Broken Hallelujah

Further Instructions

The clinic was quiet. The sun was setting. Mahariel was gone; the only thing she left behind was the smell of her on his skin. Anders ran his thumbs over his index fingers, trying to ingrain in his memory the way she'd felt in his hands. He breathed slowly, patiently, counting away the day with every inhale and exhale. It would be easier tomorrow, he told himself, easier once it was no longer the last day Mahariel was in Kirkwall, once it was no longer the last day he'd laid eyes on her. When his breathing sped up, when tears threatened, he reminded himself of his purpose, of what lengths Lyna had gone to for him, for this. He ran his hands over his bare arms and stood, making to leave the now-dark crevace when his boot encountered not dirt, but something that crunched beneath it. Bending down, he picked up an envelope, sealed with wax, adorned with handwriting he knew was hers.

He took the letter out into the dim light of the clinic to read it. The envelope read simply, "Further instructions." He slipped his pinky beneath the wax seal and broke it.

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