My hands, don't want to start again,
My hands, no they don't want to understand,
They just shake and try to break whatever peace I may find,
My hands, they only agree to hold,
Your hands, and they don't want to be without,
And they will not let me go. No they will not let me go.
Leona Lewis-My Hands.
A purple darkness cascaded over the mountain creating a mild fog and chilly breeze. Small spots rose on my arms as I rubbed furiously to warm them. It was quiet, too quiet. I could only hear the passing of the breeze against my ear. I had forgotten everything, in my haste to find Flemeth; I would be a dead woman if anything decided to attack me now. Anger and disappointment had seared through me when I learnt this trek had been a waste of time. Curiosity was now pushing me to walk back down the mountain. Who was this person who could help me?
Sighing loudly, I picked up my pace. It's been six hours now since Alistair has been missing, if I was going to find him I had to work harder than this. A shrill hooting made me jump out of my skin. Frantically looking around my eyes caught a beautiful white owl atop a dead tree, watching me as if it was curious Sighing in relief I continued walking. With the seconds ticking by I could only feel more irritated with myself. Irritated for losing Alistair. Irritated for falsely thinking a witch could help me. And irritated for carrying such a heavy shield, I didn't know how he could carry this all the time.
I had never felt more alone than I did on top of that mountain. I had no one. The only person who even thought me worthy was trapped somewhere, probably fearing for his life. I could feel myself crumbling, grasping on with my fingernails to what felt like false hope. I wasn't the smart, strong, arrogant woman I used to be. The old me would be running after those mages, blinded by anger, I would have chased them down till I was crawling on my knees. I would be dead.
As I got to a fork in the path, a large stone arch rose up from the center, I ambled towards it and leaned against the cold surface. I gazed up into the stars and made a silent wish. I pressed the tips of my fingers together and prayed my wish would turn into a miracle. I didn't pray to the Maker, I believed he turned his gaze from me a long time ago. No, I prayed to my father. When he was alive he gave us all hope and he delivered that hope with a smile. I tried to smile as I gazed up at the stars. But it didn't come.
Carrying on down the mountain, the night somehow grew darker as I came into the clearing where the Dalish had once been, the long blades of grass tickled against the exposed skin above my boots. Only with the light from the moon did I notice the silhouette up against the body of the horse. As I got closer, I saw that it was a female. I raised my eyebrows at her choice of clothing. She wore a ragged, thin cloth over a pair of tight trousers. Her top was equally tight showing off her delicate curves, it was a dirty, light red colour with long sleeves and a hood. From the back, I could see her long black hair was tied up. She turned, slowly and dramatically. As her face came into view, I studied her. She looked exotically svelte with her hair falling over her shoulders framing her delicate face. Her eyes were large and wild; I couldn't see the exact colour in the darkness. "Who do we have here?" Her sultry voice made my knees quiver. I couldn't explain the intimidation I had felt in her presence.
I found it hard to answer her as her eyes glared down on me. "Um…" I held out my hand. She looked repulsed by the friendly guesture. Clenching my fist, I let it fall back to my side. Instantly straightening up, I tried my best to look confident, however I must have seemed like an idiot because I looked a mess; my eyes were red and sore from crying. "My name is Cameron Hawke. But you can call me Hawke."
She didn't respond and didn't seem to care what my name was. I was instantly aware that she had the same aura about her as Flemeth. What did that mean? "And you may call me Morrigan." She said, after a while. Where had I heard that name before? Before I could say anything she ambled towards me. "Why are you out here?" She sounded inquisitive Which scared me.
"I'm looking for someone." I tried to stay subtle before I gave too much away. If this Morrigan was the person Flemeth talked about I had to make sure I didn't scare her away.
"And who is this someone?" She said peevishly.
I narrowed my eyes on her. "What's it matter?"
"You're right. It doesn't." She turned to leave, clearly bored of me.
Biting my lip, I felt myself start to shake. "No! Wait." I called after her; I didn't know what came over me. I had felt like all the hope in the world had turned away. . Morrigan paused for a second then turned half way towards me. "It's Alistair. He's the someone I'm looking for. He's been taken from me." I held my arms out in front of me showing my honesty. At his name she had raised her eyebrows incredulously.
"That wouldn't be Alistair Theirin would it?" She asked, the terrifying curiosity back in her voice. But I realised I had her full concentration, with her eyes piercing into mine.
"Yes, you know him?" I asked, crossing my arms. He had never mentioned any Morrigan.
Morrigan turned fully to face me, crossing her hands and leaning onto her hip, a hint of a smile on her face. "Oh, I know him."
I couldn't help but feel envious that this beauty had been in the same proximity as Alistair. And he hadn't even mentioned her. Did something happen between them? It was clear that this woman was enjoying my little panic attack as she started to laugh. "Ha! Yes, I know that toadstool. Unfortunately."
She was playing games with me. I glared at her. "He isn't a toadstool." I said defensively.
She waved me off as if my opinion didn't matter. "You're saying he's been taken. How does that entail me?"
"If you're the person she was talking about then you have to help me."
Morrigan raised her eyebrows higher. "Who is she?" She said slowly, making each word ring out.
"My friend once called her The Witch of the Wilds." I hadn't believed in the stories, I had just believed she was some old witch who liked the attention. Yet the look on Morrigan's face made me realise I was wrong.
She bowed her head in disbelief. "You met her?"
"And she said to look for me?"
"Not in name. But she said I'd find the help I needed at the bottom of this mountain." Who was Morrigan? Flemeth certainly knew her and so did Alistair. What was this? Morrigan suddenly looked enraged.
"Who does she think she is? First she sends me off with two infuriating Grey Wardens. Then I find out she wants to suck the life out of me. Now she's sending people to seek me out? I thought she had finally given up." She didn't seem to be talking to me anymore; in fact she wasn't even looking at me.
"Who are you?" I asked.
She looked at me in outrage. "'I'm Flemeth's apparent offspring." Of course, she had mentioned Morrigan back when we had the dealings with that amulet. That didn't explain how Morrigan knew Alistair, unless he was one of those two wardens she had mentioned. I looked at me and sighed. "I knew Alistair from the blight. Riona was my friend."
My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe Riona would befriend this woman. Clearly, I didn't know anything these days. Mainly, where Alistair was. Which reminded me why I was here. "I don't care. Are you going to help me find Alistair or not?"
Morrigan eyed me for a second and cursed under her breath. "What makes you think I'm going to help you?" Morrigan looked thoughtful for a moment, so I kept my mouth shut.. The moon's light shimmered across her face; I could see that her eyes were golden. "The ring." She said at length.
"What ring?" I asked bemused.
She closed her eyes ignoring me. Her forehead wrinkled in concentration. I decided to fix myself whilst she did what she had to do. Laying Duncan's shield, Alistair had always said it was Duncan's not his, on the ground. I sat crossed legged beside it and fished in my small bag for a small flask of water. I gulped it down greedily not remembering the last time that I had drunk anything. Water spilled out down my cheeks, dripping under my clothes. I waited patiently as she concentrated on the unknown. She had mentioned a ring, if she meant Alistair's silver ring then she might be telling the truth…Right?
"Damn it!" Morrigan hissed making me jump. She brushed a loose strand of hair from her face as she sat down on the ground. "I can't reach him, he's being guarded by blood magic. I can't break past that." She sounded disappointed, yet she didn't look worried.
"What is this ring anyway?" I asked, placing my bag on my lap. Reaching in I took out a piece of bread, placing it in my mouth, I let it savour on my tongue.
Morrigan titled back her head. "I gave it too Riona, initially. It was practical, I tainted it with magic, it was so I could find her if I needed her. But then she gave it to Alistair, I couldn't believe it." She sneered, I could hear the hurt in her voice; I felt pity for her.
"So how are we going to find him now if the blood mages are thwarting your spells?" It hadn't bothered me that Morrigan was a mage. She didn't say it outright, but she didn't have too, the staff tied to the holster on her back was obvious enough. I couldn't deny she was frightening but I didn't believe she was a blood mage. She looked too proud to become such a monster.
Her eyes lingered in the air between us seeing things that I couldn't. "I might not be able to get around their spells but I know who can." Instantly, she stood up and walked over to a large bag that I hadn't noticed. It looked heavy being carried by such delicate arms. But she didn't waver. Morrigan placed the bag down carefully in front of herself as she rejoined me on the ground. Opening the bag, she clutched the rear of the bag as she pulled out a large black book that was encrusted with a golden border. "This is my Grimoire, originally my mother's." She informed me, sensing my curiosity.
"How's it going to help us? Are you going to cast a spell?" I was intrigued. My bottom was floating off the ground. I was eager to look through the pages, but something told me that she didn't want me too close.
"No. A summoning." She said, not looking at me. Her eyes danced over the pages searching what could help us.
Morrigan sighed in frustration, turning on me with an icy glare. "You're trying my patience. Please, be quiet."
Pinching my index finger and my thumb together I flicked them across my lips. She sighed again but went back to her book. Evidently, I wasn't making this easy for her so I sat there quietly eating bread. Reaching in the small bag I took out a thin, woollen cardigan that fit.. Mother had knitted it for me when back we lived in Lothering. These days it was one of the few things I had to my name.. Slipping the cool fabric over my bare arms, I regretted leaving without all my things. I had settled for my leather armour that consisted of a sleeveless top and thick skirt. "I've got it." I looked up to see Morrigan, muttering quietly to herself. I stood up and walked over to her, a chill went up my spine as I sat beside her. Morrigan flinched but didn't say anything.
The book was encrypted with weird symbols. Looking closely I saw small speckles of ink that told me someone had wrote all of this. Morrigan ran her finger over a star shaped symbol and whispered something in a language I didn't recognise. Nothing happened. Beside me Morrigan closed the book with an unreadable expression. "Did it work?" I asked her. I wasn't really sure what it was.
"Yes." She said bluntly. Clearly, I wasn't getting anything valuable from her.
"What do we do now?" I asked.
"We wait." She said lifelessly. I suddenly felt uncontrollably angry. Pushing myself to my feet I circled around in front of her.
"You're not really helping me here." I hissed, clenching my fists.
Morrigan gave me a bored look. "Go away then." She didn't seem to care what I did as long as I didn't bother her. I was outraged.
"What?" I breathed, incredulously.
"If you can't do as I say, go away. I didn't ask for this."
I felt like screaming. "Oh, so I asked for a bunch of blood mages to kidnap him did I?"
"How am I supposed to know?" She looked at me like I was crazy, but her tone of voice didn't change.
"No, I didn't. Do you have any idea what it is like to feel helpless?" I said. I had been in a small room, waiting for news. When I should have been out there looking for him with the others, but because of my injuries I had to stay in our room.
Morrigan stood up with raised eyebrows. "You need to get over it. Your man is gone and you are not going to get him back by trying to insult me." She was right but the fury didn't lessen. I felt something wet on my cheek, bring my hand up to wipe it away I realised it was a tear. Morrigan noticed this too and rolled her eyes. Had she never cared for anyone?
I didn't know how long I cried silently to myself, wishing I could turn back the clock and save Alistair. I played and replayed a few scenes in my head where I had performed unrealistic heroics; wishing each of them was true. In truth, I was going mad. I didn't want to speak to Morrigan, so I didn't speak at all. If Alistair were here, he would have done his best to make me smile. He wouldn't have been satisfied till I was clutching my stomach with tears of laughter spilling out of my eyes. I sighed, wiping away a stray tear from my cheek. A strange, loud sound made me jump to my feet. My dagger already in hand, Morrigan was standing off to the side staring into thin air. I walked over too her, each step was quiet. I half-expected her to realise I was there but when I got closer she jumped. Her shocked expression made me giggle. She shot me a serious look and I covered it up by pretending to cough. "Is something coming?" I asked, just as a green light illuminated the air a few yards in front of us. Mist fell like a waterfall from the centre of the light. My heart raced as I gazed in wonder upon a young girl dressed head to toe in a white satin creating a veil over her raven black hair. A golden belt wrapped around her waist making the satin skirt flow over her legs. She held twin blades that executed a sense of reinforcement and great power. My attention quickly drew to her piercing eyes; they were pure white with no pigmentation to the iris, however a thick black outline encircled the pupil.
… … …
Wait, had I seen those eyes before?
I tried to speak but no words escaped my frozen lips. I glanced sideways at Morrigan who was smiling brilliantly at the wonder in front of us. I looked back and again was intrigued by those familiar eyes. She didn't look at me as she floated towards Morrigan graciously. Morrigan strolled towards her and as they met Morrigan embraced the girl in her arms. The girl rested her head on Morrigan's shoulder, as her eyes closed they released me from the trance. "Excuse me, what is going on here?" I asked, raising my voice. They both turned. Morrigan glared at me, cursing me for intruding. The girl smiled shyly, raising her hand in greeting. They stood side by side; I couldn't help but compare them to yin and yang. Morrigan looked weak but deadly and the girl looked strong yet innocent.
The girl stepped closer towards me but she stopped abruptly, as if she wasn't sure if she should come too close. "Hello." Her voice was tender which surprised me, I had expected her to sing out each word like she was some angel fallen down from the Maker's side.
I didn't want to insult her, so I forced myself to speak. "Uh…Hello." I ran my fingers through my hair as my voice trembled with nervousness. She smiled baring pearly white teeth, her lips pulled back over the top of her teeth but the plumpness of her lips was still there. Small dimples appeared on her ghostly white cheeks making her face look more human.
She walked closer until she was only a couple feet in front of me. "I'm Letecia." She said, holding out her hand. I gazed down at her hand, completely frozen again. She kept her hand out as I stared at it, she wore a silver ring just like Alistair's. Snapping my eyes back up to meet her extraordinary pair. I reached out, taking her hand firmly in mine. I gasped as electricity burst from her hand into mine, images rushed through my head and I couldn't make sense of them. A field of flowers. A white dress. Then a burst of white light. The images repeatedly passed through my mind faster and faster 'till I felt the urge to be sick. I felt her let go of my hand, which brought the urge on faster. Staring at her wide-eyed I covered my mouth as the sickness came up. She saw my desperation by jumping back a few places. I clutched my stomach begging the vomit to stay down. Unfortunately, it didn't. Much to Letecia and Morrigan's disgust I was sick.
Before I could apologise, I was beat to it. "That doesn't usually happen." Behind Letecia, Morrigan was still staring at me in disgust but she also looked amazed.
Letecia nodded. "You've already seen that vision, haven't you?" She asked me, crossing her arms. I frowned at the floor. Have I? If I did I couldn't remember. Letecia sighed. "This is bad."
"It's her own fault." Morrigan said annoyed.
"How could she have known?" Letecia replied softly. How could they speak about me as if I wasn't there? And what where they talking about?
"Are you going to tell me exactly who you are first? It's a bit hard to trust someone who I've just met." That last part was a lie, especially in Letecia's case. It felt very easy to trust her. However it was very hard to explain why.
Her eyes snapped open. "Oh right. Yes, I'm not used to meeting people often. I'm pretty secluded." She sighed as she realised she was rambling. Smiling weakly, she looked back at Morrigan who was watching us both intently. They exchanged glances, Letecia turned back to me, smiling still. "I'm Morrigan's daughter. I'm fifteen years of age but I'm far beyond my years. I'm not entirely human though." She paused, looking uncomfortable. Morrigan stepped towards her and placed a hand on her shoulder. She nodded at something and carried on. "Morrigan never kept anything from me, so when she told me that I possessed the soul of an old god named Dumat, I thought it a… lie." Letecia looked saddened by this, I instantly knew she was telling the truth.
"That explains a lot." I knew a lot about the old gods from Riona and Alistair they hadn't hesitated when I asked. "By telling me this are you expecting me too trust you?" I said, more curious about her intentions than anything else.
Letecia shook her head. "No one can be trusted…They will always want the secrets you possess." I didn't know how to take this information but it was something I would hold onto. "Which comes to why I'm here…someone must have done something to you for you to be seeing such visions. I don't know who and I doubt we'll ever find out unless they tell you themselves. I know this because you can only ever see the vision once. If you try to see it again well…"She motioned to the pool of sick a few feet behind me. I shuddered at the thought.
So that was were I saw her eyes before?
"They gave me the vision. Which brought me too you…could that be a bad thing?" I asked. She may be my only hope to get Alistair back. So I couldn't see how that could be bad.
Morrigan laughed. "Depends on who gave it too you. Perhaps 'tis not be a bad thing for you…yet you haven't the slightest idea on how many disgusting vermin would love to crush the bones of my dear Letecia." She stroked Letecia's hair gently…protectively.
"Why would they do that?" I definitely found it hard to believe that someone would want to hurt her.
"I possess the soul of an old god." Letecia said as if it was obvious.
Morrigan coughed loudly. "Daughter…I called upon you for another purpose." She had been starting to look impatient. Letecia turned her gaze fully on Morrigan.
"Oh?" Letecia was clearly shocked. But I was glad. My heart was aching even harder than it was when I first entered the clearing. Morrigan looked at me pointedly. Signalling me to explain. Almost instantly Letecia turned to look back at me.
"Yes. I came here to these mountains in search of help. My…friend was taken by blood mages and I fear for his life. I know hundreds of people must be looking for him. But from what I've learned about blood mages they don't make anything easy. So can you help?" I asked feeling more than nervous. Letecia frowned as she contemplated over this. I stood idly as she and Morrigan had a silent conversation. Morrigan carefully kept her eyes away from mine as I tried to read her expression.
After long last Letecia grimaced. "If he has been taken by blood mages we must act quickly…For they are no better than the demons."
"What must we do?" I asked.
As she looked at me, I gazed into her inhuman eyes and was shocked to see a hint of gold. From afar I would have sworn they had no colour at all. "They must be dealt with like the demons." In that moment she scared me.
X X X
It was nearly dawn by the time we set up the candles in a circle around Letecia. They hadn't told me what she was going to do. And I didn't want to know as she sat crossed legged chanting in a language I never even heard of. Morrigan lit the candles as I watched from a grass bank. While I sat there I knew that what ever they did for me, that I had to repay them. But I couldn't think about that. I could feel my hands shaking trying to break this new hope that they were giving me. I sat them under my bottom till they become numb. No matter how much I tried to keep my mind on the positive side, images haunted me of Alistair being tortured. Alistair was a strong man who has been through a lot, but even he couldn't withstand endless torture. And no doubt they were torturing him, or they have already killed him. But I didn't dwell on that.
I noticed Morrigan walking over to me. She frightened me more than anything. As she sat beside me I stiffened. "Is she doing okay?" I asked, trying to break my tension. It didn't work.
Morrigan didn't answer. She just stared ahead like I hadn't said anything. Keeping silent, I turned slightly away from her. "Letecia likes you." She said at length. I thought she sounded displeased.
"She's a nice girl." I said, nodding.
"She really wants to help you." She turned her unreadable eyes on me.
"I'm grateful." I nodded again.
Morrigan stayed silent for a moment. Thinking. "Alistair is not worth her exposure." She hissed, suddenly angry.
I snapped my eyes towards her. "He's a decent man." I growled back.
"He's an idiot." She snapped, glaring at me.
"Well you're a heartless bitch, you know that." I shouted, jumping up. "You may think the world revolves around you Morrigan but it doesn't. Alistair is a caring man and a great king, he's worth everything." I couldn't believe how insensitive she was.
Morrigan barked a laugh. "Oh. So you do not care that my daughter is in danger with every second she is here?" She smiled innocently. "And you say I'm the heartless one?" She threw her head back laughing.
"You brought her here not me."
"'Tis not I who asked her too stay?"
I glared at her in fury. "You are impossible." I stalked away from her.
I didn't speak to anyone till the sun was full in the sky, which was when Letecia finally opened her eyes. She walked over happily as I sat polishing Duncan's shield with my sleeve. Small specks of dust had settled in Alistair's absence. I abruptly stood up as I saw her approach. She was grinning widely and bouncing on her heels. "I've found him."