freedom_is_grey: (brightness treble)
2017-08-11 07:44 pm

AU!Ysalwen, Tranquil

When Jowan made his move to escape the Tower, Ysalwen was not conscripted to join the Grey Wardens. She wasn't sent to the mage prison, either. Instead, she was made Tranquil. With a sunburst brand on her forehead, Ysalwen lacks all emotions, has no dreams or desires of her own, and obeys what commands are given. Her connection to the Fade has been severed, which is why she lost all that. She has lost all her magic, too, though her facial tattoo remains. Her face is expressionless and her voice is without all affect.

She does not have Liranan. They never met.
freedom_is_grey: (Cloak from behind)
2017-06-23 03:37 pm

Mission: Impossible -- with mercenaries and Tal-Vashoth

They've scoped out the three target merc companies over many long nights going over documentation and word-of-mouth. They've come up with a backstory for James, she's brought him what was essentially a bucket full of daggers from which to pick those that fit his purposes best, and they've gone through packing materials, bedrolls, waterskins, maps -- all of it.

They're as prepared as they can be, which is why Ysalwen, bundled up in her cloak and with a travel pack (and her sword) slung over her shoulders, is waiting by the front door for James to arrive. Liranan -- fitted out in his spiked collar and Lady of the Skies kaddith -- is there, too, tongue lolling out with excitement.

Travel!
freedom_is_grey: (Cloak from behind)
2017-05-24 10:50 am

Dragonslaying with Hal, it's gonna be great

Ysalwen shoulders her pack, picks up her staff, and checks to make sure her sword is still strapped firmly to her back.

Liranan yips, trotting over so she can check that his spiked collar and protective kaddith are appropriately applied.

Then she turns to Hal, mouth quirking upward at one corner.

"Ready?"
freedom_is_grey: (once more into the breach)
2016-10-31 10:23 pm

Oh starry night, come and chart a course

Ysalwen can feel the red lyrium singing just beyond what her ears can hear. Sarai and her company are on their way to Isabela's ship, and now that she's managed to gather her Wardens -- and Zevran -- from the surrounding crowd, it's doubtless time for them to be on their way as well.

Hopefully Isabela's ship has enough room.

(These are the details she's thinking about to keep from seeing Orsino's corpse-armor, or Meredith's mad eyes, or all the poor trampled souls that couldn't get out of the way of panicking crowds. It -- isn't really helping. But she can pretend.)

"Nathaniel, Idanna, come away. We're more a hindrance than a help, now. And I'm too well known."

She can already feel the stares. And the whispers.
freedom_is_grey: (wondering and afraid)
2016-10-17 07:12 pm

Don't call my name out loud

The bar is too close and full of people, so Ysalwen threads her way through the crowd, forcing herself to keep an easy pace to the back door and out.

The cold air is bracing and comforting, even though she currently doesn't have a cloak.

One deep breath, another, and a squaring of shoulders, and she's pacing at a rapid clip out and around the lake.

Eventually she might start running.

Liranan is nowhere in sight.
freedom_is_grey: (once more into the breach)
2016-10-17 05:04 pm

There is no other route, I cannot take self to flight

What would make sentient darkspawn fail to keep a rendezvous with Nathaniel?

That's the question she and Nathaniel will be discussing once they've healed him and two of his companions up from the now-festering wounds they took on their exploration of the abandoned thaig. Ambushes apparently don't depend too much on sentience, surprisingly enough.

"Here, you know I'm no help, but Anders' clinic is just on the other side of this tunnel, so if we get you there -- "

A weak chuckle.

"He'll never let me live it down, will he?"

"I'll join him in shaving your chin fuzz off, I swear. Now hush and don't pass out on me for the next five minutes. I'll give you a shortbread if you manage."

Liranan whines, attempting to help prop Nathaniel up on his other side. It only sort of works.

Thank Andraste the light on the clinic is lit.

"Anders!" Ysalwen calls. "Someone. Please, Nathaniel's hurt badly. I can't -- "

And then there are hands pulling them out of the dank, fetid tunnel and into . . . slightly less dank fetidness.

"Thank you. Hurry, please, I think -- "

That, of course, is precisely when Nathaniel passes out from pain and blood loss. Good times.

*****

It's quiet once Nathaniel and the others are resting in somewhat better beds in Lowtown, the worst of the damaged healed, and poultices packed around the remainder of the cuts and scratches.

Ysalwen stays behind, brown eyes fixed on Anders as he paces the infirmary, muttering to himself with his gaze turned resolutely away from her.

He asked to speak with her privately, and so --

"Anders, what is it? You said -- "

At almost the same instant he speaks. "We -- I mean I -- no, we. We've been angry at the Circles for a long time. The templars, the Chantry itself, all of it. You know that as well as any. What if w-- I told you there's a way to begin working free of them? Of all of them."

Her brow furrows, and she heaves herself off of the cot she was using for a chair, stepping closer.

"I'd say that sounds too good to be true, but -- I suppose all things are possible. We've already started some of that in Ferelden, with the schools for both mages and templars, training and learning together. It seems to be working so far, no major incidents, not much local unrest. Is this more of that, just -- elsewhere? Or -- "

Anders whirls on her, expression shadowed and intense. "That's not enough, you know it's not. You'll die and the Chantry will move right back in, sweeping everything under the rug as if it had never been. They do that, they always do that. Anything too troublesome or too loud or too unwieldy or too free. We have to show them, Ysa."

His eyes are blazing with a fervor she's never seen.

"We have to show them what it means to keep mages caged and enslaved, trapped in circumstances they can never escape, neutered and made Tranquil at the will of a few. They have to see what it costs, they have to feel it. Maybe then they'll understand, maybe then it will mean something to them."

Ysalwen takes a step back at that, a small one, hand reaching out halfway.

"Anders, that's -- that sounds -- what do you mean they have to feel it?"

Nothing about that sounds good, honestly. None of it sounds like the Anders she remembers, like the Anders she's always known.

"They have to feel our pain, Ysa. The loss of loved ones, the loss of freedom, the loss of self. Then they'll know, they'll understand. And if they don't, it will be too late to change it. The mages won't be able to stay trapped and afraid any longer, safe and compliant behind walls, under the firm hand of the templars. They'll have to run, have to fight their way free, and then -- "

His eyes really are blazing now, blue fire crackling in them and lighting up his skin.

"Then we'll have justice, true justice, at long last."

Ysalwen bites back a gasp, hand coming up to cover her mouth. This isn't -- no one said -- oh sweet blessed Andraste.

"Anders. Justice. What did you do."

He left. Justice left, after the Architect, took himself back to the Fade when they had the funeral for Kristoff. He said farewell and --

"You called him back. You called him back, didn't you, and took him in and now you're both -- oh no. No."

Anders' voice drops low and intent, ringing with a strange harmonic that Ysa has heard only once before. "They have to pay, Ysa. You have to see that they all have to pay, allowing this to go on for so many centuries. They'll feel the same fire that we do, and when the ashes have cleared over the Chantry, when Elthina knows the price of her silence and complacence, then -- "

"Anders! Justice. Be silent."

It's the voice of their Commander now, long and far away from the last time Ysa was that in truth, for them. "Feel the fire, ashes clearing. What in Andraste's name have you done."

Anders -- Justice -- whatever they've made of themselves reaches toward her with blue flaming hands, beseeching. Entreating. "Made it so they can't look away any more. The righteous flame will reach to the heavens and demand an answer. We'll be free, then. All of the mages. You can help us, Ysa, come with us to the Chantry, set the powders alight, and usher in a new dawn for Thedas. It's long past due. You've seen it yourself. You've said it yourself. We remember. We trust you."

Ysalwen's eyes are damp, and her skin has gone bloodlessly pale, hand reaching out to grasp her staff and use it to hold herself steady. "Oh, Anders. Justice. Vengeance, whatever you are now. I can't. You know I can't. If you were thinking clearly you'd know you can't, either. We none of us ever could, or should."

Rage crackles across Anders' face, blazing in his eyes and all over his skin. Betrayal might be there, too, but the rage is far too consuming and bright.

"I'm sorry."

Ysalwen releases her spell, channeling it through her staff and up out of her outthrust hand. Mana clashes, purple energy billows up, and Anders -- Justice -- both of them in one body and made into something else -- falls down.

Dead.

Ysalwen curls down into herself, burying her face in her knees and crouching there, breathing. Hiding her tears. They'd made themselves into an abomination, a creature so filled with its own pain and anger and fear and hate -- but it was still Anders. Still Justice. Just -- changed.

Andraste, guide me, I don't know what to --

"Powder, he said. I have to go."

Zevran was set to watch the injured Wardens, along with Sigrun -- if she can just get to the Hanged Man and have them sneak into the Chantry, take whatever powders and explosives Anders might have meant -- perhaps this sense of rising dread she has about the events in other Kirkwalls can be stopped.

With hope pulsing faintly through the self-loathing and sorrow, Ysalwen bolts out of Anders' clinic and begins to run.

******

It's too late. Explosives disarmed or no, someone (someones, perhaps a plan within a plan, in the event of trouble lighting a match) spreads rumors that a mage was responsible for the saltpeter and guano mixture all over the foundations of the Chantry. Several mages, even, to move that much. Citizens panic, Elthina goes to the square to calm things down, Meredith and Orsino have it out, someone moves wrong and then steel is flashing, fires are erupting, mages and templars are screaming and charging each other, the blood magic comes out --

Then it's all over but the red lyrium, the animated statues, and even more death and destruction. Casualties could have been higher -- a squad of Grey Wardens, including a reformed Crow and the Hero of Ferelden -- comes in handy in a tight spot, and Cullen moves in after the self-inflicted transformation of Meredith to keep the peace and let the Champion and her companions go, but --

The mages were still killed, save for those who turned to blood magic. The templar ranks are decimated, Meredith is gone, Elthina was slain in the fighting -- they're blaming the mages for that, too, despite no evidence -- and --

Thank the Maker for Isabela, at least, who gets Sarai Hawke's crew and Ysalwen's out of the harbor before anyone thinks to stop them.

"Where will you go?" Ysa asks Sarai, as they both stand in the prow of the ship, looking out over the Waking Sea. "After this, I mean. Hiding might be in the cards, for a time."

Sarai snorts, sharpening her dagger and looking anywhere but up. "As if the story won't spread faster than us, one way or another. That and I'm abysmal at hiding. No head for it, and I never can resist a dramatic reveal at the wrong time."

Ysa bites her lip, looks up and meets Zevran's gaze.

"Well. I've got a Bethany Hawke in Amaranthine with me, and I think she'd have my head if I didn't offer sanctuary to her sister at least for a little while. So."

Sarai looks over, golden eyes widening with something other than dull acceptance and resignation.

(It's something to see, something almost comforting. Just now.)

"Bethany?" She sounds incredulous. "Maker take it, really?"

Ysa musters up a smile, faint and soot-stained and traumatized as it is.

"The Maker probably didn't have much to do with it, no. But you'd be welcome, at least for a while. Figure out what you all want to do next, where to go, and what you'll need to get you there. It's -- it's the least I can do."

For killing Anders, for failing to stop any of this, for knowing it was coming and not having it change a damned thing --

"All right," Hawke says, holding out a callused hand. "I give it a week before you kick us out, but I'll take it."

Maybe it will feel better, later. To have people around who also remember Anders fondly, who can share some feeling of regret that he's gone.

Right now Ysalwen just wants to be alone.
freedom_is_grey: (the fade)
2016-10-13 07:38 pm

Skipping stones, we know the price now

Ysalwen sleeps, curled into a small ball, her face pressed tight to Liranan's flank, dampening his fur with the remnants of tears.

She wakes on a mountaintop, cloak wrapped loosely around her, unbraided hair snapping wild in the wind.

She is not alone.
freedom_is_grey: (tracking the dog (in the wilderness))
2016-09-04 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 --

Well.

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."

Silence.

"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."

Silence.

"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 -- "

"No."

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."





Oh.

"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.
freedom_is_grey: (Default)
2016-08-07 01:30 pm

AU week 2016

Ysalwen is an elf from the time of Arlathan. She wears no vallaslin, and she has no mabari companion. Her dress is usually fine and brightly colored, containing a great deal of gold decoration. She has a fine beaten gold circlet with a few sapphire gems on her forehead, and matching rings on her fingers. Magic for her is effortless, and she will reach out to change the world as she chooses at almost any time. Physics happens to other people.

She is at least six hundred years old.

(If she follows any of the Evanuris it's Fen'Harel, because slavery is terrible and the Evanuris are crazy.)
freedom_is_grey: (Chasind travel)
2016-06-23 06:48 pm

If you cannot teach me to fly . . .

It only takes Dave ten minutes to pull Ysalwen away from the siren call of maps and ancient scrolls.

Then she and Liranan decide to show him their favorite places in Milliways.

One location to begin from is the tropical inlet. Because the water and the sand there are warm, and it's very much unlike anywhere else that Ysalwen has ever been.
freedom_is_grey: (battle plans)
2016-03-29 09:18 pm

Letters to those who should know better

Anders,

Thank you for introducing me to your friend Merrill. She's been a great deal of help in fixing that little problem with mirrors I was having. I've sent back a few of my own notes to her in care of her Clan, let her know if you want to take a look at them.

Ser Pounce sends his love, and also a mouse that I neglected to actually send, because decomposition is a persistent trouble.

Take care of yourself. I'll see you myself in a month. I promise to have stories to tell about my nephew.

Your friend,

Ysa


Tucked under several half-written letters and lists on her desk:

Z,

If you're looking through my papers it's probably time to take the Wardens out for another stroll. Meet you at the clearing. Don't let them know I'm coming. Also please don't let any of them stab me in surprise.

--Y


A missive memorized by the designated messenger and then burned:

Found help. Fixed it. I'll tell the little tyke Auntie Lel says hi.

A second missive, tucked into a longer string of financial reports on their way to Denerim:

Alistair,

Going to visit the nephew. Had a stuffed bereskarn made by Wade. Will say it's from you.

--Ysa


Another note, written in Qunlat:

Meet in Seheron? I've always wanted to visit. Two months. - Kadan
freedom_is_grey: (Default)
2016-03-11 08:27 pm

You can't go home again, but you can visit the import shop

At least Anders looked at her this time. That's -- something. And he seemed interested in news from home, particularly how the mage and templar co-educational schools are doing.

That is also something. (Perhaps even a great deal.)

And now she's helping make up aid packages in the back of the Fereldan import shop, passing time in useful work while waiting for Isabela to give her the nod that it's safe to head for the docks. Liranan lounges sleepily at her feet.
freedom_is_grey: (brightness treble)
2016-03-03 10:48 pm
Entry tags:

My toes dangle for a place to stand and be

Darktown is just as hellish and full of despair as she was told. If every previous moment she's ever wished for the ability to heal were combined into one moment, it still wouldn't be as strong as the desire she has to be able to do it now. To do it here.

But even if she were a healer -- with only her sword strapped to her back and clad in leather armor 'donated' by a failed Warden recruit -- she wouldn't be able to cast the relevant spells anyway.

Ysalwen could wish there were more comfort in that.

As it is her skin feels twitchy as she and Zevran and Liranan pass by huddled families, huddled beggars, huddled --

Andraste's ass, huddled Carta. what are they even --

She unsheathes her sword even as Zevran vanishes and Liranan launches himself at the Carta assassin that has just popped up at Ysalwen's side. She flings her blade out in a less-than-desperate parry, then whirls to confront the more straightforward warriors that are arrowing right for her.Shit.

Arrows.

But Zevran has already taken care of one of the bowmen, she can hear the gurgle as that one breathes his last. (In a different battle she would be able to feel it, too, but this is Kirkwall and she is not planning on dying a fool.)

Why does it always have to be berserkers with axes, honestly? This is a question she plans to ask someone as soon as --

Well, not that one, he's bleeding out at her feet. And not that one, Liranan's got him by the throat, and --

Not that one, either, as Zevran has just removed another Carta thug from the world of the living.

She exhales, cleaning her blade and resheathing it, somehow not at all startled that no one down here seems at all bothered. Same old, same old. It will hurt more later, when she thinks about it again. But currently her focus is on finding --

"How very discreet," Zevran murmurs, attention caught by a lamp lighting up the darkness. And a smaller-than-it-could have been sign outside of Anders' clinic.

"Right. Of course." Ysalwen takes another breath, then, with Zev at her shoulder and Liranan at her side, she walks toward what is sure to be a very pleasant and calm conversation.

Yes. That.

*****

"Get out."

He won't even look at her, shoulders hunched as he resolutely faces a shadowy corner.

"I'm not here to --

"Get. Out."

"Anders . . . " Her voice trails off, and she exhales sharply. "I'm not saying you have to come back. I wouldn't. You know I wouldn't. But. I want you to know you can. Acting Warden or no, Deep Roads or no -- you'll always have a place in the Vigil. With me. Nathaniel and Sigrun, too. Probably not Velanna, but you know that already."

Her mouth wants to twist in a wry grin, but Anders is still resolutely facing away and that hurts more than she expected.

"I'm sorry I left. I'm sorry I left you, and that the templars that came after were -- I found Pounce, though. He's -- I can bring him next time, if you want him back? He misses you."

A breath.

"We all -- "

"No." His voice is curt, and his eyes are hidden by his hands as he presses them hard into his sockets, but at least he's facing her now?

"Keep him. Please? Kirkwall is no place for anything good. And someone would probably try to roast him on a spit, which I don't think he would enjoy much."

There's a hint of life in his voice, humor hiding despair as it always has. But just a hint of it.

"All right. I will. I promise. I -- "

Ysalwen would wring her hands if she thought it would be an outlet for anything. Anything at all.

"You really should go, Ysa. Commander. I fear you've been here too long already."

She presses her mouth into a thin line, brown eyes flashing.

"I don't think I'm the only one, but. All right. Next time -- and there will be a next time, because I refuse to abandon you again, even if I didn't really the first time, but -- anyway. Next time. Sundermount. You look like a man that could use a lot of fresh air."

He chokes out a laugh, rubbing his face with his hands. (He still has not opened his eyes.)

"Perhaps. If I can find time. If -- you're not going to leave until I say yes, are you?"

He turns toward the shadows again, muttering something that is doubtless uncomplimentary. (Ysalwen kind of wishes she could hear it, Anders has always been excellent at insults.)

"All right. We'll meet y -- we'll meet at Sundermount. Just send word you're coming and w -- I'll be there. Just avoid the mines. There's rumors of things down there that even you wouldn't want to fight."

Ysalwen exhales.

"All right. Be well, Anders. Take care of yourself. I would hate to have to raze the city if you got yourself caught. Or killed."

She would move to hug him, quick and hard, but -- everything about him is suggesting he would not take it well. So she rests her hand on his shoulder instead, gripping warm and strong. Just for a three-count.

"I worry about you. That's all."

"Don't," he says, just a little quick. "Please. I'll -- I have friends here, and people who make sure I'm fed. I'll be fine. Truly."

"All right," Ysalwen says at last, and only a little reluctantly. Nothing about that sounds -- good, exactly. "I'll go. But I will be back. Nate, too."

And then she turns, biting her lip and starting to turn back, but -- no. There's no ground to be gained here. Not just yet.

Then she, and Zev, and the mabari head back out into the bleakness of Darktown. Getting back out of the city is going to involve crawling through something disgusting, they all know it. They may also return home with far fewer coins in their pockets, no spare healing poultices, and a plan to smuggle supplies in to Anders' clinic, but. Well.

It's better than most of the alternatives. And while hope is hard to hold onto some days . . .

This could have gone worse?
freedom_is_grey: (soft and sad)
2016-03-03 10:32 pm
Entry tags:

Let me be your everlasting light

In bed that night, skin bare and more than slightly damp, with her head pillowed comfortably on Zev's shoulder --

"Should I go to Kirkwall? I want to, you know I want to. But I don't -- should I?"

His laugh is warm and a little rough, and he presses his cheek against her forehead, breath gusting out against her face.

"Ah, mi corazon. Do I say no, you will feel guilty when you go. And then I will feel guilty when you return, as you undoubtedly will."

He knows her so well.

"Do I say yes, I will still feel guilty when you go and there is no one to watch your back. Not as well as I do, anyway, and certainly without as much enjoyment."

Ysalwen sucks in a quick breath, because that last bit was certainly accompanied with a particular sort of gesture.

Zevran, meanwhile, keeps talking, as if his hands are just lying there innocently and completely unoccupied.

"So I say instead that I will go with you, and we will bring Nathaniel and all his little arrows, to keep our enemies as far from us as possible. Which was surely your plan all along, oh wisest among all Wardens that I call mine."

His chuckle roughens suddenly, as Ysalwen's hands are also no longer resting idly.

"You'll hear no dispute from me," she murmurs, leaning up to kiss his chin, and his cheek, and the tip of his nose. "This way we can skip any thought of parting. I hate that part so much."

And then the time for words is past. (That part, neither of them hate at all.)

*******

Later, robe half-slipping off her shoulders, she pens a note.

Lel,

Going to Kirkwall. Hear it's a clusterfuck. One of mine is stuck there and I'm going to see if I can convince him to get himself out. If you don't hear from me within the month, come and get me, too. I'll try not to need it.

- Ysa


And then a second.

Alistair,

Going to Kirkwall. Will try not to cause diplomatic incident. Talk to Lel and come get me if I am not back in a month. I should be able to hold out until then, even if everything goes pear-shaped. Rescuing lost Wardens is so much trouble. Worth it, but still.

-- Ysa
freedom_is_grey: (Cloak from behind)
2016-02-20 10:01 pm

walking down the trousers of time

Ysalwen is standing by the fireplace, cloak in hand, half-turning to go out the back door and then turning back, scanning the crowd as if looking for something.

Or someone.

Liranan, too, is practically vibrating in place.

Taking cues from your person can be a difficult thing to bear, for a mabari.

He cannot make this better!
freedom_is_grey: (badass promo)
2016-02-17 07:01 pm

a long and winding road, mirrored

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?
freedom_is_grey: (fancy dress party)
2016-02-05 08:11 pm

walk, walk fashion baby

It's been an interesting and adventurous few days -- understatement -- but what is coming today is perhaps the most interesting and adventurous moment of them all.

Introducing Cullen to Wade and Herren, the finest blacksmiths and designers in any country, and seeing what vision Wade has for him.

It is sure to be interesting.

And potentially life-saving, as Ysalwen has found out too many times to count.

And so.

"He's a very, um, particular sort of person, is Wade," Ysalwen murmurs to Cullen just before they enter the smithy. "Herren is the more grounded. And the more silent. Just -- try not to get offended?"
freedom_is_grey: (Walking)
2016-01-31 09:13 pm

Building castles in the mud

"My office," Ysalwen says, gesturing to the small and perhaps surprisingly cozy chamber they emerge into, the noise of Milliways fading behind them as she closes the door.

"And Liranan's third-favorite spot for napping."

The cheerful little fire crackling in the hearth -- with a very soft-looking rug in front of it -- may suggest why this is the case.
freedom_is_grey: (Cloak from behind)
2016-01-23 11:05 pm

Field trips and sinking ships

It's cold and snowy on the lakeshore, but Ysalwen is walking there anyway. The cold is bracing, she has exercises to do, and it's a good place to think.

The number of Warden recruits is increasing, and while she refuses to offer the Joining to some of them, there's still been a doubling of her numbers in a relatively short time. It's time to start thinking how to turn a ragtag band of friends into something a little more --

Structured.

And that's something with which she has too much of the wrong experience.

Hence thinking.

Or maybe brooding.

A little.
freedom_is_grey: (What looking over shoulder)
2015-12-30 06:13 pm

What happens in the library stays in the library. Unless it's demons

Ysalwen is seated at a table in the library, tomes and scrolls spread out before her. There's also the remains of at least two plates of sandwiches next to her elbow, and two empty glasses of water. There is one half-empty glass, too.

Liranan, seated at her side, seems to be watching that half-empty glass as if his life depends on it.

Time continues to pass.