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glittered like the sun

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He only half-remembers Orzammar, and like all things half-remembered it becomes undeniably precious to him. Dust Town is a sort of shapeless fear he may have wandered towards once before Ilsa dragged him away and back towards the Proving Grounds, horrified. The Diamond Quarter actually glitters. The way into the Deep Roads is dark and menacing, but in-between the weathered rock he thinks he used to see the glint of Legion of the Dead armor passing. Everything in Orzammar is proud and resolute, far from the sun and the sky, kept safe by the stone, illuminated by fire and lyrium. He was not old enough to think much of the incompetent herders with their piles of dead nugs; he was not around to witness the passing of Endrin Aeducan and the storm that came after. The Anvil of the Void is myth, the Darkspawn (mostly) stories he doesn't even have the time to dwell on because he's been head of the family since he was eight.

House Tethras - descended from not one but two Paragons - cast into infamy and out of Orzammar because its head couldn't be bothered to cover his tracks while fixing Provings (as if no-one else ever fixes Provings, ha!) is here now, atop a mountain rather than under it, trapped beneath a sun that beats it into the ground as a hammer beats onto an anvil. House Tethras is here now, with nothing to its name but a couple of men who mostly lie and fight between themselves and avoid the Guild like the Blight (which is an option for surface dwarves who do not have to sleep with one eye open in case a hurlock comes knocking; it took Bartrand a while to unlearn that).

And Bartrand looks at his brother who has never seen the Aedros Atuna and for whom the sun is perfectly commonplace, his baby brother who belongs neither to the stone nor the sky, his silver-tongued brother who can weave a story better than Bartrand's own memory can recall it. He looks at his little brother who hasn't been little in decades now and wants to feel love but all he has now is a tugging at the back of his mind - a chant, a whisper, something he should not have taken but, oh, how could he have not - and a cold hollow that in another time he might have known to be despair.

Don't let House Tethras die like this.