Author's Note: I know, I shouldn't. I've been kicking this idea around for a long time and felt that Dragon Age deserved some of my time travel love too! Let me know what you think! And keep in mind, I am taking a lot of liberties for this story! And forgive the tense changes, I go from past to present. But only for this chapter, probably. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Warning: Language, graphic imagery, Un-beata'd, OOCness,
Word Count: 5,810
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
She knew that when this all first began that everything was going to be absolutely crazy regardless of how they were going to look at it. She was both right and so very wrong. She was right in the sense that the adventure was a crazy one, but it was far worse than her limited imagination could picture in the beginning. Ancient evil Magisters, Qunari attacks, Dark Spawn rearing their ugly head, Chantry set aflame with the death of the Divine, the birth of the Inquisition, the catastrophic destruction of the Templars that fell under Corypheus's control, and the near collapse of their entire world and way of living forever.
But in between those horrible moments, there were good ones. Ellana made some really good friends. Sure, there was some lies and some crazy moments that perhaps she shouldn't have been so quick to forgive. But in the end, they were all together in this and it should have been great. They won. They defeated Corypheus and his army and his dragon. They won! That moment is usually when the Keeper would offer a life lesson to top off the story but allow the heroes to have their happily ever after.
The world is saved, it's getting back on its feet, everyone is alive and all is well. That was where it was supposed to end. That's where Ellana would have ended her story if she could have.
And in the midst of the good and horrible moments, there are diamonds. And almost all of those diamond moments had to do with apostate that came to them in their hour of need, offering wisdom and guidance for people who so desperately needed it: Solas. Never mind the fact that he had little to no choice in the matter and simply had to help them or suffer the ultimate consequences. It had to do with the times they shared and the love that grew between them. Or, so she thought that was.
The conversations they could have for hours on end. The long walk around the perimeter of Skyhold's walls, lap after lap, talking about one thing or another without sleep. Her rushing through the halls to his room, busting in to see him sitting at his table, or admiring the mural that he had painted on the wall, to practically shoving the newest book she had found and read about the theory of one thing or the history of another into his face while telling him all about it. Her voice would rise in pitch so high he would have to reach out and grab her arms as if to stop her from floating away while laughing softly as she barely stopped for a single breath.
The times when life got so stressful that she wouldn't be able to sleep, so she would just stand out on her balcony and stare out over the mountains, watching with a glazed oversight, while fretting about the future, he would come to see her because he always knew when something was wrong. He would wrap her up in his arms, or with her blanket that he picked up off her bed wrapped around her shoulders before engulfing her in his warmth. He would press himself close and she would immediately feel the chill in her body as the normally chilled temperatures of Skyhold drop to freezing at night but she was so lost in her thoughts she hadn't even noticed.
He would hold her for a long time until her body stopped shaking, or the warmth brought forth a strong enough fatigue that she could no longer ignore it. Then he would take her back into her room, tuck her into bed and leave shortly before she lost herself to sleep. He always squeezed her hand and kissed her forehead before pulling away and leaving to go back to his room.
She loved it when he found her in her dreams, and they spent the night exploring the Fade. She loved it because Solas shined while they were there. His love for the Fade was always apparent, especially when speaking about it, but being there, wandering around with him there, it was like he was a child brought to his favorite place. He always seemed reluctant to go.
But her absolute favorite moments of all aren't just when they kiss. When he holds her so tightly she can feel his desire for her. When he looks at her with that gaze that sets her entire body aflame, and she has to look away for fear of melting alive.
It's the moments on missions. It's walking through the marshes and nearly falling into the swamp and he grabs onto her elbow and pulls her close. It's walking miles through the Hinterlands, going up a particularly steep hill and she reaches behind herself without thinking and he takes her hand and she pulls him the rest of the way up the hill because despite how young he is, he acts like an old man, and sometimes his staff becomes more like a walking stick and he needs a bit more help. She would mouth "old man" to him, and he would roll his eyes and laugh, shaking his head, but he never let go of her hand.
It's the stumble or the trip when their hands find each other for balance because they are always so close, that they are always in arms reach. It's in a battle against mages or Templars or beasts or bandits when she would take a cautionary step back and feel him there, directly behind her. His back to hers as he helps protect her as she protects him. They step close, enough to touch for the briefest of moments to assure themselves that they were safe and could keep fighting, and then away again to give enough room to swing their staffs around without knocking them into each other.
They were simple, trivial, but they were a tangible connection. Proof that someone else out there was on the same wavelength as she was. He made her feel like she was complete. She loved him and those moments, above almost all others, made her feel that the most.
She laid in bed every night the day he vanished after they had defeated Corypheus, wondering about him. Worrying about whether or not he was going to be okay. Wondering if somehow something had happened to him while she wasn't paying attention and if he was somewhere dark and scary and needed her there but she couldn't find him. She wasn't a powerful, avid dreamer, or well trained like Solas in that matter as he always controlled the dreams they shared, and as she had done almost every night of her life before, before Corypheus and his crap, at night she would sleep and forget her dreams in the Fade. She couldn't look for Solas there, but sometimes she dreamed of him and wondered now if maybe he was watching her despite it all.
He made a valid point when the Inquisition was just being formed that he was an Apostate and had to be careful. Even though by Chantry standards so was she, he expressed the importance of the mark on her hand and that he did not possess such a mark that would keep him safe. So once the need for the Inquisition was over, Ellana wondered if he simply ran to avoid being caught in the crossfire of the very real possibility of the Inquisition simply disbanding and everyone returning to where they were before everything started - not that she would leave everyone high and dry like that. But she wouldn't have blamed him for not wanting to be chased around Ferelden and Orlais by Templars and simply beat them to the punch by vanishing when he could safely do so.
She just... wanted to make sure that he was okay. She just wished he would have said something before he left. Simply vanishing without a word sent her to dangerous and dark places. She was worried crazy when he just vanished. If he didn't want to be with her or worried for his safety and wanted to go his own way, her feelings would have been hurt but at least she would understand. But he vanished without a word and she could do nothing but fear for the worst. It didn't feel right to be treated like that.
And she never stopped looking for him. Unfortunately, the only place she knew where he would never be able to resist going, despite any reservations he may have was the Fade. And not being an avid dreamer, she was only able to remember bits and pieces of her dreams and she was never able to consciously impact her dreams to look for him.
And then the truth came out. And suddenly Ellana was knelt before him, clutching at her hand as the anchor burned like lava through her veins as it spread further and further up her arm. They were arguing. She was trying to convince him that their love would be able to guide them - Var lath vir Suledin - and yet the look of pain he gave her was of agony and disbelief.
"I wish it could, vhenan," he whispered mournfully. And Ellana couldn't believe him. If he truly wished that their love would be able to see them through, then he would have tried. But it seemed like, at that point, he had already made up his mind. He gave up any chance of finding another way out of this without having to kill her world.
And it was then that everything between them made sense. How he seemed to know at least a little bit on everything. How he seemed to just know things. How his theories always seemed to be pegged with a degree of truth or with so much rational that it felt like it was just... truth. A lot of it was educated speculations based on his long life and a lot of the time he spent in the Fade.
And Ellana just believed everything he said. She was enraptured by him. She had always been a bit of an outcast by her clan's standards. She liked exploring and spending time with different types of people. Her clan was one of the few Dalish clans that would interact with humans. They weren't particularly open with humans, but they did interact with them. Ellana was fascinated by people. She wanted to explore more of the world and more of the people that filled it. She was odd wanting to see more of people and her clan was not subtle about how that made them feel.
The Dalish - and her clan while friendly with humans was no exception - liked their privacy. They wanted to keep to their solitude.
And Solas... he was like her. He was different from other elves. He was so open with his curiosity. While she was intrigued by the people around her, Solas was more interested in the memories of the Fade. And he thought she had a marvelous spirit. Which was probably the greatest compliment that someone like Solas could offer her. And she believed him when he said that. She believed that maybe someone was finally seeing her for more than a strange First too powerful to throw off but would probably, unfortunately, be their Keeper one day.
She wasn't the worst thing that could have happened to them. She was just... weird. At least to her people. But she always sort of felt left out when dealing with her own clan. It was like she made them nervous, or put them on edge and she never understood why. She knew her fascination was strange to them and very much unwelcome, but over time she learned to put a cap on that desire in order to be better for her clan. Even though it hurt her to do so.
But she's sure everyone was okay with seeing her go. Especially when one of the younglings showed promise in magic. With Ellana gone, there was room for a new First in her clan. There isn't a need to send him to one of the nearby villages to be taken to the circle or figure out how to fend for himself until adulthood and he eventually dies of old age. Not many are that lucky. Ellana hopes for the best for them.
She could feel the tears running down her face as her arm spasms in pain and she wishes she could die. He just stared down at her as if somehow her pain was his own. He knelt down in front of her with the mournful, "The mark will eventually kill you. Drawing you here gave me the chance to save you... at least for now." That hurt more than the pain in her hand and arm ever could. She couldn't decide if she was mad enough to think that he had been lying to her all along and that she was reading into his words that he was still trying to play through the game of her heart by making her believe he cared.
Or, if she was willing to torture herself into believing that there was still a chance. That his love for her might be enough to stop him from what he feels he has to do.
And they come full circle to "Var lath vir Suledin".
His "My love..." was so tender, so loving, so pained, that Ellana's heart broke. And then he kissed her so tenderly as the tears slid down her face and it tasted like goodbye. And her heart and body hurt. She just wanted to beat her fists into his chest and even slap him around a little until he sees it her way, but the pain in her hand hurt so bad she could hardly see through the pain and her tears. He pulls back, hesitates, then cups her face, wiping away at her tears before standing slowly and turning away. "I will never forget you."
And that was the real goodbye. He wasn't going to change his mind. He wasn't going to let her be with him. He was going to go through with his plans and he was going to destroy her world. And her. There is no way to know if she would survive the collapse of the Veil, and so he's offering his love to her one last time before he runs away from her forever.
Because that's what he was doing. He was running away. Instead of facing his new reality, accepting what he had done, he was going to run all the way back to his time. He was going to tear down the Veil, killing an unfathomable amount of people, then do some sort of epic battle with the Evanuris and hopefully overpower them, or trick them again - however he was going to go about his "plans" for them - and then... what? Was he going to stay behind and rule in their stead? Was he going to simply allow things to proceed as they are?
Did he plan to bring together all the Dalish clans? Reeducate them? Was he to become the de facto leader for a short time until the order was restored before he went away again to continue on doing whatever it was he was doing before he became a freedom fighter for the elven people? Was that even a possibility for him anymore? To be able to run away from responsibility?
And what about everyone else? Bringing the Veil down will undoubtedly kill a lot of people. But will it simply be the demons and the weight of the Fade crushing them that kills people? Will it be those without a conscious connection to the Fade - better known as non-mages - that will simply die? Do their brains melt from too much foreign stimuli? A combination of both? And what about the Tranquil? They have had their minds completely severed from the Fade. What happens to them?
Ellana doesn't know, and she suspects that Solas doesn't either. He's just guessing at this point. For all he knows, everyone could just die, save for him. And maybe anyone he's able to protect when the time comes.
Not to mention, what is going to happen to the world? Things not tethered to the Fade may be standing in the place of things that are. Does one override the other? Does one destroy the other? Do they both destroy each other? Does Solas know any of those answers? No, she doubts he does. She's pretty sure it's going to all be conjecture on his part. Because how could he know? There is no way he could know.
He walked toward the Eluvian after his bitter tasting farewell kiss, as she sat in the dirt, crying and clutching at her hand, trying to make sense of all the information he's just dumped on her, before turning to look back over at her. His hands, which were folded behind his back, move to the front of his body. One pressed atop of the armor over his heart, face pinched in anguish and sorrow, while the other one lifts up over his head.
In her final waking moments, Solas's eyes burn that frosty white as his magic wraps around her upper arm, a shock to her body as his magic presses into her flesh before he moves his hand in a slashing movement, severing her arm from her body as her hand begins to disintegrate before her very eyes. The pain was blinding and so terrible, she physically vomited before Solas's magic seals the wound closed, sparing her body from disintegrating with her hand and arm. The scream that ripped from her was unnatural and worse than all the ones before.
The look on Solas's face gave her the impression that like a piece of her was now missing, so was a piece of him. But the pain was too much and she blacked out, her vision twisting sideways as the image of him standing there, eyes frosted over and shimmering, one hand frozen over his heart and the other in a slicing motion burned into her mind's eye as the darkness consumed her.
Cassandra was nice enough to fill her in when she awoke, days later. She said that Solas carried her out of the Eluvian, passing her over to Cullen before vanishing back into the labyrinth without a word or a backward glance.
"I... think he kissed you on the forehead when he passed you over to Commander Cullen..." Cassandra had said slowly but seemed unsure of what she had seen. "We were all in so much shock at the state that you were in, though, so I don't know for certain..."
Ellana didn't know what to feel in the days that followed. A lot of it was ghost pain from her missing arm, veins of energy still climbed up the remainder of her arm and onto her shoulder. Part of the anchor was still with her - part of Solas's power. And she had a part of Mythal's power in her too. She felt like a war was going on inside of her, for who would reign supreme. It wasn't until much later that Ellana came to learn that Solas had absorbed Mythal as well, thus making their connection far stronger.
But in those days that followed, there was a lot of pain. A lot of crying. And a lot of rage. Every curse in every language she could think of, she spits at the memory of Solas. Not always aloud, but in her heart. She wanted to be mad, and feel that rage because otherwise she would be forced to feel the cold emptiness. She would be forced to feel the loneliness.
The letters from Dorian were heavenly and kept her mind busy for a short time, especially because everything seemed to be over-dramatized for her benefit. And Iron Bull stuck close, cutting all ties to Ben-Hassrath, and sticking with her, as well as his Chargers. Now he never left her for a moment. After what happened, he somehow felt personally responsible for none of them having seen Solas's betrayal coming and the loss of her arm, so he refused to leave her side. He joked a lot, saying that now that she was missing an arm, she was going to need a witness to validate the ass-whooping her enemies got.
She appreciated the sentiment and all the laughs that followed, but she knew he was in no way responsible, but he wouldn't leave her side despite what she said in regards to it.
Dorian came back for a time to help her adjust to the loss of her arm, and what it would mean for her magic. She was now completely vulnerable on that side, but Dorian and Vivian put their brilliant minds together for her benefit and came up with different techniques that she could use to protect herself. Naturally, her area-of-effect attacks became more powerful, and she found a bit of a niche in defensive magic.
"An impenetrable defense is a perfect offense, my dear," Vivian had murmured, pleased as Dorian's fireballs were deflected effortlessly.
"It's too bad you can't make your defense into an actual offense," Iron Bull had said from the sidelines with Dalish - the Backup Archer - who "just wants to watch her fellow Dalish elf practice the mysterious and powerful magic" as Iron Bull had said. Nevermind that they all knew the truth, that she was a mage as well and probably was whispering tips or thoughts to Iron Bull in regards to Ellana's training. Ellana had to roll her eyes at it all, wondering how long they were going to keep the charade up but was too amused by it to simply call them out.
Dorian, Vivian, and Ellana all shared looks as they all thought about the same thing at the same time. And that's when Ellana began her road to perfect her defensive magic and expand it to what they began calling deflection magic. Some minute forms had been performed before, but Ellana sank as much time as she physically could in perfecting the art for herself.
And because of Solas and Mythal's magic still in her, Ellana also held a degree of shapeshifting magic beyond the basics, and she began to develop a bit into the field of Fade magic. Moreso, somewhat being able to interact more with the Fade than before.
Word of Solas's movements, as well as the strange goings on in the Fade split her attention a bit. She knew they had to be connected, but she was not strong enough to enter the Fade, as a dreamer would, and she wasn't sure she wanted to interact with any demons to see what they knew. All she could tell was from her own magic, that something was growing in power within the Fade. And it wasn't a steady growth. It was like power building at a centralized point that she wouldn't be able to point out on a map, but could feel it in her blood, and her dreams.
And Cole... well, he was as cryptic as always, but this time, he also seemed scared. Worried about what was to come. Which didn't bode well.
But it wasn't until they managed to backtrack Solas's agents to Tevinter and follow him into the Fade, that Ellana learned just how crazy her power over the Fade had become. By entering into the Fade, her arm reappeared. Not in its entirety, as blood, bone, and skin. But as a ghostly green visage of what it once was, held together by Fade magic. Specifically, Solas's Fade magic. And Solas was just as surprised as she was when it reappeared. In the Fade, she could feel her arm, as she had in life. The ghost pain that never subsided felt like it was telling her all along that while her arm was no longer part of the physical world, as it was disintegrated by Solas's magic, it still somehow existed within the Fade.
And it was like that arm was more powerful in the Fade that her body was. And magic channeled through that Fade arm was supercharged and almost always threw her off. She simply couldn't judge how powerful it had become. No doubt Solas could feel his own power resonating through her as they are now linked together. But he didn't seem to know what to make of it any more than she did.
But this was it, their final showdown. Ellana begged and pleaded with Solas as her companions fought against Solas's agents, to stop all of this. That tearing down the Veil didn't have to be the way this all went down. And he fought her every step of the way, denying her while looking at her and wishing things could be different. And like the waves of energy flowing off of both of them, she felt love and hatred for him. She couldn't understand why he would be okay with destroying her world. If he really loved her as much as he kept giving her the impression he had, why couldn't he just listen to her?
Maybe his love for her was never going to be enough. And that hurt more than the anchor ever could.
For the first time since she lost her arm, Ellana was able to go back to what she remembered, flinging fireballs and shooting lightning like there was no tomorrow. She felt powerful, unstoppable, unmatched. Except she was. Every attack she threw at Solas was met with equal power. He had grown so powerful that he was able to measure out his spells to negate her own. And it was infuriating because regardless of his threats or stone-like expression, he never struck her. He never attacked her. He simply blocked her every attack or avoided it altogether.
After another failed volley of fireballs, Ellana sags, her body shaking with exhaustion as her knees tremble beneath her. Solas huffs, looking ruffled but otherwise alright given their level of fighting. Ellana peaks through the long white hair not being held up but the multiple braids along the other side of her head. She uses her Fade green hand to push some of the hair away, mildly surprised that it worked as a normal hand would have. She would have thought that her hand would have passed through it.
"Stop fighting me, Inquisitor," Solas says slowly, straightening up his posture a bit. "I don't want to fight you anymore."
Ellana forces herself to straighten up despite the painful stitch in her side. "No, Solas. I won't stop fighting. I won't ever stop fighting." Despite herself, trying to feed on her anger toward him, her tone becomes pleading, "Stop this. Now, Solas, please. There has to another way! I know it."
That pained look crosses his face again, and he looks away. "Ir abelas," Solas says softly.
"Tel'abelas!" Ellana fires back. Solas sighs.
He looks around as the Fade swirls around them, beating like a heart. Their battle sent shockwaves through this part of the Fade, alerting everything of their presence. In the corner of her vision, Ellana can see the demons watching far enough away not to be caught in the crossfire, but the two elves, as well as their companions, are being watched carefully. Ellana and Solas's battle has either driven a rift between themselves and their battling companions as there is a surprising amount of distance between them, or they simply have moved so far away from them in the heat of their magic slinging.
A storm, for some time, has been brewing within the Fade. Solas noted them as strange occurrences that were difficult to predict and sent tremors of fear through all those that inhabit the Fade. They were powerful vortexes of energy that mimic that of a tornado brewing that sometimes just appear in different parts of the Fade. Solas claimed them a new phenomenon during their travels together as he has never heard of them before - meaning, such a thing didn't happen in his time and must be a result of the Veil going up.
Both sides of the battle begin to flee back through the rift that Solas had created. Ellana could hear her friends yelling for her, but she couldn't look away from the man she loved before her.
Solas turns his head a bit, offering Ellana his perfect, sharp profile as fade lightning strikes in the dark backdrop of the Fade, revealing to her the shape of Solas's true spirit. That of a gigantic, six-eyed wolf. It stands over him now, scaring away the lesser demons and spirits as its passive Fade green eyes ignite red with power, face twisted into an angry snarl.
"Solas!" Ellana yells, feeling the ripples in the Fade mimicking wind picks up drastically. "Please, Solas! We have to get out of here! We'll die if we stay!"
Solas looks over at her, eyes flashing white as his magic begins to build up. "I know, Ellana. But this is a once-in-a-millennia moment. The doorway is here. To the Beyond the Evanuris sleep. With the power of the Fade anomaly, I will be able to do what I must. Strike down the Evanuris, and tear down the Fade. I will be able to bring back the age of elves."
And then it clicks. He was going to absorb the magic from the vortex. She couldn't let him do that.
"No!" Ellana shouts, building up as much of her magic as quickly as possible to throw at him. Knock him down or blow him away, she didn't care. She just needed to stall him long enough for it to be too late for him. She throws her hands out toward him, forcing all of her magic at him at once.
But either he saw this coming, or she took too long because her blast of energy is met with his of equal power. It takes all of Ellana's control not to be knocked back by the sheer force of it. He mimics her pose, holding her at bay, lips pressed together tightly. His eyes glow brighter white in the darkening of the Fade around them and Ellana feels the energy of the vortex being pulled into Solas and his power mounting. He uses it like stones stacking on top of her, desperate to break her hold quickly. He wasn't going to play around anymore and let him miss his chance.
Solas was throwing his power at her, while also absorbing the power of the anomaly and using that as well, while Ellana was using all her power coupled with her iron-clad will and pure rage and desperation while struggling to hold on. She wasn't more powerful than Solas. No one of this time was more powerful than Solas. The only one that could compete with Solas in raw magical energy was Solas.
Before her magic shattered beneath the force of Solas's, she changed her mind, drawing it back to herself, while still carrying the weight of his own mounted atop of it. This action confused Solas long enough for her to change the property of her magic over and with one final push with all the remaining energy in her body she turned her deflective magic on his own in the hopes that his magic verses his magic would cause it to cancel out.
But it didn't cancel out. It detonated like a bomb. It flashed rainbow colors as the magic bounced around inside itself, before exploding. The explosion was so powerful, her ears were ringing before it happened. She's not sure how far she flew or how long she was out, but when she opened her eyes again, she couldn't hear anything aside from the ringing, but she could see Solas. He was rushing over to her. He was bleeding and limping and the metal of his armor seemed to have melted onto his body around his hands and his neck. The fur coat he was wearing was burned off. His skin looked cut up and scarred from the explosion, like being struck with energy shrapnel.
He reaches her, kneels down and pulls her into his arms. She's crying, she realizes. She's in so much physical agony that she can't even register it anymore. And he's crying too and she has to imagine what she looks like. Her Fade hand seems to have been the only thing that held together. When she lifts her other arm to wrap around Solas, she sees that it ends just beneath her elbow. And her skin was pulling back as if being burned alive. Her magic pouring out of her through holes in her body.
He shakes his head as tears slide down his face, looking down at her. He touches her head and she can't feel him touch her hair. She feels it against her scalp but sees some long white strands floating around her head as if some hair stayed attached.
His lips are moving but she can't hear him. But it almost looks like he's saying, "I'm not ready, I'm not ready, please, vhenan, don't go," over and over again. Behind him, she watches in abject horror as the Fade begins to morph and mutate. It ripples and shakes. It twists and bubbles, shivering and expanding, further and further and further until the Veil shatters.
The first explosion must have mortally wounded her. But the second one no doubt killed her. And the last thing she ever saw, was the face of the man she loved, sobbing brokenly as he stared down at her, unable to even watch as his plans came to fruition. She felt his magic, weak and frail, wrap around her in an attempt to hold the pieces of her together, but it's too late, she feels. She's already dead. Her blurry vision blackens again and she dies.
That is until she woke up again.