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In Word and Song

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Andriel picked her way through the dusty corridor, avoiding fallen rubble that had tumbled down from a crumbling window. Humming absentmindedly to herself, she swung open the heavy oak door and found herself in a long corridor, one side open to what seemed to be a courtyard. Squinting in the bright morning light that came streaming over the peaks of the Frostback Mountains, she stepped into a paved walkway, bordered by a simple arched colonnade to her left.

She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, the carved stone cool beneath her thinly-shod feet. The smell of earth and growing things filled her senses. Andriel sighed contentedly, making her way into the courtyard where flagstones gave way to earth, and bushes grew in sheltered corners or beneath the overhanging eaves of the nearby buildings. An old stone well stood in the middle of the yard, overgrown by tangling vines and surrounded by grasses. Bits of green peeked through cracks in the masonry at the lowest parts of the surrounding walls, finding a foothold even between the flat stones which marked paths through the entire yard.

It was clear that this had at one time been a garden, before the fortress was abandoned. Andriel walked among the bushes and herbs growing scattered in the earth, admiring the stone arches which framed this tranquil corner of Skyhold. There would be a garden here again, she resolved. Despite the sorrow, death, and destruction that lay behind her, and behind the Inquisition, they had rebuilt after the loss of Haven. It would be no different here. The Inquisition desperately needed - no, she needed the reassurance that life would spring anew from ashes and ruin.

As she sat cross-legged beneath the branches of a spreading tree, Andriel could feel a gentle reassurance creeping into her soul. It felt as slow and sure as breathing, as natural as the unfurling of a leaf, as tender as the first opening of a rosebud to the sun. The night had passed, and the dawn would come.