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Sand And Water


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Author's Note: Songfics aren't my preferred approach, but this is a song that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. While the Jaheira romance is (IMHO) the best of the original four romance choices, in terms of depth and characterization, the fact that it begins only days after the death of Khalid in the game always bugged me. When I first heard this song, Jaheira immediately came to mind, and the story eventually came together. It's not a traditional "happy ending", but it rings true to me.


Song: “Sand and Water†by Beth Nielsen Chapman




The mid-morning sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky, dappling the tops of the great waves as they rolled in from some unseen point beyond the horizon on the Sea of Swords. As they drew into the shallows off the rocky shore, they crested, the foam pure white against the crystalline blue of the water, geysering high as they crashed into the larger boulders, surging forward over the smaller ones, reaching further and further up the rock-strewn incline, weakening with each foot advanced until finally each surrendered and drew back into the sea, to be replaced by the next in line.


Keeping just above the high water mark, Jaheira made her way with cautious surefootedness over rocks worn smooth by the waves of countless millenia. To the south, the towers of Candlekeep stood out against the sky; to the north, atop distant, towering cliffs, the green of the Cloakwood could be seen. Here, far from any city, the air had a crisp salt tang, completely free of the stench of sewage that ‘civilization’ inevitably brought to the ocean, and the breeze blew gently through her golden brown hair.


Though druids were traditionally associated with forests, this too was a part of nature, with an appeal all its own, strong enough to draw her periodically from the grove near Trademeet for which she had assumed responsibility. The forests spoke to Jaheira of nature’s peace and constant renewal; the power of the waves spoke to her of nature’s strength, a strength over which no mortal could prevail. Trees could be cut down, burned, and while they would return, the process required decades. Men might pollute small areas of the ocean with their refuse, but none could control the tides, and when storms drove the waves to heights that dwarfed the masts of the largest of ships, the makers of those ships could do naught but flee to sheltered harbors. The ocean was eternal in a way that even the oldest of forests and the tallest of mountains were not. As eternal as time itself. As eternal as love.


Reaching her favorite spot, a broad, flat rock, she sat down, drawing her knees up and wrapping her arms around them, resting her chin on her arms with her eyes fixed on the horizon. Lost in memories, she barely noticed the tears that rolled down her cheeks.


All alone, I didn't like the feeling

All alone, I sat and cried

All alone, I had to find some meaning

In the center of the pain I felt inside


It had been seven years since Khalid’s death, and while the pain no longer dominated her waking moments, it never completely left her, settling into a bittersweet ache that waxed and waned, as much a part of her as the beating of her heart. There had been no men since he had died, and she could not envision herself with another. After Darien had defeated Amelyssan, rejecting the Throne of Bhaal and sending the last of the essence of the God of Murder into oblivion, she could have returned to her duties with the Harpers, honored as few members of that order had ever been.


In the end, however, circumstances had led her back to the grove that she had freed from the influence of the shadow druid, Faldorn, back to the ways that she had rejected twenty years earlier. Verthan had welcomed her gladly, and in the peace of the grove and the new responsibilities that lay before her she had begun to find the healing that had eluded her in the tumultuous months that followed their escape from Irenicus’ dungeon in Athkatla. Darien and Aerie visited frequently, as did Imoen, but pleasant as the visits were, they would eventually end as her former wards returned to their own lives, leaving her to the path that she had chosen.


All alone, I came into the world

All alone, I will someday die

Solid stone is just sand and water, baby

Sand and water, and a million years gone by


The memory of Khalid was another reason that she found herself drawn to the seaside. He had loved the ocean, had eagerly volunteered for any duties that required traveling by ship. So many of her memories of him were accompanied by the sights, sounds and smells of the sea. The first time they had made love had been on board a ship returning to Baldur’s Gate from Calimshan, their gentle passion accompanied by the rocking of the waves and the soft rush of water past the wooden hull.


Khalid had been raised in the city of Westgate, the bastard son of a wealthy trader, placed in training as a warrior by his father, who had no intention of giving him a place in the family business, but with his love of nature, his almost instinctive feel for Balance, it was not unusual for him to be mistaken for either a ranger or a druid. They had found this place together, while visiting Gorion at Candlekeep while Darien was still a child, and he had fallen in love with its untouched beauty at once. They had come here often, sitting together on this very rock, watching as the setting sun changed the sea to molten flame, until night fell and the moon rose, its silver light turning the foaming surf phosphorescent against the rolling black waves.


Sitting alone now, she closed her eyes, imagining Khalid beside her, as she had each time she had visited this place since his death.


I will see you in the light of a thousand suns

I will hear you in the sound of the waves

I will know you when I come, as we all will come,

Through the doors, beyond the grave


“Mama! Mama, look!†A child’s voice, high with excitement, rose above the noise of the surf.


Opening her eyes, she quickly wiped her tears away with the back of one hand and turned toward the small figure running eagerly toward her, climbing nimbly over the rocks, staying well above the reach of the waves, as he had been taught. The sun glinted off the red highlights in his hair and as he drew closer, she could easily see the grey eyes and finely boned features of his father.


All alone, I heal this heart of sorrow

All alone, I raise this child

Flesh and bone, he's just

Bursting towards tomorrow

And his laughter fills my world, and wears your smile


She had discovered that she was pregnant soon after they had emerged from Irenicus’ dungeon, had managed to both keep her secret and protect the life growing within her until they had rescued Imoen from Spellhold. Darien had not been happy to discover her condition as they prepared to descend into the Underdark, his joy at knowing that she carried Khalid’s child tempered by fear that the dangers ahead would cause her to lose the baby.


She had still been several months from her due date, however, and had remained unyielding in her resolve to remain with them in their pursuit of Irenicus, to avenge Khalid's death. There had been little choice at that point anyway, as their only path led forward. After their victory in Suldanesselar, they had remained in the elven city as honored guests, and Ellesime herself had been present, along with Darien, Aerie, Imoen, Valygar and Nalia, when Khalain had been born.


When word had come of the conflict that would come to be known as the Bhaalspawn wars, she had been torn. Her sense of duty demanded that she fight alongside Darien and Imoen as they battled to keep those children of Bhaal who would replace the God of Murder from claiming his throne, but it was no place for an infant.


Though it had nearly broken her heart, she had left Khalain with the elven queen, knowing that the threat of the Bhaalspawn must be ended for the world into which she had brought her son…Khalid’s son…to be safe. When it was done, she had realized that the life of a Harper was as ill suited to raising a child as was the life of an adventurer. In time, she hoped that Khalain would choose to follow the path of Balance, but she was determined that his childhood would be peaceful and stable, filled with the love that Khalid had never received from his own family.


Khalain had thrived in the grove, growing into a sturdy child whose unfailing curiosity renewed Jaheira’s own jaded sense of wonder in the world around them. If his resemblance to Khalid, which only strengthened with time, occasionally made her heart ache, the joy that she felt in seeing her husband’s gentle spirit and courage alive in his grey eyes more than made up for it.


I will see you in the light of a thousand suns

I will hear you in the sound of the waves

I will know you when I come, as we all will come,

Through the doors, beyond the grave


Khalain reached her, his cheeks flushed and eyes dancing as he held out his treasure for her to see: a flat stone the size of her hand, fractured along its surface to reveal the fossilized imprint of the skeleton of some small creature…a rodent, perhaps.


“I found it in the rocks over there,†the child announced breathlessly, pointing back the way he had come. “What is it, Mama?â€Â


She ran her fingers over it, entranced by the exquisite detail of the skeleton that had been preserved in the stone. “It is a fossil, Khalain,†she told him. “Many, many centuries ago, when this creature died, it was covered by sand. Over time, the sand turned into stone, but the mark left by the creature remained, much as you leave the print of your hand in the clay by the river.â€Â


He nodded, peering solemnly at the stone, his fingers tracing the outline of the fossil image, lips pursed in a way that she knew meant that he was pondering something. “Do we leave something like this when we die, Mama?†he asked at last.


Jaheira found herself unable to speak for a long moment, until the lump that had suddenly risen in her throat subsided. “No,†she answered finally, looking into his earnest young face and knowing in her heart the type of man that he would grow to be: the type of man that Khalid would be proud of. “No, but if we are fortunate, we leave something far, far better.â€Â


“Better?†Khalain’s eyes went wide at the prospect. “What is it?â€Â


“That is something best discussed when you are older,†she said, smoothing his silken auburn hair away from his forehead. He frowned slightly at her words, then accepted them with a nod, trusting that she would keep her promise, as she kept all such promises that she made to him. Wrapping his arms around her neck, he kissed her cheek, and she held him close, closing her eyes and losing herself in the beating of his heart, the warmth of his face against hers and the clean smell of the ocean breeze in his hair.


“Can we go and show it to Aunt Immy?†he asked, drawing back after a few moments.


She nodded, smiling at him. “I think that Imoen would find it most interesting; perhaps she will take you to the library to discover what kind of creature it is.â€Â


His answering smile lit up his face, and he bounded from her lap, holding her hand in both his own as he urged her to her feet. Hand in hand, mother and son began the walk back to Candlekeep, leaving behind the windswept shore and the waves that crashed upon the rocks in a rhythm unchanged since the beginning of time.


All alone, I came into the world

All alone, I will someday die

Solid stone is just sand and water, baby

Sand and water, and a million years gone by

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