Adoribull prompt Sunday! Language lessons.
I apologize in advance for my minimal understanding of Qunlat lol. Hopefully it doesn’t detract from what I wanted to get across!
Warm, midday sunlight filtered in from the upper balcony of the main hall in Skyhold. Usually, one would find Vivienne surveying the courtyard or writing within the foyer. Today she was in the field, assisting the Inquisitor, and her plush chaise lounge had been commandeered by The Iron Bull and Dorian.
Dorian rested against Bull, nestled snuggly in the other man’s lap. A book with broken bits of Qunlat recorded within it sat open on Dorian’s leg. The mage stared at the crude letters with distaste. Bull watched as Dorian’s eyes darted back and forth, looking for connections that were not there.
“You’re trying too hard, Dorian. It’s not like Tevene. Not every word has a flourish and six other words that mean the same.”
“No, but one word in Qunlat has six meanings! Look what is this, what is this here? This is so vague. How can this mean anything?”
Dorian leaned back, tipping the book above his nose so that Bull could read.
“It’s not vague, it’s very precise, actually. Think about it like a Qunari. Think about the purpose the words would serve, not what they mean.”
Dorian scoffed, pulling a spare slip of parchment and quill from the end table. He began scribbling, pulling apart the sentence into pieces. Bull placed his hand on Dorian’s, stilling his writing.
“So you focus on grammar? No. Look at the words. Look at them like a map. You’re trying to sift through the lies to the truth. What is there when you pull that away? Each sentence has one truth, one path.”
Dorian turned around, looking at Bull like he’d been told to walk barefoot through mud.
“You know I have a very difficult time following predetermined paths, Bull.” Dorian said with an eye roll. Bull adjusted them, sitting up straighter and grabbing at Dorian’s ass once as he did. Dorian backhanded him lightly without looking.
“Just look at the words and tell me what you think they mean.”
“Oh silly me, why didn’t you just say that before!”
Bull said nothing and leaned in to place his chin on Dorian’s head. He reached for the book and leafed to a random page and pointed to a sentence.
“What’s that say?”
Dorian stared at the words, feeling Bull’s warmth envelop him. He tried not to let the feeling distract him. The words seemed like nonsense, but he tried his hand at it anyway.
“All right… well… Something about the ‘bas’ who are going somewhere… no more like… ‘bas’ who don’t go somewhere, like walking in place I suppose? Yes okay, so ‘bas’ who walk in place, ah that word is clearly ‘Qun’ – shocking.”
Dorian paused then, his tongue licking at the curl of his mustache as he concentrated on the next bit. Bull leaned back some, a faint smile on his face.
“This next phrase, it feels like the first phrase, but they would simply write it twice if they’d wanted that. Simpletons… hmm, something about the world - ‘lok’ must not be literal though. Hmm okay, so perhaps they mean walking all over the world, yet somehow not moving.”
“All right now put it all together.”
“Well, it must say something like ‘Bas who walk everywhere are never Qunari. Yet are walking some ridiculous path to the Qun anyway. Yes? Something stoic and absolute like that?”
Bull gave a soft chuckle and wrapped an arm around Dorian. He should have known better than to expect Dorian to grasp Qunlat. He’d try to study it like history or math without realizing it was not something to learn, but simply the voice of the Qun.
“Not quite, kadan. Not bad though. You’re getting better.”
Dorian clicked his tongue at that and crossed his arms. He hated being wrong, especially when he actually tried. He felt foolish, even though he’d only begun to learn Qunlat a week ago.
“Tell me what it means then, since I’m so off the mark.”
“It means ‘Those who run from the Qun do not realize they run in circles.’ ”
“They don’t even say the word circle, nor any reference to it. How could you possibly get that from it?”
“I translated it pretty so you’d get the idea. Look, it’s different when you live it. It’s like you already know it, but speaking it makes it true.”
“Nonsense! What a ridiculous language. Might as well just grunt like animals if you all already think exactly the same thing.”
“Yeah? Like us in bed?”
“You are a horrible man and I hate you.”
Dorian squirmed in Bull’s grasp, embarrassment willing him to flee. But Bull held him close, knowing exactly what his lover meant. He leaned in and whispered low in Dorian’s ear.
“Oh, I know that language. You want me to translate for you?”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“What you just said? That’s ‘Dorian’ speak. You say the opposite of what you mean, pretty easy cipher, honestly.”
Dorian stilled in Bull’s arms and felt his stomach drop at what was implied. His cheeks grew hot when he realized he couldn’t even deny the claim.
“Hm. Thought as much. So you do think I’m pretty fucking great and you lo-“
Dorian whipped around quickly, squashing the words with his hands against Bull’s mouth. Bull licked Dorian’s palm, laughing as Dorian wretched it away in disgust.
“Don’t say such things out loud!”
“Hm. Seems you get Qunlat more than you think.”
Dorian only looked at him bewildered. Bull drew him in close, kissing him before finally translating.
“It’s like we already know it, but speaking it makes it true.”