I Work for the Bureau of Original Characters. Thedas file

Chapter 20- I grieve for all that that was, and all that could have been

A heart rending cry of anguish shattered the dark stillness of the fortress in the deep black before dawn, jolting Leliana from another dream about Miranda. Immediately she recognized the timber of the wail, the layer of jangling tritones gave it away. She hastily threw on a robe over her night clothes and dashed, barefooted through the corridors. She flew down the steps three at a time, ignoring how her feet stung from the impact and the bone aching chill that emanated from the flagstones of the winter locked fortress.

She could hear others around her, voices shouting in alarm but the wail continued, rising and falling in sounds of unmistakable grief. Outside, Aitheria had woken and was bugling loudly, crashing against the walls of her stall as she tried to get to her rider. Leliana blasted past others who were moving in the same direction and just barely noticed Cassandra and Elariel also running in the same direction. Elariel was in little more than a pair of loose pants and a clinging undershirt while Cassandra wore similar, but heavier clothes and her feet were jammed into boots.

They thrust the door open and dashed out into the garden. The wail was so loud here that it made their ears ache, before it suddenly cut off, to be replaced by loud sobs. Leliana thrust the door to Miranda’s sleeping quarters open and froze at what she saw. Miranda was collapsed on the floor in only her sleep clothes. A letter lay on the floor in front of her and her only hand was covering her mouth while tears poured down her face.

She was rocking back and forth and her eyes remained riveted on the letter on the floor while her hunched frame shuddered from her sobs. Leliana shook herself free of her shock and hurried forward, dropping to her knees at the distraught woman’s side. “Miranda! What’s wrong?” She asked but there was no response, just the sounds of Miranda’s heart breaking as she cried and wailed again. Leliana reached out and touched Miranda’s shoulder and tried to get Miranda to look at her. “Miranda! Please! What’s wrong? What happened?” She pleaded.

“Am man?” Miranda sobbed still gazing blindly at the wall. “Am man mel gwathel! Am man? Baug manadh!” Before she dissolved into unintelligible whimpers and words. “Wie kann das Schicksal so grausam sein? Pourquoi les pouvoirs? Ce qui a attiré votre colère sur elle. Oh ma soeur, Mein Swester! Mel Gwathel!” She cried as she continued to rock, completely oblivious to the fact that Elariel was now kneeling next to her as well as she continued to babble in a mixture of languages.

The Seeker had all but slammed the door in the face of the curious before she had hurried over. She bent down and picked up the letter, frowning as she stared at it. “I do not recognize this language,” She told them over the sound of Miranda’s sobbing before joining them in trying to get the crying woman to speak in a language they understood.

“I swear, sometimes she sounds like she is speaking Orlesian, or ancient Avaar but it is so mangled that only the sounds are similar. They sound like gibberish to me,” Leliana confessed, a little desperate.

“Ihr faer óminni aiónios,” Miranda cried out again before returning to her silent oblivion.

“Black ink on a white page, words don’t make sense. I know what they say, but I don’t want to believe. Can’t believe,” A boy’s soft voice murmured from a corner and Elariel’s head snapped up.

“Cole!” She called, relief on her face. “Can you help us? Can you tell us what’s wrong?” She begged. There was a crash outside and they all turned to look at the door. Something smashed against it, causing the timbers to shiver. Before anyone could protest Cole had hurried to the door and wrenched it open. How Aitheria had managed to get to the garden when the only entrance was through the castle was unknown but the massive hind stood there now, eyes wide and nostrils flaring.

“Nirana. Am man Nirana? Pourquoi? Po t’nash-veh Ko-kai?” Miranda whimpered again and the hind’s eyes grew wide.

“A friend. A sister, ages spent together. Triumphs, sorrows. They shared them. One of the few who truly understood.” Cole mumbled and their attention snapped back to him. “Black glyphs on a white page, written in the language of truth. No lies, the ancient language never lies. Dead, faded, a monster that she could not defeat. Soul so damaged there was nothing left to send to the afterlife. Gone. Faded. Oh my Sister why?” Cole looked down at Miranda with clear anguish on his face.

“I can’t make her forget. She made me promise and her mind is too strong. Nothing could make her forget if she didn’t want to,” The pain Miranda was experiencing was clearly distressing the young man as he gazed on helplessly as Miranda continued to sob and whimper. Aitheria made a low, mournful sound, one that told of the Hind’s heartbreak. Miranda’s eyes drifted to her companion and clearly saw her.

She began to mumble in a strange language that sounded like it was a jumbled collection of a thousand others. Aitheria made soft soothing noises and Miranda turned slowly to look at the three women kneeling next to her as if just realizing that they were there. Aitheria turned her attention to Cole who cocked his head before nodding and disappearing.

“Miranda, what’s wrong?” Leliana begged again, laying her hand on Miranda’s shoulder and looking into her bloodshot eyes. “Melethronen?” She whispered brokenly up at Leliana her eyes looking like their normal pale blue diamond had shattered, leaving only raw, razor sharp shards to shred her soul.

“Miranda, it’s me, Leliana,” Miranda’s eyes showed no recognition at Leliana’s words, her hand reached up and touched Leliana’s face with tentative fingers.

Fragile hope lit in her eyes as she stared at the spymistress. “Meleth nin,” She breathed in what could only be called love. “Man agorer anlen meleth nin?” She asked quietly, her fingers reaching up to trace Leliana’s ear, causing the bard to shiver, the move felt…Familiar, too familiar, like something she craved. She felt frightened at the feeling and tried to move away.

The hope in Miranda’s eyes flickered and died before they clouded over again with pain. She lunged forward in a move that startled the three around her and fastened her arm around Leliana’s waist. Her cries returned as she clung to the spymistress and sobbed. Words tumbling from her mouth in an unintelligible stream, tears pouring down her face as she cried, pleaded and whimpered. Leliana could do little more than rub soothing circles on Miranda’s back, feeling her heart constrict at the pain she was witnessing.

Nothing she said or did seemed to have any impact on Miranda, who continued to sob and cry. Her arm locked around Leliana who could only remain kneeling and holding the Zerg woman. Cassandra and Elariel looked at each other in uncertainty before they reached out and placed their hands on Miranda’s shoulder, offering what comfort they could. They remained like that while the insensate Miranda shattered before their eyes. Eventually they all drifted off to sleep. Miranda still clutching Leliana and the others leaning against each other and Leliana’s cheek resting on Miranda’s stalks.


The light was green and gold. Around her high trees rose up like the pillars of a cathedral. Green ferns filled the ground below. It was a beautiful place of peace and tranquility. She looked around the forest, it was so different from her first home, but she could see the peace this place held. She felt something pulling her forward. Instinctively she followed the pull until she stumbled on a violently sudden clearing. The trees were blasted away and the ground was glassed. The sun, gentle amongst the trees beat down with merciless strength in the open.

But this devastation held little interest to her. It was the form in the center that drew her eye and her feet. A woman in a stained green chiton lay curled in a fetal position on the ground, shoulders shaking with sobs. She recognized the woman as she drew closer, those stalks were unmistakable. “My love,” She whispered and the woman looked up slowly. As if the effort was nearly beyond her ability.

She felt her heart slam to a stop, her love’s face was gaunt. She was starved, her eyes red from weeping which made her blue irises glow all the brighter. Miranda’s lips moved but a harsh croak was all that came out and she stepped forward. “Oh beloved, what happened?” She begged, kneeling down and gently cupping the Zerg’s gaunt cheek. More tears filled the blue diamond eyes and pale lips trembled.

“Please, talk to me,” She pleaded, desperate to gain an answer, to sooth her other half’s pain. Miranda’s head turned away, shame on her face.

“I do not deserve your love,” The Zerg’s harsh voice whispered as her body slowly lay itself back down on the scorched earth.

She reeled back in shock. How could her beloved say such things? “Yes you do! You deserve all my love, you could never do anything to make me stop loving you!” She cried vehemently gripping Miranda’s shoulders and dragging Miranda up to face her. “Why are you saying such things?” She demanded.

Tears trickled from Miranda’s eyes as she answered. “I thought I found you…but it wasn’t. I betrayed you,” She whispered brokenly. She opened her mouth but Miranda wasn’t done yet. “The worst is that…. I still love him,” She watched in shock as Miranda collapsed, only her hands kept the disconsolate woman from returning to the ground.

“Oh Miranda,” She sighed, pulling the shaking body into her embrace and gently stroking the sobbing woman’s shoulders. “It’s not easy, and I expected something to happen like this. I know that loving me is not easy when you have to find me and court me again and again because I don’t remember you. I wasn’t even in that universe, so you would have been alone there anyway. You deserve love. You deserve happiness,” Miranda looked up and tried to speak but she overrode the Zerg.

“No Miranda, I didn’t expect you to find me every time. I am not angry at you. You lived in that universe for forty years. I am glad you found love there. I know you were in a war. You are an easy woman to love, I can’t fault him for falling into the same trap I did,” She told her love fiercely, emerald eyes burning into her love’s blue diamond. She could see the self-recrimination bubbling behind them and she sighed before leaning in and kissing the Zerg fiercely.

Miranda didn’t respond for a moment before melting into the kiss. When they pulled apart she stayed close, leaning their foreheads together and wrapping her arms around the skinny woman. “Nothing could make me love you less. You didn’t betray me, and I will always find you. Please trust me on that my love,” She pleaded and Miranda whimpered a little, nestling deeper into her arms and nodding. She felt a slight tingling run along her limbs and clung to her love tightly.

“I am sorry, my time is up. They only let me visit you for a short time,” Miranda looked up at her, tears forming in her eyes.

“How will I know if it’s you again?” Miranda pleaded, causing a faint, sad smile to appear on her face. “I will be the one who can’t stay away. I will beg for them to let me give you some kind of sign, even though they take my memories, I will always search for you.” She promised as she felt her extremities starting to fade.

“I love you, my beautiful huntress,” She breathed, pressing her lips to Miranda’s one more time before she faded entirely, leaving the other half of her soul behind in the shattered clearing.


Dawn came in a wash of grey light from the heavily clouded sky. Leliana awoke from her heart rending dream, stiff and slightly sore. She was curled over Miranda who had wrapped her arm around Leliana’s midsection with a vice like grip. Elariel was leaning against Leliana’s back on the right while Cassandra was in a similar pose on the left. Something let out a loud sigh near them and she turned to catch sight of Aitheria laying on the ground a little bit behind her, providing a heavy, silver wall of fur and warmth.

Elariel snuffled and sat up, looking around blearily. “Wha?” She mumbled, her face covered in fabric wrinkles and her hair flat on one side.

Cassandra gave a large snort and sat up violently. “Dragons!” She gasped. Her hair was sticking out at wild angles and the longer portions that she braided hung loose around her head. Leliana rolled her eyes and sat up stiffly. Miranda grunted and lifted her head, looking around in confusion. “Wha…” She cleared her throat, her voice scratchy. “What happened?” She asked uncertainly.

“We were hoping you could tell us,” Leliana answered, leaning over and retrieving the letter from where it lay and handing it to Miranda. The Zerg woman sat up, rolling her neck to loosen the knots and took the letter. She looked at it and gasped, her eyes darting over the paper and tearing up again. “Miranda? What happened?” Cassandra asked gently.

Miranda tried to speak, but it took several tries before her voice would answer her commands. “It… it’s a letter from home.” She managed, voice thick with tears that she made a valiant effort to hold back. “Just read it Miranda. Don’t think. Read it out loud,” Leliana coaxed gently.

Miranda nodded stiffly and swallowed hard before she began to read. “Dear General Starsinger, we are sad to inform you that Commander Nirana Goldeye faded yesterday at twenty-two hundred hours, on the ninth of December, 87-476 SF. She was engaged on a hunting mission with a class seven chaos born and was separated from her hunting group. During the battle the monster managed to injure her severely. She slew it but unfortunately this Chaos born had mutated a venom powerful enough to affect her Fea. Medical attention arrived too late and she Faded late last evening.” Her voice shook and broke on the word fade. “Is there anything else?” Elariel nudged gently and Miranda nodded, clearing her throat and continuing. “As written in her will, we will place her belongings that she bequeathed to you in storage until you may retrieve them. We also have enclosed the personal letter she left for you in the event of her Fading, as well as a token she requested be sent to you. We are sorry for your loss.” Tears once again quivered in her bright blue eyes and she struggled to hold in her sobs.

Aitheria leaned forward and nudged her side gently, making soft crooning noises. Leliana looked at the doe and could see tears sitting in the deep liquid brown eyes. “Who was Nirana?” She asked gently, laying her hand on Miranda’s shoulder. Miranda looked up with broken eyes. “She was a fellow huntress,” She murmured sadly. “A sister.”

“How could you get a letter from home? I thought the way to your universe was sealed,” Cassandra asked carefully, uncertain of how to ask without setting Miranda off again. Miranda’s shoulders slumped and her head bowed.

“When it rains it pours huh Aitheria,” She mumbled, leaning her hand against the doe’s head. “Miranda?” Elariel asked, becoming worried. Leliana watched her uncertainly and Miranda seemed to be gathering herself. She looked up, her face serious. “When I told you how I arrived here I told the truth,” She paused, as if trying to find her next words. “I was… extruded through an outer crack in the fade and dumped on the mountainside. Several soldiers attempted to detain me, but I knocked them out and followed the Force to you,” She took a deep breath. “Everything about my past is also true. I was hatched on the… on the planet Char with my sister Sarah and I was trained in the Jedi Temple… on the planet Tython,” She finished, putting emphasis on the word planet. Leliana could feel gears turning as she remembered the definition of the word planet.

“However…” Miranda stated, holding up a hand to forestall any outbursts. “I belong to another order, one that has held my soul for a very long time. This order is meant to hunt down the monsters that are born between worlds,” Cassandra stared at her in disbelief. “Between worlds?” She asked skeptically and Miranda nodded, her tears had dried, but her face was set in a rare expression on solemnity.

“The D’ni call it the Great Tree of Possibilities. The scientific communities of a thousand universes call it the multi-dimensional or multi universe theory. Essentially picture a tangle of stings. Each string is itself fraying into a million threads that diverge at choices. So somewhere out in the multiverse there is a Cassandra who never became a seeker, a Leliana who fell in love with the Warden and a Qunari mage who is acting as the Inquisitor. A thousand, thousand choices leading to an unnumbered collection of universes.” They all stared at her in shock, unable to comprehend what she was telling them.

She smiled a little at their expressions but continued. “The problem is that sometimes things get out of their own world and into others. Sometimes they get changed by the raw chaos that sits between the threads and become something truly monstrous. It is the job of my order, my people. To hunt them down before they cause irreparable harm to the threads they enter,” They all stared at her, and for a moment she looked incredibly weary. “We are free from time, yet bound to it. Our bodies are immortal so long as our souls or Fea to use the Eldar term, remain intact but sometimes the soul can be damaged so badly that there is no hope of recovery, even to place one’s soul in an afterlife. Meaning that the soul cannot remain in one piece and scatters to the winds of time, space and the void. Never to reform.” She bowed her head and appeared to be waiting for their reaction.

Cassandra was the first to pull herself together enough to ask the question they were all wondering now. “Then why are you here?” She asked and Miranda made a small huffing sound close to a laugh. “Just because we keep the threads safe from outside incursion does not mean that we let them be damaged by internal threats.” She looked up and focused her gaze on Elariel. “Though there is always a hero that raises up to combat the threat, sometimes they need a hand,” Her lips quirked a little, but her eyes remained sad as they gazed at the she-elf.

“I was assigned here as a long-term mission to protect this world and ensure that the threat is neutralized. It’s a no holds barred kind of mission, but I tend to favor helping the hero then simply jumping in and saving the day. You don’t learn anything then and you are left to the mercies of the next villain if I do that.” She closed her eyes which had taken on a faint glow and bowed her head again.

“What will happen after all this?” Leliana whispered, uncertain at the tight feeling that had gripped her chest. Miranda shrugged. “If I have reason to stay, I take a holiday and stay. I’m allowed up to a thousand years per stay. So I don’t see why I can’t. Hell, I could even age to match everyone around me if I wanted. Just instead of me joining you in whatever afterlife awaits, I go back to work,” She replied, trying to sound nonchalant, but sounding like she was staving off a deep sadness.

They all sat, staring at Miranda who now was petting Aitheria. She looked calm, unperturbed by the silence that was now filling the room, but somehow Leliana knew that Miranda was tense, waiting for the blow of rejection and distancing herself from the pain that would come if that happened. “So you really were sent by the Maker,” Cassandra murmured, but Miranda’s head shot up.

“No.” She answered, almost violently. “Do not make me something religious. I have no place in your pantheon. I am just someone who happens to hunt monsters, be they chaos born or world born. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t deal with gods… except for my sister and patron but the last thing I want is to be held up like some form of messiah,” She told the seeker firmly, a near manic look in her eye as she stressed this.

Cassandra reared back, startle by Miranda’s vehemence. “So what happens now?” Elariel asked quietly and Miranda turned to face her, eyes beginning to glow again.

“We kill Corypheus, save the world from itself, and make sure that the members of the inquisition grow to a ripe old age and pass on in their sleep surrounded by their children,” She answered calmly. “And for today…” She paused and swallowed had. “Today I grieve for a fallen sister of nineteen or so cycles.” The others stared at her in shock at how she simply wanted to sweep this under the carpet. “Just tuck this into the file labelled, ‘Weird shit about Miranda,’ and let’s continue on as we have,” Miranda pleaded.

The three looked at each other before nodding hesitantly. “Do you need anything?” Leliana asked the Zerg cautiously but Miranda shook her head, standing and moving to the side so Aitheria could haul herself to her feet. “What you have all done already is more than enough. I just… I just need to vanish for a while. Just for today,” She promised.

“Where will you go?” Cassandra asked worriedly as Miranda walked over to the chest at the foot of her bed and began pulling out the silver fur and wool that she had worn during the battle of Haven. “Out into the surrounding mountains. I’ll be back by midnight. I need to say goodbye,” She answered, the last statement little more than a whisper as she clearly fought to maintain control.

The three women nodded and left, though Leliana did so reluctantly. “What do we do now?” Elariel asked her companions. Leliana shrugged, still looking back towards the garden even as the other two led her away.

“It does not really change anything,” She told them and Elariel nodded before hurrying away to change her clothes and get to work as she was certain that Josephine was in a panic over wasted study time. As she left, Cassandra snorted.

“You don’t really believe that, do you?” She demanded, looking a little disgusted at Leliana’s attitude. “But it is.” Leliana protested, turning her attention to the Seeker. “It’s no different than if we made a big fuss over the fact that you are in line for the Nevarran throne. You would hate it and beat the stuffing out of anyone who tried. Don’t do the same to Miranda,” She commanded fiercely. Cassandra looked her over, a twinkle of understanding in her amber eyes. “And will you hold to that as well?” She asked, her voice gentler then it had been a moment ago.

“Of course,” Leliana lied before she turned and left, missing the look of pity on Cassandra’s face.

“No you won’t,” the Seeker murmured, shaking her head sadly after the bard who she knew was busy trying to hide heartbreak under her usual prickly attitude. After all, how did one cope with finding out that the one who had captured your heart would outlive you and was barred from even following you to the great beyond?


Miranda swung up onto Aitheria’s back and rode her out of the sheltered confines of the fortress. Once out on the causeway the wind that tore over the mountain peaks roared to life. It snatched at her wolf skin cloak with greedy fingers. Trying to pull it off. Her re-growing arm was now the size of a six-year old’s, so she was able to use the smaller limb to clutch it close. In her right hand was a leather bundle. Aitheria trotted across the causeway and from the gatehouse up into the mountain peaks that surrounded them. Aitheria poured on the speed once they were beyond the foot traffic, transitioning into her signature bounding gate.

It was nearly an hour later when the hind pulled to a halt as close to the top of the tallest nearby peak. Miranda slid from Aitheria’s back, clutching the bundle in her right hand now and used her left to climb. Aitheria gingerly picked her way up to the cliff edge, much nimbler now that she was unburdened. They stood at the top and looked out over the valley and at Skyhold that sat just below them. She looked up at the cloud mantled sky and she pursed her lips. She needed a clear sky for this. The wind rattled her stalks as she bowed her head and reached deep, summoning the Force and wrapping it around her like a cloak.

Most Force users would not even attempt such a thing, but she had used these powers for cycles. She had fought through wars that lasted decades and dragged starships to heel. She may hide it behind a façade of sarcasm and chain them with her own morals but she had the ability to move planets from their orbiti if she so chose. When her eyes opened, they glowed blue-white with the power. She pushed outward, pushing away the clouds that covered the sky and halting the wind that whistled around her. Flakes of snow froze in the air and the sun now bathed the pure white filed around her, making it glitter like diamonds.

Her eyes still glowing, she sank to her knees and unwrapped the bundle at her feet. She placed a tall, fat candle made of black wax, sitting on an ornate metal plate carved with elegant Vulcan symbols before her and lit it with a thought, compressing the air around the wick until it ignited. She pulled out seven sticks of incense and lit them from the candle flame and inserted them into small holes in the handle holder so they radiated out in spokes. With trembling hands, she picked up the parchment envelope that held the letter and gift. The silver wax seal held it just and she carefully broke it, pulling out the sheet of parchment written in a familiar hand.

Miranda,

If you are reading this, then I have Faded. I’m sorry for leaving you like this. I never meant for whatever happened to me to cause me to fade. You must promise me to continue on Miranda. Don’t fall into another depression. You’re stronger than that. Of the two of us you always were. I don’t think I ever told you how much I admired you and looked up to you. The things you’ve seen, done and had done to you would break a lesser person. Yet you have simply laughed at it all and stabbed it in the face, a proper application of violence as you always called it. You were already an old hand at what you did by the time I came along, I’ll never forget how we met. The powers sticking us in a room and telling us that due to your, as they termed it ‘fuck up,’ new members were now required to spend their first half cycle with a mentor. You looked like you had swallowed a lemon only to have it detonate halfway down. Gods you looked so different then. You still had those damn bone wings, and chitin, though you did drop the armour three cycles later. It took you nearly seven to lose those wings. I think you just liked not having to carry a sword. Anyway, our first long term mission will always stick with me. Pirates of the Caribbean and damn did you make a great pirate. I sometimes miss those days, you training me how to fight and sailing through the worst weather. I hear that the powers kept the racer in storage, just for you.

Please Miranda, swear to me by all that’s holy and your desk that you will live just as fiercely as you always have. Promise me that you will stay the same, crazy, intuitive, kind and downright stubborn Zerg. And I know that you will find her again. Remember that Miri. She is looking for you even if she doesn’t know it. After all, you are her Beautiful Huntress. Know that when they finally let you two be together that I will be there for the final wedding, just like I was for each and every one that you two have had before. I have been checking up on your daughter frequently, she doesn’t blame either of you. turns out she found herself some bigshot elf warrior and they’re living happily in Valinor. She understands the love that drew you together and she remembers how her mother was after you were taken. She forgives you and wanted me to tell you that you have three grandchildren. The eldest is named Miranda apparently.

I have instructed the Bureau to send this with a gift should I fade, by the way. You get my gear. My kids get the rest, I’m sure that my journals will make for a lovely family heirloom for Soren and his descendants.

Live fiercely, live free. I love you sister dear, never forget that.

Nirana.

She bit her lips as she held back the tears. “Oh Nirana,” She whispered before she shook the envelope. A slither of metal a chain bearing a silver, leaf entwined amulet slid into her palm. Hidden among the designs was the vulcan symbol for peace and long life, the green enamel of the leaf itself shone with a deep emerald. She blinked back more tears and gently slid the chain around her neck before placing the letter in a pocket and turning her attention to her miniature alter.

The fragrant smoke curled up into the now still air and she bowed her head, speaking in the trade tongue of the Bureau. “Nirana Celeste Goldeye, Commander of armies, slayer of Chaos Born. Huntress of great skill. Loving mother to her children. Devoted wife to her partners. Wise Seeress who saved thousands. Warrior and General. No strikes upon her record, and all missions completed successfully.” She paused in her recitation, fighting the lump that formed in her throat. “And.. and the best damned sister anyone could ask for. Loyal to a fault and devoted to her family. May the void be kind to your spirit,” She whispered, tears dripping from her eyes.

Aitheria knelt next to her, ‘A kind friend, no mount or companion went without a treat when she was near. We mourn your loss, dearest friend. May your soul light the way when despair is greatest. Let the light of your memory glow bright in our hearts. The stars of a thousand worlds will remember and sing of your deeds, as we will this day,’ The hind chanted sadly. Miranda took a shuddering breath before she looked up and began to sing.

Her multiple voices wove around each other in a collection of otherworldly harmonies. She told the tale of her dear friend, reciting her deeds and accomplishments. Aitheria stood next to her and echoed her with long, low bass notes. Both of them poured out their grief into the sky, headless as the sun passed overhead and set. Stars lit with fierce brilliance, burning silently in the heavens without the muting light of the moons.


Leliana paced agitatedly along the balcony of the rookery. She had watched as the sky had cleared with startling immediacy that she somehow knew was Miranda’s doing. A bubble of still air seemed to encompass the top of the highest northern peak and she picked up her spy glass. It was still very far away but she caught sight of the top of Miranda’s head and Aitheria standing next to the kneeling Zerg. Her ears picked faint and ethereal strains of music on the winds. With a sigh, she lowered the spyglass and turned away, resuming her pacing. How could Miranda have kept this? She thought fiercely but that thought felt hollow.

She knew exactly why Miranda had hidden it. She would have done the same. She felt so…confused, hurt, sad, unsure. Her dreams had grown steadily more vivid, haunting her at night with visions of strange and confusing things and events that seemed to focus on Miranda. Sometimes she wasn’t even a woman or even human. She had seen fantastical and frightening things, like burning spheres of fire that she knew were stars, hanging in a void of darkness she called space.

Miranda in armour that shouldn’t exist, fighting with weapons that she both understood intrinsically and yet not at all. How could she know exactly what a Widow Mass Effect rifle was and how to take it apart and put back together blindfolded, yet not understand in the slightest? And now to find out that Miranda was an immortal being who had been sent here by something greater than even the Maker? Her life could not take this many blows to her understanding.

And above it all, perhaps the most frightening thing was her feelings for Miranda. They went far beyond anything she could even begin to name. It was a powerful longing, this need to be near her, like being away caused her soul to whimper and reach for Miranda’s. It terrified her. She was Leliana, the Nightingale. Men and women had fallen at her feet, hoping for even the glint of a smile. Yet here she was, almost physically bound to Miranda… The immortal, heaven sent Miranda. What chance did she, a blood-stained bard have? What hope could she even begin to cling to that Miranda would even think to want her?

She leaned against the outer wall and slid down it, wrapping her arms around her knees, tears beginning to slide down her cheeks. Why was the Maker so cruel? She felt a shiver crawl down her spine as a particularly haunting harmonic combinations drifted to her on the wind. Who was she, to even dream that she could achieve love. If no one had loved her when she was still happy and carefree, who would want to love her now that she was cruel and cynical? She closed her eyes even tighter and pressed her head into her knees, crying for everything she had dreamed she could have. She only knew one thing, she had to stay away from Miranda. Maybe distance would help lessen the ache that had developed in her heart.

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