I have definitely decided to continue with this prompt and do a mini ficlet of a sorts with it! Dedicated to ohmakersbreath and this anon here. The first for the prompt, and the second for their curiosity for what happens next! Here’s the next part in the installment. Shall we? -LiaS
All For You: Pt.2
Tevinter was hot.
It was not so hot as the desert in the Western Approach, the sun beating down rough and harsh. It was a balmy sort of heat, something that made clothes feel thick and breathing muggy. As Solas walked along the Imperial Highway, he kept to the side, ready to slip into the foliage at a moments notice. It was well-known that people were often picked up and sold into slavery at a moments notice. He didn’t have the luxury of time to mess around with a slave uprising. Lupa had been captured, and he was going to get her back.
Cole had left when Solas urged him to return to Cassandra after he’d gotten what little information he could from him. Apparently, the Inquisition had ridden into a trap in Orlais, a meeting with emissaries from Tevinter that wanted to discuss a formal meeting with the Magisterium. Lupa had stepped into the house, and as the rest of the inner circle walked in behind her, to their shock the house was completely empty. Lupa was gone. They had scrambled to scour the city, but as the mages hunted house to house, they had been forced to draw one horrible, unsettling conclusion -Lupa was gone.
He was sure that the Inquisition was busy rallying their forces, but as one that’d once walked among the people, he knew exactly what would also be happening, too. The advisers would be busy arguing about which path to take. Would Josephine use emissaries to attempt to negotiate her safe return? Would Leliana send in spies to extract her? Would Cullen march the entire Inquisition force to Tevinter’s door? No, no. Lupa had been the driving force behind the advisers working together. Without her, they would talk themselves into circles and take entirely too long to get anything done.
Besides, one elf was easy to blend into the crowd. Once he reached the city, he would be able to slip about with little to no notice.
And then, the real work would begin.
"Where in Tevinter is she, Cole? Do you know?" So difficult, to try and pin the spirit down. His personal concern for Lupa was tangible, heavy in the air.
"A holding east, east of Minrathous she sleeps, wonders when she will have her chance to flee, feet sore, a binding they put on them, when will I have my chance? A chance is all I need, begging, asking, thinking."
"A holding east of Minrathous…more than likely a magister’s holding." Cole shifted, put his hat back onto his head.
"I will tell the others that you come?"
"No, Cole. In fact, I’d like for you to return to them without me. You’ve given me a good deal of information, and I will do what I can to free her. For now, aid the others as you can." His face, gentle and concerned, crumpled.
"I will help them." He said quietly, disappearing.
That left the question, though: who exactly had taken her? There was no question that she was a tool for those in Tevinter that disliked the idea of Orlais gaining more power due to the Inquisition’s prestige. And yet, which one? Was it a faction? Was it a random outlier? Was it the entire damned Magisterium? He snorted under his breath. Highly unlikely. But still something to consider. He needed to have every possible angle examined before walking into the death trap of Tevinter.
He rounded a corner on the road, then immediately ducked down into the brush as he nearly collided with the back of a slave caravan. He let out a slow, even breath, heart pounding, and as carefully as he could manage, he crept along beside the caravan, eyeing the security.
It was mainly elves, although he could see a few Ferelden men and women speckled here and there. Was disturbed him though, apart from the obvious, was the surprising amount of Dalish that were in the group. Their marks stood out against those that were bare-faced, as well as the savage, almost feral way that they clumped together. Even at their lowest, they still kept apart from the other elves.
"Easy now, this is precious cargo." A man, obviously a Tevinter, strolled by the group, his mage staff in hand. As he passed by one man, the man cringed away from the staff, eyes averted. One of the slaver’s accomplices tittered.
"Oh? How’s that?"
The main slaver grabbed a girl from the group, a Dalish with dark hair and somewhat tanned skin. For a wild, foolish moment, Solas saw Lupa. But as she was jerked around, her vallaslin easily spotted even from his position, he knew it was not her. Her cheeks were round, and her eyes were a light brown instead of green. As the man slid his arm around her waist, she struggled and hissed.
"This girl, this ‘Dalish’ knife-ear, claims she knows the Inquisitor!" He seemed to be the leader, the others looking over to laugh with him as he slapped his knee. "And not only does she know the Inquisitor, but she says that she’ll come to save them!"
"She will!" The Dalish girl cried out, struggling against the man. "Fen’Harel take you! She will claw your eyes out with her daggers!"
The entire ring of slavers laughed, a couple of foul curses streaming from their lips as the main man threw her back into the group.
"Sure, yes, she will," he mocked, "and I’m sure your Fen’Harin-or-whatever will take me, too." He continued along the line, chuckling to himself. The Dalish girl watched him, and Solas could see hatred in her eyes. She was telling the truth, in some aspect at least. She did know Lupa. Perhaps a member of her clan? After most of the clan had been wiped out, there had been some stragglers, but they had assumed that what little amount of survivors were there had been escorted to Skyhold safely. Apparently, that wasn’t entirely true.
As the caravan continued moving, slowly but surely, Solas kept pace with it, scanning their magical energy to ensure that they wouldn’t detect him. There were seven mages in the group, three warriors, and four archers that he could see, a decently numbered group for the caravan that they escorted. They must be professionals of some sort. Just how many people had they stolen away to labor and toil in Tevinter? The longer he thought about it, the hotter his blood ran.
He was distracted from his anger though when a disturbance at the front grabbed the slavers’ attention. A tree had fallen, a massive, hulking thing that blocked the road entirely. As the leader puzzled over it, Solas tensed as he smelled something that he never thought he’d ever sense again.
The attack was quick, ruthless. One moment, the mages were beginning the spell to move the tree out of the way, and in the next moment they were dead. He blinked, saw the lyrium-infused body shift in and out of visibility as it ripped a mage to shreds. And then it was gone, and the others were left shaking and furious as they rallied to see what had attacked.
"It’s an obvious trap!"
"The mages, though!"
"We’ve still got archers! We’re more than fine, truly!"
"Come out and face us, coward!" Solas saw the attacker slipping along the side of the slaves, finger pressed to his lips. And moved beyond reason by the attack, although the manner in which it was done made his skin prickle, Solas leapt up from his position and cast a spell, creating a wall of ice that turned everyone’s attention away from the main attack. As the warriors rushed to move around and and face the threat, the man with the lyrium marks took out the archers, his blade moving so quickly that it blurred.
"It’s a mage!"
"Is it a magister?"
"No, it’s a bloody knife-ear!"
Solas bared his teeth, studying these men. If he had his own power restored, he could have easily killed them. It would have been as simple as a thought, a whisper. He could feel the power of Mythal in his veins, whispering, dangerous. But he couldn’t focus on that. He needed to save that for later, much later. Instead, he threw his faith in the idea that the main attacker would come in as backup, and he began firing spells, dancing out of their attacks as they attempted to flank him.
Thankfully, the stranger didn’t waste time. As he finished off the archers, he leapt over the ice wall and attacked from above, a glowing blue hand ripping down one of the warrior’s backs as he ripped something out of his body, blood pouring everywhere as the man fell. Another swung his greatsword, but Solas met it with the block of his staff, growling a curse and flinging him back with a simple spell. As he stumbled, a fireball connected with his chest and consumed him.
He sensed rather than saw the blade of the final warrior arcing towards him. Part of him belatedly realized that he would be too slow to cast a spell or to dodge. Another part of him considered invoking Mythal’s power, ignored the implications of what that would mean. Before he could do it, he heard a sickening, crunching noise, and then the splatter of blood as it hit the road. Solas turned, took in the image of the Tevinter slaver staring at him, eyes wide. And down, down his eyes went, until they could see a hand where his chest was, and a heart where it most certainly should not be. It beat in the palm of the stranger’s hand, and all that Solas could think was, only power of the fade could do something such as that.
The stranger ripped the man’s heart out, and the greatsword clattered to the ground. Blood pooled at their feet, and Solas stepped away from it, keeping his eyes on the man across from him. For as he dropped the beating heart from his hand, almost as a careless afterthought, with his free hand he lifted his own blade and pointed it directly at Solas’ chest.
"What are you doing here, mage?" He growled. His pale colored eyes bore into him with a ferocity that borderlined on almost without reason, and the lyrium that was branded into his skin glowed. Solas gripped his staff in both hands warily.
"I was walking along the path and stumbled into this caravan." He spoke slowly, calmly. "It was not my intent to interfere with your plans."
"And yet you did."
"To your benefit, no? They are dead, and we are unharmed." He wasn’t sure entirely how to go about placating someone that seemed intent on outright hostility. He wasn’t even entirely sure why he was being interrogated in the first place.
"…It is as you say. But if you make one wrong move, mage, you’re dead." He slowly lowered his sword and sheathed it, although he did not turn away from Solas. As he walked over towards the slaves, his shoulder was kept turned ever-so-slightly, the better to prevent Solas from attacking by surprise.
"You…you both killed them?" Someone asked, clearly in shock. The elf made short work of undoing their bonds, a grunt his only reply.
"We’re…free." The Dalish girl, the one that the leader had mocked, looked around them slowly, eyes wide. "We can go home."
The murmurs started slowly, carefully. Then, as realization soaked into the crowd, it grew power, their voices rising, gaining strength. People began hugging one another crying in relief. As the chains were fully let loose, Solas watched the other elf busy himself with patting down the head slaver, taking a list from his robes.
"Where do we…go?" Someone asked as he straightened up and studied the parchment intently. His eyes flickered up from the writing, jaw set.
"Home." He replied. "You can go home." Their confusion was plain. Home? How did they navigate there when they didn’t even know where they were anymore? Solas stepped forward as their cries of relief turned to worry.
"You can seek shelter with the Inquisition." He said, voice calm and soothing. The other elf look up at him sharply, considered him.
"They would take us in?"
"How do we get to them?"
"Is it safe?"
"It is safe enough, as any Inquisition could be. They offer safe harbor and work for those in need."
"How do we get there?"
"Can you take us?"
The Dalish girl pushed her way through the crowd that was slowly working their way towards him, her eyes flashing.
"You were in the Inquisition? Did you know Inquisitor Lupa?" She demanded. The others quieted, looked at him.
"I did." There was a ripple of awe, of surprise. An elf knew the Inquisitor? He thought of her, of where she was, and he gritted his teeth. He couldn’t dawdle like this.
"She was from my clan! She was from Clan Lavellan!" The girl cried, and he grabbed his hand roughly. "Please, tell me she’s alright? That she’ll take us in?"
"They will gladly take you in." He said quietly, evenly. "But first, we need to make camp off of the main road. I can give you directions, but you must go alone."
"Alone?" Her eyebrows slashed down; her lips puckered up.
"I cannot escort you. I have somewhere that I must be to. But I can show you the direction to go. And how to stay safe. But first, we need to hide this…mess."
At his words, the girl let out a feisty, wicked grin. She was not Lupa, but there were hints of her there, around her mouth and her fierce stare. Without waiting for permission she began ordering the others around, her hands on her hips. When it came to hiding bodies, he noticed her take a dark delight in helping bury the head slaver.
He led them away from the main road, making camp in a hollow that was easily defendable if someone stumbled upon them. While he made fires and portioned the food from the slavers’ packs, he noticed that set apart from the group, watching with a tense posture, the other elf kept his distance.
When night fell, he set up people stationed to keep an eye out, and he picked his way over to the stranger, watching the way that the lyrium glowed on his skin. The stranger watched him as well, his shaggy white hair swept back, a red sash keeping it from falling into his eyes.
"You did not have to follow us here. You freed them, and I can see them safely along their way." Solas said.
"You mentioned Inquisitor Lupa." He replied curtly.
"I did. You know her?"
"Hawke…The Champion of Kirkwall…went to see her awhile ago." The way he spoke, as well as his demeanor, shifted when he mentioned the champion. Solas thought back to the way that Lupa had come to him, in tears weeks after what had happened in the fade. How is Varric going to tell him? She whispered, clinging to him in a rare moment of weakness. I asked Hawke about Fenris. I asked her, and she said she loved him. What have I done?
"You are Fenris." Solas said, realization dawning on him. Fenris looked at him sharply, tensed. Then, after a moment, slowly relaxed.
"I am. But I do not know your name, mage."
"I am Solas. And I am sorry for your loss." If he was affected by Solas’ words, he didn’t show it. He folded his arms across his chest and looked over at the freed slaves.
"What are you doing in Tevinter?" He asked, his voice a low growl. "This isn’t Inquisition territory." At that, it was Solas’ turn to hesitate. It wasn’t safe for too many people to know. If they played their cards right, Lupa could be rescued within the week. If word got out, though, it could mean…
…no. He wasn’t going to think about it.
"…I am here on discreet business." He said at last. Fenris grunted.
"This is discreet?" He nodded towards the rabble of people.
"This was a delay."
"It is not something that should be made very public."
"And who am I going to tell?" Fenris snapped, and in his annoyance, Solas detected something raw, something cutting at the edges. He did mourn Hawke. He just didn’t want to say it. Solas wasn’t entirely sure why, but guilt prickled at the edges of his thoughts. Was it guilt, since Lupa wasn’t here to feel it instead? She had made her decision. Everyone, Hawke included, had stood by it.
But that didn’t make it any easier on Fenris.
"…Inquisitor Lupa was taken by mages from Tevinter." Solas said at last. He looked at Fenris, but the other elf’s reaction was subdued, a mere twitch of his eyebrow.
"And so you are coming to get her." It was’t a question.
"It would be disastrous if they were to…" To what? Torture her? Kill her? Extract information? Yes, yes, any of the above. He tried to keep his emotions schooled, but he feared that his expression would not be neutral enough.
"Anyone trapped in the clutches of a mage is in danger." Fenris replied.
The two of them watched the camp in silence, each one troubled with their own thoughts. As the moon rose to the sky entirely, and the air cooled down from the heat of the Tevinter sun, Fenris finally let out a noise that vaguely resembled a grunt, and he let his arms fall to his sides.
"I will come with you to get her." He said, and there was no argument in his tone.
"Why?" Solas asked, more curious than opposed.
"…She was the last one to see Hawke. And Hawke spoke highly of her, in her last letter…she must be someone worth saving." The words sounded bitter, although Solas wondered if that was just how the man spoke. Nevertheless, it would be easier for someone from Tevinter to help him navigate the cities in secrecy, someone that was clearly adept at fighting. An ally. When had Solas begun acquiring so many allies?
"I am thankful for the aid."
"Don’t thank me yet. She could be dead when we get there." Solas nodded, looked away so his emotions couldn’t be seen on his face. If she was dead…he gritted his teeth. No. She was not dead. She was alive, and he was going to save her.
"We leave at dawn."
Ah, I didn’t initially plan on Fenris being there…but there we go. Anyway, hope you like it! Until next time!