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She made the decision after losing her arm.

If she was honest with herself, she's been entertaining the idea since she first woke up to the pain of the Anchor. Her friends were dead, her lover was dead. She was stranded with shemlen, who denounced her with one breath and raised her as their religion’s new symbol with the next.

But Thedas needed her. She led the Inquisition not for the shem, but for her own People. She had to close the Breach, defeat Corypheus and bring peace to her world again.

She thought she'd be doing it all alone. Playing pretend to please her captors who masqueraded as companions. But Solas... well.

The elven apostate was abrasive at first, but he was the only piece of her culture she still had. Her only connection to her own beliefs. He wasn't Dalish, no, but after they had a good shouting match over modern elven culture versus the ancient glory, they came to an understanding. She thought, for the longest time, that he preferred to live in a dreamworld, with his frequent journeys through the Fade. But with each shared piece of knowledge or memory of the past of her People, she became fonder of him.

Yes, the kiss in the Fade might've been a mistake.

No, the kiss on the balcony never was.

She would treasured their dance at Halamshiral for the rest of her life. It was that tiny sliver of peace she found with him after trailing a bloody path through the conniving and ignorant, ambitious and deceiving shemlen that night, that let her give her heart away.

After the Arbor Wilds, his reveal of what her vallaslin truly was didn't take her by surprise. She mourned the loss of its meaning to herself, but was glad to be free from the slave markings. She was not glad, however, to lose Solas as well.

She never really got over that. They never managed to talk about it. He promised they would, but he left after she defeated Corypheus.

Looking back, she understood why he couldn't reveal his true self to her.

But she would never see Solas as anything but a coward.

Their reunion almost didn't come about.

She had closed all the remaining tears in the Veil. She had cleaned up the last of the Red Templars and the Venatori, still hiding in abandoned places and dark corners of the realm. She had finished her work. But the shem wanted a last appearance from her and she thought it was only fitting to end the Inquisition in front of witnesses, at the Exalted Council.

She didn't count on having to chase down Fen'Harel himself.

She didn't count on how much it would hurt to see him again and know him for who he truly was. Not the boogeyman of her childhood, but the Rebel who tried to save the People.

And ultimately failed.

She knew the Anchor was killing her. She welcomed her end. Solas granting her more time changed nothing really.

When all was said and done, with one less arm, she had disbanded the Inquisition and sent everyone home, or onto their new lives, new quests.

Only she remained at Skyhold. It was time to give it back to the past.

 

So now, she knelt in front of the statue of Andraste, in the tiny chapel by the garden, surrounded by the silence of the abandoned keep.

She had lit a single candle for light, as the sun went down. And she prayed.

Not to Andraste, not really. Not to the Creators either. She hadn't done that in a long time. Long before she learned that they weren't gods at all.

She prayed. Maybe to the Maker. Maybe to the memory of her old self, long lost and forgotten.

She prayed for strength and patience and peace.

She prayed for a dreamless sleep.

"You know," she said to the statue, as she lifted her dagger to point right at her heart. "I think I've done enough."

The blade slid through her flesh with ease.

Her last breath blew out the candle. And all was dark.