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Sanctuary

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It had been months since she faced the trespasser. He bounded through her world like a hound, stealing with him her trust and her heart. He stayed fiercely close to her during her ascent. When the opportunity arose, he vanished out of her life. The secrets she'd discovered months after are what's driving her to find him again.

The Inquisition was disbanded as well. A worn dagger wedged into the brown map of Thedas pushed the group into the foreign and dangerous lands of Tevinter. Efforts of searching for something, anything, proved to be fruitless for weeks. Lotasin'Dorei Lavellan, or more commonly known as Lotus, felt exhausted by the weeks of searching for answers in secret.

Forests were her familiar place, as the Dalish were nomadic people that traveled on land boats, aravels, through the wilderness. A quick glance into a mirror, however, would prove it trying to explain that Lotus was Dalish, mainly in part to her absent vallaslin.

She visited a sister clan to the Lavellan who made their presence known to those who could read the forest; patterns carved lightly on trees, foreign leaves by stumps, and the direction in which the birds flew were signs left to those who could read them. On her last day staying with the Dalish, the keeper handed a light pouch of parting gifts.

The Elven ex-inquisitor held her head in her hands, sitting in a lonely campsite in the outskirts of civilization. The crackling of the small campfire brought her to her senses. The small, leather pouch contained rare herbs that granted consciousness in the fade. She had used the remaining resources of the Inquisition to acquire these precious plants and finished most of them off by now. Dreaming in Skyhold had been difficult to focus and navigate, but perhaps the weak veil of Tevinter would be easier.

She fell back into her makeshift tent; The overpowering scent of herbs and lingering taste of lyrium drowned Lotus into a slumber. As a mage, she was able to see the fade. On quite everyday circumstances, mages are not able to consciously control their adventures whilst dreaming. This day for the ex-inquisitor seemed to be different. Her eyes closed, and the world went dark.


A green expanse of floating rocks and quiet noise woke her, wide-eyed and expecting. She glanced about, ready to explore for something.

"Durlahn, darem!"

Quiet, vanish!

His hand reached quickly for her shoulder, and he exclaimed his spell in a hissing whisper.

"Is Judala em'an vis hartha"

He will kill us if he hears

Lotus complied, partly in shock. She felt a change in her body for a second, becoming slightly lighter. She was now following the commands of a stranger spirit, following him as their pace picked up. Sharp ears peeked out from under his long, red hair.

They come to an abrupt stop, and after a hand wave, a massive tree with a rabbit hole entrance was made visible. The two waste no time climbing into the hole, and the spirit turns around before Lotus could see the underground. He stared straight into Lotus' eyes and gripped her shoulders to prepare her.

"Ma'melin Aethas, Ar ame falon ormana"

My name is Aethas, a friend of the distant past.

Aethas paused for a moment, glancing behind him.

"What you are about to see may shock you. I understand you have no memories from Arlathan…"

Lotus did nothing, her mind slowly processing what could be happening. The spirit released one hand and made way for her to see in the center of the dirt room.

A woman lay on a pedestal, partly destroyed armor glistened gold in the soft green light. Roots from the tree above pattern the dirt walls, and reach back up into the center, twisting into the pedestal. Lotus stepped forward to the physical body, it laying without a breathing movement. It was like looking at a mirror; closed eyes, a few extra scars, and a foreign vallaslin are the only differences between the sleeping woman and Lotus.

"Lota is your name."

Aethas broke the silence, startling the ex-inquisitor. His long, red hair contrasted the green around them like refined silk against tree bark.

"Your spirit split from your physical body when he created the veil."

He continued, watching her carefully while explaining. Lotus was stiffening in confusion and shock. Aethas gave a slight smirk out of nostalgia, thinking about the memories from the past before he continues.

"The spirits lamented your death, but we couldn't understand how your physical body was here. We hid you far from what is now the Black City. Over the centuries you were forgotten: your physical body was not in a place of pilgrimage and your soul had been unseen… until now."

Lotus only stared into the sleeping face of the other woman... Herself? Her mind was rearranging the pieces and trying its hardest not to believe it.

"If I had not been your keeper then even I would have forgotten your face. It's apparent you finally found a mutable body that created its own identity and shaped this world once again."

Aethas stepped behind her and stood solid for what would happen next.

Nails like needles gripped at the skin, ghostly hands gripping her forearms, the spirit clung onto Lotus in a quick moment.

The corpse sat up with closed eyes, facing Lotus. Terror flushed over the woman as she kicked and screamed but was held back by the arms. The corpse raised her hand to the frightened one's face, slowly opening the eyelids to reveal nothing. Thick, luscious ash blonde hair framed her paling face. The thorned vallaslin was unlike any Dalish markings she had ever seen before. Hollow fingers met Lotus' skin, and staring into the nothingness caused her to gasp in enlightenment.

Memories, secrets, friendships, feeling and fleeting rushed through her mind. The golden city shone brightest, and the true blood of the Elvhen became her. The corpse fell onto her, melting into her, becoming one. Aethas released his grip and gave her some space.

It flooded over her like the waves of the ocean. Now she remembered her past life in Arlathan, as the Champion of a king. She was the lover of Solas, and confidant of the Dread Wolf. Now, her blood sings in full, as true and real as the Elvhen. She felt her arcane ability change into something foreign and familiar.

"Your time in life inspired as much as you had in death. Even now, you persevere."

Aethas quietly spoke, hoping not to destroy her adapting mind.

"Solas walks the dinan'shiral to awaken those trapped in the Eluvians. That also means destroying the physical world and unleashing the Evanuris in the Black City and the Forgotten Ones in the Abyss. I am certain he cannot restore Elvhenan on his own, and without taking as many innocent lives he needs."

He stopped, words cutting short on themselves. He searched Lotus' focused expression for an answer. The only thing left on the resting pedestal was a golden hilt.

A long pause was met with a response: not with fear or naivety, not with anger or contempt, but with strong-willed determination.

"I will find a way. Var las vir suledin tarsul ga, lethalin."

Our hope will prevail over all, lethalin.