Author's Note: I'm sorry, I know I need to stop writing new stories, but I am in love with this idea! I hope you all are too. Let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Warnings: Talk of death, language, OOCness and Unbeta'd.
Word Count: 4,231
He wasn't sure what he was expecting when he awoke in his temple within the Fade. The first thing that he felt was the pressure of magic swilling around his head and through the very fiber of his being. He feels the magic like electricity coursing through his veins as it awoke with him. He feels through the flow of magic for the Evanuris, the Elven Gods and the Forgotten Ones trapped in his illusion, a slumber designed for them to never awaken from. He feels their collective consciousness brush back against his in mechanical reaction to his presence.
They don't otherwise react. They still slumber peacefully. Well, as peacefully as they can in the Beyond, locked in a state of never being. They can feel time passing them by, but they can't experience it in a way that life does. Kind of like what Solas did to himself within the Fade. Being their, funneling his power into the prison of the Elven Gods and the Forgotten Ones was a prison in its own making. But he can feel them now, and they still exist in a state of never being. He doesn't feel them stirring as he had.
No matter the power that he has flowing through him and pulsating like a drum in the space around him it feels separate from him. It doesn't feel like his own magic, but the magic within the Fade itself. In fact, if he looks internally, he feels significantly weaker now than he remembers. Over time his power has waned while he slept. Maybe the drastic drain of his energy and the fact that he's almost out of magic is what finally awoke him from his slumber.
That, or there was such a dramatic shift within the Fade that it was enough to rouse him. He's not sure. But he can feel this strange shiver through the Fade and has to surmise that being what awoke him.
The next thing he registers is this searing pain. Pain in his head, in his back, neck, hips, and legs from sitting in one position for so long. He's not sure how long, as it's difficult to tell time within the Fade, but it's long enough for his muscles to shriek in protest once he finally starts moving. Everything hurts bad and he has to be gentle about laying back on the concrete floor of his temple. He hisses in pain before forcing his muscles to relax and stop protesting as bad as they are.
He opens his eyes after a long time to see the large door he sat in front of what could quite possibly have been forever ago. Once more, he's not sure how much time has passed since he locked the Elven Gods and the Forgotten Ones away. But the large, ornate door scribbled with the story of the ancient story of The Elven Empire and the fall of their Pantheon.
Solas remembers it well. Locking them away and then sitting down in front of the door, using all of his power to seal the door and lock them in the Beyond forever. It used so much of his strength he meditated, trying to regain his power when he must have fallen into some form of magical coma. His power just kept funneling into the curse he cast on the door until now. His magic was acting like a battery for the curse.
With the power he can feel coursing through it, ten thousand years will pass before the magic starts to wane and the curse loses its power. Solas won't let that happen. He will come back and supercharge the curse again and again and again if he has to. Until the end of time. He won't let them escape. He won't set them free or allow them to walk the world again.
But he has to get away from here. At least for a bit. Stretch out his legs and replenish his magical supplies. His curse is feeding on his magic by proximity. He needs to put some distance between them. He woke up as his body's natural defense kicked in. He doesn't have enough power to sustain the seal any longer than he has at the moment. It is killing him.
Yet not fast enough to warrant the type of haste that he needs to push his aching body into motion. He reaches down toward his lap, fingers wrapping around the familiar circular metal of his orb. The magical foci of his power. He can feel slivers of magic slithering out over his hand, but it's locked shut now. Somehow, over the years, his orb has sealed shut while he slept. That's probably part of the reason his magical strength waned over time. Without his orb helping focus his power it steadily began to lose power until it was almost gone.
It just goes to show, perhaps real gods wouldn't have had this problem. But they aren't real gods. They never were. But Solas is just as capable of making mistakes as anyone else. He just wished the others would have been able to see that. Things could have been different if they did. Maybe even better. But unfortunately there is no way to know that and what's done is done.
Finally, he builds up the strength to sit up and then push to his feet. It hurts, and his body screams at every movement, but he keeps pushing forward. His long brown hair falls over his shoulders, the braids long since fell apart from what could only have been a significant amount of time between when he fell asleep and now. The braids have since unraveled. At least mostly. He can only imagine how he looks.
He reaches down and scoops up his wolf's pelt, bringing it up and over his shoulders and raising the skull up to rest over his forehead. He reattaches his orb to the pouch on his waist. It was good that he thought to magically enhance his personal effects before all of this, and wished that he had thought to do so with even his hair ties, as silly as it sounds. But it is a good insight into the time that has passed. Sort of. Enough time for his hair ties to have disintegrated within the Fade where time is impossibly fast and slow.
He walks toward the entrance, pausing once more only to grab his staff before descending the stairs and out the front of his temple, only to stop in surprise. This isn't where he had originally built his temple.
He was in a city, obviously in a different life it's beauty and splendor would be unmatched by anything in the world. There are no words to describe it's majesty. The architecture, the cityscape, everything about it is absolutely breath-taking. Except for one thing; it's a dead city. It looked to have been at one point a beacon within theFade, but something has tainted it black and the streets are now filled with the harrowing whispers of those that once lived here. The city is run now by demons and evil spirits.
In the center of the city lies a palace almost as large as the city alone. He looks at the dramatic arches and high pillars even from this distance, the sheer blackness of it stands out against the green background of the Fade. It gives the castle a more... ominous feeling. Solas can feel the magic here has become harsh and angry, calling out like a seductive siren into the Fade, bidding unruly spirits to come and feed into the chaos brewing in this city. Solas can hear the mournful cries of the spirits here that were twisted by this place.
The blackness is like a poison that slithers beneath the layers of the Fade. Solas steps off of the last step leading to his temple and onto the street, feeling the darkness lick against the pads of his bare feet. He sends an electric shock through his feet and the darkness pulls back, sending evil snarls into the Fade before pulling away from him.
Solas frowns, not liking this one bit.
Within the whispers of anger and rage, he can see a golden light. A purity and wonder that used to permeate this city. Looking down at the road itself, he sees what can only be footprints that lead to the castle made up of the chaos. Or perhaps they are somehow the epicenter of it. Or maybe the cause of it.
His curiosity has always been his strongest and weakest point. Once his attention has been captured, he finds it hard to shake the feeling until he's satisfied. Something happened to this city - this wonderful and beautiful city - that somehow turned it black. The further he walks into the city, the more flashes of this once brilliant golden city reveals itself. Some of the spirits here are old enough to remember what the city once was, and they project the image into the Fade for those keen enough, or observant enough like Solas, can see it.
The closer to the castle that he gets, the sharper the darkness is, but there is something else, beneath even that. Solas can hear something that sounds a lot like the crying of a child. He pauses walking through the street to close his eyes and listen closer. The sound sounds so far away but it pulsates through the Fade. For half a second Solas wondered if it was a demon trying to catch unsuspecting passer-byes - one can never be too safe, especially in the Fade - but as quickly as the thought came to him, it also left him.
No, he didn't think it was a demon, but those cries could definitely attract one. If Solas had to guess, it might just be a dreamer. A very young, but very powerful dreamer.
Solas starts moving again, following the sound of the crying until it leads him to the palace. He stops when he feels the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. He feels a predator watching him and he goes back in time to when he was a young boy sent out on his own from his village to prove he was a man. His Rite of Passage was to hunt a hunter and kill it before it killed him. The trick was that he couldn't use his magic. He was supposed to use his sheer force of will, intellect, and instinct to protect himself.
Unfortunately for Solas, his hunter was a wolf that had realized what he was and took to hunting him right back. Solas spent three weeks out in the forest fighting this wolf off and trying to get the better of it. He remembers the anxiety and pain. He remembers the sleepless nights and the fear. He remembers jumping and scrambling away from any sound around him. He remembers feeling like he couldn't breathe as every negative thought about the wolf closing in on him pounded him harder than the ice cold rain that perpetuated those three weeks ever could.
Solas remembers at one point changing his very view on how to approach this situation. He remembers that when he stopped being afraid and changed his entire mindset, he found himself standing over the body of his hunter, thin and starved but alive.
He remembers those moments well, even after so long. In honor of that wolf that taught him, he keeps its pelt, skull, and lower jaw. He will never forget the lessons the hunter taught him.
Especially when he knows the feeling of being hunted.
Hunted by a wolf.
Solas turns, looking out over the city with pretty blue eyes, catching a swift movement through the streets. Some kind of large black wolf, it looks like, darting between buildings. She scares away the other spirits. Solas can hear her howl in the distance, shaking the Fade with her power. Solas tilts his head slightly, recognizing the call. She seems to be calling to her mate. Another wolf spirit wondering in the city?
The response was definitely not that of a wolf. The roar that followed made the spirits within the Fade scatter to the winds The very fabric of this city shiver and shake, struggling to hold itself together despite the dilapidated look of the city now. If Solas thought he was on alert before, he's downright rigid and tense now. That sounded like it came from within the castle. And it sounded huge.
The crying catches his attention again, still within the castle. Solas hesitates, wondering if this was smart. The wolf spirit and whatever her mate was hasn't been entirely threatening. But he did sense the warning from her in the Fade. Her child is inside, and she's warning him about getting too close. And her mater, whatever he was, is inside as well.
It gives Solas pause, wondering if the warning wasn't necessary for him, but for the demons and negative spirits. But he would be careful. Those cries sounded... well, not like a wolf. They sound like a small child.
Solas turns, gripping his staff tightly as he walks into the castle.
The cries lead him to the throne room. On the far side of the room was a throne five times larger than any sort of throne Solas had ever seen. Whatever once sat upon it was a lot larger than he, or the tiny child sitting in front of it. Solas approaches slowly, keeping his eyes open for the wolf's mate but he doesn't see anything. He does, though, sense him.
The vale fire torches that line the hall flicker and dance about to the child's cries. Solas looks at the small child partially hidden in the darkness of the throne room. He walks closer until he's a few steps away, able to see the child perfectly with his enhanced eyes.
The child was human if his round ears were anything to go by, and while Solas isn't an expert on humans, but the child looked like he was probably two or three years old. His head is covered in long, curly black hair that stands out against his pale white skin. He looks up at Solas as he approaches and pretty, yet watery, gray eyes stare back at him, and when Solas kneels down in front of the child, he spots even prettier purple rings in his eyes dancing off the light of the vale fire.
The little baby looks at him with wide, curious eyes, his cries that turned chubby little cheeks pink, slow to heavy whimpers and gasps for air. Solas sits down slowly onto the ground in front of the stairs the little boy was laying on. Solas will admit to the loud groan of pain and resistance from his muscles at the action. Walking is a lot easier than standing and sitting on the ground. Solas and the little human are near eye level now. The little baby sniffles, looking Solas up and down like he's never seen an elf before. Maybe he hasn't.
Solas reaches out slowly, pressing his hand onto the baby's pitch black hair, remembering how dark the wolf was, even in the darkness of the Fade. And the magic coming from the baby was immense. There was something powerful about him that couldn't easily be explained. Something special that Solas couldn't ignore.
"Hello, little one," Solas says softly, his voice rough and his throat hurting from not speaking for however long it's been since he last spoke. He gently pushes the curly strands out of the pink little face. "Why are you crying? Scared?"
The little baby sniffles, leaning into the touch as if starved for physical contact. Looking at him closer, Solas can see that he's sick. His face is so pale because it has no color. And the heat coming off of him is unnatural. He definitely has a high fever. No wonder the boy was crying so bad. Solas carefully pulls the boy into his arms, and cradles him close, using the bits of magic he has left to heal the boy.
This boy is a dreamer. Solas can tell. He's a rare being indeed. Something brought him here, and... well, this child needs him. He's not the most affectionate kind of person, but he's always been sensitive to children. Always had a special spot in his heart for them. They were innocent no matter who their parents were. It was one of the many things that he loved about children. They were pure and innocent.
Something rumbles in the darkness beyond the throne. Solas looks over the dark curls of the child's head to try and distinguish the shape shifting within it. He pets the child's hair down and stares into the darkness, feeling the power radiating off of whatever it is, even in the Fade. And whatever it is, it's massive. Solas watches as something moves again.
"You are the wolf's mate, aren't you?" Solas asks softly as the healing magic he is sending into the small child has eased his suffering.
The shape moves and something glitters in the darkness. Two bright purple orbs stare back at him from behind the throne. When he shifts, the orbs glow more and the shape becomes more clear to him. The vale flame catches the body of the beast perfectly and Solas recognizes what he sees is a dragon, massive in size with scales as white as freshly fallen snow and violet eyes, peak out at him.
Solas tilts his head a bit, mesmerized by a white dragon. He's never seen one like that. The wolf and the dragon had a human child? Unless... they were both human, but their souls are that of a dragon and a wolf. How very interesting. He's never met someone outside of the Elven Pantheon that's spirit took a different form other than their physical one. Especially humans.
How very interesting indeed.
The child wraps its arms around his neck and buries its face into Solas's neck.
"Is this your young?" Solas asks curiously, fascinated by the idea of what a human with the soul of a dragon and a human with the soul of a wolf would create. They are dead, Solas can tell that much, but their child is still alive. Here in the Fade, they protect him from the demons and the negative spirits. Their spirits are powerful enough that they retain their true form even in death.
The dragon tilts its head, letting out a low moan, sharp teeth larger than Solas's forearm glitter in the vale fire. There is a long moment of silence before the dragon starts to hum, this sounds like a beautiful lullaby in the Fade. The sniffles of his child decrease until it has stopped completely. The tension in Solas's body loosens until he's at peace. A healing tune. Solas knew that dragons held powerful magic, but he thought it was limited to elemental magic. They were so strong and their scales near impervious that he figured they wouldn't need healing magic.
Guess he was wrong.
A human with the soul of a dragon, huh?
A sound of nails scraping against the floor catches his attention. He looks toward the entrance to see the she-wolf walking into the room, her dark eyes glittering with the vale fire. She leisurely makes her way over to them, ears flickering toward her mate, listening to him sing as she makes her way toward her child. With Solas sitting on the ground she stands at least twice again as tall as him. She sits down in front of him and leans her nose into the back of her baby's head, breathing in his scent with a loving sigh.
She turns her dark eyes to Solas, curiously. The threatening warning he got from her earlier seems to have faded. Her dragon mate seems to have assuaged her worries. She licks the back of her baby's head, rumbling lovingly.
The wolf twice again as large as him, her dragon mate and the baby they share has made waking up very interesting, indeed.
Solas finds himself spending every night with the baby and his parents. They don't speak, not like people or spirits do. They seem to have forgotten how. Their animal instincts have taken over. They recognize each other, and their offspring. They spoke through the Fade with feelings. Not images or words. They were weary of Solas at first, but they knew that their child was in pain and no matter how much they tried to soothe him, it didn't work. Solas made him feel better and that was enough for them. How they came to this begotten city, Solas isn't sure, but he's been feeling stronger and stronger each day.
It was a bummer when he realized he wasn't strong enough to open his orb, but the baby made him feel less annoyed watching as he played with it, thinking it was a toy. He shouldn't be encouraging this behavior seeing as his orb was dangerous, but seeing as he didn't have the power necessary to open it, he knew a tiny human wouldn't be able to. Not yet, at least.
Time is strange in the Fade. It feels like moments between when the baby returned to the waking world and when he would come back to the Fade. Sometimes it would feel like years. Each time the baby would return to him, he would be a little bit different each time. He was aging, Solas realized, and that came with time. It flows differently in the Fade that he has no idea how long it has been since he first awakened in the Fade, or even when he went to sleep out in the waking world beyond the Veil.
Before Solas realized it, the babbling nonsense the boy would spew at him started to become coherent words. And eventually they were able to start having conversations and Solas realized what the child was a boy, and his name was Jon.
Solas liked Jon. He liked what Jon reminded him of. He reminded him of everything he fought for. Jon was good. Jon was pure and sweet and kind. Jon didn't see him as an Elf or as Fen'Harel. He saw him as Solas. It's been a long time since anyone has seen him as Solas. And he liked being Solas. After some time, Jon's parents stopped coming out into the open, something drew their attention away. Jon was so young when they stopped coming that he didn't really notice they were gone.
Honestly, for a long time, Solas figured that Jon thought that this was all a dream. That because he doesn't know how to control his powers that he wouldn't be able to tell when he went into the Fade and how real it all was. It was fine with Solas, though. Some things are better less unsaid. Or disbelieved.
When Jon was seven, he asked Solas to come to him. He was lonely and sad and wanted his friend. That surprised him, though, that Jon was able to accept that all of this was real. But maybe that's part of what made him special. He was able to believe with his whole heart. Solas was resistant at first, not sure how he would even find the boy, but the next time he saw him, Jon was able to tell him where he was.
"Westeros," He says, sitting down cross-legged in front of the dark-haired elf, "to the far North. My home is Winterfell." He reaches out and runs his hand over Solas's wolf pelt, that he had draped across his lap.
"I don't know, Jon," Solas says, looking up at the large throne, now knowing that it was the seat of the Maker and that they were in what was once called the Golden City - until Magisters of Tevinter tainted it. "Your home doesn't have elves. The last thing I need is to become a freakshow for your family."
Jon shakes his head. "You aren't. Your family too. I just want the two sides to meet." He looks down, ashamed for how he feels. "I'm sorry."
Solas reaches out and pets the mop of hair on the boy's head. "There is nothing to be sorry about, Jon. I'm not mad, and there isn't anything wrong with you wanting us to get along." Solas hesitates, staring at Jon for a long moment before saying, "If it means so much to you, I'll see what I can do." Never mind the fact that without his orb - which is still being a touch nut to crack - he's not sure how exactly to leave the Fade just yet. But he might have accumulated enough power to do so, but he hasn't tried it yet.
Jon's smile is bright and pretty, he reaches out and takes Solas's hand. "Really? You promise you'll try?"
Solas nods, bending to the whim of the little seven-year-old.