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Don't Lose Yourself

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“Surely, there must be something you can do to open it!” expressed Cassandra, turning to Dorian, gesturing to the eluvian. “We cannot let the Inquisitor confront Solas on her own!”

“Sorry, but I’m not exactly an expert on ancient elven magic mirrors. Unless you can find an expert the next thirty minutes we’re not getting through that eluvian.” replied Dorian, frustrated as well. “All I know is that after Lavallen went through that it somehow turned the key and locked itself. We won't be able to open it from this side.”

Cole, who had been shifting quietly nearby looked at the two. “Solas locked the eluvian after she entered. I think. They’re talking.” He paused. “Probably."

Cassandra looked ready to smash the mirror, but she sighed and instead started looking around. “Then there must be some other way through.”

“What if she comes back? Or it unlocks itself?” Dorian asked. “Maybe we should wait here for a bit before we go prancing about lost in these ruins. Maker knows what horrible sense of direction we have without the Inquisitor.”

The seeker looked ready to protest, but then sighed. She sheathed her sword and glanced again at the mirror. “I hate sitting here and doing nothing when she could be fighting for her life…” She gave the two other party members a look of distress. “What if...she does not return?”

Dorian wanted to shut down such a statement right away, but he didn’t. He couldn’t. He saw how awful the anchor had gotten. It had been such a battle just to get up to that point, it had been horrible to watch. The magic was tearing her apart, it was only a matter of time before her body would twist itself into little pieces, leaving nothing left but the echoes of her pained screams. He was no expert, but he knew deadly magic when he saw it. He didn’t mention it to the party, though Cole and Vivienne probably already knew, but Dorian knew that Lavellan was likely not going to survive the next hour if the anchor continued to explode. Though the other non-magic could might have taken a good guess.

The mage had attempted to try treat Lavellan in between their mirror adventures, along with Vivienne’s help, but there was nothing he could do to slow it down. It continued to spark, crackle, green veins scrawling up her arm like tendrils. It was a horrific sight. There was nothing he or Vivienne could do other than to offer her a false promise, that everything would be fine. It really wasn’t, but she accepted it all the same, with a fearful smile on her face and a nod of the head.

He felt horrible for lying, but now looking back, the Inquisitor probably knew he was lying. But the lie made them both feel better at the time, more reassured even if it wasn't true. It was more likely that they were just both in denial.

“Solas wouldn’t hurt her. She's too important to him.” Cole said firmly, his voice surprisingly loud. “He will fix her, make the hurt stop. He controls the veil.”

Cassandra gave him a look of confusion. “How do you know for sure?” Cassandra spoke softly, her voice cracking a bit.

“I know.” responded the spirit with confidence. It was a rarity to hear such confidence and determination in Cole’s voice, Dorian felt compelled to believe him.

So the small party waited anxiously in front of the eluvian, waiting for their leader, the Inquisitor, their friend to return. As each waking moment passed, Dorian felt a bubble of worry and fear rise up from the pit of his stomach, like he had drunk a glass of acid; the uneasiness starting to overwhelm him. He tried to repress any thoughts that Lavellan might have died. She and him, they were like siblings, brother and sister. They teased, jokingly flirted, laughed together; those memories were one of his most precious ones.  She was a close, dear friend, he couldn’t imagine losing her.

He eventually promised himself. If she had died and Solas had any hand in it, Dorian would hunt him down personally and inflict ten times the amount of pain and suffering she had endured on him. It didn’t matter if Lavellan still loved the bastard, Dorian knew she still did, but that blasted unwashed apostate has done enough to her. It was difficult enough watching his dear friend get her heart broken so long ago, just thinking about him hurting her again, it was just so infuriating.

His thoughts were broken when the mirror shimmered, humming the tune it sung when people walked through it. Dorian watched in anticipation, willing it to be the person he hoped for.

“Inquisitor!” Cassandra shouted in relief as a figure stumbled out of the mirror.

Right after she stepped out of the mirror, the eluvian cracked behind her, destroying any chance of them ever using it again. Without sparing the damaged portal another thought, Dorian rushed to her side, happy to see she was alive, but then he frowned upon seeing her lose her step and stagger.

Something was wrong.

Lavellan had this glassy look in her eyes, beginnings of what looked like tears pooling in the corners. Her expression was shocked, disbelief, sorrow, maybe even anger. She clutched her left arm which…

“What in Andraste’s name happened to your arm !” Dorian cried in shock, almost shouting as loud as his lungs would allow, looking down to where there used to be a left arm.

Sure, the mark had been exploding, but did it have to blast her whole arm off? Or really, what did he expect asking Solas to fix it? Was as it simple as cutting her arm off? If that was the case they could have done it themselves in a much more sterile and safer environment than rampaging through the eluvian with angry qunaris running amuck. In any case, it wasn’t really a time to be worrying about all those questions, not when the Inquisitor stood, lopsided, grasping the base of the wound as she looked at them with unfocused eyes.

Next to him, Cassandra gaped, frozen in shock while Cole hovered nervously nearby, unsure how he would be able to help.

A bit where her elbow ended, it looked like her arm had been scorched off. Pieces of melted armor and burned cloth rimmed the edges of what looks like a ghastly wound. It was burned, wound sealed tight, so she wasn’t bleeding out, thankfully. Either way, Lavellan was still clutching the wound for dear life, it certainly looked painful. It was awful bloody mess to look at, but at least it wasn't an awful bleeding mess.

It looked like the Inquisitor didn’t react to his question, but she finally spoke after a moment, drawing her gaze to the other’s, pained but also puzzled.

“Gone. The anchor…Solas....” She drawled. The Inquisitor lifted her arm questionably, looking a bit frightened to feel it lighter than usual. Even more when she saw the horrid scathing wound. “....my arm.” Her breathing grew faster, ragged, her expression growing terrified as it dawned on her that she was missing an arm. Had she not noticed until now?

Realizing she was starting to panic, Cole rushed over, reaching over and pulled down her arm, as gently as he could, so she wouldn’t see it. He then did a little wave of his hand and instantly, her expression changed. Lavellan blinked slowly. it seemed like she’d completely forgotten what she had been doing. She returned to the slightly confused expression then back up at her friends, not looking at her arm this time. Dorian looked at Cole questionably, slightly concerned.

“She will panic. She can’t panic, the hurt will only get worse. She’ll fall asleep and never wake up again.” he told them. As monotone as he was sometimes, there was a hint of uneasiness in his voice.

Dorian wasn’t sure what to make of what he just did. It was certainly not the way he would have done it, but Cole’s hocus pocus forgetus seemed to have gotten the job done regardless, much quicker than any conventional method anyway. Dorian offered him a grateful nod of the head. He was glad to have the boy along in any case.

“We must get you to a healer.” Cassandra said, rushing towards the Inquisitor, ready to drag her off. Before Cassandra could make any sudden movements, Dorian reached over, grabbing the Seeker by the arm to stop her.

“Let’s not get too hasty now.” Dorian told the soldier. “She’s clearly in shock, losing a limb can do that to you. Let me have a look at it before we start our march back to the Winter Palace, shall we?” He turned to Lavellan, who didn’t seem to register what he said. “Inquisitor?”

She looked to be deep in thought, her eyes having gone even hazier than they were before.

“Solas left.” said Cole suddenly, taking a few hesitant steps forward towards the Inquisitor. It took a moment for Dorian to realize he was probably reading her thoughts. “He’s going to a place I can’t follow. He's going to…” Cole gasped. “Why?” The spirit looked frightened.

Cassandra looked flustered, glancing at both Cole and Lavellan, but neither offered an explanation or an answer. The Cole and the Inquisitor merely exchanged glances, almost like they understood each other then and there. Dorian would have liked to elaborate for an answer, but he knew that time was ticking. Without a moment to spare, Dorian instead took his friend by her shoulder, leading her to a rock, pushing on her lightly so she could sit. When she had sat down, as comfortably as she could, the mage approached her left side, taking in a closer look at the wound.

“Maker…” he muttered, looking at what’s left of the arm.

“Are you alright?” Cassandra asked hesitantly, crouching nearby so she could get an an eye level with her. The seeker didn’t seem like she had gotten her bearings quite yet, she actually may even be more shocked than Lavallen.

“I’m...not sure....” she replied, looking very uncomfortable. “This feels strange more than it hurts….” Lavellan looked stressed.

Cole came and stood closer to them, unsure what to do other than to relay information. “Gone, missing. Something that was always there, now gone. Like breathing when there’s no air.”

Dorian frowned, not trying think about how it might feel, he needed to concentrate.

“Bear with me, my friend.” He coated his hands in a light winter’s frost, his best to sterilize his definitely dirty fingers,  trying to be gentle as possible as he peeled away what’s left of her armor so he could expose the wound. He discarded pieces of armor, cloth, and chunks of what he hoped wasn’t flesh to the side.

As carefully as he could, Dorian treated Lavellan with the limited healing knowledge he had. He was silently kicking himself for not reading more into magic curatives. He coated the stump of an arm with a layer of ice, to keep it numb and cool, painless as he could make it. The ice also acted as a cover to keep it clean until she could get proper medical attention. Each movement he made made the Inquisitor grit her teeth and groan. Dorian did his work quickly, so they could just be over it. Cassandra offered her the last Healing Potion, which seemed to revitalize her, snapping her out of whatever daze she was in. However as her mind cleared, a much more pained expression replaced her foggy one. Dorian suspected it had something to do with whatever happened in the eluvian. He was curious, but it wasn’t really a time to ask.

“I’m okay now.... We have to get to the others, then back to the Winter Palace.” She told them, standing up, though she lost her balance almost immediately. Thankfully Cassandra was close enough to grab onto her before she toppled over.

“Take it easy now. You can’t be running willy-nilly in that state, you’ll collapse and we’ll have to worry even more.” Dorian’s face softened. “You’ve suffered a grievous wound, I think you can afford to be a little pained about it.”  Dorian said to her, standing up. He looked at Cassandra. “If you would please, Seeker?” He cradled his arms, looking at the Seeker expectantly.

Cassandra looked a little confused at first, but then caught on to his words. Cassandra took off her shield and unhooked her sword, handing it to Cole. She rubbed her hands together and looked at the Inquisitor. “I can carry you, my friend.”

“You don’t need-” she started, trying to step away, towards where they came, but she was bodyblocked by Cole.

“Please. We want to help. Let us help.” Cole cut in before she could finish her sentence.

Lavellan looked at her friends, who all gave her such supportive looks. Dorian was worried she was going to try wiggle her way out of not being helped, but she relented with a slight nod, looking down. Did he sense a twinge of guilt?

“Alright.” she said, her right hand hugging herself uncomfortably. “Thank you.”

When Lavellan was carefully situated on Cassandra’s back, Dorian realized how small and frail the Inquisitor seemed to look now. She had always stood tall, leading the people, but now she looked dead tired. Elves have always been rather been a rather lanky bony race, but right now, the Inquisitor just looked extra small, so fragile. A wind could blow right now and she would snap like an old twig.

“We need to rendezvous with the others.” Cassandra said, referring to the other party members they had left behind while on the way. She looked to Cole. “Do you know where they are?”

The spirit tilted his head, thinking deeply, maybe listening. “I think so.” Cole nodded. “They’re waiting for us. Back there.” He pointed at the eluvian they had come through earlier.

“Right then, let’s get a move on before our dear leader decides that this would be a good place for a nap.” Dorian said.

“I’m still here, you know. Don’t talk as if I’m not here.” the Inquisitor simpered, tiredly. “Though a nap sounds good.” Ah, good. The humor hasn’t left her.

“Let’s not.” responded Dorian, with a raise of an eyebrow.

The whole party had come with, but unfortunately at the moment they were split up. They had been left behind to fight the Qunari while the Inquisitor's party rushed ahead to catch up to Solas. With it exploding and all, they wanted to get the Inquisitor to Solas as soon as possible. It has been a chaotic mess and somehow he managed to get on the Inquisitor’s squad, but he was glad he was. He couldn’t imagine being away from the main plot while he sat at the side worrying about what was going on.

With all that’s been going on with the Inquisitor, Dorian hoped that the others were okay. He hadn’t had a chance to spare a thought for them until now.

As soon as they exited the second eluvian, out to one of the many courtyards of the Elven Ruins they had to pass through, they had immediately encountered the other party members, who had apparently cleaned up all the Qunari and were come to look for them. They stood in stunned silence as they looked to the near-dead looking Inquisitor on Cassandra’s back.

“No, no no…” Sera said, taking a few steps back away from them, looking distraught. “Please...You can’t be dead...it’s not…”

“I’m alive...Sera.” The Inquisitor spoke up, lifting her head limply to look at her. “Barely, maybe.” It looked like she was giving it all just to stay awake.

“What happened to your arm?” Iron Bull looked quizzically at the bloody stump.

“Gone. Along with the anchor.” Was her only explanation. After this, the Inquisitor hung her head once more, over Cassandra’s shoulder, tired. Cassandra looked worried, but bit her lip and adjusted her gip so Lavellan wouldn’t slip off her back.

“Let’s not waste any time. That looks like an atrocious injury, we must hurry back and get her proper treatment.” Vivienne said stoically, trying to act like the whole situation was all under control. An involuntary twitch in her right eye said otherwise.

“Then let’s go! Fast!” Sera said, grabbing Cassandra and pulling her ahead. Even though she almost her balance, Cassandra made no attempt to chastise the young elf, falling into step behind her.“No time!”

“Maker’s ass…” cursed Varric, his face growing squeamish as he his eyes followed the stump of an arm as they got moving, though he did not look away. He couldn’t. Dorian couldn’t blame him.

The group all agreed and they started running, as fast as they could, back the path back to the Winter Palace. Thankfully, Rainer seemed to have remembered the area quite well and was able to lead them back without getting lost and thank the Maker that the Eluvians still worked, not shattering like the one Lavellan exited out of. Sera and Rainer  were in the lead, leading the way back while others protectively formed a formidable formation around their friend the Inquisitor, just in case there were any leftover Qunaris, though it didn’t seem like the case.

By the time they reached back to the crossroads, the Inquisitor had lost consciousness, causing a panic among the party. No one seemed to know when she closed her eyes, but they knew it was serious. Dorian should have been paying much closer attention to her. The anchor and the amputation took a lot out of her, of course she would pass out sooner or later. He was honestly surprised it took that long. Anyway, it was all the encouragement they needed to start sprinting towards the Eluvian to the Winter Palace.

When they emerged on the other side of the eluvian, Cullen, Josephine, and Leliana were waiting there for them, locked in what seemed like a deep conversation. They had took one look at the unconscious Inquisitor on Cassandra’s back and had called for a healer immediately.

“Her arm…” Josephine's expression was dumbfounded. She looked to the others, as if she couldn’t believe it was really happening. “It’s really gone?”

Leliana had a hard look on her face, looking at the party members who had returned. “What happened?”

“We honestly don’t know.” Dorian told them. “We got separated when she went through an eluvian. When she came back, she was like this. And as you can see, she isn’t in the best health to tell us quite yet.”

Cullen looked at Cole. “Don’t you know?”

Cole stared at the crowd, but then shook his head. “I can only hear hurt, confusion. Pain wracked her body like waves in a storm. Thoughts whirling about, it’s all very messy, it’s hard to hear when she’s asleep. I'm sorry.”

Dorian looked at the spirit questionably, but Cole didn’t so much as flinch. He wasn’t sure if Cole was hiding how much he knew. It would be a first if he did. Maybe he thought it’d be better if Lavellan told them herself. Either way, Dorian knew that Cole knew something. It didn’t feel like a good time to press the issue.

“Then we’ll have to wait for her to regain consciousness then.” the Divine said.

“If she ever does.” Cullen said grimly under his breath. “Maker watch over her.”

“You can’t say that, not allowed!” Sera objected, covering her ears, clenching her eyes. Cullen looked like he was about to say something else, but Sera cut him off. “No, no, I won’t hear it!” She ran out of the room.

“Sera, wait!” Thom said. He looked at the others, giving a nod as a simple farewell, before running after the very distressed Sera.

The others watched her in shock, but then Josephine turned to Cullen, following up on Sera’s words.

“Don’t say that!” Her voice was full of emotion, realizing her dear friend might die. She gripped her clipboard tight, trying not to break down. “She will be fine.” The ambassador looked down, her voice betraying her. “She's... always been fine.”

There was a silence that followed. There was nothing anyone could say in response. They were all worried, but what was there to be done? The Inquisitor’s life was in the healer’s hands. They had all gone into this knowing that the Inquisitor may not return from the eluvians alive. The anchor had been killing her, Leliana had told them there was a worst case scenario, where she would die and not return alive. No one wanted to believe it, Sera in particular seemed the most in denial. Dorian supposed he was too, he couldn’t imagine her dying either. Finally, someone spoke up, breaking the sorrowful drawn out silence.

“We do know some things, however.” Cassandra spoke up, approaching the advisors. “I can tell you what little we know.” She looked at the rest of the party. “You all can go rest, I will take care of this.”

“Thank you, Seeker. I’ll leave you to it.” Dorian said, welcoming the idea of taking a break for the moment. There was much to think about.

With nothing else to do other than to wait for the Inquisitor to wake up, Dorian and some other members of the inner circle congregated in the bar, where Sera had apparently ran off to earlier. Thom apparently managed to talk her down from the angry panic. Vivienne had not joined them, she had followed after the Inquisition healers soon after Lavellan had been taken away, saying something about getting the ‘appropriate help’. Cassandra eventually joined them after briefing the advisors, but now they sat in idle silence, unsure what to do as they waited for any news.

“Maker’s left nostril, is she a magnet for bad luck...” lamented Varric.

“The Inquisitor has the luck that only Andraste herself has to match, unfortunately.” Dorian said. “I wonder if we’ve all somehow cursed her by giving her that title.”

Sera’s face was unusually grim, though she's calmed down. “This. Not right. Saves everyone, fixes everyone, saves the world from a bloody Coryphenus, an angry demon-dragon but her arm starts going to shite.” She clenched the edge of the table. “She’ll live through this, she has to. Or I’ll-...I’ll…”

“The boss is strong. She won’t let something like this take her down.” Iron Bull said with confidence. “She’s lived through far worse.”

“But what if this is the far worse?” Sera objected, her voice growing louder and more unsettled. “You’d think, to get up again after getting punched down. She’s done it tons. But this time? Maybe she’s too tired...”

Dorian shared her worries. Lavellan had an impossible list of achievements that not even the Hero of Ferelden or the Champion of Kirkwall had to match. She saved Thedas countless times, got up from what seemed like the impossible. Calling it pushing for luck is an understatement, she’s practically wrangled luck in a collar and leash. Perhaps this time the luck has just gone dry.

“We must have faith that she will be alright.” Cassandra paced a bit by the front of the bar, every so often looking out to check to see if anyone would come with news. None so far.

“I agree.” Thom was leaning against the wall nearby. “She will be fine.” His voice was loud and strong, it seemed to eased everyone’s worries, even if just by a margin.

Dorian tightened his expression, sighing. He wasn’t sure if he was ever going to forget the tortured screams Lavellan had made on the way to meet Solas. Those were true dying screams. Even so, she had cheerfully told them: “One last adventure!” and he had fought the urge not to cry. It wasn't fair.

“She’s awake.” A voice said suddenly, startling everyone in the room. It was Cole, who had slipped away earlier, though Dorian wasn’t even aware he had left at all. He was like that; that spirit.

“Awake!” Sera jumped on her feet, practically tackling Cole, grabbing him by the shoulders, shaking him a little. “Awake means alive right? Not awake in a fade-y sort of way right?” Her voice cracked. “Like really alive ...right?”

“Yes, alive.” confirmed Cole, a little bewildered by Sera’s actions. Hearing this, she hugged him, happy to hear she was alive, not aware she was giving Cole a hug. Cole looked a little awkwardly at the others, but he looked something that looked like ‘pleased’.

“Good news all day!” Sera shouted, releasing him, hopping onto the table. She made a fist. “Knew it!”

“Thank the Maker!” Cassandra looked about ready to collapse on her feet. Instead, she grabbed the nearest rickety old chair and sat down.

“Hahahah!” bellowed Iron Bull, lifting up a drink. “What did I tell you?” He and Thom exchanged cheerful glances.

“She’s always been a strong woman.” The warden agreed.

“Just another thing to add to the list of weird shit she’s accomplished.” Varric shook his head, grinning. “I wonder if anyone would even believe this stuff happened hundred years down the line. Maybe they'll even worship her and call her a god, the next Andraste.”

“They would be singing praises of Lavellan through the Chantry halls! How exciting.” Dorian added. “I hope to see that transpire before the end of my life.”

Dorian smiled, happy to hear that Lavellan was finally awake and judging by Cole’s voice, she was fine at the moment. He wanted to run over to where she was staying, to give her a grand old hug, as did probably everyone else in the Inner Circle, but he knew better than to run over as a horde and overwhelm her. Seeing all her worried friends at once might just be as deadly as the anchor itself. He chuckled. Dorian decided he would go talk to her privately later.

Now that their friend was awake and recovering, the mood much improved for the moment, though it was quickly overshadowed by the looming presence Exalted Council.

Drat.

Dorian had practically almost forgotten that it had been going on as well. He had been having so much fun adventuring with his friends again, solving this fantastic mystery and his friend literally a ticking time bomb that the council had slipped his mind. Josephine had been handling them well, but the Inquisitor’s lack of presence was felt throughout the meeting the next day. Details about what happened with her meeting with Solas soon surfaced and Dorian learned that yet again, the world would be in danger. And of course, the world would be expecting a hero to fix it yet again. It would probably fall to Lavellan. She had a personal stake, even if someone else rose to the challenge, there was no way she wasn't going to be there in the thick of it all.

The ambassador had told the other attendees that the Inquisitor was recovering from a serious no-longer-fatal injury after solving the Qunari plot and that she would join them as soon as she was able. Most everyone had been respectful of her recovery, but there were those who willed the Inquisitor to appear, even in her weakened state, wondering if she had been faking the injury so she wouldn’t have to attend. Divine Victoria, or rather Leliana, had shot down any suggestions for the Inquisitor to appear before she fully recovered and confirmed that the Inquisitor was indeed injured, much to Dorian’s relief. Though, he felt irked that she had to stand up for it at all. This whole council thing with so many nobles in one place was just so inherently toxic.

However suddenly, that afternoon, he was surprised to see the doors suddenly slam open and there walks the Inquisitor, walking in her formal attire, her stump of a left hand neatly pinned up in the coat she was wearing. Dorian was aghast that she would be walking around so soon, but soon realized, this was just like her. There were murmurs of shock as she walked up to address them all, some noticing that she was lacking a certain hand. Sweat shone on her forehead, she seemed slightly out of breath, but there was a strong determination that burned in her eyes.

Lavellan made an angry speech and had dropped the book in front of the entire Council, declaring the Inquisition disbanded, sending ripples of shock throughout the room. Dorian couldn’t say he was surprised, he had expected something like this to happen. He could only look on in sheer admiration on how his friend addressed the council. It was gratifying to see the anger in her voice, the repressed stunned looks on the attendee’s faces as she turned to walk out of the room. Lavellan really had a way with ruffling the nobility’s feathers, he absolutely loved it.

As the council began bustling noisily after Lavellan left, Divine Victoria turned to addressing the crowd. Dorian took this time to walk outside after her, to check if she was alright after all that. She didn’t look very good during that whole angry speech.

When the man walked through the gates he looked around, eventually spotting her sitting on a bench looking tired, her head down low, propped by her remaining arm on her knees. Near her was Vivienne, who seemed to be ordering around some servants as she tended to the Inquisitor...well former Inquisitor now is it? That's going to take getting used to. He had heard that Vivienne had taken personal charge of he care of their dear friend. She was the most qualified to. Leliana and Josephine would have done it, but since they were both busy with the council, they couldn't spare time to organize for her recovery. The Enchanter had volunteered and there was no objections.  Vivienne had the status and connections to call forth for the appropriate healers and buy the best medicines. With all the unbridled chaos, Vivienne took charge, sending a sense of stability among the others.

As Dorian approached he noticed that there were still some nobles gathering outside, eyeing curiously at the two but all it took was look from the eagle eyed Vivienne to get them to turn around and give them some space, some even fleeing the scene. It was amusing sight. When he got closer, his ears caught wind of what they were talking about.

“My dear, what did I tell you about over exerting yourself?” Vivienne scolded her. “I allowed you to attend only because you said you wouldn’t do anything too drastic. Running in and throwing a book on the ground is hardly subtle.”

“Sorry, Vivienne.” she replied, taking deep breaths. The way the scene was presented, she looked like a small child being reprimanded.

The woman’s face changed to a much more genuine kindness. Dorian has only ever seen the icy noble make when talking to Lavellan. “It’s not your fault. I know you wanted to get Lady Montilyet out of there as soon as possible.” She sat down next her, rubbing her back. “You did well, despite your situation and chaos at hand, I’m impressed. Though I don't think I would have done things exactly the way you did.” Lavellan responded with a dry chuckle.

Upon hearing him, Vivienne and the Inquisitor turned to look at him. Unlike the other nobles, Vivienne didn't give him any evil looks. Good to see that she approved of him enough to not get chased away.

“I didn’t expect the mighty Inquisitor to suddenly waltz in during the council and declare the Inquisition dead.” Dorian stopped in front of them, smiling and putting a hand in his hips. Lavellan gave him half a tired smile in response. “How are you doing, my friend?”

“I’ve been better.” she answered in a strangled voice.

At that moment, a servant came over with a glass of water. Vivienne took the glass, dismissed the servant with a nod and handed it over to Lavellan to drink. “You still have a fever. Drink, then we’ll return to your chambers. You still need rest. I’ll send for the healer again to get a look at you.”

Nodding, Lavellan made a motion with her left arm, like if she was trying to grab it. Instead, her left arm lifted up awkwardly and she became confused after a few seconds. As she realized what was happening, her face began to fill with anxiety, but Vivienne lightly touched her shoulder, bringing her out of her stupor. The enchanter moved the glass to the right side of her body, where she can better grab it. The Inquisitor eyed the glass carefully, flexing the fingers on her remaining hand thinking carefully. She, then cautiously grabbed it with her right hand, still looking a bit stressed. Dorian felt nothing but sympathy with what was happening.

“Th-thank you.” she stuttered, taking the glass.

“She has a fever?” Dorian inquired, looking to the Enchanter, trying to pull the conversation forward.

As Lavellan gratefully drank the water, the enchanter turned to look at Dorian. “She picked it up sometime after she woke up, probably the stress of it all. Not a high one, but it’s been fluctuating at a rather alarming rate. This morning it had stabilized, which is why I allowed her to attend the council under her insistence, but perhaps doing so undid all the work it took to recover.” Noticing that Lavellan had finished drinking, Vivienne took the glass from her and set it aside.

“I suppose I don’t need to ask that she’s gotten the best care possible?” said Dorian.

“What do you take me for, Lord Pavus? ” Vivienne responded, unimpressed. “I had sent for the most experienced healer and doctor in Orlais, both trained in respectable verified institutes. I've also called for an amputee specialist, to oversee her recovery and help her cope with the ‘phantom limb’ sensations she’s developed.” She looked at him, as if to say ‘is that all’?

“Just checking, I meant no disrespect.” replied Dorian, raising his hands up in defense. Vivienne merely rolled her eyes slightly, paying him little mind. She turned back to Lavellan, who seemed to have recovered somewhat after the drink.

“Now let’s not tarry long, my dear.” she said, putting a hand on her shoulder. “This foul weather might make your fever worse.” As if to punctuate her statement, there was a rumble overhead. It was going to rain soon. Brilliant.

Lavellan stood up and Vivienne positioned herself on her right side, hooking her arm with Lavellan’s, to support her. Dorian was a bit surprised. He had expected for Vivienne to call for servants to carry her back, but Vivienne seemed set on taking her back personally. He guess it just meant that she cared a lot for her. I mean who in the Inner Circle wouldn’t ?

Wait, he shouldn’t ask that question. He could of think of a certain unwashed apostate who would do good to care a little more. Maybe even then, just caring might not be enough. Dorian shoved such frustratingly depressing thoughts out of his head.

“Thank you, Vivienne.” she thanked again. “I’m sorry to trouble you so much.”

“Nonsense, my lady, this is practically nothing.” Vivienne responded with a splendid smile. “You deserve the best we have to offer. Now let’s head back before your fever gets too high, yes?”

Before they started walking, the now-former Inquisitor turned to Dorian. “I’ll speak with you later, Dorian.”

“I’ll be sure to stop by your room later when you’re feeling a little better.” He nodded farewell.

And with that, Vivienne took Lavellan back to her quarters for more rest. As he stood there a bit idly, looking at the sky, Dorian realized that with this last meeting, this meant that the Exalted Council was over. He felt an uncomfortable itch as he realized that this also meant that he would have to return back to Tevinter soon. News of what happened to the Inquisition were likely to spread faster than he could return. Dorian would have to return as soon as possible to publicly announce what happened. The future magister recalled that this was exactly what the Imperium had wanted for the Inquisition. He hoped that whatever follows wasn’t any darker than the sky seemed at this moment.

But as much as duty called, Dorian decided that he would stay a little longer, just until Lavellan grew well enough to walk her own again, or maybe just well enough to regain a semblance of her old self. It didn’t sit well with him if he had left anytime before that. As short as their meeting was, Dorian knew that something felt different, off about the Inquisitor. Something wasn’t the same, it felt wrong to leave it at that without at least some of his input.

Dorian wished he could stay here with her to be there throughout her entire healing and recovery process, Maker knows she needs all the support she can get, but alas, he couldn’t stay long. He had things to do, things he only could do. Lavellan would understand, even if he decided to leave the next day, but he had to check in with her, even this one last time.

The Inquisitor would not likely truly recover from what happened here for years to come. He’s heard stories of people who had lost limbs, taking years and years just to get used to the feeling. Some never recovered, haunted by a ghastly phantom sensation, forevering hampering their ability to live life to the fullest.

And it wasn’t only the physical injuries that worried Dorian. Wounds, scabs, even a missing limb can heal, but emotional wounds? Not so easy.

When he heard of Solas’s betrayal and true nature, he had been angry, of course everyone was, except maybe Cole, but he was weird like that, it made sense. He might have known all along. But Lavellan was the only one who wanted to save him. From Leliana, Dorian had heard that she apparently had resolve to try change Solas’s mind.  He had immediately objected, it would have been better just to kill him and get it over with, but then realized, she still loved him, that blasted elf that broke her heart a hundred times over. Dorian had believed that she had recovered from the horrible heartbreak in their years apart, but at that moment, he realized that Lavellan had never recovered, she’s just been good at hiding it.

And now all this happened.

Imagine that, finding out that the person you loved, who had cruelly dumped you for no apparent reason by the way, was a rebel god who was probably thousands of years old, who had created the veil and banished the other gods you worshipped all your life. Not only that, but that same god you fell in love with was now bent to to destroying the veil which in would in return, bring the world to chaos and ruin, undoing all the had work you had done to save it. And your arm was chopped off too, no less by the man you loved. A glorious tale to sing across the ages. Really, a lovely romantic hymn should be written about how badly this romanced turned out. It would be up there with those depressing Orlesian Tragedy plays.

How was she coping with that?

Is she okay?

Dorian wanted to ask her before he left. If not for her mental health, for his peace of mind.

Before the clouds could get any worse, Dorian escaped into one of the buildings nearby. Just in time too, as the droplets of rain began to fall from the sky, pitter-pattering on the roof above him. Feeling rather gloomy now, he went to go sit at one of the tables as the small droplets turned into a pouring rain. He watched in silence, letting his mind wander his thoughts, wondering what came next after this council.

When he heard footsteps, he saw Varric approaching. “Hey, Sparkles. Avoiding the rain?”

“Oh no, I was just wondering which outfit I should wear before taking a fond stroll through the garden.” intoned Dorian with a smirk as the dwarf sat down at a chair at the table. “Lovely weather for a walk.”

“I’d say.” Varric chuckled. A low rumble of thunder resounded, almost like it was laughing along with them.

“Where’s your little seneschal friend? Isn’t he going to show up and say I’m not allowed to talk to you?” queried Dorian, raising an eyebrow, glancing about. “Or does he only materialize when you say a magic word or something?

“Oh, I left him to tend to the truckload of mail that came right after the council ended.” Varric explained, getting comfortable in his chair. “I’m looking for a little escape anyway. I know Kirkwall’s aching for news about this whole thing. I’d have to write back about this thing eventually.” The dwarf gestured to Dorian with a nod. “What about you? Tevinter probably wants the news.”

“I was thinking of sending a raven ahead.” responded the mage honestly. “Just to get the word out first. I don’t want to deal with the aftermath of the uppity ups back home feeling like their nobody Ambassador isn’t doing their job. Plus I want to stay here a bit longer.”

Varric’s face, grew a little serious. “To check on the Inquisitor, I bet?” Dorian was surprised the dwarf seemed to read his mind. Varric shot him a knowing look. “You’re not the only one, Sparkles. Pretty sure the rest of us silently agreed to stay here until our Inquisitorialness returns to a better state of health.”

The two exchanged looks of worry and concern. “Have you had a chance to talk to her?” Dorian asked. He didn’t think Varric did, but he decided to ask anyway.

“Nah, never had the chance. The Iron Lady’s been chasing everyone away like an angry high dragon.” Varric smirked. He said the next words in a time that mimicked Vivienne’s. “The lady needs some rest! Do give her some space or I'll make sure you have space.” Dorian laughed.

“You know, I wouldn’t have pegged Vivienne as a flustering mother hen.” Dorian replied, amused. “She's surprisingly rather good at it. Quite fascinating to watch.”

“It’s weird, right? I’ve never seen Vivienne like that before. The Inquisitor has always brought out the best in people.” said Varric with a chuckle. “Don’t suppose you got a chance to talk with Lavellan?”

“For a bit actually.” Dorian told the dwarf, whose eyebrows raised in mild shock. “I met her outside earlier today, right after the council ended. Got a word in before the mother hen took her back to the nest.”

The storyteller looked like he was going to make a smart quip, but his expression turned much darker. “So yeah...the council…” he started. “I guess the Inquisition’s done.”

“I didn’t see you at the meeting.” Dorian commented. He shifted, so now he properly faced Varric. “What have you heard out here?”

“I heard Ruffles were getting her feathers ruffled after the Inquisitor left the room. I think she, Curly, and Red are dealing with the repercussions of it right now. If Vivienne has been vicious as she is, I don’t think even they got a chance to talk to Lavellan after the initial briefing. Well, I don’t think they would even if the Iron Lady wasn’t there..” Varric said. “She’s still recovering after, it's a bad time to be putting more on her.”

“The nobles still got all their trousers and dresses in a twist. ” demurred  Dorian. “I didn’t stay to see the aftermath since I went to check on Lavellan, but the whispers spread fast. There isn’t a corner in the Winter Palace not talking about the Inquisition’s disbandment. Saw some of the soldiers too, more shocked than the nobles.”

“I can only imagine.” sympathized the dwarf. “They were proud of the Inquisition. It’s a shock to see it just all fall apart.”

“It didn’t fall apart. It was ended proper by the Inquisitor’s hand. Good thing too.” corrected the future magister. The storyteller smiled in response.

“You're right.” He took a deep breath. “I’m sorta glad it ended this way.” admitted Varric. “The Inquisitor’s done so much, it’s only fair that she get to put down arms and go home.”

Dorian looked at the dwarf grimly. “Doubtful she’ll get any rest anytime soon, even if we make her. Not with the whole Solas thing hanging over our heads.”

“Shit.” Varric cursed, just realizing it just now. “I’d forgotten about that. Now I wish it’d stay forgotten.”

“You could ask Cole to do that for you. I’m sure he’ll be happy to.” joked Dorian darkly.

“One problem after another, huh? This is almost too tiring to hear.” Varric sighed and scratched his head numbly. “Andraste’s ass, maybe we can at least hope for a bit of peace before the fighting starts again? For everyone’s sake? This is all too much stuff in the span of just a couple years.”

“Agreed.”

As the rain poured on, the two continued to chat until Varric’s follower found him and dragged him back to write some letters. He sat alone for a while before he went to the bar, where he spent time drinking for a while. Sera, Cole, the Iron Bull, and Thom were there and they socialized and drank themselves silly. Maker knows he needs a drink after all that’s happened.

The whole situation really hasn’t set in properly for him yet. With the amount of crazy happenings in the Inquisition, Dorian supposed that he should be used to it, but he couldn’t. Perhaps this sort of thing wasn’t the type of thing to get used to. WIth nothing much else to do, he retired to his quarters and another day passed. Though, the rain didn’t seem to let up. He had laughed, wondering if the next problem arising would be the Winter Palace flooding. Good thing the Inquisition was disbanded, otherwise the nobles might be turning to them with mops and buckets, telling them that they were somehow responsible.

A few days passed since then.

Dorian had spent time socializing with his friends as much he could, knowing that he might not see them for a long while. He had sent word to Maevaris so she knew where he was. For now, they drank and hanged out, but it wasn’t the same without the Inquisitor there, but they knew she was recovering. She would have wanted them not to worry, so they had fun while the could. Vivienne had constructed a ban on anyong meeting the Inquisitor for the moment, but told them all that her recovery was going smoothly, that she would likely be on her feet soon. When she had recovered, they would be able to meet up with her, however Dorian was pretty sure that Cole had visited her, though who could really say. Sera had apparently come through the window, but Vivienne had caught her and sent her away with a brutal chastising. There had been no attempts made since then.

It was another day of just drinking, socializing, and some letter writings for back home. Some of the Inner Circle were playing a round of Wicked Gace, but at the moment, Dorian didn’t feel like playing and opted to sit at the side to enjoy the show. He was about to purchase another drink, but was surprised when something around his neck glowed and vibrated. Dorian looked down and was surprised to see the Sending Crystal he had was glowing. It took him a moment to realize that it was probably Lavellan calling to him. He quickly canceled his order  and then walked to a much quieter location, opening the crystal locket, activating the receiving in. There was a spark of magic before he heard anything.

“Dorian? Are you there?” a voice asked, the crystal thrummed with each word.

“Here. Glad to see this thing actually works. Imagine how dreadful if it wasn't.” he responded. Her voice sounded healthy, good. “How are you doing?”

“Better. My fever’s not that high anymore.”

Dorian sighed in relief, smiling. “That’s good to hear, my friend.”

There was a long drawn out silence after that. Dorian waited for her to say something, it seemed like she would, but she didn’t. He felt the crystal pulsing, though there wasn’t any voice his ears could catch. Maybe her breathing? Feeling concerned, he was about to speak again, to ask if something was wrong, but Lavellan finally spoke.

“Do you have time?” Her voice sounded meek.

“Of course. I’ll be there, as spontaneous as the bears in the Hinterlands.” he jested, hoping to lighten the mood. He was glad to hear something that sounded like light laughter over the sending crystal.

With that, Dorian closed the Sending Crystal and practically rushed over to where the Inquisitor’s quarters were stationed. When he arrived in the hallway, he half expected Vivienne to be guarding the room, but she wasn’t there. He double checked to make sure, he’d not like to get thrown out in their reunion. After deciding that she wasn't there, Dorian approached the room’s door. She might be attending to other matters at the moment. What a relief. He gave a knock on the door and walked in.

The room was much darker than he thought it was. None of the room’s lamps were on, the only source of light was a couple candles on the end table near the bed. Lavellan was sitting up on her bed, looking like she was reading some reports of some kind. She wore was wearing what looked like a comfortable strapless shirt, the covers drawn up to her waist. Her left arm was tightly wrapped up in some gauze. From the bitter smell lingering in the room, the gauze was probably medicated. He noticed that the Sending Crystal she gave him was resting on one of the many pillows on her bed, close to where she was. It warmed his heart to see it in her possession.

Upon seeing him enter, Lavellan brightened up, sitting up, putting the papers on the table on the opposite side. She watched him approach, obviously glad to see him. She must’ve not been able to have a good chat since Vivienne cooped her up here.

“Glad to see you’re well enough to start working again.” Dorian said, eyeing the reports suspiciously. “Though I would advise against reading them in the dark. We don’t want you losing your vision as well.”

She laughed. “I was sleeping until a while ago. I didn’t feel like getting up and lighting the lamps. The weather hasn’t been all too helpful either.” She gestured towards the window, where the rain rattled against the glass.

With a flick of his hand, Dorian lighted some of the lamps in the room with his magic, brightening it a little. “That solves that problem.”

“I could have done that myself, but Vivienne had put a ban on me using magic for the time being.” she laughed, her mouth drawn in a coy smile. “I fear she might make me tranquil just to sit and rest.”

“Ah yes, I’ve heard she’s been quite the mother hen lately.” Dorian brought a chair that was in the room and brought it to the side of the bed, so he could sit closer to her. “It was a surprise. Hope it isn’t too suffocating getting mothered all day?”

Lavellan’s expression changed to a much more melancholic grateful one. “She has been a bit smothering lately, but I suppose I enjoy it. Everything’s just been so tiring lately, it feels good to have someone fuss and pamper over me all day.”

Dorian leaned over on the bed, his expression growing sympathetic at the words. He gave her the most comforting smile he could. “Are you doing alright? There’s a reason you called me here, yes?”

Lavellan gave him a concerned look and looked away, shifting where she had been sitting. She as silent a moment before she spoke again. “You’ve heard what happened right?” She looked very anxious.

“Only partially, from Leliana. No details.” he responded. Strangely enough, the Inquisitor seemed to look relieved, but at the same time still a bit apprehensive. He couldn’t make heads nor tails why. “I would like to hear your account, if that’s alright.”

“That’s what I was hoping…” Her expression changed to a much more sorrowful one. “I felt like I needed confess-” She stopped herself. “...talk this out.”

“I’d be more than happy to lend an ear.” Dorian responded seriously, slightly concerned by what she meant by ‘confess’.

She tried to smile in response, whatever movement she made with her mouth faded more quickly than it appeared, downturned and tense. “Solas...he’s...the Dread Wolf.” She looked at him with a pained expression. “I’m not sure I believe it.”

“I can imagine that’s all very hard to take in.” sympathized Dorian. “I’m not sure if this is all real either. If we believe hard enough maybe this is all an elaborate dream and we’ll all wake up in a much better world..”

The Inquisitor made a sound in her throat, like she was trying to laugh, but what came out was those weird choking sound. Her expression harened, she clenched her hand. “I...I don’t know where to begin.”

“You can just tell me what happened when you met him. That’s a place to start.’ the mage suggested. She shifted uncomfortably.

“Solas-He turned the Viddasala to stone. I’ve never seen him use that kind of power before, it was sort of scary, seeing how little I knew of him even though I was…” she trailed off.

Instead of picking up where she left off, she continued a bit afterwards. “When I told him I knew who he was, he was impressed.” She gave a choked laugh. “Of course he was. He told me all about the elves, his plans to tear down the veil. Everything I knew came crashing down. Then the bloody bastard kissed me, removed my arm and left.” Her voice was rising, a bit angrier now. “I-I didn’t even say goodbye.”

Dorian hadn’t heard that last bit, but he instantly frowned, finding kinship in her anger. “That blasted hobo.” He muttered.

She shifted distressfully, bring her legs closer to herself. She glanced at Dorian, frustration clear on her face. But then it changed to a much more guilty one. Lavellan looked at Dorian. “I said something else too. It makes me angry to think I said such a thing. But...”

“What is it?” the man inquired cautiously, now curious, but at the same time afraid of what she might say.

The Inquisitor clutched the blanket covering her legs, her expression growing angry, but at the same time sad. “I had….had asked to join him.”

“You what ?” Dorian was almost speechless.

Lavellan couldn’t meet his eyes, she simply looked down and away. “I said I wanted to help him, he rejected me of course. I don’t know if I really meant it. I might have said it out of impulse, just to get him to stay. I haven’t seen him in years and I...I didn’t want him to be alone.” She pressed her lips together, angry at herself. “ I didn’t want to be alone.” The once strong Inquisitor seemed like she wanted to meet Dorian’s eyes but she couldn't and instead looked at the ground next to him. “I was almost ready... to abandon you guys.” Her voice shook with guilt. “What a gaffe.”

Are you mad?! Dorian wanted to shout, but he thought twice and didn’t. What would she have done if he had accepted her help? Would she go with him? What would have happened then? All these questions stormed around in his head, wanting to find his voice, but Dorian kept his mouth shut. It would be wrong to shout at her now. If she was confessing it now, she was definitely guilty about it.

And he couldn’t really stay mad at her for long. This situation was all really chaotic and crazy, he couldn't really imagine what it would be like in her shoes. Dorian honestly could not fathom why or how she managed to cling on to him so tightly after so long, even after all the pain he's inflicted on her. They had only spent such a short time together, but it was enough to change her life forever. The only good things he's done to her these past years is cut her arm off so she survived, but even then he was the cause of all this, so did it really matter? Dorian didn't like or trust Solas any more than he could hurl a high dragon skull.

However, Dorian has had his fair share of mad love, he could kinda guess how she felt. Love is crazy, makes you lose all ready and do stupid things. But this relationship with Solas was not healthy, not in the slightest. More harm than good, apparently not only to herself but others, Dorian opted to just somehow get her to just abandon her love and look at it pragmatically.

But it was cruel.

This whole thing.

All just terribly cruel.

“You still love him?” Dorian finally asked, letting his anger fade away. “Even after all this?”

“I…” She seemed to choke up. She seemed torn, glancing at what’s left of her arm before looking up at her friend once more, regret and guilt in her eyes.. “Y-yes….” Lavellan admitted finally, looking even more culpable than she did before. “I guess I still do.”

“You have a horrible taste in men.” Dorian uttered darkly. “And this is me saying it.”

She didn’t even try to offer a smile or laugh this time. Her face was just stoically solemn. It was a bit eerie. “The worst.”

Dorian looked at her with pity, not to look down on her, her love story was just nothing but pity. The short time they had been together, they had been happy. Very happy, it was sort of cute watching then fall asleep on each other on the couch on the floor below, the wholesome stuff. Leliana and him have chuckled about it a couple times. They were trapped in their own world, not aware that they're being watched, just simply happy to have each other by their side. But then he went and broke her heart and she was never the same again. Over the past years, she had never loved another man again. Dorian was doubtful that she ever would love anyone again, this love might have crippled her for life.

Ultimately, Dorian knew he had no say in what she felt nor did he feel like he could change her mind about Solas, he could only offer his support in her trying times. She should know that no matter how she feels, that he would always stand with her.

“Solas doesn’t deserve you. Not one bit.” stated Dorian factually, leaning back in his chair. “And you deserve so much better.”

“Yet, I can’t let go.” she muttered bitterly in response. She seemed mad at herself still.

Dorian grew slightly fearful, seeing this reaction. “I can’t stop you from loving him.” He started, trying to be as gentle as possible. “I’m sorry for everything that’s happened. I admit your confession was a little worrying, but let's not dwell on it shall we? It's in the past, what’s done is done. I know it’s not much coming from me, but I want to let you know, in any case.” he said to her. He leaned over to her, putting a hand on her tense arm. “You deserve something way better than this.”

Hearing this, Lavellan looked like she wanted to cry, from guilt and the hell of it all, but she didn’t. Instead, she took a deep breath and her expression grew dark as she steeled herself against her emotions. She stoically stared ahead, her features now unreadable. Dorian was afraid this would happen.

The Lavellan he knew always knew how how to joke around and express feelings given moments. He was afraid that after what happened here, that she might turn bitter and sour, jaded by what has happened. She would lose the colorful persona she had, hardened by grief, guilt, and betrayal. He didn’t know the full extent of how she felt but snippets from Cole painted a very sad, very guilty picture. This inner turmoil would continue on and on and the once heroic bright Inquisitor would likely be someone nobody would recognize, someone he wouldn't recognize, a shell of her former self.

He was a bit of loss of words right now. What is there to say to her? What can he say to possibly make things even a little bit more bearable? Her situation was unique, he doubted that nothing like this has ever happened before in the history of Thedas. If there was, there have been no recordings of it. There wasn’t a draught of wisdom to draw from anywhere.

But Dorian wouldn’t let his dear friend lose herself. Not like this. There must be something he could do.

“Have you...had a chance to cry about it all?” Dorian asked quietly, finally finding something fitting to say. Lavellan looked at him shocked. “It’s okay to cry about it, you know. There’s no one else here, you don't need to hide. You’re upset, mad, guilty I understand. Just let it out. Bottle it up and be stoic like that, you’ll end up breaking yourself one day.”

She looked at him in disbelief, as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Lavellan looked ready to deny it, but it seemed like the words got caught in her throat. Instead of words, she made a weird gibberish cough. It did seem though what he said had touched her somewhat.

Tears began to form in the corner of her eyes and she reached up with her remaining hand, plainly confused on what was happening. Her fingertips caught the tears as more streamed down her face. When she realized what was happening, Lavellan seemed to cry even harder. Her mouth went upturn in a cruel looking grin as let the weight that she had been carrying crumble down her shoulders.

Seeing her like this was difficult. He didn’t want to make her cry, but he knew that if she didn’t cry, or at least express herself now, she would end up losing herself later. Dorian wanted her to stay true to herself, to the dear friend who had become like a sister to him, the one who came with him personally and helped rekindle his relationship with his father before he was gone, the one who had led them through thick and thin, the one who stood up against all odds to save the world. The Inquisitor, the greatest friend he could have ever have asked for.

Dorian stood up, sitting in the side of the bed, which was surprisingly soft by the way, bringing his friend into his arms, giving her a tight hug. It took every strength he had to not cry along with her. Her sobs were powerful, the pain she felt moved him. He needed to be strong right now. Lavellan needed someone to cling to, after her entire world lay broken bare in front of her. Dorian could be that someone.

“That’s it...let it out.” he said, squeezing her tight. Dorian felt assured when she turned to lean onto him, her hand cupped on her face as she wept.

They stayed like that for hours, Dorian guessed, he couldn’t really tell what time it was since it was still pouring rain and hid the sun. Dorian wondered when the last time she cried like this. She certainly didn’t cry that much wne Solas dumped her way back when or when Stroud died. Perhaps this was just the years of the Inquisition catching up with her. There had been no time to sit back and really think about it all, she’s been so busy.

Eventually the sobs decreased, all her emotion now spent. Dorian smiled a bit, seeing her express herself like this was way better than watching her bottle it all up. Her breathing slowed  and she eventually looked up at him.

“How are you feeling? Better I hope?” Dorian asked.

She didn’t respond right away. Her voice still trembled with the aftermath of her tears. “Y-yes.” She paused. “Thank you...” her voice a little stronger. “I think I needed that.”

Dorian reached over for the pitcher and glass situated on the table, pouring her a glass and handing it to her. She took it gratefully. “We all need to sit down and cry ourselves ugly once or twice in our lives.” Dorian said.

“Even you, Lord Pavus?” she teased, chugging down the water. She was teasing him! A good sign.

“Oh yes, though I must say I do it much more elegantly. Broke a thousand hearts with my graceful weeping.” Dorian responded. When she was done drinking, he offered to take the glass, putting at the side of the table again.

Lavellan chuckled. The two sat in silence for a while, listening to the rain gently patter against the window. “I”m glad to have your here, Dorian.”

“I’m glad to be here as well, my friend.”

She looked at him, the weariness in her face evident. “Are you...going back to Tevinter soon?”

“Not for a bit, no.” Dorian replied, getting reminded that he would have to say farewell to his friend soon. “I’d like to see you on your feet again before I go.”

Lavellan looked relieved. “I’ll be glad to have your company while you’re here.”

“Naturally.” He said with a cheeky grin. “I wouldn't dare deprive you of my gracing presence.”

The Inquisitor laughed weakly, then looked down at her remaining hand, which lay limply out before her. She looked a lot more tired after the cryfest. Dorian skeptically reached a hand to her forehead.

“Uh oh.” He exclaimed mildly, retracting his hand, his face twisted in mock fear.

“What?”

“Not to scare you or anything,, but your fever has probably spiked after the waterworks.” Dorian told her. “Vivienne is going to kill me.”

She reached up and touched her forehead with the back of her head. After she confirmed it, she looked at Dorian. “Then you better leave before she comes back. She’s dealing with some issues with the College of Enchanters, but she could be back any minute.”

“Sounds like a good idea, I’d not liked to get pecked by the an angry hen.” Dorian said. “But let me at least tuck you in.” She looked at him blankly. “You are going to sleep, no?”

“That...doesn’t sound so bad.” she blinked slowly, the exhaustion creeping in the depths of her eyes. “Maybe I could go for a nap or two.”

“Definitely.”

Dorian helped her rearrange her pillows so now she was lying down. He made sure she was comfortable, and he put out all the bigger lights in the room, leaving only the soft glow of the candles by the bed.

“Well then, my friend. Do rest easy, I’ll be back later if Vivienne doesn’t chew me out first.” he said, turning around.

Dorian approached the door and he was about to reach for the handle, but he stopped.

“Dorian?” Lavellan called out. Even though it was a question, it was more like a statement if anything. She already expected his response.

“Yes?”

“Thank you. For being a good friend.” she told him quietly.

“And you as well, dear friend.” Dorian told her. He saw her shifting, probably settling into bed now.

He opened the door, and stepped about halfway before looking back at her, wondering if she had passed out already. “Lavellan?”

“Yes?” she answered, still awake.

“Please do remember that you’re never alone.  The whole world may be bearing down on you with pitchforks and fire, but even then, just remember I will always am and always will be with you.” He reached for the Sending Crystal around his head, lifting it up so she could see. “I’m always be a breath away, my friend.”

It was a little dark and he couldn't see her expression, but her voice was full of smiles. “I’ll be sure to remember that.”

And Dorian closed the door, letting his companion sleep. When he was about to escape the building before Vivienne returned he felt a presence and turned around to see Cole. It was weird to think how used to he had gotten of Cole’s random encounters. He seemed happy to see Dorian.

“Good. It hurts less now.” He said to Dorian, very pleased.

“Don't suppose you had a part in it?” questioned Dorian, raising an eyebrow.

Cole shook his head. “Not really. I only told her she needed someone to talk to, then she called you. I wanted to help, but I can't help the hurt the way you can. It's better this way.”

“Good to hear I helped.” Dorian turned towards the spirit. “Will she be okay now?”

He paused, listening, then after a moment, spoke again. “It will still hurt, but she will get better. You opened a way.” Cole fiddled with his fingers. “Her heart aches, still chained, but unhardened. She won't lose herself anymore.”

Dorian sighed, a little relieved, hearing those words. He needed to hear those words. “I needed to hear that.”

“I know.” Cole responded simply, his lips upturn in a small knowing smile.

“Right, of course you do.” Dorian scratched his head and shrugged. “Now let's get out of here before Vivy gets back, I'd hate to get scolded by her while I’m in such a good mood.” Dorian said to the spirit, walking down the hall gesturing for Cole to follow him.

“I can make her forget.” Cole joked, his low but light as he paced after the magister. Dorian wasn't sure if he should be worried if he was serious, but it didn't really matter.

“If you’re serious, I'll really hold you up to it if we do meet her.” He warned.

“Yes.” Cole chuckled, a quiet one. Lavellan taught him that, even if he was a spirit. Compassion in laughter, it hurts less when you laugh.

As they walked past the window, Dorian finally saw that it had stopped raining.