Some of you may have heard that I wrote a tome of a Dragon Age fanfiction – like, close to 400,000 type of tome. It was a story that I wrote for me after playing Dragon Age: Origins, and spawned from about two or three scenes that sprung into my head. For the four Saturdays of Dragon Age Month, I’ll be posting snippets of my fanfiction over here. If you like what you’ve read, check out my Dragon Age series on Archive of Our Own for more!
The following excerpt is from the prequel that I wrote, I Will Hold You Here: A Prequel.
Ashalle woke to pounding on her aravel door. She reached over to wake Sylvar, forgetting he was out on a hunt. She stumbled to her feet as the knocking continued. She shushed her little son, who withdrew to a corner and hid under a blanket. Tentatively, she cracked the door open, then threw it wide when she saw who was there.
“I’m going to be with him,” the elf said, her eyes lonely and sad.
“Fenia?” Ashalle said. She noticed the little bundle in the woman’s arms. “What are you doing? It’s late. Come inside.”
“No,” the elf called Fenia said. Her green eyes glinted in the dark. “Radavur brought me here, but I cannot stay without him.”
Ashalle grabbed her friend’s arm. “Fenia, you have lived here for years. This is your home. This is your clan. We love you. You know that.”
Fenia’s eyes closed. “I watched him… I watched him… They…” Her voice cracked. “So much blood…”
“It wasn’t your fault,” Ashalle whispered. “Those shemlen shouldn’t have been anywhere near Asha’bellanar’s hut. How could you have known? Hahren Radavur was trying to protect you. And her…” She looked down at the little bundle of blankets that was now beginning to move.
“I can’t stay here without him.”
“Listen to yourself!” Ashalle hissed. “I am your friend, yes?”
“I’ve never had a friend closer,” Fenia replied with a sad smile.
“And so I cannot let you just abandon your child! She has lost her father; she will want her mother!”
“Would you take care of her?”
Ashalle was stunned silent.
“If I could not, would you?”
“I… of course I would, but don’t talk like that…”
“Here.” Fenia thrust the bundle, which now had a little face visible and little arms trying to wiggle free, at Ashalle. “Take her. Raise her.”
Ashalle withdrew. “How can I raise the keeper’s daughter?” She shook her head. “No, Fenia. You have to stay.”
The little elf started to cry. Ashalle’s heart broke as Fenia looked at the da’len with eyes full of pain.
“She looks like him,” Fenia whispered. “I can’t.”
Ashalle put her hand on Fenia’s shoulder. “Please, lethallan. Think of what is best for her.”
Fenia kept staring at the little elf, still fussing.
“She needs a mother who loves her with her whole heart.”
“She does,” Ashalle said encouragingly.
Fenia swallowed, then nodded.
“You are a good friend, Ashalle. And you have a good heart.”
Ashalle breathed a sigh of relief. “And you, Fenia. Come, stay with me tonight. It’s dark.”
Fenia looked up at the sky. It would be evune’nira soon.
“The moon is bright tonight.” She gave Ashalle a small smile. “I will find my way.” She took the bundle back and the little elf quieted almost instantly, snuggling into Fenia. “Melava somniar, lethallan.”
Ashalle watched Fenia slowly walk back to the aravel she had shared with her falon’saota before closing the door with a sigh.
The next morning dawned bright and warm, and Ashalle was tending to her son, Nolith, when Paivel and the new hahren, Marethari, came striding over to the large campfire, calling the clan over. The urgency in the new keeper’s voice kept anyone from tarrying.
“It seems the creators continue to test us,” Marethari said gravely. She was holding a little bundle in her arms, and Ashalle’s heart jumped into her throat. “We lost Hahren Radavur only two months ago, only to welcome his daughter to us before our last evune’nira. We now must face another loss…”
Ashalle gripped Nolith’s hand tightly.
“Fenia Mahariel…” Marethari’s voice caught. “Has left us. I know not where she has gone, but…”
Before she could say more, the little bundle in her arms began to cry, as if it could understand the words being said.
A tear trickled down Ashalle’s cheek. “The da’len needs a mother who loves her,” she said, voice wavering. Eyes fell on her, and she swallowed. “Fenia was my friend. I will love her daughter as my own.”
Silence filled the camp. No one seemed to know what to say. Finally, Marethari sighed.
“Come, Ashalle. If you are willing, I will not stand in the way…”
But Ashalle had already crossed to where Marethari was standing and scooped the crying elf into her arms.
“Hush, da’vhenan…” she murmured, rocking the babe. “Tel’enfanim. You are safe. Do not fear…”
“Fenia never told me what her name was to be,” Marethari commented. “And she is reaching the age of her naming ceremony.”
Ashalle nodded, still shushing the little elf, who began to calm. Fenia had been right. The baby did look quite a bit like Radavur…
But back to the matter at hand. The truth was, Ashalle had no idea what her friends had planned on naming their child.
“Renya,” she said, glancing up at Marethari. “Her name is Renya.”
The hahren watched her carefully for a moment, as if not believing that was the babe’s intended name, but eventually nodded. She put her hand on the baby’s head gently. “We will have the naming ceremony for Renya Mahariel tomorrow, before any more tragedy can befall her,” she said quietly.
“Ma serannas, Hahren.”
Marethari nodded, looking distracted, before excusing herself. Nolith came over and tugged on Ashalle’s skirts.
Ashalle managed a wavering smile before bending down. “Meet your new little sister, da’vhenan…” ”
Revisiting these has reaffirmed that I really do need an editor. At any rate, thanks for reading!
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
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