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Admittedly, they hadn’t had the best first impression.

When Dorian had first seen the beast, it was accompanied with a spray of blood. It was hot and covered the lower half of his face and the top of his chest. A bit of it even had gotten it into his mouth, making him gag. His instinct was to yell at the Iron Bull, because who else would be responsible for demon guts blasting all over him. But Bull, as it turned out, wasn’t anywhere near him. In fact, a demon had snuck around all of them and had been inches away from spearing Dorian straight through. So of course he wiped his head around, trying to find the source of the attack.

Dorian’s first assumption had been demon, followed by qunari. The man(?) looked like a demon, but wore armor and radiated no magic. The beast easily towered over him, would have towered over the Iron Bull even. Part of him wanted to swallow nervously, but he still had the rotten taste of demon blood in his mouth. Instead of striking at him, the beast looked back at him and Dorian could see his own reflection in the eyes of the mask. Its hair was more similar to black tendrils than anything, while its armor looked borderline barbaric. Only one pectoral was covered, and it wore something more similar to a loincloth than trousers. Its skin looked rough, a grayish color much like the qunari, yet pebbled in places.

“Dorian!”

Having his attention ripped away, he looked over to see the Herald struggling with a demon, trying to avoid its grasp so she could disrupt the rift. He froze the demon in its tracks, and once he was sure it wouldn’t move for the time being, he looked back to the beast. But it was gone.

 

--

 

No one had truly believed him. Sera had accused him of being insane, while the Iron Bull and Lavellan looked almost thoughtful. Dorian had realized that they believed that he believed , but not that there really had been a monstrous man demon who saved his life. So instead he pursed his lips and didn’t argue further.

But when the beast had come back, finally in full view, he felt rather smug about it.

Just several hours out of Skyhold, (several days after Dorian had seen the beast,) the Iron Bull had leaned in close to Lavellan to whisper, “We’re being followed.” He purposely made his voice loud enough to be just barely heard by Dorian and Sera, without informing their guest. And of course the first assumption was bandits or assassins. And, as it turned out, they weren’t wrong.

But before the first would be murderer could get close enough to strike, his head exploded. Exploded. Everywhere. It was disgusting. Sera, who had received most of the splash, let out a loud “Eeewwww!”

Dorian didn’t blame her at all.

Everyone had been shocked into stillness for a few heartbeats, including their attackers. That proved fatal, however, as the throat of one suddenly split open, blood spewing from the arteries. Had he been a less observant person, Dorian might not have noticed the blood that floated in the air, as if stuck to an invisible knife. Actually, now that he looked closer --

A figure was moving. It was barely noticeable, but seemed to shift light around it, blurring the world just a bit. The team had moved into battle stances, dispatching the rest of the bandits. But they weren’t the only ones.

The beast reappeared. Its dangerous looking blade was bloodied, but it seemed unharmed. Another few seconds of silence followed as blood soaked the earth beneath them, squishing under their shoes.

Lavellan finally broke the silence. “What the fuck are you?”

 

--

 

Solas said it wasn’t a demon. That wasn’t very comforting in retrospect. Because if it wasn’t a demon and it wasn’t a qunari (“Definitely not qunari,” the Iron Bull had added) then what the fuck could it have been? Their guest, as they were reluctant to call it, didn’t speak much. In fact, the only noises it made had been rather nonsense. It sometimes chripped like a bird or growled like a wolf. There was even the occasional series of clicks that might have been a language. (“It is a language,” Solas had informed them, “even if it does not sound like ours.”)

Solas had also been the first to point out that the beast was male and intelligent, and would most likely prefer not to be called an “it.” Sera, just to be a smartass, had argued that since they didn’t know what it was, couldn’t be sure that it was a male. And while she had said it mainly because she didn’t like Solas and wanted to get under his skin, she had a point.

At this point, they had all been crowded into the war room. Their guest was to be kept a secret until they could find out more. Cassandra, Leliana, and Cullen had, understandably, wanted to put it (“ He ,” Solas stressed) in the dungeon. Lavellan, however, overruled them. The beast had saved them several times and didn’t seem to have an interest in ripping them limb from limb. If anything, she concluded, they owed him a favor and would treat him like a guest .

So as they argued over pronouns, the inner circle and advisors crammed around the war table, the beast began laughing . At least, Dorian assumed it was. The sound was a high pitched trill that threw them all into silence. He couldn’t see its face as it had never removed its mask, but he imagined a wide grin under there.

“Can you understand us?” Solas asked.

The answer he got was that clicking noise. So, yeah, it was a language then.

“Well, that’s very helpful,” Dorian quipped.

Ignoring him, Solas delved further. “You do not have the ability to speak our language but you can understand,” he tried to clarify.

The beast seemed to consider this for a moment. Without verbally responding, he reached up, making several Inquisition members reach for their weapons on reflex. A calming hand from Lavellan, however, had them pausing as they watched the beast. What appeared to be tubes were unplugged, air spitting out. Dorian would have liked to say that he kept a straight face when the mask was removed, but it was a lie.

“Gross,” Sera commented, breaking the silence.

And it was true, the beast was not pretty. It appeared as if his mouth had been torn open, except he never had lips to begin with. Instead he had mandibles with fangs at the end, his pink gums and sharp teeth exposed. His “hair” (if it could be called that) grew further back on his scalp, almost giving him the appearance of going bald. His muddy yellow eyes were set deep into his skull and he didn’t have a nose . Or even visible ears.

He growled at first, making them think he had been offended by Sera’s comment. Instead, he had been trying to force the word out. “ Gr--grrrossss ,” he echoed back in an almost exact copy of Sera’s voice.

“Oi! That’s my voice,” the elf protested, as if he had stolen it from her.

“Maker’s breath,” came a hushed whisper from Cullen. This hadn’t been what he expected when the Inquisitor had returned from the Hinterlands.

“So you do have the ability to speak Common?” Varric asked.

So you do have the ability to speak Common?” the beast echoed, using the dwarf’s voice. It was kind of disgusting to watch his mouth and mandibles form around the sentence.

“It appears he can only repeat us. An interesting ability. I am not sure of its purpose. Either way, I must do more research,” Solas said, as if speaking to himself.

A heavy sigh came from Lavellan. She ran a hand over her face, trying to gather her thoughts. “Not the easiest way to do it, but at least it’s a form of communication. So I’m going to ask you some yes or no questions. Do you understand?”

Yes .”

“Good. First of all, it is very important that no one outside of this room be aware of your presence. This means you will have to cloak yourself most of the time. Do you understand?”

Yes .”

“Alright. Another thing: we are the Inquisition. Our purpose is to help those we can and seal rifts, gateways that allow those demons -- the creatures you helped us kill -- from harming people. Do you have similar interests?” (Solas wanted to protest, as that was a very oversimplified description of the rifts, but he had to let it slide for now.)

Yes .”

“I am willing to offer you a job, but that will place you under my command, as well of that of my advisors. We will offer you food, shelter, and health care so long as you work for us. Does this work for you?”

Yes .”

“Are you willing to join the Inquisition?”

“Inquisitor, I must protest --” Cassandra cut in.

Yes .”

“Then welcome to the Inquisition.”