The sun was just starting to rise as Mahariel returned to Kirkwall. The seas had been calm for her voyage, and for that she was thankful. The sacks of flour she had used for a bed were softer than she had hoped, and stowing away on a cargo ship afforded her an anonymity she only remembered wistfully. In a filthy linen shift and the sole-less shoes common to the Dalish, no one suspected her of anything except being an elf who had saved up enough money to afford passage to Kirkwall, but in her bag were much finer garments, garments she'd used to leave the city in the first place, and to make her connections across Thedas. She'd only traveled as far as she'd needed to; she'd let rumour and collusion do the rest.
In the hull, the Warden Commander stretched and ran her fingers through her hair, loosing a small length of twine from around her wrist; she would use it to tie off her braid and make herself look more presentable; she wasn't about to allow herself to be stopped for questioning at the docks, not with the cargo she carried.
She carried it for Anders.
It was a small thing, but she'd done all she could. Acid churned in her stomach if she thought of it too long or too hard, and she had to comfort herself with thoughts of the past, with all the things she'd done and gotten away with in Ferelden. They had had to be done, and someone had had to do them. Mahariel had never questioned before that she was the one to do them, not with Alistair by her side, not with his conviction steadying her even on the rare occasions when he questioned her methods, her choices.
But she had made her choice now.
A sick smile crossed her lips and she muttered to herself that Fenris would be proud. The irony did not escape her. It never did anymore.