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Krem

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#1
(( 3 days after the Chargers return from scouting Haven, 9:41 - Herald's Rest, Skyhold - Sati Adaar ))

Krem had seen a lot of villages wiped off the map during his brief stint with the Tevinter army, but none of it compared to Haven.

He’d been outside talking to Harritt when the templars came. Damned crazed zealots, the lot of them. Dangerous, too. He didn’t know what power that demon or darkspawn or whatever he was had over them, and he didn’t want to find out. All that mattered was getting the people who couldn’t defend themselves to safety.

Krem had made his peace long ago with the fact that his place wasn’t on the front lines of an army’s forces. He was better as a skirmisher, providing support for the bulk of the troops. In the case of Haven, that mostly meant rounding up the Chargers to draw attention off of the Herald and to give those fleeing to the Chantry a safe way to do so.

Hadn’t been for nothing, but the loss was rough on everyone. Those at the top felt it most, sure, but Krem felt it too. He’d mostly avoided the trap of “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve,” but sometimes he wondered what would’ve happened if he’d taken a different route; if he’d fallen back a few minutes later.

Probably be face down in the snow with an arrow or twelve in his back, and that was the nicest fate he could imagine. Especially since he’d seen what happened to others who weren’t so lucky.

Inquisitor Sati had sent the Chargers to scout what was left of Haven, under Commander Cullen’s command. Wasn’t a smile cracked or a laugh on anybody’s lips that day, not even when they’d set up camp for the night. Quietest he’d ever seen the Chargers, save for that time Rocky messed up the powder ratio and knocked almost all of them out cold.

It was all senseless, but that was the cost of war. No way around it except to move forward, and when it came to Bull’s company, that meant lots and lots of mead. Whole casks of it that the big guy had fought for with Lady Montilyet.

They’d gotten back from scouting just a few days past. Krem had given his report, and now he was eager to put it behind him. Lots of work to do, but for tonight he was just content being with the “crazy bunch of assholes” who’d become his family.

Hard not to notice when the Inquisitor came into the Herald’s Rest, though. Harder not to stand immediately like any good soporati addressing his betters. Krem just lifted his mug to his lips and watched her. She might’ve been stopping off to see someone for business; seemed all she did lately was go from one meeting to the next, when she wasn’t off saving the world.

She looked damned tired, though.

“Can’t imagine what that’s like,” he said, leaning back in his chair.

“Having bad songs written about you?” Stitches asked, referencing the minstrel’s current choice.

Didn’t sound half bad to him, but he was a tailor’s son. What did he know about it?

“Having all these people depend on you,” he said. “Seems like she could use a break. One night of peace.”

“You going to give it to her?” Skinner’s tone was deadpan and as hostile as ever, but he’d known her long enough to catch her meaning.

“Sod off,” he said, making a rude gesture at the elven woman which she promptly returned. His attention turned to Sati, and he raised his voice to be heard over the din of the tavern. “Your Worship!”

“Oh, yes,” Dalish wore a rueful smile that was barely visible above her mug, “calling her by her most esteemed title is sure to put her at ease.”

“Don’t see any of you lot volunteering,” he shot back before finally standing like he’d been itching to do since she walked in.

He approached the qunari woman with a smile, giving her some distance from the rest of the Chargers. Best not to overwhelm her any more than she already was. Especially when he was already facing down a mountain when it came to trying to get her to put her feet up for a change. “Buy you a drink? Though I guess you probably drink for free here, seeing as how the place is named after you.” He waved this off. “Was hoping to get in a quick game of darts, if you’re up for it. Can’t trust any of them not to just throw the damned things at my head.”
 

Sati Adaar

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#2
Sati missed the Valo-Kas. For most mercenaries, paperwork was a contract signed at the beginning of a job, and that was it. The group had earned enough that they’d started keeping track of finances to ensure everyone got a fair cut, but that had been simple enough. Add up the total earned, plus the value of any loot, and then split it by the number of people in the group. Being Inquisitor required more parchment than she’d ever seen in her life, and even though she didn’t have to write much in her own hand, there was so much that she needed to read through and sign off for things to actually happen. She could only delegate so far, apparently.

She also missed the camaraderie. Every one of them had been Tal-Vashoth (although technically, she’d never been in the Qun in the first place), and enjoyed the freedom to choose their own path. It had bound them all together, particularly in places where they were feared, and since joining the Inquisition, Sati had felt only small snatches of that from time to time. About the closest she’d got to anything like the friendships she’d had with the Valo-Kas was with Varric.

But she’d been busy trying to work out the ramifications first of being a Herald, and now lately of being Inquisitor. It was a lot to take on, for somebody whose primary motivation for most of her life had simply been to avoid being killed and to enjoy the fruits of her skill in doing that. Already quiet, she’d spent the first few days in Haven almost mute as she tried to catch up with everything that was going on around her again.

The quiet was coming back again now, although this time it was because her voice was becoming hoarse from talking, and she finally called an end to the latest meeting with a firm request that she not be asked her opinion on anything else for a few hours. She needed a drink.

Thus far she’d avoided the Herald’s Rest. She knew what would happen when she walked in, and she was absolutely right; as she came through the door, all eyes rested on her. She was good enough at schooling her body language that she didn’t appear awkward, but the nod she gave everybody was a little stiff as she made her way to the bar. “An ale, please.” She paused. “A stein of it.”

The barmaid fluttered off to take care of that and made noises about her not needing to pay for it. Sati was about to leave a silver on the bar anyway, then before she could find a dark corner to try and hide in (impossible, at her height and size), somebody hailed her. “Your Worship!”

Krem, of The Iron Bull’s Chargers. A group she had yet to get to know beyond their leader, but extremely capable nonetheless – they’d returned only that day from a mission to Haven. Although Sati didn’t like the use of the title, she turned in their direction anyway. “Buy you a drink? Though I guess you probably drink for free here, seeing as how the place is named after you.”

“Seems to be the case. But I appreciate it.”

“Was hoping to get in a quick game of darts, if you’re up for it. Can’t trust any of them not to just throw the damned things at my head.”

Sati cracked a smile. Just a small one, but the first she’d worn since Haven. Apart from ‘Your Worship’, she’d not missed the fact that Krem had immediately started treating her as though she was part of the group. Small talk was not her forte. She appreciated the effort he was putting in on her behalf. “Count me in.” She came over, having taken a long swallow from the two-pint tankard she currently clutched. It wouldn’t hit her for a while yet. Drinking could get expensive at this size. Although not anymore, apparently. “Any particular rules, or just avoid aiming them at your temples?”
 

Krem

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#3
As usual, Krem's timing just so happened to be awful. Wasn't long after he'd asked that Tilda, one of the barmaids at the Herald, bustled over to the Inquisitor with a qunari-sized stein. Or what Krem guessed was a respectable size for a qunari. Still smaller than the one the Chief drank out of, but that poor bastard would drink out of a well bucket if given the chance.

“Seems to be the case," she said as she accepted the tankard, "but I appreciate it.”

Wasn't a soul alive who could say Krem didn't know how to land on his feet, and he pivoted to the real reason he'd gone after the Herald's attention. Not that he'd immediately had darts in mind. They just happened to be handy, and uncomplicated, and the least likely to scare her off--at least he hoped that was the case.

The tiny smile she gave him was answer enough, and Krem tried not to grin like a damned fool and immediately shoot a "told you so" look to the rest of the Chargers. Army had beaten professionalism into him; might as well put it to use and not gloat before he'd even really accomplished his goal.

“Count me in. Any particular rules, or just avoid aiming them at your temples?”

He grinned at that, draining his own tankard before he joined her in front of the dart board. Sad thing--just sun-cured goat hide stretched over a barrel lid--but something made for throwing arrows into didn't need to be pretty. Maker knew Bull's ass wasn't pretty, and it'd taken enough arrows to be called a dart board in its own right.

A tankard full of half-sized arrows sat on the ledge of one of the pillars, and Krem took the three with green fletching. "Three darts apiece. Hope green's not your favorite color. You might hate it after I trounce you. Respectfully." He flashed her a grin and raised one of the darts to be even with his sight-line. "Best out of three rounds, high score wins each round."

Drawing the stunted arrow back, Krem made a few practice gestures with it, trying to line up the throw. When he finally let it go, the dart sailed toward the board and landed with a thunk... right at the edge of the third ring. The next two landed close to the first, one inside the second ring, the other barely edging into the third.

"Can't aim perfectly right from the start," he said with a shrug, stepping aside so she could take her turn. "No fun in running away with it."

Truth was, Krem just had terrible aim. The state of the quarters he'd shared with some of the other men in the Chargers' ranks told him he wasn't the only one, though. He just wasn't likely to split anyone's skull with a throwing axe, that was all. And unless Sati also had terrible aim, he wasn't likely to win this game, either.

Good thing winning wasn't why he'd wanted to play. "Have much time to settle in yet?" He gestured around them. "This place is huge. Probably take me another week just to see it all."
 

Sati Adaar

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Krem grinned at her, and they walked in the direction of the dartboard that somebody had obviously knocked together when they had a few scraps left over. It was already pitted with the evidence of previous attempts, as was the wall around it. Sati eyed the marks furthest astray of the board and wondered whether those had been the result of drink or somebody who definitely needed to be kept away from the archery butts for the safety of everybody else around them.

“Three darts apiece. Hope green’s not your favourite colour. You might hate it after I trounce you. Respectfully.”

Sati let out a throaty chuckle, and waggled the fingers of her left hand at him. “I can’t say I have positive associations with the colour, no.” She usually wore a glove on that hand so she didn’t get sick of the glow edging into the corner of her vision and distracting her, but she’d gone without today.

“Best out of three rounds, high score wins each round.”

There was a serious gouge mark in the wall next to the board, now Sati was paying attention to it. Had somebody been doing axe practice in here?

Krem lined up his shot, took it, and just managed to hit the board. The next two attempts landed similarly. “Can’t aim perfectly right from the start. No fun in running away with it.”

“Mmhm.” Sati arched an eyebrow at him, amused rather than critical. She suspected she knew where some of the dent marks around the board had come from. But she was probably going to do little better. Her aim with a two-handed sword was impeccable, but focusing on a target that wasn’t directly in front of her was a different skill. She threw her first, lips curling in a pleased smile as it landed just an inch further in than Krem’s first attempt.

“Have much time to settle in yet? This place is huge. Probably take me another week just to see it all.”

The second one went to the opposite side of the board. Still further in, but it proved her grouping needed work. “I’ve had to go around the place examining the defences so I’ve got a good sense of these outer bits, but the basements go further down than I’ve explored yet. Whoever built this place planned for a lot of storage.” Which made sense, given the isolation. It was also possible that all those basements had been for throwing prisoners into until they were forgotten, but that was a grim thought. She’d helped clear out a few skeletons from the ones they had found.

“As for settling in – I think that might take a while yet.” It was a far cry from her mercenary life, which had frequently seen her waking up on a groundsheet between cities or on a straw tick mattress in whatever cheap inn would take her kind. Her bed here was soft, and expansive, and she could go out onto the balcony and survey the courtyard below like some sort of monarch. The thought did not sit comfortably with her, and she turned the subject back on Krem. “What are your thoughts on it?”
 

Krem

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#5
The Chargers could have as much of a laugh as they wanted, but he hoped the whole damned lot of them were watching right now because Krem was doing exactly what he'd set out to do. Masterfully, too. If pressed, he'd say being bad at darts had all been part of the plan. Made it easier for him to crack a few jokes if he was doing it at his own expense. He didn't know Sati well enough to feel comfortable doing it at hers.

Couldn't all be fun and games, though. He got the impression the Inquisitor wouldn't suffer fools for long, even if she did have room in her life for a good time. Krem had served enough commanding officers to toe that line, and he did it now, asking about Skyhold.

“I’ve had to go around the place examining the defences so I’ve got a good sense of these outer bits," she said after sending a second dart wide, "but the basements go further down than I’ve explored yet. Whoever built this place planned for a lot of storage.”

Couldn't have been for barracks. Too cold for that. Even the chamber the smith was holed up in needed a winter coat just to walk through comfortably. No, the deeper parts were likely what she said. Larder probably. Storage for food and drinks and anything else that preferred to beat on the back side of freeze-your-ass-off cold.

“As for settling in – I think that might take a while yet.” After a moment, she turned the question back on him. “What are your thoughts on it?”

"Soldier, or civ?" he asked. Big difference between the two.

Once all the darts were thrown, he went to retrieve them, pulling the arrowheads free from the board with some effort. Wasn't a need to announce the score. She'd taken the first round easily. As such, it was her turn to throw.

"You get the honors for trouncing me round one," he said with a grin, handing her the darts. He dropped his own back into the cup for now and leaned against the nearby crossbeam before finally answering. "As a soldier, I think it's a good fortress. Takes a hell of a lot for anyone to even find this place, let alone make the trek up here. Most armies won't make it to the gates without half of their men being filled with arrows."

That was all counting on them fighting opponents who were bound by normal rules of existence, which... they weren't. But Skyhold was practical and protected from all sides. Didn't matter what came at them. They'd see it coming.

"As a civilian... it needs some work." He looked around, hand lifting higher on the beam he was resting against. "This place is a good start, but it's the only taste of regular life most people will get here. Commanders think everything has to be war and training all the time, but even soldiers are people, much as we try to act like we can tough out anything you throw at us."

He should probably quit while he was ahead, but she had asked, and Sati seemed like the type of person who appreciated honesty more than ass-kissing.

"Like I said, this is a good start," he gestured around them, "but there needs to be more of it, through all of Skyhold. I know you have things that need taking care of, but if you make this place as much a home as it is a fortress, everybody here'll defend it with their dying breath, without you having to ask."
 

Sati Adaar

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#6
“Soldier, or civ?”

Sati grunted approval at his caution, accepting the darts from him. “First one, then the other.”

“As a soldier, I think it's a good fortress. Takes a hell of a lot for anyone to even find this place, let alone make the trek up here. Most armies won't make it to the gates without half of their men being filled with arrows."

“Assuming they don’t show up on a dragon again,” Sati pointed out, with a wry smile. It seemed a long time ago that they’d been celebrating the closure of the Breach, and their mission had appeared to be completed, only for everything to literally go up in flames. You could either be pessimistic about such things, or shrug at whatever the universe decided to throw at you. If Sati had decided to be pessimistic about her situation, it would have taken The Iron Bull plus most of the Chargers to drag her out of bed. There was a lot to deal with, so it was better to take it with at least a little humour. Even if most people couldn’t detect it on her face.

“As a civilian…it needs some work.” Krem eyed the tavern. "This place is a good start, but it's the only taste of regular life most people will get here. Commanders think everything has to be war and training all the time, but even soldiers are people, much as we try to act like we can tough out anything you throw at us."

Sati nodded. “Point well made. I’ll take it under advisement. And maybe speak to Leliana and Josephine for ideas about how to raise morale in ways that don’t involve combat.” She usually felt invigorated after a good sparring session, but that might defeat the point that Krem was making.

“Like I said, this is a good start. But there needs to be more of it, through all of Skyhold. I know you have things that need taking care of, but if you make this place as much a home as it is a fortress, everyone he’ll defend it with their dying breath, without you having to ask.”

Sati would rather not ask anybody to fight to the death. As a mercenary, she’d been in a few corners where she’d had to chose between the contract and her life, and there had been no contest. Living beat honour, any day. But if there were other people around, or somebody would die because of her negligence – that was a different story. She’d go to the sticking point for any of the Valo-Kas. And for more than a few of the people she’d met here, as well. She took aim at the board, and grinned as it landed in the second ring from the bullseye.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience in making anywhere a home. Normally I just look for a place to sleep. My sense of home comes from the people I befriend.” She turned to regard Krem. “Do you feel that with the Chargers?”
 

Krem

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#7
“Assuming they don’t show up on a dragon again.” Krem might have thought she was chiding him for not mentioning that part--the whole reason they’d lost Haven, far as he was concerned, and why they’d found more civilians frozen in the snow than he could count--but there was a wry smile on her lips.

He answered it with a cheeky grin. “True enough. If the Chief’s taught me anything, it’s that you always have to account for cheaters.”

She’d asked his opinion as a civilian, too, so Krem gave it. Felt like it’d been an Age since he lived any kind of civilian life. Being a mercenary wasn’t the same as being a soldier, but he carried a lot of things with him from the army. Lucky for Krem, the Chargers usually straightened him out on that score.

“Point well made. I’ll take it under advisement.” She might be giving him the brush-off, but he chose to believe he’d helped. At least a little. “And maybe speak to Leliana and Josephine for ideas about how to raise morale in ways that don’t involve combat.”

He nodded, said a little more about it. Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission, and all that. If she hadn’t wanted his honest opinion, she wouldn’t have asked for it. And if he’d offended her, he didn’t think she’d pull any punches in telling him so. Not like she was sparing his pride right now. His tongue pressed to the back of his teeth and he shook his head as her first dart of the set landed in the second ring.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience in making anywhere a home,” Sati admitted. “Normally I just look for a place to sleep. My sense of home comes from the people I befriend. Do you feel that with the Chargers?”

Krem was already smiling by the time her gaze fell on him. “Yeah, I do.”

He looked over at the group, expecting the lot of them to be lost in drink, song, or both. No singing yet, but Stitches had his loaded deck of cards in hand. As he watched, Grim leaned over the table and snatched a few choice cards out of the deck, throwing them back at the healer. Dalish was the only one to turn his way, her thin brows lifting in question.

“Oh, dear. Do you need assistance already? I know your tactics are awful, but this is fast even for you.”

Krem rolled his eyes and directed a certain gesture her way, a smile on his lips as he turned back to Sati. “Guess I’m not really one to talk,” he admitted. “My home’s wherever they are. Haven’t known anything different for a long time.”

Come to think of it, he barely remembered the home he’d grown up in. All of those memories were about people, not the place itself. His mom getting up before dawn, the smell of flour and dough and spices making its way to his room. The scraping sound of his father’s razor, and the feel of the blade on Krem’s face when he’d tried it for himself.

Sadness squeezed like a vice in his chest. His home was with the Chargers. Had been for a while. Would be for the rest of his life. But it didn’t keep him from thinking about the way things had been.

Shaking his head, Krem took the three arrows from the cup again when it was his turn to throw. “You’ll figure it out,” he assured her, grinning. “Or Lady Montilyet will figure it out. Seems like she’d have a better handle on it than any of us.”

Krem definitely didn’t have a good handle on darts. He managed to throw the first higher than the damned board, somehow. Dalish barked out a laugh, and this time he just ignored her.

“You know, much as I knew you were a mercenary before all this, I didn’t think to ask for details,” he said, sizing up another throw. Better this time. Not by much. “Must’ve belonged to a company of your own. They still around?”
 

Sati Adaar

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#8
Krem was like her. Home was with his company, and good company they seemed to be, even as they ribbed each other. Watching his brief interaction with Dalish made Sati’s chest ache a little. The Inquisition would be the fourth family she had tried to make for herself. Hopefully she would have better luck with them than she had with the others – although she hadn’t given up on finding her parents one day. At least the Valo-Kas had survived.

She sank the next two darts respectable distances from the middle, and Krem took his turn, as well as an opportunity to assure her over the logistics of making Skyhold a home. “You’ll figure it out. Or Lady Montilyet will figure it out. Seems like she’d have a better handle on it than any of us.”

Sati’s smile softened at the mention of the ambassador. “She’s not quite like anybody I’ve met before, but she is immensely skilled at what she does.” The first time she’d met Josephine, she’d been at a loss to explain how this be-ruffled young woman, festooned with silks, had done to find herself out on the ass-end of Ferelden in the freezing cold helping a group of renegades. But she had a kind streak while being by no means weak; she dealt in as many secrets and machinations as Leliana. Sati found herself a little overawed by the woman, in truth. Josephine was immensely clever and for some reason her accent was pleasingly melodious rather than annoying.

She was distracted from thinking about the soft curve of Josephine’s smile by Krem’s appalling shot, missing the board entirely. Dalish laughed, and Sati let out a rumbling chuckle. “Perhaps if you had shot the trebuchet at Haven, you might have hit Corypheus instead of the mountain.”

“You know, much as I knew you were a mercenary before all this, I didn’t think to ask for details. Must’ve belonged to a company of your own. They still around?”

Sati picked at the corner of her thumbnail with her forefinger. “The Valo-Kas. All of us either ex-qunari or never-were-qunari but still have the horns. The sensible ones who said they didn’t want to do a job in a freezing hole in Ferelden are currently lodged up in Antiva. A few were with me at the Temple, but somehow,” she shrugged, “Every one of them made it out alive. Some badly hurt, though. But alive. I think they’ve gone north again. Takes more than an explosion to kill a few of us ox-men.”

She glanced towards the corner where The Iron Bull usually sat. He wasn’t there at the moment. Maybe he was out writing one of his reports. He didn’t behave anything like the stories of ‘true’ qunari, but still… “Has The Iron Bull ever expressed – concern to you, that I’m technically Tal-Vashoth? Although I was never actually part of the Qun in the first place. It was my parents who defected. But I know full-blooded qunari can have problems with those of us outside it.”
 

Krem

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#9
“She’s not quite like anybody I’ve met before, but she is immensely skilled at what she does," Sati said with a soft smile that didn't seem as out of place on her features as Krem thought it maybe should.

He couldn't argue with the sentiment, either. When he'd first met with her, Josephine seemed to stick out like a sore thumb. A fellow peacock in a sea of pigeons. But she was good at her job, and Krem didn't think he'd ever seen her lose that almost regal poise she had. It was worthy of respect, and maybe a wistful glance or two.

Aiming the dart, he took another shot that just went so far off the board he couldn't even get too agitated at Dalish's laughter.

“Perhaps if you had shot the trebuchet at Haven, you might have hit Corypheus instead of the mountain.”

His lips pulled into a grin. If she was willing to rib him the way the Chargers did, he'd consider it a job well done. "Now there's a thought. Could've been the Hero of Ferelden, and when anyone asked, I'd say 'no, not that one. Different hero. The one with bad aim.'"

He asked her about her company, then, giving another demonstration of his piss-poor aim.

“The Valo-Kas. All of us either ex-qunari or never-were-qunari but still have the horns. The sensible ones who said they didn’t want to do a job in a freezing hole in Ferelden are currently lodged up in Antiva. A few were with me at the Temple, but somehow every one of them made it out alive. Some badly hurt, though. But alive. I think they’ve gone north again. Takes more than an explosion to kill a few of us ox-men.”

"Damn right it does." He might not have known her company personally, but if they were anything like the Chargers... "That's a feat worthy of a 'horns up!' if I've ever heard one."

He said the words "horns up" with a lift to his voice, and the rowdy assholes at the nearby table echoed it, lifting their tankards in the air.

After a moment, Sati looked toward the Chief's usual haunt, her expression changing a little. “Has The Iron Bull ever expressed – concern to you, that I’m technically Tal-Vashoth? Although I was never actually part of the Qun in the first place. It was my parents who defected. But I know full-blooded qunari can have problems with those of us outside it.”

Krem held on to his last dart, turning it over in his hand, the fletching scraping against his fingers. His own gaze flicked to Bull's corner, then back to the Inquisitor, his voice conveying a seriousness that hadn't been there before. "My experience? Chief can be a bit of a dick about things like that, but he judges people on their actions, not on whatever backwards shit everyone else thinks of them. Guarantee if it was a problem for him, he'd pull us like that," Krem said with a snap of his fingers.

He finally threw the last dart, and by some stroke of luck not only made it on the board, but straddling the line between the second and third rings. His brows rose and he nodded appreciatively before gesturing to his companion to take her turn.

"Does that ever bother you?" he asked after a moment. "It's only qunari who make a fuss about it, right? But it can't feel all that great to be told you aren't one of them, just because of a choice your parents made."
 

Sati Adaar

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#10
Krem sounded impressed. Sati was impressed herself. Those months at Haven she had resigned herself to the possibility – probability – that she had been the only one to come out of the explosion at the temple alive. Instead, a letter from Shrokrakar had made it clear that everybody had made it eventually, some more singed and angry than others. A few had been captured and imprisoned by various fearful humans and it had not sweetened their disposition towards the southerners any.

Sati had returned the letter, confirming that no, she wasn’t dead, and giving a few fleeting details of her situation without mentioning that she was essentially on trial for murdering the Divine. She didn’t want the Valo-Kas to storm down on Haven in an effort to get her back.

Krem toasted the survival of Sati’s fellow mercenaries, and Sati followed suit, echoing ‘horns up’ in a quieter tone than the Chargers – but being no less pleased by it than them. For a group lead by a full-blooded qunari, they certainly knew how to have fun.

That hadn’t softened Sati’s reservations about The Iron Bull, though. To his people, her kind were scum. But he’d been civil the first time they’d met and pleasant enough every time they talked, which came as no comfort whatsoever given her knowledge of his affinity for lying. Bluntly, she asked Krem if she thought he might eventually present a problem.

"My experience? Chief can be a bit of a dick about things like that, but he judges people on their actions, not on whatever backwards shit everyone else thinks of them. Guarantee if it was a problem for him, he'd pull us like that.”

“And so far he’s stayed. Good to know.”

Krem threw decently this time. After taking a moment to appreciate his small stroke of luck, he nodded towards for Sati to take her turn.

“Does it ever bother you? It's only qunari who make a fuss about it, right? But it can't feel all that great to be told you aren't one of them, just because of a choice your parents made."

Sati threw her first dart. This one fared only a little better than Krem’s last. “Well. If you have horns, you’re not really welcome anywhere in the south, either. But it wasn’t just my parents’ choice.” The second one fared a little worse. “They let me know early on that if I wished to join the Qun, they wouldn’t stop me, only that I might find it hard to be stripped of my choices. They’d never let me have become a warrior.”

Except perhaps under the same circumstances as they might have allowed it of Krem. It was a topic she’d never raised with the man, and she never intended to. It was his business alone.

“I studied with a knight for many years. He taught me to fight largely as a showpiece, but he drilled a lot else into my skull as well. Tactics, a chivalric code, diplomacy, how to hold back my sword when I can use my words. I find it frustrating when it is assumed that because I am Tal-Vashoth, I have no ability to control my own rage.” This time the dart struck true, but embedded itself deeply into the board at the same time.

She cleared her throat with her drink, and turned to Krem. The alcohol’s burn and the successful bullseye had quelled the scratch of irritation with little indication of it touching her tone. Now for another question. “Why’d you join him? Besides him being a good fighter.” The Iron Bull was an excellent fighter, but Sati wouldn’t admit that until they’d squared off one-on-one. “How’d a Vint wind up alongside a qunari?”
 
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