This part of The Crossroads are cold and grim, wherein no spirits dwell and no remnants of libraries or life remain. It feels artificial to the touch of his magic and unnatural to his surroundings. Like always, Solas would find himself approaching each mirror and testing it to see if it were corrupted, locked, or working. The eluvians to the north were locked, most by the south were damaged, and the ones both in the east and west weren’t working.
He was beginning to feel desperate. This was Morrigan’s Crossroad and yet no mirrors were able to turn on. If only he could figure out why exactly –
“Master,” a voice called in ancient elvhen.
Solas sighed and turned around, giving the spy behind him a small, patient smile, “You need not call me Master, you are no slave – not anymore.”
“Ah, apologies… sir?” The younger man flushed red in embarrassment, fingers rising to scratch his cheek. “But that’s not why I came here – I’ve come to report that there have been reports of smashed Eluvians all over Thedas and I… sir?”
The spy averted his eyes, “Inquisitor Lavellan.”
He had not yet realized it, but Solas’ fingers were shaking and his gaze clouded in that white-blue mist. His brows were drawn together and his stance was rigid. His eyes looked toward the horizon, trying to focus on something that might calm his nerves –
“Whenever I’d get angry or frustrated,” she once said, smiling fondly as she gazed over the ocean’s distant horizon. “I’d look to the horizon and calm myself, knowing that there is always something over there – hope, I’d like to believe.”
But here, there was nothing.
“Do you think it’s silly, Solas?”
This pocket universe was artificial and the end of this world was just that, the end. Over the horizon would be nothing but The Fade or Thedas, two worlds he felt the burden of separating.
“No, Vhenan, I think it is a rather gentle idea.”
“Gentle?” she asked, tilting her head to one side.
“You find the most distant and strangest things and change them into good words of wisdom, it is wonderful to listen to.”
“Are you saying I’m wonderful to listen to?” she grinned, dark green eyes turning coy in the light of the sun.
“If I am?” he smiled, leaning close so they were inches apart.
“If you’re right about that then the rest must be true, about me liking the most distant and strangest things – because I do find them beautiful, and gentle, and kind despite that.” She pressed her nose to his, “That’s why I care for you so much.”
Solas drew in a sharp breath, turning away from the spy, pinching the bridge of his nose.
He still remembered her, after all that time – the memory of her clung to him. That time on the cliff in Redcliffe, taking a moment’s break, and watching her look to the sun catching on the waves. The way the grass, ever so dull in this world, seemed to shimmer around her – especially when she smiled.
Especially when she smiled.
“If I’ve offended you, sir, I beg for your forgiveness –”
Solas cut him off, “Apologies, my friend, I am not angry towards you.”
The young man pressed his lips together, “But there’s good news, too. We were looking at this part of The Crossroads and we found, maybe, one mirror in the far right – ”
“I will go to it,”
“But there’s a problem, maybe, it’s a… perhaps a shard.”
And indeed, when Solas found it he found that it was a shard. Polished and refined, fitted inside a small circular golden frame with a handle at the bottom. There was, however, nothing that indicated its workmanship was elven.
“We are afraid it won’t work, sir,” the spy remarked, “It’s too small but our mages said that a strange energy is pouring out of it, however it is difficult to draw it out – so we thought, maybe, if we used stronger magic to pull it out – ”
Solas frowned in concentration, remembering that conversation with the spy and recalling his lessons of the Fade with the Spirit of Wisdom.
“The Fade reflects the living world and so do The Crossroads, my old friend, but the difference is that the latter reflects it without the need of Spirits. It simply reflects on the reality in, in technical terms, the other side.” They told him, “No feelings, no different sides, just what is there and what isn’t.”
He held out his hand, barely grazing the surface of it and confirmed that there was a pull. Then a ripple of blue light and the sudden burst of light from the mirror. Solas moved his face away from the direct beam of light and shielded his eyes, watching how the light shot straight up into the sky and illuminated the grim and dreary area.
Suddenly, he heard laughter coming from it and his heart leapt in his throat, finding the nerve to look into the mirror again when the light died down.
In it, he saw rolling green hills and small cottages dotting the terrain. Then, suddenly, the image changed and he saw the scenery begin to shake – then a voice, panting, and the sound of running, feet on stone.
“Hurry up, Lavellan!”
“In a minute, I –” the image moved upward and found the face of a young woman, not yet worn by the tirade of war or grief – but retaining the glow of youth and joy with a wide grin on her pretty face. “Hah! I still look good!”
“Lavellan!” the voice called again.
“I’m coming –”
Solas blinked once, twice, and then felt the bright white swallow him whole.
At that moment, he wasn’t quite sure whether his eyes were burning because of the intense light or because he saw her again.