from their homes and attacking the streets. It didn't seem like a coordinated attack, but purely random which was odd. Looking closer, he could see other elvhen struck down by demons, some burnt and some even gashed through, all of which weren't survivable. He did spot Renan and Theneras trying to heal those that were barely clinging to life while Fen'nan protected them from demons that weren't smart enough and got too close.
"Why are demons attacking," he mused softly before rushing over, using his staff once to launch a strong ice attack at an incoming wrath demon, freezing it in place before making it to Renan and Theneras. "How long has this been going on," he asked in concern. "We awoke to it a short time ago," Renan answered, "We don't know why this is happening or how! No one's cast any sort of spell or ritual to bring forth demons!"
"This cannot be a random accident either," Solasan noted, "Something or someone was responsible and I don't sense a tear in the Veil that would cause demons to enter our realm. I'd swear this was deliberate.." "Fight first, questions later," they heard Fen'nan yell out as he struck down a shade with his twin daggers and they caught the faint trace of electric magic applied in his strike as it was stunned before disappearing in a burst of green energy, "We'll find out the means of these demons once Vir'Vhenas is safe! If this isn't stopped, it will spread throughout all of Arlathan!"
"He has a fair point," Solasan noted before turning back to Theneras, "When you're done helping here, return to your Clan and see if they need assistance in this madness. I'm sure the Keeper will wonder what became of her First and Second." The twins nodded at his gentle demand before he stood up and assisted Fen'nan with a protection spell followed by a barrage of ice magic onto the demons while Fen'nan used his elements interchangeably with his blades.
As they fought the onslaught of the spectral forces, Solasan noticed Fen'nan sheathe his twin daggers and grab another weapon that on his person: a hilt of a sword that held no blade inside but also had a large gemstone embedded in the hilt. With another glance, he saw that it was actually a magical item similar but not exactly like the Blade of Tidarion wielded by Inquisitor Assan Lavellan in his fight against Corypheus. Once Fen'nan's magic manifested through the enchanted hilt, Solasan saw what appeared to be a large two-handed greatsword and the blade appeared to be made of fire.
With a fanged smirk of sorts, Fen'nan reared the magical blade back and charged forward slashing down one demon after another. Solasan even noticed he had blinks of different colored magic showing that it was quickly changing between elements which certainly gave him an advantage against certain demons. Fen'nan was definitely proving that despite his claims, he was a worthy warrior not just with a blade but with magic as well.
Solasan rested temporarily to refuel his magic with a small lyrium potion and provided one last bout of cover for Renan and Theneras to rush out toward the direction of their Clan. He provided more protection spells and cover attacks for others that came along to help the surviving elvhen, but before long, he could spot Fen'nan getting exhausted. Not just from using up his magic, but his stamina as well.
"Fen'nan, you must gather your strength back," Solasan called out while casting a barrage of ice attacks, "You cannot hold out any longer against these demons on your own!" "Don't tell me what I can and cannot do," he started to bark out toward Solasan, but when he turned back to face a shade he was in battle with, it was much closer and had backed its hand for a backhanded strike. Before Fen'nan could react, he felt the arm of the shade hit him knocking him back quite a distance with a lot of force and he hit the ground with a strong impact.
Seeing his fallen companion drag on the ground a bit, Solasan rushed over and stood in front of him with his staff raised against the shade ready to face it head-on as Fen'nan gathered himself, still dazed from the crash. That's when he felt something come over himself. A primal urge, an instinct of sorts, and it was stronger than before.
It was in that instant, all demons within the radius were struck with large blasts of ice and frozen in place.
Despite the surprise, no one hesitated as the ice lasted long enough to strike the creatures down. The burst of magic had - admittedly - tired Solasan a bit, but he felt while it WAS his magic, at the same time, it wasn't. It was much greater magic than his own, but familiar like his own. "Solas?" he whispered softly and he could hear the ancient elf's soft chuckling in his ears before feeling what felt like a hand on his shoulder, but saw no one stand beside or behind him, just Fen'nan still on the ground now gathering to his knees.
"It was me, da'len," he heard him say softly, "I did offer aide as I promised, and that was just a taste of what I can help you with." "I see," he said lowly before looking around seeing almost all the demons gone with the exception of a few larger demons. He saw them going toward a different path, toward the direction of Renan and Theneras' Clan, and without hesitation, he dashed off in that direction with a tight hold on his staff. Fen'nan had called after him, but he didn't hear his words; his main focus was aiding the twins in protecting their Clan from the monsters.
Meanwhile, the Clan was working together in protecting not only their own but others nearby as well as their halla as they were all in danger from the creatures. Rogues worked their blades swiftly and struck at weak points, warriors used brute force to daze & knock down their enemies, and mages & archers attacked from a distance with spell and arrow alike. There were very few casualties, a few of their rogues and warriors who were a bit more reckless than the others, but there was a more pressing issue.
The Keeper was holding a barrier around the Clan to protect those who couldn't defend themselves and the more she held it, the more the demons pressed and fought against it. Theneras was helping her with his own magic and even that didn't seem like enough; they could feel the force they fought with, and they were very strong. Even a few Desire Demons tried to tempt and weaken a few of their forces, but thankfully others would intervene and block their control.
When Solasan arrived, he spotted the disarray and even noticed Renan outside of the barrier acting as a sort of battle-mage, fighting valiantly with her own magic as well as using her staff as a weapon with force. Rushing over, he felt a stronger pull toward the Clan but he was unsure of where the pull was coming from and what it really was. Was it the demons or something else? With his own focus, he would not be deterred and he felt himself charge through; cutting through with the blade at the end of his staff as well as blasting other demons away with his ice magic.
Reaching Renan's side, they stood back to back ready to face the onslaught of more demons as it seemed there was no end to them. Catching his breath, Solasan leaned back a bit, "Renan, how are you holding on," he asked firmly in a tone of concern, and she replied, "I've used so much so early in the day, it doesn't look like they're going to stop any time soon." "I fear the same," he noted lightly, "We have to find out where they're coming from and fast."
"Would it be possible they're coming from a rift," Renan asked trying to come up with some kind of idea as to what was going on. In his ears, Solasan could hear Solas, "If there was a rift nearby, then someone's using a great deal of magic and they might still be nearby after using so much energy to tear open a hole in the Veil. Such a feat is not so easily accomplished as Corypheus has proven that much so long ago. I highly doubt this is the work of another Tevinter magister, so it might be a blood mage or even a group of them summoning demons through blood magic to cause a stir." Solasan had a light 'Huh' before relaying what he heard to Renan and she had a look of confusion.
But, before she could respond a Pride Demon had emerged from a large spiral of green and blue energies and started to stomp closer to them taking out a few smaller demons that were unfortunate enough to be in its path. The elves looked up in fear at the massive demon stepping its way closer with growls and the intent of attacking, but Solasan and Renan looked up at the beast with a different view. Solasan, while anxious about the new beast, could hear Solas in his ears, "It may appear a large and powerful demon, but just like the others, it can be taken down, da'len. I can help with this if you'll let me."
Hearing his offer, Solasan was in a debate but seeing the Pride Demon even closer and at a dangerous range, while the Clan's forces weren't doing much to scratch it, he knew something had to be done. Taking a deep breath, he gave his approval with a nod, and it was though he felt a gentle pair of hands over his own and his body felt like he was sharing the space with another. Not in a bad way, but it felt a bit strange as he let the ancient elf take control.
The last thing he felt was a wave of relief wash over him before Solas took hold of the young man's bodily controls and his eyes glowed a light layer of green-blue before he took a step forward with staff in hand and went past Renan toward the Pride Demon. Solasan could see and hear everything that was happening and it amazed & mystified him at the same time. The Keeper called out to him, but with Solas in control, he made no effort to stop his progression toward the demon. Staff raised, he mustered up a lot of magical energies and used a strong ice spell to freeze the Pride Demon in place before it could attack with a whip of electrical energies.
He could feel the presence of another mage step up beside him as he lowered the staff, but it was as if in unison, the two raised their staffs to make a spinning motion above their heads confusing some others as their staffs started to spark with electrical energies the more their spell built up. A moment later, it started to get dark from the sun's light, and looking up they saw why. Their spell was controlling the very clouds themselves into a spiral of dark grey clouds similar to that of a hurricane, but this storm held no eye in its center.
The darker the clouds got, the closer the Pride Demon came to cracking out of its icy shell which was worrying others around them in the brief moment of safety. A rumbling was heard, and a flash as well as a loud buzz from the bolt above. With the energies stored up, their staffs struck together into one large orb of electricity, and large bolts of lightning struck down with an interesting effect. The striking bolts conducted sounds upon impact, and to some, it sounded like it formed a song while each bolt struck down every demon in sight.
Onlookers from Clan and civilian alike watched in silence and seemed dumbfounded as to what was happening, but the powerful display of magic from the two elves gave quite a show as all demons were struck down by the immense magic. The Pride Demon was quickly breaking free of its icy confides, and with a clawed hand raised, its intent to strike was certain. But, nothing landed on the two mages. Instead, a much larger bolt of electricity held its note while it seemed to disintegrate the Pride Demon into ash. When the electricity dissipated, so too did the clouds as the spiral seemed to disappear while the magic holding them together faded off.
The two mages lowered their staffs and Solasan could not only see the display but unfortunately, he felt the effects of using such immense stores of magic. He was incredibly exhausted after such a display. As soon as he felt Solas release his control over his body, the glow in his eyes faded and his staff fell from his hand and he fell to his hands & knees exhausted before collapsing entirely onto his side. And beside him, he heard another do the same, but they had blacked out first from such an exertion of power.
Before his vision darkened, he saw Renan unconscious just steps away from him with the buzzing song still ringing in his ears..
Things were starting to quiet down in Arlathan now that the demons had been dealt with, but as for the electric spell, it drew quite a bit of higher attention. While the people in the city couldn't recognize the sounds, in Arlathan's Central Tower, a group of ancient elves could hear the commotion and the sounds from the lightning. They heard the sounds the lightning made and recognized the rhythm well. One elder elf had his fists balled up as if in anger and his teeth gritted hard upon hearing the mighty song ring through the city as he saw the chaos subside from his balcony in the tower.
"That was your rallying song, Fen'Harel. You traitorous bastard. Why won't you stay dead?"
For the huge display of electric magic, I imagined it being a lot like the Tesla Coil trick being used to play music. And if you don't know about that, have you even WATCHED "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"?! XD
As for the song, it's OBVIOUSLY from the Trespasser DLC OST, specifically the "We Fight On"/"Dark Solas" track around the 1:55-2:00 mark. Playing it at full volume and hearing how strong the notes were made me think of that kind of scenario. Neat huh? X3
BTW, can you guys guess who the elf is at the end? ;3
Chapter 6: A Safe Place in Ruins
After some much-needed rest, Solasan awoke to some surprised elvhen wanting answers. But, it's quickly cut short since they drew the unneeded attention from the Evanuris, and upon hearing that they're looking for them, the group of young elves need to hide to make sure they're safe from their wrath. They're not sure where to hide, but one of the friends suggest one unlikely place to take shelter for the time being until the Evanuris have calmed down.
Deep in sleep, everything was a constant scene of in-and-out blurs for Solasan after the match against the demons. After exerting such magic, however, he was heavily drained and needed an extensive amount of rest to recover their energies as well as his strength. When resting in the Fade, the youth was close to an unconscious state and at great risk of more demons. He wasn't sure of Renan's safety, as he got a glimpse of her when she fell unconscious as well, but as for his own, Solasan could feel he was safe.
Whenever his eyes opened, he would look up through half-lidded eyes and see Solas above him keeping a protective vigil over him in the Fade. It also felt like his head was resting on something comfortable, perhaps his lap? Regardless, Solasan was resting well and rested up feeling safe.
When he felt himself waking up, he was dreadfully sore and achy in all parts of his body; most likely from all the effort he put into that string of spellcasting and combat he'd done in the short span of that morning. As his eyes opened and his vision cleared, he looked up to see he was in his office rotunda and comfortably resting in bed before looking around a bit more. He could feel he was sore when he was able to lift a hand looking it overseeing it was lightly wrapped around the palm & fingers. Was it from the spellcasting that Solas had done?
Hearing footsteps, he looked up and spotted Athim stepping in with a small bottle in hand and checking over its contents while walking inside. When he saw Athim look over toward him, he gave a light wave with a tired sideways smile and Athim rushed over in part relief and part worry. As fast as he rushed over, the younger elf was quick to check over his physical status starting with his head and down to his lightly bandaged hands. Feeling him remove the bandages, he could feel his hands were covered in a light salve, most likely a healing remedy, and they didn't feel so sore anymore.
He could hear Athim let out a sigh and helped him sit up before handing him a glass of water and saw his hands were able to hold it steady enough to take a sip. "You had us worried, lethallin," he started softly, "After that whole mess with the demons you and Renan struck down, we were admittedly scared when we saw the two of you fall unconscious," he paused to let out a breathy chuckle, "You two displayed a huge display of magic. I've never seen you use that much magic, lethallin. When did you learn such powerful spells?"
Solasan looked over at him with a light expression of mixed and tired emotions, but while he did have an answer, he couldn't tell his truth: that he let the spirit of an ancient elf help with the casting. "I had read about it in some of the books of magic in the Vir'Dithara," he started softly with his gentle lie, "Spells so strong that it'd require a lot of magic, yes, but they were doable so long as you knew how to cast it." "Well, don't do that again, lethallin," Athim barked softly with peaks of tears showing up at the edges of his eyes.
It was rare to see Athim cry, but when he did, they knew that it was a very serious situation that rocked him to his core. Seeing his obvious concern, he gave Athim's hand a soft pat with a gentle smile. "Ir abelas, lethallin," he said softly, "I didn't mean to scare you." Hearing his apology, the younger elf nodded and wiped at his eyes with his sleeve with a soft sniffle before Solasan continued, "Where is Renan, by the way? I know she was at the battle with me, but I saw her unconscious before everything went dark."
"She's with her Clan and resting as well," Athim explained in reply, "Renan used a lot of magic as you did, and she even aided you in casting that electric spell to strike down that Pride Demon." "She was?" Solasan asked with a raised brow, clearly in surprise and he saw the younger elf nod before continuing, "She is quite the spellcaster as well. You didn't see or feel her beside you?"
This made Solasan shake his head 'no'; while he did see her fall in the aftermath of striking down those demons, he had no idea she was the one who actually stood beside him and cast that powerful lightning spell with him. Starting to rack his brain with more questions, they spotted Elgar step in and he seemed in a panic over something. "About time you're awake," the bigger elf barked softly, "We have to get you somewhere safe, lethallin. The Evanuris are going door to door trying to find the ones who struck down those demons, and I have a feeling they're not happy with being outshined by two apprentice elves."
This made Solasan sit up more in surprise as well as shock. The Evanuris were coming and they were hunting for them?! "We have to find Renan, Theneras, and Fen'nan," he started to say as he swung his feet over the edge of the bed, "If they find us, who knows what they'll do to us-" "I don't think they'll kill you for one," Elgar noted, "But, I don't think they'll reward you for your display either. I don't think you can try to play it dumb either. The Evanuris are many things, but stupid is not one of them.
"We've spotted Elgar'nan, Andruil, Falon'din and Dirthamen exploring the city. Elgar'nan being the head of the pantheon, I don't know about why they need the twins seeing as how they're inseparable, obviously, but I think with Andruil, they'll need her to shoot you down should you try to flee." "If I had to guess about the twins, Falon'Din & Dirthamen, I'd say it might have to be with Dirthamen's title," they heard Athim suggest lightly as he helped Solasan onto his feet, "Dirthamen was the god of secrets, and I think that if he can sense secrets, then he can call you out on them so there wouldn't be any point in lying."
Elgar rubbed his face with a groan and a light grumble of "That's encouraging," before they got Solasan easily dressed in a light robe before helping him out of the house. Solasan did all he could to muster his strength to try and not seem off, and he wouldn't dare use his staff to walk with; it'd be a dead give-away to his magical abilities so for now, he relied on Athim and Elgar to be his crutch. When they stepped out into the streets, they saw things were calm and even the streets seemed cleaned of the damage done days prior which made Solasan curious as they walked.
"How long was I asleep," he asked lightly looking to Athim and the red-headed elf looked up at him with ears perked before replying softly, "Three days, lethallin. We've kept an eye on you for three days. We debated contacting your mother about this, but Elgar objected to it." "Why?" Solasan asked confused looking up at Elgar, seeing him look tense to the point of looking angrily upset. "One, your mother lives on the other side of Arlathan in the Vir'Hamin so who knows how long it'd take for a letter to reach her even with the eluvians? It'd be hard to send her one privately all while looking after you. Secondly, the last thing she needs is to worry about her only son on the edge of death after she's been through so much."
"Fair point," Solasan said softly, "She can't exactly travel much anymore, so I'm glad you took her well-being into consideration." It was true, his mother had been through a lot; aside from losing his father when he was a newborn, her raising him on her own, being a spellcaster on top of her constantly working to provide for her & her son. One day, a spell of hers went awry which left her unable to walk anymore and for a time he had to take care of her until he had to move away and she lived with a sibling while he lived on his own. Elgar was right to not alert her to the dangers he'd been through recently; she'd been through so much and he didn't want to add onto her burdens and worries.
Walking through the streets a bit more, they spotted the four figures all elegant in appearance, and recognized them well as four of the Evanuris as they were approaching a home of a spellcaster they knew; an elder elf by the name of Alas whom they knew as a well-practiced herbal and magical healer. Walking past, they saw one of the two hooded figures there tilt their head in their general direction before the other hooded figure who held a staff in hand did the same after exchanging a whisper with the first. The three youths seemed to feel they drew their attention so they hurried their steps onward.
The first hooded elf turned to face them but was stopped by the other with his staff giving a light shake of his head. The two whispered amongst each other in the ancient tongue as the only woman of the group, who wore a bow across her back could hear them talking with each other behind her as the elder in front of them spoke with the healer. The two hooded elves seemed to want to explore more and implored the first two to roam a bit, and with approval from their elder, they had permission to explore before they quickly caught on to the trail of the youths despite their distance ahead.
Spotting the Clan in the park, Solasan had a soft sigh seeing their aravels and halla intact but overall saw them in a state of mourning those that were lost in the battle against the demons. They cautiously walked through until spotting the Keeper who was overseeing one of the fallen warriors in a brief funerary rite with her First, Theneras, beside her. The small group waited until they were finished before approaching and Theneras drew the attention of his Keeper to the trio making her give a small smile as she approached. "Aneth ara, da'len," she greeted softly seemingly tired, "I'm glad to see you awake and let me be the first to thank you for aiding our Clan a few days ago.
"You and Renan did a great deal in protecting the People from those demons," she finished softly. "I'm sorry that we came at a bad time, Keeper," Solasan apologized softly to which she gave a light shake of her head. "You did no harm, da'len," she said softly, "If anything, I'm certain you wanted to see how we were holding up afterward." "That, and I'm also concerned for the wellbeing of your Second," Solasan explained, "I heard that she cast a great deal of magic as I did and that she was resting. I came to check on her to see if she suffered any ill effects."
"It is good to see that she has someone other than her brother and I who care," she teased with a soft smile and light laugh, "Theneras will lead to the aravel she's sleeping at." With a nod, the three thanked her for her direction before following Theneras through the Clan's wagons to the one that belonged to the Keeper and stepped past its curtain going inside. Meanwhile, the two hooded figures had caught up and upon reaching the Clan's site, one was already seeming overwhelmed by the essence of death that lingered among the Clan. The other, however, didn't want to proceed without the other, so they stood patiently holding onto his arm.
Inside the wagon, they spotted the bedding inside at the farthest end of the wagon and spotted Renan deep asleep under the blankets with a damp cloth on her forehead. "Did she catch a fever," Athim asked softly to which Theneras shook his head before gently taking it and set it in the nearby bowl. "She had gotten really warm like a fever after the spell she cast, but after some careful care, the Keeper and I were able to keep her cooled down," Theneras explained to the three as they maneuvered through the small space.
"She should wake soon, but there are more pressing matters to worry about," they heard Elgar speak up making Theneras look toward them and Solasan started gently but firm to get the message across. "We heard that we drew the attention of the Evanuris and that there's a few of them looking throughout Vir'Vhenas for us," he explained making Theneras take in a light breath like a soft gasp before turning to his sister in worry as Solasan continued. "We have to hide for the time being, and that includes your sister, Theneras," he said carefully, "I know you and your Keeper wouldn't like having her separated from the Clan, but it's to keep her safe from the wrath of the Evanuris should they find us."
"I think they already have," they heard Elgar behind them again, but this time his voice was lower as he was peeking out from behind a small crease in the curtain. Moving aside, he showed them what he was seeing: the two hooded figures as they started to approach the Clan keeping close together, and Athim seemed scared. "I recognize that staff," he whined softly backing away, "That's Falon'Din, and no doubt, the one on his arm is his twin brother, Dirthamen! If they catch us here, then they'll no doubt take the two back to the Evanuris!"
"I will not let them take my sister," Theneras encouraged firmly, "I'll help in any way I can, but afterward I'll have to explain to the Keeper what happened." "We appreciate the help, lethallin," Athim said softly making Theneras blush softly at the term before he felt a light tug on his robes, and looked down to see his sister awake with a small smirk on her face. "You didn't expect them to be dragging around my corpse, did you," she chuckled out weakly and her brother laughed in turn before helping her up.
"So, I heard the Evanuris is after us now," she explained lightly, "I'm not that fond of them after what Fen'Harel went through to expose them, so how do we get clear of them?" "We spotted Falon'Din and Dirthamen roaming the camp so sneaking out won't be easy," Athim explained softly, "But, how else can we?" "It's not like we can carry your bodies out like we were carrying out corpses," Elgar joked remembering her remark when she awoke making Renan let out a light 'Ha ha'.
"I remember where Fen'nan said his family home is located, if we can sneak out of the park and toward the cross of eluvians, I can lead us there," Solasan explained lightly, "We just have to sneak out and past the aravel without drawing attention from the twins outside." As they saw Theneras peek out a curtain to the side of the aravel while Elgar watched the front curtain again, they helped Renan get her things together. She gathered a simple amount of items: a shoulder bag with healing herbs, spellbooks, writing quill, jars of ink, and even packed a few spare parcels of food just in case.
"Athim, when we sneak out and to Fen'nan's home I'll need you to go and get Elgar then return to my home and retrieve my things as well," Solasan instructed, "Who knows how long we'll be having to hide from the Evanuris." "Hopefully not too long," Athim muttered softly, "They're already intimidating enough as is. If they continue the manhunt for too long, I worry you'll never be able to come home and we'll have a hard time explaining to Ghilana at the Vir'Dithara why you haven't returned yet.
"Speaking of which, we'll have to explain something to her about you disappearing for a few days," he started to ramble, his mind starting to go into a worried overdrive to which Solasan gently held onto him on his shoulders. "We'll be fine, lethallin," he said softly, "We will be in hiding, yes, but we'll be safe from the Evanuris for the time being. I can have you two keep me up to date on their activity." "How? Do you have telepathy," Elgar barked lightly briefly turning toward them.
"You forget that I have a number of historical artifacts in my home at my disposal," Solasan said with a soft chuckle before reaching into his satchel. Pulling his hand out, he revealed a necklace resembling a locket and opened it up to reveal a gemstone inside with the color resembling drakestone neatly polished while keeping its natural shape. "From what I've researched, it's an ancient Elven Stone that's also been referred to as a Sending Crystal by the Tevinter Imperium," Solasan noted as he gently closed it and placed it in Athim's palm.
"I have the other half so you can use it to communicate with me this way," he continued before hearing Renan sounding like she was finished gathering her things behind him, "Shall we then?" "It doesn't look like they're heading our way but it does look like they're trying to find us," Elgar noted lightly trying to make sure they're not spotted, "If you want to sneak out now, take the chance. We'll catch up with you after ditching the lurkers."
Solasan and Renan nodded and with Athim, they hurried out the back of the aravel all while carefully watching the two hooded figures examine the area as if searching for them. They were able to duck behind a tree or two before making it out of range of the park and away from their prying eyes before Solasan led the way to Fen'nan's home by first taking the path of the eluvians from the northern mirror this time and trailed it to the outskirts of Vir'Vhenas to where they could spot the walls separating the separate cities of the capital.
They walked a bit more until they spotted a well-adorned, but humble, estate that a single small gate at the front that went up to Solasan's shoulders and made of polished steel. They stepped inside past the gate before reaching the front door giving a light knock. After a moment, they were greeted by a familiar face.
"What in Fen'Harel's name are you doing here," Fen'nan barked out strongly holding the door open, "Aren't you supposed to be on bed rest?!" "Hello to you as well, lethallin," Solasan said flatly, "Can we come in?" They saw Fen'nan let out a sigh before stepping aside and let Solasan & Renan inside, but Athim remembered his task and jogged off with a smile to complete it. Curiously, Fen'nan shut the door behind himself before walking deeper inside with the two.
"You didn't answer my question: What are you two doing here? I thought you were supposed to be resting from that crazy display you used on those demons a few days ago," he spat out lightly trying not to raise his voice inside. "We drew the attention of the Evanuris and we need a place to hide while their anger tides over," Renan replied making Fen'nan's expression sour a bit more. "Well, you can't hide here," he barked out again still keeping his voice down.
"We know, but we were wanting to know if you might know a place or two we could possibly hide at," he saw Solasan interject before getting closer as if to block him from lashing at Renan, "We won't draw attention to your family, we just need a name of where to go and we'll leave." Letting out a sigh, Fen'nan rubbed his forehead before motioning for them to follow.
Reaching a library, he closed the door after making sure it was empty, "My parents are out at the moment so I have the estate to myself, and believe me, while I do find this a relief from studying, I'd rather not be labeled a criminal for helping you two hide from the Evanuris." "You won't," Renan remarked lightly, "Not if they cannot detect your involvement." "I'm sure they have their ways, lethallan," Fen'nan remarked flatly.
"But," he interjected just as Solasan was going to say something and he crossed his arms but his expression was calm, "I do know a way out of Arlathan and to a spot to hide in for a time. My family has an eluvian inherited from my father's side. He was able to bring it with him as it was his by birthright when he departed from his Clan. I know the passcode that can lead to a certain place, and while we often use the end location for our family's storage, but I'm sure you can make good use of it."
The two had smiles hearing his willingness to help and they heard another set of knocks at the front door making Fen'nan rush out. He returned a moment later with Athim and Elgar seemingly out of breath as Athim had Solasan's bag and Elgar had his staff. After Solasan got his things from his two friends, Fen'nan led them through the estate all while passing by a few others here and there inside the estate, and they came to his parents' room, but they had to make sure they weren't spotted before stepping inside.
'Relatives get fussy about him intruding' as he remarked. It looked like a well-furnished room with a fireplace, with adornments from Elven artifacts to the relics of Kirkwall in the Free Marches. And on the far wall between two bookcases was the large eluvian, dimmed and inactive. "It's not working," Renan stated seeing it's glass dark and Fen'nan shook his head. "My parents used it a while ago to travel," he noted, "I know my father's passcode to access the storage room, so we can use it. I can make the excuse that I was looking for something there then put it back when I was done."
"Thank you again for helping us," Solasan said with a small smile holding his staff against his shoulder, "I know it must seem like another petty task for you, but it seems a lot for us." "And you're right on that," Fen'nan said with a flat tone to match his equally unimpressed expression before he turned to the eluvian and held a hand against the glass of the mirror declaring the words, "Vir'Tarasyl'an Te'las."
The eluvian reacted to the passcode and it was alight with a blue glow which would enable them to step through. Stepping back, Fen'nan had a proud smile of being able to access it before turning to the group and motioned them to follow before stepping through. Reluctant but determined of their goal, the four stepped through after him and through the mirror.
Stepping through to the other side, there was no trail through the Crossroads, just one eluvian to another as Fen'nan stepped out and into a lit room with tall windows that reached the ceiling and almost touched the floor by about a foot. Looking up, he smiled seeing the high ceiling that had collected a few cobwebs and the surrounding stone walls that held strong against the elements he could see outside: wind and snow.
Hearing a ripple from the eluvian, he looked back seeing the group step through and when looking around they saw crates stacked atop one another and other miscellaneous items strewn about in the room, including pots and what looked like a row of seats you'd find in a Chantry church. There was a lot of items stashed inside the large room, but there was thankfully still plenty of space to walk around, however, Elgar seemed a bit anxious about it. "Some storage space," he remarked lowly, "But, I guess it's better than my room back home."
Fen'nan had a chuckle at the remark and motioned his arms outward, "This is the family storage. We've had a lot of things hidden here over the years, so don't be surprised if you find a few curiosities from around Thedas." "I can't believe you two are going to be stuck in here while the Evanuris are hunting you down," Elgar groaned out lightly. "It's not like we have another option, lethallin," Solasan said looking back at the disgruntled elf, "Calm yourself."
"Where's that go," they heard Athim ask as he pointed to a far wall pointing to a door that seemed to be shielded by some of the luggage there. Fen'nan had a shrug before turning back, "Not sure. We've never been able to get the door open so we don't know where it goes." "Why not try it now," he asked again, "Just move some of the stuff out of the way and maybe there will be more to explore." "Perhaps, but my parents would get suspicious as to why I broke down a door when they told me not to."
"It wouldn't be breaking down if you used a lockpick," Renan said holding up a rogue's kit with a smile and handed it to him. She could tell he was enticed as he looked down with a face of hesitation, but his eyes seemed excited. Without another word, Fen'nan gently took the rogue's kit and made his way through the scattered items about the room before reaching the door after pushing the crates out of the way and started to work on the door while the others caught up to him.
"While he's working on that, lethallin, we should be heading back," Elgar pointed out giving Solasan a pat on his back, "But, you be careful." "And what of Ghilana asks about me," Solasan asked looking at the two young elves. "We can tell her something came up and that you needed to head to your mother's. We'll explain it with her as well," Athim chimed softly. "And me," Renan asked flatly pointing to herself. "Theneras already has you covered, lethallan," Elgar replied, "He said he'd take care of things back with your Clan and your Keeper."
Hearing the assurances from the two, Renan and Solasan bid the two farewell before they stepped back through the eluvian heading back to the estate. Meanwhile, with a few clicks, they heard Fen'nan was able to unlock the door bringing a smile to his face before standing and handed Renan back the rogue's kit. Carefully, he opened the door and swung it outward seeing it open to an open walkway and.... a large garden.
Taken aback, the three young elves looked out even further seeing it was a large and overgrown herbal garden that held all kinds of herbs inside from elfroot to blood lotus and even the rare Royal Elfroot was visible amongst the bundles. To the far right side was a large gazebo type of space but held no seats inside and the roof seemed like it needed some repair as vines covered along the pillars holding it up.
Stepping out of the room, Fen'nan closed the door behind them as they walked along the walkway going around the garden, and they saw the spectacle firsthand and even spotted a broken flight of stairs going upward, but didn't seem stable enough to hold weight anymore. When they made it across from the door they exited from, they reached another door that went into another room, but upon entering, they saw it was, in fact, a massive grand hall similar to that of royalty.
Statues covered along the wall that held adornments from Dalish stained glass to Tevinter statues of dragons to Fereldin statues of war hounds, and even the drapery was Dalish leaving them speechless. On both sides of the middle path rested two large banquet tables that had seats, but seemed like they hadn't been used in years and above their heads hung a grand chandelier. They also spotted a table resting by a fireplace but the table had a leg that had gone rotten and it had landed onto its side. Not far from there, was a large set of double doors that seemed heavy to move.
"This place feels.. familiar," Solasan whispered softly, his voice quickly being lost in the echoes of the grand hall before his feet started to roam a bit more going forward and to a set of doors beside that lone fireplace. When he pushed open the door, it caught the attention of the two elves and they chased after him as he stepped through. But, stepping through the door, he wasn't prepared for the detail he was to encounter. A large, towering rotunda with a single table in the middle and along the walls were large paintings in the style of the ancient elvhen style.
The paintings were of heavily detailed depictions that bore icons of howling wolves, warriors clad in silver, lords & ladies, and even a saddening image of a wolf looking down on a dragon that had been struck down by a blade. Above the paintings, he could see the railing above and finding the stairs to his left, he traversed the stairs and up to more shelves of books that made his ears perk up in surprise. But, what caught his attention even more was a peculiar sight: an open book with a quill in a bottle of ink and the candle's wick was still trailing a thin trail of smoke.
As if following his eyes, Fen'nan cautiously approached and hovered his hand over the wick. "There's still heat on the candle," he noted softly, "Someone was here so they can't be far." "Do you think they heard us," Renan asked cautiously as Fen'nan then placed both hands on the hilt of his magical weapon as if expecting a fight to happen. "They might have, otherwise they wouldn't have been in a hurry to hide from us," he replied looking around for some sort of clue, only finding none.
Then, they heard a light scuff, as if someone had misjudged a step, and when they turned to spot the perpetrator, they heard a click then a whirr of an arrow shot toward them as Fen'nan drew out his weapon out, only to have that arrow knock it out of his hand. That's when they heard a female voice, "Try it again, elf. I dare you."
Taking a closer look at the higher stairwell, they spotted a large and elegant crossbow in the hands of a female dwarf with both eyes open and had her sights on them. Her golden-brown locks were tied up into a high ponytail and her green eyes had a sharp-aimed focus on them as she slowly stepped down the stairs, never lowering her crossbow. She seemed comfortably dressed, but looking at closer details, they could see she was a rogue as she not only wore light spots of armor on her arms and legs but also had a rogue's kit on the waist belt as well and a satchel on her upper thigh.
Reaching their level, she prepared her crossbow for another shot hearing the series of clicks putting another bolt in place, and Solasan carefully & slowly set his staff along the wall close to a bookshelf. "Lower your crossbow, dwarf," he coaxed softly, "We mean no harm." "And who the hell are you," the young dwarf asked with her crossbow raised and ready to strike, "I thought this place was abandoned." "Where is 'this place', exactly," he asked softly making the dwarf's brow go up. "What do you mean 'where is this place'? Did you not see the entrance to this old ruin?" Their only replies were shakes of their heads.
"This is the old ruin of Skyhold."
Chapter 7: Revelations of the Ruins
After learning of their location, they sought answers from their new friend, such as her name and her reasons for her being there and what all she's found out about the old ruins of Skyhold, including a shocking claim to the past Inquisitor.
"Skyhold," Renan asked on a breath, a sheen of wonder & excitement showing in her eyes, "THE Skyhold of the Dragon Age?" "Yes," the female dwarf seemed to say in a tone of sarcasm, "Looks like those ears don't work if you have to question what I just said." This seemed to upset Fen'nan and he took a few steps forward with a look in eyes that showed his temper was flaring. "Are you insulting us, dwarf," he asked venomously, "Because with or without that crossbow of yours, you won't live to regret it."
"Oh, please," she said with a quick eye roll, "You elves are so sensitive to everything, even sarcastic jokes. And I thought my kind was bad with the whole 'Stone' and 'Ancestors' crap they keep spewing out of their conservative chew-holes." She took a pause to rest her crossbow over her shoulder and placed the other hand on her hip, "Thankfully, my family isn't as stuck up as those high-caste dwarves in Orzammar, as we've lived on the surface for three Ages now. Plus, I actually have a sense of humor.
"Name's Cassandra, Casi for short. Rogue, inventor, traveler, and occasionally a voice of reason," she introduced herself seemingly calmer than before and she saw the three young elves seeming to relax as well with her introduction. "My name is Solasan," she saw him introduce himself before motioning to the others, "My companions are Renan and Fen'nan." Renan gave a short wave with a timid smile, but Fen'nan still had a bitter expression on his face still not completely fond of the young dwarf's approach.
"Manners, finally," Cassandra chimed softly before walking over and setting her crossbow next to the table that had the book and writing tools on it, "Although, I'm not so sure about Tall, Dark, and Broody over here," she remarked with a smirk pointing her thumb to Fen'nan making Renan stiff a laugh as his expression seemed to sour a bit more. "You guys really didn't come in through the main entrance of Skyhold, did you," she asked crossing her arms looking up at them and Fen'nan picked up his weapon from the ground.
Renan nodded before responding, "We came in through an eluvian." "A magic mirror? I thought those things didn't go past the elven kingdom," Cassandra noted curiously. "That's not true," Solasan corrected softly, "They're spread all across Thedas, but only certain people can access those that are still active." "Oh," she trailed out softly, "Very nice. So, there's one of those here in Skyhold? I gotta see it for myself."
"I don't think so," Fen'nan said in defense but looked back seeing Solasan lay a hand on his shoulder. "Why so quick to bite, broody," they heard Cassandra chime with a smirk before giving a tossing motion with a sarcastic tone, "Worried I'll throw a rock at it?" "That's one," Fen'nan replied lowly and Solasan gently gripped his shoulder again. "Let her at least observe it," Solasan said lightly, "You DID leave it active, anyways."
That note made Fen'nan perk up with his face quickly shifting from spite to surprise before he dashed downstairs as if in a panic taking them by surprise. After a chuckle from Cassandra, she spoke up again, "Paranoid much?" "We came here from his parents' eluvian and I think he's worried that leaving it active will draw unneeded attention," Renan said softly. "Ah," she trailed out with a smile, "So, despite being all snappy and moody, he's actually a good boy huh," she chuckled out lightly making the other two laugh as well.
"He may be a bit off-putting upon first meeting him, but once you get to know him he's not so bad," Renan said softly. "The snappy ones usually are," Cassandra noted before approaching with her arms at her sides, "Sorry for the scare earlier. I really did think this place was abandoned so imagine my surprise when I heard the door open down there and looked down to see you three walk in." "And I'm sorry for scaring you like that," Solasan said softly, "I just.. felt a large sense of nostalgia over this place and my feet just led me in this direction."
A soft chuckle came out of Cassandra. "I know the feeling," she said softly, "It's like despite never having been here before, your body just seems to know the layout while your mind is just now learning its secrets." "Exactly," Solasan noted and Renan chimed up softly, "What all have you found here in Skyhold? In Arlathan, we heard it was long abandoned as well." "Well, for one, it's mostly intact despite this old place being empty for almost 300 years," Cassandra started.
"While there are some parts that seem to be falling apart like old stairs and furniture starting to rot away, a good majority of the place is heavily intact and holding strong against the weather. I mean, I found a lot of parts still intact! I found the front courtyard, a hospital, the tavern, a mage's tower, a watchtower, this library & another hidden downstairs, its undercroft, armory, and even its kitchen is still doing good. Its ingredients are preserved so well you'd've thought they were sealed up yesterday." "Is that safe to assume," Solasan chuckled softly as the trio started to walk down the stairs with their new friend.
"Trust me, they're good," Cassandra noted with a voice of confidence, "I've been using a lot of them myself, although I'd recommend staying away from the cheese and the liquor. Some of the vintage bottles are so old and strong, you'd think they could dissolve the grass like acid." They just gave a single nod hearing her warning as they reached the bottom of the stairs reaching the rotunda and walked out with her into the grand ballroom while Cassandra had a smile looking around. "Beautiful isn't it," she said softly, "In a sad kind of way. I mean, this old fortress has been abandoned for hundreds of years."
"I thought this place belonged to the Inquisition back in the days of the Dragon Age," Renan noted softly. "Not just the Inquisition under the command of Divine Victoria, but it was actually Inquisitor Lavellan who claimed rights to the land after declaring that the Inquisition would become Divine Victoria's personal honor guard," Cassandra replied looking up to the Dalish stained glass that adorned the far back windows, "He did it as a stand not just against Orlais, but to anyone that opposed him that it was his fortress and any born after him would have claim over these lands by birthright."
Hearing the claim the two elves looked to each other in surprise upon hearing the revealed details. They knew a strong secret tied to this place, but when they looked back to the young dwarf, she started to walk toward the far back wall before the two followed close behind her. Upon reaching the back wall, they could see a single throne that bore the symbol of the Inquisition on its back and still sat strong despite being covered in years of dust. "A throne without its ruler," she mused softly giving an arm of the throne a light touch. "What DID happen to the descendants of the Inquisitor Lavellan," Renan asked softly.
"No one knows," Cassandra replied taking her hand off the arm of the throne, "There were a couple of children born to him and his lover back then, but no one knows what became of their descendants after his passing. It's like they just disappeared." "Not exactly," Solasan replied softly making the young dwarf turn back to them with a brow up, interest piqued.
"We know what became of at least one of his descendants," Solasan continued and a big smile came to Renan's face, "We happen to know of him and his father who are descended from THE Inquisitor Assan Lavellan himself as they have proof of their claim." "Are you serious," they saw Cassandra ask in surprise as she spun on her heels facing them, "If you know where they are, then they can come back to Skyhold and reclaim it! It's theirs by right!" "And that's what will surprise lethallin most," Renan giggled softly.
Solasan had a chuckle as well before Cassandra chimed up again, "C'mon! Don't leave me hanging in the wind here! WHO is the descendant of Inquisitor Lavellan?!" "Assan Lavellan to be exact," Renan pointed out with a big smile, "And his descendant was 'Mr. Tall and Broody' you saw just a moment ago. He and his father are descended from Inquisitor Assan Lavellan." A soft breathy chuckle came out of Cassandra as she ran a hand over her hair.
"THAT kid is his descendant," she chuckled lightly. "Hard to tell, I know," Solasan replied with a brief chuckle of his own, "But, the weapon he bears is of Inquisitor Assan's own creation, passed down from one mage to another as an heirloom, and his father's eluvian was passed down to him by birthright from the Clan they originated from that once belonged to Inquisitor Assan as well. He even has the lineage of the mighty Hawke family in his veins from his mother's side so he takes more from that side." Cassandra had a hard laugh, "Talk about an impressive family tree, huh," she laughed lightly.
"Then again, I have some impressive roots myself," she noted softly as her smirk grew bigger and her hands fiddled at the cuff of her sleeve making the two elves curious. "I am of House Tethras out of Kirkwall myself," she continued with a big smile and the two young elves blinked from surprise again, "I'm descended from Varric Tethras himself while his brother, Bartrand, didn't exactly secure a lineage despite being the head of the House. When Varric became Viscount of Kirkwall, it did drive him crazy, yeah, but he was able to put down roots all while maintaining his adventuring, roguing, storytelling, and crossbow-shooting ways. I guess I owe those qualities of mine to my fourth-great-grandfather," she finished with a chuckle.
"Are you from Kirkwall, then," Renan asked softly and Cassandra had a nod, "I am, although my family has moved around the Free Marches and a bit of Fereldin from time to time, seeing as how a handful of them still run and operate within the Merchant's Guild. The one thing that wouldn't leave our family even if we tried. I have a sister and a brother who do more of the Merchant's Guild stuff while I, being the youngest, was often left behind to 'wander about my fantasies' as my brother puts it. That asshole. I love him, but he's an asshole."
The two young elves had a chuckle before Renan chimed up again, "You said you wanted Fen'nan and his father to take claim to this place?" "Yes," she replied perking up again remembering where they left off, "If they have proof that they're descended from Inquisitor Assan Lavellan, then they have full rights to this place and are free to come here and use Skyhold as they wish. And believe me, a beautiful ruin like this shouldn't have even been abandoned to begin with, but once Inquisitor Lavellan disappeared, so too, did his family's claim over the place."
"What do you mean he disappeared," Solasan asked curiously, "Word was that while he had joined the armies of Fen'Harel against the Evanuris for a time, he eventually did return to his lover and family. His lover was the Tevinter Magister, Dorian Pavus and they had raised a few children together all while the Magister maintained his place in the Magisterium and made great strides toward change." "Something tells me that mirror the Inquisitor had is how he used it to go back and forth between here and Tevinter seeing as how it's pretty far out there," Cassandra deduced, "I mean, it makes sense right?
"Inquisitor has the mirror to see his lover, they raised their kids together, but when the Inquisitor disappears, so did his family and his mirror. But, while we don't have answers as to why or how, just right now, we've found them," she finished with a big smile. "Now, let's go get him before it's too late and he shuts that thing off," she said taking off past them and the two caught up quickly with her and Solasan chimed up, "You don't even know where the eluvian is!"
After slowing down and following their lead, Cassandra followed Renan and Solasan as they made it past the overgrown garden and to the room where the eluvian was kept, but when they approached, they opened the door to find the eluvian inactive again making Cassandra let out a groan. "Great," she mumbled while rubbing her forehead, "He left you guys trapped here on the other side with me. Does he even know?" "About the family claim to Skyhold? I don't think he does," Solasan replied softly.
"Well, I think it'll benefit him and his family greatly, and I think that even their old Clan will appreciate their ties to this place as well," she noted pointing to the dimmed mirror. "I'm afraid it won't be that simple," Solasan said folding his hands in front of him with a gentle look of concern in his eyes, "When his father married to his mother, his Clan fell out of touch with him so they assumed they wanted nothing more to do with him. I've sought to find answers about that but turned up with nothing on the condition of Clan Lavellan or even their whereabouts as of recently."
Cassandra uttered a soft 'Dammit' running her hands over her hair again and seemed to start pacing a bit and out of the corner of her eye, Renan looked up noticing a shape towering a bit over the walls of the fortress. Stepping out the doorway and into the garden, she got another look and could see the back of a figure's head as well as two pointed ears coming out of both sides of the head. "What's that," she asked softly before Cassandra stepped over to take a peek as well, but due to her height, she had to stand on a nearby railing to get a better look.
"Oh, that's what I was referring to earlier about the entrance to this place," she noted before stepping back down and motioned for them to follow, "C'mon. You'll really like them," and started to walk with a face of pride across her face as they traversed the halls again but this time reaching the large double doors. The three worked together to get them swung open, and when they did they could see the remains like the young dwarf had described. They could see the remnants of the fortress still intact, even spotting a barn at the far left side of the courtyard that was accessible after crossing under a large walkway.
They descended down two flights of stairs reaching the bottom level going toward the main entrance and out onto the path heading out toward the mountains. When they were halfway over the bridge, Cassandra stopped and turned around before looking up with a smile. The two elves did the same and upon turning, they could see the entrance for themselves. A mighty arch that led to the inside of the fortress, but standing over the entrance was a more breath-taking sight.
Over the arch stood three large statues, almost like guardian statues, and each statue represented each Inquisitor; the very first, Inquisitor Ameridan, and under him, the twin Inquisitors, Assan to the left and his twin sister, Renan to his right.
The statues of the Inquisitors stood tall and proud like beacons and based on the style, it seemed like an integrated project combining the two styles of Orlesian and Elven art styles as their gaze overlooked the whole mountain basin. Inquisitor Ameridan stood higher than the two as he held his staff in both hands and the symbol of the Inquisition was embedded into the chest of his armor. Looking even closer in their spot, they could even see traces of an engraving along his face showed he once bore the vallaslin of Dirthamen.
The twin statues stood a short distance below him and the twins held the same position: a single hand raised as they both held a mark within their palms and their other hands held blades that bore the symbol of the Inquisition and their clothing was very reminiscent of Elven attire. The brother, Assan, was revealed to have mostly shaven hair but still maintained a cropping of curled hair on his head and he also wore vallaslin along his face but bore the vallaslin of Mythal. His twin sister was a bit different, sporting hair longer than her brother's but was still short in length never going past her neck and her face wasn't engraved with any vallaslin and also different from her brother, her blade was broken in the middle as opposed to his blade which was intact.
"Forever the watchers of Skyhold," they heard Cassandra muse softly, "Incredible, huh? Makes you wonder how the Orlesians even worked with the elves knowing how stuck-up they are. No offense," she noted making Renan chuckle softly as she looked back to her, "I don't take offense to that," she noted softly making Cassandra nod again, but Solasan's eyes never left the statues. His eyes were drawn to them in fascination and in awe; he didn't think that such a marvel existed outside stories and now he could see them with his own eyes. And his sapphire eyes noticed a lot of details.
"Curious," he mused softly and he held a folded hand to his chin lightly tapping at it with his finger, "The twins stand underneath Inquisitor Ameridan, most likely resembling how he was the first Inquisitor around the Divine Age so that would make sense. But, what's more curious is how the twins have such stark differences. Inquisitor Assan has vallaslin while his sister does not. Stories tell of how close they were growing up and even before & after the Inquisition, so you'd think they would've gone for the same vallaslin when they came of age as well.
"Another thing is how his blade is intact while hers is broken in the middle," he pointed out again, "It might be from the frigid weather conditions up here, as they all seem to bear some weather damage, but it's still curious all the same. The style of how the statues were made fascinates me as well." "I hear you on that one," Cassandra pointed out, "I'd been taking notes of this place since I got here." Turning away from the statues, Solasan seemed to have a beaming smile. "May I see them," he asked seemingly joyful making Cassandra chuckle lightly.
"Sure thing, Chuckles, but first, let's get some food," she compromised as they started to walk back inside, "I'm starving. We can look over them together while we eat." Solasan could hear Solas chuckling in his ear making him listen closely. "Varric called me the same thing," he remarked softly, "She truly is his descendant."
OMFG SO MUCH DETAIL, SO MUCH LORE LOL X'D And as for the statues, I have them sketched out, I just have yet to post them on my Tumblr =w= Don't worry, it's the same name I use on here "ThebSayraduka" so just take a look when I post them up later as well as a comment on here if you enjoyed and what you think might happen next ;3
Chapter 8: Aide from the Past
In the Fade, Solasan talks more with Solas about Skyhold learning many new things about the ancient fortress, including Solas's own memories and connections to the place. Solas expresses concerns of his own before trusting a secret to his vessel: a hidden room in Skyhold. Upon reaching the room, they find clues that unlock memories to restore the path to a ruin long thought lost.
OK, head's up: This is gonna be a lengthy chapter so bear with me X"D I had a lot to put in but for good reason ;3 Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Over the past few days, the three had grown accustomed to each other's company and even gave each other nicknames, Cassandra often calling Solasan "Chuckles" much to his dismay and called Renan "Snowflake" due to her white hair. Their nickname for her turned out to be "Flower" and she took a liking to it over a short amount of time. As they explored Skyhold more, they saw it was just like as Cassandra had pointed out; a good majority of the structure was perfectly intact with a few crumbling stairways, but the rooms and offices were perfectly intact and preserved as if the previous residents just left the day before, including the old Inquisitors' rooms where they seemed to be living lavishly.
In his dreams, Solasan could talk with Solas more in the Fade and he told him many of his stories of when he resided in Skyhold and even showed him the layout of Skyhold as well as his rotunda; he even showed Solasan some of his memories through interactions with the past Inquisitors. Both Inquisitors showed great trust in Solas and often turned to him for wisdom as well as his stories, which he was all too happy to share with the twins. Assan showed a large deal of respect for Solas while Renan seemed more pleased with his presence and he seemed to enjoy her nearby as well.
When asked about her, Solasan noticed he would hesitate before trying to change it to another subject.
One of his favorite interactions is when they talked about returning from Orlais to help prevent the assassination of Empress Celene and Solas remarked how he missed court intrigue. When confronted by Inquisitor Renan, they could hear his stammer and a slight panic in his tone as he tried to hide - or at the very least - cover up what he had just mentioned after becoming too loose with his words. He couldn't help the smirk that came across his face seeing Solas in a flustered panic.
"Almost let your identity slip, huh," Solasan asked with a chuckle and Solas had a soft laugh of his own. "Indeed I was a bit careless with my words, but you can understand my feeling at that moment," he regarded lightly, "Having aided in the Winter Palace, the whole event brought a sense of nostalgia from the ancient past of when I used to mingle amongst Mythal's court and the rest of the Evanuris as well. But, it wasn't just that. I didn't want to reveal who I was just yet. Had they known I was Fen'Harel of legend, things would've turned out much different, and not in a good way."
"Knowing they had an ancient god of rebellion amongst their ranks," Solasan questioned softly, "I'm sure you would've turned a lot of heads." "Although in what manner would be the most concern," he heard Solas remark before they saw the memory fade away showing the inside structure of Skyhold again. "Seeing these memories is wonderful, captivating even," Solasan breathed out softly and Solas had a soft chuckle looking around at the recreated structure of Skyhold around them.
"It is much different to see the memories than to experience them firsthand, da'len," he noted softly, "And from my memories, one can choose to either learn or ignore the lessons I present. But, if I may ask, what is your take on what you have seen?" "It shows that you were just a person, just like any other elf. Brought up a different way, yes, but you had your own experiences, your own story. You were greatly capable of magic, and it shows when you cast your spells.
"And not only that but because of your own experience, you contained wisdom that could not be matched, not even by the witch you spoke of, Morrigan," he remarked, "Despite old Dalish legend, you were not what they say you are. You cared for your people, you protected them to the best of your ability, and you were capable of great things even at such a high cost. I mean, you created the Veil. That's not so easy a feat that would be encouraged to try again, but it is still incredible nonetheless if it affected the entire world."
"Although with a heavily damaging side effect for the Elven people," Solas said turning back to him, "But, I understand what you mean, da'len. You show a hint of wisdom as well for one so young. If after three Ages, the elves could accomplish so much, then there is even more hope for the people." "What do you mean," Solasan asked softly as they started to walk down the stairs of the entrance of the fortress and into the courtyard.
"While I was struck down in my fight against the Evanuris, they continue to thrive," he noted lightly, "And yet, even so, our people have even restored what was once lost. Our capital, our magic, but not our immortality. That can only be restored with the complete destruction of the Veil, but you can understand what I mean." He paused seeing Solasan nod as they approached the second flight of stairs going even further down toward the main entrance. "I know not what established peace between the Evanuris and our people, but, whatever the means, it worked for the better.
"Tell me, in all the history you have read about in the Vir'Dithara, did you learn the means to which the war with the Evanuris was ended," Solas asked as they reached the bottom of the steps. He saw the youth nod before he replied, "Yes. Your generals arranged a truce between the People and the Evanuris. They even arranged for Divine Victoria to be present to ensure peace between the two factions as the truce was brought to light."
"But, which of my generals is the question," Solas noted lightly, "None would have known Divine Victoria so personally unless they were my own family, and my children were still young when my wife and I were shot down." "I'm not sure," Solasan continued as they walked past the arching entrance of Skyhold, "But, I just know they were trusted generals of your forces and when they confronted the Evanuris, they wanted to arrange the truce to not only stop the bloodshed between the Elves but to try and arrange for peace long enough to finish carrying out your wish: to create a better world for the elves. And they did.
"The Qunari were all but destroyed, save for those who were free of the Qun like the Tal-Vashoth, the Vashoth, and all those who were converted," he noted, "And, on top of that, the Qunari that did survive have lived on to become much better than their ancestors were. I've read that The Iron Bull and his Chargers started one of the largest mercenary bands in all of Thedas and had quite the reputation for not only getting the job done with good results but taking in others that believed in their cause: looking after each other and," he paused to let out a chuckle, "Getting good pay." A brief, breathy chuckle came out past Solas' lips hearing of The Iron Bull's accomplishment as they stepped out onto the large bridge past the entrance.
"By the way, why did you ask about the Evanuris," Solasan asked softly. "Because I still do not trust them," Solas said lowly, "After what they did, they deserved to be locked away, but my tearing down the Veil set them free once more. I had plans for them, but they used my own family against me to strike me down. You can understand why I don't take lightly to that." "Much like how you created the Veil when they struck down Mythal," Solasan noted seeing the elder reply as he faced him.
"Yes, and I believe they have an ulterior motive as of late," he noted softly, "There's been unrest in the Fade as of late, and while that has altered my search for ma'vhenan, I cannot let it go unchecked. I believe the Evanuris are plotting something, I'm just not sure as to what it is though. I would like your help in finding out what it is in the waking world while I do what I can in the Fade to find some answers." "The Evanuris were after me and Renan when we were in Vir'Vhenas just because we struck down some demons and protected the people," Solasan said softly, "If they were going to take us in just for saving lives, then I don't think I want to know what their ulterior motive is. But, I will help you in any way I can, hahren."
Solas gave a light smile before they paused half-way over the bridge and turned to see the statues of the past Inquisitors, and Solas seemed in thought about something, but Solasan would give him his time to think. After a moment, he heard the elder elf speak up again, "There is a hidden passage in this old castle, only known to a select few in the past but now remains empty of life. I believe there will be clues there to help you in your investigation," Solas said before turning back to the youth, "I can give you the location, but not the means to open it. I'm afraid you'll have to discover that for yourself."
"What do you mean you can't provide the means to open it," the young elf asked in great curiosity, "If you know of the location, shouldn't you know how to unlock it?" "I do not," Solas replied, "I did not make the room nor its entrance, it was made after I went into Uthenera after creating the Veil. I only know of its location from having woken up at one point before falling back into Uthenera a second time. The people who looked after me were agents of mine who dedicated to looking after me while I laid in dark and dreaming sleep.
"Most likely, the room was made as I slept to keep me hidden away from prying eyes of others who came to Skyhold many centuries after the Veil was created there," Solas noted, "But, there in that dark chamber, you should be able to find more clues to helping you in figuring out what the Evanuris might be up to." "Will it lead us to anywhere in particular," Solasan asked softly. "I'm not sure," he heard the elder reply, "But, upon investigating the layout of the room, I believe you will find answers."
He then paused to extend both hands to the youth, and Solasan looked down at the gloved hands before he gently placed both hands in the elder's feeling his firm, gentle grip. Closing their eyes, that's when Solasan could feel a light strain of warm energy pass through him from Solas and in the back of his mind, it was as if he felt an old memory emerging. The layout of Skyhold appeared, but looked much more ancient and pristine, it waved with large white banners in the chilled air, and even deeper inside the fortress, past the cells that hovered over the waterfall, there was a room that laid hidden in a level above it.
Only accessible by a hidden stairway in one of the cells and its only entrance labeled by a single wolf-shaped icon shaped into the very stone itself. Counting the cells to himself, five on each side, but Solasan could tell the cell that had the hidden entrance was the furthest cell on the left side. Opening his eyes, he saw that he was back in Skyhold and his vision cleared to show he was resting inside Solas' rotunda once asleep on the singular couch that rested in the room. Sitting up, he stretched a bit before getting up and tying his hair up as he started to look for Cassandra and Renan.
He found them in an upper room that overlooked Skyhold, Cassandra was still asleep while Renan had woken up previously and was out on the balcony. He came up behind her giving the glass of the large windows a soft knock and saw her turn around greeting him with a smile. "Morning, lethallin," she greeted softly and he gave a soft nod as he stepped out to join her seeing it was morning and the sun was rising over the mountain basin in the distance.
"Sleep well," he asked softly before seeing her nod and he gave a bigger smile, "Have interesting dreams of this place? I've had so many since we arrived here." She had a soft chuckle before nodding, "So many as well. The Veil is pressed thin here so there are many memories bleeding into this place. Some of which were amazing and also scary. What did you dream of?" "Many things, lethallan. I even dreamt of the Inquisition of the Dragon Age here and far before them. I saw a hidden room here in Skyhold that I think will be worth checking into."
"A hidden room," she asked in great interest, "I didn't see one in my dreams, but everyone's dreams are different I suppose. Where is it?" "It's a bit deeper underneath Skyhold where the prison cells are kept," Solasan replied softly, "I wanted to explore them with you and Cassandra once you two woke, but it seems like she'll be out for a while longer." "No need for that, Chuckles," they heard Cassandra chime up behind them making them turn and see her step out barefoot as she was tying her blonde locks back.
"Sorry if we woke you," Renan apologized softly and Cassandra gave a dismissive wave of her hand. "Nah, it's ok," she remarked light-heartedly, "Besides, hearing that you learned of new places here in this old castle kinda makes me wanna go digging for it. We can only hope it hasn't disintegrated away with how old this place is. So, how far deep in prison are we going?"
Hearing her willingness to explore new territory with them, they prepared themselves with a few tools before going down into the prisons past the courtyard, and upon reaching the lower level, they went into the door past it and found it in a poor state. While it was dilapidated from age, the waterfall seemed to cut through the middle of the rest of the space and some of the cells were intact, but a few others were either gone from structure collapse or suffered cave-ins.
"Well," Cassandra chimed lightly, "Lead the way," as she motioned forward. Looking forward, Solasan recounted the cells as he had done in the Fade and he saw that the last cell he was meant to reach had suffered a bit of the collapse as well showing it no longer had a floor structure and its door was missing as well but its wall was intact to some extent. Reaching the cell next to it, they carefully navigated their steps as they reached the wall next door to that cell and broke through it to the cell they needed to reach.
Carefully maneuvering along the wall, he slipped around the large open space until he reached the far wall and tried to look for a wolf-shaped engraving but could find none. "There's no marking," he breathed out softly as he traced a hand over the stone wall. "Look closely, da'len," he could hear Solas advise in his ears, "You were able to see this entrance vividly so the key must still be there."
Giving a nod, he traced his hand around a bit more and he came across a different feeling in one of the stone pieces in place. It felt like there was plaster covered into it to hide the insignia and tracing a finger over it, he could feel the outline of the wolf in the stone. Feeling a smile growing, he turned back to his companions. "I found the entrance," he announced with a beaming smile. "That's great," Renan chimed up just as happily. "Now, how do we get inside," Cassandra chimed up again, leaving him stumped.
That was a very good question.
Looking over the stones again, he started to come up with possible ways of unlocking the door. They could chisel away at it, but the stone layers looked too thick for their tools that they had on hand. That and the obvious trace of no floor didn't give them much room to work with. Giving the stones a knock in a few different places with the hilt of a small dagger he kept on his waist, he could hear a trace of a very faint echo on the other side confirming his guess that the wall was thick.
He even considered the possibility of using magic to open it, but what spell would be used to unlock a hidden entrance? A protection spell? Fade-based magic? Elemental magic? There were many possibilities that were leaving him more and more stumped with each different suggestion.
"Why don't we just dig to that entrance from this cell we're in," Cassandra noted. "The walls are too thick and our tools won't hold against all the hammering at the stone," Solasan replied lightly, "There's a way to open this entrance, we just have to discover what it is." He rubbed his hand around a bit more on the stone where he felt the insignia and he thought it might have been an easy trick.
He pressed on the stone that held the wolf on it, and they heard a dull, hollow sound that sounded similar to an unlocking device and they saw the large stone door slide upward revealing the hidden entrance going deeper inside. "Well, sunovabitch," Cassandra murmured softly, "Guess that's how." "I just wanted to find it," Solasan admitted sheepishly reaching for his staff to which Renan handed it over before he slipped inside.
"Ah well," she breathed out softly before sidling along the wall, "Can't beat 'em, join 'em." Renan had a soft laugh hearing her resolution change and they followed his trail reaching the other side and joined him in the entrance that seemed to have a stairway spiraling upward but into more darkness. Using his staff, Solasan used a light spell of fire to make his staff glow enough to illuminate the hall as they ascended.
Along the walls, they could see ancient paintings that depicted several different things ranging from warriors to dragons, and there was no telling what all they meant. After ascending the flight of stairs, they came across another door that had a mural that bore a very familiar insignia on the front of it: a large wolf. "Guess your staff can't unlock this one, huh," Cassandra asked sarcastically making the two look down at her with small smirks before he checked over the mural using his staff to illuminate it with a bit more magic.
It looked just like the ancient depiction of Fen'Harel seen on all the murals of the Evanuris only the stones were made out of a yellow-green color, perhaps greenstone? Looking up at the great wolf's depiction, he wondered if this could be activated a different way from before. He felt no stone that would trigger the entrance opening, and he wasn't going to turn back now. Pressing his staff lightly against the mural, he made it cast a light ripple to see if there was some sort of trick to the door.
Seeing the light blue ripples cast upon the door, they could see the eyes of the wolf glow lightly as if checking them which took the three by surprise. "Is that a good thing," Cassandra breathed out softly, "'Cause I don't think they'd allow dwarves in there." "Don't worry, Cassandra," Renan assured softly as she rests a hand on her shoulder, "We'll look after you." Solasan nodded before turning back to the wolf's eyes and gave a light bow as if in respect.
He opened his lips to speak but then heard Solas in his ears again. "Wait. I recognize this kind of entrance," he started gently, "They were used often among my people and required a special phrase to open. While they had their own phrases amongst each other, only one will do. It should recognize the words." Solasan had a faint nod before looking into the eyes of the statue and repeated after Solas, "Atish'all vallem, Fen'Harel elathadra."
The eyes glimmered a bit brighter for a split second before they spotted the glow fade and the mural swung open a bit inward revealing it was indeed like a door. "What did you say, lethallin," Renan said softly, "I didn't recognize the phrase." "It was a secret phrase used here," he replied turning back to the two, "I heard it whispered to this door when I saw it in the Fade." "And Fen'Harel was in the phrase," she noted softly to which Solasan nodded.
"This was a door for his followers to enter into which required the special phrase," he said before stepping up and gently pushed the door open looking inside seeing it was lightly illuminated by holes in the roof that also gleamed onto mirrors that beamed around the room making the room light up with the natural light. They could see it was about as big as the main hall and it held plenty of adornments & items for necessary living in such a space for a lot of people inside.
They could see beds, desks, cookware, and they even spotted children's toys amongst the items. But, on the far back wall, they could see Fen'Harel's mural again but much larger this time and in front of it lay a large mass of an uncertain detail. Curiosity peaking, he stepped deeper inside approaching the mass with the girls hot on his heels and upon closer inspection, he could see it was not only surrounded by candles but also was laid out in many wolf pelts. And it was large enough to hold one person.
Gently rubbing his hand over one of the pelts, he looked closer and could see a clear indentation in the furs to indicate that someone had once laid there prior for a very long period of time. "This is a bed," he chimed softly before looking up at the mural again, "HIS bed." "What do you mean 'his bed'," Cassandra asked as they looked on with him before looking up at the mural.
"In ancient times when the Elves were once immortal, they didn't sleep but rather went into a sort of meditative state to rest," Renan explained, "But, there were cases of the tired, elder Elvhen that had grown exhausted over the centuries and that's when their minds and bodies would enter an even deeper state of rest called Uthenera which means 'eternal waking dream' in the Ancient Elvhen tongue.
"Their bodies would rest while their spirits resided in the Fade, but the ancient practices required the sleeping Elvhen to have people to take care of them including cleaning them and giving them a mixture of water, herbs, and honey to sustain themselves on, otherwise they would physically die. Then, there were those who were so skilled they could sustain themselves on energies of the Fade and didn't need people to take care of them as they reached this 'perfected' state of being," Renan concluded.
"That's a lot to take in," Cassandra pointed out to which Renan's cheeks bore an obvious blush. "Apologies," she stammered out softly, "My brother & I had studied so much with our Keeper, it's hard to contain such knowledge." "It's ok, but I think I get it," Cassandra said patting her arm before looking back up at the mural, "So this Fen'Harel god guy went into this Uthenera too? Well, it'd fit with his legend that he created the Veil long ago. That kinda magic isn't so easy to obtain much less control and no doubt after casting something that huge, he'd be near-dead exhausted."
"A bit of an exaggeration, but yes," Solasan said sheepishly before looking back at the furs, "This must have been his Uthenera chamber when he entered his deep sleep. The people that joined him here over the centuries looked after him faithfully, hoping and waiting for the day when he'd wake from his ancient slumber." "Wonder how many generations that took," Cassandra mumbled softly looking around, her eyes falling on the children's toys.
"No one knows for sure," Renan said softly before Solasan picked up after her, "But, written word does describe how he told Inquisitor Lavellan that he had been in Uthenera and awoke a year before joining the Inquisition, so he must have been asleep for many Ages to recover." "Talk about a long nap," Cassandra chuckled softly before going over to the desks looking them over and used one of the nearby lanterns to illuminate it a bit more as the other two looked around a bit more.
Plundering through the desks, they could hear a metallic jingling noise as Cassandra pulled a smaller drawer open and she looked inside before having a soft laugh. "Well, well," she noted softly pulling out a handful of the mystery items, "I didn't think the ancient elves were fond of jewelry." Holding her hand open to them as they looked curiously, they saw she held a handful of silverite rings that bore the familiar symbol of the guardian wolf on it, much like Solasan & Fen'nan's rings.
Pulling out his necklace, he showed his dual rings but only one had the similar design etched into it, and its counterpart seemed to fit perfectly snug inside it like a matched pair. Revealing the engraved ring, Cassandra had a chuckle holding up one of the engraved rings in her palm. "Seems they DID have a way to identify themselves after all," she noted softly. "Fen'nan theorized the same thing," Renan noted softly gently taking a smaller engraved ring and checked it overseeing it was small enough to fit a youth.
"He has one just like these, and he theorized that Fen'Harel's most loyal followers bore rings just like these so that the Elvhen could tell who was loyal to him," she continued lightly, "Fen'Harel was said to be very picky and observant so I wouldn't be surprised if he was trying to make sure he had no enemy infiltration in his ranks, so either he or his people decided to use these special rings to depict who was amongst his followers and who wasn't." "And seeing as how he and Broody have these rings, they have some sort of connection to this Elven god, right," Cassandra asked lightly, "Or at the very least the people who worked for him?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes," Solasan said softly before looking over his rings again, "But, these aren't originally mine. The engraved ring belonged to my father before he died, and the smaller one belonged to my mother. She gave them to me when I was young saying they were special, and it'd keep my father's memory close." "Touching," Cassandra interjected softly, "And, what did she mean by 'special'? Are they enchanted or something?"
"I don't think so," Solasan said softly, "Fen'nan thought the same with his ring, but when he tried to use his ring, nothing happened." "But, he did say that with his sensitivity to magic, he sensed SOMETHING within his ring, so it might've worn down over the years," Renan said softly, "An enchanted item can hold its magical ability for many years, even centuries. I wouldn't be surprised if it DOES still have some power inside, it just has a certain role to fill other than just being infused with magic."
Cassandra looked at the rings in her hands again before gently placing them back in the drawer before examining the drawers again and started to look through notes on the papers scattered across and inside the desks. "Well, some of these I can recognize, others I can't," she noted lightly, "Some are written in common hand, while others are written in.. something else." Gently taking a sheet from Cassandra, Renan looked it over and her eyes perked open a bit in a sense of recognition.
"This is ancient written Elvish," she noted with an eager tone, "Keepers teach the secrets of written Elvish to their Firsts." "Great, more ancient stuff," Cassandra breathed out softly rubbing her hand over her hair, "What's it say?" "Some of it has worn from age and a lot of it is very sparse, but I can make out a partial translation. 'Still, he sleeps. When will he wake? Hope.. drawing thin as wars and ages pass.. Two.. spheres? Among stars.. An eclipse as Fen'Harel stirred.'" "An eclipse caused him to wake up," Cassandra asked trying to come up with something making Solasan shrug softly. "Or perhaps he happened to wake around the time of an eclipse happening," Solasan suggested before Renan continued.
"'Mythal avenged for their crime but.. they still linger as they are punished'. This must be talking about the Evanuris when they murdered Mythal and he erected the Veil to lock them away," she suggested softly, "'For his most loyal.. Hidden here. Watch? And protect as he sleeps.. Others elsewhere. His..' Home? Sanctuary? The words seemed mixed but it's faded. It was like it was written in a hurry." Solasan lit his staff a bit more over her and the sheets of paper to help her read it more and Cassandra peeked over to get a better look as well as Renan continued.
"'His.. home where.. People.. Families rest in safety'." "That must've been referring to his hidden sanctuary," Solasan pointed out softly, "His sanctuary provided a safe haven from the ancient elves who broke free from the slavery to the Evanuris. They protected the sanctuary and the valley while he protected them all." "There's one last scripture on the page," Renan noted pointing to one last written phrase at the bottom of the page, pulling it up to get a better look in the light.
"'We watch him sleep.. Have not returned to home. His.. Still locked.. His closest friend.. Dearest mother-friend Mythal? Knew.. wolf's greeting.. It.. Opened? His doors.' And.. That's all on this page," she said softly before looking for any others Cassandra may have found that contained written Elvish but could find no others that bore any significance.
"So, it talked about how the people here have been watching over him for centuries waiting for him to wake up, and this Mythal lady knew him personally to where she knew his secret passwords, phrases, and such," Cassandra asked giving her chin a rub. "That would make sense," Renan noted softly as Solasan looked around a bit more and found papers that had old drawings on them of various things: people drawn in certain positions doing mundane things and even children in mid-play amongst each other.
But, what drew his eye the most were the drawings of eluvians drawn in many different locations: one surrounded by snowy rocks, others in a lush forest opening, another was nestled between two statues of howling wolves - one dark, another one light, and another showed a mysterious location. It showed an Eluvian on a wall that seemed similar to a large, pillar-like monument that also seemed to have vines running down alongside it and on top of the wall stood a statue of an ancient elven tree and each corner guarded with howling wolves.
Solasan could hear Solas in his ears once again, "That one is located in my sanctuary in the mountains, but the drawing looks much newer than the rest." "That would mean it would've been drawn more recent than the others," Solasan relayed his thoughts to the elder, "Which would mean one of the elves looking after you would've been one of the elves that resided in your armies before you went into Uthenera." "That's not surprising," he heard Solas point out softly, "I've had agents of mine residing over many years that I had known personally. Very few actually knew of the ancient history because they had lived it themselves."
"Does this eluvian lead to your sanctuary in particular," he asked softly. "It might," Solas replied, "The labyrinth of eluvians were varied depending on the means of which they were used. Sometimes the eluvians in the sentry towers were used as the entrances, others inside the sanctuary itself were the entrance. It all varied on the situation, especially in times of crisis." "And you controlled all of them?" "Not until the Dragon Age after overriding the magic personally when an agent of mine failed to reclaim part of the eluvian labyrinth back from another. But, if the old mirrors still work in my old sanctuary there should still be some means of opening them back up. I did leave my most loyal followers with the key phrase, but I cannot say whether or not they changed it over the years."
Hearing Solas made Solasan think harder while observing the drawings of the eluvians again. Looking at the drawings didn't provide any more clues than the writings did, but he started to recall a memory from his childhood. His mother would tell him stories of how his father had taken her exploring using magic mirrors and he seemed to know how to open them with ease. His father would simply wave his hand or utter a phrase to open them and they had been to many places together, even when she was pregnant with him.
He recalled his mother described how his father had taken her to an ancient ruin and it was there shortly after where she gave birth to him despite the ruin being covered in dense ice and snow. He had a very faint recollection of his father's voice, remembering something often sang to him like a lullaby. Perhaps it was? Lastly, in his mix of memories, there was another he remembered his mother recalling from his father that she remembered him using to unlock the eluvians. A phrase that got him killed.
Lifting his eyes from the papers, he rose up grabbing his staff and marched out the room with the girls hot on his heels seeing him rush out so suddenly. After making his way down the stairs, he maneuvered around the wall and headed out the prison and up the stairs. "Hey, Chuckles, what's the rush," Cassandra called out after him as she tried to keep up. "An old memory that might help us," Solasan called out in reply, his eyes gazed strong up the stairs as they ascended, "I have to see if it still works." "But, dwarves have short legs!!"
They must've heard some form of resolve in his voice. Making it outside and up the second flight of stairs to the castle, he turned hard left once inside and headed toward the gardens, but his eyes were on the door that rested on the other side. Undeterred, he stepped through the dense garden brushing any green aside and upon reaching the door, he swung it open to see Fen'nan's family eluvian inside dimmed and inactive.
Approaching the ancient mirror, he stopped just short of it and looked up at the glass as Renan and Cassandra caught up to him catching their breath. "GEEZ, let a girl know before you take off again, huh," Cassandra asked in a huff between breaths. "He did say he had a clue," Renan replied on a breath, "And it must've been important for him to take off like that." "It is," Solasan noted before fiddling with his necklace a bit, "If this simple memory can help us, then there must be more going on than we thought."
After fastening his necklace back on, he took his father's engraved silver ring and placed it on his middle finger and looked down at the wolf engraving on it before reactivating the eluvian and stepped through it with Cassandra and Renan following close. Instead of appearing inside Fen'nan's home, they instead appeared within the Crossroads, and this time the paths were different. They saw the entrance of Skyhold's eluvian behind them decorated with the massive stone walls and stained glass, but the paths that were connected led to places that didn't have his interest.
But, one entrance did. And its large white banners beckoned him over even closer. With each step in the Crossroads, the paths changed even more as if sensing his will to lead him right to the entrance.
It took them little time to reach the large entrance to Fen'Harel's sanctuary. Passing by the white banners and the statues of the howling wolves, he approached the darkened mirror looking up with a firm face. Cassandra looked around anxiously and excited at the same time, she hadn't been in the Crossroads before and while she wanted to explore more, she had to keep up with the other two. Renan, however, was growing more concerned and curious as to why Solasan took off so suddenly.
"What did you bring us here for, lethallin," she asked softly as she gently placed a hand on his shoulder. He turned back to her with a small smile, "Hearing those notes you read and looking over the others made me think. And.. It made me remember certain things in my past. It's like I said. If this simple memory can help us, there must be more going on than we thought," he finished looking down at his ring before looking up at the glass again. Taking a breath, he set his hand upon the glass and called aloud a phrase.
"Ar-melana dirthavaren. Revas vir-anaris."
In that instant, the mirror shined with a bright light upon its activation and they could hear a sort of ripple of the same effect happening deeper inside the mirror. On the other side, they could see an expanding hallway that held a light at the end of it, and with a shaky breath Solasan looked on in awe. "It unlocked," he said softly, "The entrance to Fen'Harel's sanctuary actually unlocked."
"Andraste's flaming ass," Cassandra exclaimed putting both hands on top of her head, face lit up in surprise, "You actually found this place?! Thi-This is BIG news! No one's been able to find this place for centuries after Fen'Harel was laid to rest! This is huge!" "No, Cassandra," Solasan said softly, "There's actually a lot more going on as I said. The fact that I was able to unlock this entrance means that my father knew something he shouldn't have known, but he did." "Your father knew about this place," Renan asked softly but trod carefully on the personal subject.
"He did," he replied softly, "He took my mother there before I was born, and she even gave birth to me there. At least, that's what she told me.. But, the fact that my father knew of this place and my mother was the only one he shared this secret with.. I get the feeling that the Evanuris might have something to do with this.." "I sense a conspiracy going on here," Cassandra said crossing her arms over her chest before looking at the mirror, "So. We going in?"
Turning back to the mirror, Solasan took in a deep breath and extended his hand to the entrance before feeling his hand fazing through it and to the chilled air on the other side before completely stepping through. After stepping in, he could feel the hallway was chilled there as it was in Skyhold, but Skyhold was much colder due to the snowy mountains it rested in. Stepping forward a bit, he gave the girls a bit of room for them to step through and they cautiously walked the hall together seeing it split into two other passageways that held active eluvians inside.
Upon reaching the opening, they covered their eyes as they stepped out into the sunlight. Once their vision adjusted, they could look into the distance and saw two large towers that held golden trees atop their structures and below them, a lake that held a larger structure inside. A structure of legend, still intact after centuries of abandon.
"Fen'Harel's sanctuary," Solasan breathed out softly in awe.
SEE WHAT I MEAN BY LENGTHY?! X'D But seriously, it's getting good now and lots of little lore hints here & there X3 Leave a comment on what you think might happen next! ;3
Chapter 9: Into the Wolf's Den
Reaching Fen'Harel's Sanctuary, the trio explores more of the ancient ruin and even catch glimpses into the past. They even get some insight into the history involving Solas and his family before and after the death of him and his wife. They also find some possible hints as to what may have happened to their descendants.
Another lengthy chapter?! Theb stop it!! I know I'm sorry ;w; But please bear with me on this X'3 It gets good I promise
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"This is it," Renan breathed out softly seemingly struck in a mix of awe and shock, "This is REALLY it, Fen'Harel's sanctuary. And.. You found it, lethallin." "Well, from clues that my parents left behind," Solasan noted softly. "Well, your folks had quite a strong secret on their hands," Cassandra noted softly. "And I think it might have gotten my father killed just by knowing it," they Solasan note lowly looking down at the silverite ring on his finger.
"Your father was killed over this place," Renan asked softly. "In part," he said softly looking up at her eyes, "My mother told me that shortly after we had returned from here, my father was killed while he protected us from someone who wasn't too keen of him knowing this sanctuary's location. Thinking back on how the Evanuris reacted after we slew those demons a few days prior, I think they might have something to do with my father's death." "Whoa, whoa," Cassandra chimed up in a worried tone, her hands up in defense, "You're saying your dad was killed for simply knowing the location of a ruin? That's a bit extreme isn't it?"
"The Evanuris are more dangerous than most would like to believe, Cassandra," Renan assured looking worried, "This is Fen'Harel's sanctuary, and during his time warring against the Evanuris, they often attacked this place and he fought back with a fury that couldn't be matched. He even gave Elgar'nan a near-death fight just to protect his followers and those held safe inside his sanctuary, including his own family." "Geez, if it was all that bad, how'd it all end," they heard Cassandra ask as she scratched at her head.
Stepping downward toward another eluvian that had the image of a bridge on the other side, the two youths explained the war and its end to Cassandra as they stepped through; telling her details on how Fen'Harel & Asha'Fen were struck down by one arrow and how his generals kept the war going until they arranged a truce with the Evanuris to stop more bloodshed. They even noted that they had asked for Divine Victoria personally to reside between the two factions to maintain the peace talks and oversee the truce as a witness.
As they crossed the bridge, they could see the massive white banners showing tribute to the war from long ago; some had gashes in the fabric, others had burns, and very few remained untouched from the clashes between the warring factions. Reaching the large entrance, they could see the inside was greatly intact, save for the murals that were aligned on both walls inside. Murals depicting the Evanuris but a majority of them were greatly weathered away or damaged barely showing which elf they represented.
They even spotted the pillar-like monument that was shown in the drawings found inside Skyhold, and they found its eluvian intact, but inactive for some reason. "Strange. If all the others are active, how come this one isn't," Renan asked softly as she laid her hand upon the glass. "That's a good question," Cassandra said stepping over and looking at the monument a bit more.
"Is this mirror important to Fen'Harel somehow," Renan remarked softly, "Perhaps he was the only one who could open it with a passphrase of his own creation and secret." "Perhaps," Solasan mused softly, "But, have you both noticed something.. off about the air here?" Hearing his remark, the two girls paused to take in their surroundings a bit more, and in the massive halls, they could feel a sort of mixture in the air; a mixture of emotions.
Keeping even more still, they could hear a faint trail of voices, whispers, and even laughter echoing through the halls. "Tell me I'm not the only one who heard all that," Cassandra remarked softly, suddenly looking tense and wishing she had her crossbow. "We did as well, Casi," Renan remarked, "The Veil must be very thin here. It is a ruin that's been steeped with so much emotion and death over the centuries, it's no surprise echoes of the past linger here."
"Think we'll see something if we wait," Solasan asked to which Renan shook her head softly, "I don't think it'd work as well as you'd think it would, lethallin." That's when Cassandra perked up as if she just remembered something. "Wait here! I've got an idea that might assist in this little show," she noted before taking off again toward the eluvian on the other side of the bridge and passing through it. The two young elves left a bit dumbfounded at her sudden departure but decided to wait and explore in the meantime.
Going past the monument, they looked further down the hall and saw the statue of a great wolf as it faced toward the large mural of Fen'Harel removing vallaslin from the elves with his followers behind him. Placing her hand upon the paint, she had a soft smile as if in wonder. "You seem like you're reminiscing on memories of this place even though this is your first time here," she heard Solasan chuckle out softly as he came up beside her making her turn toward his direction. She gave a nod, "I know, lethallin," she paused to look back up at the painting, "But, there's just something about this painting that's nostalgic for some reason, and sad at the same time. I'm not sure why.."
"I think it's because it shows the past of a man who had done many great things only to be selfishly struck down just for caring for his people," she heard him remark softly as he looked up at the painting as well, "He freed them from slavery to would-be gods only to be killed by the tyrants he freed them from. Thankfully, his generals were able to prevent any more slavery to the Evanuris. I mean, don't get me wrong, there are those who still serve the Evanuris, but no longer under the terms of slavery and no longer bear their vallaslin.
"But, I'm sure they see it as just another job much like my own," he noted softly looking timid and he heard her with a soft chuckle making his cheeks flush a bit. "But, you're an apprentice to Librarians," she noted with a light-hearted tone, "I don't think that's an easy 'job' as much as it would be to wait on those high-up mage snobs hand-and-foot." The remark made him chuckle softly and nodded. "Yes, I can imagine serving the Evanuris while under the context of servitude wouldn't be an easy ordeal, seeing as how some of them have been known to have fierce tempers," Solasan remarked.
"Much like Andruil," he heard Solas remark flatly in his ears with an unimpressed tone. Or was it disinterest? Solasan couldn't help but chuckle at his remark toward the huntress.
His laugh didn't go unnoticed, however; when he looked back, he saw Renan eyeing him curiously. "Sorry," he said catching himself, "I just remembered reading a story of Andruil having such a temper toward Fen'Harel. Something about how he angered her by hunting when she said not to? And as punishment, he had to serve her in bed for a year and a day to pay her back," he remarked with a chuckle making Renan laugh as well, and he could hear Solas groaning as if from humiliation or maybe embarrassment? Solasan couldn't help but laugh harder as he kept explaining.
"She had him bound to a tree as she made camp for the night, and that's when Anaris showed up demanding Fen'Harel's neck for angering him as well so the two had to fight for him," he finished and Renan had to catch her breath before speaking up. "Who won that fight," she asked between chuckles. "Neither," he replied, "Fen'Harel told Anaris a weakness in Andruil's armor and when he said that Anaris owed him a favor, he was so appalled by the gall he gave off, that he didn't notice Andruil strike him down with her golden bow. They both slept to rest from the fight, only to find that Fen'Harel had escaped in the middle of the night by chewing through his ropes."
The two shared another hard laugh as Solasan could hear Solas let out another groan, and through his laughter, he couldn't help a snort or two that came out of his nose which made him cover his face in shock with his eyes still visible but couldn't contain his laughter. Renan giggled softly at the display as his cheeks were flushed a bit redder and their laughter started to settle down. "I'm sorry you had to hear that," he apologized softly with a soft laugh.
"Don't apologize," Renan noted with a soft laugh of her own, "It's just a feature of yours that shows how you sound when you're having a good laugh." He nodded uncovering his mouth a bit more with a timid smile and heard heavy footsteps in the distance making them glance over and spotted Cassandra as she rushed back panting a bit. The two rushed down the steps and toward her stopping point at the monument again seeing her panting lightly and had their bags on her person. "What'd you retrieve our bags for, Casi," Renan asked softly.
"One, I think you guys will need your stuff for whatever you find here, and secondly, I got my bag 'cause of an artifact I found in my travels," she noted before handing them their bags first, then pulling out a crystal shaped item from her own bag that had spiral-like markings engraved into the stone, "I'm not sure what it is, but from what I could tell, it had some sort of reaction to the Fade where I found it. It showed a glimpse of the past and I think the same might happen here. The question is how?" "That looks similar to a Foci that were used to channel magical energies of the past," Solasan noted softly taking a closer look at the artifact, "I read about these in the Vir'Dithara but why is this one shaped like a crystal instead of an orb?"
"Beats me," Cassandra shrugged handing it to him to inspect closer, "All I know is that it looks odd and it's a powerful artifact to make the Fade show me crazy stuff." "Like what," Renan asked softly. "Well, I found it not far off the coast from an Avaar tribe on a tiny island and it was just buried in the sand of its beach with a lone house as its only occupant and when it activated, there was a burst of green magic then it showed me the Inquisitor Ameridan with his group out there as he was talking to them and he addressed one of them as his lover.
"When it deactivated, I was back on that beach where I found the stone. I think that item will show you bits and pieces of the past around these parts. The problem is getting it to work," she said softly. "Strange," Renan noted softly before gently taking the artifact from Solasan and looked it over before a faint green magic enveloped her hands, and they could see the spiral markings on the stone glow brightly before it released a gentle burst of energy around them, and in that instant, they could see a massive shift in the area around them.
They saw a large crowd of elves seemingly in a festive environment, and one woman was singing a song loud and proud with musicians playing in beat with her song as they looked toward the center of the room, and when the youths did as well, they saw its only dancers: Solas and his wife. The two were in a solitary dance on the large floor and they were dressed elegantly in whites as if for a wedding, his wife adorned with a thin veil to match her gown in beauty as he had robes befitting nobility. Solas seemed to be leading her well in their dance and she matched his movements with a graceful fluidity as he pulled her along in a few spins and twists.
"I remember this day," Solasan could hear Solas, voice sounding joyful and endearing, "Our wedding festival. Ma'vhenan and I had arranged it to make it a momentous day for us before we continued to war against the Evanuris. Many of our old friends attended, even those from the Inquisition and even Leliana- the Divine helped join us together. Not as a Divine, mind you, but as a close friend of the Inquisition." "I remember you telling me about it," Solasan relayed his thoughts to Solas with a beaming smile.
He looked over to see past members of the Inquisition there enjoying the festivities, as well as the song, changed and others around them started to join into the dance as the beat had shifted sounding more active and moving. Sera was enjoying a drink with Thom Rainier, Iron Bull & his Chargers, as well as Varric. Even Cassandra was showing to enjoy the festivities a bit, at least showing she liked the music a bit as she clapped to the rhythm as well as Josephine. He even spotted Inquisitor Assan and his lover, Dorian, joining in the dances as well, much to Dorian's dismay which soon grew into joy from dancing with his lover.
He looked over at his companions and spotted Renan pointing out Varric to Cassandra and she had a bright-eyed look of awe spotting the memory of her ancestor. Solasan had a soft chuckle and he could hear the same from Solas in his ears. "Seems a glint into her ancestor's life brings her a sense of joy," he heard the elder remark softly, "I can't blame her. Seeing such great memories brought me great joy as well when I stumbled upon ancient ruins and seeing their memories in my explorations of the Fade. They were much like what you see before you: glimpses of the past based on which emotions press stronger against the Veil."
"The memories of joy were strongest here," Solasan said softly to which he heard Solas confirm, and Renan looked up at him as Cassandra took a closer look at Varric still in awe. "Indeed it does, lethallin," she remarked softly, "This is a very joyous occasion after all. Weddings usually are a very happy occasion, others not so much, but I'm glad this was a happy day for Fen'Harel and his family & followers."
"After going to war with the Evanuris, I'm sure they needed it," Solasan remarked as they saw the song had ended making the dancing end, as well as light applause, had spread a bit through the dancing crowd. That's when they spotted two smaller elves, most likely children, dash from Varric's side and toward the newlyweds, to which the two lifted with laughter of their own. Solas was shown rubbing his head against the little one he held in his arms while his wife was embracing the other in her arms as the other child hugged her around her neck. Both children had snowy white hair just like their mother had and from what they could see, they had blue eyes like their father.
"Our children," Solas chuckled softly, "The twins, Revas and Melara." "Your children seem like they're a few years of age, five at the most," Solasan remarked to the elder with eyes glancing back for a slight second then back to the family in the middle. "They were four when we were married," Solas explained softly, "I didn't know she was pregnant around the time I had left the Inquisition; I'm not sure she knew either until a few months afterward. After finding me, she had explained that she tried to tell me about them the last time we were pursued by the Qunari.
"When she found me, they were three years of age, they turned four shortly before our wedding. Apparently, after parting ways from her a second time, she wasted no time in trying to find me again regardless of my efforts to mislead her. I had seen the twins before in my visions of the Fade, but I never knew who they truly were until they arrived. They were wonderful children. Well-tempered just like their mother, but impulsive much like myself," he paused to let out a soft chuckle, "My son even developed a dislike for tea, much like I did while his sister thoroughly enjoyed it as her mother did. Both were also gifted with magic at a very young age."
"They sounded wonderful at such a young age," Solasan noted with a soft smile and Solas nodded seeing the scenario shift around them showing a calmer environment but it showed Solas checking on warriors as they seemed to have suffered some battle damage and was aiding the mages in the healing process. "They were, and the arrival of their other sister brought more joy to my life," Solas noted softly as they spotted his wife come into view with the twins beside her and a baby almost a year of age in her arms with light brown curly hair, "Little Samahl."
"They're precious," he said in accidental unison with Cassandra as she saw the little ones approach a bit older than before and the sister, Melara, seemed like she was watching her father's actions closely as he helped in healing the soldiers and she was bouncing lightly on her tip-toes as if wanting to help. "Seems the little lady wanted to help daddy," Cassandra noted with a chuckle, "I don't think she was able to just yet. Maybe when she was older, huh," she said while pointing to the little one to which Renan had a giggle before nodding.
The power from the artifact shifted the scenario again, but this time showing a darker environment; they saw more fallen warriors with mages trying to heal as best they could as more kept falling in, and the three could feel a powerful linger of magic hanging over the area. They could hear the sounds of a battle just outside the entrance and they looked ahead to spot warriors, rogues, & mages alike fighting against warriors and spectral beings being launched by one of the Evanuris: Andruil as she watched on with a smirk as if she had won.
Leading the charge, however, was a tall and brazened elf about 30 years of age wearing armor similar to Solas' own but wore a thick black cloak around his shoulders and a reddish-brown wolf pelt looped over and around his left shoulder & torso. They could even spot the elf's hair very similar to Fen'nan's: snowy white hair detailed with a warrior's shaven cut and in a high ponytail. This must have been one of his generals, but Solasan could feel a sense of curiosity and confusion from Solas meaning it was a general that Solas didn't recognize. They saw the elf was a skilled and powerful mage as he launched attack after attack he could muster from his staff and even aided his charges with spells of protection.
After putting up an Aegis of the Rift providing some cover, he turned back to aide one of his warriors, and they could see his sculpted features and that's when they got a better look; spotting his blue eyes, Renan had a sense of realization wash over her. "That's his son," she breathed out softly before speaking up a bit louder, "That's Fen'Harel's son, Revas." Solasan could feel the huge wave of shock and dread rush through him from Solas when the realization hit making him gasp softly as Solas did as well.
"HE was a general of his father's forces," Cassandra asked in light shock seeing him help a warrior as they limped inside before he rushed back out with his staff held back ready to strike, "Looks like he had quite the big shoes to fill, and he filled them well." "He shouldn't have had ANY part of the war," Solas remarked bitterly, "I thought my children were kept safe from the battles while my armies fought on against the Evanuris!" "Seems the war wouldn't end so long as your lineage persisted, hahren," Solasan noted to Solas softly before seeing Revas cast a barrage of fire spells, "And it seems your son really did gain your temperament."
Revas continued his magical assault from the Aegis of the Rift, but when it lowered, he had a smirk before he started to display a very familiar scenario. He spiraled his staff above his head as it started to spark with electricity and the clouds above them started to shift as well in a very similar pattern that Renan and Solasan recognized. They heard the loud buzz of lightning above them, and when Revas stopped his staff at its highest, the bolts struck down in the song that the two elves had cast that had gotten them spotted, to begin with. They heard the song strum loudly as Revas cast his glaring eyes through to Andruil and her forces were struck down with each bolt of lightning before she could call a retreat.
Seeing her army fallen, Andruil took the chance to flee through the mirror, but Revas had a growl and started to charge like he was after her blood. He started to pursue but dropped to his knees after taking a few steps forward and was panting heavily, spent from using a great deal of magic but had enough breath to yell after her as she stepped through the eluvian. "Get back here and face me like the warrior you claim to be, you cowardly bitch!! You'll pay for your heartless murder against my family," he yelled as loud as his voice could carry, his voice deep and seeping with rage as the clouds cleared overhead, but the scenario as well had cleared up as well as the magic from the artifact wore off.
Seeing the scenario, Solasan couldn't stop the dread and despair that hit him from Solas and when he saw the magic fade, he turned his eyes to Renan and saw she was heavy in tears from the scene. Cassandra took notice as well and rushed over to assure her, gently grabbing her arm catching her attention. When she saw Cassandra's expression of concern, she sniffled before wiping at her eyes and gave an assuring smile. "I'm alright, Casi," she reassured softly, "It's just a heartbreaking scenario. He had to grow up knowing he'd be a force driving his father's armies forward, and he also had his eyes on one for revenge that I'm sure could rival Elgar'nan's vengeance.
"His heartache drove him to push forward to avenge his family, and strike down the Evanuris," she finished softly. "But, something stopped him," Cassandra noted, "If the history books from your people are true, then something had to have calmed him down long enough for that truce to take place. From what we saw, Fen'Harel's boy was like an archdemon ready to take down a giant. He couldn't be stopped so easily, I figure. So what did it? Was he not a part of the talks or was he forced to play nice long enough for it to happen?" "That might've been what happened," Renan noted lightly, "But, we didn't see his sisters among the fighting so they might've stayed back the whole time this fight happened, or worse, they could've been killed too."
"Something tells me they must've survived, it was just their parents who were slaughtered by Andruil's arrow," Solasan noted softly to which Renan nodded in confirmation. "If they did survive this war, they would've aided their brother in the battles, but when it came to the People they cared for, their parents' need to protect them came through, and they calmed their brother's temper long enough for it to happen, however bitter it might have been." "We still don't know for sure," Solasan noted softly, "I wish we could get more answers, but it seems that the artifact needs time to regain its energies before showing us more. That was quite a powerful display it showed us."
"It was quite powerful," Renan replied softly wiping at her eyes a bit more, "And we did the same spell to protect the people against those demons." "Get out," they heard Cassandra chime up in surprise, "You two did what ONE elf cast? He must've been very powerful to cast all those spells AND that one, so how'd you two pull off a spell that one guy did on his own?" "We're not sure," Renan replied timidly as she held the artifact close in her hands, "But, we were able to cast it and we protected the city from an onslaught of demons." "Well, regardless of this crazy magical shit, that was pretty cool," Cassandra remarked with a soft smile, "And I heard the song it made too, that was awesome too."
"That's the spell that has the Evanuris hunting for us in Arlathan," Solasan noted, "It's why we went into hiding when we met you at Skyhold." "Wow," she breathed out softly, "With something that powerful, I can see the appeal. So to speak." The two nodded before Renan handed the artifact back to Cassandra to which she shook her head a light 'no'. "You keep it," she said softly with a smile, "You got it to work somehow, so you can hold onto it. Besides, you guys know more about this magic artifact stuff than I do, so it's better off in your hands," she offered with a big smile.
Renan gave a nod with a tender smile before giving her a gentle hug around her head feeling it press against her torso taking her by surprise as they heard her let out a soft yelp. "I know this must be a lot, but thank you for helping out with all this, Casi," Renan said whole-heartedly as Cassandra stood frozen at the sudden hug. It didn't take her long to return the hug but only used one arm reaching up around her torso and gave her back a light pat as she had a soft smile. Solasan had a soft smile at the endearing sight but felt something pulling him back inside.
Looking back into the sanctuary, his eyes fell upon the eluvian that rested in the monument, and his feet made him turn back inside before stepping back toward the enchanted mirror. Catching the girls' attention, they followed him back as he made it to the mirror. Looking up at the dimmed eluvian, he relayed his thoughts to Solas hoping he had calmed a bit from seeing the display earlier. "Where does this eluvian lead," his thoughts asked the elder.
After a moment of silence, he heard Solas reply seemingly calmer from earlier. "This was my own personal eluvian which led to the quarters that held me and my family while we stayed here," he replied softly, "Nothing too lavish, I assure you." "Seems Renan was right, this was your mirror," the youth noted, "Can you open it for us? I can have them promise not to disturb anything personal of yours." "Hey, Chuckles," he heard Cassandra chime up behind him making him turn around to face the girls seeing her in mid-wave up at him.
"Mind filling us in," she asked flatly, "Or you gonna leave us in the dark again?" "Apologies," Solasan said timidly, "I just.. Something still feels like it's missing, somehow. I know we already made a deduction about this eluvian, but something tells me it'd be a lot easier to open than we originally thought." "How? You heard her," Cassandra asked motioning both hands to Renan, "If that was his mirror, only HE had the password for it, and he took that with him to the grave." "But, keep in mind, he was also one to use simple Elven code phrases used among his most trusted people," he interjected softly, "I'm sure this one is no different, we just have to.. guess the right phrase."
"Something tells me that's gonna take a while, so should I leave you two to it while I head back to Skyhold," Cassandra asked pointing her thumb behind her toward the eluvian, "Still got a lot of my things back there and I feel like I shouldn't leave the place unguarded." "We understand, Cassandra," Solasan nodded with a soft smile, "Thank you again for tolerating us." "I hope we can see each other again soon," Renan noted giving her another gentle hug, "You were delightful company to have." "Daaw, you're gonna make me blush, Snowflake," Cassandra chuckled out softly giving her genuine hug in return patting her back.
"But, let's hope it's not too soon," Cassandra said as they pulled apart from their embrace, "As much fun as it is traveling through magic mirrors and seeing Fade visions of the past and all that, I like the idea of letting Tall & Broody know that he and his old man are the rightful owners of Skyhold the next time he shows up." The three exchanged a soft laugh between each other imagining the scenario. "Well, we won't keep you much longer," Solasan noted before seeing her turn and walk off with her bag over her shoulder giving them a wave as she departed.
A moment later, the two spotted the glint of the eluvian as they saw her go through and the two turned their focus back to the dimmed eluvian before them. It took them a while to guess at the passphrase; Solas wouldn't admit what it was, admitting it'd be fun to watch them guess. But, once it started to get dark, they had to make a quick camp for the night, and just as Solasan turned to gather supplies for a campfire, he heard Renan declare one last phrase behind him, "Ar lasa mala revas."
The eluvian beamed brightly showing it had unlocked making the two blink in surprise, but Solas chuckled softly. "The phrase of my greatest memory," he said softly to Solasan, "An intimate memory of when I removed ma'vhenan's vallaslin after telling her the truth about them. She bore the vallaslin of Mythal it's true, but when she learned the truth about them from me, she wanted to stand by the tradition that she'd never again submit to the slavery of the Evanuris by bearing any marking of them." Solasan blinked in surprise, before seeing Renan step through making him go after her in instinct before he could say anything.
Stepping through the enchanted mirror, they saw it led out of a far wall and to a large room that had a short stairway leading up a few steps to a large open space, but in that open space, they saw a pool of water inside with a few flowers floating inside. "A small pool," Renan noted softly as she leaned down and gently rested her hand on the flower gently lifting it from the water. "Not quite," Solasan heard the elder elf note softly, "It was a pool, yes, but it was often used as our bath." Solasan had a soft chuckle hearing the fact and saw Renan turn to him curious after she placed the flower back into the water.
"Sorry. It's just I recognize this structure," he noted lightly, "It was portrayed in drawings of Elvhen bathhouses and the baths held this very same shape. Seems this was Fen'Harel's bath that he shared with his family." He saw her eyes widen in surprise before looking down at the waters and she seemed to have a head tilt with a small noise. "The water's so clear," she noted softly before standing back up and roamed a bit more. His eyes wandered around a bit too, spotting two murals on the far wall that was on both sides of the eluvian they entered from.
The murals of Fen'Harel and a newly made mural depicting someone else, perhaps his wife, Asha'Fen. Stepping closer, he approached the mural beside Fen'Harel's and inspected its details. He saw it was depicting an elven woman with what looked like a wolf's mane and ears around her head and she had a hand extended with spirals emerging from her hand and what looked like a large sheet of white behind her and the wolf mane that surrounded her. "Is this," he started to breathe out softly and he heard Solas.
"This was ma'vhenan's mural made by the People for her in her honor," Solas finished softly, "When they made it for her, they called her 'Asha'Fen'," he paused to let out a soft chuckle, "A title given to her most likely for marrying me. The bride of the dread wolf, Asha'Fen." "But, your first name was Solas before you were given the name Fen'Harel as an insult that you took as a badge of pride, you said it yourself. It seems that happened with her as well, so she will have most likely kept her first name as well. What was her real name," he asked lightly.
But, before Solas could reply, they heard Renan call for his attention which made Solasan jog back up the steps and to another part of the room. As he approached, he saw that the section of the room held desks and a number of beds arranged in a family unit, but she stood at one of the desks rummaging through some papers left behind. "What is it, lethallan," he asked on a heavy breath and she was holding up a thin journal. "I think I might know where they've gone," Renan chimed up with a tone of excitement, "They left clues to their whereabouts and possibly their descendants might still be there!"
This caught his and Solas' attention, and Solasan jogged over to take a look at the notes with her as she had a lantern lit nearby and she brought it closer to illuminate the pages a bit more. "And you were right, lethallin, Fen'Harel's daughters survived as well," she said chiming up softly, to which Solasan heard the elder let out a sigh as if in relief, "These were entries made by each of his children. There are three interchangeable names in here: Revas, Melara, and Samahl. I just read the last entry, and they actually used ancient Elvish for their handwriting."
"Perhaps only readable to trusted Elvhen," Solasan questioned to which Renan had a light shrug, "Perhaps. But, this is the entry."
'We can not stay any longer now that peace has been established. We might not trust the Evanuris any longer, but we can hope they live up to their end of the truce with the conditions we set with Divine Victoria and her Right Hand as our witnesses. Should they fail those conditions, they know the consequence. We can only hope that our people live on for what our father and mother fought so hard and gave their lives for and that we continued their legacy unto the People's restoration of their old homeland, Arlathan.
"'We will retreat into our own sanctuary as our father's old sanctuary is no longer safe. Should the Evanuris come after us, this will be the first place they will find us. But, it must be a place that not even the Evanuris will guess will be our haven from their vengeance just because we carry the blood of Fen'Harel. For those who seek us peacefully can only find us in the eyes of our parents, Fen'Harel and Asha'Fen. Until then, we rest and we carry on through our own lineage as Fen'Harel's bloodline continues strong through us and our children and soon their children's children.
The Children of Wolves,
Revas, Melara, and Samahl.'"
"'In the eyes of our parents'," Solasan mused softly and rubbed his chin in thought before his eyes turned back to the two murals, "What if they have the answer," he asked pointing his staff in the direction of the two murals to which Renan looked as well. She gently took the lantern and followed his lead down the steps and toward the murals seeing them up close, and looked them over with him hoping to find another clue of some sort. They looked around and on the murals for any sort of sign, like a switch or hidden panel of some sort, but found only nothing as it quickly got dark.
Solasan's staff illuminated the area a bit more as they explored the possibilities a bit more but came up short. Turning up with nothing, the two seemed at a loss and decided to settle for the night, but thankfully, not without grabbing a bite from Renan's reserves that she kept in her bag. As they shared a meal, they made use of the beds that they'd use for sleep that night and they pondered a bit more on what the clue might be.
"I thought those murals would've been like hidden doors, like the one we found in Skyhold, but it turns out that's not the case," Solasan said softly before taking a bite of his salted pork and bread, "Wishful thinking, I suppose, but I should've suspected they wouldn't use a repeated pattern in terms of their secrets." "You had a good theory, lethallin, and you tested it the best you could," Renan assured him as she finished her food, "We can probably find clues better with more light tomorrow." Solasan nodded lightly before finishing his food and water as well before settling down for the night as Renan did the same.
The two slept well through the night and the following morning, the two pressed on for more clues at the two murals of Fen'Harel and Asha'Fen as they finished off the last stores of food they had for breakfast. Still coming up with nothing, the two seemed a bit frustrated and Solasan ran his fingers through his hair a bit before stepping away a moment to gather his thoughts. Renan, however, remained at the murals looking them over a bit more repeating the phrase 'In the eyes of our parents'. She had a long hard thought before arching her back a bit looking high up at the faces of the murals, and her ears perked up as if a realization had hit her.
"Lethallin," she called out catching his attention on the small flight of steps, "I think I have the solution. We weren't supposed to be looking for clues, the murals already had the clue! 'In the eyes of our parents' isn't a literal hiding spot for the next hidden clue, they're pointing in the direction of their hiding spot!" Hearing her realization, he rushed down the steps back to the mural and stood in front of Fen'Harel's mural facing outward the same direction the great wolf was and Renan did the same in front of Asha'Fen's mural.
They both looked out over the horizon and saw the mountains in the morning sun, "Their hiding place must be past those mountains. But, what lies beyond that direction," Renan asked softly as she turned toward Solasan as he rummaged through his bag a bit. "There's no way of knowing, lethallan, until we explore it ourselves. And from the past Inquisitor wrote, this place is located outside of Orlais, and if my theory is right," he paused pulling out a compass and spread open two separate maps setting the compass on a corner. His hands then started to trace around on the pages before coming across certain cities in a trajectory, but none bore any significance until his finger reached the Arbor Wilds.
"And, there in those dense forests we'll find a place of high reverence to the ancient elves. The Temple of Mythal. That's where they're hiding."
OMFG we got more suspenseful, juicy details. What do you think will happen next? ;3
Chapter 10: A Witch's Guidance
In their travels across Orlais, the two young elves have survived the wilderness and avoided cities only to end up lost once they arrive in range of the Arbor Wilds. Two strange travelers hear their plight and offer to help lead them to the Temple of Mythal.
A bit of a shorter chapter this time because I had things to do =w= BUT here ya go X3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It had been many days since Solasan and Renan had departed from Fen'Harel's sanctuary. He had taken the precaution to deactivate all the eluvians there before they left, and they were able to cross the lake with ice magic making a trail across knowing full well it'd melt in due time. He and Renan were able to sustain their food source from nature around them and even made the best of their scarce sources, even relying on magic for simple survival tricks. Solasan had never hunted before only fished a bit growing up, so Renan would offer to catch their next meal if need be.
Upon their travels, they even stumbled upon cities as they traveled further south toward the Arbor Wilds, but since the Evanuris were probably still looking for them, they were wary of being in populated areas should their reach extend past Arlathan. He knew their reputation as mages posing as gods, but that also meant their magic was very powerful and could spread far with enough focus and energy so he didn't want to risk them both getting caught. The two only traveled along the forest trails and even along old trails made by the Dalish in the past, some even recognizable to Renan until they had to break free of them to go more south.
While traveling, they stumbled upon a few ruins of interesting note and even talked with each other more about themselves, what all they've learned, and even a bit into their past. Renan explained how she and her twin brother were born to a married pair of hunters in the Clan but when their magic manifested at a young age, they were taken in by the Keeper to be her First and Second. They still kept in touch with their parents and spent time with them often, but they knew their duties to the Keeper. She did express concern that after all this, she was worried she wouldn't be a Second any longer, but Solasan reassured her that she could talk with the Keeper after all this and see if she could still keep her place.
Solasan revealed his own past, although sounding a bit more dismayed by his history. He had explained how he told her and Cassandra how his mother told him he was born in Fen'Harel's sanctuary while she and his father were traveling. When they returned to Vir'Vhenas, word got back to the Evanuris that his father had returned from Fen'Harel's sanctuary and that's what got him killed, as his mother explained. He wasn't sure what parts concerning his father were true, but he did know that his mother loved his father whole-heartedly; and even after losing him, she had to continue raising her son by herself which he admitted, he respected and admired his mother for greatly. That she was able to raise a child on her own that had great potential for magic as she did.
When questioned if his father was a mage as well, he shrugged before saying that his mother told him he was a rogue skilled in archer and dual wielding. One didn't need to be skilled in magic to open an eluvian as easily as his father did. He moved on to a different topic from his father; sharing stories of how his mother trained him in magic and history, and how it began his love of studying the ancient past which landed him an apprentice position in the Vir'Dithara.
As the days spread into nights along their travels, the weather they experienced was growing more chilled as if winter was fast approaching, but the two came to the agreement that they were just exploring more south as it was still summer approaching fall. However, they soon came to a roadblock when they reached the outskirts of the Arbor Wilds, and quickly found themselves lost among the lush greenery of the dense forest and thick wildlife. After some time, they knew the map was going to be of no help from there on out; they had to find the Temple of Mythal on their own with their own eyes.
"It seems so feral in these woods," Renan noted, "So much flora and fauna growing amok with no interference from any other nation." "And, I'm glad it stayed that way," Solasan noted as he took her hand helping her over a large, curled root of a massive tree, "This place already lies in Orlesian territory, and we know their history of constantly looking down on elves from their gilded towers. This place holds reverence to the elves so I'm glad that Orlais has left this realm untouched, save for a few travelers like ourselves." "But, I fear that if there are others living in the Temple, then won't they be displeased at us traveling through?
"I did read that any who had traveled through here before the Inquisition came was never heard from again. One such case of a survivor who barely escaped reported that their troupe was cut down by a group of elves moving with unnatural speed, stealth, and ferocity," Renan explained as they walked on a bit more through the forest. "If they have survived all these years, then they must be ancient or at the very least their descendants still hold the practice of the Sentinels strong to this day," he noted softly, "I mean, Fen'Harel's descendants must have come all the way out here for a couple of reasons.
"As mentioned in their letter, his three children did note that it'd be the last place they suspect the Evanuris will find them. Secondly, as I mentioned at the time, the Temple of Mythal is the only place intact within Orlais that holds great reverence to the elves of the past and present. And lastly, old texts say that Mythal and Fen'Harel were close friends in the ancient times of Arlathan. No doubt he and his children would hold the temple with great reverence and respect to Mythal in her honor, and the Sentinels there would have to uphold that honor if it's to the goddess they served," he finished before crossing over a thin river.
"Makes you wonder if the descendants of Fen'Harel did live out here all these years, then how much of their knowledge did they keep? Were they taught how to read and write or were they taught how to be warriors or mages? Did they try to interact with any outer forces at all? There are so many questions," Renan asked softly as she was able to catch up with him over the river following his trail.
Before Solasan could reply to her questions, he held up a hand in pause as if to stop her in place; she did and rested a hand on his arm, hesitant to ask what was going on, but her only clue was seeing his ears twitch slightly at the sounds around them. Listening as well, they could hear the expected sounds of flora rustling in the winds, fauna calling out from their roosts and even from the brush; nothing out of the ordinary. Hearing nothing out of place, Solasan continued to walk on keeping Renan close, but not without holding his staff even closer as if ready to strike who- or whatever might be lurking.
Some time had passed, and the sun was starting to set which was signaling the duo to tread more carefully until it was time to make camp and rest for the night. They decided to traverse for a bit longer, Solasan using his staff to illuminate the way a bit on a few trails they found and even Renan used some of her magic to light the area a bit and show their surroundings where his staff's magic didn't reach. Before the two could find an appropriate spot to camp for the night by the river, they heard more sounds from before which had Solasan on the defense again.
Dimming their light sources, they tried to adjust their eyes to the moonlight beaming through the forest and use its natural light to see through the greenery. Listening even closer, they could hear what sounded like footsteps treading through the forest and what sounded like more than one person stepping through as well. With his staff raised, Solasan was ready to strike if need be, and even though Renan carried no staff, she would make good use of her magic as well to defend them. As the moonlight cleared the environment a bit more, they noticed some of the light cutting through the canopy and beaming down on them as if revealing them like a beacon, but before they could step out of the moonlight to conceal themselves, they heard a deep, raspy voice speak out from the shadows, as if in a playful taunt.
"Well, well, what have we here?"
And emerging from the shadows into the moonlight, they spotted a man with golden eyes and jet black hair down mid-back with a few streaks of white on the sides and a few strands of hair curled back a bit from his head curling over his rounded ears. He wore some armor and leathers consisting of blacks and a touch of red here and there; his dark robes were fastened on his shoulders by pauldrons made of dark leather that had an arrange of dark feathers seeming to burst from them to form wings. He had a few sculpted features and a scar that ran through his right brow a short length and his face seemed to portray some age, probably in his mid- to late 30's about to hit 40.
"It used to be we never got visitors to the Wilds, and now it seems they arrive in pairs, and no less, one with a sharp, keen sense for his surroundings" they heard him noting about the pair before chuckling lightly. "State your name," Solasan demanded keeping his staff raised and the man chuckled lowly, his golden eyes never leaving the duo. "Names can mean many things, as you young elves should know," he stated softly, "After all, you change your names dependant on your cause among the People and often give yourselves new names when you join a new cause. Even the Evanuris in their lust for godhood had names that held meanings to their people.
"But, as for me, I have only one name," he continued, his smirk never fading, "To which you can call me Lahtym." "La.. Teem," Renan seemed to ask breaking down the name on her breath and the man chuckled again. "Odd name you must figure, but I assure you it is my own name," he noted lightly, "Now, what brings such youths to the Wilds?
"Wisdom, perhaps? Or maybe searching for long-lost family rumored to be around these parts? Surely, no place such as this is a welcome sight for two lovebirds," he finished with another laugh as the two elves felt their faces burn from growing blush and Solasan barked out lightly, "We're not in any sort of romantic relations like that!" This earned another faint chuckle from the strange man as he stepped closer and gently pressed the orb of Solasan's staff downward, "No more than your magic is better suited for battle, young elf. And I can sense your magic, oh yes. Your magic is much stronger than you give it credit for, lad.
"You carry ancient and powerful magic in your blood, as do you, young lady," he continued on with a playful smile, "And I don't say that just because you're both elves, but I mean there's more to you than meets the eye. Perhaps an artifact on your persons? Or perhaps," he paused looking up a touch over Solasan's shoulder and could see Solas clear in the moonlight with his hand on the youth's shoulder, "A lingering spirit, ancient perhaps, providing their aide in your time of need."
Hearing his claim of a spirit, Solasan's eyes widened a bit and raised his staff a bit more toward the man who proceeded to chuckle again with his hands up in defense as he took a step back, "Careful, young man. I wouldn't be so hasty with that thing. You never know who might be lurking, aside from myself." Before Solasan could say a word, he felt a sharp metal point on the back of his neck and was frozen in place.
Renan taking a quick look noticed it was a hooded figure in a reddish-gold armor who was holding a small dagger to the back of his neck. "Cheap, but effective trick to have an assassin lurking around to protect you," Solasan remarked dryly, "Shows you cannot protect yourself in the slightest." They heard him let out a light 'Bah!' "I can cast and fight perfectly fine with magic you have only dreamed of, lad, I don't need his protection nor does he need mine. He is simply.. an old friend of the family who had promised my distant grandmother that he'd look after her family which included my mother and myself," he finished with a smirk before giving the figure a nod and Solasan could feel the blade removed from the back of his neck making him sigh lightly.
"Now, lower your staff, lad, and calmly explain yourself," they heard Lahtym gently request as he stood with his arms crossed over his chest, waiting patiently for their reply. Giving Solasan a moment to calm down, Renan explained how they were in a ruins connected to Fen'Harel and how they found clues that might point to the direction of where the last of his family might be residing and perhaps even his descendants. They had followed a map using those clues and they were able to deduce that they might be residing in the Temple of Mythal which is what their destination was.
Lahtym rubbed his chin lightly with a gloved hand and had a small curious sound, "The last of his legendary line in the sanctity of Mythal's temple. Most would consider it a travesty for children of the Dread Wolf to have any connection to Mythal, but, his words DO recount them being close friends in life before her murder." "To which Fen'Harel had nothing to do with," Solasan noted softly as he held onto his staff a bit tighter. "Correct," Lahtym nodded in confirmation.
"And what is it that you seek from tracking down this legendary family of wolves," Lahtym asked in genuine curiosity, "Trying to restore them within elven society? Seeking lost knowledge perhaps? Or was this just a hunt for proof that the Dread Wolf's bloodline does, in fact, exist into modern-day descendants when they were thought to have disappeared entirely?" "That is our business," Solasan replied flatly to which they finally heard the stranger speak up behind them sounding firm and with a tone of danger.
"If it deals in hostility, then you are not welcome amongst Mythal's sanctuary," they heard him say making the two youths turn to face him and saw his face pale, and was, in fact, bearing vallaslin of Mythal, but only showing the leafless tree on his forehead with the extended cheek branches. "We mean no harm to the people within its walls," Renan started to explain calmly, "I mean.. YES, it is true, we want to see for our own eyes what's become of Fen'Harel's family, but we also want to talk. That's all. We have our questions meant only for their ears. Do you know how many are left among his family?"
"I do not," the elven man replied flatly, "I have not returned to the temple since the Well was claimed three Ages ago." "Three Ages ago," Solasan repeated in a soft question, "How could you have lived that long?" "I do not have to answer that question, other than stating that Uthenera is a rather tactful method to not only rest but preserve one's self since ancient times," the man stated.
"You really are an ancient elf then," Renan noted softly to which she saw him nod, "Please, at least let us prove ourselves when we arrive there. Inquisitor Lavellan wrote that there's a rite of passage that must be taken before entering the inner sanctum when they were confronted by the Sentinels that guarded the Temple. Let us prove ourselves there." The elf looked up at Lahtym seemingly waiting for his reply and the other man let out a soft chuckle, "I suppose. Besides, I sense no ill will, despite one having a bit of a temper.
"Let these children prove themselves within Mythal's halls, and we'll see if they can meet with Fen'Harel's children," Lahtym offered and the other nodded at his demand before sheathing his dagger and the two started to walk down another path in the forest. "Coming," Lahtym asked the two youths, seeing them a pace behind them. When the two caught themselves, they both nodded before following the two men to the temple.
Lahtym had a soft chuckle before rubbing a dragon-shaped charm that rested on his chest, "This should be interesting, ey, grandmother?"
Whatchya think? ;3 Leave a comment if you enjoyed so far and thoughts on what might happen next!
Chapter 11: Surviving Wolves
Upon reaching the Temple of Mythal with aide of the Lathym and his elven friend, the two undergo the tests of the ancient past and prove themselves before going in further. When they reach the inner sanctum, they find who they were looking for: a large family of Fen'Harel's descendants living within the Temple walls. They explain their story and, in a surprise twist, they claim that one descendant of Fen'Harel has been missing for many years.
The group had been walking for some time in the forest through the night and even into the morning. Renan even spotted a few markers along the way that seemed ancient, some even more so than the others; she spotted elven ruin markers, remains of old, decrepit walls & walkways, and even an old Inquisition banner flag tangled among some branches. "It seems we may be on the right path," she noted looking up at the banner as they passed under it. "We are, young lady," they heard Lahtym say before they walked through a large hollowed log, "We're walking in the very footsteps of those who came before us many Ages ago."
"They wouldn't happen to be the Inquisition of the Dragon Age, would they," she asked with greater interest, to which Lahtym had a soft chuckle. "They traveled along these paths as well as they pursued after the Red Templars of the Elder One, yes," he replied with a smirk as they emerged from the log and started to cross a river, "These old ruins held a great secret inside that he coveted so greatly but thankfully the Inquisitor Lavellan prevented him from getting it. But, not without using it himself."
"That's right," Solasan noted as he stepped out of the river and shook his feet dry, "It was written that Inquisitor Assan Lavellan claimed the Well of Sorrows before Corypheus arrived and he was sworn into servitude to Mythal. He even claimed to have met Mythal herself." "Legends will state many indescribable things, but only a few turn out to be true," Lahtym noted with a smirk as they proceeded past the thick brush, "The question is, can you tell which are real and which are false?"
The two youths continued on a bit more, but exhaustion was starting to take over as they had been traveling for a solid day and some hours. Looking up, they spotted large statues of elven archers seemingly pointing in the direction of the temple, and Lahtym had a big smile spotting others in the distance. After a lengthy walk, they reached the front wall of the temple seeing not only two large statues of stags that were used to represent Ghilan'nain; walking past them, they also saw at the entrance arch rested two much larger statues of howling wolves and past them two familiar statues of Fen'Harel laying in rest with his head raised.
The group walked past the large statues and deeper into the tunnel which seemed to stretch for some time, and upon exiting, they spotted a massive temple ruin surrounded by a large lake that had a ring of water that dropped into steep waterfalls. The sun was barely emerging from the horizon when they crossed the bridge and into the entrance of the temple, and it was at this point when the mysterious elf that was traveling with Lahtym had taken the lead as if he had mastery of the layout for the temple. Not that the two were going to object, this was their first time there.
Going past the large doors, they saw they were magically sealed upon them closing and so they ventured further in; walking past the overgrown shrubs and trees, they walked even deeper reaching its vestibule and saw two pillars that looked like monuments placed in the middle. Lahtym walked to the center platform and motioned the two youths forward. Confused, they looked at the platforms seeing it laid out in panels similar to a chessboard but in a specific pattern. Looking up at the platforms, Renan blinked lightly seeing the written text upon the stone and took a moment to read them before stepping on a panel seeing it light up a bright blue.
"Seems the magic of this temple is still going strong," Solasan noted with a small smile of wonder. "It's a puzzle," Renan noted before pointing to one of the stone pillars, "The written texts say that we have to pay respects before venturing in further. Does that mean there are more within?" "Three more inside to be exact," they heard the elf respond lightly standing at the bottom of the steps that led up to the puzzle platform, "Do all three and you pass into the inner sanctum safely and you will have shown respects to Mythal and all who rest here."
"It's not just Fen'Harel's family that are here," Solasan asked lightly, to which the elf shook his head, his golden eyes looking up at them in certainty. "The Dread Wolf's descendants rest here, but so do a great many Sentinels who wake to guard this place from outside dangers. So, I'd suggest treading carefully on this sacred ground," he finished firmly. The two nodded seeing the early morning sunlight starting to beam into the roofless part of the temple, and Renan proceeded to complete the puzzle and noticed an odd happening when she stepped onto a tile that had vines growing from it.
"What'd it do," she heard Solasan call out as she was a few paces away. "It seems you should not step in the same place twice," Lahtym replied and Renan turned back looking confused. "But, I didn't step on the same tile twice," she exclaimed. "But, it mistook nature itself for your steps," Lahtym noted pointing to her foot that was resting on vines that covered across a few tiles. Letting out a soft 'Oh' Renan sought to try again, this time with a different tactic: hopping from panel to panel until all were lit.
Solasan couldn't help but let out a soft chuckle seeing her display, and Lahtym had a small laugh of his own. "Resembles a rabbit, wouldn't you say," Lahtym asked in a light jest. "Wouldn't that count as an insult," Solasan asked with a small smile, "Granted it's been used as an insult in the past." "I mean it in all respects granted her actions are validating the name," Lahtym noted with a smile seeing her hopping over the last few tiles. When all were glowing, they heard a hum of magic a distance behind them and saw a large door glowing the same bright blue as the puzzle tiles.
"It seems we've gained entry inside," Lahtym remarked with a smile stepping down the steps before Solasan and Renan followed after him and the elf to the large doors. "I hope the puzzles are not too complicated," Solasan noted lightly, "We've been traveling for so long, I'm a great deal exhausted." "I am too," Renan noted softly, giving her face a light rub, "I'm surprised I even had the energy to do that puzzle." "We will rest in due time," they heard the elf say aloud, "Once you've completed your task, you can be permitted to rest inside." "I suppose it wouldn't be easy, huh," Renan asked light-heartedly.
"But all worth it, I promise you," Lahtym assured lightly as they walked past the doors and into the other room spotting a pool of water in the middle and a separate floor with many different entrances around the place. They walked to the separate rooms and did each puzzle at a time. Solasan was able to do a simple one on his own, the second one Renan completed it while being mindful of the switch that raised a grated gate, and the last one, the two youths worked together on it & often restarting it due to a misstep or a fall making them land on a lit tile twice.
They were able to complete all three puzzles together and spotted a door on the far side of the room lit with the same blue glow, and the small group entered through the massive doors into the room seeing its massive space and a raised platform on the far end of the room. "What was this room used for," Solasan asked softly as he turned with his steps looking around the large space around them. "Questions answered for another time," Lahtym replied lightly, "We promised you rest when you finished proving yourselves, and rest you shall receive." He faced them before pointing to his right to a door that was left ajar, and they stepped through spotting another entrance but also spotted that bedmats were placed around, and even a small variety of children's toys.
"Not in this room," they heard the elf note lightly before going toward the wall revealing a hidden door slide to the side and he stepped into a hallway to which the youths followed with Lahtym nowhere in sight. Their best choice now was to follow their mysterious guide. "By the way, you.. You never gave us your name," Renan questioned softly to which she saw a light head tilt as if he was listening in on her and he turned his head facing forward again. "I have had a few names over the course of time," he replied lightly as they entered another room that was decorated with murals and a golden statue of Mythal.
"I was told in the past that I could find a new name, but since leaving this place, I have been unsure of what to call myself, with no cause or duty left remaining," he continued as they walked another passage, "So, I just kept my ancient name but kept close by keeping vigil from the wilds." He stopped in the next room and the two could spot familiar murals of Fen'Harel, Dirthamen, and even Ghilan'Nain decorated along the walls, and at the far end, two large owl-like statues with wings spread open. "You may rest here," they heard him say lightly, "Just do not rest near the doorways."
The two nodded before rolling out their bedmats near a mural and their eyes caught a quick glimpse around seeing the ancient artwork decorated around the room as the elf stood at another doorway as if looking through seemingly on guard. Renan laid down first and let out a soft yawn before she felt someone cover her and looked up to see Solasan covering her up with his cloak. "It's still chilled in here a bit," he offered softly, "Best to keep warm." "Ma serannas, but what will you use," she asked looking up at him. "I have another in my pack I can use," he noted before laying down on his own bedmat and rummaged through his travel pack a bit.
When he pulled out an extra cloak from his pack, he looked over to see Renan had closed her eyes and she seemed to be dozing off quickly. He had a small smile reaching over and pulled the cloak over her shoulder a bit more before untying his hair and laid down completely covering himself, and as soon as his head hit the roll, he felt the exhaustion hit him harder than he thought as the two fell quickly to sleep. Stepping back over, the elf looked down at the two before looking up at the mural they were resting beneath and let out a soft sigh. "Their fixation with you just might be their undoing, Dread Wolf. But, let us hope it is not the case," he said softly at the mural of Fen'Harel.
In the Fade, Solasan explored the Fade a bit more and even saw some glimpses of memory of the Temple of Mythal, even seeing the Inquisition of the Dragon Age as they explored this area. He saw them pass their tests as he and Renan had, they allied with the Sentinels, how Assan drank from the Well of Sorrows & how his lover was worried for him afterward, and as well as their escape through the eluvian connected to the Well before Corypheus reached them. If only he could share some of these historical visions with Fen'nan so he could see the bravery his ancestor displayed, and if Renan had fallen asleep next to him, where was she in the Fade?
Then, something started to stir him from his dreams..
Slowly stirring awake, he could feel a light tickling feeling on his nose and as his eyes fluttered open, he could hear a child's giggle and tiny feet seeming to scurry back. As his vision cleared, he saw a little one seemingly trying to hide behind one of the owl statues in the room, but they had one of their wide, blue eyes peeking at them and Solasan could spot wavy brown hair curled around their face and tiny pointed ears poking out from the thick hair. He sat up stretching a bit and turned back facing the direction the little one hid again with another giggle making him smile a bit. "Aneth ara, da'len," he greeted softly as he tied his hair back, "I didn't mean to scare you if I did."
He saw the little one peek out again and shake their head before running toward the entrance with a giggle before calling out, "Mamae! Papae!" which quickly drew his attention, fearing they were in trouble for being there. Renan was seemingly still asleep but from the little one's call, she started to stir and as Solasan got up, he heard another set of footsteps coming closer, but they didn't have the sound of an adult's footsteps. A young adolescent elf peeked their head through holding the little one close, and they looked very similar to the younger child in their arms, but their hair was much longer & a bit darker and even their eyes was a much brighter shade of blue than the toddler's.
"You're awake," he heard them ask lightly, noticing they sounded about twelve or thirteen years old before stepping past the doorway completely, "Abelas told us to let you rest, but Sulahn wandered off and seemed to have found you." "That's the little one's name," Solasan asked as he stood straightening himself up a bit and he saw the youth nod. "My little sister. It's strange to have new faces here, but Abelas and Lahtym said you're to be trusted, and even the Sentinels said you paid respects by completing the tests," the youth responded as the toddler in their arms played with their hair, "They told us why you were here actually, and we think it's for the family to decide which answers to give." "Which answers to give," Solasan repeated softly and the youth nodded again.
"They seemed unsure as to why you came here concerning our ancestors, but they wanted to see you once you two awoke. It seems only one of you is awake though," they said softly, "Should I let them know you're awake at least?" "I can go with you, if it will help set their minds at ease a bit," Solasan replied lightly, "I intend to let Renan rest as much as she can. We had a long day's travel earlier so we were heavily exhausted after completing the tests." The youth nodded and looked toward Renan still seemingly asleep in her bedmat before motioning for Solasan to follow, and he did as he saw the youth place their little sister on her feet and she trotted ahead with a giggle.
"Have you lived here with your family all this time," he asked softly as he approached the youth and they started to walk, and he saw them nod. "Ever since I was born, and even before then," the youth replied, "My mother said we've lived here for several generations, keeping us safe from the dangers of the outside. Well, the dangers outside of the Arbor Wilds. I've hunted in the Wilds with my father many times, but we've never left beyond its borders." "Then, you know the territory well," he noted softly and the youth nodded again, "Our family has always stayed in the borders of the Arbor Wilds, with this old temple as our home," they explained as they reached the first room seeing the bedmats and toys again, even spotting their little sister grabbing a plush wolf doll holding it close and she stepped out the other entrance.
"When we've asked about why we can't leave the forest, we're always told that there are dangers to our family because of what our ancestors did," the youth said softly, "But, they never tell us what it is. Only the adults and the Sentinels know, but won't tell us." Solasan had a nod before they reached the main chamber and saw a number of armored elves with hoods on around the room, and on the other side, they saw a large family unit with the toddler jogging toward them giggling lightly and into the arms of who seemed to be their mother.
Doing a count, he saw it was a total of nine adults, twelve children, and six infants including the youth and their little sister; a large family unit. Fen'Harel's surviving family.
The mother stood up holding her daughter in her arms, her robes smoothly falling into place as her long chestnut brown hair fell down to her waistline, and approached holding her baby close. Solasan stood still, practically holding his breath, as he saw her gently touch the youth's shoulder and saw them approach the family unit again as she inspected Solasan. He wouldn't dare move for fear it would alter her judgment, but as she looked him over, she noticed that she - much like her children and the rest of the family - all bore blue eyes, all varying in different shades, and their hair even varied from shades of deep, dark oaken brown into snow white.
He seemed so captivated by the family unit he was seeing, that his attention was jerked forward when he felt his chain necklace tugged on and saw the mother looking at his necklace seeing the two rings resting on the silver chain. "Where did you get these," she asked softly. He replied softly, if not timidly from her stern glare, "They were given to me by my mother. These were my parents' wedding rings before my father died." Seeming pleased with his response, she let his necklace go before Solasan spotted a taller male approach and he bore armor similar to one of the Sentinels in the room but was more for stealth and he had a nearly-shaven cut like his own but held no ponytail in his dark brown hair.
The man looked down at his rings as well before letting out a small sound letting them go, "They look very similar to our family's rings, vhenan," he said to the woman beside him, indicating she was his lover or perhaps his wife. "I know," she replied softly, "But, many of Fen'Harel's rings are out there, vhenan, who's to say it's not just another ring set from a family of his followers?" She saw him looking at Solasan a bit unsure before they heard Lahtym not far from them, "Many curious questions that need answers, and I'm sure not all can be answered in so little time," and they turned to see Lahtym stepping in through the chamber entrance they had entered through much earlier.
"Aneth ara," the woman greeted with a light bow of her head, and her husband & the family did the same with light bows of their own, "Did you lead them here?" "I did, lethallan," he replied as he stepped into the chamber, "After all, they were curious and so was I; curious to see where their venture would lead as they search for answers." "Without a price?" "None. But, I'm sure grandmother would love to ask something of them in return for answers." "Asha'bellanar? Are you sure she'd aide them without a price?" "It's hard to say," Lahtym replied with a shrug, the black feathers in his pauldrons flowing with his shrug, all while Solasan's eyes & ears were brought to attention by the name they spoke, "Grandmother has always been a fickle woman, and just as cryptic as I."
"That's an understatement," the woman's husband mumbled out, earning a short array of laughs from the family unit, and even from Lahtym. "Yes, grandmother is often full of secrets and very mysterious, but I do not fault her nature," he said in a type of kindness toward his family, "She just gives a push or sometimes.. nudges when it's required," he motioned with another laugh. "Apologies," Solasan announced softly catching their attention, "You said Asha'bellanar," he asked looking to the elven woman beside her and saw her nod with a small smile, "As in The Woman of Many Years? Flemeth?" "The very same," Lahtym replied softly, "Surprised to know that she's my direct family?"
"I never thought her line would have survived this long," Solasan said softly, "I mean, her daughter disappeared around the time she did." "Fen'Harel's family survives before your very eyes, do they not," Lahtym said motioning toward the family unit of elves, and Solasan had a small nod before Lahtym continued, "My ancestor, Morrigan, and her son, Kieran, have survived to continue the line of Mythal until me. I am the last son of the legendary line, as they are of Fen'Harel's legendary line." "So much for a legendary line if we're having to hide out here like cornered game animals," another of the men of the family unit said dryly earning him a light nudge from another man beside him.
"You know the reasons, lethallin," Lahtym noted softly, "Your ancestors simply wanted to protect you from the wrath of the Evanuris." "Just because we're descended from someone they hated," the man asked again as he rose from his spot stepping away from the group, "He put them in their place, called them out on their nonsense, and that gives them the right to hunt us like vermin after murdering him and his wife simply because they protected the People from them? That's wrong on so many levels, it's absolutely ridiculous!" "And many in your family would agree with you, lethallin," Lahtym continued as he approached the angered elf and gently rested a hand on his shoulder, "But, with how much his family line - your family line - has grown, he would have wanted his family safe. Wouldn't you say the same of your own children?"
The elf looked up at him before looking back at the group, but his eyes only laid on two girls in the group about ten years of age, both with oak brown hair like his own; he let out a soft sigh before nodding. "I suppose so," he breathed out softly, "But, I guess after living here so many years, it's become so tiresome, boring even. I love this place, it's our home, but we cannot stay hiding in the shadows forever. Those murderers are still alive while our ancestor is dead from their cruel injustice. That's cruelty at its finest." "And their justice will be done, that I assure you," Lahtym assured with a gentle smile giving his shoulder a soft pat and gently urged him to sit with the family again. He did so, sitting with the two girls he had his eyes on earlier.
Solasan blinked in slight confusion, "What do you mean, their justice will be done? Do you mean when they murdered Fen'Harel as they did with Mythal?" "Similarly," Lahtym replied facing toward him, "While they murdered Mythal in their lust for power, they murdered Fen'Harel and Asha'Fen as a personal vendetta for locking them away preventing them from annihilating the world. At least, that's what the stories claim. But, they've calmed down since the truce was made, and they cannot fight back, even if Fen'Harel's family were to emerge once more." "Why not," Solasan asked softly, to which the woman beside him replied softly.
"The truce they made with our ancestors, Revas, Melara, and Samahl," she started softly, "Their truce required that they keep their ways peaceful not only to the People but also to those of our family as well. To ensure they kept to their word, the three siblings used one of their father's Foci and when the Evanuris made their truce with the three, their combined power was locked inside it and should they break their word, the Foci will destroy them all."
"That's.. That's incredible," Solasan breathed out in surprise, "No wonder we've been in peace for three Ages. But, I fear that may be coming to a close." That statement caught their attention causing a few of the adults to rise, "A fortnight prior, a close friend and I used a powerful spell to protect Arlathan from an onslaught of demons as they attacked the people and even a visiting Clan. This caught the attention of the Evanuris, and they were searching door-to-door for us, so we went into hiding. First in Skyhold, then in Fen'Harel's sanctuary, and we found clues that led us to find his family line out here."
"And, so you found us," the woman said softly giving his arm a light pat, "But, I'm afraid we're not complete." "Not complete," Solasan repeated softly sounding confused, "Is some of the family missing or perhaps passed? Maybe they entered Uthenera?" "Missing, da'len," he heard her husband reply softly as he got closer, "One of our family left here about 30 years ago, never to be seen again. She was the oldest of Revas' line, and her two other siblings remain."
"Was she important," Solasan asked softly to which he saw the elder nod, "She was not only a very powerful mage but she was also the one who inherited the family rings from when they were passed down from Revas himself after his parents' murder. He gained their rings to keep their memory close, and his descendants gained their rings from firstborn to firstborn as he was the firstborn son of Fen'Harel. That's why I took interest in your rings, da'len. I last saw the rings when I was very young so I don't quite remember them, but they look very similar."
Solasan looked down at his rings around his neck in a light shock and confusion. "But, there are others who have these rings," Solasan noted softly, "I know someone in Arlathan who has a ring very similar to this, too." "Which is why I noted that there is no way of knowing for sure if those rings truly were Fen'Harel & Asha'Fen's," he heard the mother say softly, "Wishful thinking on our part, I suppose, trying to recover lost family, but after 30 years, it's hard to say whether or not she or her line survived." "What was her name," he asked with a gentle smile, "Perhaps I can ask around for her when I return to Arlathan."
Hearing his gentle offer, she looked up to her love and he seemed a bit unsure before letting out a soft sigh. "Vunin," he said softly, "Her name was Vunin." Solasan's smile faded, his blood grew cold, and his eyes widened. Vunin? A very common name, but only one name stood out.
His mother's name.
OMFG PLOT TWIST!!!!
Whatchya think? X3 Leave a comment and express what you think might happen next ;3
Chapter 12: The Need to Return Home
Upon the revelation about his possible heritage, Solasan is seemingly desperate to return home for answers from his mother. But, when he tries to return, they come across a number of problems: no intact eluvian, nations away from home, and they're in unknown territory. He just wants to see his mother again for answers, even at the risk of the Evanuris finding him.
Coming out of his daze, he didn't notice that all eyes from the family unit were on him, adults and children alike. Did he mutter that last part out loud? It must've slipped out, but surely there was an explanation for it.
He tried relaying his thoughts to Solas but he wasn't getting a response; they were a jumbled mess and no doubt Solas couldn't make out what all he was trying to say to the ancient elf. If Solas could see through his eyes, then no doubt he's seen his descendants in the large family unit. He must've been in shock from seeing his three children descended to so many, but surely upon the revelation that Solasan might have been part of his family line, he would have said something about it by now.
Looking around at the large family, Solasan was at a loss for words but he had to say something. Before he could say something, the mother to his left spoke up keeping her baby close in her arms, "You said your mother's name is Vunin?" "Y-Yes but it's a very common name," Solasan stuttered out softly, "Much like.. Like Samahl, Melara, Renan, and many others. I'm sure there's an explanation for this," his anxiety was starting to grow immensely and it was starting to show as he ran his fingers through his hair and started to pace around as he continued, "There HAS to be an explanation. Surely, there HAS to be. My mother might have the answers."
Seeing his growing panic, the young from earlier that led him through the halls approached and gently grabbed onto his arm to stop him and caught his attention. Looking down at the young teen, they could see the clear display of mixed emotions in his expression, and the best he could do is rub his arm and back to give gentle reassurance. Taking deep breaths, Solasan felt himself slowly calming down before hearing another set of footsteps coming through and looked over to see Renan awake walking in with the elf that had guided them there.
Renan looked over spotting Solasan and saw his face in a light panic urging her to rush over and find out the problem. Gently rubbing his other arm, she gave a gentle look of concern and he gently rubbed her hand with a faint smile. "What's wrong, lethallin," she asked softly, "You look like you had discovered something devastating." "Not so much devastating, just.. life changing," Solasan said softly seeing her expression shift slightly and even saw her look around at the large family unit taking her by surprise.
"Are all these," she breathed out softly to which Solasan had a small nod smiling bigger. "These are the families descended from Fen'Harel and Asha'Fen," he said softly, "They're still going strong." She had a look of wonder in her eyes and the little toddler, Sulahn, reached over to her with a giggle taking her mother by surprise. "There, there, da'len," she assured before looking to Renan, "Ir abelas, da'len, is it ok," she asked motioning to her daughter. With a smile and a soft chuckle, Renan nodded before gently taking the toddler into her arms feeling her latch one arm around her neck quickly with the other holding her doll close.
Solasan watched the endearing sight, but he had to tell Renan soon about the revelation. Stepping toward Lahtym, he asked the taller man for a moment in private. Stepping out the chamber's entrance and into the inner sanctum, he could hear Lahtym speak lightly, "Such a revelation must be a shock." "It seems like it, but I said that Vunin is a common name," Solasan replied softly, "My mother's name is Vunin but I'm sure she has an explanation for this. She's bound to have answers to clear this up." "Doubt is a very uncomfortable thing, lad," Lahtym noted lightly, "Don't let it cloud your judgment as it lets your fear grow."
"I know, I know," Solasan breathed out as he ran a hand through his hair, "It's just.. It's a possible family that I had no idea about for over 20 years, and I'm now figuring out a part that my mother might've hidden from me." "I'm sure she had a reason, such as to protect her son," he heard Lahtym explain lightly, "After all, as you heard, the Evanuris wouldn't take too kindly to Fen'Harel's family line coexisting amongst the people of Arlathan. It'd be a constant reminder of their humiliation against the Dread Wolf and the people's constant reminder of their murder against him & his wife as senselessly as they did for Mythal."
He paused to let out a soft chuckle, "As if they would let them forget nowadays. But, the stories of Fen'Harel and Asha'Fen are just that among the people: stories; for there were but a few witnesses to such an event. But, the words spoken of their misdeeds are never forgotten by the people." Solasan had a small nod rubbing at the back of his neck feeling the shaven part of his hair starting to grow back out a small length. "But, why keep the truth from me? And does it have something to do with my father's death? His murder," he asked in a single breath, "I have to know."
"All in due time, lad," Lahtym assured lightly before giving his back a light pat before heading back inside. Solasan was more eager to get home, or more desperate, he couldn't tell which. Either way, he wanted answers badly, and staying in the temple wasn't helping matters. He had to get home. He called out to Lahtym one last time and saw him pause just short of the door. "Is there an eluvian here in the temple? I read long ago when Inquisitor Assan claimed the Well of Sorrows that he used an eluvian to escape from Corypheus," he asked lightly, "Do you know if there's one still intact in this temple?"
Lahtym had a shake of his head, "I do not. And if there is, I have not seen it, nor would I know of its location. The three eluvians connected to the Well are all shattered." "I see," Solasan breathed out softly, "I-I'm sure I'll think of something then." Lahtym gave a small nod heading back toward the room and Solasan started to catch up seeing a few of the kids had taken an interest in Renan and she was taking their company well. He watched with a small smile, but he soon had to ask Solas.
"Is it true," he asked lightly through his thoughts to the elder elf, "If this family is of your line, does that mean I am as well?" "I cannot say, da'len," Solas replied gently in his ears, "While you said it is true that your mother shares the same name as their missing sister, you did point out as well that her name is a very common one as well. You do tend to venture more through the capital in hopes of finding her, I take it?" "Of course," he replied softly, "I said I'd help once I returned to Arlathan, and I keep to my word."
Meanwhile, in Arlathan, one of the Evanuris was growing more unsettled..
In the central tower of Arlathan, the Evanuris were gathered into a room, and the twins seemed off. Dirthamen was fiddling with the sleeves of his robes, head constantly turning side to side as if there were multiple people even though there were few in the room, and even fidgeting so strongly to where his ravens couldn't keep their perch on his shoulders. Soft mumbles came from his lips, mumbled and mixed messages in a mix of common and ancient tongue that were hard to decipher; not even his brother, Falon'Din could calm his twin nor could he figure out what was going on but he had a hunch.
"Is he still in that trance," they heard a feminine voice snap lightly, and Falon'Din turned to see Andruil arms crossed but kept her golden bow strapped across her back. "He's not in a trance, Andruil," Falon'Din snapped softly, "But, I fear it may be serious. He hasn't done this in a very long time, since the ancient days of our empire of Elvhenan." "Oh? Care to recall that detail, because I'm afraid I haven't been witness to it." "It's due to his title as 'god of knowledge and secrets' if you'll recall. His sensitivity to magic is practically emphasized hundred-fold so that's why he keeps close to me," Falon'Din explained lightly, "My presence helps drown out the many voices whispered from the Beyond.
"Seems his connection is making him hear many whispers & secrets again and they're starting to affect him. The only one who could calm him aside from myself was.. All-Mother Mythal.." he said his voice trailing off softly before they heard Elgar'nan speak up as he approached on heavy steps. "You have your ways of calming your brother, Falon'din, and it should be of no hindrance again," he started lowly, "But, we can use this to our advantage. Wherever those mages are hiding, they are hiding in secret or have others who know of their secrets. You just have to help him.. filter through them."
"I can only try, All-Father," Falon'Din said dryly, "As I said before, he hasn't done this since the days of our ancient kingdom, so I'm not sure if it will work again." "Then, let us hope it does," Elgar'nan said lowly before Falon'Din let out a thick sigh and turned back to his brother setting his staff aside and gently grabbed his hands before talking to him softly in Elvhen. Hearing his brother, Dirthamen's focus was drawn forward rather than the side-to-side glances he was doing, but words were still soft on his breath as Falon'Din spoke to him more.
The Evanuris were still captivated in some ways at their complex relationship; they were twins, but behaved in ways that were unexpected for twins, or at least, not seen anymore. But, after Mythal's murder, it strained the twins when Dirthamen had started to claim that the whispers and secrets had significantly grown to where he was practically deafened by them most days, and it was hard for his brother to help ease his burden, but it wouldn't stop him from trying. He loved his brother, and he knew that Dirthamen loved him, so he would aide his brother as best he could.
Managing to raise his head up, Dirthamen seemed a bit calmer than before thanks to his brother's gentle coaxing, and his golden eyes looked up to see Elgar'nan beside them. "What secrets have you heard as of late," he asked firmly, but they could hear he was trying to sound gentle. Hearing his question, his soft voice responded, "Soft voices, children making promises, innocent words, some sullen, some words of joy, and others with ill intent. How could you do this? You cannot say this to my mother, she says, it will ruin us both.
"A years-long lie, a man who is unfaithful lies to his wife, but the wife discovered the truth. To save public face, they lie and save her husband's reputation, as well as her own. She couldn't help it. It wasn't her fault. She was with child when he slept with that other woman and then got her pregnant as well," he murmured softly again and Falon'Din seemed surprised at the specific secret he had spoken. "Who does this secret belong to, brother," he asked lightly giving his hands a gentle rub. Dirthamen replied, "A noble man, one whose family helped rebuild during Arlathan's rebuilding. His pride at his family's past history corrupted him, he grew entitled. He thought he could get away with it, but his wife found out.
"His secret, his lie kept behind closed doors, as the mother of his second child is long gone and only his wife knows. They lie and say they're twins, but they know the truth. Born a month apart from each other, it's easy to lie about in the public eye. These brothers, they know. Their words uttered in soft worry. They fear for their friends' lives. They have their own. Please, brother, we must help. We cannot let them be found. Should they be found, the Evanuris will most likely kill them just because they protected us." "There," Elgar'nan pointed out, "That sounds fairly recent. Continue, da'len." Dirthamen nodded continuing more.
"We have to keep lethallin safe from the Evanuris while he rests. The spell was very powerful, I haven't seen anything like it. That kind of spell is in no spellbook in the Vir'Dithara. It had to be something else. A demon perhaps? No demon could conjure that kind of power unless it was a Pride Demon. They were battling a Pride Demon, not possessed by one. The brothers worry, but they watch their fallen friend as he rests, his power sapped greatly and he sleeps for three days and three nights," he paused to let out a soft gasp.
"These brothers, they are kept quiet but aid their friend as they hid them from us. They.. They slipped past us, brother when we were searching among the Clan. The Clan that lingered with death," he said looking down lightly at his twin across from him. "Ah, that Clan I remember," Falon'Din said with a slight grimace and cringe of his nose, "But, how did they sneak past us?" "So many people, so many dead, they were taking care of their dead as well as those still alive, but they watched us. They saw a chance and ran past us when our eyes were averted.
"They ran to a friend who had a mirror. They hid in that mirror into a hidden storage room, but the storage was ancient. They return with one brother wearing an Elven Stone in a necklace around his neck bearing resemblance to a locket. Easy to hide, an easy secret to lie about." "Who's secret is it, brother," Falon'Din urged softly and Dirthamen had a soft whine while he tried to filter through the words. "Brother, friend, family. So many words, from friends considered family and from each other. Lethallin, lethallan alike. Many families, so much trust and as many lies & secrets," he breathed out lightly before his head lifted up and seemed to glow as his eyes locked with his brother's.
"One name I could hear. The little brother. He doesn't address his brother, but his elder brother calls him by name and by endearment. He calls his little brother lethallin, da'len, athim." "And where did you pick up on this secret," Elgar'nan asked seemingly eager now that they had a lead. Dirthamen had no reply, but he raised his hand up and looked in the direction his hand pointed: Vir'Vhenas.
UH OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHH 83
What do you think will happen next? Voice your comment below and lemme know ;3
Chapter 13: The Venture Back
Despite the warm welcome from the family, Solasan leaves after some much-needed rest, and Renan starts to feel anxious about returning to Arlathan. And she has every right to worry. When they return, they find his mother only to find out that the Evanuris were closer to home than they thought.
Some time had passed since they had arrived at the Temple of Mythal, and the two newcomers had made themselves welcome amongst the inhabitants of the ancient temple. The large family even grew to like the two, and even shared their trappings with them, including the baths that were made into the lower levels of the temple. However, the ladies bathed together while the men shared another bath to each other. Solasan and Renan were just glad to get a nice bath after weeks of traveling without proper hygiene despite noting they could have a bath at a lake if they needed.
He took note of the men of the family, noticing they were proud and hearty with each other and even told stories of their ancestors as well as their own stories from their ventures outside the temple. They could even hear the laughter of the women down the hall, hearing they were having a good time as well, or perhaps they could hear their own bouts of laughter and stories from a distance away. Renan could also tell with her interactions with the women of the family that they were just as proud as the men and very intricate in their nature. They shared their own stories as well, even sharing how a few snagged their husbands and how the other few were enticed into living with their husbands, seeing it as a more idyllic and peaceful life from living in the cities.
The children were also a pleasure to be with and often shared their things happily with the two, from their toys to even their bed space for naptime. Sulahn, the toddler they had first met, had grown particularly fond of them and enjoyed playing with Renan and sitting with Solasan for a snuggle or two. They had explored the temple more with the family and even learned which family members were descended from each of Fen'Harel's children. Revas' line seemed to have the strongest line while his sisters' family line seemed to carry well, just not as many, but they all still lived on strong through the Ages.
From what Solasan could count, it had been five days since they first arrived, and with each passing day, he was growing more restless to return home to see his mother. He appreciated the company of the large family, but with the revelation a few days prior, he wanted answers badly. But, he just couldn't find the means of getting out any time soon. So, he had to nip it in the bud; just come out with it.
"I have to return home," he muttered softly that evening while on a walk with Sulahn's mother, Enansal, and she stopped in place hearing his soft declaration. She turned facing him, expression mixed with curiosity and surprise. "What brought this on so suddenly, da'len," she asked softly as she got a bit closer to where they were in arm's length of each other. "I just.. Ever since I found out about this missing relative of yours and how I noted that she shares the same name as my mother, I just have to get home," Solasan replied softly, "I've been holding off on it for a while because I didn't want to be rude in the presence of a powerful family, especially the children." He paused to let out a soft laugh.
"Admittedly, I never expected everyone to be so.. proud. Even the children are proud of themselves for every little task they do, even their chores," he admitted softly, "Then again, such were your ancestors. Fen'Harel was a very proud mage, and so was his wife, Asha'Fen and their children after them. You carry on happily and strongly through the Ages, and you all still carry yourselves with that same pride but never act on it. It's like a state of humility where you're proud of your lineage, but never use it for influence. But, I digress." Enansal had a small nod with a smile hearing his words. "I understand, da'len," she started softly.
"And, I respect your honesty and courtesy with our family. Besides, we wouldn't have let you leave as quickly as you arrived," she chuckled lightly, "You and Renan had come a long way from Arlathan and then from Fen'Harel's sanctuary, and even showed us parts of our past from those halls that weren't known to our family. Like how Revas, Melara, and Samahl thought to keep their family safe from the Evanuris by fleeing from there to here. We never knew that we just assumed that living here is how it has always been. I will talk with the family about seeing you and Renan off to Arlathan sometime soon."
Solasan had a nod as a small smile grew across his face, "I appreciate it, madam, thank you." She gave his shoulder a gentle pat before they continued their walk in the moonlight of the temple exploring the grounds more in a state of rounds for the night before bed. She had to say one last thing before they turned in for the night. "If it does turn out that your mother is our family, then I know I'm proud to have you as a cousin," she said softly giving his shoulder a gentle rub, "Vunin was a dear cousin to us, but always yearned for a life outside the temple, and even further outside of the Wilds.
"We were just scared what became of her after she left. If it turns out she survived and bore you as her only son, then it wouldn't have been for naught, I suppose. We just want to see her again, to see how far she has come since leaving this place. Truthfully, she was the only one who had the courage to leave, while we did not. I admired her bravery for that but was always anxious to act on it. Especially after having my own children," she noted softly. Solasan gently rubbed her hand in a gentle reassurance with a soft smile. "Ma serannas, hahren," she heard Solasan thank softly, "For what it's worth, you're all a wonderful family."
They exchanged a gentle embrace before stepping back into the main chamber and saw the family getting the children settled for the night, some rowdier than others making Solasan chuckle softly. "If this is the closest things to siblings, then it's a good feeling," he admitted softly, "Being a single child and very awkward in a social gathering, it's hard to be so well-adjusted in a sizeable family group like this. This has been.. a happy experience, if I'm honest." Enansal had a bigger smile rubbing his back lightly before they got closer and settled to their own bedmats for the night.
Letting his hair down, he laid down not far from where Renan's bedmat was laid out, and she looked over with a small smile, but before long, he caught her glance. "What," he asked with a small smirk, hands raised like a small shrug. "Nothing, it's just.. You seem so well-adjusted with this family. Like you've been living with them your whole life," she noted lightly, "You're more comfortable with them than I've seen you with the people of Arlathan. You don't shirk away from them and you assert yourself carefully into the group, but they welcome you warmly." He had a soft blush hearing her warming words and had a small smile back at her.
"Ma serannas, lethallan," he thanked softly, "This has been a good experience for us. I know you're well adjusted with them as well." She nodded before adjusting against the bedmat a bit more and when the lights were extinguished, they all settled down for the night, but for some reason, Renan couldn't fall asleep so easily. Something left her.. uneasy.. as she could hear the others slumbering soundly through the first few hours of the night. Glancing over she could even see Solasan sleeping peacefully, and to help ease some of her worries, she reached over and gently grabbed onto his sleeve holding onto his arm before closing her eyes to rest.
"I know," she said softly to the gentle whisper she heard in her ears, "I can feel it too.. And it scares me."
The following morning, Solasan was at the inner pool giving his face a wash as he conversed with Solas since waking, and he could hear that Solas bore pride for his descendants as well, but was also concerned of their willingness to stay and remain instead of leaving. Solasan had to remind him of their family's fear of the Evanuris and what would happen should they discover that they were living among the people again. Hearing such fears, he knew their concerns but he still insisted that they should be among the people if his children created the Foci to keep them under control.
Remembering the note of the Foci they had used, he wanted to see the artifact for himself, but since it was in the hands of the Evanuris, he knew he'd have no chance of seeing it in person. The curiosity remained all the same. He tied his hair up and spotted Enansal approach with a small smile as he rose onto his feet. "What brings you by," he asked as he secured the tie around his hair. "I was able to speak with a few of the family and they agreed to help you out of the Wilds," she declared softly, "They'll lead you outside the Wilds, and even provide a map to a ruin that has a hidden eluvian inside.
"They told me that one of our ancestors found it in the past as they traveled here and made a note of it for future reference. You and Renan can use that to quickly travel home," she finished with a smile. "That's amazing! Ma serannas, hahren," Solasan thanked with a beaming smile before it softened as a brow went up looking curious, "But, I'm sure this eluvian must have a key of its own." "It does," she chuckled softly, "And they'll tell it to you when they give you the map to the ruin." He nodded with an earnest smile and walked back inside with her to finish gathering his things for the travel back.
He and Renan both gathered their stuff into their packs, and he could notice that Renan was seeming very tense about something, possibly rigid or livid. "What bothers you, lethallan," he asked softly in a gentle approach. She looked at him giving a small smile but he could still feel her tension. " I just feel a bit uneasy heading back to Arlathan, that's all," she replied, "Especially with knowing the Evanuris might be looking for us there." "I can contact Athim through my crystal and see how things are holding up back home," he noted reaching into his tunic and pulled out the locket, "I'd been keeping in touch with him a few seldom times since we left Arlathan, and he's given me promising results.
"He even told me that he and Elgar alerted my mother to the Evanuris looking for us and even what we did to draw their attention. She's safe as well from their danger," he paused giving her arm a light rub, "Everything will be fine, I promise." "And what if something DOES happen, lethallin? We cannot predict the unexpected," she asked in a gentle caution. "I know, but if that happens, then we take it as it comes," Solasan replied seemingly confident, but inside he felt unsure.
When they got their packs on, they walked with the family to the front of the temple and across the bridge to the end where they were then accompanied by three men of the family in Sentinel armor made more for stealth and all armed with a different variety of weapons. One wielding twin daggers, another carried a greatsword, and the last had a bow strapped across his chest all with sealed quiver and sheaths secured on their waists and back. Enansal gave the two gentle hugs and Renan had to give Sulahn a hug as well when she grew fussy that they were leaving. After some reluctant prying, they had to depart and started to venture into the Wilds with the family giving their words of departure and the two gave waves back.
The venture through the dense forest was a bit easier this time around now that they had guides, even if they were in the trees. After leaving the range of the temple entrance, they saw the three climb into the trees and traversed the thick limbs as easily as they were walking on a road. The more they ventured through the forest, the more Solasan would glance up and spot the trio leaping and swinging from branch to branch with their weapons never detaching from their persons.
As they walked, Solasan even managed to get a hold of Athim and he carried on a soft conversation with him, but he had a small curious expression as if confused about something. Taking glances up at the trio again, they spotted one of the trio stopping now and then to dangle from a branch by their feet to look down checking on them once in a while, and once they saw they were fine, they saw he would swing himself back up before waiting for them to pass through. It took about half a day for them to travel through the Arbor Wilds and they made it safely to the border of the wilds seeing the thicket growing thinner and thinner of flora. Hearing the three descending from the trees around them, they looked up to see them using the branches and some vines to lower themselves down to their level.
Seeing them approach, Solasan and Renan closed the short distance between them and he extended a hand to one of them and the man that wielded a bow extended his hand shaking it in kind. "Thank you for looking after us as we traveled," he thanked softly. The man gave a light nod as he gently let go of his hand before reaching into his side pouch and pulled out a folded piece of parchment before handing it to Renan. "This will lead you to the ruin that Enansal told you about," he noted lightly, "Once inside, follow the paths marked with veilfire and it'll lead you to the eluvian inside."
"And what of its key," Solasan asked softly as Renan unfolded the paper. "The key is a bit of an odd one. It's a passphrase combined with a small burst of magic. Any kind will do, but we learned that it's more keen for a spark of lightning magic," the man instructed, "And the passphrase is 'Mythal'enaste' meaning 'Mythal's blessing'." "I wouldn't be surprised that's the code considering it rests outside the borders of her temple," Renan chuckled out softly making the trio chuckle as well. "Just keep along the path, da'len, and you'll make it there before dark," he noted lightly.
The two nodded before giving their farewells and turned the other way following the map and when they were a safe distance away, the trio then disappeared into the forest again as the two traveled on. It was just as they were instructed; they followed along the path and soon they found the ruin that led underground just as it started to get dark by sunset. Stepping inside the ruin, they ventured down and followed the lit torches along the wall of the green, mystical veilfire which navigated them through the underground maze to the center. But, upon reaching the eluvian, they saw why there was a need for magic; there was a magical barrier keeping it protected.
With smiles, the two used their own shares of lightning magic casting powerful surges of bolts through the barrier which quickly dispelled the magic and it disappeared with their sparks. They cautiously approached the dimmed eluvian that was faintly lit by a nearby veilfire torch and both said aloud, "Mythal'enaste" and saw the mirror shine to life revealing the Crossroads on the other side. Before stepping through, Renan gently grabbed onto Solasan's arm and he looked down at her with a soft glance of concern. "What is it, lethallan," he asked softly.
Lifting her head up, Renan's expression displayed a clear view of worry on her face. "If we make it back, I.. I'm scared of what we'll discover when we get there," she confessed softly, "I.. I don't want anything bad happening to you just because you want answers. It's like the Keeper said, the truth we seek may not be the answers we want. What if.. What if the answers you want aren't what you were looking for?" "Then it is what it is," Solasan replied softly giving her hand a soft rub, "I will be disappointed, yes, but at least I have my answer. I just want to talk with my mother about what we discovered in the temple."
She had a faint smile seeming reassured from his reply and gently released his arm before they stepped through the eluvian and into the Crossroads. It took a bit of navigating from the ever-changing paths, but they were able to find the eluvian that led to the cross of eluvians in Vir'Vhenas. Stepping through cautiously, they were able to step through and he kept her close as they made their way to the Vir'Hamin district and were keeping an eye out as they made their way to his mother's house in the dark of night.
Finding a home of humble appearance, they cautiously approached the small cottage and gave the door a gentle knock after spotting a fire glowing inside. It took a moment, but soon the door swung open and they spotted a woman with wavy, chestnut brown hair in a wheelchair open the door and looked up spotting them. "Da'len, what are you doing here, sweetheart," she asked in genuine concern before wheeling herself back some, "Come inside, both of you." Stepping inside, they were careful to navigate around her wheelchair and set their packs down in the front room.
"Now answer, da'len, what are you doing here? I heard from Athim and Elgar that you two had done something to draw attention from the Evanuris," she asked again as she wheeled into the room and Solasan waited for her to stop before kneeling beside her wheelchair and gently grabbed onto her hand. "Mamae, please we only defended people from demons," he explained softly, "But when we were out of the city, we found so many incredible things. We found Skyhold, we found Fen'Harel's lost sanctuary, and we even found the Temple of Mythal hidden deep in the Arbor Wilds!"
They saw her blink a few times and her brows went up in surprise before hearing him continue seeming to beam with child-like excitement, "We have found so much history in those ruins, mamae, and even in Fen'Harel's sanctuary we were able to discover that Fen'Harel's line had continued in hiding. We found some clues to where they were hiding and we found them, mamae. We found Fen'Harel's descendants! And there are so many families, including children still thriving to this day!" "There were children," she asked in a soft, breathy tone of awe and her eyes teared up a bit. "Yes, but," he paused gently rubbing her hand, "Mamae, we.. We also found out something concerning..
"We found out that some of their family is missing," he continued softly, "A member of their family had been missing for many years, and they've been worried for her wellbeing since she left. And, oddly, she shares the same name as you. Vunin. So I.. I can't help but wonder, mamae.. Is.. Is that missing family member you?" She paused in surprise and he could feel her hand twitch in his own at the mention of her name, so Solasan had a feeling he might have been onto something. She seemed very anxious, but he didn't want to stress his mother more than she already was from worrying over his well-being.
"Mamae, please," he urged softly as he rubbed her hand lightly and Renan had a small smile watching but felt very uneasy even more so than before. "Well, to be honest, there's a large number of women who share the same name I do," they heard his mother reply softly. "And, I said the same, mamae, but there were so many factors that pointed to us possibly being family to Fen'Harel's descendants," Solasan noted softly, "They said the rings looked very similar to the ones that their sister had inherited, and the time frame seemed accurate to when you arrived in Arlathan.
"Please, mamae, just a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer," he urged a bit more seemingly desperate, "You had told me that you weren't told much of your past, and I don't seem to pry, but if you left because you might have had a falling out, I can understand. I just want an answer about our family history, mamae, please." She started to look unsure as she gently rubbed his hand with the other and as they talked, Renan looked around a bit more, then soon started to feel a pair of eyes on them.
Looking around, her eyes fell upon the hallway and there in the darkness, she spotted a pair of glowing golden eyes and she felt her blood run cold. In the dark, they could hear a soft, gentle voice. "Family secrets she doesn't want to share," he said softly making Solasan stand in his place and grabbed his staff holding it up ready to defend as they heard him continue, "So much pain in her past, she prefers to keep it secret, keep it quiet. She makes it seem like she was never told, like she forgot."
Emerging from the shadows, they spotted the robed figure with his golden eyes on them, and Solasan was growing more concerned as they watched him. "She doesn't want to tell, doesn't want to admit the truth, her deeply kept secret. She doesn't hate her family, just bitter over the fight with her brothers. I am not a coward, she yells, and her brother tried to force her to stay, but she proved stronger and left. She wanted to live, but they told her she'd be safe. Their secret must be hidden from the world or they're all in danger. There is no danger, you'll see when I return, she tells them."
His head lifting up, they see it's Dirthamen uttering these secrets of Vunin's aloud.
UH OH D:
What do you think will happen next? ;3