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Disclaimer: TDS does not own Dragon Age 2.
Marian Hawke leaned against the crimson wall next to the window, staring blankly at the ground at her bare feet. The day outside that window, beyond her closed curtains, was a crisp chilly, but bright and overall ideal morning with perfect petite cotton puffs in the clear blue sky. Children snickered. Upper-class lords strolled through the courtyards, vaingloriously bolstering their latest conquests -whether that be about their fellow peers, trade agreements, their purse, women, or the prostitutes of the Blooming Rose. Elitist ladies hunted in packs, hiding behind their silky and painted facades, tracking the latest wounded prey that they could viciously devour with their lashing words of velvet. No doubt they were searching for her, the great, wonderful, and glorious Champion of Kirkwall. Beautiful as well as intelligent, she was the defender of justice, and the killer of the terrifying Arishok. She could do no wrong in the eyes of the simpleton as she assisted the weak, poor, and helpless with every step she took.
She helped all but those who truly mattered most, instead failing them time and time again.
Feeling the pre-warning sting of tears, she closed her eyes briefly, willing herself to just... be. With a shake of her head, she let it all go and opened her blue eyes once more. Unfolding one of her crossed arms, she went to pull the curtain back a little only to grasp the rich, red russet and gold-weaved material in her trembling hand. Why should she bother looking when she already knew what she would find? A world so noxious and ferocious even the slightest of nicks would have men falling to their knees, skin melting, giving way to rotten worm ridden muscle, and blackened veins.
No, this fragile life was far safer in the shadows.
Marian released her knuckle-white grip, jerking her hand away from the curtain. Her eyes lingered there, staring at the only remaining barrier between her and that lethal world that took all and left no quarter. She endured in the dark shadows of her room and while most feared the dark, she, however, found the darkness comforting. It was a warm blanket that wrapped around and embraced her, keeping her safe from this harsh cold world outside her windows. The darkness never fooled the living into thinking they were safe. It had dangers just like everything else, but she could face those dangers head on. Yet the light, the sinister light lied. Just like those Elitist ladies and their facades. Lulling the living into a false sense of security, made them believe that since light was out no harm could befall them.
At first, like everyone else, she had bought into these lies. Had denied the danger of the light. She had denied the truth even when this danger had been standing there before her, staring right back with her own blue eyes. How? How could it be true?
But then denial swiftly fell away to anger. She was tired of this lie. Tired of pretending she couldn't see this grim secret. Slowly she turned her head away, wanting to ignore the light and the ruthless world that lay beyond. Her gaze took in her room with numb indifference. There was the fireplace on the other side of the window she rested against, a tall dark mahogany armoire standing upright in the corner, satin canopy four-post bed making the main focus of the room, and finally passing another window on the opposite side of hers was a dark mahogany desk completed with crumpled papers littered along its glossy surface and raven-feathered ink quill.
These objects -her objects- were normal and comforting like the darkness. It distracted her and kept her from seeing what shouldn't be there. But no matter how long she fought the pull, she couldn't keep her blue eyes from falling on what didn't belong forever, and when her will power left her she finally looked at it. There, in the center of her room were scattered lilies on the bright red carpet with etched golden designs. The simple glass vase that had once harbored them shattered into razor sharp pieces. It was the only sign of her angry outburst a few days ago, the night following the day of that simple truth about the light being revealed to her.
Her mother's favorite color was amethyst, not white. And her favorite flowers were amethyst lilies with golden streaked hearts. Not white. Her breath shook as she took a deep breath, the stinging returning to her eyes, but she ignored it as she slid down the wall, pulling her knees to her chest and started to rock back and forth. Back and forth. Holding tightly to herself, wishing for something that could never happen. These were white blighted lilies. That was not going to change any more than the sun rising and falling over the horizon each day. It was no use wishing or dreaming otherwise, and yet, she couldn't help closing her eyes and doing just that.
At least until a knock on her door broke her from these thoughts and she opened her eyes, glancing expressionlessly at the sound. She looked away uncaring of the muffled voices she heard and the jiggling of the door handle. Her eyes went back to the white lilies, their wilting and shriveled petals already decaying on her floor. Before the bleak thoughts could take hold, however, Fenris' low baritone voice reached her ears and she shivered. This was the first time he had tried to visit her. The others, Isabela, Varric, Aveline, Sebastian, and even the air-headed Merrill had come to try and talk her out of her cocoon of darkness. The only place that was safe. None of them had succeeded. She had wondered when he would try his hand...
No, she really hadn't.
That was probably something she should have thought, but Marian didn't care. She didn't care about anything at all, to be honest. Oh sure, she had cared at first. Cared when she denied it all. Cared obviously when she threw that vase to the floor in rage, cursing it to the Void and back. Cared when she bargained with the Maker. She would have done anything. ANYTHING. Even give up her connection to the Fade. Become one of the Tranquil. Some mindless, emotionless shell all to change what couldn't be changed. What couldn't be taken back.
Now she felt this numb nothingness. It was like the Maker had heard her - had taken her emotions, her feelings, and even her very soul - but never fulfilled the bargain. He had her all, and yet, she was still found in wanting. Her all not enough to complete the transaction. Maybe it was because she was, in truth, still connected to the Fade? That she hadn't really severed the connection - no matter how much it Maker damned felt like it. But she knew, just knew, that it was too late. Even if she did go to the Knight Commander and make her wildest dreams come true; give herself over and allow the Commander to make the Champion of Kirkwall, the only mage in the city that had so far been out of her reach, Tranquil, it was far too late. Far, far too late. Nothing was ever going to fix this. There was never going to be a happy ending. There was no hope...
The tears freely filled her eyes, blurring her vision of the decaying white lilies on the floor. She hung her head. She knew there was no more "If only this..." or "If only that...". There was just the empty state of being. She smelled the warm salty tears trickle down her face, at first ignoring them. But as they dripped from her chin into the cloth of her robe, she reached her hand up and touched her face, almost surprised that she still had tears left to cry, only that what she felt was a vast duller surprise than the true emotion. It was so mute. A whisper even as was the ache in her heart.
Even the memory of Fenris leaving her after that night the tension finally snapped between them only for him to leave, felt so distant and... not real. The world. These tears. None of it mattered in the end. All of it was some twisted sick game to the Maker, if there was one, and she was simply tired of everything and anything to do with his game. Life? What was life? What did any of it mean?
Nothing at all.
Marian didn't know how long she sat there, tears clouding the sight of her bare knees -or with the warmth of darkness surrounding her, yanking her closer into its loving embrace. There was no such thing as time to her. It could have trickled by or passed in a flash and she would still feel the same bleak void, the vacant abyss of what remained of her soul. So when the sound of the window opening reached her, she had no recollection of how much time had passed from the jingling door handle and Fenris' voice to that very moment. But it didn't matter, because as he pushed the curtain away and stepped in the room, the silence of her mind rang in her ears as she tilted her head and looked up at him. No thoughts came to her as she looked into those forest green eyes and he frowned down at her, standing in the dimming sunlight of the now open window. His tan skin and white lyrium markings that snaked along his body made quite the contrast to her dark room. Her safe haven was now breached by the menacing cold light that lied.
She slowly pulled her gaze away, going back to the white rotten lilies on the floor. It wasn't that she was ignoring him so much as that she couldn't perceive that he was there. Even as he walked in front of her, blocking her vision of the shriveled petals momentarily as he went for the door to unlock it, her mind was simply rotted. Rotted just like the flowers before her. As were her memories. Memories of her father, sister, brother, and mother at the farmstead back in Ferelden. Once happy, cherished memories that had been twisted by the dangers that lurked in the light of day until they too became cold sinister and dangerous themselves, adding to the rot of her mind.
The front porch where her father taught her how to wield her magick... All she saw was his charred oak staff lying on the worn and scorched wooden planks. Those back roads that lead to the wilds that Bethany and her used to enjoy picking flowers on and making colorful crowns... All she saw was that rank-smelling Ogre. The Deeproads where her and Caver finally let go of their rivalry... All she saw was her dagger, with crimson dripping to the dwarven crafted roads at her feet. And finally Kirkwall, and the places her mother loved to shop or chatter with friends... All she saw were white blighted lilies.
Hands gently grasped her arms and she suddenly found herself standing. Blinking she looked to the one that held her, keeping her feet planted firm beneath her. Fenris... was her only thought as she remembered she wasn't alone in her room any more. She was so used to being alone... He lead her to her bed, sat her down, before turning away to start a fire in her fireplace. Perhaps to give them light? Or perhaps to bring warmth? She cared not for the first, and the second had little effect when she already felt the dark's warm hold on her. Staring at the floor, her thoughts dulled once more even as the fire kindled to life, snapping and crackling as it greedily consumed the wood.
Only faintly was she aware of him standing after that and carefully picked up the shattered vase and decaying lilies. He went for the door, juggling what he carried as he made sure to grab the key so that she couldn't lock the world out again before walking from the room. The door stood ajar with light pouring in through it, accompanying the small essence of the fire. She continued to stare at the floor, leaning forward, elbows resting on her knees. That's what he found when he came back in, standing in the center of her room and simply watching her for a few minutes.
He sighed, taking a step forward. "I don't know what to say, but I am here."
His voice. His rough baritone voice had been the first thing that had attracted her. Hearing the undertone of his own turbulent emotions -probably remembering the last time they had been alone together in her room and him then walking out on her- drew her attention. It called out to something within her and she turned her head slightly, glancing at him briefly before her gaze went back to the floor.
"Just say something..." she said softly, voice catching. "Anything."
Nodding, his white hair swaying from the motion, he came to stand two feet from her as he replied "They say death is only a journey. Does that help?"
She shook her head. "It just raises more questions... Journey to where?"
"I don't know." He shrugged before sitting down next to her. "It's just something people say."
Marian closed her eyes. Death was only a journey? It was only a...
She remembered her mother's smiling face. Remembered how happy she had been when telling Hawke about this new possible romance, a new path... a new journey to not feeling alone. Where had that gotten her? Dead. Head severed and attached to the other pieces that thatsupposed lover of hers had gathered from other poor miserable women looking for something more to their dull lives. He had raised an abomination from the grave and her mother had lost her life to make it, just so he could have somethingthat looked like his dead wife. Nothing she could do would change what happened. Her mother was gone. Dead just like her father and siblings.
Everyone she loved was gone.
Fenris didn't say anything as he took off his claw gauntlets and set them down on the bed next to him before reaching out, his fingers picking up a strand and letting her silky hair slip through them. No, not all she loved was gone. There was him still. And her friends, those same friends that had come to see her, and she had shut them out. Turned them away.
Tears filled her eyes and she took a slow, unsteady breath in-and-out. "I... I'm sorry."
His brow creased, frowning and at first not saying anything before he grabbed her arm and pulled her to him, one arm wrapping around her slim waist as the other found the side of her face. Forcing her to look at him as he whispered "You need not apologize to me, Hawke. You haven't done anything to me. But I know you seek forgiveness for what... happened. I'm not the one who can give you that."
No, he wasn't. But just as she was there for her friends and the simpleton of this city -all of Kirkwall really - helping them, seeing them through their struggles... this endless journey of life. It was time she allowed her friends to help her. Releasing a choked sob, she hugged him, burying her he face into his neck and chest armor, his hold tightened. It was their turn to help and guide her on this new path without her family. Help her on her journey to acceptance. Because while she would never forget, and the pain would never truly go away. She could perhaps learn to accept this new path her life had taken and carry on.
Carry on until one day she made the same journey they had made and hope that on that day she would see them again.
Hope you enjoyed it.