You are a mistake. The words echoed in her head. At first, it was nothing more than a whisper, but then it crescendoed and clamored until Emmeline gripped her head in agony. Then it faded away, and she looked up to see the bright glow of the rift also fading away. She groaned and winced, feeling as though she’d been thrown across a room and hit several poles on the way. No, not a room. Emmeline was lying face down, blades of ash-grey grass tickling her face. She pushed up to her knees, blinking as she looked around. It was dark, but somehow she could still see well enough, as if the sun had just ducked behind a cloud. Bare trees hunched like black skeletons all around her. Jagged red crystals that she now recognized as lyrium jutted from the rocky ground, adding their glow to the greenish tint of the air. She was outside. So she must’ve hit several trees then, not poles. Her eyes narrowed. Wasn’t she just--? She scanned the barren landscape, following the line of a rock up to the sky. Dark clouds swirled overhead with arcs of green lightning dancing across it. The sky looked as if the Breach had yawned and swallowed it completely. “Maker’s breath…” She put her hands to her head, raking her fingers through her sable locks and squeezed her eyes shut. “Think Emmy, think…” she said, and when she opened her eyes, she remembered. Redcliffe. She had been in the hall at Redcliffe. Alexius had had that amulet. He did…something. But Dorian had shouted, going forward at the last moment before everything went green. “Dorian.” She murmured, struggling to her feet as her memory returned. “Dorian!” She twisted slowly, scanning the area. “Varric!” She called his name next. She would desperately appreciate his witty remarks right now. “Cassandra!” There was no answer, only her voice echoing off the rocks. It was still. Too still. Where there should be birds flying and fennecs and rams roaming the rocks, there was nothing. She searched the area once more. It looked familiar, if one squinted, really squinted, and pretended it was awash in rich earth tones rather than gloom. How she wished she had paid more attention to the map when Cullen was going over terrain in the War Room. It might have been easier to discern just where she was. There was a rock outcropping nearby, higher than where she’d landed. If she could get to it, perhaps she could better orientate herself. Emmeline started forward, the pain that she felt upon landing ebbing away as she walked. The ascent to the outcropping was steep and pebbles rained down the slope as she climbed. The apex was marred by a deposit of red lyrium, which she gave as wide berth as possible as she peered over the edge. Her eyes traveled over the rocks, skeleton trees and red lyrium in an endless barren landscape that faded into a grey mist on the horizon. This new perspective gave her little advantage as she was still hopelessly lost. But then, over a hill…black smoke curled up, standing out against the grey mist. Smoke meant fire, fire meant people. People meant that someone would know what was going on. She hoped. She left the outcropping, sliding down twice as fast as she climbed, and started in the direction of the smoke. You are a mistake. The words that Alexius had screamed came back to her. Her distraught mother had said the same thing the day Uncle Robert and her brother Brannis came to take her to the Circle. It was all a mistake, after all. Emmeline was supposed to train to be a Templar. Just like her elder brother, just like her Uncle and countless other Trevelyans. She was supposed to make her father proud. But her sister Danielle had a fever, and Emmeline wanted it to go away so that Danielle could play again. Danielle was hot, so Emmeline would make her cold. The ice spread quickly out of control. She shook her head firmly to clear her head, realizing her hands were in fists. She brought up her left hand, where the mark spread across her palm. It was hidden under fingerless bearhide gloves, and was, for now, quiet. She was a mistake. The village, if it could be called, that was no more than two or three hastily built huts, haphazard tents and a central fire. Emmeline had stopped walking once she saw the outline of the buildings through the mist and ducked behind a sizable boulder to evaluate the situation before tumbling blindly in. Above the huts stretched the ruins of some sort of fortress, just barely visible through swirling clouds. It was like the ones she’d remembered seeing on the way to Redcliffe. So there was a chance she was nearby. There were people in the village, but no chatter. No laughter, or coughing or anything. They moved as if they were in a stupor. One chopped wood, one carried it to a stack, one stirred a pot, and they did it in utter silence. Those who were not engaged in activity stood like statues, their eyes fixed on some distant point. “Help me!” The cry struck her as strange. It had been silent as the grave, and the sound seemed wholly out of place. Emmeline turned, just in time to see a haggard man sprinting through the mist into the village. But he didn’t see her. He stopped by each person, repeating his pleas for help. “Help me please! There are men--”They stopped for a moment while he clutched at their arms, looking not at him but through him. When he let them go and went on to the next, they resumed what they had been doing as if he had never been there. “Hey! Over here!” Emmeline called out, standing from her hiding spot. The man turned, his eyes the size of saucers. He seemed to consider her presence a moment, and decided hers was better than the shells of the people in the village. “Thank the Maker!” The man breathed, starting to where she was. Emmeline stepped around the rocks, going to meet him. Then she saw the hulking form marching out of the mists behind him, cradling a great axe that was bigger than she was. A great axe that he seemed eager to use. The hulk was flanked by two others that Emmeline couldn’t quite distinguish, but could see the curve of a bow in one’s hand as he aimed it at the man. He wouldn’t make it. “Look out!” She said, reaching for a staff that wasn’t there. “Damn!” She spat, grimacing. I don’t need a staff to be dangerous. She remembered what she had said to Cassandra. She spread her arms quickly, a line of ice forming between the man and his pursuers. She turned her palms to the sky, holding them at waist height. As she slowly raised her hands, the ice wall grew, cutting off the approach of the others. But they would only be slowed a moment. “Come on!” She yelled, motioning him to her. At last seeing the danger, the man broke into a run towards her. The wall shattered like broken glass, ejecting chunks of ice from the center where the hulk had torn through it with his ax. Emmeline had already readied another spell, and threw the fireball at the hulk and raised another wall a second later to prevent the marksman’s arrows from reaching the fleeing man. The pursuers were quickly advancing. She’d not be able to keep this up for long. Emmeline reached out to the man to tug him along behind her if needed. He reached out as well, but fell suddenly at her feet. The arrow protruding from her back told her all she needed to know. But the hulk and the marksman weren’t satisfied. They were now looking at her with the same murderous intent. She took a step away from them and then another, backpedaling madly before she turned. Maker help her, she ran.