t i l l. .t h e. .e n d. .o f. .t i m e DORIAN X CULLEN SOLAS X LAVELLAN SANSA STARK & PHANTASM The pain was overwhelming. Cullen clutched the sheets in his bare hands and groaned so loudly, he was certain his soldiers would hear. Sweat dripped down the sides of his face and he rubbed them away, panting as though he'd just reached physical limit. He'd barely moved all day, in truth. He ached to be training, writing letters or doing whatever the Inquisition demanded of him, but the lyrium withdrawals had peaked and every nerve suffered for it. The sleep-deprived warrior thrashed as another spasm of pain smothered his senses. He leaned over to vomit in a nearby bowl Estelle had provided for him, and when he was done, he laid back on the bed with a sigh. "Lie still," said the Inquisitor with a deep frown. Cullen did as she asked. Estelle placed her fingertips on his temples and rubbed in small circular patterns, and the commander nearly moaned from the release she provided. It didn't solve his aches and pains, but it relieved them considerably as she continued to massage him. "You need more than just me, Cullen. Let me bring Solas here at least. He knows spirit magic too, maybe we can--" "No," he interrupted stubbornly. "Please, Inquisitor. The fewer people that know about this, the better." "Don't be like that. You need help." Estelle removed her fingers from his skin and placed a cold washcloth atop his forehead. "I know you fear magic, but we can help. I don't care if you approve or not. This is an order from your Inquisitor--you will accept the help I give, even if it means the involvement of others. Promise?" A frustrated sigh escaped his lips. "I promise. But for the record, I wish you wouldn't." "I know." Estelle cupped his cheek, showing the affectionate friendship the two had developed. "I'm going to retrieve Solas and Dorian, alright? I think they can help you most efficiently." "Dorian?" Cullen scoffed. "What could he do? Please, Estelle, I don't want anyone to know unless they must." Her brows furrowed. Cullen did not want Dorian to see him like this--he was the Commander of the Inquisition, he shouldn't be observed in such weakness. It was why he'd avoided mentioning Dorian at all for the several days this illness had taken him. However, he should have known better than to assume Estelle would not mention him of her own accord. The two were inseparable. It was a miracle he hadn't stopped by already. With a sigh of submission, he turned away from her. "Do as you will, Inquisitor. But if I cannot last, perhaps I should take the lyrium after all." "I won't let it come to that." Estelle brushed his cheek with her thumb before rising from her seat and exiting the room promptly. Cullen did not want to voice his fears of being left alone with his symptoms and hallucinations, but making his suffering known was never his strong suit. He lie in wait for her return and faced the demons that came for him, all the while wondering if he could ever survive this, if refusing lyrium was a foolish decision after all. I could die here, he thought, and who then would fill his place?