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Trust

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Betrayal. Despair.

Around her, Adamant was crumbling. Wardens were dying.

Clarel betrayed us.

She betrayed the order.

There is no righteousness in this!

She covered her ears to block out the screams. Clarel had run off long ago, after the false saviour, but she still remained.

She'd watched from across the veil, always watching. Clarel inspired trust in all of the wardens, in all of Thedas. How could she not want to get closer?

The rifts, the blood magic, it drew her across with the demons. She made sure to stay with the Warden-Commander that everyone had so much faith in, it was the only way to stay whole. Now, however...

Another warden fell, demons springing forth from where his corpse once laid. His last thought.

Why has the Warden-Commander abandoned us?

She screamed and cried, her body going numb. This wasn't right, wasn't right-

“You're right,” a voice said softly from in front of her.

She lifted her head from her drawn up knees, tears still running in tracks down her cheeks.

A spirit, one of her brothers, knelt in front of her. One of her but not quite right.

Almost her but not.

“This isn't right,” he said softly. “but we can fix it.”

Tears sprung to her eyes again and she shook her head.

“No, no she broke it!” she yelled, trying to get him to understand. “She had their loyalty, their trust, they trusted her with their lives. And she slit their throats and bled them dry!”

She could feel the tear tracks freezing on her face, the ice in her chest expanding. Saw her brother’s eyes widen in panic.

“She abandoned them to die for her mistake! She betrayed their trust! She shattered me!”

Her breath was coming out in a fog, her fingers aching from the coldness. Despair was pushing it's way from her lungs and Trust was slowly disappearing.

He was gone in an instant. She did not blame him. She was not long for this world.

She hid her face in her knees again, hiding from the carnage. Her cries echoing those of the soldiers who were dying with her.

The cold was spreading, up through her throat, down through her stomach and guts. Maybe she would freeze into an ice statue. Wisdom had shown her one once, a beautiful swan.

“Cole, what are you-”

“She needs you.”

Her head shot up again, shocked her brother would return. Maybe he would end this torment for her, before it began.

He was not alone. A bear, she thought at first, the mountain of fur on the human's shoulders catching her eye.

“You need Cullen,” her brother told her softly. “Not a bear.”

The man was stood motionless behind Compassion, but at his name he jerked forwards. Before she could even flinch, the fur on his shoulders was wrapped around her shivering form and she was in his arms being carried through the battleground.

“Hush, little one,” he rumbled softly, his voice smooth and deep. He pulled the furred cloak over her head and pressed her face into his neck. “You will be safe from now on, you need not despair.”

Her tears melted slowly, the ice receding from her fingertips. She reached her small arms up, wrapped them around his neck, and trusted him to keep her safe.