This story follows the events of the Dragon Age comic book series "The Silent Grove" so if you haven't read the series yet then WARNING: SPOILERS! You have been warned, enjoy!
The Silent Grove….
Alistair stood over the body of the witch, Yavana. This road had not led him to the end that he had been so desperately hoping for, which was the ending of his quest of finally locating and finding his father, King Maric. No, the path continued onward leading elsewhere to wherever this Aurelian Titus was located. He let out a heavy sigh expelling the overwhelming amount of disappointment that he felt inside him. As he turned to leave to make his way to the staircase that had led him down into the Hall of Sleepers, he heard the High Dragon, the dragon queen, growl at him from the execution he performed on its master.
"Going to eat me?" he asked aloud as the beast stared at him blankly. The dragon queen took a step back its glowing red irises blinking rapidly as it began to shake itself as though there were a pesky bug flying around it. "I didn't think so," turning away Alistair began for the staircase that would lead him to the temple above.
"Hello?" A voice faint and distant echoed though out the large cavern. Startled, Alistair searched his gaze around the room to face whoever it was he heard. He tightened his grip on the sword in his hand but he saw no one. Only he and the dragon were all that existed in the chamber. Perhaps it was his imagination that was getting the best of him. That or the unsettling feeling he felt starting to creep up on him after being down here in this eery place for so long. He started for the staircase again.
"Is someone out there?" This time the voice was stronger. More than just above a whisper.
This time Alistair surveyed the room more carefully, but once more no one was in sight. "Who's there?" he called out.
He heard the voice again. "Hello? If you can hear me, please, don't leave."
This time the voice was loud enough for Alistair to identify it as female. It was a haunting voice that carried an obvious state of weakness and despair, but left just a touch of hope in its wake. The pain that could be heard from it was enough to tug at his heartstrings and to rouse his curiosity. As he listened to it Alistair felt his feet lead him to Yavana's corpse. On the witch's hip he saw a coin purse secured to her belt where a faint purple light pulsed from within.
"Don't go." Once again the voice brought a wave of utter sorrow that washed over him. And against his better judgment Alistair knelt by the corpse, freed the small pouch from its deceased owner and loosened the strings. From the purse tumbled out a strange sort of item onto his waiting hand. It was a dark purple crystal, but the colouring was so dark that without looking at it closely one would have mistaken it as black. It was fashioned into the shape of what appeared to be a shining star detailed with bits of metal. In Alistair's mind it was a pretty and odd design all in one. Though he guessed that the metal had been used to strengthen the star's points to avoid having them accidentally break off. The piece was no bigger than the size of his outstretched hand with the center part of the crystal nearly the size of his palm.
To Alistair's amazement the item began to glow once more as he heard a sigh of relief fill his ears. "So you did hear me."
Now throughout his life Alistair had come across many strange things during his time as a Grey Warden during the Blight. Everything pretty much from ghosts to demons and talking trees animated by souls long since passed. But a talking stone? That was a new one even for him. "Um, hello?" he responded hesitantly, praying to the Maker above that this wasn't some clever trick by a demon that was about to steal his soul or something.
The stone gave a hollow laugh. "Hello, there. Are you the one that killed Yavana?"
The glow seemed to become brighter hearing his response. "You have my thanks, stranger. It was about high time that someone put a sword to that witch. Wish I had the ability to do it myself, really."
Strange that an item that had been in the property of the witch would sound so relieved to hear the death of it's former master. "Ah, what, who are you exactly?"
"Forgive me," the voice spoke softly and slowly in a wispy kind of way, as though the ability of speech was difficult for it. "I was so anxious to see another person's face after all this time I forgot myself. I am a spirit trapped inside this gem."
Well, at least it wasn't a demon. That is, of course, if it was telling the truth. "A spirit?"
"Yes," the gem breathed, "my name is Kiinalyn. The witch, Yavana, has-had been sapping my soul, for gods know how long, like a leech to enhance her own powers for her magic and to use me for gaining control over the dragon."
Hearing mention of the dragon caused Alistair to look over at the beast that sat on the other side of the cavern. It remained still, watching almost as if were simply observing this strange exchange he was having with the spirit in the gem. This spirit had to be extremely powerful to control a beast of that size. "Is that… is that even possible?", he inquired.
"It is if you have the right tools at hand," the spirit, Kiinalyn simply explained. "This is old magic and I am an old old spirit. And somehow Yavana knew what she had when I came into her possession."
"And just how long were you in her care?"
"I… I don't know," she confessed after some hesitation. "But I know that it has been a long long time. In this gem time ceases to exist. It is as if time is frozen and there is no end to it. Because of this I plea with you stranger, please please, break me."
Upon hearing the request Alistair couldn't help the flash back that came to his mind from years ago during the time of the Blight. His trip into the mysterious Brecilian Forest. "Break you?"
"Yes, take your sword, shatter this prison, and let me be free. Let me finally know peace."
For a brief moment Alistair felt himself transported back in time by his memories walking through the Brecilian Forest into the lair of the werewolves. He heard his armored feet echo in the ruins of the long forgotten elvin temple, finding the small vial that contained the spirit of a great elvin warrior that lived long ago but had trapped himself, a sad cruel fate indeed. "Well, before I even agree to such a request how do I know you are not a demon? How do I know I'm not about to unleash some evil upon the world? Or that you will posses me?" he accused.
"I am of no demon or evil entity that thrives on the chaos of the world," she assured him. "And if I wished you dead I would have ordered the dragon to do so and believe me I have the ability to do so." Well, she did have a point there. "As for possessing you, if I did have the power to do that, don't you think that I would have already tried that with Yavana?!" Again another good point. In that statement alone Alistair could hear all the frustration and anger that the spirit had no doubt been building up since her imprisonment in the gem. It made him feel ashamed of accusing her to be capable of such things. But then again he didn't know this spirit at all and what she was even capable of doing. Then Kiinalyn's voice got very quiet, trembling with emotion. "All I am is a tired broken spirit that wishes nothing more than for an end for this pathetic excuse of an existence. I'm begging you to show some compassion and have mercy on this shell of a husk I have become. Please, let this end," she begged.
Again Alistair was back in the ruins with the vial in his hands with a stranger's memories flashing though his mind. With the pain, sadness and loneliness he felt from the entity from within that had been waiting an eternity for one who would grant him his simple wish. "And this is what you truly want?"
"Do you know what it is like to be alive, yet to not truly live?" her voice wept with grief. "I am alive, but at the same time I am dead. It has been so long since I have felt the sun warming my skin, felt the rain, the wind, had the taste of a warm meal. It's maddening."
He felt the relief from the essence from within the bottle when he agreed to perform its host's request. The satisfaction of knowing that oblivion was about to greet him. Of peace. Remembering the experience with crystal clarity it was very difficult of Alistair to even consider denying the request. "Well, when you put it like that… I will give you the ending you seek."
Relief was evident in Kiinalyn's voice. "Thank you, stranger."
The dragon queen's growl echoed throughout the chamber seeming to show her disapproval of what was about to take place. As if she somehow understood their conversation.
This caused Alistair to hesitate somewhat. "She's not going to eat me, is she?"
"No, I will ensure that she leaves you in peace." Kiinalyn then addressed the dragon, but the tongue in which she spoke in was in another language so foreign that Alistair didn't know what to place it as. But hearing the spirit speak the language it sounded strong and curt with each word seeming to hold a sense of power and meaning all on its own.
Once she was done the dragon reeled itself in and once again regained its composure as the silent observer. Whatever Kiinalyn had said to the dragon to make it understand her seemed to have done the trick.
"Are you ready then?" he asked.
"I have been ready for this for a long time. I embrace my journey to Sovngarde with open arms."
Alistair felt all these questions inside him bubble to the surface. No doubt there was so many things this old spirit knew. So much that he could learn from. So much he could inquire of her. What was the language that she spoke of? How did the dragon queen understand her? What was Sovngarde? But to ask such things would be selfish of him for he would be delaying the end to which she had undoubtedly been waiting so long for. For who knew how many years she had been trapped and used as a tool by Yavana. With that thought in mind Alistair gingerly placed the gem on the cold hard ground of the cavern. He grasped his sword with both hands and was about to raise it over his head when the spirit spoke once again.
"May I ask you something?" she asked quickly.
"I can't see why not," he shrugged. But then again it depended on the question itself.
"Will you tell me your name?" she asked quietly almost shyly. "I would like to know the name of the man that gave me peace."
He let a small smile appear on his face. "It's Alistair."
Once again the light from the stone intensified. "You have my eternal thanks, Alistair. Divines bless your soul."
"I only hope you find the peace you seek."
"Thank you," she breathed out.
With thanks spoken and silent good byes unsaid Alistair then raised the broad sword over his head and struck it down with all his might onto the gemstone prison. The force from the blow echoed harshly throughout the cavern, but gave Alistair the feeling of satisfaction that he was able to help the poor soul move on. With his sword clasped tightly in both hands he removed the sword from his vision to see the results of his handy work. But when he pulled the sword away he saw that the gem was still intact. Perfectly so. Not even a scratch. It took him a moment to snap himself out of his stunned state and proceeded to strike the gem two more times, but he found that he wasn't even capable of even leaving a dent much less coming close to successfully shattering the thing.
At a loss of what to do next Alistair found himself looking up to gaze at the dragon as if the creature would present him with a suggestion on how to proceed. But to even add more confusion to the situation the dragon had its gaze to the floor refusing to meet eye contact with him. Almost as if it were somehow capable of displaying the emotion of guilt. As if the dragon itself had known all along what the outcome of his good intentions would be. Its composure reminded Alistair of how a mabari pup would look when its master caught it doing something bad. Alistair was pulled from his thoughts when he heard a faint chant come from the stone.
"No no no no no." And then Kiinalyn began a heart-wrenching maddening cry of despair, "NO!" The star gem gave off an immediate burst of blinding white light that lit up the entire chamber causing Alistair to look away in pain. He was briefly able to see the dragon recoil away from the intensity of it. Curling a wing around itself to shield itself from the light. And then as fast as it had started the light faded and where once the star gem seemed to pulse with light of the soul within became dark and silent.