I Am Me Again

Light, soft, and full of passion. Your fingers send sparks of electricity through my veins, my skin tingles in their wake. You are the one–the only one I will ever truly love. In the weeks past, I was broken. Left raw on the streets, my heart bleeding for everyone to see. I was humiliated but too weak to pick myself up. You came along, a good Samaritan offering a comforting smile and a gentile hand to someone who didn’t deserve it. Someone who had been wallowing in self pity after a diagnosis that wasn’t even that bad. Sure my life would change, but it was far from over. If only I could have seen that then–but then I would never have met you. Had I been stronger then, I wouldn’t have been weak the day I met you.

Oh that sweet, sweet day. Dark, damp and humid. I was sitting in a cafe staring at my phone, heartbroken. Hands shaking so bad they could barely type my reply. Eyes red and wet with tears for someone whom now I know wasn’t worthy of the love I had given. That was when you sat down at my table, with your beautiful smile and ice blue eyes, offering help to a complete stranger. Gently you pull my phone from my fingers and utter a few words about how on a day like this, I shouldn’t be so sad. You buy me a cup of tea and comment on my tattoos just to make me smile. Buy why? What could you have possibly seen in me that made your world brighter? I am no one. I was no one. I was someone who had given everything she had to everyone else and had nothing left to give. I was unstable, fragile and coming undone in a public cafe.  For two hours I had sat there, unraveling in front of everyone, and not one person paid me any attention until you.

You. It was you who made my sun shine that day. It was you who had made me smile for the first time in weeks. You and that damn smile of yours, the smile that makes me stronger–that makes me want to fight. You make me stronger, everyday. Despite my illness you love me, you nurture me. On my bad days you take care of me, on my good days you make me feel normal. Small adventures you call them. Spontaneous trips to the comic book store, picnics in the park, poetry slams on the weekends.

Your touch, your smile, your everything makes me come alive; gives me strength to fight on the days I almost give up. I was no one, I had no one. Your gentle hand, your loving touch and encouraging words put me back together. Now, I have you and I am someone again. I am me again.

via Daily Prompt: Unravel

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Small Adventures

Mac could see the pain in Janie’s eyes as he sat down across from her. He slid into the bench of the small booth in their favorite grill and took her in. Blood shot, tear stained eyes that longed for peace. She wore a loose plaid button down and the Marilyn Mansion shirt she had stolen from him to cover up the bruises on her arms and the port on her chest. Her hair hung loose around her face. She probably hadn’t even brushed it. He could see her shaking underneath the plaid button down—from pain and exhaustion. She had gotten out of bed to be here early enough to snag a good table and order before the grill closed for the night.

She smiled at him; a warm genuine smile that to most would look sincere—but not Mac. He didn’t need her to him how much pain she was in or how long it had been since she had slept, he already knew. When he had left her the day before she had said she’d be fine, but Mac new she had been lying. He hadn’t been upset for he knew she hadn’t been lying to him, she had been lying to herself. He also knew her roommate had to help her out of the shower this morning and that she probably hadn’t eaten anything since he saw her the day before.

Mac’s heart broke a little more in his chest, as it often did when he saw Janie this way. He wanted nothing more than to absorb her pain even if just for a short time to give her a few moments of relief. But there wasn’t anything he could do; there wasn’t anything any one could do.

Janie’s doctors had stopped looking for a cure and were now focused on pain management. He couldn’t fathom how she made it day to day, but she did. And he loved her for it. Mac had told Janie to stay home, but she hadn’t. She didn’t say why, but Mac knew—she didn’t want to be alone.

Janie would be sitting up in her room all night, fighting back tears of pain, anyways. At least here she could see his cute face and pretend to be normal.

Mac’s food had been waiting for him when he sat, being kept warm by a steaming skillet beneath a wooden plate. Janie had ordered him his favorite dish, a steaming plate of steak fajita’s and a small bowl of pasta for herself. Pasta was her go to comfort food, but she hadn’t touched it. Mac told himself she had been waiting for him, though he knew she probably didn’t feel like eating. She pushed the noodles around with her fork and looked up at Mac’s big brown eyes.

“Tell me about your day,” she pleaded. Distract me.

Mac thought for a moment. “It was pretty boring,” he admitted, and Janie’s eyes fell back to her plate. “But…” Mac continued trying to hide his smile, “I did manage to snag you an advanced copy of Horizon.”

Excitement sparkled in Janie’s eyes. After being diagnosed Janie began working from home. She had grown depressed being cooped within the walls of her apartment so her roommate turned her on to gaming. Janie spent hours tearing through every Play Station and X box game Tiana owned and eventually had run out of things to play. She ventured into his store one day looking for something new—that was how they met. Mac, seeing the exhaustion and pain in her eyes that longed for a new distraction, gave her his favorite Final Fantasy game and his number for when she finished.

A week later Janie returned begging for the next installment, officially addicted—and not just to the game.

Her illness had been hard for Mac to get used to; it was frustrating at first with her cancelling dates or shying away from his touch. It wasn’t until the first time he sat with her in the hospital that he finally understood. He had learned to watch her, know her telltale signs of pain. He had also learned that despite the illness she still strived to go out and do things, because she would be in pain either way.  Instead of roller blading around the park, they would have picnics instead. Instead of going out to dinner they would order in and have Netflix Marathons.

Only on good days would they be venturous—like the day Janie insisted they go to the aquarium. Janie didn’t like the ocean, she couldn’t even swim—but just for a moment they both had forgotten about Janie’s illness as they trotted through Denver’s aquarium hand in hand taking selfies with the giant fish and hired mermaids.

It was those good days that helped Mac through Janie’s bad days. Though there had been more bad days lately than good, he remembered Janie’s smile on every small adventure they went on and made it his personal goal to make her smile like that again and again because that was what made him happy.

As Janie smiled at him he ticked today off his mental calendar. Mission accomplished.

“How about we take this to go?” Mac couldn’t wait to see the wonder in her eyes as she saw the game on her 4k compatible screen. He wanted to watch her sit with her eyes closed and take in the music as it moved her soul.

Janie gave Mac a devious smile. Suddenly the pain and exhaustion in her eyes was replaced by a small sense of adventure.

She reached her arm out and stopped the waitress as she passed by. “Can we have the check please?”

Love in the Valley Part 1

Lindy looked down at her dying phone one more time. Not that she had any notifications– because she didn’t–she just needed something to do. She had let her friend Ethan drag her off to Mesa to hand with some friends and their stooped up cars. She didn’t want to tell her friend that she was bored out of her mind, tired and a little frustrated so she just kept mindlessly scrolling through twitter and Pinterest.

All night she had listened to her friend Ethan and his friends talk car to one another and she could barely keep up. V6 verses V8, manifolds, VTEC engines and IFO. Lindy liked to drive, and she could drift her fathers old 98 Miata like a pro on the mountain passes up towards Prescott but she didn’t know anything more than to check her oil every 3000 miles and to never ever leave an automatic in neutral.

Guns. Guns and computers–that was a topic the small blonde could school every male here in, but no one brought up firing pins or core processors. It was all catalytic converters, exhaust systems and burnouts.

“Can we go now?” Lindy whispered to Ethan after stifling a yawn.

“Don’t tell me your tired already?” her dark headed friend teased, nudging her with his shoulder.

They had been sitting on the passenger side of Ethan’s car, Lindy in the seat with her feet handing out the door and Ethan perched on the edge of the door frame just beside her.

“No, tired was two hours ago, now I’m just cranky.” Lindy felt like this was a reasonable request, it was already two A.M. and she had a big day of shopping planned for the next day. Ethan laughed.

“Nah man,” Ethan’s friend replied getting to his feet. “I gotta head home myself, Mace is gonna be pissed if I stay out all night again.”

Ethan stood to shake his friends hand, “Alright Man, it was good seein ya!”

“Bye!” Lindy called as, Kade, Ethan’s friend got into his old yellow Honda SR and spun out of the parking lot.

Ethan shook his head as he rounded the front of his Honda Civic SI, “Show off.”

The drive back to Scottsdale was anything but boring, and Ethan tool the long way round back to the 202 just to watch Lindy cackle as he serenaded her with every R. Kelley song Spotify would play.

The dark haired car fanatic mumbled profanities to himself as he eased up the hill to Lindy’s villa on Harvard street.

“Why didn’t you take the Hayden entrance, goof?”

“Because the park entrance is prettier,” Ethan replied once he eased his lowered car up onto the road.

Lindy chuckled and shook her head. She noticed that the lights were still on inside her small villa, her grandmother must still be awake.

“Thanks for tonight,” Lindy said, “I enjoyed it.”

“No you didn’t,” Ethan smiled, “But thanks for coming.”

Lindy flashed her brilliant white teeth. “Your welcome.”

Lindy said her goodbyes and let herself out of the car. As she neared her door she heart Ethan exit the car as well. Shit, shit, shit! She thought to herself. What is he doing?

“What are you doing?”

“Kissing you goodnight,” Ethan replied.

Kiss? Ethan and Lindy had only met a few weeks ago–at work. This wasn’t supposed to be a date, why would he kiss her? Lindy’s heart began to race inside her chest. Not that she didn’t want Ethan to kiss her, it’s just that they worked together and it would be weird and awkward and all the other bad things her Grandmother had warned her about. But before the blonde could protest Ethan planted the most awkward, but sweetest kiss on her cheek, probably because she was still halfway facing her door then sashayed back to his car and zoomed off.

“Thought this wasn’t a date?” Lindy’s grandmother inquired playfully from the couch.

“It wasn’t supposed to be,” Lindy confessed, plopping down on the grey couch beside her dad’s mother.

“He obviously thought it was.”

“What are you even doing awake?”

Lindy’s grandmother looked at her with amusement, “I wanted to be awake to say ‘I told you so’.”

“Are you happy now?”

“Yes.”

“Good, then go to bed.”

“Don’t give me attitude little one,” her grandmother chastised.

“Yes ma’am, I’m sorry.”

“You’re forgiven.” her grandmother replied as she got to her feet and headed up the stairs to her loft. “Don’t forget we’re meeting Andie at ten! Goodnight !”

With a loud sigh, Lindy peeled herself off the couch and went to her room. She found her grandmother’s cat, Pepper, sprawled out on her duvet. Lindy must have woken her when she pushed the bedroom door open and Pepper looked at Lindy with disgust.

“Oh, don’t look at me that way,” Lindy snapped. Pepper blinked lethargically and set her head back down on the duvet. Pepper. was going to be extra annoyed when Lindy tried to crawl into bed.

“Lindy!” Lindy’s grandmother cried the next morning from the kitchen.

“Ma’am?” Lindy was still in her room, trying to brush the dry shampoo out of her blonde hair. It wasn’t going very well.

“We’re leaving in ten minutes! Are you going to drink this or what?” The blonde had completely forgotten about the coffee she poured herself earlier that morning.

“I’ll take it  with me!” Lindy replied as she pulled the top half of her hair into a messy top knot.

Shopping in Scottsdale  was a big deal. Fashion Square was the largest mall in the state and the people of Scottsdale (Snottsdale) were very proud of it. The mall was practically it’s own city, located in the center of town just north of Old Town and Lindy had every intention of spending the whole day cruising the mall with her adorable grandmother and slightly famous auntie. She couldn’t go wearing just anything, but she had little options seeing as she hadn’t done laundry in two weeks. She had planned on doing it last night, but Ethan hadn’t told her they would be out so late.

The small blonde, finished with her hair, pulled on a classic white shirt and a dark green plaid mini skirt and rushed out of her bedroom to grab her shoes. The grunge look was her go to on rushed mornings, it also went very well with yesterday’s eyeliner and the vegan doc martins she left by the back door.

Her grandmother commended her on her 15 minute ensemble then rushed her out the back door to the car port where Lindy’s aunt’s range rover waited for them.

“So, who’s this Ethan and when do I get to meet him?” Lindy’s Aunt Andie asked playfully as she slammed the back passenger door closed.

Lindy gave her grandmother a ferocious look. “Grandma!”

“What?”

Lindy shook her head, “He’s a friend, and there’s nothing to tell. Can we please just go shopping?”

“You should invite him for lunch! I made reservations at the Four Winds, one more won’t be a problem.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not bringing a guy from work to meet my grandmother and aunt from Vegas.”

“Ashamed of us are you?” My grandmother asked, smining a devilish smile through the rearview mirror.

“Not at all. The two of you are intimidating is all.”

“How am I intimidating?”

I looked at my aunt with sarcastic eyes. She was beautiful, naturally ash blonde, high cheekbones, glowing skin, fake double d’s and legs for days. She was a model for crying out loud and her husband owned two clubs in Vegas and a security company. If the Range Rover didn’t spell it out for you, then her two Lexus’s and five bedroom house might. My grandmother had aged, but was still beautiful. Her curly brown hair was pulled into a french twist that she magically did herself, her perfect white teeth could blind a cop in the next lane if they caught the Arizona sun just right and she strutted around in her Jimmy Choo’s like every carpet was the red carpet. The two of them had lived in Scottsdale their whole lives and it showed.

Andie got my drift and rolled her eyes, “If he could handle a night out with you, I think he can handle lunch with the two of us, now call him.”

My aunt Andie had this look, it was terrifying yet humorous. And it’s how she always got her way. My dad says I have the look, but mine was nothing compared to hers. So I took out my phone, dialed Ethan’s number an invited him to lunch.

 

Legion of Keepers: Part 2

Anna paused outside the forgotten theater on Oak Street. If thing were as bad as Fred had said and the Assembly was considering a change in protocol, the blonde Legionnaire wasn’t sure if she wanted to enter. This old theater had housed the Assembly for a hundred years; it was long forgotten about, run down and ugly on the outside but the inside was timeless. The marble walls glittered in the traditional candle lit chandeliers; the golden staircases were blanketed in bright red velvet rugs.

Anne had been in the old theater many times and its timelessness always gave her the creeps. Like the legion itself, the theater never changed. Somehow it managed to stay exactly the same even after the earthquakes in 2011. Not a single candle had tipped out of place or did one picture sit askew on the wall. Anne had a theory that the theater was somehow in a dimension of its own—existing outside of time and space entirely, impervious to mundane disasters. But of course her handler Fred continued to tell her how preposterous that idea was every time she brought up the idea.

With a deep breath, the blonde gathered her wits and turned the rusty handle of the grand wooden theater door. Almost instantly the air turned stale; the tension of the assembly was almost suffocating and she still stood in the entry way.

“You’re late,” said a voice. Fred, her annoyingly ordinary looking handler peered down at her from the second floor of the atrium with a disapproving but amused look.

“I’m not late; I just didn’t want to come.” Anne replied as she approached the grand staircase.

Fred crossed his arms over his chest. “It’s that attitude that keeps you in trouble.”

“You can thank my father for the attitude,” the blonde told her handler, “I’ve been told it’s my best quality.”

Anne’s handler only shook his head. He walked over to a golden door just above the staircase. “Your mother is waiting for you.”

“How bad is it?”

“It’s bad enough,” her handler breathed. “You know she doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”

Madame Eveline Chevalier was the Legions Imperial Legate, or general. Though she had only accepted the position less than a year ago, the Madame had been running the legion’s defenses for years. She was an expert at shielding the supernatural world from the fragile reality bubble the humans had wrapped themselves in. By submerging herself in the human world as a famous fashion designer and blogger she was able to poke her nose into things without raising suspicion. She had contacts in every country, had high ranking officials on speed dial and could con the greatest con artist into giving up his tricks.

Anne’s mother was a hard person to talk to. Nearly everyone who worked for her feared her. Eveline Chevalier was a tough and stubborn woman who often thought she knew better than everyone else. Though sometimes that were true, it was hard for the Madame to admit to being wrong. As terrifying as she was, she was compassionate in her own way, after all she had been raised to put others before herself. She came from old family money so most of her earned revenue went to charities. Donations also helped keep the people’s opinion of her high, making it easier to cover up incidents. There was a method to her madness, believe it or not.

Though she was in fact Anne’s mother, the woman didn’t posses a single motherly trait. Not once did her mother take her to school, frame a picture she had drawn or sing her to sleep as a child. In fact, Anne never even knew she had a mother until she was thirteen. Since then, Anne’s mother had been more like a supervisor than a mother. Pushing her to train harder than the other chosen children, criticizing her wardrobe choices and the social life Anne refused to give up.

None the less, Anne loved her mother—though she had never admitted it to anyone but Dan.

“Ah, Annalise, so glad you could make it.”

“I wasn’t given much choice, Mother.”

Anne plopped herself down on the old chaise lounge by the windows that over looked the main stage. Her mother had been sitting at her desk, fondling her glasses and staring at an old piece of parchment.

Madame Chevalier, known mundane fashion guru and fearless Legionnaire leader, pushed herself away from her oversized desk to sit across from her daughter.

“The assembly is considering a change in protocol,” Madame Chevalier began.

“I was informed.”

“We’ve been monitoring recent cracks in the wards, more and more are popping up in the city though nothing has come through.”

“What do you need me for? There are better trained Legionnaires to handle this change in protocol.”

“You are the change, Annalise.”

Legion of Keepers: Part 1

Inspired by The Daily Post’s one word prompt of the day.

“Eclipse?” Anna asked her friend who was reading the newspaper aloud to her from across the table. “Is that tonight?”

Dan nodded slightly and continued to read. “This year a total of seven eclipses are predicted to occur, five of those expected to be solar eclipses.”

This is just perfect. Anna thought to herself while she sipped her coffee quietly.

To most people, the word eclipse means little more than the sun or the moon going black for a while. Some find it fascinating, others could care less.

To Anna however, an eclipse meant that the wards protecting this world from all the others would weaken which could potentially lead to the end of the world as we know it. Or at least that’s what the Keepers had been telling her since she was nine. Nothing ever that drastic had happened since the Salem Witch hunts in the 1600’s. All that hullabaloo about the world ending on a solar eclipse was nothing more than a bedtime story meant to inflict fear in the special children chosen to protect this world from the demonic, monstrous creatures that may or may not exist in other dimensions.

Anna was one of those children, but Dan didn’t know that. No one did, not even her own father. Secretly, Anna was trained by an order known as The Legion of Keepers to help prevent magic—and creatures—from leaking into this dimension.

Anna was also a bit annoyed that her plans tonight were now canceled because of this supposed eclipse. She had really been looking forward to watching Dan’s band play their first official gig. Maybe she could pop in just for a second? It’s not like anyone would know, and Biggley’s was on her normal patrol route.

“Anna?” Dan repeated for the third time. He had been trying to get her attention to ask her about his gig tonight while she was trying to figure out how to do her job and be there for her only friend.

“Sorry?”

“Are you alright?”

“Of course,” Anna gave the artsy brunette a smile and sipped her coffee casually.

Dan gave the blonde a curious look then continued. “Do you think you could come to my flat around five and help us with our look? Nate said to go for a causal bad ass look, but Jamie wants to try a punk theme. I fear only you can talk them into showing up looking normal.”

Nate and Jamie, Dan’s band mates, often fought over the band’s look–even though Anna thought their different styles complimented the bands personality. Their original music varied so why shouldn’t their wardrobe choices? Her mom was a renown local fashion guru so naturally Dan’s band took her word on fashion as gospel. Anna’s fashion sense was pretty much the only thing Anna could thank her mother for.

Anna chuckled. “Sure, just as long as you leave the red cowboy boots in your closet where they belong.”

“Hey!” Dan snapped sarcastically, “I pull those off and you know it!”

Anna merely rolled her eyes, “Whatever helps you sleep at night babe.”

Anna’s apple watch began to flash letting her know someone was trying to call her. The blonde gave Dan an apologetic look and got to her feet. She took her phone call outside in the crisp autumn air.

“Speak to me,” she said rebelliously knowing that such words would drive her caller bananas.

“Honestly, Anna,” said Fredderick, a serious but kind Keeper, “I’m your handler not your companion.”

“You know that hurts my feelings, Fred. Why do you hate me so?” Anna could hear the Keeper’s eyes roll and she smirked in triumph.

“The Legion is gathering. There has been a…change in protocol.”

“A change in protocol?” Anna echoed. Those were three words the blonde never thought she’d hear, ever. The legion was very strict and has been following the same rules set forth by the original keepers since the dark ages.

“That’s what I said. You really must be present. Missing another meeting will not look good to the assembly and between you and me your mother isn’t in a good mood today.”

Anna peered in at Dan through the coffee shop window, a sad looking falling over her eyes. “Alright, fine,” she said. “I’ll be there in twenty, but I have plans at five and I do not intend to cancel.”

“My mom is throwing a major tantrum over a missing dress design.” Anna told Dan as she reentered the coffee shop, rolling her eyes for dramatic effect.

“Have fun,” Dan mused, his eyes still on his morning paper.

Anna shook her head at her friend and called, “See you at five!” over her shoulder just before she shoved the coffee shop door open and ran across the street to her car.

Eclipse

A Father’s Hands

Hands.

Hands that hold, hands that protect.

Hands worn, torn and sunburned from months spent in the deserts of the Middle East yet still so gentle.

Cuticles caked with permanent grime. Nails cracked and stained with the blood of his fellow soldiers, never even bothering to fiddle with gloves; hands that possessed a certain delicacy as they plunged into broken, bleeding, dying bodies in a desperate attempt to save a life.

This delicacy, this tenderness, is found only in hands that often hold the little hands of a child—a father’s hands. Of course, such gentle hands went unnoticed in such a horrid place as was war, but it was this tender touch that often gave dying soldiers one last piece of comfort as they closed their eyes and finally found peace.

Despite the horror these hands had touched, they were never harsh. For hands that had known so much death, they couldn’t stand to be anything but loving when holding the little hands of children.

Strong, kind hands forever tattooed with the horrors of war never allowed such things to impede their ability to love. Hands that never shook outwardly with fear; hands that had been taught to fight yet never razed a loved one’s cheek. Uncontrolling, careful, encouraging hands seeking only to guide—to love.

Hands that tell a story of fear, despair, loss and bloodshed yet still a story of unconditional love. The story of a father’s hands. The story of my father’s hands.

 

This is a small piece I wrote for my school’s newspaper inspired by an in class conversation about hands. Hands are one of the first thing I look at when I meet people, they say a lot about who they belong to. My own father has really rough skin, but gentle hands. He has five girls and despite having been a cop and in the military for forty years he is the most gentle person I know. He even braids hair! (I may have mentioned this before, but don’t tell him I told any of you this!)

This is just the first of many small creative pieces I have for you!

OXOXO

Kat

Also posted on My Trending Stories!

The Hero of Fereldon Hates Me: A DA:I Fan Fic

Alright. This is the first chapter of my first ever fan fiction! It’s a Dragon Age piece and as a writer myself I have all of these head cannons for my characters that just needed to be written and posted. (At least that’s what Mulan keeps telling me!) This piece is just after Adamant Fortress, you know the whole Fade debacle. My Hero is a human noble inspired by Selene from Underworld–volatile and reckless. My Inquisitor is a ginger. ‘Nuff said. 

Here we goooooo…

“Are you alright?” Cullen asked the inquisitor. The standard question everyone always asked her after every big mission. Usually she could fool them, tell them she was okay and most of the time she believed it herself—but not tonight. Tonight, Arwynne was anything but okay.

She had been standing outside the fortress staring out across the approach, arms crossed over her chested if she were trying to hold herself together. The rest of their forces were gathering the dead, rounding up the remaining wardens and preparing to leave. The sun had started to rise over Thedas blanketing the sand in pink rays of light. She couldn’t look at the fortress anymore without remembering what had transpired. She remembered everything now, both of her trips to the fade and what she had seen there.

She hated spiders. It was a silly fear, but one the nightmare demon had exploited. When she was younger, Arwynne had tripped in the garden at her families estate. When she woke she was covered in these tiny black spiders…it gave the Inquisitor chills just to think about it.

“Inquisitor?” Cullen was being formal, they were still surrounded by soldiers—not that it mattered. Everyone at Skyhold knew the two of them were a thing, Dorian and Josephine were terrible gossips.

Arwynne turned to face the commander, his face wrought with anguish but he was still concerned for the woman he had come to care for. Tears filled the Inquisitor’s eyes, “No.”

Despite the wandering eyes of the soldiers, Cullen reached for the Inquisitor. She buried her face in the lion fur he always wore, using it to hide the tears she was freely shedding. “I couldn’t save him.” She cried.

“He stayed to save you,” the commander whispered, “there was nothing you could have done.”

“I should have tried.”

“Then all of you could have died.”

Arwynne pulled back and Cullen’s gloved hand went to wipe a tear from her cheek. “Let’s get back to Skyhold. I think the inquisition can survive for a few days without its inquisitor. We’ll gather everyone at the war table when Hawke reports back from Weissahaupt.”

It took the Inquisiton four days to reach Skyhold, and the inquisitor and her party were silent for most of it. Arwynne barely slept, Bull refused to eat for two days, when Dorian did speak he was criticizing something, and poor Sera was practically catatonic. Upon their arrival, Arwynne’s advisors lost no time planning their next move. The inquisitor was present, she did her duties and when Hawke returned (with Fenris attached to her hip) the war council convened to discuss the events at Adamant fortress and submit their reports.

They had hardly been in the war room for twenty minutes when the wooden doors were thrown open by a very scary looking woman with black hair and big blue eyes. A Mabari hound trotted happily behind her. “Selene?” Lelianna said, her voice dripping with surprise and a little bit of fear.

“Lelianna,” Selene replied. Selene’s voice was harsh, deeper than the inquisitor expected.

“How on Thedas did you get here so fast, I dispatched my ravens only four days ago.”

“What did you do, ride a dragon or something?” Hawke asked the warden, just being her normal sarcastic self.

“You don’t wanna know what I had to do to get here,” Selene growled at the champion as she marched up to the war table, cocked her hip and crossed her arms to stare the inquisitor down.

“Then maybe you could explain your presence,” Morrigan tried. The apostate had a small smirk on the corner of her mouth. She had been wondering how long it would take for her old friend to barge into the castle, looks like the spymaster owed her five gold.

“I’m here because I’d like to know why someone left my husband in the bloody fade.”

It was Cassandra’s turn to speak up, her resting contorted bitch face glared at the hero of Fereldon. “He sacrificed himself so the inquisitor, Hawke and the others could escape.”

“Of course he did!” Selene snapped, “that’s sort of his thing, that doesn’t mean you had to let him do it.”

“Would you have preferred Hawke stayed behind?” Fenris asked angrily. The tattooed elf had begun to glow slightly, but no one seemed to notice.

Selene rolled her blue eyes, “Cool down glow stick, that’s not what I said.”

“I offered to stay,” Hawk said, “but he wouldn’t hear of it. He said this was the wardens doing, so it should be a warden to make it right.”

“Gah! It’s the arch demon all over again!” The hero cried, throwing her hands up in the air as she began to pace.

Her old companions stared at their feet, with small smirks on their lips. The rest of the room stared at the hero of Fereldon curiously. So Selene filled in the gaps.

“Do you know how an Archdemon is killed? Only a Grey Warden can take its life, and in doing so they must forfeit their own. Alistair offered to do it, apparently he has some martyr complex because of severe abandonment issues.”

“But both of you survived.” Cullen pointed out, “How?”

Selene stopped pacing to stare deep into the commanders eyes, “I found another way.”

With that said, the warden turned on the heel of her boot and traced her steps out of the war room. Her Mabari had been sitting quietly on the floor at Morrigan’s feet. Selene let out a sharp whistle when Porthos didn’t follow, reluctantly the war dog followed his master out back through Josephine’s office.

“Technically I’m the one who provided the alternative, if my memory serves me.” Morrigan muttered as the hero left. Lelianna giggled.

“That’s the woman you wanted to lead the Inquistion?” Josephine asked Cassandra sarcastically.

“Lelianna neglected to tell me she was so, so…”

“Intense?” Hawke finished and the seeker nodded. Lelianna only snickered some more.

“Someone should follow her,” the commander said, “if I remember correctly she wasn’t exactly a people person.”

“I shall go,” Morrigan said, “and I’ll make sure the Hero doesn’t blow up anything of use.”

The inquisitor stared after their strange advisor as she sashayed out of the war room in pursuit her old friend. Arwynne had been silent since Selene had barged in, a little out of fear but mostly out of awe. The warden hadn’t been what she had expected—she was better. And although Selene’s presence only made the inquisitor feel worse inside, she had to admit she was swooning—in an entirely professional sort of way.

“Inquisitor, are you alright?” Josephine inquired playfully. Arwynne turned a shade lighter than her ginger hair and nodded.

“Yeah, uhm. Do you think she’ll stick around?”

“I’m not sure you want her to.” Lelianna laughed.

Selene expected Morrigan to follow her outside, Selene stopped in a secluded corner away from any ears and eyes. “You and I need to talk.”

“And so we shall. What about?”

“I need your help to rescue Alistair.”

Morrigan scoffed, “You can’t be serious.”

“Oh for Andrastes sake! Morrigan you of all people know how dangerous the fade is. To be in it physically? That’s a death sentence!”

“I understand your pain, Selene. Alistair was a fine man and his loss is tragic, but rescuing him is a death sentence as well.”

“I don’t care!”

“And what if you find him dead? Hmmm? What shall you do then? This is a fools errand Selene and no good will come of loosing two high ranking wardens.”

Selene’s face was no longer filled with anger, it contorted in pain and fear. “I can’t just leave him there. You know him; even if he survived the nightmare demon he won’t find a way out himself. He’ll wander the fade accepting it as a punishment. What if you were in my shoes, what if it was Kieran?”

Morrigan was at a loss. She wanted to help her friend but didn’t want to risk everything the Inquisiton had accomplished or put her son in danger.

“There has to be a way,” Selene pleaded, “I can get in through a rift can’t I? As long as it remains open that will be my exit.”

“The fade is unpredictable walking mentally through it, physically is trickier.”

“Please, Morrigan. Please?”

Morrigan let out a sigh, “Very well. Though I will not guarantee the outcome, and I will not be held accountable. There is much research to be done, you cannot just go barging into the fade like you did the last time.”

“Thank you.”

“Yes, yes. Do not go all Alistair on me just yet.”

Morrigan slicked off to her liar or wherever it was she slept to do her research. Selene, who had left her company rather rapidly with little else but Porthos and her sword, stood idly in the corner of the courtyard. For a time, she remained unnoticed. The Hero of Fereldon, with Porthos at her feet, tried hard to keep the hard look in her eyes but the sadness kept creeping in. It wasn’t long till Lelianna spotted her old friend hiding.

“It is okay to be sad, Selene.” Lelianna said, approaching the Hero from a walkway leading up onto the battlements.

“Sad doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling.”

Lelianna pulled her friend into a much needed hug. Selene had never been an easy person to get to know, but it hadn’t taken Lelianna long to open up the young warrior when they were running around Fereldon trying to end the blight. Those weren’t exactly better days, but they definitely were anything but lonely. Selene was raised to be strong and had never wavered not even when she came face to face with the Archdemon. Selene wasn’t sure if it was fear that was filling her chest or loss. Whatever it was hurt worse than the joining; it was worse than pain. This feeling it felt like a spirit had reached into her heart and was squeezing it while smothering her with a thick wool blanket.

“I know,” Lelianna whispered, stroking Selene’s black hair.

“I’m going to get him back, Leli. I am.”

“I believe you.”

The inquisitor had spotted them as well, and had started to approach them but found herself intimidated.

“Don’t just stand there, inquisitor. Do come and meet the hero of Fereldon.”

“Please do not call me that, you know I hate that name.”

“Titles are a bit overwhelming, aren’t they?” The inquisitor asked. She forced a smile then held her hand out so that the warden could grip it.

“Inquisitor, meet Selene. Selene, this is Arwynne.”

“Pleasure,” Selene said as politely as she could. The warden knew it wasn’t her fault, but she had needed someone to blame and so she chose the inquisitor.

“I hope I didn’t interrupt anything,” Arwynne said and the spymaster shook her head.

“Not at all.”

“I get the feeling the two of you are up to something,” the inquisitor began. “And I want to help.”

“I’m sure the inquisitor has enough duties to attend to,” Selene stated, “besides you’ve done enough. I came here to speak to Morrigan.”

Lelianna gave Selene a disapproving look and as hurt as Arwynne was inside she didn’t show it-Josie would have been proud.

“I understand. But if you have questions about the fade, Solas would be the one to ask. You’ll find him in the rotunda, now if you’ll excuse me I have inquisitorial duties to attend to.” Arwynne gave the Hero her best smile before nodding to the spymaster and heading back to the main staircase to the throne room.

Lelianna, although having known Selene for ten years, was very displeased. “Was that necessary?”

“Probably not, but she’ll get over it.”

The inquisitor climbed the stairs up to the library where she knew Dorian would be poring through book after book looking for something interesting enough to be worthy of his time.

“Ah, Inquistor my Love,” Dorian said with a slight smile, his eyes still in whatever book he was reading. “You must read this rubbish they’re writing about the imperium. It’s absolutely infuriating, this Francis DePurioux calls himself a scholar yet he fails to see…” The mage looked up at his friend just then to see her sad face on the verge of tears. “Honey, what ever is the matter?” Dorian tossed his book onto the nearest table so he could draw his dearest friend in for a hug.

“The Hero of Fereldon hates me!” Arwynne cried, “she blames me for leaving Alistair in the fade.”

“That wasn’t your fault, Alistair sacrificed himself and I’m glad he did. She obviously needs someone to blame and sadly your an easier target than Hawke.”

 Arwynne pulled back, “Thanks, Dorian I feel loads better now!”

“She’ll come around,” Dorian continued, his mustache quivered a bit. “Your impossible to resist.”

 Arwynne forced a smile. “There’s that smile.” He reached up and tapped her nose.

“Gahh, Dorian she’s just so…terrifying. In a good way, but still she’s absolutely furious.”

“Well, from what I’ve read that’s sort of her personality. I wouldn’t take anything personal.”

“Everyone talks about her like she’s the most wonderful person to exist! Even Morrigan likes her.”

“That is strange,” the tevinter Mage leaned on the edge of the table while he rubbed his chin questioningly. “I suppose I could get Bull to rough her up a bit, would that help?”

The Inquistor laughed. “No, don’t do that. Josephine would be beside herself; I’d never hear the end of it.”

“Do we know why she graced us with her presence?”

“She came to ask Morrigan for help, she wants to rescue Alistair.”

At that, Dorian laughed, he couldn’t help it. That was the most ridiculous thing he had heard all year. “I say let her take a crack at it.”

Arwynne punched him playfully. “What? I don’t need to remind you that traveling physically in the fade is practically impossible, not to mention dangerous. As long as she doesn’t enlist our-your-help she can do as she pleases.”

“She doesn’t want our help, or my help at least.”

“Good,” Dorian said shoving off the desk and reaching for his book. “You stay far away from that barbarian.”