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To Find Absolution

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Were they making bottles of wine smaller these days? Dorian was starting to become convinced that they were. Or had someone snuck in and started drinking off the bottle while he drank out of the glass?

Sighing, he picked up the bottle and tucked it between his knees, figuring that forcibly protecting the wine would be the best way to ensure no one else was drinking from the bottle. He picked back up the book he’d been reviewing, one about dreams and the Fade. In truth, he wasn’t looking forward to going back in, but he couldn’t imagine doing anything else if it were needed of him. At any point, he was sure he could say that he’d changed his mind and he didn’t want to go.

However, Alistair was a good man, and if nothing else, Dorian felt that anyone who could forgive Cullen his Templar trespasses deserved his help.

And was, for that matter, likely a better person than he himself was.

He took a swig of the red wine, setting the bottle back between his knees and thinking. What had Anders meant by Cullen had never trusted a mage? Surely Cullen trusted him?

Dorian had thought so, but now he wasn’t certain. After the way that he’d reacted and set a guard on Anders, a visiting mage, Dorian realized he felt profoundly uncomfortable. And their conversation earlier hadn’t helped. Was this why Cullen was so closed off towards him? Because he was a mage? Was he afraid of Dorian?

“He should be afraid of me,” Dorian muttered, flipping the pages of the book but barely seeing the words. He felt restless, and normally in times like this he’d seek out Cullen. For comfort, for conversation, for sex. Two bottles of wine in, though, and he didn’t think finding Cullen was a good idea. If he drank one more, it might start to look like a good idea, but it would take more wine than he currently had on hand. He’d hoped for a quiet night in with Cullen, but that had gone badly as soon as the victims of the Venatori attack arrived.

Finishing off the bottle and setting it down on the table hard, Dorian closed the book and got to his feet. He may as well call it an early night since tomorrow was bound to be a long day. As he started towards the exit to the tower, he looked to the side and saw Fiona, frantically searching the shelves in the Fade section.

On a hunch, he retreated back to his chair and picked up the book he’d been reading from the table. He walked over to her and held it out. “By any chance is this the book you’re looking for?”

The elven mage looked down at the book and snapped it out of his hands. “Yes. Thank you, Dorian.” She pulled it towards her and looked up at him long enough to nod. Dark circles stood out under her eyes, and she looked like she’d barely slept in days.

She started to turn from him, but he reached out and wrapped his fingers around her arm, a thought occurring to him. Could she be researching the same topic as he had been? “Are you still having those dreams you mentioned? The ones that started since Adamant?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, pulling from his grasp.

“I overheard you talking about it,” he insisted, leaning against the shelf she’d been investigating.

“I hardly see how that’s any of your business,” she snapped, holding the book against her chest.

“Ah. Well, my mistake then.” He yawned and stretched. “If you suddenly remember what I’m talking about, come find me, or the Inquisitor. It looks like there will soon be an attempt to rescue Alistair from the Fade. I’m sure Warden Commander Amell wouldn’t mind the help.” Perhaps it wasn’t the best tactic, and he immediately realized he may have given her more information than he should have. On the other hand, as a former Warden, maybe it would spurn Fiona into some action.

She stared at him for a long moment, clutching the book tighter. “I will keep that in mind.”

“Please do.” He glanced over the railing to see Morrigan storm in and start saying something he couldn’t hear to Solas and Audra. That looked like just enough trouble that he was going to check it out.

Ferelden mages were so easily cowed. Must be because of the Templars, he thought, then immediately hated the thought. He turned and headed down the stairs.