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The anchor disappears, the darkness appears

Chapter Text

1. Chapter Betrayal of a companion

Fire bounced against glass, but the Eluvian remained dull. Frustrated, Dorian Pavus groaned. His mana reserves were reaching their limits, but he could not and should not give up.
"Sparkler, calm down! You're going to collapse." Varric tried to calm him down. The dwarf's honey-coloured eyes watched him anxiously. Blackwall stood on the other side of the Crossroad, looking at his companion with sad eyes. Both could feel the sheer despair emanating from the Tevinter magician.
They had given up trying to re-activate the Eluvian an hour ago.
"Never.", Dorian replied defiantly and another fireball hit the old elven mirror. It felt like eternity, since David Trevelyan had stepped through the glass to save their former ally Solas, who was hunted by the Qunaris. Dorian, Blackwall, and Varric had only been one step behind him, but that short span of time was enough to shut them out.
"Dorian, David will return.", Blackwall tried to reassure him. They had been the constant companions of the Inquisitor and had experienced a lot together. Although Blackwall and Dorian had often argued, they had got used to each other and respected each other. In addition, one could feel the agony of the magician and he certainly did not deserve this. Both saw the tears in the eyes of the otherwise composed man, but with David, he had never been the learned illusion. He had been Dorian.
After a few more useless attacks, Dorian sank gasping to the ground. His hands clenched and the first tears dripped to the floor. Blackwall and Varric knelt beside him, staring at the dumb mirror.
"Please come back, Amatus ...", Dorian whispered pleadingly.
As if the Eluvian had answered his prayer, it suddenly began to shine in a pale green. Then, the glass glowed white and finally, David Trevelyan stumbled through the magic gate.
"Amatus!", Dorian exclaimed, storming over to him. At the last moment, he was able to catch his lover. Just as the rogue had set foot on the crossroads, he collapsed exhausted. Panting, he hung in the arms of the Tevinter mage and sweat poured from his forehead. "Are you all right? Are you hurt?"
David forced a small smile as he looked into his lover's worried eyes, but it flared threateningly. Varric and Blackwall also hurried over to them. Neither of them noticed that Solas was not accompanying him.
"I’ve never felt better...", David joked in a shaky voice and Dorian pulled him closer to him. He had really feared, he had lost the man he loved in this strange dimension forever. As always, when he wanted to comfort him or himself, he wanted to stroke the Inquisitor's left arm. In the middle, however, he broke off abruptly and looked at David with shocked eyes.
"David ... your arm!", he gasped horrified and now the other two companions saw, what Dorian had noticed. Blood dripped to the ground from David’s left side. Varric and Blackwall widened their eyes, when they saw that the entire lower and half of his upper arm were missing. "What happened? What did they do to you? "
“the Qunari didn’t do this...", David pressed out between his teeth and rested his head to Dorian's shoulder.
"Solas was that?", Blackwall gasped in surprise. "But why?"
"That doesn’t matter, now. We have to bring him to Vivienne!”, Dorian hissed, concern blurring his eyes. In the next moment, he tried to heave David on his shoulders, but he was not able to. Blackwall sighed and took the injured rogue from him. He was much stronger than the magician and would be able to carry the Inquisitor. With the help of the magician and the dwarf, he put David on his back, while Dorian wore his sword and shield. Worried, he looked at his lover. The Inquisitor had visibly paled in the meantime. With his eyes closed, he hung on the back of his good friend and breathed heavily. Dorian ran next to Blackwall, when they left. Unfortunately, they could not run, because it could lead to shock.
~ * ~
The Council of the Inquisition and the Divine Victoria alias Cassandra already awaited them. Leliana quickly caught the Inquisitor's condition and hurried out to get Vivienne. That was the advantage of the Inquisition. They were all competent people in their area and they had been working together for so long that barely any more communication was needed. Everyone thought and worked hand in hand.
"What happened?", Cassandra asked worriedly, helping Cullen to lower David carefully to the floor. Immediately, Dorian knelt behind him and hugged him tight. Worried, he looked at how the red fabric of his dress, with which they had tied the wound provisionally, became darker and darker.
"We don’t know.", Varric explained, because David was not able to do so at the moment. Dorian barely noticed the dwarf's words. His whole focus was on his man, leaning heavily against him. He stroked his sticky, short, brown hair reassuringly and pressed a kiss to his forehead. While it was not the first time that David was badly injured, Dorian knew the shock of losing a part of his body could lead to shock. In addition, there was the blood loss, although this seemed still quite small for the wound. But it also seemed that Solas had not just cut his arm off, but probably removed it magically. As a result, the consequences seemed too bad according to the situation. "We had learned that the intruder that thwarted the Qunari's plans was Solas."
"He... sent the guard...to us..." David gasped, narrowing his eyes even more tightly.
"Sh, Amatus. Spare yourself." Dorian kissed against his temple again.
"And the Qunari wanted to kill him for it. David followed them to save him, but we were locked out.", Varric continued.
"He then returned in that condition.", Blackwall added. The faces of the former war council were worried, because they felt that something was ahead of them again. Although Solas and David rarely agreed, they would never expect would do that to him. Everyone wondered, what the reason might be, but only David could give the answer. At least they hoped. After all, Solas had disappeared after the victory over Corypheus without any word.
Finally, Leliana stormed in with Vivienne. The former court magician knelt down to David and opened his sleeve.
"Dear, that doesn’t look good.", she said as she began weaving a healing spell. At that moment, Dorian was annoyed that he had chosen necromancy and elemental magic. In battle this was much more useful, but ever since Solas had disappeared, they had repeatedly lacked a healing magician. Tevinter's ambassador bit his lower lip as he watched, how the stump of David’s arm began to glow green. Vivienne studied him closely and ran her hand over the wound. Slowly the bleeding began to stop.
Relieved, the Inquisitor let out a deep breath as the burning pain subsided. Slowly, he opened his blue eyes again and looked at all the worried faces. Immediately, Dorian pressed a long kiss against his temple. Although David felt exhausted and numb from the loss of blood, warm tingles emanated from the spot that Dorian’s lips touched. He must have really worried Dorian, because as flirty as he always was, he rarely showed affection openly. At least not, if it did not serve to provoke or shock other people.
"Inquisitor, what happened?", Cullen asked. David closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"I'll explain everything to you tomorrow. Make sure that every member of the Inquisition is present. Josephine, I ask you to tell the Sublime Council that we will not dissolve the Inquisition. We must remain under any circumstances. "
David let his eyes wander and saw questioning, serious or shocked eyes.
"David, that almost sounds like another catastrophe is about to arise." Cassandra looked at him in surprise and her red and white hat wobbled menacingly. David closed his eyes and leaned his head against Dorian's shoulder. His lover's gentle hand stroked his hair.
"It is. Josephine, I know the council wants to hear the decision from me, but the loss of my arm would raise questions that we are not allow to answer yet." ,He hissed as pain passed through the stub of his arm.
His companions glanced at each other briefly and seemed to wonder if he was confused by the blood loss. They did not have the slightest idea what threat could lurk in Thedas despite of the Sublime Council.
"Josi, please ...", David pleaded. "I'll explain everything tomorrow, but not yet. I have to process the new information."
"Share it with us and we can help," Leliana said. David, on the other hand, shook his head again.
"No, I have to make sure first, that I have not misunderstood anything. Besides, I am exhausted. Please, handle the Council first, then we take care of the new threat. Please, also inform Sera, Bull and Cole. "
His war council and closest associates watched him closely, but eventually Josephine sighed and nodded.
"Understood, Inquisitor. I'll take care of it, if you explain everything to us tomorrow. "
"Thank you, Josephine.", David said, relieved and immediately he sagged even more.
"I'll ask Empress Celene for a room for you, Inquisitor." Josephine and Dorian helped David to get up. When he began to waver threateningly, Blackwall supported him as well. David felt drowned by the events and drained. What he had learned had hit him hard.
Finally, Josephine hurried ahead, while Blackwall and Dorian escorted him out. He left his friends behind, wondering what to do next.
~ * ~
David fell exhaustedly on the big bed, which was in the guest wing of Halamshiral. Blackwall closed the door while Dorian sat down next to him, but did not touch him.
"I should bandage your arm.", he said calmly, but David noticed the concern, which was hidden deep in his voice. He knew his lover too well. Through their time together, he had learned to read and recognize the emotions behind his mask. David nodded and Dorian began to carefully undress his festive jerkin. He then bandaged the wretched stump that had once been his left arm. At least it had stopped bleeding now.
"A clean cut, but not by a blade, but by magic.", Dorian muttered, gently stroking the bandage. "Why did Solas do this to you, Amatus?"
David shook his head wearily.
"Please not now, Dorian. Tomorrow, I promise you. Right now, I'm just tired." Dorian looked at him for a long time. All of a sudden, David was pulled up and found himself in a tight hug. Dorian's hand buried itself in the back of his head and he felt the cold water of tears on his cheek.
"I was afraid of losing you forever, when the Eluvian closed.", the mage whispered in a strangled voice. "I thought you had to wander through this forgotten memory forever."
David broke away from him and wanted to put his hands to his cheek, but instead he just touched his left cheek, while the stub of his left arm just helplessly twitched to the neural command. Dejected, David's blue eyes wandered to the remains. He always rested both hands on Dorian's cheeks, when he wanted to comfort him or say something important.
Dorian seemed to notice, what was going on inside him. To imitate the gesture, he put his left hand on his own right cheek. David looked at him wide-eyed, but then leaned against his forehead.
"But I'm back here, love." Dorian smiled and kissed his cheek. "I couldn’t’ dare not come back. How could I have survived without seeing you? "
A hollow laugh came from Dorian's throat and he shook his head.
"That's true. I’m the source of beauty that keeps humanity alive." David shook his head, but smiled at his lover. He had always enjoyed the jokes and the teasing between them. It was a nice change from the otherwise serious talks about the end of the world.
"Never do that again, Amatus, please. I want keep you a little longer."
"You know I can’t promise that, love. I'm the inquisitor and always get into trouble, no matter if the Council decide to dissolve us or not. "
"Your earlier words worry me.", Dorian whispered softly, leaning his head back on David's shoulder. David wanted to hug him, but only the stump twitched. Sadly, he focused his thoughts on the other arm and put it around Dorian.
"What has happened is more than disturbing, believe me.", David said resignedly. He himself had no idea, how he should handle the new information and the renewed threat of Thedas. He probably would not find sleep anyway, but he felt like he was killed. Gently, he dissolved from Dorian and let himself sink into the pillows. Sighing, Dorian gave in and settled next to him. "I just don’t want to think about it right now, okay, Dorian? Can you just hold me something please?”
Astonished, the magician looked at his lover. David was unusually serious and most of all, he did not ask for anything like that. Whatever had happened, it had shaken him to the core. What choice was there for him? Gently, he pulled David close and hugged him tightly. He pressed a gentle kiss against his temple.
"Then rest."

Chapter Text

2nd chapter
It had come like David had suspected. While Dorian fell asleep pretty quickly, he had not slept the entire night, instead he had tried to develop plans. David was just trying to put on his jerkin, but he failed miserably. How glad he was that he had not lost his right arm, although he had been skilful with both arms as a fighter with two daggers, he felt the loss was clearly felt. Only then did he realize that he could not fight anymore.
"Let me help you, Amatus." He heard the rustling of the covers and then the steps of Dorian. The fine hands slid over the fabric, closed the jerkin and knotted it over his stump. He did not miss the dejected look that the Inquisitor threw on his reflection. Dorian did not even want to imagine the loss of a body part. An arm was the epitome of mobility and independence. His lover had lost it. He had to relearn all the everyday processes, now.
"I..." David's voice died and he turned his head away.
"David?" The Inquisitor shook his head briefly, but Dorian sensed that it was not done. He gently gripped his cheek and turned his head around. Worried, brown eyes staring into uncertain, blue ones. The magician even believed to see fear in them. "Please tell me, what troubles you."
Dorian's voice trembled slightly, because he had never seen such an expression on his lover’s face and he began to wonder, if David really trusted him. Certainly, there had always been some distance due to David’s title, but when they were alone, both got rid of their title. They left the Inquisitor and Altus behind the door. They talked about their past and present, because they did not want to imagine the future. But now Dorian realized that they had never talked about political or sensitive matters. David had never asked him for advice. Maybe the relationship was not as serious as Dorian had believed? It would not have bothered him until the night they first shared the bed and David had said vehemently that they were serious. Dorian had initially thought it was a scam, but the many times afterwards showed him how quickly he lost his heart to David. At first, it had frightened him, but David had given him such a feeling of acceptance, love and safety that Dorian finally gave up his protection and gave him his heart. He could not stop his heart from getting heavy and a gnaw he had never felt before gnawing at his guts.
He began to wonder, if their relationship was at different levels. That he himself was much more attached to David than he. However, David had reacted so emotionally, when he told him that he would return to Tevinter to accept his father's place in the magistrate.
Finally, David averted his eyes and Dorian's heart broke a little. Did he really not want to talk to him? What had happened?
"Please, Amatus...", he pleaded again. Longingly, he leaned his head against his brown hair and closed his eyes. It felt like David was slipping away from him. Their relationship was no longer fresh and thus they had to fight against the time and by the Maker, he hoped they would win. He needed David, he felt that more and more. He needed his closeness, his warmth, or just the knowledge that he had him.
David sighed softly and closed his eyes. He sensed Dorian's despair and grief, but here laid the problem. He wanted to take his hand or put his arm around his back, but it was his right side, which was turned away. He could not do it. That was exactly, what made him hesitant.
"It's only, I've just realized, what the loss of my arm entails.", David finally declared in a halting voice and Dorian saw tears shining in his eyes. "I have to relearn the simplest things. I probably can never fight again."
All at once frustration came through his voice and David hammered his good fist against the wall of the Winter Palace with such force that even the bookshelf next to it began to tremble. Immediately, Dorian walked around him and closed the now scarred hand with his. David looked up and Dorian froze at the sight of sheer overwhelm and helplessness. But even now, he became aware of the consequences of the loss. David was right. He could not fight anymore. He would only be able to make decisions and not go out himself. David would go crazy. He had lived for being in the field, to help the people. It had always been important to him that he did not become a distant figure. He wanted to be close to the people and had always been the first person to throw himself in a fight. The motto of his was: What my followers have to do, I do, too.
"I'm sorry, David.", Dorian whispered softly, stroking the tears from the corner of his eye. "I know, how hard this is for you."
Trembling, David took a deep breath. Dorian put his arm around his neck and gently began to massage his back of the head. The moment his lover shuddered as he always did, and he shook himself. Dorian smiled and even on David's lips was a small smile.
"The next time for you will not be easy, Amatus.", Dorian said calmly. "But no matter what challenges lie ahead, we will find a way."
"We?", he repeated in astonishment. Dorian frowned in amazement.
"Yes of course. What did you think?"
"Something very stupid, obviously.", he said hesitantly and the corners of his mouth flickered. Angrily, Dorian put his hands on his hips and stared at him with a raised eyebrow.
"What, did you think I'm leaving you? Because you lost your arm?" Ashamed, David lowered his eyes and Dorian just shook his head. He could not hide the disappointment in his voice as he continued: "I like the beautiful things and beautiful men, David, for sure, but I love you for yourself. I love the fact that you joke around in terrible situation and make Varric laugh and Blackwall to shake his head and wonder, why, by the Maker, he preferred this asylum to the Grey Warden. I love your openness and tolerance, but you also stand up for your opinion, no matter what others think. I love your sense of justice and your honesty. Each one of us can count on you to be honest with us. We know, where we stand, when we’re with you. I love how you had the courage to face this difficult task and never stumbled. I admire you for that, because many could have done that. You have a natural charisma and charm that even the great politicians could learn from you. Your excellent appearance is just a nice aftertaste. "
Dorian was breathing hard, when he had finished his enumeration. He felt hurt. Did David think he was so superficial? Did he think that love was just a game for him? It was so difficult for Dorian to admit he was in love. Never before had he trusted anyone on this level, surrendered to him and relied on him.
David looked at him almost shocked and realized just now, how stupid he had been and how much he had hurt Dorian. It did not seem like it needed a breach to address their unconscious problems, but something much more banal, like the loss of an arm. Which was not surprising. A world threat made everything else appear pale, but something simple that put a strain on everyday life showed what work still needed to be done.
"Dorian...I'm sorry. I did not mean to hurt you. "
"But have you, and is that really what you think of me? Of us? That you are just an affair for me?"
"No.", the inquisitor confessed, dropping his shoulders. "I did not think about it. I'm sorry, but everything overwhelms me."
"Sometimes, you're a fucking idiot, you know that?" Dorian touched David's chest gently. He smiled and they both looked at each other with tears in their eyes.
"I never claimed to be perfect. Others already have enough. "
Dorian sighed and also had to smile. He could not be angry for a long time with his lover. With only one step, he overcame the distance between them and took the face in his hand. Carefully, he stroked the tears from his beloved's eyes.
"I love you, David.", he said, giving him a gentle kiss. "No one has ever meant more to me than you. It needs more than an apocalypse or a lost arm for me to leave you."
"But there will be many things you love that I can’t do anymore." Dorian looked up, startled, but then noticed the familiar glow in the blue eyes. Automatically, a mischievous grin spread across his face because he knew in which direction his lover was thinking.
Seductively, he put his arm around David's waist and pulled him closer.
"Well, then we'll have to improvise.", he said smugly, leaning down to kiss him again, though this time much more passionately. David laughed as they parted and gratefully looked up at his companion. Now he put his right arm on Dorian's cheek.
"I love you too, Dorian.", he whispered, then leaned against him as Dorian put his arms around him.
"We'll make it through, David. No matter what lies ahead."
"I hope so.", David whispered resignedly. "But to be honest, I have no idea how. That's even bigger than the breach. "
Dorian sighed and stroked the neck of David.
"Where did we just get in again?"
"I don’t know, Dorian, but I'll explain it to you all as good as I can."
~ * ~
"Inquisitor, we were already expecting you." Leliana turned around as David entered her meeting room in a back room with Dorian. They were already expected by the entire inner circle of the Inquisition.
"How are you?", Josephine asked worriedly and put down her clipboard on the table. The eyes of all his companions laid on David and above all on his arm. He felt uncomfortable, when he felt their eyes on his stump. After all, this was not about the loss of his arm, but something far greater. However, none of them knew that yet. In order to reassure them, at least in this aspect, he nodded and forced himself to a crooked smile. David saw Varric raised disbelievingly an eyebrow in response and Leliana penetrated him with her knowing spy gaze.
"I can handle it.", he said seriously. They had no time for that. "There is another reason, why I called you."
"What happened behind the Eluvian?", Cassandra finally asked the question, which everyone was comfortable with. David took a deep breath and clawed his fingers unnoticed into the edge of the table.
"For that I have to start from the beginning."
"You said, Solas had sent the murdered guard here?" Thoughtfully, Leliana looked at David, who nodded in agreement.
"As a kind of warning." He paused for a moment, wondering how he could put all the new information into words. Hour after hour, he had wondered about it, but had not found a way. Finally, to simply answer the question. "While traveling the various dimensions of the Crossroad, we learned a lot about the Dalish history."
"Urgh ...", Sera exclaimed in disgust and she wrinkled her nose. David gave her a warning look that made her drop her comment. Normally, he ignored it, when Sera had an outburst of trouble with Dalish history once again, but today it was not appropriate.
"What did you find out, boss?" Bull leaned against the wall, his arms crossed over his broad chest and looked at him curiously.
David glanced at his companions, but it seemed as though Varric, Blackwall and Dorian had decided to let him tell the whole story. He let out a soft sigh. He had hoped that they would tell a bit.
"For example, the old Elven Gods were nothing, but powerful beings. Maybe magicians, but that did not become clear. They were called Evanuris and consisted just those five gods and four goddesses, who the Dalish call theirthe creators. They came very close to gods in terms of power and they were immortal, too, but it was the Dalish that made Gods out of them."
"Aha!", Sera exclaimed and raised her forefinger.
"Sera!", David warned again.
"Yeah, all right.", she grumbled.
"Thanks." The Inquisitor shook his head slightly. Sera really had a good heart, but her stormy, hot-headed nature made her and David fight each other more than once. Varric seemed to sense that he was upset and therefore, for David's gratitude, the dwarf continued:
"We also found out that the Vallaslin was used as a sign for slaves. The nobles burned the mark of their favoured deity."
He sighed heavily, rubbing his eyebrows with his leather glove.
"I'm glad that Daisy doesn’t know about it."
"The Dalish were slaves?", Vivienne asked in astonishment, raising her eyebrows. Dorian nodded in confirmation.
"Not all of them, but many. The realm of Arlathan was not that much different than Tevinter." David threw a tired look at Dorian. Dorian loved to show that the Tevinter kingdom had not invented the evilness. Apologetically, the magician glanced at him and cleared his throat. "At some point, however, there had been a rebellion. Fen'Harel freed the slaves and removed the Vallaslin from them to destroy their connection to the Evanuris. "
"Of course that questioned all our knowledge about the elves.", Josephine admitted. Meanwhile, Leliana had put her hand to her chin and seemed to be thinking, while Cullen continued to listen. What the commander of the Inquisition thought was not visible on his face. But David believed that he did not quite understand what all this had to do with David's statements of yesterday. Of course he could not do that yet.
"Eventually, we made it to the camp of Tal Vashoth.", Blackwall said.
"And you beat them up, right?" Bull sipped at his beer.
"Later.", David said. "At first, we heard something about an intruder over and over again. Later we found out that the intruder was Solas. Of course, we hurried after him to rescue Solas, before the Tal Vashoth reached him. So, we penetrated deeper and deeper into the crossroad."
"But why did Solas want to stop them?"
"To be honest, I don’t know exactly. I suppose, it was just to lure us into the crossroads. "
"Why? What happened? Where's Solas and why did he cut your arm off?" The questions suddenly spilled out of Dorian. He had tried to be patient. However, the questions tormented him for a long time already. He heard the heart racing in his ears and he was breathing hard. He needed the answers.
David sighed heavily and leaned on the table top. He stared absently at the wall between Vivienne and Cole.
"The amazement is great. Fear and worry about what is coming. But the pain, it burns. Eats through the veins. I cannot control it. It puts them in danger." The former spirit of compassion stared wide-eyed at David. Although David had helped him to become human, Cole had kept a startling amount of his gift.
"Eventually, we managed to beat back most of the Tal Vashoth and get to the Eluvian, behind which was Solas. The leader of the Qunari had just gone through, so we had hopes to reach him in time.", Blackwall continued, noticing that David was still too busy with his thoughts. David almost jumped and stared unconsciously at his stump.
"When I arrived, however, I immediately noticed that Solas needed no help. I realized that he had frozen all Qunari to stone."
"What?" Almost all of his friends exclaimed in chorus and looked at him dumbfounded. That did not fit the magic that Solas had shown so far. Else, Dorian and Vivienne had been the elemental mages, while Solas specialized in healing spells and barriers. That he mastered such a powerful spell did not fit into the picture with what they had of him.
"When I faced him, I also realized that he had little in common with the Solas we know.” He moved the remnant of his arm and sighed. "I didn’t have any chance to say something. During our journey through the Crossroads and the Eluvians, I had learned a new skill for the anchor. I was able to create light and at the same time an explosion with it. We needed this ability, because we had to walk on secret paths of Fen'Harel that he had sealed with magic. However, I lost more and more control of it, until the anchor began to explode on its own, if I had not consciously used it for a while. It got really dangerous and more than once, I accidentally hit Dorian, Blackwall or Varric. "
Sadly, he stared at the grained wood of the table on which laid a map of Thedas. His war council always liked to have one on the table just in case and David knew they would need it later. Calmly, Dorian put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it. The magician knew that David was burdening himself with it. The protection of his friends and comrades had always been paramount to David. No matter, what risk he had to take, the most important thing was no one else being hurt. As an Inquisitor, he could have stayed at Sky Holdings, but he had deliberately decided to be at the forefront and take on the most difficult tasks himself to endanger his followers as less as possible.
"When I stepped into the clearing, the anchor immediately began to react again. The pain in my veins was the strongest, I've ever experienced. It was as if flames spread from my palm through my entire body and at the same time tore me apart inside. Groaning, I collapsed in front of Solas, who immediately rushed to me. He explained that the anchor was not made for me and that it will eventually kill me. If he had not severed my arm, I would not be alive now. "
David closed his eyes and avoided Dorian's gaze, who probably looked at him in shock. When he looked around, all of his comrades looked at him with a mixture of horror and shock. Josephine, Cassandra and Blackwall even had paled slightly.
"But everything is fine, now, right?", Josephine asked cautiously. The way David inhaled revealed the answer to everyone present. When he shook his head anyway, the shock was great. David felt Dorian stiffen beside him. He almost heard his friend gritting his teeth. That would lead to a fight afterwards.
"This power... the anchor was never intended for humans, but only to the elf god it belongs to. It's too strong for my body to withstand it over time. At some point, it will destroy me and the loss of the arm has not changed that. "
"So, you're going to die, boss.", Bull finally called it by name.
"We all will, Bull, but yes, the anchor has shortened my normal life span. But I can also be killed by a dark spawn before that. "
For a few minutes, icy silence prevailed, while everyone let that knowledge sink in. David had become a friend of theirs. Even though they had different opinions, everyone respected him. However, everyone also caught the thought that no one had wondered what the anchor did to him and what its effects were. Not even, when they learned that it was from Corypheus. After all, it had been the only way to prevent the demise of the world.
"But that's unimportant right now.", David said hoarsely. Suddenly his mouth felt dry.
"What then? You said that this is going to be bigger than the breach?"
"Yes, because the breach was only the failure of the plan that is coming now. Solas' plan. "
For a few minutes, there was an icy silence in the room that almost cut across their skins. None of them could, wanted, to understand, what David had just said. The thought was so horrible that it stiffened them.
"How...what do you mean?", Josephine finally asked, swallowing noticeably. David took a deep breath and rubbed his eyebrows. How much he wished, he could lean on Dorian. He felt powerless and might need some grip, but he knew he had to discuss his confession with Dorian first.
"I mean, the breach was just the result of Solas' failed plan."
Again, this silence. Everyone stared at him, mouth opened.
"The breach...was Solas' fault?" Cassandra's voice failed and she shook her head in disbelief. David knew, what was going on inside her. She had trusted Solas' and his abilities. Now, she thought that it was all his fault.
"I think...you have to explain that in more detail, Inquisitor."
"I know." He closed his eyes for a moment. "Well, we've known for some time that the Evanuris really exist."
"Why are you saying that now, David?" Blackwall's eyebrows dropped and he stared at him thoughtfully. Suddenly, however, Varric, Dorian, and his eyes widened and they stared dumbfounded at David.
"By the Maker, you don’t want to tell us that ..."
"Yes, that's it, Varric."
"Could you enlighten us?" Sera drummed her feet against the bar in disgust.
"Solas is Fen'Harel.", David explained. "Or rather Fen'Harel is Solas. This was his name, which he had before becoming an Evanuris. "
As he uttered the words, the Inquisitor stared into completely distant faces. The bewilderment was almost in the air. Neither of them wanted to believe that the magician, who loved the Fade so much, was one of the ancient gods. David struggled with it himself. Certainly, he had not always got along well with Solas, since their opinions were so different, but still, David had valued his advice. Now, he had to explain to them, however, what they had to do. Everything they had been fighting for all these years had been just the consequence of a mistake. They had sacrificed so much and, in the end, it meant nothing at all. They had to start all over again and probably had to give up so much more. He almost had a bad conscience to demand everything from them again.
"Now tell us, boss. There's more.", David looked at Bull and nodded.
"Solas created the veil to separate and free the elves' slaves from their masters." It was hard for David to keep his voice calm, but he was now practiced enough to succeed. Too often, he had had to control his emotions. Only his closest confidant noticed, how tense and suppressed he was.
"Solas created the Fade?" Cassandra's mouth was open and she shook her head slightly. David, on the other hand, nodded.
"But why the hide and seek game?", Varric asked. "Why did he reveal all of it, now?"
"When the elves had lost their connection to the Fade, their culture decayed. Solas saw that he had condemned the elves and how they lost more and more of them. Now, he wants to make his mistakes undone. He made a damned find his orb. He hoped the energy released was enough to correct his mistake."
"Wait.", Vivienne said and pulled her eyebrows down. "Solas made sure Corypheus found his orb in the hope that it will tear the veil apart?"
"Yes, and the breach was unfortunately just a side effect."
"But that means, his plan did not work out. So, he will try again." Absently, Blackwall stroked his beard.
"By the Maker." Cullen exclaimed. "He will go to war."
"That's why I should make sure that the Inquisition is not dissolved."
Again, David nodded. He knew he had chosen the right advisers.
"He's already gathering all the elves and preparing the war. Thedas will need the Inquisition, if humans, Dwarves and Qunaris are not to be exterminated. Although, Solas regrets it, there is no turning back for him. To give the elves back, what he has taken from them, he is ready to eradicate all other.”

Chapter Text

3rd chapter

Dorian was angry. That was clearly feelable, although he was walking behind David. The aura of suppressed anger flickered around him. Like shadowy hands she attacked David and made him shudder. After he had shared Solas’ plan with the remaining members of the Inquisition, they had quickly dissolved. Everyone should first think about it, before they would meet up again tomorrow.

David knew what he would hear as soon as the door closed behind them. He had gone through the following conversation again and again last night. He would not take David’s news well after the argument they just had this morning. The Inquisitor hated arguments. Strange, was it not, when most of his work was to hold heated discussion, but when he had a fight with Dorian, he only wanted to cover his ears and pretend like it was not happening. At that moment, he was like a little kid. He could hardly bear it, when people who meant a lot to him, shouted. Maybe because his parents often did. Life under the noble Trevelyan family had never been easy. Since then, he longed for harmony. Maybe that was also, why he had accepted this position. After all, the Inquisitor was the only one able to bring some harmony into this torn world.

He tensed as he opened the door and mentally braced himself for the allegations that would inevitably follow. Why could he not use Alexius time magic to skip the argument?

As soon as Dorian had set his second foot through the door, he pushed it shut. The wood shook in the frame as he pressed David against the wall. The air was squeezed out of his lungs and he stared into the wrath-distorted face. The hazel eyes sprayed with fury and burned on David's skin.

"What were you thinking?", he whispered menacingly.

"It's not like I wanted it." David's voice also turned dark. No matter how much he hated it, he did not let himself treated that way.

"I'm not talking about that and you know that.", Dorian hissed. David could feel his hot breath on his face, but he also saw the deep despair that hid behind the anger of Dorian. He wanted to hug him and assure him that everything was alright. But this was not so. They had to clarify that and Dorian's temperament made a calm conversation impossible. His lover felt hurt and his trust abused. In this state it was hard to get through to him. Dorian was as stubborn as David was. Maybe sometimes they were too similar in too many things. "It's about you haven’t told me."

David grasped the arm beside his head, which kept him against the wall. Gently, but determined, he removed it and broke away from Dorian. He took a few steps back and turned around again.

"Dorian ..." David still tried to stay calm, though his shoulders were still shaking. "... that's not easy for me either. I was simply overwhelmed yesterday."

"Still, you should have talked to me!", the mage exclaimed and spun around. Despair and tears glittered in his eyes.

"I could have talked to you about it, yes.", David admitted and lowered his eyes. Why could he not understand it? David always had to behave correctly and if he did not, he had to reproach himself. He hated it since he was a child. People did not even pretend to be perfect, but expected it from everyone else. He had always loved about Dorian, that he accepted his weaknesses and those of others. "But I didn’t have to."

Carefully, he raised his eyes and Dorian looked at him as if he had been struck by David. The air trembled with the tension that emanated from them. David was sure that none of them wanted to argue, but they had to communicate their point of views and unfortunately this was rarely done in a calm manner.

"You didn’t have to tell me?", Dorian repeated incredulously, shaking his head in disbelief. "You’re serious?"

David continued to look at him, trying not to move. He thought like that. He did not have to talk about it.

"Do you not trust me?" David groaned and looked at him almost annoyed.

"Oh please, not that again."

"I have every right for that." Dorian crossed his arms over his chest and his face hardened.

"You're such a fucking drama queen.", David exclaimed. He was beginning to realize that they were moving in a dangerous direction. Inwardly, he began to shiver. The news that Dorian was leaving him to return to Tevinter had hit him hard. But had he complained? No. He had accepted Dorian's decision, and this was not even a decision he had made on his own. It had been forced upon him.

Dorian, on the other hand, leaned against the wall and raised an eyebrow.

"Me, a drama queen?"

"Yeah, damn it." David snorted in frustration. "After all, you also confronted me with accomplished facts about your return to Tevinter."

"That's something else, but you're going to die soon." Angryly, Dorian wiped that argument away and stared at him in disbelief. David sighed wearily.

"We're all going to die, Dorian." David blinked at him wearily, sitting down on the travel chest in front of the bed. He hated this tension between them. Usually the togetherness was very relaxed. Everything had felt right and natural since they had met each other. Although they often had different opinions, their discussions had always been humorous and never had an impact on their relationship. They always accepted the opinion of the other. Now, however, the argument turned on their relationship and it seemed to jeopardize its existence. They could even loose it over this. "It's a miracle, we're still alive."

"Oh, don’t come up with this crap, now." The neck of the magician's stiffened and the tanned body was shaking with rage. "Do you have any idea how that felt to me? When did you want to talk to me about that the damn anchor was killing you?"

"I've only known it since yesterday!" David had jumped from the chest and ran his remaining hand through his hair. Again, and again, he shook his head as he sank back onto the chest. He did not even know, why he went one level lower than his lover. Was it an unconscious attempt to make him more conciliatory? Did he want to explain to him that he was sorry? Because he was. He was sorry that he had not spoken to Dorian, but he had not felt able to do so yesterday. Although he had long suspected that the anchor was not without consequences, Solas’ revelation had shaken him to the bones, too. But Dorian did not want to see it in his own pain and David had to wake him up. As painful as this altercation was. "At some point, I would have told you."

"Yeah, right, at some point." The Tevinter magician spit the word contemptuously out. His eyes sparkled angrily, though the hidden despair did not disappear. David could feel in every fibre of his body, how hurt Dorian was , but he was, too. "It was totally hurtful to get to know it with the others.”

Frustrated, David sighed and closed his eyes.

"Yes, I can imagine it.  I felt similar, when you told me about your plans. I did not make a scene out of it. You are, however, so blinded by your pain that you can’t see me."

Dorian paused for a moment and his posture softened. If David asked him to, it always brought Dorian back, because, if the well-being of his Amatus was endangered, everything else took a step back

"What do you mean, David?"

"I know I hurt you, but you did, too, Dorian. Can we please talk about it in peace without shouting at each other? Otherwise we work ourselves up and hurt us more and I can’t stand that. You mean too much to me. "

Dumbfounded, Dorian stared at him. They rarely talked seriously and only did so after some teasing. Never after a fight. Pleadingly, David looked up at him and begged him to comply his request.

Finally, the anger vanished from the magician and he sank exhausted to the ground. Carefully, he pulled his legs up and rested his head on them. Brown eyes looked into blue ones for a long time.

"I'm sorry, I didn’t tell you, love.", David said quietly. Keeping eye contact with Dorian was really hard. "But I was overwhelmed with everything that Solas had told me. The thoughts just raced through my head and I didn’t have the strength to have this argument yesterday. "

"Did you know it beforehand?", Dorian asked quietly.

"Not really. I mean, I was worried that the anchor wouldn’t be without consequences, but I had always repressed the thought." David closed his eyes. "The pain came, when I got this new ability."

For a moment, David wrestled with his hands and then put them on his inner thighs. Uncertainly, he licked his lips and let the tenacious moment of discomfort pass.

"That was not the worst thing for me yesterday, though.", he finally continued, his voice thin as paper.

"What was it?" Dorian looked up from his legs and stared into David's eyes. The Inquisitor, however, broke the eye contact with him.

"The worst moment was, when I realized that the anchor's magical energy exploded, when I didn’t do it. Do you have any idea how cruel it was to watch as it nearly ripped you to death on several occasions? To see, how you kept alive only through your reviving spells or healing potions? I tried desperately to do it whenever you were not around, but you know how narrow the battlefields were. Either Blackwall was with me to shield me from a berserker or the dragon's fire or Varric was about to set traps. Each time, I felt the energy tearing at me and throwing me off ground, I prayed to the Maker that none of you would not be hit." His voice was dull as he spoke. The whole night, he had been haunted with these gruesome pictures. Again, and again, he saw Blackwall lying on the floor, covered in blood, straining in pain to get up and protect David in his vulnerable state. He had to live through, how Dorian clung to his staff with the skull, casting spells and broke down again and again to retrieve the deceased Varric. Not once did they curse or even say a word about it. Although the power of the anchor drove them to the brink of the fade, they fulfilled their duty of loyalty and friendship.

That sight had been the worst thing David ever had to watch. It had often happened that his comrades were injured in a hard fight. Quite a few times, it happened due to David’s inattention, but just as often the other way around. At night, they had laughed about it at the campfire and everything was forgiven. But now, it had always been David. Time and time again, the magic shattered around them, ripping them off their feet, hurting or killing them, and yet they got up, shouted commands, and braced themselves against the torrent of Qunari, which flodded over them. At that moment, David had felt shabby.

Ashamed, he lowered his head and began to tremble. He tried to hold back the tears that began to rise in his eyes. He was not allowed to show them. He had never cried, no matter how hopeless the situation was. Right now, he was not allowed to, because he was the reason for his sadness and he deserved no pity. Nevertheless, his body literally exuded his feelings and Dorian knew him too well not to notice and loved him too much to ignore it for the sake of his hurt pride.

"Amatus.", he whispered lovingly and jumped up light-footed. With hasty steps, he came over to him. Carefully, he pulled his hands away from his face and gently forced David to look at him. When he saw the eyes of his sweetheart veiled by grief, all anger seemed gone. He sat down behind him, turned David over and took him in his arms. "It was not your fault."

"No, but I was the reason.", David pressed through clenched teeth. "Even if I would love to punch Solas in the face, I'm grateful for that. Although the anchor will still kill me, if I have not died a natural, violent death by then, at least, I will implode instead of explode. Otherwise, I could make the Skyhold to collapse. "

"That's not funny, Amatus.", Dorian chided him.

"It wasn’t meant to be.", David replied wearily. Worriedly, Dorian looked down at him and kissed his hair. David was like that. He was willing to suffer the greatest pain, if this spared his fellow man. On the one hand, he loved him for it, on the other hand, he would like to shake him awake and to him understand that his life was also important. The very thought of losing him was hard to bear. He had been alone all his life. Especially since his father tried to change who he was, he had no one left, who had been close to him. He never wanted to be hurt again. His lovers had been gone as fast as he had found them and he had wanted it like that. However, when he had met David, it all had changed. At the Inquisitor's side, he had seen a chance to give his life a different purpose than being the son of a Magister. He had wanted to leave the life him behind that condemned. He had found a man, who had always accepted him and never questioned him. A man as unyielding as a rock and kind like he had never experienced anyone before. In retrospect, Dorian had to admit that he had been a little scared of him from the beginning. But the most impressive characteristic of David was had been there for him just as he had for each member Inquisition.

"You were right, I was blind. I'm so sorry. I just can’t stand the thought of losing you, Amatus.”, he finally admitted. He leaned his head on David's and closed his eyes. "I’m also sorry I did not tell you about Tevinter. I was afraid of your reaction. Maybe I even fled, I don’t know. "

"Fled?"

"Maybe... I've never had a serious relation to anyone before you. Not to my parents or one of my bedfellows. Then I met you." He gently put a hand on his cheek. "You fascinated me from the first moment. It’s said one should never meet their heroes, because they would always disappoint. But you are just as bright as the picture, which is delivered by other. However, I could hardly imagine that you would ever care for me. But then everything became serious so fast and I realized, how I fell for you more and more, how I started dreaming about our future together. I didn’t know this side of me and, to be honest, it scared me. I was worried that I could feel more for you than you did for me."

"Dorian ...", David started, but he shook his head and looked at him urgently.

"So, I went to Tevinter after our victory. On the one hand, because it logical, on the other hand to get some distance between us and to arrange my thoughts. I was sure, when I returned, you would surely have found someone else. "

"But I didn’t ..."

"No, you didn’t do that. I’m sorry."

"You should have more confidence in me, Dorian.", David reproached him in a tried playfully tone, but he did not succeed. Nor did he in smiling. It looked tired. Even though the quarrel had ended faster than expected, it had exhausted him.

"Looks like it.", Dorian sighed and smiled just as tired.

"Is the topic done?" He asked hopefully. Dorian looked at him and smiled properly this time. Tenderly, he ran his thumb over his lover's high cheekbones. David closed his eyes and enjoyed the tender touch.

"Yes, it is, Amatus." He leaned forward and gave him a gentle kiss on the lips. David smiled and finally sank into the warm embrace. He was glad that they could finally leave this topic behind. However, he also felt that Dorian was still thinking. The Tevinter magician glanced at the opposite wall, caressing David's back, lost in thought. Carefully, he looked up and saw that his sweetheart frowned thoughtfully.

"Dorian, what are you thinking about?"

"I will not go to Tevinter.", he said softly. "I can’t leave you now, Amatus."

"Yes, Dorian. Right now, you have to go. More than ever", David replied. Eyes wide, Dorian looked down at him and shook his head.

"No, David, I will not go." How could David ask that of him? How could he believe, he could turn his back on him and leave for his home, when they did not know how much time they were still granted? "I can’t go."

"Dorian, Solas is about to build an army. He'll certainly start Tevinter. He probably already has. Right now, we need a strong ally in the high ranks. We need you in Tevinter. "

"But we have already lost two years together." Plaintively, he looked at his love and dropped his head against his forehead. "I can’t stand the thought that one day I might come back just to find out you've already left. I want to spend every last moment with you."

"That's what I want, too, Dorian, but unfortunately, we have to put our wishes behind for the good of Thedas."

"Why?", Dorian asked frustrated, though he knew the answer. "Why do we always have to sacrifice our luck, while others close their eyes, Amatus?"

"Dorian, Solas wants to destroy the Veil again. He wants to destroy all other raced. When we don’t stop him, we'll have no more time together.”, David said sadly, stroking his cheek. "You have seen, how Ban Teagan and the Representative of Orlais reacted. It's too late, when they’re finally willing to do something. "

"Yes, I know.", Dorian admitted resignedly. He pulled David closer to him, burying his head on David's shoulder. He lovingly caressed him until the Tevinter made a pleasant sound. "Can we at least agree that I won’t leave immediately? That I stay with you until we have a plan? And that you contact me as soon as it gets worse with the anchor? "

David sighed, but smiled and kissed on the black hair.

"Yes, Dorian. I would be glad, if you stayed, until we have any idea how to solve this disaster."

 

Chapter Text

  1. Chapter The support of friends

David woke up from a dreamless sleep the next morning. It had to be late in the morning, because the sun battled fiercely against the heavy velvet curtains that hung in front of the windows. He frowned in surprise, trying to see something in the dim room. Although he had a keen eye as a rogue, he could only make out the outlines of the wardrobe and desk. He felt strangely disoriented. When had he gone to bed? When had he fallen asleep? He couldn’t remember. The last thing he could was, how he reconciled with Dorian. Then everything disappeared in a swirling fog. Desperately, he tried to remember, but whenever he thought he got grasp on a memory, it slipped away again. What happened yesterday? Had he been attacked? But why was he still in the room, which Celene had kindly provided? He tried to move, but realized wit fear, he wasn’t able to. Had he been paralyzed with magic?

“Good morning, Amatus.”, a voice next to him spoke. Only now David noticed the warmth that completely surrounded and enveloped him like an extra blanket. Dorian rested almost completely over him as if to protect his beloved from the outside world. The Tevinter mage raised his head from David's shoulder and looked down at him with loving eyes. Cautiously, as if David was made of glass, Dorian stroked over David’s prominent cheekbone.

“Dorian...”, David whispered in a husky voice. His eyes were still heavy and fell close, but he tried to keep them open to be able to look into Dorian's hazel eyes. Why did his entire body feel so heavy? The magician just smiled at him and kissed him tenderly. David closed his eyes and enjoyed the feeling of compassion that transferred into him. It was a blessing after their argue from yesterday. If David was honest, the last days had cost him a lot and exhausted him to the bones. The argument with his partner had robbed him of his last strength he had left. At the end of the day, he had felt drained like never in his life. For almost five years he fought against demons, archdemons and politicians without being allowed to take a break.

“Were you able to sleep?”, Dorian asked and something in his voice made David listen up. Even though his thoughts were still sluggish, he knew his lover better than anybody else, and he didn’t miss instinctively the very hidden grin of Dorian. With all his might, he put a hand on Dorian's cheek and stroked it, before he playfully clapped against it. Astonished, Dorian jerked his head back and looked at him with wide eyes.

“Dorian Pavus, did you cast a sleeping spell on me?” Dorian looked at him in astonishment and yet caught in the act at the same time. He probably didn’t expect David to notice, despite the aftereffects of the spell. The inquisitiveness of the Inquisitor astonished him all the time.

“David...”, he started and David almost laughed, when he heard him stammer. Obviously, the Magister feared they would argue again. David decided not to calm him down yet. To tease Dorian was far too amusing. “I just wanted to do something good for you. You seemed exhausted after our argument and besides, you probably didn’t sleep the night before. I wanted to make sure that you found peace without the danger of nightmares. Fate had burdened you enough in the last few years. Despites…”

He paused and his eyes moved away from David's face for a moment. Instead, he seemed to count the ornamented grapevines on the headboard of their bed.

“No, that was stupid of me.”, he whispered quietly.

“What?”, David asked in surprise. He hadn’t missed the sadness in Dorian's voice. The magician struggled, finally sighing deeply and looking down at him again with a serious expression on his face.

“I wanted to prevent Solas visiting you in the Fade.”

Surprised, David looked up at him. He saw genuine concern in Dorian’s eyes and the fact that Dorian didn’t react with sarcasm showed him that he was serious. Dorian, on the other hand, seemed to await David laughing at him. David couldn’t help, but find him cute at the moment as he had rarely seen his beloved one so insecure. His right hand, which had previously rested on his tanned cheek, moved to the nape of his neck. Lovingly, he carassed the tensed neck of Dorian and then pulled him down. Dorian made a surprised sound as David gently pressed his head against his shoulder. He shuddered as David breathed a soft kiss to his ear.

“Thank you, Dorian.”, he whispered softly. The mage's care warmed his heart. Behind the façade of the self-assured, arrogant Altus with the quick mouth, was much more hidden. A side, which Dorian only had shown to him.

“Well, that's how I am. The kindness in person.“, he joked after a few moments. David heard that the mask wasn’t fully restored yet. That was why David decided to let it go for now and rather enjoy Dorian’s closeness. He closed his eyes and let himself sink into the warmth of his lover. He took a deep breath and tried to relax. The demise of the world could wait for a few minutes. At least he hoped so. Dorian also relaxed and sank into the hug. As David began to stroke his neck, he shivered and goose bumps formed on the mage's arms. After a few minutes, Dorian leaned back slightly. His eyes shone with tenderness. He leaned forward and kissed him gently. David sighed and rested his hand in his hair. He kept marvelling about how Dorian managed to keep his hair soft despite all of their journeys. Two days in the West Ridge and his own was dry as the sand around them.

“Dorian?”, he said after they ended the beautiful kiss.

“Hmm?”, Dorian hummed and slowly opened his eyes.

“You didn’t cast the spell immediately after we made up, right?”, David asked and Dorian shook his head. “What else did we talk about? I can’t remember.”

“You can’t?” Dorian looked surprised, when David nodded and the mage furrowed his forehead despite the danger of getting wrinkles. “Then, your body had been much more lacking of sleep than I expected. The intensity was supposed to adjust to your need of sleep.”

“I’m the Inquisitor. I’m chronically overtired.”, David joked. “That doesn’t answer my question, though.”

“Nothing of importance. Just how to deal with our relationship, when I return to Tevinter. Nothing more than general thoughts. Although…” He tilted his head and thought for a moment. “Just when you were about to fall asleep, you said, you wanted to talk to Blackwall.”

“Blackwall?” David blinked irritated. “Why?”

“I’ve no idea.”, Dorian answered neutrally and shrugged. “You had fallen asleep afterwards and haven’t woken up until now.”

“Have you been able to sleep?” David wanted to rest his hand on Dorian’s cheek, but his brain chose the wrong arm so that the arm stump only jerked helplessly. Dorian noticed the failed attempt, but he was sensible enough to act like he didn’t. The Inquisitor focused and finally moved the right arm.

“Way too less for my sleeping rest, but I don’t believe, I couldn’t be more beautiful, so it’s fine.” He grinned coyly. David laughed loudly, while Dorian gently stroked a strand of brown hair out of his eyes. “I wanted to make sure my spell had worked.”

With these words, David leaned forward and kissed him softly. He tried to purr all the emotions into it, which he could not express and which would only make Dorian embarrassed. Maybe David only hoped for it so that Dorian wouldn’t leave, but David believed their love had grown stronger after their argue.

“I love you, Dorian.”, he whispered quietly, the sweet-herb taste of Dorian’s taste still resting on his lips. It was unmistakably Dorian, although David still hadn’t figured out, what he tasted after. Dorian’s face expression turned soft and he rested his forehead against David’s. The warm breath of him danced over his face.

“I love you, too, Amatus. More than it’s good for me, because it makes saying good-bye almost impossible.” Gently, he stroked David’s neck and looked sadly into his eyes. David knew, what he meant. He felt uneasy every time he thought about their departure without knowing, if they were able to ever see each other again. And if they were, when it would be possible. It was due to his burden, he had met the love of his life and yet it forced him to let it go for the sake of humans, dwarves and qunari.

“I know.”, he admitted and all the heaviness of his sadness rested in his voice. His heart ached at the thought.

“I think, we should eat something and then, you should talk to Blackwall. Maybe you’ll know then, what you wanted from him.”, Dorian suggested.

“Good idea.”

~*~

One hour later, David left the dinning room. He simply wasn’t able to endure, how royalty was talking about gossip and nothingness, while the word was shaken to its core and threatened by another war. They enjoyed their decadent life style, while David had to give up everything, he cared about in order to save them. It had all been too loud and too much. David didn’t even know, why the ocean of colourful robes appeared like a chaos to him today. He had felt the urge to get out. At some point, he had pressed out an apology and left the room.

The sun shone warmly and friendly upon the opulent garden and tickled David’s face. For a moment, he stopped and allowed himself to close his eyes. The scent of roses and orchids played around his nose and transported the feeling of peace.

“David!” Dorian appeared next to him with a concerned expression on his face. “Are you alright?”

“No.”, he pressed through clenched teeth, but then breathed out deeply and relaxed a little. “I’m sorry. It wasn’t a very elegant exit.”

“That’s irrelevant. You suddenly became pale and left. Do you have pain?”

“No.”, David said again, but the mage wasn’t convinced. Sceptically, he quirked an eyebrow and held onto David’s remaining arm. “I don’t know, what had gotten into me, Dorian, but it had been too crowded and too busy for me. I couldn’t endure it anymore.”

For a moment, Dorian looked doubtfully at him, but then nodded.

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Could you smooth away my behaviour? You’re far better in the game than I am. Vivienne, Josie and you likely can think of something to apologise for my discourtesy. I think, I just need to get out.”

“Of course, David. Everything you need.” Quickly, David’s hazelnut-brown eyes wandered over the yard, before he kissed against his temple.

“Thank you, darling. See you later.” David kissed him briefly, too, before he left for the quarters of the servants. For a moment, Dorian followed him with a sad gaze. David was suffering more than he let on, more than he even showed to Dorian. To lead the Inquisition had exhausted him enormously. Dorian wished, there was something he could do for him, but he didn’t know, what. Sometimes, Dorian wished he would be better in all this couple stuff if only to help his Amatus with his everyday struggles. Dark times truly laid ahead of them.

~*~

David found Blackwall, where had suspected him to be. With skilful blows, he attacked a poor training doll. Straws were standing into every direction and showed that the figure was already fatally injured. Huffingly, Blackwall stopped and wiped the sweat from his forehead. David sat down on one of the benches that ran along the blue wall that separated the courtyard of the Winter Palace of Halamshiral from the servant’s area.

“Did Divine Victoria tell you to continue her job? The poor training dolls in Skyhold still haven’t recovered from their wounds. Do you even think of their wives and children?”

“Inquisitor.” Blackwall stared at him in surprise, sliding his simple steel sword back into its scabbard. The magnificent sword, that David had given him during their journey, he had been given back to the Inquisition before he left for the Wardens. It belonged to the Inquisition, not to him, he had said. David smiled at the thought. Despite his life-lie, he was the most honest and modest person David had ever met.

“Just David for today, please, Blackwall.” Tiredly, he raised his hand before resting his head in it. The Grey Warden frowned in astonishment.

“What’s wrong?”

“Let’s say, I’m tired of the royal’s troubles for today.”

“Ah.”, Blackwall exclaimed. He understood, what David meant and nodded. Orlais could be exhausting with all its dazzling colour and manifests of rules could be overwhelmed. Although David belonged to royalty, he had never felt comfortable with it. He rather preferred to be out with the commoners, trying to understand them better. While people like Dorian passed their time taking care of their looks, David had been out in the tavern and drank with the members of the Inquisition. That was something, which Blackwall admired of him and it was also a reason, why Dorian and David harmonised well. They complemented each other perfectly.

“I needed to get out, grounding myself, before I start caring about the perfect fabric and not the important things.” David sighed heavily and ruffled through his hair. Blackwall laughed hollowly and rested his head in the neck. Then, it became silent. With a glance of appraisal, he turned to his leader, who didn’t notice it.

“Could you resolve your argument with Dorian?” The inquisitor blinked in surprise and looked at his friend, but then he smiled weakly. Blackwall had been with them long enough to know them inside out. In addition, he had always showed a fine sense for his comrades anyway. David leaned against the cool wall and closed his eyes. He enjoyed the breeze that danced through his brown hair. He heard some elf servants talking about the evening menu or gossiping at the laundry. “He seemed to be angry, when he heard about the consequences of the anchor.”

“Yes, he was. The argument was fierce, but fortunately brief.”

“Dorian has quite a temper.”, Blackwall interjected.

“Oh really? I always thought he was the calmness in person.”

“David.” Blackwall looked pointedly at him. Just like Dorian, David tried to avoid unpleasant topics with jokes.

“Sorry, Blackwall.” David's shoulders sank down and his gaze wandered up to the sky. There was no sign of the breach here.

“All right. I'm glad you made up.”

“Thank you.” David hesitated uncertainly, chewing uncomfortably at his bottom lip. “It may appear bold, but I’d like to ask…”

“If I’m going to return to the Skyhold?”, the Grey Warden finished the sentence. David took a deep breath and nodded. He didn’t feel comfortable. He had judged Blackwall to join the Wardens and gave him a new task, but David knew Blackwall was loyal. He finally was a Grey Warden, now, what he had always wanted to be and yet, David asked of him to return after two years. He could understand, if Blackwall refused, but it was a fact, Blackwall was one of his closest and most trusted friends. He had been with David on almost every mission and had taunted the opponents, so David had been able to sneak upon and stab them. They had also got along well, because they were fighters for justice. Now, that David had to face a new, bigger danger than ever before, he would feel more comfortable to know Blackwall by his side. “Of course, I will, David.”

“Really?”, he asked in surprise. It was the obviousness in which Blackwall spoke, which hadn’t expected. It almost sounded like David was a fool to expect otherwise, but there was no judgement in the blue eyes of Blackwall.

“When the Exalted Council was summoned, I told my commander, that I might not return, depending on how it would turn out.”

Disbelievingly, the offspring of the Trevelyan looked at his friend. A small smile laid on Blackwall’s lips, while he looked up to the sky.

“It was my wish to belong to the Wardens and you gave me the chance to free myself from my chains and to join them. Yet, I realised, the Inquisition feels like the place, where I belong. I owe you a lot, David, and you’ve proven to be a good friend. I wouldn’t have been able to look into my eyes, if I let you down. Despite, I still believe, they glad to get rid of me.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, Blackwall.”, David scolded him. He slid a little closer and rested his hand on his shoulder. “I’m sure, you’re as valuable to the Wardens as you are to us.”

For a moment a worried gaze wandered through Blackwall’s eyes and he looked down. David sensed that he was struggling with his dream. He had told him after all, how he was treated by the other Wardens. How they beat him up. They had got to know him with the lie exposed and judged him only after that. David had met Blackwall before he knew the truth. Of course, that had increased the feeling of betrayal, but he had been able to put it aside and to see, what Blackwall truly was. In the Inquisition, his deeds defined him, not his lie. No one had lost a word about it after David's verdict. Solas had sometimes provoked Blackwall, but either the warrior had not responded or another member of David’s Inner Circle had intervened. At the Inquisition, he had received support even in his darkest hours.

“But I’m good with it.”, he continued. He smiled encouragingly at his companion. “I'm glad you're coming back, Blackwall. Especially with Dorian leaving for Tevinter…”

“You weren’t able to find another solution?”

“No, unfortunately not.” Sadly, he leaned his head in his hand and watched how a merchant lifted his barrels onto a cart. “Solas will certainly begin to build up his army in Tevinter and Dorian's allies in the Magisterium will not be enough. He has to be there himself.”

“I'm sorry, David. I know how much you love him.”

“Well, no one said Inquisitor would be an easy job, right?” He tried to be funny, but he knew he was failing miserably. His voice showed how difficult this decision was for him. Sometimes, he wanted to give and run away. Leliana would probably still find him and bring him back.

“Honestly, I’m afraid of the future. I'll probably be stuck in Skyhold and have to struggle even more with politics, since I can no longer fight, now.” Suddenly, pictures appeared in front of his eyes. Eyes heavy, thoughts sluggish, the cosy warmth of a bed and a fire in the fireplace. The soft feeling of a pillow under the head. The sad thought about the future and the present. He couldn’t fight anymore, he couldn’t go on missions anymore and soon, he would become the abstract image that most people saw in him. He would become the inaccessible Inquisitor. Whispered, gentle words, inviting darkness and then blackness.

“Now, I know, what I wanted to ask of you.”, David said suddenly. Blackwall frowned in surprise.

“What?” David just laughed and shook his head.

“Sorry. Dorian cast a sleeping spell on me yesterday after our fight was over. He said, I looked like I needed it urgently.”

“We all thought that.” When he saw the bewildered look from David, Blackwall shrugged. “After the revelation of yesterday, most of us sat in the tavern and discussed.”

Surprised, David looked at him, on the other hand he was not. Friendships within his inner circle had formed and they liked to meet in the tavern in the evening. After what they had learned yesterday, that was to be expected. David finally nodded.

“Well, Dorian said, I had mumbled that I wanted to see you before I fell asleep, but I could not remember why.”

“And now, you remember?”

“I have a request, Blackwall.”

“Sure, David. What can I do?”

“Could you teach me how to fight with a sword?” Depressiveness passed through David's blue eyes and he glanced at the stump. He had never thought he would struggle that much with it, but it seemed like his complete self-confidence was linked to his ability to fight. Now that he had lost his left arm, he felt inferior. “Due to the loss of my arm, I can no longer fight with two daggers anymore. Even if my advisors will hardly send me back to the field, I would still like to be able to defend myself.”

Blackwall seemed to know, what was really going on in David's head, because he was watching him closely. His eyebrows were slightly lowered and a compassionate gaze was on his face.

“If you want to, of course, I will, but David.” He stopped briefly. Blackwall seemed to think, if he was allowed to speak out his thought. Although his companions had always been allowed to express their opinions. “Please don’t think, you’re useless after loosing your arm. You weren’t chosen to be the Inquisitor, because you know, who to fight, or because of the anchor. Although I know, you feel uncomfortable to not fight alongside with us.”

David was surprised, how Blackwall had been able to read his mind. The warrior knew him inside out, no doubt, but it was still surprising, he was that easily to be assessed.  As the Inquisitor, he needed to hide every thought of him, but his companions were able to look through him. Maybe his title costed that much energy, he wasn’t able to carry that mask any longer. Then, there was the question, if he wanted it any other way. His companions were a wild mix, outcasts, but a trust had built up over their common cause. Why should he hide his true self? Wasn’t he allowed to be, who he was, with those closes to him? Despites, Blackwall was loyal to the core and knew, how to keep a secret. He would never tell anybody.

David sighed and pressed his hand between his legs. With a sad gaze, he looked at Blackwall and then lowered his head again. Suddenly, Blackwall rested a hand on his back.

“David, you’re a good person and your worth is defined by your title as Inquisitor. We all support you as good as we can and such loyalty is gained, when you give your comrades, what they need. You gave me a perspective, Dorian the acceptance, which had been denied to him for many years. You accepted Cole and Sera, how they were and so much more. You gave your followers hope and helpfulness, they needed. You took the burden, whose weight no one would be able to carry. It’s okay, you’re struggling, but you’re not useless.”

David swallowed because of the powerful, honest words. He was glad to have found such good friend in those chaotic times.

“Thank you, Blackwall, but I need to apologise to you.”

“Why?”

“Because I injured and almost killed you so many times at the Crossroads. I tried to protect you, but I wasn’t able to prevent it.”

“Don’t worry too much, David. Varric and I were the last ones in the tavern yesterday and we talked about it. We suspected you’d be troubling about it. None of us blame you. We know, you tried to protect us. You always do.” Blackwall stayed silent several moments, then stood up and turned to David. “Shall we start training right away? You seem to get off steam.”

David hesitated for a moment, but he took the sword offered by Blackwall and both immediately developed a fighting style, which was able to be fought with only one arm. In the evening, David crawled exhausted into the bed. Dorian was shocked to see the bruises all over his body. He asked, what happened, but David only laughed and immediately fell asleep.