Anders knocked quickly on a worn-looking door, the entrance to a shabby hovel in the city's alienage. Surely Merrill could not live here, Mahariel mused. How could anyone live here? She'd seen Denerim's alienage, and though Kirkwall's seemed a good deal cleaner, it was still an absolutely sad place to behold. The stones themselves seemed to be constructed of oppression. She could not imagine herself in such a position. Mahariel hadn't been privileged, exactly, but she couldn't imagine staying here over returning to a clan. Didn't they know the clans would have them back? Many of Mahariel's brothers and sisters had been city elves, welcomed with open arms into clan Sabrae. How could they choose this over the wood? The land?
"Merrill, open up," Anders called at the wood of the door.
"Why?" came a muffled voice, "So you can lecture me?"
"Look, there's someone here who would like to see you."
"Hawke can come on his own time."
Anders sighed and leaned his forehead against the door. "It's not Hawke. Would you please just let me in?"
There was a heavy silence, but the sound of a hand on the handle of the door made Anders stand straight again.
"What is -" Merrill clamped a hand to her chest. "No."
"Aneth ara," Mahariel said softly.
"Lethallan," Merrill breathed, taking small steps forward in the dark alienage, unsure if her eyes were deceiving her. Mahariel spread her arms wide and Merrill fell into them. "I hadn't heard from you - heard of you in so long... I thought for sure..."
"I missed you, Merrill."
Merrill raised her eyes to Anders, but kept her arms tight around Mahariel. "Ma serrannas, Anders. Thank you."