Chapter 17Mature

I remember tears streaming down your face

When I said, I'll never let you go

When all those shadows almost killed your light

I remember you said, don't leave me here alone

But all that's dead and gone and passed tonight

Just close your eyes

The sun is going down

You'll be alright

No one can hurt you now.

Taylor Swift- Safe & Sound

Light grey cloudsdrifted aimlessly hiding the beautiful blue sky above, chilling the air. Rays of the sun tried to break through but to no avail. The city was bustling with travellers and merchants looking to satisfy their needs.

I walked quietly beside Alistair; dozens of guards surrounded us, keeping us safe from any 'of the moment' assassins. A grotesque smell filled my nose as we passed the fish market; I covered my nose to stop myself from gaging.

Rain poured down a shop's rooftop and splattered onto the cobblestone steps only inches from me. I jumped quickly out of the way and collided into Alistair's side., He managed to reach out in time to stop us both from falling down.

As I straightened myself up, I took that opportunity to look at Alistair's face. His eyes looked absent even as he slipped his hand into mine. "Alistair, it's going to be alright." My attempts at trying to reassure him were useless but it didn't hurt to try.

"You keep telling yourself that, darling." Alistair muttered sarcastically.

Frowning at him, I crossed my arms and pursed my lips to show I wasn't playing any games. This didn't seem to bother him as he took back my hand and pulled me along. I didn't speak as we walked, with his hand tightening around my wrist it started to feel uncomfortable yet he didn't seem to notice.

"Alistair." I said loud enough for him to hear, but he ignored me. I carried on calling out to him but this just seemed to make him go faster until his grip around my wrist started to hurt. I couldn't contain myself as I screamed out his name. Jerking my hand away, I wringed my wrist side-to-side rubbing at the red mark.

As Alistair turned he must have realised what had happened because his gaze turned to sorrow. Instantly, he was at my side apologising and trying to look at my wrist. Groaning, I snatched my hand from his. "Alistair, I'm leaving."

"I know." He said, lifelessly.

"You're not going to see me for a very long time." This was my last chance to prove to him that I knew what I was doing. He didn't trust me to look after myself. I knew he thought I was unstable in my own mind.

"I know." He said again.

I reached up and rested my hand on his cheek. "I will come back." It was a promise, both to him and me.

Alistair hesitated, opening his mouth as if to speak but instead a small tear rolled down his cheek. I knew something like this had been building up inside him ever since I had told him I wanted to leave without him. Reaching up, I smoothed the tear from his cheek. He nuzzled his head into my hand before saying. "Don't make me promises you might not be able to keep."

He was right.

How could I make him promises? We are partners. We share our doubts, don't we?

I sighed. "I will try to come back."

Alistair smiled lightly. "Try your best." Now, that, I could promise. Leaning up on my toes I kissed his cheek lightly.

We walked hand in hand towards Denerim's city gates, people stared at us curiously as we passed them. I ducked my head to keep from meeting any of their eyes, rumours of my being the King's mistress passed around quickly, my new reputation was embarrassing.

I hated being the centre of attention.

The large gates towered high above us, offering freedom to the outside world. Even in the rain they looked magnificent.

Could I really do this without him?

The thought of leaving Alistair had unnerved me ever since I decided what I had to do. He wouldn't be there to comfort me. Argue with me about the silliest detail.

I was going to be all alone.

As we stepped out of the gates, my heart raced. Catching my breath, I turned to Alistair and threw my arms round his neck. "I love you so much." I whispered in his ear.

"I love you too. " He said back.

The tears easily flowed as I leaned back to take in his handsome face. When his lips touched mine they were hungrier and more frightening because I knew this would be our last. Maybe forever. This moment was all we had, so we savoured it, drank it till there was nothing left, yet even as he pulled away I wanted more.

I didn't want to leave. But I had too.

"Don't leave me here alone." Alistair whispered as a tear rolled down his cheek.

Reaching out I smoothed the tear from his cheek. "You'll be alright; I'll never let you go."

Alistair had my face instantly in his hands. "We could keep each other safe, you know. If you just let me come with you." His attempts at trying to change my mind hadn't changed my mind, until now.

Ferelden didn't need him as much as I did.

I shook my head in his hands. "We can't be selfish." I murmured barely audible.

Alistair grinned. "We could be shellfish if we wanted to be. Swim in the wide ocean, no worries and only fear of being eaten by the big bad shark."

I couldn't help but glare at his inappropriate humour. "Don't try to be funny, Alistair. It's not working." Even as I said it, I wanted to smile. His attempts at trying to make light of the situation had always made me feel better even if it wasn't entirely funny.

His face fell, so I reached up and kissed his cheek. I rested my hand over his heart, against his cheek I said. "I will always be in here."

"Lady Hawke?" I heard Grady call from behind us. A curse caught in my throat as I pulled away from Alistair.

His hand caught mine as I turned away. Looking back at him, I was mesmerised by his face. We didn't speak as I burned every aspect of his face into my mind. Slowly, I pulled my hand from his, the silent goodbye hanging in the air.

(¯`'·.¸( )¸.·'´¯)

3 months later.

Grady slowly guided his horse through the dark woods in front of me. He clearly knew this area well from his good sense of direction. Only half a day away from Antiva city, we decided to ride in when at sunrise. The air was warm even at night and I could feel myself wanting to take Alistair's robe off my shoulders.

Behind me, I could hear Tomas getting frustrated. He hasn't slept well since we crossed the Antivan border. Always looking over his shoulder and sleeping light. When I asked what was wrong he revealed that the Antivan crows had murdered his older brother years back.

At the crows mention, I thought of Zevran. Had Riona found him? Did he welcome her into his arms? I didn't know Zevran very well and from what I did know of him, I found him irritating to be around. However I had seen the way he and Riona acted around each other. I'd be very surprised if he turned her away.

Grady came to an abrupt stop and I had to quickly press my heels into my horse's ribs to stop from going past him. He slid heavily from the horse, landing awkwardly on the muddy ground. From my own horse, I watched patiently as he tapped on the trees and checked the ground for any sign of foot prints. Grady had been a part of the Grey Wardens in Orlais, one of the men who had been sent to find out how Riona survived the downfall of the archdemon. Yet, apparently he felt more obliged to follow under Alistair.

Alistair…

It was hard to think of him these days. Rumours were that Ferelden's king was in a state of turmoil. I had no idea that my leaving would bring such anxiety upon him, when I first heard the rumour I had jumped back onto my horse. It took Tomas and Grady three days to convince me to continue my quest.

This quest had been to cure myself but as I go on, I find the dreams getting worse. Alistair had always been there to comfort me. Protect me, if you will. On more than one occasion I found myself doubting that this was what I really needed.

In truth, curiosity was my main drive.

"We shall stop here for the night, Lady Hawke." Grady called to me over his shoulder.

Sliding from my horse, the mud squelched under my boots as I hit the ground. The horse shook its head as I took hold of its reins. I don't like you either. I cursed in thought. Looking back, I saw Tomas had done the same, his eyes on the ground. With narrowed eyes I pulled my horse over to the nearest tree and tied the reins around the bark. Tomas has acted strangely ever since we left Starkhaven, but I tried not to think about it too much.

Quickly I walked over to Grady who was pulling the tent from the back of the cart. The cart did slow us down but it was also essential for our dry nights. Unfortunately, we only had one tent, which meant I had to spend my nights sleeping alongside the men and their stinking feet. No matter how much I complained about their hygiene, they refused to wash.

"Grady, we are past the last name stage aren't we? Call me Cameron." I said, leaning my back against the cart as I watched him unload. When he passed he rolled his eyes and muttered something about orders and manners.

Twice a day, Grady made me shoot something with my bow and arrow, birds, deer's, rabbits. My aim was getting better and so was my speed, with each passing day I felt I was getting stronger. The pain was slowly easing from my shoulder from where the dagger had penetrated into my flesh. No scar replaced the wound unlike the wound under my eye; I'd rather it was the other way round.

Lacing my fingers through my now shoulder-length hair, I leaned back against the bark of the tree. At times like this I missed my journal, it was a dark night, a cold breeze blew up my thin brown vest and I felt lonely. It was back with Alistair, at the last moment I had decided that I wanted him to know exactly how I felt for all those months.

My last entrance had been the most heartfelt since I had already decided to give it to him.

Dear Journal,

I'll be leaving in an hour, most probably for a very long time. I'm scared. I wish Alistair could come with me. I want to be selfish. But then what if he died because of my selfishness? Bethany died because I wanted her back in my life; I didn't even ask her if she was happy. Clearly she was, Cullen…He had made her happy. Just like Alistair makes me happy, but why isn't it enough? Why do I seek the impossible? I don't know if I will ever find Morrigan and Letecia, or Riona for that matter. Letecia…this all comes down to her; something in me knows that she has all the answers. And Riona and I come into it somehow.

The Hero and the Champion.

Will I ever find peace?

I'm leaving this behind for Alistair. So he can know that everything I do is for our future. Maybe we could have children, despite his taint.

There is no going back now.

I slid my hand underneath my vest to cup my stomach, my heart fluttered at the idea of having Alistair's child. His chiselled face and luscious eyelashes and my fiery red hair and green eyes, I think we'd have a beautiful child.

Ughh, why did I make myself have thoughts like this?

Rubbing my eyes, I pushed myself from the ground and made my way over to Tomas who was sat in front of the fire we had made earlier. His head snapped up when he heard me coming. Circles were underneath his tired eyes; his thin lips produced a weak smile that didn't reach his eyes. Sitting down beside him, I felt his eyes stay on my face. "You're beautiful." He suddenly said.

This I hadn't heard before. Frowning, I turned to look at him. "What?"

"Uhh…" Tomas snapped his eyes from mine towards the fire. His face blushed scarlet.

"Tomas?" I pressed.

"Forget I said that." He jumped to his feet and walked away from me. But I wasn't finished so I jumped up and raced after him.

"Tomas, you think I'm beautiful? Where did that come from?" It was hard to keep up, so I wasn't prepared for him to stop, press me up against a tree and crush his lips against mine with so much force that I couldn't breathe. I was too shocked to respond right away, but when I finally calmed down, I pushed him away from me. "Tomas!" I shouted, throwing out my arms.

He turned away from me. "I'm sorry."

Anger churned in my stomach. "Where did all this come from, Tomas?" I hissed.

"I'm in love with you." His voice barely a whisper, but in the cold silence I could hear everything.

"What?" I wailed. This was news to me, Tomas had always been a friend, never had he shown these feelings. "How can you be in love with me?"

Tomas turned back glaring. "Quite easily, you just haven't noticed."

"I'm with Alistair." I said matter of fact. I couldn't believe how inconsiderate he was being of my relationship.

"You're with a king; he has plenty of noble girls wanting to be his wife. You think he's going to stick around if he finds someone who actually wants to marry him?" Tomas seemed over-emotional and hyperactive for someone who hasn't slept in a long time, so I tried to stay calm.

"Tomas, calm down, please. You're acting insane. I think you need to get some sleep." I reached out and laced my fingers around his wrist. However he ripped it away just as quick.

"Don't avoid the question. You know he doesn't love you." He stepped back into me, pushing me into the wall. "Not like I do." A whiff of alcohol filled my nose and I instantly knew why he was acting insane.

"You're drunk." He must have stocked up back in Starkhaven, without us knowing.

"You're beautiful." Tomas smiled, as he slid his hand over my hip. Instantly, I stiffened. Fear flowed through me because I didn't know how far he'd go in his current condition. My voice hitched on a scream as he crushed his lips against mine again.

Abruptly, he was ripped away and thrown to the ground. Grady stood over him looking angrier than I have ever seen him. "You will go sober up and will not return till morning." He said to Tomas. Turning to me, his face softened. "Are you ok?"

"Yes, just shaken. He's never acted like that before." I said.

"He'll be sorry in the morning; I wouldn't go near him for a while though. " Grady, was already pushing me back towards camp. I didn't realise how far we'd moved away from it.

"Thank you for stepping in. I didn't know what was going to happen." If I hadn't been so shocked that Tomas would ever treat me like that and declare his love for me in that same moment, I would have defended myself. Grady must have realised this too because he gave me a knowing look and sighed.

"If I may be so bold Lady Hawke, you are very pretty, I don't blame him for only being confident, drunk." Grady, pushed lightly on the small of my back.

"I don't know what to do. I don't feel the same way but I don't want to hurt his feelings either." A grimaced spread over my lips. I was afraid I'd end up being nasty to Tomas; some of the things he said about Alistair had mirrored doubts in my own mind not so long ago.

"Just sleep, good lady." We were already at the tent by the time Grady stopped. I didn't argue as I slipped into the tent.

(¯`'·.¸( )¸.·'´¯)

The streets were bustling with people; I almost had to shove them out the way to catch up with Grady and Tomas. More than a few times had those people shoved me back.

Teach me for coming into a foreign country and thinking I own the place.

Antiva city was unmistakably a big city, every tavern we entered the bartenders laughed in our faces when we mentioned 'Riona Cousland the Hero of Ferelden'. A not to mention there were a lot of taverns. What I hadn't anticipated was the beauty and posh nature of such a rambunctious place.

No litter soiled the streets.

No sleazy drunkard in the side alleys.

Yet there was something there, not something I could put my finger on.

My body itched as if a thousand eyes were glaring down upon me. I was instantly reminded of when I passed through Gwaren and I had felt eyes on me; it turned out to be Zevran.

That's when it hit me.

The Antivan Crows…Instantly, I realised why Zevran had come back here and why he didn't want Riona following him. If she came searching, asking his name, they'd get suspicious. And with Zevran's reputation, I wouldn't count on them letting her pass with a warning, especially considering that she was supposed to be dead by Zevran's hands.

My heart stopped at the realisation that both Riona and Zevran could be dead. No one had heard from them, not since the day we said goodbye all those months ago. Could the Antivan Crows get away with it? From Zevran's understanding they could.

I didn't care as I pushed and shoved to get back to Grady's side, when I reached him, my hand looped through his and pulled him to the nearest empty spot. Grady looked at me astonished, like I had just flashed him my breasts or something. "Err, Lady Hawke, are you ok?" He still seemed on edge even as I leaned closer to him. It was at that moment that Tomas re-joined us, looking as confused as Grady looked.

"I'm guessing we aren't going to be finding Riona in no tavern. Want to know why?" I said.

"The Antivan Crows, I know. They've been watching us for the past hour." Grady whispered, stiffening his jaw.

I knew someone was watching us.

I paused for a second, a new plan arising. "We have to allow ourselves to get caught."

Tomas nearly choked. "Are you crazy? They'll kill us."

Rounding on him, I glared. "You think they are going to let us leave the city now anyway. We've been asking around for Riona, who has been asking around for Zevran…Do I have to spell it out to you? We'll be dead by sun down anyway if we don't hatch a plan now." In truth, I wasn't entirely sure on those details. But from what Zevran had told Riona who had told me about the Crows, I don't think it was far from the absolute.

Tomas huffed. "Let's at least get some food in us first; I don't want to be tortured on an empty stomach." From the look serious look on his face, I didn't think I could deny him.

We headed to the nearest tavern which meant we had to walk back through the crowd. Even though what had happened yesterday had disturbed me, I took hold of Tomas' hand for encouragement. It was my fault he was here.

Will I ever be rid of this guilt?

Swallowing down the last piece of chicken, I wiped the cloth over my lips. It had been a long time since I had had a proper meal. I knew I had caught a few people's attention by scoffing my food greedily, but who could care less when I might be dead in a few hours?

I couldn't feel the fear that I knew Tomas was feeling, I didn't even wish for a quick release. My life has been so full of death and pain that I had become immune to my own. If someone could end the suffering and put a dagger in my heart ensuring that I'd never have to go through the pain of losing Alistair, I'd take it willingly.

(¯`'·.¸( )¸.·'´¯)

The moon was already in the sky before they had come for us. The air was silent and insanely warm against my skin. I didn't even bother to take out my bow, so I kept it around my shoulders. Tomas felt differently of course, his sword was firmly in his hands, I could see his knuckles turning white even in the dark.

Annoyance flooded me. "You think you'll fight?" I asked, casually trying to hide it.

Tomas shot me a 'what do you think' glance but didn't answer and carried on looking around. We were in a short alleyway, somewhere nice and quiet so being caught wouldn't bring attention to us. Surely the Crows would appreciate that?

"You think you'll last?"

Tomas didn't bother acknowledging that I had spoken. So I kicked the wall behind me and stormed off towards Grady who was sharpening his blades near old crates. "What's his problem?" I growled.

Grady sighed. "He still hasn't gotten over what happened, you know. You clearly have though. Maybe that's his problem?" From his tone, he didn't want to be spoken to either, but I wasn't ready to be quiet.

"He needs to get over it." I scoffed. To be frank, it was ridiculous at how Tomas thought I'd fall into his arms when I had made it so clear that I was in love with Alistair.

Grady turned to look at me. "I agree."

"Do you think they'll come?" I couldn't help but ask it.

"No doubt about it." Grady said and then sighed before adding. "You're the Champion of Kirkwall. According to you, they already have the Hero of Ferelden. Who'd pass the chance to get the Champion as well?"

"Was… Was the Champion." I corrected. I may have saved Kirkwall from the Quanri but I still had a lot to make up for, which will probably never happen now.

"You saved a lot of people back then, Lady Hawke. My niece for one, she was there in Vigil's Keep and you saved her. She admired you and still does. She screamed the place down when she found out I was coming on this little venture with you." Grady was laughing quietly; the memory must have been on his mind. A smile spread over my lips, I didn't realise some people still thought highly of me. I had assumed everyone had hated me for siding with that vindictive bitch.

"Thank you." I whispered.

"Huh?" Grady asked, astonished.

"I needed that. To know that not everybody hates me. That even one person still thinks I'm worthy of such praise. Maybe that's what I needed. Instead of all this." I threw out my arms.

His mouth opened but no words escaped as his eyes made large round circles. I turned to find three men dressed in tight suits stood in the open watching us. Waiting.

Did they want us to go out there?

I was about to take a step when someone's arms grabbed me from behind and I went flying against the opposite wall. Taking a second to get my bearings and the wind back into my lungs, I peered up at my attacker. He was very lean and muscular, the tight clothes pronounced them well. A scar ran from the top right side of his forehead down through his right eye. I didn't have enough time to evaluate him further before he picked me up by my clothes and slammed me against the wall. His breath smelt of ale but from the look in his eyes he was completely sober. "The Champion of Kirkwall, well now isn't this a surprise? I've heard some stories about you. Killed some friends of mine some years back. Mistress to the King of Ferelden, don't you get around?" His voice was deep and hoarse, enough the scare the life out of someone. Including me.

"I can't deny that." I said, trying on my best smug grin. My confidence was lacking.

He glared at me, tightening the grip of my clothes. "Hear you've been looking for the Hero. She's not here."

"Oh really?" I choked.

"What? You don't believe me?" Mocking disbelief.

"Not really, no." I said cockily.

"Too bad."

Darkness.

Cold, that was the feeling, a lifeless cold in the abyss of oblivion. Was I dead? No…the sounds of someone breathing, my breathing? Maybe. I tried hard to remember what had happened but it was just a blur. I had no sense of time; I couldn't even tell if it was day or night. Only endless cold and numbness.

It felt like eternity before I felt the hard floor against my skin, another sign that I wasn't dead. A gust of air fills my lungs and I choke on my own tongue. My eyes flutter open only to meet a dull darkness again.

Suddenly, agonising pain.

My right arm is pulsing in agony. I shut my eyes again to fight the pain. I try not to scream to not draw attention to whoever had inflicted the pain upon me.

"Cameron!" Someone shouts. Someone familiar. My eyes shoot open again, searching for the familiar voice. They shout again and I sit up, cradling my wounded arm. Looking around, I meet bars, tall and frightening. But beyond them, in a small light is the beautiful face of Riona. Battered and bruised just like I felt.

"Riona?" I whisper, shuffling towards the bars.

"I'm so glad you're alive. I thought you were dead." She sobbed. With the light reflected on her face, I could see the soreness of her eyes.

"Are they going to kill us?" I asked. Considering I was alive, they weren't that eager to have us dead. At least not yet.

"Now you're here. Of course they will. I overheard them talking about a public execution." Riona sobbed louder, quickly she wiped a tear from under her eye.

"That may give us the chance we need to escape. Get lost in the crowd." Then I remembered Grady and Tomas, where were they? "Where are the men I came with?"

Riona froze looking perplexed. "What men?" Fear in her tone.

"Tomas and Grady, they came with me to find you." Kneeling up on my knees a roaring pain seared through me, I had to grit my teeth to stop myself from screaming.

Riona seemed to notice this. "I don't know where they are. But what I do know is that you have lost a lot of blood. And you need to cover that wound." She lifted her hand and pointed towards me. Looking down, I saw the large hole in my upper right arm, blood seeped the hole. How had I not notice the blood pouring down my arm?

Jaw locked, I took hold of the lower part of my vest. A piercing scream escaped my lips as I ripped through the fabric. It came away easily. Before continuing I sucked in my breath and let it out slowly. Then with my free hand I wrapped the fabric around the wound, awkwardly tying a loose not. I once again sucked in my breath, laced the fabric around my finger and bit down with my teeth to secure it. Taking a second to clear my mind, I pulled. The pain was too severe to even care about the ear piercing scream came out of my mouth. My head spun as tears flowed freely down my cheeks.

"Better?" Riona asked concerned.

Turning to look at her, I tried on a weak smile. "I've had worse."

Riona grimaced, clearly not impressed; abruptly her eyes wondered off. "Zevran should be back soon. He's been gone for an hour already."

"He's alive?"

"Barely." Her voice broke and she slid to the ground. "They tortured him so much, that I'd rather he'd be dead than go through it all over again."

"Why are they doing this?"

"Zevran failed to kill me and instead we fell in love. Then he helped you kill the crows who failed to kill him. They are pissed." Riona sighed. It all made sense, but then why had Zevran come back? I didn't have enough time to ask before the flooded with light and Zevran was being dragged in by a large bold man. Zevran was completely naked, bruises and deep wounds covered his body. I glanced towards Riona who had sunken into the shadows, I could hear her crying.

The large man threw Zevran into the cell beside Riona's and before leaving he turned to look at me. A terrifying grin spread across his face. "You're next." He laughed and stepped towards my cell. I jumped to my feet, ready to fight if I had to. He laughed again and pulled out a ring of keys. I took this moment to search for a weapon; the only one I saw was on his person, fastened to his belt was a blade. I'd have to try and get it. He opened the cell and stepped in. He towered over me, glaring with piercing eyes. I judged my strength; my right arm would be useless in its current state. But I still had speed, by the size of this guy, he didn't.

As he got closer, I stepped in to him, he raised his eyebrows at my challenge and a smile spread across his face. If he had any idea of my plan he would have struck me down at that second but he seemed to think differently. He looked at the bandaged wound on my arm, before he could speak a word, I lunged. I threw out the heel of my left palm, catching his nose. A sickening break caused him to cry out in agony. Twisting round, I threw out a kick to the small of his back and he fell to his knees. Lunging forward again, I ripped the blade from his belt, and without hesitation, I brought it down in a savage arc right into his heart.

He fell down, dead.

There would have been no recovery from a strike like that. And he proved it by not moving. My heart raced. I couldn't believe I had killed him, that the chance had been so quickly thrust upon me. Without further thought, I ran from the cell and took the keys out of the lock. When I reached Riona's cell she was gaping at me. "That was unbelievable. I can't believe you did that with one hand." She looked at me with admiring eyes.

"Oh, well it hasn't even sunk in for me yet. I think it's time we get out of here." Could it really have been that easy? Of course we still had to get out of here unnoticed and I had to find Grady and Tomas, but I thought getting out would have been the hardest part.

Unlocking Riona's cell, I wasn't prepared for her arms to fly around my neck and for her loud sobs. "Thank you for coming to find me."

Pushing her away slowly, I said. "We aren't out of this yet. They might come any moment looking for this guy." I motioned over my shoulder with my thumb. Riona nodded, took the keys from my hand and ran to unlock Zevran's cell. Zevran was already stirring.

With the blade in my hand, I stalked towards the door. Peering around the door, I noted the long corridor with many doors leading off from it. At any time someone could walk through it so I had to stay vigilant. Looking over my shoulder, Riona had Zevran's arm over her shoulder and she was dragging him forward. He was awake but clearly dazed. "Want me to scout ahead?" I asked her.

"No, we go now."

Nodding, I stepped into the hall. I had to find more weapons, preferably a bow. I'd have to endure the pain. We quickly scurried down the hall; I put my ear against each door for any sign of people. Opening each door slowly, I saw most of them were just cells like ours. Tomas and Grady were in none of them. When we got to the end of the hall, I listened intently for any sound. None came. How was this place so empty? Were we walking into a trap?

The room was large, only one door lead off. Pillars lined the room creating a circle; in the centre was a chair and three men stood around it. I didn't recognise any of them, clearly they were crows. Turning back to Riona I sighed. "We can't go that way. There are three men; I can't take them all on."

Riona's face dropped. "There is no other way."

"If we found better weapons we could take them on." I looked at Zevran who was watching us intently. "Are you strong enough?"

Zevran nodded. "I'll have to be." His accent caught me off guard. I forgot how strong it was.

We headed back down and checked every room again. Zevran and Riona managed to find two small knifes. Yet that was still not enough to defend ourselves. Those guys looked heavily armed, we wouldn't stand a chance. I turned to Zevran. "You used to live here, right. Where are we?"

He looked thoughtful for a moment. "Most of these buildings look the same. But I'm guessing this is the cell block near the headquarters, since there aren't a lot of guards. We should not even bother trying to go out the front door." He straightened up, took hold of Riona's hand and that was when we started running. We followed him to a door that earlier we had not been able to open. "Any of you ladies have a hair pin?"

"Oh." Riona pulled a small pin from her hair and passed it to Zevran. Why hadn't he thought of this earlier?

It took him no longer than thirty seconds to open the lock but that was enough time for the voices to get closer. We piled into the room; it was fairly light from the small window. Outside the sun shone brightly and I longed for the warmth of its rays. The room was small, but in one corner I noticed something that brought a smile to my face. My bow and quiver was leaning against the wall. Running over to it, I picked it up and planted a kiss on its cold surface. Sliding the quiver around my shoulder, I turned back to Riona and Zevran who were pulling thick tunics around themselves. They still only had the small blades, but I had a lot more advantage now.

"Ready?" I asked.

Riona nodded but Zevran didn't. She looked at him confused. "Zevran?"

He turned to her, a sad look in his eyes. "This is all my fault."

"Don't talk like that." Riona scolded. Her tone was fierce and I instantly knew why. He wasn't coming with us, his sad eyes proved that. Not sad for himself, but for her.

"I'll make a diversion."

"What about Tomas and Grady?" I piped in.

Zevran shook his head. "The crows let them go days ago. They'll be on their way back to Ferelden by now."

"How do you know this?" I asked suspiciously.

"I have friends." Zevran kept his eyes on the ground, not wanting to meet the penetrating eyes of us women. What else did he know?

"Why did you come back Zevran?" Riona asked stepping away from him.

Zevran sighed. "There was a chance they'd let me back in. If I got you and Hawke here to follow me." Anger boiled in my veins. He betrayed us, Riona, for a chance to go back to the Antivan Crows.

Riona seemed to break down. Her body sagged and tears boiled over down her cheeks. "How could you Zevran?" In that moment I thought she was going to hit him, but instead she fell to the floor.

"The Antivan Crows is my home… Was my home. You don't understand how humiliating it was to be kicked out." I felt compelled to hit him, stepping forward I raised my bow at him.

"Give me a good reason not to kill you." I growled. Anger boiled inside me for many reasons. The fact he betrayed us, especially Riona. The fact that he all this was happening because of his selfish actions. And the fact that leaving Alistair only brought me more pain, but if I didn't Riona would have died.

Zevran eyed me. "Because I'm the only chance you have to get out of here."

My eyes narrowed. "How can we trust you?" My muscles strains slightly because I knew he was right. Riona is suddenly on her feet again, pulling a knife to Zevran's throat, her eyes piercing into his. "Yes, Zev tell us." Lowering my bow slightly, I walk towards them.

Zevran takes a breath. "You can't." He looks at each of us, admiration in his pathetic eyes. "But you can trust them." He looks past me at something behind me. Turning quickly, I catch my breath. In the window are two crows staring at us, they each take a step and land in front of me. My eyes open in wonder as their bodies start to glow and in their place are two women.

"Morrigan." I whisper.

Too be continued...

The End

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