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Meat and Sarcasm Gal XD
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Tue May 12, 2015, 5:01 AM

Hey guys, I'm sorry, but I had some family stuff come up this week, so I didn't have a chance to finish this week's chapter. It wasn't anything bad; just time consuming. I had to drive my sisters around to friends' houses etc because Mom and Dad were both at work, and the Geek Sis drives a 1988 pickup truck none of us trust on roads with speed limits above 45 mph. XDD

Also, anybody know how to fix DAI not recognizing manual save files? When I start the game, 'continue' is greyed out. I can quick save, and it still auto saves, and both of those options work fine. But if I make a manual save and exit the game, it's gone when I come back in. This is just since update 7, so I'm wondering if that changed a setting or messed something up... :shrug:

  • Reading: Deluge ~Lisa T. Bergren
  • Watching: Stargate: Atlantis
  • Playing: Pillars of Eternity(is harrrd)
  • Drinking: coffee


15. Best Friends

Tarin is, of course, overjoyed that I've changed my mind. He readily agrees to my conditions; Declan and Jowan watching, time limit before we wake him up, and if it seems to be getting too dangerous, they'll stop him immediately. Sable already has enough trouble with her nightmares, we don't need to make them worse or add a possessed best friend for her to feel guilty about.

"Not that I lack confidence in your abilities or anything," I assure him. "I just know how tricky and powerful demons can be."

"I understand, Commander." He's practically bouncing he's excited.

"Tarin." I wait until he looks at me. "Good luck, and be careful."

"I will," he nods, expression solemn but eyes shining. He doesn't care how dangerous this is, I realize as I watch him leave. He doesn't care about the risks that are inherently higher with Dreamer abilities just by nature of what they are. He just cares that he can help Sable, or at least try this one last thing.

Maker above, I hope the risk is worth it.


Between the two of them, Declan and Jowan come up with a very thorough list of signs something's gone wrong, the things that could go wrong, and how to deal with those things should the worst happen. Tarin agrees with everything on their list, from complications through solutions. He looks a little nervous as the reality of what might happen sets in, but still is determined to help.

"We've been best friends for almost a decade, Commander. I'm not going to give up helping her out of fear of what might happen to me."

I smile at that. "She's lucky to have you."

"The luck goes both ways," he corrects me softly. "She's helped me before, too."

"One question for you," I begin as we head down the hallway. "Does she know you're doing this? Or are you just gonna show up in her dreams and somehow convince her you're real?"

"We've talked about it as a last resort option," Tarin replies. "But as far as telling her specifically that you said yes, or even were thinking about it? No, I haven't. I know Sable, Commander. She'll tell me not to risk it just because she's having some bad dreams. Never mind that these dreams are bad enough she she wakes up screaming, never mind that I'm sincerely beginning to worry about a demon taking advantage of her, never mind any of the danger she's in. She's more worried about me." He gives a small, soft laugh. "But I guess that comes with being best friends; I worry about her more than myself, and she worries more about me."

"That is usually the way of it," I agree, opening a door and letting him enter first. "I'm like that with all my best friends."

"You have more than one?" Tarin laughs.

"Yep. Even if we leave aside that Jowan was a 'best friend' before we realized we loved each other, I can't label a 'best' between Zev, Sig, and Nate," I shrug sheepishly. "I'd go to the same lengths for all three, I tease all three equally, and they tease me back. Nathaniel may be more subtle and 'choose your battles' about it than Sig, and Zev may be half a world away right now, but all of them could qualify as my best friend so I refuse to pick a favorite."

"And that wouldn't have anything to do with the fact two of them are trained assassins, would it?" Jowan teases from the corner of the room.

"Oh, absolutely nothing," I deadpan. "You all set?"

He nods. "Declan will be here here any minute with Sable."

Tarin frowns. "You're bringing her in here?"

"Yes." Jowan runs his fingers through his hair as he explains, "It'll be easier to watch for clues things are going wrong if you're both  in the same room. Less spreading ourselves thin and eliminates  the need for a go-between running back and forth to check on things." He raises an eyebrow as it dawns on him. "You haven't told her you're doing this."

"She'd be... less than receptive to me taking such a risk for her. Especially springing it on her like I'm going to have to do now."

"Better she knows it's you and not some demon come after her, though, aye?" Declan poins out as he enters the room, Sable following close behind him.

She shoots Tarin a questioning look.

"The Commander said I could, you know, Dream. To help you," he says, hands fiddling with his robes in nervous anticipation of her reaction.

Sable makes a few rapid, almost angry, gestures and Tarin sighs.

"I know the risks," he replies. "I just happen to think you're worth facing them."

She half-smiles, brushes hair out of her eyes, and nods her thanks, then makes one last questioning gesture with her hands.

"Yes, I'm sure," Tarin promises, before glancing at Declan and Jowan. "Let's do this. Before somebody tries to change my mind." He pokes Sable in the ribs and shoots her a teasing smile. 

She just rolls her eyes and very deliberately kicks off her shoes. She climbs into one of the room's beds and snuggles in under the covers. Now all we can do is wait.


Once Sable is asleep, Tarin settles on the bed next to hers. "Wish me luck," he says, and I pretend not to notice the flicker of doubt that dashes briefly trough his eyes.

"You won't need it," I assure him. "Just stay wary, and focused on helping Sable, and you'll be fine." I still can't help but wish, as he lays back and closes his eyes, that we knew more about Dreamers. Aside from legends of Tevinter somniari slaying enemies through their dreams alone, and warnings of how bad a Dreamer abomination would be, there's not  much to be found on the ability. Which means Tarin's been forced to learn through  trial and error what he can and can't do. Being the cautious soul that he is, this little adventure is the farthest he's ever pushed, to my knowledge. That's the main reason I was so reluctant to let him do this; we have no idea what's going to happen. No previous experience to draw on, no inkling of what he'll find or will have to do to accomplish his goal. It's nerve-wracking. I plunk down next to Jowan, my hands unconsciously twisting together with the nerves until he reaches over and links his fingers between mine, holding my hand still and gently rubbing circles on the back with his thumb.

I shoot him a grateful smile. "I hope I made the right call."

"You did," he assures me, eyes fixed on Tarin's face to watch for a sign something's gone wrong. I squeeze his hand, grateful for this hint he trusts his own judgment again. After Melita's betrayal, his self doubt was back in spades. But he seems to have regained his confidence.

"Wonder what he'll find..." I murmur.

"My hope is for somethin' easy tae chase off," Declan chips in. "A lone despair demon at worst, but ideally just old, bad memories that he can seal off."

"That would be ideal," I agree. "Easy fix, minimal danger for them both, and then she'll never have trouble again."

The words have barely left my mouth when Sable whimpers, Tarin flinches, and a sinking feeling in my gut chides that it's never, ever that easy.
Acceptance ch 15
Sorry this is a tad shorter than usual. I'm thinking about doing the next chapter from Tarin's POV, interspersed with Rahna, and it made sense to cut here in that case. A note about Sable; yes, she is essentially mute. The how of that--and why I say 'essentially'--may come up in future chapters, so I don't want to spoil it in an A/N. You'll see. :plotting:

Acceptance ch 1

Acceptance ch14
Jowan, Nathaniel, and Dragon Age in general belong to BioWare

Rahna, Tarin, Sable, and Declan are mine
14. Pay Up

Fortunately for me, a more immediate--not to mention immeasurably more light-hearted--matter presents itself as soon as Jowan and I walk inside. Namely, all the sleepyhead returnees are awake. Nathaniel, Sigrun, and Declan sit gathered around a table, half eaten late breakfast scattered before them.

Sigrun catches sight of us and waves. "Hey, boss, c'mere!"

It takes everything in me not to grin knowingly as we join them. "What's up, Sig?"

"Nate says he has news that he only wants to share once. Meaning, tell all of us at the same time, I guess. So he refused to breathe a word 'til we had you guys. I was just gettin' ready to go look for ya, cuz the suspense is killin' me."

"Well, that would be bad," I tease, sliding into a seat.

"That's what I said," Declan laughs. "Though no' gettin' pranked anymore would be a nice change a' pace."

Sigrun elbows him in the ribs. "I'd miss you, too, Pretty Boy. Now, Nate, Commander an' Jowan are here, so spill. What's your news?"

Nathaniel blows out a breath and sets the ring box in the middle of the table. It's fairly obvious what it is, so every pair of eyes locks on the archer. Except mine. I already know what he's going to say, so my gaze is on Sigrun.

"Finally gonna pop the question?" the dwarf teases, reaching out and snatching the ornate box off the table. "So how fancy did you-" She stops abruptly upon swinging the lid open. "Y'know, Nathaniel, I may be a tad rusty on human customs, but I could swear when you propose you're supposed to have an... actual... ring...." She looks up at the smirking archer and slides the box across the table at him. "You nug-humping ass, you asked her already, didn't you?"

Nathaniel chuckles as he reclaims the box. "I did."

"And since there's not a ring in there, I'm assumin' she said yes?"

"She did."

Sigrun snorts in disbelief, eyes round as saucers. "Then what in the Stone are you doin' back here? Why aren't you with Vi?"

He grins, spinning the box in slow, lazy circles on the table. "I did have some time with her. But I am a Warden, and I belong here." His grin widens. "Also, how was I supposed to pass up seeing the look on your face?"

She sputters indignantly for a moment as the others congratulate Nathaniel, then catches sight of the smirk I'm trying to rein in. "You knew?!"

"Only since this morning," I shrug. "You know I'm an early riser. I caught his as he came back and asked how things went in the city. It's been almost a form of torture, not letting it slip, but it was Nate's news, and I'm incredibly stubborn, so I just willed myself to keep my mouth shut."

"Bet that was hard," Jowan whispers teasingly in my ear, and I fake-glower and smack the back of his head. "Ow!"

I smile sweetly at him and turn back to Sigrun. I finally, finally get to be the one to say it. "Hey, Sig? Pay up."

Her expression warns that I will likely face prank-style consequences for my glee, but I don't even care. It's worth it.


The rest of my day is actually rather profoundly boring. Paperwork, paperwork, narrowly avoiding the first of many revenge-pranks, paperwork. However, boring as it may be, it is mentally exhausting, so by the time I go to bed, I'm too tired to do more than curl up next to Jowan and fall asleep.

The next day is... routine. However, it's not boring, because my Wardens all decide today's a good day to practice against each other. So I get to watch Jerin attempt to best Nate at archery, fail again, and salve his wounded pride by beating Oghren and Arrik in two on one combat. Then, as if that wasn't present enough, Sigrun and Declan go next, which basically means a match full of near misses and snarky insults bandied back and forth as they fight to a draw. The amount of trash talk between the two of them is glorious, and by the time they exit the training yard, my sides ache from laughing.

Oghren pops back in, his expression stormy.

"You ready for another fight already?" I ask, surprised.

"Commander, I'm always ready for a fight," he growls. "'Sides, I'm not stoppin' when some floofy woodland princess beat me."

"Need a win t' be able to sleep tonight?" I grin, watching Jerin smirk and bow.


The fire in his eyes makes me feel sorry for the unlucky bastard--Vhiané, in other words--who has to fight him like this. Sure enough, the fight's not a long one, and ends with Vhiané on his back, an axe haft resting along his collarbone. The former chevalier is good-natured about his loss, laughing as he climbs back to his feet. Some of the guardsmen are eagerly awaiting their turns, and a pair of them are climbing in through the fence even as Oghren and Vhiané leave.

"So, what's next for you today, Commander?" Vhiané asked, breathing hard. "Now that you've watched us knock the stuffings out of each other for an hour or so?"

"Oh, there's probably more paperwork magically appeared on my desk," I laugh ruefully. "And I have a few... hard calls to ponder."

"Meaning you'll be vanishing to somewhere only Jowan can find for a couple hours?" the blond chuckles, rolling his shoulders.

"Something like that, yes," I reply with a nod. "But first, the paperwork."

Vhiané gives me a sympathetic smile. "Best of luck with that."

"Thanks, I'll need it," I joke as we head our separate ways.


Sure enough, there's more paperwork on the desk when I walk into my office. Part of me wonders where all it comes from, but this is the only Warden garrison for the entirety of Ferelden. People as far flung as Honnleath or Gwaren are still going to be sending news of potential darkspawn sightings or related troubles here.

With no real reason or excuse to put this off, I settle in slouching down in my chair to get comfortable, and reach for the first letter in the pile.

It, like most of the ones that follow, is simply a farmer who spotted a patch of forest land that looked Blighted. Or found a carcass of some animal with traces of the Blight. The biggest problem with these sorts of letters is knowing which ones are a present enough threat they require a Warden to investigate further and which are simple cases I can just write back for local militia to burn it out.

There's one or two letters from Weisshaupt, which I'm fairly sure are either requests for updates or notifying me of some change the First Warden wants to make to my garrison. Honestly, we're humming along like a well-greased cart wheel, I may wring his neck myself if he's 'rearranging' and tries to shift any of my Wardens away from the Vigil. Of course, I'm more personally attached to some than others, but we have our teams worked out, and everyone gets along for the most part. It's a good set up, and a good crew, and I'm not letting it break up. Not for anything.

Fortunately for me and my stubborn streak, my first guess is right; the first letter is simply a request for a report on the state of Ferelden now that we're roughly two years past the Blight. The second is a clarification of the territory I'm responsible for--all of Ferelden, including Orzammar, should the dwarves ever feel the need or desire to bring something to our attention. I'm okay with this.

To my surprise, one of the letters on the bottom is actually addressed to Jowan. Whoever sorted this batch of letters probably saw the griffon seal and didn't even bother to check who it was addressed to. I smile to myself, because I recognize the slender, careful script handwriting and know getting this letter will make his day. Needing a break from paperwork anyway, I push away and up from my desk, tucking the letter in my pocket as I head off in search of my mage.


I finally find him in the infirmary, staring at the wall like he's bored out of his mind. He brightens noticeably when I walk through the door.

"Hey, Rahna. Come to make my day more exciting? 'Cause so far, the most interesting thing that's happened is Declan coming by for help getting his shoulder back in the socket," he chuckles ruefully.

Knew I heard something pop. I keep the thought to myself. "Yeah, but probably not the way you're expecting." I hand over the letter, and amend, "unless you were expecting a letter from Miri."

Jowan's eyebrows rise as he accepts the tri-folded parchment. "No. She doesn't write that often. Kind of like you with your family," he teases as he breaks the seal.

I stick my tongue out at him. "Between what counts as 'Grey Warden secrets' and how busy all of them are, there isn't much point."

"Sure, sure, make your excuses."

I roll my eyes but smile at his teasing. "If you need me, I'll be in one of my spots, deliberating some of the harder choices on my plate."

Jowan nods, knowing exactly which one I mean, and turns his attention to Miri's letter.

When he tracks me down several hours later, I have at least managed to make a decision. "Tarin can help Sable."
Acceptance ch14
I gotta say, I'm both looking forward to playing with Tarin's Dreamer abilities and mildly terrified, because I don't want to screw up, lore-wise. But we'll see what happens with that next week. OR maybe the following week... depending on what the characters give me for the upcoming chapters.

Acceptance ch 1

Acceptance ch 13

Acceptance ch 15
Nathaniel, Sigrun, Jowan and Dragon Age in general belong to BioWare

Rahna, Vhian
é, Tarin, Sable, Declan, and Arrik are mine



Tue May 12, 2015, 5:01 AM

Hey guys, I'm sorry, but I had some family stuff come up this week, so I didn't have a chance to finish this week's chapter. It wasn't anything bad; just time consuming. I had to drive my sisters around to friends' houses etc because Mom and Dad were both at work, and the Geek Sis drives a 1988 pickup truck none of us trust on roads with speed limits above 45 mph. XDD

Also, anybody know how to fix DAI not recognizing manual save files? When I start the game, 'continue' is greyed out. I can quick save, and it still auto saves, and both of those options work fine. But if I make a manual save and exit the game, it's gone when I come back in. This is just since update 7, so I'm wondering if that changed a setting or messed something up... :shrug:

  • Reading: Deluge ~Lisa T. Bergren
  • Watching: Stargate: Atlantis
  • Playing: Pillars of Eternity(is harrrd)
  • Drinking: coffee
Trinne charged into the fight with no real plan beyond kill darkspawn and hoping the others followed. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Leliana pause ever so briefly, hands faltering as she nocked an arrow.

Alistair showed no such hesitation, barreling past the mage as she conjured a lightning spell. He rammed hard into the heavily armored hurlock leader, lowering his shoulder at the last second to put extra force behind his shield as he struck.

With a flick of her wrist, Morrigan froze the nearest genlock archer, and Sten's sword connected hard enough to shatter it into a thousand crystallized shards. Cousland darted through the newly created gap, heading for one of the darkspawn who lurked further back. The rest of the monsters were dispatched easily enough. The six of them were working better as a team than Trinne had dared hope. The pair of mabari and nearly even numbers to their foe helped, sure, but they were still shaping into a good team.

As Leliana and Cousland turned their attention to seeing if the darkspawn carried anything they could use, Trinne turned hers to the pair of dwarves they'd just rescued.

The older of the two introduced himself as Bodahn and the other as his son, Sandal. "Mighty timely arrival, my friend. We're much obliged."

"Not a problem," Trinne replied with a smile. "I'm always happy to kill darkspawn."

Bodahn chuckled. "I can see that. I don't suppose there's any chance we might be traveling in the same direction?"

"You do not want to travel with us, dwarf," Morrigan interjected dryly. "On that, you have my word."

He glanced back at Trinne, eyebrow raised in an unspoken question.

She sighed, rolled her eyes. "Me an' these two--" one hand waved in the general direction of Alistair and Cousland-- "are Grey Wardens. Fighting darkspawn's a major part of our job description."

"I see..." Bodahn looked over at his son and pursed his lips. "Then perhaps it's better if we go our own way. No offense taken, I hope?"

"Oh, no, none at all," Trinne assured him. "Stay safe."

"We shall do our best, Warden." With a last nod of thanks, Bodahn turned his attention to cleaning up the supplies that had tumbled from his cart.

"Got everything?" Trinne asked the rogues, receiving a pair of nods in return.

"Everything we might use," Leliana clarified. "There wasn't much, I'm afraid."

"Every little bit helps," the mage shrugged. "Let's go. We can still make some good progress today before we lose the light."

"Progress to where?" Alistair piped up. "We still haven't figured out where we're going first."

Trinne gnawed at her chapped lower lip for a minute, debating the merits of the choice she wanted to make. Oh, sod it. Let's get it over with... "The Circle. That should be quick. An' then we'll go talk to this arl of yours." This would be best. They'd walk in, flash the treaty, and be out plus one ally before Greagoir could do much growling about seeing her again.

She gave a deliberate nod. "Yeah. We're going to the Circle first."

"And that's where D... Where you were recruited, isn't it?" Alistair commented, covering his verbal stumble with a cough. "You doing the asking should make it easier for them to swallow, right?"

Oh, sure, Pretty Boy. The Knight-Commander is going to be thrilled to see me... Trinne thought ruefully, not wanting to dwell on That Series of Events. But all she said was, "We can only hope."

The less they knew about That, the less they'd pry. And Maker knew it was the last thing she wanted to talk about.


It was amazing how quickly the little details could slip your mind. For instance, she managed to completely forget how long the road to Lake Calenhad would be. She'd had wildly optimistic estimates of making it at least halfway before they stopped for the night.

A hope Alistair had quashed the first time they stopped to rest, when he pulled out a tattered map to show her what road to take.

"How long d'you think it'll take us to get there?" Trinne asked, wanting to figure how the distance on the vellum translated to time estimates.

The warrior bit his lip and calculated briefly. "Rate we're traveling? Two more days. Maybe three? Depends on the weather, and if we get, um, sidetracked."

"Three more days?" Trinne glared at the map, as if doing so forcefully enough would cause the distance to shrink.

"Yeah, sorry," he shrugged apologetically. "If we'd gotten an earlier start and hurried we could maybe have shaved off half a day, but we spent more time in Lothering than I think any of us were expecting."

"But we needed supplies an'... stuff," the mage muttered, shoulders rolling almost sheepishly under the weight of her leather jerkin.

"No, I know," Alistair hastily assured her. "And I'm sure the extra help will be good. I'm just saying  the amount of time we spent in Lothering is why it might take three days to get to Lake Calenhad. Might."

"Still longer'n I was expecting." Trinne glowered as she stood and resumed walking. Two more days. Forty eight more hours for the dread coiling in her stomach to grow. Two days in which to imagine every worst case scenario that sprang to mind for meeting Greagoir and Irving again. Fantastic.

"You do realize that if you do not slow your gait, it shall be naught but the two of us against any foes we encounter." Morrigan's almost bored tone cut through the images already blossoming in Trinne's mind, and she--grudgingly--slowed her pace ever so slightly.

"Why do you care, anyway?" she asked the witch, glancing over her shoulder to see how far back the others had fallen. "I didn't think you particularly liked any of them."

"'Tis simply pragmatism," Morrigan shrugged. "Bandits prey upon the travelers of roads such as this even when monsters do not roam freely. Do you imagine 'twill be any better with things so desperate? We make a far more dangerous--and thus less favorable--target if we keep together."

"Ah, so it's not that you're warming to us or anything," Trinne teased, half-smile pulling at her lips.

"Perhaps I would warm faster were there less idle chatter involved." The witch raised an eyebrow pointedly at the Circle mage. "'Tis one thing in the noble's favor that he knows how to keep his mouth shut."

"What, Cousland?" Trinne rolled her eyes. "Yeah, he's so good at it, sometimes I forget he does actually speak."

A short, hard exhalation that might have been almost a laugh sounded from Morrigan. "Better that than the opposite, as your other fellow Warden so aptly demonstrates."

"You mean you don't like Alistair?" Trinne giggled in mock  surprise. "And here I was think the two of you would be such good friends."

The witch snorted. "I would rather befriend a rabid wolf."

"I can hear you, you know," Alistair commented dryly as the other four caught up with the mages. "And did you never hear that gossiping is impolite?"

"So is eavesdropping," Trinne shot back, smirking.

He tilted his head in a silent concession of that point. "But is it really eavesdropping when you talk loud enough we can't help overhearing?"

She pursed her lips in thought, raking one hand through her hair. "Mmm, yes. 'Cause if you two would try to make friends y'wouldn't've been bored enough to 'overhear' us."

"That doesn't even make sense," Alistair protested.

The mage shrugged. "So? Who says it has to make sense? Shoo, lemme talk to Morrigan in peace."

"Ah, so the interrogation continues," Morrigan commented archly as the warrior dropped back a few paces, still muttering under his breath.

"Yep. Though it's not really an interrogation," Trinne said. "I'm not after your darkest secrets. I just wanna talk."

"'Tis much the same thing, but as you wish," Morrigan shrugged.

The Circle mage fell silent for a moment, trying to decide what to ask the other woman.  "So... did you grow up in the Wilds?"

The Witch snorted. "What is the point of such a question? I do not probe you for pointless trivia, do I?"

It was Trinne's turn to shrug. "Y'could if you wanted to. I'm just curious, what's wrong with that?"

"Any number of cats could inform you of the answer to that question," Morrigan returned tartly. "But have it your way. If I 'grew up' in the Wilds 'tis indeed an odd question. Did you picture me elsewhere?"

"There are stories of the Witch of the Wilds dragging off children in the night," Trinne commented.

"Chasind legends," Morrigan scoffed. "I am truly Flemeth's daughter. For many years, in fact, 'twas just the two of us. The Wilds and its creatures were more real to me than the tales she told about the world of men. Eventually I did grow curious. I left the Wilds to explore beyond its borders. Never for long, of course. Brief forays into the 'civilized' world." Her voice dripped sarcasm off the words.

"And no one noticed you?" Trinne raised a skeptical eyebrow, glancing at the Witch's revealing attire. It was the sort of thing that would stand out.

"For the most part. Flemeth taught me well." Morrigan tilted her chin up in subtle pride.

"Still, that was daring. Sounds like you."

The witch laughed. "Equal parts daring and foolhardy, perhaps. Only once was I accused of being a Witch of the Wilds. A Chasind man traveling with a caravan of merchants. He pointed and gasped, and began shouting in his strange language. Most assumed he was casting a curse of some kind on me." She smirked. "I played the terrified girl, and naturally he was arrested."

"Quick thinking," Trinne muttered, not sure whether to be impressed or perturbed.

"Men are always willing to believe two things about a woman. First, that she is weak, and second, that she finds him attractive. I played the damsel and batted my lashes at the captain of the guard. Child's play," Morrigan snorted. "Still, there was much about human lands that puzzles me. Such as all the touching. So much touching for a simple greeting."

"What, you mean like a handshake?" Trinne looked askance at her companion.

"To begin with, yes," the witch scowled. "What is the point of touching my hand? I find it an offensive intrusion. This and countless other things vex me still. When last I returned to the Wilds, I swore to Flemeth I would never leave again."

Trinne laughed a little at that. "And yet here you are."

"Yes. Here I am," Morrigan repeated quietly, with a small sigh. "Well, let us continue on, before the earth opens and swallows us, shall we?"

"Suit yourself," the Circle mage shrugged, catching the hint Morrigan was done talking, for now, at least.


They did manage to make a fair bit more progress before reaching a spot Alistair--with Morrigan's reluctant agreement--deemed fitting to set up camp. Still, when Trinne asked him once more how long to Lake Calenhad, desperately hoping the estimate had changed, the warrior gave an apologetic smile as he confirmed it hadn't.

"Why're you in such a hurry to get there, anyway?" he asked idly, leaning his sword and shield against a rock to help with setting up camp.

Trinne mentally chewed herself out for being too eager as she shrugged and offered a teasing grin. "Just miss home sweet home."

Alistair eyes her skeptically. "You sure? Because earlier you were making it sound like this was going to be a quick visit. Like you wanted it to be over with." He raised an eyebrow. "Are you hiding something from us?"

The mage rolled her eyes.  "What, are you some sort of expert on hiding things from people?"

He opened his mouth to retort, shut it again, shook his head slightly. "You're just being really touchy. Makes a man curious," he drawled.

"Oh, go away," Trinne huffed in exasperation, cracking a smile as she swatted his shoulder. "Go bother Leliana or Sten or somebody."

"Hey, you're the one who asked a question," he reminded her playfully. "Not my fault you're acting suspicious." He waggled his eyebrows.

She actually laughed at that. "Oh, so I'm suspicious now, am I?"

"Yes. Horribly," Alistair deadpanned. "I feel an overwhelming need to keep an eye on you..."

Trinne shook her head, chuckling as she pushed a bundle of canvas and pegs into his hands. "Go set up a tent, pretty boy. Or you're the one who gets to sleep with the mabari outside tonight."

The warrior offered a mock salute, nearly dropping the rolled up tent in the process. "Yes ser, fearless leader, ser."

She couldn't resist grinning and rolling her eyes as she watched him walk away. You re definitely nothing like the other templars I've met...


Despite his resolve to keep his head above water and keep busy with tangible goals, Harvey found nights most trying. You could easily divide the day up into a string of organized activities--finding your way through the wilderness, staying off popular routes, avoiding trouble, setting up camp or roasting a wild chewy goat hunted down in the aforementioned wilds--all throughout the day he could manage, right until the night slowed down the world again. Even as he was keeping watch, sitting with the templar by the bonfire, intrusive thoughts kept buzzing like a swarm of angry bees, leaving him in the foulest of moods.

Alistair must have been trying to get his attention for a while, because by the time Harvey looked away from the flames, the templar's face carried a hint of resignation, as if he was sorry for trying to ask anything.

The rogue titled his head, more distracted than apologetic, but for his companion it must have looked like a sign of encouragement.

"I was asking," the warrior carefully articulated every word. "Do you know why our leader is so skittish about going back to Kinloch Hold?"

You like her, don't you? Harvey felt a wave of irritation. It wasn't any of his business, but the fact the man managed to find something shielding him from his grief, while he himself was left to his own devices during their journey north, was finally taking its toll. He almost said it out loud. 

"I wasn't in the Circle while she was being recruited, so I wouldn't know.” There, a nice short answer, and an honest one. Seeing as they both were stepping on each other's toes since day one, the mage didn't go to the trouble of sharing her story, and as a result Harvey barely knew anything about her. Plus, he was preoccupied with other was she. The rogue thought if he should mention Alistair was at least the second man to whom she'd offered special attention in the last few weeks. He wasn't blind. But no, that was probably out of line... and he wanted the warrior to shut up, not question him further.

"You've said it yourself,” Harvey poked burning logs with a stick, "the Wardens aren't above conscripting people of...questionable circumstances.” He wished that would be enough for the warrior to drop the subject. He had other things on his mind than dwelling on origins of one Trinne Amell. 

"That's...true." Alistair's impression of a kicked puppy made him regret letting out even that bit of spite. For all the, well, developing crush, as Harvey saw it, templar's thoughts apparently didn't avoid that particular path either. Irritation moved over to give shame some space. The rogue bit his tongue.

And I don't even think that way, I'm just sharing my misery. 

"Look," he followed up with a sigh, "or she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” I know I was. Even if she was keeping secrets, how bad could it be? Did she magic someone by accident? She definitely had a light hand when it came to throwing deadly blasts around–-Harvey unconsciously nursed his shoulder--but the mage didn't seem the hardened criminal type, as annoying as she sometimes was.

"Doesn't really matter now,” he finally added, trying to defuse his own words. A noble, a templar, two mages, a wanted criminal and a surely insane chantry sister, they were a traveling carnival troupe either way. All things considered, he didn't do half bad while drawing the lots for the watch roster. Amell got Sten as her 'company' during the next shift, good luck with that.

"But aren't you curious about her at all? She's clearly avoiding the subject. I really wonder what made Duncan recruit her."

It was like watching someone shoot themselves in the foot.

The mind is tricky like that, the rogue sympathized, you can try and protect yourself, direct your attention elsewhere, but it always somehow made you stab yourself again. And again. And you can't even blame anyone, because it's your head. At the mention of his mentor, Alistair sunk into himself immediately, question about the mage dropped. Mischievous smiles and pretty eyes could only protect you so far, it seemed.

Silence made the air heavy--but not awkward, to the warrior's credit, seeing as he was finally over his crying fits-–and they just sat there for a while, listening to the various nighttime noises, searching for a false note in their surroundings. Even though Harvey doubted they would hear anything suspicious--Frida slept somewhere near undisturbed, and he trusted her senses more than he trusted his own. 

Alistair looked just...sad, and Harvey wondered if it's how people saw him as well. Some small part of him felt like he owed the templar more compassion, a few friendly words for companionship's sake. Still, most of him felt numb about the warrior's loss, his acquaintance with Duncan short-–and as much as he was grateful the man saved his life in Highever, the Warden's deed was far from an altruistic gesture.

Finally, the blond sniffed once, defeated smile crooking his lips. "Nights are the worst," he echoed Harvey's earlier thoughts.

"...yeah." the noble nodded casually.

And this could have been it, two men reaching consensus, and dropping an uncomfortable subject. But to Harvey's horror, the templar pressed on. "I'm sorry, I just wish I had more time with him," the warrior admitted, reminiscing about Duncan "...or that at least I had something to remember him by. lost your family, right? I'm sorry. I remember he said...I remember hearing about it.”

Harvey was horrified. Please don't do this, I'm not even trying to be nice to you, I don't deserve your concern. I don't want to...

talk about it.

But Alistair was clueless, or maybe he just didn't understand--after all he didn't bother hiding his grief from others, even if it earned him more than a few snarky comments from Morrigan. And at this point he shared more than enough to expect some sort of token of appreciation, a childlike notion of "you give me something, I give you something in return"... and it made Harvey feel bad about keeping quiet. It was only good manners to loose up his tongue in return.

The decision was impulsive. Maybe his common sense went to sleep--he was pretty exhausted--but keeping everything to himself wasn't helping at all so far. Trust or no trust, they fought monsters together. That had to count for at least a speck of friendship. Still, pointing at the object resting at Alistair's feet was one of the most difficult things he'd done of late, slaying darkspawn included. “I do have something to remember my parents by,” he stated in a low voice.

It took a few moments for the warrior to figure out the implications. “The sword?” He inquired, eyebrows risen. “The sword you gave me at Ostagar?” He picked up the blade and inspected it carefully in the dim light.

Harvey could easily picture what he was seeing. An old blade, far more clunky than those used nowadays, but still indisputably well balanced, the laurel pattern adorning the hilt faded almost into non-existence. He knew this sword by heart. A long, long time ago he even thought he'd get to wield it one day. 

Still, the sudden outburst took him by surprise.

“Are you completely out of your mind?! I can't take this!” The look on Alistair's horrified face showed understanding. “What if I lose it on the battlefield...What if it breaks? Don't you care about your heirloom?” He got up, handing the hilt back to its proper owner.

Or tried to.

Harvey's hand twitched and moved to take it, but then wavered and only pushed it farther away. “And what do you want me to do with it?!”, he asked, voice rising more than he intended. “Swords are meant to be used!” He met Alistair's blank gaze and grit his teeth. Do I really need to explain this to you?! “It's too heavy for me! Unwieldy!” He spat out the word, face burning. It was a mistake; he shouldn't have said anything, and definitely shouldn't have tried to explain himself to someone he barely knew.

Alistair stood, annoyingly relentless, waiting for the rogue to change his mind. 

Well, at least he didn't throw it under my feet, Harvey sighed. “Look, it's a good blade. A warrior's sword... and I am no warrior. Keep it till we find you a better one, if that makes you feel better,” he compromised dryly.

“It is a good blade,” Alistair admitted slowly, uncertain, but it seemed that at last he conceded the point. He sat back down, thoughtful, glancing between Harvey and the weapon. “I won't lose it, I promise,” he said, the solemn tone earning him a strange look from the rogue. Carefully putting the blade back in its sheath, he sent Harvey a crooked smile. “And if something happens to it...I'll tell you what-" he pondered for a second- “I will let you shave my head, completely. Hairless as a knee. What do you say?”

The idea was so ridiculous, so outlandish, that Harvey couldn't help but let out a small chuckle. And then a second one. It took him a few moments to realize that the third sound that left his throat wasn't a laugh, no, and suddenly he was biting his balled fist, finally failing to keep in what was long overdue. It came crashing down on him, Highever, his parents, the fact he was never going to see them again. That the only thing he had left was a stupid, useless symbol. His eyes burned, so he covered them with his arm. He wasn't a child anymore, and crying won't fix anything, as his father would say. He allowed himself a few choked up sobs anyway.

It took Harvey a few minutes to calm down enough to speak, his companion being the only--thankfully silent --witness to his grief. “Stupid piece of metal,” he managed, his voice coarse. “This is just a stupid piece of metal.”


She couldn't sleep. Huffing angrily, Trinne punched her pillow and rolled over again, trying to fight through the nerves and get deeper asleep than a light doze. The low murmur of Alistair and Cousland making small talk wasn't helping, even if she didn't care what they were talking about.

Tomorrow they would reach Kinloch Hold. And she would begin praying with every fiber in her being that Greagoir didn't mention the series of events that led to her joining the Wardens. She was traveling with an ex-templar for Andraste's sake. The last thing she needed was to explain the Jowan mess to Alistair. The worst part, she knew, would be that she wasn't sorry. No matter how badly his lying to her hurt, she wasn't sorry she helped him, and she never would be--blood mage or no.

Trinne groaned and dug her fingers into her hair. This was exactly the train of thought she was trying to avoid so she could maybe get some sleep. She focused on the nighttime noises instead; crickets, frogs, Dane and Frida snoring, the murmured rise and fall of her fellow Wardens' conversation. And it worked.

Though by morning, a good part of her would be wishing it hadn't.

Of Wardens and Pariahs ch22-- Remembrance
BEHOLD WE LIVE! I am so so sorry for how long it's taken for us to get out another chapter. But here we go. Finally. 

Of Wardens and Pariahs ch1--First Impressions

Of Wardens and Pariahs ch21--Please
Alistair, Morrigan and Dragon Age in general belong to BioWare

Harvey Cousland belongs to freethegoats

Trinne Amell is mine
Title: Playing to Your Strengths
Author: Fyrequeen89
Game: Dragon Age Inquisition
Characters/Pairings: f!Trevelyan/Cullen, Dorian
Disclaimer: None of the involved characters belong to me.

Dorian's first clue someone had commandeered 'his' nook in the library was the book that narrowly missed his head as he mounted the stairs. The startled mage swore as he dodged sideways, nearly colliding with the wall in his haste to avoid the literary missile. "What's that poor tome done to deserve such treatment?" he chided, collecting it from the floor as he approached. "More importantly, what have I done?"

The brunette slouched sideways in his armchair looked up and had the decency to flash a chagrined smile. "Sorry, Dorian. Didn't see you were there."

"Still doesn't tell me what grievous sin the book committed," Dorian hinted, taking in the stacks of similar volumes Ve had piled around the chair. "Or what possessed you to unshelve half of your library at once, for that matter."

"Didn't tell me what I wanted to know," she grumbled, slouching lower in the armchair. "Fifth one in a row to let me down."

"And what knowledge are you seeking to add to the vast collection lurking inside that pretty head?" He sat in the chair next to her and picked up a book to page through as he awaited her answer.

"I, um... Cullen..."

Dorian grinned. "I'm afraid Cassandra has the naughty books under lock and key. Sera kept plastering the illustrations around Skyhold whenever she was bored. If you and your commander are looking to spice up your love life you'll have to go through her."

"No, that's not-" Verena growled, looking very much like she wanted to strangle her fellow mage and best friend even as her cheeks colored above a twitchy almost-smile. She sighed, appeared to run through several things she could say before simply explaining, "Cullen's headaches are getting worse again." She ran a hand down the precarious stack of books on the end table. "I'm shit at healing spells, but I was hoping to find something in one of these that I could maybe use to help him."

"Ah." Dorian surveyed the piles once more. "How far have you gotten?"

"Those two stacks were duds, these showed promise, and these I haven't opened yet." She rubbed her forehead. "Honestly, I'm giving myself a headache, rate I'm going..."

"Well, we can't have that, can we?" Dorian prodded gently as he plucked a few of the books from one of the unread piles. "It'll go faster with two, anyway," he brushed off the protest forming in her eyes.

"Fine," Ve laughed. "But only because I find men who like to read ridiculously attractive."

"Just try to keep your hands off me, woman," he teased. "Wouldn't want a scandal."

She kicked his chair, but her mood was much improved as they resumed the search.


By the time it grew dark and they called quits, there were several more books in the 'promising' stack, Ve was nodding off over her current book, and Dorian could list several Enchanters and Sisters he wanted to strangle for being overly verbose.

"Ve." He nudged one of the legs tucked over the arm of his chair to wake her up. "Go to bed. That's the fifth time in ten minutes. You need proper sleep."

"Yes, Mother," the Inquisitor mumbled sleepily, arching like a cat and scrubbing her eyes with the heel of one hand. "Thanks for your help, Dorian."

"Don't mention it. Just get some sleep," he harped, eyes narrowing when she didn't put down her book as she stood. "Verena..."

"J'st some light bedtime reading," she said drowsily, eyes barely half open. She swayed when she started walking. "Whoa. 'Kay, yeah, bedtime..." she conceded, heading down the stairs. Dorian listened until he was sure she'd made it to the ground floor without falling before he headed off to bed himself.


She woke to a groan. Not with, to. Maker, not again... Cullen had still been in a meeting when she turned in last night--and nodded off in the middle of a fascinating dissertation on uses of creation magic--so Ve wasn't sure when, exactly, he made it up to bed, but he was there now.

Perched on the edge of the bed, his head cradled gingerly in his hands, as he softly murmured sections from the Chant.

"Cullen?" Verena rolled over and sat up, shivering a little at cool air against naked skin. "Is it a bad one?"

"No worse than usual," he managed, leaning subtly into her touch when she rested a hand on his shoulder. "I'll be fine. I just need a moment."

She could see the lie of it in the hunch of his shoulders, the tightness of his jaw. "You know, I've been doing some reading, and, um... well, there are some healing spells most scholars agree could be used for what they call 'mundane' issues. Like headaches. Most of them i'm still trying to figure out, but I think I have a couple down. I could... see what I can do, if you like."

He hesitated a moment, then nodded. "I suppose it can't hurt..."

Ve scooched closer, biting her lower lip in a mix of concentration and apprehension as she began summoning a spell. Cullen let out a small surprised noise when it started to work, leaning back against her chest as her fingers danced along his temples.

"Mmm, that does actually feel rather nice," he murmured.

She grinned, mentally fist-pumping in celebration as her hands finished the slow, massaging figure-eights against his skin. "Good." She leaned forward to kiss his forehead. "Hope it lasts a good long while."

Cullen turned and kissed her properly, one hand cupping her jaw. "As do I. Now, duty calls, for us both."

"Can we tell it to shut up and go away for five minutes?" Ve begged, only half teasing, as she rested her forehead against his.

He chuckled and stole another kiss. "Unfortunately, no. I'm already late for a meeting with Rylen. Wouldn't want to keep the poor man waiting, would we?"

"Perish the thought. We'd never hear the end of it." She reluctantly let him go. "Hopefully we'll manage to steal a moment or two before I leave."

"Hopefully," Cullen agreed with a wry smile that said he knew the odds were long, squeezing her hand one last time before he hastily finished dressing and headed off for his meeting.

Ve stretched lazily, but had to concede the fact she needed to start her day as well. Various ruffians weren't going to kill themselves, after all.


Much to their mutual shock, there was indeed a short lull in the day for them to steal a moment alone.

Much to Verena's displeasure, Cullen pinched the bridge of his nose three times on the short walk to their spot on the battlements.

"It's worn off already, hasn't it?" she demanded.
Cullen nodded reluctantly. "Shortly after the conclusion of my meeting with Rylen. But it was very helpful while it lasted." He pulled her into a hug. "Thank you."

"You're very welcome." Ve snuggled into his chest. Even if it's kinda worthless if the damn spell won't even last two hours... "I'll miss you while I'm gone. And when I get back, maybe we can try some other stuff. That'll be a tad more long term."

"Sounds good to me." Cullen rubbed her back. "Just come back and we can try as many things as you want."

Ve tipped her chin up to look at him and winked. "Deal."


And so they did. Some things worked better than others, a couple actually made Cullen's headaches worse. Ve kept a list of those to make sure she stayed away from them and anything similar in the future. Still, no matter what she did--no matter how many books she read, spells she tried, or hours she and Dorian researched--the best she ever managed to do was take the edge off for a couple hours.

"I told you I'm shit at healing spells," she complained to Dorian after yet another book's offerings proved useless in the face of Cullen's persistent headaches. "Some of these should work--and longer than they do--so I must be the problem."

"We all have our strengths," Dorian reminded her gently. "There's not much you can do about it if healing isn't one of yours."

Ve grunted in displeasure. "Doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. I just want to be able to help him, Dorian," she sighed. "He's in pain almost every minute of every day, and I want to make it stop."

They were both quiet for a long moment, Ve tracing icy patterns on the window that quickly melted, Dorian flipping absently through a book. His gaze drifted to the vanishing swirls of ice and he suddenly straightened.

"Verena, I am a genius," he declared, tugging one end of his mustache.

"And such a humble one at that," Ve returned dryly. "Why are you a genius?"

"Play to your strengths."

She frowned. "Whaddya m-"

Dorian nodded toward the window. "Play to your strengths. Whatever difficulty you may have with healing spells, it's not hard to notice your proficiency with elemental ones."

"So how, exactly, do I use that to help Cullen?"

He shrugged. "You're a smart woman, with excellent control over her ice spells. I'm sure you'll figure something out. As for me, I managed to talk the aforementioned commander into another game of chess. Wouldn't want to be late. He might use it as an excuse to go back to his paperwork."

Ve laughed. "He's just going to beat you again."

"Nonsense," Dorian tutted. "I've developed a foolproof strategy--"

"No matter how much you cheat, he's still going to win," she cut him off. "But still. Go have fun trying."

"Farewell, my dear Inquisitor." He sketched an exaggerated bow before taking his leave. Ve giggled as she watched him go, then turned her attention back to her hands. Dorian was right; there had to be a way to use the spells she was actually good at to help Cullen.


After spending a large chunk of her afternoon on trial and error, Ve was pretty sure she finally had an idea of what to do next time Cullen's headaches got bad. She didn't have to wait long, either. The very next morning, she caught Cullen massaging away a headache.

"Hey, come here," she cajoled, patting the bed next to her and watching him expectantly as he complied.

"What are you doing?" Cullen mumbled, resting his head in her lap.

"You'll see," Verena sing-songed quietly. She blew on her hands, using her breath to channel the ice magic to her hands in a way that would help rather than hurt.

"Mmmmhh..." Cullen let out a deep, contented sigh as her icy fingers rubbed circles against his forehead and temples.

They were both quiet for a long moment while her spell took effect. Ve was the one to break it, leaning forward to kiss Cullen's nose before asking, "Better?"

He just hummed a half-asleep sigh, which made her chuckle.

"I'll take that as a yes," she murmured, fingers carding absently through his hair. As she sat there listening to the deep, even breathing of the man she loved, Ve decided maybe 'taking the edge off' was good enough. For now, at least
Playing to Your Strengths
Birthday present for emedeme (that I meant to post last night because time difference, but oh well xD) Inspired by this and morning headache by emedeme. I really hope I got Ve right, I was feeling pretty confident while writing it--which is a first--so ofc now I get worried, when I go to post. xD But, yes, have some Cullen/Verena OTP goodness, with bonus Dorian. I hope you have a great day, eme! :hug:

Cullen, Dorian, and Sera belong to BioWare

Verena Trevelyan belong to emedeme

Think fast! Favorite character from How I Met Your Mother? 

6 deviants said Barney
3 deviants said Lily
2 deviants said Robin
2 deviants said Marshall
2 deviants said Augh, I can't pick *headdesk*
1 deviant said I LOVE THEM ALL
No deviants said Ted
No deviants said Ranjit(XD)


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Caldura Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015
Pst... PST.... Feel all the feels! *runs away, Laughing Maniacally*…
FyreQueen89 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015
OH NO. TEH FEELS. *drowns in them*
CrypticGrin Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! ^^
FyreQueen89 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015
You're welcome! It's so gorgeous and well done. :) 
CrypticGrin Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much! ^^
Squabbit Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks so much for the fav!
RiHouston Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the fave on 'The War Room'!  I pray that is an actual scene that comes into play in the game.  If not, someone needs to mod that in and share it on Youtube so I can live vicariously through you non-console players. T-T
Blueberry-me Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014  Student General Artist
Hello there! Thank you for faving, dear! And sorry for thanking so late, summer has been crazy and I've been bussy... *sigh* I have to comment so many deviations yet xD
Anyway! Have a wonderful day! :heart:
olivegbg Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Many thanks for adding my image to your favorites! Puppy-love :D by choco90
emedeme Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Student Digital Artist
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