AN: Due to my computer not being able to handle it I have not actually played DAI. Even if I did Origins and 2 over and over. However, fanfiction provides a great deal of information and long time readers are entirely aware I like to ignore Canon as it suits me. As much as I truly enjoy the Dalish, I grumbled at the thought of being denied a city elf option so I decided..it was time to make someone who would turn the inquisition on it's head. And yes, as of now this is entirely a Solas/OC. I'm planning on a Dorian/Inquisitor later on but it will take a while before he gets there..so be patient as there is some one sided Inquisitor/OC for a while.
"...I don't think I'll ever like the color green again." Tavaiya mumbled, hands slipping down to rest on hilts of her blades. Her bow was broken and lost somewhere in the chaos. Haven was now a Hell. Demons and magical horrors forming everywhere. Corpses and fires making it where she'd probably be avoiding meat for a while until the acrid smoke was a memory. Screams and the fallen.
It didn't change the moment. The moment demanded she twist and lash out, her blades flickering in the strange green light overhead. She had been directing her comment to the dwarf with his lovely crossbow but he just snorted.
"I hear that one, Secrets."
Varric. Prisoner, storyteller, captive of one Cassandra Seeker Pentaghast.
Tavaiya, currently jobless rogue of mischief, a semi conscript of one Sister Nightingale Leilana. It was kind of poetic really. Since her bow was broken she left the arrows and bolts to Varric while she flung her body at the demons.
Her mind crackled a warning and she twisted in acrobatics only one of her ilk could, moving just before the rage demon's claws would have struck. It was a special battle sense she had, though it was useful outside of battle too..
No magic ran in her veins, though it had her mother's. But Tavaiya could sense mana. Right now her senses were going crazy with the arching green light above them and the many pinpricks she could tell were around but every demon hit a sense of hers and she just knew where they were. Rage was like electricity firing in her brain, the arcane horrors were a taste of acidic spoiled wine on her palate. Every sense was involved with mana it was just different which ones. So in a whirlwind of sensory overload she let it guide her better than her eyes. Step here, leap, twist, strike, backstab. It became a chaotic dance that surged with adrenaline.
Lemon acidity and bile with a frisson up her spine? Leap out of the area before spells landed. She couldn't have properly described all the warnings she got but it was enough that her body knew how to translate them and she simply acted. Her additional sense was impossible to explain, to replicate.
Right now it was keeping her and Varric alive.
"That's the last of them Secrets!" Varric hollered as she had ash explode in her face after slashing through the final shade. Wiping her face she inclined her head and went up, gathering his bolts with him. She'd tried telling him her name was Tavaiya, her nickname was Jackal. Varric had decided she needed something else. Why secrets though, she had no idea. Possibly neither did Varric.
"I think I need to get another poultice.." Tavaiya grumbled as she made her way over. There was a lull for now. It'd been like this for a few days. Mayhem, breathe. Mayhem again. It struck without a real pattern and sometimes they had barely time to pop the vials off a few rare potions. Sometimes the shades and demons had valuables on them, from who knows where or what unlucky soul. Varric and Tavaiya hadn't been shy about finding places to stash them, to return to later. If they had a later.
Rogues tended to come in two flavors really. The sort that would kill you for anything, and the sort who were loyal. The variance on the spectrum had to do with what sort of hell you'd lived through but Varric and Tavaiya had recognized that rare loyal streak that glimmered like a firestorm in each other fast enough.
It helped that earlier in the first morning after the breach ripped open Tavaiya had been biting her teeth so hard her jaw hurt as she explained what had brought her to the conclave as they shot arrows into the masses of hell swarming towards Haven's defenders. Her friend, technically also her charge as a bodyguard. He'd been permitted to go meet with the Divine but leaving Tavaiya behind was a sign of his respect.
And now he was gone.
Varric had nodded and started to count the ones they could kill with as a score. Distract with a challenge. She'd leapt on it.
Because Elan was no more. Elan the only child of Lord Seuin. The boy who had been like a brother to her, who had been a secret apostate and trained by her own mother out in a distant old manor in the Ferelden wilds when they were young, later traveling all over with her at his side. Elan who had been the entire reason Tavaiya was able to read and write so well, why she had been trained by the best and worst sorts depending on the needed skill.
Elan who hadn't cared that her features were sharper, her ears pointed and her frame slight anymore than she had cared that his were rounded and he was a bit on the portly side with a love for women with too much makeup and bountiful curves. That they had thought of each other as cousins or step siblings of a sort because Tavaiya's mother was Lord Seuin's mistress and how weird was it to know their parents did that? That Tavaiya's mother had been a weak apostate, a Dalish elf who had left because the clan already had a keeper and a first but was given a rough training. The same woman who had fallen in love with the humble elf tailor who traveled from city to city to sell his skills to the nobles. Who died in the alienage of Denerim when Tavaiya was so small she could barely recall his lessons on mending and her first stitchery samplers?
Elan had been her mother's student, a genius move that ensured her foray into being the amusement in a human lord's bed to put food on the table had become an agreement that saw Tavaiya and her mother shipped off and little more of note to the human nobility than 'Lord Seiun's little elvish mistress' and her a footnote. That Elan had shown up and been secretly trained later. A scowling scamp prone to a tantrum who had fought with Tavaiya, only a year his senior at seven, in the mud.
They'd come in trailing brackish water and grime and both with beaming smiles. The bruises were found later in the baths but it didn't matter.
Elan had been there for her whole life. They were like siblings but not, so they called each other cousin.
And he was gone.
"You all right there?" Varric's voice was soft. He knew loss.
"Cousin." She said softly and scrubbed her hand through her loose hair. The braid not doing such a good job. Light blue eyes met Varric's and he just nodded.
"Take your time."
Tavaiya leaned against a rotting wall and sighed heavily. Elan was gone.
Fortunately when the madness descended Leilana had been there, and through Elan's less than savory friends, a few who had trained her, Leilana knew of her. She'd done a few jobs for her agents when they needed a city elf who could survive in the wilds here and there too. One who didn't bristle at the shems and could speak a few languages. Who knew how to blend. Elan had ensured she knew to speak Orleisian after all. She wasn't exactly unknown to the former bard and if one of Tavaiya's tutors in picking locks as a teen had also ensured her embroidery talents were exceptional as a way of building finger dexterity, well it only served her well playing 'invisible' in the Orleisian saloon's working on her 'masters' garments while he entertained.
So for now, she'd just gone to Leilana. Sharp eyes met sharp pain and Leilana had shoved a band at her, fabric to wear on her arm that marked her as one of her forces for now and asked her to help clear and scout.
An aimless rogue was a dangerous one, and the bard knew how close Elan had been to her. Ironically, Elan had been smitten with the dangerous and older sister Nightingale so it wasn't like she hadn't been 'loaned' out before. Hell if not for Leilana, Elan would have likely never given two bits about Orlais. Certainly wouldn't have bought a house there and made Tavaiya learn the language to teach it then to him.
Leilana knew her skills. Even if she didn't know about her other sense. She didn't talk about that after all. But Elan had been a mage and her ability to fight beside a mage was one of her best advantages because she could sense them. Without Elan's magic flickering around her heart like the beat of a butterflies wings, she felt bereft. There had always been her mother's magic, and then after she died there had been Elan's. Now she had neither.
Killing things was the only solution. For now.
She went with the men up the mountain pass as their scout. A brief wave of three fingers from brow sweeping outward to Varric as she passed, his returning the same as he spoke with someone, a group of his own to head out to one of the rifts further from the makeshift prison. She'd heard rumors of someone who had actually fallen out of those blasted things but paid it no mind. Tavaiya hadn't been able to sleep properly for near three days with the constant drumming of the breach and rifts in her senses and at this point she was mentally exhausted.
She wasn't named after the Jackal for nothing though. When she was tired, she got cagey, snappish. Her main instructor had dubbed her Jackal for the likely twisted tale that a Jackal when it went mad was frightening enough all the creatures stepped aside. When Tavaiya was tired and her hackles were up, you did not wish to be the one she was against.
"Bloody knife ear.." Someone snarled at her back. It just made her lips twitch.
"Knife ear has knives. Dolt." One of the other soldier's replied. Andrew if she recalled his name. They'd shared a bowl and spoon -short supply- to eat the mornings meal. Passing it without washing it and he'd been just as relieved to have something in his belly as she was, so they didn't care that as one chewed they handed it to the next. You never knew when you'd have time to eat with these things spewing out monsters.
Quickest way to spot someone who had seen a lot of combat was the raunchy jokes, and the way they didn't care about much as long as they got the basics handled.
"Least the view's not bad." Another said and that one made Tavaiya snort, even as she changed from the obvious path.
"Unless you want to go down a wrong tunnel look more at where you're putting your feet than my ass." Not that it was a surprise. All humans seemed to think elves were there for their pleasure or sufferance as the case may be and the twist from insult to sex object was a very common phrasing.
It wasn't that long until the score of men with her had to do just as she'd suggested though. She had found a lesser used tunnel to take, one that offered more places to hide. Which since she was there to scout ahead was only a bonus for the soldiers. They found plenty of things laying in wait, but she was able to play off her 'early warning system' as just sheer luck as she darted ahead in the shadows.
Really. That it had been all rift spawn was a stroke of luck. She didn't exactly get tingles to warn her of spiders!
Luck as always, dropped out at the worst times. They were over run. Two men dead, only six left, over half the count down. Four were badly injured to the point they'd need magic or potions, Tavaiya herself could just tell her ribs were out of place which hurt like nothing she could explain but she could still move. Her eyes watered and her breathing was shallow but she could twist and strike still. Her hackles were up and the Jackal was mad. Snarling she lunged, darted, twisted and back stabbed with a viciousness that was closer to being feral. It was akin to being berserk, this reckless method she could use but with her extra senses she had no reason to hold back when her enemies leaked out mana.
Blood in her mouth from where she'd slammed into a wall and bit herself and dripping into her eyes, her ears ringing Tavaiya surrendered to that other sense and let it direct and move her with instincts hard won from training with her mother and Elan. They were dead, long dead mother and newly dead sibling-friend but in her movements and battles right now they lived, and were immortal for it.
A long slow whistle came then as she turned, still snarling, crouched protectively over the jerk who had been staring at her ass earlier from where she'd just finished off a shade as she felt a crackle and the dimmed sound of drums...
But it was not a demon. Power, but it was from a mage as the staff announced even if the robes had not and slowly she stood. Varric smirked at her, lowering Bianca.
"Nice job, Secrets."
"Varric. Seeker." She inclined her head, eyes flickering over the other two elves. She didn't dismiss them but she noted them and then ignored for they were with two she knew and one was technically her superior, instead her eyes locking with the kohl rimmed ones of the Seeker. The right hand. "We've incurred losses, if you have any healing items though all of us should be ready to fight."
"You are injured?" Cassandra asked archly, knowingly, for they had met a few times and Leilana doubtlessly complained about her in private; and Tavaiya grinned ignoring that blood was in her mouth and likely made her rather feral and horrific looking. She knew her pupils were blown from the adrenaline and her hair coming free of it's braid, hood lost somewhere to grasping claws and blood that trickled from the side of her mouth to her neck. Ichor was drying on her brow and across her eyes where she'd rubbed at it in the midst of battle, shades and lessor demons these things may be but they still left gore behind. It was just another layer caking on her skin and armor from the past few days and she wasn't even sure you could see the coloring of her flesh anymore.
"Displaced a few ribs, I'll be mottled many colors come morning but I am still effective." Tavaiya slipped a hand into her pouch and downed a potion to numb the worst of it and show she wasn't faking that much. She always kept one potion for herself, and had a few hidden on her for worst case scenario but she wouldn't admit to those ones. Or a few of the others she had.
She was a Rogue not a chantry sister after all.
"Fall in." Cassandra barked and without giving an explanation, Tavaiya just lifted a brow with a sly smirk in her blatant disobedience even as the soldier's milled around the Seeker. There was a heartbeat, she could hear it as the unknown mage was healing someone and the elf before her blinked a few times at her, his markings a rich green hue. There was a ..humm to him. So he had magic too..yes there was a worn and pathetic staff attached to his back but from his lack of motion he clearly was no healer. After a few moments of Tavaiya standing there with weapons out Cassandra realized her mistake and sighed. "Take point, if you would.."
"Seeker." She agreed and inclined her head before turning and moving ahead to scout the way. Really. Fall in. Wasn't like anyone had suddenly died and made her..Divine..er...
Not like she believed in the Maker.
She left the group to their talks of red Lyrium and madness and fade visions as she went about the cavern with it's eerie red lighting that made her feel like she'd swallowed scorpions that were trying to claw and sting her from the inside. She was seeking vantage points, locations. Luckily her bow had been replaced as she'd found one amongst one of the dead soldier's while everyone else was freaking out about the little green light and sound show. It didn't really have much of a different cadence to the overwhelming drum of the breach so she ignored it to find supplies while everyone was distracted.
It was a decent bow. Shorter than her preference with a heavier draw that would be a bitch to work with but would punch through flesh just as well. Nor was she skimping on stealing quivers and every arrow she could find. She finally just tied a cord around a number of them and kept looking. Because the breach had an overwhelming sound but there was something else..discordant.
Which meant a demon. A big one. Bigger than the others so far and for that? Tavaiya wanted arrows.
It turned out to be a good move as was having found locations to be. She dropped piles of arrows on ledges to dodge to, dropping the bow, leaping down for a good strike and then back out of range to fire an arrow or two. Constant little harassment that kept the Pride demon off his balance and unable to focus properly on the rest. She wasn't doing much damage but she kept it from getting a good hit on the soldiers or the mages.
Trying to dodge Cassandra's blows though was a whole new lesson in awareness, one that made Tavaiya ever so grateful for her other sense because the Dalish boy was flinging electricity and fire the way drunken men threw coin at a whore after several months at sea. Everywhere and hoping he got lucky. By contrast the steady and meticulous attacks of the other mage were at least easier to handle, though once or twice he caught her by surprise and Tavaiya had to force herself not to use some of her better skills she'd figured out from her weird mana sensing and twisting..
At one point though when she wrenched her ankle badly and had no time to wrap it she grit her teeth and twisted one of her blades..leather wrapped hilt specially for a reason, catching the edge of an attack of electricity and moving her wrist constantly to keep it dancing between her blades as she plunged it deep into the foul smelling pride demon making it howl.
She couldn't leap away as well anymore and had to let go of her blades, wrenching one of the long knives free of it's sheath at her thigh as she skidded back into the shadows. Unseen she grabbed inside her jerkin for a potion and popped the cork, downing it swiftly. She felt the muting of her senses ever so subtly but it was enough, the rush of healing potion and stamina enhancement coursing through her unique brew as it adapted to her system.
Back in she went.
At some point someone actually killed the dang thing. Finishing blows weren't usually something she got. Oh sure, a coup de grace here and there but she wasn't an assassin as much as a rogue and a mischief maker. She let the hero's take the spot light and just settled on the nearest stone as everyone else celebrated.
Fingers dug into her scalp to relieve her post adrenaline and electrocution headache as she groaned, feeling the bruises all over.
"What was your final count, Secrets?" Varric asked cheerfully as he flopped beside her making her smirk.
"I can be the better woman and yield to Bianca's greatness."
The rolling laughter of the dwarf eased her heart a little. She was one of the last to leave, her eyes sweeping the grounds long after the dismissive snorts of others about rogues picking the dead clean.
In the end though, she not only reclaimed her missing blades which seemed to have a strange ...sheen to the metal now that it had been electrified and coated in pride demon innards..but she found what she'd really been looking for.
A hunk of focus crystal. A beautiful bit of green Onyx once that she bundled up in her blue silk scarf she'd tucked below her jerkin four days before. It still hummed of butterflies, distantly and deep below the new crescendo that overwhelmed it. From Elan's staff this stone was all that remained. It was all she'd found that was definitely his but the 'tone' was very different now. She'd look into it later.
"Found something?" Came Leilana's voice, because of course she'd shown up.
"Elan's focus." She replied, there was no reason to hide. Not this. Her pale eyes met with Leilana's own and the former bard nodded.
It was funny how people thought rogue's all operated in such secrecy. There was a clean honesty in the deepest of shadows, they only obscured what they needed. Hiding in plain sight because everyone expected the great deceptions at all times they never saw the difference. Though they did speak in code, fair enough.
"I would like you to settle in with the scouts." Leilana said instead, brushing over the matter of the crystal. She was offering work and shelter both, for while a rogue could go out and find work with all that was happening it would not be easy.
"I'm not one to enjoy bugs climbing in my smalls." She replied easily as she fell in step with Leilana. Leilana who knew loss, Leilana whom was the nightingale with silver talons and a beak that dripped honey acid.
Leilana had tried to pull her in fully for years but she wouldn't leave Elan. And now..now the nightingale was singing to try and call the Jackal in.
"I was thinking silks and songs." Leilana chuckled, a glimpse at the beautiful woman that was within but though she was enthralling and gorgeous and likely would have even bedded Tavaiya if she thought it best- or just enjoyable, as Leilana was a known beautiful woman who had loved both sides of the coins and would consent to moments with her own scouts and spies if they could keep from their hearts Leilana's heart would always remain with the Warden Commander she'd traveled with in the days of the Blight- it had never been something that pulled at Tavaiya. So Leilana seemed to feel at ease showing glimpses of the playful flirt she had once been for it was safe and so little in the world was safe.
"Mmm..jewels upon the eyes and lace upon skin? I'm not sure I wish to venture back." Orlais was not something she wished to visit. Not right then. Not the Game and the Shadows as she knew it.
"You bathe in wine without being colored." Leilana asserted, her roiling gait along her own ever so silent and swift as they moved.
'You aren't tempted by sex but can tempt others safely' is what she meant. Tavaiya was one of the strange ones who was entirely comfortable in her sensuality, her sexuality, and had never indulged in more than kisses. Kisses she was swiftly bored by unless heavily inebriated and even then..so she could flirt and caress just shy of indecently, tease and never risk being too far under the spell of another. She'd used elixirs and words, even been coached by some of Leilana's favored to know how to suggest and imply things she had no knowledge of. The right concoction and alcohol and a little misdirection and someone would think they had spent a night of wanton delights. That they did not remember only made them less apt to call her on their supposed 'incredible skills'.
Those had hardly been things she enjoyed though.
"...Not yet." She yielded. She had no direction, her heart was in mourning but Leilana knew how to handle that, Leilana was her mentor in many ways even if until recently only through letters and whom she had arranged to go to teach Tavaiya. She did not wish to be one of the Nightingale's creatures though. Not fully.
"Well, I don't suppose you'd help the alchemist?" Leilana chuckled and Tavaiya glanced over with a smile.
"Plants? What is it you want he won't make?"
"Shoe polish." Leilana confided with a smirk and Tavaiya rolled her eyes.
"I think I can figure something out."
Elan was gone, and Leilana would give her a direction but just then..Tavaiya was willing to lick her wounds and explore. She'd take on work as she desired and Leilana would accept that because a willing rogue was always the best sort.
"So what's with the Dalish guy anyways?" Tavaiya finally asked and was treated to seeing Leilana grumble.
"I think a curse Zevran made actually worked..he fell out of the breach, that mark on his hand is closing the rifts and ..." She paused, her voice soft with faith. "I think he was sent by Andraste." Leilana was not shy about her faith and Tavaiya hummed. They'd actually had some fantastic discussions, both comfortable with absolute faith and none on the spectrum and willing to have civil discourse.
"Well..you'll find a way to make it work." She agreed simply. The religious ones always did.
"One of these days.."
Life at Haven settled fast as things always did. She was busy slicing herbs for the alchemist at his table, hair pulled back in three separate braids that were than twisted into a knot at the back of her neck to keep it out of her way. There were a lot of valuable plants and herbs in the area but you had to be willing to scour the place for them and go out of the way. Also, a fair number had 'copy cats' that were less potent but could be used if willing to adjust the preparations. Most people would only consume the well known ones, usually having elfroot.
There was one she made though using a specific lichen and willow bark with the stalks rather than the leaves of elfroot that was plenty effective if only for minor wounds and delaying pain so when making the common healing draughts she'd make her own as to use the fresh discarded parts. The alchemist didn't pay her, since she was then making her own items and using his equipment and vials but it worked out for them both. She'd already made a few different shoe polishes for Leilana as well as a very potent toxin that Tavaiya and most of Leilana's trusted liked to coat weapons with but those she made on days the alchemist was off ranting at Roderick.
Today he was just enjoying a leisurely lunch at the tavern and so it was stamina and health items she was working on when she felt a soft humm at her senses, making Tavaiya glance at the door as the 'Herald' came through, the other mage she remembered. He was apparently discussing with himself where the elfroot had been and clearly meant to make something.
"Ah.." He blinked and then grinned, charming, boyish, eyes set off well inside the green pattern of Mythal's branches on his face beneath the russet hues of his hair falling in charming curls. "Hello! Are you making potions! I mean, clearly you are just.." He started to ramble adorably and it made Tavaiya's lips twitch.
He could only be maybe a handful of years younger than she was and yet he rambled?
"Oh! I don't want to rush you, not at all." He tried to assure her and she just chuckled, setting the last of her items to be covered by a cloth.
"It still needs to cool. Aside from that, I'll bottle it later tonight." She stretched as she stood from the uncomfortable position over the table and gestured him over. "All yours, Herald."
She paused and lifted a brow. It was a very common name. Moreso because there had apparently been rumors of a Dalish named Tamlen who had helped draw alert to the blight that had started in Ferelden. Still it had been less common when he was born, and she shrugged. Her mother had once confided in her that the Dalish liked to reuse common names and since there was rarely a large group in a clan it didn't matter if each had someone in the recent generations by the same name. There had been several Elana's like her mother in that generation alone.
"Tam then. Have at it."
"What I own." She said with a grin at his clumsy question, just to see him flustered. It worked as the pink of his cheeks clashed with the green markings and he waved a hand, sending the elfroot bag swaying.
"No I mean..your name, please?"
"It's lovely I mean you're I...I'm shutting up now."
She couldn't help but laugh, because he was clearly one of those elves that wore his heart on his sleeve and she didn't miss the looks he kept sending her ears. Probably feeling lost in a sea of humans and despite that she was bare of facial marks was desperate for community. Elves in the Alienage's had been the same. There'd been numerous nights she'd curled up in the same bed with four or five other girls just so they'd not feel alone, and that was recent. Space was a premium and whole families would sometimes share a bed with a stranger for warmth on the coldest of evenings. Other 'relations' were timed for when people would be out and even the children knew some times you went to someone elses house for dinner so your parents had their time together. She'd a handful of memories of her mother and father arranging such visits with their neighbors and the fact that noises of coupling through the walls were just as much a fact of life as emptying chamberpots. But she'd heard the Dalish were a bit more stringent, selective. Perhaps it was like how seriously many elders took arranging marriage between their own offspring. Elan and his support had always meant she didn't need to worry about that, her mother's cunning had ensured her child's safety.
"You're fine. Not used to all the tall ones?" She said jokingly, herself on the tall side for an elf especially, she had gotten a few insults of being 'mix blooded' despite her ears because normally elfin women were not closer to the height of a human. Her hip bumped into the sturdy alchemy table as she talked, casual, adjusting her body so the language would declare her at ease. It was a front of course but she figured the blustering dalish boy would appreciate it compared to the predatory stillness she usually had.
"No!" He groaned. "I was just..I was supposed to go back to my clan right after but then I got this stupid thing on my hand and they're calling me Herald and ..I don't even believe in this Maker or the Andraste I mean..oh Creators..."
Her lips twitched. She was used to this to be honest, she still spent time in the alienage's as often inns and houses wouldn't let her stay with Elan over night so she had a peculiar half life. A great deal of the elves had reacted like this when they started being exposed to the sheer idiocy of noble largesse.
"Finish up and I'll treat you to a pint at the tavern later. After supper?"
His eyes went to her and his jaw was down before he went entirely pink and nodded. "Yes. Thank you."
Tavaiya just nodded again and patted his shoulder as she walked out chuckling. Poor kid. Probably thought she was hitting on him.
It turned out Tam couldn't hold his liquor.
Highly entertained as he started singing in what even she could tell was horridly inaccurate and badly accented ancient elven; Tavaiya helped him to his room with Varric but then left the dwarf to actually manhandle the boy into bed.
"Secrets.." Varric glared at her and she just winked.
"I have no interest in seeing a boy's attempts to paw at me Varric. You at least should be safe. Bianca will guard your virtue." With a last laugh she slipped into shadows and went to bottle up her forgotten potions. The alchemist was spending the night elsewhere, sent for the supplies he demanded at a nearby town with a full escort as they needed supplies in general..and so she hadn't expected to see anyone else.
Honey wine and hoarfrost met her as she opened the door. It made her blink like an idiot for a moment even as her gaze swept over the rough garments that did little to hide lithe muscles below. Steel eyes locked with her own and she stilled.
It was just a moment but neither looked away.
There was a predator hiding as prey here.
Tavaiya knew it as she knew anything about herself. The honey wine was thick and potent upon her tongue, the hoarfrost in her mind's eye glittering in multiple fractals of impossible complexity that were as delicate as could be, fading upon touch or thought as to hide in plain sight. Indeed without her senses, it was just the flash of strength in his gaze and that he met her eyes and locked.
Prey would look away. A weaker predator would look away.
Neither of them was blinking.
Her lips curved, she didn't glance away from the silver to examine him but trusted her initial impression of muscles below rough garb and the memory of that faint drumming sound of his power. Mage. "You're the one who healed the soldiers." She offered instead, distraction from the fact she 'knew' him. Let him think it was that she remembered rather than she was subconsciously rolling the taste of his power along her palate and finding it much to her taste.
Even if she preferred red wine with spices and honey...
"Indeed." He was calm, polite, clipped as he slightly inclined his head. Meant to imitate a near bow but it lowered his brow not his gaze. Instead he was more dangerous. A wolf lowered it's head and locked it's eyes before it would strike.
The hoarfrost curled and coiled, clinging to his skin unseen but though it coated the room so subtly it should not be something she could feel or sense. Unless she was a mage, perhaps.
The silence was heavy, expectant. This was a man used to using both his words and the lack of them as a weapon. On someone like Tam, or Varric, it would work. They'd spill everything for various reasons. Most people would.
Tavaiya was a rogue who did not belong in any way or to any world and she found silence often her only companion. Her secrets slumbered in it and she honored it. Instead she gave him a smile, stepped closer without breaking her locked gaze. They were blinking at points, but it was only to wet the eyes, neither was yielding. She stepped closer and he finally moved a bit, allowing her to get to the table.
In blatant denial of the challenge she'd issued keeping his gaze she turned her back, neck still bared from her knot of hair and checked the potion had set properly before she began to decant it. His gaze raked down her spine, seeking a tension in her shoulders he would not find. It was a heavy thing, his regard, but her other sense read his hoarfrost as watchful not aggressive. More curious than corrosive. The taste of honey wine was enthralling and she decided she liked his attention, in direct counter to what one would expect from a rogue.
But the Jackal was said to be half mad anyways.
She watched the last few drops of potion fall into her vials before she wiped it clean with a cloth she brought for that purpose, even the trace of it would be useful to bind a poultice if needed in a pinch and tucked back away in her pouch. That done and her vials gathered she went to the door, glancing back over her shoulder, still mostly facing away and a teasing smile pulled on her lips as she saw he had not moved, his eyes still locked on her.
"Have a good night, healer." She felt the spike in his hoarfrost, startled, even as she closed the door. It was what she knew him as after all.