"Fen'Harel…" at the end of the road, she predicted, he would be the one to wait for her. The Dread Wolf. Her destiny, her curse, her love.
The slight tension in his arms is caught by her eyes, delicate redness on the top of his ears makes her want to smirk.
He Who Hunts Alone, ancient elf, so called God is intimated by the way she uses his name. By the way she was using it two years ago.
She waits. She knows he needs to prepare himself before his gaze will rest on her face. Even if he seems so distant and self-controlled he still needs to prepare himself.
The Anchor, however, is not allowing him to, attacking her wrist and forearm. The light is brighter now, stronger and the feeling of numbness is going higher.
Still, she is thankful it took the Anchor almost three years before it started to spread along her arm.
Falherna. A woman called “Fen'Harel's bride” among her clan. His destiny, his curse, his love.
Her voice is what he was waiting for - soft and warm sensation on his skin and again, like two years back when he held her while she was murmuring "Fen'Harel" to him, he tensed for the moment just to feel how his ears and face are getting warmer.
He knew he must turn around and look at her.
The anchor is getting worse, wanting to kill her, surprisingly it didn't for the last three years. He can hear how her knees dig into the ground and it is obvious he cannot wait any longer.
Prepared or not he needs to face the woman he loves.
It takes him only a second to get control over the Anchor. Pain is gone. Numbness is gone and finally she can stand up.
Slowly she raises and faces Solas. He looks different, yet the same. Clothes cannot change who he is, she had always known that.
His eyes trace the lines of her face that didn't change for the last two years despite the new scars cutting her brow, chin, and neck.
The only changes that have been made are the ones he cannot see. Changes inside her.
His gaze softens when his steel-blue eyes reach hers.
"I suspect you have questions" small smile ghosts on his face and she knows he missed her. Her. Her questions. Her curiosity. Her indomitable focus.
"Considering all the questions I was peppering you with it is rather an expected suspicion Fen'Harel" she answers quickly not taking her eyes from his.
He seems stronger, more distant but happy to see her. No mask on his face, no facade, no pretending.
"Fair enough" he whispers getting closer but not too close. Still, it is too far for Falherna.
In silence, she looks at him surprised by his perplexity. She finds it sad and amusing at the same time that the Great Dread Wolf cannot find the proper words.
"Well done," he says slowly and seems pleased.
"You are pleased that I know who you are?" she asks taking one step forward. The wolf was once tamed by her and now it needs to keep its distance. He brought her here not to reunite with her but to leave her again.
"I... yes. I must admit I find this rather..." joy, relief, and sadness fill his eyes when she interrupts him frowning.
"Yes. A relief. I can see that, Dread Wolf" another step towards him and another sign of embarrassment on his face "I knew even before we've said goodbye, ma sa’lath" she lowers her voice. The situation requires her focus and carefulness. His eyes widen and jaw tightens, but his gaze is burning with love and longing.
"I assumed you wanted to keep it a secret" she wets her bottom lip as she explains "Something you were not ready to share with me" a slow smile blooms across her lips as she watches his eyes caressing her face "But even then I would have gladly called you Fen'Harel without remorse"
He remembers. Her soft kisses. Her words of goodbye. Her strength to let him go.
She was always the stronger one.
Strong enough to love him.
Strong enough to live without him.
His heart pounds in his chest and after two years he feels alive and whole again.
Still, he needs to leave her.
What they had was based on stolen moments from the beginning.
"You could always call me Fen'Harel without remorse, vhenan," he says with eyes full of love and admiration.
She laughs wondering how she could survive those years without him.
"Ah, yes. But your body was betraying you, Solas" Falherna smiles remembering how stressful but intoxicating it was for him to hear her call him Fen'Harel.
She looks at him and moment passes. This is not the time for old memories.
"I am glad you still have it," she says calmly pointing the wolf pelt – her gift to him.
"I could not not have it" he smiles and she takes another step reducing the space between them.
"You couldn't" raising her head she looks into his eyes and reaches for his hand entwining her fingers with his.
A small sigh escapes from his lips. Fen'Harel closes his eyes pulling their hands to his chest.
"They have killed Mythal" she whispers "so you locked them away".
"So now you know..." his eyes still closed and face full of pain "She was the best of us all".
"I am sure she was" she assures him "Redcliffe did not teach you anything, though, my love. Such understanding would not stop you from making a terrible mistake... again" she whispers while the fingers of her marked hand reach to his cheek to feel the touch of his skin again.
He feels like an idiot. Coward.
Although he respects this woman so highly, apparently he had underestimated her.
She remembers every word, every moment, every slip of his tongue.
The Dread Wolf isn't as smart as he thought.
Maybe, back then, he was not thinking at all? Maybe still he was not capable of thinking straight?
She bewitched him. Bound him to herself for eternity.
He opens his eyes when Falherna's fingers run over his cheek.
A small groan escapes from his mouth and again he feels like everything, the whole world, stops existing.
Her touch is like a half-forgotten dream. Warm. Gentle. Tender.
After all that happened, he finds it surprising and unfair.
It would be easier to leave her now, here. Let her hate him.
He does not deserve her.
His hand reaches for hers. Mouth leaves small kisses on her fingers.
"Yes, vhenan" he murmurs inhaling deep her scent "It will not stop me".
"Solas was first, was he?" she asks. Her hand still on his cheek, eyes focused on his face.
"He was. Fen'Harel came later... an insult I took as a badge of pride" he explains guiding Falherna by the hand to the near rock next to the waterfall. He wants to give her the truth, but this selfish need to reveal everything is weaker than the need to keep her safe and alive even for a while.
She sits down on the rock smiling softly. She forgot how protective of her he has always been. It melts her heart and she fights with herself to stay calm and make this second goodbye with him easier.
"The Dread Wolf inspired hope in my friends and fear in my enemies... not unlike "Inquisitor" I suppose," he says with a sad grimace on his face while sitting next to her "You also know the burden of a title that all but replaces your name."
She sighs quietly. It feels so heavy on her heart.
"And I was running away from it just like you did" she admits thinking about all those people believing in her title, believing in her only because of the title. Relying on her, expecting her to be a saint, a person able to bring them miracles.
It must have been such a burden for The Dread Wolf.
"Fal..." he hesitates for a second "The Well...".
Falherna looks at him stroking the inside of his palm with her fingers.
"Mythal gave you something..." she speaks slowly listening to the voices in her head "...she took it from Kieran... I saw" she shakes her head "She did not give you her spirit so to answer your question I am not bound to your will, Solas".
He kisses her then. The gentle touch of his lips on her cheek, strong arm on her shoulder, holding her close to him.
The heaviness of this moment is almost unbearable.
"Why did you not move on, vhenan?" he whispers. Warm breath on her skin. Fen'Harel's forehead touching hers.
"I cannot live without my heart" she smiles looking into his eyes "Also the Dalish curse...".
"Ah," his gaze is distant. Falherna knows he is lost in memories of the night they shared together in Haven. Fireplace. Wine. Stories of her father, dalish, the dread wolf and the origin of the name "Falherna".
"May the Dread Wolf take you" her man looks at her both with sadness and admiration.
"And so he did... because for so long I asked for this. How could I throw it away?" she touches his jaw. Finger wanders from his ear and neck to his lips and the dimple in his chin.
He is so close to losing control. She allows him to hold her, to cherish her once more. Their meeting is not going as he had planned.
"You were always a step ahead. You had agents in the Inquisition" she changes the subject and, as usual, he is very fond of the self-control she presents. Indomitable focus it is.
"Yes. It was my agent who caught the servant" he admits stroking her long hair, inhaling Fal's scent. It is the last time he can do it freely.
"And now Qunari forces will move to Tevinter, hopefully," her sharp mind surprise him again. Indeed, he did not give her enough credit.
"Solas, you intend to free them? The false Gods?" she asks and he scans her face. Telling the whole truth would be so easy. She would understand. She would give him a helping hand. She would not allow him to die alone.
But he cannot. He must hide the truth to protect her from his burden. From death.
"I will save the elven people. Even if it means that this world will die" his answer is the one she expects.
"You set me free, Solas. You broke my chains as you did with those who wanted to follow you" she looks intensely into his eyes "For what? Does this world needs to be destroyed? Does it not mean anything to you?" her voice quiet but sharp, asking the hardest questions of all.
"It would be so easy to reveal everything, vhenan" he strokes her hair, cheek, kisses her fingers. There is tired, sad tone to his voice that crushes her heart in pieces.
"You must understand. I awoke a year before I joined you, in the world where the veil had blocked most people's consciousness connection to the fade. It was like walking through a world of tranquil." he explains.
She understands. It must have been a huge shock to him. Still, she would never suspect he is a man who can kill innocent people to restore his kin.
"Even if we were not people to you at first, my love, it has changed. You know I am real, that means they all are real" she speaks reminding him of Cole's words. It hurts Fen'Harel. She sees it in his frown, in his eyes, in his grimace.
"You showed me..." his voice trembles and he takes a deep breath "that I was wrong. Again. That does not make what must come next any easier" he lowers his gaze and head.
Falherna takes his face into her hands kissing his wet cheeks. She saw him crying only twice. Every time it were the tears of sorrow and the difficulty of the choice he had to make.
"Shh, ma sa'lath. You will not allow me to help you" she says kissing his cheeks and eyelids "Or to stop you. Why did you bring me here, then?" she forces him to look at her.
"The mark will eventually kill you, vhenan. I want to take it and save you... at least for now."
She raises from the rock to keep distance. She needs to think. Again so many questions are still left unanswered. She loves this man, this ancient elf, Fen'Harel and she needs to distance her heart from her mind.
She stands on the hill, breathing deeply, admiring the view of the place that was once real and beautiful.
She controls herself, while he stays quiet, waiting.
"I assume you are aware how illogical your words sound, Fen'Harel" when she finally speaks her voice is gentle and calm.
"You want to take the Anchor to save me. Maybe I don't want to be saved. Did you even consider, for a second, it is worth to ask about my opinion?" she asks turning around slowly.
He is here. By her side. Almost immediately. Taking her by the arms he looks at her face. Shocked.
"Yes. Your heart. The one you want to kill. You walk the din'anshiral, my wolf. There is only death on this journey."
"Yes," she holds him close to her touching his neck. Comforting him.
"Then, you should let me die."
"It doesn't make sense, Solas. Why do you want to take my only connection to the Fade? Why leave me alive when I will try to stop you?".
He does not answer. However, she can read everything in his eyes.
He needs her to stay sane. To release his plans. His love for her can be his destruction. Perhaps he even wants her to stay alive to stop him, to change his mind.
Perhaps he wants her to prove him wrong again.
"Ah, I see. You think I cannot stop you," she lies smoothly "I understand. Take the Anchor, then, my love. It is yours, in fact."
His finger finds her chin, touching it, raising Fal's head so she can face him.
"Ir abelas, my love" he kisses her releasing his power.
It takes him few seconds to remove the Anchor.
The process is quick and painless but it consumes all of her strenght.
She is on her knees. Fen'Harel holds her close.
Then he kisses his heart with all his devotion and tenderness.
"Don't go where I cannot follow, vhenan" she whispers kneeling, hanging her head down. Long, red hair covering her pale face touching the ground.
Fingers thrust into the soil as if she was trying to stand up once more, but the removal of the Anchor made her empty and weak.
He stops, but only for a brief moment. It is another moment, from the thousands of others, when he feels torn, deprived of all his strength to continue, to fulfill his mission.
He stays still like a stone in front of the Eluvian, fighting with himself.
Fen'Harel's fingers clench in fist, knuckles turns white while he forces himself to move on.
He closes Eluvian behind him.
His face buries in his hands.
His heart is lost.
He will not have a heart ever again.