Walk Softly and Carry a Big Axe

Epilogue

Merrill picked her way over the rubble, cautious of weak places that might give way under her slight weight. There had been enough dwarves, Grey Wardens, and Imperium soldiers working in the remains of the Great Hall that everything should've been stable, but she was cautious. Dangerous and demonic magics had been wrought there and powerful runes broken. Nothing could be trusted.

The noon sun bore down on her and her scarf was damp with sweat, but she would not seek shelter. So rarely did the others leave the site of the Great Hall unoccupied that Merrill had to take advantage of the sweltering summer heat if she wanted to find what she was looking for.

Only that morning, a team of oily, blindfolded bronto had dragged the last broken beam away, revealing the site of the Viscount's final battle. No one knew what had happened, only that the Viscount's army had suddenly lost cohesion and dispersed, much of it hunted down by the Tevinter, Fereldan, and Freemarch forces. The Viscount had been defeated, but they did not know how.

They'd found Hawke's body, so badly decayed that only the armour could be recognized, but Anders and Fenris were gone. There was nothing else but broken glass and the crushed golden frame of an Eluvian. Speculation abounded.

Merrill wondered about her two companions as she climbed down an uneven slope of loose rocks, but didn't linger on it for long. Fenris and Anders could take care of each other. She had another interest.

She finally alighted on an area of flat, cracked flagstones glittering with shards of glass. With great care she stepped amongst it on her bare feet. She found what she sought stuck in the tar-like remains of a pride demon: a shard big enough for scrying.

She pried it out with a thin knife and then cleaned it with the end of her scarf. It reflected one large green eye, perfect despite its diminished size. Merrill carried it to a chunk of the fallen ceiling and sat.

"Show me," she whispered, running her fingertips over its smooth surface. Despite the heat, it felt cold. Like ice. "Show me the other world." Without flinching, she pressed her palm to the mirror's edge and jerked her hand. Blood welled into the cut and she smeared it over the glass.

The blood glowed and sank in. The entire surface lit up. Merrill shielded her eyes from the sun and gazed intently into the Eluvian.

She peered into an enormous throne room. Pillars stood in long rows disappearing into the misty, golden distance, interspersed with statues of wildly exotic courtiers from a forgotten past. In the centre, a dais held two thrones. The largest was unoccupied. In the seat next to it sat a blonde human woman in white, holding a sword and crowned with light. To either side stood two guardian figures. One was a blue glowing warrior in plate mail, the other was Hawke as Merrill remembered him: a Champion.

Merrill smiled and leaned back from the shard. All was as it should be.

She blew across the glass, dispersing her spell, and threw it down with the rest of the broken Eluvian. Then she raised her arms and, with the power trickling from her bleeding palm, she woke the earth and bid it to shake, crack, and swallow whatever shards remained. Even broken as it was, the Eluvian was still extremely dangerous.

When she'd finished, Merrill wrapped her hand and made her way back across the rubble to where Varric, Zevran, and Isabela waited.

Final Author's Note:

So this has been more than just a massive fanfic for me, it's been an era of my life. In the four years of writing it, I:

- moved 3 times, one of which was to a different city,

- got married,

- held 4 different jobs,

- went through 3 different computers,

- wrote 3 novels, 2 novellas, and a plethora of short stories, and

- had a child.

It's little wonder that it took so long to finish!

Thank you to everyone who read this work of love. Not only was it a crazy adventure for me, but it also introduced me to several people who I now call friend. I am so grateful to live in a world with inspiring stories like Dragon Age and fanfic communities where I can share my excitement.