You served admirably!

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Sariel’s eyes moved over her plane, lingering on the sign that hung in the air: Welcome! You served admirably!

Her brow furrowed. Did she?

Sariel was pulled out of her thoughts by Andraste’s presence beside her. The other women tilted her head to the side, in a manner eerily similar to Sariel, as she considered her creator, “What’s wrong?”

Sariel’s eyes didn’t leave the banner as it moved slowly in response to a wind she didn’t feel, “I thought being an ascendant would…change things.” Her voice was quiet, thoughtful, as she critiqued her past hypothesis, “That I would be able to do things like the rest of them could…” She smirked. “I wish I could talk to Niall.” She took a breath, “I miss him.”

“I know.” Andraste said quietly as reached up and touched Sariel’s shoulder. “You could…see if he’s here.”

“No.” The answer was immediate. “He’s not.” Sariel’s voice was quiet, but there was something in the denial that gave Andraste pause and the silence stretched on between the pair.

When it seemed that would be the end to their conversation, Sariel sighed, “I…miscalculated, I think.”

Andraste smirked, “You? Miscalculated?”

A barely there smile pulled at the corner of Sariel’s mouth, “You have to make mistakes to learn, Andraste.”

The other elf’s, that could have been Sariel’s sister, lips pursed together as she considered that piece of wisdom, “What have you learned?”

Sariel was quiet for a long moment before she finally spoke, “All gods are not created equal, there are ones that are more powerful, and others that are less so. I don’t deny that I am an ascendant,” She looked around with a small smile, “but, I made an assumption, that all ascendants are created equal, which I am beginning to think is not the case.”

Andraste’s brow furrowed, “You believe you are a lesser ascendant? Sariel, look at what you accomplished, you teleported to the demi plane.”

Sariel brushed that argument away, “That was nothing special. I use to do that spell with Niall all the time. I thought with my ascendant status that I would be able to do it without him, but apparently not.” She shrugged, “I thought that there were things about being ascendant that I needed to explore, that I needed to know to stop what’s coming, but…turns out nothing really changed in terms of my personal abilities. Any one of them could have cast that spell, I doubt I was even necessary for the group magic to work. I just had the knowledge they needed to…the knowledge…” Sariel paused, and her body stilled, “Huh.”

You served admirably!

Did she?

Sariel moved to sit down on one of the lounge chairs, crossing her legs.  “I need a moment.”

The eccentric elf closed her eyes, and reached out to the calm center that was always there. After a few deep breaths, she entered her trance and her mind began its work.

Nethrali handed her a diamond that glowed green.

 “You’re an ascendant, Sariel.”

Which meant she was on the path to godhood. Her mind worked through several possibilities at once, trying different simulations with different hypotheses, tweaking it each time until her mind reached a conclusion.

I’m not a powerful ascendant.

It explained her inability to do the spell and her lack of manifestations of any special abilities.

The tight knot that was in her chest released.

The “tick tock” that echoed in her mind disappeared.

Sariel solved her mystery.

Niall’s face appeared in her line of vision as she tried to manifest her planar magic for the first time. “That’s it, Shae. You can feel the path between worlds, now reach out.”

Sariel smiled softly at the memory, reflecting back on the sheer amount of knowledge her mentor held. He wielded that knowledge like a weapon, it was part of what made him the best of those who walked the horizon. The familiar ache in her chest surfaced and the smile slowly faded. She needed to find a more experience horizon walker to assist her traveling companions.

There were so few left.

But she would try.

You served admirably!

Did she?

But, she didn’t need to be a powerful god to assist those that would be. She was operating under others’ expectations, not her own. And she didn’t care about others’ expectations. Her mind is what made her capable, what made her a threat…

That mind analyzed the party in the light of the research she had done on each of them. Talithey as she effortless knocked the arrows aside with her air abilities. Nethrali as her eyes glowed bright, proving theories as ancient as her forest. Zildath, the combination of his breath weapons as they were unleashed, including an impressive connection to the astral plane. Take was a mystery in many ways. Her werewolf form was beautiful in its terrifying glory. The other woman could easily shift her forms. Was it her ability as a Druid? Her Fae nature? Her ascendancy? Sariel made a mental note to investigate this further.

Odd though the party was, it was easy to see why they were the ones brought together to stave off the end of the known world. The ultimate band of misfits, with powers scholars would have said were impossible.

You served admirably!

Did she?

A slow dangerous smile pulled at the corner of her mouth.

She would help her baby gods.

Until they inspired hope for this cycle….

… and brought terror to their enemies.

Unbidden and sudden, a memory crashed into her trance. Portals to other planes ripped open and Sariel could feel magic thick in the air around her. She could feel the fabric of the material plane taring as confused cries of the creatures forced from their homes raged in her mind. One voice echoed louder than the others though, one voice that screamed out for her.

Sariel’s eyes snapped open, and the look on her face made Andraste still.

In the end, the trance only took a minute. A one minute revolution.

“Sariel?” Andraste asked quietly, a bit unsure.

Sariel eyes flitted over to Andraste, “Yes?”

“Are you alright?”

The elf nodded,  “I’ve been using my mental exercises poorly.” She paused and then explained, “It’s like when those who need sleep don’t.” The agitation at not being able to do the spell herself had disappeared. The furious energy she had as she deciphered the modification and pieced it together with the plane shift spell were gone. This was the Sariel the party had first met, bored, like she found the current situation to be a pain.

Sariel sighed as she got to her feet and stretched, before turning to leave her demi plane.

Andraste slowly rose to her feet, “Where are you going?”

Sariel didn’t look back at Andraste, she only gave the other elf a small two finger salute, “I need to see a cat about a bracelet.”

You served admirably!

Did she?

What. A. Drag.

Eliza Neil
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