Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Loral Mahariel, Merrill; brief reference to Mahariel/Morrigan
Spoilers: Implied, for both games
Notes: I was looking for inspiration and wandered over to the Dragon Age Prompt Generator. I hit the button a few times, then stopped on "m!Mahariel/Merrill, standing on a high ledge looking down". Features my slowly-but-surely progressing male Mahariel, Loral; I've written a little bit about his adventures on my Tumblr. This could be anywhere in the middle of the Fifth Blight.
Also on Tumblr and AO3.
Loral Mahariel is used to bad dreams, to closing his eyes and seeing darkspawn, to smelling their rotten blood and hearing the roar of the archdemon. Unpleasant as these nightmares are, he's learned how to force himself awake. And once awake, the dream is over and gone; he can either go back to sleep or get up to face the dawn and the day ahead.
But tonight is different.
Tonight, he stands on top of a mountain, a mountain far away from everything he has ever known. He is walking through an ancient elven graveyard, its stones carved with unfamiliar runes. They have an elven look to them, but he cannot read them, can't even guess at their meaning. He passes an ancient alter that burns with blue fire, and joins the slight figure that stands on the edge of a cliff.
She does not turn to look at him, only bows her head. "You're here," she says.
"Only for a little while," Loral replies. He stops just short of her side: the ground looks fragile, and he isn't sure it can support them both. "Come away from there. It's not safe."
"Now you worry about what's safe?"
The words have an edge to them, and Loral flinches from the sting of unfair rebuke. "I wanted to go back to camp," he says. "It was Tamlen who insisted on exploring the ruins."
"And you couldn't just leave him." She tips her head backwards, looking at the sky. "I know, lethallin. I know. I'm sorry."
"So am I." Loral goes to her, testing each step before he commits his weight to it. He wears boots of heavy Dalish leather, but Merrill is barefoot, her toes curling around the cliff's edge. "You're like him. Too much like him. Please, Merrill, come back with me. Come back to camp. The Keeper--"
"The Keeper does not understand." Merrill faces sternly forward. "She's going to send me away, just like she sent you away. But at least I'll chose my own destiny. I'm sorry you couldn't choose yours." She reaches out to him and takes his hand, linking her fingers with his. "You'll see. When all this is over, you'll see."
"I--" Loral looks down and sees everything spread before him: the mountainside, the aravels of his clan, and beyond to a sprawling city in flames. Then the sea, the land, the forests of Ferelden twisted and black with the corruption of Blight. It is breathtaking and terrifying, and he feels the weight of it all on his shoulders. No, no. He does not want this, he never asked for this. Why would Merrill ever leave their clan if she didn't have to? He tugged at their joined hands as he steps backwards, mind racing: if he can't save himself, maybe he can at least save her, pull her back from the edge, keep her close...
"Please, Loral, try to understand." Finally Merrill looks at him, meets his eyes with a sad smile. "You'll save the world, and I'll save our people, and everything will be just as it should be. You'll see."
And she releases his hand before stepping off the cliff.
Loral lunges for her, but he is too late -- her slim fingers slip through his, and she is gone; he flails for purchase, tries to stay upright but cannot, he is tipping over the edge, falling, an updraft of wind blasting in his face... and then he is awake, eyes wide open, staring into the dark night sky, the sound of a crackling campfire in one ear, Morrigan's soft breathing filling the other. He sits up and presses his head into his hands, trying to push the images away. Not a darkspawn dream, but just as real, and even more terrifying in its own way.
Many hours remain until dawn, and Loral spends them awake: crouched by the fire, searching the flames in vain for Merrill's face. What good is saving the world if he can't save the people that matter the most?
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