Taeren woke with a start, tears in his eyes. His mind still racing with images from his nightmares. It had been the same nightmare since he was stabbed by the Templar. He sat up in bed and grimaced as pain shot up his side. He lifted the loose shirt he was wearing and inspected the wound. I had already begun scarring. Another one to add to the ever growing collection. He opened the shutters beside his bed and the first rays of dawn began to seep into the cabin.
He ran his hand through his hair, as if to try shake the nightmares from his mind. However, the pictures still lingered. He sighed deeply. The fear of sleep and the nightmares were really beginning to wear him down. The wound really didn't help the whole matter either. He took a few deep breaths to try bring himself back to normal, he didn't want to worry everyone, especially because it would raise questions. He sat in bed for a good long while, trying to hold back his emotions.
After trying to clear his head from the nightmares he swung his legs out of bed and began getting ready for the trip to Val Royeaux. Once he was dressed and his pack was packed and waiting by the door he headed to the Tavern to get some breakfast.
He was sitting at one of the corner tables in the Tavern eating his breakfast when Varric came and sat with him with his own breakfast.
"Morning" Taeren replied with a mouthful of food.
"So we off to Val Royeaux today? Have you ever been there?"
"Yeah, a few times. Although I don't particularly like it. It's too gaudy for me."
"Wait, you have actually been to Val Royeaux? I didn't think a Dalish elf would venture into cities very often, let alone critique their architecture" Varric chuckled, genuinely surprised.
"Yeah, I'm like the odd elf out" Taeren said with a smile.
Varric laughed loudly.
"What a pair we must look like. The dwarf that doesn't particularly like caves, and the elf that goes to cities and critiques their architecture. It's almost as strange as seeing the Seeker traveling with Chuckles."
Taeren laughed, he never realised how strange their group must look to other people. He then thought of when he, Bull, Dorian and Varric had gone to Val Royeaux, and laughed even harder. The laughing actually brought tears to his eyes, a mix of happiness and pain from his side. Varric had a slightly puzzled look on his face as to why Taeren was now doubled over in a laughing fit. He didn't think it had been that funny. Though he was just happy that Taeren no longer looked like he was about to murder someone, as when they first met.
Varric and Taeren met Cassandra and Solas next to the gates leading out of Haven.
"So shall we get going, Goldilocks here has some architecture to criticize" Varric said with a mischievous grin. Solas and Cassandra looked at each puzzled but shrugged and led the way out of Haven.
On their trip to Val Royeaux Varric had a sudden thought.
"Goldilocks, why did you say nugs stabbed you while you were bleeding out?"
"What?" Taeren replied, confusion on his face, he could only remember somethings from his rambling.
"When you were bleeding out you were adamant that nugs had stabbed you." Taeren groaned loudly.
"That's most likely because I really don't like nugs" Taeren said a little sheepishly.
"You don't like nugs?" Cassandra said in surprise.
"No. They really creep me out. It's their feet that are the creepiest part, they almost look like children's hands" Taeren said with a little shudder.
Varric gave a hearty laugh.
"You're not wrong there, Goldilocks" he said.
"What else did I say? I don't remember very well" Taeren asked.
"Well, you were riding a unicorn, or a dragon, you couldn't remember" Varric replied.
"Wait, did you remember everything I said?" Taeren asked sceptically. He knew Varric liked to remember stuff for his books.
"Yip, all stored away up here for future books" Varric said as he gave his temple a tap.
"You said you have fought dragons before. Is that true or just blood loss delirium?" Varric asked.
"Oh, Yeah that's true. I have fought quite a few dragons." Taeren could see no point in hiding the fact he had killed dragons, as long as he didn't specify where.
"Honestly?" Cassandra asked.
Taeren gave a nod. Varric gave an impressed whistle.
"Yeah, my daggers are made from dragon bone" Taeren said as he took one of the daggers off his back and handed it Varric. Varric turned it in his hands, studying it, thoroughly impressed.
"While I was kicking it with Hawke back in Kirkwall, we came across a dragon, and honestly I feel like we are probably going to come across some in our travels. Glad we have your dragon slaying expertise" Varric said, joking a little at the end.
"I hope we come across some dragons. Once you start fighting them it's like an itch, you have to find more to fight" Taeren said with a humble smile. I'm starting to sound like Bull… His heart shuddered with pain. Bull had betrayed them and killed Sera while they were fighting. The worst thing was he had not hesitated betraying them. Taeren had always know Bull was fiercely loyal to the Qun, and Taeren had made the mistake of sacrificing the Chargers instead of the dreadnaught. Just another one of my many fuck ups Taeren sighed to himself.
"Goldilocks? Are you okay?" Varric's voice cut through Taeren's thoughts. Taeren looked at Varric.
"Yeah, I'm okay."
"You're looking a bit pale" the dwarf continued.
"Just leave it. Please" Taeren pleaded. Varric looked a little concerned but dropped the matter and they continued on to Val Royeaux in silence.
Val Royeaux went as smoothly as it did last time; the Chantry degraded, a cleric punched, and the Templars defecting. Taeren knew the trip was a waste of time the first time round, and he knew this trip was going to be no different.
"That went about as smoothly as I thought it would" Taeren sighed as the group huddled to discuss what to do next.
"Has Lord Seeker Lucius gone mad?" Cassandra said in anger. But before anyone could answer an arrow hissed through the sky impaling itself into the stonework.
"What was that?!" Cassandra exclaimed as she drew her sword.
"It's nothing to worry about Cassandra, you can put the sword away" Taeren said as he reached down and plucked the arrow out of the ground. He opened the letter that was attached to the arrow. And sure enough it was the letter from Sera, crude drawings and all.
"What does it say?" Varric asked.
"It says for us to search for 'red thing' though out the marketplace" Taeren said as he handed him the letter. "I feel we might benefit from this if we follow it up."
"So what are these 'red things'?" Cassandra asked.
"I can't really say," Taeren began as he looked around the marketplace, trying to remember where he had found the 'red things' last time. "They could be-" Taeren cut off as he spied a rather familiar merchant, who was in possession of a certain necklace. Taeren wanted to march over to Ponchard and demand the Birthright, but he knew the stubborn merchant wouldn't give it to him, especially since the Inquisition didn't have any political power at the moment.
With a small huff he turned his attention back to the party, who had noticed the heated look that Taeren was giving Ponchard.
"Anyway where was I… ah right we have to find the 'red things'. As the note suggests we should have a look around the docks, café and market. I have a feeling that they are most likely going to be in unconventional places." Taeren began to wander over towards the docks, trying to remember exactly what the 'red things' looked like, with the rest of the party following close behind him.
The hours passed swiftly, and soon they had the location to where Sera was. As they were about to leave Val Royeaux the party was intercepted by Vivienne's messenger, and also by Fiona. Taeren almost didn't bother talking to Fiona, since it was almost certain that she wouldn't remember their meeting. Taeren only talked to her because of the disapproving look Cassandra was giving him. There are probably a thousand other places I would rather be Taeren thought bitterly as he spoke with Fiona.
Once they were out of the heart of Val Royeaux there was only one thing Taeren was thankful for. That the nights he needed to meet Sera and Vivienne were different nights. He remembered the first time he was in this situation he was angry that he had to spend longer than a day in Val Royeaux. The group had headed to a nearby Inn to wait until the party at Vivienne's. Taeren was pretty relaxed about the whole situation, he just had to keep his cool and not punch the asshole at the party, Vivienne would take care of that. Solas and Varric were in the same boat as Taeren. It was Cassandra who was silently fretting about Taeren insulting the Grand Enchantress. Cassandra tried to hide her minor fretting, but Taeren could see it; reminded him of a very tame version of Josephine. It was then that a sudden thought hit him.
"Damn it!" Taeren yelled as he slammed his fist down on the table. His Josephine, Cullen, and Leliana were oblivious as to what had happened to him and his wanted to punch something; he thought he had lost everything, but he still had his advisers. And since I was an absolute selfish asshole they are left with even less. Taeren threw his head into his hands.
"Goldilocks? What's up?" Varric asked. Taeren jolted his head up to see his companion's eyes all fixed upon him. Worry was evident in their eyes. Taeren let out a deep sigh as he raked his hand though his hair.
"It's…" Taeren started, but when he saw the look in Varric's eyes that said 'don't you dare say nothing' he had to stop and think.
"I think I left the window beside my bed in Haven open" he said in a tone that hinted that he did not want to talk about it.
"It's obvious that that was a lie-" Cassandra started but stopped when Varric raised his hand to cut her off. He could tell something was up as well, he knew since Taeren first punched Solas when they first met, but he couldn't force the elf to talk, and didn't want to push him to the point that he would never confide in them.
"Anyway, I think it's time I head to Vivienne's" Taeren said as he rose from his chair and walked to the door. "Don't wait up for me, this shouldn't take too long anyway" he said as he closed the door behind him and left the inn.