"Vis brithan nulama, tel I’ten ajun.”
She fumed at his words. Dalish or no, he was an elf just like her! He had no right to judge her people when they actively try to reclaim their lost history. Sure, there have always been bumps along the way, but the root of their intentions was pure. Was that not enough? “And me? Am I just another Dalish idiot to you?!”
He pinched the bridge of his nose, irritated, “I know for a fact that you can’t stand there, look me in the eyes, and tell me that your people are actually in the right.”
“The Dalish have all but forgotten their ancient heritage, and from what I’ve observed, they care very little in reclaiming the history that was lost! Your elders and your Keeper teach you what little Elvhen they remember without the desire to know more, and pass along stories of ancient gods and culture like they’re fairytales for children before bed. They whisper of Arlathan like it’s a myth only hinted at in dreams, and preach about the horrors of Blood Magic when they do not fully understand what it is meant for or what it could achieve! The Dalish understand nothing! I will speak no more of this!”
She was in shock, her voice caught in her throat like a lump. His words cut into her very soul, leaving her bleeding into the stone of the crumbling, ancient Elvhen ruins they stood upon in the open forest of the Emerald Graves as he walked away from her. And with the new, sudden silence came her shame.
As much as she clung to denial and to her hatred of his words, they rang with certainty in her mind. She felt as an ant under his shoe, not understanding the bigger world around her, and feeling lost amongst what she thought she understood for so long.
They had had arguments in the past. He had tried to sway her to see the naiveté of her ways--of her people’s ways--but her stubbornness and unyielding devotion to her clan, to the Dalish, kept her blind.
Now… his words had pierced her armor. Her Vallaslin felt like a branding of her ignorance. And above all, he did not care.
She gritted her teeth at the thought of admitting he was right, “Solas…”
He did not turn around, but the elf stopped walking just as he passed a large tree, its roots weaving through the ground beneath his feet. “I think it best we not be together on these assignments anymore. Our differences are… too troublesome for us both to handle professionally. I’ll relay this to Commander Cullen when we get back to Skyhold.”
And without any further words, their paths separated.
* * *
”On dhea, Da’len!
“You look troubled…” The old Keeper said softly, walking up to the young girl who had only just arrived back to the Clan two months ago.
The girl sighed, releasing a breath she didn’t even know she was holding, and leaned over the railing of the fence that housed their Halla. ”Ir abelas
… I’m just… thinking.”
The Keeper seemed to understand and soft wrinkles appeared around the old woman’s eyes as she smiled sadly, “It’s been a while, Da’len
. Perhaps it’s best to move on before these thoughts drive you mad?”
The girl looked upon her elder with sorrow at these words, knowing full well the truth in them but still unable to let go. “Moving on would mean I would need to go back to Skyhold. It would mean seeing him
again, and I’m not sure I’m ready to face that, Keeper.”
“Andra… No matter what happens or where you go from here…” She halted, looking deep into the younger girls eyes and seeing her unwavering stance--even in the face of her advice, ”Eman solas I’mar eol
No further words to say, the Keeper took her leave and Andra was once again left to the mercy of her own thoughts. Though, while the breeze and the soft rays of the rising sun brought forth a tranquil day, her mind turned and heaved with the weight of her last conversation with her dear friend--or what she thought was her dear friend--Solas, from a week ago. The nature of their last argument made her sick to her stomach, a feeling that was more prominent now that she was back home with her Clan in the Free Marches.
As Andra turned around from the Halla pen, she stared at the small encampment of her Dalish clan: The Ashihari. They were one of the most secluded Dalish clans, never making contact with humans or dwarves or the Qunari. Andra had been the only exception and only because total annihilation had threatened Theadas when the Breach ha torn a hole in the sky at the behest of Corypheus. A walking form of the Blight which was now dead; killed at the hands of the Inquisitor and the Inquisition’s most loyal allies.
But that had all been a year ago and an era of peace was at hand. Cities had already began to rebuild, people were returning to their families, and an alliance between Orlais and Ferelden had developed with the careful touch of the Inquisition’s Ambassador, Josephine Montilyet, who had led the peace talks between Empress Celene and Queen Anora. The Inquisition now had turned its purpose into helping those in need, and aiding the nations as a new, neutral party in influential talks. It sought to rebuild what was lost during Corypheus’ tyranny, help negotiate lands lost from slain Lords and disperse them among the people, and help reestablish the Circles of Magi under new instruction--thanks to Leliana who had been named successor to the Sunburst Throne and now was titled Divince Victoria: No mage would be chained or confined to solitude from the rest of the world.
The only true mystery was why Solas had stayed at Skyhold to help. But Andra was always thankful that he had. Perhaps, she might have even been the reason for this, though there’s no way to tell. And after their heated fight, she doubted that they were friends at all.
“Savhalla, Andra.” A voice called out, a person walking towards her, “I hope I said that right?”
The girl stared with confusion, not knowing this person yet they clearly knew her. They seemed to notice this.
“I’m a messenger from the Inquisition; I’ve brought a couple letters for you.”
“Letters? For me? Wouldn’t the Inquisition only need to deal with our Keeper?” Andra asked in genuine puzzlement.
“They’re personal, not business.”
Her curiosity was peeked.
The messenger then dug through a small bag slung over their shoulder before producing three small envelopes made of different materials and decorated with different seals.
” Ah, just these. Your clan is a hard one to find. Especially when you make no contact with any of the races and leave us with little to no way to track you.” She was handed the letters. “I’m sorry I can’t stay and chat but I’ve a few more things to deliver and time is precious.”
The messenger then left, leaving Andra to wade in her bewilderment.
In her hands was a letter of cheap, yellow parchment and a seal of the Qunari, another was a slightly more rich parchment of cream color with a raven seal, and the last was a thick, crisp, red parchment, stamped only with red wax that held no symbol.
The Qunari letter: Tilly, I’m making Krem write this for me because I’m no good at writing letters, but I heard you left Skyhold and rejoined your clan. You always told me you never wanted to return to that life because it was too caging. I might be Tal-Vashoth now but you always will be Basalit-an to me and you are always welcome among my Chargers. Just let me know and I’ll have my men break out the kegs. Iron Bull
Andra smiled at the letter, and at Bull’s use of her nickname--Tilly
--which he had given her only a week after they had met. At the bottom of the paper was a scribbled note, presumably from Krem: He won’t say it directly, but the Chief’s worried about you, and pissed at Solas. I am too. We heard about the fight. Take care of yourself and don’t be a stranger.
Her smile faltered a little and her sorrow swelled into a bigger wave; that meant that Solas had told someone… But she couldn’t help but feel a little better that she still had friends that cared about her.
The Raven Letter: Andra, I might be Divine now, but I will always be looking out for the people I care about. One of my spies told me about your return to your clan. This prompted me to do some digging and I learned of your dispute with Solas. Try not to let his blathering get to you. He’s always been irritable when it comes to the Dalish. Well, with most things in general, really. I’ve always found it hard to get along with him. Trust me, it’s not you. That aside, I never thought I’d see the day when you went back to the seclusion of your clan. You talked so passionately about loving the rest of the world. But I understand you actions. Sometimes, when the pressure is too much, it’s good to just get away from it all for a while. I hope that with the fresh air comes a clear perspective. And if you ever need an ear, my doors are always open to you. Maker guide you, Leliana
Even with all her duties to attend to, Lady Nightingale still had time for the little people. Andra’s eyes glistened with grateful tears.
The unmarked letter: It is done. Friends of the Red Jenny
A laugh escaped Andra’s lips, erasing all sorrow she previously felt. Especially at the terrible drawing at the bottom of the page of an angry elf with over exaggerated pointy ears, followed by a drawing of a butt and eggs falling from above. She had forgotten of the favor she had asked of Sera before she left for her clan. Although, she hadn’t asked anything specific, just that Solas felt a bit of humiliation because he ′deserved it
‘. And knowing her friend, Andra had no doubt that dropping eggs on Solas’ head had not been the only prank she had played on the elf.
Vis brithan nulama, tel I’ten ajun: “If I seem to be bitter, it is not without reason.”
On dhea, Da’len!: “Good morning, child!”
Ir abelas: “I’m sorry”
Eman solas I’mar eol: “I’m proud of you.”
Ma Serannas: “Thank you” / “My thanks”
Tal-Vashoth: A Qunari that abandons the Qun. Literal meaning-“True Grey”
Basalit-an: A non-Qunari worthy of respect.