.

- 1 -

Just Another Slave. Or Not...

I held my breath. My goal was there... just out of my reach. And if only I moved slowly. Soundlessly. He would be unaware of me. I took a small breath. The fresh spring air tickled my nose, tasting of honey-suckle and apples. The wet grass under my bare feet was a bright sea of green all around me. In my haste I almost tripped on a hidden root that poked out from the earth and my hand went out, touching the smooth bark of the birch tree as I caught myself. Hiding my soft giggle behind my small hand, I peeked out behind the slender white-tan trunk that stretched high into the sky above me.

My prey.

He was there, waiting for me. Laying in an open field of cut grass. Perhaps it was the sound of my bare feet crunching against twigs or more likely my soft giggles, but he opened one eye and smirked as he glanced sideways at me. Squealing, I hid back behind one of the thin trees, my golden-strawberry pig-tails swinging behind me.

"What are you doing over there, Sammy?" His light tenor voice carried on the breeze to me. I giggled again.

"Nothing..."

"Really now?" he said casually, the amusement clear in his voice, "I thought you were supposed to 'beh very very quiet' when hunting..." his tone at the end mimicking that iconic hunter that always chased after Bugs Bunny.

I started sneaking out around the other side, trying to stop myself from giggling, but the fits always found some way out of me. With each step I came closer, readying to jump on him as he lay there in the field sunning himself like some fat farm cat full from lapping his cream. Four yards. Three... Two... Before I could pounce, however, he suddenly sprang up onto his feet. He picked me up before gently 'tackling' me to the ground. His large hands went for my sides, tickling me and I screamed in delight, kicking and flailing around. Trying my best to get away, but it was no use. I was his slave. His tickle slave. It seemed no matter how much I tried to best him he always won. Why?

"What do you say, Sammy?"

Tears filled my green-blue eyes as my sides started to hurt. I pressed my lips together and bit down lightly, no way was I going to say it. I wouldn't give up. Never! Every time he would try to get me to say it, and every time I wouldn't. I would be balling and he would finally be the one to give in. This time wouldn't be different. And as if he sensed this he stopped with a sigh and propped himself up next to me, watching me with his own green-blue eyes that I thought were bluer than mine. His mopy sandy hair with hints of red looked to sparkle in the sun as he brushed a free strand my hair from my face.

"Don't every say uncle, Sammy. Never give up, okay?" His normally kind eyes took on an almost sad spark and I smiled even more.

"It's okay, Dean. They won't separate us..." I grabbed his hand. "We will always be together."

He smiled, but the sadness remained. "How do you do it, sis? After everything? Mother and father... the adoption..." He looked away, back into the birch forest we called the 'enchanted forest'.

"I just believe and it will be." I squeezed his hand, though it probably felt like nothing to him. "Nothing can come between us if we believe."

"I wish that were so..." He gave a tired chuckled and looked down at her. "Sometimes I wonder who the older one is here." He rested onto his back next to me and we looked up at the white cotton candy filled sky. "You're so wise for a nine years old and here I am, twelve, and don't know anything."

I laughed happily as I poked him in the side. "You're wise... you just don't know it."

We fell into a peaceful silence as I tried to place what the clouds were shaped as. A commercial air-plane passed overhead interrupting such thoughts and I glanced at him, seeing the shadow that crossed his face and knew he was thinking of the accident. I moved. Sitting up as I pulled my necklace out from under my shirt and grabbed his, linking the unique crafted pieces together. His containing the emerald, mine the sapphire. They had been our parents'. Something they had made back in their high school days as a symbol for their love and friendship.

"Look... they are with us. Watching over us. Can't you feel them?" I asked softly.

He shook his head. "I don't have that strange magical sense you have, Sammy. Are they close now?"

I wanted to tell him he was wrong. That if he all but tried he too could feel them, feel the magick in this world hidden beneath. But I kept my mouth shut. Instead I closed my eyes, stilling my mind and relaxed. I reached out, not afraid and felt something near me. A tingling sensation in the back of my mind and I saw that pale glow. It was something I could never explain fully. Of course I had tried... I tilted my head, smelling lavender and mint. I shook my head as odd whispers too low for me to hear drifted in my mind.

Sighing, I opened my eyes to find him watching me. "No, just Grammy. But they are here..." I placed my other hand on his heart.

Remaining silent, he nodded before his gaze went to our necklaces. Mommy and Daddy never truly believed in my connection to this hidden world where spirits rested. They humored me. But Gammy and Dean believed. They noticed all the peculiar things that seemed to happen around me. At a fair once a woman who said she was a gypsy told me I had a gift... but the voices told me she was no gypsy -though she too had a gift like mine, only weaker. A cloud passed over the sun, casting us in shadow and I shivered, looking up. A small tentacle of fear crept through me. I felt chilled and the whispers became urgent. Why? I wasn't sure. They didn't make sense all that often. But I suddenly felt the need to do something important.

"Let's pinky promise never to stop searching for each other..." I held out my hand, fist lightly clenched i other than my smallest finger. "... just in case."

He opened his eyes, studying me before making his own fist and linking his pinky with mine. "Just in case, I will not stop even in death."

.~-~.

She jerked awake from the dream, sitting upright in the rough bedroll, voice cracking, "Why? After so long... Why?"

Hasty fumbling fingers dove beneath armor. She yanked out that sapphire gemmed necklace, embracing it in her pale hand as she lay back down and calmed her racing heart. The blanket of stars could be seen above her, vivid on the cloudless night and she felt an ancient tightening in her chest, a wicked snake from the past, constricting and choking her until her eyes watered and she could barely breathe. A feeling she thought long dead. Why after so long must I dream of him? She closed her dull green-blue eyes, fighting the dread and anguish least it swallow her whole like that story of Moby Dick Grammy used to tell her before bed when she was younger. Yet memories continued to crawl their way up from the darkness. Memories she had buried to stay sane all these years sprang forth in her mind like some wretched dark gremlin from a grave or perhaps in this world a demon wanting her body...

She sighed. Deciding to simply lay there and hold her necklace tightly to her chest. Clutching her only anchor to the past. A past that appeared less real the more she lived in this world of fantasy and myths. Taking a deep breath, she found the cold crisp wind and rich forest smells calming and she quickly purged the thoughts from her mind, not wanting to think about such things. She didn't need more ghosts. God -or the Marker as they called him here- knew she had enough of those. Besides, there was maybe two hours until the sun rose. She would need to be up again with the crack of dawn and on her way to the City of Chains (an old nickname given for the slave trade that the city had once been known for during the times the Tevinter ruled the most of Thedas) if she wanted to keep her headway. She closed her eyes, but found any sort of rest was... pointless. Sleep simply wouldn't be attained. Not with the faint light of her past casting shadows on her soul.

"Best if I get moving then..." she grumbled softly as she forced her thin battered body to sit up. With a weary sigh, she placed the necklace under her leather armor. Readying herself to start another day. At least I'll get an even greater lead this way... But her voice even sounded hollow to her.

Camp was quick to pick up when you were only one. A single bed roll. A small pack. A tiny dismal dead fire. Yup, was most definitely easy. She grabbed some dry shrubs and tossed it over her dead fire to cover her tracks, spending almost an hour making certain everything appear as she first found it. Hopefully no one would be the wiser if they passed the area. Finally shouldering her pack and the rolled up bed roll tied beneath, she gave the wooded mountain grounds one last glance before she pulled her hood up and turned, heading southwest to Kirkwall.

Making her way down a particularly steep incline, she slipped, sliding down a dozen yards before coming to a stop with the help of a rock and her face. She groaned as she picked herself up and gingerly felt the cut on the side of her head. What I wouldn't give for a horse... Hell, I'd settle for a car. But she didn't think a car would blend in and that was something she really needed to do at the moment. Still the thought of driving in a -weren't some called Jeeps?- all across Thedas and seeing the looks on everyone's face would be... amusing to say the least. At least more than her falling headlong into a boulder.

Rising to her feet, she gave herself a look over, finding minor scuffs in her already tattered clothes, but everything appeared to be accounted for. Pack. She patted the bottom of the bag at her back. Check. Bedroll, check. Sword.Her hand went to the hilt of the curved akin katana sword attached between her pack and her back. Yup, not that it was likely...

Dignity? Rolling her shoulders, she sighed. Mildly wounded, but yes, check. Her breath froze for a second as did her body before her hands surged up to her armor and searched for her necklace beneath. When her bony fingers felt the warm metal, she sighed again, but this time with relief. I need to pay better attention... No what she needed was a better shelter so she could get restful sleep for once that would allow her to be more thoughtful of herself. She was strong, but even her body had its limits.

Knowing that if she stayed out one more night it would be risky for her, she pushed on and headed down the incline and out of the mountains towards Kirkwall. The thought of the city made her uneasy. Yes, she needed shelter and food. But she needed crowds and people that could accidently make her like she needed a whole in the head. And it was also not her first trek into this city... only her first one on her own. She prayed no one with ties to the Imperium would realize who she was. That carefully kept lead would be nullified instantly and when she only had one set of weary eyes that failed at detecting a stupid tree root barely hidden in a layer of forest litter... Yup, going into a city with even the slightest tie to what she was trying to escape was dangerous.

But she wasn't completely alone on this. The whispers she had heard as a child -ones that had grown to a roar once entering this world- told her she was safe, that no one was following her. Yet, at least. She knew she still had to be careful, but she trusted them, had to after all she had been through. There was no one else she could trust except for them, the only ones who she could rely on in this world that at most times she failed to understand, trapped as she was with her soul that didn't belong. They would let her know if trouble was near. Their warnings were the only way she had been able to stay this far ahead this long.

The sun rose, moving across the sky at an almost perpendicular line to hers, but she hardly noticed. Her tired eyes closing every-so-often as she continued her journey. When she finally reached Kirkwall the sun hung around midway in the sky, making little to no shadows as the glowing orb flared overhead. Entering the main gate she stopped and covered her gritty eyes as her gaze scanned around and forced herself to be more alert. Suspicious of everyone and anything. This world. This odd world was not a kind world. Not that the one she had come from was ever wholly kind (you know with the atomic bombs, genocides and what not), but at least the country she once lived in everyone was treated with equal rights (or they attempted to give equal rights). Having spent a decade as a slave, one could say she knew the differences between these two worlds painfully well.

She started to move further into the city. Satisfied that no one was attentive enough to see her. As she moved she went unnoticed by all. A baker that stared right at her as he rolled his cart of freshly heaven-scented bread passed only felt a puff of air as her hand snatched out and she grabbed the smallest roll. Children laughed and played around and through her. An older woman hobbled as she held onto her son's arm, complaining about how he never visited her that often almost walked through her too. She stopped. Hastily tearing into the roll with her dirt encased fingers and ate to subdue the pains in her stomach as she let them pass. Not wanting to give the elder the chill of death.

Even the most skilled rogues would be hard pressed to stand as she was in the middle of a brightly lit crowd and yet be invisible but to the most observant of eyes. It was a skill she had obtained years ago. One that made her little more than a ghost as she pulled the realm of the dead to her, making the chill of the grave cling to her cloak and body. Straddling the sides of life and death was undeniably a handy ability as it made finding her more than difficult for those who hunted her. And like with the children, she could pass through people when she was like this. While a weird sensation to both parties (leaving them cold and her tingling with their warmth), it was not harmful. She eyed the old woman and the son that had passed and continued walking. Well, not generally harmful... There were those nearing their end that could accidently be pulled in through the bridge she made to the dead. She wasn't going to help anyone on to this realm of death and decay if she could help it today.

As she headed through the heart of the city, she found herself surveying everything with her altered vision -a side effect of what kept her near invisible. This different sight was one that made everything appear decayed. Windblown stone, crumbling brick and rotting wood. The rot of death. It was not a pretty view. On the other hand this other sight did allow her to see the souls the living kept, souls that radiated their glowing colors of the rainbow. Reds. Yellows. Blues. And oh-so much more mixing and swirling together under the surface of thin cracked skin. It was amazing what one could learn from seeing each personal aurora. It was also an awe inspiring sight, really, if she took the time to think about all the colors and what they meant in comparison to the death around her. Unfortunately she didn't have such a luxury and pressed on stepping over a part in the road that appeared more decayed than the rest.

While this ability was helpful in more ways than keeping her hidden, if she wasn't careful she could actually break the decaying objects in the realm of the dead and accidently affect the living realm. Whenever she straddled both realms like this she became a bridge, but it was when she went further into the land of the dead that she could physically interact with it. And while she wasn't that far into the realm of death it was better to be safe than sorry.

She stopped as she entered the part the citizens deemed Lowtown and looked around the poorer market. She was looking for a tavern. What is it called? Hanged Man? Name didn't matter to her. She only wanted a place over her head and warm food for once. That small roll had hardly been enough to sustain herself and anything would be better than that hunk of hard bread and cheese that she had to keep cutting the mold off of to eat. She winkled her nose at the thought. Is it bad that I no longer gag at such a thought?

Shaking her head, she pressed on, searching through the smaller crowds. She came to a stop at an old weathered door with the 'Hanged Man' written crudely over the top. With a quick glance behind her she went into the building, only opening the door enough for her to slip through. For barely midday the place was rather packed. Well, ain't that peachy? Don't these people have anything better to do? It amazed her sometimes how some could waste their time in places such as this. Wasted their lives away. If she had the freedom to be out in the open like that, doing as she pleased. It certainly wouldn't be in a smelling, dim lighted tavern like this.

Off to the corner a group of four men sang horribly off key in their drunken stupor and shook her from her thoughts. Other groups of mostly two and a few singles kept to themselves, scattered throughout. No one turned upon her entering and thankful for that, she made her way towards the bar where a woman sat flirting shamelessly with two other men. Chesnutt hair and golden eyes, the woman had a body men dreamt over. Something she obviously knew as she carelessly leaned over flaunting her assets. The tavern wench wore something she would never be caught dead in considering it was a simple piece of cream cloth styled as a tunic, with a black leather corset that trusted her breasts up further, a simple blue cloth belt and thigh high boots. How this woman didn't end up flashing anyone without pants was beyond her.

Sliding smoothly into a chair on the other end of the bar slightly kiddy corner to the bar wench and the two men, she allowed her pack to slide off her shoulders and hung it on the chair. No way in hell was she setting it on the floor. Even as she sat, she eyed the grimy boards warily. Disgusted by all the crushed nuts and the stickiness she felt each time she lifted up her knee-high black boots. And let's not get started about that awful stench that permeated the place. Piss, alcohol, sweat, and other things she cared not name made a retching cocktail that waffered up from the wood floor. Did she really need food and shelter this bad? Yes, yes I do...

Keeping the groan inside, she let her connection to the realm of the dead go and the biting unnatural wind that normally came with said connection ceased. She shivered in the warmth of the living as she became suddenly noticeable to those around her and even startling a few. She was far too gone mentally to care about this slip up as her exhausted mind remained on the floor. I seriously don't think anything could get that smell out of the wood... It has to be soaked into the floorboards. Yuck.

"What can I help ya with, meh dear?" a pig of a woman asked, yanking her from her thoughts and mentally she scolded herself for forgetting herself and for also characterizing someone so harshly. But could she help it if the bar keep did look like a pig? Short and pudgy with her dull ash hair pulled up into what she would consider an attempt at a bun, with a round face and an up-turned nose. Not to mention rather large ears that stuck out a little too far from her head...

"Can I get whatever you're serving today?"

"Of course ya can."

The bar keep went over to a hearth on the far wall where a stew of some sort was kept warm as she slid her right foot under her, sitting on it before bringing her other foot up and putting the heel on the chair as she dug into her boot for coin. She slapped it on the table as the woman came back with some brown goo in a wooden bowl. Keeping her foot up and simply wrapping her arm around her leg, pulling it close, she bit the tips of her fingers to tug off her leather glove and then the other before setting them next to her on the bar. She cared not what the goo tasted like as she seized the bowl and started wolfing it down. Interesting flavor... certainly is not the best thing I ever had.Then nothing in this world could ever compare to the food of her home. But dreaming of cheese burgers and fries from McDonalds never helped anyone and she had long since lost the ability to even recall what such food actually tasted like other than it had been better. Among their standards this goop wasn't even that great, but considering she had been without any real substance for so long she couldn't really complain.

She could feel stares of those at the bar and the pig woman as she set the bowl back down not even five minutes later. The woman reached for it. "How about I get you some more?... on me, child."

She muttered a soft thank you and the bar keep nodded as she turned away. Hugging her leg, she rested her chin on her knee. With this place so full she was starting to question her chance at getting a room here. It would be her luck that there wasn't any. Sighing, she nodded to the woman who set the wooden bowl back down before her, this time eating it slower seeing as her initial hunger had been quenched. She let her thoughts wonder, not always a good thing for her to do, but after a year or so on the run she was only now starting to break free from the learned traits she had gained as a slave... One being the ability to find a little moment to relax. It was easier for her than others, given she had a free life before and one so radically different than this place. There was no way she could forget her life or freedom before, but she still found herself doing some of those annoying subservient quarks.

The shameless woman -who she could only characterize as the slut- brushed off the two men with her like pesky flies as she slipped from her stool and sauntered over to her. She leaned against the bar, her golden eyes alight with mischief as she peered up under the hood making the mysterious hooded figure shift, uncomfortable with how close she was, but other than that refused to show it. At first she didn't look at the bar wench, ignored her and hoped she would go away, but the woman remained, smiling this smirk that was starting to get on the cloaked woman's nerves. Without having a word uttered to her she could tell the woman was the type that was full of themselves, acting it up to hide whatever small issue they had. It wasn't a type she all to cared for. But then there weren't many types she did. She found the dead much better company.

"So..." the wench drawled, "Where may you be from?"

Finishing her second helping, she set the bowl on the bar before sliding it away, refusing to look at her. "I may be from a place called, Sod-off."

"Oh? You got a spark in you." The wench chuckled. "Is that in the kingdom of Mind-your-blighted-own? Cause I think I've been there a time or two."

The hooded woman grunted, not allowing herself to smile a little. "It may be."

"Where you from? I don't recognize the accent," the wench asked again as she sat on the stool next to the mysterious woman, fingers rubbing the worn wood of the bar as she glanced over her again. "I've never seen someone sit on a chair like that either... and let me tell you, I've been about anywhere."

"I would believe that..." The cloaked woman smirked, tone dripping with sarcasm.

"Oh-ho, I like you." She laughed, slapping the bar top.

Finally meeting her honey-gold gaze, the mysterious woman realized that if she didn't satisfy this wench's curiosity she wasn't going to go anywhere. "I can say with certainty that you haven't been where I'm from."

The wench gave a playful pout. "Oh... and you're not going to give me more?"

"Why should I?" she countered as she stared at the bar. "You're just some nosey tavern wench."

Said tavern wench smirked, not in the least insulted. "Correction, pirate wench... captain pirate wench who has no ship at the moment, but that matters not."

The cloaked woman's brow rose at that and she looked the other woman over again. "I didn't figure you had the money or the connections, but I guess you could sleep your way into getting a ship."

The barb rolled right off her as the ex-pirate shrugged. "Na, I was married off to some old man who died and left me with his ship."

That actually made sense. A young woman married against her will. Now that she was free she was living it up like she never could have before. The hooded woman sighed. "Look, I don't want a friend. I'm only seeking shelter as I pass through."

"Well, you won't find a room here..." The pirate wench leaned forward, her fingers trailing down the other woman's arm seductively. "... but if you keep up with that sharp tongue of yours I might just let you bunk with me."

She jerked away scowling. "I don't play that way, pirate."

Pouting again, the pirate mumbled, "Drat, well... I do have another bed in the room. But I was so looking forward to having a snuggle mate tonight." The cloaked woman rolled her eyes and the pirate sighed, leaning back and folded her arms behind her head. "What's your name? I'm Isabela."

The hooded woman opened her mouth, almost saying her slave name only to catch herself. That name was too well known and she was trying to hide... Though she kept asking herself why she was even bothering with this. "Sam."

"Sam?" Isabela's brow wrinkled. "What an odd name. Is that short for anything? Samara?"

"It's short for something..." Sam didn't offer anything else.

The brown-haired woman leaned on her elbows, weaving her fingers together before resting her chin on them. "And the mystery thickens. Hey, Rosy! Get us a drink!"

.~-~.

Sam stepped into the pirate wenches room hours later and surveyed it. Why did I agree to this again? Right... this Isabela was a charming smooth talker that she found herself rather liking. That and she was dead on her feet, to sleep deprived to care that she was being pulled into something she normally would stay clear of. Besides, the spirits told her all was clear with this woman and she was only going to be here a night or so while she secured a passage to Ferelden. And slept!

"So what do you think?" Isabela asked as she leaned against the open door frame.

Tossing her pack carelessly to a bed that was clearly not used, Sam glanced at her. "Not as dirty as I expected..."

The pirate smirked. "I may be a wench, but I'm a clean wench."

Sam felt she was hinting at something else, but didn't care to think on it and brought her hood down before pulling off the cloak, letting it follow her pack onto the bed. Taking one more look around her surroundings, she felt the other woman's golden eyes on her and her gaze went to her find a somewhat surprised look on her face before she schooled it into a smile. Sam knew what her appearance must look like. Golden strawberry-blond hair braided tightly to the back of her head. Oily from not having a bath coupled with dirt smudged on her face. She didn't have time to stop at a river, not after they found her last resting place. She also knew she needed to repair her black pants that had a few slits in them from enemy blades (and a few falls do to tired clumsy feet). Or maybe it was the fact that her top was black harden leather that covered around her neck, down over her breasts before stopping a good inch before her belly button, showing nearly all her back and consequently all the black markings. She showed a fair amount of skin, but at least all the important parts were covered. Or it could be that she was obviously starved... Yeah, probably that.

Sam's brow rose, questioning and Isabela pushed off coming closer. "Where did you get those tattoos on your arms and back?"

She stiffened, warning bells ringing through her head and she narrowed her green-blue eyes suspiciously. "Why?"

The pirate didn't answer right away, simply staring at her arms. Sam thanked God or the Maker or whoever was in charge that she didn't touch her (then again she didn't believe anyone was in charge so that was silly of her). "Nothing... other than I have a friend who bares strikingly similar markings." Her eyes sparkled. "They are white... and cover his whole body. Though I'm not sure about the goods..."

Sam's eyes widen a fraction. "A lyrium-warrior? You know one?"

"Yes... His name is Fenris. Do you know him?" She circled Sam like some kind of predator, even licking her lips.

Sam shook her head as she folded my arms before her, feeling the need to cover herself up with the way this other woman studied her. "No, I never met one. Only have seen them in passing... Though I think I know of the Master he comes from."

She frowned, most likely at the word master. "Is yours lyrium as well?"

Should I answer that question? She didn't like how personal these questions were getting. The more someone knew about her the more in danger she was of being found... but then this pirate knew a lyrium-warrior. An ex-slave. Sam looked at her arms, looking at the swirling black patterns on too pale skin. The whispers told her she should trust the pirate. "I guess you could say it is..."

"Do you go all glowy? Or phase your hand through people and rip out their hearts?" Isabela, having lost that frown, became rather giddy.

"No..." At least not because of the lyrium. But she didn't need to know that.

Isabela pouted, looking depressed by that. "Do you have any cool abilities?"

Fortunately Sam didn't have to come up with something to lie about, for a commotion from the main room interrupted this annoyingly personal chat about her. She watched as Isabela rushed from the room, drawing the daggers at her back. Wanting to know why there sounded like a battle happening, Sam took a few steps for the door to follow after only to pause at the threshold. Curiosity killed the cat... She reminded herself before throwing it aside and continuing. She jogged to the top of the stairs, blinking when she did indeed find an all out battle playing before her. Isabela -her new friend?- was squared off with a slaver. Fighting along with her in the chaos was a dwarf, a male mage with a little something extra, a woman with raven hair and blue eyes who was also a mage, and... the lyrium warrior who glowed a ghostly pale blue.

Unknowingly she held her breath as her eyes trailed over him. Yes, she had seen him before in passing... before he escaped years ago. She was tempted just to stay out of sight, having seen a certain Magister that could actually name her. But when he started calling demons and raising corpses, the spirits she held within her and around her wailed feverously at the injustice of him using corpses like that and binding their dead souls to said bodies. That and she was hungry. No, not the hungry like normal food... The hunger she got from the burden and spirits she carried. It had been a few months since she had fed like that... It was time to replenish her energy stores or else things could get hairy.

She called her faithful companions to her, wrapping the realm of the dead and ghosts around her body like a second skin and used their unnatural powers to charge herself forward and down the stairs in one step, attacking the nearest demon. Her sword appeared almost translucent when she pulled it out, channeling the spirits into the blade as she slashed and then stabbed through the demon's core. The monster gave a high pitched scream only the dead could hear as the blade killed it. The spirits would appear to anyone else who was paying attention to her like a faint white-blue glow as they reached out, drawing the demons essence and what she guess you could call their 'life' into the sword. She on the other hand could actually see the spirits, see as their hands yanked the life free from the demon and channeled it into the swirling lines on her blade, lighting them up white. The energy traveled up the sword to the hilt before being transferred into her right arm and up the black tattoos, making them glow a faint red.

Sensing her presence, sensed the threat, the rest of the demons in the room focused on her, which suited Sam perfectly, the more the better. At the rate she was killing them she wouldn't need to rejuice for some time. Well... not unless I used my powers too much.

Sam knew the others could see her, watching when they could between fighting what remained of the slavers and corpses as they tried to reach Danarius. But she could care less. The new energy was chasing away the exhaustion she had felt for this past year. The hunters after her knew not to summon spirits for this very reason, which meant she hadn't had a feast like this in a long while... that and she wasn't really showing them much. To them it simply looked like the demons vanish after she stabbed them and a small blue flash. Though... if she wasn't careful she could take in too much and her eyes would get a little hard to explain. Not often someone had what looked like liquid mercury or mirror akin eyes...

With the last demon down, Sam turned her attention to Danarius. His gray eyes were large, startled that she was there and casted one last fireball at the raven haired woman and that male mage that had some sort of light essence in him that was tainted by the humans own emotions. He turned his attention on Sam, knowing what she was and fear kindled in his eyes. Damn right you should fear me. She held no love for Magisters, but this one was fairly high on the ones she wouldn't mind killing if given the chance. And it seemed her luck wasn't as horrible as she thought it was...

Danarius sliced his hand, resorting to his strongest blood magick to attack her. She rolled out of the way, but it followed her and she was forced to use the dead realm to move faster. She appeared behind him, his bubble of magick worthless against her seeing as she was immune to a lot of magick and she stabbed him through the heart with her blade and twisted, making sure it was as painful as possible. Not that what was going to come after wasn't painful...

Sam leaned forward, mouth close to his ear as she whispered for only him to hear, "Your soul is mine, Magister."

She watched as the spirits around her hungrily pulled his red and brown soul covered in black slug (from him using blood magick) from the mortal shell and instead of directing him into the sword, pulled him completely into the realm of the dead and binding him to her. Now... there's one thing to clarify here. It did not matter how evil the person or their aurora was, their soul would always come out white. It's an odd concept that she never understood, but that is how it is. So when the spirits captured Danarius' soul, his body shimmered white as his soul left him, and her black tattoos glowed redder than before as his souls energy bound to her. She yanked her sword from his already cooling body, lashing it backwards in a way that cleared all the blood from it before sheathing it. She turned away, trying to hide her eyes that had to have turned somewhat silver and allow herself time to cool down before facing Isabela or these people who must be the pirate's friends. Luckily they were still fighting the remaining stragglers.

Sam was even contemplating fleeing to Isabela's room when the spirits warned her that someone was about to kill an innocent. She glanced sideways, eyes falling on a red haired elf who was picking herself from the ground. The innocent. Or so the spirits deemed. There were whispers of something else but she could not understand them, nor had the time when the lyrium-warrior, surged forward, going for the frail elf woman who was probably the age of Sam's brother. The blue white vines on Fenris' skin glowed with his rage as he asked why she betrayed him... Sam listened to both as the tension grew in the room, but found no real fault in the other woman. Her life was horrid, not that she don't think the elf woman didn't do anything wrong or what she did was good. Just that she didn't deserve to die. Besides, Sam could see her guilt. This sister would have to live the rest of her life knowing she betrayed her only living relative.

With the spirits already close, Sam pushed deeper into their realm as she step forward just as the lyrium-warrior was about to put his hand through his sister's chest. His hand was phased, but she grabbed his wrist, pulling it off course. She heard everyone gasp, startled that she was able to touch him when he was phased and by how fast she moved. Without looking she could also feel the shock from Fenris, but she ignored him. Ignored all of them. Eyes on the elf woman with flaming red hair.

"Say your peace and go." Her voice was cold. She held no compassion for this woman, only that the spirits demanded she saved her. You could say the spirits and her lived in a balance of symbiosis. Living and feeding off each other for both their benefits. One thing they demanded of her was that she save who they deemed worthy of saving. Annoying complication sometimes, but there was nothing she could do.

The sister swallowed, nodding as her gaze shifted beyond Sam's left shoulder. "Fenris, you have no idea what we went through. What I've had to do since Mother died. This was my only chance." She shook her head, looking down at the blood stained ground. "You said you didn't ask for this, but it's not true. You wanted it. You competed for it. When you won you used the boon to have Mother and I freed." Having nothing else to say, she started for the door, letting the silence hand think in the air, only to hesitate a few steps away and glanced back at him. "Freedom was no boon. I look on you now and I think you received the better end of the bargain."

With that the sister left and Sam released Fenris' wrist. Everyone remained silent, and deciding she needed to not only leave this room, but this city, she turned towards the stairs. The spirits were flittering around and about this man, uneasy with his rage. She wanted none of these problems. She had enough to deal with.

"I thought discovering my past would bring a sense of belonging, but I was wrong." His miserable tone made Sam slow, coming to a stop to listen. "Magick has tainted that, too. There is nothing for me to reclaim. I am alone."

"You have friends, Fenris," the woman mage said softly. If Sam was correct her name was, Hawke? She had overheard it a few times during the fight.

"It sure isn't me," the male mage, Anders(?), retorted quickly, disgust in his voice.

"Broody... we are your friends." The dwarf took a few steps towards Fenris, shouldering his crossbow. Sam couldn't remember any one saying his name...

"You heard what Varania said. I wanted these. I fought for them. I feel unclean, like this magick is not only etched into my skin, but has also stained my soul."

Melodramatic much? Sam rolled her eyes and was unable to stop herself from commenting, "Hn. Magick is not the issue. You have failed to recognize that your problem lies in the nature of man."

"And who are you to say this? What do you know?" he growled, glaring at the back of her head.

Sam cursed herself for saying anything, but turned slowly to face him anyway, crossing her before her. "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely is a famous quote from where I came from. And it's true. Whether that is the power of a king, a magister, a mage... or simply someone who is stronger. All are the same. Those who are weaker will always be oppressed by the stronger. As for who I am..." She shrugged. "Has nothing to do with this. You are letting your rage for mainly one man and his few peers to do the real tainting of your soul. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be leaving now..."

She was about to turn when he charged her, his lyrium markings glowing again as his clawed gloves wrapped around her neck, lifting her a few inches off the ground. He growled lowly, "You know nothing!"

Sam tilted her head up, looking down her nose at him as she glared back, eyes becoming greener with her own kindling emotions. Showing she was unafraid as she let her hands hang at her sides. What did she know? What a foolish question. It was like he believed he knew everything and everyone else knew nothing. What a self centered man? Part of her wanted to throw her whole story in his face, knock him not only down but lay him flat on the ground at her feet. But she knew better. Not only would that reveal far too much than she was willing to give, but a man like him wouldn't see reason until he lost something in the most painful of ways.

Isabela stepped forward. "Um... Fenris. I think she knows more than you think."

He shook Sam a little and she felt his gloves pinching, cutting into her skin. She smirked, something that angered him more, but she swiftly pulled the realm of death to her and allowed the grave essence into her before he could do anything else to her. When she disappeared, he blinked startled when he held onto nothing but air. The others stared, surprised. Fenris felt a chill down his spin only for Sam to appear behind him, leaning with her back against his. He tensed, glancing back at her, scowling, but did not move.

"I'm amazed you haven't killed yourself with such uncontrollable emotions ruling your powers." Sighing, she reached up, gently touching the cut that was bleeding before looking at it, rubbing the blood between her fingers.

"Who are you? How did you do that?" he bit off, the words coarse.

Sam didn't answer. Letting him stew with his rage only for Isabela to answer him, "She's a slave... like you, Fenris. From the Imperium..."

Thanks, Isabela... she muttered sarcastically in her head, giving the woman a displeased look before sighing and looked at the few others not a part of this group who just heard her. Now she would have to keep moving. So much for rest.

"And still trying to shake the one who deem themselves my masters." Sam moved, walking around him and roughly bumping into him as she passed by. "I think this is a sign that I should leave, but..." She stopped at the foot of the stairs, turning back to meet his dark green gaze. "Word of advice, enjoy life while you can..." She started up the stairs, running through her head what she could possibly do next. Most ships that were going to leave would have before the coming storm she had heard muttered around the markets earlier...

"Wait, Sam!" Isabela called out, jogging to the stairs. "Why leave? We can help you ..."

She chuckled darkly. "I doubt that very much."

"Is that lyrium?" Fenris asked suddenly, for now his rage had dissipated with the shock.

"As I told horny britches, in part, yes... No, it doesn't give me my powers, and no, there is nothing you can possibly say to make me stay."

The dwarf laughed as Isabela followed after her, asking, "Where shall you go?"

"Anywhere I can go..." She shrugged, stopping at the top and faced the pirate partly. "Getting home is pure fantasy, but a girl can dream."

Isabela took the step up to the top and placed her hands on Sam's shoulders, everyone noticed her cringe, but the charming pirate didn't move away. "At least stay the night. If you get any skinner no man will take you and how'r you to pay your way?"

Sam's nose wrinkled in disgust. "Unlike you I don't lie down and take it to pay my way, Isabela."

"Oh, but what of the off chance that you have to! I can't let you go."

Sam frowned. "Why are you doing this? You don't know me."

"I'd like to know you..." The mysterious woman's brow rose and Isabela chuckled. "Okay fine, I'm only after your sexy body."

Sam groaned, pinching the bridge of my nose, thinking as the silence dragged on before finally caving into the pirate's demands. "One night. And can you let go... I don't like being touched."

~~~~.~-~.~~~~