Ferventis, 9:38 Dragon—Seven miles south of Starkhaven
“Explain to me why you’re doing this again, Hawke. The Templars’ bluster is just that, bluster, and besides, once this coronation is over, there’ll be no turning back. You do realize that, right?”
Varric Tethras shifted in his saddle and coughed into his shoulder to hide the grunt of discomfort that followed. His backside throbbed, both legs felt numb, and the pulse of his sciatic nerve promised the two of them would be up half the night trying to find a comfortable sleeping position without the promise of a stiff drink to ease the pain. He didn’t care how fancy the pillows were—and he was sure they were going to be unbelievable—he would find no comfort at Castle Vael. Knowing Sebastian, the entire city was probably dry, which meant his stay was going to feel overly long, no matter if it lasted three days or three weeks.
He had no idea how Hawke would manage a life there. Not that she wasn’t legitimate by reputation and title to become Starkhaven’s princess, and she certainly had the drive and leadership skills to rein in a nation, but some people weren’t born to sit still and that made them somewhat apathetic when it came to thrones. She’d taken the mantle of Champion with pride, but her reluctance to accept the position as Viscountess of Kirkwall spoke volumes about how suitable she would likely be to rule Starkhaven with Sebastian. It seemed like the moment the Templars started pushing, her experience with the Knight-Commander made it easier for her to walk away, but she didn’t have to. She was viscountess, still in a position to govern and negotiate on Kirkwall’s behalf. And besides, she was going to die of boredom in that place. Much like the prince who’d reclaimed his rule, Varric imagined even the trappings in Starkhaven were snoozeworthy, which brought him back to the central point that launched his entire thought sequence: What in Andraste’s name were they doing there? Continue reading