[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Raleway][Raleway [size13 They always said, before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. From the moment Valene promised to herself she'd get back at the ones who stole everything from her, she accepted her fate. She had no delusions that misery would suddenly stop plaguing her, that the hole left in her would be gone. She died, that day, along with the only one she held dear. And from that moment Valene knew what she wanted to do, she sacrificed everything to achieve her goal. For the one single moment of pure, unadulterated satisfaction, she dissociated from the world. Even when the loneliness stabbed at her, even in the bleakest moments she longed for companionship, she would not let anything distract her. She would not open herself to anyone, and looked at others only as a means to an end. Her promises to help the Inquisition were empty, as she only meant to use their resources to help her track down her prey. If it meant destroying her humanity and being seen as evil, heartless, and cruel, she would never care.
Years she spent working, attempting to find them. So many times she wanted to give in, for all seemed lost. But the nightmares that haunted her, the voices and screams she couldn't get rid of fueled her.
Finally, it was all coming to an end.
A terrible, bitter end.
For even though the ones who tortured her and her clan now lay in eviscerated pieces in pools of blood, there was still a rat to take care of.
[i I should have known,] Repeated over and over in her head. Of course, when she had initially discovered she wasn't the only survivor, she was suspicious. [i I should have kept my guard up!] When that survivor obliged to help her, she should have seen through the act. There was simply no way anyone else could have survived unless they were in on it the whole time. [i Stupid, stupid!]
Rage boiled and stirred within her, but she managed to keep her head clear as she tracked the man through the woods. He tried to run, but he was nothing more than child's play to Valene. Drops of blood and the increasingly loud sound of frantic steps and even more frantic breathing excited her nerves, made her move quicker and with more purpose. It was hard to explain what it was like, to know that the end of her long, arduous journey would soon be at an end.
As she stepped from behind a tree, she spotted her quarry, the lanky, wide-eyed male Elf letting out a shrill sound as he spotted her. [i Bad move, attempting to rest.] Her lips pulled into a wicked snarling grin as she knocked back an arrow on her bow, eyeing the one already lodged in his thigh. He would attempt to run, but the arrow she quickly released after a strong pull back struck him through his shoulder and stuck him to the tree he had been leaning on. Oh, how his pained screams tickled her in the most sublime way.
"[b Get away from me!]" He grabbed at what little bit of the arrow protruded from his shoulder, attempting to pull it out. His legs shook as if they'd give out any second, and the pitiful tears and snot that drooled down his face only made the moment better.
Then there was a sound of heavy footsteps behind her. She whirled around to face the intruder with her bow, but not before strong arms knocked the bow from her hands and latched to her wrists.
"Let go of me!!" At first, she couldn't tell who it was. The emotions and adrenaline rushing through her blinded her senses to all else but her kill, but when the voices reached her ears, shock momentarily stopped her struggling.
"It's just us, no need to thrash and get anyone hurt." Behind the hulking figure holding her that she now recognized as Iron Bull came the voice of Varric. "You had us worried sick when we realized you'd up and left in the middle of the night..."
"This isn't any of your business! Just let me finish this!" So close. She was so close. He was right there, pathetically whimpering and staring at them like a shocked deer. Just a few more steps and she could have her knife at his throat...
"We find dozens of dead Tevinter, and then find you here about to murder someone else, and you have the gall to tell us this isn't any of our business? You will tell us what is going on right [u now]." The sharp voice of Cassandra tore at her as she walked past toward the Elf, who at this point seemed to be attempting to say something but only managing out little noises and nonsense. Grabbing his shoulder, with a strong pull she managed to dig the arrow of the tree, freeing him.
"Argh! You'll let him get away!" Valene shrieked as she pulled hard from Bull, managing to wrestle a hand away, turning herself toward Cassandra and the Elf before her wrist was grabbed again.
"Sheesh, you sure are stubborn." Bull muttered as he tightened his grip. She internally flinched at the pain, but only growled at his comment.
Sure enough, the Elf did attempt to make a bolt for it, but Cassandra sternly grabbed his shoulder, the discomfort of having such a deep, fresh wound have such great pressure applied upon stopping him.
"You're not going anywhere until we figure out what in Andraste is going on." Cassandra glared down at the Elf.
"[b You have to let me go! She's crazy and she'll kill me the second she's let go!]"
"Oh a traitorous coward like you deserves so much worse than a quick death. What I will do to you will be a blessing in comparison!" In her eyes swirled something primal, and as she bit her tongue, the growing canines that pierced the flesh made her realize she had to calm down.
"Valene, please... This isn't like you." Her breath hitched when she heard that voice. The warm presence that came next to her, the hand that rested on her shoulder that made her body burn and the look on his face when she met his eyes...
"Cullen..." His name barely came out in a small breath. "What are you doing here?"
"I wanted to come look for you with the others. We were all worried."
"You don't have to do this alone, you know. We can help." Varric piped up from the back.
Her jaw clenched as she stared at the Elf, trying to keep herself focused on that hatred. She was to never feel for others. She had no friends, only means to an end. She had no comrades in battle, only meat shields if she needed to bail for her life. Yet something in her tugged to listen to them, to relax and open up.
"[b She's a damned murderer!]" In a sense, the insult carried out by the Elf was exactly what she needed.
"Me? A murderer?" She laughed bitterly in response, "Oh, yes, I might be, but you're on a whole other level. You're just a greedy, cowardly, sad excuse for a living thing that chose wealth and living over helping your own clan, your own family! All you can think about is yourself. Sure, I've killed many to get where I am, but I've accepted that. There is no guilt weighing on me. What about you, huh? All the women, the men, the children you got killed. You became their little rat just so you could survive! You're disgusting!" Each poisonous word that dripped from her mouth felt good. Even better each time he flinched.
"Valene! I told you to tell us what's going on!" Cassandra barked as she pointed at her. Yet it seemed to not phase neither her or the Elf.
For a moment, he did not respond. But even the weakest animal became ferocious when backed into a corner. Sudden fury took over his eyes and facial expression, his body tensing up. A wicked glint in his eye caught her off guard.
"So this is what it's about..." He trailed off, his eyes examining her closely. "It seems no one else knows what's going on. I did what I had to, to survive! And what a hypocrite! You gave them your body all so you could get treated better!"
Her eyes widened as her heart thumped hard. The sensation that washed over her was a wild mix of feelings she never thought she'd feel. The eyes that now glued to her only added to it, making her fidgety, trying to tug her hands free but getting no where. That evil in the Elf grew as he felt him getting a hold on her.
"You told everyone you didn't want it, but we knew every night they took you behind doors that you were just using it as a means of being favored!"
"That is enough of both of you!" Cassandra again tried to stop them, but it was Varric who stopped her.
"Keep him where he is and let it happen." His eyes lingered on Valene, who's body occasionally trembled. "Whatever is going on is a long time coming."
"You were all sick in the head... I never once wanted it! You thought I got treated better but I was treated just as terrible as everyone else! I was still beat and made to do labor like the rest! At least... at least all of you got some kind of sleep half the time!" She hadn't realized it at first, but tears were streaming down her face. The memories that flooded her overwhelmed mind made her stomach twist. The abuse she had to suffer from both those that made slaves of them, and even the abuse from her own kin, who believed such twisted, disgusting lies.
"If you never wanted it, why'd you keep it then, huh? You should have been disgusted at the very sight of it, yet you kept it around as your own."
"Don't you-!" No. That was the line. She couldn't bear more. She had to end it now, before it was too late. Pain swept in waves through her body as the trembles got worse. She coughed and choked as she sobbed, her breathing becoming increasingly labored.
"But she's what this is all about, right? That inbred 'mistake' of yours."
"You better shut your fucking mouth!" With a sudden burst of strength she pulled forward, actually snapping at him with her increasingly sharpened teeth, Bull still barely managing to keep her held in place. He cursed under his breath at being taken back by her power, and both Cullen and Cassandra stared in shock. Varric stayed where he was, quiet, a pained look on his face. He knew Valene as composed and cool in every situation. In the face of death by horrible demons she never once lost her sense of control. To see her break apart like this made it hard to watch.
"She may have been young, but... but she was a better person than all of you! She was... she was... all... that I had..." She stared at the ground as the tears dripped. The way the little girl laughed, the way she smiled, the way she felt when she held her close... Valene remembered it all. Even the way her blood soaked her clothes as she cradled her dying child in her hands.
Her daughter who died that day their Tevinter masters found out that some of the clan were planning to revolt. All because the man in front of her ratted them all out. It was him. [i He killed her... He killed my only thing worth living for...]
"I did that [u thing] a favor. Imagine it having to grow up any older with a selfish whore of a mother like you." The Elf grinned at her as he spat, before yelping as Cullen suddenly moved forward and slammed his fist against his face. Cassandra pulled the Elf back behind her, still keeping a good hold of him.
"What is your problem?!"
"Am I the only one listening to him? Am I the only one who can't stand to hear the vile things he has to say while Valene falls apart right next to us?!" Cullen challenged Cassandra's hard glare with his own.
As the sadness began to melt away and replaced with hatred, another violent tremble rushed through her body as her vision started to go. No matter how much she tried to cling to Cullens voice, to the memory of her daughters voice asking her to sing for her and tell her she loved her, Valene felt the disgustingly familiar sensation of slipping away.
[i I'm sorry. I never wanted anyone to find out this way.] The last coherent thoughts passed her mind as she fell to her knees, Bull awkwardly letting go as she curled in pain. Bile and drool profusely came from her mouth as physically, the change started to take hold. Cullen attempted to come to her aid, but Varric quickly ushered him away. Even Bull backed away in fear. Muscles swelled all over her as her features began to twist.
It was the head that made the most complete change first. The muzzled face looked up at the Elf, piercing glowing eyes only reflecting one thing - hunger. He stared gaping at the creature that was still forming in front of him, the girl that was there now a heavily furred beast with torn clothes slipping off.
As she was dying from her injuries just after her daughter passed, a demon came to her. If she could provide a vessel for it to reside in that was fueled by hatred, in turn it would save her and give her the strength to ruin her enemies as they did her. Of course, she accepted, even if at the time she didn't realize that power would come in the form of a gnarled beast whose only concern was to feast.
Seeing the fear etched into every feature of his face, the beasts lips pulled back, and its maw opened to let out a grizzly, distorted laugh. It was deep and bellowed, and the werewolf licked its massive canines as it dug its talons into the dirt.
"I will enjoy ripping you to bits and eating you alive..." Slowly it rose, and as the panic set in the Elf began to frantically pull away from Cassandra.
"[b No... NO NO NO DON'T LET ME GET EATEN!]" After the shock left her, Cassandra had enough sense to let him go. She went to move herself between the two, and Bull tried wrapping his arms around the beasts waist, but as the Elf bolted, it triggered the hunters response. Nothing would bind this beast down.
It more than easily shook Bull off, bolting forward on all fours, knocking Cassandra to the side. They were left utterly appalled, but as Cullen went to go after, he stopped, knowing that even though the creature was still Valene, it was bent on exacting one thing - the death of its tormentors. Would he or anyone else get in the way, they too may become like the scattered corpses of the Tevinter.
The Elf continued to run, the adrenaline pumping through him allowing him to ignore the pain of his injuries. Just behind him was the werewolf, snapping at his ankles and snarling. Finally, the werewolf lashed out with a long arm, catching his injured leg and sinking its thick canines and incisors in. The taste of blood that filled its mouth and began to coat its face was so sweet and wonderful. It yanked back, crushing its jaws hard, the satisfying crack followed with the painful screaming and sobbing like beautiful music to its ears.
"[b Please... just let me go... I just want to live... please spare me...]" He clawed at the ground to try and pull himself away, the pain from all his other injuries beginning to take hold. Rapid blood loss made him weak.
Releasing his leg, it reached an arm out, grabbing him by the throat and lifting him up as it stood. It brought him close to its bloodied muzzle, letting its long tongue drag across his face, the large fangs brushing uncomfortably against his skin. With it being so close, in desperation he reached out, attempting to poke at its eyes or pull at its ears. The weak attempts brought forth another deep, rumbling laugh from the werewolf.
It tilted its head, opening wide, and with a sudden movement, brought those jaws down onto the sides of his head. The forest was silent besides his squealing, his skull crushing as it caved in from the growing pressure, and soon gurgling as he started choking on blood. With a thrash it threw the injured man to the side, watching for a moment as his body twitched. It lumbered over and stared at the now ruined and squished face that was unidentifiable. He looked more like a repulsive demon than an Elf.
It was glorious.
More gurgles signified he was managing to stay alive. It stared for a while, seeming content in watching him slowly and miserably die. After a moment, it took the mans throat in his teeth, and easily tore open the trachea. Blood spurted out, and along with it the last bits of life he had in him.
The men who enslaved her and her family, the ones who forced them into painful labor day after day, the ones who ruined her body physically and emotionally night after night, only to leave her with a child hated by all but her, now lay dead. The man who caused the death of her only precious reason to live anymore just took his last breath.
She finally had her revenge.
The beast fell to its knees as the transition back took hold. It usually was never so short a change, but before it simply rampaged until it had its fill. But now, now it had its fill in a way it never had before.
After a few agonizing minutes, Valene lay bloodied and naked, curled up and holding herself. She imagined holding dear Liani against her one more time, stroking her hair and reassuring her that she adored and loved her with all her heart and soul. Tears welled up in her tired eyes as she began to mutter her name again and again, until exhaustion finally overcame her.
With her purpose now fulfilled, she wished she could sleep and never have to wake up again. Maybe then she could see her daughter again.