Author's Note: So there is a little bit of interest in this story, which is really exciting because I am in love with this story. I am so happy for all the support so far, it's really helping me out! I am so sorry about the long wait! Let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Warnings: Language, graphic descriptions of gore, OOCness and unbeta'd.
Word Count: 4,975
Now she wishes that the explosion killed her.
When she first woke up, she felt the fever burning through her. The memories of her last moments before blacking out came rushing back to her. In her daze, she struggled to push herself up from the covers wrapped around her. She had no strength in her body and it feels like she's flopping around on her back, which only serves to hurt her more. A radiating pain throughout her entire body and mind. She called out for Solas, hoping that he would be somewhere nearby. Her throat is dry and every time she tries to reach out to grab hold of him she doesn't feel anything. He's not there, she can't feel him.
Despite all of it, she wanted Solas. Even though they were fighting, Ellana knew that there was still love. At least there was on her part. She still loved him. She wanted him. Despite it all, she wanted him there to guide her. To help her. He wouldn't kill her. He couldn't. Because he still loved her. She knew that he did. He could have killed her, but he didn't. He deflected all of her attacks instead of really fighting back like she knew that he could. He could have seriously hurt her or even killed her, but he didn't.
She's watched him mercilessly cut down all those in his way without blinking an eye. Sure, there was a degree of remorse, but he never hesitated beforehand. Not unless it was something that really mattered.
"Solas..!" Ellana rasps, barely able to see through the haze over her vision. She tries to feel around for him, praying that he was near despite that little voice in the back of her mind telling her that it was foolish to believe he would stick around, but her entire body is on fire and she can hardly focus on anything aside from the pain and Solas's face. "Solas!"
She can feel the heat of fever wash over her. She can't believe that she's somehow still holding together. In the final moments with Solas in the Fade, as everything was collapsing around them, she was certain that she was going to die. She can't believe that she was still alive now. But she can tell that it's just barely. And it doesn't surprise her. She remembers her other missing arm. She remembers feeling his hand on her head with only loose white strands still clinging to her scalp. She must have been horrible to look at. She wouldn't blame him if he thought she was dead and left her.
That level of damage... she can't believe that she's alive. It definitely wasn't her own power that saved her life, but it feels like her will is the only thing keeping her here now.
The blackness falls over her suddenly...
Ellana can hear people talking around her, and while the pain is less than before, she feels so weak. She can't open her eyes and it feels like her entire body is being held together by something else. Like she's wrapped up; body, limbs and even most of her face by something and it is the only thing that's keeping her together. She can feel the pain radiating through her body but she can't actually feel her body. She can feel itchiness across her torso, especially her neck, but not really much of anything else.
She tries to focus on the voices, tries to find something in it that she recognizes, but her brain is so hazy that it's hard to focus. She tries so hard to open her eyes, hoping that despite not really being able to hear what they are saying, and their voices don't sound familiar, that she would be able to see the face of someone she knows. Like one of her friends had come back to her and helped her and Solas to safety.
Because she still cares, even after all that she's been through.
She struggles to remember now, summoning up those final moments again as sleep threateningly tugs at the edges of her mind once more. She remembers him making his way over to her. She remembers him holding her in his arms as he cries and begs for her to stay with him. That he wasn't ready to let her go yet. She didn't want him to go either. She remembers feeling his magic try desperately to hold her together. But she also remembers her missing arm - aside from the Fade Arm. She remembers the long strands of hair that seemed barely attached. She can only imagine the horror her appearance must have inflicted.
Solas looked okay considering. He looked burned and sliced up and thinking back on it, he was limping really bad and his skin on the right side of his face did appear to be badly burned. But no doubt he was in far better shape than she was. Unless there was something that she didn't see or notice, Solas should have been okay. Given, she isn't a doctor, but she's been hurt enough times to at least be able to guess at these things. But invisible factors, she supposed.
So, was she dead? She was in too much pain to be dead, she feels. She's not sure what she looks like or where she is and the more she tries to listen in to the people around her, the more exhausted she becomes. She doesn't care if she's deformed now, she just wants Solas to be okay.
Because despite it all, she still loves him.
She wants him here with her.
Ellana remembers, clearly, as sleep pulls harder at the corners of her mind, the many missions that ended with bumps and bruises, twisted ankles and thrown shoulders. She remembers the tons of Elfroot and the bedrest. She remembers laying in bed listening to Solas read to her the newest book he found for her while they were in Val Royeaux.
He would be covered in bandages too, seeing as she rarely left without him, propped up against the headboard of her bed, hands cradling this new book while her head rests on his shoulder, listening to him read. Or he would tell her more stories about his adventures in the Fade. The interesting creatures that he came across or the moments in time captured by the memories of the Fade.
And for a stupid, desperate moment, she could trick herself into going back to one of those moments. Her mind supplied her with a memory of her own told from Solas's voice. She could pretend, if only for a moment, that everything was as it should be. They were together, in Skyhold, talking about things that didn't matter but so long as they were together, they didn't mind. Solas knew she was obsessed with reading and had taken to gifting her all sorts of books whenever he stumbled across them.
And she loved that he cared enough to look.
She missed him so much it hurt.
"Solas..." she rasps as the memory is like his arms wrapping around her once more .
The next time Ellana woke up, she felt so much better, she couldn't believe it. Her body was sore and it hurt to swallow because of how dry her throat was, but when she opened her eyes, she felt stronger than all the times before. She raised a hand up to her forehead, pausing for a moment, remembering that now both were gone, only to see her hand before her very eyes.
She stares up at her right hand, wondering if somehow she had imagined losing it before the explosion in the Fade. Surely she must have imagined it because she still has a hand! She looks at it closely, trying to see if there was anything about it that didn't seem right. The freckle by her thumb, her fingers were still long and slim with callouses on the finger pads and palm from her staff. Her nails are cut short, but they look similar. The only thing that seems out of place is her normally pale skin is very pink like the skin was irritated. Her skin didn't hurt, but it did itch a little.
Then she looks over at her other hand. And there it was. Her other hand in the exact same condition as she remembered it before it fizzled off of her body. She knows that she didn't imagine that pain. There's no way. That pain can't be imagined. It can't be replicated in the mind. That, she knows has to be real. Then as if to agree that something wasn't right, Ellana saw it.
Thin green lines like intricate swirls go from the palm on her left hand, up and around all her fingers, to her wrist and elbow and disappear beneath the sleeve of her thin brown shirt. Ellana forces her eyes to focus on it, realizing that with her vision blurred it was harder to see, but it probably stood out more than she had originally thought. She looks at her other hand, bringing it close to her face but she didn't see the swirls there. She looks at the palm of her left hand closely and sees the pattern of the anchor from her palm to her wrist and about halfway up the underside of her forearm like a huge, light green scar.
And faintly, at the edge of feeling, she senses Solas. Or, more specifically, his magic in it.
But she's so weak, so sapped of booth her own magic and both strength and energy, that she's not sure if she's imagining it, it's residual energy or if she's just imagining it.
"I've never seen patterns like that."
Ellana drops her hand to look at a woman at the other end of the room. Ellana can see shapes of a dresser - make that three - and what appears like a small kitchen, and more that she can't really make out. She blinks a few times, trying to focus her vision on the shape moving closer to her. It takes the woman sitting down on the ground next to her for her to realize that she's laying on a little bed made up on the floor.
The woman comes into focus, and she's an elf with long, dark hair and a clear face. Her eyes are a pretty emerald green color that makes Ellana jealous. Her eyes were crazy distracting and people have told her they were kind of freaky.
But Solas loved her eyes, he said. He's never seen eyes quite like them. The outer edge of her irises was purple with the inner edges were blue. Honestly, Solas figured it was a mutation from the touch of human in her family history. No matter how much clans stay away from humans, they do intermix with other clans that may not be as strict and over the thousands of years, there were no more pure-blooded elves. At least, not in her time. Until Solas.
Ellana could tell that Solas was a bit different. She knew that he had to of had almost no human blood in him to have features that sharp. Now she knows that he has no human in his ancestry. He's true Elvhen.
Ellana could tell the same the moment she laid eyes on this woman. Her features were sharp and keen, but kind. Her sharp eyes were soft with worry as she leans in close, looking into Ellana's eyes. Her own widen in surprise, taking in their strangeness while her mouth hangs open having forgotten whatever it was she was going to say.
"Who are you?" Ellana rasps, her throat burning. She forces herself to ignore it. She wanted to ask about her hand, but she doubted this stranger would know anything about it. Ellana wasn't aware that limbs could just grow back. Then again, with magic, anything is possible. But she's still skeptical on that.
It takes a few blinks before the woman snaps out of her surprise and turns her pretty emerald eyes to focus on Ellana's face rather than her eyes. But she does appear distracted by them as she says, "My name is Kareema. I found you in the forest. You were in really bad shape. You ran out of magic yet something was... I don't know how to describe it. Something in the Fade was piecing you back together. It was amazing."
Ellana shakes her head, not sure she understands. She knows that true magic exhaustion is dangerous, though. When a body of magic is denied any magic, it turns sends the body into shock, which usually ends in death. That's why people usually pass out before then, it's their body's way of trying to prevent instant death. Ellana has never seen someone die of magic deprivation, but she had heard stories about it from Keeper Deshanna.
"Did I really?" Ellana rasps, her throat hurting her more.
The woman, Kareema, nods, pushing loose strands of dark hair that slipped from the loose bun at the back of her head behind her long, pointed ear. She reaches over and grabs a glass of water, helping Ellana sit up and drink from it. Admittedly, Ellana drank down that entire glass in record time.
"Yes," Kareema says softly. "I thought for certain that you were dead. But powerful Fade magic was stitching you back together right before my very eyes. I knew I couldn't just leave you there." She places the cup down beside herself and helps Ellana lay back. "How did you get in that position anyway, sweetheart?" Her face was young and youthful but Ellana sensed many years under her belt. She was wise, like Solas. She gave Ellana the same feeling that Solas had. She was definitely older than she appeared.
"There was an explosion," Ellana admits, her throat still sore but definitely much better than before. "I was fighting another mage, and our magic blew up in our faces." She is thankful for this woman saving her life, but she's not sure about sharing her life story to this stranger. Not just yet.
Kareema shakes her head, her eyebrows pulling together tightly in worry. "Well, you need to be more careful, sweetheart. If I hadn't found you when I did, you might not be here. A lot of wolves out there, and this is prime time for hunting cause they just started having their litters."
"Thanks," Ellana mumbles, forcing herself to sit up despite how weak she felt. More sincerely, she says, "I mean it. Thank you. It wasn't my intention to end up like that. I appreciate you coming along and helping out a stranger."
Kareema waves her hand around dismissively. "Oh, don't worry about it. We are a small community, off the beaten path, but we look after each other. You've got to, nowadays, what with all the shadiness going on, especially in small communities like our own." She reaches down and smooths at the rough fabric of the blanket tangled up in Ellana's legs.
"What do you mean?" Ellana asks a strange feeling settling over her.
Kareema turns pretty green eyes back to Ellana, contemplating whether this would needlessly frighten her or if it was better to make her aware, just in case trouble is afoot. She decides on the later, saying, "Slavers. I mean, they've always been bad, especially in the outlying lands away from Halamshiral, but it's been steadily getting worse as the years go on."
Ellana's mind is spinning. Something terrible has happened. She's not where she should be. She can tell by looking at Kareema that she is one of the Elvhenan. She has to be an ancient elf, just like Solas is. So, there are a few possibilities for what Kareema is doing here. One of which is that the green-eyed woman is part of a very old clan that hasn't ever bred out in thousands of years or only with clans that didn't breed out with clans that had absolutely no contact with humans. Which is very unlikely. But slightly possible.
Another would be that Kareema is part of a group - like Abelas and his people - that have slumbered from the ancient times until they were rudely awakened, thus keeping their blood "pure" by elven standers. Which is somehow more plausible than the first one.
Or... or time magic is involved. Like when she and Dorian were thrown into the future by Alexius and his amulet. But for the life of her, Ellana has no idea how that type of magic could be involved. Solas didn't use it, without a doubt, and Ellana knows that she didn't use it. Neither of them knew really how to perform it. The only ones who did were Alexius and Dorian and while Dorian was there in that battle, she figured that he ran through the portal and out of the Fade like everyone else. But then again, she doesn't know for certain.
But why would Dorian blast them with time magic? It doesn't make any sense.
And on top of being in a place that she didn't know, in a lot of pain all over her body, but now she has to worry about slavers wondering about doing whatever nefarious things that slavers do when hunting for people. She can feel the anxiety building in her gut. She has to figure out what's going on. And how to get home.
"You... said you found me in the forest..?" Ellana asks softly. Kareema looks a bit thrown off at the change in subject, but nods.
"Yes, you were very badly hurt. I'm so thankful that you survived."
Ellana smiles thinly, appreciative that she was found by such a nice woman, as opposed to the frightening alternative. Anyone could have come across her while she was unconscious and done whatever they want with her while she was unable to protect herself. She is very lucky, indeed.
"Was there..." she hesitates, almost afraid of the answer. "Was there someone out there with me? A man?"
Kareema tilts her head, loose strands of dark hair falling around her face. "A man? No. You were alone out there."
Ellana wilts a bit, wondering how that could be possible. Solas should have been with her, right? Unless something went wrong? Well, other than the obvious. But now Ellana is terrified that something terrible has happened to him. She was in bad shape, but so was he. Perhaps she was worse than he was, but that's from what she could see. It's what she couldn't see that she was worried about. She can't help but wonder if he's okay.
If she's still in her time - which she is praying to all the elven gods that she is - then she needs to return to the Inquisition and start figuring out her next move, and if she isn't... then she has no idea how to push forward.
First, she needs to find out where she is, then she needs to find out when. Then she can figure out from there.
Ellana wants to go take a look around and start figuring out her next move, but she doesn't have the energy or the strength, and despite being able to sit up a bit with Kareema's help, Ellana doesn't think that she's strong enough to be able to be moving about. Even with Kareema there.
Although, in Kareema's explanation about the slavers, she did mention Halamshiral, which would mean that they were in the Dales somewhere. She had said something about outlying lands? So somewhere in the Dales, near enough to Halamshiral, but not in the city. Far enough away to be considered the outlying lands. At least in her mind, she can kind of picture where she is. Sort of.
As if able to read her mind, Kareema puts a hand on her shoulder, nudging her back down into the bed. "Sleep..." she pauses, realizing she never got Ellana's name. She blinks in surprise.
"Ellana," the white-haired woman says. "Ellana of clan Levellan."
"Clan Levellan?" Kareema asks curiously.
Now that is even more worrisome and points toward the option that she really didn't want. An Elf not knowing about Clans doesn't bode well for Ellana's hope for the situation that she's in. The weight of Kareema's innocent question is like bricks in Ellana's gut. She has to lower herself down on her back in the bed to help stem the feeling of wanting to throw up. She honestly can't believe that this is happening.
"I'll make you something light to eat," Kareema says softly. "You try and get some more rest. I'll wake you when it's ready."
"Kareema," Ellana says, turning her crazy multi-colored eyes toward the other woman, "thank you for being so kind to me. I appreciate it."
Kareema's face breaks out into a pretty smile that lights up the darkroom. "Oh, you don't need to thank me. I want to raise my son, as my mother raised me; to be kind to those who need us." With that, she gets up and heads to the other side of the room, moving about in the small kitchen.
Now that she's been awake longer, Ellana's eyes are clearing up despite growing more and more tired as time goes on. The room she's in seems like it's the entire house. It's very small, and cramped. But Ellana isn't unused to the living conditions of not having a lot of possessions. She knows what it means to live a frugal lifestyle while with her clan. And she also knows what it's like to want for nothing while in the Inquisition.
She wasn't used to being able to get anything and everything that she could want. Josephine saw to her every need without questions and made her feel both smothered and as if she could have anything and everything in the world that she could ever want. It was hard for her to get used to asking for things that weren't practical or necessary. She was still a scavenger by nature and whenever she found something she liked, even if it was in poor condition, she would stake claim to it and usually store it in her room.
It was Solas that helped expand her horizons. She liked different types of clothes and was more willing to buy them when the thought fancied her, but the thing that she could never resist, once Solas really opened the door for her, was books. She was crazy about them. That was the one thing that she had an overabundance of and still wanted more. She would read anything.
"Not that I don't love tongue lashings as much as the next dwarf, but what do we do now?" Varric asks, looking between Cassandra and Ellana. The white-haired elf casts a look over her shoulder at the gathered people all talking about the Templars betrayal of the Chantry.
"I just don't know," Cassandra says, shaking her head. She walks around the dwarf, running her hand over her forehead. "None of this makes any sense. Something must have happened to the Lord-Seeker."
"Well, I'll tell you what we do have," Ellana says mirthlessly, turning to look at Solas stepping up next to her, staring off at something else over his shoulder. "We have hurt feelings."
Solas shakes his head, rolling his eyes, before turning to look at whatever it was he was looking at before. Ellana steps closer to Solas and follows his eyes to the shop that he's looking at.
"A book shop?" Ellana reads the sign out front. She looks over at Solas. "Fancy reading some literature after our failed attempt to convince the Chantry to help us?" She quirks an eyebrow at him.
"Do you partake?" Solas gestures toward the ship, casting her a sideways glance.
"In reading?" He nods. "Sure," Ellana says, stretching her arms above her head. "But it's never been more than old scriptures from my people. We never really had the mind for sparing our limited resources on things like books. Never mind the fact that they take up a lot of space and get heavy over time. I wouldn't want to burden my clan more than I already did."
Solas looks sad. "You deserve to read, Ellana. It's one of the joys of the world. Knowledge and imagination are two of the essential keys to living. Everything in the Fade is limited to and expressed through both of those things. It's imperative to have enough of both to be able to experience both the living world and the Fade to their fullest potential."
Ellana rolls her eyes, unable to fight the smile crossing her face. "You can't resist bringing the Fade into any argument, can you?"
Solas offers her a flirty quirk of the corner of his lips. "No, I suppose not. But maybe this day doesn't have to be wasted. Let's take some time looking around before we just leave."
"And you want to start with the book shop?" Ellana asks, mirthfully, linking her arm through his.
"Sure," Solas says easily, curling his arm around hers and offering a charming smile that makes her heart flutter. "Besides, you never know where we might find a clue on how to move forward. And if you don't, maybe you'll find something to help pass the time."
"We are fighting an ancient magister who is trying to destroy the world, I think trying to find something to pass the time isn't going to be helpful in our search to find a way to stop him," Ellana points out, casting a look over her shoulder to see Varric and Cassandra arguing about what to do next. Ellana knows that she has to go over there and help Cassandra and Varric plan out their next move, but at the same time, she can't help but consider Solas's words.
"True," Solas admits, "but we have a long way to go to get back home. Might as well enjoy the ride while we can, shall we? What could it hurt?"
"You are a terrible influence," Ellana says, looking back over at the book shop, feeling it taunt her. "but I suppose there isn't a problem with just looking, right?"
Solas laughs, casting a look over at Varric and Cassandra and announcing, "We'll be in the bookshop if you two need us." Before turning and leading Ellana toward the shop without waiting for either of them to respond.
"Ellana..." Solas says softly.
The white-haired elf forces her eyes open, looking around the room blearily. She must have fallen asleep again without realizing it. She rubs at her eyes roughly, forcing herself to sit up despite the pain in her body. Kareema is knelt next to her, holding a full bowl of hot soup that smells amazing. Ellana forgets her pain and practically rips the bowl from the other woman's hands and starts going at it.
Kareema smiles. "I bet you're hungry, it's been a few days since I found you. This is my family secret recipe. My mother taught it to me, who's father taught her, who's mother taught him." She laughs, pushing loose strands of hair out of her face. "My husband and son love it."
"How old is your son?" Ellana asks, conversationally between mouthfuls of soup.
"Oh," Kareema says thoughtfully. "We celebrated his one hundred and third birthday not too long ago."
Ellana almost spit out her soup, feeling the burning in her nose. She forces herself to swallow the hot soup before coughing a few times painfully and wiping away at her nose. She looks at Kareema, pretty and youthful without only the slightest lines in the corner of her eyes from smiling. It takes Ellana a minute of her mind short-circuiting before she makes the connection with the stories of her Keeper Dashanna told her and the others about the ancient Elvhenan and their immortality. That they aged up until adulthood and then stayed looking young forever.
Ellana was amazed by the stories of old Elvhen immortality. It was said that the arrival of humans somehow took their immortality away, but Solas revealed the truth to her. That it was when he put up the Veil that took the elves immortality away from them. Which just goes to show. If Kareema's son just celebrated his one hundred and third birthday and they aren't using ancient, powerful magic like rumors are some of the more powerful Keepers can to extend their lives, then Ellana's fears have come to light.
Somehow, someway, she was sent back in time. And Solas, for some reason, wasn't with her. She is now completely alone, in a time unlike her own. She is in the exact same position as Solas was, but in reverse. He woke up ten thousand years into the future. She woke up ten thousand years into the past.