“Do what must be done.”
Kalea ignores Sebastian’s frantic sentiment to stare at the friend who waits in front of her, his eyes meeting hers with no shame, only acceptance of what follows. Anders almost looks serene, the most at peace she’s seen in him for years. Meanwhile, she wears her fury in clenched fists and a locked jaw, nostrils flared, though her sorrow threatens to drown her once the heat of her anger fades.
How dare Sebastian. To question her devotion to him, her love as if the last three years meant nothing; to demand this sacrifice. Where lies his Maker now? Surely not in the steel of the daggers he uses to wound her, to drive them into her heart as he attempts to force her hand on this.
How dare Anders . To set forth a war in a city that continuously loses so much, to spill blood like wine in the streets and lap it up as part of his revolution. How many mages would die because of his actions? How many already had?
His eyes cloud as they track her movements to him, a peek into the storm that churns within. Her knees tremble with the force of a foundation, blown away. Large tears stream down her reddened cheeks, and she wipes them away with the back of a hand, smoke stinging her eyes as it filters down from Hightown. Or so she tells herself.
“You choose him.” Anders voice steadies where she weakens, venom aimed toward her, his eyes accusatory. I thought you understood. I thought we were the same .
The words sting, because she knows her verdict and how it appears. Her eyes close, shutting him out, erasing the audience to this heinous act. “I made you a promise, dear friend.” Her voice sounds disconnected, not at all like her own nor the screaming that rattles inside her, begging to burst forth.
Anders gives no protest, and when she opens her eyes again, he only nods, short, soured temperament replaced with the acceptance of his death like a soldier gone to war.
But she wants him to argue, to fight for himself. Prove that her friend still existed somewhere inside that body, the bright and funny man with a love for cats she met all those years ago. The one who stayed up with her the night her brother got sent to the Wardens, who traded secrets and confessed fears in the dark of the Deep Roads. Who held her hand and worried about losing himself to the spirit inside.
And made her promise. At the time, two lifetimes ago it felt now, she agreed, thinking to herself he was just being cautious, it’d never need to happen.
Ignoring as he grew more erratic. Just stress , she told herself when he started to complain about going out on jobs. When he threatened to end their friendship when she pried into the favor he asked. When Justice took him over by force in the Deep Roads.
The signs were there, but she thought… she hoped… but there is no denying it now. In her own way, she’s as responsible for the explosion as Anders. He trusted himself to her, and she failed him. But she won’t fail him now.
“Promise me you’ll keep fighting for them,” he says when she starts to reach for the hilt of her dagger.
And there it is, that last glimpse of her friend. Choking back a fresh wave of sobs, she nods; it’s all she can do.
“I’ll make it quick.” Her voice loses its confidence, echoing the ragged sound of her heart.
The dagger she draws, Sebastian gifted it to her on their first anniversary, the handle engraved with the Amell crest. But she can’t think of him now, the satisfaction he radiates at her back; waiting for her to return by his side.
If I had been in that Chantry today, would you be waffling? Do what must be done.
She sees it now, there can be no future for them, not with his words ringing in her ears as she brings her blade up. Her actions belong to her; she is no puppet to dance by command.
Her lips brush Anders’ forehead as her free hand comes to rest at the nape of his neck. “I'm sorry it's come to this.”
“So am I,” he echoes.
And then it ends, a hard slash across his throat. His body slumps forward, into her arms, and she cradles him as sobs shudder through her like seizures. Around her, Kirkwall screams.