A prompt from heretherebedragons, which wanted to become a much longer story, one I don’t quite have the brain for at the moment. So here, have a short piece of something that’s suddenly putting a lot of headcanon in my brain. :)
Fergus and Anora. Satinalia.
The palace’s Satinalia ball was always a lavish affair. Fergus remembered the first time he’d attended, back when he was a young teenager. It had seemed a room full of strangers, everyone in masks and sparkling clothing quite unlike anyone in Ferelden normally wore. “You learn to recognize people,” his mother told him. “The way they walk, the way they gesture. See that?” She pointed toward a woman in a yellow dress and mask. “See how she tugs at the hair at her neck? That’s Bann Esmerelle, I’ve seen her do that every time I’ve met her.”
It seemed like a type of magic to young Fergus, the ability to recognize people by their gestures. But as an adult, he’d learned the skill, at least well enough to recognize the Queen as she glided past. No woman walked quite like Anora - likely because no one else could even pretend to have her authority and grace. Fergus hadn’t seen her in person in at least two years - not since, well, everything - but her movements were much the same as before the Blight.
Fergus wondered how his manner had changed, to the people watching him. He was a different person now. It must show on the outside, he thought, scanning the room. He hadn’t been to one of these balls since before the Blight. How many people could even recognize him in his mask?
The answer to his question was, apparently, the Queen, at the very least. “Your Majesty,” he said, bowing just low enough to not offend.
“It’s good to see you at Court again,” she said.
“Thank you.” He couldn’t say it was good to be back, not really. This place, these people only reminded him of what he’d lost.
Anora studied his face for a moment. “I would see you privately tomorrow, here at the palace. There is much that needs saying.”
Fergus stiffened. “If Your Majesty wills it.”
“I do.” Anora’s gaze softened, and her voice quieted until Fergus had to lean forward to hear her. “We were nearly friends once, Fergus. I would like to think we could yet be again.”
The only way she could have surprised him more was if she’d embraced him in public. “I’m not sure, Your Majesty,” he said, matching her volume. “But I will see you tomorrow.”
She nodded, then turned and walked away. Fergus watched her go. Was there a hesitation in her step, as she started back into the crowd? Perhaps he imagined it. The Anora he once knew would never hesitate, not here. But perhaps he did not know her movements as well as he once did.