Dreamland

Liliana sat underneath a large oak tree that stood on a high cliff over looking the frostback basin. She was humming a old elvish lullaby and petting the hair of a old doll her mother had made her that she lost long ago. She heard a nose from behind her and she stood up and peeked from behind the tree "what are you doing here?" She asked in a shocked tone as turon approached

"I believe that is my line," he said. "This is the place I often visit when I dream. Not once have I met anyone here, not even a spirit."

She came from around the tree, she was wearing a gold and green elvish dress that complemented her greatly, her hair was braided to proudly show her ears "the frostback basin is old and holds many secrets....I didn't know you were a dream walker" she said gripping the doll

"It helped me find my purpose," he said, his outfit complimented his strong frame with green and sliver. "But I did not know this was a scene from the Frostback Basin. I have yet to see it in person."

She looked sad all of a sudden "it's not the haven it once once, the blight tainted it greatly" she said in a sad tone turning around and looking over the cliff "the trees are so tall hear as a child I thought the roots surely went to the other side of the world, I though I could feel everything here" she said in a thoughtful tone like her mind was else where. She felt him come up behind her

"I thought that the rocky spires in the Dales were large that they touched the sky, holding it up," he said. "One day, I tried climbing one. It was not as exciting as I believed."

She turned to look at him, not realizing how close he had been until her face met his chest and she took a step back, her cheeks red " why....why are you here..I mean " she gripped her dress

Her touch lingered on him though he tried not to think about it, it was like she had left spider webs of herself on him "To try and figure things out," he said, moving them both away from the cliff's edge but walking towards her and her instinctively turning with him "Why didn't you say you were a mage? I would not have assumed what I did if I had known."

She looked nervous and surprised "how.....if I was a mage why would that have changed your opinion of me? I'm not saying I am though...but what makes you think so?" She asked

"The magic coursing through you," he said. "When you bumped into me, I felt it. It also explains why you are not with a clan. If your clan had too many mages and couldn't find a clan that needed a mage child, they would raise you until you could survive on your own in the wild. It is rare, but it happens. Allow me to apologize for my comments earlier."

She looked at him like she was analyzing him. After a moment she spoke "your wrong again therefore your apology doesn't count" she said in a soft tone "but from what nugget said we won't be traveling together for to long...so we don't have to get to know each other, the temple is only a few weeks travel" she said putting her back against the large tree. He notice this tree was different from all the giants of the forest they were in. It was not of the same species of tree " you should leave...after all you shouldn't want to stay in a stranger's dream, especially one you hate" she said

"I do not hate you," he said, looking at her and the tree. "But I do know the feel and flow of magic. Besides, even I do not know what the future holds. To be honest, something draws me to you, just as this scene has drawn me in since I was a child. A calm and warmth that comforts me. I come here after I visit ruins or cities, to feel clean again."

He could see that got her attention but he could tell she was not going to say way, another secret he wanted to reveal " I see..." She said looking away from him "you...you should go I .." she looked like she was starting to panic. The woods beyond the cliff started to darken and she watched with a serious face "you need to wake up, wake up now something is near our camp something bad" she said in a serious tone "hurry as a dream walker if I wake up before you it can hurt you, go!"

He cupped her cheek for a moment tenderly before his eyes snapped open and he grabbed his staff. He got out of his tent. Wraiths were closing in slowly. He sent the fire up to catch everyone's attention, only for the Wraiths to start attacking.

Nugget was closes to liliana and went for her but a wraith got in between her and liliana making her unable too. Higran was protecting fridrik who was without his weapons. There were only four, two on higran and one fighting turon and nugget. Liliana knew normal weapons would not work. She shot out her hands and higrans and nuggets weapons started to glow "liliana stay out of this!" Nugget yelled "you know it won't work without it" liliana said in a strained tone " so end this quickly" she said as she began to sweat

Turon began throwing magic at a Warith nearest him while Higran fought off one of his own with his two-handed ax. Turon finished his quickly and helped Nugget, slowly making his way between Liliana and the enemy.

Just as the last one was about to be cut down liliana fell on her knees, unable to keep it up any more. Making the creature look to her but nugget killed it before it got to her. Nugget quickly ran over to her, pushing turon aside. She crouched in front of her " you daft woman! You shouldn't have done that, how many times have I told you, you are useless to me if you go into a full blown panic attack during a fight and of you die I would drag you back from behind the veil itself just to kick your ass " she side whiping the sweat from her head but liliana moved away from her touch " I'm fine and it was the least I could do...I...was dreaming again and I must have drew them here...I'm sorry everyone" she said not looking up "you forget to take your elixir? " Nugget asked "no I took it I guess it just needs to be strengthen" she said hugging her knees to her chest.

"It is not the dreaming," said Turon, "it is magic they sensed. An untrained mage that drew them, calling to them. They have someone directing them to find the mage so that they can possess them. We are looking at a demon or spirit trying to enter our world." He looked at Liliana. "If they have come for you before, they won't stop. How have you not been possessed before? It is dangerous for you to go untrained."

Liliana suddenly stood up before nugget could say anything like she knew she was going to "you all should go back to sleep" Lilian said and turned and walked away going into the forest "lil wait! Don't be wandering off you don't know if their master is far behind" nugget said going to go after her bit stopped when she flinched "blood nut cracker I hate ghost" she said looking down at her swollen ankle "look here knife ears, bring her back and there better not be one hair harmed on her" biggest said sitting down and lifting up her pant leg " wipe that smirk off your face boot licker before I shoot it off and grab me that bag near ya" nug said to higran.

"Yes, ma'am," said Higran. "Someone with a custom crossbow is not to be messed with."

She rolled her eyes and snatched the bag from his hands. She went through it and pulled out a vial that had a purple liquid in it. She downed it in one go and sighed. Higran could see the swelling not only go down but he heard the bone snap back into place

"You seem oddly equipped for this," he said.

"Perks of having a healer around " she said throwing him a identical vial that was full "you may need it in the future"

"I'm not big on pain," he said, pocketing it, "but if it gets us up and going faster, I'll take it. So, what's your story, Buttercup?"

She looked at him like he is crazy "oh no we ain't doing that...you get some sleep their you bearded minx " she said standing up

"Just passing time until Red and Skippy come back," he said. "I doubt you'd go to bed with her out there, alone, with a man."

She frowned "your right I'm going to go make sure your knife ears is keeping his hands to himself" she said and turned to go start walking into the forest

He got in front of her and said, "Hey now, it was a joke. Skippy would never touch a woman like that. In all the years I've known him, he would visit the brothel but never pay to be with a woman. They would talk briefly at best, but nothing that required payment. He is probably with the best kind of man in that department. Also, he hates being called knife ear. Trust me, dreams of demons attacking were a bit much for me when I first called him that. Sit. The man won't do anything. I bet there's about six feet between them."

"One I don't take orders from you and you expect me to just take your word for it? We just met, now move or I'll move you" she said getting closer to

"Then, a wager," he said. "If she comes back and says he acted inappropriately, you can take off whatever you want from the Welp and Turon. If not, you owe me your story. Deal?"

She glared at him "I will not bet my friends life " she said in a serious tone

"Turon only kills his enemies and we are not enemies," assured Higran.

"Does that mean you are not moving?" She said with a glare

"I'm betting 'dangly bit', i.e. two men's lives," he said. "I'll throw in my ear if you want."

He felt the tip of a knife touch his skin on the exposed part of his armor under his arm "last chance"

Suddenly, the fire roared and Higran said, "That can't be good. Enough playing with you, Buttercup. We got a forest to save." And a girl, he thought to himself.

"I knew you couldn't be trusted! " Nugget yelled and bolted for the forest

"It's not what you think, Buttercup," he said as he ran past her, throwing his ax down as he did. "I'd put your weapon away. Trust me, Skippy isn't good with weapons in this state."

" If that's what he is doing then she is too good for him anyways, let's just get to that temple and part ways quickly and you" she said turning towards him and poking his chest "you ever try to stop me like that again and my arrow is going straight through that small heart of yours" she said close to his face
-----

Turon went after Liliana. He didn't say anything, just followed. He was not about to let her get harmed.

She was walking slowly with her head down and her arms were wrapped around herself. She stopped when she reached a little stream that was lit up by fireflies. She looked into the water and knelt down and splashed some on her face

Turon leaned against a tree and waited.

She stood up and sighed softly " I can feel you...." She said in a low tone "you might as well come out and judge me once more"

He went up to her and said, "You should be trained, endure a harrowing as the shems call it. If you survive it, you won't be targeted anymore."

She turned towards him "what makes you think I haven't? Again you judge me without knowing me" she said in a tired tone

"It's simple," he said with a shrug. "Demons don't work this hard for someone trained to fight them off. They know it's not worth it without being invited. You aren't inviting them, but drawing them because of your wild magic. We will begin your training tomorrow. We should head back before some demon pops up to snatch you away."

She frowned "I didn't ask for your help and once again your wrong I have been trained...." She said in a upset tone "and why would you want to help me anyways, I'm just a traitor who turned her back on her people" she said in a bitter tone

"You are still Dalish," he said as if it were obvious. "Still, you need more training if your magic calls them to you. It isn't dreaming. They were out here, leftovers from the rifts opening up. If it helps you, it helps our people."

She frowned at him "why do you think I am dalish? I could be a half breed " she said stepping back from him "you seem so eager to figure me out yet you never actually ask me any questions and you treat me so coldly" she said in a low tone

"The vallaslin," he said. "City elves do not have those and halfbreeds tend to be too frightened to get them. And I am cold because I have no reason not to be. We are strangers and I do not act friendly to those I do not know or trust as Higran does."

"Exactly we are stranger's there fore I do not trust you to help me and you should not offer it " she said in a serious tone " also stay out of my dreams" she said and started to walk past him

"I cannot help what draws me in," he said, clenching his fists as he walked beside her. "And we may be strangers, but we are also allies. I help my allies. I do not trust you like I do Higran. He earned my respect and friendship. You have not earned such trust."

She stopped, her hand inches from his " draws you in...." She said in a curious tone while she turned her head to look at him " what draws you in exactly? I'm more of a maid then a elf right?"

"The calm," he said. "The balance. The warmth. That is what draws me. When I visit ruins and cities, I must force myself to enter those areas in a dream state. I had no trouble tonight and I wasn't even trying."

"So I'm useful to you.....sound just like a shem " she said and walked away

"Do not compare me to those barbarians," he growled, seeing to grow in size in time with his anger. "I never said I was using you, nor did I say that I walked into your dream with intent. I should..."

She turned and threw out her arms. He was hit with a white light that took him off his feet. His body felt hot as the spirit magic ran through him. But this magic did not feel like hers, this was older and much more potent

He looked at her and her eyes flashed green for a moment. He calmed. There was something about the magic, her magic, that erased all anger and bitterness. He stared down at her in awe for a moment before turning from her.

"Get away from me," he said as Higran and Nugget arrived. "A woman like you would never understand what a man like me must do for his people."

Nugget didn't stop running toward her and a second later they understood why as she fell and nugget barely made it in time to keep her head from hitting the ground " you stupid....nug licking....have woman you will be the death of me!" She said and then looked at turon "and you! What did you do to make her feel she was in such danger she had to use her magic like that!" She yelled pointing her crossbow at him

Higran looked at Turon and said, "How the hell did you calm down so quickly?! I thought we were all going to die!" He looked at Nugget. "He got mad. Anytime someone compares him to," he mouthed the word, "humans," then went back to using his normal voice, "Turon becomes nearly impossible to calm down. It took me running arse naked through a bar in Val Royeaux last time."

"She wasn't attacking," he said. "She was calming. Whether that was her intent or not, that is what happened. Take her back to camp. I will sleep away from the fire tonight."

"Hell know you pretty much told me your a ticking time bomb! What are you a blood mage? Got a demon in you? " Nugget said in a angry tone "I ain't about to trust you to go on a mission if you blow up because you can't control yourself like a fucking kid when you get angry!" She yelled

"It's only that one subject," said Higran.

"I am no blood mage and there is no demon," Turon said. "While some elves do practice, I am not one of them."

"Red helped him calm down so fast, nothing had time to catch fire," said Higran. "Isn't that a..."

"No," said Turon.

"But you..."

"Shut up, Higran. I need to be alone so I can think. Unlike you, I don't like the sound of rocks rattling in my head. I use my brain."

"There you are, Skippy. Well, I'm going to bed. Come on, Buttercup. I'll explain back at the fire." He nudged her elbow. "He didn't touch her inappropriately though."

She glared at him "in case you haven't noticed she is a bit tall for me to be carrying and second let me make something clear, liliana is a powerful mage but because of things that are none of y'all's business she has bad anxiety when she uses magic" she said in a upset tone "I told you y'all needed to be careful around her I didn't think y'all would be such idiots!" She said "now you did this now you get to carry her back and if you mess up again I'll kill you on the spot, both of you" she said in a serious tone

Turon took Liliana and said, "We were never told this fact. How were we to know something we couldn't have possibly known?" He looked at Nugget. "I will take responsibility for my anger. But you must realize that not telling people she is scared of magic makes it hard for mages like myself. Perhaps you should disclose that bit so we can watch ourselves better. I knew not about her anxiety."

"If I would have known you were going to be such a ass towards her I wouldn't haven't invited you two, it should have never had to come up , speaking of which you better have a damn good reason for being cold towards her" nugget said "and you two haven't been up front either" she added "so speak, what's your deal and why have you treated her so poorly when you just met her"

"That's..." Turon began, but Higran interrupted and said, "Oh, he is sweet on your girl."

"Higran, shut up!"

"Look, he won't pull anything like Welp did. But it was love at first sight."

"I'm warning you, dwarf!"

"He is terrible at talking to people and being himself. I am one of two people. The other is his Keeper. He is cold because he is driven by a mission and believes that anything beyond duty is a distraction. But Red, she's different."

"I hope you like seeing demons in shadows, dwarf." Turon stomped towards camp.

"Look, don't worry about it. Red safer with him around. He hasn't told me the whole story, but humans hurt him in a way that he can't get over. So being compared to them is the gravest of insults to him. Other elves will say that acting certain ways are a necessity for a better result, but he refuses to be compared to humans, even if he does copy them. If she said that he acted like a human... Just as she is anxious about her magic, he can't stop the anger when compared to humans. I try to keep the subject from coming up just as you protect Red. Two proper babysitters."

"He is barking up the wrong tree, liliana won't accept him" she said as they walked keeping a eye on him from behind

"That's not the issue," said Higran. "Skippy isn't looking for love because he doesn't want the distraction, but we all know that it's also because he doesn't want to risk hurting the one he loves most. So, he is trying to make her hate him. I'd say it worked."

"If that's what he's doing then she's too good for him anyways so let's just get to this Temple so we can all part ways as soon as possible and you" she said poking his chest with her face near his "try to stop me like that again my arrows going right through your tiny little heart, got it goat beard?"
___________
Liliana stirred in his arms. Her head rested on his shoulder as he walked. Her hair smelled of wild berry's from the wilds and she was light in his arms yet he could feel her warmth through her clothes. Slowly her felt a warmth seep into him, it reminded him of a calm sunset as it painted colors in the sky, the bitter sweet that the day was ending yet it was a beautiful feeling.

He held her tightly to him. But when he realized what he was doing, he quickly found her pallet and placed her in it before heading back towards the woods.

< Prev : Camp Next > : Dreamland 2