Wherein I awake, freshly Joined and completely confused

I spent another night barely sleeping. It was 4 am when I finally drifted off to sleep on the sofa, with the TV accompanying me to my dreams. Sometimes background noises seem to populate my dreams and tonight, with the Sham Wow! guy advertising in my ear, was no different. I thought, when I opened my eyes and saw the two men hovering over me with concerned expressions, I must be having one of those TV influenced dreams. Any moment now another infomercial would play and then I'd be juicing carrots or smoothing away my crows feet.

One of the men was dark, almost piratical looking with a dark beard and swarthy skin, but kind eyes and a face creased with concern. He was my age, perhaps a bit younger. The other man was young and clean-cut. He had that sort of 1960's family sitcom wholesomeness about him, only on a body built by Chippendales. I would definitely stuff a dollar in his g-string! He was gorgeous but entirely too young for me... unless he liked Cougars and well, calling myself a Cougar was extremely generous.

I sat up dizzily, helped up by the two men. My body felt like I had been slammed into the ground. In fact, the ground was where I was so I might not have been exactly wrong. I also felt like my stomach was going to crawl out of my throat and possibly my spleen and gallbladder too. I thought they might dance up my esophagus and tap-dance around the ruins.

"God, I'm too old for this shit," I said. "I haven't felt this hung-over since I left college... twenty...some years ago." I fudged by a decade, trying not to date myself too precisely, I didn't want to scare either of the guys away, they were both gorgeous.

The two men looked at each other with strange expressions.

"Old?" the pirate laughed and Chippendales dancer joined him.

"Did you have dreams," the young one said. "I had dreams during my Joining. Terrifying dreams."

"I did have a weird dream," I said, "the Sham Wow! guy was chasing me through the streets wanting to clean up my spills. He said he would double my order for free if I call now. But you know how that goes, they sock you with a ridiculous shipping and handling charge."

The two men exchanged another pair of odd looks. "I've never seen anyone react to a Joining like this," the older one said.

The younger one looked at me curiously. "She did take quite a bump on the head when she fainted."

"Alistair," the pirate said, looking at the Chippendales dancer sternly, "I told you to be ready to catch her. You weren't paying attention again. We can't afford to lose recruits to head injuries."

Alistair! So the hot looking Chippendales dancer was named Alistair. Nice name. Last time I heard that name it was an old guy on PBS... what was his name? Oh right, Alistair Cooke.

"I'm sorry, Duncan. I was distracted." Alistair blushed.

Duncan! So the pirate is called Duncan. I couldn't help but notice both men were wearing armor and were heavily armed.

"So, is this one of those anachronistic groups? Do you recreate some sort of historical battle here?" I asked eagerly. I was impressed, their costumes were fantastic. "And even more importantly, how did I get here and why do I feel like I tried to chug a kegger on my own?"

I looked around and saw two dead men not far away. "Wow," I said, "those guys look really dead. How do you get such realism? Connections in Hollywood?" One man had his eyes rolled back in his head and his tongue was lolling out. It was rather disgusting looking. The other one had what looked like a fresh stab wound to the gut. It was still bleeding. Yeah, right... red colored corn syrup most likely.

I knew, of course, I was dreaming. I had fallen asleep on my sofa after an epic spell of insomnia. It was just a little weird how detailed this dream was. I have done many things in my dreams, delivered a baby from an elderly woman on an escalator, fallen off a tower and landed gently as a feather, but I'd never felt like I was going to hurl in my dream or have such an acute headache. I also seemed to have the ability to direct my dream, or at least, my actions. That was new, it usually seemed to happen without any input from my consciousness. I was going to try to test it out. I would direct my own dialog: "You know, you two are incredibly hot for a guys wandering around in armor in some medieval reenactment. I usually think of those guys as being... well, a bit geeky."

It worked! I had totally been able to control my actions. This was some weird-ass dream. What do they call them? Lucid dreams. You can influence the course of your dream consciously. Frankly, I suspect it just meant you were in the process of waking up. Wait... why am I thinking about dreaming in a dream? That was a little too weird.

Duncan's mouth fell open. "My lady? I'm not sure what you just said. I fear the Joining and the bump to your head has left you...confused."

"Oh! Aren't you good and all in character! My lady..." I tittered at the formality. "Please, just call me Lucy."

Alistair scrunched up his face. "Your name is Elissa. Elissa Cousland. Don't you remember?"

I peered over my glasses at Alistair and scowled. Then I noticed I wasn't wearing glasses and my vision was absolutely perfect. The observation made my heart skip a beat. I looked at my arms and hands. My skin was smooth and perfect. The layer of fat that had dissolved over the decades on my hands was back. If this was a dream, I was beginning to like it a lot. My hands skipped up to my face. Everything was firm and taut. My hair... my hair was always thick but never curly. I extended a strand... and never auburn. My hair was dark blond, going white in places.

I stared straight ahead, stunned for a few moments. Then I remembered I was dreaming and relaxed. If this was my dream and I was young again, I was going to make the most of it. Duncan extended a hand to me to help me stand. I took it, but realized how easily my knees worked and how strong my legs were.

"Holy shit! I could kick ass in this body," I said, wondering how much of my martial arts training I remembered.

Everything I said drew puzzled looks from the men so their bafflement was not surprising. Duncan said "Indeed you fight well, Elissa, but kicking an ass would be cruel."

I smiled at Duncan, he was amazing at staying in character. "I always wanted to do that female warrior thing. So what's my thing? Kung fu? Jujitsu? Do I have any super-powers?" I looked at my body for the first time and saw I was dressed in leather armor. I glanced over my shoulders and saw twin blades strapped to my back. "Oh cool! I'm some sort of weapons expert?" I unsheathed the daggers and they seemed to fall into my hands naturally.

My body wanted to perform some sort of kata, but my mind warred with my body over what it should be. My Cuoung Nhu training wanted to do one thing but this body pulled me in another direction. I struck some sort of stance and expertly twirled the daggers and then my brain's training kicked in and I did a leg sweep and jumped away and did a roundhouse kick into the air. My kata shifted back and forth. At one point I dropped the daggers and did an impressive segment of Wing Chun blocks and punches. Then I did a cartwheel and picked up the daggers in the process. I was breathing a bit hard, but was far from winded.

"Oh my god! How did I do that?" I nearly screamed with excitement. "I'm like fuckin' Yoshimi! Bring on those pink robots!"

Duncan made a signal to Alistair and they closed in on me from each side, trapping my hands to my sides. Duncan took my daggers. "I'm sorry, Elissa but something has happened to you. I think until we have someone look at you, you should... rest."

My face must have fallen. My high of a few moments ago crashed. I was obviously frightening these two men. Then I reminded myself it was all part of a dream. This wasn't real at all.

"I'm okay, Duncan. But clearly you think I'm someone else. I'm not even quite sure how I got here. I was sleeping and then, I woke up here. Except I don't think I really woke up, I'm still dreaming, but it's a way cool dream! And really, if all the men are as gorgeous as you two, I don't want to wake up."

"Duncan," Alistair said, "If we take her back to the Grey Warden camp we'll be late for the meeting with the King."

Duncan pulled on his beard for a moment. "True." He turned to me and gave me a stern look. He did stern really well. I could just see the promise of a spanking if I were naughty. It made me really want to push him to the edge.

"Elissa... Lucy," he said gravely serious, "We're having a meeting with King Cailan about the battle and I'm going to need you to... not say anything. Just go along with whatever is said. Leave the talking to me and Alistair. All right?"

I nodded. I knew how to appear agreeable. Perhaps I could discover my super-power during this meeting with the King. Or perhaps the dream would devolve into some sort of sex dream. Maybe the "meeting" would be an orgy. What would happen if I nudged things in that direction? It'd been ages since I'd had a really steamy sex dream.


Dear Readers with delicate sensibilities;

This work may not be for you. This work and its sequel contains matters of a adult topic. Lots and lots of them. In fact, the genesis of this work began with a prompt on a message forum where the nature of said prompts, and fulfillment thereof, is of an essence most salacious. I now add this warning because I've seen actual heads exploding from individuals whose delicate natures were outraged by this work. In fact, in one case a person read all sixty-five chapters herein and thirty-two of the chapters in the sequel and their poor head exploded just before the last chapter when, after months of torture and death, a loving, if not typical, family emerged. Understandable, of course. Love, harmony and happiness are controversial topics.

If you are made of resilient material then please read on! This is a funny, risque romp through Ferelden, although it does have its moments of drama and action as well.

But no more exploding heads, please. I'm running low on bleach.