Game balance my ass. If they were worried about game balance, they’d listen to everyone’s complaints about silver coins and maxed out commons. They’re annoyed that nobody’s paying cash for gold coins, so they’re taking away the gold coins.
Look, I’ve gotten hours of entertainment out of this free game. I’d be happy to pay a reasonable fee for playing, or for some in-game items or bonuses. But am I going to pay $50 for enough gold coins to get an SR2? No way.
For the wonderful Anon that sent me this amazing prompt!! I got a bit carried away…
“Cullen/Trev, maybe Cullen recovering after being injured at adamant and Trevelyan fussing over him lovingly, but not doing what to do with the feelings about almost losing him twice”
Ellandra’s gasping, panting, trying to regain some sense of control as her hands clutch at her hair, trying to ground herself. The panic is desperate, clawing in agony at her chest, bars squeezing, tightening around her chest so hard she feels like her ribs are going to crack.
This isn’t happening. She thinks. There’s no way this is happening.
She watches as Cole panics, his wide blue eyes catching her own, and before she can stop him he’s pouring out the source of her panic.
“Dead. Dead he thinks I’m dead. Swallowed whole by his worst nightmare. I will never see his smile again, bright, blinding, bursting like sunlight against my cheeks. All I wanted was to be happy.” His words are frantic, her panic mixed with his own becomes too much for the boy, and he lets out a cry, rushing into her arms when she hears her thoughts call for him.
Ellandra crushes her arms around him. “It’ll be alright Cole, we’ll get out… we’ll see them again.” She’s reassuring herself as much as she is him, trying to steel herself, to gather some modicum of courage in order to get them out of here.
She thinks of his smile, of his auburn eyes burning at sunset, the way his hands cradle her cheeks, softly, oh so softly. She feels her body stand, pulling Cole with her as she turns towards her companions, eyes hardening into the Inquisitor they know so well, iron hearted, with a will as strong as dragon hide.
She will see him again.
Bright blue eyes gaze up at the demon, heart dropping into her stomach with a wet thunk. Icy hands filled with fear grip her throat, tightening until she’s straining to breath, her eyes blurring with tears as she closes her eyes, trying to find a way to tell him sorry, to tell him that she loved him above all things. That never in all her years would she ever had expected to find him after a journey as horrific as hers.
She thinks that she’ll be able to fight, to go to her death if she can just imagine his smile, the warmth of his hands around hers. She feels his strong hands caress her shoulders, feels his lips’ pressing into her hair, hears his voice whisper in her ear.
“You can do this.” He whispers to her, her lip quivers, she’s trying desperately to hold back a sob as he speaks. “You do this, and you come back to me. “ She nods, gritting her teeth as her hands wrap around her staff, feeling splinters prick into her palms.
Good. Pain is good. It means she’s alive.
As long as she’s alive she can see him again.
Ellandra stands in his embrace for a few more seconds, before the nightmare comes crawling towards them, a feral grin twisted onto its face. She takes a deep breath, thinking of his ridiculous laugh and the way he moves his hands when he’s nervous.
And then she charges forwards.
She steps out of the fade again, closing the rift behind her with an icy glance across the courtyard. She looks for him instantly, dark tendrils of fear clutching at her ankles, threatening to pull her back under. She’d sacrificed Stroud, left him behind without a moment’s thought, Hawke looks defeated, world weary, as if she truly wished Ellandra had sent her to the Makers side instead of Stroud.
Hawke still manages a small smile, telling Ellandra that she’ll push on to Weisshaupt, to tell the Wardens what really happened. Ellandra is sad to see her go, but the terror that washed to the forefront was him, always him.
Her head snaps up, drawn to the sound of her name being screamed, seeing Sera come sprinting around the corner, cheeks and hands caked with blood, her eyes lock with Ellandra’s and instantly she knows something’s wrong ,something is horribly, terribly wrong.
Ellandra drops her staff, not caring about any of her wounds, of the blood soaking her thigh, of her broken ribs or the cut over her eye. Not when Sera had come tearing through like that, the look in her normally mischievous eyes meant that something absolutely horrific had taken place whilst she was away.
Her thoughts instantly fly to Cullen.
That scares her.
The healers instantly try to stop her as she rushes through the rows of tents, towards her own, much larger and grander than the others, and she knows its one of her companions, she feels like someone’ sunk their hands into her gut, twisting them gleefully as she cries out.
One healer makes the mistake of trying to grab her, shouting something about looking at her wounds. The next second the healer is on the ground, twitching as the aftershocks of her lightning leaves their body.
Ellandra charges through, snarling at anyone else that tries to get too close as Sera pushes towards the tent, Cole, Cassandra and Dorian rushing to catch up to them, worry coating their features as they watch the trembling of Ellandra’s hands increase with each step.
Ellandra stops as Sera slows, turning to stand next to Bull, who has his arms crossed over his chest, looking more like he’s hugging himself than trying to look intimidating. A quick scan of those present tells her exactly who’s inside.
A low moan trembles from her, violently shaking hands slamming over her lips to muffle her sobs. Cole makes to step forward, but before he can even lay a hand on her shoulder, she’s rushing forward, throwing aside the tent flap.
She stops dead when she enters, tears snaking through the grime and gore that coat her face, tiny rivers against her pale features. She stumbles forward, trying to hold herself upright and failing, collapsing to her knees at his bedside.
He’s feverish, sweat coating his forehead, his hair now hanging in unruly curls that stick to his temples and forehead. She brushes them back instantly, trying to quell her soft sobs as she looks him over, trying to convince herself he’ll be okay.
Cullen’s skin is pallid, his cheeks stretched taught against bone, now more grey than anything. There’s thick dark circles under his eyes, which move restlessly beneath his eyelids. She takes one of his hands instantly, looking at the bandages tied tightly across the broad expanse of his stomach.
They’re spotted with crimson, lifeblood staining the pure white cotton. She feels a presence behind her, and before she can stop herself she’s already turning her head to meet Leliana’s gaze.
“What. Happened.” She spits, not caring to apologise when Leliana’s eyes widen a fraction from shock. Leliana sighs, raking a hand through her matted red hair, before she takes a seat in one of the chairs pushed against the far wall.
“It was just after you’d vanished into the rift, he was distraught, screaming for you, trying to advance up to where you were…” she pauses, and Ellandra snaps her gaze back to Leliana, narrowing her eyes dangerously. “He pushed too hard, and didn’t see the Warden before it was too late. The blade went deep.”
Ellandra ignores the slight quiver of Leliana’s lip, turning back to Cullen as she takes his hand again, holding it tightly as she reaches up to lovingly brush away the curls that have once again spilled onto his forehead.
“Stubborn fool.” She whispers, leaning down to press a kiss to his sweaty forehead. Cullen murmurs something in his stupor, groaning and mumbling. She lays a hand gently against his cheek, slowly moving her thumb in reassuring circles against his skin. He calms instantly, sinking back into the pillows with a sigh.
She hears Leliana leave sometime later, sneaking out through the back wall carefully to give them some peace. As soon as she’s gone, Ellandra wilts, her shoulders shaking as she bends over him, sobbing as she presses her forehead to his.
“Please come back.” She sobs, clutching his limp hand to her chest as she runs her fingers through his hair. “You can’t leave me, I-I need you.” Her tears drip softly onto his cheeks, she’s trying desperately to keep her composure but the days events had finally caught up with her.
She begins sobbing harder as the emotions rise up, everything in the fade she’d pushed down and buried, every fear and thought she’d had rushing to the forefront without any mercy. The hollow feeling she’d got inside when she’d awoken in the fade, the realisation that she’d never see him again, never get to tell him how she felt.
Ellandra felt as if all had been vanished then, he was forever lost to her, unreachable through the fade. Her heart had weakened, had ached like she’d never before at the thought of never seeing him again.
Throughout her whole journey through there the nightmare had flaunted it before her, teased her with the knowledge that she would never again lay eyes on him, nor feel his warmth, his heartbeat beneath her fingers.
She’d been distraught at its words, almost unable to function at times, she’d been hit square in the chest with the realisation of how deep her feelings for Cullen truly went. It felt as if a weight the size of an Archdemon had lifted off her chest when she stepped out of the fade.
It had come crashing down on her with double the force when she’d seen the fear in Sera’s eyes.
Now here she was again, with the same hollowed out feeling in her chest, she felt shredded, as if someone had cut out her heart with a knife, and had it tied to Cullen’s fate.
She couldn’t imagine going on without him now, couldn’t imagine walking through Skyhold without stopping in his office, to pull him away or ask if he had any news. She took any and all opportunities to talk to him now, smiling like a lovesick child when he kissed her breathless on the battlements.
She couldn’t imagine not bringing him breakfast in the mornings because she knows he hasn’t eaten since lunch yesterday, and she knows he wont eat unless she sits there like a mother and watches him eat every last bite. Sometimes she thinks he only finishes his food because she kisses him gleefully every time he does.
She couldn’t imagine not laughing with him in the Tavern, both too far into their cups and failing to keep their hands off one another, she knows they’re trying and failing to keep their relationship a secret, but she doesn’t care, she can’t ever imagine not feeling his hands wrapped around hers, the expanse of his chest under her head when she sits with him at his desk, nor living life without the feeling of his lips melding against her, tasting so much like sunshine she feels she’ll burst every time, but she’s drunk on that sunshine, can never ever get enough of him.
Ellandra knows she will no longer be herself without him, he has taught her to trust again, to open the deepest darkest parts of herself, of her memories, to bare them all without flinching, and to have them so wholly accepted.
She knows what it is to love unconditionally and be loved in return, to have a whole entire person that is hers, that she belongs to in return. She’d never been able to imagine a future with someone until he’d come stumbling awkwardly with that enchanting stutter into her life.
Sometimes she’d stare at him from across the war table and imagine what it would be like, to grow old with him, surrounded by children, to finally have a family, a home.
Her cheeks are saturated now, her sobs are muffled as she presses his hand to her cheek, begging him to wake up with every breath she takes, every breath she lets go is a prayer to the Maker, chanting over and over again, she’d do anything, go anywhere, be anything just to have him open his eyes and smile that crooked smile at her.
Its long into the night before the hands of exhaustion drag her down into the black sea, back into the fade. She’s dragged kicking and screaming, and the memories of the nightmare demon haunt her still, the feeling of spiders crawling over her, the voice of pure fear whispering in her ear.
She wakes with a barely contained scream.
The journey back to Skyhold is long, but it is one they endured well. As soon as they arrive Ellandra jumps down from her stallion, rushing around to the wagon he’s lying in. She instantly chides him as he makes to stand up, and he concedes, sinking back into the blankets he’s laying on with a groan.
She grins triumphantly at him, to which he rolls his eyes good-naturedly, allowing her to help him down, throwing an arm around her shoulder as she leads him through the main hall.
“Where are we going?” he asks when they walk past the door to the rotunda. She looks up at him incredulously, giggling as he raises an eyebrow at her. She’s never been much of a giggler before, but she’d never been so deliriously happy in her life as she’d been in the weeks after he’d awoken.
“To my chambers, there’s no way I’m letting you climb that blasted ladder in the state you’re in.” she states, grinning as he groans. She chuckles before leading him up the stairs, cautiously helping him onto the bed where she gently pulls his boots off.
She’s moving to pull the other off when she’s stopped by his hand gently caressing her cheek. She lets him guide her face up, kneeling so they’re face to face. “You worried me.” He murmurs, eyes scanning he features, the cut above her eyebrow and the bandages that hold her broken ribs together.
She raises an eyebrow incredulously at him, sputtering as she tries to think of the words. “I worried you! Makers breath Cullen! I’ve never been so scared in my life when Sera came to get me, first I lose you when I’m in the fade and then you’re stabbed? It felt like someone had punched a ho-“
She’s cut off from her breathless ramp when he smashes his lips to hers, pulling her closer as she gasps, hands winding up into his hair as she moves her mouth against his, pouring out all her fear at his injuries, her happiness at him recovering slowly, her falling completely and utterly head over heels for him.
He pulls away a little breathless, watching as her eyes slowly open, mouth parted as she pants. He grins down at her cheekily, pressing a quick kiss to her cheek as she narrows her eyes dangerously. “You’re an ass Cullen Rutherford.” She mumbles, bending down again to yank the other boot off his foot.
He merely chuckles in response, letting her push him under the covers, pulling her down with him as she shrieks in surprise, before wrapping her up in his arms. They lay face to face, arms wrapped hesitantly around one another, trying not to jostle injuries as they tangle their legs, content to simply breathe one another in.
Its hours later, when she thinks he’s fallen asleep, that she runs her fingers through his hair, mapping the plains of his face with delicate fingers. His mouth parts as she brushes her thumb over his lips, a soft murmur coming from him as he draws her closer.
She smiles at him wanting to have her close even in his sleep, before pressing a lingering kiss to his forehead, breathing him in deeply, before she whispers against his skin, letting her words carry off into the darkness of the night. “Please don’t do that to me again, I don’t want to lose you.” She whispers, pressing her fingertips to his cheek when she draws back, nestling her head under his chin as she dozes off.
She misses the wide grin pulling across Cullen’s features as he looks down at her form, pressing a soft kiss into her hair before muttering.