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Aftermath

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It started- or perhaps ended, with a crack. A blinding flash, and explosion of light, as the rift- that first rift, responsible for tearing apart the Temple of Sacred Ashes and killed beloved Divine Justinia- snapped closed, woven back together by the green light pouring from the hand of the girl- that is, the young lady who’d fallen from that very rift and possibly started this whole mess.

Leliana paused, her bow pointed towards the ground, but arrow nocked, ready for it all to go wrong once again, for more demons to fall out of the broken sky. She thought it was supposed to be mended? Wasn’t that the whole point of saving this girl- this child!- from Chancellor Roderick in the first place? Because she was supposed to mend the sky, to fix everything? There was still a painful, gaping green hole, surrounded by churning clouds up above. But.... It had stopped growing. And the green mark on the girl’s hand was calm, no longer crackling and threatening to devour her, just as the hole in the sky had threatened to devour them all. No. It was not over, but perhaps... Paused. Leliana’s mind snapped into action, and she loosened her grip on her bow, her thoughts firing, thinking of what she next had to accomplish. She must return to Haven. There was much to do.

Cassandra’s first thought was to run towards the crumpled body in the center of the crater. After the light was gone and the world had stopped moving, she hastened towards the girl. Hours ago she’d chained her to the floor in the dungeon of the Chantry, ready to send her to certain death for killing the Divine- for destroying their only chance at peace in this horrible war tearing Thedas apart. But that had quickly changed. While the mage was suspicious, in that she remembered none of the events leading up to the explosion at the Conclave, she had somehow quickly grown on Cassandra. She was young- definitely no older than twenty- and though Cassandra still wasn’t quite sure what to make of her, she sensed no malice or bad intent from the girl. She reminded the Seeker too much of mabari puppy. Clearly capable of immense violence and damage, but also sweet and far too eager to please. And so Cassandra ran towards her. The mark on her hand, while still present, no longer crackled and spit menacingly. And while the tear in the sky was still there, it grew no larger, and seemed calm, at least for now. She quickly picked her way across the battlefield to the limp form, leaning down, ready to lift her and get her out of this place and back to safety.

“Shit,” Varric mumbled under his breath. This was possibly the craziest thing to ever happen to him. Including the time Blondie blew up the Chantry! You couldn’t make this stuff up! Well, maybe someone could, but probably not him. The elf(the one with the mark not Chuckles. Ugh. He’d have to work on that. She’d given him her name, but it was far too many syllables, and really that just wasn’t his style. No, he’d have to find something better to call her) was lying in a heap under where the giant rift had been, and the Seeker was already running towards her, either trying to rescue her or maybe ready to finish her off. Either could be true, as far as he knew. He shouldered Bianca as the Seeker lifted the girl (Girlie? No, that wasn’t quite right) and began to hoist her out of the crater. Time to get back to Haven.

Solas watched Cassandra lift the person who was probably the only one capable of putting this right out of the pit where the Temple of Sacred Ashes had once stood. She was alive. That much was clear from the way Cassandra was protecting her head from being bashed against the wall, or the ground, or any number of objects that’d been thrown during the blast. The girl was resilient. That much was certain. He hung back as the rest of the group made their way back to Haven and looked up at Breach in the sky, a plan slowly formulating in his head. Yes. This he could work with.

 

Back at Haven, the air buzzed with emotion. Fear, excitement, confusion. They were found in equal measure across the pilgrimage. The townsfolk watched as Seeker Cassandra returned to the village, carrying the limp from of the woman who was her prisoner only hours earlier. She placed her in a bed in one of the houses on the lower level of the village, and shut the door, consulting with the Elven mage and apothecary Adan for what felt like hours, but was only minutes. It soon became clear however, that no one was to enter the cottage, accepting Adan and his assistants, the mage Solas, and those whom had somehow become their leaders in such a short period of time; Seeker Pentaghast, Commander Cullen, and Sister Nightingale. And anyone who thought they might sneak in to catch a glimpse of the unconscious figure was quickly deterred by the guards stationed in front of the stairs leading up to the little house. Rumors began to stir, and it wasn’t long before people began to whisper of prophecies and signs. Of things seen in rifts, and long dead women. No one could say where the idea that the girl had been sent by Andraste came from, but it caught on quickly, and the people of Haven flocked to the area around the cottage, watching the healers trail in and out, waiting.

Cullen had been with the soldiers when the girl- the young lady that the people of Haven were now calling ‘the Herald of Andraste’ had been brought back from the temple. Something felt familiar about her. Perhaps it was just the strange juxtaposition of another pivotal moment in his past, when his fate had been entwined with another elf mage. But it had been ten years since the fateful day when Ferelden’s circle tower had fallen, and the circumstances here were different. He hadn’t had a chance to meet her before she’d taken Seeker Pentaghast and gone to sneak through the mountain fortress towards the Temple. He wasn’t too sure what he thought of her. She was young, and from what he’d heard from Cassandra, smart and kind too. She thought she would be an invaluable asset to their cause, and he had to agree. What choice did he have? If what the other’s said was true, she was the only one who could seal the rifts. It felt wrong to put all of this on the shoulders of someone so young. But after all, the last time Thedas was in danger, it had been another young elf mage who’d put the world back together. Granted, demons and holes in the world were different from darkspawn by a long shot, but for once, he had a good feeling about a mage. And he was willing to take a risk. If it didn’t pay off, it’s not like he’d be alive much longer anyway.

Leliana paged through the file she’d put together from reports from her many spies. Young Lavellan was.... Interesting. And perhaps promising. The whispers of ‘Herald’ both worried her and gave her hope. Though she prayed every moment she had for the Maker to explain how any of this could make sense, she knew she must continue forward. People were relying on her. And she was never one to let anyone down.

Down in the forge, Harritt planned. If the person who had come out of the Chantry a prisoner and returned a person of legend was going to be helping out in the world at all, she would need armor. Nothing fancy, just something sturdy and warm. She was a mage, wasn’t she? He had something perfect in mind.
In the tavern, Flissa fretted. She tried not to let it show as she served the people of Haven. But what was she to do? The sky had exploded, and out of it fell the Herald of Andraste. To make things worse, she was an elf. And a mage! Surely the Maker had sent her to punish them for the way they’d treated the elves and mages. They were the Maker’s children too, weren’t they?

Flissa considered changing careers to something that involved wearing a lot more red and white, but she was needed. Sister Leliana had brought her here for a reason after all.

Segritt slipped some coin to a knife-ear servant. She had been one of the only people coming in and out of the little house that held the unconscious body of the Herald. Or maybe just another mage. Either way, she clearly wasn’t considered guilty, or she’d be rotting in the dungeon, instead of causing the greatest fuss in Thedas since the blight! It’d been two days since the Right Hand of the Divine had brought her back to Haven and ordered for no one to enter the cottage without being personally vetted by her, but by the Maker was he going to know the second she woke up!

Adan didn’t have time to think. The past three days had been a blur of potions and poultices. And still she didn’t wake. The fever had broken, and the colour had slowly returned to her face, but still she slept, her hands occasionally clenching as a small zap came from the mark on her hand. When that happened the first time he’d called the other elf mage, Solas. He’d said it was nothing, just the energies of the Mark finding their place on the Herald’s hand. He said that it’d stop after some time. And eventually it did. At the end of each day, Adan collapsed into his bed, barely sleeping for a few hours before dawn came, and another day was spent trying to wake the Herald.

In a little cottage on the lowest level of a tiny village surrounding a large Chantry not more than a few miles from what had once been the Temple of Sacred Ashes, hands twitched, and eyelashes fluttered, as visions of green light burst behind sleeping eyes. A door banged open, and eyes opened. Halanari Lavellan was awake.