Farewell

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I have to go.

He said it softly. I have to go. His words for all their quiet hung heavily in the silence which lay between us. Silence wasn't his way, however. When I did not reply immediately, as I stood there with my back to him and my elbows planted on the balcony's stone balustrade, he strode forward and joined me at my side.

His fingers, curling around my forearm, felt like iron. Shackles I never wished to remove.

I looked up at him then.

His dark hair ruffled in the chill mountain breezes of Skyhold. It was a cold fall day, but his dark eyes held my own hotly.

"Amatus."

A Tevinter expression of love.

"I know," I said, gazing up at the mountains. "Your path must separate from mine. You must go."
"You... are not angry?"
"It is not easy," I admitted. "But I am not angry."
He looks at me closely, his dark eyes narrowing. "Really."

There is doubt in his voice. I wonder what he sees on my face. I place pale fingers over his tan ones.

"You will go tomorrow morning," I struggled to keep my voice even. "You gave me fair warning, and we discussed this before. Still, it is hard. Perhaps we will never see each other ag-"
"No." His finger on my lips stopped my speech. Dorian followed his fingertips with a kiss. He leaned back against the stone and sighed. "How could I ever forget you, my sweetest elven love? So different from myself... and yet, my home. My home forever - my true home - is here."

A strong hand now pressed against my chest.

"My chest?" I weakly joke.

His full lips quirk upward.

"I have delayed for half a year." He said then. "Now is the time."
"I know."
"'To know' is not 'to understand'," he smiled. "Nor is it 'to accept'."
"Allow me to grieve," I grimaced.

His fingers gently brushed against my cheek, but it was dry. The tears had dried earlier, the evening before when Dorian had announced his plan. A caravan of nobility and merchants from Orlais were planning on travelling north. It would be a great opportunity to return home in safety without using undue amounts of Inquisition forces. Tomorrow morning, he would begin the long journey back to Tevinter with the first short leg to Orlais.

Now, the sun was setting, and we would only have one last night together. It felt too short. In no time at all, the fiery orb would rise in the east and Dorian would be whisked away.

And I could not follow.

I could not follow.

"What will we do?" I asked. "A party? Or a quiet night making love?"
"When have we ever been quiet?" quipped Dorian. He raised an eyebrow delicately and smirked. "The other day, Elise told me -" He raised his voice in a chirpy falsetto. "'Oh! My! The Inquisitor has such a lovely voice!' We all know what she was referring to."
"My singing."
"You tell yourself that." Dorian's arm snaked about my thin shoulders as he drew me close. "No. At any rate, I ordered a meal to our rooms. Let our last night be something we can remember with joy and fondness. Ugh. I cannot believe I said that word. Fond. Ugh."
"A meal?" I could not believe my elven hearing.
"Some wine. Some stew and bread and those horrid Orlesian petites-four you love to stuff yourself with. We will spend the night talking. Remembering."
"Talking," I echoed in disbelief.
"Recalling the time you fell off that rock in the Hinterlands, took a tumble, and Mother Gisele tied you down to the bed -"
"You weren't -"
"Varric told me all about it. There was that other time - and I was there - at a particularly good game of Wicked Grace -"
"Which one?"
"Cullen lost most of his clothes."
"He always does," I smiled then.
"Sadly my memory for the rest of the night is foggy. I woke up sleeping beside Varric. We never speak of that. A brotherhood pact."
"Pity." I chuckled. "Iron Bull and I looked forward to a scene."
"You should have put me with Cullen then. Or Solas. Now, where was I?"

I shook my head and laughed.

A door opened and shut. Walking into my spacious, sumptuous room of blue and royal purple, I watched as a table was brought in. Smells wafted up from below, and far in the distance, I could hear a bell clanging. The evening meal was about to begin, I supposed.

I turned to look at Dorian. He leaned against the grey stone of the balcony, knowing what a fine figure he cut. The sun's last rays glittered weakly into the valley, cutting between the peaks. All fell into shadow, and for a moment, I saw a hint of a broad white smile, and I could imagine the corresponding twinkle in his eyes. Then, he too became one with the dusk. My dark prince.

Tomorrow, he would be gone. Perhaps not forever, but he would be gone.

And I... I could not follow.

"A piece of gold for your thoughts," he said coming through the doors and closing it behind him against the crisp cold of the autumnal evening.

Servants were laying down plates and silverware and lighting candles. Various trays were brought in and arranged. I forced a smile.

"I was thinking we should make this a night to remember"
"Liar," he whispered. "And that's my line."

He drew me in for another gentle kiss.

The door shut behind the last serving girl.

"As always," Dorian suggested, "I suggest dessert first."
"Dessert first," I echo in agreement.

-0-0-0-

The morning was crisp and cool when I stood with the throngs of the Inquisition's forces to say farewell to their most brilliant, finely dressed mage.

I glanced around.

Everyone had made an appearance for Dorian's farewell. It is no surprise, I mused. He is very engaging and outgoing. His charm and casual confidence is a draw for everyone.

Varric was agreeing with Dorian that the time had come and that he too would soon be leaving for Kirkwall. Liliana, Josephine, and Cullen said formal farewell with promises to aid him in the future should he require the Inquisition's support. Sera and Cole awkwardly bid him farewell. Dorian tapped his nose at Cole meaningfully. I did not want to know. Iron Bull cracked a few 'jokes' and soon everyone was laughing.

I stood back and realized than that this had not really been the first farewell. Nor would it be the last. Blackwall had already left to join the Grey Wardens. Cassandra, as the new Divine, had been drawn away to deal with a variety of Chantry matters. Morrigan had slipped away into the night, Maker knows where.

And Solas. At the memory of my fellow elf mage, I felt another rise of disbelief and confusion. He had disappeared so suddenly… as if by a magical force I had never seen before…

And now Dorian is leaving me.

The company of tradesmen, which had decided to accompany him to Val Royeaux for supplies, were already mounting.

-0-0-0-

Time begins to warp.

I am shaking Blackwall's hand.
I am giving Cassandra a friendly salute and a quick hug.
I am gazing at the space where Solas had stood.

I am kissing Dorian before I draw him into a deep embrace.

"Take care," I say.
"Amatus," he says.
"Go!" I smile then, "with peace and goodwill â€" and our love."

He kisses me one more time, ignoring the rising catcalls. With a short brusque movement, he mounts his charger and follows the train out the gates.

I run up the wall's stairs to gaze out and down. To watch him fade into the distance and then disappear around the corner of the winding road.

Dorian is gone.

And I cannot follow.

The whole world at my feet, and I am bound by need to remain here as my heart becomes one with the horizon.

And I cannot follow.



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