Author: NuggerBugger PM
Two girls find themselves on an unexpected path: First waking in the Fade, they escape into a strange world, inhabiting the bodies of two mages they betrayed to get there. They join the Grey Wardens right before their fateful battle at Ostagar.Rated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Romance - Alistair - Words: 1,019 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 03-05-11 - id: 6800174
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It's such a little thing to weep,
So short a thing to sigh;
And yet by trades the sizes of these
We men and women die!
~XCI, by Emily Dickenson
Anne and Elisabeth sat dumbstruck in a clearing, weapons still in hand. Around them lay a slew of darkspawn, slain not but a few minutes ago. Yet, already they were beginning to decay, the sickly sweet smell of rotting flesh thickening as it crumbled into the glistening, tainted blood that sank into the dirt. Neither of the women seemed to notice much, turning their gazes from the trees to the darkspawn, and finally to each other, studying each other's stupid expressions and blood splattered armor. Elisabeth was the first to find her voice.
"So…" she said slowly, still slow with shock. "I don't think we're in your room, anymore…"
"We still could be…" Anne replied, slowly regaining her senses. "It does seem bigger than usual, though, doesn't it? And with…more zombie-monster-thingies…"
"The extra sky looks nice, though," Elisabeth said, also regaining her mind. She looked at Anne and said, "I see you changed your hair. And your clothes. And your face."
"You, too," Anne said, looking at Elisabeth. "It looks awful."
They nodded, and fell into silence, their gazes turning to their weapons and the leather packs next to them. Anne held a pair of twin swords, the silvery-white blades gleaming underneath the black ichor. Elisabeth held a long, elegant wooden bow. A second pack held the arrows. She was about to count them when Anne spoke.
"Did you, by any chance, have the other dream, too? The one right before this one?"
"You mean, in that place? With the demons, and the girls?" Elisabeth then realized something, saying aloud, "The girls who looked an awful lot like we do right now?"
"Yeah, that one."
"I did, too." Anne said. "Well, then…I guess we're murders. And body-stealers."
"I didn't mean to!" Elisabeth exclaimed. "I just kinda…woke up in here! I don't even like this body! I miss having boobs…"
"I do, too…I also mostly meant the part where we got the girls killed," Anne said. "Though, in my defense, I honestly thought that they would last a little longer."
"Yeah, they weren't very strong, were they?"
"No, they were not."
The girls pressed their lips together, Anne shaking her head while Elisabeth looked down with an expression on her features not unlike that of a small child caught doing something they knew they shouldn't. They looked around at the darkspawn again, realizing the awful smell. They turned to each other to say something when someone else gasped.
"Maker's breath! Are you alright?"
Anne and Elisabeth jumped to their feet, face to face with a fair-skinned, dark-haired, green-eyed young woman. All three had their weapons in hand, the woman wielding a sword and shield. An older man stepped up behind her, olive-skinned with grey streaking his black hair and beard. His dark eyes, however, blazed with the vitality of a younger man as they swept the clearing and landed on Anne and Elisabeth.
"I see our work has been cut out for us," he said, a smirk playing on his lips.
"What happened?" The young woman asked. A very large dog appeared beside her, growling at the corpses.
"Aw!" Elisabeth exclaimed. The dog noticed her, and ran up to her, barking cheerfully. She stooped down to pet it. "What a cutie!"
"We were attacked," Anne replied, motioning to the darkspawn. "I, uh…don't really know what they are. I don't suppose you do?"
"These are darkspawn," the man explained. "They ravage the lands, corrupting men with their taint. You've done the world quite a service."
"Fun," Anne said. Elisabeth was still petting the dog. "I sensed a speech in there." The man laughed.
"Yes, I suppose there was. Tell me, young lady, have you ever heard of the Grey Wardens?"
"Nope." The man nodded.
"We are an order of elite warriors, formed to fight the darkspawn." His eyes focused on Anne. She didn't flinch, tilting her head as she examined him. "If you two were truly able to slay this many darkspawn on your own, then I would like to invite you to join our ranks."
"Sounds like a pain," Anne said with a smirk, absently twirling her swords in her hands. "We're not soldiers, sir. We're just very lucky."
"I think it's a good idea," Elisabeth said suddenly. Anne raised an eyebrow at her.
"You think so?"
"Yeah, I do," she said, standing. "It…feels right."
"It feels stupid," Anne said plainly. "But, if you intend to, you know I'll follow."
"I intend to," Elisabeth said firmly, both to Anne and the man. He nodded.
"In that case, my name is Duncan, and this is Elissa. She will be with you to prepare and undertake the Joining ritual, when the time comes."
"Ritual?" Anne asked.
"I won't lie," Duncan said to Anne. "We Grey Wardens pay a heavy price to become what we are. It is not an easy life, but it is necessary one for the sake of mankind. You yourself have witnessed some of what creatures are capable of. No doubt, you have noticed their taint in these forests already." Anne and Elisabeth nodded, they eyes falling to the strange, black substance that covered the clearing. It killed everything it touched. They girls looked at each other, then Duncan. "If we don't stop them, they will bring down all of Ferelden, and all of the world."
"Fair enough," Anne said, still studying the older man. "My name is Anne, and this is Elisabeth. Are we going somewhere, or…?"
"Well met. Not far from here is Ostagar. We prepare for a crucial battle against the darkspawn, which will take place there."
"Let's go, then," Elisabeth said. "What's the dog's name?"
"Arrow," Elissa replied.