Chapter 6: Varric and Solas
Hariel left the Chantry feeling aggravated and alone. Leliana had suggested to her to fully settle in at Haven; in other words, get out of their way as they handle how to move forward. In all honesty, she wasn't offended seeing as she had absolutely no political clout in Thedas nor any real desire to be a part of their planning. She needed to find one person in all of Thedas, someone who thankfully was in Haven itself.
She knew, now after the Mark fully integrated itself alongside her magic, why the foreign scar felt so familiar: It was Solas' magic. The magic that anchored itself onto her palm was a harsher than the soft thrum she had come to associate Solas' magic with, but the underlying aura it gave out was undeniably the same.
So, the Elf had a lot of questions to answer.
The little settlement, for it scarcely counted as a town given the lack of houses and buildings, was small and its people still full of fear. They skittered around her in awe and wonder but never actually deigned to go near her or actually speak to her. She was already on a pedestal and she couldn't understand why. Why did these people look to a complete stranger in hopes of salvation? Why not turn to groups that were already well established? Why did they cling to this small settlement?
Aggravated at not being able to understand, Hariel pushed forward through the settlement in search for her friend. He had to have answers for her.
"How you holding up, kid?"
Startled at actually being addressed, Hariel turned to the American-esque accented voice to find the Dwarf she met fighting with Solas in the mountain.
"Serra Tethras." She returned amicably, "I have seen both better and worse days, so there is some comfort in that."
"I feel you. Becoming the most hated person in all of Thedas to the Herald of Andraste." He said with a small smirk, "Some people would have spread that out more than a few days."
She laughed bitterly, "You would be surprised. I am however, grateful to not be in chains. Chafes horribly on the wrists, you know."
"That, I do understand. I was, or am, still a prisoner to the Lady Seeker."
"Still? I thought you would be freed from such confines given what you did at the Temple." She said with a raised eyebrow.
"I was brought to tell the story of the Champion to the Divine. Since everything went to hell, my freedom was never actually given to me." He said motioning for her to move and sit near his little campfire. The warmth was a welcome change to the bitter cold air she had been breathing.
"Ah, Hawke right? You were friends then?" she had been shown the main aspects of the Champion's life in Kirkwall by spirits of Valor who had watched the man take control of the dire situation in the City of Chains.
He was… different compared to many heroes she had seen and read about. Most had taken on this heavy hearted, tough persona to live through the consequences of their actions. Angsty heroes that died before they became the villain and what not. Hawke, was the exact opposite of all the heroes she had known of: where they were firm and harsh, he was constantly cracking a joke and elevating a tense situation toward his favor. Garret Hawke, was a jokester through and through with a mischievous streak a mile wide.
He was most certainly one of the people that Hariel hoped would survive this whole endeavor if only for his wit.
"Yeah, we had our own little adventure in Kirkwall before—well before everything went to hell."
"I only heard rumors, but he sounded like a good man."
"One of the best." Varric said firmly with a nod.
They sat in the warmth of the fire in amicable silence for a time before she decided to continue her search for Solas. Turning to Varric, she asked, "Have you seen Solas anywhere? I wanted to ask him about this." She waved her scar ridden hand.
"Chuckles? He has a cabin over by Adan's. Its just over in that direction, near the wall." He answered, pointing in the general direction of where she would be able to find her wayward friend.
Standing and brushing off the snow from her legs, she nodded to Varric in thanks and moved toward the direction she would hopefully be able to find Solas. She passed by what she assumed was the bar and mess hall given the smell and sounds coming from within. Hariel's stomach grumbled lightly, but decided it was better to get her answers first and then some food.
It didn't take long to find the Cabin Varric spoke about, seeing as Solas stood outside it whilst staring off into the distance. He certainly was able to pull off the tortured soul look as he gazed without truly looking.
"Lethalan." He nodded to her as she moved to sit on the wall that acted as a guard rail for the stairs by his cabin. "How do you feel?" he looked at her, truly concerned.
"I would be better without this on my hand," she said gesturing to the Mark, "and without the people declaring me the Herald of Andraste."
He nodded in acknowledgment before stepping back and looking off toward the Chantry for a moment. "Let us move into the Cabin, it is more comfortable than being in the cold." 'And away from prying eyes and ears.' She knew he wanted to say.
When they were both in the cabin, Hariel waved her hand around them and silently cast a privacy ward. People who wanted to eavesdrop on their conversation would hear harmless small-talk.
Turning to her friend, she saw he moved to the fireplace and lit it easily, the cabin room immediately filling with a growing warmth. She moved toward the two seats he had brought into his cabin and quickly changed them into something more comfortable pleasing both herself and Solas as they sat in a tense silence for a few moments.
"Lethalan… I am sorry this is how you came out of the Fade." He finally said, looking at her intensely, "I did not intend for such a thing to happen. Nor for you to be bound by this magic."
She stared harshly at the Mark, "What exactly is this, Solas?" she asked, "I can feel that it is directly linked to your magic. It is- harsher and rougher than normal but it is still yours."
He moved to grasp her hand, his magic playing alongside her own and that of the marks. It was as though the world was in synchrony for the first time. Everything felt absolutely right, and she could feel the earth beneath the wooden floor. It was… breathtaking. She could see that she was not the only one affected, as Solas also seemed to be overwhelmed before his eyes snapped to hers in some sort of understanding.
Moving away from her and untangling their magic, Solas rubbed his hand on his face before sighing; something that was completely out of character for him.
"The mark is mine, that you are correct in. It is the anchor to my Foci." He stated honestly, "I have not been completely honest with you… or rather I have omitted a very large part of who I am from you."
She stared at him for a long moment, taking in his weary features. This wasn't the confident man she had come to know in the Fade, but someone filled with regret and guilt. Perhaps, this was actually her first time seeing Solas without all his guards up, even ones she had not known to exist.
"Is this where you tell me you're immortal like me?" she asked. She always suspected. There was a weight on his shoulders that was simply too similar to the one she carried for her not to guess correctly.
He laughed soft and bitterly, "I am far older than you, da'len. My name is Solas, before you ask. It was my purpose long ago. My entire being."
He nodded, "Yes. I was Pride. I am more now, but it does not change what I was. In the times of Arlathan, I was known as Solas—and during the war I was given a different title, something used to mock me, degrade me: Fen'Harel, the Dread Wolf."
Hariel merely expected him to say he was of the Elven, but to discover he was Fen'Harel was another matter entirely and not something she was prepared for.
"Fen'Harel? The Elven god that locked away the others?" she whispered out.
"Yes." He nodded, letting out some of his actual power and it resonated with the mark on her hand wonderfully. Holding in a soft moan at the feeling, Hariel focused on Solas once again.
"If this is the anchor…then where is the Foci itself?" she asked curiously.
He winced, actually winced and Hariel felt dread fill her.
"I never intentioned for any of this to happen. I was too weak when I awoke, I could not open it myself." He said softly not looking at her, "He was not meant to survive opening my Foci, yet somehow he did and caused this chaos."
She was doubly glad she had cast the privacy ward, everything Solas was saying damned him in the eyes of the people of Haven. Everything he said confirmed that he was the one to have caused all of this, albeit unintentionally.
"Who did you give your Foci to, Solas?"
"An ancient Magister known as Corypheus. He is a monstrosity and I hoped to end him and retrieve my Foci."
Hariel stayed silent for a moment. "Why did you need him to open your Foci, Solas? What could you possibly need it for? Power like that… it is far too easy to be corrupted by that amount of power."
He turned to look her in the eyes.
"To fix my mistake." He said firmly, "When I locked away the others and erected the Veil I never imagined this is what would have happened! My people are lost, so far from what they once were they can no longer be considered of the people! Slaves and "knife-ears" to everyone in this pitiful world. Silent…its so silent it hurts Hariel. The world is without sound compared to what it was before the Veil existed. Like, every single being is a Tranquil- that is how it feels to me."
Hariel understood what Tranquil were thanks to Wisdom and Faith. They were beings completely cut from their emotions and the Fade. Trapped in their own bodies in a way they were never meant to be. She had seen memories of them within the circle towers she had peered into, and knew it was a fate all to similar to a dementors kiss for her to ever be ok with such an act.
"I locked them away because they would have destroyed everything and everyone in their war. After they murdered Mythal I knew they could no longer be allowed to linger. I thought- I believed that erecting the Veil was the best option. They would be locked away and The People would be safe, so I went to sleep." She knew he meant the long slumber, something that was common occurrence to those of a certain power level during the times of Arlathan. "When I awoke, I was too weak and I learned that I destroyed the world. Arlathan fell without magic in the air and Humans destroyed the remains of The People—destroying them completely.
"I have to fix it, Hariel."
She looked at the Elven man with new eyes. Her friend was hurting beyond anything she had thought possible. Pains so deep that they hurt her just thinking about them.
She couldn't let this continue. She couldn't leave him like this and she couldn't tear him away from his purpose.
"Then we will fix it." She said firmly, and she could see the surprise in Solas' eyes, "Together, we will fix this Solas."
"Thank you, Lethalan."
His head was bowed, a weight lifted from his shoulders and Hariel couldn't help but lean toward him and wrap him in her arms. They took comfort in each others arms. She would not be alone in this world, and he would not be alone in his pursuit.
Together, they would be able to fix things.
Or together, they would destroy it and build anew.