He spots Dorian walking past where the horses were kept, a disgruntled look crafted upon his face as he moves further away from the smithy. Dorian doesn’t notice Oscar at first, too caught up in glaring at the ground and gripping tightly onto the staff held within his hand, and Oscar uses the opportunity to head towards him.
“Everything alright there, Dorian?”
The question startles the mage out of whatever thoughts were floating through his mind. Dorian’s head rises to meet where Oscar stands before him, and he slows his own steps to a stop. Oscar waits for him to reply, crossing his arms over his chest just as the bitter, cold wind passes by them both in a breeze.
“Certainly not,” Dorian eventually responds, sniffing. “Whilst I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting a grand style of hospitality given the circumstances as to why we’re all here in the first place, I must say that I wasn’t expecting the usual prejudices of the south to make themselves known so openly.”
Oscar’s brow furrows, confusion coloring his expression. With a raised eyebrow he speaks, hoping to understand what it was Dorian meant and if he’d have to have yet another talk with someone about what being a part of the Inquisition actually meant.
“Care to explain what you mean?”
Dorian lets out a sigh, pointing behind his shoulder.
“Your blacksmith doesn’t like me very much,” He says. “I was hoping he could look into some work needed on my staff, however simply approaching him meant that my shoes were given a spit polish. Disgusting habit, by the way.”
“Ah,” Oscar replies.
He gives a slow nod, suddenly understanding the situation a little better. It’s not a complaint that he hasn’t heard before, and Oscar knows that the blacksmith has quite the reputation for being overly wary to some of the more … unusual faces beginning to make their presence known since joining their cause. The sudden appearance of a proud Tevinter mage suddenly showing up out of the blue? Oscar could see how it could cause a rather mixed reaction from people.
“Well, what do you need?” He continues. “I can help you if you like. Believe it or not, I have quite the knack when it comes to fixing things. I break them enough before putting them back together again after all.”
“You? Good at fixing things? No wonder why you’re the Herald around here,” Dorian pauses, lifting up his staff so that Oscar could get a better glimpse of it.”The blade needs replacing, you see? Apparently, bashing the shit out of demons really does tend to weaken it quicker. Who would have guessed.”
Oscar lets out a light sound of laughter, reaching forward to take Dorian’s staff from him. He gives a small shake of his head at the words before inspecting the blade for himself, noticing how it has, indeed, managed to wear down. It looks like it’s managed to loosen somewhat too, and Oscar knows just as well as Dorian does that it would have only been a matter of time until the thing had either shattered or become lost somewhere.
“I can replace it for you. I have some spare blades for my own staff, one of those should work.”
“Aren’t you resourceful?” Dorian asks rhetorically. Oscar glances at him, picking up on how his lips have tilted upwards beneath his mustache into a smile.
Oscar spares another quick look in the direction of the smithy, adding it to his memory to have a word with how the blacksmith treats others later. For the time being he turns, signalling for Dorian to follow him as he makes his way back to the small, wooden building that he’s currently staying in. They pass both Sera and Varric sitting by a fire together on the way and say a quick hello to them, until finally the two of them manage to escape the frostiness from outside and find a sense of warmth within Oscar’s space.
“Make yourself comfortable,” Oscar says, placing Dorian’s staff down onto a cluttered desk to one side. Oscar wastes no time in heading towards one of the chests in his room, kneeling on the ground to open and begin searching through it.
“It’s very … homey, this little place of yours.”
Oscar glances at Dorian again over his shoulder quickly, his own lips forming a little smile at how he’s still standing near the door and inspecting the room around him with an upturned nose. He breathes out a chuckle, turning his attention back onto searching for the blades he’s looking for.
“I know, I know; the place is not that impressive. I only really sleep or carry out most of my readings and research here though. Otherwise I’m usually busy elsewhere, so I can’t really complain. It does it’s job, and at least there’s a fire for when the evenings are at their coldest.”
“I suppose. At least it beats a tent, I’m still having trouble getting used to those you know?”
“You? I would never have believed it,” Oscar jokes. He hears the sound of Dorian letting out a sigh, followed by a creaking sound as his body meets one of the old chairs sat in the room.
Oscar rises to his feet soon after, carrying the selection of blades and tools he has and placing them on his desk. He clears a few of his messy papers and books away to make a little bit of space first, before lifting up Dorian’s staff and inspecting the damaged blade again. After a while of fiddling with it Oscar reaches for something he’d gathered from the chest, and starts to attempt pulling the old blade out.
“I have to say, I’m a little surprised actually,” says Oscar, picking up their conversation again. He senses the way Dorian turns his attention to watch him, a mixture of both wonder at seeing Oscar work and curiosity at what he was referring to present in his expression.
“Oh?” Dorian replies. “Surprised with what, exactly?”
“Just … that you decided to stay with the Inquisition, really,” Oscar answers. He pauses, focusing for a second before continuing to speak. “It’s a good kind of surprise, don’t get me wrong. However just from my experiences so far, it can take a little bit more convincing on my part to get most people inspired enough to want to join our cause.”
Dorian lets out a laugh of his own at that, leaning back in the chair to make himself more comfortable.
“I also very much doubt that you end up trapped in a dark, doomed future with most people. That can help to put things into a better sense of perspective if you’re on the fence about anything, although I could have done without seeing so much red lyrium in one place.”
“When you put it that way…” says Oscar, fighting a growing grin. He leans against his desk, letting himself relax a little more in Dorian’s company. “I’ve been meaning to thank you, by the way. If you weren’t in that future with me, well. I very much doubt I’d be standing here now.”
“I did say I would be there to protect you, didn’t I? I’m not a man to back out of my promises, Herald.”
“Ugh, please - just call me Oscar. I hear Herald enough each day that it’s a wonder I haven’t yet mistaken it for being my actual name.” The blade in the staff finally pulls free, and with a triumphant smile Oscar discards it to one side. “Did you hear from your friend, by the way? Alexius’s son - Felix, wasn’t it?”
Oscar glances at Dorian quickly to see his smile falter, shrinking slightly. His expression softens, and if Oscar hadn’t already known beforehand that Dorian holds a close friendship with the boy, he was certainly able to see it now.
“I met with him again before coming here,” He says quietly. “He mentioned that he was going back home to Tevinter; probably to live his remaining days with what little family he has left for him to return to there. He was happy to have helped, even if it did mean that his father had to pay a price in the end.”
“I’m sorry,” Oscar replies. He pauses in what he’s doing, turning to Dorian again with a look of compassion. “I wish there was more we could have done for him.”
“Oh, it’s quite alright,” Dorian sighs, shifting slightly in his seat. “Felix knew from the beginning that his time with us was limited. His father on the other hand … I suppose he was never quite able to get over the death of his wife. The thought of eventually losing his only son too? Any man could see why he was as desperate as he was to stop that from happening.”
Oscar lets a peaceful silence fall over them both for a long while, returning his focus onto attaching the new blade he’s managed to find. After discarding a few beforehand the current blade fits perfectly, but it takes a little bit of time for Oscar to make sure it’s attached properly and kept secure. Neither he nor Dorian would want it to fail during a battle.
He lets his mind think in the quietness that settles between them. Oscar’s thoughts all focus onto the man beside him, and he realises that despite the future they’d escaped from together and the little they’d shared in terms of conversation during that time, there is very little about Dorian that he actually knows. As he really considers the blur of events they’ve already been thrown into together - including the day Dorian announced he was joining them - Oscar comes to notice that this is the first time they’ve really had the opportunity together to simply talk. It’s even stranger for him to think that it’s taken so long for them to find such a moment to do so, considering how important it is to him to learn more about those within the Inquisition’s growing inner circle.
“It occurs to me that I barely know anything about you, Dorian.”
“Beyond my being a mage from Tevinter, you mean?” Dorian quickly replies.
That’s an edge of humour to his words - probably due to the way others have already preconceived him to be some kind of menace or threat towards them. It’s not something Oscar thinks or believes though, especially not after seeing how Dorian had fought for the very same things he’s currently fighting for. If anything, the fact Dorian is so far such an enigma is somewhat fascinating to him.
“Beyond that, yes.” answers Oscar, still focusing on making sure the blade is attached properly. By his side, Dorian continues.
“And beyond my being so charming and impeccably well dressed? Which is obvious to anyone, really.”
Oscar grins, sparing Dorian another look from the corner of his vision.
“I’m well aware of your finer qualities, believe me.”
“Of course I believe you.” says Dorian, turning his head towards Oscar. “The moment I first saw you, I thought ‘now, there’s a man who knows quality’.”
In an attempt to muffle laughter, Oscar lets out a sound akin to that of a snort.
“And you got that from our first meeting, did you?” He asks, grin growing. “Are you sure it wasn’t the lack of a gift for Alexius that won your friendship over?”
“Well I did tell you to send him a fruit basket.”
There’s a playful light shining in Dorian’s eyes; and as he notices it, Oscar is certain that the use of odd jokes and sarcastic humor is the way to connect with the man better. Good, he thought to himself. I’m in full stock of those. Always have been.
“Now what was I talking about? Ah yes! Me.”
Dorian sits up in his seat slightly, appearing somewhat prouder than he had a moment ago. Oscar half expects him to clear his throat in preparation for whatever he’s about to say, yet instead finds that Dorian chooses to just speak with a hint of more confidence in his voice.
“I am the scion of House Pavus; a product of generations of careful breeding, and the repository of it’s hopes and dreams. Naturally, I despised it all of course: the lies, the scheming, the illusions of supremacy. But that’s more or less Tevinter in a nutshell, isn’t it? Needless to say, my family was not happy with my choices.”
“Are families ever happy with their child’s choices?” Oscar asks.
He finishes with his repairs to Dorian’s staff, yet instead of handing it to him decides to keep a hold of it for the time being, leaning back against his desk more as they continue to speak with one another.
“In my experience? No, they’re not. Of course, naturally I grew fed up with being a disappointment for not following the paths they had constructed for me, and I eventually left home. And a good job too. If I hadn’t, I’m sure I would have ended up trapped in some unhappy, dead-end marriage. Better for all involved that didn’t come to pass, really.”
“And that brought you here. To the south, I mean?”
“The story is a bit more involved than that, I'll admit - but … basically: yes. It brought me here.”
Dorian tilts his head to one side, and Oscar realises then that he’s being watched.
“What about you?” Dorian asks as Oscar turns to him, noticing the curiosity staring back at him. “There must have been a life for you before you were thrown into this entire mess of affairs. And as a Trevelyan - I assume it would be safe to guess that that life was one of being a noble?”
Oscar huffs out a breath of laughter, shaking his head.
“I’m a Trevelyan, yes. But I’m not the good Trevelyan. If you wanted him, that would be my brother you’re after,” He pauses, meeting Dorian’s gaze once more. “Or perhaps my sister. I’m the third child you see - also the only mage in the family. My parents didn’t like that very much, and so I ended up being sent to the Circle at Ostwick.”
“Ah yes, the mage thing is a bit of a problem down here, isn’t it?”
Oscar gives a nod. “And one that keeps growing, apparently. You wouldn’t guess how many people have questioned my being this Herald they want to believe in so badly based on my magical abilities alone.”
He lets out a sigh then, wanting to move away from the topic before it stepped into territory which was deeper than he would have liked for the time being. As an act of distraction, Oscar finally hands Dorian his staff.
“I’ve fixed it for you,” He says. “It should be alright, but let me know if it isn’t and I can look at it again. Although I will be making sure that blacksmith isn’t spitting at people again in the future.”
“That won’t stop him from turning his nose up at people he dislikes, but I thank you. This will certainly be helpful.”
Dorian lifts up his staff, inspecting the new blade at the end of it for himself. Oscar watches him silently, picking up on the moment Dorian smiles in what he can only guess is contentment at his work. Seeing such happiness on another’s face leaves Oscar with a sense of pride swelling within his chest, and he’s glad that he was able to help in some way. If the aid had led them in the direction to speak and learn more about one another … well. That was just another added bonus he was happy to accept.
“I don’t need to be anywhere for a little while,” Oscar hears himself saying before he even realises it. He notices Dorian turn, looking at him curiously. “If you think you can bear my company for longer, you could always thank me by telling me a little more about Tevinter. Don’t mention it to the others, but I’ve always held a certain curiosity for what it’s like there.”
Dorian’s smile rises, and Oscar understands that asking Dorian about a subject he appears to carry so much pride for if the way his appearance brightens is any indication was apparently the right decision to make.
“I could do that. However, you may need to prepare that fire of yours. I’m not content with telling such tales whilst sitting in a cold chill.”