There's a fishing cat that wanders through the Chantry, sometimes, seeking refuge from the cold. No one thinks to stop it; winter days in Haven are scarcely better than winter nights, and the snowy ground is almost as hard and uninviting to spotted, furry paws, as it is to, say, a pair of bare elven feet.
The Inquisitor is rarely seen in the Chantry outside of the War Room—unsurprising, for a Creators-revering elf. But the cat appears there now and then, when the Inquisitor is nowhere to be found, when the sun is low and most of Haven's occupants sit in tents and around fires; when the halls are quiet, and you can almost hear the gentle padding of four light paws.
Vivienne watches it sometimes, as sun-robed helpers skirt anxiously around her own haughty demeanour; watches as the small cat goes uninterrupted about its business—so unnoticed, in fact, that it barely avoids a kick to the face as it weaves through a group of Chantry initiates heading in the opposite direction. Amidst all the sunburst imagery, it's easy to imagine the poor thing as a newly rescued mage, stumbling to get out of the way of cliques of older mages, still adapting to the rigours of Circle life.
Vivienne almost considers leaving out a bowl of milk, or a piece of meat, but the next time she sees it, mouse dangles from its mouth as it trots out the Chantry doors, its tail floating high and proud behind it. Oh, well done.
Even the smallest creature will thrive in adversity.
(And if Chancellor Roderick finds a mouse in his sleeping roll that night, no one would think to blame it. After all, it's just a cat—cats don't play pranks, hold grudges, or get wrongfully accused of blowing up religious figures. Usually.)
Harritt's makeshift workshop in the stables is warm and dry, lit by a smoldering fire: the perfect spot to dry out soggy fur. Most days, Harritt is the only person there. Today, however, a man with a faceful of dark fur—no! Hair—sits by the fire, bare feet stretched out in front of the embers.
"I must say, it's nice staying in one place for more than a day or so," Blackwall says to the room at large, stretching back luxuriously. Harritt only grunts.
The cat flicks its ears up, eyes darting around the room hesitantly. Then, a gust of wind ruffles its fur, and it skitters forward, darting around the workbenches toward the warmth of the fire.
"What was that?" Blackwall says, starting upright as he squints into the shadows.
Harritt doesn't even blink. "What, the cat?" he says, as it hesitates under the last table, giving Blackwall a wary look. Blackwall stares back at it, mouth slightly open.
"That's... quite a, uh, large cat," he says, brow wrinkling.
"Probably wild. Good at catching mice, though, and the horses don't mind it."
After a moment's consideration, the cat begins to creep out into the light, its eyes fixed on Blackwall the entire time. "Hullo," Blackwall murmurs, holding very still. "You want to share the fire?"
"It can't understand you," Harritt says dryly, as he gets up to talk to an approaching courier.
"I know that," Blackwall calls after him. His gaze falls back down to the cat, who has taken the opportunity to curl into a ball a few feet from the fire. "No harm in being polite," he tells the cat.
It makes a deep rumbling noise almost like purring, and Blackwall smiles.
It's early evening, and most soldiers have returned for the day, including the Inquisitor and their growing assemblage of followers. Solas sits on the rocky wall, eyes scanning the camp when his gaze falls on the grey cat slinking through the snow; he pads forward to meet it, footsteps almost as quiet as its own velvet paws. "A moment, if I may?"
The cat freezes, ears flattening against its head as it spots Solas, then looks around as if for witnesses. An oddly human gesture, the nearby soldiers might have remarked, if they'd thought to spare it notice. But as it is—
"We are unwatched at present, but I fear I may draw attention if I continue speaking publicly to a cat," Solas says, and there is a dry note of humour in his voice. He gestures to the cabin nearby. "Coming?"
Solas holds the door open as they enter, waiting as the cat slinks inside before pulling it shut. A moment later, there is not one elf but two standing inside the small room.
"How did you know?" Liana demands, arms crossed tightly across her chest.
"Magic always leaves its traces. A less experienced mage would be unlikely to notice it, however."
Liana relaxes a little at that. "Good."
"You wish to pass unnoticed; I understand," he says gently. She swallows, wide eyes flickering down to her feet then back up to meet his steady gaze. "Do not worry, your secret is safe."
Varric doesn't see a lot of the Inquisitor when they're not out fighting demons, or fighting templars, or, well, any other thing that needs fighting. She keeps to herself, mostly, so when he's not being harangued by Cassandra or playing cards with Bull and Blackwall, he'll sometimes just sit down in a small room with a quill and some paper and try to get some writing done.
The past couple of days, he's been sharing this time with a large spotted cat.
He glances up mid-sentence, eyes lighting on its curled form on the chair by the fire. Its eyes gleam in the half-light, reflecting the flickering fire which probably brought it inside in the first place. He shrugs, dipping his quill back into the ink-pot. It's not the worst roommate he's ever had; it's better behaved than Hawke's dog Marty, and it doesn't steal his shit or leave manifestos scattered across his belongings, so that's a bonus.
Half an hour later, he gets up to fetch more water for tea. The cat's eyes are drooping, and he ruffles the fur behind its ears the way Marty used to like it. It gives a sleepy grumbling purr.
When he comes back, he goes to set down his mug and almost drops it—there is a sleeping elf curled up in his chair. He stares at her for a couple seconds, then lets out a quiet laugh. "Maker's breath," he mutters, grabbing a blanket off his bed to carefully drape over her. "Mages." He stifles a yawn, giving her one last glance before heading to bed himself.
When he wakes the next morning, Liana is gone.
By the time Corypheus attacks Haven, the cat has become somewhat of a familiar figure in their camp to those who pay attention; though in the chaos, the Inquisition is far too busy looking out for its bipedal casualities to think of it. Which is just as well, as another small figure is, at first, rather busy facing off a supposed ancient darkspawn; and later, conserving precious energy and mana for things like wandering through a blizzard.
So no one is really expecting to see the same cat, miles away inside their new, heavily guarded fortress home.
"Am I hallucinating, or is that the same cat I saw in Haven?" Cassandra demands, staring down at the (rather large) cat rubbing itself against Cole's legs.
"You're not hallucinating," Cole says helpfully.
Cassandra refrains from rolling her eyes. "Thank you," she says dryly. She rubs her fingers across the bridge of her nose. "Maker's breath, did it follow us all the way here?" She lowers her hand, squinting at Cole. "Does it belong to you? That might explain a lot."
Cole shakes his head. "She doesn't belong to anyone, and she doesn't like it when people try to claim she's theirs."
"Let me guess: you heard this, somehow?"
"No. She told me."
"She... nevermind," Cassandra sighs. "Just make sure it doesn't cause trouble. I have enough to deal with without wild animals getting in the way."
As Cassandra walks away, Cole looks down at the cat. "You don't get in the way. You get out of the way." The cat gives a bright mrrp as if in agreement. "Is that why you like being so small?" He crouches down next to the cat, and it rubs its head against his hand. "Me too."