There was nothing he could do. When Ulrich found Leliana it was already too late. They had been hunting a gang of thieves that should have been a fairly simple bounty. They had split up in order to ensure the escape route was covered, but they hadn't counted on the thieves teaming up with another band and using the cockiness of the hunters against them. They had kept the two of them confused and separated, and most likely would have destroyed them both, had the blonde male not heard the agonised screams of his lover and partner. If he had not heard that, he may well have given up, but unfortunately for the louts, they had let her scream, and Ulrich had whirled into action without a second thought. Leaving a slew of bodies in his wake, the man had fought his way to his beloved, only to find her body tarnished and still, already beginning to go cold as her life had been drained so completely. She had been brutally killed by the scoundrels, but she had fought back without a thought, giving her life as she had always promised to do - not that either of them had ever expected it to actually happen. Ulrich held her in his arms, ignoring the blood that soaked his clothes, as well as the stiffening body that he eventually held as the hours passed. He wouldn't leave her, he wanted to hold her close forever, his tears falling onto her utterly still face as he refused to move a muscle. ----- A year later, and Ulrich was taking a rare stop off in a large port city where he had heard rumours of a great alchemist that might be able to help him. He had become much sharper in both appearance and manner, his long hair now bone white, his skin terribly pale. The demon he had dealt with had granted him power, but not enough to bring Leliana back. So, he'd killed the bastard, though it had fused itself to his soul before he could destroy it entirely. But, at least he was stronger now, and so his trips to resupply were fewer. Currently, the tall man was seated in a shabby old tavern, waiting impatiently for the alchemist to come and meet him. He wasn't certain that the man would come, but he intended to wait all night if need be. The alchemist was a master of the black arts, purportedly so anyway, so this clandestine meeting was unfortunately necessary. Even so, all this waiting had amber eyes narrowed to slits as he couldn't help but think about eviscerating everyone in the room - something he had been thinking about more and more in recent months.