Down in the Dungeons, the Ironbull opened the cage to let Fritigern out of his cell. Ivan was sitting at a wooden table set up in the middle of the room waiting. The tal-vasoth made eye contact with Iron bull. Sitting in the centre of the room as if he was meditating, the Qunari smiled and stood.
"What's this then?" He asked as he strode out of the room casually.
"I have some questions for you," Ivan said and crossed his leg over a knee. "Take a seat."
"About what?" Fritigern asked, not yet taking his eyes off Iron bull. Pausing at the door to stare him down like a wild animal protecting its territory. The former ben-hassrath agent gives him a quizzical stare down in return.
"About who is a better question. Sit down, please… I want you to be relaxed, you're not in trouble. Actually, I have brought you a letter from a friend." Ivan said and pulled a handkerchief out of his breastplate. Placed it on the desk as Fritigern finally turned his attention to him. The Ferelden knight opened the delicate silk to reveal a rose dipped in black ink.
"Is he alive?" Fritigern asked and smirked at the Bull before sitting down.
"Ah, yes. All ears here are safe. The big man included…" Ivan turned to Iron bull and smiled wickedly his way. "I'm looking for the Warden-Commander of Ferelden. A woman named Elissa Cousland... Well, we both know that's not her real name though." Ivan licked his teeth and pulled from his pocket a pack of elfroot joints already pre-rolled ready to go. Fritigern shifted in his seat, propping his elbows on his knees paying attention to the man's hands as he lit fire to the tip from the base of his palm. Taking a drag of the skunky sweet smoke.
The Iron bull crossed his arms and leaned against the cage, standing from behind he did not see the magic. Only the light illuminated Fritigern's toothy grin.
"You are correct about that." Fritigern huffed and fell back into the chair and reached out for the smoke. Ivan handed it over to him so the qunari could take a drag. Leaving a blue wax print behind from his poisoned lipstick. Ivan proceeded to light himself a secondary joint from his pocket and leaned back to converse casually.
"I had a feeling she wasn't using that name, let alone looking the same as she once did."
"He." Fritigern corrected.
"He?" Iron bull quirked a brow.
"He." Ivan blinked curiously.
"Yup… born a woman, identifies as a man. Truth be told you're actually looking for Duchess Michela Di'Pasqua, but I highly doubt he will be using that code name. Probably go by Edward Jones. Honestly, he's kinda clueless about how to keep a good secret. Always making up lies to cause a fight and avoid telling the truth. A scared little kitten trying to act like a bear." Fritigern was calm as he spoke quickly against his Captain.
"How do you know this?" Ivan asked.
Fritigern narrowed his eyes at the soldier and grabbed the rose from the table. Spinning it around and watching a few of the petals fall off. For even though it was freshly cut, whatever it was dipped in, was melting the petals away. Fritigern plucked one of the petals from the flower and wrapped his joint in it. Quickly smoking it to reignite the stained flower as he inhaled the vapour of a mysterious toxin. "I've been around." He snarked. Ivan licked his teeth again, watching in shock as he did that.
"I see. Well, do you think you can identify this person for me?" Ivan asked.
"Absolutely not, I've never met Edward Jones," Fritigern said simply.
"Shit." Ivan sighed as Ironbull felt a weight lift from him.
"Here," Fritigern said, breaking the silence as he pulled a phylactery from his pocket.
"What's this?" Ivan asked.
"Ask a templar. They'll know how to use it." Fritigern replied.
"Ah, there just so happens to be a few upstairs. Thank you. My men will be coming to take you into our custody. Sit tight. Iron Bull. Can you release his bonds for me?" Ivan instructed.
"Don't think so pal, He goes back inside until the Inquisition releases him." Iron Bull said and approached the table. He grabbed the Qunari by the shoulder and forced him to stand up. Fritigern did not resist him, but Ivan drew his weapon and placed the tip of his sword on the ground.
"Stand down Mercenary, I come with orders from the King. Authority beyond that of the Inquisition. Release him." Ivan commanded.
"Hey, everyone relax. I can wait here till you bring a templar. Follow the trail and find your prize." Fritigern winked at Ivan, who sheathed his sword at his suggestion.
"If you insist," Ivan said calmly as Iron Bull put him back into the cell. Locking the door and turning to face Ivan.
"Raise your blade to me again, or you won't make it home tonight." The Ironbull said calmly, as he motioned for Ivan to go up the stairs first.
"As you say," Ivan said and took the Phylactery from the table and left up the stairs.
Cullen paced around the entrance to the holding cells, awaiting the return of Ser Ivan.
"Ah, just the man I've been looking for. Listen, I need a Templar." Ivan said as The Iron Bull closed the Dungeon door. Looming behind the knight eyeing the Commander cautiously.
"Your men have been getting aggressive with some of the refugees," Cullen voiced with crossed arms.
"Then they must have something to hide. Listen I need to find this mage." Ivan said and held out the phylactery to Cullen.
"Wait, how did you get this?" Cullen asked as he examined the Phylactery.
"Evidence collected from the prisoner," Ivan replied.
"Seems like Fritigern actually did take something after all. Though he was searched thoroughly when we locked him up." The Ironbull stated.
"We did, I'm not sure how he ended up with this…" Cullen pondered.
"What a shock he's a smuggler. A crew member of the Hateful Barnacle whom steals from the rich while murdering Merchants. Pirates am I, right? Oh well, I'm not surprised the Wardens company includes that lot. He knows how to elude the law. Grey Wardens hold no honour. They are tainted by evil. Is it true Commander, that you have been working alongside her since the founding of the inquisition? Or… wasn't it the Warden who saved you from the fall of the Ferelden Circle?" Ivan taunted. The knights stared each other down as the soldiers returned to the area. The rowdy bunch pocketed various items from villagers who got in their way.
"We found Black Salts, sir."
"Good workmen, It seems our target is here."
"We are searching for someone with curly blonde hair, three scars over their right eye, missing a middle finger with many tattoos including one under their right eye. Don't get close, use your darts."
The soldiers split up and began to form a perimeter, blocking the exits to the bridge as well as guarding the doors to the keep.
Cassandra overlooked the crowd hiding against the wall in plain sight. Cullen spotted her as she approached a templar from behind and deftly took a dart from the pocket of the smallest man. The warrior quickly pocketed it before she was caught as she broke through the crowd to look for Josephine.
"My apologies Commander, you were saying how you and traitor of the crown were allies?" Ivan said with a pleasant smile. Paying no mind to the seeker. The Ironbull stepped back from Cullen as he glowers back in his direction. Cullen confidently approached this man to address him more personally, the two warriors in a staredown as if they had history. They mimicked one another's stance, arms crossed over the hilts of their blades ready to duel. The sight was something that even made the Qunari nervous.
"Yes, They had been using a pseudonym the entire time. It wasn't until recently did I find out they were even here." Cullen said honestly, "The inquisitor was blindsided by the information of Elissa's presence here as well."
"A dangerous and murderous woman indeed, she has made a fool of many. I hear her beauty is to thank for that." Ivan scoffed and crossed his arms. The Ironbull snorted.
"I believe, He is very dangerous" The Iron Bull corrected.
"Hm, Frankly any junkie grey warden isn't suited for nobility. No matter, her status it doesn't protect her. We need your help in locating her now. You're a Templar, that should be easy enough." Ivan said and held out the Phylactery.
The two men didn't move a muscle, merely stared at the ignorant man with a deep profound anger. The Iron Bull cracked his knuckles as Cullen quickly stepped forward to accept it.
"I have stopped taking Lyrium, my abilities as a templar have been hampered by that. If you wish to track down The Warden with a phylactery. We must ask one of the other templars here. Since you do not have the ability given your training. Please follow me." Cullen said calmly as he led and furious Ivan to the barracks where the soldiers were resting. The polite smile on Ivan's face about the break as he glared daggers in the back of Cullen's head. The Ironbull grabbed Cullen's shoulder and stopped him as Ivan took a few steps past.
"Commander, Is there a problem?" Ivan asked as the Ironbull stared down at Cullen with a judgmental eye. They said nothing and parted ways as Cullen brushed off his grip and lead the Ferelden Knight away. The Iron Bull watched with seething rage as he clenched his fist till the veins popped.
Commander Cullen brought the Knight-Captain to the barracks, the soldiers were in various states of dress as they were suiting up. Cullen raised his hand, and the knights went still and stood at attention upon their arrival.
"At ease," Cullen said and walked through the bunks towards A young-looking templar with a scruffy mop of dark hair sitting on a barrel with a waterskin in hand. The woman was not dressed and had sunken eyes. The evidence of her last dose of lyrium is still set up on the table next to them. Cullen beckoned her to come over and the young woman hopped off the barrel and stepped forward.
"Commander! How can I help you?" She asked in a strong Orlesian accent. She saluted the commander.
"Recruit Adnet." Cullen addressed here, "I have a very important job for you."
The Iron Bull separated from them and turned back around to go downstairs to talk to Fritigern. Alone in the depths of the dungeon, he moved quickly, still enraged by the conversation which had just occurred.
"Hey, tough guy. I have a few more questions…" the Ironbull said into the dungeons. Once he arrived downstairs. He was greeted to a blackout as Fritigern surprised attacked the qunari from behind the door. The former first mate had broken the hinges of the cell and escaped while they were upstairs. With Iron Bull down he dropped the fragments of the broken chair he used to knock him out and dragged the Iron Bull into his cell while he had a moment with him dazed.
"Ugh, hey!" The Iron bull quickly recovered, and Fritigern panicked and pulled a vial out of his pocket.
"Oi Hey big guy! You need to relax! A little!" Fritigern grabbed the Bull in a chokehold, keeping him locked down using his own horns. As the Ironbull tried to grab his hair, only able to rip a lock of fire-red hair out, but the rogue had shoved the vial into his mouth not wincing a bit. "Drink up big guy!" Fritigern said as the two tumbled across the ground in a grapple. Ironbull choked on the fluid which sprayed out his nose as Fritigern plugged his nose and kept his mouth covered. The Iron Bull got enough leverage to body slam the man off him. Fritigern got winded by the sheer weight slammed onto his chest. The Ironbull rolled off him and spit the vial out onto the ground as he tried to escape the cell. Except the Iron Bull stumbled into the bars dizzy. His whole world shimmered in technicolour as he could barely walk straight.
"Time for a nap!" Fritigern was suddenly next to him and struck him in the gut with a swift kick. Knocking the Bull back into the cell crashing into the bed and breaking it. The Ironbull grabbed for the chain on the wall to keep himself standing, as he could hardly feel his legs.
"What the fuck was that!" The Ironbull slurred as Fritigern grabbed him and propped him up against the wall.
"Oh, you think I don't know how to drug a qunari? Don't worry pal, it's not gonna kill you. At least, let's hope not. It's pretty old. You know our friend really should label his bottles better." Fritigern smirked.
"I know Edward Jones, You… you betrayed him? Why" Iron Bull asked.
"Let's just say my employers don't like to leave loose ends. I'm surprised you're still awake!" Fritigern gasped as the Ironbull held onto Fritigern with strength still in his grip.
"I'm going to fuck you…" The Iron Bull tried to quip, but his vision was flickering as his one knee finally gave out.
"Oh, my," Fritigern replied with a grin and held his chin. "That's tempting."
"Up! I'm going to kill yo…" The Ironbull tried to grab him, but Fritigern held his face and gave him a small kiss. The poison on his lip had enough kick to knock out the Mercenary leader, and Fritigern let him drop to the floor like a sack of rashvine.
" Hm… a shame, I heard you liked redheads," Fritigern smirked and flipped his hair back, wincing at his new bald spot on his right temple. "Ow... bitch." Fritigern mocked as he stripped the Iron Bull of his armour and switched gear with him. Fritigern was a pretty convincing imposter other than his fiery hair. Which he concealed under a helmet that was the Bull's signature intimidation piece.
"Whoa! This weapon is way too heavy." Fritigern swayed as he tried to carry the massive axe and left it behind on the interrogation table. Returning with the Keys to lock the Iron Bull inside the cell to take his place. Fritigern quickly escaped the Dungeons, as Cullen left with Ivan his the company of his recruits. The courtyard was empty except for the refugees who has been mugged. Fritigern kept his distance from the main thoroughfare and watched as he jogged up the stairs and went into the throne room. Fritigern kept his distance and looked for Ivan's companions at the gate.
Inside the grand hall of Skyhold, Krem, Dorian and Rubeus were gathered at the table near the fire. With no sign of Michela's insight. Rubeus was about to dismiss himself to finally change into some appropriate attire when the Commander approached them.
"Have you seen any sign of Michela?" Cullen asked. He looked annoyed and Rubeus sighed and the incompetence of another companion.
"I have not seen Michela since last night. Nothing has changed on that front," the Inquisitor explained.
"Well, we should be able to find her a little more quickly since Fritigern has given the Captain her Phylactery. Adnet will be assisting in finding the fugitive." Cullen explained the situation carefully picking his words. Rubeus's eye twitched at the mention of Adnet. After the initial look of distaste, his eye brightened with the realization.
"Smart choice," he complimented Cullen. Dorian's mouth was hung open in shock as confusion crossed his eyes to the point of delusion.
"Recruit Adnet is the best tracker I've ever met. Could put a wolf to shame," Rubeus boldly lied. Dorian smiled and nodded.
"Very smart of the commander," he agreed. Leliana suddenly stormed into the throne room from the rotunda. Steam came from her ears as one of her scouts dragged a roughed up soldier out of the castle by knifepoint. She smoothed her gown, wearing chantry silks now stained with blood and arrived at the table.
"Would someone care to tell me why there are Ferelden intruders inside the castle?" Leliana asked in a calm foreboding manner. Rubeus handed Leliana the writ from the King. The spymaster snatched it up and read it over quickly. "I see. I did not know Alistair's ego was still so bruised from Elissa's marriage refusal. I thought so highly of him." Leliana said with a calm chipper. Krem who was silently listening had spit apple juice out his nose at the information. The whole room paused to watch the man try to hide his shame cleaning up the mess.
"I shall handle this now," Leliana said simply and marched quickly for the door. More of her scouts joined her side as they headed to the gate to meet with Alistair's soldiers.
"If that's all, I'm going to get ready for questioning, or battle. " Rubeus stated. He left for his room to get changed.
"I'd get ready for both," Cullen added.
"I'm all ready to go." Krem raised their hand having fully recovered.
Suddenly, The Iron Bull busted through the door a few moments after Leliana had left it, the bruised Qunari rushing for the table where Krem noticed him first.
"What the hell are you wearing Chief?" Krem said.
"We've got an issue." Iron bull said, His lips stained blue as Cullen looks his outfit up and down knowingly. The commander palmed his face in frustration.
"Wait here, inform the Inquisitor. I have to fetch something from my chamber." Cullen said and hurried off for his own weapon as a battle loomed.
Edward had escaped the throne room upon Krem's warning. Fleeing into Cullen's command tower where he climbed up through the hole in the roof to spy on the soldiers marching around Skyhold. using his spyglass to study each of them individually sizing up their strengths. A crowd was gathered near the bridge, as Edward spotted Leliana confronting the Ferelden knights at the gate.
"I'm sorry to get you messed up in this babe, but I know you got this in the bag," Edward said softly to himself as he watched carefully. "We need to have another conversation… a better one… so if you can hear me… sense me whatever Divine thing you got now." Edward anxiously spoke out loud to himself. "Don't do something reckless for me," Edward whispered as he exhaled deeply. Though he finally felt the shiver of cold rush through his spine.
Watching the confrontation meant suffering the harsh weather. The fur lining in his jacket helped as the sun was blocked out by heavy clouds. However, The early morning had brought a fresh sheet of snow. Edward's entire torso was damp as the snow melted under him. No longer able to bear it, he had to flee inside to warm up. Cullen returned to his office to retrieve his sword before Edward dropped down from the ladder above him.
The tower door was locked, and no one was supposed to be inside and Edward was oblivious to the Commander's presence. Edward stripped off his coat and hung it on the coat hanging near the bed. Shaking the snow from his frilled sleeve before climbing down the ladder to go dry by the fire. Upon landing on the ground, noticing Cullen standing at the ladder with his blade drawn.
"Identify yourself, now!" Cullen demanded.
"Whoa, easy! Edward Jones, your friendly local sailor." Edward said quickly and put his hands up.
The man's accent did not sound Fereldan, the slip of the s familiar as was the shape of their lips. Warily, Cullen lowered his blade.
"Are you one of the refugees from the ship?" he inquired, examining the man in his quarters. The three scars on his face, blonde curly hair and the Familiar piercing blue eyes that stared at him from behind blonde lashes.
"I'm the Captain," Edward said and dropped his arms. "You know… Blue jay." Edward sighed and tucked his hands in his pockets. Cullen looked alarmed and quickly tried to straighten himself up. The tattoos of the bluebird on his chest he has been sneaking stares at during the chess game.
"But Blue Jay is Michela. Michela is the captain of the Hateful Barnacle," Cullen stated as if his words were hard facts.
"This is who I am. Just not… the woman you played chess with. Listen it's hard to explain, can we just pretend we don't know each other at all. I'll be gone soon and you won't have to deal with me anymore. Not even letters." Edward backed up against the wall, rather intimidated by the commander. Cullen examined Edward carefully, his hand ready to redraw his sword at a moment's notice. The man did have an odd familiarity that Cullen could not place. Edward's lack of eye contact made his most tell-tale feature hard to notice. However, Cullen was sure and tried to think of a test, to prove who he was speaking to. Still in denial of it.
"Your letters… How do you sign them? If you are Blue Jay you'll know what her signature is." Cullen demanded.
"It was never the same. I drew pictures to tell a story of a mermaid who looked for love in dark places. Or I put an E… for Edward. Come on, seriously you can see the similarities? Do I have to spell it out for you?" Edward asked and stepped forward. He opened his shirt and flashed Cullen his chest showing him the Tattoo. The mermaid signed on all the letters tattooed up his ribcage holding a trident with a serpent crawling up it. There were so many details, jewels and flowers on beds of smoke. The Lyrium tattoo of the Dragon stretched across his chest and wrapped under his left pectoral. The tattoo was feminine, shaping his body with a tiny waist and the dips of his hips. Clearly done for a female canvas. Cullen started to become flustered as he let reality sink in.
Edward removed his shirt entirely, it was wet anyway so he tossed it on the chair and showed Cullen the Tattoo of the Hateful Barnacle on his forearm.
"Come on, who else can ink like this? Some Antivan crow with too many needles? Well actually ya, he helped a bit but that's just on my back." Edward was so casual, his nudity meant nothing as he wandered over to Cullen's trunk and cracked it open effortlessly.
"Eli—- I mean Miche— sorry, wait. Edward, I mean Edward!" Cullen stammered, unable to speak properly.
"Relax… no one's here," Edward said and started rifling through his clothes.
"I have an extra shirt if you want it." Cullen offered. He kept staring at Edward, his eyes followed the lines and shapes of the tattoos.
"What do you think I'm looking for?" Edward said and pulled out an off-white shirt that had a ripped collar. "What happened to this? It's such a nice fabric." Edward said and pulled it on over his head. Turning around to catch Cullen staring. "Are you alright?" Edward asked curiously, wondering what was going through his head. "I'll get you a new one." he gestures to the shirt. Cullen shook his head and brought his knuckle to his lip, deep in thought.
"Unless there's something else… is there?" Edward asked with a knowing look. "Well, out with it." Cullen startled and stepped back. He looked at Edward directly, finally seeing his bright blue eyes. Cullen became even more flustered.
"I—- I don't know what I am thinking," Cullen muttered. "Michela… I—-" Cullen cleared his throat.
"Yes?" Edward raised a brow, then noticed what he was looking at. Edward felt a little blush on his face and fluttered his eyes bashfully.
"I was starting to fall for Michela but now, knowing who you really are…"
"Ouch." Edward put a hand on his heart, and let out the loudest of sighs.
"Maker's breath, will you stop? This is not easy for me to say!" Cullen exclaimed.
"How should I react?" Edward shrugged his shoulders rather confused as well. "I didn't even know you were thinking about me like that. I can't change who I am." Edward commented with a pout.
"I still might be falling for you," Cullen admitted.
"But, it bothers you that I…" Edward looked between his legs and back up to Cullen to see his reaction.
"N—-no, NO! That is not what I was thinking about!" Cullen became more flustered by the minute.
"That's completely valid, Cullen. I'm not going to tiptoe around it, having a genitalia preference is a reasonable reason to reject someone. It wouldn't hurt my feelings, but you should know. I don't have one… and that's not permission for you to go around telling people anything. I told you because… well… I might like you too… if you weren't so distant I might have acted on it while I was still..." Edward grabbed at the air in front of his now flat chest. Pausing his monologue as he began to nervously shake. Bouncing on his heels like he was getting ready to jump out the window to get out of this conversation.
"I did not need a full explanation, but I'll keep what I know to myself. I promise you that," Cullen replied. His nervousness showed on his face. He rubbed the back of his neck and shook his head.
"Why are you doing this now?" Edward asked.
"The king's men showed up to take Elissa. It puts some things into perspective." Cullen explained, "I actually wanted to apologize for how I acted the other day. It was rude of me."
"There have been a few." Edward crossed his arms defensively.
"And I am being rude again. It's just going to take some time for me to wrap my head around the idea that I am attracted to a man…" Cullen admitted.
"Well, kiss me then," Edward stated and kicked off the wall and approached the commander backing him up against the desk. Cullen stepped back, even more, flabbergasted than before. Cullen's personal space was invaded further.
"I could be in prison tomorrow and possibly dead by the end of the month. You either like me or you don't, so kiss me now and find out." Edward was confident Cullen would not do it. The commander's vanilla skin turned a hot pink as Edward stood before Cullen merely a few inches away. Cullen leaned in and gave Edward a small kiss on the lips before pulling away again. He brought his hand to his forehead, shielding his eyes to avoid eye contact.
"It was your letters, all this time. I hadn't even met you yet and I was already smitten."
"Well… how do you feel now?" Edward blinked, a little surprised Cullen made the attempt. Though, the way he hid made his heart sink further into his chest.
"Confused… mostly," Cullen sounded hesitant and unsure.
"Ugh." The way he sighed would make Cassandra sound like a kitten. The a clear distaste for the entire interaction. Cullen kept his eyes low and glanced away.
"Cullen you can't even look at me!" Edward barked. "You know what I'm outta here." Edward turned away to leave for the door. When there was a heavy knock on it.
"Commander, Open up." The voice was unrecognizable to Edward, and he nervously stepped back from the door. Whoever it was knocked again, and harder. Making Edward jump nervously as Cullen leaned down to the keyhole and looked out. Cullen waved his hand trying to make Edward step back. He mouthed the word upstairs and pointed to the ladder.
"I demand you open this door!" It was Ivan with Leliana behind him at sword point. Standing next to Ivan, was a Templar in gleaming silver armour. Coffee coloured hair cut short and fluffy on his adolescent features. He was draped with a caplet of Tevinter and was currently holding Michela's Phylactery.
Edward spun around and climbed up the ladder, and vaulted off the ladder onto a broken rock where there was a window that overlooked the mountains. Edward leapt out of it, though dangled off the ledge on the other side. A few rocks slid out of place to allow him to climb along the outer wall out of sight.
"I told you, we are not harbouring anyone here. I demand you stop this harassment of our people immediately or the Empress will hear of this." Leliana said coldly.
"Then this will be nothing more than a formality and will be over with quickly," The templar said in a gentle and warm tone. The templar rhythmically knocked on the door. Cullen quickly stood up and looked to see if Edward had left. He took a deep breath and opened the door.
"Thank you," the soft-spoken templar said and entered Cullen's room.
"Who are you?" Cullen asked, sounding a little snappier than he intended.
"Ser Edelweiss." The templar introduced himself, "an old friend of lady Di'Pasqua."
Perfectly hidden from the templar's sight, Edward tried to climb down, but the rocks were slippery from the snow, and he lost his grip.
Silently he fell, and the attempt to catch the last handhold before plummeting down the mountain was out of reach. Edward was forced to cast a spell, or face death.
Without the Braids, Edward's enchantments to suppress his magical presence were gone, and as his form turned to mist to travel back to the roof of the tower. Every Templar in the room felt the spell being cast. Edelweiss jolted and ran to the window looking out. All he could see was some rocks tumble off the side of the mountain the castle sat on.
"Maker's tit," Cullen cursed under his breath but remained unmoved. Edelweiss swiftly turned back to face those in the room. All the while he held a gentle and calm expression.
Edward was lying on the roof covering his mouth as he heaved and panted in panic at the near-death experience that just happened. He left his jacket behind and was lying in the snow still as a rock as the sound of shifting armour echoed below.
Leliana followed everyone inside, giving Cullen a wide-eyed look of panic as they scrambled around the room looking for whatever had sourced the spell.
"Formalities? You should have sent word of your arrival before invading! You have no Authority over the inquisition and your Templar certainly has no reason to even be here. The templars have been disbanded and you have no shield to stand behind that not even the King of Ferelden will protect you." Leliana followed Weiss, never dropping her toxic tone.
"I don't mean to correct you but I am not here by the Authority of King Alistair," Edelweiss interrupted. He stalked around the room cautiously. The phylactery told him this was the correct area.
"What happened to Adnet?" Cullen asked, stepping in front of Weiss.
"Your trainee needs more lessons, she's useless," Edelweiss said, casually. "She can always be taken in by the new templar order under Starkhaven if you are not up to the task."
"Starkhaven? That's an even weaker claim. The Templar Order on this side of Ferelden fell victim to Corypheus and is no more. Which means you are unwelcomed here. You have made your search, now leave." Leliana ordered.
"This says otherwise," Edelweiss replied, brandishing the phylactery.
Leliana gave Cullen a knowing look, and she gracefully walked up to him.
"I'm surprised the Inquisition's spymaster is so ill-informed…" Edelweiss hummed and hawed. Cullen looked over at Leliana to keep the Templar talking.
"Oh? Please, I am all ears." Leliana said as she crossed her arms.
"After the Inquisition refused the Prince of Starkhaven's request, they sought allyship with the Templars of Tevinter," Edelweiss explained.
"A desperate move I see, how typical." Leliana huffed, eyeing the phylactery in his hand as he swung it about waiting for Cullen to move from the ladder.
Edward knew he was going to get caught if he stayed there. The only chance he had was to recover the magical trinkets he had left in his room. A ward to prevent detection knotted into the braids that Edward had removed from his hair. He peaked over the ledge of the tower and saw way below there was a pile of hay thick enough to cushion a fall. Though from this height, it was going to hurt no matter what. Edward jumped from the roof, silently like a hawk as fell four stories only to botch the landing. His flip onto his back in the hay went well, but a stick stabbed him violently.
"Ow. Fuck, ow." Edward huffed as he pulled himself out of the hay and immediately ran for the royal chambers. Limping the entire way and leaving a small blood trail to boot.
"I hate this place, I hate fucking this place." Edward cursed the entire way.
Weiss suddenly changed his target from the roof to the ground. Leliana followed his eyes as his attention shifted and he moved away from the ladder. Cullen caught sight of her, and she gave a gesture to the Phylactery in his hand and flashed him a wink. Cullen watched as Leliana circled around the templar as he moved for the door. The bard pulled out a small perfume bottle from her pocket, her daily scent.
As Weiss moved, Leliana tailed him closely, waiting for the right moment to make a swap, she was about to reach for the bottle and Wiess turned suddenly on his heel to address her. He held the phylactery tightly in his hand.
"Yes?" Edelweiss asked and looked at Leliana with suspicion.
"Are you happy? Have you harassed us enough?" Leliana stopped in her tracks, standing right behind Weiss as he eyed her suspiciously.
"I'm finished here, I will leave you to your work, commander." Edelweiss left the ladder and headed for the door. Cullen stopped him.
"Wait! What is this new Order!" Cullen demanded pulling Edelweiss's attention. Edelweiss looked at Cullen and raised a brow. Leliana was also shocked at the sudden question.
"Why does it matter to you?" Weiss looked over his shoulder, still facing the door. Leliana stayed quiet.
"The Inquisition has lost its direction since the defeat of Corypheus, I would be interested in taking my skills elsewhere," Cullen said, his voice did not waver. He stood tall, proud and assertive with his shoulders back. Edelweiss turned, his attention now directed to Cullen.
"You what?" Edelweiss asked, with scepticism.
"Commander…" Leliana was convinced as well, having noticed the deadly seriousness to his face he hadn't seen since Kirkwall.
"I shouldn't have to repeat myself. I served Kirkwall once, I would be interested in doing the same for Starkhaven." Cullen elaborated. Leliana gawked in shock. Edelweiss chuckled and brought his knuckle to his lip in contemplation.
"Really? I thought your loyalties were to that Dalish you claim is a servant of the Maker. You'd turn on him so quickly?" Edelweiss questioned. He circled around Cullen examining him and stopped with his back to Leliana, Edward's phylactery swinging on the chain in his hand. Cullen looked him dead in the eye, still unmoving. No signs of deception or falsehood. Leliana's attention diverted to the phylactery before she eyed Cullen with suspicion. This was their chance.
"I mean, there is no harm in attempting to join us. But the idea of a washed-up, recovering Lyrium addict is not always the first choice as a recruit…" Edelweiss's voice flipped back to his saccharinely kind tone as he provoked the Commander.
"It was not my choice to stop taking Lyrium. It was thrust upon me by the Inquisition!" Cullen spat. Edelweiss's eyes widened in surprise.
Leliana's lip twitched, and the little knowing smirk tried to break her, but years of courting had paid off.
"Do you think I would willingly give up my duty to Templars?" Cullen asked. Weiss looked at Cullen, dumbfounded. Carefully, Leliana made the switch, unclamping the delicate chain of the necklace the phylactery swung on. She replaced it with the perfume bottle and tucked it away in view of Cullen with a wink when she was done. Stepping back with a gruff disgust.
"You said you wanted to help the mages." Leliana sneered back and shoved past Cullen with a shoulder check. "The Maker has abandoned you." She sneered as she stormed out of the chamber. Cullen watched Leliana leave with a look of disgust on his face.
"Sympathizer…" he hissed.
"Get out of my way!" Leliana snapped at Ivan who was watching the door and holding it open.
"A pleasure Divine Victoria." Ivan courteously bowed to her. Leliana never stopped, she sped off in a march and once she was out of range. She signalled her scout over and handed her the phylactery.
"Hide." She whispered as the scout took the trinket and disappeared. Leliana headed straight for Rubeus.