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Cullen kept his expression carefully neutral. He disliked talking anything political with Dorian, who preferred to lecture with magnanimous excess. Suspicious, how everything was so personal to Dorian. A way to rebuff any reasoned counter-argument with personal affront, as if Dorian was the only one set against the world, scorning the world, and why? What had the world ever done to Dorian but give him everything?

You sound like your father, Cullen could say. Quick and easy, from what Trevelyan revealed, if he wanted to strike an unforgivable wound. Maker forgive him but after tonight, Cullen was not above considering a low blow. Dorian conveniently forgot that if any of them at this table had the right to bear a grudge against Tevinter, it was not Tevinter's proudest son. Cullen knew rather more intimately the weight of the whole of a nation's blight, a whole city's corruption, a whole people's weakness, and exactly how it felt thinking himself the only one who could make the difference. Failing, always, always failing.

But it was Hawke who shouldered forward from his three-sheets slump, forearms placed one, then the other, with deliberate weight upon the table, wrists crossed and clawed tips against the wood, those battered gauntlets doing anything but gleaming in the tavern's ruddy light.

Nothing more. Unsubtle as it was, Dorian took the hint.

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