Disclaimer : This is a modern piece that takes place in the Modern Mortal Waking Realm. Hence, Solas has finished his confrontations in Trespasser and has moved on in search of the Idol (*Red Lyrium object from DA2) as well as what little magic he can cling to, in this new world. The struggle for a mage who pulls his elements from unknown sources --and still learning of those limits-- can be a challenging one. In a short summary to this, he feels a bit desperate and ashamed of past choices.
“I never thought of you as someone who could do that...”
The words stuck in his head like a repeated mantra. There were a lot of misconceptions about him. The most highly misjudged was his capabilities as an individual rather than ‘who he was’ as an individual. Not many people got to see so close into his heart, and so most judgments were even invalid. However, his abilities and of what he could endure were always things put on display, common, and often underestimated. There was no limit to capabilities or of his endurance; no solid interpretation of his suffering or intentions. Only he knew, and at often times, he had amazed himself. He even shamed himself.
Much like a repeated pattern in his long life, Solas had risen and fallen from power often. He fought as a war general in service to a royal noble family. He rose from that position to a King and then later a God. Then after the very Holy Ruler he once served under struck him down, he attempted to strip himself bare of all such rank to oppose and insight a revolution. This lead to Mythal’s demise, in which case, Solas punished the world again. In turn and stripped completely back down into nothing: screaming and crawling in the dark of some long forgotten tomb over centuries upon centuries later. The world in which he awoke was falling apart once more, and quickly Solas aligned himself with an organization that helped to restore their current world--which in turn helped buy himself some time and assess what he planned to do with it. Again, he had to leave and this time with powers mostly restored, Solas left for a wild hunt across other worlds. He searched across space and time through eluvians that he had to tirelessly infuse with magic and the wisdom of souls willing to help. With sheer luck, he stepped through, clean again--stripped of rank, social order, power and money completely again.
The world that he entered now was so much different. So, very apart from his every day norm. There was little-to-no nostalgia to slip back into. There were no elven tales of the Dread Wolf to prick upon the edge of his razored back. There was no knowledge of the red solidified lyrium being the infectious cause to drive mortals insane with power-lust, paranoia, and deranged ravings.
The insanity would have been--in fact--a blessing to most before the assimilation had set into effect. Luckily, there had been no public announcements of such an occurrence yet, but Solas was in the middle of still attempting to locate the source to what red dust he has occasionally came across.
When he first wandered the streets of the new world, he showed pity to an infant and nearly immediately afterwards, he learned the new popular forms of this world’s weapons. He learned of them the hard way, and what magic he did display had stirred a ruckus mild enough that he had to press his search blindly onwards. His search lead him towards a genetics clinic, where he curiously explored the area, tripped a few security measures and accidently found a cure for alzheimer's disease; which was something that most scientists there were still attempting to study.
The very incident lead Mr.Eisenhosfer, the Head Director to him and at first immediately threatened to have Solas arrested, then it lead to threats of quarantine, until it was discovered that Solas’ exploration had in fact helped to find a leading cure to what was being studied at the time. Solas offered to stay with the head director’s work if he had promised him that it would not go public with his own name, and also that he helped Solas to find a quiet place to stay. This allowed the trespassing mage to isolate himself from the rest of the world and still continue slowly in his research. For the first two years, he took his time in studying books, dreaming, pushing in advertising of his medical answer so that it could develop into a patented cure, and waiting for when the next crisis would--should come to him. He stayed with the company, bought secret papers to secure his citizenship, and earned the Head Director’s trust through giving him business advice and philosophical ponderings that left him in deep thought over which decisions to make. After the second year, Mr.Eisenhosfer had mentioned briefly in verbal and written documentation to have his company passed onto Solas for his rapid achievements… and Solas thanked him by inducing a heart attack from a spell three weeks later.
Again, one stripped from nothing, he climbed high into power and learning; these were things that he excelled in greatly. Left alone, he could thrive above the heavens if it were need be. After all, it was done before this...and even that bored him--forced him into other motives.
Placing him back to the here and now… sitting in front of a desk owned by “Biotech” Industries, in an office designed by “Biotech” architecture, dressed in a silk and patented leather suit that was paid for by “Biotech” money, and breathing “Biotech” air. He made himself almost a living brand for “Biotech” --not because they paid well but-- because they lead him closer to his goals. It was hardly much different from when he worked for the Inquisition, really. Back then, he wore the armor that the “Inquisition” fitted him with, carried the weapons the “Inquisition” gave him, lived in the “Inquisition’s” own quarters--even though he found Skyhold for them, and he was once again breathing air that was not his own. A brand that overspoke his own name. A continued repeat in his history.
He could not say that he did not enjoy his perks and current pleasures. Solas liked the view from his twelfth floor office. He liked the glass that instilled a hint of vertigo but kept him protected from a full plummet to the ground. He enjoyed the plush carpet to his feet, which was much softer than the concrete outside. Having a personal bathroom was also another plus, as opposed to what conditions he had once been resorted to enduring in the open air. Even so, these were tiny pleasures in comparison to what greater things he yearned for and what was now missing in his search.
In reflection of his long-term physical changes at the moment, he was not even feeling very much as a true elf anymore. He had used a cosmetic spell to round his ears for protection in this world. After all, he was surrounded by humans who seemed otherwise ignorant of elves and their existence in general. However, Solas has been regretting this decision ever since it was done, even if he believed it ultimately necessary. To him, it seemed that the people had forgotten magic entirely. They had created a world that was dull and almost lifeless. It was a world he had no wish to remain in for long.
It was such a stigma for him that this thought eventually lead him into other forms of desperation. After two years, Solas was begging to debate on cutting out the bottom soles and heels to his shoes. His black $300 suede shoes. It wasn’t really the price or the object itself that even bothered him. (Because he had been removing chunks of rubber from the bottom of his shoes for some time now!) It was the fact that by choosing to wear the shoes as they were meant to be worn, then he would finally have severed the last connection that he had always deemed as meaningful. No matter of what world he had crossed, Solas had always been barefoot---or rather, the bottom soles to his feet remained bare. Of course, there were footwrappings but his heel and toes were always opened to the elements around him. The cloth would soak in the water and snow. All of this was done because he insisted to absorb the pulse of the Waking World around him. Nature; it was in a sense a source of magic due to its very elements and it was something Solas had always clung to. He needed to feel that connection to whatever magic that he could. However, the magic to this world was close to non-existent and he had more likely of a chance at getting tetanus than absorbing the pulse of this world into his body, through his bare feet.
He pressed the blade of a pocket knife to the bottom sole of his shoe and something in his mind told him to stop. The longing for a feeling he could scarcely obtain from such a world was otherwise pointless. Besides, it was not even his own world. Who was he to continue trying in searching to breathe into it, if the magic itself was already choking on its last breath? If in turn left him to choke as well? If Solas couldn’t connect to it, then he couldn’t be a part of it. If he couldn’t be a part of it, then he needed to stop trying. But sadly, he was an addict to that feeling of passing mana. For him, it was essentially a breath; therefore, he struggled with an addiction to breathe. Folding the pocket knife to a close had never seemed so challenging before, but it was done slowly and far more secure than necessary. He promised himself to save the shoes’ mutilation for perhaps another day.
It was dark with the city lights shining behind him; filling up his office but only intruding as far as the smaller shadows of the room would allow. The sound of thunder was rolling its warning of impending floods onto the world. His eyes casted a shadow towards the small mirror on his desk. Solas saw the reflection of himself and the rounded ears he wore. Ears that were not elven; ears that resembled almost human. He traced them with the tips of his fingers sadly. Solas could barely look at himself in the mirror anymore, for he was not himself; so the his last distraction had finally been to place the pocket knife back into his desk drawer. Feeling the cold air from the “Biotech” air conditioning unit blast icy wind as sharp as the winter’s north over his head and shoulders, Solas returned his shoes back to his feet and practiced the mundane art of putting his feet into them. The rubber and leather that fit so snugly around his feet was as comforting as all of it was suffocating. Regardless, Solas forced himself to tie the shoes securely, and pressed his weight down. For this was how things were to be from now onward. He had to accept it until at last, he could return home.
He heard the sound of the doorknob beginning to turn with a small click. Tensing slightly, Solas eased back into his leather chair and sat up. He peered across the room and saw the company’s secretary, Ms.Cane; who was under any other circumstances, a delightful woman in a petite frame and dirty blonde tresses.
Right at the moment, her hair was still strung up in its tight bun with a pencil to hold it up. Her glasses, thin-framed and rectangular were pressed to the bridge of her nose. She wore heels only a desire demon could prance around in, a nude flash of stockings, a classic black pencil skirt, and a blouse that seemed cut from a cloth out of either Antiva or Orlais--the nostalgia in Solas couldn’t help him determine from which exactly. But her stance was always striking since the first day she was introduced to him, and Solas did at least notice.
“Mr.Fadestrider? The doors will be closing soon.” She announced to him personally; as she had done nearly every night because Solas did not approve of intercoms. He didn’t trust most electrical devices even to this day.
“Of course, Ms.Cane. I’ll be on my way out.” Solas answered to her and after tying the last knot, he started to stand up. Without looking towards her, he finally asked the question that seemed to loom more silence between them. “...What is it, Ms.Cane?”
“...Its the police...again.” Ms.Cane answered and looked back down to her notepad in her hands to avoid seeing the visual slump in Solas’ shoulders. “They just want to ask a few more questions.”
“Very well…” He answered, since he did not feel capable of refusing one last interview.
Solas knew that this would been an issue brought up time and again, but there was nothing that could be proven other than the fact that Mr.Eisenhosfer was dead, and he happened to have made Solas the beneficiary to his company. Yes, it probably made Mrs.Eisenhosfer a little angry and that was probably why there had been a push for one last statement from Solas on the matter. However, it should have been a dispute between the company’s insurance and Mrs.Eisenhosfer’s own lawyer. Solas didn’t believe himself to have time for such games, so he played them through gritting his teeth.
He would have taken the stairs, but the police accompanied him to the elevator instead. They hadn’t spoken to one another, since it was already plainly assumed that he was going to be interviewed back to their station. Though this was promised to have been the final time; because it was mainly a dispute between the company’s insurance and Mrs.Eisenhosfer’s lawyer---much like Solas had already concluded.
Desperately through touch, Solas remained searching for that mana to soak into him and breathe away. His fingers traced along the walls like a blind man in search of braille. He felt the cool metal surface of the elevator before he was guided to step inside. His left palm reached idly outwards to grasp the rest-bar from inside the elevator. All along, from the quiet ride inside and then out, he was still searching subconsciously. Solas could sense the traces of magic but it was so miniscule; strained. It left him feeling as though he was trying to breathe through a plastic bag. Just when he started to reconsider his thoughts of cutting holes in his shoes after all until at last…
...they had stepped outside of the building and into a downpour.
The rain was something that disgruntled the officers as they tried to rush Solas towards their vehicle, but he struggled to stand still. He looked up towards the sky and greeted the dark clouds with a smile. At long last, he felt it. The magic of purity from nature itself was pouring down upon his face. Solas could not have thought of anything more cleansing. He stood soaked and finally at some relief; almost as if he experiencing a baptism of sorts for the first time when in truth it was the ecstasy of mana that he reveled in -- allowing him to be a part of its world. The element that came from nature’s own source, splashed over his face in heavy wet sheets. The rain water breathed its power into Solas straight through his skin and in turn (nearly as the addict as he was to it) Solas could exhale and breathe a little easier. He could almost feel as though he was one with the source of magic that remained---until one officer dragged his drenched body into a police car and slammed the door shut. For now, Solas sat there in silence and in peace.