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The ache, it was ever there now, matching the one in her heart. Returning to Skyhold had been bittersweet, somber. No one had spoken much, everyone was careful to avoid looking at it. The remains of her arm, crackling scars covering what was left. Ellana refused to cover it, declaring it her new vallaslin.

Her quarters seemed more empty than usual. All traces of him had been removed or covered. She sat, staring out over the balcony, lost in her own world when the door opened quietly.

“Mistress,” The timid aide spoke softly. “There is a hooded elf here. He refuses to give his name.” Ellana stood and walked through the door. Didn’t matter to her who it was, it was probably one of his spies. They always were these days.

Kneeling in front of her dais was…

Abelas.

“Andaran atish’an.” His voice was gentle. “Inquisitor. I greet you.”

She stopped, “What brings you here Abelas. Its been years.”

“The Well speaks to you still, does it not? You know who he was and still is.” He stayed on his knee but gazed up at her. “Service to a being such as that comes at a price.”

She absently touched her bare arm. “I am aware. The Well confirmed it. But he saved my life. Took the Mark.”

“Did he give you a choice? No, your expression tells me he did not tell you what price you would pay. Being bound as you and I are, we did not get the freedom of choice. The agency of our own actions. Surely you know this. Bound as you are to the being that carries Mythal.” He rested back on his heels.

Ellana shook her head. “Its not like that. He said what we had was real. That he would not lie with me under false pretenses.”

“Oh, the Trickster does not speak falsehoods, but words are his weapons. And now,” He waved a hand at her. “We are both chained to him. As he wanted. Your every thought becomes more and more what he desires. His goals. Not yours. Can you not see?”

“Abelas, speak plainly. Are you saying my mind isn’t my own anymore?” Too many thoughts in her head at once, too many voices, her own and the Well’s.

“It is, and, in a way, it is not. Every action you take and have taken has aided him in some way.” He watched the realization dawn on her face. "And now you know what it is to be bond to someone and feel like all choice is slowly torn away."