freedom_is_grey: (tracking the dog (in the wilderness))
Ysalwen Surana, Warden-Commander of Ferelden ([personal profile] freedom_is_grey) wrote2016-09-04 09:10 pm

The best map will not guide you

Of course Meraad would run away.

It's almost as if Ysalwen forgot that the thing that kept her from fleeing was being trapped on an island in the middle of a lake. That and seeing what happened to those that fled and were forcibly returned.

And as Meraad doesn't have that limitation, and is still so angry -- and afraid -- all the time --


She shouldn't be surprised. But scrounging up a search party and beating the bushes in search of one errant Qunari apprentice would be counterproductive in the extreme. And dangerous, after a fashion, but mostly counterproductive.

Which is why it's only Ysalwen and Liranan who set out after her, each of them prepared to camp out for at least a week on this search. (Or longer, if it goes that far, but by that time -- No. Ysalwen refuses to lose more people. Absolutely refuses. Not today. Not because of this.)

"The thing I've always wondered, Liranan, is what it's really like to live off the land. Winter is well on its way, and while the sea has very few limits on its bounty -- ice can be a real bitch."

Liranan whines a little, snapping his teeth at the memory of very, very cold river water, once upon a time.

"It's never the sea that minds, though. Changeless and always changing. People get lost there all the time. I've heard the stories, and I know you have, too."

Liranan yips a little bit, very quietly. He is aware that Ysa is not really talking to him. Or to herself.

"But it's never vengeance. We can ascribe that to the waters all we like, but it isn't that at all. It's just that she's so immense, once she gets moving nothing can stand in her way. It can be terrifying, certainly. But it can also be wondrous. Beautiful, even. And, of course, one sea has very little need of fearing another."

Liranan yips again, a little less quietly this time, tail wagging back and forth at a rapid clip.

"But that isn't even really the point. Children love the ocean, did you know? Every day without rain, but especially when it's warm, you'll see them out there playing in the surf. Even when the waves knock them down, they'll get up again, just as playful and laughing as before."


"Imrian is fine, Meraad. You pulled your strike back when he got in the way. I suspect you hurt yourself doing it, which is why I brought a few healing poultices with me out here. Please take them."


"I also brought honeycakes. Imrian asked me to send them. He's afraid you won't come back, or that you're angry at him. Or -- well. I'm afraid, too, that you're angry at yourself. We can work more on control exercises, so that you can pull back more power -- and I'll show you the trick I have of keeping allies out of danger from my spells. I don't know that you'll be able to master it quite yet, but -- we can start."

Silence still.

"Please come home. I'll leave my pack here for you, if you like. I worry a bit that small beasts will get at it, but -- "


And from the bushes someone rises up and up and up, ducking her head at the last instant so that her horns don't get tangled in low-hanging branches.

"No. I will -- "

Meraad rubs one gray-skinned hand over her mouth, pushing back Qunlat with a visible effort.

"I would like to stay out here. For one more night."

Ysalwen opens her mouth to speak, but Meraad cuts her off.

"I would like company. Please. It gets cold."


"I suspect that can be arranged, somehow. Though if you lay claim to the mabari, I'm going to sneak over in the night and steal your cloak."

Liranan takes his cue and darts toward Meraad, barking cheerfully. She crouches down and frames his face with her hands, scratching behind both ears at once.

"You would not be able to shift me. Your threats are baseless and thus not intimidating."

Ysalwen smiles, quick and a little crooked.

"Finally," she says quietly, just under her breath.

And then trots past the other two, heading off in search of a good campsite.

She has just the one in mind.