I think it a great pity that this is one of but two Mass Effect images that Planetaryjuction placed on deviantart. The other 'Wish me Luck' is also a Shepard and Liara picture - a farewell on Ilium.
This - though in my opinion far the inferior of the two - would in itself have placed Planetaryjuction in the very highest level of unofficial Mass Effect artists. I'm sorry that these were the only we saw from him. But! I'm all for quality over quantity, and that certainly is the case here.
'Wish me luck' is taken from the middle of the Saga, with all the worst yet to come. It seems to me that the uncertainty and the looming darkness are well conveyed in the cold color of the light and the distant, dark, separate nature of the surrounding structures. The couple is pressed tight together, cut off from the hard, unfriendly world around them.
How different are the warm tones and the friendly closeness between the people and the world in 'In the End...'. Here the couple is not only relaxed in, but also a part of, the world around them. Their fingers twine in the grass and the gentle leaves brush them. The light does not come coldly from a distance, but surrounds and bathes both them and the friendly, embracing world.
It is titled, 'In the End...', and subtitled 'My End'. And that is exactly what it is. Not only does the whole thing breathe of the content, the unafraid, the renewed life after the dark, the sweet maturity of the story that blossomed between these two ... belonging on at the end. But this is a particular end. The end that belongs to one Shepard, an end that not all would choose - that not all could reach even if they did choose.
It seems to be a common fear that since the 'end' of the game cut off so soon - the story too was ended thus. The artist himself seems to fear this, and from the manner in which he presented this one almost gathers he put it forward in quiet defiance of the inexcusable ending of such a story. And he was quite right to do so. To view that tale as simply over at the end is unthinkable. And yet .... even within the context of the game, the story does not truly 'end'. The game ends true - but it ends with a beginning. And though we are not shown much of what it is that has begun, it may very well have been this. It is no contradiction of the story, but rather a forging forward into it. Since 'Mass Effect' did not tell us the specifics of the new it showed beginning, who but each of us individually may say what happened next ... in our end.
And few endings could be more beautiful than this.