The EPILOGUE is here. And a very neon, flashing 'read another one of my fics!' sign pointing toward 'Burning Horizon.' Yes, that Hawke (and her Fenris) are from Viciousness, though for the purposes of predicting DA3 possibilities, Bethany is a Warden in that. Just to forewarn any who go to check it out of that discontinuity.
Thank you all, my readers and reviewers and fans and all the crazy people who read this. I love you all in a very genuine way (lord, I'm getting weepy).
Basically, an double-epilogue. One leads toward the next step in Hawke's adventures (and introduces you to her new companions) while the very end shows us the simplicity that awaits after all of these adventures have been survived.
One month later:
Brogan sits in a Denerim bar with a large dwarven ale in his hands when he hears that whispered word. "Champion." He has to turn around, to take in the sight of the tall brunette woman with her piercing aqua eyes and the lanky dark-clad elf man at her side. Both look vicious and dangerous, their necks and ears mottled with bruises and red teeth marks and their fingers flexing ready for their weapons. What he notices most is how they stick to shadows, how she raises her hood and the elf's green eyes glitter from the dark corner of their table. He does not approach them, aware that it would mean a hasty demise.
Instead the dwarf rogue finishes his ale, straightens his duster, and leaves the tavern. He has business with the Templars, and though it would mean extra coin for him in the short run, he decides not to mention seeing Hawke. Brogan is no fool, and he knows that if the Templars find her and that elf, he'll be out quite a few clients.
Three months later:
Aiden sits in his cell in the Ostwick Tower of Magi poring over an arcane volume about the practical uses of blood magic when the door bangs open. He snatches the book behind his back at the sight of one of the Enchanters, wild-eyed with glee and breathing heavily in a rare show of excitement.
"She's here," the Enchanter gasps, sounding like a young noble swooning over a prince. At Aiden's blank look she clarifies, with laugh lines standing out around her eyes, "The Champion. She's in Ostwick."
He hears the din of hundreds of voices, the shout and clash of steel and feels the heavy pulse of magic in the air. As he steps into the hallway, he realizes that he's entered a revolution, that the mages of Ostwick are overthrowing the Templars. Overcoming his initial confusion and consternation, Aiden shoves his way through the halls, slamming his staff into bodies when necessary, until he reaches the lowest level.
When he gets there, Aiden stares in shock, too amazed to even summon his magic, not that they need his help. The white-haired man is no grandfatherly figure, his pointed ears laid flat against his head like a wolf as a snarl shapes his lips and the pale tattoos running over his arms ignite to a fierce blue glow. His greatsword shears Templar armor like it is paper, but it is no match for the swift blur of the woman, only fully visible for that moment when her knives land in a man's throat or heart. A series of kicks and flips and rapid movements and she's managed to kill half the men there. His heart thuds for a long moment and then, with a grin, Aiden starts flinging bolts of spirit energy into his oppressors.
Six months later:
Dualla hears the story of the Champion late one night while hunched around a bonfire made of burning garbage. For all her skill with a bow, the preferred weapon of her race, she cannot find enough work to live in even one of the horrific, decaying apartments of the Val Royeaux Alienage. So she hunkers on the streets, in the alleys with her motley group of fellow thieves.
"Bullshit," one of the elves rasps. "Why would a human noblewoman run around with an elven slave?"
She narrows her eyes at him and hugs her ragged cloak a bit tighter around her shoulders. "Why would a proud elf run around with a human?" she retorts, and the others start laughing. But Dualla feels a tug in her heart, a feeling she's never known before: hope. After a few minutes, she leaves the trash-fire. That same night, she pulls off the first in a string of increasingly daring robberies to noble estates in the city.
One year later:
Gayle leans her cheek against the secret panel in the Archon's office, listening through the thinned wall to the words he exchanges with a pair of his favored Magisters. She holds her breath so as not to make a sound, knowing it will make no difference to her father that she alone among his children has magic powerful enough to earn her a place among the Magisters if he hears her there.
"The very same one who killed Denarius-" one of the Magisters says. Gayle smirks; until the extent of her power was discovered she was intended as a gift to that old goat and she's never felt any hint of remorse for his death.
"-now she runs about with his slave. As her lover," sneers the other Magister. Now Gayle holds in a disbelieving snort. Why would such a powerful woman stoop to bedding an elf, much less a slave? A powerful woman in her own right, the young mage cannot fathom how the Champion would ever give up her title and wealth and run into the wilderness with a slave.
The Archon pauses and she can envision her father making a steeple of his fingers, hard gray eyes darting to each man in turn. "I shall send Gyldenmae to investigate these claims. If she dies..." he makes a dismissive noise, "... it cannot be helped." Gayle almost chokes to hear the name her father gave her when he simultaneously elevated her to the ranks of Magister and acknowledged her as his child. She does not hear his next words as she hurries off down the passage. It will take weeks to leave Tevinter, months if she goes directly south.
She's going to kill this Champion before her father can sacrifice her to the madwoman.
Eighteen months later:
Maraas walks through the woods when he catches a familiar scent, one he has not smelled since Kirkwall. He has work that he must honor, but he cannot resist veering a few paces off his route to see the path behind the trees. Two sets of tracks, one of a rogue woman's boots and the other of an elf man's feet, wind into the forest.
"We shall meet again, basra," he says, staring after the Champion's footprints a moment longer before he returns to his task.
Two years later:
Cassandra Pentaghast scowls at the landscape portrait of Kirkwall hanging above the fireplace in the now-vacant Amell Estate. Already she has scoured Rivain, Antiva, Ferelden and the rest of the Free Marches. It is her third trip to Kirkwall in the past two years, since the Chantry burned at the hands of the Champion's apostate friend. But for all of her resources, for all of her searching, she hasn't been able to so much as lay her hands on one of that blighted Champion's companions.
Now she has a lead. Now she has something to go on. She turns around with a serious expression as her men drag the dwarf, Varric Tethras, into the darkened room with her.
"Mama! Beth hit me!" shouts a little boy with vivid green eyes, running to tug on Hawke's tunic. She musses his hair with one hand and then gives him a little shove back toward his sister.
"Beth!" she calls, "The next time you hit Leto, he has my permission to shoot fireballs at you."
Fenris looks up from the book he's been reading with a raised brow. "Is that really the best way to solve things?" he asks her as the little boy sprints out to chase his twin around the yard. "Telling him to carelessly shoot at his own sister with magic?"
Hawke smirks at him. "Beth's been learning to dodge from the best," she replies, pulling dough from a corner of the kitchen and slamming her fist into it to settle the bubbles. "But if you want to fight about it, you know I'm happy to oblige you." She chuckles when he darts around the counter to nip her ear, arms winding around her waist as she kneads the dough. His chin rests on her shoulder. It is the closest they have come to a fistfight in many years.
"After Kirkwall and then Val Royeaux," he says, and she can hear the faint smile in his voice. "I am happy for the peace we've found."