Zevran, the ever-beckoning, he of heavy lids and empty heart, would laugh to see the word “love” on the Warden’s lips, had he not nearly died for it.
He was dying every day since setting foot in the filth that was Ferelden, surrounded by mud and dog and the Maker-forsaken Warden. The Warden who did horrible things, like accept him, and want him, and truly care for him.
It would have been so easy to be the Crow, the liar, the rake, anything but Zevran, anything but the empty shell that once held a man and now rattled when shook as though it was filled with dried up bones. Rivani seers could shake him out, read that rattle like chicken bones, look into his eyes and see the hollows behind them, see the desperate want for something to make him whole.
But he was safe—the Warden was Fereldan, and every Antivan fishwife knew that Fereldans knew nothing but how to raise a good dog and make piss-water weak ale, so what did he have to fear?
Zevran, the fool, he of self-sustaining lies and infinite doubt, remembered he was alive when the word “love” fell from the Warden’s lips.
Death had suited him better, fit like an old pair of leather boots, broken by the weight of ages, by a thousand steps away from what they made him, from what he was supposed to be. But it was a convenient lie—a way to fool himself into thinking he was unyeilding steel, rather than fragile skin and hollow bone.
Rinna had known he was lying.
Taliesin knew too.
And now the Warden knew.