Inquisitor Ellana Lavellan forced her smile to surface and did her best to play the Game properly, to let the smile reach her eyes. However, it was hard to socialize with all the nobles when her mind was in a million other places. Or rather, just one place in particular. Her grip on her goblet tightened without her realizing.
“My agents have found no trace of Solas. He has simply vanished. If he does not wish to be found, there’s likely nothing we can do. But I will keep looking.”
Ellana had Leliana’s people constantly checking into locations that she could imagine that the apostate elf - her vhenan - would go. There were never any clues or leads for them to follow. When she slept at night and went into the Fade, he was not there. He wasn’t anywhere . All that was left was the frescos he had painted in the rotunda and the collection of books he had gathered. No letter, no contact...nothing. Ellana’s heart wrenched.
“No matter what comes, I want you to know that what we had was real.”
Was that true? Or was it all just more pretty, smooth words he came up with? Ellana was bitter about the entire situation. Sure, everyone had their secrets, but they had grown so close, she had broken through bits and pieces of his polite mask he wore, he smiled so tenderly at her, they’d even been intimate with one another, but he couldn’t even give her a proper farewell? In hindsight, it seemed that he may have planned on leaving no matter what the outcome was with Corypheus.
She wanted to be out there, looking for him. Instead, she was stuck at Skyhold in the midst of a celebration Josephine had arranged. So many had come to drink and feast and while away now that they were in peace, free of the Breach, of rifts, and of the ancient magister. Solas should be there with her, at her side, not off Creators-know-where-
“Ellana, my dear!”
A genuine, but weary smile, graced Ellana’s lips as she turned to face Dorian. His presence could only mean that he was going to help free her from the atmosphere, albeit temporarily. Ellana knew Josephine would throw a massive fit if she were absent for too long when “her” victories were the center of the party. It didn’t matter how much Ellana insisted that it wasn’t just her doing. The nobles were toasting to the woman who’d only been a “knife-ear” Dalish woman just a year ago that everyone spat upon. Now, here she was, nearly at the top of the world.
“Dorian,” she breathed in relief. “How may I help you?”
The mage twirled up his mustache with one hand and spun his wine glass with the other. He glanced around with a shifty gaze, though his lips were turned upwards. “Well, my radiant Inquisitor, - you do look lovely tonight, by the way - this is not a topic to be spoken of near sensitive ears. May we slip away for just a moment?”
“Of course.” Ellana smiled at the nobles behind masks she’d just been listening to. “If you’ll please excuse me, my lord, my lady.”
As the two stepped outside into the fresh air of the garden and ensured no one was around, Ellana sighed heavily. “I can’t thank you enough, Dorian. It’s suffocating in there.”
“Believe me, I agree completely. Although, I really did have something to speak to you about. I know it isn’t really proper timing, what with this...positively delightful party, but...” Dorian’s eyes cast downwards and he stared into the contents of his glass. “I...have been thinking about returning to Tevinter.”
Though it instantly made Ellana’s stomach flip, she couldn’t say she was surprised. “You have been away from home for some time. It’s only natural; We’ve accomplished what we set out to do together.”
His head snapped up. “Ellana, you know you’re my best friend. I am in no way suggesting I just get up and leave like certain other members of our little group, much of whom I would enjoy throttling. But you have inspired me. I want Tevinter to change, much like how you shifted this entire world’s fate. What I would like to accomplish shouldn’t be near quite as impossible.” He grinned a little and dug into a pocket. “Here, I should like to try these soon, anyways. I’ve strengthened the enchantments on them. They don’t look like much, but these stones will allow us to speak with each other, no matter how far apart we may be.”
Ellana gaped slightly at the stone that Dorian had crafted into a necklace. She reached out and grasped it gingerly, admiring it. “How does it work? Do you activate it somehow?”
“Yes, there is a word I chose that can essentially mute it, so that we aren’t constantly being bombarded by boring discussions we’re sure to have in the future with councils and whatnot.” Dorian set his glass down carefully and gestured for Ellana to turn around. She handed her own stone back to him and shifted so that he could clasp it for her. Once it was securely around her neck, she spun back around and tucked it into her dress, lest Vivienne have something to say about how it didn’t match her wardrobe.
“Thank you so much, Dorian. May we try it later?”
“Of course.” Dorian taught her the Tevene that would make the crystalline object work and leaned in to kiss her cheek. When she made a displeased face and scrunched her nose up, he backed off quickly. “Is everything-?”
“No, I’m sorry, it isn’t you, Dorian. I just… I’m not sure, for some time, I haven’t entirely felt my best. There are just some smells that are getting to me. Your wine, for example.”
The man raised an eyebrow with suspicion. “You’re feeling unwell...from smells?”
“They’re just making my stomach a little upset. I’m not even drinking tonight. The entire hall reeks of alcohol. I don’t want to have any more near me than I need to.” Ellana took a deep breath of the fresh air.
“Are you… Have you been ill?”
“I threw up yesterday morning.” Ellana frowned. “Where are you going with this?”
He shook his head quickly. “I don’t wish to jump to conclusions. Not tonight, especially.”
Ellana knew, perhaps deep in her gut, what he was piecing together. Still, she found herself saying, “Go ahead, Dorian. Say what’s on your mind.”
He seemed particularly conflicted as he battled himself on whether or not he should proceed. He cursed softly under his breath and took Ellana’s goblet from her hand, setting it down next to his. He curled his fingers around hers and led her to a bench. As they lowered themselves, he all but whispered, “You did tell me that you and Solas had sex not all that long ago, right?”
Chills shot up her spine as she fell into thought. She remembered that night very well: the way Solas looked at her, his husky tone, his gentle, slow touches as he dragged his fingertips along her body. “...Yes, just before we left for the Arbor Wilds.”
“So several weeks ago,” he muttered. His gaze bore into her own as he squeezed her hands. “Ellana, is there...any way you could possibly be pregnant?”
Her heart plummeted into her stomach while a knot formed in her throat. She refused to swallow it and begin crying, as much as she wanted to. Her mind raced. It had been so spur of the moment that she hadn’t planned it, so she hadn’t taken anything beforehand. When they awoke together the next morning, it was spent in such a rush to get ready to leave that...she’d forgotten all about it. Her breathing grew shallow and rapid. Dorian swore again and shushed her, rubbing her arms.
“Dorian, I-! What am I going to-?” She shook her head repeatedly, the sob rising in her throat. “I think you’re r-right…” Her right hand shifted to touch her stomach carefully, as though it were made of fire. “A ch-child? Solas’s child?”
“Hush now, Ellana,” Dorian said soothingly. “There are ways for us to find out for sure. The party shouldn’t last much longer. I’m sure we’re creeping into the wee hours of the morning by now. Just hold it out for now and I’ll speak with some people and we’ll… We’ll see. For now, you have to take a deep breath, come on. That’s it. Nice and slow. There you go. Now, you are the fearsome Inquisitor who just slaid a would-be god a couple weeks ago. Isn’t that right?”
It was difficult to force her mind out of its panicked zone, but she did, focusing on listening to Dorian’s words. She breathed and told herself, You’re just possibly overreacting. You could just have some weird bug that hasn’t gone away because you’re too stubborn to treat yourself. You could be reading too much into this. You need to go back in there and face those people in the Game for just a little longer. Just a little longer…
Rest did not come that night in the Fade. Even there, she continued to wail and keep her hands protectively over her stomach. A few small wisps floated by and hovered about, their glow soft and warm. Ellana paid them no heed. She looked up desperately, eyes searching the distance for any sign of her vhenan. She needed to tell him. Perhaps that would be enough to make him return.
“Vhenan!” she shouted pleadingly. “I can’t do this by myself! I need you with me! Please…” She sunk to her knees and slouched forward, exhaustion seeping into her very being. “Please, vhenan… Please…”
There was no sign of Solas in the waking world or the Fade. Just a few nights after she’d confirmed her pregnancy, a stoic wolf appeared in her dream. She grew terrified, positive that it was the Dread Wolf catching her scent. When she woke that next morning, she found the nearest statue of the god to Skyhold and offered sacrifices, begging for him to leave her unborn son or daughter be.
She hadn’t seen the beast since.
Everyone helped Ellana as much as they could. They kept it as quiet as they could for as long as they could. Those in the inner circle and those that were trusted at Skyhold knew who the father was, but to the rest of the world, it was a mystery. Josephine did her job wondrously, deflecting the inquiries with as little information as possible. Ellana was disgusted at how many offers of marriage she had. Naturally, she turned all of them down (politely, at Josephine’s insistence). Ellana wished with all her heart that she could return to Clan Lavellan and be among her people to give birth to her child, but unfortunately, her clan had not survived. It was another portion of her life that she had lost and would never regain. She loved her Skyhold family, but they were a different family from the one she’d been raised with.
Finally, her son was born: Inan. He was such a handsome infant with auburn wisps atop his head and lovely blue eyes. His father’s eyes. Ellana loved him to death and constantly had him in her arms when she was around Skyhold. It tore her apart when she needed to leave him to go out on a mission, but she knew he was in good hands when she wasn’t around. It was usually a member of the inner circle that remained with the Inquisition that held onto him for her. All had come to visit when he was born, but alas, they all had their own lives and most had to return to them after a short time. Ellana cried most when Dorian left.
She and The Iron Bull sat together in mournful silence, the elf missing her best friend and the qunari missing his lover. He told Ellana that he and Dorian had talked about getting a home together and adopting a child, - or children - but only after Dorian was finished accomplishing what he could in his home country. He didn’t want to bring Bull there, for fear of what could happen to him. Likewise, though Bull wanted to remain at Dorian’s side, he was too nervous just wandering into a country run by mages and that he’d warred with and just hope everything would turn out okay. He told her all of this with a wistful expression, rubbing his own familiar stone around his neck.
Things with the Inquisition began to grow shaky. There wasn’t much violence left on Thedas and the organization still held a great deal of military power, which made the surrounding nations nervous. They began to call for the Inquisition’s dismemberment until it finally reached a height and an Exalted Council was called. Ellana had no choice but to go, but since she knew she would be gone for some time and everyone was coming with her, she chose to bring Inan along with her.
She deeply regretted that.
On top of the pain that burned in her palm that had been slowly extending up her forearm over the past two years and on top of the way that both Ferelden and Orlais banded together to demand the Inquisitor dismember her company, an attack began quietly within the Winter Palace. Divine Victoria, her close friend Cassandra, gazed at her with understanding as Ellana rose, politely pardoned herself from the council’s presence, and hurried with her scout from the room. All the other inner circle members had gathered at the council to support Ellana and they now hurried to the same location with her to investigate, Dorian holding Inan securely and walking close to Bull. At the moment, she did not fear for her son’s safety.
Unfortunately for all of them, it only spiraled out of control from there. Inan remained behind with Vivienne and Blackwall while the others began the search. It spanned over the course of several long days with Ellana and her companions chasing after qunari invaders, even having to release a captive dragon from their clutches. There was a moment of panic as Bull grew still as a statue, a cold sweat on his brow, as the Viddasala called out to him. Ellana spun around to face him, but the beast of a man forced a sadistic smirk to his face as he whispered, “No.”
After they took care of more forces, Bull explained that she tried to have him turn on them, to return to the Qun. “I’ve already been tal-vashoth for so long, why quit now?” he said jokingly, though his friends could tell it bothered him more than he was letting on.
Further and further they chased after the Viddasala and the more questions arose. Working for an agent of Fen’harel? Some ancient elvhen god? And whispers of Solas? How did Solas fit into anything? A fire burned in Ellana’s stomach as they raced against the qunari to catch up to the hedge mage. As they fought, Ellana raged against herself. What was she going to do? Just blurt out to him that he had a son? At this point, she wasn’t even entirely sure who he was anymore and part of that scared her. She didn’t want her son to be endangered in the slightest. She could test the waters with him, see how much he’d changed in the last couple of years, see if he could be reasoned with. Though she hated to admit it, if he asked if he could return with her, she would say yes in an instant. At the same time, she was so angry with him. She hated feeling this conflicted.
When they came at last through the last eluvian, the voice of her lover reached her ears, though it was in qunlat. She spun around with desperation in her eyes as she requested, “Please, stay here.”
“Boss…,” Bull began, but she cut him off with a shake of her head, holding her flaring arm in agonizing pain.
“Please, my friends. I need to face him alone. No matter what you hear, please don’t come until I call you?”
The inner circle shared uneasy looks, but nodded. Sera leaned forward and handed her a knife, saying, “Elven glory won’t see a non-magic attack comin’ from you.”
Though the last thing she wanted to do was stab him, Ellana took it and hid it in her boot. She gave them one last unconvincing smile and ran up the hill, just in time to see the Viddasala suddenly turn to stone, like all her other forces in the area. She saw the backside of the man she loved and her heart began to pound painfully in her chest. She opened her mouth to speak, but it was hard to get any words out. The most she managed was to murmur breathlessly, “Solas…”
He came to a halt and it fell eerily silent in the area. He slowly turned around and faced her with a neutral expression, though by the look in his eyes, he seemed incredibly sorrowful. Ellana found her feet carrying her forward, closer to him, but the magic in her hand burned, forcing her down to her knees as she cried out, gripping it with her right hand. With fluid motions, Solas walked towards her, stopping just short of her. She gazed up at him, tears stinging her eyes and she gasped through her pain when his eyes flashed an icy shade of blue. The pain subsided in her arm almost instantly. She frowned at her left hand quizzically, slowly rising to her feet. She looked at her lover, silently asking so many questions.
His expression shifted. “That should give us more time,” he said softly, Ellana’s stomach fluttering at his voice. “I suspect you have questions.”
She didn’t know where to start. She’d thought about it, but now that she was here, standing before him, all words she had planned seemed to die. Instead, she croaked, “The qunari were trying to kill you, so I wanted to get here first.”
“I know. They sought an agent of Fen’harel.”
Ellana’s world continued to spin and shatter as Solas spoke and she demanded answers, her anger returning and fueling her. Her lover was the ancient elvhen god. Her lover was Fen’harel. He created the Veil. He destroyed the civilization of his people. It was his orb that Corypheus had gotten ahold of. He was the cause of all the suffering Ellana had gone through. He admitted everything to her, his voice laced with regret. He revealed his plan: to tear down the Veil and restore the former glory of the elvhen people.
Her anger turned to panic as she implored him to not go through with it. Everyone without magic in their veins would die? What about their companions? The civilization now in Thedas? All those people, dead? What had she fought for, if not to save all lives from being swallowed up by the Breach? To save all those lives from not being subjected to an insane man recklessly chasing after godhood? What had she fought for? What could she say that could stop him? Nothing had even phased him so far.
Yes. She could tell him. Tell him he has a son. The boy was still too young to be able to tell if he would be blessed with magic like his parents. Solas couldn’t go through with his plan if he were going to kill his child, could he? Her lips parted, but she stopped herself.
He may. Solas was in his eleventh hour and he was willing to let the world burn so that he could correct his mistakes. He was a god and Creators, she could not fight him with her strength. What would prevent him from merely ripping Inan from her arms and carrying him off to where she couldn’t follow? Her son was half god, as well. Or would he take both of them, hold them wherever he so chose, and let them watch as he committed an act so horrid, Ellana wasn’t sure if she could ever forgive him? No. She couldn’t tell him. There were too many variables that she was unsure of. She didn’t know this side of Solas - this Fen’harel. She couldn’t trust him, though she wanted to so badly . On the other hand, she couldn’t stop her feelings. She still loved him and she wanted to save him from himself, from him choosing this path.
Though she had had quite a long moment of peace without the anchor burning, it suddenly sparked back, engulfing her arm with its green light. She forced back the scream as much as she could before collapsing to her knees, bending over and breathing heavily. Solas knelt down in front of her, eyes focused on her left hand. “The mark will eventually kill you,” he said gently. “Drawing you here gave me the chance to save you...at least for now.”
She grit her teeth and sat back upright, a few tears slipping from her eyes. “Solas...var lath vir suledin.”
“I wish it could, vhenan.” He spoke with such despondency that it felt like a dagger was piercing through her heart. She tried to speak again, but she could only shout as the pain raged on. Solas leaned forward achingly slow and murmured, “My love…”
Ellana saw his eyes flash that icy blue once more just before their eyes slid closed, one hand tenderly brushing her bangs from her face and the other holding her left hand. When his lips captured hers, she felt as elated as she had any time before now with him. He kissed her so benevolently, yet so passionately.
She could feel the farewell in it.
She couldn’t help herself as she kissed him back with her own final imploring. She poured all of her feelings into that kiss, despair washing over her as he pulled away from her. He stood upright, gazing at her longingly as he forced himself to back away from her. He shook his head ever so slightly at himself and choked out, “I will never forget you.”
A hollow feeling burrowed into her as she remained frozen on the ground, watching him turn his back to her and walk through the eluvian, disappearing into it.
Ellana was heartbroken. Perhaps even more than that. She’d had part of her own heart ripped away, possibly never to return again. She was seized by a cold realization. He said the mark would kill her, did he? The mark could no longer spread if she didn’t have it attached to her limb any longer. Though it took a little convincing on Bull’s behalf, but a little more for everyone else to allow it to happen, the qunari granted her wish and freed her corrupted arm from her body. From there, they returned to the Winter Palace and Ellana announced her decision, ignoring the blatant stares directed at her and the sudden lack of a left arm. She told them they would disband. She didn’t want to drag innocent people into what was now going to be her own personal war against Solas - or Fen’harel. She wasn’t sure if she Solas she knew still existed. She also could no longer risk spies slipping amongst them. Needless to say, the declaration stunned many, considering how they’d gone into the council defending themselves and rejecting the Exalted Council’s demands.
They remained at Skyhold for a while as they slowly worked on downsizing. The troops were sent back to their homes, though most were rather reluctant. The fortress became unsettlingly quiet. Those that remained found another location in the Frostbacks that they chose to relocate to. Leliana’s people had found an old tunnel network inside one of the mountains and set to reinforcing it. Once it was deemed safe and able to be used for their purposes, the few remaining Inquisition members left Skyhold for the final time, Ellana gazing back at it for quite a while before setting off down the slope, three year old Inan in her right arm, balanced with her prosthetic one crafted by Dagna, never to lay eyes on the fortress again.
As Inan grew, the young boy was taught to fight. He was incredibly swift and quiet, so he was taught with a bow. Ellana disliked having him learn to fight when he was not even in his teens yet, but she couldn’t constantly keep him protected while she and the others were out and about. He wandered through the countryside with her when she set out. Though he listened to her and respected her very much, he was also an inquisitive young boy. Ellana figured she had no one to blame for that but herself.
“Mamae, those are the Dalish clans you’ve told me about before, aren’t they? What are those wagons? What are those markings on their faces? Valla...vallaslin? What do they mean?”
“Mamae, you say we’re looking for signs of a bad man, but what are we looking for?”
“Mamae, where is my papae? What was he like?”
“Mamae, when are we going to visit Uncles Dorian and Bull again?”
“Mamae, you’re a Dalish, right? Why don’t you have vallaslin like them?”
“Say, Mamae, I was playing with my friends in the sleeping place-”
“The what?” Ellana spun around, gripping her staff tightly.
“The sleep place, the...Fade? Yeah, the Fade! I have a lllooottt of friends there! I made a few nights ago, he’s a wolf! A really big wolf. Now when I go to the Fade, he’s always there when I play with the others!” Inan’s face fell. “Mamae, what’s wrong?”
Ellana knelt down before her son and set her staff down, gently gripping his small shoulders. “Da’len, how long have you been going to the Fade?”
Suddenly feeling as though he’d done something wrong, Inan looked towards the ground, slowly dragging a toe through the dirt. “I dunno, a couple of weeks?”
“I’m not mad, Inan.” Ellana forced a smile. “I just wish you would have told me. Here, you asked the other day when we were gonna go see your uncles, right? How about we make a little detour to go see them now?”
Inan’s face lit up. “Yay! Yes, please, Mamae!”
Ellana took her son to the house that her best friends lived in together. It was surprisingly homey, tucked away in a heavily forested mountain in Orlais. Inside the house other than Dorian and Bull were now three young children the two had adopted: two girls and a boy. The oldest girl was a human that was an orphan in a small village, the middle boy was a young Dalish mage they’d found wandering the wilderness, abandoned by his clan, and the youngest girl was a dwarf they’d found surrounded by her deceased family that had been slaughtered by wild animals. Though the children had been spiteful towards life and the ugly hand it had dealt them, especially at such a young age, Dorian and Bull refused to allow sadness to linger in their home. Each time Ellana visited, there was more laughter coming from the household than before and it truly warmed her heart.
As they knocked and entered the house, only Dorian was there to hug, kiss, and greet the two. He informed them that Bull had taken the children off to a nearby village to get some supplies and wouldn’t be back until later. He invited them in and offered drinks and a bit of food for them to nibble on. Inan nearly swallowed all of his whole before launching into stories of their home in the mountain tunnels and the adventures he’d had with Ellana so far. His mother waited patiently, happy with her son’s enthusiasm. Just as he was finishing up, Bull and the children returned, so Inan was sent outside to play with them. After Ellana hugged Bull, she sat back down with them and explained the real reason behind her visit. She was fairly certain herself, but needed confirmation.
The next morning, Dorian reaffirmed her suspicions. Her son was a rift mage, now coming into his magic, and he was able to walk through the Fade, much like Solas could. Ellana wrote to Leliana and the others that she was going to be remaining there for a short period of time. Dorian helped trained Inan with the basics of his newly formed magic. As the boy learned, his grin grew broader while he exclaimed, “Now I can shoot fireballs like you, Mamae!”
When he watched once and looked upon Inan’s look of concentration, Ellana heard Bull mutter under his breath, “He looks eerily like his father.”
Bull didn’t need to tell her that. She knew very well how much Inan resembled Solas. He had the same eyes and the same angular features, though his head was full of thick auburn hair that was pulled back into a ponytail.
It pained her to think of Solas. It had been so many long years and she was constantly two steps behind the trickster god. Elves around Thedas had been slowly disappearing without any reason. Ellana knew they were heading to his side. He was preparing for his assault on the Veil and she felt no closer to stopping him than she had been when she began this vendetta years ago. Inan grew up, ignorant of the fact that the ‘bad man’ they were chasing after was actually his father. Ellana just wanted him to be a normal, happy child for as long as she could allow it.
The time came for Ellana and Inan to head back to the Frostbacks. They parted with Dorian, Bull, and the children sadly. Ellana planted kisses to each of their cheeks, promising the fathers that she would write them when they returned safely. Little did she know that was the last time she would ever see them.
Along the journey back as they settled in one night in a small inn room, Ellana found herself in the Fade. She stood on a foggy lake shore, unable to see the other side. She gazed across it, wondering what was there beyond her line of vision. The hairs on the back of her neck raised and she spun around, gasping audibly when she came face to face with her lover. He looked no older and still wore that strange armor she’d last seen him in all that time ago. She cursed herself that her heart still fluttered at merely seeing him. She was angry, so angry at him, damn it!
“Ellana,” he breathed into the silence. “Why didn’t you tell me I had a son?”
Inan. She needed to protect Inan. “So you were the wolf,” she retorted. “I thought it was best, for his sake. I don’t know you anymore, Solas! Or should I call you Fen’harel?” He flinched and Ellana felt a small burst of pride at wounding him. It was nothing compared to what he’d done to her, after all. “How was I supposed to know you weren’t just going to take him from me? Or that you weren’t going to continue along with your plan and sacrifice him, along with countless others?”
Solas shook his head. “I would never. I want you both to come with me. I’m close to finally accomplishing my goal - I need to get you out of this place before I do it.”
Ellana clenched her jaw and balled her hands up into fists. How dare he? He was just going to waltz back into her life and act protective over her and her son? She snarled, “I’m not going anywhere with you. You do what you need to do, Solas, or Fen’harel, or whoever you are. You always have.”
She could see the pain in his eyes, though he didn’t let it seep into his voice. “The boy-”
“He’s staying with me ,” she hissed.
When she woke, she urged them along with as much speed as they could muster. She was determined to make it back home. She didn’t want to be caught out in the open with Solas potentially coming after them.
Unfortunately, they did not make it.
They were close, achingly close, but Solas came between them and their route. Inan was running slightly ahead from Ellana when the god stepped out from the snow-covered trees. Inan stared at the man in wonder while Ellana’s blood boiled. When she saw Solas’s expression, she knew what his intentions were. He held out a hand to her. She grudgingly stepped forward and took it, though made a point to do it with her prosthetic hand.
“Mamae, you know my wolf friend?” Inan pondered.
Solas took them. Ellana recognized the area. It was one of the ones they’d stumbled upon back during the race against the Viddasala. It was no longer in ruins. Rather, it was now a grand building in the middle of a lake, connected to walkways by the eluvians. Countless elves were wandering about, smiling and laughing.
How dare they, Ellana thought. Did they not know what Solas was planning on doing? How many countless innocents he was going to sacrifice?
Including her dear friends.
They were given a grand room, Solas promising he would return after he was finished. Ellana stared out the window, sitting in a chair while Inan carefully practiced his magic in the center of the room. A feeling of dread consumed her. The tears welled up in her and she began to wail, already mourning the loss of her friends. Her precious friends. Her family . This was the third time she’d lost her family. First, when her clan was killed. Second, when the Inquisition disbanded. Now when all that remained was going to be destroyed. Inan walked up to her in confusion and wrapped his small arms around her.
Inan was going to be all she had left.
She could tell when the Veil came crashing down. She could feel the power rush through her body, engulfing her in a warm heat. As she looked outside, she could hear - though perhaps it was her imagination - the dying screams of the world as she knew it. She could hear it so clearly in her head: Dorian, Bull, Leliana, Cullen, Josie, Cassandra, Varric, Blackwall, Vivienne, Sera, perhaps even Cole. Oh. And her. She was screaming. Ellana screamed until her voice grew hoarse. Spirits fell into the world like a swift river, magic flowed more powerfully than she’d ever felt before, but she could only think of her family and all that she’d just lost.
Perhaps her own life had extended like the elvhen of old. Time seemed to crawl by at the pace of a snail. Inan grew before her eyes, though he became distant. Solas revealed to Inan that he was his father. The boy didn’t know how to take the news. He seemed conflicted, not sure if he was supposed to blame his mother, who hid it from him, or his father, who had caused his mother so much despair. He was indifferent towards both of them for some time. Though Solas gave them leave to explore if they so chose, Ellana spent most days in her room, staring blankly out the window and whispering to the stone around her neck, begging for Dorian to answer her.
It was silent. Forever silent.
When she would finally rouse and leave the room, she found her son practicing magic alongside his father. He seemed serious about it and he had grown so powerful. The older he became, the closer he grew to Solas. He still cared for Ellana, but during the years he’d been conflicted on how to act towards her, Ellana’s heart had shattered. She no longer held any hope. She no longer felt joy. She felt like a shell, just moving about aimlessly, only performing the necessities of life.
Inan told his mother one day as he brushed and braided her hair, “Mamae, you aren’t going to like this, but… Papae’s taught me much. He told me the truth about vallaslin and...I’ve been working on a design for some time time. Mamae, I’m going to have vallaslin.”
Ellana watched helplessly as her son underwent the ceremony. Once, she would have been thrilled. Her boy was becoming a man. Soon, he would be a hunter of the clan, he would provide, he would begin looking for a woman to take as a wife-
But that was so long ago. How long had it really been?
Inan’s design was in honor of his father, the god Fen’harel. It was red and had six diamonds on his forehead, three connected on each side. Two were upright, two were at a 45 degree angle, and the last two were sideways. On his cheeks were intricate lines, not unlike how Mythal’s vallaslin had once been. Inan smiled when the ceremony was over.
Ellana cried the last of her tears. She felt as though her son was now beyond her reach. He felt some sense of duty, being the son of a god, to follow in Solas’s footsteps. She felt that nothing she said anymore reached his ears. Solas would come by and speak with her, but she shut her ears. She didn’t want to listen to him. She didn’t want to see him. She entirely denied the part of her that still loved him. If she saw the tender loving gaze that he looked at her with, she may be reminded of that night they shared together, when they created Inan. No. She couldn’t do that.
She had nothing left.
She left the safe haven and wandered through the eluvians until she came to a healthy, luscious green forest. It reminded her of her days with her clan… Clan… Clan Lavellan. That was it. She could no longer picture faces, but she remembered the halla pulling the aravels. She vaguely recalled something called the Inquisition. Even just remembering the name tugged at her long-dead heart. There was a group of people gathered around her, their faces swathed in shadow. One in particular, a man, she saw him grin and offer her a mug. His mouth opened and his shoulders shook with laughter, but she couldn’t hear the sound. She couldn’t remember their voices. Their faces. Their names.
All she could remember was: This isn’t what I wanted.
Inan stood before a small spring in that very forest, hundreds of years later, a small collection of flowers in his hand. Around the edge of it, the numerous other flowers he’d left had long since withered. He picked them up and burned them away in his hand before setting the new ones down. He knelt in the moss and gazed at the wildflowers that grew along the edges of the spring, but not too close. It was beautiful and peaceful. More than once, he’d seen halla and wolves alike take sips from the spring. But he knew what others said about it.
“That is where the Bride of Fen’harel died from grief.”
“The waters are cursed with the vengeful spirit of the last of the Dalish elves.”
“You best not set foot near there.”
“I hear even Fen’harel himself avoids that place.”
Inan looked up at the canopy of the forest, unable to see much sunlight. He knew that was true. His father was too heartbroken himself to come near this spring, where Inan had stumbled upon his mother’s still body, a faint smile on her cold lips. He fought back tears.
Where had he gone wrong? He’d become just like his father, causing his mother so much pain. He just wanted to become stronger so that he could protect her and the others. He thought she would be happy and proud of him. Instead, she’d fallen even further into the depths of her anguish. One day, when he went to bring her dinner, she was gone, vanished from the area. It took him several days to track her down. When he did, it had been too late. What had been his last words to her? He wasn’t even sure. He wasn’t even sure if she would have remembered. It seemed that any time anyone spoke to her, it didn’t quite register with her anymore.
And Fen’harel… He knew his father still deeply loved his mother, though she had rejected him at the end. He grieved for so long and perhaps still was. Maybe he would never truly be over her, though she had once just been a fleeting Dalish shemlen. What was that compared to a god? Love was strange, of that, Inan was certain.
He looked back down at the bubbling spring and dipped a few of his fingers in, watching the ripples dance across the water. “Mamae, I miss you dearly. However, I know that you’re...probably happier where you are now, wherever you may be. I know that you’re with those you had lost and missed so much. I just wanted to tell you, Mamae,” his voice choked, “that I’m sorry. I was a fool. I was inconsiderate. I ignored your suffering, thinking of my own selfish desires. If I had continued on the path I was on, I thought perhaps you’d be proud. You’d cheer up and smile like you once did…” He smiled wistfully. “But you never did. I’m so, so sorry, Mamae. Ar lath. I’ll… I’ll be by again soon, okay? Say hi to the others for me. I don’t remember them too much, since I was so little and it was so long ago, but… I remember they existed and that we were happy. So…” He cleared his throat and wiped at his eyes before standing. “I’ll see you later, Mamae.”
As he turned and left, the last of the ripples on the water he’d caused faded away and a budding wildflower opened its petals in a small ray of sunshine.