Prompt Response: Relief

Though he knew what would happen, he knew what he and Justice had done and why, the actual explosion of the Chantry that towered over Kirkwall, symbolically spreading its shadow down to the very roots of the city, stunned Anders. He staggered over to a crate on wooden legs, falling onto it as his knees unhinged entirely.

It was one thing to discuss putting a bomb in the seat of religious power in Kirkwall, to rail about the abuses its denizens allowed and even encouraged and how they deserved to be made an example. It was quite another to see a building a thousand years old deconstruct itself in a matter of seconds, the clearly-magic light of the cause spearing through the roofs and walls.

Anders leaned forward, elbows on his knees, and fought not to pass out as he considered the sheer number of people he had just killed. Dozens of sisters and brothers lived there, needy of both the spiritual and financial stripe sought aid there, and only a few Templars regularly guarded the place. Though Justice had convinced him that killing them all in spectacular fashion would spark the rebellion that had fumed in Circles around Thedas for centuries, that mages would rise up against the oppression of a religion and its army to claim their own humanity once more, seeing it happen brought no thrill of victory, no sense of beginning.

Instead, Anders thought he might vomit. Justice had given a great shout at the instant the stones of the Chantry had spun out across Hightown, using Anders's own throat. But as the debris rained down and Anders realized how many innocent people would be hurt or killed simply for being nearby the spirit had subsided to consider the consequences of its action.

It was as much the relief of the quiet in his skull as the shock at what he'd done that made Anders feel ill. For weeks, months, Justice had subjected him to a constant barrage of orders, calling him lazy and ineffectual, driving him on with his own thoughts and emotions. The spirit begrudged the snatched naps and snacks that kept the mage alive, insisting that action had to be taken.

Anders had begun to lose his own sense of time in the endless pushing. As events with Meredith and Orsino had begun to spin more and more quickly so Justice had stepped up the pressure to be ready to act. No sooner had the bomb itself been planted than he'd had to resurrect what he could of the mage underground and smuggle every child he could from the Gallows without tipping his hand. Between dangerous forays into the bowels of Kirkwall Justice required working and reworking the manifesto that explained why the Chantry had to be destroyed.

He felt as though he'd been running full-tilt before the whip of some inhuman beast, something that never tired and was never satisfied. Justice knew that the explosion would be the end of Anders's life and the spirit was determined to milk every second of usefulness out of the mage, though whatever means necessary, until it happened. And the hell of it was that Anders agreed with it. He was just so very, very tired.

The world spun down as he sat on the crate waiting to die. All he cared about was the relief from the constant pressure. If Hawke would only give him the release, the death he so deserved, he would be content knowing that Justice would let him go, for once and all.

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