this is a short one. I have toyed with the idea for this story after I finished DA:I. Of course, first I scoured fanfiction site thoroughly.
I love Inquisitor x Cassandra pairing and I have found many fantastic fics here about them,
especially super fluffy from SouthOfFerelden, Tonks32, hindsight404 and ColonelKillaBee. And I devoured them all.
However, as the summary above indicates, this story is different. It is a short one because I do not particularly like writing angst/tragedy genre.
I consider writting a second "more positive" chapter, but for now it can stand as one-shot.
What happens when needs of many outweigh needs of few and to what ends it leads the cornerstones of the Inquisition?
Frostback Mountains, Skyhold, Inquisitor's loft, 1 month after Corypheus's demise
The Inquisitor screamed in agony, crumpling a letter in his left hand and shattering a goblet of an expensive Nevarran mead with his right one against the stone wall in his room.
Lord Trevelyan rested heavily his hands on the frame of his massive oak table and took a deep breath, attempting to hold back his anguish.
Why? Why this had to happen?
First, I lost my brothers and father in that explosion in the Temple of Sacred Ashes.
And now this?
Why? What have I done to deserve this?
The Inquisitor's ragged breathing indicated his distress while he tormented himself over the letter's contents.
…to Inquisitor Lord Alex Trevelyan…we are terribly sorry to inform you…your mother Lady Eve Trevelyan…killed in Venatori plot…she sacrificed her life to save…exceptional and brave woman…please accept our sincerest condolences…do not hesitate to write if you need…we will keep her in our prayers…
The only person who had always believed in him, who had supported him no matter what was now gone.
Eve Trevelyan was strict and unyielding but a highly respected noble from Free Marches. However, for her children she had always been a caring and loving mother.
Alex still remembered her words, when it had been discovered that he had magical abilities and the Chantry had taken him from her. Despite her devout nature she had put up a fight to keep her little boy. Her desperate whispers, when templars had dragged him away from her, had settled in his mind forever. "Mommy loves you. Mommy will always love you no matter what."
He carried these words burned to his soul. It had given him a strength and an iron will to overcome any obstacle in his path.
And now I lost her.
He had no one now. He was left alone.
Is this some kind of a sick joke?
Didn't I sacrifice enough for this world?
Didn't I follow your will faithfully against Corypheus?
How much more I have to lose before it satisfies you?
Alex clawed at his throat unable to breath steadily. He felt sick. Eventually the Inquisitor's grief overpowered his senses.
His despair was interrupted by a soft knocking on a wooden door leading to his quarters.
"It is open." He answered.
A scent of lavender and an aroma of leather permeated the air in the Inquisitor's room. Immediately, he knew who was his visitor and calmed down slightly.
That person was the last anchor that held him in this world. Stunning, tough, loyal and fair with a soft spot for romance and him, Lady Seeker Cassandra Pentaghast of Nevarra entered his room.
He turned to her and mustered a weak smile, which disappeared right away, when he beheld her face. The usually confident and fearless woman wore an expression full of anxiety and stress.
Nevarran beauty stepped closer to him, gently caressed his cheek and gave him a tender kiss. She whispered to him. "I need to speak with you, Alex."
He gestured her to continue showing that she had his undivided attention.
She untangled from him and retreated away from him, gazing for a moment outside of an opened balcony to the sky.
She spoke so silently that he had to strain his ears to hear at least something. "A message arrived from Val Royeux this morning."
His heart cracked painfully when he understood her unsaid implication. "I see."
With dread, he watched as she turned to him with eyes full of tears and confirmed his apprehension. "I was elected as a new Divine."
He was blinking furiously to choke back a sudden moistness that settled in his eyes. He pushed back his feelings and forced to his face an emotionless mask. "I understand."
He did understand. He loved her so much that he wanted what was best for her. What she wished to do. Whatever goal she wished to pursue.
He would not stand in her way. Inquisitor or not. Better to make it quick.
"So, when do you leave?" He inquired with an impassive tone in his voice.
She furrowed her forehead and observed his pale features obviously not expecting such a reaction from him. "I was told to leave tomorrow."
"Allright." He breathed out with difficulty. Then added amiably. "You will be a great Divine."
"You won't even ask me to stay?" She asked him clearly not anticipating this turn of events.
Alex sadly smiled at her. "No. I always admired your determination. I respect your dedication and your decisions. If you want this then I will not stand in your way. I love you to much for that."
She stepped closer to him and hugged him desperately, whispering to his ear. "Please, ask me to stay."
He tenderly kissed her forehead and softly rubbed her arms but remained silent. He knew that she would stay with him in Skyhold otherwise. When they had spoken about this topic before, she had expressed a strong desire to take a position on the Sunburst Throne. Admittedly, it had been before they became an item but he knew that it was her dream to make the world and the Chantry a better place.
Cassandra raised her face to him and captured his lips with hers, putting into her last kiss all her love, all her feelings she had for him.
After a moment he let go of her gently and put a short distance between them.
She smiled at him and offered. "Leliana is planning a small goodbye dinner after the sunset in the main hall. Will you attend?"
Her face fell, when he shook his head and gave her a sad smile. "No. I think I wouldn't be much of a host anyway."
"Allright." She whispered and uncertainly made her way out of the room.
He was watching her for a moment before the door closed behind her. He fell to his knees gazing to the void in despair with a single thought in his mind.
Is it still not enough?
If you truly exists than you must be a sadistic bastard.
The last beam of light in my life extinguished. Nothing left.
Nothing worth living for.
The Grand Cathedral of Orlais, Divine's quarters, 5 months after Corypheus's demise
Divine Victoria's head was leaned forward above the toilet in the bathroom in her quarters in Val Royeux. She was feeling sick and couldn't stomach any food recently.
She pondered her situation with a grim expression on her features. Her key reforms were surprisingly accepted almost wholeheartedly.
A new Templar Order and a new Circle of Magi were created.
The Seekers of Truth were rededicated to their purpose of protecting the innocent.
A proclamation of support for the Inquisition was issued, recognizing its service to all of Thedas.
That was not what bothered her. Not even red tape in the chantry administration. Though, she had to admit that there was so much bureaucracy to sink even a Qunari dreadnought. So, she really couldn't blame her stomach for its rebellion.
The truth was she was sick of being the Divine. She had always been a woman of action. She had seen something that had required her attention and she had solved that problem.
Not anymore, it seems.
Now, she had to listen to never-ending complaints, suggestions and debates, which usually led to nothing important at best, or to exacerbate the volatile situation in Orlais at worst.
Not to mention all that hypocrisy, back-stabbing and duplicity even amongst her fellow clerics.
When she saw all this with her own eyes, she recalled a quote from the Inquisitor that apparently carried more wisdom then she had initially thought.
For the Chantry to change itself it should end first and start from scratch with worthy ideals.
Honestly, Cassandra was tired of all that bullshit around her.
She wistfully remembered her time with the Inquisition.
When she had been free to do as she had wished.
When the Inquisitor's team had set out for a journey to many new adventures.
When she and her friends had had fun together.
When Alex and her…
She missed Skyhold and that relaxed atmosphere which surrounded the enormous fortress in Frostback Mountains.
She missed people, no matter a race, gender or beliefs. Every person in the Inquisition had proved their determination, competence and loyalty, unlike the people in the Chantry. The troubles that the Inquisition had overcome, had created a bond of loyalty, trust and friendship stronger than anything she had ever seen.
She missed her friends. Leliana and others. Even Varric.
But most of all, she missed him. He had made her feeling loved and accepted for who she really was. Moreover, Alex had always looked at her like she was the only woman in his world. She often cried during her long lonely nights in the cathedral that she hadn't stayed with him in Skyhold. She loved him with all her heart but even that could not stop the Seeker from her duty. The obligation that she now bitterly regretted.
Then, Cassandra remembered a last conversation with Leliana and how that meeting had turned into a cold shower.
The Grand Cathedral of Orlais, Divine's study, 2 months after Corypheus's demise
"Most Holy, Lady Leliana of the Inquisition is requesting an audience with you." The Divine's secretary announced to Cassandra who was seated behind her desk.
She raised her left eyebrow questioningly, it was so unlike Leliana to announce herself without notification. "Send her in."
Then... This must be important.
Cassandra got to her feet preparing to receive her old friend. She frowned when she examined Sister Nightingale in front of her. Leliana was paler than usual, she had dark circles under her eyes and her fiery hair was messed up wildly on her head.
"Most Holy." Leliana greeted trying to bow but Cassandra quickly grabbed her and embraced her warmly.
"It is good to see you, Leliana." Cassandra joyfully welcomed her oldest friend.
"You too, Cassandra. Though I wish it would be under better circumstances." Leliana remarked sadly.
They both took a seat at the Divine's desk before Cassandra further inquired. "What is this about, Leliana? Not that I don't appreciate your visit, but you look rather troubled."
Leliana stated bluntly. "We have a serious problem. The Inquisitor is gone."
Cassandra's eyes widened in fright, when she learnt that dire news were about the cornerstone of the Inquisition and her former lover, and she quickly showered Leliana with questions. "What do you mean gone? How is that possible? Why? Where? When?"
She abruptly stopped when Leliana raised her hand cutting off her torrent of questions. The former Spymaster of the Inquisition depicted a situation in detail. "About a week after you departed to Val Royeux, Cullen wanted to organize a military drill in Hinterlands. However, he was unable to locate the Inquisitor."
Leliana paused for a moment coaxing Cassandra with her hand to sit down next to her. "So far, no one outside his inner circle knows about that. I and Josephine have created a cover story about his travels through Thedas."
"We found only some poor clues. First, we have found this in his loft." Leliana took out a crumbled letter from a pocket in her armor and handed it over to Cassandra.
Divine Victoria snatched it immediately and hurriedly scanned its contens. The former Seeker grew more pale, more lines she read.
Leliana pointed out. "Check a date on the seal."
Cassandra realized that it roughly corresponded with the time she had seen him for the last time.
He learnt about the death of his mother that day.
Then, I left him as well.
Wonderful, Cassandra, really wonderful.
Cassandra sorrowfully lifted her eyes to Leliana who carried on in her explanation. "Other than that, we have only discovered that the Seeker's Book of Secrets, you left at Skyhold, vanished with him."
Cassandra contemplated why and for what he would need the knowledge of Seekers. She silently asked. "Anything else?"
"We coaxed something from Cole but I am not sure it is related to Alex. The Inquisitor and Solas were the only ones who could somehow interpret spirit's thoughts." Leliana cautiously explained and handed Cassandra a note.
His Hope lost.
His Faith lost.
Only distress remained. Nothing of worth. It will end soon.
Dread settled in Cassandra's stomach when she noticed a meaning in that message. You had to read between lines in Cole's statements, but Cassandra made sense of this one with a frightening clarity remembering her previous conversations with spirit.
Faith seeks a friend in Compassion, cautious, careful, too much grey but growing.
Compassion and Faith. That means…
Leliana noticed that Cassandra paled considerably and tried to reassure her. She gently squeezed Cassandra's hand in hers. "I have my best agents on it, I am sure we will find him."
The Grand Cathedral of Orlais, Divine's study, 5 months after Corypheus's demise
That conversation happened three months ago and so far the only new information Cassandra had received from Leliana was a short note that stated that the Inquisitor might have been sighted near the Sea of Ash in southwestern edge of Orlais. That scared Cassandra greatly. That region was exile for fallen Seekers, Templars and other low-life existences.
Cassandra was breathing heavily on the floor in her bathroom, she was worried sick about her love. Since the moment Leliana had informed her about his disappearance, Cassandra couldn't stop thinking about him. How everything would have been different if she had stayed with him in Skyhold.
She detested her decision to accept a position of Divine. Despite the threat of Corypheus, Cassandra had never been more happy than during the time she had spent with the Inquisition and Alex. Now, sobbing on the floor in the bathroom in her quarters, she felt only misery and aching throbbing in her chest.
Soft knocking on closed door interrupted her self-despair. "Your Perfection, are you all right?"
Cassandra answered gloomily. "I am fine, Mother Giselle. I will be out in the moment."
"As you wish, Most Holy. I just came to inform you that in your study is waiting a messenger from Skyhold. She has got a report for your eyes only." Orlesian priestess announced through the wooden obstacle.
Cassandra immediately bolted to her feet, hastily opening locked door and scaring off Revered Mother. Mother Giselle frowned slightly when she noticed disheveled and deathly pale face of a new Divine. "Cassandra, meet with that messenger then return here. I prepare a hot bath for you and concoct a medicinal tea."
Cassandra nodded gratefully and exited the room. She always liked Mother Giselle. If any other clerics were anything like her, the Chantry would have been much better place already.
She burst into her study and noticed a small dwarven girl who was waiting there. Cassandra greeted her friendly. "Scout Agent Harding, welcome to Val Royeux."
"Your Perfection." Dwarf bowed slightly in greeting before continuing smoothly. "I have a private message for you from Sister Nightingale."
Cassandra took a letter and teared the seal off, anxiously devouring its contents.
We found him. Military Hospital in Cumberland. Ask for "magical healer". My agents are monitoring him.
Military Hospital, Cumberland, 5 months and two days after Corypheus's demise
Cassandra donned in her old battlemaster armor silently walked through the hall of hospital in port town Cumberland. She was restless, fidgeting with her hands in front of her. Sister at desk at the entrance to the hospital had given her direction to the so-called "magical healer".
She stopped in front of the entry to the infirmary peeping through ajar door. She noticed him immediately. With his back to her, he was crouched over an unconscious patient on the bed in front of him. The mark on his hand was glowing brightly when he focused his healing skills on a torso of an injured soldier. Then, he patched him up with soothing balms and focused his attention on poultices on his worktable in the corner of the infirmary.
Cassandra hurriedly covered a distance between them and hugged him tightly from behind, whispering to his ear in rapid pace. "Alex, what are you doing here? Why did you disappear from Skyhold? We searched for you everywhere."
She buried her face into his neck, breathing in his scent and pressed ahead dolefully. "I missed you so much. Please, forgive me. I was so stupid when I left Skyhold and you."
"Cassandra." The man she was hugging responded with a dull and monotone tone in his voice.
Cassandra grabbed his arms and forced him to turn to her. She grasped his face desperately with her hands, closed her eyes, and kissed him with all passion and love she could muster.
She was totally bewildered when he remained utterly still and unresponsive. She tenderly let go of him and leaned back slightly to observe his face. All his features remained the same as she remembered. Except one thing.
She forcefully suppressed her sobs and her heart shattered into a thousand different pieces when she gazed into his eyes.
… once so striking golden orbs radiating warmth, tenderness and fire.
… now only holding a lethargic expression in them.
Cassandra saw such eyes in one and only case.
Suggestions, reviews, opinions are greatly appreciated.