She drives the sword home, just as he reaches the rooftop. She is smeared in blood and her lank hair hangs over her eyes, but he has never seen such a vision of beauty. He starts running again. The sword pierces the skull of the dragon and there is a sound that envelopes the whole city – he fancies that it stretches to cover the land of Ferelden – and he is stopped in his tracks. Wynne's face is agonising to watch as she pulls herself up by her staff, and they share a horrified glance as their fearless hero doubts for just a second that her actions have really worked.

Bann Teagan looks up sharply. The shaft of light that shoots up from the top of the fort has everyone enthralled, but all he can think of is the sound that now resonates in their heads. He has heard that sound just once before, when the battle of Redcliffe was won.

She had burst open the doors of the Chantry, face grim, contrary to the cheers that were coming from the soldiers behind her. She had wiped off the majority of blood from her face and armour, badly, and had sought him out immediately. Without saying a word, she had pulled him into a tight embrace, whispering "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I tried to save them all" and he had been struck by the sound of her heavy heart thumping against the chainmail that was still slightly sticky..

Now, he falls to his knees, the sound of her heartbeat almost thundering around him. That woman, that beautiful insane woman, was at the top of the tower fighting for all of them and he felt helpless.

Alistair wept. That sound, so often a comfort in stolen moments of solitude between them, now hung in the air like a death knell. Not for the first time, he bitterly cursed the fact that he had ever met her, that she had ever been found by Duncan and brought to Ostagar and survived the Joining – because nothing would ever hurt like right now, having to watch her be ripped from the world without him, and having to live on. Oh, it was selfish, and she would have smacked him around the head for even suggesting it, but with her heartbeat echoing in his ear and his arms bereft of the woman that he loved, he would never feel happiness again.

The sound is sucked into the explosion that knocks the world off its feet. The archdemon is gone, and the silence that follows is not broken by cheers, but by the gut-wrenching screams of a man who has lost everything.

Alistair clutches her desperately to him, fat tears rolling down his cheeks as he tries to find that sound that so recently was drummed into his soul. But it is no more – never again will he hear the one thing he craves in the world, that sound that could make everything right again - that heartbeat.