Anders frowned at the page in front of him. Scanning through the words, he couldn't find a single phrase that seemed familiar. It was his hand-writing, though the letters were formed perhaps a bit more forcefully than he preferred to use, but he didn't remember writing it.
"Justice?" he asked quietly, but the spirit was silent. He wondered when the spirit had decided to take over the manifesto-writing like this. He'd come across a few pages lately that had appeared slipped in between those detailing his own arguments, and he wondered if perhaps Justice had been taking advantage of his exhaustion after far too many late nights to express his opinions a little more... directly. Anders felt a disquietening uneasiness as he stared at the words written in his own hand that he knew had never come from his own mind.
He stared over at the candle; there was a good two hours' worth of wax burned out that he didn't remember. He blinked. That was one hell of a memory gap. It must be well af
Unschooled Hands 1Unschooled Hands 14 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Hawke stared around the large cavern with a pleased expression as he wiped the blood from his blade. He glanced around at the rest of his companions as they moved around the cavern. Merrill was turning over bodies with Isabela, the pair of them crowing as they looted various "shinies"; Fenris stood to one side, glowering with distaste as he watched them. He was lounging near the passageway Anders had darted down a few minutes ago, claiming he'd "felt" something. He probably ought to go check everything was alright with the mage.
"Hawke! Come and take a look at this!" called Varric. Hawke glanced over at the dwarf, who was staring intently into a small chest. As Hawke wavered, Varric added, "This looks kinda important, wouldn't you say? Not to mention expensive."
Curiosity piqued, Hawke crossed the cavern towards Varric even as Isabela straightened, the pirate's ears practically pricking up at the word "expensive". "Fenris, go check on Anders," Hawke called back over his shoulder
Consequences 1Consequences 14 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Hawke barely flinched as the empty bottle smashed against the wall.
"If the abomination is going then I'm staying!"
"I said no, and that is my final word!" The elf glared at the warrior, his green eyes flashing with fury as he spat out his denial before turning upon his heel. "Get out," he growled.
Hawke regarded the taut set of the elf's shoulders thoughtfully before stepping closer.
"It's slavers," he said quietly, his breath ghosting over the delicately curving shell of the elf's ear. Fenris closed his eyes briefly, hands clenching into fists.
"Don't ask me to go with you whilst he is by your side," he said quietly.
Hawke sighed. "I thought you and he after what-"
"You thought wrong," Fenris snapped as he strode away towards the empty, cold fireplace. Hawke sighed and ran a hand through his black hair, shaking his head. "He's our healer, Fenris; we need him. You know that."
Fenris turned, resting a hand on the marble mantelpiece. "
Consequences 5Consequences 54 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The storm had broken shortly before they reached the city. Hawke, Varric and Isabela had gone straight in search of Aveline; Hawke had wanted to drag Anders with them, but uncharacteristically Merrill had put her foot down and insisted Hawke leave the mage be, insisting on walking back with him to his Darktown clinic.
"We'll talk later," Hawke said quietly to Anders as they prepared to go their separate ways. Anders groaned inwardly but nodded. Their parting kiss was brief and almost perfunctory, their minds on other things Hawke's on how he would persuade Aveline to take news of the templars' corruption seriously, Anders' on the plight of the unfortunates doubtlessly waiting for him at his clinic.
"I don't need an escort, Merrill," he remarked as they made their way through Lowtown.
"Of course you don't," she agreed. "I just thought you might like the company. And someone to talk to. If you wanted to, that is."
"There's nothing to talk about," replied Anders tersely.
Consequences 2Consequences 24 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The bed was soft.
He could tell by the feel and smell of the bed linen that he was in Hawke's mansion at the Amell estate. He had no idea how long he'd been out for; he assumed the others must have brought him here after he fainted. He was in no hurry to open his eyes; he'd been utterly exhausted, and was in no hurry to exert himself just yet. He wondered who'd undressed him; Isabela, he would guess. Merrill would be too shy, he didn't think Varric would have stripped him naked like this, and Fenris-
Fenris. He mused silently on the elf. Something odd there. In fact, there'd been something odd there since that last expedition they'd been on together. A lot of his memories during that time were still hazy not surprising, considering the state he'd been in but he was sure he hadn't imagined Fenris practically snarling at Hawke when the warrior had tried to well, he supposed Hawke was going to try and shake some sense into him, though it had been hard to tell, what wi
Consequences 16Consequences 164 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Hawke blocked the incoming blow aimed at Anders' unprotected back as, unthinking, he sprinted past the rock wraith, throwing himself down onto his knees beside the fallen elf.
"Fenris! Can you hear me?" he cried, fingers already searching for a small vial of lyrium in his belt pouch. The elf groaned and tried to rise, falling back onto his side with a wince as he clutched at the bloody mess visible beneath the shredded leather that was all that remained of his left pauldron. He glanced at the gory wreckage that was his shoulder, the lyrium lines flaring and stuttering, the smooth whorls and curls disrupted by rent muscle and flesh torn asunder. The white gleam of bone was visible, streaked with blood, and Fenris paled slightly in spite of himself. "Not good," he murmured.
Anders knocked back the lyrium with a bitter grimace then reached for the wound, summoning power into his hands before pouring it into the injured elf's body.
Something shattered with a loud crack just behind Anders'
Consequences 15Consequences 154 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Anders was uncharacteristically quiet afterwards. Fenris had slipped gently out of the mage once their hearts had stopped racing and his breath had slowed from ragged pants. He reached for the ragged remains of Anders' shirt and wiped them both down carefully. Anders had lain back, head resting in the crook of the elf's arm, merely watching as he lay still, enervated and silent.
After a while, Fenris touched two fingers to Anders' chin, tilting his head up and around to face him.
"What are you thinking?" he asked quietly, his voice a soft rumble. Anders shook his head, gaze distant. "Do you regret this? Us?"
"No," he said quietly. "I just...." He shrugged, a hand stealing up to brush an errant lock of hair out of his eyes before absently brushing the stubble at the corner of his mouth with a thumb.
"Did I hurt you?" asked Fenris, concerned. Anders glanced up at him and gave a brief, reassuring smile.
"No, you were... gentle with me. I needed that. I needed...." Abruptly he turned his f
Consequences 4Consequences 44 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Hawke glared at Fenris, who raised an eyebrow coolly.
Still pinned by the elf's hands, Anders slowly opened his eyes as the silence stretched for minutes; confused, he followed Fenris' gaze to the figure of Hawke who glowered from the doorway.
"Hawke," he breathed.
"Unhand him, Fenris." Hawke's voice was cold and commanding.
Fenris turned his gaze back to Anders. He slipped his hand gently out of the silky blond hair and cupped Anders' cheek tenderly, rubbing a lyrium-marked thumb over the mage's lips. His brands briefly flared into silvery light and Anders closed his eyes and moaned softly as he felt the searing touch spark a responding flare of magic within him, every vein aflame with its quicksilver kiss, a wave of dizziness flowing through him before the light and the feeling faded. Fenris released his hands and his arms fell limply to his sides as he slid down the wall with a groan. He was only vaguely aware of the elf's departing footsteps; he was oblivious to the parting glares
Consequences 9Consequences 94 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Fenris strode back into the room, heading straight for the battered chairs near the fireplace, noting that Hawke had lit several candles around the room whilst he was gone. Fenris was carrying two bottles by the necks in each hand, with a couple more tucked into the crook of each arm for good measure. He paused by one of the chairs then started an odd balancing act as he transferred the bottles to the low table, attempting not to drop any.
Hawke rose from where he'd stretched himself beside Anders on the bed; all that could be seen of the mage was a tousled mop of blond hair sticking out above the edge of the grey blanket. Faint snores could be heard, muffled by the wool.
"Sure you've got enough there?" asked Hawke, eyeing the bottles as he strode over to the fireplace. "Or were you expecting company?"
"I dislike making repeat trips," answered the elf, leaning against the mantelpiece as he took a glance at the label on the front of the bottle.
"A decent vintage?" asked Hawke.
Consequences 11Consequences 114 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Anders slept soundly as Fenris finished bandaging his lacerated feet. It seemed the mage was determined to give him much practice at treating his wounds. He wound up the left-over bandages and carefully stored them away again for later use. He paused as his hands brushed something a small pillow made of soft white linen, carefully embroidered with small neat stitches in fading silks in a pattern of flowers he didn't recognise; they were like nothing he had ever seen in the Imperium. He pulled it from the pack and turned it over in his hands; it seemed a somehow incongruous object to find in the mage's backpack. He turned it back over, and plucked a single golden hair from it.
He bent his head and cautiously sniffed it. It smelled of the mage himself herbs and musk, a faint tang of lyrium, and something else. Something that reminded him of fresh, new-mown hay on a summer's day.
He glanced over at the sleeping mage, and leaning over him he carefully slid a hand beneath the
Unschooled Hands 2Unschooled Hands 24 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Hawke slowly wiped the ichor from his blade and frowned.
"Everyone all right?" he called out, casting his eyes over the rest of the party. Merrill was leaning over Isabela who had a nasty looking gash that ran down the back of her arm from the shoulder then spiralled around to her forearm and ended at her wrist just above the base of her thumb. Hawke winced inwardly at the sight; it was something that Anders could tackle and never even leave a scar, but he was less confident of Merrill's capabilities with healing magic. Varric was rooting around in his backpack for a healing potion and some bandages.
They had been caught unawares; one moment they'd been busy dividing up the loot, setting a few interesting trinkets to one side for Anders, and sharing out the gold with Hawke pouching up Anders' and Fenris' shares. Then suddenly without warning darkspawn had started erupting into the large cavern; there'd been too many to see which of the several smaller passageways they'd emerged from. T
Unschooled Hands 8Unschooled Hands 84 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Even before the silent glow of the false dawn had begun to give way to the first rosy hues of sunrise, Hawke was already up out of his bedroll and strapping himself into his armour. Merrill was still rubbing her eyes blearily as she poked the dull embers of the fire back into life and added a few twigs; Isabela was still snoring faintly beneath her blanket.
Varric stomped up the slight incline from the nearby river with the kettle full of water. Merrill nodded thanks as she hung it on the small iron tripod then continued feeding fresh wood to the fire.
"We don't have time for that," growled Hawke as he wrestled with a strap on his breastplate.
"Now, kiddo, we can spare long enough for a drink to wake us up properly," chided Varric. "You know what the Rivaini's like in the mornings."
"She's bad enough after her morning brew,"observed Merrill. "I wouldn't like to be the one waking her without it."
"Wake me without what?" groused Isabela, rolling over and pushing back her blanket. Merrill
Consequences 8Consequences 84 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"Anders, I know you've been through a lot, but all joking aside I do need you to come with me and give a statement," said Aveline, taking a step towards the silent mage.
"What? Aveline, are you out of your mind? Look at him Blondie's in no condition to be going anywhere right now!" replied Varric incredulously.
"The only place he's going is back to my estate!" chimed in Hawke angrily.
"The mage isn't going anywhere," growled Fenris, turning away from the window.
Anders closed his eyes and clutched the grey blanket tighter about himself as voices rose in argument once more. He pressed himself against the glass, eyes tight shut as the cacophony rose around him. He was distantly aware of the sounds of running feet outside in the square and the incongruently innocent sounds of birds settling in for the night.
Even inside his head there was no peace. Justice ranted in the back of his mind as images replayed over and over; the girl's eyes fading in death as she stared up at Fen
Unschooled Hands 5Unschooled Hands 54 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Something heavy was pinning him down. He tried to roll over, but the weight upon his legs held him firmly. He ached all over from myriad bruises, and his right arm and side of his face stung as though scorched. He opened his eyes slowly, blinking in the darkness. His eyelashes were caked with dust. He lifted a hand and tugged his gauntlet off with his teeth then wiped his eyes. He concentrated a little, and his lyrium markings slowly flared into life, bathing the area with their soft silvery white glow. He glanced around.
Anders was sprawled beneath him, unconscious. Blood was matting his blond hair and had trickled down the side of his face, and fresh blood was staining his bandages. Fenris pressed two fingers against the side of Anders' throat and relaxed a little when he felt the pulse, steady and slow. At least he wasn't dead. Fenris rested back upon his elbow and considered their situation.
As the ball of flame had exploded in the tunnel, the back-blast had washed back towards the
Unschooled Hands 3Unschooled Hands 34 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Fenris shifted his grip upon the mage, who hissed softly in pain.
"I cannot fight with you in my arms," the elf said quietly, flicking his eyes up the path ahead then back the way they had come, straining his ears for sounds of pursuit.
"I know," replied Anders testily. "And I'm useless in a fight without my magic."
"Can you stand?"
"I can try," replied the apostate. "Give me my staff."
The elf carefully set the mage down, but kept a supporting arm around his waist as Anders swayed slightly, paling. Fenris shrugged the pack off his shoulder so Anders could retrieve his staff. He leaned heavily upon it, gritting his teeth. He glanced down at the elf's supporting hand.
"Why Fenris, I didn't know you cared," he smirked. The elf whipped his hand away as though the mage's flank had suddenly become red-hot.
"Don't flatter yourself, mage," he hissed, drawing his blade before swinging the pack back up onto his shoulder. He took a step towards the passageway out, then glanced back at the aposta
Consequences: EpilogueConsequences: Epilogue4 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Hawke stared down at Anders' back. The apostate sat in silent misery, his head bowed. Bodies lay scattered around them, and the rest of the companions stood off to one side but there was silence around Anders. He was very slightly rocking, his eyes staring sightlessly.
Hawke stared down at him, trying to fathom how they had all come to that point. He glanced over to Fenris, whose eyes held the same confusion and bewilderment. Neither of them had ever guessed what Anders had planned. Three years together, and yet they could never have dreamed he would do something this desperate.
Fenris stared at the mage, who seemed oblivious to all around him. He had seen men look like this before; it was all too familiar to one who had been a slave. Anders had given up living and resigned himself to death; he was merely marking time until then. He closed his eyes briefly against a stab of pain. Anders wanted to die. He flexed a hand uselessly, feeling the lyrium flow beneath his skin.
Consequences 3Consequences 34 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Anders could only stare at Fenris, stunned into silence. Fenris regarded him expectantly. As long moments passed and still the mage remained silent, the elf's face fell and a look of uncertainty crept over his eyes.
"You are silent," he observed quietly. Anders' mouth worked wordlessly as he grasped for anything to say.
"Why me?" he finally managed. "Is this some kind of joke? Did Varric put you up to this or- no, I bet it was Isabela, wasn't it?"
The elf frowned. "This is no joke," he said, a hint of irritation creeping into his voice.
"I'll bloody kill her," muttered Anders, pushing at the elf as he tried to sit up. With a growl, the elf grasped Anders' wrists in a vice-like grip and slammed him back down upon the bed with his hands pinned above his head; the mage yelped in surprise and stared up at the elf as Fenris crouched over him.
"Why must you make this so difficult?" he growled. Anders' brown eyes widened.
"Y-you mean you're serious?" he stammered.
"Why do you find it so hard
Consequences 10Consequences 104 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
There was a stunned silence, broken only by an incoherent sound of denial from Hawke as he took a step towards Anders.
"Don't say that! Don't hurt yourself like that!" he pleaded.
"You are not a whore," said Fenris quietly.
Anders stared at the ashes, his body faintly trembling. "Yes I am," he said flatly. "Whore. Abomination. Thing," he spat over his shoulder at Hawke, who flinched. Anders' face contorted into an expression of grief. "Did you think I didn't know? That I couldn't hear?"
"Love, I didn't mean-"
"It doesn't matter what you meant," replied Anders, shaking his head and turning away. "Nothing matters anymore. Whether you meant it or not, it was in your thoughts, in your mind. It's what I am, after all. An abomination. A monster." He laughed bitterly. "Oh Maker, I am the biggest fool of all."
"No, you are not," replied Fenris quietly, taking a step towards him. Anders turned his head and glared at him.
"You've seen what I am," he said quietly. "You've see
Consequences 12Consequences 124 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Waking was painful.
He drifted slowly towards consciousness, aware of his guts twisting queasily whilst his head pounded in time with the beat of his heart. Even beneath the soft grey blanket, the sunlight streaming in through the windows was unbearably bright. He hesitantly opened one eye and instantly regretted it as pain stabbed like a blazing white-hot sword right through his eye and through his head. He clutched his head and moaned piteously.
"So the mage finally wakes." The voice echoed over-loud in his sensitive head, ringing in his ears. He thought he detected a note of amusement in the elf's husky voice.
"Oh Maker, I'm dying," he groaned.
The elf chuckled, the bastard. "So much for the fabled Grey Warden stamina," Fenris teased. "You had one bottle of wine, Anders."
"Poisoned," murmured Anders feebly. "I warned you about strange blue bottles, elf."
"It was spiced Orlesian red, mage," replied the elf affably. "You said so yourself."
"Did I?" mused Anders, risking a second peek
Unschooled Hands 4Unschooled Hands 44 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"Watch your step," remarked the elf neutrally. The mage didn't answer; Fenris withstood the temptation to glance back over his shoulder. He had no doubt that Anders' eyes were glaring balefully at his armoured back. If looks could kill... A small smirk caused the corners of his lips to quirk upwards. At least whilst the mage was engaged in fierce hatred of the elf, his mind was no longer wholly upon his wound or the pursuing darkspawn. And it had a handy side effect of shutting him up.
As the tunnel descended lower, it began to narrow and the ceiling grew lower. The passageway was lit only by some strange moss that grew at the base of the stone walls and occasionally in patches stretching up across the walls themselves; it cast everything in a sickly green glow. Fenris glanced back as Anders' footsteps behind him faltered; the mage's face looked ghastly in the eerie half-light, like one moving through a nightmare.
Fenris opened his mouth to speak, but Anders held up a hand t
Unschooled Hands 7Unschooled Hands 74 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The first seizure struck at some point in the early hours of the morning.
Fenris had been forced to concede defeat and acknowledge his own weariness and fatigue; backtracking a little, he'd investigated a small side passage that had led into a small cave little more than a pocket in the rock really, just large enough for the two men to stretch out in overly-intimate proximity. He'd pulled out a blanket from the backpack a soft, worn, grey thing, with a small griffon woven into one corner; a memento from the mage's time in the Grey Wardens, no doubt and setting the backpack behind his shoulders as a pillow, he'd settled the unconscious mage against his side, Anders' head resting over the elf's heart and with the blanket drawn up over them both. He kept his sword by his side in case anything should come upon them in the darkness, but all seemed quiet. Despite his weariness, sleep seemed slow in coming, and Fenris was uncertain how long he had lain there, staring into
Unschooled Hands 10Unschooled Hands 104 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Varric and Isabela had gone back up the hill with a coil of rope to find the shaft where Fenris had left the backpack; when they came back with Anders' backpack, they both eyed Fenris with new respect.
"That hole had to be at least thirty feet by my reckoning," Varric was exclaiming.
"No, I make it thirty-five by the rope I paid out," Isabela disagreed.
"The elf's taller than me," dismissed Varric.
"Not by a whole five feet he isn't!" protested the Rivaini.
"Be silent or you'll wake the mage," growled Fenris from across the fire. Anders was curled up in his blanket, sleeping the rest of the utterly exhausted. Fenris sat by one side of him, one protective hand resting lightly upon the sleeping mage's shoulder, whilst Hawke sat upon the other, glowering at him.
"If the wind changes you'll be stuck like that," observed Merrill as she handed a bowl of stew to him.
"What?" exclaimed Hawke, nonplussed as she handed another bowl to Fenris.
"Your face," she said, gesturing. "It's something my
Unschooled Hands 9Unschooled Hands 94 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
He wasn't sure how long he lay there on the grass beneath the shady oak tree, Anders still tied to his back, but eventually he stirred and began to fumble with the knots. His hands were clumsy, nails torn and fingers bleeding, but he patiently persisted until finally he had worked the knots loose and the mage rolled over onto his back, free of the elf.
Fenris sat up and took stock of the situation. They had escaped the maze of narrow tunnels but now he was uncertain as to where they were in relation to the main cavern where they had left the rest of the party. He guessed they were perhaps some way west of the cave entrance, but he wasn't sure just how far.
He turned his attention to Anders, ignoring his own discomforts. The mage had not stirred once, and up here in the daylight he looked ghastly. His face was grey and drawn, dark purplish shadows beneath the sunken eyes, the skin waxy. Stains of blood still clung to his hair, and a small thin rivulet of fresh blood was trickling slowly
Consequences 7Consequences 74 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The sun was setting as there came a pounding at the door. Hawke burst into the foyer of the ruined house, yelling for Fenris, the others following at his heels.
"Up here, Hawke," Fenris called, not taking his eyes from Anders' face. The mage was sleeping peacefully; Fenris had sat unmoving by his side, holding the mage's hand and watching him as he slept, stirring only when Lirene had returned with the healer. He had moved aside for the mage to tend to Anders, then returned to his silent vigil once they were alone again.
Hawke took the stairs two at a time and flung himself into the room, pausing only for a moment as his eyes adjusted to the dim dying light from the dusty windows.
"Is he..." he breathed, unable to finish.
"Merely sleeping," replied Fenris, not looking round. Hawke crossed the room in hasty strides and sank down upon the bed on the opposite side to the elf, reaching for Anders' other hand. "Lirene's message said he was safe," he said quietly. "What happened?"
Unschooled Hands 6Unschooled Hands 64 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Hawke stared down at his hands. The blade had passed the point of clean hours ago, but still he mechanically buffed the polished steel which glinted in the light of the fire. From time to time he glanced up at the cave mouth, eyes narrowing beneath the fierce frown that had not left his face since they had emerged from the cave without the mage and the elf. Not for the first time, he berated himself for having sent Fenris.
He had been aware of the others regarding him quizzically as the afternoon had given way to evening, but as they'd set camp he had remained seated on the treestump, polishing his sword and watching the cave mouth, silent and brooding. Merrill had brought him a bowl of broth which sat on the ground near his feet, untouched and long since cooled.
"You're not fooling anyone, kiddo," remarked Varric quietly as he came to stand next to Hawke.
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Varric," replied Hawke coolly, his eyes on his sword as his hands continued to polish no