There it was. Faren suddenly felt weak at the knees, momentarily more afraid than he had ever been before of anything else, and if he hadn't been holding on to something he might actually have fallen down. They'd been right all along... Rica, Oghren, everyone. It was terrifying. More so than the Deep Roads, or the Fade, or even the Archdemon. He had been able to face those, because he had to - because he knew deep down that he could. But this was something else. This was the sky. Big, and blue and just... there, looming over him.
Faren gripped the edge of the window sill to steady himself, unable to look away from the view. How many day and nights had he spent under that sky? He didn't even know, had never bothered to count. All that had mattered then (just a day or so ago, really) was the Blight, and the next mission. There had never been time to... - or, really - he'd never given himself the time to be afraid. From one end of Ferelden to the other, and back again, and Faren had never once looked up. It was his luck that no one had noticed.
His chest hurt, and he realized he was holding his breath. He let it out sharply, and as he sucked in the next breath it brought with it an intense wave of dizziness that made him clutch at the window sill ever more tightly. The vastness of it made him nauseous. It was absolutely unbeatable, completely outside of his control. He could hurl a spear at it, and all that would happen would be that the spear would come down again without ever hitting anything. No bleeding wonder the humans clung so eagerly to their Maker, living as they did under something so... monstrous. Dwarfs lived with the stone, and they carved their homes and their destinies into it. A dwarf always knew, from birth to death, where his place was and in that respect the Stone would never waver. Humans were at the mercy of their surroundings, there was no knowing what the sky would do next.
"Quite a view," a heavily accented voice said behind him suddenly, startling him. Faren hadn't heard a sound, and yet Zevran had managed to open the closed door of his chamber, enter through it, close it again, and cross half the floor. Had it been anyone else, Faren would've been very resentful. As it was he refused to turn around. He knew Zevran's face would be smug without having to see it.
"We're too high up," he complained sullenly instead, keeping his eyes on the sky, and heard Zevran's answering chuckle.
"I wasn't talking about what I see in the window," he teased, stepping forward to rest his hand on Faren's shoulder.
The touch was enough. Though he barely felt it through his armour, it was exactly what Faren needed to tear his eyes away from the terrifying blue. Moving to face his elf brought on new waves of dizziness, but now they were tinted with relief.
"For an assassin you have terrible eyesight," he retorted drily, but with a small smile. "Shouldn't you be more worried that we only have the one exit? We won't get to the fight fast enough if there's an attack, and if the enemy makes it here, we're trapped."
Zevran's teasing smile didn't waver. In fact, it grew even wider.
"Do my perfectly shaped ears deceive me?" he drawled. "Is the man, who had us sleep in tents in a werewolf-infested forest, the man who dragged us on half-rations through tunnels teeming with darkspawn... is that man now complaining about his lodging being too poor at the royal palace of Denerim?"
His eyes narrowed, and Faren felt the way he did when he got stunned on the battlefield. Dizzy, panicked, vulnerable. Zevran's smile grew ever wider.
"Or could it be..." he mused. "That the great Grey Warden, the Hero of Ferelden.. is not comfortable, so high in the sky?"
Faren huffed, and pushed Zevran back a step. He left the window with hurried steps and moved closer to the warmth of the hearth, hoping movement would shake the feeling away. A fire roared there, and the warm stone was a comfort. Winter was coming, and the cold that preceded the snow had already descended from the Frostbacks to cover Denerim. The dreaded white was only a few days away.
"Oh, come, Faren," Zevran laughed. "Do not sulk, I know you are not so easily offended." He followed Faren, undeterred, and snaked his arms around Faren's shoulders. He was clearly in a good mood, as he had been ever since Faren walked away from the Archdemon unscathed, and his joy was infectious now that they were alone. Faren felt the warmth of him, and the warmth of the fire, and suddenly the armour he was still wearing after the day's activities felt heavy and constricting.
"Dwarfs do not sulk," he murmured stubbornly into the silk of Zevran's shirt.
The answering chuckle was more of a purr.
"I've known you to do many things one wouldn't commonly expect of a dwarf."
"And you've known many common dwarfs, have you?" Faren challenged, stepping back enough so he could unbuckle the heavy belts holding his weapons in place.
"More than you will ever know," Zevran answered brightly, following in step so he could help.
Getting out of armour - any armour from light elven gear to silverite steel - was never an easy process. Faren rolled his eyes, but allowed himself to be helped until he was stripped down to his shirt (cotton, he would rather go naked than wear silks) and breeches.
"I have something for you," he announced once he was free.
Zevran lifted an eyebrow that suggested that he had an answer prepared that would somehow refer to parts that Faren would not be taking out in broad daylight, and as an answer Faren clapped him curtly on the cheek as a preventive measure. The elf held his tongue, but smirked none the less.
Faren walked over to a chest in the corner of the room and opened it. It was filled with absurd variations of trinkets, potion flasks (full and empty, labeled and unlabeled), daggers and more or less magical items and rocks. The chest was Faren's very own stash where he'd emptied all his excess goods the minute he'd had the chance. The lock was of his own design as well - there was no key, and the lock could only be picked open with a set of very specific pins in a very specific order. He was quite proud of it, though he hadn't told anyone.
"Here," he said, producing a bracelet and handing it over with a slightly sheepish expression. "I saw it today in the market, and thought of you."
Zevran accepted the bracelet with eyes glowing with enthusiasm. Zevran liked shiny things. It was an elegant piece of jewelery. Silver and easy to hide, but very intricate and quite valuable.
"It is a fine gif-..." Zevran began, but then his eyes narrowed again and he sighed. "Faren," he said with some exasperation. "You have to stop doing this. We are rich now."
"What? Giving you gifts?"
"Stealing from your allies."