The mountains were beautiful here. N'mara stared out over the battlements, feeling the cool, crisp breeze pushing the hair from her shoulder. She didn't know what to do. How had things gotten so complicated?
Solas was...fascinating. He had been ever since they'd met. N'mara was taken intensely by his mind, his view of the world. It was much like her own, or, at least, it had been. The mark hadn't changed her. No. However, the Inquisition had. Adamant had changed her. She was naïve to think that something good could've come from it.
In the end, her decision had pushed him away. He was always so hot or cold. Any decision she made, she was never sure how he would react. If he would embrace her in awe of her "sound mind and wisdom" or look at her in disgust for her "idiocy." They'd fought.
And now, she couldn't get Fear out of her mind. She hadn't imagined the conversation the demon had with Solas. Also, it wasn't the broken Dalish or modern Elvhen language she knew, but she still understood it. No; it was eloquent and traditional speech. And what the demon had called him...
"Have you learned, Trickster? That was no victory. Your pride will be your death." Fear had called him out. She could tell that it had angered him for he simply replied, telling the demon to basically 'shut up.' Trickster. That had sparked something in her. Perhaps the demon was trying to make her doubt her ally. Or...
N'mara sighed, shaking her head. She could not let a demon's words get to her. That combined with their argument, though...she just couldn't get past it. That's when she found herself seeking out her Commander.
Before she'd left, he'd been struggling with lyrium. She did want to see how he was feeling. That was the excuse she gave herself. Truthfully, she cared more for him than a simple friendship. Cullen was an honorable man, strong, and always putting others before himself. It wasn't until after Haven that she'd began to see him on a more-than-friendly basis, but, by that time, her mind was so incompassed in Solas that she hadn't really been honest with herself.
In fact, it was when she found out he'd stopped taking lyrium that she admitted that she cared for him...more than what she probably should. Ever since, she started really noticing the glances, the subtle smiles and how he would brush her hand or side when they were close. N'mara couldn't help the blush, the warmth that spread in her stomach.
She'd found him on the battlements, looking out at the mountains. She often liked to do the same. "hey, you," she whispered, her tired voice betraying her. He turned, face softening at her approach.
"I wanted to thank you," he began, seeming to see his chance to speak with her privately. "When you came to see me...if there's anything..." He reached up, nervously rubbing the back of his neck. Sighing, he turned. "This sounded much better in my head," he said, huffing a slight laugh.
"I trust you're feeling better?"
"Is it always that bad?" she asked curiously.
"The pain comes and goes. Sometimes I feel as if I'm back there...I should not have pushed myself so far that day."
N'mara could tell that he seemed much more relaxed that he did, the tension in his shoulders was much less prominent. "I'm just glad you're alright."
"I am." He turned back to the scenery and she came up next to him, leaning against the stone wall to breathe in the fresh air. "I've never told anyone what happened to me at Ferelden's Circle. I was...not myself after that. I was angry. For years, that anger blinded me. I am not proud of the man that made me." He seemed to pause before continuing, as if he wondered if he should speak. "The way I saw mages...I'm not sure how I would've seen you now. The thought of that sickens me. Now, I can put some distance between myself and the things that happened. It's a start."
"For what it's worth, I like who you are now," she said before she could stop herself. Realizing how it sounded, she turned her gaze back to the mountains.
"What about you? You have troubles of your own. How are you holding up?"
"Honestly? I'm terrified. So many people count on us. On me. Corypheus is still out there."
Cullen turned towards her, catching her eyes. "We've made great strides. Do not doubt yourself, or the Inquisition, just yet. If there's anything I can do, you have only to ask."
He'd left to attend to some reports after their conversation. Now, N'mara was more confused than ever. Damn Solas. Damn Cullen. "Ugh," she groaned, kicking the stone wall before turning, heading towards the stairs. She needed to talk this out. She couldn't see what to do from her own perspective. She needed a friend...one who she didn't want to kiss until she was out of her mind or one she hadn't already. That left Dorian.
Sure, they had started a mass of rumors with their endless flirtations, but they were only friendly teases. He had no interest in women and she knew so. Avoiding Solas, she took the other entrance to the library. "Dorian," she called, pulling his focus away from his books.
"All this dancing, politics, and murder," he mused, sighing pleasantly, "makes me homesick." Looking up, he noticed the look on her face. "Oh, dear. Who do I need to kill, love?"
N'mara shook her head, deflecting his question. "That something we should do more often, then?"
"You mean watch as you twist an entire empire around your little finger? Yes, please," he said, smiling deviously. It brought a smile to her face. "Of course, it leaves only Tevinter. It wouldn't work as well there."
"No? Why not?"
"Our dances are so much more intense. If an evening lacks a murder, we sniff and call it a Ball. I hope you tried the ham they were serving, by the way; it tasted of despair. Fascinating." He continued to look at her expression, a frown forming on his face. Standing, he made his way over to the overlook, glancing down. She assumed that Solas was steadily working away down below because he turned to her, taking her arm and gently guided her to the other stairwell. "Come. We'll talk in your quarters."
N'mara sat on her bed, Dorian taking the spot next to her. She bit her lip, trying to think of where to start. "What would you do if you liked not one, but two men?" He lifted his eyebrow in slight shock, but then the realization hit him. "Ugh," she groaned, putting her face into her hands.
"What would I do? Well, I'd probably come up with a way to have them both in my bed...at the same time," he chuckled. "But that is not the answer you're looking for." He switched from joking to serious. "I heard your fight with Solas. Perhaps we should talk about that first."
"He's angry with me for forgiving the Wardens. Then, he expected me to be just as fascinated by our experience in the Fade as he was. I can't...it was...horrible. And Logain...I let him sacrifice himself. I couldn't just come away from that and then turn the Wardens away. They were deceived. They deserve another chance."
"I agree." Dorian pulled her hands from her face, taking her chin and forcing her to look at him. "He should not have spoken to you that way, N'mara. It was your decision. He should respect that."
"I don't want to be the...Inquisitor...not to my friends. I want you all to feel free to voice your concerns."
"He did not 'voice his concerns,' love. He criticized you, damned you, and pushed you away for having a different opinion than he." Dorian watched as the pain showed itself in her forehead. "Where did you go after you left there?" More pain flickered across her face.
"To see Cullen."
"Ahh ha...I had a feeling," he smirked. She groaned again. "Not that I blame you. He has a rather fine ass."
She laughed. "Dorian, that's not helping."
"Yes, well," he sighed. "I can understand Cullen, on all accounts. I've never asked, though...what is it about Solas? Is it an elf thing? I'd ask if it's a mage thing, but I'm a mage, too, and even I can't see what there is there. Though, I suppose those long limbs might make a girl want to climb him like a tree."
"Dorian!" she laughed again. He joined her. After she'd calmed down, she thought about it. "I, honestly don't know. He's...fascinating. I guess it's both a mage and an elf thing. His knowledge of magic and view of the world, the fade, and everything is just so..."
"I just feel like I can talk to him for hours about magic, the fade, elvhen history..."
"Understandable. But, dear, if that is all, it doesn't bode well for romance."
"Well, he is a great kisser...and the noises he makes when his ears are-"
"Darling, please...I have to hear those noises when you two are at it," Dorian stopped her mid-sentence and gave her a desperate look.
"Oh, right," she laughed. "Sorry."
"So," he began. "You find him fascinating, want to climb him like a tree, and he gives great tongue. Now, explain Cullen. This is the first I've heard you talk about him."
"Well, I've tried not to...it's not right. I've been with Solas since...well, since after Haven. To be honest, I didn't even realize it myself until recently. Sure, we've been good friends since all this, but it's like we've gotten closer since he confided in me about something he was going through."
"Mmhmm," he hummed, telling her to continue.
"He's a good man. He's always kind and a gentleman, honorable. He always puts others before himself and he's quick to put my mind at ease when I'm having doubts."
"And he has a fine ass."
m smiled. "He has a fine everything," she muttered. She bit her lip. "You ever notice that scar just above his lip?"
"He's been through so much...and to be so kind and still want to help so many..." Dorian looked at her, eyes wide. "What?" she asked, worried.
"I'm astonished you haven't realized it yourself yet..."
"Oh, by the gods," she put her face in her hands again. "What am I going to do?"
"Let me ask you this. How would you feel if Solas simply left or...broke things off with you?"
"I'd be hurt."
"But would you be heartbroken?" When she didn't answer, he sighed. "I don't think you're in love with Solas...and I think you are slowly realizing that because you're falling in love with a certain broad-chested, hazel-eyed, fine ass ex-templar." The silence was deafening. "So, what should you do? Well, I imagine that would start with telling Solas that you just aren't in love with him and that it cannot work between the two of you. Then, you go climb your Commander like a fucking tree." Dorian winked at her.
N'mara smiled. "What would I do without you, Dorian?"
"Oh, I don't know...crash and burn in your little love triangle?" He put his arm around her shoulders, pulling her close. She pushed him back so they were laying down on the bed and draped her arm across his chest.
"What kind of sounds do you imagine our dear Commander would make?" he mused. She laughed through the blush rising in her cheeks. "What? I'm serious. Do us a favor and find out, will you?"
"I'll get right on that."