Dorian's voice was hoarse as he kept trying to suck air into his punctured lung. The blood was coming out of his mouth now and Pyria knew it shouldn't have ever been like this. That should have been her.
There was nothing special about her now, the inquisition all but gone, her mark stolen from her just before it killed her.
How many times had she been saved from death when it should've been Varric being saved from his own crossbow, Cassandra being saved from a poison, or Dorian, saved from an arrow piercing through his lung.
He stared at her then, eyes incredulous as to what she could possibly be waiting for. They had opened the makeshift eluvian. All she needed to do was step through. All she needed to do was find him. She needed to stop him. But for one moment she allowed herself to be selfish. She turned away from the glittering and pulsating mirror she once would have marveled at.
He motioned violently with his hand toward the eluvian, his exasperation at her antics quickly leaving him in a fit of coughing, blood coming up on his once outstretched hand.
"I'm not leaving you." The words left her mouth before her mind had time to convince her that it wasn't a plausible solution.
"Darling, you and I both know what's going to happen if you try and take me through that mirror." His eyes softened then, understanding flashing across his eyes.
"I don't, and I won't consider it." Pyria took a step towards him, her defiant leg trembling. The excessive amount of lyrium that had kept her going was finally beginning to wane. They had been through all of this together. They had been fighting for months to keep each other in tact, she wouldn't stop now.
She looked around her then, wondering if Dorian's reluctance to continue was warranted. They were surrounded, and had been for hours. If she looked just past the doorway she could see some of their forces, still fighting to their bloody deaths. And in front of her, her best friend, choking on his own blood. She should have had his back. She should have been right there next to him, but she had been working to get the eluvian going. Their last bastion of defense against Fen‘Harel had fallen. The Winter palace. The Irony of it all was not lost on her. She only wished they could have met their end at Skyhold. As close to home as she had been in recent memory.
She had been in hiding for three years. Three years was all it had taken for the might of the inquisition to crumble under the cunning of Fen'Harel's forces. They had fought just as hard as her forces, though she would never admit it out loud. She had been forced to stand tall and proud, her anger never allowed to waver as the face of her lover haunted her dreams. But she had long forgotten about that man now. Solas was just that, a man. Something she had been forced to separate from the God who had picked off her companions one by one, isolating her in a hellish reality where she no longer had a true clan, let alone her makeshift shemlen one. Their faces flashed before her eyes, Varric, Bull, Leliana, Josephine, Cullen, her friends, her clan. They had all fallen one by one. She had witnessed each of their deaths first hand, never wavering in her commitment to defend them until the very end. What good had it done them in the end? Very little. She hoped that her company might have at the very least provided solace. But of even that she couldn't be certain. None had the privilege of final words. Though all had, at her insistence, the great privilege of proper death rites.
For her real clan she could say much less. Her and Cullen had come to the conclusion at the war table one winter night that going to protect them physically and in the flesh would have drawn too much attention to them. She winced at the memory. She could have chosen any other path. Could have listened to Leliana's advice, even Josephine's. But she had tried to be pragmatic and it had left them defenseless and outnumbered when Fen’Harel did come. She only prayed that his face was not the last they saw. That when she met Solas again she could absolve him of that one sin. The report had come back to her long after Skyhold had been abandoned in favor of the various safe houses. She was lost then, just as she was now, standing before an Eluvian which could bring her to the end of her story, to the end for which all of her friends and clan had died for. But she was stuck in place. Forced to choose between leaving her friend to die alone, to complete a task neither of them were sure she could find the strength to do.
They had been making their way to this point for the better part of a year. They had finally found a way to place an eluvian portal on Fen‘Harel's person without actually constructing an eluvian. It was an easy enough trick. She had returned his wolf's jawbone. The trouble truly came from finding a way to conceal the enchantment. Vivienne Dorian and Pyria had spent countless hours pouring over old Tevinter tomes and had consulted mages from the furthest reaches of Thedas. But the answer had been right under her nose. They had used rift magic to conceal it. Specifically, they had channeled the essence of her mark into the bone. The enchantment had required cooperation between Dagna, Dorian and herself, the three of them hardly walked away from the ordeal alive. She remembered the way they had all laughed, glad to be alive for one more moment as the undercroft had filled with smoke. The memory left her with a small sad smirk.
The eluvian she looked at now was a dull imitation of the ones Solas had set up. In the last moments she had known him by that name. His were beautiful, had nearly brought tears to her eyes, and most likely would have had she not been marred by the severity of the situation. Dorian coughed once again, resigned to prop his body up against the nearest wall. She looked at his face then. Where there had once been tawny skin and grin lines, she found countless scars, irreparable by even Vivienne's healing magic. Part of his eyebrow had even been singed off and what was left in its wake was mangled and pink flesh. She kneeled down to him then, placing her hands on his chest as she poured the little amount of mana she had left into a lackluster healing spell.
"It'll be alright Pyria, you're going to kill that horribly horribly dressed God for me."
"What if I can't Dorian? What if I get there a-"
"You will, I know you will because you will not let all of these people who have followed you to the ends of the earth, quite literally, to die in vain. You wouldn't mock our souls in such a way." Dorian winced at that as Pyria's mana began to fade out, the pain returning to him slowly. He continued, “I won’t make it with you through that eluvian, and I would rather not spend my last moments crawling towards it. You don’t have any time left. I can hold anyone who comes after you off.”
“No. Go.” With no small amount of effort Dorian put his own hand to his wound, pushing Pyrias off of his body. He tilted his chin towards the eluvian as he reached for his staff. “I can buy you ten minutes, don’t waste my lst spells.” The last few words were grunted out through clenched teeth as he turned his body to face away from her.
“Now! Go!.” His eyebrows had knit together, frustration at Pyria’s lack of movement becoming readily apparent.
She felt frozen to the ground, her last companion was giving his life, as all others had before him for some hope that she would be able to kill her vhenan, that she might be powerful enough to kill a God and live to oversee the aftermath. That she might be strong enough to watch the life leave his eyes. That she might actually know how to rebuild after this. That a Thedas without a veil could ever be normal again.
She closed her eyes and took a breath, remembering the last words Cassandra had said to her. She could remember the moment clearly, she was wiping Sentinel blood off of her sword as they made camp one night. It has been her turn to keep watch. But she knew just as well as everyone else that Pyria had been awake, scouting the area for any possible threats. They had spoken for hours around the small fire, about what they would do when this was all over, where they would live, if they would go back to Skyhold. How foolish they had been then, to imagine it would ever be over. Pyria had confessed that she still loved him, and she was never sure if the path that she was taking was the correct one, whether she should really be the one leading her friends against him.
Cassandra had sighed at that, setting down her equipment, and the small moment of reprieve fading from her facial expression. “We can’t think about it now, we just have to keep moving forward. If we don’t keep moving he will kill us before we have the chance to do anything, even change our minds.”
The memory quickly left her as her feet regained their purpose. She leaned forward, pressing a chaste kiss to Dorian’s forehead.
“Fuck em’ up Pavus.”
She turned away from him then, not allowing him to see the tears already falling from her eyes. The eluvian was already flickering as she made her way towards at a sprint, clutching her bruised, and likely broken ribs. She wasn’t sure how it would feel to travel through this makeshift eluvian but she clenched her jaw and dove head first into it, it couldn’t be any worse than what Dorian was about to experience. She dared one glance back at his already blurred form as the eluvian absorbed the rest of her body.