What We Used To Be

You used to be scared easily.

When the children in the village told you about monsters lurking under your bed, you slept in the stables for weeks. No one knew, no one bothered with showing you that there's no danger, no one cared. With the horses and dogs you felt safe. They didn't watch you with critical eyes, they didn't judge you. They took your childish love and shared their warmth and calm with you in return. They were good company but you felt often so alone.

You didn't go to Eamon with your fears, afraid he would send you away. And when he did, you weren't angry with him, but yourself. Because you weren't strong enough, not good enough, not brave enough for a king's son. You disappointed him and so he got rid of you.

Somehow you stopped being afraid of every shadow after that. And why shouldn't you? Your life was as good as over. You wouldn't leave the Chantry ever again. No matter if you disappointed anyone.

In the end it was you who stood proud in the darkness of our time, ready to fight everything and everyone standing in our way, never backing off, never hesitating.

I was always the reckless one, oblivious to every danger, never scared. But in the end it was only you who kept me going. Without you I wouldn't have been able to fight the deep fear haunting me night and day. You knew these abysses and together we managed to escape them. Some day you were even able to laugh about that boy who was afraid of monsters under his bed while the real dangers walked under the shining sun.

You used to be shy.

Whenever someone spoke to you, you wouldn't meet their eyes, always watching the ground, trying not to blush. You knew what to find in their glares: disapproval, disappointment. You looked like your father, but where he was all glory and recklessness you were studious and calm. You didn't speak much and tried to become invisible, knowing they all compared you to someone you couldn't be.

In the Chantry it was somehow worse. The nobles never dared to speak openly ill of you, because you were the king's son after all. But the other children didn't care about politics, they didn't care for the fact that you didn't know your father or that your blood didn't change your position among them. They taunted you mercilessly but the templar training taught you patience. You kept back the heated answers forming in your head and beat them during your fighting lessons instead. Silence became your weapon against their insults. It cut through their aggressiveness like your sword through the training dummies in the yard. And when you spoke these days, your words were as sharp as knives, leaving them without their defenses, turning their own weapons against them. It took them a lot of time but somehow you earned their respect.

You didn't know it then, but this time taught you more about diplomacy then anyone thought possible. I was good with irony and sarcasm, with taking what I wanted – at home, where everybody respected me as the Teyrn's daughter. Without you we couldn't have gathered the army we needed. When all those people, normal villagers and generals and kings, refused to help us and I was ready to leave, accepting the defeat, you were there with your shining armor and that fire in your eyes. You spoke as if you've never done anything else. You lured and tricked them into supporting our case, making them believe that's what they wanted all along.

I remember the first time you told me about your childhood, blushing violently, shame in your voice. I remember that you asked me why I don't pity you or laugh about your foolishness like everyone else.

How could I? I didn't saw the boy who cried at night, but the one who learned to stand against the whole world that looked down on him. You were stronger than I could have ever been. You took every defeat and turned it in bricks of stone and layers of steel to build a wall that could keep you from any harm. You didn't break when everyone expected it, so how could I pity you?

You used to be so full of life.

Along with your stubbornness and your ability to never give up that's the only thing you kept during everything that happened. Your natural happiness gave you the strength to survive every possible and impossible thing thrown at you. You laughed to keep yourself from crying, you threw yourself in your tasks to not break down, you never stopped walking, even though darkness swallowed the path you had to go.

In Redcliff they told you, you would never become a knight, would never stand beside the king to defend your country. In your games you fought these battles nevertheless. You killed Ferelden's enemies with your wooden sword, wearing your over-sized shirt like an armor, the king's emblem painted in mud on your back. You listened to Eamon's speeches about 'stopping that childish nonsense' and returned to your imagined fights the moment he lost interest in you again. Life was a game you could win if you only believed in yourself.

In the Chantry they didn't allow such things anymore. Before you could get a sword in your hands you had to learn discipline, you had to be able to recite every single verse of the Chant of Light, you had to become a tool they could use whenever they thought it necessary. Your ability to pretend got better every day. So while you were kneeling on the cold stone floor, singing and praying alongside the other recruits, your mind was miles away.

The words of the Reverend Mother became a general's speech before battle, calling the soldiers to fight for their freedom. The wood of a broom when you were cleaning the dorms became the steel of a heavy sword you used to break through the enemies' defenses. The wall bordering the yard became the shield you carried to protect yourself from arrows and axes.

Later, when you had the chance to stand at the side of your king, it was nothing like you imagined it. It wasn't heroic or honourable. It was a nightmare coming true. One night and everything you had was lost in a swirl of blood and death and hopeless regret. You couldn't cry but you didn't stop laughing either. Your humour became darker and you fled more often into sarcasm, but you still felt alive and could go one with that indestructible laugh of you. You were the one to bring me to laugh though you lost as much as I. Only because of you did we come so far. You made me whole again, made me love the life anew.

War made us all grow up.

It took your childhood and your family, your freedom and your hope that everything could be alright again. Still you kept going and made us believe that we could fulfill our task. I owe you everything. Now I'm the one to do what no one ever could. I broke you, I destroyed you, I killed you when everything I wanted was to keep you alive.

For me it was clear that I'll be the one to kill the Arch Demon. You went with me through hell, so it was the least I could do. You should enjoy the freedom we achieved. I also thought that I couldn't survive loosing you, while you were so strong. I believed you could go on and build yourself a new life.

You came to me up there, on the top of the tower, oblivious to the rest of the darkspawn that hadn't stopped fighting then. I heard you calling my name, over and over again, with such a longing in your voice, a desperate plea not to leave you. It hurt, but what really broke me was the look in your eyes. The warm brown was gone, leaving deep black holes of hopelessness.

When I drew my last breath I wondered if it hadn't been better to follow Morrigan's plan. Somewhere in my heart I saw the scowl forming on your face, for no hero should die regretting that he saved the world. I realized too late that I would have traded all of Ferelden to give you the life you deserved. I was the one mortally wounded but you died there in front of me and neither one of us could do something to save the other. I had hoped dying would give you the chance to live. Instead I took it from you.

Instead I killed us both.