AN: Meant to have more to this but work is going to keep me busy for a few days so figured something is better than nothing.


Despite being allowed to take mounts to travel from Skyhold, there were times it seemed as if the ever stretching landscape had gone by faster when it was unfamiliar, the first time, walking and riding this way. He didn't wish to say he was jaded but there were only so many fields and roads you could see before you simply ceased finding it interesting.

Varric was glad when they finally located the inn they were staying at even if the rest of the group that had arrived earlier were out. They'd be back in an hour or so in time to eat. That was one thing with their little rag tag group, not a one of them didn't enjoy the act of stuffing their faces even if it was with the Orleisan food stuffs. He was still snickering at the fact that Madame de Fer would have Bull and his charger's at one of her many 'homes' belonging to her patron but didn't doubt it would send quite the message to her own enemies. Call that woman anything but clever and you'd be lying. Varric could appreciate that almost as much as her cheekbones.

And seriously, the idea of Bull sipping tea from a tiny cup? Priceless.

Blackwall had come with him, as had Cole, and the Advisors would show up the next day. In the interim they were finally putting their things in the inn that honestly an entire floor had been booked at this point by their little group, before heading down to dinner. Varric waved Blackwall off saying he wanted to properly secure the room first and the Warden said nothing as he went to find food. Yeah, after being around Anders it didn't surprise Varric in the slightest that Blackwall's first concern was food once they were in someplace safe. As for the kid? Well, Cole was always there when he wanted to be.

As was a bit of a habit of his, the dwarf got around to picking the locks on each of his fellow teammate's rooms and checking on things. Little things, honestly meaning well, such as making certain the windows locked and there weren't any false doors hiding. You'd be surprised how often that happened after all. Nor was he at all surprised when he reached the conjoined bedrooms that Cassandra and Tavaiya had -a few of the rooms had them and met for a living area in the middle those had smaller bathrooms with proper soaking tubs still. This was definitely an improvement over the last time they'd stayed in a place here- and almost got hit by one of her traps.

Now that was a bit of amusement because he knew this was leading to the Seeker's room. Then again, she did seem to blunder into them a lot less these days. Huh. Maybe he had an answer of why. The two women were close after all. A friendship that much of the time reminded him of himself and Hawke. Being careful to keep it intact as Varric completely agreed on the protecting the Seeker while she slept part, he slipped inside. There was nothing of concern, except that her window was not entirely secure but one of Bianca's bolts wedged into the right spot and no one would be forcing it open at least. That done he moved back to check on Tavaiya's room and that time he had to roll his eyes. Because, of course.

That blasted she-elf and her poisons.

It was why Varric was currently leaning against the wall in the hallway, hallucinating a bit about them moving and just glad she'd all but pranked him instead of doing something damaging. As it were he was quite unsteady, the open window she'd left had a bit of fabric and a crack of being open so she'd obviously done it as a way to get back in later if she needed to and he let it be. Not that he could help it as the very act of leaving her room is when the trap got him. Bloody trickster that she could be. Seriously. Who trapped leaving a room?

Snickering to himself he had to amend that thought. After all he remembered. If his Red Lyrium future self had interpreted even half those looks and subtle brushes of hands over arms, trailing along jaw or short shorn curls? Something told Varric that Tavaiya was an unconsciously possessive lover. Probably wouldn't put it past her to trap Solas from being able to leave especially considering that Chuckles was very fond of slippery exits in word and deed he shouldn't be able to get out of. In his anything but currently properly functioning mind that seemed to spark the marvelous idea of tracking the said apostate down and seeing if he couldn't tease him. Subtly, of course.

As subtle as Carver was about his ego and sword.

The biggest issue after navigating the stairs however, seemed to come right on the matter of er..well..finding said elf.

"Hey, where's Chuckles hiding? Off napping in a sewer again?"

The group shifted around, shrugs and blank expressions meeting him even as glasses were set aside on the table where dinner was laid out.

"We did not see him after lunch. Considering he wouldn't even wear the basic mask..probably not a terrible situation for my eyes. I wouldn't be surprised if Chevalier's of attire abducted him for offending the eyes." Dorian drawled as he looked into his wine. Tam shoved his lover good naturedly.

"He is probably up in his room, I can't imagine he wouldn't have beaten us back."

"Well if someone.." Dorian drawled teasingly. "Had not gotten into the section on the Dalish and started spluttering about it being wrong and you were not a savage barbarian.."

"It was wrong."

"Oh shove off Inky." Sera butted in and snickered. Frankly she adored the way the two lovebirds would get fiesty like this but after a very busy day herself she wanted to just indulge in drinks and maybe go flirt with the cute waitress over there. Well, cute from what she could see, the woman was wearing a mask after all. "Anywhoo yeah, Glory is probably all bein Snory and Boring because that's what he does."

Now here Varric's still slightly capable mind despite the levels of whatever toxin Tavaiya had used, thankfully assured to be nonlethal, still caught onto the flaw in the logic. "I was in his room to make sure there weren't any weird things. Not there." Actually if not for a few bags of book and trinkets that he knew Solas liked to travel with he'd have thought no one had been in there. Even the bed had been made and nothing out of place. It was like the elf was a ghost who didn't wish to leave tracks, always strange.

"Uh Varric?" Tam leaned over worried. "You just fell on the floor.."

Varric had to fight the urge to sigh. Yes, state the obvious Inquisitor. He'd only toppled off the cushion but fortunately landed sideways and rolled to his back not his front. Wasn't as if he had any choice in the matter his whole body aside from his face felt like it had gone to sleep. "That's because of Secrets. Something there."

"You were in Tavaiya's room?" Cassandra's tone drawled out and Varric cursed mentally as whatever muscular control he may have attempted to regain vanished under her golden tones. Maker what that woman's voice could do to him.


"...did it hit you when you left?" And hot blisters on Andraste's painted toes but did she sound amused? Why couldn't he make himself sit up? The mouth was still working but his form just felt worse off than the time he had tried making his own ale.

"Indeed. You know what it is that has me down, beautiful?"

Someone was laughing but Varric couldn't turn his head, at least the pun had been appreciated.

A long suffering disgusted sigh, and then Cassandra's face was looming over, smirking. The dance of her eyes enchanted the helpless dwarf even as what she said was having trouble sinking in. "Combination of hers, you do know she likes those. Something of a interrogation drug. It gets you talking and so relaxed that one cannot attempt to escape."

All of a sudden Varric pictured it actually working on Solas and he made a mental note to help supply Secrets with whatever ingredients she needed. Come to think of it, he needed some of this stuff. Instead he affected a wicked grin. "Anything you want to know, gorgeous?"

"Okay this is funny. Really. I mean that.." Tam interrupted much to Sera and Blackwall's booing as they had been whispering over things to ask the dwarf in his current state. "But if Solas isn't back I'm a bit worried."

That felt like ice water to most of them because say what you would about the Herald turned Inquisitor, he of the glowing hand. The boy had freakish instincts on when things were not going well especially for one of them. Nor was it any secret he adored their frankly weird as could be bunch and saw Solas in particular as a beloved elder figure.

"...Two copper says he got kidnapped." Sera blurted out. All eyes, save the pair that couldn't see her from the floor, landed on her at that.

"What? Come on he aint wearin the mask, he wanders round with his staff standing out like his shiny head! Mage? Elf? Someone's gonna go. Oh. You match the description o that glowy hand sky hole shite group. This is Val Royeaux." Sera groaned as they didn't seem to get it. "Why's Varric gota be all stupid right now n Tavaiya gone. Bein the only rogue is tough..look people there's probably a ransom note for us at the check in."

"Uh if I may point it out.." Blackwall interjected. "That's just not likely.."

"I'll go check." Tam sighed and Varric could hear him walking away. Still staring up at the ceiling his ears just listened to the various chatter around him before Tam's return.

" Everyone? There..there was a note."

A triumphant crow came from the elfin rogue. "HA! Told ya!"

Oh they would never hear the end of that.

"So um." Tam cleared his throat. "Since they were so kind as to give us a note with a location we can go hahren but Varric?.."

"Small group would be best." Varric gave his input from the floor. He was getting used to the effects now, his brain working for all it felt like he was half drowned in wine. Well wasn't like that was unfamiliar to him, he'd lived at the hanged man where it was assuredly not safe to drink the water almost anywhere in Kirkwall. Fuzzy around the edges of his thoughts maybe, but fully capable of planning better in that state than many would ever when sober. "Where's Secrets? Her n Buttercup can mastermind this. They know this city."

"Oh she's gone probably till midnight at least. Off making statements to peoples." Sera chimed in and at the heavy pause the blonde elf just groaned. "Oh for..why do we gotta be outnumbered with the bash things till it works and set it on fire group. Gimme a break. She's being sneaky to make a statement at the ball."

"How in the name of Mythal.." Tam began only to have Varric sigh heavily. Really if they let this keep going Solas would start losing his eyebrow hairs to being bald as well before they rescued him.

"Doesn't matter. Sera should lead, probably small party. Small, Tam. None of that take half of Skyhold stuff you like to pull. Ambush. No magic, no flash." Varric huffed. "Just like Kirkwall all over again, you start flinging spells and everyone's going to come down on you."

"Downed dwarf has a point." Sera agreed and Varric could just feel her tapping her foot on the ground. "Tam ya goin I take it?"

Tam's eyes were dark as he considered not being one to go after his elder. "Of course."

Having expected that and wishing to avoid the risk of more spells being danced around Sera ticked off the other two on her fingers. "Blackwall n Cassandra would be good..muscle. I can gets em from up high n sideways and they'll never know."

"Cole." Varric chimed in. "Be good to have.."

"I can help." Cole agreed from where he had apparently been perched on the table, making most everyone jump. "Solas will listen to me, won't be a problem."

Only once they had left did Varric clear his throat to ask a favor of Dorian. "So. Help me off the floor?"