Dissonance

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Chapter 5: Seryna discovers the aftermath of the spell. The bewitchment stirs suspicion among her companions. In part 5, she settles for a recovery and offers Vaegil a challenge. She also learns information from the perspective of the forest outsider.

Submitted: June 20, 2016

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Submitted: June 20, 2016

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Dissonance

Chapter 5

 

Art Cover from nipuni.tumblr

Art Source: Pinterest

Short Story inspired by the DA franchise

Written by Booksie Member Haku

 

 

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 Chapter five
Possession


Seryna awoke to find herself laying once again on the grassy grounds of the forest. She looked up and her eyes met a pair of misty green eyes. They benignly stared back at hers in return. As she felt her eyes begin to adjust, she realised it was Vaegil who was sitting next to her. There was an unpleasant sensation pulling her skin. His nimble hands were stitching an open wound on her upper arm. 
“How...What happened to my arm?”
Vaegil looked as if he hadn’t expected her to ask such a question, and began fidgeting with the needle threads in his hands. 
“Oh, uh that? Well you see on our way out your arm was cut by the thorn of a bush. Funny story, that”.
Seryna could hardly see the humour of the situation. She remembered what happened in the castle the moment she woke up. There was something missing, and it came to her.
“Where’s Remera?”
“She’s gone for now. Don’t worry about her.”
Seryna sat up and looked at the finicky elf directly.
“How can you expect me to trust you after you can’t explain why Remera disappeared?” She demanded.
Vaegil paused for a moment.
“I am grieved to inform you of this, Seryna, truly. I had to cover your eyes to stop you from looking at that – thing! As soon as I saw you peer into that object, I realised. Sorcery. After you fainted, the door of the secret entrance closed itself. For a moment I thought we were trapped in there forever, I did. Then the most incredible thing happened! A red gem floated into the air and unsealed another entrance! This was most fortunate, because the

 

Quanari were getting dangerously close and -”
“Wait! Quanari, did you say? Is that the race with the horns you speak of?”
Vaegil looked puzzled, even slightly amused.
“Really? How do you not know about the Quanari? Yes, I am referring to the “horned species”. Is your clan really that isolated or are your leaders keeping this information to themselves? Unbelievable!” was Vaeril’s melodramatic answer. 
 “I thought they were called Oni?" This was what Remera had told her.

Vaegil looked puzzled "What? Never heard of it" He said dismissively.

What else?”
“Oh! Yes, how we found our way out. The Gem inserted itself into another door. It must have been the key. It was eerie how it floated through the air like that. It took us into a gardened area covered in overgrown vines and thorn bushes. As I was carrying you one of them caught your, skin, and cut it deeply. We travelled south of the forest for quite some time before decided to rest. Remera left in search of your clan while you slept” He finished.
“Interesting” Seryna smiled, “And, which direction did Remera take when she left us?” The clan could only be located in the north perimeter of the forest, and Seryna felt mischievously curious to find out what answer he would invent for this lie.
“I wasn’t looking. You had been bewitched! I had to attend to your injuries.” 
If this was a lie it wasn’t a bad one, Seryna thought. She decided to stop playing with the poor elf and tell him the truth.
“Vaeril. There are no thorn bushes in this forest. Explain what really cut me. Please. After seeing what I saw, I am not afraid of the truth behind a minor cut.”
He avoided her eyes, and said,
“Remera. She tried to kill you.”
When Seryna tried to convince him he was mistaken, he ensured her that he was correct. She couldn’t believe this. After what she had done to her arm, she expected Remera to hate her after that. Based on what she knew of Remera through their travels together, it didn’t add up. There was a reason behind Remera’s ruthless murders. She had learned that from the confession that caused her to burn her arm in fury. This huntress was a person who is

 

willing to slaughter others to save her own skin.
“Why Vaegil?”
“It was when you were bewitched. I think this triggered it, because when seemed to be on edge ever since it happened. Being a hunter, she knows many techniques that she could perform to stop you from being bewitched, but she didn’t make one attempt. She hardly even moved. Actually, I think she was looked at you like you were a monster!” 
“She fears demons! That explains her behaviour towards me. She always called me “mage” with such contempt”.
Vaegil was looking at her, bemused.
“What – How are demons related to mages?”
“Because the power that transforms a person into a mage, is obtained from a demon that attempts to possess you.”
 Vaegil burst into laughter. 
“A Demon? Are you lot out of your – Mages are elves who are gifted with magic from the moment of their birth. If you couldn’t use magic as a child, perhaps you didn’t recognize your own talents.”
Seryna sighed. “This topic of discussion is better suited to someone which greater knowledge than I. How long have you been here, Vaegil? What were you doing in that castle?” 
“Want to give me a thorough interrogation do you? Worry not. I have no reason to lie to you, for my intentions are honest. You see, our clan is called --. We are known as “fair elves” whereas the elves born and raised from the descendants of this forest – Nethaleen – are known to use as simply “forest elves” for you live in the deepest woods of these lands.  We are called Fair Elves because within ourselves we are known as Fairies. Techniquely speaking, we are not elves, but a race that is just very similar to them. You have the appearance of one of us, my dear Seryna. This is mysterious to me just as it is to you, I presume by your confused face right now. The difference between us is that our ancestors had wings. We have found sufficient evidence to support this claim through the past

 

centuries. In ancient documents discovered in a ruin similar to the one we all just visited, only much larger and known amongst our people, we found information that links our ancestors to this forest. So I was sent to this forest on a mission assigned by our clan elders. It took me a week or two to reach this destination. It has been incredibly lonely, travelling for so long to foreign places by myself, you know, You couldn’t imagine how pleased I was to see the faces of your clan elves.” 
“What do you mean?”
“I was captured by the Quanari too. I was a prisoner next to the hunters of your clan. We conversed, while they were away, of course, and I learned a great deal about the nature of this forest...I was saddened to see Remera kill them right in front of me” He looked away again, before saying quietly “Don’t feel guilt for what you did to her, Seryna. As a trained assassin, you could have released them, but was too cowardly to risk being caught. She was completely unaffected by reason. She shoot an arrow through them soon after they spoke to her. They thought your clan had finally come to rescue them. She doesn’t deserve the title of your clan, you know that?” 
Seryna felt utterly betrayed. There was no shred of honour in her. She was ruthless and unfeeling, bitter and resentful. Her actions are outside the province of decent reason and conscience. She wondered where she had been before she was welcomed to the Nethaleen Clan. They are the only clan existing within the forest. Where did Remera once belong?
They spent the rest of the day together. Seryna couldn’t help but compare this to just the other day when she had been rescued not by Vaegil, but Remera herself. Unlike her, Vaegil became exited by the prospect of learning how to brew potions that contained ingredients of the forest. He asked her advice on the fitfulness of the potions he had brewed in the elven ruin, where he explained her was attempting to follow the ancient recipes. They inspected the already created potions that were found in the castle, both experimenting using techniques they have learned in their separate cultures, hoping to identify specific ingredients. They successfully confirmed that Gillyroot, Juniper plant and a plant species related to elfroot was involved in the contents of these potions. These raw ingredients were usually included in potions which are used to improve one’s magical energy. That they agreed on, although Vaeril argued it could be an antidote. Seryna suggested consuming the potions and see the results but Vaeril thought this was a disastrous idea.  
Seryna teased him for the awkward size of his pointed ears and his poor skills in lying, and

 

laughed at his embarrassment.
After that they tended to their damaged clothing and prepared food to eat. An awkward moment arose when Vaeril accidently touched Seryna’s hand, so light to the touch it tickled slightly. But he didn’t flinch and withdraw his hand. He moved his hand to the back of her neck softly, then underneath her collar. His hand suddenly began to dig under the clothing of her back, touching her skin. Seryna threw his arm off her.
“Don’t!”
“...No, There are marks on your back Seryna. I felt them, like scars. Did something happen to you or...?” His voice trailed off, and left the question to hang in the air as Seryna froze. She knew she didn’t have scars on her back. She pulled down the light chainmail under her green mage robes and turned her back to Vaegil. 
“What do you see?”
He breathed in quietly. 
“Do you feel pain?”
Seryna shook her head.
“I don’t know how this happened, but there are marks on your back. Scratch marks. But - ” She felt a tug of her chainmail as he examined it, “There is no damage on your armoured clothing Absolutely nothing. Here, I will heal it for you. You may not feel them, but they are deep cuts.” 
“Were you trained to be a healer?”
“Yes” He replied, as he held his neat built staff and hovered it over her shoulder. “The Elders thought I should specialize in defensive magic. How do you think Remera couldn’t get past me?” He finished smugly.
“I am the opposite of you. The clan keeper, who is also my mother, trained me to control my magic. When I used it for the first time, it produced an inferno. I suppose that would be

 

offense magic, to you - I have an excellent idea!” 
“Great! I love your ideas. Spill it.” said Vaeril enthusiastically.
Seryna stood up when he withdrew his staff, and retrieved her own. The thick trees loomed higher than ever. He had brought her to a quiet, hidden space that was so quiet that it felt like no living soul was in the vicinity. The sounds of birds communicating could be heard high above in the green of the trees, and in the distance, the calls of a forest mammal, but no-one could linger undercover in this surrounding. The fog from the previous day had cleared, and left behind a chill in the air but the sunlight appeared through the trees. 
“I challenge you to a dual, Vaeril of Clan Arathorn”

end of chapter five

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Note: I found this cover art the most intriguing piece of DAI fanart I have come across. For my short story cover, it is mean to portray Remera's abandonment from Seryna, who fears the darkness that their travels have unveiled in her magecraft.  As discussed in the previous chapters, the common truth is that magic makes all mages vulnerable to demon possession. The details of this is unknown, so far, but she will discover what truly gives a mage their power. In the end of chapter note of the first story, I mentioned Seryna's totem being a wolf. The Dread Wolf featured in the DAI fan art is a good portrayal of Seryna's dream and it's attempts of possession, because it looks black and threatening, but also seems to be a part of her (just like the dread wolf may be a part of the dragon age inquisitor due to their relation to it).

 


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