It was raining pretty hard now; the rain drops pounding on the roof of my old mansion. I was sharpening my sword with the whetstone Aska had given more; proving once again she was right. The sword’s edge felt a lot better as I checked it’s sharpness. Sharpening my blade was actually one of the few calming activities I enjoyed doing, but for some reason I wasn’t; tonight felt different. It felt like some sort of tension was upon me, almost a dark feeling settling in my gut. I couldn’t help but think something was wrong, but I just couldn’t place what it was.
Suddenly, I heard the front door open and the sound of running feet coming up the stairs. I quickly stood up from my bed, dropping the whetstone on the ground as I readied my weapon. As soon as the person appeared in the doorway I sighed in relief, letting my guard down a bit when I saw it was none other than Donnic. He was soaked to the bone, water even dripping off of his nose, and panting like he had run all the way from Orlais. I would have laughed at the sight if I hadn’t seen how serious his expression was,
“Donnic, what’s wrong?” Once he had his breathing under control a bit he replied,
“It’s…it’s about Aska.” My heart skipped a beat, the look in his eyes deeply troubling me,
“What has happened? Is she alright?” My heart pounded in my chest waiting for his reply,
“Aska, Merrill, Sebastian, and Zevran left this morning to do something for the young elf though they agreed to do something for the Dalish camp. Anyways, they were ambushed and in the process Aska and Zevran were wounded. Sebastian was able to run back to inform Hawke and to get Anders. Everyone is getting ready to leave as soon as possible. Even Aveline is leaving her post to join us. I came to get you.”
That immediately set me into action; quickly putting on my armor as if my life depended on it. So many things were running through my mind. Was Aska okay? What had happened? Why hadn’t Zevran protected her? It felt like my body was being moved by someone else as I ran out of the room with Donnic following close behind.
Luckily, we both made it to the rest of the group before they made too much progress ahead of us, all of us running to at least try to keep up with Hawke. For a mage of his built I was surprised he was that fast, though I completely understood his reasoning. His youngest sibling was hurt…and he wasn’t there to protect her, something I was feeling as well.
By the time we got to the camp it had stopped raining and our armor wasn’t so wet as before. The elves guarding the opening immediately let us through, though I don’t think they would have been able to keep Hawke out with him almost charging through with Anders hot on his heels. When we got to the center of the camp I saw Merrill and Zevran. They were both next to the fire; Merrill kneeling next to Zevran as he was leaning against a pile of logs. He was shirtless from what I could see. Hawke immediately made his way over to them as the rest of the group followed.
When we were in talking distance I realized that Merrill was wrapping bandages around Zevran’s left shoulder. From the looks of it his entire shoulder was wounded as blood slowly began to soak the white bandages. He was very pale, his various dark tattoos drastically contrasting, and from his body language he was both in pain and extremely tired, though he was trying to hide it. I was stunned. What could have possibly happened? He was a Crow for Andraste’s sake. He helped the bloody Wardens fight the Archdemon. I had seen him take on impossible odds with the carelessness of a child. What in Thedas happened? That’s when Hawke immediately asked,
“Where is she?” Merrill quickly stood up and lead him and Anders towards the biggest tent in the camp.
Isabella sat down next to Zevran as Varric asked,
“What in the name of Andraste happened? I thought you guys were just coming with Merrill to get something.” That’s when Sebastian spoke up,
“We were, but a few of the clan’s hunters were missing and we offered to help. We were able to find them and we were winning the fight, until their top warrior and mage decided to join in. Aska and Zevran fought them,but when the mage threw a fireball at Zevran it gave the warrior an advantage over Aska.” Aveline decided to speak next,
“How bad is she?” Seeing how his wife was slightly trembling Donnic wrapped his arms around her,
“I’m not completely sure. Someone threw a smoke bomb right after that. The next thing I knew Zevran was carrying her out of the smoke. All I really could tell was that she was extremely pale and blood all over her and Zevran. It was only when we got back here that I realized she had been stabbed. The healers immediately took her into that tent to start healing. That was also when we found out Zevran was seriously injured as well. He passed out as soon as she was out of his sight.”
I turned away from the conversation and looked towards the tent. With my elven hearing I could hear Hawke talking; trying to figure out what to do. I could hear the panic in his voice. It pained me to hear how worried, how helpless he was. It felt like I had stuck my own hand into my chest clenching my heart. I could hear Anders telling the other healers what to do and to hurry.
All of the sudden, the flap of the tent opened up and a small Dalish woman quickly walked out, a bundle of cloths in her arms…all of them soaked red. I thought my stomach was in my throat. So much blood… that only meant that…that Aska was dying. The elf made her way back to the tent and I quickly joined her, startling her when I was at her side,
“How is she?”
She looked from me to the tent, then back to my face. She studied me for a few seconds then sighed as she motioned for me to follow. I followed her into the tent and she motioned for me to stay right at the doorway as she continued onward. From where I was standing I could only see a glimpse or so every now and then due to all the healers, but surely there she was. Aska was lying on a cot. She was stripped of her shirt and chain mail, leaving her in only her chest band. Her skin was deathly pale against the vibrant red blood covering her chest and stomach. The wound was sickening, an opening just below her last rib about the length of a hand. That was when I really noticed her skin. All over her body were rich black markings, somewhat like my own, except more angular… almost like lightning bolts. They were entwining all over her skin; even down her fingers. Why would she cover those up? When did she get them?
As those thoughts went through my head I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Hawke’s. I slowly moved out of the way to let him exit the tent, following behind in hope of hearing some good news. He didn’t say a thing; he just kept walking towards the group. The tension in my body was getting heavier and heavier with each step he took. I immediately said a prayer in my mind;
‘Please, if there really is a Maker or anyone above that can heal her…please do. I can’t…I can’t lose her.’
Isabella stood up as soon as she saw him and quickly ran to him. I couldn’t see his face, but Isabella slowly wrapped her arms around his neck; embracing him with such gentleness that I would have never thought to see from her. He slowly wrapped his own arms around her waist and pulled her closer to his slightly trembling body. My heart felt even heavier in my chest. Did that mean Aska really was…?
Just then I heard the flap of the tent open. As everyone turned around Anders and Merrill walked towards us; both of them looked drained. Was…was she gone? Had her light faded before…before I could…? Varric’s voice pulled me out of my train of thought,
“Well, Blonde? How is she?” I could feel my body, my heart getting ready for his answer,
“She’s stable for now. The blade was very unique. I believe ti was some sort of scythe or curved blade. It was able to slice into her lung and come out of the top of her back. It also didn’t help that the blade was coated in poison that stopped her body’s natural healing abilities.”
A curved blade? The only weapon I had ever heard like that was a scythe. If that meant what I thought it meant…That’s when Anders turned his attention to Zevran,
“Let me take a look at your wound.” Zevran weakly waved him off,
“Save your energy for Aska. She needs your abilities more than I. Trust me, I’ve been through worse.” Anders didn’t seem convinced so Zevran continued,
“Look, if I needed a healer’s touch I would definitely let you know. After all I was a Crow. Just let me rest. When Aska is more stable and awakes then I’ll let you heal me. Deal?” Anders immediately responded,
“Blood magic was used you idiot. And you were the catalyst, meaning you are almost in the same shape as Aska with all the blood that you’ve lost. I’m surprised you haven’t passed out from it yet.”
“And when I do will be all the indication you need to heal me. Deal, mage?”
Knowing he wouldn’t win this one, Anders nodded as he sat down on the ground,
“Now we just have to wait.” That’s when Aveline spoke up,
“Aska’s a fighter. She’ll pull through this. Balls, she’s fought a bloody ogre by herself before.”
It was late in the evening then. Everyone was in their own little world. Hawke and Isabella were sitting the closest to the tent. Isabella had gotten Hawke to lie his head in her lap so he could rest as she stroked his hair. Aveline and Donnic were a little bit further away from them; her resting against her husband with her head under his chin. Anders was asleep next to Merrill as Varric was trying to keep her mind off of everything by teaching her to better play Diamondback. Sebastian was on the other side of them praying to Andraste again and Zevran was passed out next to him. His wound wasn’t bothering him as much but he was still in a lot of pain.
I was sitting next to one of the carriages. I was trying to rest, but I just couldn’t. I just kept thinking about Aska. What would happen if she passed? She had affected everyone in the group so deeply that no one could think of a life without her in it…I couldn’t think of one. She had been one of the few people I was actually able to be myself around. She would listen and was able to reply with knowledge way beyond her years. How could I function without her?
That was when Sebastian sat down next to me,
“A copper for your thoughts?” I smirked at him,
“I thought Brothers of the Chantry weren’t allowed to take money from anyone?”
“Well, we don’t, though on occasion we do take winnings from Wicked Grace.”
“Then it will take you a while to win. You are worse than me.” I heard him laugh a little.
We sat there in silence for a few moments when I asked him,
“What…what really happened? The fight?” I heard him sigh heavily,
“Personally, I don’t know many of the details. Merrill and I were busy on our end when we happened to hear Zevran scream. Must have been when the fireball hit him. Aska immediately started fighting again with the warrior and was doing well on her end…until the mage started her blood magic trick. Merrill had noticed her moving towards Zevran and she tried to stop her before she could draw too much blood. I was mainly focused on protecting Aska when I heard Zevran yell her name. He had pushed the mage off of him and was running towards her when the smoke bomb went off. After that it was all a blur, just trying to get Aska back to the healers.” He paused for a moment,
“If anyone can explain in more detail it would be Zevran. He was in the central area so he would know more.”
Just then I heard the tent flap open; everyone’s attention drawn to the Keeper as she peered out. She had a tired smile on her face as she said,
“The child is awake.”
As we, except for Zevran and Anders (the former finally passed out after hearing Aska was awake) entered the tent, following right behind Hawke, the Dalish left the tent. We all gathered around the cot Aska was lying in. They had covered her up with a fine blanket so she wasn’t indecent. Hawke was standing right next to her as she slowly opened her eyes to him,
Hawke let out a deep breath as he reached down to hold her hand, the blanket falling a bit to show the markings all over her arm. She slowly looked around the room to everyone and when her eyes reached mine she smiled weakly,
“Hey…” Isabella spoke up,
“Balls, Aska. Don’t you bloody scare us like that again. You nearly gave me a heart attack.”
“Sorry…” Then Aveline spoke up,
“I’m glad to see you are alright, but before we get into the whole ‘what in Thedas happened’ part of this conversation, mind telling me when you got those?
She pointed to Aska’s marks. I saw Hawke and Aska both flinch a little, but it was Hawke who spoke up.
“You… you all know she was adopted into the family right?” Varric laughed,
“Well of course. She’s practically the black sheep of the family.” Hawke grinned a little as he continued,
“Well, we sort of found her right outside of the Wilds.” Everyone except Merrill and I gasped, Merrill asked,
“What does that mean? Is it suppose to be bad?” Sebastian answered her,
“That means she is a Chasind.”