Hi guys. Last I checked, sixty people had checked out Fire and Fog, a few had elected to follow the story, and I was delighted to find that someone had chosen it as a favorite. Thanks for the support. I hadn't expected so much, not in my first day with my first story/chapter.
OK, originally, I had Fenris going from the events of Fire and Fog, and into something just before Anso's job, but it didn't quite work. I felt like it was too much of a jump, and I couldn't bring myself to use the dream memory cliché, so…without further ado, I present ye,
Burns and the work of broadswords
The last of the Fog Warriors was not Bardum. Not his lady. The last was a little boy. The child looked at Fenris without scorn. "Mama said you were hurt." He whispered. "Up here." Tapping his head. "She said you think you're a slave, but… I know you're not. You helped me when I hurt my arm. You showed me how to climb a tree. Remember? Slaves don't help just 'cause they want to. They don't teach 'cause 'it pleases' them." Fenris winced as the boy parroted his own words. The child shook his head fervently, and looked up at the white haired elf with hero worship, "You're my friend, Fenris. Nothing is gonna change that."
Fenris had fallen apart in his mind. Slave again. Freedom gone. Lost. Lost. His dream world was gone, broken, forever. The boy's words stung him, and he faltered. His eyes flew back to his master who, seeing his reluctance, pointed his staff at the child, and burned him.
His screams… Fenris knew it would have been kinder to kill the child himself. He would have been a better friend to have cleaved through the child himself… but- After the screams died away, Fenris found himself kneeling beside a pile of ashes and bones. "Maker." He whispered. Denarius was saying something, but the world had coalesced around the fine soft solid smoke which drifted through his fingers. "Maker, I'm sorry." He whispered, "So… so sorry."
"Fenris! Heel!" Denarius commanded, cutting through Fenris' grief haze.
"No." He said.
"Fenris, I am injured, bring me my-"
"No!" He stood, whirled on his master, "I am… I am not your slave!"
"You were born a slave and you will die as one, Fenris. Your proclamations change nothing, not my place, not yours. Get me my potions-"
"Rot." Fenris said, as his skin began to burn from the heat his markings were giving off. He turned then, and ran.
In hind sight, it would have been wiser to end it all there, but Fenris could not have fathomed such a thing. His words, his insistences that he was not a slave… they were as hollow as a bottle of wine. Truly, they were not his truths, but the truths of the Fog Warriors. He could hardly believe it when, as he ran, Denarius did not yank him back and slam him to the ground, burn him, bleed him. He could hardly believe it when he reached the edge of the island and found the skiff, abandoned. It had Qunari markings on it, but he could see no other ship awaiting in the waters between the isle and the mainland. Fenris had been confined to quarters when Denarius brought him to Seheron, but he thought to estimate the journey at half a day, accounting for the less than ideal nature of the vessel he would be escaping in, and any adverse conditions upon the waves.
Although he had no experience piloting a boat, and a very thin line of patience, Fenris did eventually steer the craft into open water. "Go straight!" He would snap, paddling furiously. "It is a straight shot, go straight."
His mind wandered as he stroked the waters, Denarius' eyes when Fenris had refused. The strength he felt at being able to refuse. The fear that propelled him to move faster through the surf, than he had thought possible. "I will not… I am free." He murmured, even as the echo of Bardum's voice whispered, 'Love would be an easier topic to teach than freedom. His chains are burned into his skin.' The words echoed, coloring gray thoughts, with splatters of yellow, green, black and bloody red. More red, and blue for guilt than any other color. "I am sorry." He said, his voice creaking like chains, drowned out by the salty spray, and the roaring of the waters.
Over and under and through the brush, like silence under snow. Fenris wrought his freedom from the agony in his skin, and the deaths of slave hunters. "Your master has been looking for you." She said. A pale blue robe, feather spalders, and a staff stinking of blood and magic in equal doses.
"I am a free man. I suggest you go tell him that." Fenris tried to edge around the woman, but instead, she leveled her staff. In response, his lyrium tattoos began to glow, and the ragefire coursed over the length of his body, flooding him with adrenaline and fury.
"I don't think so, slave!" She said, beginning to speak the words of an entropic blood spell.
Snarling, like a mad thing, Fenris knew only one response, "I am not a slave!" He roared, cleaving through the foul mage's body as though she were no more than wax. He then reared about, scenting another, and launched himself through the ranks of a small platoon of well seasoned slavers. "Vinek Kathas!" He growled to himself, a command. They would not be pursuing him one more step. Just as the last of them fell broken on the ground, his lyrium went out, and he realized how much time had passed in the battle. "Once again as the sun fades, I am surrounded by corpses of men." He whispered, feeling a sad echo inside of himself. "This time, they deserved it." So, he bent and retrieved what valuables the cretins had possessed and forfeited with their lives. Six silvers and fourteen brass, plus a rather pretty necklace, and a bar of soap sealed away in parchment. He put his finds into his sachel, and walked away, found himself a secluded place amid the rocks and brush, and lay his head onto a boulder.
This would be his first night alone, away from all others. He smiled grimly as he looked to the stars. His stomach whined pitifully, his body ached with fatigue and left over burning from the lyrium, but he was free. His sleeping spot had been of his own choosing, and tomorrow, he would enter Qunaris, a proud city of the Imperium. He would buy what he could with his finds, and then set his feet to the south. Perhaps one of the cities in the so called "free marches" would be appropriate.
For now, sleep called to him, and he was only too happy to oblige.