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“Don’t make me do this.” Mikah’s arms shook with the weight of her bow an arrow already drawn and pointed at the man she’d once hailed as her best friend.

“You and I both know this is the way it’s gotta be, Salroka.” He smiled a crooked smile at her, but it was cold and bitter. So unlike him and his easy nature.

Mikah knew he didn’t want this, didn’t want this anymore than she did. But the others behind him were egging him on taunting him to make the first strike.

“Leske…” Her voice broke as her own companions rallied to her side. Their weapons readied as they posed for the fight that was inevitable.

“I’m sorry.” The dwarf launched forward his ax raised for a killing blow. His sadness was almost palatable as Mikah countered his attack.

He was dead before he even hit the ground. Her arrow having found it’s make as always buried dead within his chest.

And with that the battle ignited within an instant. The sound of clashing steel and twanging bows bouncing off the walls as the screams of the vanquished filled the cavern. The Warden’s enemies all falling in quick recession, one after the other, as she and their party filed out across the room. It wasn’t long before there was only one left standing, and oh how it filled Mikah with a sickly sort of happiness that it would end with her. She had wanted it to be this way after all. To have that rat standing there, staring petrified as she watched her beloved carta bleeding out before them on the filthy stone. She would never admit it, but Mikah took great pleasure in the way the light fled from the other woman’s eyes her own arm extended and danger plunging deep into Jarvia's gut. The other dwarf's face stricken and twisted with fear as she came to realize her own demise. She would later wonder if her own expression had mirrored hers, but in that moment she’d only felt pride in watching the her crumbled to the dirty floor.

After the last of the foes were slain, and a quick injury assessment was taken the party set to work about the room searching for anything worth value off the corpses and then piling the bodies at the center of the cavern.

To the best of their ability the Warden’s companions took the impending weight of the situation in stride, going about it as if though it were any other fight, another battle to be chalked up to a forsake war. Mikah was not foolish and spiteful enough to deny them this right, if not to lesson the burnden of the way things had come to pass, but it would be a lie too to say she did not feel as though she were the only one soberingly aware it wasn’t.

Yet, the mind is funny in ways none can truly comprehend, and that fact rang evermore true to the Warden when she found herself unable to move or step away from where she still stood. Rooted to the very spot the slain boss had once taken her last breath, lingering long after the area had been cleared and her party readied to move on.

It was only a matter of time before the Warden’s friend began to worry for her. Their hust voices falling on deaf ears as she entered a state of consciousness devoid of all emotion or feeling. She was someone else in that instant. Somewhere far away. The people’s whose face she did not recognize could hold no sway over the emotions running like ice in her veins. She was someone else. A quiet bystander who’d would never know the devastation of the slaughter that had just occurred.

Unfortunately, time would never allow her to stay that way, and eventually Mikah would be drawn back into the here and now and out of her blissful state of denial.

It started slowly, a quiet humming later being distinguished as Wynne’s hushed voice quietly fretting over their friend and leader. Thankful, no one spoke to her directly on why she was still there. Why her blade still dripped with blood that she could not force herself to wipe clean. Mikah did not think she could have given them an answer had she even wanted to. In that moment there was him... only him..

Left with clear breathing room from the others that had been looted and discarded, Leske lay still and silent... His once bright and compassionate eyes now glossed over, staring blankly above. There was no way of excusing what had been done. What she... had done.

Mikah didn’t know how long it took her to obtain the willpower to walk over to his side, to face what had happened and see whole what she had done. Oddly enough the same sense of detachment flooded her once again as she made her way, like who she was and who she had become were completely separated entity’s from the one crossing the room. She wondered still though how anyone could have done such a thing. How he could have done such a thing.

Looking down upon his face, his lifeless body have already grown cold in a pool of it’s own blood. Even more questions of the likeness arouse.

Suddenly Mikah met the corpse's gaze and something within her shattered. Bits and pieces of a life she did not recognize cascading down as she slipped silently onto her knees, her blade clattering loudly against the stoned as her shaking hands hovered over her friend's chest. Tears sprang forth from her eyes rolling down her pale cheeks in waves as she finally came to terms with a hard truth.

How could she have done this? He was her friend! How could he have- Her best friend… One from a time before she’d truly know the meaning of the word! One of the only people that had kept her going and kept her fighting in the instances that would have crumbled others! He had betrayed her! And now… now she felt cold. Colder than any wind on the surface could ever have made her.

Resting her forehead gently against his, Mikah sobbing uncontrollable. It was her fault. She should have never left Orzamar . They wouldn’t be here like this if she would have just stayed. She of all people knew what it took to survive in a place that would rather have you forgotten. If she hadn’t have gone they could have found another way- worked it out! He wouldn’t have had to- If only she had just- A choked cry escaped her lips. By the stone it hurt, hurt so bad she stole the very breath within her lungs. She hated everything, hated everyone. She wanted to scream, to beat her fist bloody against the ground as the pain in her chest began to consuming all that she was.

Suddenly a warm hand grasped firmly onto her shoulder pulling her back into the world and away from the dead. It was Alistair, of course. And some part of her must have realized his intent as she did not fight it when he lifted her into his lap, forcing her to turn away and fall into his arm. She did fully realized later at some point or another that he was just offering her a safe place to let go. One where she could weep without being shown bare to the world. It was something so simple, yet so kind, and for the life of her she wished the gesture could have brought her more strength. That he alone could soothe the ache that she felt within her very being. But she knew he could not.

He must have been aware of this fact to, but in his true nature, and in a very Alistair fashion, he only held her closer whispering the sweetest of words into her hair and letting her know that she was not alone. She would never be alone. It didn’t seem to matter then how badly it hurt how unfair the entire hand she had been delt was played. She didn’t have to be strong and put on a brave face when he shielded her like this. Acting as her armor when it was her life itself raging horrors upon them. She was simply free to be what she was. A 19 year old girl in the middle of a war that had just lost her best friend. A child afraid to face down a tainted god and die for others who wanted nothing more than to stay none the wiser..

Overwhelmed, Mikah began to cling to her lover with everything she had. Thanking him in the only way she knew how as everything she had held back in the year since her joining came crashing down upon them.

It was a very long while before the dwarf was finally empty of all she had kept silent. Her tears not gone entirely, but enough willpower returned to collect herself.

Drawing away she sniffled loudly banishing away the remaining moisture from her face. She hesitated only briefly before turning up to stare into the copper brown eyes of her new found home.

“Thank you.” The smile she gave him was weak, but it said what she could not.

“That’s what I’m here for, my love. Fighting darkspawn and consoling distressed dwarves,” he smiled kindly at her adding a chuckle, “I should have some flyers drawn up, maybe make a business out of it.”

A small grin slipped onto Mikah’s face despite her anguish, and Alistair simply brought her head closer to his chest, kissing her hair tenderly. He truly was a foolish man, but nevertheless she prayed to the stone that he would always remain that way.

By now the two other members of their party were present, staring down at them their own smiles not pitting, but full of understanding and compassion.<\p> “You are strong beyond your years, My friend” Zevran offered her his hand, she accepting it quietly as Wynne nodded to her in agreement.

The elf squeezed her fingers lightly as he helped her to her feet. Alistair standing beside them and wrapping an arm around her shoulders. It warmed her heart as she looked to all of them. They reassuring her that the moment of weakness was earned with not so many words.

“Well, we should get out of here shouldn’t we.” She looked back to Alistair, brushing a free strand of golden hair behind her ear.

“As you wish, my love.” He gave her a small kiss to the temple.

Mikah did one more thorough sweep of the place before she was asured that everything was cleared and accounted for. When she was saticfide she simple turned to the exit and leaded them out without so much as another word. The echoing thud of the door closing behind them acting as an end to a chapter in the Warden's life, and in truth one she wished could have just stayed buried.