And Ari falls asleep.
The Fade is different here. Less rocky, more... ethereal? It's like the city they're in, but filled with fog. The geometry's all twisted up and everything doesn't connect right, but that much, at least, Ari's familiar with. He starts exploring.
No spirits. No demons. That's weird. Not even the little floating wisps that crop up around dreamers. And there are plenty of dreamers in this city. He can see them, pinpricks of light like a field of stars. He flits between them for what seems like hours, looking through the dreams as he passes like a librarian glancing at the titles of books around him. Stuck at my old job. Back in high school. Didn't study for a test. Naked in public. (There's a lot of variations on that one, and Ari sometimes watches them play out if the dreamer looks cute or the scenario is particularly inventive.) Need to pee but there's no bathroom. Flying. Teeth keep falling out. Dad's hitting me again.
...Ari stops at that one. Yep, that's a little boy - littler than he is - getting the living hell beat out of him by a big scary mass of shadows who can be assumed to be his father. With a thought, the membrane of the dream opens up and he steps through. (He wasn't able to do this before, in Thedas. He doesn't think much of it. Dreams are dreams.) He banishes the shadows and heals the boy with another thought. The boy cautiously opens his eyes.
"Who... who are you?" he asks.
"Ari. Does your dad really hit you like that?"
He flinches. "N-no."
Ari looks at him, peers into his soul, and he knows he's lying. "Is he trying to make you stronger?"
The boy looks perplexed. "I... no. Just when I do something wrong, he-"
Ari leaves that dream, finds another near it with the same taste. Fucking that hot chick from work. He slips inside, and with a thought, the lady disappears. The man - big, but not as big as he was in the boy's dream - looks around, confused. "Who the fuck are you?"
"Do you have a son?" Ari asks.
"What? Yeah, I guess - why're you-"
Ari looks at him, and smiles. Not a nice smile.
He leaves the dream covered in rapidly dissipating blood, feeling like a real superhero. Then he makes his way back to his body. Are the others asleep, too?