The End Of The Beginning: Finale
What is change? Change is the occurrence of something new, something different. And the concept and reality of something different, something outside the accepted norm, has always been met with opposition. It can be radical and violent, or it can be a peaceful transition, or it can conflict with long established ideas and truths. Change is, without a doubt, the most frightening concept in existence. Some will fight to the death to prevent change, to keep everything they know as it is, and sometimes they're right to do so. However, sometimes, change is exactly what people need most, to set them free.
For most of its history, the Dragon Age has been defined by the changes it has brought to the world. Changes that have challenged and even overcame centuries of old beliefs and ideas. So much has happened that some barely recognize the world they now live in. Some would use this change to further their own selfish goals, while others would fight to prevent it from happening entirely. Then there are those who take it upon themselves to enact change, even if it means going to war with old ideas.
The precipice of this new era began in Kirkwall, when a Fereldan refugee turned Champion, stood against the authority of the Chantry, which had disguised its own tyranny in the form of righteousness for centuries. Thus began the Mage-Templar War. Then came another who wished to bring about a new world, one where black magic and fear governed the world, and ruled by a would-be god called the Elder One. And in his crusade for conquest and godhood, the Elder One would shake the world to its very foundations.
In this time of chaos, when all hope seemed impossible, the world's savior came in the form of the most unlikely vessels. Some would call him a Herald, the sign of the Maker's favor, and the chosen champion of their Lady Redeemer. But to himself, he was a humble Dalish Elf, nothing more and nothing less. This reluctant savior would rise to lead a new Inquisition to save the world, and would be the center of some of the most dramatic changes in Thedas' history.
Now another wishes to bring a new change to the world. Change brought through violence and destruction in an attempt to bring what they believes is peace. A change that conflicts with ideas and dreams that have been fought over for too long. Now, this savior praised as a Herald, must fight to stop this violent fanatic before the zealous, selfish desires of a new world destroys everything the Inquisitor has fought for, everything he loves.
The Inquisitor and all who followed him emerged through the eluvian to yet another ruined courtyard. This one was cut off from the rest of the castle complex, with no other entries or exits. There they saw the last of the true bulk of the Viddasala's private army making their way through an eluvian on the other side of the courtyard, the only other way out of this place. The soldiers were closely followed behind by the Viddasala, who was making absolutely sure her plans were being carried out.
The Viddasala looked back to see the Inquisitor and his followers following after her, and her face twisted with rage. How could the Inquisitor still be alive? Still chasing her?
"You are DEAD, Inquisitor! Your soul is dust!" The Viddasala cursed furiously back at Arcane Warrior, her eyes burning with hatred as she glared at him.
"Yeah, maybe. But before I die, I'm going to cut your soul right out of your body." Rajmael gritted through his teeth, ignoring the horrific pain his arm was in.
The Viddasala followed after her men and went through the eluvian. The Inquisitor would soon be dead from that cursed magic mark in his hand, and the Inquisition would crumble without him. All that mattered was reaching her destination with her men, and getting to that infernal agent of Fen'heral. Once he was dead at their hands, they would bring the peace and enlightenment of the Qun to the rest of Thedas.
Rajmael and the others gave chase after the Viddasala. They had come too far to let her escape now, not when she was so close.
Just as the set foot into the courtyard, and explosion erupted in the middle of the grounds that sent a powerful shockwave around them. The dust cleared, and standing in their path was that giant Qunari mage. The collar and mask that were made to hold his power back were now tattered ruins, barely holding on to his body, and the stitching that sewed his mouth shut had been completely torn out. Surrounding the giant mage was an aura of destructive magic that made the air hum around him. He stood there in the middle of the courtyard in an aggressive stance, almost like he was urging them to attack him.
"Ah, shit. It's this guy again." Varric groaned.
"Guess he wants another ass-kicking." Iron Bull scoffed aggressively.
"He's certainly tenacious, I'll give him that." Vivienne commented.
"Why can't any fanatic we face ever do the smart thing and just surrender when they have the chance?" Ranier groaned.
"We shouldn't underestimate him. Qunari sarebaas are extremely, especially if they're let off the leash." Dorian warned.
"I agree with Dorian. We cannot underestimate this mage's strength." Cassandra concurred seriously.
"I'm still going to shove all my arrow up his Qun." Sera said trying to bolster her confidence.
"I thought he turned his back on the Viddasala's orders. He's free now. Why does he still wish to fight us?" Hawke wondered curiously.
Tallis looked at Saraath with solemn respect in her eyes. She knew his wanted, and would honor his wish. "He's making his own choice, one within the boundaries and his role within the Qun. He wants to fight us without being restricted while still serving the Qun."
"Ah, so you're saying he wants to die." Aedan said derisively with that toothy grin of his. "Well, then, let's go and oblige him."
Rajmael kept his sword sheathed and calmly approached the giant sarebaas without a hint of fear in his step. After facing down Corypheus and his dragon, and coming so close to losing Eva, there was no mortal enemy in this world that could scare him anymore. The sarebaas towered over the Inquisitor, and held his ground, ready to fight, wanting to fight.
"You are standing between me and my and quarry, Sarebaas." Rajmael addressed, glaring up at the giant qunari with a fearsome gaze in his golden eyes. "My fight isn't with you, but the bitch who killed my friend and kidnapped my daughter. I will allow you to leave, and you can live your life outside the Qun as you see fit. If not, and you choose to stand in my way, I will fucking slaughter you, and all you'll ever be is just another notch in my belt."
Saraath didn't budge, nor did he take his eyes off the Inquisitor. Instead, he resumed his battle stance and intensified the magic aura surrounding him.
"And that's the choice you wish to make?" Rajmael questioned.
Saraath growled viciously at the Inquisitor and ignited his magic in his hands, confirming his choice.
Rajmael's eyes burned with magic, and he slowly assumed a sword-drawing stance. "So be it. Cassandra!"
Rajmael's lover used her Seeker powers to call down a Cleansing blast of white energy down on the sarebaas that expelled all mana from the area. Both Saraath and Rajmael's magic was disrupted, but Rajmael was the only one between them that had a weapon, and that tipped the odds in his favor.
Rajmael drew the Enasalin and slashed Saraath across the chest in one clean stroke. He followed through with a flurry of precise and deadly strikes at the sarebaas, his massive body made him an open target for the smaller, faster swordsman. The giant mage vainly tried to block the elf's attacks, but it was useless. Rajmael carved up Saraath's torso and arms like a holiday nug. Rajmael lunged forward with his sword, aiming to bury it deep into Saraath's chest. The sylvanwood blade went straight into the sarebaas' torso and stuck right out of his back.
That should have been the end of it, but it wasn't. Instead of dying, Saraath was still standing. Rajmael realized too late that it was all just a ruse; his sword missed the sarebaas' heart, he barely felt any of Rajmael's attacks, and he still had plenty of magic to use.
Saraath grabbed Rajmael's with his monstrous hands and generated his destructive magic through the redheaded elf. Rajmael groaned and yelled in pain as he felt the sarebaas' powerful magic course through his body, burning his flesh and nerves. It was like being bathed in acid, or back when he was burned alive as a child. Even with all the pain Rajmael was in, he refused to let go of his sword, and he pushed it deeper into the Qunari's body and twisted it, in an attempt to make the sarebaas release him, but the monstrous mage seemed impervious to pain.
Over the sound of his own yelling, and the delightful tone of his own skin roasting, Rajmael heard the familiar sound of Cassandra's angry battle cry. Both Cassandra and Ranier attacked the sarebaas' flanks with their sword and mace respectively. Saraath caught both weapons in each of his hands, and saw the rest of the Inquisitor's allies were charging to attack him. In that brief moment of being distracted by the enemies coming at him, Saraath didn't see Tallis jump up at him from behind the Inquisitor with her dagger, aiming to bury them in his face.
In an instant, Saraath created a telekinetic blast to knock back his attackers away from him, the Inquisitor's sword still stuck in his chest. Rajmael and his companions from ranks and readied to attack the giant obstacle in front of them at the same time. Even without a weapon in his hands, Rajmael was still a dangerous mage and combatant. More importantly, he had the Hero of Ferelden and the Champion of Kirkwall, and some of the most dangerous combatants in all of Thedas with him. Even the freakish strength and power this mage possessed couldn't stand to all of that.
Realizing that the odds were tipped against him, Saraath decided to do the unthinkable in order to fight this powerful enemy. This was the first fight in his whole life where he chose to stand and fight his enemy, rather than be ordered to. He refused to go down easy.
Saraath raised his arms, conjuring more magic than he had ever summoned in his whole life, more magic than he thought he ever had, and slammed his hands to the ground with all his might, unleashing a shockwave of powerful magic energy. The wave of magic was so intense, that it tore the already thinned Veil, and demons began pouring into the courtyard. Demons of Pride, Rage, and Sorrow all emerged from the multiple tears Saraath tore open, and they were all ready to fight on behalf of the mage who brought them here.
"Aw, come on! That's just playing dirty, you asshole!" Iron Bull cursed.
"Great. Stupid horn-head mage arsehole summoning a bunch'a demon thingies. Grr! What a prick!" Sera hissed, trying to choose which demon to point her arrow at.
"Well, this just got a lot more fun." Varric said sarcastically.
"Saraath's tapping into more power than he ever has in his entire life, all the power from the lyrium the Viddasala gave him. It's so intense that it must be tearing the Veil apart." Tallis surmised, her daggers still drawn.
"Cassandra, you and the others keep the demons at bay. Aedan, Hawke, and I will take on this freak." Rajmael instructed, cracking his knuckles threateningly.
"The three of us teaming up together to kick one guy's ass? Oh, this is going to be so much fun." Aedan chuckled darkly.
"Varric, be sure to take notes, because I think writing this battle down will get you enough money to solve all of Kirkwall's money problems until the Maker returns." Hawke said with a wide smile.
The others fanned out to fight the demons that were coming into the courtyard. After facing these creatures all those times in their war against Corypheus, they were now fully capable of handling demons on their own.
Dorian and Vivienne gave their companions covering fire and support with their magic. Vivienne covered the combatants with magic barriers to protect them from the demons they were fighting, while Dorian used his magic to pick off the lesser demons who were trying to flank their companions. The two powerful mages were from literal opposite sides of the world, and both of them were nobles of high standing from two ancient empires that despised one another. And while there was no love between the two of them, both Dorian and Vivienne were very capable of working alongside each other to accomplish their mission.
A swarm of Sorrow Demons unleashed their mournful, icy wails at the Inquisition. These demons fed off the anguish of mortals, and used the cold emptiness that sustained them as a weapon to kill, and inflict more sorrow onto the world. For most people, ordinary folks, who knew nothing of magic and demons, like Varric and Sera, encountering such horrible creatures would be a death sentence. However, after fighting in the Inquisition, and seeing all the weird shit they encountered, Sorrow Demons were nothing. And while demons might be a problem for mages in the Fade, here, Varric and Sera both knew that if you shot them enough times, they'd stay dead.
Varric silenced the pitiful spirit's wailing by firing a grenade from Bianca into its gaping mouth. The shrouded demon's head exploded, and its body disintegrated into ash, it's mournful wailing echoed into silence as it faded from this realm. The burning pieces of shrapnel and skull from the first Sorrow Demon struck the others, and set fire to their bodies. Taking advantage of their panic, Sera shot several arrows from her bow, all of them coated with a special oil. When the arrows struck the Sorrow Demons, the flames on the bodies lit the oil, and made the fire burn even hotter. The Sorrow Demons' anguished wails soon turned into screams of their own agony.
Several Terror Demons tore their way into this plane of existence. They were tall, gaunt monstrosities with grotesque claws attacked to unnaturally long limbs. Beneath the many eyes on their stumpy heads was an elongated maw filled with jagged teeth that reached down to their torso. Terror demons fed not on fear, but terror, the panic and distress found in the moment, like in battle or in any other horrible circumstance that would cause men to lose their nerve. Sadly for them, there was no terror to be found here. Only the Iron Bull.
After fighting against Corypheus, and battling against the demons with the Wardens at Adamant, Iron Bull was well past his fear of demons. The muscle-bound mercenary grabbed one of the scrawny demons like it was a sprig, then snapped its gaunt body on his knee. Iron Bull kept hold of the demon's limp, broken body in his hand, and swung it around like a flail, hitting the other two Terror demons and knocking them to the ground. The demons never knew what it was like to be hit so hard, and were unable to react when the Iron Bull brought his axe down on them, and split them in half like dried kindling.
Ranier faced off against a Rage Demon. Unlike other demons that were born from the sins and woes of the world, these creatures were born from it. They were created from the intense anger and wrath perpetuated by the world in all of its forms. Rage Demons didn't feed off of anger, but sought to lash out back at the world that made them what they are. Most soldiers, even elite ones like Ranier, would be easy prey for creatures of such fury. However, a couple years ago, Ranier leaned from a friend that if he survived the first thirty heartbeats against any kind of demon, and he had already one the fight. Because demons rarely changed their battle tactics, it made them predictable, and therefore had a weakness to exploit.
Ranier hid behind his shield as the Rage Demon unleashed a stream of red flame down on him. The heat was so intense, it would have melted his armor and shield if he hadn't had Dagna reinforce them with protection runes years ago. When its flames didn't work, the Rage Demon attacked the former knight with its claws. It slashed and clawed at Ranier, who remained on the defensive. Ranier peeked over his shield and saw that the Rage Demon was about to unleash another stream of fire on him, and that's when he found a weakness to exploit. Ranier raised his shield, and waited for the Rage Demon to finish unleashing its stream of flame. The very instant the demon let up on its attack, Ranier charged the infernal creature down, smashing it with his shield, then proceeded to maul the thing to death with his mace. Ranier didn't stop beating the demon until he was absolutely sure it was dead, and its flames were snuffed out.
Tallis found herself surrounded by on three sides by several hunger demons. Hunger Demons were creatures of insatiable gluttony, and fed off the hunger and desperation of mortals. Sustained by the horrible need that can never be filled. They looked like shadows that had taken physical form, and sought to satisfy the unappeasable hunger that sustained their existence, by feeding on a certain redheaded elf.
This wasn't the first dance Tallis had with demons, and at this point, she knew the steps. Hunger Demons had no patience, they just wanted to feed as quickly as possible, and they were sloppy eaters. All three of them attacked Tallis at the same time, their distorted mouths drooling with anticipation for elf-flesh. Tallis leaped above all three of them high in the air. While still in mid-air, threw a hail of throwing knives down on one demon, nailing it multiple times in the head. Then Tallis used her impressive gymnastic skills to manipulate her fall so that she would land right on top of the second Hunger Demon, and planted both her daggers right in its shadowy head. The last demon tried to attack, but Tallis threw one of her daggers right between the foul spirits ugly eyes, killing it instantly.
Cassandra stood alone against a towering Demon of Pride. Pride Demons were amongst the strongest in the Demon Hierarchy, and the most insidious. They whispered into the ears of the powerful and famous, enticing them to commit atrocities in the name of their vanity, and feeding off their ego and the power it gives them. Unlike Desire Demons which bribe or bargain with mortals, Pride Demons manipulate mortals' very nature and personality to make them do what they want. The worst crimes and greatest achievements were both often done in the name of pride, and these demons inflated themselves on such motivation, and possessed a nightmarish sense of cruelty.
As a Seeker of Truth, Cassandra was trained to face such creatures in case a mage ever fell victim to them. She had faced Pride Demons throughout her career in service to the Chantry. In fact, it was the day she saved Divine Beatrix III when she killed her first Pride Demon, and it was when fighting a Pride Demon in the ruins of the Temple of Sacred Ashes that she first began to fall in love with Rajmael. Of all the Inquisitor's companions, Cassandra was the most qualified to face down a Pride Demon alone.
Cassandra held he sword and shield and stood her ground against the powerful demon. The foul spirit cackled mockingly and unleashed a giant ball of electric energy at the Seeker. Cassandra held firm and exerted her willpower against the oncoming assault. Her abilities as a Seeker snuffed the magic attack like a candle before it even had a chance to touch her.
A pair of chains made of pure lightning materialized in the Pride Demons claws. The chains crackled like a lightning storm as the Pride Demon brought them both down on Cassandra, but this time she didn't hide behind her shield. The fearless Seeker exerted her immense will, using her sword as a conduit for her powers. Cassandra swung her sword at the demonic chains, the blade met the magical attack just as it was about to strike her. The lightning chains shattered on contact with Cassandra's sword, leaving the Pride Demon open.
Before the heinous spirit had a chance to attack with its devastating claws and horns, Cassandra summoned the Wrath of Heaven. She knelt to the ground as if in prayer, invoking the Maker's name and blessing, and focused all her power on her faith on conviction. As if to an answer to her prayer, a pillar of blinding light came down on the Pride Demon. The Pride Demon screamed and yowled in agony while its entire body was consumed by white fire, and nothing it did could stop it. The powers of the Seekers came from their unwavering faith, and granted them the ability to purge all mana surrounding them. All spirits were manifestations of magic, and without mana to sustain them, they faded from the physical world. The Pride Demon screeched horribly as all the mana it needed to remain in this world was burned from its being. The white fire consumed the dark spirit until it was incinerated into ash by the holy flames.
In the meantime, Rajmael, Aedan and Hawke approached the sarebaas, ready to kick his ass between his horns.
Saraath pulled the Inquisitor's sword out of his chest without even flinching, then tossed it behind him next to the eluvian. It became apparent that this mage was immune to pain, and the only way Rajmael was getting his prized sword back was to get through the monolithic sarebaas.
Rajmael revealed the Chromatic Sword he took from the Viddasala's collection of stolen artifacts, and activated its power. The sword's magical blade shimmered with different colors, all the elements held within it, and the crystal on its hilt burned brightly with power. Rajmael charged his own mana into the sword, and increased its power. Whatever magic created this sword, it was obvious that it was meant to be wielded by the hand of an Arcane Warrior.
All three great heroes charged down the giant Qunari mage with their swords. Saraath created a barrier of destructive energy to keep all three of them at bay. Hawke sliced through the barrier thanks to the anti-magic enchantments on the Celebrant, followed by a wave of fire from its magic runes. The wave of fire broke on Saraath's body, but did very little to harm him. His body and his magic was just too strong.
Aedan was the first to charge towards the hulking sarebaas, screaming viciously with the Vigilance in hand. The Hero swung his sword at Saraath like logger trying to chop down a tree with but the giant mage caught the gruesome sword with one hand. The serrated teeth-like edge of the sword pierced right through Saraath's hand, but the towering mage didn't even flinch, he just tightened his grip on Aedan's blade. With his free hand, Saraath discharged a powerful bolt of destructive energy right at Aedan's head.
Aedan barely dodged the magic attack, and was forced to let go of his sword, but he refused to stop fighting. Aedan tapped into his Reaver powers, and summoned that demonic red aura and formed it into a pair of draconic claws around his hands. The enraged Reaver clawed viciously at Saraath's torso, cutting deeply into the sarebaas' powerful body.
Saraath conjured an arc of unstable energy between his hands and blasted the rampaging Reaver right in his tattooed face just when Aedan was about to disembowel him. Aedan was sent flying several yards backwards, layers of skin burned right from the bones on his face and torso. Any other enemy would have been dead in an instant, but Aedan's Reaver abilities kept him alive, though he was definitely disabled for the moment.
Saraath's wounds began to heal, his magic was discharging erratically, causing outbursts of destructive energy around him, with no sign of him stopping. Saraath focused his attention on the Inquisitor and unleashed a web of unstable magic at the elf. Rajmael raised his Chromatic Sword, to deflect the oncoming attack, and the elemental magic blade absorbed Saraath's spell like a sponge. Clearly, this sword was created by the Ancient Elves to fight against other mages.
Taking advantage of Saraath's focus on the Inquisitor, the Champion attacked him from his blind side. Hawke had faced powerful mages before, including Corypheus, and he knew the worst thing to let them have was a moment to breathe. The Champion attacked Saraath on his left flank, keeping the pressure on the giant sarebaas with relentless attacks with the Celebrant, its black blade alight with red fire.
Rajmael joined in the fight against the Saraath, using Hawke's strategy and attacked the giant mage on his flank. After seeing this qunari holding Eva hostage, and almost losing her because of the damned Qun, Rajmael held nothing back, and unleashed all his anger on the enormous mage. With the Chromatic Sword, Rajmael unleashed a storm of viciously flourishes on the larger opponent. Unlike the Enasalin that was enchanted for Spirit damage, to bypass armor and barrier, nor did it even cut. Instead, the Chromatic sword dealt every kind of elemental damage used in the Primal School of Magic. Each wound inflicted on Saraath was burned, frozen, and shocked all at the same time, making it difficult for the muscle-bound mage to heal his injuries.
Rajmael and Hawke attacked Saraath simultaneously, both their swords alight with white and red fire, respectively. Neither one of them relenting or giving the colossal, destructive mage even an instant to breath, for one breath from this powerful monstrosity could spell their deaths.
Saraath could scarcely believe what was happening in the heat of this moment. In all the battles he had fought in before, most of his enemies would be dead at this point. Yet here they were, not only surviving, but they were actually pushing him back. Never in his life had Saraath used so much power, or fought so desperately to win, because he had never faced such magnificent warriors in his whole life as a sarebaas. He was actually grateful to these men for giving him such a magnificent battle. And he would show his gratitude by returning the same efforts they were inflicting on him.
Saraath clapped his hands together, creating a flash of thunder and lightning blinded and deafened his attackers. With Rajmael and Hawke temporarily disoriented, the sarebaas dashed out of reach of the two warriors' swords with an incredible speed no creature his size should have been able to use. It was like watching an bronto moving with the speed of a cat. Saraath raised his hands to unleash a wave of destructive magic and incinerate the two baas while they were blinded.
An earsplitting roar erupted in the air, the likes of which Saraath had never heard. Even the dragon the Viddasala had captured didn't sound as fearsome while it was chained and tortured. Before the giant Qunari could discover what it was for himself, it was too late, and all he found was excruciating pain in the form of very sharp teeth.
Aedan managed to pick himself back up from the sarebaas' attack that sent him flying again. Skin from his chest and skull had been burned away, revealing the bones and skull beneath, causing him a horrifying amount of agony. Any other man would be wishing for death right now, but Aedan was no ordinary man. After being consumed by the black flames of an Archdemon, that Sarabaas' spell was nothing to Aedan.
Just as the qunari mage dashed backwards to escape the Inquisitor and the Sergeant's assault, and was preparing to attack them while they were blinded. With no time to even grab his sword, Aedan took a mighty jump towards the giant mage, landed right on his back, then he buried his teeth as deeply into the Qunari's neck as he could. Aedan snarled and growled, chewing on the mage's thick neck as hard as he could while his mouth flooded with his victim's blood. Aedan clenched on to a huge chunk of flesh between his teeth with all his strength, and ripped it right off of Saraath's neck.
The enraged sarebaas howled in utter agony, granting Aedan the entropic energy he needed to heal his wounds. With Saraath distracted by his own pain, Rajmael and Hawke were able recover from their disorientation, and attacked the screaming mage. Hawke brought the Celebrant down as hard as he could and sent a wave of fire from his enchanted blade, and struck the front side of the Qunari mage like a burning tidal wave. Rajmael dashed towards Saraath with the Chromatic Sword, and slashed the sarebaas from crown to crotch with the magic blade, inflicting all three offensive magic elements at the same time. In one fell stroke, Saraath was burning, freezing, electrocuted, and bleeding horribly.
They couldn't relent, not against such a powerful opponent. Couldn't grant Saraath even an instant of reprieve. They had to kill him now. Hawke lanced the Celebrant through Saraath's left ribcage, and plunged it straight through to the right. Aedan buried his claw-like hands into the sarebaas' back and tried to dig out the giant mage's heart, the agony he caused the Qunari healed the Hero's wounds. Rajmael concentrated his magic, and unleashed a powerful beam of lightning right into Saraath's face, blasting his mask apart, and he refused to relent until the Qunari mage that dared stand in their way's head exploded.
Saraath screamed in pain, he had never known agony like this before to exist. Never in his entire life had there been anyone who could harm him like this, force him to fight harder than he knew he could. Under the Qun, he never would have been able to push such against such extreme measures. It was almost liberating to know that there was something in this life that could make him dig so deep into what his true power was. If Saraath was to die here, he would die tapping into that true power that dwelled inside him, and all these baas would bare witness to it.
The colossal oxman's magic exploded around him, blasting the three heroes away from himself. Saraath flew into the air like a firecracker and landed back to the center of the courtyard like a falling star. The ground shook and split apart with the force of an earthquake and the explosion from his raw, unrestrained magic knocked everyone off their feet.
Saraath erected a magical barrier in the radius around himself, to keep his attackers from reaching him. He raised his clawed hands high, and fountains of magical energy began to flow from his palms that raised his enormous mass from the ground. A vortex of unstable magical energy opened around the entire courtyard, turning gravity against all Saraath's energy, and created a powerful storm of lightning and destruction all around them. Saraath concentrated all the magic surrounding him, all the magic in his being, to become as erratic and uncontrollable as the Qun had always feared. If he was to die here, he would die unleashing all his power, and the Inquisition would bare witness to his true potential.
"What in Andraste's name is he doing!?" Varric yelled, struggling against the vortex's power to get to his feet.
"All that raw power, so erratic, so uncontrollable...he's going to create an explosion that could level this whole castle!" Dorian yelled, realizing just what kind of danger they were in.
"Is he insane?! Doesn't he realize that he'll die with us?" Cassandra questioned in disbelief, fighting with all her might to get back on her feet, but not even her Seeker abilities could help her.
"If he's going to die, he wants to go out with a bang. Pun not intended." Tallis commented, trying to maintain her cheery demeanor in the face of imminent death.
"I can't get a shot at him!" Sera shouted. Even if she could raise her arms to aim her bow and arrow, the gravity of the vortex would probably pull the arrow down before it could reach him.
"Anyone have any ideas?" Iron Bull groaned, his face planted in the dirt.
"We must disrupt the spell. Try to make it discharge prematurely, so that it will kill him instead of us!" Vivienne shouted.
Aedan snarled viciously and fought against gravity itself to get stand back up, but he could still barely move. "I...I won't be able to make it in time! Inquisitor, you need to use your mark! It's our only chance!"
"I can reach him with my Shimmering Shield, but I can't get past that barrier in time." Rajmael stated, trying come up with a solution to save all their lives.
"Leave that to me!" Hawke shouted staunchly.
The Champion of Kirkwall leaned on his black greatsword and forced himself back to his feet. Using the unique enchantments on his armor, Hawke began to absorb the magic surrounding him like a sponge with water. The magic was so unstable, and his suit was already damaged, pieces of Hawke's armor began breaking off of him while he absorbed more mana. So much that it began to hurt him. But he could not stop now. Hawke held the Celebrant in front of him, and aimed the tip of the blade right at the Qunari.
With a prayer on his lips, Hawke unleashed all the magic his armor absorbed through the Celebrant in the form of an arc of energy that snaked towards its target. The blast was so powerful, it blew Hawke's damaged armor right off his body. Hawke's redirected magic attack ripped a hole in Saraath's barrier, granting Rajmael the opening he needed.
"Now's your chance. Take him, Inquisitor!" Hawke yelled in pain, the explosion of his armor knocking him back to the ground.
Rajmael activated his Shimmering Shield, rendering himself incorporeal and free of the vortex's power. The Inquisitor dashed through the opening Hawke made in the sarebaas' barrier, and jumped at the giant Qunari with the Chromatic Sword. Rajmael aimed to plunge the magic blade straight into the damned Qunari heart.
The blade stopped just in front of the mage's chest, and wasn't going to budge. Saraath caught Rajmael's hands in both his claws, and refused to let the Inquisitor finish his attack. He raised the elf's weapon away from, holding it above his head. If Saraath was going to die here, he would take the Inquisitor with him, and fulfill his true role within the Qun.
Rajmael cursed in elven, and struggled against Saraath's monstrous strength. After everything he had done, everything he had suffered throughout the course of his life, he refused to be defeated by yet another religious fanatic that had interfered with his life. If he was going to die, it wasn't going to be like this.
The Inquisitor concentrated all his energy, all his willpower, into the most powerful weapon he possessed: the Anchor, a power even Corypheus feared. If this Saraath wanted to see true power, know the full extent of raw, unstable magic the likes of which this world has never seen, Rajmael would grant him his wish.
The Anchor began to spark erratically from Rajmael's palm, and bolts of green energy began to fly from his hand. This time, Rajmael wasn't going to unleash the Mark's unstable energy in a large explosion; he was going to concentrate all its power into one single attack. The Inquisitor forced the Anchor's power to stay in his hand, and concentrated all of it into the Chromatic Sword. Trying to control such raw magic was taking a toll on Rajmael, it's power quickly started burning away the flesh on his arm. Rajmael screamed in pain, but refused to relent. He would not stop now.
The blade of the Chromatic Sword absorbed the magic of the Anchor, as it expanded and sparked uncontrollably in Rajmael hand. Arcs of green energy began to fly out of the ancient elven weapon that whipped all around them, and outstripped the sarebaas' spells. It's power was far greater than Saraath could ever dream. Like comparing a candle to the sun. But the Chromatic Sword could only contain so much power, and it was reaching its breaking point. It convulse viciously and began to crack in Rajmael's grip, not even Saraath's freakish strength could hold it back.
"ENASALIN!" Rajmael screamed in anger, pain and victory as the Chromatic Sword split apart, and unleashed all the constrained energy Rajmael poured into it from the Anchor. The ancient elven weapon shattered to pieces in an explosion of green energy that far outstripped Saraath's magic.
"Goodbye, Honored Saraath." Tallis whispered in respect for the Qunari mage. In the end, he found he made his choice, and gave it everything he had. Even his life. "Ataash varin kata."
In a flash of green light, all of Saraath's magic was purged and burned away by the awesome power of the Anchor that the Inquisitor unleashed on him. And in that final moment, in the instant of his death, never had Saraath felt so alive.
The explosion from the Anchor burned away all of Saraath's magic, and consumed Rajmael in the flash. As soon as the vortex dissipated, Cassandra sprang to her feet and rushed to Rajmael as fast as she could. Rajmael was flat on his back in the middle of the crater, and covered in horrible burns from the explosion. His breathing was terribly labored because of his broken ribs, and the Mark on his left hand had now spread throughout his entire arm, burning the flesh almost right off the bone.
"Rajmael! Oh, Rajmael..." Cassandra called out to her lover. She rushed to his side and searched through her gear for a health poultice for his wounds.
Rajmael used his magic to heal his wounds as best he could, but his mana reserves were so low, he couldn't heal himself completely, and he was still in horrible pain. Cassandra helped him to his feet, but he could barely stand, and he looked like a strong breeze could now blow him over. The Anchor was taking a terrible toll on him.
"Rajmael, we have to get you to a healer. You're no condition to keep going on." Cassandra pleaded earnestly.
"No! We...we don't...don't have time for that." Rajmael wheezed and coughed up blood. His internal injuries were more severe than he thought. "We...have to get to Solas before Viddasala does."
"Rajmael, please..." Cassandra practically begged.
"The Anchor's going to kill me...nothing can stop that now." Rajmael said with sad confirmation. "But before I die, I need to have answers from Solas."
The Inquisitor limped out of the crater and slowly made his way towards the active eluvian, but not before he recovered the Enasalin, his treasured sword. If he was going to die soon, then as an Arcane Warrior, he must die with his sword in his hands.
The Inquisitor stood firm, and summoned his courage. Just on the other side of this mirror was the Viddasala and the rest of her army. In his condition, Rajmael wasn't sure if he could fight them and live, but he still had a mission to complete, and he still wanted answers from Solas. As a Dalish elf and the First of Clan Lavellan, it was his duty and purpose in life to find out the truth.
With a deep breath, and pushing all thoughts of pain from his mind, Rajmael stepped through the eluvian, and prepared himself for whatever might be waiting for him on the other side.
The Inquisitor emerged from the ancient elven mirror in yet another undiscovered courtyard in the expansive castle, and was disconcerted when he found himself standing alone there. His companions weren't with him. Rajmael turned around to see that the eluvian had deactivated behind him, and he was forced to press on his own.
Rajmael gasped and was taken aback in shock when he turned around and was met by the sight of a Qunari warrior standing right behind and about to bring his axe down on the Inquisitor. Rajmael's shock quickly gave way to a strange mix of relief and confusion when he saw that the Qunari warrior standing behind him was a statue. Rajmael looked around, his eyes wide with disbelief, to see a great number of Qunari soldiers standing before him, just like all of them transformed into stone.
Rajmael stood in a venerable garden of statues. There were so many of them, an entire legion of soldier, all of them turned to stone. All of them were facing in the same direction towards the mirror, and all of them had their weapons drawn, shields raised, or even right in the middle of a battle charge. It was as if they were petrified just as they were about to attack.
Given how terribly injured he still was, and considering what these Qunari were attempting to do, Rajmael wasn't unhappy to see them this way. Despite the Qunari being dead, Rajmael could still feel the magic energy of the spell that was cast on them lingering in the air. It was subtle and yet so powerful, like the heat of the sun melting away snow. And despite how powerful this spell must have been, the mage who cast was able to do so in an instant.
There was a path straight through the middle of the garden of petrified men, and as Rajmael walked through that path, more of the Qunari statues turned to face that direction, all of them running to attack, or standing to prevent his approach. It was as if the mage who did this simply walked right through this army of men, and petrified the soldier who attacked him. Rajmael never even dreamed of a spell this powerful to exist, an entire legion of highly trained elite Qunari soldier killed in less time than it took him, all his companions, along with the Hero of Ferelden and the Champion of Kirkwall to kill that monstrous sarebaas.
As Rajmael made his past the Qunari statues, he saw a large eluvian still active in the distance, at the top of a hill, led to by a flight stairs and marked by a path of giant halla statues. The he heard voices nearby. Voices that were familiar to him, but not in a language he understood. Rajmael moved as fast his injured body would allow him towards the arguing voices.
"Ebasit kata. Itwa ost." A gentle and very familiar voice bade calmly.
"Maraas kata!" Spat the hateful voice that could only belong the Viddasala.
Rajmael looked at the top of the hill and saw the silhouette of the Qunari Ben-Hessrath agent standing with one of her damned spears, like she was prepared for a fight. Ignoring the pain that wracked his body, Rajmael ran up the stairs as fast as he could. He could still hear them talking as he ran.
"Your forces are depleted, Viddasala. Your plot has failed, and your soldiers paid the price for it." Solas said not as an insult or consternation, but as a calm statement of fact.
Rajmael made his way to the top of the hill, and he couldn't believe what his own eyes were witnessing. Solas completely, almost insultingly, disregarded the Viddasala as a threat, and turned his back on the angry Ben-Hessrath agent. Rajmael knew that was a foolish action, yet Solas did it anyway. But that wasn't what left Rajmael dumbfounded and doubting his own sight.
Overcome with rage, the Viddasala spat with hateful disgust, and prepared to throw one of her javelins right into Solas' back. The same poisoned javelin that had so recently murdered poor Neirin. Before she could even take proper aim, Solas paused a moment and tilted his head, as if he were making a slight observation, and in the blink of an eye, the Viddasala was nothing more than another statue in an ancient ruin, and all her precious certainty of the Qun couldn't save her.
Rajmael was so stunned by what he just witness that his voice was stuck in his throat. After all the pain the Viddasala caused, all her meticulous plans and militaristic initiative that brought her so close to bringing Southern Thedas to its knees, then in the blink of an eye, she was dead. No, spells were cast, runes inscribed, or incantations uttered, but with a mere thought, and the Viddasala was a petrified corpse.
After everything the Viddasala put Rajmael through, kidnapping Eva and killing Neirin, he felt no sympathy for her final fate. But he was left completely stupefied at the power he never knew Solas to posses. When he finally recovered his voice, Rajmael called out to his old friend.
"Hahren...Solas!" Rajmael shouted out.
Solas turned around and greeted the Inquisitor with that soft smile of his, with an approving look on his face. It quickly became apparent that he was expecting the Inquisitor.
This was not the same man Rajmael met back in Haven two years ago. This wasn't the elven apostate who wore simple furs, smelled of the forest, and walked with humility amongst the world. No, this was man who walked with a sense of authority in his stance, and he was wearing an ancient suit of elven armor, similar to the Sentinels of the Temple of Mythal, but greater. But most of all, the magic Rajmael once sensed from Solas was no longer the serene, subtle creek he once knew, but an ocean of power that could turn into a storm at the blink of an eye.
Before Rajmael could even step towards the Dreamer, the Anchor flared like a bonfire in his hand again, it's powerful, unstable energy burned throughout his arm. It caused Rajmael such pain now that he screamed and fell to his knee. Solas calmly approached the Inquisitor, and with a single thought, magic shimmered in his sad eyes and the Anchor ceased its rage against Rajmael.
"That should buy us some time." Solas said in his usual placid demeanor as Rajmael rose to his feet with a look of utter disbelief on his face. Solas smiled at his friend as if they were having one of their old conversations. "I suspect you have questions."
Rajmael stared at Solas completely stunned. He knew this man, yet at the same time, knew nothing at all. "It can't be...I couldn't believe it at first, but the information I discovered from the Qunari, and what I uncovered while traveling through the eluvians seemed impossible. But it's all true. You really are him, aren't you? You're Fen'heral. You're the Dread Wolf."
"Very well done, Rajmael." Solas complimented sincerely, yet with a look of sadness in his eyes. "I was Solas long before I was Fen'heral. The Dread Wolf was an insult that I wore as a badge of pride. The Dread Wolf inspired hope amongst my friends, and fear in my enemies. Not unlike 'Inquisitor', I suppose. Though, you've always lived and led by your ideals, your principals, and your code of honor. I wish the world could have allowed me such a luxury. But then you do know the burden of a title that all but replaces your name."
Rajmael was so utterly confused, more so than he had ever been in his life. This man who risked his life to help defeat Corypheus, who was a friend and even a teacher to Rajmael, and revered by the ancient elven slaves as a hero, was the elven god of Misfortune and Nightmares? This just couldn't be.
"I don't understand. How can you be the Dread Wolf?" Rajmael questioned, unable to believe any of this, even with the truth standing in front of him. "I saw the stories about you through the eluvians, how slaves of Arlathan revered you. You were a rebel, a freedom fighter! You fought to protect our people."
"What you saw was another tale, written in desperation to give me more credit than I ever deserved." Solas said sadly.
"Are you like Mythal, then? An avatar acting on the will of an ancient being?" Rajmael asked, still unable to believe.
"No. This is all I have ever been. Everything you've seen of me is how I was in the days of ancient Arlathan." Solas answered truthfully.
"Then my people's legends...how can you have become known as the god of Misfortune and Nightmares? Which story of you is the truth?"
The ancient elf looked at the Inquisitor with such melancholy in his eyes.
"Both, and neither. You of all people should know by now that the truth is never clear, that everyone has their own versions of the story. I sought to free my people from slavery by would-be gods. I broke the chains of all those who wished to join me. The evanuris, the false gods, called me Fen'heral, and when they finally went too far, I created the Veil and banished them forever." Solas turned and looked over the ancient ruins of this once expansive and majestic castle, remembering the beauty that once dwelled here, and was almost moved to tears. "Thus I freed the elven people from their oppressors, and, in so doing, destroyed their world."
"Is...is that what happened to the Spirit Library?" Rajmael asked, finally realizing the truth.
"Yes. Vir Dirthara was intrinsically tied to the Fade, and the Veil destroyed it. What you saw was a mere shadow of the majesty it once was." Solas spoke with the weight of responsibility in his voice. "There were countless other marvels, all dependent on the existence of magic, all destroyed. Your legends are at least half-correct. We were immortal, once. It wasn't the arrival of humans that caused us to start aging. It was all me. The Veil took everything from the elves, even themselves."
Rajmael shook his head. This made no sense, it went against everything he thought he knew of Solas. "I don't understand. You love the Fade! How could you even think of separating it from the world? I...I cannot even begin to imagine what it would have been like, the cultural revolutions that could have existed if the Fade was present."
Solas turned back to the Inquisitor, sharing his disappointment. "I did it...because every other alternative was worse. If I had not created the Veil, the Evanuris would have destroyed the world. I couldn't let that happen."
"What did the Evanuris do that was so terrible that you would destroy the elves' entire existence to defeat them?" Rajmael asked aghast.
"They killed Mythal, murdered he in her own sanctum." Solas chuckled sadly but with no regret for what he did to them. "A crime for which an eternity of torment is the only fitting punishment."
"Given what I saw with Flemeth, a conniving and even cruel witch, and the fact that Aedan Cousland himself was able to slay her, I am not very impressed." Rajmael said admonishingly. "Why would you destroy the ancient elves to avenge her if she was one of the Evanuris?"
"Mythal was the best of them. She cared for her people. Protected them. And in their lust for power, the Evanuris killed her." Solas answered, speaking of Mythal with nothing but reverent respect. Like the two of them met two different Mythals. "And for that, I banished them from the world where they can never harm anyone again."
"You banished the false gods? Why didn't you simply kill them?" Rajmael questioned.
"Even false gods are not easily slain." Solas responded dourly. "You saw Mythal, even after Aedan Cousland managed to slay her mortal form, she managed to survive and carry on. The first of my kind do not die easily. The Evanuris are banished forever, paying the ultimate price for their misdeeds. For what they did to Mythal, and to the People."
"If the Evanuris were truly so horrible, how is it that my people came to remember them as gods instead of just elven mages?" Rajmael asked, his inborn Dalish need to learn the truth drove him to know more.
"Elven mages is an oversimplification, they were beyond anything anyone in this world could imagine, yet still, they were never divine beings." Solas paused a moment and looked off into the distance with a nostalgic look on his face. As if he were delving into the depths of his own memories to a past that was so long ago even for him. "It happened slowly, and it all started with a war. War breeds fear, and fear breeds a desire for simplicity. Good and Evil, right and wrong. Chains of command. After the war ended, revered generals became respected elders, then kings, then finally gods. The Evanuris."
Rajmael felt a surge of anger sparking inside him. He remembered back to their first conversation back in Haven, and all the times Solas had admonished and judged the Dalish for their misinformed knowledge and half-truth lore.
"You miserable son of a...!" Rajmael gritted through his teeth. "All those times you criticized us for what we thought we knew. The Dalish, City Elves, me, you dared to judge us for our lack of knowledge over what we lost and revering the Evanuris, when it was you who stole everything from us! You took everything from our people, yet you had the gall to look down on us for being what you left us with!?"
Solas said nothing. He only lowered his eyes in silent shame. He knew the Inquisitor's anger towards him was justified.
"Our stories did have one thing right." Rajmael smoldered like a burning furnace. "My ancestors remembered that it was you who robbed us of everything we had. They forgot that the Evanuris were tyrants, but they remembered that the Evanuris gave us power and pride, while you destroyed our future. We had every right to demonize you! Make you the villain of our stories!"
"I never denied that, and I don't blame you. In truth, I share your anger for what I have done." Solas lowered his head with remorse and took a deep breath of regret. "Ir abelas. No, I had no right to pass judgment on your people. The fault was always mine for what the elves no longer remember. I am sorry."
"It must've been like bad fucking joke to you when we met!" Rajmael lashed out bitterly, unmoved by Solas' apology. "That the Anchor was bonded to a Dalish elf who couldn't possibly know the truth like you did, and claiming to be a priest to the false gods you hated. I must've looked such a jackass to you that you had to be laughing your ass off when I wasn't looking!"
"No, never." Solas said respectfully and truthfully. "I always admired your piety, and the strength that you drew from it. You were invoking the power of something you believed to be greater than yourself. That you invoked the names of the Evanuris was no fault of your own, and it was your actions, the things you accomplished is what truly made your faith so incredible."
Rajmael stood silently for a moment. He tried to get a hold on his temper, and come to terms with what he was facing. In this one conversation Rajmael had just learned more of his people's history than in his entire life. The true cause of Elvhen'nan's downfall, from the nemesis his people had feared for centuries. A god by mortal standards, something Corypheus sought so desperately to become. And here the Dread Wolf was, being chewed out by a mere mortal. Rajmael was still too stunned and too angry to let these facts affect, or to even be bothered by the fact that Solas could probably turn him into stone like he did the Viddasala.
After a moment, Rajmael calmed down and came to grips with what Solas had told him. There was still another questions he needed answered.
"You're the one that Velara spoke of. The new leader who commands the Vir Banal'ras." Rajmael finally realized.
"Yes. There are still many secrets and forgotten parts of our history, sects like the Sentinels and the Vir Banal'ras seeking a purpose." Solas confirmed, nodding his head. "I sought out Velara and her Vir Banal'ras not long after I left the Inquisition, and offered them a chance to still serve a purpose for our people."
"Then you're the one who sent Velara to the Winter Palace. You told her to give me that tablet before we entered the Vir Dirthara." Rajmael asked.
Solas nodded his head again.
"Why would you do that?"
"Because I knew the Qunari took your daughter, and I wanted help you to get her back unharmed." Solas answered very simply. He had no ulterior motive beyond that. "Your daughter was an innocent in all of this, and she did not deserve to be used as a pawn in Viddasala's plans. After everything you've been through, everything you suffered, I felt you deserved to have some joy in your life. While there's still time."
"What? What do you mean 'while there's still time'?" Rajmael questioned, deeply concerned.
Solas turned and walked towards the eluvian, a regretful by resolved look held on his face. "I lay in dark and dreaming sleep as countless wars and ages passed by. I woke still weak a year before I joined you. Our people fell so far from grace for what I did to strike the Evanuris down, but still hope remains for restoration. I will save the elven people, even if it means this world must die."
Rajmael stopped in his tracks, unable to believe that Solas could say such a thing so apathetically. That was when Rajmael realized he never knew Solas at all. "No. You...you would destroy the world, for a second time? WHY!?"
"Because there is no other way. I wish there was, but sometimes all that is left are terrible choices." Solas said with true sorrow and regret, unable to turn and face the Inquisitor.
"It's bad enough that you brought our people ruin, and made it so that every other culture in Thedas could enslave and humiliate us, now you would make the elves a race of hypocrites by doing the same thing to the rest of the world? You would strip our race of our honor!?" Rajmael questioned with incredulous anger.
"I am not Corypheus, Rajmael. I take no joy it what must be done. But it must be done." Solas said firmly but gently.
"No, you are not Corypheus. You are worse than Corypheus ever was! You are a hypocrite!" The Inquisitor spat, his words dripping with burning hate. "Corypheus was evil to the core, he had no conscience, but you don't have that excuse. You know what right and wrong is, and you claim to feel shame for your actions, but you choose to ignore your own morals!"
"This isn't about right and wrong Rajmael. It's about the survival of our people, before there is nothing left." Solas debated sadly.
"You have no right to even think that's your decision to make. While you were gone, taking a nap somewhere for countless centuries, we were here suffering for what you did to us. Now you think you can just show up and decide what's best for our race, decide the fate of the entire world!? How can you be so arrogant?!" Rajmael argued.
"You think I don't know what it is our people went through for the past thousands of years, Rajmael. You forget that I am a Dreamer, and while I slept I witnessed the history of our people ever since I created the Veil." Solas reminded sternly. He knew exactly what it was the elves went through because of his actions. "I saw the Imperium enslave your ancestors as they stole our magic and the precious few surviving artifacts, claiming it for their own. I witnessed the elves who aided Andraste make the long walk to Halamshiral, and how many of them died trying to make the journey. I watched as Orlais and the Chantry betrayed the elves and broke Andraste's promise when they sacked the Dales and fractured our people for a second time. And yes, I even saw the day the Chantry burned you at the stake. Condemned you and your family for the crime of being proud to be elves. I know exactly what it was you and our people have been through."
"You think that because you've witnessed our suffering that give your the right to decide our fate? The fate of the world?" Rajmael rebutted, still unmoved and unconvinced by Solas' logic. "And in your arrogant selfishness, you wish to push aside everything that doesn't agree with your desires. How like a god you are, Solas."
The Inquisitor's comparison stung Solas as deeply and painfully as knife in his chest. He finally turned to face the Inquisitor, to make him understand.
"You have to understand, Rajmael. I awoke in a world where the Veil had blocked most people's conscious connection to the Fade." Solas explained. "It was like walking through a world of Tranquil."
That last statement astounded the Inquisitor so much, it nearly took away his breath.
"We're not even real people to you?" Rajmael questioned derisively. "Just mindless automatons blindly stumbling in the world?"
"At first, yes. I couldn't fathom people who were without magic, unable to truly dream, but you've shown me just how wrong I was...again" Solas admitted bitterly. "That does not make what comes next any easier. It is my fight now. You should be more concerned about the Inquisition. Your Inquisition. In stopping the Viddasala's Dragon's Breath plan, you have prevented an invasion by Qunari forces. With luck, they'll return their focus on Tevinter. That should give you a few years of relative peace."
"Why should I be concerned with the Inquisition? What's wrong with it?" Rajmael asked.
"You created a powerful organization, and now it suffers the inevitable fate of such: corruption and betrayal." Solas stated as an undeniable fact.
"It's never that simple." Rajmael tried to argue.
"It is always that simple, Rajmael." Solas pressed sternly. "You've seen the fate of such things yourself. Remember what happened to Cassandra's Seekers of Truth? Leliana's Chantry? Do you know how I learned of the Qunari's plot? The plot I disrupted by leading them to your doorstep? The Qunari's spies in the Inquisition tripped over my spies in the Inquisition."
"You planted your agents amongst us?" Rajmael could hardly believe this.
"Yes. The elven guard who led you to the Qunari body, the one who intercepted the servant with the gaatlok barrels? She is mine."
"Why would you even bother stopping the Dragon's Breath plot if all you're going to do is destroy the world anyway?!" Rajmael asked incredulously.
"You have shown me that there is value in this world, Inquisitor. I take no joy in what I must do." Solas answered honestly and without malice. "Until that day comes, I would see those recovering from the Breach free from the Qun."
"Why?" Rajmael questioned, unable to believe he ever put his trust in Solas.
"Because I am not a monster. If they must die, I would rather they die in comfort."
Rajmael shook his head, still unable to comprehend how Solas could speak of genocide so calmly. "You mean like a butcher fattening a calf for the slaughter? Make us all nice and comfortable so our deaths won't weigh down your conscience any further? Tell me, does that make it easier for your to sleep at night?"
Solas lowered his eyes sorrowfully. There was nothing he could say or explain that would oppose that statement. All the regrets and sorrow he had couldn't make it any less true.
Rajmael couldn't fathom the lengths Solas was willing to walk, what he was willing to discard, or even the depths of his treachery. He thought back to the Viddasala's accusations, and wondered that if Solas could manipulate all this, what else has he manipulated?
"The Viddasala said the Inquisition was unknowingly working for Fen'heral. Was anything she said true?" Rajmael asked.
"I gave no orders. Your victories were your own, your accomplishments were your own." Solas with a sense of pride ringing in his voice. "The Inquisition only became what it is now thanks to who you are."
"But you're the one who led us to Skyhold."
"Corypheus should have died unlocking my orb. When he survived, my plans were thrown into chaos. When you survived, I saw the Inquisition as the best hope saving this world. And as I watched you, saw the man you are, I knew you were the one to stop Corypheus' madness. And you needed a home. Hence, Skyhold." Solas explained.
That last explanation struck Rajmael worse than that sarebaas ever could. Suddenly so much made sense, but he didn't want to believe it. "How could...you mean to tell me that you actually gave that monstrosity your Orb, even knowing what he could do with it?!"
"Not directly. My agents allowed the Venatori to locate it." Solas answered evasively. "The Orb had built up magical energies while I lay unconscious for millennia. I was not powerful enough to unlock it yet. The plan was for Corypheus to unlock the Orb, and the ensuing explosion to kill him. Then I would reclaim it. I did not foresee a Tevinter Magister having discovered a method to effective immortality."
"Yes, because all your plans before that had worked out so perfectly. There was no way for that to go wrong." Rajmael derided sarcastically. "What was suppose to happen if you planned it all so carefully?"
"I would have entered the Fade, using the Anchor you know bear. Then I would have torn the Veil down." Solas stated. "As this world burned in the raw chaos, I would have restored the world of my time...the Age of the Elves."
"If you tore down the Veil, wouldn't the Evanuris return?" If the Evanuris were as vindictive as Solas described, then their return would have been more destructive and hellish than Corypheus' ever was.
"I had plans." was all Solas said simply, like there was nothing to worry about.
"And your plans have worked out so well in the past, haven't they?" Rajmael said resentfully.
Rajmael's heart was gripped by the most bitter betrayal he had ever felt. Even worse than learning the truth about the elven gods. Solas was a man Rajmael trusted, considered him a friend and even a teacher. But everything he knew of Solas, all his wisdom and friendship was just another deception by the most cunning trickster in history.
"You're right Solas, you are no monster. You're worse. You truly are a god of misfortune and nightmares." Rajmael spoke with venom dripping in his words. "You never cared about us, you were just using us! We were nothing more than tools for you to use to clean the fucking mess you made!"
"You were people, and you deserved better. Like everyone I used one pointless struggle after another." Solas said regretfully, filled with sadness.
Rajmael gritted his teeth angrily. There was nothing Solas could say at this point that could assuage his feelings of anger and betrayal. "All this time, you were backing the wrong from Clan Lavellan. You should have recruited my brother. Nethras would have helped you commit world genocide with a smile on his face if it meant bringing back the world of the elves."
"No, that estimation is misplaced. Your brother had already been broken by what the world of the humans had taken from him. Nethras could never have accomplished what you did. He only cared for wreaking vengeance against mankind for the crimes against the elves. That has never been my goal." Solas responded with full confidence in Rajmael. "The world needed a savior, not an avenger. And there couldn't have been one more suited to that role than you. More so than Nethras or I could ever have been."
The more Rajmael spoke to Solas the less he understood, and the more he realized that he never truly knew Solas at all. The ancient elf just explained to the Inquisitor that his true endgame was to destroy the world, a goal he still full intended to achieve, yet he claimed to feel only guilt and shame for what he felt he had to do, and yet still spoke of Rajmael with such respect. He could no longer tell if this was truly Solas' true persona, or if it was just another of the Dread Wolf's cunning deceptions.
Rajmael now knew he could never comprehend Solas' perfidious agenda. Perhaps he could learn of how Solas intended to accomplish his insidious goal.
"All these eluvians that have been activated, you're the one who awoke their magic, aren't you? You control the mirrors that lead through the worlds." Rajmael discerned.
"Yes." Solas confirmed. "You remember Marquis Briala? For a time, she controlled a part of the labrynth. That was the information that Nethras wanted to extract from her two years ago. One of my agents was suppose to take it from her, but he did not succeed. I was forced to override the magic personally. The Qunari stumbled upon this section independently through crude means. With them gone, the eluvians are now mine to control."
This entire time, they were only skirmishing through a small section of the eluvian network? They had literally visited entirely undiscovered places, worlds even, that none had ever seen before, and were able to cross the breath of Thedas in the blink of an eye, and that was only a fraction of where the eluvians could lead. With those mirrors, magic no other mage in the world possessed, along with the unknown number of spies in his service, Solas had the tactical advantage of every army in Thedas. Even Corypheus never had a lead like this. Like an earthquake, no one would see him coming until the damage was already done. For all intents and purposes, Solas now completely outclassed every army and spy network in the world.
Rajmael thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the return of the burning sensation in his left hand caused by the Anchor. Solas had disabled it, and was probably the only one who could stop it.
"What's happening with the Anchor? It's getting worse." Rajmael asked, trying to ignore the returning pain.
"I know, and we're running out of time." Solas said sorrowfully. "The Anchor was meant to be wielded only by me, and would never truly be compatible another bearer. Not even Corypheus."
The mark flared brightly in Rajmael's hand, and moved with a will of its own, like it was trying to rip itself free and take his arm with it. Bolts of green energy blasted out from it like a storm in his palm. Rajmael fell to a knee and cried out in pain as the Anchor began to tear his arm. Whatever time Solas gave him was now up.
"The Mark will eventually kill you. Drawing you here gave me the chance to save you...at least for now." Solas spoke with lamenting melancholy.
It took every ounce of willpower not to scream and cry in agony. The pain of the Mark ripping itself from him was worse even than the flames that burned Rajmael as a child. But he gritted through the pain, tried to push it out of his head. There was one thing Rajmael felt more than the horrific suffering in his arm. The one thing that kept him from passing out from the pain. That thing that was always whispering in the back of his mind was screaming at him more than the Anchor was: his own rage.
"You...you'd better hope this KILLS me!" Rajmael screamed furiously at the ancient elf. "Otherwise, I'm coming after you with everything I have, everything I am! I will not let you befoul the spirit and honor of our people! I will not crimes cannot go unanswered!"
"I know you won't. I wouldn't expect anything less from you, both as the Inquisitor and as Dirth'ena Enasalin." Solas looked down on Rajmael with deepest sadness, wishing that it didn't have to be this way. He had betrayed another great friend, and earned his anger. Solas reached his hand out to Rajmael beckoningly. "Take my hand, Rajmael."
In a fit of anger, Rajmael lashed out and threw his marked fist out at Solas, and the ancient elf caught the Inquisitor fist in his hand like it was nothing.
"I'm so sorry, Inquisitor." Solas said with heartfelt truth.
With a gesture of Solas' free hand, Rajmael felt the pain suddenly cease in his arm. Like the Anchor had been completed disconnected from him. Unfortunately, that was what truly happened. Solas didn't remove the Mark, but like a surgeon treating a limb that was far too infected to save, he cast a spell to remove the Inquisitor's arm. Rajmael watched helplessly as his left arm began to disintegrate from the elbow down. There was no pain, because his arm there was fading from existence.
With the loss of his left arm, Rajmael was now effectively crippled, both as a swordsman and as a mage, and he knew it. His style of swordsmanship required both hands to be used effectively, and as Dirth'ena Enasalin, Rajmael's ability to use magic depended entirely on his physicality. With only one arm, he could only cast spells at half their power now. With the way he was now, Rajmael could never again go on the high-risk missions he had done his entire time as Inquisitor. Worse yet, with the loss of his arm and abilities to use his sword and his magic effectively, Rajmael's was no longer an Arcane Warrior.
This realization tore a piece of Rajmael's heart out. He had spent most of his life trying to revive that lost technique and piece of elven history. His dream was to pass it on to Eva when she was ready. Now, crippled as he was now, to try and even call himself an Arcane Warrior would have been a demeaning insult to his ancestors.
"Go home, Rajmael. To your clan, and live your life with your daughter and Cassandra. You of all people have earned the right to have some peace after everything you've given. Live well, while time remains, my friend." Solas bade sincerely, then turned away from the Inquisitor and walked to the eluvian.
The Inquisitor looked up at the ancient elven rebel with an enraged fire burning in his golden eyes. Rajmael may have lost his arm, but he did not lose his Dalish spirit or his code an Arcane Warrior. His heart had been rekindled by the severity of Solas' crimes, and Rajmael refused to be ignored by him, just like with Flemeth. His focus was clear, his purpose rediscovered. There was now a black rage in his heart that could smote the flames of any High Dragon in Thedas. He did not back down before Corypheus, Hakkon or Flemeth, he would not back down to Fen'heral.
"Don't you dare turn your back on me, harrel'lan! I swear, you had better kill me now!" Rajmael roared viciously, enraged tears of blood staining his face. But Solas kept walking further and further away from him, never looking back, which only fueled Rajmael unabated anger. Rajmael dug deep into himself and shouted the only thing that could match his blackened rage.
"I curse you, FEN'HERAL! Never again shall you know a peaceful sleep or a welcomed dream! You will forever be haunted by screams of all the souls you betrayed! Whenever you look into your reflection, you will see Corypheus staring back at you, for you are a no different than the Elder One! I will hunt you down, no matter where you go or where you hide, until you answer for your crimes! ENASALIN!"
Solas stopped his stride, and paused for the briefest of moments when heard and even felt the severity of Rajmael's curse. He almost looked back at the Inquisitor, then kept walking until he stepped through the mirror. No matter what, who he had to betray, or what curses were afflicted on him, Solas would not be deterred from his mission. The Dread Wolf would continue his battle for the elven people.
Shortly, Back At The Winter Palace...
Rajmael marched through the paths and hallways of Halamshiral's Winter Palace with a determined step in his stride. He had reunited with his comrades, and they made their way back to Exalted Council. All the nobles and onlookers who came to witness gasped and cleared the way as the watched the Inquisitor march through the halls with his entourage of trained killers, all fresh from battle. Rajmael barely had time to change into formal wear.
Rajmael had left behind one battlefield and was about to step on to another. Judging by the sounds he could hear just outside the council chamber, it sounded like the battle was raging on. It seemed Josephine had revealed the details about the Qunari's presence to the Exalted Council, and it was apparent they were less than happy about the situation.
"Teagan, you are being unreasonable. We cannot afford to lose the Inquisition now, not while we stand on the brink of war with the Qunari." Duke Cyril tried to reason.
"Yes, because this Solas was the one who provoked them in the first place!" Teagan lashed out vehemently.
"The Inquisition did not cause this threat." Josephine argued calmly. "We informed the summit of the danger..."
"The danger posed by Qunari spies in your own organization!" Teagan yelled accusingly.
"Arl Teagan, I urge you to remain calm, and remember that it was thanks to our organization that you're even alive right now to yell at Josephine so unjustly." Leliana reminded chidingly to the Fereldan Arl.
Teagan sighed in frustration, but calmed down. "No one has forgotten what you have done, but Corypheus is two years dead. You cannot continue to hold that over us and expect us to simply comply."
Cyril nodded his head from underneath his gilded and bejeweled mask. For once, he was in agreement with the Fereldan Councilman. "If the Inquisition is to continue, it must do so as a legitimate organization, and not a glorified mercenary band. It's military and resources must be held accountable by someone of authority. I move for a vote on the Inquisition's continued existence."
Teagan groaned in exasperation, but relented. "Very well. I second the motion."
"If there is going to be a decision made about my Inquisition, I will be the one to decide it!" Rajmael's voice echoed throughout the council chamber, and suddenly everyone was silent. Rajmael walked to the center of the chamber and stood before the Exalted Council with an aura of authority none have seen him with here.
"Inquisitor?" Josephine addressed, deeply surprised. Not only by his return, but by the apparent change in him.
The entire council chamber was silent, but Rajmael could feel the stares of everyone in the room. It wasn't just the fact that his face was still stained with blood, or the fact that he had just shouted down the Exalted Council, but the fact that everyone was now staring at the empty sleeve hanging from Rajmael's left side, and the his arm was gone.
Rajmael glared at the Exalted Council, as if to show his contempt for them with his eyes. After their own monumental failures, they had no place to decide the fate of the Inquisition. A decision had to be made, and he would give them one. Rajmael looked over to Cassandra, and saw her holding Eva's hand. Zevran and Cole brought her here safely, and she smiled at him with utter confidence as she held on to Cassandra. And it was seeing here there that gave Rajmael the determination to make his choice.
Aedan resumed his seat next to Teagan on the Exalted Council, and all the Inquisitor companions positioned themselves around the room, waiting intently for his decision. All the attended had gathered here to bear witness to the fate of the Inquisition, and now Rajmael of Clan Lavellan would decide the fate of the most powerful organization standing in Thedas.
Rajmael was armed with the greatest weapon for this particular battle, and held it high for all to see, so that none may contest it. An ancient tome of authority that even the Exalted Council must adhere to.
"You all know what this is." Rajmael addressed with indomitable authority as he held the tome in his hand. "A writ, signed by Divine Justinia V authorizing the formation of the Inquisition. We pledged to close the Breach, find those responsible, and restore the peace. With or without anyone's approval."
Cassandra nodded her head with a smile as her lover quoted the exact words she used when she declared the Inquisition.
"It wasn't your knights with flying banners or your holy priests with their scriptures that saved the world, but ordinary people who stood to fight against evil when no one else would. The Inquisition saved the people of Ferelden when you failed to do so, Arl Teagan. We will not disband for the sake of your fears. And I will not submit the men and women who risked their lives against the Elder One to an empress who's only alive to sit on her throne because I allowed it! There is worse coming than you've ever seen. Worse than Corypheus. So, we'll play your game. We will submit to authority. But not yours, never to yours." Rajmael breathed a sigh of contempt, and his eyes filled with scorn. He couldn't believe he was going to do this, but he had no choice now. "We submit ourselves to Divine Victoria's authority. The Inquisition will act as the Divine's personal honor guard. Answering only to her, we will transition from a military force to a peacekeeping organization. My days of leading the Inquisition in the field are done, but I will never stop leading it until our mission, my mission, is over. This I swear."
With that final word, Rajmael turned his back on the Exalted Council, and marched out of the council chamber as quickly as he could, leaving the entire gathering in an excited uproar.
Leliana's jaw almost dropped off her head in front of all these people, but she was too stunned to even realize it. She and Aedan exchanged a look of utter disbelief at what they had just bared witness to. Of anything that could have possibly happened, all the outcomes that could have risen from the Exalted Council, Leliana could never have dreamed of this result. Not even Aedan, with all his militaristic tactical intuition, saw this coming.
This flew in the face of everything Leliana thought she knew of the Inquisitor. For years Rajmael had sworn his hatred and contempt for the Chantry after everything it did to him, his family and his people. Even when she practically begged for his assistance in aiding the Chantry, Rajmael swore he would never serve the Chantry, that it was unworthy of his help. Now, before the entire world, Rajmael had declared, not only the Inquisition, but his own service to the Chantry he hated so much. What in Andraste's name happened in those mirrors?
Both Leliana and Aedan quickly rose from their seats on the Council and chased after the Inquisitor in the Inquisition's gathering quarters.
Rajmael made his way to the Inquisition's chambers in the Winter Palace, where all his companion's gathered to greet him. After everything that had happened, Rajmael was happy to see all his friends here, alive and well. Sera and Vivienne were here, too.
"Awesome speech, Boss." Iron Bull complimented with a big grin.
"I don't think there was a single noble and his servant that saw this coming." Varric chuckled heartily.
"Yeah, way to stick it to the nobs out there right where it hurts." Sera giggled.
"I can't wait to see the looks on the faces of the men back in the Magesterium who were wagering on the Inquisition's disbandment. They'll be paying creditors until the next age." Dorian laughed bemused.
"You never submitted, never buckled under the pressure, even when they were all threatening to turn on you. I'm proud of you, Inquisitor." Ranier said with deepest respect.
"A most unexpected turn of events, but certainly a wise move on your part, Inquisitor. Well done." Vivienne acclaimed, genuinely impressed.
"You did it because you had to. No one else was willing to do it, even though you never wanted to. I'm glad that people like you exist." Cole said with empathetic compassion.
Cassandra looked at the Inquisitor with an understanding into the significance of Rajmael's decision that most of them didn't know. "I know you didn't want to do this, my love. You never wanted this to happen. You did it because you knew you had to, and couldn't turn your back on such a burden, even though all you want is to go home. I wish more people had your strength of character, and the world would be a better place. I am so proud of you, Rajmael."
Eva ran up to Rajmael and hugged him with all her might. Tears of utter of unbridled emotion flooding from her green eyes. Joy, relief, and rejoice to see filled Eva like a wellspring that her father still alive and here with her. After seeing how horribly that Mark was hurting him, Eva feared she would lose her father for a second time. And at the same time, Eva felt a sting of shock, sorrow and pain grip her heart at the sight of Rajmael's missing limb. Seeing the man she loved as her father so mutilated hurt her in a way she didn't know existed.
"Rajmael...! Rajmael, your arm!" Eva sobbed uncontrollably.
Rajmael knelt down and held Eva closely with his remaining arm. She wrapped her arms around his neck and cried into his chest while he hugged with all his love.
"It was a small price to pay. I still have one arm I can hold you with, my beloved Da'vhenan," Rajmael kissed Eva's cheek and rocked her gently until she stopped crying. Holding her like this brought Rajmael a sense of peace and completion he had almost forgotten. His only regret was that this moment would end.
Hawke stood over the Inquisitor and nodded his head respectfully to him with a kind smile on his face. "You know, Varric always told me that you were the hero this world needed the most, that no one could have done what you've done. After everything I saw here, I believe it."
Rajmael rose to greet the Champion, but never let go of Eva, and met Hawke with equal respect. "Maybe, but I think you're the hero I needed when it mattered. You saved my life when the Mark crippled me in battle. Your compassion saved my daughter's life. I...I owe you a tremendous debt that I can never repay."
"And you'll never have to, Inquisitor. That's what men like us do." Hawke said with a smile.
Rajmael could scarcely believe the Champion was real. He had been a big admirer of the Tales of the Champion, and many of Varric's books because they were so fantastic as to be entertaining. But he never believed that there could be anyone, much less a human, who was so selfless and noble. If there was ever a shinning example to be discovered in what was best in their race, it was found in Garret Hawke.
"What happened to Tallis?" Rajmael asked curiously, wondering why the elven Qunari was nowhere to be seen.
"After the eluvian closed on us, we all turned back to the Winter Palace, but she decided to go back to the Qunari, and explain everything to the Ariqun." Hawke informed. "She wanted to make sure that the Viddasala's schemes wouldn't provoke an unwanted war with the Qunari, and since she helped in those schemes, Tallis felt she had to take responsibility for it."
"I see. It's good to know that some Qunari aren't religious fanatics. Though, she might be the exception, not the rule." Rajmael said contentedly. He could no longer feel any anger towards Tallis. She may have been the one who kidnapped Eva, but she was also the one who saved her from whatever plans the Qunari had for her. Rajmael probably wouldn't have found his daughter in time if it weren't for Tallis. And for that, all debts were paid
The chamber door opened and in walked both Divine Victoria and General Cousland. Neither of them still looked like they believed what they just witnessed back out there.
Rajmael put Eva down and stood to greet the two important political figures.
"Sorry things didn't turn out the way you wanted, General. Hope this doesn't put me on your list of people to mutilate." Rajmael said sarcastically.
Aedan shook his head, and spoke to the Inquisitor with deepest regard. "No. It took a lot of guts to do what you did out there. After everything I've seen you do today, you have earned my respect, Inquisitor. Know that you will always have an ally in Ferelden, should you ever need me."
Leliana approached the Inquisitor with the most humble respect. She knew the significance of what Rajmael just did, and the toll it must've taken on him. It was a sacrifice most people would never understand. "Inquisitor, I know that this isn't what you wanted. I understand how much this must have hurt you..."
"No, you truly do not understand, Leliana. You cannot possibly fathom what I haven given up so the Inquistion can continue. I have sacrificed everything that means anything to me for the sake of duty. I have made a hypocrite and a liar of myself in front of the whole world. By declaring the Inquisition for the Chantry after everything it's done to the elves, I've turned my back on my own people, and my loyalty to them shall forever be in doubt. I've sacrificed my own honor for the sake of my people's honor. And now, I will never be able to go home..." Rajmael's voice cracked with bitter pain, and he fought to keep himself from shedding another tear. After what he just did, he would not lose his composure. "Don't let this be a repeat of Ameridan's mistake, Leliana."
Leliana lowered her head in silent respect to Rajmael, an act no one would ever think the Divine would do. All Rajmael ever wanted since the beginning of the Inquisition was to go home to his people, his daughter. Everything he did as Inquisitor was so that he could finally go home, so that he could finally be with his daughter. Now, that dream was gone forever. No one here had given up more than Rajmael for the sake of what he felt was right.
"I swear Inquisitor, I will do everything in my power to make sure that your sacrifice and your accomplishments are not in vain." Leliana promised with all her heart. "I will not allow history to repeat itself."
There was a brief moment of silence, as if they were mourning the passing of a friend. They all paid respect to Rajmael's shattered hopes and the heavy burden he know carried. The silence was broken by the appearance of Commander Cullen, who entered the room with urgency.
"Forgive my intrusion, Inquisitor, and Your Holiness, but there's a matter that requires your immediate attention." Cullen addressed.
Not even a moment after he declared the Inquisition continuation, and already there was a situation for Rajmael to handle. It seemed he wouldn't ever be able to catch his breath.
"Is it the matter I wanted looked into, Cullen?" Leliana inquired.
"Yes, Your Perfection."
"Inquisitor, you'll certainly want to address this." The Divine said seriously.
Everyone followed after the Divine and the Commander down to the cellar where Rajmael tortured the elven Qunari spy posing as a servant. The setting was most appropriate and extremely ironic, considering that Zevran was standing there, with the elven spy who served Solas. The one who discovered the Qunari body in the Winter Palace, and intercepted the Qunari spy with the gaatlok barrels.
She was tied to a chair with several bruises on her face, and Zevran was sporting a few of his own. Apparently, the spy gave as good as she got.
"You captured one of Solas' spies in our ranks." Rajmael observed.
"Yes. When you left, I had already ordered background checks into all the servants we had on staff to find any more Qunari spies." Leliana explained. "Not long before Zevran and Cole returned with your daughter, I began to realize how conveniently we stumbled upon the Viddasala's plot, and how it was this guard how found it. So, I looked into her history, and discovered everything we have on record about her was false, and when she learned she had been discovered, she tried to sneak away."
"Which is where I came in, at our lovely Divine's personal request." Zevran said boastfully. "Let me tell you, this little mole gave quite the chase. It actually made her very attractive, even more so now that she's tied to a chair. If she probably wasn't about die right now, I'd be propositioning her, but that would be too crass, even for me."
Aedan looked at the elven infiltrator with a look of disgust on his face. There was nothing in this world that sickened him like traitors did. He walked up to the spy, wrapped his hand around her neck, and began clenching down with his powerful grip. Having one's life literally being held by the Hero of Ferelden was without a doubt the worst position to be in all of Thedas.
"Just say the word Inquisitor, and I'll rip her head right off her neck. She is a traitor and a spy, there is nothing more accursed than that." Aedan bade hatefully.
"No, General. Her offense wasn't against you but me, therefore her judgment is for me to decide." Rajmael stated.
Aedan obliged the Inquisitor and backed away from the elven spy. Rajmael looked at his fellow elf with deep sadness in his eyes. Despite the severity of her crimes, Rajmael couldn't help but feel for this woman. He couldn't believe what he was about to do, and knew that there would be many who would question how he could do such a thing, but Rajmael no longer cared.
The Inquisitor grabbed one of Zevran's daggers from his belt, walked behind the bound spy, and what he did almost none of them could believe. He cut her loose.
"Now, go. You are henceforth banished from the Inquisition and all lands under its dominion. Leave and never return." The Inquisitor spoke and rendered his judgment. "But know this: there is now honor to be found in walking the path of the Dread Wolf. It is a dark and treacherous road that will only lead to heartbreak and destruction. What he plans to do will bring no salvation to our people, only dishonor and shame."
The elven woman looked up at the Inquisitor, unable to believe what he just did. She knew the risks of her assignment, even that it would lead to her death. This man had every right to execute her, instead he gave back her life, even knowing that she could easily go back to being their enemy. The spy was overcome with shame, and couldn't bring herself to even look the Inquisitor in the eye. The spy bowed lowly to the Inquisitor in apology to him.
"Goodbye, Inquisitor." The elf whispered. She turned around and quickly made her way out of the cellar, never to be seen again, and no one stopped her.
No one could believe what they had just saw, especially Aedan, Hawke and Cullen. Given their histories with traitors and spies, neither of them understood what the Inquisitor was doing.
"Forgive me, Inquisitor, but have lost your mind along with your arm?" Aedan asked incredulously. "She could give away very important information, cripple your defenses with what she knows. More importantly than that, she betrayed you. Such a crime cannot go unpunished."
"Trust me, I can tell you from personal experience that elven spies can royally mess not just your life up, but the lives of the people around you. It might not have been wise to let her go, at least until you found out what she knows." Hawke warned.
"Inquisitor, with what she knows, she could very well cripple our security. The fact that we already have spies in our ranks is bad enough, but we could have used her to find the others. We will have to take entirely new precautions so that what she knows will not compromise us." Cullen argued.
"Perhaps. I know all three of you have had experience with such things. But there is one thing none of you have any understanding of: what it's like to be an elf. Neither of you knows what it's like to be born with the entire world already set against you." Rajmael expounded uncontestably. "I don't blame any elf who chooses to side with Solas After all, what has this world done for the elves to deserve their undying loyalty. A few years ago, after everything I suffered, I probably would have joined the Dread Wolf, too. Who knows, maybe I am wrong, and Solas is right. Maybe I'm just being selfish in what I think is right."
"Then why fight him? Why keep the Inquisition going?" Aedan asked curiously.
"Maybe it's because I believe that salvation can't come from destruction of an entire world, and casting away our sense of right and wrong. My people deserve better than that." Rajmael answered with deep conviction. "And in my time as Inquisitor, I have discovered other things in this world that deserve protection. Things that make this world worth living in."
Rajmael looked at Cassandra with a gaze so loving and tender that it made her blush in front of everyone.
"Rajmael, please stop." Cassandra asked bashfully, her cheeks burning red.
"Cassandra, will you walk with me?" Rajmael beseeched and held his hand out to her.
The Seeker's was now so red that it would have shamed all the roses in the Winter Palace, but she didn't deny him. Cassandra took hold of his hand and the two of them walked out of the cellar together.
Everyone watched as the Inquisitor and Seeker walked back out into the gardens, and leaving them all standing around in the cellar by themselves.
"So...now what do we do?" Iron Bull asked.
"I saw a dessert table back out there with our names all over it. You wanna go raid all the cakes right in front of all those prissy nobs?" Sera suggested.
"I suppose I should go smooth things over with Duke Cyril and Arl Teagan." Leliana shrugged.
"And I saw the loveliest blonde serving wine at the tavern. I might go pass some time with her." Zevran chuckled.
"Oh, the heck with all that. I'm going after them." Varric almost laughed. "The Seeker and the Inquisitor holding hands through the Winter Palace, can you imagine how Cassandra's going to handle that with everyone watching her?"
"She's probably going to explode with embarrassment." Eva chuckled deviously.
There was a brief moment of silence with the odd sound of a cricket chirping somewhere in the background. Then all of the scrambled out of the cellar as fast as the could and followed after Rajmael and Cassandra. Pushing and shoving, and went their own ways so that they wouldn't be spotted by the two lovers.
Cassandra and Rajmael walked hand in hand through Winter Palace, like something out of one of Varric smutty stories. A Dalish elf romancing a Nevarran princess, the concept still made Cassandra's heart flutter. Even now, she could feel the stares and hear the whispers of people gossiping at such a sight. The Inquisitor courting the Lady-Commander of the Seekers was a source of such scandal, but Cassandra didn't care. There was no breaches in protocol or breakings of racial taboo between them. All that mattered was what they meant to each other.
Normally, Cassandra would be an awkward wreck if anyone saw her playing the swooning maid, but that no longer mattered. After coming so close to losing the man she loved, Cassandra would take any chance to be with Rajmael. Right now, all she wanted was to stay with him.
"You have no idea how happy I was when I saw you return, Rajmael. When the mirror closed behind you, I was so scared that I had lost you forever." Cassandra said with deepest solace. "All I could think of was what I would do if you were gone. And then I realized that I couldn't imagine my life without you anymore. Loving you has brought me so much joy, that I can't think of a world without you in it. I love you so much, Rajmael."
Rajmael turned to Cassandra, still holding her hand gently. "And I love you, Ma vhenan. I never dreamed I could ever find love after Evanura died, and then I met you, and saw just how beautiful life can still be. Meeting you was the best thing that ever happend to me in the Inquistion, and I have never regretted anything. Which I why I'm doing this now." Rajmael turned around and scanned the garden like he was looking for something that wasn't there. "You can all come out now, I know you're there. At this point, hiding is meaningless."
All of their companions, even Leliana, Cullen and Josephine emerged from various hiding places where they thought they wouldn't be noticed. Evan Hawke and Aedan were both there. Cassandra turned red with a mixture of embarrassment and anger, that she said all those things right in earshot of all of them.
"It's alright, Cassandra. I want them to see this." Rajmael said, trying to assuage her feelings of enraged awkwardness.
"See? See what?"
Rajmael shifted where he stood and scratched his bashfully. "Well, I wanted to save this for a special occasion I was planning. You know, dinner and music, maybe reading a little poetry by candlelight, but after everything I just went through, I can think of no better opportunity than now."
Like a priest beseeching his higher power, Rajmael fell to one knee before the woman he loved. All jaws of the onlookers dropped to the ground, and Cassandra nearly fainted when her heart stopped inside her chest at the sight of Rajmael producing a small velveteen box he was holding inside his garments. He opened the box and revealed a ring made of pure white sylvanwood that he had carved himself, adorned with the images of elven-styled halla and dragons, and set with three brilliant, flawless diamonds.
"Like you said, Cassandra, I can't picture my life without you, and I never want to." Rajmael spoke with hope glittering in his golden eyes. "Now, please, I'm begging you, would you do me the honor of being my wife?"
There was a tension in the air like none of them had ever known, and time drew to a crawl as the witnesses waited with baited breath for the Seeker's answer. Leliana and Josephine were so excited, they both tore through the kerchiefs. Cassandra was so stunned that her voice was trapped in her throat.
Unable to find the words, Cassandra gave in to her emotions, and let her actions speak for her. She embraced Rajmael with all her heart, and pulled him into a kiss that poured out all the unrequited love and passion her soul held for him, tears of unbridled joy streaming her face.
"Yes! Yes, I will marry you. Rajmael, I love you so much." Cassandra cried before pulling him into another empassioned kiss.
Excited cheers and calls of congratulations errupted from the entire garden as all the witnesses here watched this historic moment. Josephine and Leliana held each other closely and squeeled like excited school girls when they heard Cassandra's answer. Cole held Maryden's hand and the two of the breathed a sigh of content at the romantic scene before them. Dorian handed Iron Bull a hankie when his muscle-bound boyfriend's eye started getting all misty. Cullen was so shocked by what he had just seen that he discarded all military discipline and cheered for the newly betrothed couple.
"Pay up, Lady Vivienne. I told you the Inquisitor was going to use this occassion to pop the question to Cassandra." Varric at winning their small wager.
"Later, Viscount Varric. Let us both enjoy this moment while it lasts." Vivienne urged calmly. This event was just too novel not to enjoy to the fullest.
Ranier and Sera quickly passed out drinks amongst themselves, Hawke, Aedan and Zevran.
"May they have a short ceremony, and a long honeymoon! Ha-ha!" Sera giggled loudly.
"I'll drink to that!" Zevran laughed with his glass raised high.
"Go mairie sibh bhur saol nua!" Aedan and Hawke both toasted in the Alamarri tongue. "May you enjoy your new lives."
"Here's to the new Mr. and Mrs. Inquisitor!" Ranier toasted boisterously.
"Mala lath vir suledin!" Eva cheered and laughed happily for her step-father. After realizing everything he had been through, everything he had suffered, she was so overjoyed to see Rajmael find happiness in the world he now lived in. She knew this would bring unprecidented joy to their clan. Her grandmother and Keeper Deshanna would not miss this for the world.
One Month Later...
It had been a few weeks since that day when Rajmael proposed to Cassndra in the middle of the Winter Palace, now that day had finally arrived. So much energy and time was used in preparation of their wedding, as well as balancing their regular duties. Normally, preparing a wedding of this magnitude within only a few weeks would have been impossible. But after waging war with Corypheus when they started off with virtually nothing, accommodating a wedding was a breeze. Then there was all the preparations, with getting all the caterers, getting the right dressings and decorations for the ceremony. A trade war was almost started just trying to get the right flowers in time for the wedding.
They would be hosting the wedding at Wycome, which historically a city of revelry. This place would serve to house the many guests that were coming, and Rajmael's entire clan wouldn't need to travel to attend. Half of the Pentaghsts were coming, but only to make themselves seem important. Cassandra didn't want them at the front; that was reserved for close friends and family. Along with all the delegates and supporters, Rajmael and Cassandra obviously invited all their companions, including the Hero of Ferelden and the Champion of Kirkwall.
Josephine handled all the preparations down to the smallest detail. There was no way she wasn't going to allow this wedding to be anything less than the celebration of the century. Even larger the celebration in Ferelden after the Blight. Josephine had invited all their friends, as well as many foreign delegates, supporters of the Inquisition, and officers within their ranks. She had also acquired all the best chefs in the Orlesian Empire to cater to this event with nothing but the finest foods and drinks that even some nobles had never sampled. Josephine would also be acting as one of the bridesmaids. Cassandra didn't have too many female friends, but Josephine was certainly one of them. Josephine had also invited her whole family, and with their now booming trading fleet, they brought a plethora of gifts for the two betrothed.
Cullen obviously handled the security. Running background checks on all the guests, setting up guard posts and rotations, making ensuring that no uninvited party crashers would ruin the main event. Aside from planning out security, Cullen also made sure that all the wedding gifts sent from all over Thedas were not dangerous, and delivered safely to the reception. The Commander took the liberty of inviting his younger brother Branson, and his sister Rosalie and Mia, along with Branson's newborn son. Cullen would also be acting as Rajmael's ring bearer.
Leliana also resumed her Spymaster duties for this event to ensure beyond all reason that it was safe. She and Cassandra had served as the Hands of the Divine together for years, and she wanted to make sure that there was absolutely nothing that would ruin her big day. Leliana would also carry out a service that almost everyone in Thedas would have given their left arm to have the honor of. As Divine Victoria I, Leliana would officiate this wedding and oversee the vows alongside Keeper Deshanna. Leliana would give blessing on Cassandra's behalf while Keeper Deshanna would do the same for Rajmael. Both Cassandra and Rajmael were of different faiths and cultures, and they wanted their wedding to reflect this as a union between two people from two different world coming together in holy matrimony.
Cassandra finally finished donning her wedding dress. It was a beautiful white gown that Leliana helped her pick out. It was neckless without shoulders and clung to her body like a glove, and it's flowing skirt was stitched with actual white roses. She wore the amber pendant Rajmael gifted to her proudly for all the world to see. The pendant declared his love, while the ring signified their union. Much to everyone's surprise, she wore no armor, not even a sword. Today, she was not a warrior, but a woman who would be marrying the love of her life. She wanted it to be like she always pictured it to be in those smutty stories she adored so much.
Josphine walked into the brides tent, wearing her own bridesmaid gown. She gasped in delight to see Cassandra in wedding dress. "Oh, Cassandra, you're so lovely! I don't think there won't be a man in all of Thedas who will recognize what a beautiful woman you are."
"Thank you, Josephine." Cassandra smiled. She was so excited that her heart was racing in her chest. It would be happening soon. "Is everything ready?"
"Almost. Everyone well soon be ready for the bride. I am so happy for you, Cassandra." Josephine smiled brightly.
"So am I. And you look so pretty." Eva complimented as she entered with a basket of flower petals. Today, Eva would be acting as the flower girl for her step-father's wedding. Before the vows were made, she wanted a word with her soon-to-be step-mother. "Thank you so much, Cassandra."
"For what, Eva?" The bride asked curiously.
"For giving Rajmael peace when he was hurting so much. For mending his broken heart, and giving him a chance to be happy amongst all his pain." Eva spoke with joyous emotion in her voice. "You have given him so much, and I am so proud to welcome into my family, too."
Cassandra knelt down and hugged the young elven child close. "I lost both my parents when I was young, too. And I know that I could never replace Evanura, or even be as a mother to you like she was. But I promise you this, Eva: I will always care about you, and I will do everything I can to honor your mother's memory."
Eva hugged Cassandra back, and kissed her cheek as affectionately as she would have her own mother. After today, Cassandra would be apart of her family, and she couldn't ask for a better step-mother. Josephine dabbed the tears from her eyes from watching this beautiful bonding moment between the two most important women in Rajmael's life. After a brief moment, Josephine and Eva walked out of the tent and readied themselves for their duties for the bride.
Cassandra finished her preparations to walk down the aisle. The day was perfect, she looked beautiful, she was ready to begin her life with Rajmael. That was when another surprise walked into her tent.
"You look radiant, Cassandra." Said the familiar voice of a man she hadn't heard in years.
Cassandra looked to the entrance of her tent and saw a man who she knew so well, yet barely recognized. He was a tall old man with brittle grey hair, wearing the formal robes of a high ranking Nevarran mage in the Mortalitassi Order. His skin was as dry as paper from barely seeing any sunlight, his hair grey and brittle, and he had to lean heavily on a cane in order to stand up straight, yet he still gave of a presence of pride and scholarly wisdom. He also wore a pair of spectacles in front of his eyes to aide his failing eyesight. Despite the difficulty attending this wedding gave him physically, there was no place he wanted to be right now as evidenced by the proud smile on his face.
Cassandra gasped at the sight of the man before her. "Maker...Uncle Vestalus? You're here?"
"Is that really so surprising?" Cassandra's uncle replied.
"Well, yes, actually. Given how little I have seen of you and how often you had been absent from my life, I half-expected you to not even read the invitation I sent." Cassandra said honestly. Many members of House Pentaghast had been invited, but only as a formality. She wasn't close to any member of her own House, and even when her uncle was raising her and Antony, he was absent for a great deal of their lives.
Vestalus looked at his niece with depressed shame. He knew he had no right to act so formally with her, but he wanted to make things right today. "I know I wasn't there for you and Antony when you needed me. I didn't know how to be a parent, I had no idea how to provide you and your brother with what you truly needed growing up. I...I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry, and that I..."
Cassandra gently placed her hand on her uncle's, and looked at him with gentle kindness. "Uncle, it's alright. I forgave you and made my peace a long time ago. I'm happy you're here today."
Vestalus Pentaghast sniffled and was so moved by his niece's kindness that he almost wept, but he wanted to keep a strong face for her. "You were always so strong, Cassandra. Even when you were young, you had a strength that separated you from the rest of House Pentaghast. Look at everything you've accomplished. Your parents, your brother, I know they would all be so proud of you."
"Thank you, Uncle. I'm glad that you came to my wedding." Cassandra whispered and hugged her uncle lovingly.
Then it started. They heard the music of the pipe organs began playing the Wedding March, calling the bride to the groom. The wedding ceremony had officially begun. Cassandra was so distracted by her Uncle's sudden appearance that she had forgotten her final preparations, and didn't want to keep her fiancé waiting at the altar. She quickly donned her wedding veil and grabbed the bouquet, and took a deep breath and prepared to walk out of that tent.
Vestalus held out his arm, and beseeched her nervously. "I know I'm probably overstepping my bounds, but would you allow me the honor of giving the bride away?"
Cassandra smiled brightly to her uncle and gladly accepted his arm. "I would love for you to give me away to Rajmael."
Despite all the battles she'd been in, all the foes she had faced, she had never been more nervous than she was right now. Cassandra was about to step into a new life she never dreamed she would see. She was so happy to have a member of her family who actually cared about her to send her off to her new life.
The pipe organs played loudly over the large gathering of people who had come to witness this wondrous event. All of their immediate friends and family were seated at the front, none of them would have missed this for the world. After everything they had been through, they all wanted to see the happiest day in Inquisitor Rajmael and Seeker Cassandra's lives.
Everyone gasped and chattered excitedly amongst themselves when they saw Eva tossing the flowers down the aisle, followed closely by the bride. Never had any of them ever seen Cassandra look so beautiful than she did today, nor had they ever see her so joyously happy. As Cassandra made her way down the aisle, holding her uncle's arm, she saw all her friends who had come to give their wishes and blessing to her and Rajmael this day.
Josephine was waiting for her, standing right next to Leliana, and happy tears in her eyes. Sera, Dagna and Scout Harding were all acting as the bridesmaids, and all of them were so excited to see Cassandra finally come down the aisle. Cullen held the pillow with the wedding rings like he was guarding them with his life. Leliana stood next to Keeper Deshanna at the altar. The two spiritual leaders would officiate the ceremony for both their peoples and honor both Cassandra and Rajmael's respective beliefs. Cole sat at the front of the gathering, holding Maryden's hand, and just for today, didn't bother wearing his hat and fixed his hair. Iron Bull, Dorian, and Ranier were all acting as the groomsmen, while Varric was the best man. All of them were sharply dressed for this day, Iron Bull even managed to put on a shirt for this event.
Cassandra saw Rajmael's mother, Ariva, sitting amongst the attendees of Clan Lavellan. She was crying tears of joy that her second son had finally found such happiness. She only wished that her husband and older son were here to bless this day with her, but she knew they were watching on in spirit.
Cassandra looked amongst the invited and saw Hawke sitting there amongst the guests of honor, along with his companions. Guard Captain Aveline, the elf, Fenris, Prince Sebastian of Starkhaven. Hawke's sister Bethany was near him, and sitting either side of the Champion were his two lovers, the pirate captain Isabella and the Dalish elf Merrill. Both of them were lovingly holding Hawke close while he kept his arms around them.
Aedan Cousland was also there with a contingency of his Silver Knights acting as honor guards. For once, the Hero of Ferelden wasn't his usual ornery, vindictive self, but here to honor and give congratulations to the Inquisitor. After everything Rajmael did for his country, it was the least Aedan could do. Accompanying Aedan were his squires, Ser Alec, Amythene, Bevin, and Aedan Kondrat. Warden-Commander Nathaniel Howe was there as well, along with his Wardens, Oghren and Sigrun.
And then, Cassandra saw him. The one man who brought all the joy that she never knew she was missing from her life until she met him. Rajmael, the elf who stole her heart. He was standing there, waiting for her. Rajmael was wearing the traditional wedding clothes of the Dalish, a white robe with intricate elven designs woven into the cloth. Despite only having one arm, Rajmael still stood with the pride and grace of an undaunted Arcane Warrior. There was a bright smile on his face, and his beautiful golden eyes lit up joyfully when he saw his beautiful bride making her way to the altar.
The two fiancés stood before the altar and their respective spiritual leaders. Divine Victoria and Keeper Deshanna both recited their rituals, invoked the blessings of their higher powers on the two betrothed, but Rajmael and Cassandra were too focused on one another to even hear what they said. They both knew their lives would still be filled with difficulty and hardship, but it gladdened her heart to know that neither of them would ever have to face it alone.
"Everything that has happened, Cassandra, all the hardship and pain, it was worth it to be with you and to have you with me." Rajmael whispered.
"Thank you for giving me your heart, my love." Cassandra thanked happily.
"The two betrothed may now exchange their rings and make their promises." Leliana declared.
"I swear unto the Maker and the holy Andraste to love and honor this man until the end of my days, till death do us part." Cassandra swore with jubilation in her heart as she slid the wedding ring on Rajmael's finger.
Rajmael gently and dexterously placed Cassandra's wedding ring on her hand and looked upon his bride with tenderness and loving devotion in his golden eyes. "Ma vhen enaste var aravel. Lama, ara las mir lath. Bellanaris, ma vhenan."
"Let betrothed now seal their vows with a sign of their affection, and before all these witnesses, I declare these two to be husband and wife." Keeper Deshanna said happily.
Rajmael lifted Cassandra's veil and the two met in a deep and loving embrace, sealing their vows and declaring their love for one another in a gentle yet passionate kiss.
All the guests rose to their feet and cheered at the sight of the newlywed couple. After everything that has happened, everything the two of them had been through together, it was good to see some joy come from all this turmoil. With the ceremony over, it was time for the celebration.
Everyone moved to the dance floor and watched as Cassandra and Rajmael waltzed to the music Maryden was leading the band with.
Cassandra hadn't danced with Rajmael since that night in Halamshiral when they saved Empress Celene. Now, she was having her first dance with Rajmael as his wife. It was something she never dreamed would happen, yet here she was, happier than she had ever been in her entire life. If there was proof that miracles existed, it was found between the two of them. In the midst of so much chaos and destruction, beauty could still be found in the world. Two wayward hearts were able to look past the confines of race, creed and prejudice to find love that completed both of them. What greater miracle was there than that?
As the newlywed husband and wife danced together, Divine Victoria and General Cousland stood next to Maryden with her lyre, and Garret Hawke surprised everyone with yet another of his remarkable talents when he stood with all three of them with a violin. Hawke started off by playing a lovely tune with his violin, followed shortly by Maryden's lyre, and the two of them started and intro for the Divine and the General. The two leaders and very old friends reminded everyone here of their strong and talented voices when they began to sing a song in tribute to Rajmael and Cassandra's new lives together.
Rajmael and Cassandra danced to the lovely song their friends played for them, gazing deeply into each other's eyes, and found solace in one another in a loving kiss as the song carried over the winds.
Of all the money that e're I had
I spent it in good company
And all the harm the e're I've done
Alas it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit
To memory now I can't recall
So fill to me The Parting Glass
Goodnight and joy be with you all
Of all the comrades the e're I had
They're sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e're I loved
They would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls on to my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call "Goodnight and Joy be with you all"
A man may drink and not be drunk
A man may fight and not be slain
A man may court a pretty girl and perhaps be welcomed back again
But since it has, so ought to be
By a time to rise and a time to fall
Come fill to me The Parting Glass
Goodnight and Joy be with you all
Come fill to me The Parting Glass
Goodnight and Joy be with you all
In the following months after Rajmael's declaration, the Inquisition transferred from a military power to a peacekeeping organization. Many of the duties they once held were carefully handed over, and their size was greatly reduced. As the Divine's personal honor guard and keepers of the peace, the Inquisition shrank to a more manageable size, but still retained a great deal of its influence. Many of the soldiers who had served in the Inquisition's ranks returned home, as they were no longer needed to wage war, but the forces that did remain were formidable enough to give any one second thoughts if they dared to disrupt the Divine's plans.
Many see this transition as nothing more than a ruse to appease the courts of Ferelden and Orlais, and still view the Inquisition as a threat. Some attempt an underground movement to undermine the Inquisition's authority by smearing its reputation and image with recrimination that the Inquisition was a threat to the sovereign power of Thedas' kingdoms. Others accuse the Inquisitor with seeking to usurp the place and authority of the Lady Andraste, and was trying to lead the people astray.
These attempts accomplish pitifully little, and the voices are soon silenced under the weight of their incompetence. Whenever the people heard the accusations against the Inquisition's integrity, they would look up at the sky, and when they saw the scar that the Breach left behind, they remembered who it was that saved their world from total annihilation.
Threats to the people of Thedas continued to linger, and the world still had yet to recover from the damage Corypheus left behind. The remnants of the Venatori still remained, various fanatical sects, power hungry warmongers, and those who wished to exploit the South's weakness, still continued to plague the people. And with the Inquisition's continued existence, it was left susceptible to infiltration and corruption by outside forces, a weakness that many sought to exploit, and could even lead to their downfall.
Yet the Inquisition still stands strong against all opposition. In spite of its reduced size, and being vulnerable to infiltration, the Inquisition had the power and resources to respond to the many threats that came their way. With Inquisitor Lavellan still leading, the New Inquisition remained a beacon of hope and a pillar of strength to the world, and continued to protect the people of Thedas.
With the Dragon's Breath plot successfully stopped, and any hope for success crushed, the Qunari retreated back to the North and turned their attention back to their own territory. Few in the South knew what debates were waged in Par Vollen amongst the ashkaari and the tamasraans, but shortly after the Exalted Council, the Qunari launched new invasion forces against Tevinter. This caught the already unstable Imperium off guard. Tevinter was soon embroiled in a vicious war with no end in sight, and it was feared by many that it would spill into the rest of Thedas.
It is unknown whether or not the Triumvirate of the Qun truly knew of the Viddasala's scheme or not. It is believed by some that the Salasari did in fact sanction the Viddasala's plot, and used her as an asset to maintain political deniability against the Inquisition, and when she failed, the Triumvirate elected to wage war the traditional way. Some even believed the entire Dragon's Breath plan was meant to be retaliation for the failed joint mission between the Inquisition and the Ben-Hessrath.
Whatever the truth may be, the full might of the Qunari war machine was now on the march, and the effects of their conflict could be felt across Thedas. They would be a threat in the years to come, as evidenced by the spies that were discovered in the Inquisition's ranks. These spies were quickly routed out, and those who were not killed were interrogated for information. The Ben-Hessrath never got their spies back.
Many dreaded the day that both the Inquisition and the Qunari would meet each other in the heat of war. The Qunari maintained caution with the Inquisition after witnessing their power and capability. Such a war may yet prove inevitable.
With the Exalted Council ended, Leliana fully resumes her duties on the Sunburst Throne as Divine Victoria I. Ever since her ascension, the new Divine was a controversial figure, and continues to be so. Already held in contempt by others for granting mages autonomy, Divine Victoria further reaches for her desire for a peaceful Thedas by removing age-old restrictions within the Chantry's own structure. Within a year, Leliana wrote a decree that opened the Chantry to all who wished to join, men and women of all races were now allowed to be initiated and ordained.
After witnessing the love between Inquisitor Rajmael and Seeker Cassandra, Leliana recognized the error in the Chantry's history with the elves, and was inspired to begin a movement to make amends between the Chantry and the elven people. A movement that was already held in contempt, Divine Victoria furthers this controversy and her goal by decreeing the return of the Canticles of Thane Shartan to the canonical version of the Chant, a move that divided both the Chantry and Andrastians deeply.
Divine Victoria's opponents quickly splintered from the Chantry, declaring her to be a threat to their faith, accusing her of leading the people astray with her heresy, and that her association with a heathen elf was influencing the Chantry's downfall. A rebellion to denounce Divine Victoria and return the Chantry to its old ways soon arose, beginning first in Orlais, then spreading to the rest of Thedas.
Despite several assassination attempts, Divine Victoria remained resolute in her beliefs and continued to hold her ground. Unperturbed by the attempts on her life, these attacks only strengthened her resolve, and viewed the hostility that she was one the right path. As she had seen with the Inquisition, the more who stand against what is truly right, the more powerful that belief must be.
In time, Leliana met with some of the leaders of this rebellion, and her gentle words and kind spirit managed to change the hearts and minds of her former enemies. Still, many remained a threat to her, believing that her ideals were against Andrastianism. They would remain a threat in the years to come, but Divine Victoria remains strong, and still works for a Chantry that welcomes all the people of Thedas with an open hand and heart.
Divine Victoria also became famous for her love of breeding her own herd of nugs. It soon became common for dignitaries and officials visiting the Grand Cathedral to see baby nugs scurrying around the Sun Burst throne.
Cullen stayed on as Commander of the Inquisition's forces. Cullen had at last freed himself of the burdens of his past as a Templar, his anger and contempt for mages, his blind devotion to religious dogma, and became one of the finest military officers of the Dragon Age.
Cullen eventually made peace with Garret and Bethany Hawke for his inexcusable behavior and actions when he served under Knight-Commander Meredith. After everything they had all been through, and a new era upon them, it was time to let go of old grudges and burdens. With his past forgiven, and no longer a Templar, and bound by the confines of lyrium addiction, Cullen remained a strong and integral part of the Inquisition.
With the Inquisition's military power so significantly reduced, Cullen knew that the only way for their remaining forces to stay strong was through superior and diverse training. Summoning Orlesian Chevalier, former Templars, even dwarven berserkers and Dalish huntsman, to train their men, Cullen would spend endless hours drilling their soldiers into some of the most elite combatants in Thedas. Because of his devotion, what the Inquisition forces lacked in numbers, they made up for it in the sheer quality of their skill.
With the Inquisition now serving as a peacekeeping force, Cullen enforced new standards of security to protect the Divine's interests as well as to maintain the integrity of the Inquisition by implementing security measures to prevent infiltration by spies. He also expanded on the Chantry's treatment for Templars whose minds had been eroded by lyrium addiction, as well as those who wished to be ride of lyrium usage entirely. Those who cast off their addiction would always be welcomed in the Inquisition's forces.
With chaos running rampant in the north, and threats to the Divine lurking in every shadow, Cullen stands ever vigilant to serve and protect the innocent, as he had always sought to do since he was a boy.
Cullen would also spend much of his free time writing to his siblings, and avoiding the constant avalanche of invitations to soirees and wedding proposals by various Orlesian nobles. Taking advice from Varric, Cullen began to use the letters to make paper mache, a hobby that was more useful than the letters themselves.
After easing the Inquisition's transition into the Chantry, Josephine returned her homeland of Antiva and her family. Thanks to Josephine's brilliant diplomatic and economic sagacity, the Inquisition was so politically and financially secure, that she was able to retire from the Inquisition without regret and full of pride. After her departure from the Inquisition, many monarchs and courts quickly petitioned to have Josephine in their service with promises of wealth, status, and even royal marriage.
Instead, Josephine returned to her homeland of Antiva and her family, and resumed her duties of looking after her family's estate. Thanks to Rajmael's assistance, the Montilyets were permitted to once again conduct trade in Orlais. Soon, many ships bearing the crest of House Montilyet set sail on the sea, carrying the wealth and dreams of Josephine's family. And thanks to her business sense and brilliant mind, Josephine's trading ventures brought her house unprecedented prosperity.
However, this turn of good fortune came with its own brand of danger. Rivaini pirate captains, descendants of the corsairs who once plagued the Montilyets' ships ages ago, sought to reignite their ancient feud, and became the Montilyets' rivals on the sea, just as their ancestors did before. While her family's wealth and standing did increase, the danger to their interests was now even more severe, but Josephine took the development in stride, and saw the pirates' continued raids against her ships as a sign of her family's growing success.
One night, while Josephine was calculating the costs and losses the pirates were causing her, she was approached by an agent from the House of Repose, who Inquisitor Rajmael had annihilated for their attempt on Josephine's life. It was same man who informed Josephine about the contract on her life.
Far from being offended, and admiring the Ambassador's professionalism, the survivors of the House of Repose sought her out to offer their services to her. While Josephine had no use or desire for assassins, she instead hired them to protect her family's trading vessels. Soon, the Rivaini pirates learned that her ships were not easily boarded, and officially ended their feud with Josephine's family. House Montilyet greatly prospered, and was soon the envy of trading companies across the Waking Sea.
Josephine later invited Rajmael and his wife to Antiva for a celebration in his honor as a sign of thanks to the Inquisitor, for it was because of his actions that House Montilyet had rose to such prominence so quickly. The stories of the celebration Josephine held for the Inquisitor would be told for generations.
Varric Tethras, rogue, storyteller, and occasional adventurer, returned to his beloved home of Kirkwall as Viscount, a job he never wanted to have. Varric became the first dwarf in Thedas' history to ever become the ruler of a sovereign state, a fact that Varric was not particularly excited about because it meant he had a lot of expectations to now meet. Despite his complaints, and constant threats to just quit, Varric was the most effective Viscout Kikrwall had in many years, and with the help of his friend Hawke, he quickly set to work rebuilding the city's infrastructure.
Varric's approach to politics was the same as playing Wicked Grace: never show your hand and assume everyone's cheating. While this policy made him the maverick of all Thedas' rulers, his results were unquestionable. Under Viscount Varric's rule, Kikrwall soon resumed its place as a booming trading hub of the Free Marches. Their docks and harbors were rebuilt, homes reconstructed, and business were soon bustling with trade again. Even the Blooming Rose Brothel was seeing more business than it had in years.
Viscount Varric quickly proved himself to be a reformer, seeking to route out the corruption that led to the ruin of his predecessors. Thanks to the efforts of Guard-Captain Aveline and Garret Hawke, Varric was able to rid Kirkwall of the criminal elements that plagued its people. The Kirkwall Coterie was driven to extinction, and the Carta lost all its assets and was driven out the city for good. Varric also declared an official ban and illegalized all slaver activity in Kirkwall's territory. He employed the former slave Fenris to lead an anti-slavery campaign to drive out the vile trade for good, a campaign Fenris happily took part in.
Some, however, saw Varric's politics as partisan and biased, as he appointed many of his closest friends in high ranking positions, and many of his policies favored them. He made a trade alliance with the newly appointed elven leader of Wycome, Keeper Ariva, the Inquisitor's mother, giving both cities a virtual monopoly on the Free Marches imports and exports. He also drafted a business partnership with Josephine Montilyet to use her ships for Kirkwall's trade businesses. One of his more controversial acts was when he hired the famous raider Captain Isabella as a privateer to drive out pirate and slaver ships away from Kirkwall's interests, and appointed the Champion's younger sister, Grand Enchanter Bethany Hawke, as a close advisor.
Because of his politics and reformations, Varric made himself a target for the criminal groups he sought to drive out of business. Several assassination attempts were made on Varric's life, and all of them ended with utter failure. Before anyone could even get close to Varric, they had to get through Bianca, and she wouldn't let anyone get too close to her Viscount. These assassins learned too late that Bianca was the protective type.
The only perk that made being Viscount bearable to Varric was the fact that he could now finally fulfill his goal of buying the Hanged Man Tavern. Whenever life as Viscount got too stressful, or if he just wanted to escape the constant messages from Prince Sebastian and Mechant's Guild, Varric would often be found at his old seat in the Hanged Man, telling stories too wild to be believed with pint of ale in his hand.
Sera and Rajmael never truly became friends, her past callous and derogatory attitude towards elves made this impossible. However, after seeing Rajmael accomplish the things he did, and realizing that her negative outlook on elves was no different than the attitude nobles held for normal people, Sera slowly began to lower her reservations. As she matured, Sera let go of her childish disdain towards elves. She would never truly identify herself as a member of elven culture, but she no longer went out of her way to antagonize them, and saw the elves as another people who deserved her help.
After the Exalted Council was over, and everything seemed like it was back to being an alright sort of normal, Sera went back to doing what she did best: pranking, stealing, doing favors for friends and being an utter pain in the ass for Thedas' nobility. After seeing the world brought to the brink of ruin by pride and arrogance, she set to work to making sure that the nobility of Thedas would think twice before stepping on normal people.
Taking inspiration from the Inquisition, which started off as a group of regular folks banding together to do the right thing, Sera reorganized the Friends of Red Jenny. Soon, the Friends of Red Jenny became the answer to many impoverished and oppressed peasants when they had no one else to turn to. They would always be there to remind the nobles of Thedas not to step down on the little people by giving them a two-fingered salute, a black eye, and so many arrows.
The common folk of Orlais were soon able to walk without living in fear of what the nobles may do to them. And Orlais' masked aristocracy soon had to take extra care not to do anything that might offend or hurt the peasantry, lest they wake up one morning and find all their valuable stolen, and their breeches all missing. No one ever knew who this Red Jenny was, of if she was a he, one person or many, but whatever the case may be, Red Jenny's identity was never determined.
Strangely enough, wherever Red Jenny struck, there were always reports of a wild-haired elf with a thick Denerim accent seen in the area, accompanied by a self-proclaimed dwarven arcanist who was affectionately called "Widdles". The two of them always seemed to be on a romantic sojourn together whenever Red Jenny struck. No one ever connected the two together, and was written off as sheer coincidence.
With the Exalted Council over, and the Inquisition no longer in need of his sword arm, Thom Ranier set back out into the world. Granted mercy when he deserved none, offered a chance to redeem his honor when he deserved death, he set out on a path of redemption. A gift, so compassionately given, it needed to be shared. Ranier swore to devote his life to the mercy Inquisitor Lavellan had given him.
Ranier began his journey first where everything began for him: with General Vincent Callier and his family. Ranier visited the graves of the family he so villainously murdered all for gold, and swore to each of them that he would make up for taking their lives by saving even more. No matter how long or how difficult that road was.
Inspired by the hope the Inquisition gave the world during its darkest hour, Ranier sought to do the same. On his mission, Ranier would often stop to help protect the meek and the defenseless. The Inquisition soon received reports of a valiant wandering knight who would defend faraway villages and farmer from bandits and raiders. He was described as a strong man with a magnificent beard and a kind smile. Whenever he stopped to defend a village, this brave knight would teach the villagers and farmers he saved how to defend themselves and leave gifts of toys for the children.
These stories continued to spread, not only from the faraway villages and outposts, but from the places where it was believed no good could be found. From deepest prisons and darkest pits in Thedas, where the condemned and forgotten were cast away, stories were told of a knight who would come to poor souls dwelling there. Where the world had passed judgement, he offered redemption. Where society saw filth and disgrace, he discovered goodness, if not the potential for it. By showing faith in those who had none, Ranier lifted these poor souls and made them into something better than they once were.
Stories also began to spread about a jolly, bearded figure who would visit the houses of the poor every Winterend Eve, and leave gifts of toys to be discovered by the children the next morning. Many wondered how this mysterious figure was able to accomplish this generous task. Some believed he used a carriage pulled by halla to deliver the toys, while others said that he would come into the houses through the chimneys. Such tales were simply too fantastic to be true, yet wherever this mysterious, bearded figure went, good will was restored and presents for children were always left behind.
Vivienne returned to the Orlesian Empire and resumed her post as Enchanter of the Imperial Court. Despite the loss of her lover Bastien, Vivienne was able to use her time with the Inquisition to her advantage, as well as her own shrewdness, to gain many political favors and remained a formidable player in the Great Game. Many of Orlais' nobles sought her for advice in how to deal with the newly formed Chantry and Inquisition, and Vivienne offered them insight on how to survive both. This advice Vivienne offered gained her many friends amongst Orlais' high ranking nobility and secured her place in the Orlesian Courts.
With the end of the Inquisition as an independent organization, and its formal absorption into the Chantry, some of its former mages feared that this was the end of their newly formed College's before it truly began. Vivienne cunningly played on their fears, and united the mages to build a new Circle of Magi, with Vivienne as its Grand Enchanter. What her new Circle lacked in numbers, it quickly made up for it in political connections.
Vivienne's Circle soon became a force to be reckoned with, and became direct rivals to Grand Enchanter Fiona's College of Enchanters. The two magical institutions soon found themselves vying for power, and arguing amongst themselves about the responsibility and study of magic. Vivienne quickly used any hint of incompetence or irresponsibility to hurt the College's reputation and attack their credibility, forcing Fiona to push back against the Circle, which gave Vivienne more ammunition against her rivals.
For a while, it seemed like Vivienne was going to win this feud of factions, and fracture the College of Magi entirely. It seemed that the newly formed Circle of Magi would be the only official authority of magic in the South.
In time, however, Inquisitor Rajmael stepped in and spoke on behalf of the College, reminding all of it's ditractors that it was Fiona and her College that valiantly fought for the mages and against the Elder One, while the Loyalists of the Circle didn't get involved until Inquisition offered some form of institution. This gave all Vivienne's supporters some pause while some pulled their backing entirely, and soon after she ceased her feud the College.
Some believe that it was the Inquisitor's public support of Fiona and her malcontents that severely damaged Madame de Fer's credibility and forced her to cease her feud. However, it was widely rumored within the Circle of Magi that that the Inquisitor personally warned her that if Vivienne continued to threaten the peace he had established, she would meet a very sudden and ignominious end. Whatever the truth, the Circle and the College now exist in an uneasy and frictional peace.
With the Exalted Council now over, and the future of the Inquisition determined, Dorian returned home to the Imperium to assume his father's position in the Magisterium. Inspired by everything that Inquisitor Rajmael was able to accomplish, despite the odds set against him, Dorian set to follow his friend's example and fight for a better Tevinter. If a heathen Dalish elf could accomplish so much, even when the world already despises him, then how could Dorian do any less?
The Imperium's strength was already compromised even before the Qunari launched its new invasion forces. Constant infighting by Tevinter's Magisters and ruthless power plays soon proved just as destructive to the Imperium as the Qunari military was. Too many within the Magisterium were more concerned with their own power and prestige than they were with the survival of their nation.
To combat this internal threat, Dorian and his good friend Magister Maeveris Tilani, founded a new group called the Lurceni. The Lurcenis goals were to redeem the Imperium by challenging ancient and outdated dogmas and ideals with new tolerant reformations, and to combat the corruption that plagued Tevinter's infrastructure. It was a fight that seemed hopeless. Regardless, Dorian fought on, both in the senate and in the background of Tevinter's sinister games of politics. His idealism as well as his effectiveness as a Magister made him a threat to the amoral members of the senate, who sought to rid themselves of the last son of House Pavus
These unscrupulous Magisters almost got their wish when Dorian fell victim to a Venatori ambush, and he would have most certainly died if not for the unexpected rescue of an unnamed mercenary company led by a certain one-eyed Tal-Vashoth who mounted a dangerous rescue operation. Dorian was almost killed in the fighting, but was carried many miles to help in the arms of the mercenary band's one-eyed captain. When Dorian woke up, the mercenaries, and their Tal-Vashoth captain were gone. When asked about the captain in question, Dorian refused to comment.
Dorians fight against the corruption that was rotting at Tevinter's core was a difficult and unending struggle, but he fought on. He knew that the key to their survival lay in stripping away their terrible past and starting anew. The internal struggle of the Imperium left them vulnerable to being infiltrated by not just Qunari spies, but to agents of an enemy far more dangerous.
Dorian knows that it's only a matter of time before the Dread Wolf sets his fangs into the North. A fear that is well founded given Tevinter's gruesome history with the elves and the Qunari's vision for a world without magic. Unless the oldest empire in Thedas stands united and finds some way to halt the Qunari onslaught, there will be nothing they can do to stop Fen'Harel or his followers.
After the Exalted Council was finished, and the Inquisition found a place for itself in the world, Cole was no longer needed to stay there. With the Inquisition now securing peace, Cole no longer needed to kill to help people. Instead, he took to the road with the loving and beautiful bard Maryden, and set off to discover all the things it meant to be human. Everything that was good and beautiful about the human spirit, Cole found that in Maryden, and never wanted to leave her side, nor she him.
Despite no longer being a Spirit of Compassion, Cole continued to use his gift to help people and ease their pain, while Maryden touched people's hearts through her music. Wherever the young lovers went, Maryden's songs inspired the best in those who heard them, and people found old pains eased, their hearts made happier. No one understood how they were able to do this, but whatever place they journeyed to was always happier than when they arrived. It was a gift more precious than any treasure.
In time, Cole sought out his first two friends, Senior-Enchanter Rhys and Knight-Captain Evangeline, the first people who ever saw him. It was a joyful reunion, and Cole couldn't help but cry. These two were the ones who inspired Cole to try and help people. Everything he did with the Inquisition was because they helped him, and he was so happy that they remembered him.
Before Cole left the Inquisition, he made a promise to Rajmael. That if he was ever needed, Cole would always be there to help. It was thanks to Rajmael's own compassion towards the wayward spirit that Cole became what he is now, and while the life of a mortal was filled with its own danger and tragedies, it was still a wonderful life worth living.
With the Inquisition now acting as keepers of the peace, and no longer in need of mercenaries, The Bull's Chargers went back to doing what they did best: kicking ass for cold, hard cash. Fighting demons, chasing down bandits, and clearing out pockets of remaining Venatori. While Iron Bull still fought for coin, he still did his part to keep the peace. In his own way, Iron Bull still performed the same duty he did as Hissrad: putting down the assholes who make life difficult for everyone else, and did a damn good job of it.
No longer bound by the stringent, inflexible restrictions of the Qun, Iron Bull lived his life to the fullest with his comrades. Getting into awesome fights, celebrating the end of every job with tons of alcohol, and singing with the best group of misfits he could ask for. One of the first jobs he took as a free agent again was teaching the newly formed Sutherland Company the ropes of being a real mercenary company, as well as a few good drinking games.
Strangely enough, a lot of the jobs the Chargers took seemed to bring them rather close to the Imperium's borders. Often to a remote villa or rented out cabin in some out of sight border-town. Sometimes, the Iron Bull would be seen in the company of a certain Tevinter mage, and they would spend a few precious hours together before the obligations and restrictions of their lives pulled them away. Iron Bull always looked forward to these little sojourns just a little bit more than he loved dragon hunting.
With the Qunari now officially at open war with the Imperium, and Iron Bull no longer an agent for the Qun, he was unable to give any information to the Inquisitor about what the Qunari's plans were. Nor was he able to ever set foot near where the Qunari held a presence. The Ben-Hessrath never got over how one of their best assets turned on them for the Inquisition, and it wasn't uncommon for one of their assassins to try and kill the traitorous Tal-Vashoth as a reminder of his disgrace. The Iron Bull would often leave just enough of their assassins' bodies to be found by the Ben-Hessrath to remind them that he was still a dangerous badass, and not to be trifled with.
While the Inquisition was no longer in need of mercenaries, the Iron Bull always kept himself and his Chargers on call as a personal favor to Rajmael. Whenever the Inquisitor needed a door kicked down, or some skulls thumped, he always knew who to call on.
It is unknown what happened to the elven Qunari agent known as Tallis. Against Hawke's urging, Tallis returned to the Qunari to face the consequences of her actions. Despite knowing what the Ben-Hessrath might do to her for turning on one of their own, she knew what was right, both in her heart and by the Qun. What the Viddasala was doing was abhorrent and against everything the Qun was meant to represent. Tallis had no regrets.
One day, while Hawke was coming home, he found one of Tallis' throwing knives stuck in his doorway with a bow tied to it. Hawke couldn't help but smile. While he never knew if Tallis was still with the Qun, he did know for certain that elven Qunari was still out in the world, still watching. He just hoped that she would be able to stay out of trouble in these dangerous time.
While the Inquisition would no longer be the same, the Exalted Council continued on. The Council would advise Divine Victoria on matters of peace and international relations. For a while, Cassandra served on the Council, adding her own strong voice and shouting down the many argument that came to the negotiating table. While Seeker Cassandra and Divine Victoria often debated against one another on various policies, the former Left and Right hands shared the utmost respect for one another, and remained lifelong friends.
Aside from now sitting as a member of the Exalted Council, Cassandra assumed the mantle of Lady-Seeker, and, with the support of her husband, set out to rebuild her scattered Order. The Seekers had done terrible things for their own benefit and survival, so many secrets that led to so much destruction. This time, Cassandra would make sure that the Seekers were worth preserving, and deserved to protect the innocent.
Cassandra started off with a few carefully chosen recruits and some of her fellow Seekers who survived Lucien's madness. In a secluded fortress in the Hunterhorn Mountains, Cassandra taught the fledgling Order everything they needed to carry out their duties. This time, they were told the truth about the Seeker's Vigil, and how they were granted their abilities. Full disclosure. No more secrets, no more lies. The new Seekers of Truth would not repeat the mistakes of their predecessors.
In time, after a lifetime of being away, Cassandra returned to Nevarra and visited her Uncle Vestalus and the rest of her kin. The visit was short-lived, however. While Cassandra was happy to see her uncle, the rest of her family reminded her why she left her homeland to begin with. So many of them were sycophants who wanted to worm out favors from her and husband. And with King Markus' advanced age and failing health, there were whispers of a civil war brewing over who would rule Nevarra after him, Cassandra left rather than be dragged in a dispute she truly had no stake in.
Even though their duties often separated the two of them, Cassandra and Rajmael always found time to be together as husband and wife. While Cassandra always remained true to her duty and calling in life, the one place she found true happiness was at Rajmael's side. Her marriage to him was a dream come true she never knew her heart desired. Cassandra never cared that the two of them didn't share the same faith. If there was ever any proof of the Maker's existence, it was found in the love Cassandra and Rajmael had for one another.
With Exalted Council over, and no need for him to be there anymore, Aedan quickly left the putrescent empire he hated so much. While his disdain for religion and especially the Chantry was unending, he knew Leliana as a personal friend long before she was Divine, and would always consider her as such. And even though he still detested the Chantry, Aedan admired the strength and conviction it took for Rajmael to bring the Inquisition into the Chantry to continue their mission. The Hero of Ferelden would forever respect the Inquisitor for his uncompromising dedication to his sense of honor and loyalty to his people. Something he rarely showed to anyone.
After leaving Orlais, Aedan and Zevran went their separate ways again. Zevran went back out into the world, always seeking trouble and adventure, while Aedan returned to his beloved homeland. There was a great celebration held by King Alistair in Denerim for the return of his kingdom's wayward Hero. Aedan traveled to the Northern Teyrnir to visit his brother Fergus, and to pay respects at the graves of his family.
After over a decade since he resigned from being Warden-Commander of the Grey Wardens, Aedan returned to Amaranthine, but he didn't return for the sake of sentimentality or to sit on his laurels. Aedan quickly set to work rebuilding Ferelden's military after all the losses they suffered from the Breach and the War of The Elder One. Ore was harvested from the silverite mines, the forges of Amaranthine blazed hot to build weapons, commission to Kal-Hirol to build new war machines, and recruits were gathered to build a new army. After what he had seen fighting alongside the Inquisitor, the Hero of Ferelden realized that his country must be prepared for the battles to come.
The question that remained was whether or not he was trying to prepare his country for an invasion from another country, or to go and invade another country. After the Exalted Council, Aedan was left with a new hatred: a hatred for the Qun that matched his disgust for Andrastianism. In trying to invade the South the Qunari had awoken the beast inside Aedan Cousland, and the beast was hungry.
Amongst the reports of Aedan's tireless war preparations, there were reports that some found extremely odd concerning the Hero. Reports of Aedan Cousland seen smiling and laughing, and being happy. A prospect some people found disturbing. The claims could never be validated, but some witness accounts claim that Aedan was seen with the raven-haired witch of his heart's desire, along with the son they had together, and that they were happily reunited. But these reports could never be confirmed, because the witch and her son were never seen in Ferelden. Yet, Aedan seemed happier than he had been in years, especially when he played with that strange rosewood ring between his fingers.
After being gone for so long, the Champion of Kirkwall finally returned to where he belonged. He was welcomed most joyously by the people of Kirkwall, and his two lady loves, the pirate Isabella, and the Dalish mage Merrill, gave him a very welcomed reception that lasted three days and nights in his mansion. Hawke was reunited with his friends, and was happy to see the lives they made for themselves during the chaos of the past few years. He was overjoyed to see his sister Bethany safe, and now a Grand Enchanter in the College of Magi.
Garret, Bethany and their Uncle Gamlen went to their family memorials of Malcolm, Leandra and Carver Hawke, to pay their respects. Something Garret was unable to do during his years on the run. Everything Hawke had accomplished in life, everything he set out to do, was because of what his family taught him, and still seeks to honor their memory.
No longer a fugitive, and formally pardoned for any charges against him by Divine Victoria, the Champion quickly set to work to help his friend, Viscount Varric, rebuild Kirkwall. It was a tremendous undertaking, so much to rebuild and so many bad memories to recover from, but Hawke was up to the task. Seeing their Champion helping to rebuild their city inspired hope in the citizens of Kirkwall, and the reconstruction efforts saw much success. Never forgetting how they started out, Garret and Bethany started a charity to help the poor people of Lowtown and Darktown, always remembering that goodness and even greatness can be found in the most unexpected places.
With Kirkwall on the path to recovery, his friends and family safe, Hawke was finally able to achieve the one thing he set out to have ever since he first arrived in this city: a peaceful life with his family and loved ones. Hawke, Merrill and Isabella retired to his family estate in Kirkwall, living of luxury from the royalties of Hawke's memoirs, depicting his adventures, and often embellished by Varric, who was also Hawke's publisher.
That lasted about a month before Hawke got bored. After everything Hawke had been through, he was no addicted to adventure, so all three of them went off seeking a new one. After that, Varric received mixed reports about where Hawke, Merrill, and Isabella were. Some said that they went chasing after pirates in Rivain, and were attempting to take over the Felicisima Armada. Others said they went to the Deep Roads again to rediscover the legendary lost city of gold, Darmallon Thaig. And some reports claimed that the three lovers went to Nevarra to help settle the inheritance dispute over King Marcus' throne. Whatever the case may be, only one thing was certain: Varric wished like hell that he was with them, instead of on the Viscount's Throne.
Rajmael of Clan Lavellan:
Rajmael had been many things in his life. First of his clan, apostate, Arcane Warrior, heathen, adopted son and father; these were simple titles but they were all he needed to be content. Rajmael was more than a hero now, he was a savior to the world. Now, he stood amongst the echelons of the greatest heroes in Thedas' history, revered by many, respected by people of classes and races, even kings. Never before had an elf been so revered by the people of Thedas, even Thane Shartan and Garahel. In securing his legend and maintaining his title, Rajmael stripped himself of everything that once made him happy, and was forever bound by the heavy burdens being an Inquisitor meant.
Rajmael once swore that he would never serve the Chantry after everything it did to him and his people. In turning the Inquisition into the Divine's personal honor guard, Rajmael made a liar and hypocrite of himself. This act would forever tear at Rajmael's soul, and while he would feel regret for what he did, he would never feel shame for it. He did what he believed in his heart to be right, and stuck by his own code of honor and sense of duty, no matter how difficult the choice was. No Arcane Warrior of the elven people could do any less.
The Inquisitor's fears of being seen as a traitor were quickly realized. Already, many elves, especially the Dalish whisper how the Inquisitor, once their champion and hope for new future, had turned his backs on their culture and embraced the Chantry. At the same time, members of the Chantry praised Rajmael's decision to rejoin the Inquisition with their institution, and continued to regard him as the Herald of Andraste, and champion of their faith. Rajmael adamantly denied all such claims, but not everyone heard his words. While Rajmael continued to always try and further elven interests, he would always be regarded as a figure of the Andrastian Chantry.
After everything Rajmael had learned from Solas, the things he saw through the eluvians, that the gods he once so ardently and passionately prayed to were no different than the Magisters who enslaved his people, his once pious faith was irrevocably shattered. The Creators were dead to Rajmael, and he never prayed again.
However, Rajmael never abandoned his sense of spirituality and his devotion to elven history and culture. Gathering the knowledge he had learned from his ancestral history and his near death experiences, Rajmael began to practice a new form of spiritual guidance. Instead of praying to obscure gods that have never aided mortal in their struggles, Rajmael instead looked to the spirits who watch over this world for aid, as well as looking to the souls of their ancestors. His encounters with Cole, the gods of the Avvar, and even his lessons from Solas validated this philosophy. Whenever Rajmael was at his lowest, and during the occasions he was near death, it was always the spirits of his family that seemed to give the strength to press on. Amazingly, this new philosophy gathers a following amongst his fellow elves, and even a some human followers. The first one to formally accept this new form of spirituality was Eva.
Rajmael also pushed for a reformation in elven culture in the use of the vallaslin. Instead of using the Blood Writing to honor gods who have never answered their prayers, and using it to alienate themselves from other elves, Rajmael advocated the vallaslin to be used to declare the path an elf chose to follow in life, in recognition of their elven pride, and opened its use to all elves, Dalish and city-born alike. Rajmael's marking declared his to be a path of knowledge and wisdom, and when the time came, Eva chose the markings that originally honored Mythal, declaring herself to be a protector of her people.
Because of his decision to continue to the Inquisition, Rajmael was never able to return to Clan Lavellan, a fact that weighed heavily on his heart. His stepmother, Ariva, took up leadership of the clan and became Keeper when Istimaethoriel Deshanna finally stepped down, and took Eva on to be her First. Eva took her duties as First seriously, and dedicated herself to the study of elven lore and culture, just as Rajmael did. And like her mother and father before her, Eva swore to become a protector of her clan, and studied the ways of the Dirth'ena Enasalin. To honor the memory of her mother, and act as a protector of her clan, Eva formally assumed mother's name. Hence forth, she was called Evanura.
Despite the heavy burden being Inquisitor had on Rajmael, he continued to find joy in the people surrounding him. He and Eva made peace over the truth of Nethras' death, and Rajmael offered his daughter solace in the fact that his brother never stopped fighting for a world where she would never have to suffer. The two of them put all feelings of doubt and pain behind them when they exhumed Nethras' body, and laid him to rest with his beloved Evanura, the woman both brothers loved so much.
Rajmael's marriage to Cassandra was the happiest he had ever been. He never dreamed that he would find love and acceptance with a Chantry Seeker, but there it was. She accepted him for all his flaws and the differences between their races and cultures. They found joy and acceptance with one another, and gave each other the strength to carry on when things seemed darkest. In face of all the difficulties and trials that were to come, every one of them was worth it to have Cassandra in his life. For generations, bards would tell tales and sing the songs of how a Dalish apostate saved the world, and won the love of the beautiful Nevarran warrior princess.
After the events at the Winter Palace, many elves left the Inquisition under mysterious circumstances, as did many of the elven servants across Thedas. There were even reports of entire Dalish clans that completely disappeared without a trace. Those who took the Inquisitor's warnings about Fen'heral seriously began to wonder just how large a force the Dread Wolf was gathering, and what the ancient elven rebel had planned. However, many people discarded the Inquisitor's warnings about the ancient elven god of Chaos as nonsense, for anyone with a brain knew that all elven myths were nothing more than pagan drivel. And it was this ignorance that gave the Dread Wolf his strength.
Some who believed the Inquisitor's stories about the Dread Wolf tried to take matters into their own hands, and took harsh actions against any elf they accused of being spies of Fen'Heral. Elven servants accused without just cause, unsanctioned raids in the Alienage, and even Dalish clans hunted down, all under the suspicion that they served the Dread Wolf. Any resistance was considered proof positive of their allegiance to the elven terrorist known as Solas.
Rajmael quickly stepped in on behalf of his people, and admonished the humans unjust treatment and accusations against the elves. The humans saw the Inquisitor as biased on behalf of his own race, while many of his fellow elves blamed him for allowing this to happen when he chose to stand with the Chantry rather than his own people. Rajmael quickly realized that this is what Solas wanted. Division that would drive more and more elves into joining his cause.
The Language Codex Rajmael entrusted Eva with was quickly put to good use. Copies of it were printed by Varric himself, and distributed amongst not only the Dalish Clans, but granted to all the elders and hahren's of the Alienages in human cities. It would take years, possibly generations to be translated completely, and even longer before the elves would speak it firsthand, but at the very least, Rajmael had recovered an integral and irreplaceable piece of his people's culture that many once thought was lost. With this discovery, the elves could take the first step towards becoming a unified people once again.
On several separate occasions, Rajmael's agents came across pockets of what they believed was the remnants of the Vir Banal'ras, and their leader Velara, Nethras' disciple now an agent of the Dread Wolf. Velara always escaped capture, and the purpose behind her missions was never determined. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, when Rajmael believed he was alone, he thought he could hear Velara's laughter mocking him in the darkness.
Often Rajmael would find himself questioning whether or not he was doing the right side of all this. Was he truly doing the right thing, or was he simply hiding behind his own sense of honor as an excuse to bear a grudge? Was Solas' plan truly so terrible, and would it be worth it to see their people finally regain all that they had lost?
Whenever these thoughts crossed his mind, Rajmael would look at the stump where his arm once dwelled, and remembered the agony the Anchor once caused him there. He would look to the people around him, and remember the goodness they also had in themselves. If they had to snuff out an entire world, and all the potential, the dreams and innocents that came with it, then his people didn't deserve to be rebuilt. And Rajmael would never allow that shame to come to pass. The elves deserved better than that. It was this sense of duty and honor that would keep Rajmael's purpose renewed. His hunt for the Dread Wolf would continue.
The Inquisitor made it his mission in life to hunt down the Dread Wolf. He sent out his scouts and scholars to seek out the lost secrets and scattered ruins of his ancestors. Night after night, Rajmael poured over every ancient tome and secret discovered, searching for anything that might give him answers on how to find and defeat Fen'heral. His agents and specialists did everything they could to track their former comrade down, but the Dread Wolf was far too cunning.
With the eluvians at his command, Solas was always five steps ahead of Rajmael. Every plan failed, and every lead turned into a dead end. Solas knew everything about the Inquisitor and the people he worked with. How they thought, their strengths, weaknesses and how to exploit them. It was then that Rajmael realized that he was no longer the savior Thedas needed.
The Inquisition needed gather new allies, find new heroes who would answer the call. Some believed this was impossible, given the chaos in the world right now. But Rajmael knew better than most that it was during times of chaos and upheaval is when true heroes rose to meet the challenge. And if the Dragon Age was to survive, they would need to discover those heroes.
It would start where the world of humans began. The oldest elf alive would start his campaign against the oldest nation. That is where they would find their next hero to shield the world from this crisis, and save it from complete genocide. It would all start, as it did in the beginning of this world as they know it, in the Tevinter Imperium.
~The End For Now~
Go mairie sibh bhur saol nua: Alamarii blessing. Translates as "May you enjoy your new lives".
Ebasit kata. Itwa ost: Qunlat. Translates as "It is ended. You have fallen".
Maraas kata: Qunlat. Translates as "Nothing is ended".
Salasari: Qunlat title. The name of the three leaders of the Qunari people.
Hahren: Elven term of respect. Translates as "Elder".
Harrellan: Elven insult, slur, or condemnation. Tranlates as "Trickster", and used by the Dalish to mean "Traitor to One's Kin".
Evanuris: Elven title. Translates as "Leader".
Vallaslin: Elven term for the distinctive tattoos they wear. Translates as "Blood Writing".
Vir Dirthara: Elven. Translates as "Path of Learning".
Vir Banal'ras: Elven. Translates as "Way of Shadows".
Enasalin: Elven. Translates as "Victory".
Dirth'en Enasalin: Elven. Translates "Knowledge That Leads To Victory".
Mala lath vir suledin: Elven blessing. Translates as "May your love endure".
Ma vhen enaste var aravel. Mir sulevin na las mir lath. Bellanaris, ma vhenan: Elven wedding vow. Closest translated as "My people's blessing on our home. From now on, my purpose is to love you. For eternity, my heart".
And here it is, at long last. The end of the journey.
It's been a long and fun path, but alas, all good thing must come to an end.
I brought a character to life, and wrote down his story for others to see and enjoy.
All of his pain, sorrow, joy, triumph and flaws are what made Rajmael's story so much fun to write.
I want you all to know, that while Rajmael's official and canon story may be over, I still intend to add more chapters to this story.
Think of them as specials. Kind of like what DC and Marvel comics will sometimes do with their characters.
I would to thank all my readers, fellow writers, and reviewers for the enjoyment you took in my writing.
The reviews you all left me really inspired me to keep going and to continue to do better in my writing.
You have all even given me the confidence to try and pursue my dreams of writing stories of my own.
Just like the developers with the actual Dragon Age: Inquisition game, this for me was a labor of love.
In case it needs to be said, I DO NOT own anything.
Everything within the Dragon Age Universe is the trademarked property of the BioWare gaming company.
And so, to all my loyal followers, readers, friends and fellow writers and Dragon Age enthusiasts, I bid you all a fond farewell.
Enasalin, Amgarrak, Ataash, and Victory unto you all.
Good night and joy be with you all.