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Story Notes:
Not "Alas!" like in Shakespeare - it is an elven word (found here: http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Elven_language).

Fun fact: Solas was my first inquisitor's love interest and I got to the last story mission before deciding I wanted to go after Cullen and made a new character LOL.

This has been on AO3 for a bit and I forgot to post here so here it is. The Inquisitor isn't named but is described. I have a Tumblr where you can see her (http://mizspectre.tumblr.com/).

All recognizable material (characters/concepts/etc.) belongs to the copyright holder(s) of said material. I don't make money from writing fanfiction and don't claim to own any of the copyrighted material. Violation/infringement of copyrighted works is not intended. Original characters and the plot are all that I own.
The camp was blissfully calm. After a day filled with Red Templars and giants and bears, it was far overdue.

Cassandra had taken several hard hits from one of the giants and had been relegated to her tent for well-earned rest. The Iron Bull sat quietly by one of the fires, cleaning and sharpening his weapon as the camp settled for the night. Solas, even after the eventful day, had ventured not far off to gather extra herbs.

The Inquisitor lingered on the edge of the camp, unable to keep still. She felt the pull of the mark to a handful of rifts still in the area as well as something troubling at Chateau d'Onterre.

She had grown used to the feeling of being scrutinized (a Dalish elf, the Herald of Andraste, the Inquisitor) but that by no means meant she ignored it and the weight of even his eyes was not light. "I've been around enough people to know when they are staring."

"Forgive me," he says, moving closer to speak quietly. "I was simply curious."

"I haven't known you to be one who holds back questions."

"Given our opposing views on the Dalish and their customs, I thought it wise to silence them."

"Why not ask me now?"

"Very well, vhenan," he says, and her lips curve slightly, her electric eyes bright in the dim light, and he looks away to the forest before her. "I have seen many vallaslin in many hues - Dalish of The Iron Bull's Chargers, for example, has vibrant green for hers; why did you not choose one as such?"

She too stares at the vast forest before them, the place where the People had lived and fought and died and abandoned. She is young, yes, but he has seen strength and wisdom in her like no other.

"It is alas," she says and there is an undeniable thrill in him when she speaks elven, even 'dirt.' She had begun speaking common tongue more and more with her role as Inquisitor. "Our foundation. We are all tied to something, bound to something, grounded by something. We are shaped by Thedas and shape the earth in turn. We give and take and fade in time yet the earth remains long after we have gone."

Her words are true and he cannot find it in himself to speak or he will reveal everything and so he nods, collecting his thoughts for a moment. "Your particular vallaslin is that of Mythal, am I correct?"

"Yes." Her gloved left hand lifts to her brow, the eerie green light of the anchor filtering through and illuminating her face, and her fingers brush across her temple, expression carefully neutral and lips pressing together tightly. She is open with much of herself to those who ask and it is blatant that this is something with which she struggles. "The protector. I suppose that doesn't need much elaboration."

"It is something that clearly troubles you," he soothes, "and I cannot ask that you divulge that reason if you do not wish."

Her face softens and the smile plays at the corners of her lips again. "Ma serranas."

His breath halts for merely a moment.

Then the mark on her hand pulses, the flickering light glowing brighter through her glove. She visibly flinches and bows her head, allowing some pale hair to fall across her face. But he is not fooled. The mark does not spread and it does not heal. The others who follow her are not fooled, either, but it is her burden, her curse alone, and there is no one who can understand the pain of her mark much as anyone can try to force themselves to believe.

Her hand with the mark is fisted around her collar, the other white knuckled around her staff to use it as support while her body trembles, a few tears slipping down her cheeks. He sees how her jaw is clenched, her breathing shallow and hissing between her teeth.

If he were bold, he would pull her close and give her sanctuary from the world's prying eyes, soothe her pain with gentle words and touches. But he is not, at least not outside of the Fade, and he simply waits silently, aching, knowing there is nothing which lessens her pain and feeling all the more useless because of it.

She shudders and sinks to her knees, lips pressed tightly together. Her marked hand buries into the grass underneath her but the sickly green glow of the mark still illuminates her face. She hunches over, forehead nearly to the ground, her pale hair obscuring her face.

He is well aware of The Iron Bull and the night guard still moving around the camp but he cannot silently watch any longer. "Vhenan," he murmurs, kneeling beside her.

A shaky breath escapes her lips and her marked hand lifts to stop him. "I'll be fine, Solas."

He knows she will not, but he pretends for her sake. Quietly, he watches as her shaking subsides and her shallow breathing becomes normal. "Your strength when burdened with something no one understands is immeasurable." He stands and offers his hand to help her to her feet.

She smiles gently and takes his hand, using her staff to push herself upward. "Well, if I were to just fall into despair," she huffs once on her feet again, "it wouldn't change a thing. I would still have the Anchor and the Breach would still be in the sky."

His body is a shield from wandering eyes and only now does he lean forward to gently touch his forehead to hers. It was a constant wonder how the Dalish created someone so beautiful as her. "You surprise me each day, vhenan."

A small sigh passes her lips and her hand weakly squeezes his, eyes closed as she savors the small contact with him.

Then her hand slides from his and they each take a step back.

She squares her shoulders and holds her head high, becoming the Inquisitor once more. "We're investigating at Chateau d'Onterre before we head back to Skyhold; Josephine has been asking for us to return. But then I'll be heading to the Frostback Basin. Leliana's people found some proof that the last Inquisitor had been there so I want to see for myself. I would like you to come."

"As I recall, our first encounter with the Avvar was not pleasant," her brow is still furrowed when he glances over, "but if that is where you wish to go, I will as well."

Her smile returns and she bumps his hand with hers. "I can't ask for more than to have you at my side."
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