Into the Darkness
When Melwas first woke she didn’t quite realize it, because the gentle tune she’d danced to in her dream was still soft in her ear. She turned sleepily toward the sound and rolled up against the warm body of her big sister who was humming quietly, almost to herself. “Percy, you are so bad at that. You are why I had bad dreams,” she mumbled under her breath, while snuggling up close to her sisters warmth. Percival stopped humming and gave Melwas a gamin grin, acknowledging her quiet teasing, she hugged her close briefly before releasing her.
“Percy why-” Melwas started to ask, but her sister stopped her with a finger on her lips. Leaning in until her mouth was right against her sister’s ear again, Percival whispered, “We are running away tonight, Mel. I’m taking you to the Dalish.” The last of Melwas’ grogginess dissipated with that comment and she realized for the first time that her big sis was fully dressed. She couldn’t stop herself from glancing first to where her twin sister lay sleeping nearby, then up at the loft where her parents slept. As exciting as it was, the prospect of joining the Dalish, she was equally loath to leave her family. She knew Mummy wouldn’t mind, but Gwynn would be so mad if Melwas left her behind… however, if they both left… it might just break Daddy’s heart. Her leaving might break his heart anyway.
Percival watched her baby sister while she silently debated, following her gaze up to the loft then back again to her twin sister. “They aren’t safe while you’re here,” Percival stated baldly, still soft against her ear, almost as though she could read her mind, “Yes, they want you to be always with them, but if you humor them then they will die. Mages have few rights, elves have even less, if they are caught protecting you they’ll likely be killed. Make the decision that they can not and keep them safe.” Melwas jerked around to look at her, she was startled to see that, in spite of her cold words Percival’s eyes were sympathetic. They reminded her briefly of their father. “I’m leaving tonight one way or the other, Mel. If you come with me I’ll see you safe to the Dalish.”
As much as she didn’t want to, Melwas believed her sister. To Melwas, Percival was a kind older sister, though she knew Gwynn didn’t have the same experience of her. Their big sister was most always stand-offish, and frequently rude, but Percival had always protected her sisters, so Melwas had no reason to doubt her now. She stared longingly Gwynn’s way again, “Can’t I-” She stopped herself before she could get the words out, she clenched her teeth and lifted her chin, resolved to do just what Percy thought she ought. “You’re right, I’ll do what I have to to keep them safe.”
A quick smile and kiss on the forehead, like a blessing, from Percival was Melwas’ reward for her decision. “Wait here,” Percival whispered and darted off, silent, like a shadow, returning shortly with Melwas’ clothes and a couple of bags she’d obviously packed earlier. She silently helped Melwas dress before leading her outside barefoot. Once outside their home, they donned their shoes, ragged as they were it was necessary protection from debris on the streets of Denerim.
Melwas wasn’t surprised to discover that Percival knew a hidden way out of the Alienage, in an alley where the boards of the wall enclosing them had rotted through, easily peeling back and allowing them to slip through. Percival went first, gesturing for Melwas to follow when she hesitated, looking back one more time at the only place she’d ever called home. “We’ll write them letters,” Percival was looking at her with a lop-sided smile, and in spite of the smile Melwas could sense that she was sad too, “As soon as I get you safe to the Dalish we’ll write to them.”
“That will be good. Then they won’t worry so much.” Melwas replied as she took her sister’s hand, ducking past the rotted board as it fell back in place. And just like that, hand-in hand, they left the only home they’d ever known, silently and as unnoticed as ghosts.