AN: Yes, a double update! I've literally been dying to finish this chapter for weeks and actually started writing it before chapter 30. I'm SO excited for you to meet Aquinea. Mummy dearest is here!
The nausea hit Dorian like a wave as they pushed through the Eluvian, not helped by the thickness of the warm Tevinter air that enveloped them as they stepped into the ruin deep beneath the Arlathan Forest.
"Venhedis, the less I have to do that the better," Dorian spluttered, bile rising in his throat.
Finn and Leliana stood unaffected, staring at him and smirking smugly.
The spymaster carefully took in her surroundings, poised and expressionless. She nodded toward the stairwell. "Shall we?"
She'd insisted on travelling through the Eluvian with them, curious to see what was waiting on the other side in case of any emergencies.
Dorian determined that she was being nosy, quite frankly. She hadn't exactly been supportive of the idea, and seemed to be holding a grudge against Dorian for luring her beloved Inquisitor away.
They ascended the staircase, greeted by the blaring sunshine that peeked through the overhanging trees, the lush greenery of the forest a welcome reprieve from the snowy frostbacks.
"How do you plan on getting to the city?" Leliana queried, lowering her hood to allow the sun to touch her pale skin, her red hair luminous beneath it's rays.
"Maevaris has someone bringing us mounts, they'll be waiting near a lake just north from here. Didn't want to give them the exact location, just in case."
Leliana smiled. "Very well. I'd better be going now, if you don't mind Inquisitor..."
Finn nodded, leading her back down into the ruin. She turned at the top of the stairs and nodded once at Dorian, as affectionate as any goodbye from the spymaster could be.
Finn re-emerged quickly, fixing the heavy bag on his back. "Shall we?"
They started walking, Dorian hyper-aware of the fact that they could be ambushed at any moment. Though he'd not seen any sign of trouble the last time they were here, it still played in the back of his mind. If word had gotten out that the Inquisitor was coming to Tevinter, there would be a number of contracts out on his head.
"I'm suddenly having an overwhelming feeling that this is all a terrible, terrible idea and we should just turn around and hide in Skyhold forever," Dorian mumbled, unhooking his staff and gripping it tightly.
"Dorian, stop worrying. Everything will be fine."
Dorian scoffed, flinging his hands up defiantly. "You say that now, but I've never met a man who can so disastrously fall into near-death situations an-"
"And miraculously avert them at every opportunity? Why, yes. Thank you, Dorian."
"Oh, vishante kaffas."
"I actually didn't."
Finn saw Dorian pale as they reached the Pavus estate, two gaunt slaves running to the huge iron gates to greet them. The elves eyes stayed firmly fixed upon the floor as they relieved them of their heavy bags.
"Thank you," Finn whispered.
The female elf's gaze flickered to meet his for a second, wide blue eyes staring incredulously before she bowed and scuttled away.
"I don't think I'll get used to that," he sighed.
Dorian smiled sadly at him. "We won't have slaves. I'll pay anyone who works for us, you know that."
They'd managed to get into the city with little fuss, everyone too wrapped up in their own business to even bother noticing who they were. Dorian had given Finn an old staff to carry, to draw attention away from the hulking greatsword latched onto his back. He'd refused to leave it behind, knowing he'd not get a finer blade than one of Harritt's in Tevinter, much to Dorian's dismay.
"I feel terribly overdressed for this weather, let's find our rooms."
Finn took in the marbled hallways, gilded archways and expensive looking art lined the walls. No place did luxury like Tevinter, it even put the Winter Palace to shame.
Dorian had promised him that living in the Pavus estate was a temporary thing, he certainly didn't want to stay in the home where his father had tried to use blood magic on him, or worse; where he'd been assassinated.
Finn stripped out of his traveling gear and stepped into the porcelain tub, sinking beneath the surface of the perfectly heated water. Being married to a mage certainly had it's perks.
Dorian wandered the edges of their rooms, his hands glowing a light lavender as he tested the wards. He tsked and tutted as he circled, his hands flaring and fingers twitching as he cast spells to strengthen the protection, mumbling about how he wasn't surprised an assassin got inside.
When he was finally pleased with his work, he dusted off his hands and turned, grinning devilishly at Finn as he quickly undressed and joined him in the water.
Their bodies barely touched in the vastness of the tub, nothing like the smaller steel one they'd shared back at Skyhold where they had to wrap their legs around one another to fit in. Finn quite missed the closeness, tugging the mage toward him so he leaned back against his chest.
"That's better," he whispered, nuzzling the soft hair at the base of Dorian's neck.
The mage sighed contentedly, resting his head back against Finn's shoulder. They stayed like that for a while, fingers entwined and toes pruning from being in the water too long.
A loud knock rang out from the bedroom, startling them from their embrace, a husky voice calling Dorian's name.
A door creaked and the click of heels on marble drew closer. Dorian visibly tensed as his name was called again, this time with a lilt of annoyance and impatience.
He swiftly removed himself from the tub and pulled a light, silk robe on, tying it loosely at the waist. His shoulders slumped and he turned to face Finn. "I suggest you get dressed lest you want my mother to see you in the nude, though I think she'd be quite impressed."
"Your mother? Is here... now."
"Whatever you two are up to in there, I not-so-humbly request that you stop and get out here immediately."
"Yikes," Finn snorted. "Immediately," he mocked, furrowing his brow and wagging his finger in faux annoyance.
Dorian scrunched his nose. "You joke now, but you won't be laughing when she has you bent over her knee reciting chapter fifty of 'Advanced Necromancy' in ten minutes time."
"Dorian!" Aquinea screeched, the noise causing the mage to wince.
"I'm coming! Venhedis."
Finn quickly got out of the tub, drying himself and wrapping the towel around his waist. He smirked as Dorian eyed him, daring the mage to open the door. Dorian groaned, knowing there was no time to argue with him about being fully clothed.
"I love you and I'm sorry," the mage whispered, pushing the door to the bedroom open reluctantly.
Lounging on the chaise in front of the open window was a woman of such incredible beauty Finn found himself lost for words.
She was posed like an oil painting, perfectly placed with elegant, long-fingered hands clasped neatly in her lap. Her raven hair was set in loose curls that gathered at her corseted waist, a dress the colour of the finest red wine hugging every dip and curve, a dangerously high split revealing an endless pair of legs. Her skin was the same beautiful, deep tawny-brown as Dorian's, though slightly darker from living in Tevinter her entire life. She looked no older than thirty, though Finn knew she was actually nearer to fifty-five. She frowned at Finn as Dorian approached her, bending to grab her outstretched hand and brushing his lips over her knuckles.
Her lips were the same deep burgundy as her dress, pursed into a tight pout as if she'd just eaten a rather sour lemon. Her thick, dark brows knotted into a deep frown, framing clear grey eyes that hadn't left him since the moment he walked into the room. He could see where Dorian got his devastating beauty from.
He actually felt nervous under her gaze, judged. She stood and embraced Dorian, much to his own surprise if the startled look on his face was anything to go by. The mage cautiously wrapped his arms around her tiny waist and held her tightly, his face softening and body relaxing as she stroked the back of his head with a delicate hand.
"I'm sorry, darling," she whispered. "Though I'd be lying if I said I missed him." She pulled away from the embrace with a slanted smile, placing her hands upon his shoulders. "Let me look at you." She gazed up at him with affection, her face finally relaxing out of it's frown. She tutted as she brushed a taloned finger over the scar above his eyebrow, the one he'd received at the final battle in Haven. "Still the most handsome man I've ever laid eyes on, my love."
Dorian smiled at her, but Finn could see a weariness there. Dorian had hardly said anything pleasant about the woman, simply saying how distant and indifferent she'd been. The only time she'd ever come to his aid was when she learned of the blood magic ritual his father was preparing, but even then she'd ordered a slave to warn him and help him pack.
Finn stepped forward and cleared his throat. "My Lady, a pleasure to meet you at last." He offered his hand and she daintily placed hers in his palm, jutting her chin out as he dutifully pressed his lips to her knuckles.
She pulled her hand away, her eyes raking over his half-naked form. "Well, you're a fine specimen aren't you?"
He flushed under her gaze, noticing Dorian quite enjoying the display in the corner of his eye. "Right, let me just..." He pointed at the bathroom and disappeared, quickly scrambling to pull some clothes on.
"Only you could make a hardened warrior, who also happens to be the Inquisitor, a blushing, fumbling mess," Dorian sighed, placing himself in an armchair and gesturing for his mother to join him.
She smirked and shrugged innocently, placing herself on the sofa next to him. "I just have that affect on people, I suppose."
"I wonder why. Aren't you a little old to be wearing such things?"
Aquinea feigned offence, her bejeweled hand flying to her chest. "Darling, it takes a lot for me to stay looking this young, I intend to hold onto my youthful good looks as long as I can. Besides, you should be grateful you were blessed with my genes instead of your fathers."
Dorian nervously fiddled with the gold band that sat upon his ring finger, the green flecks dancing beneath his touch. He felt Aquinea's gaze fall upon it and quickly covered it with his hand. "Anyway, how are you holding up? Anything I should know?"
She narrowed her eyes at him, leaning forward. "You didn't..."
Dorian swallowed thickly, his heart pounding in his chest. He felt five years old again, caught setting fire to her crystal grace in the garden. "It is exactly what you're thinking, yes."
Her head fell back against the chair, a loud, disgruntled sigh falling from her lips. "As if I didn't have enough to worry about, you go and betroth yourself to the Inquisitor. A Free Marcher, Dorian!"
He laughed, his shoulders shaking as Finn stepped into the room, eyes wide and clearly thinking about spinning on his heel and barricading himself in the bathroom. "Amatus, mother was just saying how happy she is to learn of our nuptials!" he grinned, patting the arm of the chair.
Finn wearily made his way over to him, politely perching on the arm next to Dorian. He looked amazing, wearing Dorian's favorite loose cotton shirt that was laced low at the neck, revealing a slither of his broad, muscled chest. Though, Aquinea already had the pleasure of seeing what was underneath. His sinfully tight leather trousers hugged every muscle of his strong legs, and Dorian could see his mother giving him a thorough once-over again.
"I'm very lucky, your son is an incredible man," Finn smiled, reaching to take Dorian's hand.
Aquinea's eyes widened as she noticed the anchor glowing lightly against Dorian's skin. "May I?"
Finn glanced at Dorian who nodded in encouragement. His mother was a formidable mage herself, maybe even more so than his father. Though, as the wife of a Magister, she'd always been forced to suppress her own ambitions and focused on becoming an adept healer; an acceptable specialization for a lady of her standing. Dorian was sure his magical talents had mainly come from her and not the late Pavus. He was sure that if she'd given him the time of day as a child, he'd been even more talented than he already was.
She edged forward and took Finn's hand between her palms, pressing firmly. A light, blue glow cased their clasped hands, her eyes falling shut in concentration. Her lips began to move, too quickly to tell what she was saying. The hair on the back of Dorian's neck stood to attention, her magic sizzling in the air, bending and twisting the already thin veil. Finn sat still, staring incredulously as the woman held him tightly.
Aquinea opened her eyes quickly and shook her head, a smile forming on her burgundy lips as she released him. "Fascinating. I've never felt anything like it. Does it speak to you too, Dorian?"
Dorian cleared his throat. "Yes, actually. More of a whisper, I suppose."
"I'd love to see it in action, if you wouldn't mind?"
Finn grimaced and turned to Dorian, clearly grateful that the woman was distracted with something other than their scandalous nuptials, but also clearly not thrilled about her request for him to use his dangerous power in a room filled with expensive, breakable things.
"Mother, maybe another time. It can be... volatile."
She pouted, crossing her legs and flinging the flimsy fabric of her skirt to the side. Dorian rolled his eyes.
"Very well. I suppose you two are tired from your travels. I'll arrange a lunch for tomorrow, yes? I do look forward to getting to know you, Inquisitor."
"Please, call me Finn."
"Inquisitor will do nicely."
Dorian cringed. "Actually, I have an appointment tomorrow at the courthouse to begin the heaps of paperwork to accept my seat so-"
"That's fine, the Inquisitor and I have a lot to talk about in your absence, I'm sure." She stood and pressed a kiss to each of Dorian's cheeks, grabbing him by the chin and sighing as she looked into his eyes. "My beautiful boy. You grew up so fast."
Dorian crinkled his nose and forced a smile, tugging himself free from her deathlike grip. "Goodnight, mother."
She glanced once more at Finn and turned gracefully, the click of her heels echoing down the hallway.
Finn let out a shaky laugh. "Maker, you could have warned me sufficiently!"
Dorian fiddled with the tie of his robe, grabbing Finn's hand and pulling him from the chair. He led him to the inviting looking bed and pushed him to the mattress, the warrior falling backwards with a smirk, his shirt riding up to reveal his toned abdomen and the littered trail of dark hair leading down...
"The Inquisitor isn't scared of dear old mother, is he?" he purred, letting his robe fall to the floor.
Finn smirked, his eyes growing dark. "Not scared, no. What exactly are you up to?" He reached out and pressed his thumb to Dorian's bottom lip, trailing it down his chin. "Trying to regain your power over me after your mother staked her claim as the scariest member of the Pavus family?"
Dorian chuckled. "Not quite. I just think you look particularly handsome and intend to take advantage of you in your weakened, flustered state." He straddled Finn's lap, the warriors strong, broad hands quickly grasping his buttocks, hips thrusting up to meet Dorian's. A low rumble reverberated in Finn's chest as the mage leaned down to press their lips together. "Welcome home, Inquisitor."