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Injury Repaid

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For a moment they didn't notice she'd stopped. The entrance to the cave is right there. They have things to do, nasties to kill, a world to save and so on. It's a lot of weight, a lot of heavy shit and he's not even at the center of it. Somehow Varric has once again found himself in the drawing aura of a woman about to change the world. He'd heard others call her magnetic, like they call Hawke magnetic. For all their skill at drawing sharpened metal and danger, both the Inquisitor and Hawke have far more skill at drawing flesh and breathe in close. Blood and hope and warm bodies and warmer hearts.

They aren't the same person however, not by far. Hawke is human, crass and sarcastic - fast like the fire she wields. Lavellan is... oblivious and soft and so very distant, like a painting of a woman held too far away. For all her kindness to them, the friendships she has built so easily, she is still always... away. As if she isn't quite there but isn't quite anywhere else either. The only magic she wields is the magic of somehow knowing everything and nothing at the same time.

And the ancient elven magic of being entirely too quiet when she moves; or stops moving as it were.

Cole notices first, stopping and looking back. He moves so silently himself that Varric isn't sure he would have noticed if the lanky kid wasn't in front of him. But something starts the boy. Something bothers him and considering the close bond he has to the Herald, he wouldn't at all be surprised if the sheer absence of elf was enough to unsettle him at this point. The brim of his hat, too large to support itself yet still somehow managing, casts shadows across a too pale face with too pale hair as the boy cocks his head to the side like a confused puppy and trains large eyes on something behind them. Varric glanced back over his shoulder, catching Solas mimicking the motion himself in the periphery of his vision. More specifically he pivots on his heel, turning and placing his staff squarely in front of him with hands folded over the worn and smoothed wood. The whole thing is – to quote Sera – incredibly elfy.

He tried not to snort, watching Cole instead as he moved with his awkward stumbling gate (the movements he always adopts when he is excited or around the Herald) to Lavellan's side. She's small as it is, thin and tall like a willow, but seems smaller with her massive hunk of metal that served as her sword strapped to her back. Her shoulders are curved in as she stands, as if she is too shy to stand straight before the white stone wolf she is investigating. Curved, weather worn stone, a brighter white than anything so exposed to the elements had the right to be, acts as a sharp contrast against the dark brown of her skin when she reaches out and runs a finger across the great wolf's shoulder blade.

“What is he doing here?” Cole narrates, or so Varric assumes. He had no idea what this wolf is doing here, what it means. But Lavellan is interested in it and beside him he can hear Solas shift very slightly so he assumes it's something elfy.

The herald nods, withdrawing her touch and taking a step back. “He has no place being here,” she continues as if Cole hadn't begun the speech for her. “There are no clans near here, no Dalish who call this place home. So why is he here?”

Mystic elven bullshit. Varric took a few easy steps closer to get a better look at the wolf himself. “Who is he, exactly?”

“Fen'Harel – the dread wolf. My clan used to have statues of him around, to remind us to be wary of the honeyed words of false friends-” She paused for a moment, looking thoughtful. Had they had this conversation two months ago, before Varric got to know the Herald better, he'd expect that to be the end of it. Now, he knows it isn't. The break in her speech was long, but they all knew she was off somewhere in her thoughts and it would take a moment for her to return to them. She did, however, pick back up as if she'd never stopped after a silent minute. “Lúthien once dared me to climb one of them for a sweet roll she'd gotten from some shems while her papa was trading with them.” Solas made a small noise and Varric rather got the impression that was not something she should have done. But knowing her - “I fell off and broke my leg and the keeper was angry at me for weeks. And then Lúthien told me she'd already eaten the sweet roll and she just wanted to see if she could make me do it.”

Varric laughed, loudly, but he was the only one that did. The deafening silence of the other three stifled his own laughter quickly, leaving him to shift awkwardly for a moment. Lavellan apparently didn't see the irony in her tale, nor did Cole. Solas didn't laugh and a bitter part of the dwarf wondered if he even could.

“Your head is terrible for climbing on,” She confided to the wolf statue, addressing it directly as Cole nodded in agreement and Solas made another awkward noise. Really what had his day become that he went from thinking about the weight of the world around a young woman's shoulders to watching as that very same woman chastised a statue of an elven god.

Lavellan turned her grey eyes – the same color as her hair, a color that anywhere else would be muted and calm but in her eyes was strength and rushing rapids– to Cole. He stared back quietly, thinking for a moment before nodding eagerly with the wide brim of his hat flopping somewhat adorably as he did. “Yes,” he agreed with whatever Lavellan was thinking and how could she stand to talk to him like that? Just think about whatever she was considering and let him read it from her mind? “It will make you feel better and Varric will laugh.”

He perked at the mention of his own name, shifting attention back to the elven girl to see just what she was planning. She reared back slightly, bracing herself and – with strength he really shouldn't be surprised to see from her at this point but still was - kicked the statue of Fen'Hawhat'sit. The dread wolf, that was the name he knew better from Daisy and his tongue wrapped around the sound of it easier.

The sound of the impact was clear, a solid thud that echoed through the open mouth of the nearby cave and came back to them louder and stronger a second later. The noise Solas made, equal parts disapproval and shock like the sound of a disgusted nug being strangled, was louder. Cole was right, he did laugh. Not at the Inquisitor kicking a statue in punishment, but rather at the older elf with his face turned sour with disgruntlement.

“Really Eurydice? (Ah – he was really insulted if he was using her first name. Varric snorted and received a brief glare for his mirth.) Do we not have more important tasks than watching you assault gods? Should we inform Corypheus that he must wait in line?”

She looked up at him with wide eyes, understandably so as it seemed a bit of an overreaction for a brief moment of childishness. Teeth bit at her lip and she seemed ready to apologize and suggest moving on when she was interrupted by something he wouldn't have ever thought to even write in one of his books. The timing was just too perfect, too eloquent. With the sharp crack of fracturing rock, a portion of the curved line of the dread wolf's paw where she had kicked fell off. The stone section did not travel far, rocking slightly in the grass before settling just a breath away from the main paw. It almost didn't look broken. Almost.

Solas scoffed, and if he were a different man might have thrown his arms in the air, before he turned and marched pointedly into the mouth of the cave where they needed to go. Cole chuckled softly – likely so as not to offend the older elf – but he needn't have worried as Varric's own full-bodied laughter covered the sound entirely. Doubly so when he heard Eurydice Lavellan mutter, under her breath before following after her annoyed elder, “For my leg.”