Finally broke my writing drought, huzzah. As always, if you’d prefer to read the chapter on AO3, it’s up and ready to go. In the meantime, please enjoy my take on one of my favourite scenes in Awakening, if only for the questions it raises beyond the fluff. If nothing else does, the scene with the lyrium ring gift shows us unequivocally that being in the mortal world has changed Justice… and maybe not always for the better.
L is for Lyrium
He could hear it long before she gave it to him, although he didn’t quite realise what it was that he could hear. The song was strong and sweet, but soft and distant- hidden under layers of her clothing, and she flushed red whenever he stared in her direction, awkward in a way that she rarely was. It was as if there were choirs in his head, like the handful of singers in the Amaranthine Chantry when he had met with Aura, except… more. More powerful, more entrancing, more haunting, more everything. It was like listening to the act of creation itself. It made him feel alive. There was power and magic and temptation in the song, and for a time he thought that it was coming from Elissa herself as he stared at her across the main hall of the Keep.
She drew it out, glancing his way often as she went about her duties, her gaze skittering away wildly when she realised he was still staring. There was something nervous in her movements, the surety he was used to seeing gone. He frowned as he watched her, perplexed by the song that danced around her but enthralled by it in equal measure. The mesmerising sound had been distracting him ever since she’d returned to the Keep earlier that morning, a siren’s lure that he could not block out.
The description of the lyrium song is mesmerising and overwhelmingly beautiful, and how you go from that and the charming playfulness of the gift to such desperate heartache is impressive; the transition between them is so natural, it feels so right. And the mortal world has changed him, oh yes; the very world itself with all its beauty and mysteries.
I see it more as change than outright corruption, but whichever it is, it started long before he and Anders even thought of merging with each other.