Campaign of the Month: February 2009

Silent Winter


Posted by jillyfae

Naessa sat down with a sigh on her bed, and looked around with relief at the tiny empty room. She hadn’t expected Alveyin to have enough rooms available that she’d be able to get one to herself, having assumed the nasty weather would have stranded extra travelers this season, and was greatly relieved to have been proven wrong. After the last few days, she needed some quiet and solitude. Well, what she really needed was to talk to Ninnion, but that wasn’t a thought that would end well, so she squashed it as thoroughly as possible.

She looked down at her mage staff, held straight across her lap by hands that were just a bit too tight, the white stress lines growing at her knuckles as her fingertips slowly turned pink, then red, and started edging towards purple.

I’m only 19! I’m not ready to be a Keeper! Zholon was supposed to be fine, if stuck in a chair or a litter. I don’t know enough to lead the Valwe. I can barely lead myself. I’m lousy at history, I never say the right thing, and I managed to get myself into a mess with an Old God and a Reaver simply by trying to travel through the mountains. I didn’t even manage a proper examination, as I was too worried about Ferron to get a look at the altar to figure out how a supposedly imprisoned Dragon is influencing things, and too ready to run away to bother investigating the shadow land its altar inhabits. I managed not to get Ferron killed, but I still haven’t found that poor old man from Iar. I hate leaving dalish behind, and I know that’s why I was yelling at poor Gheris and those obnoxious Circle Mages so much. I’m going to abandon him just as thoroughly as they have, just because I don’t know what else to do.

Naessa sniffed hard, pretending not to notice the teardrops that had fallen on her stiff fingers. Dropping her staff, she scrubbed her face once, hard, and walked the step to her window. Leaning her forehead against the cold glass, she listened to the shutters creak in the unexpected wintry weather outside. Finally, she turned around, and shuddered at the sight of her waiting bed. I don’t want to go to sleep. The unexpectedly clear thought startled her, but she ignored it and took off her grimy leathers in favor of a mostly clean shirt from her bag to use as a nightshirt, forcing herself not to think about the open bar downstairs, and the distractions of company and drink.

… darkness, sweat, tears, Mihaila’s screams, the sweet and salty tang of blood, crying girls, twisted leather, hard boots, pain, the flare of uncontrolled light and power …

Naessa woke with a gasp, barely containing her scream as she shot herself back to consciousness. Falling out of tangled sheets with a desperate whimper, she scrambled on the floor until she found her staff, and gripped it tightly again. She hadn’t had that nightmare in ages, not since Ferron had taken her back to the duster’s graves a few years ago. Darana usually made the clan’s enemies conveniently disappear, but she’d realized that the Adra needed to be able to check on these dead bodies, to see proof of their defeat. So why had it come back tonight, why now when there were so many other things that could have disturbed her sleep?

“Oriane…” Naessa’s thought whispered past her lips. She looked up at the shadowy window. It was too dark, still too early. But soon, soon she’d go, and ask about the kidnapping, and offer her help, what little she could muster.



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