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Precipice

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"A new legend had been born,"

Varric rolled his shoulders, stiff from the stone chair that had been his prison for the last few hours, watching the Seeker as she looked down on him. She was frowning significantly less than she had been as she breathed deeply and ran a hand through her hair before looking at him. She began to speak before she was cut off.

"Then Meredith-"

"Was, in fact, batshit crazy, yeah," came a voice from the shadows, followed by the man himself. Cassandra gasped and stepped towards him involuntarily before whirling on the dwarf.

"You!" she started, the pitch of her voice attracting attention from outside. The door opened and a slight, redheaded woman slipped in.

"Cassandra? Oh - " she took note of Hawke who had ambled over to Varric and was resting an arm on the back of the chair. Leliana moved to stand next to Cassandra, putting a hand on her arm.

"I can assure you both that this was as much of a surprise to Varric as it is to you," Hawke began, gesturing to himself. He smiled tiredly down at his friend before standing up straight and facing the two tense women who were watching him warily.

"So now that 'the legend' is here, what can I help you with?"

 


 

The once-silent Temple of Sacred Ashes was heaving, the air thick with equal measures of hope and desperation as delegates from opposing groups came together for a common goal; The Conclave was in full swing, and in only a few days' time would culminate in what many hoped would be a solution to the war which raged beyond the mountain ridges. Despite the biting cold, throngs of people were still arriving, eager to witness history as it happened and to hear the wisdom of the Divine herself.

Everyone was on high alert, none more so than the agents in place to protect the Divine. Templar guards were stationed at every doorway into the side halls where she and other notable figures were residing, hands twitching on their pommels each time a mage passed. Agents were scattered throughout, eyes scanning every movement. The Divine's Left Hand, or Nightingale as she was known in the Imperial Court, had handpicked these representatives from some of her most trusted and had scheduled patrols spanning the whole Temple, secret passages and forgotten rooms included, with ravens positioned at key points for fast communication.

Evelyn was one such agent - one that was particularly on edge as the candle clock next to her crept down to the hour marker. She glanced up at Cameron, her current partner, his expression not quite matching her own as she stood up and started pacing.

"Vheyna's not late yet," he stated, but his posture shifted slightly. The two could have been related, both having wavy bronze hair and blue eyes coupled with a strong nose, but that's where the similarities ended. She was sturdy where he was willowy and his eyes were harder than hers. She was usually the more mellow of the two but today she was highly strung. She glanced back at the candle.

"Now she is," she bit, and paced over to the archway, looking down the passage. Cameron had moved past her and along it, holding his blade steadily in front.

"I'll go forwards, keep watch," he called back. Evelyn edged herself out, throwing knives readied. Several moments passed before a shrill whistle pierced the silence and Evelyn took off at a run. She flew down 2 twisting corridors before she caught up with the other agent who was crouching over a small form against the wall. She came to a stop a few feet away, alarmed and heart pounding. Cameron shook his head.

"Gone,"

Vheyna's body was hunched over, her tiny elven hands still, no longer trying to stem the bleeding from her stomach where she had been torn open. Cameron closed her eyes gently with his fingers, swallowing before jumping back to his feet and sprinting back the way they had come. There was no time to mourn now.

"You go on, I'll send word," he shouted,  disappearing around the corner before she could reply.

She pressed on, fast but silent - a useful trick she had picked up from the Nightingale herself - the dread seeping further into her skin with each step. Evelyn passed several more bodies on the way, after the third no longer stopping even long enough to register names lest it cost more. The mental map she had been following lead her swiftly to the corridor off of which the Divine's antechambers lay. A sensation prickled the hairs on the back of her neck as she came to the corner, backing against the wall, and she slowly peeked round to see the first person alive since parting with Cameron what already felt like hours before. The colour of the figure's garb was enough for her judgement, twisting into the corridor her arm uncurled, the knife flew straight and true into flesh and she was on the man seconds after he had slumped to the floor. As she yanked his head and removed the blade his eyes met hers, a clouded stare where she had expected to see reluctant acceptance.

Confused, she leapt off him and took a step back to look at his armour. She didn't consciously register what the blue trimmed tunic meant until her eyes focused on the section of wing that wasn't covered by his blood and she felt like she'd been punched in the stomach, breath catching.

He had been a Grey Warden.

A cry came from the room nearby - the Divine! - She traded her knives for a pair of stilettos as she backed away hurriedly from the body, her mind racing, hoping Cameron had found help as she flung open the door, eyes blazing as she yelled

"What's going on?!"

Then the world fell apart.