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“Dumped, Drunk and Dalish" (Devastated in Dumptown -- the Lavellan Inquisitor’s Post-Solas Breakup Tavern Crawl)

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“Dumped, Drunk and Dalish (Devastated in Dumptown)”
The Lavellan Inquisitor’s Post-Solas Breakup Tavern Crawl

A Dragon Age: Inquisition Comedic Play/Fantasia in one act

Welcome, all. We’re at the Herald’s Rest tavern in Skyhold.

Maryden is singing something beautiful and ridiculously sad. As she does.

Most tavern patrons (especially those currently dateless) are sniffling or, depending on their alcohol intake, weeping outright. Those who are still conscious, at least.

And then we find… yep. Our favorite Inquisitor LAVELLAN, seated at a large table, and oh yes, she’s been drinking. Quite a bit. Cabot the surly barkeep is serving, watching her with a critical eye. But so far she’s still upright in between rounds and semi-nonstop weeping bouts.

Let’s face it: Lavellan is a sodden mess. But her spine is a core of steel.

(Well, not really. But she wishes it were.)

Luckily, Lavellan has pretty much the whole crew of companions around to comfort her -- Varric, Bull, Sera, Cassandra, Blackwall and Krem. Vivienne is sitting at the far end of the table from Lavellan, enjoying a piquant bottle of Tevinter pinot grigio that she shares with Dorian. Lavellan is knocking back very large mugs of alcohol, as is Bull, although a bit more slowly (he looks a bit concerned at this). Meanwhile, Cole is perched on a small table beside them, birdlike, watching with caring, worried and occasionally puzzled/fascinated expressions.

Cabot comes over with another round.

CABOT: Another round? What's the word?

She bursts into weeping. This will be a continuing theme.

VARRIC: Aw, darn it, there we go again.
CASSANDRA: And she had actually stopped for a minute.
VIVIENNE: I know. Finally.
CABOT: Tough day, I take it, Inquisitor?
LAVELLAN: I’ve got a word for you. Wounded.
CABOT: Okay.
LAVELLAN: Devastated.
CABOT: Uh-huh.
LAVELLAN: Betrayed.
CABOT: Sure.
VARRIC: Honey, you do realize that’s more than one word?
CASSANDRA: Hush, Varric.
LAVELLAN: Please excuse me for overdoing it. I’m devastated.
VARRIC: We know, your Inquisitorship.
LAVELLAN: Another round. Even if I’m not quite myself.
CABOT: Right. Thanks for clarifying. I sensed that there might be some slight turmoil occurring. Despite your impressively steely and emotionless exterior.
LAVELLAN: Ouch. Wow. Oof.
VARRIC: Aw, come on, Cabot.
LAVELLAN: Forget it. He never liked me.
CABOT: Not at all, Inquisitor. I’m being as supportive as possible. Note the positive outer demeanor. The smile. The kind expression. The smooth and constant provision of rounds. Besides, really. This is my version of affectionate banter.
LAVELLAN: You mean it?
CABOT: I do.
LAVELLAN: Varric, help. Is he being serious, or sarcastic? My ability to detect sarcasm is dead. Like my heart.
VARRIC: He appears to be serious.
LAVELLAN: I love you, Cabot.
CABOT (without change in expression): Thank you, Inquisitor. I’m touched. I’m also taken. But I’m touched.
VARRIC: It’s gonna be a long night.
LAVELLAN: Whatever. Now please keep pouring. Preferably serving by the pitcher.
CABOT: Of course.

Cabot serves them, then departs to the bar.

LAVELLAN: The word? Want to know the real word? Dumped. That's the word. That’s the real word. That’s me. Dumped. Dumped. Dumped. What’s the Elvish for dumped? Lathbora viran. I have no place with him any longer. Fenedhis!
VARRIC: She’s taking this hard. Bless her Inquisitorial little heart.
LAVELLAN: I’m here to drown my sorrows. And I’m prepared. I sold all my armor. And most of our weapons. And some magical stuff. Well, all of it actually. Or most of it. Most of our amulets, rings and belts. Honestly, we’ll probably all die in our next battle. But on the plus side, I have plenty of money for booze.
THE IRON BULL: Excellent.
BLACKWALL: All right then.
CASSANDRA: What he said.
VARRIC: Works for me.
SERA: Eh. That stuff’s rubbish anyhow.
CASSANDRA: However, Bull, I do wish you had not let them serve her that Maraas-Lok.
THE IRON BULL: Me? What do I have to do with it? She asked for it.
CABOT (from the bar): She did indeed. And paid. Generously.
THE IRON BULL: Four or five rounds ago. Who knew she’d still be upright?
LAVELLAN: I like it. It tastes like nothing. Then it stings. Just like love. I’m going to drink this and drink it and drink it, and then if I’m still standing, I’m going to go kill things. With fireballs. Lots of fireballs!
BLACKWALL: You’re quite good with those fireballs, my lady. Everyone says so.
LAVELLAN: Thank you, Blackwall. You’re always so polite. You have a very nicely groomed beard. If you weren’t a complete liar like all men, I’d love you forever.
SERA: Ha! See? Men.
LAVELLAN: Men. Besides, I love fireballs. I’m gonna do a little fireball target practice tonight, I think. On Solas’s pants.
SERA: Ha ha, good one, right? Solas’s fiery breeches!
THE IRON BULL: Sounds like a band name.

Maryden starts into the “ENCHANTERS” song. Lavellan screams and Cassandra winces.

CASSANDRA: What? What? By ALL THAT IS HOLY, what is the matter now?
LAVELLAN: Make her stop! Don’t let her sing that one!
VARRIC: Aw, come on, why not? It’s a nice song.
THE IRON BULL: It is. I like that song, myself.
DORIAN: Aw, amatus.
THE IRON BULL: Do not make this a thing.
VARRIC: Inquisitor, come on. See?
LAVELLAN: Please, Varric, please. It was his song, it was our song, but it’s over.
CASSANDRA: Oh, for Maker’s…
LAVELLAN: Make her sing the “Sera Never” song. A lot. And maybe put in a verse about kicking a certain elf in his elfy bits. It can be an extra verse. One of the things Sera never did but is likely to do. SOON.
SERA: No, no, no, you, no way. Not that song, either! It's weird and it’s creepy and it’s not right, innit? Not right!
LAVELLAN: But I love that song! Sera. Do it for me. I’ll let you play pranks on ten nobles if you do. Twenty. And I’ll make Josephine give you and the Red Jennies treasure. Lots of treasure. Or breeches. Lots of breeches!
SERA: Huh. Well. Oh, all right, you. And I do like the part about kicking Solas’s elfy bits.
LAVELLAN: Maryden can add in a few choruses of the Chargers song when she gets tired too.
KREM: That’s the spirit, Your Worship.
THE IRON BULL: The bar loves the Chargers song. Always makes for a nice change of pace.

There is a CRASH. Maryden abruptly starts to sing “SERA NEVER.” Lavellan sings along, waving her staff which now has a tiny flicker at the top like a lighter. Cassandra sighs.

CASSANDRA: I hate seeing her like this. So...
COLE: Lost?
DORIAN: Messy?
VIVIENNE: Intoxicated?
SERA: Sloppy, yeh?
KREM: Sad.
CASSANDRA: The word I was looking for was…Vulnerable. Well, and yes, the drunkenness is a little… off-putting, at the moment. But at least she’s not drooling.
THE IRON BULL: It’s inevitable. It’s Maraas-Lok.
VIVIENNE: Darling, what does that mean?
THE IRON BULL: It means that at some point the drooling will occur.
CASSANDRA: (disgusted noise) Ugh.
VARRIC: I think that’ll be phase four or five, if my research serves.
THE IRON BULL: Five. It’s five.
KREM: Chief’s right. Five.
DORIAN: He does know these things.
KREM: He does.
VIVIENNE: Fine. I understand her wanting to work through a little heartache, even if I don’t share her affinity for grimy tavern décor. However…
CABOT (from afar): Hey.
VIVIENNE: No offense, Cabot, barkeep, dear. You’re marvelous. We couldn’t exist without you. We adore you. I just wish you’d wipe down the cups, counters or surfaces… even once. The health hazards within the first three feet of the door alone are quite alarming.

She glances around to make sure Lavellan isn’t listening. No worries, Lavellan is still singing minstrel karaoke.

VIVIENNE: And I do wish she would bother to put on some clothes. Let’s face it, darlings, she’s still in her nightclothes. At the tavern. Drunk. Over a man.
CASSANDRA: What? Those are her nightclothes?
VARRIC: Pajamas?
SERA: Oy. Really?
VARRIC: Yikes.
DORIAN: Poor thing. No wonder she never gets any.
VIVIENNE: Yes. Nightclothes. Sleepwear. What have you.
VARRIC: Could be worse. They’re pretty harmless as PJ’s go.
VIVIENNE: Well, or yes, pajamas. If you must call them that. Charitably. But most importantly, yes: Last week she wore them to judge three cases. With fluffy druffalo slippers.
COLE: I like druffalo. They sing soft and quiet to themselves. Their breath smells like grass.
VIVIENNE: Thank you for that useless interruption, spirit-creature. Meanwhile: If Orlais got word of this, our treaties would go up in flames. Much less Tevinter. Leliana would have to kill at least a dozen spies to keep it secret and then have to manage the aftermaths of at least four fallen petty empires.
SERA: Would not. Come off it.

LELIANA enters silently out of the shadows. As she does.

LELIANA: You think not? Try five.

Sera screams.

LELIANA: No, no, it’s all right. The situation is under control.
SERA: Holy frigging nuglets, you’re creepy, you.
THE IRON BULL: Red. Aw, shit.
VARRIC: My friends, things just got real.
LELIANA: No, no, it’s all good. Carry on. The Inquisitor can let her hair down. This tavern is safe. I’ve surrounded it with my spies, birds, plus some backup magical spells encasing the tavern in a bubble of silence and impenetrability from a few of our longtime mage compatriots. So no one will know.
VARRIC: Are you kidding me? Over… pajamas? A few drinks after a breakup, Red? A few small, human moments?
THE IRON BULL: I think she’s saying there are no small, human moments in politics, Varric. The Boss is the head of what amounts to a powerful country, after all.
VARRIC: Now that makes me want to go home to Kirkwall, Tiny.
VIVIENNE (sighing): Image is everything when it comes to the Great Game.
LELIANA: It’s more than that. There are dangers you cannot comprehend. Chessboards. Treaties. Allegiances.
SERA: Oh pish-posh on your games and flaming treaties. Girl needs a drink now ‘n’ then.
THE IRON BULL: Sera’s right. We all need an off-night.
CASSANDRA (fascinated): Madame Vivienne, are those really her pajamas? But she wears them all over Skyhold!
VARRIC: She does. You’re not kidding, Viv?
VIVIENNE: Regretfully -- not.
LELIANA: Madame de Fer is right. They are, in fact… her sleepwear.
DORIAN: Good heavens, the poor thing.
DORIAN: What is it, Dalish lingerie? She thinks that’s sexy?
LELIANA: No judgments. Our Inquisitor comes from a simpler place.
VIVIENNE: I know. Poor deluded darling.
DORIAN: No wonder she’s having romantic issues.
VIVIENNE: Truer words, dear. Solas probably took one look at those and ran for the hills. And the layers underneath are probably even worse. I distinctly saw lambs-wool and gurtskin under there. Gurtskin. Not exactly what a man is looking to find when undressing a woman.
VARRIC: Pajamas. You know, it all makes sense now. I swear I saw some with feet on them. Back in Haven. It was very confusing as a fashion choice for an afternoon meeting. Now I get it.
COLE: I saw those! They had Halla dancing all over them. I liked them! They made me smile.
THE IRON BULL: Hold everything. She’s been running around Skyhold all this time in what amounts to… her undies?
LELIANA: Smallclothes.
SERA: Jammies.
VARRIC: Underpants?
DORIAN: Well. More or less, it appears.
THE IRON BULL: Well. See, I admit it. Now it’s weird. Because… I kind of find it all hot in a way I didn’t before.
DORIAN: You’ve got to be kidding.
BLACKWALL: No, Bull. Er, it’s slightly strange to admit, but… I feel exactly the same way.
SERA: Shut it, you two! Although… yeah.
THE IRON BULL (nudging her): See?
SERA: So weird, right?
BLACKWALL: It’s bloody embarrassing is what it is.
THE IRON BULL (shrugging): Not so much.
DORIAN: Don’t look at me.
VIVIENNE (shuddering): Nonsense. It’s too horrific to contemplate. I command you all to an oath of silence this very moment.
LAVELLAN: Whoo-hoo! I heard it. Somebody said underpants! Who said underpants?
THE IRON BULL: You’ll have to be more specific.
LAVELLAN: Dammit. Don’t tell me. Besides, I know it’s not you. You already told me the Qunari believe underpants are, like, a sacrilege against the core tenets of the Qun.
LAVELLAN: Your fifth Maraas-Lok. After the last dragon.
THE IRON BULL: Huh. I have absolutely no memory of that.
VARRIC: Really?
THE IRON BULL (modestly): Well…
LAVELLAN: I know, right?
VIVIENNE: Please, please, people. Nobody thinks we shouldn’t just quietly knock her out and shut her in her quarters?
LAVELLAN: Knock who out? You? You’re safe. We’d have a hard time getting through that hat, Viv. Or should we just call you Maleficent?
SERA: Good one, right?
THE IRON BULL: Ha. Nice one. Er, um. Sorry, ma’am.
VIVIENNE: I shall accept an apology from you at a later date, Bull, darling.
THE IRON BULL: Yes, ma’am.
VIVIENNE: Handwritten.
THE IRON BULL: Of course, ma’am. Sorry, ma’am.
SERA: Shut it, all of you. I like her like this. She’s loads more fun. Not such a frantic worried stressed tight-arsed bossy type.

Lavellan takes another big swig. Bull watches, impressed in spite of himself.

LAVELLAN: Ha, Sera, Sera, Sera Who Was Never. You’re way bossier than me. You’re a total bossypants. Bossybreeches!
SERA: Aaaaand we’re talking about breeches. Again. Everyone’s all on about breeches. Although, hey, pajamas, right, Inquisitor?
SERA: Never mind. (pointing at Leliana) Don’t look at me. Besides. Hers have nugs on ‘em!
LELIANA: Sera, kindly remember that I can have you killed.
SERA: Kidding. (gulps) Never mind. Nothin’ going on here. Not me.
LAVELLAN: Nightingale! Drink with us! How’s Schmooples the Second? I wish I could hug him right this minute. He would love this drink.
LELIANA: Quite well. And I’m happy to be here, my friend. I wanted to see how you were. By all means, count me in. Although I think I’ll hold off on feeding that to Schmooples. I’ve heard that several layers of skin may peel off after exposure.
LAVELLAN: Well, yeah. It’s true! It’s already happened to me twice this evening. But in a good way.
CASSANDRA: Oh holy Maker.
LAVELLAN: Forget it. Another round! Let’s all have one!

Cabot serves a pitcher or two. She continues to swig continuously.

THE IRON BULL: Man, look at her go. I never thought an elf would actually outdrink a Qunari. Especially her. Where does it all go? She has those little stick arms. You know?
BLACKWALL: But they can certainly wield a staff.
THE IRON BULL and SERA (brightly, in unison): Dirty!
DORIAN: Ugh. Oh, good lord.
SERA: Ha! Great minds, yeah?
DORIAN: Her tolerance is certainly impressive. Even by Tevinter standards. Evidently even by Qunari standards.
LAVELLAN: Thank you. I love you, Dorian. Did I ever tell you that? I love you so mush. I thought I loved Cabot a few minutes ago but I was wrong. It’s always been you.
DORIAN: Ah, yes, well, you’re welcome, my backwoods Dalish precious. Actually, I love you mush too.
LAVELLAN: But not in that special way.
SERA: Ha! Dorian’s Special Naughty bits! Uh. And… Ew.
DORIAN: No, darling Inquisitor, although who could blame you when faced with all this Tevinter magnificence. But no, not in that special way that trades a few fleeting moments of physical passion and release for uncertainty, insecurity, misery and despair.
LAVELLAN: I love all that uncertainty, insecurity, misery and despair! It’s romantic! BRING IT ON!
CASSANDRA: (disgusted noise)
DORIAN: Well, and also, regretfully but bluntly, dear heart… just to remind you: I’m still not into girls. But if they were on my list you’d totally be the first one on it, I swear it.
THE IRON BULL: Wait, Dorian. Fleeting moments of physical passion? I don’t think so.
DORIAN: Well, no… it was a figure of speech, amatus.
THE IRON BULL: I think I’ll have to remind you of just how un-fleeting those moments can be. Later.
DORIAN: Promises, promises.
LAVELLAN: Oh, please. Stop, you two. Commiserate. Be supportive. Pretend you’re not gloriously happy. Like I was. Before I was dumped!

Dorian and Bull grin secretly at one another as Varric pats her on the shoulder.

VARRIC: No, no, no, your Inquisitorialness, you’re starting at the wrong point. So come on. Tell us what happened with Chuckles, sweetie. Talk it out. Everything went great at the Temple of Mythal, everyone says so. So what happened after?
SERA: She kicked Coryphyshit’s ass!
THE IRON BULL: Right in his Eluvian!
CASSANDRA: She did indeed. We had a great victory.
VIVIENNE: Surprisingly, it went our way.
LELIANA: It was a truly historic moment.
CABOT (from the bar): It was all right.

The entire tavern throws things at CABOT, who shrugs, undeterred.

SERA: Shut it, you.
LELIANA: Thank you, Sera. Cabot? We’ll talk later.
CABOT (turning pale): Mes excuses, madame.
LELIANA: Much better.
LAVELLAN: What she said. Tell me about it. And by the way, don’t you guys adore Leliana’s accent? So Orlesian. So soft. So sweet. It makes her even scarier somehow.
SERA: Too right, it does. (shudders)
LELIANA: And thank you once again, Sera.
SERA: Stop thanking me. It makes me think you’re plotting some kind of revenge, right? What will it be? Raisins? Snakes? Bad cookie dough? More terrible songs about me, yeah?
MARYDEN (from the bar): I protest, Sera, miss! So unwarranted!
SERA: Sorry. Creepy. But sorry.
MARYDEN: Gladly accepted, miss.
LELIANA: Ah, so glad I didn’t have to step in there.

The entire bar does a full-body shudder.

SERA: Ugh.
LAVELLAN: I know! Anyway… So we went for a walk after. Solas and me. A solabret—solabretatory – celebratory – ahem, walk. With Solas. Me. There. Too. Also. And some very wiendly fryverns.
CASSANDRA: I believe the exact phrase was, “wiendly fryverns.”
LAVELLAN: Friendly wyverns. That.
SERA: See? We get it. You were there. And Elfyshits. And various assorted stupid wildlife. Get on with it.
LAVELLAN: What she said. But meanly. So meanly, Sera!
SERA: Sorry. Not sorry. But… um, okay. A little bit. Sorry.
LAVELLAN: Cookies on the roof. Cookies to atone! Pride-cookies!
SERA: I’m there. Just shut it, you. And… yeah, sorry.
LAVELLAN: Thanks Sera-Never.
SERA: You wish.

She gives the Inquisitor a small smile, which is returned.

VARRIC: Well, Inquisitor, your narrative style does lack for a certain… coherence.
LAVELLAN: I know. Sorry. But it was the big moment! We won the day, which we spent running through a huge ancient elven temple, no less – it was practically FOREPLAY.
SERA: Ha. Figures.
LAVELLAN: Well, you know. Elvishly speaking – I’d sometimes go to his office in the days before and just say “eluvian” and he was all, “Yay! Let’s make out!”
SERA: No kidding, he got all positively fluttery at that temple the whole time, he loved it. Ew.
LAVELLAN: I know! So I thought, hey, best day ever! Not for you, Sera, but for me! Him! I was, like, relationship-wise, this’ll be great! So we go off for another big date and of course, I’m thinking, FINALLY – we can move this relationship forward! He’s there! I’m there! We’re both there! With the wyverns! I look fabulous! He looks deeply into my eyes! He tells me he loves me! Again! Then kissage…
LAVELLAN: And poof. Dumped. At first it was pretty shmoopy and magical. But then… five-minute-mark… he got this look. Something changed.
VARRIC: What was it?
LAVELLAN: I have no idea. He just got this look. Like I said. A gate clanged down. Everything was different. He just went cold and suddenly said he was distracting me and that we shouldn’t continue. Dumped. Done. And he left me there! With the wyverns! Who weren’t nearly so friendly suddenly! I mean, I almost died fighting the nasty little suckers getting out of there!
LAVELLAN: I know. Bald, sexy Elvish bastard.
VIVIENNE: Solas? Sexy? Really, darling?
LAVELLAN: Yeah, he’s sexy. Totally sexy.
VIVIENNE: So tragic to see a woman that misguided.
LAVELLAN: Forget that. Solas is, like, sex on a stick.
SERA: You’re fricking kidding me. Ugh. Elfyshits. Even if I did like boys, I don’t think so.
LAVELLAN: Well, he is.
CASSANDRA: I suppose he might have a certain quiet appeal. Very quiet.
SERA: Come on.
LELIANA: It’s the voice.
LAVELLAN: The voice, the eyes, the lips. See, Viv? Go ahead. Admit it.
VIVIENNE: I shan’t. And have no plans to. I’m not into burlap, dear. Or baldness.
LAVELLAN: He doesn’t wear burlap. Sheesh. And anyway, you should talk. You had sex with an 80 year-old for a decade. And HE didn't have mush hair either. Much hair. Much. Hair.
VARRIC: Whups. Maybe we better slow down.
LAVELLAN: I am completely smober. I just can’t feel my lips. Or my tongue. Am I drooling? Please let me know if I’m drooling.
THE IRON BULL (pleased): Ah, the Maraas-Lok’s finally kicking in.
VIVIENNE: Point taken, my dear. And no, you’re drool-free. Thus far. I shall promise to inform you if that status changes, however. Also, at that point I will have to depart. Because, ugh.
DORIAN: He IS kind of hot, though.
DORIAN: Solas.
DORIAN: Sorry, peaches.
LAVELLAN: Stupid dream-kisser.
VARRIC: Wait, you didn’t tell us that part. When was this?
LAVELLAN (sniffling): First date! Dinner and The Fade!

Sera rolls her eyes.

SERA: Oh, right, of course it was the freakin’ Fade. Couldn’t get me there ever again for all the riches in Ferelden, Orlais or whereverparts. Sky the wrong direction and everything nasty and seeping. Seeping! And all of it dying to be empty and get inside, to spoil and spill secrets, that fog of poison. Fucking Fade. What’s the use of a place made of dreams and nightmares? We’re alive. Leave me out of it.
THE IRON BULL: I’m with her. Fucking Fade. And Krem, please hit me if I mention it again.
KREM: Will do, Chief.
THE IRON BULL: In fact, hit me again anyway. Just in case.

KREM hits him a good, solid blow to the chest; he falls out of his chair, then bounces back up, happily.

THE IRON BULL: Thanks, Krem. Needed that.
LAVELLAN: Oh, stop. It wasn’t that Fade. It was lovely. A happy Fade.
COLE: He took her into a magical world that was death turned backwards, time tricked and beaten, the unburned Haven of her heart; undone, unblemished, wonderful and whole. The world as it should have been. Better, brighter, burnished and beautiful. Air cold, clean and pure. And in it, the smiles. The meetings of the eyes. The teasing glances. Then, finally, that first soft shy kiss in the falling snow. When his lips met hers and everything was a spinning circle of sweetness and touch, of bodies and breath, of hunger and heat… That never seemed to end…

Lavellan breaks down into loud sobs. Varric glares at Cole.

VARRIC: You’re not helping, kid!
COLE: Sorry.
CASSANDRA: I see. That’s… that does sound fairly, uh… interesting.

Cassandra looks a little flustered in spite of herself. She leans over and speaks in a low voice to Varric.

CASSANDRA: Varric, do you think you could write this down? Perhaps for your next book?
LAVELLAN (sniffling): It would be a great book! Dumped in Dumptown!
VARRIC: I’m off-duty, Seeker.
CASSANDRA: Dammit, Varric!
LAVELLAN: And I was having a good hair day too. I looked fantastic.

The entire bar coughs. Dorian winces. Vivienne grimaces. Cassandra looks pained. The others try not to laugh.

DORIAN: Oh, my sweet deluded little Dalish…
LAVELLAN: No. No. I know. Not so much now. You don’t have to tell me.
VIVIENNE: I should certainly say not, darling.
THE IRON BULL: Nah, I can see it. You do have a certain appeal, Boss. Sometimes.
THE IRON BULL: Nah. It’s there. You have a certain earthy sex appeal.
LAVELLAN: Earthy! I love it. Thanks, Bull.
CABOT (from the bar): Sure. From a distance.
SERA: Shut it, you!
DORIAN: Ignore him. Bull’s absolutely right, sweetness. Don’t listen to them. You’re quite attractive. On occasion.
VARRIC: You are.
SERA: Often.
VARRIC: Sure. Sometimes.
CASSANDRA: Especially when you bathe.
VIVIENNE: Are we really enabling this? Now?
VARRIC: Seriously, Madame de Fer? Did you never get dumped?
VIVIENNE: Me? Really, darling.
VARRIC: Methinks the lady doth protest… you know. Too much.
VIVIENNE: Oh, la dee da. But let’s face it, there is… an alarming amount of mucus. On top of her usual layer of dirt.
LAVELLAN: I took a bath this morning! Like everyday. But… a lot just happened since then. Like it always does.
CASSANDRA: Hush, Madame de Fer.
THE IRON BULL: Viv, come on. I mean, ma’am. Low blow.
LAVELLAN: No, really, sorry, Viv. I’m aware. But earlier, you would’ve been proud. I looked amazing. I promise. I really did. Although I do think I might still have a few leaves in my hair. Or sticks or something. No big deal. From that last fight at the Temple. Side effect of Inquisitorial battle-ness. And such.
COLE: I think it’s dung. It looks like dung. Ghoul? Or demon, maybe. Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell. They’re all shadowy to me when we fight them anyway.
LAVELLAN (panicked): Dung?
COLE: Yes, it’s that little bit right there–
LAVELLAN: DUNG? No. No! Don’t tell me I got dumped with DUNG in my hair!
CASSANDRA: Hush, my friend, it’s leaves. Just a leaf… one single, very pretty leaf.
DORIAN: A very clean leaf.
LAVELLAN: Oh, gods… maybe it is dung. That explains everything! I got dumped for demon dung!
DORIAN: No, no, dearest, all is well. No dung there of any kind. And even if there was, you would wear it spectacularly.

Dorian and Cass glare at Cole as Cass surreptitiously tries to pick something out of Lavellan’s hair, grimacing.

CASSANDRA: Now please continue. Back to your… date? In the Fade? Details would be appreciated.
LAVELLAN: Oh. Right. Like I said. Firsht date. I mean first. First date. Right. So: He visited me in my dreams and told me he’d never met anyone like me. Took me back to Haven before it was lost. And he talked about sitting beside me all that first night after closing the Breach, and waiting for me to wake up even while expecting me to die. Sitting there with me, all night. And truthfully, I guess right there I was sold. And he was so open and warm. He told me that in closing that first Breach that I had changed everything. And then, well… he kissed me.
CASSANDRA: He did? Just that?
LAVELLAN: Uh. Well, it was kind of a bigger moment than that. It was all so fraught and intense. And, okay, I guess I kissed him. In fact… to be perfectly honest, I may have grabbed him. A little. But in a good way. But then wow. He pounced back. And he really followed through. For, like, minutes. And it was awesome.
CASSANDRA: So it appears.
LAVELLAN: You have no idea.
COLE: He pauses, pulls back, sighs and starts to turn away, and she is saddened at the gulf, the distance between them, but then there is the sweet surprise that he spins and turns; that he does not go from her after all. The sudden giving in; his arms around her, that insistent heat of connection: Minds, lips, tongues, skin, breath. An aching softness as bodies meet and melt. Time itself pauses and all boundaries are broken. She has lost herself, a breathless wanting even in dreams. They are both found. In the perfect safety of The Fade.
CASSANDRA: Is it hot in here? It’s hot in here, right? It’s not just me.
COLE: It’s cold in here. But it’s warmer by you though. Why is that?
CASSANDRA: Never you mind that, Cole.
DORIAN: It might be just a bit warm in here. Just a bit.
THE IRON BULL: All right, that’s adorable.
DORIAN: Oh, shut it.
SERA: Heh. Listen to Fancypants Vintershits there. Sounds an awful lot like me.
DORIAN: Must you?
SERA: Sorry, Vintypants. I do actually like you. But it was just so… really? Warm?
LAVELLAN: Hey, I know. But seriously. It was an eleven. It changed everything.
CASSANDRA: Truly? An eleven? For just a kiss?
THE IRON BULL: Oh, Boss, you make me sad.
VIVIENNE: Darling, you have got to get out more.
LAVELLAN: Oh, stop. And yeah, an eleven. On the kissing scale of… one… to five.
LAVELLAN: Yeah. I know what you all think. But that’s exactly what I’m trying to point out. One to five. And then… out of nowhere. An eleven.
LAVELLAN: Seriously. I pretty much spontaneously combusted.
SERA: Oh, right, yeah? Come on.
LAVELLAN: I’m not exaggerating. I woke up and my drapes were on fire.
VIVIENNE: Is that a metaphor, darling?
LAVELLAN: Not a metaphor. Actual drapes. On. Fire.
CASSANDRA (impressed): Woof.
THE IRON BULL and DORIAN: It happens.
VIVIENNE: It’s a bit much, don’t you think?
LELIANA: It’s charming. It’s always the quiet ones, you see.
LAVELLAN: But at least you have to give me this. I mean, I figured, hey, after that, the sex is gonna have to be out of this world, right? I mean, he romanced me in my dreams. Try to beat that. Stupid dream-kisser-elf. And the real-life kisses? More elevens. Seriously. The man can kiss. So it wasn’t just the Fade. Stupid Solas. (weeps briefly)
SERA: He's shite! Forget about Mr. Elfyparts Stupidshits.
VIVIENNE: Forget about him, darling. For once, I agree with Sera.

Bull shakes his head and shrugs.

THE IRON BULL: You people and your romances. You all think too much. Times like these, it’s nice to be Qunari. We don’t confuse sex for love.
SERA: Bullshitcakes, you’re full of it, you.
LAVELLAN: What she said.
THE IRON BULL: I’m just saying: We have real sex in the real world. Simpler that way. Everybody knows where they stand. We don’t mistake the physical for anything beyond the physical.
DORIAN: Perhaps that’s a conversation for another time.
THE IRON BULL: Aw, come on, kadan, you know I didn’t mean it that way.
DORIAN: Better not.
LAVELLAN: But that’s just it, Bull! The tragedy of it all!
THE IRON BULL: Oh, Boss. No. No.
KREM: What?
VIVIENNE: Please don’t let her actually say it.
VARRIC: Ha. That hasn’t stopped her so far.
LAVELLAN: Too late. He’s right. Yes.
THE IRON BULL: No. You’re not saying…
LAVELLAN: I am! I’m saying it: No. I didn’t even get any sex.
THE IRON BULL: No. Sex. No. Sex?
VIVIENNE (dryly): No sex.
THE IRON BULL: Can I lie down? I think I just need to lie down. It’s upsetting. I’m upset. I’m officially upset.
DORIAN (to Bull): Just rest here on my shoulder, sweetness. There you go.
THE IRON BULL: No. Sex. I… it’s not right.
CASSANDRA: For once, Iron Bull, you and I are in perfect agreement.
DORIAN: But really. None, darling?
LAVELLAN: None. Nada. Just a few stupid kisses! I mean, yes, they were elevens, but still! Come on! Everyone else here has a sex life. But me!
SERA: And Cullen.
VARRIC: Well, and me…
SERA: Don’t even, right? Shut it. Your secret’s out, mate. You and that stupid crossbow.
COLE: And me. But I wouldn’t want it. It’s too tingly and tangly. What happens if you lose yourself?

Lavellan whimpers. The Iron Bull looks confused but shakes his head at the stupidity of romance.

THE IRON BULL: Sorry, Boss. That does, uh, seem unfair. (pauses) Really? Not ever? Not even a little, er, mutual, you know…
COLE: What? What?
LAVELLAN: What he said. What, what?
CASSANDRA: Oh, Maker’s breath.
DORIAN: Oh. Ahem. That. What Bull’s so subtly trying to imply. Er… you never even… got to… you know… um… nothing?
VARRIC: Let’s be blunt: He’s asking if you got to third base.
DORIAN: Oh, thank you, Varric. That. Heavens. Talk about awkward. I thought I was going to have to draw diagrams.
COLE: I like your diagrams! They’re very helpful. And clear. Although I still don’t see what’s fun about it. It doesn’t look fun. None of them look fun. They all just look like puzzles that shouldn’t work but do.
THE IRON BULL: That’s part of the fun, Cole.
CASSANDRA (secretly devastated): Never? Never, ever, ever?
LAVELLAN: Uh. No. Sorry. But. Um. To explain: I was being patient. I just thought, okay, he’s the type who needs a commitment! So I waited!
THE IRON BULL: This is tragic.
VIVIENNE: It truly is, Bull, dear.
DORIAN: Bless her little heart.
VIVIENNE: I suppose it’s quite Elven of him. Such cold little Elven fish. It’s common knowledge.
DORIAN: She’s right, sweetness. It’s definitely out there.
LAVELLAN: If it is, it’s wrong. Bogus. Not true.
DORIAN: Of course it isn’t.
VIVIENNE: Oh, please. They’re so buttoned-up, the elves. It’s not news.
THE IRON BULL: But, you know, speaking from experience, they are worth it if you… um, you know… unbutton ‘em.
LAVELLAN: I know! We are! I am! Me especially!
THE IRON BULL: I’m just surprised nobody got… unbuttoned, here. You’d think he could’ve at least…
DORIAN: He does have a point, dear heart.
LAVELLAN: Nope. Nope. Not even close.
CASSANDRA: Varric, I take it back. Do not put this in your next novel. It is far too sad.
LAVELLAN: Wait. I don’t think. Nope. Oh, gods, what if I missed third base?
CASSANDRA: Oh, please.
COLE: What? What?
KREM: Don’t worry, Cole.
VARRIC: Nah, you’d know. Nobody misses third base.
LAVELLAN: I missed dung for at least eight to nine hours today, apparently.
VIVIENNE: And on a routine basis.
VARRIC: Way to get that dagger in, Madame.
LAVELLAN: I know, but I love her anyway. Meanwhile, we have larger issues: With this in mind, I could totally see myself missing third base.
VARRIC: Sweetie, really?
LAVELLAN: Yep. Sorry.
LELIANA: Maker preserve us.
LAVELLAN: I mean, just yesterday I missed five Venatori until they walked right over our campsite and tripped over me.
DORIAN: It was very entertaining. Three of them actually died laughing.
THE IRON BULL: Literally. It’s true. They did.
VARRIC: Excellent! You know, I totally forgot about that.
SERA: I didn’t. Too early. Too many arrows.
THE IRON BULL: The mayhem! We all enjoyed it.
DORIAN: All right, fine. Yes. Dearest, I love you, but I agree with you that if anyone in Thedas could miss third base, it would probably be you.
LAVELLAN: Sorry. It’s possible.
THE IRON BULL: No. Forget the mayhem. Wait. I’m still trying to process the idea that we’re talking about a relationship between two mature adults here and nobody actually had sex.
VIVIENNE: Truer words, Bull, darling. It’s ghastly.
LAVELLAN: Hey, not without serious effort on my part. I mean, look at this.

She empties her pockets and it turns out they are full of many, tiny little notes and sketches on Elves. Elvish. Elf-culture.

LAVELLAN: Look at all the work I did. Notes. Thoughts. From all the different temples. Sketches. Schematics on all those runes and wolf-statues. Because he kept looking at them. And smiling. I thought it was so mysterious. So charming. You have no idea how much TIME I invested in this relationship! Hundreds of hours! Reading! Thinking! Noting things! Important things! Elvish things!
SERA: Ew, thinking, really? On dates? Thinking? And nobody got off? What a fricking winner of a relationship, yeah? You’re best off right out of it with that one. Ugh.
CASSANDRA: Much as I normally disagree with Sera – what she said.
SERA: Thanks, Lady Warriorbits.
LAVELLAN: I get it. But… I liked it. Feeling connected to my heritage, my people.
SERA: Again with ‘your people.’
LAVELLAN: I loved it. He was sexy and thoughtful and funny. Not as much ‘elven glory’ as you’d think, Sera. And I was fascinated. The world seemed bigger. I could see who I was, what I was connected to… beyond the shadows of what my clan had taught me.
SERA: Gah. Sounds pretty elven freaking gloryish to me.
LAVELLAN: No, it was more. I’d catch him watching me, when I was watching him. And with every glance, the world fell away and we were in the Fade again. And it was fun, too -- taking him with me on missions just so we could throw fireballs together…
BLACKWALL: You really do love your fireballs, miss.
LAVELLAN: What’s the point of magic if you can’t throw fire at things? But I loved putting those puzzle-pieces together, and trying to solve the mystery of him at the same time. The way he’d speak his deepest feelings to me in Elvish… telling me he loved me, or calling me… (sniffling) my… h-h-heart—I mean, I thought it was real! I thought it was real!
COLE: It was. It was.
LAVELLAN: Or listening to him talk to Cole. You always made him smile, Cole.
COLE: But even when he smiled, he was always hidden; sly and sad and still inside. Wanting to go back and dream it all differently.
SERA: Ugh. Him and his dream-shite. He can have it.
VARRIC: So, let’s ask – is that why you hardly ever pick me to go along on missions?
COLE: It’s my fault, Varric. She likes to hear me talk about the insides of everyone’s heads.
LAVELLAN: I admit it! I do!
VARRIC: I guess I can’t argue with that, kid. You have a gift.
LAVELLAN: I love you, Varric, but Cole makes me want to give everyone nugs. (hiccups)
LELIANA: Nugs? Where?
LAVELLAN: Um, hugs. I meant hugs. And kittens.
CASSANDRA: Please, by all that is holy, let no one be witnessing this.

Varric looks at the impressive pile of crumpled notes on the table.

VARRIC: I get it. And I gotta say, Inquisitor, this is a ton of research. Elf-wise.
LAVELLAN: Thank you.
DORIAN: It’s almost tragic.
VIVIENNE: Hold the ‘almost’ and you’ve said it perfectly, darling.
LELIANA: Oh, by Andraste’s grace, this is… Goodness. You did… an alarming amount of work, dear one.
LAVELLAN: You have no idea! Oh, dear gods, the hours and hours of Elvish history I waded through! And listened to! Just hoping to get laid!
SERA: I know, right?
LAVELLAN: Whatness?
THE IRON BULL: Sorry, Boss. It’s just kind of nice to remind myself that you’re human.
LAVELLAN: Bull, I will have you know, I am elven. Elvhen.
SERA: Gah.
THE IRON BULL: You know what I mean.
SERA: Oh, phthbbbbbttttt. Gotta be kidding me with that. Elven this and elven that. I got enough of it on my own with that uptight elfyshits weirdo just on our missions, right? I mean, enough already, all rift magic and noble heritage and high-talkin’ whatness.
LAVALLAN: I know, Sera. And you’re right! It was ridiculous! I read books on Arlathan! Played chess! Worked on his wall murals, just to spend time with him! Got paint on my best battlemage coat! But nope. In the end, it was all for nothing. One last kiss for the road. Then: Dumped. Humiliated. Toast. Goodbye, vhenan.
COLE: Vhenan. A single word, and everything inside her breaks.
LAVELLAN (too sad for tears momentarily): Make it stop, Cole.
THE IRON BULL (almost to himself): Katoh.
LAVELLAN: What’s that you said?
SERA: Catty-what-oh?
THE IRON BULL: Nothing, boss.
VARRIC: Cole, don’t you dare. No forgetting crap. There are some pains worth remembering, kid.
COLE: I know it, Varric. I do.
LAVELLAN: I just wonder, who dumps someone like that? Who says, "You're amazing. You're beautiful. You’re perfect. I love you. Goodbye." Who does that?
CASSANDRA: Solas, Evidently. The bastard.

Lavellan weepingly waves down Cabot, who looks at her appraisingly before serving them another pitcher of Maraas-Lok. She pours, clinks mugs with Bull, then takes a big swig.

DORIAN: Just know that I know, darling. Men are the worst. Take it from me.
THE IRON BULL: Cheers! And hey?
DORIAN: Not you, peaches.
LAVELLAN: Horns up!
CASSANDRA: And me. I am with Dorian. And our leader. As a Seeker, the things that I have seen. That men do. Men. They would curl your armor in an instant.
LAVELLAN: So true.
DORIAN: It’s bad out there.
VIVIENNE: I… (sighs) Yes. It is. Sometimes we all need the right vintage.
CASSANDRA: She is not wrong.
SERA: See? There’s the spirit, Madame Foofypants.
VIVIENNE: My thanks, Sera. I suppose.
LAVELLAN: Speaking of which: Dorian. Bull. Hey. Someone. Is my nose still there?

She reaches up and carefully feels her face. Bull chuckles.

THE IRON BULL: Don’t worry, Boss. It’s still there. That’s Maraas-Lok for you. Although it’s kind of reassuring to see you finally react to it.
LAVELLAN: That was a close one. Life would be tough without a nose. And I’d never know how anything smelled.
CASSANDRA: (disgusted noise) Varric. Must you?
VARRIC: Come on. It’s the oldest joke in the world.
SERA: Screw him anyway, Elfypants nose-shitface.
VARRIC: What, me? Dwarf here.
SERA: Shitface Solas, assbark.
LAVELLAN: Don’t call him that. He is a deeply kind, caring, feeling… conflicted, elvish asshole.
SERA: Ha, right?
CASSANDRA: What she said.

Lavellan continues to swig as Bull watches with wonder and skepticism.

VARRIC: See, it’s the sheer volume that’s confounding me.
CABOT: Yeah.
THE IRON BULL: Here’s the thing, Varric: I admit it. I don’t know how she’s doing it. Or how she still has any feeling left in the inside of her mouth, tongue or throat. Four or five of those mugs puts the average Qunari warrior under the table, and she’s had at least seven. And she weighs as much as my left arm.
LAVELLAN: Actually, right now I can’t feel my throat. Or my feet. Or my face. Or the ends of my fingers.
LAVELLAN: But I love this drink. I love you guys. Let’s all have some!
CASSANDRA: Oh, what the hell. Love is dead. The Inquisitor’s mood is contagious, and I find that I am unexpectedly depressed. Bring it on.
VARRIC: Cassie, you just need to have a little faith. Be optimistic.
CASSANDRA: In your books, Varric, everyone ends up betrayed, dead, on the run, or in prison. Where is the optimism there?
THE IRON BULL: But there are backflips. Don’t forget the backflips!
VARRIC: There’s passion. They enjoy life while they have it. And a drink or two.
CASSANDRA: Fair enough. Bottoms up!

She drains her glass, coughing only slightly. Lavellan pours her another from the pitcher as smoothly as a dancer.

LAVELLAN: Come to the dark side, Cassie. We have booze. We are here for you. We have no dignity remaining.
VIVIENNE: Well, some of us were aware of that ages ago, darling.
THE IRON BULL: There’s the spirit, Cassandra. Congratulations on your first Maraas-Lok. Aaaand… (another refill) okay, your second. Wow, you really went for it. Impressive.
CASSANDRA: I must congratulate you, Bull. This isn’t bad at all. There is a certain fiery raw painful quality to the aftertaste that reminds me of the time I mistakenly drank my father’s paint solvent as a child.
LAVELLAN: Exactly! Horrible yet sharp, exhilarating, and weirdly tasty.
CASSANDRA: Yet in a good way.
LAVELLAN: See? She gets it.
THE IRON BULL: She does. I say this reluctantly.
SERA: Hey, yeah. I’ve drunk worse.
VIVIENNE: No. This is an outrage. Cabot, friend and patron, no more of that barbaric Qunari concoction. Instead, please break out your finest Dragon 9:31 Reserved Orlesian Mead. With sparkles and appropriate enchantments.

Cabot shrugs and serves out a very large flask of a decadent, smooth, honey-colored mixture that glows slightly. It’s gorgeous, slightly sweet and as intoxicating as the Maraas-Lok in its way. Everyone drinks and cheers.

LAVELLAN: See, my companions, I may seem hard, cold, tough and emotionless… but…

Cassandra coughs, then sputters. Vivienne and Sera roll their eyes. Dorian dissolves into giggles behind her. Bull hides his face by taking a drink. Varric, Cole and Blackwall just look confused.

LAVELLAN: But see, at some point, while we seem tough, we elves tend to wallow. Secretly. We like to remind ourselves of our miseries for EVER.
SERA: That’s what I’ve been sayin’! Exactly that! Freakin’ elfy-history shit. All up in the ass of sadness and why, freakin’ why, what does it get you? Nothing.
KREM: Leave the past in the past, that’s what I always say.
LAVELLAN: Sera’s right. Krem’s right.
SERA: You bet your elfy little ass.
LAVELLAN: But Krem’s not drinking. Krem needs to have some booze immediately! Hi, Krem. Were you here the whole time? I like your hair. Did I ever tell you that? So I just did. I like your hair. And you smell good.
THE IRON BULL: Krem does have good hair.
LAVELLAN: He does.
DORIAN: It is quite lovely. And he does smell good.
CASSANDRA: I will concur that Krem, you are quite pleasing. And clean. And honorable. Thus far.
LAVELLAN: See? Like a prince in a fairytale.
KREM: Er, thanks. But I’m just here as the escort, Your Worship. Here to make sure you get back up and over to your quarters in one piece. Present and happy to be sober and accounted for.
LAVELLAN: No! Cremisius, you are officially off-duty. I hereby as Inquisitor order you to have a drink. Unless it’s against your religion or something, of course. Or you just don’t feel like it. No pressure.
THE IRON BULL: Nah, Krem, we’ll get her home, Dorian and me. Have a nip, Krem.
KREM: I wouldn’t turn down a chance for a pint, and that’s the truth.
LAVELLAN: Neither would I.
CASSANDRA: Another mug!
LAVELLAN: Another round for heartbreak and despair!
CASSANDRA: What the Inquisitor said!
KREM: Cheers, all. Horns up! And Your Worship, I would also like to add for the record that I think Solas is an arsehole.
LAVELLAN: I know! Dareth Shiral! Isn’t it awful?

Lavellan weeps and leans her head on Krem’s shoulder.

THE IRON BULL: Pull it together, Boss!
VIVIENNE: Darling, please. Try to regroup. We’re in public.
KREM: Um. Well. That’s right, Your Worship. You just go ahead and have a good cry.
CASSANDRA: Oh, Maker help us.
DORIAN: We seem to have reached the next stage in the evening's inebriation.
LAVELLAN (straightening up): Nope. Nope. I'm fine. I'm totally fine. I'm a drong Stalish elf.
IRON BULL: Say again?
VARRIC: A strong Dalish elf?
LAVELLAN: That too. But these are not tears. These are allergies. Allergies! Right, Krem?
KREM: Um. Sure. It’s always important to have a good health plan… it’s one of the reasons the Chargers are so powerful. Healthcare. And stock options.
THE IRON BULL: I do take care of my people.
LAVELLAN: That’s good to hear. Because allergies can be lethal.
VIVIENNE: Of course they can, darling.
LAVELLAN: But I’m fine. These are nothing more than allergies of celebration!
VARRIC: Riiiight.
LAVELLAN: See, I should have picked someone else. Someone with more hair. Who does he think he is? It’s not like he’s some kind of god or something. Sheesh. The arrogance!
DORIAN: There's the spirit!

She reaches for the mead flask and Leliana surreptitiously pulls it away slightly out of reach.

LELIANA: Here. Sip some water, dear one. Just for a moment or two.
LAVELLAN: Ugh. WATER? What good is water?
THE IRON BULL: I hate to admit it, but she’s a lot more fun this way.
DORIAN: It’s kind of adorable.
SERA: I know, right?
VARRIC: If also pitiable and a little sad. So difficult to see what love can reduce the best of us to.
SERA: Dangling whatsit Varric? Huh? The word ‘to’ at the end and all?
VARRIC: So tragic to see the extremes to which fickle Fate can reduce even the best of us… Nah. I give up. Never mind.
SERA: Ha! Got ya.
LAVELLAN: I had so many other choices. So much flirting! But you weren't playing for my team, damn you Dorian. None of you were!
DORIAN: Sorry, sweetness.
SERA: Huh?
LAVELLAN: I mean yes, I’d gotten a little crush on Smolas. Right away. But I was still considering my backups. But oh, it was so wonderful!
COLE: He answered all of her questions sideways. It was like a dance they were doing. A dance of small smiles and circles and hidden glances, danced perfectly on both sides.
LAVELLAN: Yeah. What he said. But I just wasn’t sure yet that Solas was actually interested. I mean. You know. He wasn’t exactly lunging for me in Haven. So I checked you all out, don’t you see. Did a little flirting. Let’s start with Dorian, sadly out of reach.
DORIAN: Well, I am dashing. I must commend your taste.
THE IRON BULL: Seconded!
LAVELLAN: You are. He is. Dashing.
SERA: If you’re interested in mustaches. How long does that take you each day, Dorian?
DORIAN: Not that long, I have this lovely little heated iron from… wait, are you being sarcastic?
SERA: Not me.
DORIAN: You cut your own hair. I rest my case.
LAVELLAN: Oh stop, you two. Anyway, yes, I was all about flirting with each one of you at first. All so brave and beautiful! DORIAN.
SERA: Ugh.
DORIAN: Thanks, darling. Yet if it helps, I do adore you to pieces. Just not in that special way involving...
SERA: Girly bits?
DORIAN: You’re one to talk. Miss Girly Bits.
SERA: Hey, girly bits are the best. Pisser.
LAVELLAN: So ANYWAY. Then, there was Varric – because, you know, normally, I always go for the funny guys first.
VARRIC: Wait, me? What?
VIVIENNE: The mind reels.
SERA: (spit take)
CASSANDRA: Varric? You cannot be serious.
LAVELLAN: Methinks the Seeker doth protest too much.
CASSANDRA: What? What?
DORIAN: Oh, darling, I know.
LAVELLAN: See? Dorian’s got it. Come on. Subtext, people. You two are totally hot for each other.
VARRIC: And I’ll say it again: Ha.
CASSANDRA: Varric, I am fully capable of decapitating you without even putting down this mug. Never forget that.
SERA: Oh, come on. Hard in Freaking Hightown, heh, what?
LAVELLAN: Hey. He was cute. And funny. Look at him. Varric’s plenty cute. Nothing against Cassie here if she looked occasionally. And he’s so sensitive. Yet so manly.
VARRIC: Dwarfly.
LAVELLAN: That too.
SERA: Ugh. Chest hair.
CASSANDRA: Wait, Inquisitor. No. Forget your imaginings about any depraved longings between me and the dwarf. But – even more importantly – I must stop you. You say this, about the funny men. So it’s interesting then, that you chose Solas, who I am not sure is even aware… that such a thing as a sense of humor…
VIVIENNE: … actually exists.
CASSANDRA: That. Thank you, Madame de Fer.
LAVELLAN: What? Solas? You’re kidding. He’s hilarious. It’s just… a bit quiet.
CASSANDRA: I agree, as long as what you mean is, his sense of humor is utterly silent.
DORIAN: No, Cass, she’s right. The humor’s there. It’s dry but it’s there.
THE IRON BULL: He’s witty. In that detached and unassuming way of his. Nothing too flashy. Everything careful, quiet and controlled. Watching, just off to the sidelines, observing and understanding… pretty much everything… Hmm.
LAVELLAN: What? Bull, what? You have a look. Oh, gods. Why that look? Stop being a Ben-Hassrath, Bull. Be my friend. Drink with me.
THE IRON BULL: Don’t worry. Just wondering. And… okay, Boss.
VARRIC: Wait, wait – Inquisitor. You are all missing the most important part. You were interested in me, really?
LAVELLAN: Of course. The virility and literary wit! That chest hair! Fantastic. But then I saw you look at Bianca and I knew it was hopeless.
VARRIC: Well, we do have a complicated--
CASSANDRA: She's talking about the crossbow. You're talking about the crossbow, aren't you?
LAVELLAN: ‘Course I am.
SERA: Ha! Knew it.
VARRIC: Oh, shut up.
LAVELLAN: So let me think… who else. Oh, I’d totally had a girlcrush on Cassandra right away. Isn’t she pretty? She’s so gorgeous! And that accent! But I already knew that my crush was pointless.
CASSANDRA: Me? Really?
LAVELLAN: Really. So pretty!
SERA: Wait, what? Girlcrushes? On her and not me? What’s wrong with me? I’m frigging adorable, I am!

Cassandra looks both pleased and embarrassed by this revelation. The Inquisitor barrels onward.

LAVELLAN: Sera, I love you to pieces. But you know you would hate my elfy elfyness. But I do love your beautiful grumpy little face.
SERA: Grumpy? Nutter. Not grumpy. Not grumpy in the slightest.
LAVELLAN: Maybe just a little tiny bit grumpy. But so gorgeous!
SERA: You’re not havin’ me on or some shite?
LAVELLAN: Not at all. Seriously.
VIVIENNE: It’s true, darling, you have surprisingly fine features, although at some point we simply must address the tragic misfortune that is your hair.
SERA: Shut it, Viv. My hair’s fine.
LAVELLAN: I like her hair. It’s very her.
DORIAN: Right. Uneven.
SERA: Shut it, Dorian. So, okay, no crush, but you better mean it. Not making me feel better or some such assybits. Don’t need any pride-cookies over my stupid face.
LAVELLAN: Never. No pride-cookies. I love you and your stupid face.
SERA: Well we’re still all right, then. Inquisitorshits.
LAVELLAN: So then I was gonna go for Cullen because... the hair. And okay, the everything.
DORIAN: Oh, I know, darling. Everyone’s got a little crush on Cullen.
CASSANDRA: Oh, thank the Maker. It’s not just me.
DORIAN and the ENTIRE BAR: It’s not just you.
LAVELLAN: I mean, seriously. Have you seen Cullen?
THE IRON BULL: He is one of the pretty ones.
LELIANA: Poor thing. He got NINE new Orlesian marriage proposals in the last week alone. He was confused. And horrified.
CASSANDRA: How can he not know? He really does not seem to know.
LELIANA: He really doesn’t know. It’s part of his appeal.
SERA: And the hair, yeah?
LAVELLAN: The hair, the voice, the Cullen-ness… And… everything. But he seemed so... Cullen. Beautiful. But fragile. I mean… I'm a drong Stalish elf, you know. What if I broke his heart?
COLE: Poor Cullen. Everyone looks. Loves. Yet rarely touches. And he never sees why.
LAVELLAN: Aw, shit. Now I feel bad.
VARRIC: I feel another novel coming on.
CASSANDRA: Don’t tease. Now barkeep, pour me another please. I wish to drown my sorrows.
LAVELLAN: That’s the spirit, Cassandra!
CASSANDRA: It most definitely is.

Bull and Cassandra continue to toss back drinks. Varric shrugs and joins them. Maryden starts to sing “RISE.”

CASSANDRA: I cannot believe you picked Solas over Cullen. Maker’s breath. This is a depressing story indeed. It’s like the Blight. But with terrible romance. And no third base.
THE IRON BULL: And no sex.
CASSANDRA: The Iron Bull is correct.
VARRIC: So no Dorian, no Varric, no Cassandra, no Sera, no Cullen… who was next?
LAVELLAN: Um, let me see… Bull. There was that one night. We’d been, like, fighting dragons and celebrating, and I was sitting here drinking some of this amazing Maraas-Lok stuff and I admit it, I looked over at Bull and though, hey now, that might be fun...
THE IRON BULL (modestly): Pretty much everyone does at some point.
COLE: The Iron Bull, she just pictured you without your clothes on.
LAVELLAN: Did not!
THE IRON BULL: It’s all right. It happens.
DORIAN: It does.
SERA: Yeh, Bull… if he was a she... woof.
THE IRON BULL: Thank you, Sera.
LAVELLAN: So yes. Fine. I got a Bull-crush. After all, Bull’s prettier than he first appears.
DORIAN: It sneaks up on you.
CASSANDRA: As unlikely as it sounds, I agree with you.
THE IRON BULL (pleased): Thank you, Seeker.
CASSANDRA: Don’t quote me. I am intoxicated and shall never admit it again.
LAVELLAN (caressing Bull’s arm): Those biceps, right? And he’s so insightful too. And funny!
DORIAN: Hands off, naughty girl.
LAVELLAN: Oops. Sorry.
THE IRON BULL: I don’t mind. Also, thank you, Boss.
DORIAN: Hands!
LAVELLAN: Aw. I’m grieving, not dead. So sure, I looked. Maybe flirted. Once. But I'd already had that stupid dream kiss. So congrats, Dorian, he's all yours. No fun Bull sex for me.
DORIAN: Yay me! Now paws off, darling.
LAVELLAN: Lucky bastard. Both of you. Bastards. Wait, now I’m confused on which one I’m more jealous of. Now I feel weird.
DORIAN: Awkward!
THE IRON BULL: Ha. Doesn’t have to be. I’m sure we could work something out.
LAVELLAN: Don’t even kid about a thing like that.
DORIAN: He’s kidding. You are kidding, right?
THE IRON BULL: Absolutely.
DORIAN: Thank the Maker. I may have soiled my armor. Slightly.
CASSANDRA: Is that everyone?
LAVELLAN: Well, Josie seemed like she was crushing on Blackwall, so no point there. Leliana’s gorgeous but terrifying.
SERA: I know, right?
LELIANA: I’m not always scary. I can be fun.
VARRIC: I’m… Yes. I’m sure you can.
SERA: Huh. You wish.
LAVELLAN: Besides, like I said, at this point, I'd already kind of slirted with Folas --
VIVIENNE: Flirted. With. Solas. Although heaven knows why.
LAVELLAN: What she said. Sholas.
DORIAN: Solas...
SERA: Smurfy-Elfy-Shitpants.
LAVELLAN: That's what I said, Folas... and I thought, no, I'm gonna go for the quiet guy. The quiet ones never break your hearts. This time it will all work out. So no Bull-riding for me. Poof. Then it all went wrong.
THE IRON BULL: It’s so sad. I do like everyone to go home happy.
LAVELLAN: So I’ve heard. But I blew it. I could have been having hot sex all over Skyhold. At least once! Just once!
COLE: The Iron Bull, she just pictured you and the War-Table, and there were ribbons and –
VIVIENNE: Hmm. My word.
CASSANDRA: Cole. Do not finish that sentence.
COLE: Sorry.
CASSANDRA: Unless you wish to tell it to me later.
THE IRON BULL: Ha. Interesting.
LAVELLAN: But nooooo, noooo, noooo. No War-Table sexytimes for me. Instead I got a few lousy pucker-ups and then -- just when I think I'm -- finally -- going -- to get some – NOTHING!

She puts her head down on the table, weeping.

VIVIENNE: Oh, darling, seriously. We must try to hold on to what little dignity we still possess.
LAVELLAN (muffled, still face-down): I have no dignity.
VIVIENNE: We’re quite aware.
LAVELLAN: This table is so nice. It feels so good on my face.
KREM: Chief, should we tell her the Chargers were sitting up here last night doing shots?
VARRIC: I’m gonna vote no on that one.
CASSANDRA: Definitely not.
THE IRON BULL: And it was no-pants-Friday.
DORIAN: Charming.
VIVIENNE: Thank you for that lovely mental image.
THE IRON BULL: Welcome, ma’am. Sorry, ma'am.

Lavellan sits up, enraged at a new thought. Her hair has reached a new low. She needs a tissue. And there is now a peanut stuck to her face.

LAVELLAN: And speaking of my face! Look at me.
COLE: Aw, you have a peanut stuck to your cheek! The squirrels will want to be friends with you!
LAVELLAN: No! Not that! I’m not Dalish anymore! I’m a blank! I let him take my Vallaslin!
THE IRON BULL: I thought you didn’t have any sex…?
LAVELLAN: My Vallaslin! My Falish dace tattoo!
CASSANDRA: But… you do look… ah, very pretty. We can see your face. It’s… nice.
SERA: Nutty but nice. Well, normally, yeah?
LAVELLAN: Do you know how long those suckers take to get done? It's called a TATTOO. They're PAINFUL. They take HOURS. Days. But no, I gazed into those pretty, fickle Elvish eyes and was, like, sure honey, take my racial identity off my face, no problem, then you can dump me and...
CASSANDRA: He is a bastard.
SERA: Freaking bastard shitface.
LAVELLAN: I know! I know! Aw, I love Sera. Where’d she go?
CASSANDRA: Oh, dear.
VARRIC: We may be approaching stage four at last.
SERA: Still right here. Maybe you better slow down, huh?
LAVELLAN: I can’t. I need to numb my heart. I just wish I could cry and let it out.
VIVIENNE: You’ve been weeping steadily for four and a half hours, darling.
LAVELLAN: Not me. I’m stoic. Elves are stoic. Most people don’t know that.
VARRIC: It’s a carefully guarded secret. Have some more water. And wipe your face, honey.
LAVELLAN: It’s allergies! I’m allergic to elfroot! And rashvine! And mead! And love!

She breaks into more sobs. Iron Bull hands her a handkerchief the size of a small tablecloth and she wipes her eyes and blows her nose.

LAVELLAN: Thanks, Bull. I don’t care. I’ll cry. Why shouldn’t I cry? I’ve been dumped! Dumped! And I already know I’m gonna take him on the next mission tomorrow anyway! I can’t help myself! And I’ll probably still stare at his butt! After he dumped me! And when we get back I’ll still visit him in his study! I’ll still gaze longingly at him and hope he says something poetic or calls me vhenan! Pathetic. Freaking pathetic. Gods below, what’s wrong with me? He said he loved me! Ar freaking lath ma!

Cassandra does a rare thing, then. She leans over and hugs Lavellan close, quickly but warmly, then takes her hand.

CASSANDRA: Inquisitor. Listen to me. We, you and I, our brave companions, we save the world every day. Braving all these big things to battle evil. To win the day and a better future for Thedas. But that does not mean we cannot still reserve our own little hopes and dreams for ourselves in our deepest hearts. It does not mean we cannot still wish for love. And when those dreams die, we die a little too. These things hurt. We lose ourselves for awhile. So know this, Inquisitor: You are my friend. You’re grieving and you are allowed to do so. Yet you are still who you are. Still you, still a leader. Even if…

LAVELLAN snuffles and stares at her, trying to focus, sensing the importance of her words. Cassandra smiles and wipes Lavellan’s face gently with Bull’s hankie.

LAVELLAN: What? Oh. Thanks.
CASSANDRA: Even if, yes… you are a mess. And also a little inebriated at the moment.
CASSANDRA: …I’m sorry, Inquisitor, but that peanut was driving me crazy.
DORIAN: Oh, gods, me too.
LAVELLAN: No apologies necessary. You’re just telling the truth. I need the truth. And I’m a lot inebriated, actually. I can’t feel my legs. Sorry. Please continue.
CASSANDRA: It’s all right. But know this, and know it today, tonight, and tomorrow when you awaken: You are not diminished. The fact that you gave someone your love was brave and wonderful. The fact that it was rejected fills me with sadness. Because I know how much your love is worth.
VARRIC: Damn, Cass, I may get you to write me some dialogue.
BLACKWALL: Well said, Miss.
LAVELLAN (crying copiously): Why am I not crying? I think I might be dehydrated. I should be crying. But thank you, Cass.
CASSANDRA: You’re welcome, my good friend.
LAVELLAN: Also, Cass, you smell really good. Will you hug me again?
CASSANDRA: No. But thank you. And stop flirting.
COLE: You helped her! And she didn’t have to forget!

Cassandra smiles at Cole. Varric chuckles and breaks out a pack of cards.

VARRIC: Anybody up for a game? I think this evening needs a little “Wicked Grace” at some point. Meanwhile, Inquisitor, here’s an idea. Give yourself a break. You’ve got missions coming up, sure. But take Dorian for awhile. Dorian’s fun. Dorian’s chatty. And Dorian’s got style.
DORIAN: He does indeed.
VARRIC: Let old Chuckles rattle around alone in his painted cave for a few days.
LAVELLAN (sniffling): I do like Dorian.
DORIAN: Everyone does, darling.
LAVELLAN: I wish Dorian was here. He smells good too. And love sucks.
DORIAN: It does. We’ve all been there.
CASSANDRA: This is profoundly depressing. And yet I love you all. What a confusing evening.
LAVELLAN: Tell me about it.

She sloshes the last of her mug all over herself then starts weeping again.

LELIANA: Oh, no.
VARRIC: Yikes. We’re definitely deep into stage four.
THE IRON BULL: Definitely stage four.
VARRIC: I think the evening is winding to a close.
THE IRON BULL: I don’t understand how she’s even still conscious at this point.
LAVELLAN: My mug is so heavy. Why is my mug so heavy?
VARRIC: It’s all right, Inquisitor. You’re just tired. That’s why it’s so heavy. You need some rest.
LAVELLAN: No, I know why. It’s filled with heartbreak and despair.
VARRIC: Okay. Here. We’ll put the mug down for now.
LAVELLAN: I need a horse. My kingdom for a horse. Krem, can you call me a horse? Or better yet, that War Nug? I NEED MY WAR NUG!
KREM: Absolutely, Your Worship. Um. Sure. I'll... (whispering) should I carry her, Chief?
THE IRON BULL: Krem, I’ll take her. No worries.
KREM: We’ll get you home, your Worship.
LAVELLAN: Ugh, who’s Your Worship? Ugh. Who wants to date a Your Worship? Why do I always have to be the Inquisitor? Why can’t I just be hot? Or cute? Or dateable? And not be judged for things like footie pajamas? Yes, I heard you all. I love my Halla. I miss my Halla. So sue me.
COLE: I like your Halla. They make me smile.
LELIANA: It’s honorary. Everyone still wants to date you, sweet one.
LAVELLAN: Thank you, Leli. Sorry I said you were scary.
LELIANA: I quite understood, my lady. And I won’t make you pay for it later in any way, either.
SERA: You’re in for it now, mate. Glad I’m not you.
LELIANA: No, no, it’s all fine.
VIVIENNE: Well. Not everyone wants to date you, darling. While I find you surprisingly charming, when sober, I do have standards to maintain.
SERA: Speaking of scary, heh?
LAVELLAN: Leliana, don’t give up. You don’t have to shut the world out. You don’t. You don’t have to kill what’s best in yourself to succeed. You can protect us all and still be alive inside.
DORIAN: Well that’s not awkward. Dear me, look at the time.
COLE: She sounds like me!
THE IRON BULL: It’s the booze. Stage five.
LELIANA: Hush, Inquisitor. I’m fine.
LAVELLAN: You just need to hug a nug. Promish me you’ll hug a nug.
SERA: Dirty!
LELIANA: I will. The moment I get back.
LAVELLAN: Schmooples! You love that nug. You need that nug.
LELIANA: I know. Bull, please get her home.
LAVELLAN: Aw. Here I go. Back to my beautiful stupid lonely Inquisitor’s Quarters! Where nobody ever goes but me! Hey, Krem, what's your number?
KREM: Ah, right. Well. Uh.
LAVELLAN: You're so sweet. And handsome. I always thought you were handsome. You’d stand on the chair when I came in here and I thought it was so sweet. You wouldn't tell me I was beautiful then dump me, right? You wouldn’t mind if I had dung in my hair?
KREM: (blushing) Uh... no. I can’t say I would ever have a problem with that, Your Worship.
THE IRON BULL: I can certainly attest to the fact that the Chargers aren’t put off by a little dung.
LAVELLAN: Okay, we'll talk later. When I'm smober.
DORIAN: That sounds like a plan, sweetcakes. You go to bed and smober up. You’ll feel better tomorrow.
THE IRON BULL: Actually, she won’t feel better tomorrow. She’ll wake up with a headache that feels like a repeated blow by a two-handed Avvar ax to the skull. Her mouth will be a dead, scorched and barren desert.
LAVELLAN: My HEART is a scorched and barren desert!
CASSANDRA: What she said!
VARRIC: She’s so much more interesting this way. Remind me to go drinking with her more often.
THE IRON BULL: We need to take precautions. Tomorrow’s aftermath will be grim. She’ll feel like she was force-fed ten gallons of top-grade Qunari poison and will immediately and fervently wish she was dead. And that’s just the first five minutes. It’ll get worse from there.
DORIAN: Worse?
THE IRON BULL: There will probably be vomiting.
DORIAN: Yes, yes, amatus, but at least it will distract her from the heartache.
LAVELLAN: No! I refuse. Elves do not vomit. There will be no vomiting. I draw the line at vomiting.
VIVIENNE: But not at drooling, apparently. Close your mouth, dear.
LAVELLAN: Oh, gods above! Sorry! I can’t feel it. Is it shut now?
THE IRON BULL: Ah. We need to get her somewhere else. Stage five is… it’s not pretty.
LAVELLAN: This is amazing. My whole face is numb. (She slaps herself) See? Nothing. I feel nothing. This is great! Somebody slap me.
SERA: I’ll slap you!
CASSANDRA: Do not slap the Inquisitor.

Sera slaps the Inquisitor, who beams at everyone, utterly unfazed.

SERA: Ew, now I wish I could take it back. She didn’t even flinch.
LAVELLAN: I know! This is great! I felt nothing! We should all drink Maraas-Lok before battle! We’d be unstoppable!
LELIANA: Bull, don’t worry. I’ll have some potions sent over to help her recuperate. They’re good. She’ll be fine.
THE IRON BULL: On three? Okay, here we go. One-two-THREE--!

Bull slings Lavellan easily over his shoulder and heads for the door with Dorian beside them. Lavellan happily waves at them all upside-down.

LAVELLAN (sighing): Ah, well. I should go. Good night everyone! I love you all. Except Elfy Staffy McStinkface. Na din'an sahlin, asshole!

Bull heads for the door but Lavellan shrieks.

DORIAN: What, my lovely?
LAVELLAN: Hold my hand.
DORIAN: Okay, sweetness.
LAVELLAN: And tell Bull to carry me right-side-up. I feel sick.
THE IRON BULL (hastily adjusting her upright): Uh-oh.
LAVELLAN: That's better.
DORIAN: Crisis averted.

Lavellan starts singing the CHARGERS SONG as they head out, Leliana slipping out quietly behind them as well and back into the shadows. As they do so, the rest of the gang looks at one another solemnly.

VARRIC: It’s bad luck to even see a thing like that.
VIVIENNE: No dignity at all. Poor dear. But so entertaining!
SERA: I know, right?
CASSANDRA: Kisses in the Fade. It figures. It would be very difficult to withstand that, I think.
COLE: She was lonely. New to places of stone. So afraid of saying the wrong thing. Doing the wrong thing. She knew no one. Wounded, alone, abandoned, aching. She began the journey in chains, but was then raised up on high before the mud was dry, nobody saying the obvious thing, that ‘how strange it was that our savior was an elf…’
VARRIC: Of course. Now that you mention it… Solas was an obvious refuge.
COLE: And she for him.
CASSANDRA: Well, when you put it that way, I now wonder that she did not run to him even faster. My poor friend. And yet she has come through so much, so admirably.
SERA: She’s always so calm. Yeah? Wish she’d said something and let us see it.
CASSANDRA: It is for us to see now. Because we are more than friends, we are a family of sorts. So if we must protect her from herself, so be it.
SERA: Right-oh.
VARRIC: This is why romances are a bad idea in times like these. If inevitable.
CASSANDRA: Varric, you must promise me the next thing you write will have a happy ending.
COLE: She thinks it’s her. But it’s not her, it’s him. She can’t see it.
CASSANDRA: Cole, the secret of the world is that it does not matter. Even if it is him, not her… don’t you see how painful it is, even so?
VARRIC: Then why’d he do it, Cole? I’ve seen the way he looks at her.
CASSANDRA: Do you know?
COLE: First there was just the grief -- and she was the one bright and beautiful thing in a nightmare, real and radiant and rare. But he began to wake up and the world was bright and blazing and beautiful too. He began to care. Not just for her, for everything. For us. But now he’s scared. She makes him feel too much, distracts him from his path. So do we. Now his face is behind a wall and he coldly calls her ‘Inquisitor’ and they both die inside a little more each time. But he will not remove the wall again. She is outside. We are outside. Where he needs us to remain.
CASSANDRA: Bastard. Fucking bastard. That’s love for you.
SERA: I think I need more lizards for a certain shitehead somebody’s bed.
VIVIENNE: Snakes, darling. Snakes. With a few creative touches.
VARRIC: I can't believe she had a crush on me and I blew it. That effing crossbow.
VIVIENNE: Well, yes. Although evidently, poor darling, she is not exactly discriminating. She had a crush on every one of us at some point, it seems. Scandalous!
BLACKWALL: Except me.
COLE: She liked your beard. And she liked you too, Vivienne. Sometimes she wanted to say to you, "Do you think we might...?" And yet she was too shy to say it.
VIVIENNE: But of course she did, darling. That’s not news. Everyone does.
SERA (giggling): You wish.

Distantly we hear the Inquisitor drunkenly singing the Chargers song, followed by a WHOOSHING sound.

CASSANDRA: Oh, dear.
BLACKWALL: I think the fireballs have started.
VARRIC: I wonder if she caught Solas out for his evening walk?

DORIAN (distantly, as Bull roars a laugh): No! Let me get out of the way first! Not the hair!

Sera leaps up and heads excitedly for the door.

SERA: Fantastic! I wouldn’t want to be Mr. Shitstaff Elfypants right now for anything in this sodding world.
CASSANDRA: Wait, where are you going?
SERA: To watch!
CASSANDRA: Wait for us!
VIVIENNE: Sera, dear, at last we’ve found something to agree upon. I would like nothing better than to watch the Inquisitor set our quiet Elven mage’s pants on fire.
SERA: You’re all right, Viv, you. Sometimes. Now. Maybe never again. But now. Yeah.
VIVIENNE: Thank you, my dear.
VARRIC: Let’s go. Cassie, bring the mead.
VIVIENNE: Yes, please do, darling. We’ll need some refreshment for the show.

The group rushes out as the distant sounds of WHOOSHING and YELLING continue. A few screams can also now be heard. COLE sits undecided on his table for a moment, thinking.

COLE (to himself): Love. I’ll never understand it. Hearts so easy to tear or tangle. Words confusing, so easy to heal or harm or hide. But sometimes, I almost I wish I did. Even if it hurts. Better to live in the world and hurt, than to dream safe but all alone in the Fade.

He follows them out the door. Cabot shrugs and serves another drink as Maryden launches into “Oh, Grey Warden.” The night is quiet, except for the occasional screams from outside.

CULLEN ENTERS from upstairs.

CULLEN: Hi, barkeep. It’s quiet in here. Did I miss anything?
CABOT: Not much. What can I get you?
CULLEN: Whatever’s on tap.
CABOT: It’s that kind of night.
CULLEN: Nothing ever happens when I’m around. Why do you think that is?
CABOT: You simply have all the luck, Commander.
CULLEN: It’s a good night. Just... so still. Boring, almost.
CABOT: Of course.
CULLEN: Another round, please, on a quiet night.
CABOT: Certainly. As you wish.