The flames had spread through the forest of Lythvalen, but he was frozen in place. The feeling of helplessness grew with the cries of the voices within the great fire, calling for help. Voices he knew, of family and friends. His mother crying for his father, already dead in the war carried clearly through the burning trees; the patron of the house, he heard the voice of his uncle, roaring in anger against the fire or maybe against the abyssals that had started it. A lone form, alive in the midst of dying stumbled out of the trees near Vel's still form.
His eyes watched from behind the mask hiding his face as the feminine form became clearer through the smoke. He'd never worn an actual mask in Lythvalen, but it seemed appropriate now, something to keep others from seeing who he was. Who he had been before the war was dying in the burning forest with most of his life, leaving behind who he was, a statue of ice, masked to hide the damages inside.
The form clear now before him had no such mask. He could see now it was his cousin Elarise, the priestess emerging from their burning homeland. But beautiful Elarise was as marred as he was, the wounds visible and jagged over her form instead of hidden. Sporadically, she gave a cry as she stumbled towards him- rage or grief or pain, he couldn't tell.
He tried to reach out to her as she staggered past, but the ice holding him kept his arms from moving. Held in place, Vel watched Elarise's form continue past and vanish, the ice implacable against his struggles. Or was the ice really him, nothing more than a frozen statue incapable of reaching out?
This worry was suddenly heightened as he realized the heat of the burning forest had reached him. The slipping of his mask alerted him first, panicking the elf. The potential loss of his mask as it was freed from the ice struck him as worse than the possibility that he might simply melt away. He might join his kin if the flames melted him away, but if who was left behind the mask was revealed he'd have nothing.
The logic would have been nonsensical perhaps in the waking world, but in this nightmare with no beginning or end it made a twisted sense. The ice statue closed blue eyes, waiting to become nothing but a puddle not with serenity, but with a numb yielding of hopelessness. Then he felt a hand on his, despite the ice.
Vel opened his eyes as the small hand yanked him back, away from burning Lythvalen, out of the ice. Next to him was a lovely dark haired elf maid, familiar somehow. With a start he recognized her- Lurielle, the girl he was courting- even as he dimly realized the fire and screams behind them had faded away. He started to panic again as he realized the mask had slipped off, leaving him exposed to the woman's eyes.
Lurielle caught his flailing hand before it could grab the fallen mask, squeezing it gently. She smiled up at him, a strong but gentle hand pulling him back. Vel smiled back, leaving the mask fallen, calming as the dream dissolved as the sunlight assaulting his eyelids forced him awake.
Blue eyes blinked at the ceiling of his room, then glanced over at his nightstand at a bouquet of wild flowers tied with a ribbon. Flowers picked by a lovely elf maid on their last picnic. Vel smiled as he turned over and closed his eyes again, breathing slowing into a peaceful sleep with a gentle hand in his.
Open roleplaying fourm for S3.
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