Leona pillowed her head beneath her arms, legs crossed neatly at the ankle, watching the fingers of the Fade stretch along the sky toward a pale and distant moon. The night sky was eerily peaceful, the midnight painted with the faint, green glow of the Fade seeping through the veil, not unlike the Lights of North, stripped of its purples and pinks, left only with sliver and peridot flickering between the stars, enchanted, living. They were far enough away yet to avoid immediate danger, but the only one yet asleep was Solas; Cassandra would remain on watch until the third morning hour, and Varric had turned in his bedroll for the sixth time in a dozen minutes, and Leona… Leona watched the stars.

She supposed no one would mind the song stirring in her bones. "'I gave my love a cherry without a stone;/ I gave my love a chicken without a bone.'" She closed her eyes, the hum of a lute fresh in her memory. "I gave my love a ring that had no end;/ I gave my love a baby with no cryin'."

"What's that, Motley?" Varric's voice carried softly from the darkness beside her.

The mage smiled. "A lullaby. Is it working?"

"Maybe," he chuckled.

"It won't work if you don't keep your mouth shut, dwarf." Cassandra groused good-naturedly over the smoldering ashes of the fire pit.

"You shouldn't be sleeping anyway, Seeker." He turned over again in the unnatural silence. "Let's have the rest."

Leona's smile did not fade. "As you wish. 'How can there be a cherry that has no stone?/ How can there be a chicken that has no bone?/ How can there be a ring that has no end?/ How can there be a baby with no cryin'?'" She did not have a voice like Leliana or Varric, but it was clear, and it remembered. Each slow march, every rise and gentle drip like water between pebbles in the stream, wind in the leaves and whistling through caverns and crags—she couldn't re-create them. But hers was a voice that remembered. "'A cherry when it's blooming, it has no stone;/ A chicken when it's pipping, it has no bone/ A ring while it's rolling, it has no end;/ A baby when it's sleeping has no cryin'.'"

The wind made no sound now, as it crept through dying grass and tugged at Leona's robes.

"Did your mother sing it to you, Inquisitor?" Cassandra's voice was distant as Varric's muffled snores.

Leona turned, paying no mind to the way her robes twisted around her legs and she rested her chin on folded arms, eyes steadfastly piercing the darkness, tracing the nearly indiscernible shapes of half-dead trees and the rolling silhouettes of hills. "'Thoughts awe hame tak awa ma fear/Sweat an bluid hide ma veil awe tears.'"


"War," replied the mage instead. "The elves know; it's a place none of us were ever meant to be."