"Hammond, have you seen my screw-turner?"
Dagna looked up from her workbench to gesture to the man sitting at his. "Big handle? Removes screws?"
Her companion chuckled, looking back down at the blade he was sharpening, "You use that for smithing? That's a carpenter's tool."
"Sometimes binding the runes to the metal elevates pressure in the armor that you can relieve with-" the dwarf glanced over and found the blacksmith getting up from his seat to walk over to the forge.
He had clearly lost interest already in the conversation, returning to his work, and so Dagna too went back to her "smithing."
Growing up, Dagna told herself she was never going to be a smith. The fires of Orzammar did not light a passion in her soul. While her father beamed happily as he instructed her on the traditions and techniques of their family and caste, she always felt her stomach churn. She easily left behind that entire world to learn about the beauty and secrets hidden away in the Circles. Magic was her true passion, her mistress, her world.
Then she discovered enchantments and runes and all the wonderful things that made every drab thing her father had taught her about smithing suddenly interesting. Who could have dreamed you could put magic in the metal? Mining Lyrium seemed so simplistic and basic in comparison.
It was sort of ironic. Alright, it was really ironic. Here she was, making armor and weapons for one of the most powerful institutions in all of Thedas. Her father would have been proud...if it hadn't required her to be a surfacer dwarf that abandoned her family to go play with magic.
She sighed as she picked up a chisel and resigned herself to the longer alternative without her preferred tool.
Hammond was overwhelmed with producing a large volume of arms for the new foot soldier recruits that had just arrived; new recruits were constantly arriving nowadays. He would never admit it, but Dagna was a damn good smith. So when the Inquisitor had personally requested custom-made, rune-enchanted armor for himself and the closest members of his inner circle, Dagna knew she was the best woman for the job. Well, when it came to runes, Dagna was probably the only woman for the job. Hence the fancy title, Arcanist.
Dagna was in her little, happy place at her workbench when she heard the door of the Undercroft open and looked up to see a woman with a stern expression walking towards her.
"Seeker Pentagast, hello!"
The tall woman nodded before looking at the worker expectantly. Dagna's eyes widened as she remembered.
"You're here for the new armor. That's not done yet. Yikes," she muttered, quickly wiping her dirty hands with a cloth and turning away from her work, "It's almost done, I promise. I was just trying to temper the dragon's bone and…" at the quirk of Cassandra's eyebrow, Dagna sighed. Right. Less magic talk, more talk-talk.
"I'm missing a tool. Takes twice as long to do what I need to do without it. I haven't seen it since my consultation with the last of the Inquisitor's companions."
The Seeker tilted her head, "Which one?"
"The young, blonde woman. Sera?"
Cassandra grunted, "Why does that not surprise me?" Her voice, however, softened as she redirected it to the woman before her, "It's quite alright, Dagna, just do what you can."
"Much thanks, Lady Pentagast. Wouldn't want to accidently set you on fire not doing it right the first time. Though that would be pretty neat, right?"
The awkward silence that followed suggested the warrior did not agree.
"I'll come back later in a few days."
Once the warrior took her exit and shut the door behind her, Dagna's eyes slowly slid to her workbench. The best solution was not an option given a lack of proper tools. This was merely another puzzle, a new challenge. And she loved solving riddles.
Dagna enjoyed getting to work nice and early before Hammond would show up with grunts and curses. Not that she didn't mutter a few of those herself sometimes. However, it was nice to have the Undercroft all to herself, without the occasional glances from the man that preferred the 'traditional' arts. Questioning looks and whispers had followed her around long before she left her home buried in the Frostback mountains. Then there were the sneers and scoffs that mocked the scholar once she arrived at the Circle. They stung much more at age nineteen than they did now. And now it was Dagna smirking every time she walked by the Inquisitor's throne her way to her life's work.
She had proved everyone from the mages to the bloody Ancestors wrong.
She opened the door to the Undercroft, descended the stairs, and turned the handle to the final barrier with a yawn. Then she froze.
Someone was standing by her worktable. The figure immediately whipped around at the sound of the door. Dagna flashed a small smile when she recognized the visitor, somewhat relieved she hadn't discovered a Venatori spy waiting to strike in her underground office.
"Hello. Are you here for your new armor already?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah. Ser Lordybloomers wants us right suited up," the elf quipped, rolling her eyes.
With her hands suspiciously behind her back.
Dagna slowly stepped closer. "Is everything alright?"
"Grand. Love dressing like a poncy tit in stupid fancy armor. More for Cassandra's sort, this," Sera scoffed, nodding her head towards the worktable beside her.
"I meant why are you hiding your hands."
The both stared at each other in a standstill. Well, not quite. Sera bounced on the balls of her feet. Dagna patiently waited. Another puzzle.
The younger woman eventually sighed, showing her hands, "Lady Cassandra-Allergy-Porty-Blah also said you might be missing this."
In-between her fingers lay Dagna's missing screw-turner.
"Didn't steal it. Just borrowed. Said I'd bring it back."
Dagna heard more about Sera than she saw of her. Their meeting a fortnight ago to get measurements for the new armor the Inquisitor commissioned had probably only been their second or third meeting, and the archer had clearly attended begrudgingly. But Dagna occasionally had a drink at the tavern and that occasionally included listening to a song about a joyful, devious Red Jenny. Or seeing the woman recklessly downing bottle after bottle with her friends with a chorus of laughter. The woman before her now, however, did not perfectly match the image of the exasperated youth nor just the chaotic daredevil…Dagna just couldn't put her finger on who this Sera was as the woman placed the tool back on the worktable where it belonged.
"Needed it for the screwy bits – wait, fine? Like, just fine?"
The dwarf shrugged with a grin. "You brought it back."
Sera's eyes narrowed at the gesture. "Right. You're being all weirdy. Always nice when people take your stuff?"
Dagna walked over to her table, nonchalantly sitting down and asking, "What'd you use it for?"
She half-expected the young woman would refuse to answer and walk away. Instead, she hoisted herself on the bench, sitting down amongst the tools and sketches laid across it. Dagna didn't mind she made herself look at home as she swung her legs over the ledge.
"You know the hingy parts on doors? Needed them loose."
"Look, Bull and Dorian been rolling around, yeah? Don't want no one to know. Well, Bull could give two shits," Sera snickered, "Anyway, all sneaky secret rubbish with one of those two. So I took Dorian's door."
"You took his door?"
Her roguish grin was both cutting and charming, her steel eyes shimmering. "No more secrets."
The other woman questioned with a laugh, "What if they just go to Iron Bull's room?"
"Chargers always around. Even Lady Nightingale couldn't hide secrets from that lot."
"Why does it matter if everyone knows?"
"Won't say, but Bull does give a shit. Not about people knowing. It's about people not knowing."
There was a pause while Dagna puzzled out Sera's paradox. "He doesn't care if everyone knows they're together, he just doesn't want Dorian actively hiding it?"
"And that's why I needed the screws gone. So he can't hide the screwing. Or just not screw. But I'd bet my bow he'll say 'screw it' and screw it."
"That's a lot of screwing," Dagna murmured.
"Great, innit?" Her seductively wicked smile was back.
"Your plan is a bit odd, but you're sweet to try and help your friends," the dwarf surmised, picking up the screw-turner to finally finish Cassandra's armor, "It's so odd, it might just be smart."
The blonde's legs stopped swinging. "You're doing that weirdy thing again."
The other woman paused as she reached for a leg plate, trying to hide a smile. "Being nice?"
There was a small thud as feet hit the floor once more. "Suppose I'll need to come back, Arcaneness."
A laugh. "Arcanist."
Sera scrunched up her face in displeasure. "Ruined it."
It was a cute face.
"Dagna. My name is Dagna."
The playful smirk returned easily enough at the admission. "Better."
With that, the Jenny turned towards the door and began to make her exit. Dagna finally got a good look at her now that those shining eyes weren't upon her. The tattered dress, the rather expressive plaideweave. The confident saunter.
The young woman paused with her hand on the door, casting a glance over her shoulder.
Dagna gripped her screw-turner a little tighter. "I promise I won't make you look like a poncy tit.
"If you do, I'll stick it with arrows."
"It's metal armor."
She could still hear Sera's cackling laughter even after she closed the door.
She could still hear it a few days later as she sat down to finally make the rouge her armor.
Dragonling Scales were transformed into leather of a deep, seductive red. More importantly, it was durable but light for the feisty girl. King's Willow Weave added some fun, yellow pop. But what truly took the most time and effort was creating the perfect runes. Cassandra's had been easy. Defense from the demons and anything that could carry a sword. The Inquisitor's garments were designed to take his magic further than it had before. But Sera was wild and fierce. Where was the balance between protecting her from an enemy's speedy dagger and also giving her the extra edge with her own quick, witty style?
It was a problem to solve, but Dagna feverishly worked on the armor, thinking of the snarky smile of the woman that would be wearing it.
When it finally came time to reveal her work to the intended wearer, she felt little miners swinging pickaxes in her stomach.
Sera's face was expressionless as she looked down at the garment on the worktable before them.
Eyebrows shot up. "Wow."
"Thank the Stone," Dagna sighed before standing a bit straighter, "It's been reinforced for extra range and magic defense."
"Don't need that," Sera laughed before touching the bright colors with her fingers, "Trevelyan going to lose his proper shit when he sees this."
"Glad you like it." It was a matter of pride for her occupation, of course. Nothing more...right?
The woman inspecting the armor whipped her head around in excitement. "What else can you do?"
"Runes don't bind well with just cloth. Leather, yeah."
"Hm, not quite. Can't do that stably with a rune. And the only bombs I have are snow bombs."
This caught her attention as she exclaimed, "What?"
"Well, not really bombs. But they can disperse bigger piles of snow. I made them to help the groundskeepers, but they're a bit too-"
"Prove it," Sera declared firmly, eyes wide.
It was a dare. And that really was a matter of pride. It had nothing to do with impressing someone pretty.
It wasn't really what Dagna had planned to do that day. She didn't expect she'd be showing Sera the ice runes carefully bound together. She really didn't expect to take part in the Jenny's evil plan to use the invention to prank the Ambassador of the Inquisition. Most of all, she really didn't expect she'd be enjoying the sight of Sera's rear as she climbed after her up the ladder on the side of the barn. But that was something to contemplate another time.
Sera eyed Dagna as she hoisted herself over the edge of the roof.
Dagna tried not to let her breathing betray her; she really needed to get out from the Undercroft more.
"I'm basically Carta."
Her response was a smirk. "Too stabby for you."
"I don't know, I can be vicious."
"Do you bite?"
Was she flirting?
Dagna smirked, "Only when asked."
"Woof. Now how would—Look, here she comes!"
They didn't lie in wait long. The distant figure of Josephine stepped directly in the spot where the runes were planted, launching a large pillow of pristine snow into the air and plopping it onto the Antivan's head in a beautiful, soggy mess.
"Perfect! Bloody perfect, that is!"
Dagna decided then she really liked Sera's devious, snickering laughter.
The crafty glint in her eyes was back in full force when she practically purred, "We need to knock Vivienne down a few pegs next time."
"I could enchant her armor so it smells like rotten eggs."
"Grand! No wait. Better save it for Elfy Egghead."
"He knows so much about the Fade," Dagna replied with a small sigh, "He's been a wonderful resource, but I would have preferred the information without his condescending tone."
"Look at you. Cheeky." Sera's voice brought those miners back to her stomach, chipping away like crazy.
She managed to quip back, "Can't be this sweet all the time."
"Doubt it." Even Dagna, who was sorely out of practice, could now confirm it was very probable they were flirting. But knowing what rumors she knew about the Jenny, she took a very scandalous approach to everything and everyone.
Whether it was as a friend or romantic interest, she realized she was hopeful for more of the rouge's time. Sera was a delightfully chaotic puzzle, and the scientist was eager to continue her observations.
"Would you like to go get drinks at the tavern?" Dagna asked, picking at a piece of loose straw on the roofing beneath them, "I know it's not exactly something new and exciting for you. For those of us that almost never leave the Undercroft, it's an adventure."
She risked a glance up at the woman next to her.
Sera brought her hand to her chin in thought. "Might be a game of Wicked Grace on for tonight. Better hold onto your breeches. Or not," she barked with a laugh, elbowing her new partner in crime, "Either way, wild time, yeah?"
Turns out, it was a wild time, though maybe not the 'taking-off-your-clothes' kind of wild Sera hinted at. And so began Dagna's interactions with the less polished individuals of the Inquisitor's inner circle.
Varric had immediately attempted to find common ground in the blatant similarity that they were both dwarves quite far from where dwarves come from, but that particular vein of conversation seemed to make both parties feel particularly awkward. However, Varric was nothing if not nosy, and Dagna was always eager to share about her work and listen to the merchant's exaggerated tales.
It was not shocking to find Iron Bull among Sera's friends, but her eyes did widen to find that Grey Warden that stayed in the stables amongst the roudier company. Quiet at first, but with a few drinks, he proved just as rambunctious as the rest. Dagna held her own, and when stories were exchanged, she was pleased to find her own life experiences and mishaps were equally as cherished as the others.
After some beers, a number Dagna had forgotten, Sera stated with great profoundness, "You're not a dwarfy-dwarf."
In her haze, Dagna blinked to great pause before finally asking, "And?"
"Varric's different," Sera surmised, gesturing towards the other end of the table where the men continued talking, "Not too dwarfy but still plays with the Merchant-whatevers."
"I gave up everything to explore this magical world. I'm Casteless," Dagna replied with a shrug, sloshing her ale around more than intended, "My father won't answer my letters. I can never go back home. And the Merchant's Guild isn't really my cup of tea."
With a firm nod, Sera didn't mask her bitterness when she said, "Sounds like bloody alienage twats. Be an elfy-elf or else."
She locked her eyes on the goblet in front of her. Dagna was drunk, but she could do the math; the fun-loving rebel had probably once faced a strict, orderly society with overbearing expectations, just like she once had.
With a gentle nudge of the elbow to the other's arm, Dagna said with a smile, "You're great just the way you are."
The seriousness melted away from her drinking companion's face.
The name fit. Sera's mischievous smirk started to play with Dagna's thoughts for weeks even when the elf was elsewhere. But by some act of magic or deity, she actually found the young woman in her presence more often than not.
Sometimes she would simply sit beside the Arcanist, happily doodling in her journal. She shared her plans for bee grenades and wondered what it would be like to ride a dragon. Dagna described impossible weapons, and Sera brought them to life on paper. Giggles always followed.
One time Dagna accidentally set fire to her chair. It was quickly extinguished, but Sera's laughter was not. Normally people were scared or judgmental of her work when that happened. But not Sera and her love of chaos.
There were some afternoons Sera brought her cookies made of oatmeal and raisins. Sometimes they were a little burnt. Sometimes the oats were too thick. One afternoon, Sera mentioned Lady Emmald. Dagna fell more in love with over-baked cookies after that.
Weeks somehow turned into months.
They met at the tavern too. Becoming Sera's friend meant becoming Blackwall's friend, the Iron Bull's friend, and whoever else happened to be throwing back shots that night. Sometimes it would be just the two of them though, quietly talking in the back where it was a little dark and Dagna was a little hazy. Those nights were Dagna's favorite.
"Your flask mixtures are incredible. Where did you learn to make them?"
"A Jenny used them once. Made shite mixes. I played with it until it was better."
"Play," the shorter woman repeated with a smirk.
"Yeah, so what?" Sera retorted before having another gulp of ale.
Dagna looked down at her own goblet. "People usually look at me like I'm crazy when I say I play with things that might explode."
"You are crazy. Good crazy. Except the studying magic stuff. Make it hard to like you when you like magic. And I like you a lot."
Ignoring the warm fluttering in her torso, Dagna instead questioned, "What's wrong with magic?"
Sera looked at her as if it was obvious. "It's magic."
"Magic is fascinating."
"Magic is scary. Demons. Fade. Makes things that shouldn't be real alive and freaking scary."
"It also makes really beautiful things."
"Fine. Whatever," the elf snapped, glaring at the drink in her hand, "Think you know better? I'm just too stupid to know what's scary and hurts?"
The look in Sera's eyes broke Dagna's heart.
"I never said that. It's like…" she trailed off, looking away.
It was late. Maryden was singing a slow song for the few patrons left. But the fire was still blazing in the hearth. Dagna heard Sera huff.
Keeping her eyes on the fireplace, Dagna took a deep breath and said, "I can never be a mage. I will never dream. The Stone is firm and safe but nothing flows through it, not the way that magic needs to be alive. Magic is a mystery to most people, but it's absolutely impossible for me to truly know it or come even close in the visions people have when they sleep," Dagna turned away from the flames in the fireplace and stared hard at the table she leaned on, "But what I can do is real. Just like those flasks you mix up. Lyrium is real. Spider glands are real. Dragon blood is real. And I can use them to make something that's almost like magic. It's not real magic. But at least it's something real I can touch and make. It's real."
Real like breathing. Real like sunshine she had only heard stories about for almost two decades. Real like the way Sera made her feel. Sera couldn't reject that part of her, couldn't possibly—
A small hand rested on top of hers and made her realize she had been clenching her fists. The calloused fingertips were oddly soothing and gentle.
Sera's normally sharp eyes were soft.
"Sometimes you just need to know the fuzzy bits are real. See if it's all really real," she muttered.
"Yes," Dagna breathed. Relief. Attraction. Understanding. Everything was in that single breath.
There was a pause and a smile before Sera quipped, "Made it a little less hard to like you."
"You make it really easy to like you," the smith with a smile, "You're definitely not stupid."
Dagna assumed her comment would be brushed off, but the typically wild woman remarked softly, "You're adorable."
The response came with a blush. "Was it the manic ranting or the really delicious spider glands on my work table that brought you to that conclusion?"
Sera barked with a laugh before almost singing to herself, "Widdle is witty."
"Is that supposed to be me?" Dagna asked, eyebrows raising playfully at the nickname, "Are you calling me little just because I'm a dwarf?"
"Not little. Widdle," she sounded out, accent thick, before chipperly explaining, "Warm, squishy, wonderful Widdle."
Now the enchanter knew she was really blushing. It was so silly, so random, so Sera of a thing to say. But not mocking, not a friendly trick, but genuine...feeling.
Could it be? That maybe she too felt...
Dagna's voice came out softer, more quietly than she meant to when she uttered, "Sera."
The blonde met her gaze, signature impish grin in place. But the longer Dagna went wordless, trying to muster the courage, to find the right words, Sera's face melted into something more serious. More open. More beautiful that Dagna had ever seen before.
The door to the bar slammed open, and all gentle buzz and atmosphere crashed to a halt. The arcanist jumped in her seat.
Dorian ran up to their table, breathless, as if he had run across all of Skyhold to reach them.
The elf turned to him sharply, "Busy! What you want?"
Dorian took a deep breath before replying, "Word from the Inquisitor. We leave tomorrow at dawn. Everyone leaves tomorrow. They've decided to march on Adamant."
They were going to war.
Sera stared at Dorian at great length before turning towards Dagna.
The next weeks were hard. Dagna and the others moved about Skyhold silently, afraid to disturb the heavy quiet. Purged of all their fighters and squadrons save a small guard to protect the base, their home was empty. The workers held their breath in anticipation for news of their heroes' victory and safe return.
Dagna was no warrior and knew her place was to remain here. For so long all that mattered had been her work and the greater good they had all worked for. But now, knowing out there somewhere was an elf dancing amongst a storm of arrows in the middle of a war, knowing Sera trapeased the line of life and death...how could she have let her leave without telling her that runes weren't her only love anymore?
When the news came, it was even harder. Yes, they had won, but the Inquisitor had somehow entered the Fade? They were still counting the dead bodies. Who wouldn't be returning? The Herald lived, but what of his inner circle? Even if they survived the battle, the walk back home would be long and dangerous for the weary. What was fact, what was rumor?
The day they returned was the hardest. It was all hands on deck to secure and tend to the wounded, restock supplies, pass out food and drink, replace bloodied clothing, and the other million things a war-torn army cried for as they finally poured by the masses back into Skyhold. Dagna stayed busy, did her part, but her eyes frantically searched for someone she recognized.
The flash of white, while not as pristine as usual, still managed to standout in the crowd.
Dagna ran up and clasped the man's shoulder in greeting. He bowed his head, face weary, even the always perfect mustache was drooping.
"Mostly. Better than most."
"She's alive. Spooked, but alive," Dorian said as he placed his hand over Dagna's.
Thank the Ancestors.
His fingers tightened as he leaned closer, "Dagna...she fell with him. She went into the Fade with the Inquisitor."
Sera, terrified of magic, had plunged right into the source of it.
He patted her hand. "Give her time. She'll lick her wounds and bounce back."
Someone in the distance shouted for Dorian. Dagna couldn't tell or really cared who it was.
"Well then, my dear, if you'll excuse me." And just like that, he was off.
Yes, the day they returned was the hardest. Dagna battled internally, debating if she should leave Sera alone or seek her out. She was fiercely independent and likely just needed her space. But the smith still wondered if Sera always wanted to be alone when she was hurt quite simply because she always had been alone. She didn't have to be alone anymore.
When the day's major tasks were done, Dagna just happened to stop by the tavern to assess the atmosphere. She felt like taking a stroll past the barn for the exercise. The stop by the kitchen was for a snack, and she might have walked the length of the bulwark to view the sunset. The garden, the clinic, the top of the tower...With each location, she assured herself she wasn't checking for a certain someone, and yet the pangs of anxiety grew worse as the sky turned dark with no sight of her.
It was probably midnight when she realized she was pacing the halls of the castle like a crazy person. The thought of sleep was impossible.
Well, there were always enchantments to be done. Work was a familiar sanctuary, and between helping the returning soldiers and looking for Sera, she hadn't done any of her usual work all day.
The noise of the waterfall greeted her, gently lifting the shroud of silence that had followed her around most of the night. When she walked over to her workbench, she was also greeted by a pair of small feet sticking out from underneath the large table. Dagna immediately dropped to her knee.
Legs were immediately pulled in closer, arms wrapping themselves around them tightly. Sera screwed her eyes shut as she muttered, "No, not you. Not supposed to be here."
"Shitballs. Fucking arse-biscuits." Eyes were still shut, the curses flung out with a sharp, desperate bite.
Dagna crawled forward slightly. "Sera, if you're hurt, I-"
Eyes burst open as Sera practically shouted, "Nightmares. Fucking nightmares, ok?"
The new comer paused, and Sera turned away, still holding herself in a tight ball. Dagna felt relief just seeing her, physical proof she was alive and not harmed. She knew a caged animal would lash out, and her friend was going through a very traumatic experience. But here she was, and she would be here for her.
Dagna took her place next to Sera, resting her back on the wall, looking forward and stating casually, "We don't have to talk about it."
"Could've bloody guessed that," was the mumbled response.
A beat passed. The arcanist looked out at the waterfall to her left. Glancing up, she was moderately surprised to find a piece of gum under her table. That certainly hadn't been her. The rock wall behind her was oddly homey.
Sera was just another puzzle that needed time.
"Piss," Sera hissed before rubbing her face with her hands, stammering, "I-I don't..."
"Did you know bows are probably one of my favorite things to make?" Dagna asked nonchalantly, turning back to the waterfall, "It's a bit tricky to properly enhance the materials with runes. Most weapons will be making direct contact with the enemy or a mage can easily redirect the extra energy in a staff, but bows do not directly attack the enemy. You need the bow to somehow energize the arrows without also hurting the person handling the bow."
The tension in Sera's shoulders seemed to release ever so slightly. "Why's it your favorite if it's harder?"
"More of a challenge. In a way, you have to make this ferocious weapon more soft and gentle than other types. More friendly and fun. Makes arrows dance. Makes me think of you when I work on them sometimes," Dagna explained quietly, looking into the grey eyes next to her, "Bows are special because energy passes through to something else and makes it soar. Like a gift."
The archer slowly slid until her head rested on Dagna's shoulder.
"Make me a bow," she instructed softly.
"What should I make it out of?"
"Dragon bone is the best."
A snort. "Duh, means you killed a dragon."
"Nice and strong. The scales would make good leather for a grip too. What color do you want it?"
"Scary Bloodstone red?" Sera shook her head. "Could tint it with Dawnstone for a fun purple."
The blonde head snuggled closer to the crook of Dagna's shoulder. "Green. Like your eyes."
The other woman flushed and tried to say as casually as possible, "Veridium it is."
The waterfall continued her song that softly echoed through the rocky hall. Dagna delicately lowered her head to rest atop of Sera's.
"Widdle?" The voice was still small but seemed more at peace.
"Feels good, this."
"I'm always here."
There they stayed until sunlight started streaming through the sheets of water.
When Dagna saw Sera the next night in the tavern, she was relieved to see her smile out in full force. Along with the signature mischievous glimmer in her eyes.
Sera eagerly waved her over to their table, "Widdle! Drinks on Bull tonight!"
"I don't recall saying that," Bull said with a gruff, playfully glaring at the elf across the table.
She shrugged in reply. "Worth a shot."
Rather than taking a seat, Dagna leaned on the table, gesturing towards Sera, "What're you drinking? I'll get you another."
"Surprise me. Just none of that conscription ale piss."
After a quick trip to the bar, she was back and settled next to the Jenny, two mugs brimming with a honey mead. Dagna figured, girl liked bees, this might be a good start.
Dorian scoffed while placing a hand over his chest in mock hurt, "I'm absolutely offended we were not offered drinks as well, Dagna."
"Hush, you. She likes me best," Sera bragged with a smirk, nudging the woman next to her.
Dagna simply looked at the men before her, deadpanning, "Guilty."
With a huff, Dorian turned to his partner, "In that case, Bull, acquire me more liquor."
The Qunari countered, "Aggressive tonight, aren't we?"
"You did not complain last night."
Sera snorted and turned to Dagna to whisper, "Screwy bits."
All those months ago, their first secret together. The enchantress smiled at the joke only they shared before being pulled back to the table's conversation by Bull's booming laugh, Dorian's loud protests, and Sera's dirty jokes. Round and round they went for hours, peace restored in their little spot in the tavern away from war and the end of the world.
When Dagna went to take their empty cups for more, Sera grabbed at her sleeve.
"Race you upstairs!"
It was silly and random, but Dagna felt an almost child-like joy at bursting up the stairs of the tavern at full speed, tripping and giggling along the way with an equally tipsy elf before both burst through the door in a dramatic tie.
Sera started to light a handful of candles that were strewn across the room, perhaps a little too close the fabrics also messily draped across the pile of treasures shoved in the corner. Her room was always warm and welcoming, the handful of times the dwarf had been there during their friendship, despite the mess. In a way, it was comforting to know how well used the space was. Dagna's drink had truly worked its magic, and she contentedly eased herself down on the cushions beside the window. The stars winked at her from their inky abyss, and her fingers reached out to touch the glass.
"I still think the sky is going to swallow me up one day."
Sera's face twisted into one of confusion. "Lordy Heraldy took care of the leaky Fade hole."
"No. The sky," Dagna explained, pressing her head to the window, "I didn't see it until I was nineteen. Everyone always said there was so much of it, you'd fall right in."
"Well, that's loony."
"It is. Especially when it's so lovely to look at. But that's the part that still makes me a little nervous. All that wonderful possibility is freeing but scary..." Dagna trailed off, looking away from the moon and to the woman before her.
"Kind of like you."
Sera stood from igniting the last candle, shaking out the match's fire. "What you on about?"
Dagna paused. This could mean the end of something amazing. But she was no coward. She had practically invented an entire field of study. Surely she could handle declaring her feelings...with some help from all that beer.
"Being with you is what I think dreaming must feel like," the dwarf said simply.
Sera tossed the extinguished match over her shoulder, somewhere into the chaos of her room.
"Don't usually like words," she commented, stepping towards the other woman, "You always make them sound nice though."
"It's not just words," Dagna sighed, exasperated, "It's feelings. It's what they represent when—"
"Enough talking. Didn't bring you up here for that," Sera smirked, finishing her march across the room and standing in front of the woman resting on the seating by the window.
The dwarf blinked.
"Well. Why did you?"
Fingers lightly brushed against her cheeks. Sera leaned forward and murmured, "Obvious, innit?"
Lips crashed against hers and hands instantly found her shoulders, gripping firmly.
This was even better than runes.
Sera climbed on top of the chaise, on top the other woman, straddling her while she started running her fingers through Dagna's auburn hair, almost loosening it from its simple bun. The exchange of kisses was furiously fast, each stinging like a bee before they were soothed with a tongue like sweet honey. Hands moved to hips; Sera couldn't stop moving, rocking back and forth, her lips couldn't settle in just one place.
Her mouth fluttered past Dagna's neck, jawline, and ears as she whispered, "Widdle."
Sera's kisses and touches were electric, and she moved wildly like a storm. If Dagna did not ensure the safe removal of a particular garment, it was hastily torn off in a tornado. There was static in the limited space between them before being snuffed out, bodies pressed together as closely as possible. Every brush of lips or fingers felt like a lightning rune was being crafted into her skin. This was a magnificent discovery that would absolutely require further practical study.
Certainly, the hypothesis had always been there that Sera would be absolutely astounding in bed. But the experimental trials were so much more fascinating. Her wild nature was still apparent in her actions, but she could be slow and illicit the most amazing shivers. She still cackled with chaotic joy, but her smile when Dagna touched her was sweetly divine. Ruthless and reckless in battle, the archer actually paused at every major juncture to softly ask permission to proceed.
The biggest surprise of her research was that the elf, whom Dagna assumed would call such things 'sappy,' happily nuzzled her neck and fell asleep on her chest. She was even there the next morning, smiling brilliantly.
Sera was the magical puzzle Dagna would never fully figure out, and she liked it that way.