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Echoes Forward

By Kethrielle


Chapter 1

It really was all Solas' fault.

Trained as her clan's First, a mage with insatiable curiosity for history and root causes, she had focused on her duties to her clan; her talents had all been directed towards either protecting her clan or increasing their knowledge of elvish history. Even after the Conclave, she had simply widened her perception of her "clan" to include the soldiers of the Inquisition and the people of Thedas.

She had been well trained by her clan's Keeper. She had a solid knowledge of the dangers of the Fade and it's denizens. She could recognize demons, walk the Fade within dreams or without, manipulate the powers of the Fade in combat, and resist temptation from demons and spirits alike.

Nothing in her training or experience had suggested that she might be able to dream of places she had never been in times long before her birth.

Solas had shared this startling knowledge with her, and told her some of the things he had seen. Insatiable curiosity drew her back to the conversation again and again; only her many pressing duties prevented her from begging him for training.

She hadn't been raised in a Circle, of course, and so had not gone through a Harrowing. However, her Keeper had taught her to enter the Fade at will, and she had met demons while there. She hadn't succumbed, but the experience had still been unpleasant, and not something she cared to dwell on. And so, perhaps it wasn't surprising that she hadn't sought out the more innocent spirits that Solas told her about.

As a student of elvish history, she was familiar with the idea of dreamers, and how they could enter the dreams of others. She knew it was a power long lost; until Solas took her for a walk in the startlingly restored town of Haven, it had never occurred to her that it wasn't necessarily as "lost" as she had assumed. She certainly never guessed it was a power she now mysteriously shared.

Had she been with her clan, she would most likely have indulged her curiosity. Let others tend her chores, ask the Keeper to excuse her from lessons for a time, while she hid in her aravel and explored these new possibilities. Then she would have shared what she learned with the Keeper, and they could have decided how best to use the knowledge.

As it was, she was constantly on the run from one task to another. Closing rifts, recruiting allies, gathering resources. She barely had time to think, much less study or experiment. Since she also had a very strong sense of responsibility, she didn't hesitate to do what was needed.

Then, a simple conversation with Solas turned into something much more perplexing. A walk in the Fade, a kiss, and then nothing. He refused to discuss the matter; he spoke to her in the same bland tones he had used before; he insisted he needed time.

She was a patient person, but there were limits, and eventually, the personal stress added to the more general stress, and she knew she would need to take some time to herself before she started making mistakes.

So she ordered that everyone take a four day furlough. No training, no repairs. No entertaining nobles, no banquets. Four days in which they could all rest and regroup. Cullen didn't like it, and she suspected that Leliana was incapable of not working for four hours, let alone four days. The soldiers appreciated it, as did all the people who did the actual work around the fortress. Hunting parties were planned, and celebrations. When Josephine chimed in with the opinion that it would be good for morale, the objections ceased.

As for herself, she told her advisors that she would spend the time in her newly renovated quarters, meditating and perhaps reading a few of the books that she kept finding as she walked through the library and "saving for later."

She had gotten three days of uninterrupted peace, seeing no one except on her stealthy forays into the kitchens for supplies. She spent the first day of peace considering the keep, and everything Solas had told her about it. That hadn't been much, and she had learned a bit more on her own, but nothing that made her suspicious.

Nothing in all their interactions had given her a reason to be suspicious, and she wondered now at how trusting she had been.

She had accepted without question his guidance to Skyhold, hadn't suspected that he knew more than he let on. She had been twice as curious as anyone else, and had explored the keep from top to bottom without pausing when they first arrived.

She had found the moldering pages of journals left by the Fereldan builders, the hints that this place had once meant something to the elves. She had asked Solas, of course, but she hadn't guessed that he would mislead her so deliberately when he claimed never to have seen anything about it's original purpose in the Fade.

If she had known, she might have hesitated before experimenting.

Yes, this was definitely all Solas' fault.

Still, she could understand the shock that had driven him to her quarters, where he had spent the last twenty minutes spluttering incoherently and swearing at her in turns.

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