Posted by : Wendy B Wednesday, 23 May 2012

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction for my personal entertainment (and maybe yours). Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II and all related characters and locations are the property of Bioware Inc. RATING: Grown ups.

Mardelle and Zevran reached the group just as Merrill’s blade slid into Marethari’s belly. Mardelle screamed in anguish as she pushed through the group and shoved Merrill violently out of the way, taking hold of Marethari and sinking to the ground, cradling her gently. “Forgive me, Keeper. I should have found you sooner.”

Marethari’s eyes focused on Mardelle’s face momentarily and she smiled. “It is I who am sorry, dahlen. It pained me to send you away, but I knew you would not fail us. The clan is yours, now, Keeper, as it should be. Your father would have been... so proud of ... you....”

“Keeper!” Merrill sobbed, falling to her knees on the other side of Marethari’s body. “Oh Mardelle! Why did she do this? This wasn’t supposed to happen!”

Mardelle looked up then, a single tear rolling down her cheek, passing her bared teeth. “It should have been you,” she seethed, her eyes flashing darkly. It made Merrill fall back in fear. It had been a long time since Merrill had seen her friend, but even then, she had never seen her like this. The rage was barely contained. “Y-you...” she stammered, “You don’t understand! I was just trying to...”

“I know what you were trying to do.”

Merrill dropped her head into her hands and sobbed again. “Our people have lost so much. I just wanted to find a way to –“

“YOU WERE THERE, MERRILL!” Mardelle yelled, finally allowing her rage to spill out, “You saw the darkspawn in that cave! You know what the mirror did to Tamlen and I, yet you persisted with this madness despite all of Keeper and Duncan’s warnings! For what? Was our history worth this price?”

This attack gave Merrill pause from her tears. “Hypocrite! You didn’t believe that shemlen or Keeper about the eluvian’s power! You didn’t believe them when they said you would die and that Tamlen was already dead!”

“Yes,” Mardelle said, suddenly quiet, “I was a fool then, afraid of being torn from my clan while my best friend was lost, suffering as I was. But my eyes were quickly opened. While the clan ran from the Blight, I faced it. I put an arrow through Tamlen’s tainted heart and a sword through the head of the archdemon. I suppose you have the excuse of your ignorance, having not seen or done such things.”

“I am not ignorant, Mardelle! I knew what I was doing!”

“Did you? You played with demons and blood magic like they were a child’s toy, Merrill!”

“I didn’t! I was always in control!”

“Fool!” Fenris spat from behind her. “No mage can control a demon! Blood magic is and always will be evil!”

Mardelle looked up at Fenris, seeming to seeing him and the others for the first time. “Who are you.” It was not a question and Zevran wisely stepped in, putting a hand on Fenris’ arm. “I do not think my wife will appreciate your anti-mage views right at this moment. Why don’t you go out and look for high dragons to play with instead. It would be safer.” Fenris shrugged off Zevran's hand, but a look from Joili prevented him from pursuing his cause. Grudgingly, he stormed out of the cave.

Anders managed to hide his smirk over Fenris’ departure, turning his attention instead to Marethari. He knelt beside Mardelle, passing his hands over the Keeper’s body, knowing it would do no good. He gently closed her unseeing eyes. “I’m sorry, Mardelle.” She gave him a faint smile of thanks and sighed heavily.

Joili had been watching the exchange between the two dalish women closely. She’d realized who Mardelle was, even before Anders had identified her as the Hero of Ferelden. Joili was angry with Merrill for being so naive, but, unlike with Isabela, Joili knew that she had played no small part in this tragedy and could no longer remain silent. “I take responsibility for this. Marethari placed Merrill under my charge and I should not have allowed her to do this.”

“Are you possessed by a demon who controls your actions, Champion? Or are you just blinded by your friendship with Merrill as she was blinded by her ignorance and obsession?”

“I do not excuse her from her part in this, but I should have done more. She was my responsibility.”

“You give her more honour than she deserves, Champion.”

"I know."

Merrill gasped. “And now you turn on me, Hawke?”

“Merrill,” Joili sighed, shaking her head, “I was a fool to allow you to get this far and risk all of our lives. I will take responsibility for that much, but you need to open your eyes. Your people had good reason to fear your actions when you refused the wisdom of your Keeper and your friends.” Joili wanted to say more, hoping that Mardelle would allow it, but knowing that she should not come between them.

But it seemed that Mardelle understood. She rose, nodding to Zevran, who gently lifted Marethari in his arms. Mardelle used her good hand to pick up the dagger Merrill had used to kill the Keeper, still thick with darkening blood. She tossed it at Merrill’s knees and followed Zevran and Anders. “The clan will want your blood,” she said as she passed by Joili.

“Well, you are Keeper now,” Merrill with her last shred of defiance, “Take my life as you did Tamlen’s, if that is the only thing that will atone for my sins.”

“No, Merrill,” Mardelle said, looking back. “Tamlen was my responsibility. Your friend has claimed responsibility for you. Answer to her.”

Mardelle turned and walked away, leaving Merrill utterly alone, even with Joili standing there. Through her tears, she stared at the blade before her. "Was I .... wrong, Hawke?" Merrill said after a time.

"Yes."

Merrill looked up sharply, "Well that was surprisingly to the point."

"I'm sorry, Merrill," Joili sighed, kneeling beside her, "I never believed that you would go this far. I thought you had learned your lesson after the Fade, but I was so very wrong. And now Marethari's death is as much on my hands as it is yours."

"But I did learn from the Fade, Hawke! I would have resisted this time! I -- I could have resisted... I'm sure of it...I'm ... sure...."

Joili wrapped an arm around the tiny elf and held her tightly as the sobs shook her.

"What do I do now, Hawke? I have no place to go."

"I know," Joili whispered, picking up the dagger. "I'm sorry."

2 Responses so far.

  1. I just noticed that you changed your Mass Effect journal into this. Or did you delete the Mass Effect journal and start this one?

  2. Changed it into a full gaming journal and a place to keep my headcanons.

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