Dorian - Two Years Later
During the Exalted Council, if the Inquisitor speaks to Dorian, he sits in front of a chessboard. So, I headcanon that this happened (chess’ headcanons from here):
“I saw Demetra’s hand, Cullen.”
The silence felt heavy between the two of them.
They had met a couple of hours before, when the new Tevinter ambassador had smugly shooed away his colleagues that were chatting around the Commander.
They both needed to speak and they both knew they gave their best if some chess game was involved.
So, they played.
Dorian spoke quietly again, tapping one finger on the luxurious chess board “Well, I admit I forced her to show me her hand. When you wrote me the first time I thought you were a bit paranoid. Now, I regret you didn’t write me earlier.”
The mage moved his pawn “Do not think I’m blaming you, of course. I’m furious with the stupid me.”
The Commander opened his mouth, his eyes gentle, but Dorian shook one hand vehemently “Please, don’t. I’m a Mage. And a very good one. I should have known that an ancient magic such as that damned Anchor is couldn’t just stay quietly carved on her flesh forever. Visante kaffas, I have been so stupid!”
“Nobody could foresee this, Dorian. Nobody. I’m sure Demetra told you the same.”
“Actually she told me to stop being silly and give her another cup of tea.”
Both the men forced a smile.
“How is she doing, Cullen?”
“She…” he stopped, staring at the chessboard. He couldn’t say aloud again what she had said him not later than six weeks ago – six weeks and five days ago, most precisely. He couldn’t. Dorian had the right to know, though.
“She is fighting the Anchor, but she’s not sure who will win.”
Dorian sighed heavily, pinching his nose in a poor attempt to hide his reddened eyes “We’ll save her, Cullen, even if I had to invent a spell myself bargaining with all the spirits in the Fade.”
Cullen looked at him, his throat painfully clenched.
It was all he managed to say and it was insufficient to express his gratitude towards Dorian. Towards his friend.
Dorian understood and nodded anyway.
“I told her she shouldn’t be here, wasting her time with this useless, ungrateful bunch of people.” the Mage hissed “She should take care of herself better.”
“I told her the same” the Commander captured Dorian’s Hero of Ferelden “But Demetra helped Thedas’ people while they suspected her of destroying the Conclave, calling her an abomination. She’s not going to act any different now that she carries the Inquisitor title.”
“I bet she also doesn’t want to put Leliana in a more precarious position.”
“I warned her that nobody was going to thank her,” Dorian sighed conquering a position near Cullen’s Divine “And I fucking hate being right. But this? An Exalted Council against the only person who stood up between Corypheus and the world? This is beyond ingratitude. It’s monstrous.”
A silent nod was all that Cullen could add.
Cassandra had said something along that line, in a more colorful way. Varric, the same. Sera had already menaced to kill at least thirty nobles and twenty diplomats. The Iron Bull and Thom Ranier hadn’t spoken very much, but they escorted their Inquisitor silently daring people to say something wrong, as Demetra greeted people here and there.
Vivienne had been kind enough to keep away from the Inquisitor the most problematic guests, while Josephine took care of being the first to talk with the ones who would like very much spat their venom in the Inquisitor’s face. Cole had asked Maryden to sing Demetra’s favorite song and Leliana, though bounded to her role, had sent in her bedroom fresh flowers, trustworthy servants, useful information about the ones who still sided with the Inquisition and a giant box of the finest Orlesian chocolate.
Demetra had wept in Cullen’s arms “I’m so lucky to have all of you. As long as you still trust me, I’m alright.”
Dorian cleared his throat “Speaking about messy things, I heard there was quite a problem with the bedrooms when the Inquisition arrived.”
The Commander couldn’t stop the blush, but Dorian’s grin was full of pride “Well done, Cullen!”
“So everybody knows about my change of quarters?”
“Are you kidding me? The Commander of the Inquisition army that takes his luggage, ignores the outraged Chamberlain and marches in the Inquisitor’s quarters declaring that he will stay there, messing with thousands of years of protocol? My friend, you are a legend.”
Cullen shrugged “Demetra agreed and I’m not going to leave her alone just because a useless etiquette told me so.”
“Of course! I can already hear the minstrels singing about the Lion of the Inquisition who marched in his beloved Inquisitor room and took her in his strapping arms before kissing…”
“Yes, thank you, Dorian, I get the concept.” Cullen shivered, making him laugh. A sincere one.
“And I didn’t kiss her in front of everybody! I just told them to go to bother someone else.”
“So no kisses? Not even a little one?” Dorian pouted.
Cullen tried to not grin “I didn’t say that.”
Dorian winked at him “Your admirers will be heartbroken to have the ultimate confirmation that you’re not available.”
Cullen smiled “Finally! Maybe they’ll stop to send crows asking me to marry this countess or that noble.”
Dorian tipped his head on the side “Since we’re speaking about this, let me ask you a thing: are you going to ask her to marry you?”
No hesitation. No uncertainty. Just fierce firm belief.
“Do you have a plan?”
“Not anymore. I had one, but now I suppose I need another one.”
“Do you have a ring?”
“I was going in Denerim to buy one when all of this happened.”
Dorian nodded again, stopping their match, and fishing something out of his pocket. Cullen took the delicate box from his hands with a perplexed frown. When he opened it, he couldn’t hold back a surprised sound: laying against soft velvet, a couple of golden rings glittered under the afternoon sun. Inside the biggest one, it was carved “Demetra & Cullen”. In the other one, he read “Cullen & Demetra”. A line of minuscule arabesques in the external part made them two little masterpieces of gold-working.
Before he could speak, Dorian smiled, quiet and sincere “In my Country, it’s the best friend of a bride or a groom that buys the wedding bands. Now, since you don’t have a lot of friends that can be better than me and I’m quite sure Demetra loves me as much as I love her, allow me to follow one of the few traditions that I’m still proud to.”
Cullen’s thanks were too full of emotion to be as much eloquent as he wished, but they were sincere in every bit. And Dorian winked at him “One last thing: I won’t tell you to take care of her. I have no doubt you will because she’s lovely and you don’t want that an angry Magister sets your ass on fire.”
Cullen smiled, but he knew Dorian was deadly serious.
His friend continued “What I want you to promise me is that the two of you will do the impossible to be happy together. That you will treasure what you two have and you will fight to keep it alive. Life can be hard even for people who love each other as you two do, but you have something precious. Treasure it.”
“I will. We will, I promise on my life.”
“Good. And now, let’s finish this game. I want to take back some Tevinter pride and kick that awesome Fereldan ass of your.”
Cullen chuckled, putting the precious box with the rings safely in his pocket “Good luck with that. And… thank you, Dorian.”
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