Adventure on sundermount
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“Fenris, I was thinking we could do this more often. We have such a wonderful partnership, right?” Zevran suggested optimistically, taking a bite of baked fish. He made everything seem easy and graceful. One day when I had come home early, the Antivan wanted me to balance a book on my head, holding it awhile. Then as my footwork improved, I should be able to do it naturally. Regular practice can improve my feminine elegance. His patience with me far outshone my instructors at both the Chantry and the academy. Perhaps memories were hurtful, but Zevran didn’t mind talking about them.
Fenris replied practically, “If I’m not exhausted bashing people. Perhaps yes, we had no choice but to work well together. I always wondered where you vanished to when I did the actual attacks. I’m remembering flashes, did we go into the forest?”
“Hurrah you remember! Sabriel keen to know our story? But you can tell it, Fenris. I’m thirsty.” He picked up his wineglass, grinning.
The tall elf smiled shyly.“I’m not fantastic at tales. We were going on a diplomatic mission to Sundermount, with Merrill. Zevran has Dalish blood and so does she. I didn’t take it too well, not really a forest person. Merrill went because she can speak fluently but didn’t know how to track paths. Rather unusual that I let them lead. Did I get it right?”
“Yea that girl mage was hopelessly talking. What is the saying- ahhh head in the clouds. I looked out for danger and stopped them walking into mudpools, traps and all those gross stuff. He didn’t like her much. Because of…”
Oh that was her name! The petite doe-eyed green clothed lady and short black hair… Fenris caught my glance, probably reminded of the day I met the female elf who invited me to her home in the Alienage. She had not been carrying a staff so I had no idea of her identity. “Perhaps you’re new to this Zevran, but I loath blood mages. Magic cannot be trusted.” His voice was quiet, but sliced through the air.
But can’t I talk to her? Did he need to snap at me, and drag me away from her? I had been cringing from Fenris’ lecturing that afternoon, in the busy streets of the Alienage. His grip had hurt tremendously, as if he had forgotten about my welfare. When we got home, I had locked myself in the library and refused to talk to him for two days. Fenris had been very vocal even through the thick doors about what kind of company I shouldn’t be keeping. I found it difficult to forgive him.
Fenris seemed to sense my moodswing, from the hurt reflected in his face. I looked at the orange jelly and cut a piece.
Thankfully Zevran interrupted us from that broody train of thought. “Alright yes ,so where was I? Long trek up to the main clans, and there are many many little clan villages along the way. Merill wanted to explain every single painful detail, from which statue is which god. I could tolerate it only just a second longer than our dear Elf here."
While he narrated the tale, I asked some questions able to picture everything that he meant. I think he can be the city’s official story teller or maybe release a book of adventures! “I am quite a good listener, but tales of history is boring when there’re so many things to take care of in the jungle. Felt so hot and sweaty, I craved for something cooling. With all the bugs yuck. How I missed the city!” Zevran rose and fussed with the flowers. Really? So he didn't like nature? Haha
“So you couldn’t stand her either? She… is friendly. When I talked to her for maybe few seconds.” I said carefully. Fenris did not object and sighed.
“No no she’s adorable, haha! Until she asks me why are you Dalish, why did you not stay in the forest, how did your mother abandon you? Aw poor kitty. That’s not good for ego, yes? Let’s not think about the magic part, I know nothing much and prefer to keep it that way, yes?” He had come closer to me now and offered to refill my cup with the fruit juice. While doing that, Zev didn’t have problem continuing to chat. I answered yup to all. Being Dalish or not didn’t matter as the clans saw the men as outsiders. No doubt that Fenris looked like a strange kind of elf to them... So their mission was almost jeopardized by prejudice and superstition. Humans to them were shemlen, a lower caste. I thought it must be really tough to be friendly to them.
"I only knew one pathetic phrase- Ma serannas which is thank you. Fenris was restraining his ability to the maximum. Don't know how we managed to communicate, some Keepers simply had no taste in our unusual talented physiques and expertise! But at the very least, we could sleep in the safety of the encampment and resupply. I bought some fine weapons."
Then I wondered if the mission of goodwill had ended nicely. It would be such a huge wastage of stamina and effort.
"I forgot... Fenris did we succeed or not?” The blond chuckled, turning to him.
“We made it out somehow. Lots of giant spiders and lizards to vanquish. Venhadis overpopulation. I didn't care to listen to them, until they translated. They were both depending on me cleaving all those bastards, ” Fenris failed to suppress his low husky laugh.
“Hey I did hack at them! Assassins cannot survive frontal assault, it needs subtlety, precision. Wow my daggers almost corroded from the strong acid from spiders. I didn’t need to use any toxins for a month.” Zev retorted good naturedly.
I gaped. “Cool! Oh yea you can work in tandem together, your sneak attacks, Fenris doing the frontal assault and Merill, she helped?”
They nodded, agreeing she used some conventional spells to back them up. Luckily they were not severely wounded, she was no expert healer. “I suffered from fever from the bites, I believe. Much as I wanted to leave quicker, I was forced to lie down. Caused a delay.”
I nodded sympathetically, my heart softening. “That’s true, Fenris, if you are tired don't force yourself. No one is immune to poison. Zev, were you hurt?”
Fenris beamed. The Antivan put an arm around me. “Perhaps being part Dalish came in useful. My wounds healed quicker. Merill panicked and ran back to camp to ask for advice. You’re Too Kind, milady. ”
I blushed and as his hand didn’t move from my shoulder, I touched him. Where was Fenris’ home then? At the same time as I wondered, a maid servant supplied the answer- Seheron. Fenris frowned as she took our empty dishes and went off.
When we were sated, I thanked them for the story. I hoped to avoid discussing about the incident and planned to rush upstairs. But Fenris had moved quickly to intercept me, maybe I had been distracted by the maids laughing with Zev.
“I… er, did your hand hurt? I am sorry.” He started examining my hand.
I wanted to summon some just anger, but it failed to come. No idea what to respond without triggering another of his emotional outbursts and no matter how much we all empathise with his suffering... if Fenris cannot and will not move on, must he also stop me from talking to anyone who's into magic? It's not that I couldn't forgive him, but the reasons...
“You didn’t know about her. I shouldn’t have taken my anger out like that. But I thought the worst and... the Alienage is not a safe place. Do you understand?” He spoke with conviction and worry, his brows furrowed.
My internal self retorted: So what? Please don't continue! I'm not weak, and she won't hurt me! How can you distrust us so much? Aloud, I said it was fine and pulled away. His grip was not very hard but he took some time to release me.
I could not bear to look directly at him, yet Fenris' voice and gaze seemed to sear. I was halfway up the stairs. Yet he went on quickly, “ I'm probably not the best with words. But, I can't let this pass, without at least trying. Sabriel, why the silence? Are you angry? ”
I stopped, my hand on the railing. “Yea I was. Fenris, she didn't tell me about magic. It was just normal... things. I want to forget it ever happened. ” Then I continued until I reached the second floor. When I turned, he was standing in the middle of the landing, head down.
I thought we're on the same level of understanding? After a pause "I see. I hope you liked what we made." The elf replied and flashed a faint smile.
"Definitely. Hey don't be so broody. I feel like using my staff to hit you," I folded my arms in my coolest poise.
Fenris shook his head and closed the distance between us. "Really? Dream on, I can phase through anything. How dare you. " He scowled, but his lips quirked. Well, I couldn't stay mad on such a perfect night after all.
Before bedtime, I opened the paper and was astounded by Zevran's calligraphic script!
Dear Sabriel mi amiga,
My name is spelt Zevran Arainai. But it is no problem however you spell. I’m so touched you took the time to draw me this beautiful exquisite art! A friend gave me some Dalish gloves but sadly I lost them. Nobody wrote me letters unless they needed my services. I’m glad you will start to believe more in yourself, Sabriel. I’m useless with art, worse than a small kid.
Right now I can’t buy you a gift yet. It’s customary for Elves to give something in return. Was in a bad mood that day, should I have tried to be polite to Avalene? How to spell that? Hm Fenris said hers is a strong man’s name. How about yours?
Ma Serannas for everything. Sincerest thank you in Dalish elven. If you like, we can write short notes, yes? I’m quite free.
The next day when I awoke, a container of bruise-healing salve was on my desk. Illegible scrawl of a short sentence, and Fenris' signature. I screwed open the cap and inhaled the delicious scent. The bruise was not visible anymore on my left wrist. A bit of smarting so I tried some. I guess Fen did not realise the full extent of his power when he got mad. I Made a point to compromise next time. I admire his simple gestures, even if it is blunt...
When Zev suddenly spoke, the container slipped from my grasp and rolled on the floor. "Ah, no wonder he asked me how to spell some words." I had not heard any sound, but the slim elf was not standing in the doorway elegantly.
"Oi stop doing that! Being sneaky!" I gasped and yelled. He pointed to himself and looked innocent. Then he slipped out and closed the door. As I brushed my hair, I remembered his letter and my heart melted. When I was dressed in my favorite blue robe and slippers, I came out. The blond elf was leaning on the balustrade and watching the servants' bustle.
"Good morning. Sorry about that, had a shock... You've such awesome handwriting." I stood beside him.
"No it is I who should be apologizing. Bad habit of an Assassin. " He replied, not staring at me. His voice was serious now.
"Will be nice to learn from each other, no? I wish to do art like that."
"Of course." Shyly, I put my arm around his waist. He kissed my forehead.