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to the earth

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They had burned the bodies.

She’d known that they would, but knowing didn’t change the fact that these were not the Maker’s children and they belonged to the earth, not the flame. Forlorn, Athi surveyed the blackened patch of bones, the burnt and broken pieces of her people—those who once had held her hand and helped her learn and called her name out when she was lost and who had been old and very young, in love, ambitious, watching their children grow, waiting for the next good day, strong and fearless, sick but getting better, alive.

Live well, da'len. You carry Clan Lavellan with you.

A hand in hers, slipped in quiet. Lips to her temple, wet where the wind had whipped the tears back into her hair.

Then soft words and a somber melody in a smooth, steady voice. A song for the dead. A Dalish song, one he had no right to know, but then she hadn’t wanted to sing it alone anyway.

So she wiped her eyes and tried to join him, but her traitorous chest shuddered violently before the first note and all she could do was weather the sobs that racked her body, brought her knees to the ground and her forehead to the ash-strewn dirt.

The song ended.

“We will bury them,” Solas said. His hands soothed across her back as her sobs gave way to a silent, shaking cry.

“And we will sow a forest.”