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Echoes across time

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She had disappeared from the tavern shortly after dinner, excusing herself quietly.  Needed to go for a walk and clear her head, she said.  Her dour manner through the meal had been uncharacteristic, but understandable given the day’s events.  If not for the angry echoes rippling across the Veil from her hand, he would have been content to leave her to herself.

It was easy to track her via the mark.  He found her sitting on a stone wall outside the waterwheel on the edge of town.  She stared up at the Breach with a thousand-yard look in her eyes, her hand unconsciously flexing in her lap.

Not wanting to startle her, he announced his presence with a quiet, “There you are, Ren.”

“Solas.”  She turned and cocked her head at him curiously.  “You came looking for me?”

“Your mark.  It’s agitated.”  As if on cue, it crackled and she hissed in pain.  “I could sense the vibrations in the Veil.”  He joined her on the wall, and she didn’t resist when he took her hand in his own.

“We had to close a lot of rifts in that… future world.  They were everywhere.”  The far-off look returned to her eyes as she looked once more to the marred sky.  “The Breach was… everywhere.”

Gentle magics flowed between them, siphoning off the excess energy and restoring the minor wards that had been stripped from so much use.  The angry glow faded once more to a dim aura.  “It must have been quite harrowing.”

“It was awful.  I don’t… can you… imagine it?” She trailed off, hesitant.  Pensive.  Searching for the words.  “Suddenly finding yourself in a world where everything is so viscerally wrong?  That should never have existed in that way?  And you were responsible for it?”

It took everything he has to keep his expression neutral.  To not burst out laughing, or sobbing.  Or both.  He’d been living that particular nightmare of a reality since he woke up over a year ago.  He knew all too well the feeling she’s describing.  But she was wrong about one key thing.

“It would not have been your fault, had that future truly come to pass.”

It would have been another thing he had gotten wrong.  Another unforeseen outcome to his plans.  It frightened him, just how close everything had come to falling apart once again.

“Yes, it would,” she insisted, turning her gaze to him.  Her pale green eyes stared into his with a sudden intensity.  “I didn’t ask for the mark.  But I have it.  I’m the only one who can fix that mess in the sky.  It’s my responsibility to see it done.”  She sighed heavily.  “I was lucky Dorian could reverse it and bring us back.”

“We all were.” 

He finished his work in silence, thumbs skimming along line in her palm.  He’d underestimated her capacity for understanding such things.  That she was capable spoke of a greater depth that he’d missed.  It pleased him.  

And somehow that frightened him all the more.