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I’d like to see the sun again.

An innocent enough statement. They’d all been down long enough to look more than a little wild: hair and beards un-trimmed, skin pale for want of sun, armor torn and rent…

The harsh light, after so long in the dark and lyrium glow, had shown just how ragged they were.

I’d like to see the sun again.

Dorian looked little better than a corpse, pale and wan. Traveling back through the lyrium-lit tunnels almost made it worse, the blue glow casting deep shadows where he’d lost weight and turning his natural skin tone – already paled from the long dark – sickly and fragile looking. Lyrium was poisonous. Direct exposure leached sanity, sickened the body, and eventually killed anyone not a dwarf. A single touch was lethal to a mage, though. Bull and Adaar kept close to Dorian through the luminous chambers, back toward the long dark. He made no complaints of their hovering, which was almost more worrying than the times he swayed into one of them as his balance faltered. Almost.

I’d like to see the sun.

He would. He would, even if Bull had to carry him every step up. He wasn’t going to die buried under rock and darkness.

Dorian’s breath shuddered under Bull’s palm. Bull hadn’t seen him sleep the entire time they’d been near the veins. Now that they’d left them, he couldn’t seem to keep his eyes open. Not that it meant much with only the occasional faint light of Adaar’s glowstone guiding their way if they had some obstacles to dodge.

He was getting worse. Bull pressed him closer, curling around him just a little more. Shit way to go, after all they’d lived through. Death by lyrium exposure who-the-fuck-knew-how-deep under the Deep Roads.

His arms ached from carrying him however long their last march had been. He’d be trading off with Adaar again, letting her bear Dorian’s weight for the next stretch. It would be hard to let her take him, even if only for a handful of hours – as though the dark would swallow Dorian the moment Bull’s hands left him.

He was going to see the sun again.