On Books and Reading

The fourth in my series of Baldur’s Gate 3 stories about Astarion and my golden boy, Talven Vrinn, On Books and Reading uses the discovery of the Necromancy of Thay to touch on questions of authority, manipulation and disability.

“I’m sorry,” Astarion says, wiping his eyes. “It must be terrible—” he bursts in laughter again, but it’s tinged with hysteria and sounds on the edge of turning to sobs. He covers his face, drawing a deep breath. “Ugh. I need a moment.”

Having given him the most truthful account of himself so far, Tav feels both giddy and exposed. Astarion’s laughter doesn’t bother him. It seems born of surprise and the absurdity of the situation, not mockery. But Tav is altogether too deeply invested in the hope that Astarion will agree to his ridiculous, haphazard proposal, to join in the cheer. Because, of course it was an excuse, even if he’d had no inkling that he’d use it, or that he needed one. The truth is, if he could, he’d spend every moment of his time trailing Astarion like a shadow.

Read the whole story here, or on AO3.