I Work for the Bureau of Original Characters. Thedas file

Chapter 19- Leliana NO!

Elariel woke early on the third rest day since they had arrived. She found breakfast from the nearest cook fire and wandered out towards the keep. People had been acting strangely around her, watching her and whispering to each other, only to stop when she drew near. Mirada was no help, locked as she was in the garden, though she kept making escape attempts. Today though was the day that she had been declared healthy. She had been found literally climbing the walls with one hand after Leliana had locked the door and confiscated the five different sets of lock picks Miranda had used to escape. How she managed to pick the locks with only one hand was driving Leliana crazy.

“FREEDOM!” Miranda’s yell filled the early morning air and Miranda came sprinting out of the Garden. She was wearing a thick green, woolen frock coat with the left sleeve neatly pinned. Her stalks had a salt and pepper effect with a few cracking as the carapace beneath expanded to take the damaged one’s place. Her face still held a gaunt air of someone emerging from emaciation and, though most didn’t know it, a tiny hand the size of an infant was forming on her stump as a new arm grew.

“ELARIEL!” Miranda greeted, grabbing the young elf in a bone crushing hug. “Look I’m FREE!” She crowed and Elariel smiled at the Zerg woman’s infectious laughter.

“Yes, I can see that… but your arm,” She began and Miranda laughed. “Yup. Still armless!” Elariel laughed as Miranda let out a joyous whoop and sprinted from the keep. Faintly she heard “Hey Cass! Look, No Hands!” And she began to giggle.

Leliana emerged from the shadows with an amused expression. “That was a little over dramatic,” She noted with a dryly.

“Well I think that Miranda was a little bored,” She replied and Leliana looked over at her with a deadpan expression.

“A little bored?” She demanded. “She was making up dirty limericks and then somehow got them to Sera so she could recite them all over the keep,” Leliana grumbled.

“My favorite was the one about the woman named Patricia,” Varric told them as they walked past.

“Oh that’s the one that has that really catchy tune right?” Bull asked as they walked down into the courtyard. “With a swing of her hips, she started to strip!” Sera brayed at them from a nearby wall that she was sitting on. Elariel laughed and Leliana rubbed her temples with a long-suffering expression.

“Personally, I liked the one that starts: There once was a woman from Thebes,” Blackwall chimed in as he joined them. The entire inner circle was now walking with them as they followed the sounds of Miranda’s joy.

The sight they came upon was of Cassandra with her hands on her hips, watching Miranda who was doing handsprings across the flat practice field with only one hand chanting. “I’mfree!I’mfree!I’mfree!I’mfree!” She stopped on her single hand and began to do upside-down press ups.

“Miranda!” Leliana called and the Zerg woman froze before she did a jump spin to face Leliana as she remained on her hand.

“Leliana!” She greeted. “Look I’m free,” She replied with a smile.

“I can see that,” The spymistress replied dryly and Miranda pushed off and twisted like a cat, landing on her feet. Before running off towards the high tower by what had become the tavern. Singing at the top of her lungs “Oh Joy! Oh rapture unforeseen! The clouded sky is now serene! The God of Day! The orb of love, has hung his ensign high above. The sky is all ablaze!” Her voice faded and they all looked at each other before breaking into laughter.

“Only Miranda,” Cassandra old them, shaking her head.

“I’ll go find her,” Elariel offered and stalked after her with a smile. Once the she-elf had left the others looked around and smiled.

“That was actually really well done, now we have a chance to set everything up. Miranda please bring her back in an hour,” Josephine said with a smile, raising her voice at the last stamen so the Zerg could hear her. A rather startled chicken suddenly found itself levitated in the air, signaling the Zerg had heard.

“Miranda! Put the chicken down!” They hear Elariel call in an exasperated voice.

“Look! Poultry in motion!” Miranda replied, running off with the frantically squawking bird drifting behind her. The watchers snickered before heading off to arrange for the crowning of the Inquisitor.

Elariel panted and wiped her forehead. She had been chasing Miranda around the entirety of the fortress as the Zerg explored her new home and reveled in her newfound freedom. She finally caught up to Miranda at the top of the outer wall, overlooking the valley that led back to civilization. She was standing stock still, facing the wind that swept up the channel through the mountains. At first glance she was simply standing, but Elariel noticed the Zerg as subtly leaning against the stone, her enthusiasm had waned in the face of her lingering weakness.

Her coat was draped over the stone, leaving her in a dark green full sleeved shirt and a black vest. Her stalks were waving gently in the wind, clicking softly like a beaded wind chime. “Miranda?” She asked curiously, straightening and walking over to join her. Miranda didn’t move save for her steady, even breathing.

“What is a hero Elariel?” Miranda asked in a serious tone. Elariel looked at her in confusion. “What?” She asked, trying to find the thread of thought that led to this question. “Or perhaps I should have asked you, what makes people follow someone?” Miranda clarified.

Her stance had shifted to one that if she had been in possession of bother her arms would have had them grasped behind her back. “Time is flowing around us Elariel. Time that cannot be regained. People are looking for someone to lead them, and soon someone must step up lest we become bogged down by the divisions that will grow,” Miranda spoke with solemn conviction, one of an ancient queen passing wisdom down to her heir. The layers of her voice were becoming apparent, lending a deeper weight to her words.

“We now stand upon the edge of the abyss. We have our wings, but they are untested yet. The time has come to spread them and leap.” Elariel looked at Miranda with uncertainty.

“Will you lead us?” She asked and Miranda chuckled a little, a slightly eerie sound with the overtones. “No, Elariel I will not. I do not wish to lead this Inquisition. I have led before, but I have become jaded. There is a level of brutality that I possess that is not what you need. I am meant to lead in war. Only in war. This is not where I am needed. You want someone at the head of the army, leading the charge and blasting apart the gates? You call me. You want someone to dance with snakes and drink poisoned wine while exchanging gilded barbs in conversation? Then you call me. But I will not lead these people, they are not here to support me. Nor will they follow me without commands from others.” She turned to look at Elariel, ancient wisdom filling her eyes.

“This is not mine to lead, come with me,” She commanded, striding away from the wall, her jacket slung over her right shoulder. Elariel followed her as Miranda led her down the inner courtyard. Elariel looked around, curious as to where the entirety of the castles population had gone. “I may have been the one to hold Corypheus back, but he was there for you. When he faced me he was disappointed,” Miranda told her as she walked.

Elariel hurried to join the Zerg on the ground, now walking side by side. “But I didn’t fight him!” She exclaimed and Miranda shook her head. “He sees you as his rival and it is true. He tore the sky, you sealed it. He drove us from Haven, you found us Skyhold. Every action he makes, you mirror. You turn his victories against him, your existence opposes him. I can lead, but as we saw, I would not succeed,” The Zerg woman’s tone was as unyielding as steel, filled with passion and conviction.

Elariel blinked as she followed Miranda up the stairs that led to the main keep. When they reached the first landing she saw Leliana and Cassandra waiting for them. Leliana held a large greatsword in her hands, her head bowed in a strange show of submission from the normally proud woman. She looked up as Elariel approached and a faint smile gracing her lips. “We asked everyone in the Inquisition who was our leader and they had only one answer,” Miranda told her, taking a step and turning to join the other two women.

“You,” Cassandra finished with a small smile. Elariel blinked. “Me?” She demanded and Leliana nodded. “There is no other, you are our leader, we all know this,” Miranda told her before gesturing to the lower courtyard. Elariel followed her arm and looked down. The entirety of the Inquisition stood below, all looking up at her with such faith and pride. Elariel stepped back a little in shock at the gathering and looked back at the trio of perhaps the most powerful and dangerous women she knew and blinked, her mouth opening in shock.

“I.. b..but I…” She stuttered before she saw the bright twinkle in Miranda’s eyes. “I’m a mage AND an Elf,” She informed them shocked and Miranda’s lips twitched.

“Really? We had no idea.” The Zerg quipped before wincing as Cassandra’s armored boot came down on her foot in a subtle but still painful gesture. Elariel felt her shock fading in the face of Miranda’s antics and she saw Leliana’s lips twitch as she smothered a smile at the pair.

“There will be some who will object. That is a given but the times are changing,” Leliana told her, her voice somber despite her twinkling eyes.

“The first step must be taken for the journey to begin,” Miranda added wisely as she subtly shifted her foot away from Cassandra’s easy stomping distance.

“There would be no Inquisition without you Elariel. How you will lead us will be up to you.” Cassandra told her, her face stern but proud. “Know this though, we will gladly follow you because we trust you to lead us well,” The Seeker continued as Leliana and Miranda nodded.

Elariel looked at the trio, then to the sword, then down to the crowd below before looking back up at the women. This had the feeling of something being rehearsed, how long had they been planning this? One glance into Miranda’s eyes told her that the taller woman had been planning this for a very long time. Suddenly all the talks they used to have when everyone else was asleep made more sense.

Those small gestures of deference, the advice shared and comfort offered focused into a clear picture. “You’ve been planning this since you met me haven’t you?” She demanded of Miranda who merely smiled cheekily. “Me? I have no idea what you mean darling,” She replied before nodding her head to the blade resting on Leliana’s hands. “Now take the sword and accept your crowning like a good leader,” She finished, nimbly shifting her foot out of the way of Cassandra’s descending heel.

The Seeker scowled at Miranda, but watched with a proud gleam as Elariel reached out and gripped the sword by its hilt. The words came to her unbidden, as if someone had written them and placed them in her mouth. “I promise that the Inquisition will fight for what is right,” She told them with conviction. “I’m a Dalish mage, fighting for the freedom of Thedas. I will stand in the way of the threat that would consume us all and I will fight for the end of the hatreds that divide us. The Inquisition is for all,” She finished looking at her witnesses.

Miranda had a fierce grin on her face while the other two had looks of pride and faith. “And we will gladly follow,” The Zerg told her as Cassandra walked to the edge of the landing, looking out over the crowd.

“Have our people been told?” She demanded out over the courtyard.

Josephine stepped forward. Her head held high. “They have! And soon, the world!” She replied in a ringing voice.

Casandra nodded and turned her attention to Cullen. “Commander, will they follow?” She asked him.

He turned smartly and paced along the front of the crowd. “Inquisition! Will you follow?” He bellowed at the ranks of soldiers. They yelled in approval, many fists punching the air. “Will you fight?” He cried and they responded. “Will you Triumph!?” He roared and the responded for the third time in agreement. “Your Leader, Your Herald! Your INQUISITOR!” He bellowed, turning and drawing his blade in salute. The other soldiers followed, the ringing of steel filling the air as all assembled cheered in approval.

Elariel felt overwhelmed at the sound and looked over at Leliana, Cassandra and Miranda. The spymistress nodded and Elariel turned back, raising the blade high into the air. The crowd below went wild. Above it all came a bellowing, screaming shriek that would have put a dragon to shame. Elariel looked over and saw Miranda was making the sound, the cry undulating in an unmistakable sound of triumph.

Elariel felt herself grinning at the sound and slowly lowered the blade, gently handing back to Leliana who carefully placed it in a case by her feet. “Welcome to the higher echelons,” Miranda told her with a grin and placed a hand on Elariel’s shoulder. “You ready to kick Corypheus’ ass?” She asked with a smile. Elariel looked up and met the Zerg’s pale eyes.

“Hell yes,” She replied, a grin spreading across her face. “Atta girl,” Miranda replied, lit the cord she had in her hand. Elariel opened her mouth to ask what was happening but was interrupted by a loud bang that made everyone jump and stare. Miranda grinned as the fireworks she had just lit filled the courtyard, multi colored sparks spewing forth. Sparkling pinwheels and creatures made of fire danced around them.

Everyone watched in awe as a tiger made of sparks swiped at a lion made of flames. A dragon made of emerald green sparks flew high into the air and let out an ecstatic roar before it burst into a shower of leaf green sparkles that showered down on the silenced inquisition. “Tada!” Miranda told Elariel and the shocked inner council who stood there, mouths agape at the display. “Happy coronation!” She declared before she hopped off the balcony with a cackle. Elariel shook her head and watched with amusement as Miranda managed to convince a minstrel to start playing and people to begin dancing. Only Miranda.

Leliana’s eye twitched as she stared out of the rookery window. Outside on one of the flag standards that sat in the snowy courtyard was some of her underclothes, waving proudly in place of the Dalish designed Inquisitorial flag.

A faint cackle echoed up from the yard and she saw Miranda, perched on a crenellation dressed in a purple tunic and black pants waving merrily. Her left arm was a small stump capped with a toddler sized arm that she wiggled in a mocking gesture and Leliana was certain that the tiny, toddler sized fingers on the end of the limb were making a rude gesture that should never be used by finger of that size. She let out a faint growl before she went and got her bow.

Elariel was on her morning rounds and was on her way up to get Leliana’s daily report. It had been almost a month since they had named her as Inquisitor, only two months left till the Winter ball. Miranda had promised to have her arm back by then. The invitation from the Empress had arrived the other day and Josephine was in a near panic attempting to ensure that Elariel and the other members of the Inquisition were appropriately trained to handle the court intrigues of the Game. Miranda had taken the ambassador aside and told her something that had managed to sprout a three-hour long argument. It had drawn in Leliana and the seamstress as they all argued and in the case of Miranda and the seamstress, gesticulated violently.

She came up the final set of stairs and saw the scene of Leliana aiming her bow out of the window with a furious expression on her face. “Leliana NO!” Elariel cried lunging for the spymistress but too late. An arrow whistled through the air, aiming for the laughing Zerg. Before it struck, Miranda back-flipped off the crenellation and landed in the courtyard.

“Missed!” She yelled up at the spymistress before she began sprinting away laughing as more arrows followed her, shattering against the stone wall or embedding into wood and earth as she moved. Leliana let out an inarticulate scream of rage as she rained arrows down on the laughing Zerg. Miranda darted around the yard, clearly making it a game as others cowered under shelter to avoid the deadly hail.

Elariel flung herself at the spymistress and wrestled the bow from her gloved hands. “Leliana, leave her alone!” She commanded. “Not this time!” The Bard seethed, her blue eyes glaring out to where Miranda once again sat on a crenellation, waving merrily as if she hadn’t moved. Leliana roared in fury and bolted down the stairs, clearly intending to wring Miranda’s neck. Elariel stared after her in shock before pelting after her.

Josephine felt a great deal of satisfaction as she showed the Countess de Vernas and her entourage around Skyhold. They had done a great deal of work in the two months they had been in Skyhold. They had just barely managed to finish the outside of the fortress before Winter made such work impossible. The interior was now on its way to being nearly completed. No longer would she have to worry about masonry dust in her outfits, and sawdust on her ledgers.

“You have a very impressive organization here, Lady Montilyet,” The Countess complimented her as they walked through the remolded entry hall. “Such professionalism is commendable. You shall have our full support,” The Countess informed her and Josephine retrained the urge to punch the air in a gesture of triumph she had seen Miranda do. “You are too ki…” She began but was interrupted by a scream of rage and a bellow of “LELIANA NO!”

There was the sound of arrows on stone and the heart sinking sound of Miranda laughing. Her guests looked at each other in uncertainty before the purple clad form of their Spymistress dashed out of the library entrance and out the front doors. “MIRANDA!” She screamed in fury as she burst out into the courtyard. Elariel was hot on her heels but slid to a halt in front of Josephine and her guests.

She sketched a quick bow “Miranda*gasp* Leliana’s, *pant* on the flag standards. *weeze* arrows, Gotta go,” She gasped out before chasing after Leliana.

Josephine closed her eyes and sent up a prayer for this to not damage the alliance she was attempting to solidify. “I beg your pardon your grace. The Zerg ambassador is a bit of a prankster who has taken to targeting our seneschal. Apparently regular attempts to prank each other is a sign of great friendship among her people,” She quickly adlibbed and prayed Miranda had heard her and would run with it.

The countess raised an eyebrow in disapproval that could be seen even from behind the silver mask she wore. “Is that so?” The scribe walking next to her looked up. “I heard that she has a rather unusual appearance, I believe it would be interesting to meet with her before we go,” He added and the countess nodded. “Indeed” she replied before turning to Josephine. “I would like to meet this Zerg ambassador before we leave this place,” She informed Josephine who struggled to hold in a wince. “Of course, my lady. I shall set up an appointment with her at once. If you would Like I can provide you with refreshments in one of our parlors?” She asked and the countess nodded.

“That is agreeable, I am eager to speak with her,” She answered in a calm voice. Josephine nodded and lead her to one of the nicer parlors that had been set up for just such an occasion and left hurriedly, dispatching a servant to bring tea and pastries to the countess. Then she followed the sound of shouting to Miranda. The Zerg was laughing hysterically as she dodged an enraged Leliana. The others of the inner circle were laughing as they watched the two sprint around the yard, Miranda often flipping and leaping to evade the murder driven bard. “Enough!” Josephine yelled at them, causing them all to freeze.

Even Miranda who was in the middle of a flip. She hung in the air, looking back to Josephine with a curious expression. Josephine ignored the bizarre tableau with practiced eyes. “I have a countess who wants to meet Miranda for tea. Parlor on the third floor. Miranda if you mess up this deal I will ensure that you are eating cooked meat for the next month. No spices,” She informed them. Miranda paled dramatically and cautiously lowered herself to the ground.

“Got it. I’ll just go change. BRB,” She told them before taking off at a rapid pace back to her rooms.

Josephine turned to look at Leliana who was breathing hard and still possessed a slightly wild look in her eyes. “And you!” The lady scolded, pointing an accusing finger at the Bard. “You should know better! Can’t you see that she is doing this on purpose to wind you up?” She demanded and Leliana lowered her eyes a little at the chastisement. “Now, I am going to go supervise Miranda as she acts as an ambassador for her people and pray that your actions have not ruined our chance to getting the Vernas on our side,” She told the spymistress frostily.

“That goes for you too Miranda,” She spoke louder, knowing the Zerg had heard her. Her friend nodded, suitably sheepish and Josephine turned on her heel and strode back to the keep as she ascended the steps to the third floor.

Miranda joined her as she crested the second floor. She was wearing an ornate set of robes that consisted of a silver-grey under robe with wide, billowing sleeves, over this was a royal blue tunic edged in delicate silver embroidery that reached to midcalf and fastened up the front with sliver clasps. A sash made of blue grey satin embroidered with silver wrapped around her waist with the ends hanging decoratively in the front. The final touch was a charcoal grey cloak that wrapped around the neck and shoulders before draping smoothly down her back all the way to the floor. The top half of her stalks were pulled back and the wide sleeves hid her growing left arm.

She looked cool and regal with her crown like head piece and elegant stride. “Is this sufficient Ambassador?” She asked with a faint glimmer of amusement in her eyes.

“I believe so,” Josephine answered, “And would you stop trying to get a rise out of Leliana? You’re making my job harder than it needs to be,” She added in exasperation.

Miranda smiled faintly. “I am sorry about that Josephine, but I’m hoping that she will crack and tell me what’s on her mind. She can’t continue to simply stare at me from afar.” The taller woman replied as they approached the door. Josephine sighed and shook her head in acknowledgment. “True,” She answered.

Josephine watched Miranda with a hawk like eye was the Zerg woman daintily sipped her tea. She danced the dance well and seemed to enjoy employing a method of speech that required the avoidance of direct questions. Yet, somehow, she managed to extract detailed accounts of how the Countess’ family was doing, the state of the civil war, even going so far as to inquire about the state of affairs at court. In return, Miranda spun them fabulous tales of her home, speaking of her birthplace on the island of Char with fondness and of her childhood with her sister Sarah.

She waxed eloquent about the temple of Tython and her life as a Jedi consular and presented pleasing little anecdotes about the antics of her apprentices over the years. She even at one point mentioned her time serving as a knight and advisor to one king Jonathan Conte of Tortall. Each phrase was neatly delivered and spoken with a smooth and polished air. When the tea was over she left the Vernas suitably impressed and the deal solidified.

Ancient trees flashed past her as she ran. The skill and natural grace that she exhibited as she flipped and twirled her way over gnarled roots and balanced upon thin branches felt both exquisitely right, and profoundly wrong. “Hortho!” A male voice near her called. She wanted to frown but her face did not react. She knew what those words meant, it meant hurry but why was she hurrying? More to it, how had she understood? She had never heard this language in her life. “The intruder is near!” The voice added.

Her mouth opened and a voice that was not hers spoke in the same tongue. “Flank them, I want there to be no escape,” The command was fluid and unbothered by her almost frantic pace.

“Yes Captain,” Came the acknowledgements from either side. She did not look, she knew her orders were being carried out. She could sense their prey growing closer. They moved stealthily through the ancient wood that her people guarded, but this was their home, any change in the forest’s patterns was immediately noticed. They swung into place around the brown cloaked figure. Her bow was out and an arrow strung. The gleaming silver tip was pointed directly at the figures head.

“Halt!” She commanded and the figure stopped. From the corner of her eyes she could see arrows peeking out from among the leaves surrounding them. A tendril of copper hair, much longer than her normal shoulder length fluttered on the edge of her vision. The figure stopped and their hands slowly lifted above their head in surrender. “Take off your hood and turn around,” She continued and the figure reached their lifted hands up and tugged on the back of their hood, removing it from their head.

One of her comrades who could see the figures face gasped softly, too silent for human ears to detect. She felt her mouth go dry, segmented stalks gleamed like polished onyx in place of hair. The figure slowly turned and she was pierced by a pair of crystalline eyes the color of the palest of blue diamonds stared back at her. Black kohl surrounded them and long lashes curled away from them. Red lips quirked up in a small smile and skin that was pale as the moon shone faintly in the dim light, as if she had taken a bath in moonlight. She felt frozen, captivated by those eyes. Her hands shook and her arrow point quivered, a soft clearing of the throat brought her out of her trance.

“May I lower my arms now?” The voice was low and soothing, like dark velvet, unlike the crystalline, silvery voices she was used to hearing. She shivered at the voice and slowly lowered her bow.

“Captain?” A voice hissed at her in confusion. The reminder woke her fully and her arrow snapped up again, now aiming between those captivating eyes. “Who are you and why are you in our forest?” She demanded and the woman, or whatever she was smiled mischievously.

“In Imladris they call me Istaril Ellind. Among my own people, I am known by the name Miranda Starsinger. I am on my way to Erebor to speak with the dwarf king,” The now named Istaril told her lightly. She blinked and one of her companions eased out of the forest. “The same Ellind who fought alongside High King Gil-Galad and saved his life? The same Ellind who drove her shield through the Dark Lord’s chest and gave Isiludur time to remove the ring from his hand?” They continued and Ellind shifted uncomfortably.

“Well, I didn’t manage to get through the whole chest,” Ellind mumbled in embarrassment. She steeled her eyes and drew her arrow back a little more.

“Prove it,” She commanded and the woman who rolled her eyes. “The only way I could do that, my good captain, is if I present you with the twisted remains of my shield, which is currently on display next to Narsil in the Halls of Elrond. That’s a decent trek from here so, unless you would like to wait here while I go and fetch it, is there any way that you could let an ex-Zerg go on her merry way to look at shiny things?” Ellind asked and she blinked.

The woman’s method of speech was confusing and aggravating somehow, despite this, she couldn’t help but be captivated by it all. “Captain, I think we should let her pass through,” One of her subordinates told her. She looked at him from the corner of her eye, he was tall and slender, long brown hair pulled away from his face and dresses in dark greens and browns his pointed ears were smaller than a normal elf’s, but similar in size to Miranda’s. She felt a strange sensation of both surprise and recognition at the man’s appearance.

“Yes Captain, let’s just let the me continue on my merry way. I’m essentially through your forest, if you insist then you can escort me to the nearest edge and I’ll just make sure to go around your forest the next time I need to cross this area,” The woman offered and she felt a brief moment of hesitation before she reluctantly let her bow relax, though the arrow remained nocked.

“Very well, we shall escort you to the edge of the forest but know that we will be watching you,” She allowed. The woman smiled but looked at her second with a rueful smile.

“Rather paranoid isn’t she?” Ellind stage whispered and the Second hid a smile. “You have no idea,” He replied. She turned, about to scold him when darkness claimed her vision.

Leliana sat upright with a confused expression on her face. That had been one of the strangest dreams she’d ever had. To speak in a language, she had never heard in her life and yet understand it. The dream was more akin to a memory than a figment of her imagination, but she knew that she had never seen Miranda before that day on the bridge beneath the breach. She shook her head and threw her covers back. There was little chance of sleeping now.

She pulled on her armor and robes, taking a quick moment to peak out her window and scowl at the dark sky outside. Her nights had been plagued by dreams lately. Dreams that all seemed to feature around Miranda and not in the usual way. They often featured her staring at Miranda with some form of weapon aimed at her. The most confusing of which had been when she was staring through two pieces of glass that magnified whatever she saw through them.

In that case, it had been the back of Miranda’s stalked head as the Zerg woman gesticulated wildly to a woman with pale blue eyes and long black hair. She shook her head and climbed up to her office in the rookery. Her birds shuffled sleepily as she passed them, mumbling and chuffing quietly to themselves. She settled at her desk and glared at the reports that lay there. All in neat piles that refused to become new paperwork. She stood abruptly, shoving her chair back, which caused several of her ravens to crack open an eye and glare at her, but she ignored the birds and walked to the window. The twin moons were high and the air still. Below her the fortress sat lit up and silent for easy inspection.

She could see the torches of those on watch but it was the early hours of the morning, few were awake or wanted to be at this hour. A figure moved on a nearby rooftop and her eyes immediately snapped to it, reaching for her bow as she did. If it was an assassin, then she needed to be able to dispatch them at once. The figure shuffled a little more and she squinted, moving quietly out onto the balcony and straining her eyes to see the dark figure.

She walked a little to the left and the profile resolved itself into Miranda. The Zerg woman was staring up at the sky as if she were lost in its sparkling depths. Leliana turned back to her desk and picked up the far eye she had recently purchased and walked back out, training the devise on Miranda. The Zerg was sitting at such an angle that Leliana could see a portion of her face. What she saw there almost made her cry. A look of heartbreaking longing sat on Miranda’s face as she stared at the stars. Her eyes glowed like soft reflection of the stars and her skin seemed pale, unlike her usual olden tan. Under the moons it shone, like it had in her dream.

Her stalks appeared to almost suck the light out of the surroundings and even seemed to glow with a black light. This portrait made her look so strange, so unearthly, so ancient that Leliana could almost believe her to thousands of years old like the ancient elves. She shook her head and turned away, maybe she could find a book to read instead.

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