Just hold me one last time, she says.
The guards won’t keep quiet about something like that...your family will know...
A bittersweet smile. Who cares what people think now?
She’s right. There is no point in discretion anymore, not when they are both doomed. As you say, my dearest one...
He holds her, as best he can, through the bars of her prison, trying to memorize the way she feels. He cannot bear to think about what will happen to her now. She will find the Grey Wardens, and escape with them. She has to.
Too soon, he hears the guards coming for her. Reluctantly, he tears himself away. I must go now, he says. I will always love you, my lady...
Walking away from her is the hardest thing he has ever done.
Gorim awakens with a start. His wife is still sleeping next to him, and he thanks the Ancestors for that. Sometimes he calls his lady’s name in his sleep. His wife doesn’t like that much.
He knows now that he will never see his Lady Aeducan again. Even if she had managed to escape the Deep Roads, the Grey Wardens were massacred at Ostagar. He comforts himself with the knowledge that, if she is dead, she no doubt took a legion of darkspawn down with her.
It is small comfort.
Life on the surface is nice, if different. He cannot get used to the sky above him, always there, a big, gaping void ready to suck him up. He struggled a bit after coming topside. His leg was injured when he first arrived. Fighting was all he knew how to do, and he could no longer do that. Then he met his wife, and his father-in-law, and they took him in, and taught him the trade. He earns a decent living, now.
His wife is very sweet, and very pretty. He loves her, though it is not the same desperate, all-consuming passion he shared with his lady. He has learned from his wife that love comes in different shapes and colors. He thinks he has done right by proposing marriage to her. She makes him happy, and he does his best to make her happy as well.
Still, he thinks he will always be woken in the night by dreams of his Lady Aeducan.
He rolls over, and puts his arm around his wife, feeling the small bulge where his child grows in her belly.
One day, she appears.
It is just another day, selling his father-in-law’s merchandise and chatting up prospective customers. Then he looks up, and he sees her. His lady. His heart. She is smiling at him, overjoyed to have found him again, looking at him just the way she always did before. The look that he never could resist.
Ancestors, he didn’t wait for her.
He scarcely knows what he says to her. He knew she was alive, he tells her, though in truth he had no idea. He tells her of her father, how King Endrin regretted what befell her, how he was wasting away with grief. He remembers the Aeducan shield, and he gives it to her. She accepts it soberly.
And then, he tells her the rest. About his wife, and the child on the way. He can see in her eyes, she is devastated, though she handles it well. He tells her he is happy. It is not a lie, but not the whole truth, either. He reminds her that they always knew their love was ill-fated. He tells her he will always care for her. It is an understatement, but he cannot tell her the whole truth. If he does, he may not be able to stop himself from going with her, and what good will that do? He cannot fight at her side. He can only be a burden on her.
No, it is here he is needed, and here he belongs. He is not a man who would abandon his wife and child. Not even for those eyes. Not even for that smile.
She is about to leave. She looks at him, and the old familiar passion is burning in her eyes. For one brief moment, he thinks she is going to kiss him, and, Ancestors help him, he doesn’t know if he can resist.
But she simply smiles at him, one last time.