She caressed his hair, smoothing it back from his slick temple, her icy fingertips anything but soothing: Elyse’s touch was nothing but a promise, an untold future cradled in her crooks of her fingers, the curve of her nails. And, more than that, the blood caked beneath them.
“There’s a good, sweet boy,” she murmured, violet eyes downcast to where Cullen’s head laid in her lap, his teeth grinding so hard she could almost hear it. “You know it’s for the best. For the Inquisiton. For us.” For me.
He whined, pressing his face more insistently against her thigh, the entirety of his body quaking. Maker, why did his fever not abate? Cullen felt as though his very veins were on fire, as if they’d been lined with tinder and then set ablaze. This was not how Lyrium was supposed to be.
“I can’t,” Cullen whispered, his voice hoarse.
Elyse tapped the half empty vial of red lyrium, humming tunelessly. She’d need to question Samson further about his sources. before the night was done. Sure, she had the locations of raw crystals. But Elyse wanted it refined, wanted it in massive quantities. Corypheus was not the only one who could craft an army of his liking out of drugs and devotion. And who better to ask than his former second in command?
What a pitiful creature he was. Samson would learn soon enough that begging would not stay her hand; she was the Inquisitor, after all. He’d had his first taste of that today.
And oh, how he had begged, and murmured that same word. It was almost funny how men always seemed to tell her they that they couldn’t, when what they really meant was that they didn’t want.
Well, what they wanted had never meant anything to Elyse Trevelyan.
“Yes, you can.” Elyse twisted his head, a fistful of blond curls in her hand, and poured more red lyrium into his waiting mouth. “Because you must.”