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Oh, Maker, Why?

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The past several months had been a blur.
That was the only way Dorian could explain it. Whirlwind of crazed and seemingly impossible happenings becoming reality.

And that was why he had to run.
He didn’t even wait after it happened. ‘Talking it out’ was not an option, after he resorted to THAT, Magister Pavus had crossed the point of no return. Dorian grabbed the closest bag he could, threw clothes and some moderately valuable trinkets in, and took off.
He fled from Qarinus heading to Antiva from there, before heading to the Free Marches.

That was two months ago... Now, Dorian stood on the Highever docks, staring out over the Waking Sea, listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the docks and the sounds of the gulls crying as they soared through the foggy evening air.
It was freezing, the air biting his skin, turning his nose and ears bright red from the exposure. Thankfully, he had packed a coat he never quite had need for until now, having lived in Tevinter and never quite venturing far from the border. He wasn’t used to the cold, and it made him feel even worse than he already did. The only thing that felt good was the feeling of his hair swaying in the wind, the shoulder length strands flying free.

His ship had set sail from Kirkwall, from which the voyage had taken several days due to the terrible conditions on the waters, much to Dorian’s dismay. He was sick the entire time, no amount of elfroot potion could ease the churning in his stomach.

Because of the impromptu nature of this... trip, Dorian had little idea of where to turn now. He hadn’t the foggiest of knowledge of Ferelden, and with little trust for the towns people, he assumed it’d be a mutual distrust, he couldn’t simply ask for directions or suggestions on where to continue.

He began making his way off the docks, looking at the sights as he did so. The ship he had traveled here on a considerably small ship compared to the others in the harbor, but massive compared to everything else, was a two-mast Bilander. The taller of the two had several sails, but at the top it sported a Free Marches Banner.
It was originally was a merchant’s ship, bringing items to Ferelden to trade with. But, with his ever so quick wit, paid the captain off to allow him passage with the crew.

It had been the most miserable trip in his life. He was sick the entire time, stuck in terrible conditions. Part of him wanted to just magically appear back in his home in Minrathous... Maker, he thought at one point he’d be fine even being in Qarinus with his father.

But he made it, that was the utmost important thing. And soon, perhaps he’d find new purpose here. It just had yet to present itself.

Despite his own quandaries, the world at large also seemed to be struggling, and reasonably so.
A massive, churning hole had ripped through the sky two weeks ago. Newsies he’d encountered in his travels told of rifts that had opened not long after, spilling demons and only ‘maker-knows-what’ from the fade itself.
He was still in the Free Marches then, in Tantervale when the cataclysmic explosion ripped across the sky in a green flurry. The reports were from the Frostback Mountains, on the Orlais-Ferelden border, but it was still easy to see from so far away.

The worst news out of it though was the news that it destroyed the Conclave, there of which the Andrastian Divine was killed, along with everyone in attendance, except for a single elf.
They called this elf ‘The Herald of Andraste.’ Which was an outrage to many bigoted humans. It was really just hilarious to Dorian watching them get angry and flail about.

With everything happening, it felt like the world was ending, but for now, he had other things to focus on.

Finally going down the road to the main road of the city, he watched as people moved about the bustling town square, going about the day as though everything in the world was normal. And for them it was.
Humans, Elves, Dwarves, even the sprinkling of Qunari filtered through the town square. These people, all normal in their own respects, couldn’t mend the hole in the sky, and so, in the nature of man, they ignored it.
Merchants with their carts of goods hauling them to and fro, and travelers on their mounts as they traveled down the cobble road.

But Dorian continued on, searching over the crowd for the tavern.
He struggled, but eventually found it.

The tavern, called ‘The Honey Bee’, was a quaint little establishment that was rustic in every sense of the word. He stepped onto the small wooden porch that was covered in pots of flowers and opened the door. The entire inside smelled like dog and brine, but at least he was the only Tevinter in it.

While it was mostly empty, the occasional patron was sitting amongst companions or on their own.

At the counter was an older woman, her warm salt and pepper hair was done up in a neat bun, keeping strands out of her way as she quietly read, waiting for patrons to need her assistance.

Gathering an ounce of courage to take the place of his anxiety, Dorian approached the woman at the bar, leaning on it gently as he made the inquiry,”Hello, Ma’am, I was wondering if you have a map of some form, of Ferelden, that is.” He wondered if perhaps his accent, that of a thick Tevene, would be hard to understand when he spoke the trade language. While he was completely fluent in it, he couldn’t help but wonder.

He internally scrutinized himself for his awkwardness, but he quickly got over it as she had looked up with a smile,”I’ll have to look, but If we have one, I’ll gladly let you use it!” Her voice was that of a sweet warble, almost sing song when she spoke. She walked off in search of the maps, checking under the counter before heading to a near by closet.

Dorian set his bag down against wood of the counter and took off his coat and gloves, setting it on the counter before taking a seat on the nearby barstool. He felt his whole body slump in exhaustion. The knowing he was what seemed like a world away from his father and his plans for him gave his entire being relief...
Could Halward Pavus even be considered a father after everything? A father is someone who is supposed to protect their kin, accept them and love them... Dorian felt hot tears well up in his eyes, causing a familiar sting he’d grown used to over the course of his life.

His face pressed into his hands, too weary to even hold his head up on his own. He would have to get a room, he certainly couldn’t continue to where ever on foot today.

The woman came back,”Heres a- Oh! Hon, are you okay?” She was obviously concerned to see Dorian in such a state.

“Yes... I- Sorry. Its just been a long journey here.” He forced himself to sit up, when he did she held the folded map out. He gingerly took it, setting it on the countertop in front of him.

She hesitated,”Where are you comin’ from?” Her nails picked at the splintered wood on her side of the counter.

He hesitated for a moment, his eyes locked down on the map,”Im... from Tevinter. It’s a world away now, which Im ever so relieved about.” He admitted, his thumb running across the edges of the folded paper.

The woman nodded,”Only seen two of your kind before, older man, called ‘imself a ‘Magister’, and his son hailin in earlier this week. The poor boy, looked ill or somethin’‘.”

Dorian paused. It couldn’t be... there was no actual way it could be- Could it? He felt himself begin to panic, but there was no way! Why would they even be in Ferelden?
“Did... did they give you a name?” Dorian asked in a shaky voice.

The woman thought for a moment,”I think.. it began with an A.... Alex? Aelex?”

“Alexius?” Dorian offered, eyes wide with panic. He felt his chest constrict,’How is Felix even still alive?!’

The woman beamed at him,”Yes! They were headed to Redcliffe if I remember correctly!” She then noticed his panic,”A-Are you not fond of ‘em or something?”

Dorian wiped tears from his eyes. He couldn’t tell if he was terrified that Alexius had reason to be in Ferelden, or overjoyed to hear his friend was still out there,”On the contrary... I... That Magister is a dead friend. He was my mentor for a long time... he most likely saved my life I believe... without him I wouldn’t have been as accomplished as I was.. and his son... I’m simply just... relieved... he’s been my dearest friend... he’s been sick for a long time... I believed he was dead.” He leaned back in the chair, opening the map,”I was going to buy a room, but I must get to ‘Redcliffe.’ I see no reason for Alexius to even be in Ferelden so something must be happening.” He scanned the map for a road that went to Redcliffe from Highever.
The winding roads stretched across Ferelden in every which way, looping, swirling, to places unknown to him.
The road he needed roped around lake Calenhad, to the south west of here. And while he might have been able to go by ship from the Calenhad harbor to Redcliffe, he didn’t want to go near a ship for a very, very long time. It would probably take a week or two to get there on foot but if he had a horse...

“Is there anywhere nearby that sells mounts? I need to get to Redcliffe immediately.” He said firmly. He set handed the map back to the keeper.

What Dorian said though, was true. If Alexius was indeed in Ferelden... something was happening. Perhaps... hes studying the Breach? Maybe he’s seeking study in how to seal it...

“Yes, Horse Master Andrews, he lives on the outside of town to south. Are you certain you don’t need a room? You were exhausted moments ago and its getting late...”

Dorian stood, pulling on his gloves and slinging his coat over his shoulders, quickly slipping it on. He picked up his bag and dug into it, grabbing a few gold and setting it on the counter,”Quite. I thank you for your assistance,Vitae Benefaria!” He wished her well.

He turned and rushed out the door into the frigid salty air. He took pause, swearing under his breath at the bitter feeling.
Dorian began making his way to the edge of town, looking ahead as he weaved in and out of peoples paths, trying not to get distracted until he realized something. He was going to be headed into the wilderness of a foreign land, where he only has his magic that has no staff to help bolster it. Unknown things lurked in the forests of Ferelden. Bandits, wolves, bears, wild mabari...
He stopped himself, pinching the bridge of his nose,”Fasta Vass! I need a bloody staff!” He chided himself of leaving his behind. It was a beautiful staff, a dark cherry wood carved long and wavy, it sprawled like a branch up-top over and around the luminous crystal at the top.

The market district was ahead... surely he could find something for cheap. If not, he could always sell something. He looked dug into his bag and pulled out his amulet, the dazzling peacocks made of real sapphires and emeralds on both sides of a stalk of Embrium was his family’s crest... the sign he was a Pavus. His birthright. He squeezed it,”Im not a Pavus anymore... not really. This means nothing here... it means.. nothing to me.” The words spilled from his lips and for the moment, he believed them. He crammed the amulet in his pocket and marched to the market place.

The market was a sea of surging life all around. Stands of merchants surrounded the area with rows streaking the middle.
Dorian took his time going about the first row along a wall, viewing all the wares the stores had.
In the corner stood an Orlesian man selling jewelry, his golden mask had a long spindly nose. He looked like a snivley little weasel, but also like Dorian could get a large amount of gold off him.

He stood tall as he walked towards the Merchant, summoning the all too familiar facade of confidence,”Good day, Messere, I was hoping to see if you’d purchase an amulet off me, to be specific, a Tevinter Magister’s birthright.” Straight to the point, there was no need to hold off on this. He would later change his mind if he didn’t do it now.
Dorian dug the amulet from his pocket, pulling the gaudy trinket out and showing it to the merchant.

The merchant gave a weird laugh,”Well, well! Whats this! Its quite the fetching little item. A Magister’s birthright, you say? That’s intriguing indeed.”

Furrowing his brows, Dorian scowled,”Just tell me how much youll give for it.” He snapped, already getting fed up with this sleazy seeming man.

“I can do 10,000 gold. Its obviously... valuable, to say the least.” He offered, a sly grin forming on his lips.

Nodding, Dorian sighed. That was more than he thought he was going to get to be truthful.
“Ill take it.”

Within the hour, Ponchard de Lieux, as he had learned the merchants name was, had the 10,000 gold ready for Dorian to trade for the amulet.
Without a moments hesitation he threw the blasted thing into Ponchard’s hands and left.

Dorian hated the idea of gold coins. They were so unhelpful. They were heavy in high numbers, and difficult to count out. There had to be much simpler ways of dealing with currency but Dorian had the utmost minimal sway in economics in a country.

He continued his trek through the market, searching for a smith or... staff merchant? Theres not really a fancy term for that...
He spotted the rack of staves before the stall. He looked at the various options. Each staff had a different core, a different crystal base. He had studied in the field of Lightening and Spirit magic, the latter had been much of the influence of his mother, who was by far one of the utmost talented spirit healers he’d ever seen. Sadly, her ego was too bloated and her staff was crammed too far up her ass to actually use it to anyone’s benefit.

A lovely staff had caught his eye. The pine colored wood of the staff wrapped itself about a rather large chunk if Nevarrite that seemed to be charged with electricity despite Nevarrite usually being a frost core. An intricate obsidian blade was attached to the end for emergency need for close range fighting.

He picked up the staff, he could feel the frozen wood through his gloves, nipping at his fingers. A test on how it felt, a gentle twirl, was tried a few times. The instrument was light, it felt good in his hands.
He turned to the merchant,”How much for the staff?” He inquired, looking over the intricate carvings he’d failed to notice in the side.

The woman smiled,”3500 Gold.” She informed.

Nodding,”Done.” Dorian agreed to price. He was impressed by the craftsmanship on the staff. It was gorgeous to be truthful. He dug out the gold he’d received from Ponchard and handed her the required amount.

He bid the merchant good day, securing his new staff to his back,and finally made his way out of town towards the horse master. The sunshine was warm upon his face, the slowly fading light of the evening sun cast shadows of the trees in the far fields that seemed to go for miles. He paused to take in the sight before continuing to Horse Master Andrew, whom he would leave with 5000 gold less than he’d arrived with.

It wasn’t long before Dorian was on his way to West Hill, the closest town between here and Calenhad, where he would continue from there to Redcliffe.

But first he had to go through the foreboding dark forest that the path cut through. It was the only road headed east, which, was where he needed to go. Right? The weak evening sun couldn’t even permeate past a few meters of the tree line, so there Dorian sat on the grey horse he’d purchased ,whos name he was told was Asheroy, a certainly odd name, staring into the dark abyss of the forest.

“You’re being silly Dorian! You’re a grown man, the dark isnt scary!” He chided himself as the horse sauntered into the darkness.

It was dark, but that was said before. But when Dorian thought it was dark before, nothing was comparable to this.

Hours of riding had passed, night had fallen and the only light he had was the patches of moonlight shining through the trees.
He was exhausted, the taxing traveling from earlier in the day, coupled with all the excitement... he was ready to collapse.
He had little to calm his nerves. The feeling of being so on edge made his entire being ache as they strode down the winding road. The only calming sound was the horses hooves against the ground.

Thats when that being the only sound he heard gave him anxiety. The entire area was dead silent.
No bugs, no birds, not even the occasional forest creature, fox, raccoon... he strained his ears to hear anything, but nothing.

He was so focused on the noises, he noticed the slight rustle of a near by bush. He halted Asheroy, looking off to where he heard the sound.

Thats when an arrow shot out from the underbrush, whizzing past the horse, spooking the beast.
Asheroy reared up on his back legs, braying in fear.

The abrupt move of his horse sent him tumbling to the ground, the impact knocking the wind out of him.
And in expectable fashion, the horse rocketed away, rushing down the path at what looked like
lightening quick speeds.

The arrow was the only true warning as to what would happen next.
He stood as quickly as possibly, taking his staff out, his stance wobbly as he was still trying to recover from the blow, only to be greeted by a large group of bandits.

He backed up, his staff at the ready.
Dorian sent out a blast of electricity, hitting the nearest bandit. The scent of static burnt his nose and made his hair stand on end. The tingle at his fingertips made him understand the power behind the core of this staff.
He felt a burst of confidence as the first Bandit charged at him.
The mage smirked, giving a cocky brow raise as he began to spin his staff in a chain lightening strike.

But that was until he felt the skull splitting pain of something blunt being slammed against the back of his head, quickly knocking him out.

Iron Bull

It’s easy to tell somethings wrong with the path you’re on when a thousand pound animal begins charging at you in a complete panic.

Bull spotted the horse only when it was about 30 feet from him down the path, headed towards him at break-neck speeds. The lights from their torches had illuminated the path ahead of them, and the horse.

Krem acted the fastests, his quick wit was always helpful in this kind of situation,”DALISH!” He shouted, urging the mage to do something as he began to dive out of the way.

“ON IT!” Called the elf, slamming the butt of her staff onto the ground, using some kind of spirit spell to send the horse collapsing to the ground, the momentum it had causing it to slide across the dirt road.

All the Chargers walked out onto the dirt road, looking at each other, stunned.

Dalish sat down on the dirt, her chest heaving in exhaustion from expelling so much magic at once. It took a lot to stop something that big, and even more to use that spell in particular.

Skinner rushed to her aid. The city elf wrapped an arm around her, asking if she was okay. When Dalish had a second to relax she gave a smile to the other woman and nodded, resting her head on Skinner’s shoulder.

Bull walked towards the horse, assessing the situation,”What the fuck was that?” He asked, his one eye wide.
A thousand scenarios could have lead to this, but only a handful made actual sense.
Key things about the horse stuck out to him. The saddle, the well groomed hooves and new shoes, its an expensive thoroughbred. The lingering scent of magic hung on its hair. Either its rider was a mage, or it was jumped by mages. But considering the hold southern Ferelden keeps on it’s mages, it was doubtful, even with the rebellion, leaving the former to be the solution he chose.

“This feels wrong. This horse is completely saddled and had a bag with it, it wasn’t a wild horse. It’s rider is missing.” Bull muttered to himself, kneeling down to the bag.

Krem approached the horse,”Should we investigate, Chief?” He asked, raising a brow as he looked over the scene.

Bull stood, creasing his brows,”Something happened to the rider. We need to figure out what. Everything was left with the horse. Money, clothes, personal items. They’re foreign clothing too. Some poor traveler got knocked off this guy and he took off. What spooked it is the real question. It can’t be that far further unless they were carried off.”

Nodding thoughtfully, Krem turned to the rest of the Chargers,”We’ll inspect the road for signs of an attack. If there are bandits, we clear them out and see if there was a bounty for them at the notice boards, get some pay out of this. But foremost, whoever was attacked is probably in trouble. The road to Denerim is a dangerous one.”

Bull stood, his knee cracking painfully. He watched Dalish stand with the help of Skinner, her lover patting her on the shoulder reassuringly as they turned to Bull, giving him a confirming nod.
“Alright Chargers! Lets go. Be on the look out, extinguish torches, and be on high alert.” Bull gave his simple instructions as they began to make their way down the path.

Skinner and Rocky were sent ahead ever so slightly to scout out the area. If he could use it, rocky had a Trip Caster that allowed him to plant tripwires for unsuspecting victims.

Bull carefully watched the hoof prints in the dirt, scanning the tracks for differences in the horses gait. Thankfully there was just enough light from the moon to see the prints without needing the torches he’d ordered everyone to extinguish.

It wasn’t long before they heard voices on the path ahead, just out of where they could see.

“That fuckin’ horse took everything valuable aside from his clothes! All we have is this guy left.” Said an angry voice.

“We still have the guy. Slavers in the west will gladly take him, send him to the Imperium, cause whats this guy like... Rivani or somthin’?” Said a second.

A third joined in,”You dumb bitches, he’s FROM the Imperium, look at him! He’s a mage too, bet he’s a Magister. Could get ransom off him.” The voice chuckled.

The Chargers neared the gathering. Despite hearing but three singular Bandits, there had to be more for a ‘Tevinter Magister’ to get taken down. Bull had his doubts thats what the guy was, but stranger things have happened.

Bull signaled for the Chargers to spread out along the sides of the path.

They approached from the flank, the bandit group continuing to discuss what to do as one rummaged through the person on the ground’s belongings.
Whoever the poor guy was, he at least didn’t have a coat or shirt on, they were in the hands of two gross looking dirty bandits.

Fifteen. Fifteen weak, dumbass bandits. One held a rather expensive looking staff, but he didn’t appear to be a mage. Had to be the guy’s.

Either the bandits over powered him, unlikely, or they got the drop on him.

Bull examined the group. The only problematic assailant would be a large heavy handed maul wielder. Luckily for them, Grim or himself could easily go head to head with someone like that.

Bull readied his axe, one that was hand crafted for him by some smith he had slept with years ago. It was the best weapon he had, so he never once complained about it.

Bull looked across the way to spot Dalish, Grim, and Krem, all ready. Dalish’s staff had a light glow in the underbrush, which would have given them away, if the idiots before them cared about actually staying alive.

Bull looked over at Stitches, Skinner, and Rocky, who had their weapons ready.
If they were efficient, they could take out the brunt of the bandits in one hit.

Bull gave the signal, a high pitched whistle, and the jumped into the fray.

Bull brought his axe down on the back of a bandit’s head, the wedge if of it imbedding in his skull. He scowled, using the heel of his boot to pry his weapon out of the still writing corpse.

He turned to see Skinner taking two at once. That sounds risqué, but usually stuff of that nature doesn’t involve one participant being shived in the back of the neck, immediately killing the victim, and the other’s throat being slashed in a fluid motion. Plus, Skinner was a devoted woman to her partner.

Grim was taking on the big brute with the assistance of Dalish, who was multitasking.
She would throw a barrier up over Grim, then turn her attention to her own targets, using some weird spell she knew to move about the field and freeze everyone she passed, taking down three of the five she’d frozen.

Rocky had laid mines behind the remaining two frozen bodies.
When the spell wore off, one of them fell onto it, the other stepped back onto it.
Krem and Stitches were taking out many of the other bandits, Krem would bash one with his shield, Stitches would take them down while they were stunned.
Eventually Skinner joined in and soon the bulk of the bandits were dealt with.

An arrow pierced Bull’s shoulder, making him grit his teeth in pain.
He glared off in the direction of the shot and readied his axe as he approached, finding the archer who shot him.

Bull took the bow out of the man’s hand and broke it in half. The archer almost ran away in fear, but the Qunari caught him first.
Bull picked up the, in comparison to him, tiny man, and snapped his neck, watching him slump to the forest floor.

Torches had been lit, allowing Bull to see the full scene. Corpses and piles of viscera that could hardly be called bodies laid on the ground, a grossly morbid site, but one that marker a successful battle for them.

Grim had long since taken out the brute with the help of Krem. A large gash on his side showed, the armor having been destroyed it stuck into his skin. The silent man stood there, largely ignoring his wound. leaning on his massive maul having a very one sided conversation with Stitches, oddly enough, despite his usually neutral face, Grim seemed to have a small twinkle in his eye as Stitches rambled to him.

‘Thats new.’ Bull thought before he turned to the group,”Great work, Chargers! Skinner! You’re on throat cutter duty. Stitches, stop rambling and check that wound on Grim’s side. Krem, come here. Dalish and Rocky, scan the area for more bandits then check their bodies for anything useful.”

On the ground laid a man, naked from the waist up. Obviously not apart of the bandits, he was completely motionless. His lack of clothes in the almost frozen air being the first thing he noticed, the second thing he noticed was the rather large pool of blood around his head, drenching his lengthy brown hair.

“Damn... look at the poor guy.” Krem remarked, looking the man over. He was certainly from Tevinter. The clothes in his bag coupled with his skin and hair, so what was he doing here? It was rare for ‘Vints to be down this far

Bull crouched to the man, he was curled up, shivering. He had bruises all over his body, perhaps a cracked or broken rib or two by the swelling and discoloration on his back and sides. And his head wound. The brunt end of the maul the brute wielded could have done this damage.

Had he not been so mangled and messed up, he would have been beautiful.
Warm hazelnut skin that was free of true blemish other than a mole that dotted under his eye, dark brown hair that reminded Bull of chocolate, and a jaw line that could,”Kill a man” as Dalish liked to say. He had the most peculiar mustache that he could pull off.

“Stitches! Come over here.” He called, lifting the man up gingerly. His skin was ice under Bull’s fingers, his lips had tinted purple... they needed to get him warm, and fast.

Stitches quickly finished up with Grim, having stitched up the mans side he brought his kit over to the almost lifeless man and promptly began looking at his wound.
“Bull, I need you to hold him up so I can look at this wound. Krem go get me some better light- and alcohol.”

“I don’t think nows the time for drinking, Stitch.” Bull teased. He pulled the man up onto his knees, resting him on his flank. He used one hand to hold him up, the other to keep his head still. Krem rushed off to get what was asked for.

The healer scowled,”Hush, its for disinfectant.” He chided.

Bull rumbled lowly, chuckling under his breath.
The healer set off to work, cleaning up the extensive wound. There was a massive gash along the lower side of the back of his head, right above where the spine meets the skull.

The bleeding had luckily, since stopped, but the damage needed to be repaired. The skin was hot, split open.
Krem promptly came back with a torch and alcohol, passing the latter to Stitches, his lieutenant held the torch over the area Stitches was working. He scowled and flashed Bull a disgusted look.

Stitches disinfected the area, pouring the alcohol onto a rag and cleaning everything.
The man obviously could feel it to a degree because he began breathing harder and his body twitched.

“Ill need to stitch the wound. Just because its no longer bleeding, doesn’t mean its going to scab over. More blood just couldn’t reach it. His heart rate must have dropped significantly, perhaps its a good thing its so cold, the drop in his pulse may have slowed his bleeding.” Stitches proceeded to dig into his bag and pull out a needle and medical thread.

Soon, the man was stitched up and bandaged. Having brought his bag, Bull helped Krem get a new shirt on him as well as a coat.

“Lets head back to Denerim, get the ‘Vint cleaned up further from there, and get him fixed up. We can also find out what he was doing here. It’s strange a Tevinter mage has any reason to be in Ferelden.”
——
Dorian Pavus
——

Every sound Dorian heard was a teeth gritting horror for his ears to bare.
The sound of people talking, a hearth crackling, was hell.

He slowly opened his eyes. He was warm, wrapped in comfortable clothes and blankets on a soft bed.
He almost lulled back to sleep, until he noticed the large rack of horns moving in his peripheral.

From the set of horns came a deep baritone voice, one that’s sound sank in to Dorian’s bones and caused him to shiver.

The only explanation that came to Dorians mind was,’A Qunari!’ Causing him to shoot up, panicked and afraid.
Dorian tensed up, just now feeling the brunt force of all of his injuries. He gagged, his ribs, his head, his whole body ached. He felt himself grow dizzy, the feeling was overwhelming.

Where was he? How did he get here? The last thing he remembered was him flying off the horse. He began to panic, his chest heaving harshly as his bleary eyes tried focusing on the scene in front of him. Had he been captured? If he had- he wouldn’t be comfortable...

Dorian rubbed his eyes,”What is going on here?” He muttered to himself as he scanned the pair before him.
The room was small, but warm. The stone brick exterior walls had a fire place built into it, a roaring, crackling fire was the source of the head and light. He was undoubtably thankful for its presence.

A Qunari sat perched on a stool next to his bed, the eye closest to him was hidden under a patch. He was gregariously chatting with a much smaller man, one who had a Tevene accent and appearance.
The Qunari was massive. He had to be well over 7 feet tall, and Dorian could tell that while he was seated.
He was shirtless, but had a harness that stretched across his chest. His skin was a cool ash color, streaked in scars both old and new, as well as dark stubble along his jaw. And need he regard the massive bull-like horns atop his head?

The Tevinter man locked eyes with Dorian,”Chief! Hes up!” He said, gesturing towards him with a nod of his head.

The mage jumped as the Qunari sat up and looked over at him, his eyes- his eye meeting Dorian’s panicked gaze,”Oh, you’re awake.”

Dorian furrows his brows and scooted in the bed over to the wall, his fear growing as the Qunari stood,”Where am I? What do you want from me.” His voice was shaky despite how he tried to sound firm.

“Hey,big guy, ya gotta calm down you’re injured. You’re in Denerim. We found you on the road, you were attacked.” The big Qunari reached out a hand, trying to be reassuring, but the fact he was missing two of his fingers, it made him uneasy.

Dorian forced himself upright, having been swaying and slumping slowly,”Denerim! I was headed to Redcliffe!” He paused, scowling at himself deeply,”H-How long was I out?” He hesitantly asked.

The Qunari looked at the man, who nodded, before back to Dorian,”About a day? We took the liberty of cleaning you up, you were covered in dirty and had blood in your hair. Also, Redcliffe is the opposite way... West...”

Dorian was neutral before a feeling of horror overtook him,”One of you stripped me naked?!” It wasn’t the first time he was stripped by a stranger, but at least it was in a more amicable situation! He KNEW it was happening.

The Tevinter gave a low chuckle,”No, our company healer and our spirit mage did, they helped clear up some of your injuries too.”

That made him feel... slightly less awkward. Healers probably have seen all sorts of things. Used to it...,”Who are you?” Dorian felt his blood run cold as he realized that was a possibility.

The Qunari raised a brow,”I think we should be able to ask you some questions, Magister.” He replied simply to his question.

Dorian scowled, this uneducated Qunari!
“Vishante Kaffas! You uneducated-Ill say this once: Yes, I am a mage, but not apart of the Magisterium. Yes, all Magisters are-“

“I know how it works, You’re an Altus, meaning one, or perhaps both, parents are Magisters. So why are you here? Get in a fight with mommy and daddy?”

Dorian’s eyes widened ed, he figured it out so quickly- had he been working with his father?
“Who. Are. You!” He demanded, standing up from the bed, getting in the Qunari’s face- at least as much as possible considering the man was almost two feet taller.
When he stood he felt his entire body tense up in pain, so much so he wanted to crumble and cry out in pain, but he forced himself to stand stoically.

The Qunari chuckled, a low rumble from his chest,”The names the Iron Bull, big guy. This is my Lieutenant, Cremissius Aclassi. There are more of us, just out in the tavern, the Chargers.” Iron Bull placed his hand on Dorian’s shoulder and pushed him to sit back down on the bed.

Dorian reeled his head back and laughed, a hand on his eyes as he used the other to clutch his aching ribs,”The Iron Bull and his Chargers! This this a joke?! Fasta Vass, Maker! What have you dropped me into.” Dorian wiped tears from his eyes, tucking a hair behind his ear.

The Iron Bull frowned,”What about you, Big Guy? Now that you’ve had your laugh, whats your name.” He snapped, coming off more hardly than he intended, indicated by the flash of regret.

Dorian hesitated, equivocation showing on his face as he thought over his options.
Finally, he relented,”D-Dorian.” He allowed.

Iron Bull nodded,”You got a reason to be in Ferelden?” He inquired, hunching over to level his gaze with Dorian’s.

A grimace formed on the mage’s face,”That is... personal. But I’ll tell you I was quite glad to be here, free of the Albatross only to have another wrapped about my throat.” He quipped.

Bull smiled bitterly,”Do I understand that or what.”

Dorian remember suddenly, his eyes flying wide,”Felix! Oh maker, I- I need to go!” He tried standing back up, far too hastily, only to have a sharp pain take his side, causing him to crumble back to the bed, wheezing.

“Yeah... I don’t think thats going to happen. But that guy, Felix, Im sure we can get a letter to him if it’s important.” Iron Bull offered.

Dorian sighed, it was all that could be done... he wasn’t moving any time soon,”I- Yes... he’s in Redcliffe... a letter would be... beneficial.”

Within the hour Dorian had a message to Felix composed after he was provided materials. Iron Bull promised he would have a courier get it to him.
He was brought food, courtesy of the Chargers. He was ever-so thankful for it, having not eaten in days because of the trip across the Waking Sea, and the neglect to eat when he got off the ship. As he ate, he and ‘Bull’ had talked back and forth, allowing him to trust him... a little more. But he was still immensely hesitant. He soon finished his food and was left to his thoughts.
Being unable to continue to remain awake after, he slipped into a light sleep, relieved to be free of his wounds if just for a few hours.
——
Iron Bull
——
Bull had left the mage alone for a good hour, allowing him to slip into a deep sleep before he reentered the room to check on him.
He... worried for him. There were things that made no sense even if there were slight explanations.

Dorian was here because of a falling out with his parents, what was so awful that he would flee across the Waking Sea to a country he knew nothing about. Why was he headed to Redcliffe and what was so urgent he was going to attempt to ignore his wounds to go deal with.

Bull looked over Dorian’s sleeping face, the gentle light of a barely alive fire cast on his face.

Now, no longer a mess, he could see the extent of how attractive Dorian was. It was almost mind blowing.

He scolded himself, feeling UTTERLY creepy.
But everything about this Bas’s well being was weirdly important to him. He wanted to see Dorian well.

Krem had lectured him. It was all truly ridiculous! He had noticed Bull getting so worked up over this guy when everyone suggested they just leave him now that he was safe. But he wouldn’t allow it.. he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

Bas. Thats all Dorian was. A thing, a random person, no value. A mage, something he feared and disliked. Dalish had been the only one he’d truly cared about, and even then... that was nothing compared to this.

Dorian was a stranger. A thing. No value. He told himself that over and over.
So why was he so concerned?