schizoauthoress: (A Spark in the Dark)
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Title: In Your House I Long to Be
Author: D.L.SchizoAuthoress
Rating: G
Spoilers: everybody knows that Oghren is a potential party member, right?
Warnings: rampant speculation regarding Stone Sense for dwarves
Word Count: 596
Summary: Coping with loss, for dwarves.
Note: As I noted on a Tumblr post, I switch between using "he" and "they" for Gylaw's pronouns, usually, because Gylaw is nonbinary AMAB. This time, it's "they".
Word of the Day: draggle, verb:
1. To soil by dragging over damp ground or in mud.
2. To trail on the ground; be or become draggled.
3. To follow slowly; straggle.

In Your House I Long to Be

Gylaw Aeducan has been on the surface for nearly a year when it happens. They're following behind Leliana as the party cuts across a field laying fallow. They trip at some point in the tall grass and are all set to grumble about tree roots when they realize. It was a stone.

They put out one trembling hand and lay their palm against the rough irregular curve of the stone. Gylaw nearly cries with relief when the full shape of it, mostly hidden beneath the earth, is imparted to them, as such things have always been.

They see the planes and textures of the stone with their fingertips, but can only faintly taste its matrix on the back of their tongue and they worry. They should have known it was there.

They need a cave. They know that in their bones, and get agitated at the lack. When they mention trying to find one, Alistair worries about the possibility of bears, and Zevran whines about not wanting to deal with drafts. (As if Gylaw would subject their delicate surface friends to a drafty cave. The lot of them are already too cold as it stands.)

But they are in no charitable mood. Gylaw snaps, "I don't give a shit what you want; I need it!" They feel all the companions staring as they stalk away.

Wynne comes to them later, when the others are setting up the camp -- close to but not inside the small cave they have finally found. "We can stop for a few days," she says, "Make sure you're all right." It's a clear opening for Gylaw to vent about what's wrong, but they don't. Humans, elves, qunari... these folk can't understand.

Oghren says nothing, just carries his bedroll in and faces the cave wall in silence. Gylaw doesn't have to ask if he's been feeling the drain of his Stone Sense, too.

The two dwarves don't leave the cave, not for the first night and the full day afterward. Oghren sits and drinks and keeps his eyes closed. Gylaw lies on their belly and presses their palms to the rocky floor, lips moving in silent pleas. Absolution, restoration, anything. They are the Stone. Have to be. Have never been anything else.

Oghren stands up on the second day. And without any warning, he kicks a loose rock at Gylaw's head. Gylaw rolls away, putting out a hand at just the right time for the little stone to skitter into their palm. The dwarven Warden closes a fist tight around it, tastes waxy-grassy-cool on their tongue as the edges leave impressions in their flesh. They close suddenly stinging eyes for a moment and whisper, "Onyx."

Gylaw throws the rock hard, unseen in the dark of the cave. Oghren doesn't move, simply lets it crash against the wall because he knew he didn't have to dodge it.

If Oghren weeps, Gylaw will not tell anyone. If Gylaw shakes so hard that their teeth rattle and they have to hug their knees tight, Oghren will never mock them over it. Other things, perhaps, but never that.

It won't last forever. The two of them realize that without having to discuss it. Surface dwarves lose their Stone Sense, lose their resistance to lyrium. They can keep the loss at bay for now, but the ability will fade again and again, as they continue spending time on the surface. Gylaw sets their jaw and exchanges a determined look with Oghren.

They will endure it. They can, because they have to.

Just long enough to save the world.
Posted by (Anonymous)
I know I already saw the preview version of this, but I still really, really love it, and what's more I absolutely adore the additions you've made. The new ending is just really gripping (and has wonderful "stone endures" undertones to it), and I just adore the way you actually portray their Stone Sense here - the tastes and feelings, the perception of the stone's type and shape, all of it, just really fills in this blank left by the game itself. And showing the emotional effects of the loss, something never dealt with by the games that I can remember, just - there's just something in my eye, is all.

Really, really good. <3<3

on 2015-07-02 05:52 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] schizoauthoress.livejournal.com
Thank you for all your kind words, all the times that I've been sharing this ficlet.

I'm glad that my ideas about Stone Sense come across <3

/hugs

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