Feb. 17th, 2016

freedom_is_grey: (badass promo)
Elven language puzzles, old histories and even older secrets, an eluvian, the varterral --

All these challenges passed and passed again, wending at last down through the Dragonbone Wastes and back to where something strange and terrible both began and ended -- the Nest, the lair where Ysalwen and her companions tracked the Mother down to die.

There is a mother here this time, as well, though she is human-shaped and dark-haired.

Ysalwen waves Ariane and Finn back with a quick gesture, then steps forward, face set in sharp, firm lines.

"Morrigan!"

The dark-haired woman pacing in front of the activated eluvian pauses, looking up --

And then scowls as Liranan darts around her feet, barking and attempting to lick her hands in welcome. Hi Morrigan! Hello! You have been gone a long time! Ysa was sad, but she's happy now we've found you! Can you play? Where is the tiny thing?

Ysalwen's face cracks into its own smile, and she laughs quietly.

"Some things, it seems, aren't about to change at all."

Morrigan relaxes at this, arms dropping from where they were crossed defensively in front of her chest. She might almost be called surprised by her own actions.

"You're looking well, Morrigan. I hope the little one is, as well?"

"Oh, aye, and 'tis fine to see you too, I'm sure. What took you so long?"

Ysalwen doesn't roll her eyes, just steps forward and enfolds Morrigan in her arms.

"I -- wha -- Oh, very well. If you must."

The shapeshifting witch's grip is hard, though, and very tight. She has, Ysalwen thinks, been alone a long, hard time.

But eventually they let each other go and step back.

"So."

"So, indeed," Morrigan intones. "I waited here to see you, and to tell you three things. The child lives, and is a boy. He is an innocent, and I will raise him ready for what destiny sets before him."

Ysalwen snorts. "That's good to hear. The being alive and well part, less so the preparation for destiny. Doesn't he get to choose? Don't you? I can't say this is the happiest I've ever seen you."

Liranan whines, and successfully licks Morrigan's hand because he has caught her by surprise.

"What I want -- that doesn't matter, now. Change is coming, and this child is but a harbinger of it. We must be ready. You must be ready. That is the second thing."

Ysalwen crosses her arms in front her her chest, now, foot tapping lightly against stone. It's a play of impatience, a way to lighten the ever-encroaching atmosphere of dread and great loss.

"And the third?"

"The third." Morrigan exhales, long and tiredly. "The third thing is my mother. Flemeth yet lives, and it is of her you should be wary, not me."

Flemeth. Ah, yes.

"Hmm. We met, somewhere far from here. It was rather more civilized than I'd imagined it would be. Confronting a friend's mother that you dragged kicking and screaming into death is -- not an experience I'm eager to repeat. Though -- will she be coming for you? I presume that may have something to do with why you're leaving, and by this particular road."

Morrigan smiles at that, a little sad, a little wistful, and a little pleased all the same. "A woman of power, I always did see that in you. And here you're showing wisdom, too. Who might have thought?"

Ysalwen grins, even if it doesn't quite reach her eyes. "Certainly no one who has ever met me. Well. Almost no one. That's probably for the best, right?"

Liranan yips, then makes a muffled whuffing sound after said yip echoes a little more than he might have meant it to.

"Do you know, it's odd, but I find it comforting that so little about you has changed since last we spoke. And yet so much has, as well. Perhaps there is some hope. We'll see. But now I must go. This eluvian has only one passage left to it, and even wresting that much . . . it took no small effort. I -- I wish this were not farewell, but -- " Morrigan seems, for a moment, at a loss.

Ysalwen's smile is small, and perhaps a little gentle, just around the edges. "I'd offer to go with you, but I doubt you would let me, just now. Too much nobility of purpose, I suspect."

"What? No, I don't -- "

"Got you." Ysalwen smirks, but only for a second. "I'll find my own way to you. You know I won't stop until I have. And you're leaving me a lovely template to find it by, as well, for which I thank you in advance."

Her smile grows, and now it turns her brown eyes bright. "A boy can't really be expected to survive not being spoiled by his Auntie, now can he?"

Gobsmacked is one word for Morrigan's expression. "You ca -- no, 'tis just offering you a challenge, is it not? I'll say nothing else now, and you'll let this fool idea float out of your head as fast as it came in, I'm sure."

Right, says Ysalwen's expression.

Right, says Liranan's growling whine.

I wish, says Morrigan's expression.

So at least they're all agreed on something. For now.

"Take care, my friend," the dark-haired witch says, turning and ascending the few stairs that lie between herself and the door that is the eluvian. "I've done all I can to keep you alive this far. Don't waste it."

"Oh, Morrigan," Ysalwen says, voice bright even as her own expression fades into temporary sadness, "as if I ever could."

"You've the right of that, at least." And then the mirror flashes with bright power, and Morrigan is gone.

It takes Ysalwen a second, but then --

"She didn't even tell me his name!"

Right. Time to cart this eluvian back to the Vigil and start working on taking it apart. Or powering it up. Or finding another of its like.

(Or all three.)

It's a fine thing, to have a purpose. And a nephew.

Who knew?

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Ysalwen Surana, Warden-Commander of Ferelden

August 2017

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