In the wake of every tragedy, there is disquiet, the sort of silence that descends upon a graveyard at midnight. The discordant emptiness buzzes in the ears for days, and shivers run up the spine when you think no one is looking. One gets the feeling that they’re being watched, that the phantoms of the damned and the innocent alike refuse to rest. How can they disperse into the ether when their demise was so uncommonly heinous? And how can one ignore them? We fragile, skittish creatures are so quick to turn away from the ugliness that stains the land, even after the blood has been washed away by the rain. We go on as if nothing has changed and that our cityscapes are not prisons of metal and stone, built upon the corpses of our children.
I don’t know why it still surprises me. Mortality produces stubborn stock, and radical changes of destiny are so rarely seamless. There is a reason why Andraste was put to the flames, why we call them the Flames of Freedom. For what is fire but energy in its purest, rawest form? The Imperium would not have crumbled without her death. The status quo cannot be subverted without a careful application of force. All that matters in the end is using the proper conduit for that change, that grasping reach for power.
It is clear we in Kirkwall did not heed the last prerequisite.
Anders was ever inclined towards volatility. I’m still unsure as to how I should feel. In my head, I know it was more Justice than Anders. I can grasp that concept intellectually. But as a matter of the heart, emotionally, I… Maker, but I am lost. There is a place in my chest, closer to the soul than to the heart, which feels so hollow. In retrospect, I always knew what he was. It is a failure on my part that I refused to be honest with myself before it was too late. I thought that, as a mage, I could understand him. An arrogant assumption for a woman in love, for Alyn Hawke; but a lesson for a leader, a Champion, a Viscountess. You cannot unravel the machinations of the mad. In the end, the only people we can ever hope to boundlessly know are ourselves. And even in that, we likely fail.
I cannot pretend to know the future. Even with all the magic and power at my disposal, I am still not good enough. Every last piece of my heart which has been dished out to the places and the people I love has not been enough. I could not save Bethany from that ogre. I could not save Carver from the Blight. I could not shield Mother from the magic that has hounded us at every turn. And in my weakness, my sad dependence on salvaging the unsalvageable, I could not keep Kirkwall safe from the man I loved, a man so passionately bound to his cause, who could never truly love me. How tragically romantic, our long and broken road to nowhere. I suppose, if nothing else, my memoirs will make a riveting tale, sure to set the nobility aflame with scandal.
Varric will, doubtless, be pleased.
–From the diary of Alyn Hawke, Champion and Viscountess of Kirkwall; 9:39 Dragon