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Waiting in Agony

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This waiting is agony. Why am I stuck here, in this stupid chantry while she’s out there, saving our lives? It shouldn’t be all on her. I shouldn’t be in here, letting her sacrifice herself for me, for us. But I can’t go after her now, with all these people depending on me. I have to get them out.

The chantry doors open and Iron Bull, Dorian, and Varric stumble through them. I notice the absence immediately. “Where is the Herald?” I ask, storming up to them.

“She was right behind us.” Varric turns to look but she isn’t there.

“I’m sorry, Cullen,” Dorian says. “We aimed the trebuchet, but the dragon came after us. We were running, but she must have gotten cut off.”

No! I won’t allow it! I move to go after her, but before I make it two steps, I feel Cassandra’s hand on my arm.

“Now is not the time.” She looks at me sternly, like the Chantry mothers used to when I was about to make a bad decision.

I lower my eyes to the ground. “I know,’ I whisper.

Right then, a couple of Leliana’s spies came in through a back door. “We’ve found Brother Roderick’s path!”

This announcement allows me to push Davina out of my head, falling back into soldier mode. “Let’s get these people out of here!”

The path goes up onto the mountain. From here, we can see the snow-covered wreck of Haven. But there is still no sign of her. It’s only been a few months, and though I still am formal around her, I’ve started calling her Davina in my head. I wonder what she would have done if I had called her by her name? I guess now we’ll never know. The thought hits my heart like the broad side of a blade - it had the same kind of ache. I have to pull myself together before heading back to everyone else. Daylight is going fast and I want to be further away before we make camp.

We don’t get much further before it gets too dark for so many people to safely press on. I’ve just finished setting up tents when one of Leliana’s people came running up, shouting.

“Lady Nightingale! Ser Cullen! Lady Cassandra!” I run over and meet the other two there.

“What is it?” Cassandra demands, brash and impulsive as always.

“There’s someone coming up the mountain towards us.”

“Friend or foe?” Leliana asks.

The scout shakes his head. “I didn’t get a good look, but they seemed injured.”

“Thank you. We’ll take it from here.” I nod my head at him and then run past. I don’t know what I expected, but it isn’t this. The moment I see her, I know. I recognize her shape, her hair, her walk. “It’s her!”

Cassandra’s voice is almost equally relieved. “Thank the Maker!”

By the time we get to her, she’s fallen over and is lying face-first in the snow, her small elven frame quickly being covered over. I roll her onto her back. She’s even paler than usual, almost translucent, which he would have thought impossible.

“We need to get her back to camp,” I say as I scoop her into my arms.

“I’ll run ahead and find a healer,” Leliana says, taking off.

She’s so light and fragile-looking in my arms, and so cold. I carefully carry her back to camp, hushed whispers following us as I place her in an empty cot. Leliana comes back with a healer and I am pushed to the side. But at least now I know she is safe. She is safe.