I don't want to remember anymore. The faded images are simply too much. A sigh slips past my lips as I stand. The sound of children playing weighs heavily on my heart. I would have thought over the years they would dim into naught by a nightmare, but no, I'm not that lucky. Each night I am plagued by those scenes I struggle now to forget. The sight of Emma racing towards me is something I will never forget. The fear squeezing my heart is a feeling I hope never to feel again, but do every day of my pained existence.
People walk by me, their eyes cast to the ground, too afraid to speak with me. They are unable to relate to me. I am what they seek to destroy. I am soulless, I am dead. There is no arguing it. They say I will survive, life will return to me. I'm still waiting for that day to come. The country might have survived the Blight but I did not. I died the day I buried my beloved's body. It was supposed to be I who died. I had walked up to archdemon, knowing I would fall to protect her. So much had gone wrong, Riordan's body spiraling to the ground, Eamon's crushed beneath the weight of the archdemon, and Wynne, swarmed by a horde of shrieks. And yet, I walked up to the archdemon with a smile on my face because I knew she was safe. She was returning to Highever with her brother. I would rid the world of this beast for her. She would live.
In the distance, I saw Gilmore stagger to his feet. As I clutched my sword, we had shared a nod. This was the end. One would fall for many to live.
It was the archdemon who thought otherwise. I hadn't seen it move, distracted by a sudden shifting of shadows. And then I heard her voice, crying my name, my world crumbling down around my feet. No, not my world, the archdemon. Everything shifted as the beast suddenly rose for a last attempt, its teeth narrowly missing me by a fraction of an inch. Something had jarred me, knocked me to the side.
A bellow of pain, a cry that pierced my soul, and the horrifying site of my beloved thrashing in the air, caught in the jaws of the beast. I think I screamed her name. I watched in horror as her mangled body was thrown clear across the rooftop. I was moving, faster than ever before.
She lay so still, her eyes wide and staring at the heavens above. The final roar of the beast and the death of my fellow Warden fell on deaf ears. She was all I could see. She is all I ever see.
I close my eyes once again to the memory. My lip trembles. So many years have passed and still the image of her in death is too much to bear.
The deep roads, a place I swore never to return to now stands before me, its darkness promising a reprieve only it can grant. Freedom, I had spoken with my dearest of that once. In her arms, I knew but a flicker of it.
Straight shouldered, I step towards the darkness. A sob escapes me the moment I see a shimmer in the shadows moving towards me.
Emma, I think, as I cross into the Darkspawn infested roads. Soon, my love, we will be reunited.
In peace, vigilance. In war, victory. In death, sacrifice.