Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Alim Surana, Morrigan, Zevran; appearances by Dog, Finn, and Ariane. Zevran/m!Surana, past m!Surana/Morrigan implied.
Spoilers: For DA:O endgame and the Witch Hunt DLC
Notes: I posted this fic to Tumblr some months ago, but never quite got around to putting it here. But since this week is Surana Week in the dragonagefanweek community, I thought this would be a good opportunity to clean it up and crosspost. This story is based on my playthrough of Witch Hunt with Alim Surana, who had many conflicting feelings about performing the Dark Ritual. I didn't quite get the dialogue options he wanted in-game, so I decided it needed a fic.
Also posted to AO3.
Alim Surana had tried to leave without attracting any attention, waiting until his love was well and truly asleep before slithering out from under the covers and pulling on his robes in the darkness. But before his second boot was halfway on, the lump on the bed was in motion: rolling over, sitting up, rubbing his eyes. Alim cursed under his breath. He should have known that any attempt to sneak away from Zevran Arainai was doomed to failure.
"Alim?" Zevran lit the lamp at his bedside and blinked at him, then sighed. "You're going, aren't you. Running after a mad rumor that someone, somewhere, has seen that cursed swamp witch."
Alim sat on the floor and pulled his boot the rest of the way on. "I'm sorry, Zev. But I must."
"But why, my lover?" Zevran sat up, the sheet falling off his shoulders to reveal his bare chest. "Why go back to a place you hate so much?"
"Because I have to know." Alim leaned back against the wall, let his hand fall on his knee. "If Morrigan is there, if she can tell me what happened to my son, my daughter..." He swallowed, hard. "I can't just sit here and wonder for the rest of my life. Surely you can understand that?" He had tried to keep his terrible bargain with Morrigan a secret from Zevran, but eventually it had felt too much like a lie, and he had confessed. Zev seemed to think that he ought not to worry about the child, but how could he not? Old god or no, that child was as much a part of him as of Morrigan. Regardless of his promises to her, he had a right to know.
Zevran shook his head. "I have tried to understand, but alas, I fear I cannot. But, well. Understanding is not necessary, only support. Shall I come with you?"
"Thank you, but no." Alim rose to his feet and came to the side of the bed. "This is my quest, not yours. Summer is all the help I need." He leaned over and kissed Zevran lightly on the brow.
Zevran chuckled. "Surely you can do better at 'Goodbye' than that." He curled a hand around Alim's neck and pulled him into a passionate kiss, teeth closing around his lower lip. So tempting, to crawl back into bed and stay there forever, but Alim pulled back, palm lingering on Zevran's cheek, focusing on his warm eyes.
"I'll be back soon," he said.
Zevran covered Alim's hand with his own. "I know you will."
Alim found passage from Antiva to Ferelden for himself and his Mabari, Summer, the hound who had been with him since the first days of Blight, and together they went back to where it had all began: the Kokari Wilds, Flemeth's hut, Morrigan's old home. From there they chased a trail to the Circle Tower, to an Elven ruin, to Cadash Thaig, and finally back to the Dragonbone Wastes, one of many places Alim thought he had seen the back of when he'd given up the position of Warden Commander and retired from the Grey Wardens for good. But here he was and so was she, pacing in front of the Eluvian, the mirror that had led his companions here.
"An Eluvian!" Finn gasped. "And it's working! I have to--"
Alim blocked Finn with an upraised hand and a glare, shaking his head. Finn had always been a talker, ever since they'd been apprentices together; for most of the journey his insights and the distraction had been welcome, but not just now.
Finn stepped back, and Alim heard Ariane murmur something. He turned to look at Ariane, and she looked back with something like understanding, though he doubted that she saw the whole truth. "Don't forget to ask about the book," she said, softly, and Alim nodded, then turned away, taking slow deliberate steps toward his goal, the answers he sought.
She met his eyes, then fell to her knees with a small smile for Summer as he dashed up to her, barking and jumping like a puppy. Alim felt a stab of envy for Summer and his simple joy at reuniting with an old friend. What did a dog know of obligations and regret?
Morrigan leaned back with a soft laugh. "Yes, all right. I confess. It is good to see you, too." She patted his snout, then stood, her expression becoming rather more forbidding as she crossed her arms and stared at Alim. "I told you not to follow," she said. "And you will come no closer, or I am gone, for good."
Alim lifted an eyebrow. "I'm not here to harm you. But if you thought I'd never seek you out at all, you didn't know me very well." She acknowledged this with a nod, and he came a few steps up the hill. "I just want answers. You owe me that much."
She scowled. "I owe you nothing. We struck a bargain, you and I: I would save your life and you would leave me be."
He spread his arms wide, showed his most winning smile. "What could it harm?" he asked.
For a moment she stood silent, and then a reluctant smile appeared in return. "Always the charmer," she said. "All right. Ask your questions, and I will answer as best I can."
The moment had finally come, but the words stuck in his throat, and he had to swallow several times before they came free. "Where is the child?"
The question came as no surprise to Morrigan; she nodded. "He is safe," she replied, "and beyond your reach."
He. The word echoed in Alim's head, filling his ears, his soul, and he almost staggered. He. A son. I have a son. "What-- what is he?"
"He is an innocent." A fierce edge came into her voice, the protective roar of a tiger for her cub, perhaps even... love? And the truth fully struck him then, a shiver down to his toes: Morrigan was the mother of his child. His son. Their son. They were bound by blood now, forever, even if he never saw her again. "And it is my duty to protect him from what he is, to prepare him for the role he must play in what is to come."
"And what is that?" Alim asked. He felt his boldness returning, the strength coming back into his voice. If Morrigan was going to use his son, just as she had used Alim himself...
She only shook her head. "Change is coming, a change that will rock our world to its very foundations. You can embrace that change, or you can fight it, but I advise you to see it as an opportunity."
Alim lowered his chin to glare at her and crossed his arms. "That's not an answer."
"And yet, it's the only answer you are going to receive. I advise you to be content with it." She stepped back, toward the Eluvian, its unearthly purple light casting a glow on her cheeks. "I leave you with a gift, and a warning. The gift is over there, sitting next the book that your female companion is seeking." She gestured over Alim's shoulder, and he saw the remains of a campsite : a burned-out campfire, a bedroll, and next to them two books: one slim volume, the other a heavy tome, bound in strips of ancient bark. "You will, I think, find it of great interest. As for the warning: beware of Flemeth."
"Flemeth?" Alim's brow furrowed. "But she prom-- she's dead," he corrected himself, hastily recalling the lie that he had once told Morrigan to gain her cooperation.
Morrigan's answering laugh was soft and derisive. "Whatever you did to her, whatever she told you... I thought she sought immortality, but I see now that her plans are much larger. If you wish to protect the world from the worst of the coming storm, seek out Flemeth. And now, I go." She turned toward the mirror; it was all Alim could do not to jump forward and grasp her by the arm.
"Wait, Morrigan, please." She looked over her shoulder, brows raised. "Please. I have to see him."
Her eyes softened. "You care about the child because he is yours. I understand. But believe me when I tell you that no good would come of it."
His heart tugged at him, swirling with a thousand questions. "What is he like? Does he have my red hair, your pale eyes? Does his elf blood show, or will people think him human? Is he a mage? I don't even know his name..." But he could see the resolve in her face, and instead, he stepped away. "I will come for him someday," he said. "This, I promise you."
She looked at her feet, then back up at him. "You are welcome to try," she replied. "But where I go today, you cannot follow. Farewell, Alim." She stepped back up to the Eluvian, its swirling lights growing ever brighter. "And for what it is worth, I am sorry." The tendrils of power came out to meet her, enveloping her as she stepped back through them; the purple mists swallowed her; then she was gone, and with her Alim's last hope of ever knowing his son.
He closed his eyes for a moment, blinking away the tears that threatened to fall. Finn brushed past him, quick steps up the hillside as he rushed to examine the Eluvian, its surface already fading back to the shine of an ordinary mirror. Meanwhile, Ariane was at the campsite, gathering the smaller book up into her arms. Whatever else Morrigan might have left there seemed a small consolation prize, but it was all that remained to him. Time to see what this new future might hold.
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