That was what made her companions' blood run cold. Hawke never screamed, not even when the Arishok had run her through and she had dangled there like a speared fish. Not even when the High Dragon had captured her in its mouth and bit down right through the plate armor, breaking her ribs. Not even when they had found her mother's... remains.
That was how they knew something unimaginably awful had happened.
They were in the Bone Pit, looking for any miners who might have survived the High Dragon's attack. It seemed unlikely, given the charred remains outside, but Hawke had insisted on it; they were her employees, in a way. She felt responsible for them.
She would have dug her way into the caverns with her own bare hands had they not come to help her. So they came, Varric and Anders and Merrill and Fenris. Each one of them would bear that guilt, for helping her go back into the Bone Pit.
Inside, the Bone Pit was changed. Many of the chambers had collapsed, and there were no miners to be found. What wereinside those chambers were dragonlings, dozens and dozens of them, newly hatched and waiting for a meal. They swarmed upon the party at the first intrusion of light and there seemed to be no end to them.
Anders recommended a hasty retreat, and Hawke refused him with an affectionate, brief kiss stolen in the middle of the struggle. She was a warrior, and she never retreated.
"Stay just here, cutie," she told him, pushing him to the back. "We'll take care of this in a jiffy."
With her signature grin she leapt ahead of the group and directly into a pile of writhing lizard flesh and fire, hacking and slashing away with her axe. Fenris with his greatsword followed close behind, Merrill and Varric at their heels.
Everything seemed to be going well, until the lights went out.
It was only a moment, when the torches on the walls had been overrun with a swarm of dragonlings, before Anders lifted his arms and lit the caverns with his signature electric glow.
When they could see again Hawke was being pulled away from the group, and moving fast.
These were drakes, perhaps four of them, slender and viscious, who had caught her with their teeth and were dragging her away to be devoured. They wouldn't have gotten far - surely Hawke would have freed herself even if her companions could not - if not for a sudden change in terrain.
A chasm had opened there, where no such thing had existed before, created by the tremendous force of the High Dragon's attack and the sudden collapse of a huge portion of the Bone Pit into a wide open abyss.
The drakes retreated back from Hawke's companions, and particularly from Fenris racing to Hawke's side, and fell directly into the chasm.
Hawke, with several of them still clinging to her, scrambled for a few desperate seconds at the cliff's edge, trying to hold on, before she too disappeared over the edge.
A long scream followed, as Hawke fell into the abyss.
Fenris dropped to his knees at the cliff's edge, reaching down frantically for her hand and finding nothing. There was no sign of her. She was gone.
An anguished cry rose above the melee, when Anders realized what had happened. In the next moment Justice surged into control, raising his arms and obliterating everything in his path. Merrill and Varric very narrowly escaped the destructive blast, jumping out of sight to let Justice have its way.
A wave of dragonlings passed Fenris at the cliff's edge, running out into nothing to escape the wrath of Justice. They plunged into the abyss and were quickly swallowed by the dark. He barely noticed them, as he stared unseeing and numb into the depths of the chasm where Hawke had vanished.
Emptied, Anders dropped limply to the ground, with Varric and Merrill rushing to his side.
"Elf!" Varric shouted wildly from the fallen mage's side. "Can you see her? Is she there?"
"No," Fenris managed to say back, hoarsely. "Hawke is gone."