{Harrowed But Not Bloodied} Doomsday (DA:O fanfic drabble)

All anyone on ground level saw was a towering pillar of white light surrounded by a massive lightning storm. All anyone could hear was the sound of the Archdemon shrieking out its own missa defunctorum. All she saw was everything she cared about ending with one swift thrust of a sword. All she could hear were her own screams as she unleashed an electric storm that threatened to kill anyone still standing. The ground shook. The sky opened itself wide. A heavy rain set in.

And the Blight was over.

It had taken what mages and Templar that were left in Denerim to neutralize her. In her grief over his sacrifice, she had found herself on the brink of either becoming an abomination or destroying the very city they all had just saved. The city she brought them all together to defend. In truth, the thought of destroying the entire damn nation of Ferelden had fluttered through her head as she pulled out every hex she'd learned from Morrigan, anything that the Fade could provide her to keep everyone away from him and her. When the lightning stopped, the hexes cleared, her mana completely drained, they found her cradling his head in her hands. Her eyes were glazed over and far away, not even her mabari could register a sign of recognition. She just sat there, murmuring the same word over and over again in a small, quiet voice, her face bleached of all colour.

"No."

None of them dared touch her, not even the companions that had been on the top of Fort Drakon with her. Everyone left on ground level was celebrating, they could hear it clearly even from where they were standing. It left everyone witness to the devastation at the top stuck in an uncomfortable silence. It was Sten who finally touched her shoulder and called her "kadan" in an almost kind voice and caused she to stop rocking. She looked up at the qunari with a questioning look. He carefully extricated the dead body from her arms and carried her away from the battlefield leaving others to attend to the Hero of Ferelden.

"He's gone," she told Sten weakly, who simply averted his eyes from hers. It was all she said for a week.

The Queen held a celebration. "For the people," she was told. She didn't really care what they did. She didn't really care about much anymore. Her thoughts seesawed between wishing that Pride demon had taken her at her Harrowing so Cullen would have put her out of her misery before it had even started. Before she'd get to taste everything she'd been missing out on by being locked away in the Circle Tower her whole life. The other thought was how desperately she wanted him to be alive again. With her again. At any cost. She went through the motions of the celebration, accepted the Queen's thanks, said she wasn't sure what she would do now that the Blight was quelled, and when the Queen asked her what she could give the remaining Warden as a boon she simply replied that what she wanted the Queen couldn't give her. With a slight bow, the formalities ended. She walked past those in the hall, not making eye contact, and out the doors to the celebrating public to do her duty as a figurehead. As the single remaining Grey Warden of Ferelden.

She already had her plan on what she would do next before she reached the cheering crowd.

The royal guards that were posted for the second watch around the Hero's body were found by the royal guards for the the third watch. She had learned well from the band of misfits she had gathered and put it to good use. They never saw her come in, but they saw the dangerous ends of her poison covered daggers. The locks were novice level, at best. The nightwatch on the outside of the castle only heard what sounded like giant wings.

It was a few days later, after they realized that it had been the Warden who stole the Hero's body, that word from the Drydens' arrived. The same night the Warden and the Hero disappeared from the castle, a shadow fell over Soldier's Peak. They heard screams coming from the tower Avernus had been left in, and when they got there he and all his research were gone and the tower was destroyed.

It was months later that they found her. What was left of her. What was left of them. In the elven ruins, she had set up, but it was the smell that clued them in on what had been going on in there long before the actual visuals of what surrounded them could.

"Avernus was no help. At all," she informed them in a dry voice, back turned to them as she hunched over a pile of filth and rags. "Arrogant old bastard." And he really hadn't been any help. There was no soul, he had insisted over a manner of weeks. Her mind and will were of one singular objective, and if Avernus wouldn't help her, she'd find someone else who would. That explained one of the dead bodies, but it didn't explain all the blood. 

Zevran pulled his daggers, cursing in Antivan for not realizing what they had been walking into. Oghren's battle axe fell to his feet with an echoing clang, disbelief in what she'd become.

"Oh. That." She laughed. Once, her laugh was contagious. It spread mirth throughout the camp on those nights after a long trek or a hard battle. He would make a joke, Zevran would fluster him or make a pass on everyone, or Oghren would get them all drunk, and she would laugh. It had even gotten a smile and chuckle out of Morrigan and a crack in Sten's stern look after a time. This laugh was hollow and dead. "Can't do blood magic without blood."

Leliana fell to her knees, repeating some prayer in Orlesian in between sobs. Wynn just stood there in shock.

When she finally turned around, an audible gasp spread through the former companions who had been searching for her. She looked ghastly, almost like an abomination. All the youth and vitality had been drained from her, leaving a desiccated shell that vaguely resemble their one-time leader. She snarled as they withdrew from her, chapped lips curling back on yellowing teeth. She moved toward them and in doing so, revealed that she had been hunched over more than just a pile of filth and rags.

In the pile of filth and rags lay a recognizable sword.

"The first demon who made an offer couldn't bring him back either. Said the same thing Avernus said," her voice went high in mockery, "There is no soul to bring back through the Fade."

A recognizable shield.

A stale wind in the ruined building started picking up and the soft sounds of something shuffling around them became audible as she continued, "The second wasn't much different. Empty promises, no follow through. Curious thing about blood magic? It never stops surprising me what you can do if your will is strong enough."

A recognizable amulet reflected the glow of the lightning storm she started to gather while they were distracted by their own ideas of what had actually transpired in this dank and ruined room. The storm closed off all exits, trapping them all in the room. Her magic had lit up the room enough to reveal where her hard work had gotten her. Showed them where the shuffling sounds came from. She had not been down in that room alone.

"But now that you're all here?" Her eyes had gone white as she tore open the Veil and the shambling figure wearing the Hero's armour and face moved toward them. "Well, third through sixth time's the charm."

 

{a tulpa is the concept of a being or object which is created through sheer willpower alone}
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