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Of keys and Antivan brandy

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Nothing was ever really a secret at Skyhold, and though Josephine had tried her hardest to keep a lid on the chatter about the decline of the Heralds mental state. Everyone knew.

Cullen was on edge, his hands clenching and unclenching as he waited outside the door of the Heralds personal chambers. Shooting Josephine a knowing glare, he felt no joy at her pale expression. “Told you we should have addressed it.” He just stated.

Josephine nodded slowly, her mind racing trying to figure out how to douse the flames of gossip.

They both flinched as the Herald screamed.

“Should we…” Josephine started, and then reconsidered, “Maybe we should wait for him to sober up?”

“I’m not afraid of him.” Cullen said a little too fast.

Josephine smiled overbearing. “Still.” She corrected a ruffle on her shirt thoughtfully. “Maybe there is no need for banging chests on this one?”

“Who’s banging chests?” Cullen huffed his voice giving away how offended he really felt by that comment. “We just need to – “ He sighed, “Make him stop.”

“Can you take his mark? Make the voices stop?!” Josephine bit back, “Can you make Dorian come back? Can you undo –“

“Josephine!” Cullen barked, “I get it,” His voice softened a little along with a sigh, “I get it okay.”

Cullen stepped up to the door and knocked, “Herald.” He said, “Open the door your worship, we –“ Something was hurled against the door that splintered upon impact.

“Fuck off!” the reply roared from inside the bedroom.

“That’s it.” Cullen mumbled, “Give me the key.” He held out his hand to receive the beautifully ornate Skyhold skeleton key. Cullen took a deep breath before he unlocked the door, flinching as it creaked on it’s hinges completely expecting to have something thrown at him with deadly aim. But what greeted him was an empty room and complete silence. His eyes gravitated towards the balcony, reaching behind him be ushered Josephine back. “Wait.”

“Herald?” Cullen called softly as he stepped inside the eerily silent room. A quick scan showed that everything was broken and smashed. He saw blood splatter that left a trail towards the balcony, and he carefully followed. “Herald?”

“I’m not your pissing herald.” Harun growled from his place at on the stone floor of the balcony corner.

“Thank the Maker.” Cullen breathed, just glad to find the Herald safe.

Harun cradled his hand, bleeding from the ruined knuckles. “Give us the bottle.” He pointed weakly at the bottle of Antivan brandy on the balcony ledge.

Cullen frowned but reached for it none the less and handed it to the Herald. He saw Josephine out the corner of his eye. “I got him.” He called, shooing Josephine out with a hand gesture.

“Thank the Maker!” Josephine sighed, but still stood still for a moment just taking in the destruction of the room. She looked over at Cullen who kneeled down clearly focused elsewhere, she wasn’t sure it was smart to leave this to Cullen, but left none the less if only to find Cassandra, she had always been good at talking with the Herald.

“I used to have brown eyes, did you know that?” Harun all but whispered as his now yellow eyes focused on Cullen.

“No I did not.” Cullen admitted.

“Of course you didn’t.” Harun frowned, “How many people have you met with natural yellow eyes? How many Rutherford.”

“None, Herald.” Cullen mumbled.

“My name is not Herald, or His Worship.” Harun growled, he idly picked the raw cuts on his knuckles making them bleed again. “Harun Trevelyan.” He stated.

Cullen blinked, “Very well my lord Trevelyan.”

“Piss on the Maker, and piss on this curse.” Harun flexed his hand staring at the green shimmer. “Did you know I was a Templar initiate – did you know that was why I was at the conclave?” He spoke more to himself than to Cullen. “I had a plan, I had a future all planned out.”

Cullen wisely said nothing.

“Hawke was right.” Harun whispered, “It ate him up inside – someone always want something from you. Placing you on a pedestal where you don’t want to be.” Harun finally looked up at Cullen again, “In the end there is nothing left but a husk.”

“Delegate then.” Cullen said but instantly regretting his words as Harun laughed a horrible empty laugh before he took another swing of the brandy.

“I think Cousland would have made a perfect Inquisitor, he has that stuff heroes are made of.”

Cullen sighed, “You weren’t supposed to know that.” He shifted his knees on the stone. “I’m sorry.”

Harun laughed coldly again, “My entire life has been like this you know. Third son of a lesser bann, I wasn’t even a mage as my older brother Faruk so I was just the spare in case my sister failed to secure a decent husband and carry on the family name.” He wet his lips, “You wanted the warden-commander, but you couldn’t persuade him cause he was busy running Amaranthine, trying to break the calling for the wardens. And you couldn’t find Hawke to fight your battles because he didn’t want to be found – and even had you found him he had no time for your political schemes.” Harun laughed, “Seems like you were shit out of luck, and nobles.”

He took another swing of the bottle. “And then I dumped into your lap. Not because I did any extraordinary deeds, not because you wanted me to – but because somehow this blighted anchor attached itself on my sodding hand.”

“You give yourself too little credit Trevelyan, you were exactly what we needed, when we needed it.” Cullen said softly, trying with a little smile.

Harun pulled his knees close to his chest, and hid his face in his arms. “Why are you here Rutherford?”

“Because I was worried.”


“It is the truth Inquisitor, eh Trevelyan. We heard the ruckus and came to investigate.” Cullen said smoothly placing a timid hand on Harun’s shoulder.

“I am just a person.” Harun mumbled.

“We are aware of that.” Cullen said squeezing Harun’s shoulder. “Perhaps we could make Josephine clear your schedule for some time, invite your family to Skyhold.”

Harun turned his head and stared drunken at Cullen, “And can you make the world stand still too?”

“No.” Cullen admitted, “But most tasks we could solve between me, Josephine and Leliana – give you a much deserved break.” Cullen inched a little closer, “Maybe the world won’t end just because you take a week off.”

Harun nodded slowly, as were he thinking about it. “So many people think that my mark was given to me by divine intervention. That I was chosen, that I am special.” He paused. “Even my own parents think that I’m chosen by Andraste or some shit. I know the truth, but do I tell them? Do I tell them that there is no Maker, there is no Andraste, there is only magic gone wry.”

“No.” Cullen shook his head slightly. “People need their faith, and –“

“Do you even know how many people think I can heal their child; cure their warts or whatever the sodding problem might be… Do you?” Harun’s voice rose again to an agitated pitch. “I can’t okay?! it’s just a key.” He laughed softly. “That is all I am now – a key to somewhere I don’t wanna go.”

“We need you Inquisitor, don’t give up on us now.” Cullen said softly. “I know things have been crazy lately, but they will get better again. Think of the peace and prosperity…”

“You don’t need me, you need my mark.” Harun scoffed. “I was raised to believe in the natural order of things. Order, Rutherford, this is not order!” He stared at his green glowing hand, “This the embodiment of chaos.”

Cullen took a deep breath and decided to plunge right into it. “I realize that Dorian left to… I mean, do you think he’d come back if we asked him to? Made him aware that his role is crucial?”

“Dorian… No he won’t come back, maybe I’ll meet him later at some dimwitted banquet, exchanging pleasantries.” Harun sighed, “I told him he was needed, told him that he was the single most important thing to me – and he left anyway. Said he could not ignore the political climate in Tevinter anymore. Said he had to aid his countrymen with whatever the fuck it was.”

“I’m sorry.” Cullen said softly.

Harun just huffed, a tired but defensive sound, like the dying breath of a dragon. “I’ll live.” He eyed Cullen carefully, “Maybe you’re right, maybe I just need some time to work out the kinks, go somewhere and contemplate.”

Cullen nodded with a little smile, “Yes I think that would do you good. But first you need to sober up.”

Harun chuckled, “Maybe I should go visit my sister, there is no titles – I’d just be me, the same kid who put a live eel in her patchwork basket.” He smiled wide, “Yes I think that might be what I need.”

“Should I send word?”

“No.” Harun still smiled, “I want to see Fairuza’s face when I just show up. Maybe bring Sera, that would make for good times.”

“Very well.” Cullen said holding out a hand to Harun, “Leiliana, Josephine and I will stave off the rest of the world for as long as you need.”

Harun took Cullen’s outstretched hand and let him pull him to his feet. “I’d been a rubbish Templar anyway, never was any good with a sword and all that damn plate armor.”

It took a while for Cullen to register what Trevelyan was even talking about. “There is that.”