this is where we come to make pretty things. blog is run jointly by xim & bleu.
contains fanwork & speculation.
Drinking lyrium is like drinking deep from the liquid boiling at the bottom of a lit brazier.
It’s blue and sweet and tastes like metal woven through honeysuckles, bitter and nutty— like the tang of blood on the tongue and childhood scrapes and pains you thought you forgot an Age and a half ago. It washes over and down, cold, cold, so cold, and then you’re on fire and invincible and fearless, so far from everything ordinary and everything that’s ever scared you.
The long dark of the night seems vanished; all the eyeless fanged things that haunt the borders of his dreams disappear into the white and electricity like they never existed. Dark tower corners and the press of templar hands fade. It all does. There’s only the blue and the courage it gives.
This is nothing like that.
He thought he knew what it meant to burn. He knew nothing. There is no beginning or end when the fire rages up from inside him. There are times when he’s supposed to be dormant that he feels his skin is cracking open, the wounds yawning wide, wounds he can’t heal with words or magic, and he has to run his fingers over the planes of his face and down the slope of his cheeks to make sure it’s all there— nose and chin and brow, so familiar but so alien.
There used to be a division. Anders. Justice. What is he now? Where does one of them stop and the other start? He doesn’t know, not anymore— there are memories, feelings, colors he never knew he could see. Is it Anders who likes sweetmeats and Orlesian cheese or Justice? Does Justice favor his right leg and swing the sword just so, or was it Anders? Is it either? He can’t remember. What does ‘I’ mean? It seems such a small thing to contain what it is to be. Anders never thought like that, he thinks, or did he?
It’s too hard to think. That’s been happening a lot lately, he realizes with a twinge of his old humor. That probably used to be Anders’. He still calls himself that if for nothing but convenience’s sake. He’s not marvelously good at explaining. Perhaps it’s also a bit of a wish for something that’s very much gone. Maker, his head hurts. He presses his forehead against the cool, crumbling wall of the clinic and feels something skitter down his temple. Plaster, most likely.
He tries not to focus on the armor he knows is in the footlocker under the ratty cot. He should be rid of it. Burn it. Tear it to pieces and let the children of Darktown remaster it. Heavens knows they need the clothes.
But he cannot get past lifting the latch of the coffer. He hasn’t looked at it since he took it off and tossed it in there, locked it away with the must and the grime and the dust, the last piece of Anders that he could name his own before it was all wiped away. The last pieces of them, and of her, and of the notes of hickory that clung to her clothes and skin. He can’t let that go. Curse him, blast him, damn him— but he can’t.
The man who isn’t Anders falls face-first onto the cot and resigns himself from the worries of the waking world and ignores the clamoring voice in his head, the voice that is always, always speaking, and tries to sleep. He dreams of blazing woods and kissing a girl who would hate him now and griffons burning in blue flame, screaming. Justice— what had been Justice— remembers the griffons.