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It passed by all at once or seemingly not at all.


Sarya felt trapped in an hourglass of her own making as she stared up at the ceiling, hand lying limply across her chest. The light, like fragments of sand poured down on her through the window. Smothering. Her skin itched and the sheets felt too hot. Buried there, under the covers, she was unsure how to find the motivation to get out. Somewhere she’d lost herself. Was she really trapped or was it a fabrication she’d made up to make herself feel anything but numb? She shut her thoughts down with a slow steady breath. Inhale. Exhale. She wanted something different in her mind. What would today bring that any other day hadn’t?


Inhale. Exhale.


She turned to her lover.


The light hit him too, accenting a beautiful sculpted jawline, one belonging to the gods carved out of stone. Only he was flesh and pale with freckles dotting his skin, his eyes closed in peaceful sleep. She guessed he was probably in the fade having the most pleasant of dreams as she watched his eyelids flutter. Beneath those eyelids she knew there were eyes reflecting a mountain pass. Big and tall and wide, shrouded in foggy untold mystery. Eyes so beautiful it could make you weep. She used to–weep for him and because of him. She used to stare at him in wonder but somewhere along the way her senses involving him had dulled. She felt like she’d misplaced her heart and didn’t know how to trace the steps back to it.


Emptiness enveloped her like the vase that sat on the dresser. Flowers were long dried up and the water had left a permanent stain on the glass. She wasn’t quite sure it could be cleaned anymore. Reality stated it could be. It’d just take effort. Effort she felt no desire to put forth after it had been neglected for so long. She blinked and turned away, then sighed heavily before rolling back the sheets and slipping out of bed.


Her feet hit the cold timber and she shivered slightly. She snatched up her robe, a soft pink silken thing that surprisingly suppressed the early autumn chill, and stuffed her arms through the sleeves. She tied it tight against her body. She looked at herself in the mirror and realized she hadn’t done anything with her hair in weeks. So she brushed it out, turning it into a fluff of orange frizzy curls and then tried to tie it up with ribbon. She had yet to master the one handed hair thing even though it’d been ten  years since she lost her left arm. When it happened, she had shorter hair and it didn’t need managed. As it grew out after a year she had Blackwall to help her as he’d stuck by her side those three years before Solas came back to her.


Over her shoulder she saw his reflection. A picturesque scene that belonged in one of Varric’s books. He was still snoozing and for a moment she remembered a time before now. A time when she craved his touch. They used to lay there together, all tangled, drinking in the love of a mornings wake. They’d make love and when satisfied she’d get out of bed and he’d run his hands down her shoulders, kiss her neck and braid her hair for her. He had taken care of her. That was then. She closed her eyes and the brush clattered on top of the dresser. It sounded deafening against the soft trill of the birds outside. Her eyes flew open, hand reaching out to still the brush as Solas stirred but didn’t wake. Her breath let out in a whoosh. Then she left the room and it’s dusty memories where they lay.


She went about her daily routine of making breakfast and her cup of tea and sitting down at the table to read the local newsletter. Orlais had the most ostentatious news that she was certain had very little factual information. Still it entertained her to no end. She had begun reading a bit about Marquis DeVeaux’s estate mishap. A sinkhole had developed on his property that overlapped with the neighboring Marquis and they were attending court to see who had to take care of the hole. As if it would hurt either pocket. It made Sarya laugh. Petty. So Orlesian.


There was a scratching at the side door and Sarya set down her newsletter to spoon some scrambled eggs on a plate. She opened the door and her small red wolf was sitting, begging.


“Hey Red, I didn’t forget about you.”  She bent down to give her the plate of eggs and scratch her behind the ear. The wolf gobbled it down in half a minute just to look back up in askance. “Sorry girl, that’s all I’ve got. We’re low on supplies too. I've got to make a run into town.”


The wolf tilted its head and whined.


“I know. Did you check the traps this morning?”


Another whine.


“I’m sure they’ll catch something soon. It just takes patience.”


Red lay down and rubbed her front paw over her face.


“Yeah, I don’t like waiting much either but patience is always rewarded.”


She patted the wolf’s head and then wrapped her arm around it for a hug. She stood and studied the outdoors. The leaves were finally beginning to change with pockets of red and yellow appearing amidst all the green. A small weight was lifted as she realized change was coming, even if it was just in the season. She left the door open to let in the breeze and went back to her morning routine. More tea and more news.


Sarya heard him come down the stairs but pretended not to notice him as he walked right past her towards the counter. She’d been feeling kinder than usual so she’d left him a few flapjacks albeit cold ones. Still, she was trying at least. He fiddled with the dishes and she watched him out of the corner of her eye. Each move he made seemed to agitate her. He was like dirt under her fingernails, a ceaseless annoyance. But why she felt this way, she couldn’t place.


“Good morning,” he said. His voice was soft but bright.


She gave a terse nod. He sat down and took a bite into his food. A piece dropped onto his shirt and she sighed heavily.


He brushed the food off his tunic. “Is something the matter, Vhenan?”


“No,” she said. She went back to staring at her newsletter, the words a blur on the page. His chewing was loud in her ears. She set the paper down brusquely. “Why do you always have to wear that? Don’t you have anything nicer to wear?”


Solas stopped chewing and looked down at his tunic. He grazed the edge of it between thumb and forefinger.


“Sarya…” his voice came out low, gentle even. It pissed her off more. “What’s going on?” He pried, reaching out to grab her hand across the table. She withdrew it sharply, balling it into a fist in her lap.


“It’s just that you used to dress nice. Now you don’t. I don’t get it. We have money, you could get something tailored that looks nice on you.”


“But this is more me . You know this.”


“Well perhaps you should dress more like him,” she snapped. She was referring to Fen Harel, the Dread Wolf, the side of Solas she had stamped out. Yet she found herself wanting his return. She hated herself for the conflicting thoughts.


She could tell the words stung as he hung his head. Her face flushed red. She didn’t know why she was being such an ass.


“I’m sorry,” she whispered as her cheeks warmed, “forgive me. I shouldn’t say such things.” She pushed back her chair. The grating of the legs was deafening in the wake of her words. Taking her cup with her, she went to the counter and wiped a tear as she set the empty cup on the counter. A silence washed over them as she stood staring at nothing.


“Sarya?” Solas asked.


“Yes?” She replied.


“Are you pregnant?”


Seriously. She inhaled deeply, rage bubbling in her gut like a pot about to boil over. A release of breath and...


“I can’t have any children!” She cried out. She didn’t know this with positivity but they had never used anything to prevent pregnancy and now she was forty two and still with no child. Soon it would be a biological impossibility that nature bestowed on her. Her fist slammed on the counter, rattling the tea cup and angry tears ran down her cheeks.


“Sarya….I…” his voice was so filled with sorrow that it could make the hardest heart soft. But she didn’t care.


“It was the mark! Your fucking magical mark!” She accused, needing something to hold on to. It wasn’t necessarily true. But she needed something, anything to blame. Even Solas wasn’t free from her anger at the universe. Blaming him seemed justified. It made the most sense. “I just know it! It’s left me barren.” It seemed easier to blame the magic that had become a part of her when she was dubbed Herald of Andraste and tasked with closing up rifts in the sky that poured out demons and terrorized the world than to believe that life had just chosen not to let her have children.


He was stumbling over his seat now, rushing to her side. So much regret washed over her in that instant. Here she was throwing accusations like daggers at his heart yet he kept coming. Somehow she knew he would. This voice inside of her begged her to make him feel the pain. The pain that she couldn’t bear alone. But she wouldn’t have it. It wasn’t fair to him. He tried wrapping his arms around her but she pushed him away.


“No!” Her voice went down to a soft intonation. “No. Don’t comfort me. I...I just…” She closed her mouth and wiped her face. “I need some time alone. Excuse me,” she said and rushed out the door.


The wind had picked up outside. Wisps of hair whipped across her face. It was as if nature was giving her a lashing. She hurried to the overgrown garden in the back of the house. Weeds had grown up, tall and free. She kneeled before them. Then she began ripping out weeds while weeping, sowing seeds of regret and watering them with tears of bitterness.