literature

DA2-Abandon C09

Deviation Actions

CelticWolfwalker's avatar
Published:
11 Comments
993 Views

Literature Text

Title: Abandon
Chapter Nine
Author: CelticWolfwalker
Game: Dragon Age II
Pairing: F!Hawke/Cullen


They made it to the Gallows finally, only to walk into absolute chaos. Mages killing templars, throwing their armored bodies around like rag dolls, and templars running through mages as they silence their spell casting. Meredith was yelling at Orsino as the First Enchanter directed his mages to fight their jailors. He slowly retreated up the Gallows steps as a couple of templars went after him reluctantly.

When Orsino reached the top of the steps, the templars rushed him and met their quick demise. Orsino blasted one with a cone of cold, freezing them and used his staff to shatter the templars body. Swinging around, he blasted the second templar, making the armored knight launch into the air and go crunching to a dead halt in front of Marian.

"Orsino!" Marian yelled, lowering her own staff to protect herself.

"Stay back, Hawke! I don't want to fight you!"

Meredith walked up behind Marian and her friends, calling out angrily to the First Enchanter. "And here you are!"

"Let us speak, Meredith! Before this battle destroys the city you claim to protect!" Orsino raised his staff in a non-threatening manner. He walked back down the stairs towards Meredith and Marian.

"I will entertain surrender, nothing more." Meredith scoffed at Orsino's last attempt to be civil, walking with a cocky stride toward the First Enchanter.

Marian tried not to flinch as Orsino stopped at her right side, with mages lining behind him, and Meredith at her left. It left her in the middle, exactly where she didn't want to be. Cullen had his templars lined up behind Meredith, standing at the ready should all hell break loose. Carver took a step closer to his sister, offering his meager protection between two powerful forces.

"Speak if you have something to say." Meredith crossed her arms, barely keeping the sneer of disdain from her face.

Orsino calmed down and spoke civilly. "Revoke the Right of Annulment, Meredith, before this goes to far. Imprison us if you must. Search the tower. I will even help you. But do not kill us all for an act we did not commit!"

Meredith sniffed, "The grand cleric is dead, killed by a mage. The people will demand retribution and I will give it to them. Your offer is commendable, Orsino, but it comes too late."

Marian rolled her eyes and sighed at the two obstinate leaders. "And here I was kind of hoping for a happy ending." She heard Cullen groan, matched in sentiment by her brother.

"It seems unlikely." Meredith said.

"So," Orsino looked at the knight-commander, widening his stance in preparation for confrontation. "what is it to be, Meredith? Do we fight here?"

Meredith dipped her head and looked back at Orsino. "Go, prepare your people. The rest of the Order is already crossing the harbor."

"This isn't over!" Orsino growled menacingly. He turned away and headed into the Gallows, his mages following behind him with nervous and wary looks.

"Champion, if you need time to talk to your companions, do so. We end this soon."

Marian looked to Cullen longingly, knowing that she wouldn't be able to talk with him as he had to prepare the men and women under his command. He gave a nod in reassurance before turning away. She turned to the rag tag group of friends and sighed. "Well, here we are."

"Did you really have to go antagonize Meredith and Orsino by that comment?" Carver complained.

"A little levity can help in this dreadful time." Marian shrugged. "It was either that, or really scold them like mother used to do to us."

"Oh, Maker forbid, not that!" Carver rolled his eyes and surprised everyone by laughing. They never heard Carver freely laugh with his sister.

"You are getting mellow with your age, Junior." Varric commented.

"Hey, can I not fight with Marian once in a while?" Carver smiled warmly at his sister. "She's not so bad. Maybe when this is all done, she can convince the knight-captain to give me a promotion."

Marian's smile was fragile when Carver quipped about her relationship with Cullen. He didn't know and now wasn't the time to tell her brother that Cullen chose duty over her. "Sure, I will use all my phenomenal powers of persuasion to get you promoted to knight-commander!"

"Oh, no, I don't want that job!" Carver waved his hands in front of him, a little bit of panic in his face. The rest of the group laughed, easing the tension of the upcoming fight. A throat clearing brought their attention to a new arrival. Carver's face registered surprise and he immediately saluted the person standing behind Marian. "Knight-captain!"

She turned around and nearly bumped into Cullen. "What are you doing here?" Marian's voice squeaked.

"I came here for a couple of reasons. To speak with you and to talk to Carver about leading a small contingent of templars with your group."

"Me? Lead a contingent of templars?" Carver was shocked.

"Yes, you have proven yourself in the drills and have a good command sense. It is time to put you in a role of leadership. However, you still need to stick with Marian and her friends as they will head into the Gallows first."

"What?" Marian said in surprise. "When was I going to know this?"

"Um, just now?" Cullen's mouth quirked up at the corners in a half-smile. "These are my orders, Marian. You need to minimize damage in the Circle, if possible. The templars I'm sending with Carver are my most trusted knights."

"What is going on, Cullen?" Marian asked gently.

He shook his head, requesting that Marian not ask any more questions. He looked around the courtyard to see if Meredith was paying attention to him or Marian. When he spotted that the knight-commander was deep in conversation with Ser Kerras, Cullen grabbed Marian's arm and gently pulled her away from the group and to one end of the side passages that house merchant stalls. When out of sight of the others, Cullen pressed Marian against one of the wide pillars and took her mouth with his, kissing deeply and hard. Marian's heart thumped hard against her chest at the unexpected kiss and answered the man's need with her own. After a minute, they softened and dragged out the kiss before separating.

"I had to…" Cullen said hoarsely.

Marian put her fingers to his lips to stop him from saying anything else. "We will get through this." She told him adamantly. "You are taking a risk here, Cullen, just to…" Marian was quieted as Cullen's mouth once again sought hers.

When he pulled back, his fingers brushed Marian's hair from her eyes and caressed across her cheek. "I know I am taking a risk. You can't be sure that we will make it through this night alive. I would rather kiss you, smell you, drink you in now than not at all. Maker's Breath, Marian, I've missed you. I've been a fool!"

"Now is not the time for recriminations, knight-captain." Marian ran her fingers over Cullen's rugged features, enjoying the small stolen pleasure of having him close.

"Hey, lovebirds," Varric's voice called out softly, "time to get the show on the road. Carver's men have arrived."

"Give us a minute, Varric." Marian called back, never taking her eyes off her knight.

"Marian, listen quickly. Meredith…something is wrong with her. Her reasoning has become erratic and while you may be helping her, do not doubt for one second that she will not order your execution! You may not be of the Circle but you are a mage and that is all the reason she needs! The men I am sending with Carver are Thrask's converts. They answer to me, not Meredith. I can't go with you, or I would sure as the Void, be at your side protecting you." Cullen told Marian vehemently.

"Come on, you two!" Varric said with urgency.

Without another word, Cullen brushed his fingertips across Marian's lips, leaving before her and back to the main group of templars. She stood by and watched the man she gave her heart to, prepare for the annihilation of Kirkwall's Circle. Varric looked up at her with concern and patted her hand.

"Are you ready?" Varric asked his friend.

"As ready as I ever will be." Marian replied, squaring her shoulders back. Cullen's warning about Meredith's eventual duplicity sank into her. In a way, she was expecting it and already was preparing mentally for the eventual showdown with the knight-commander.

Carver sidled up to his sister, the mantle of leadership settling on his shoulders. "We are here for you, Champion."

Marian snorted at the formality coming from her sibling. "I'm still your sister, brat."

He smiled sheepishly at her. "Mother would be glad to see us like this again. It has been too long."

"That it has." Marian took Carver's hand in hers and squeezed it like she used to when they were younger. He returned with his customary double squeeze. "Gather your men, Carver. It's time to meet destiny."

-}[]{-

The shock of the news about Quentin sent a shard of ice through Marian. "You knew about Quentin?" Her voice was as cold as the core in her. "You knew and let that bastard kill my mother?"

"I didn't expect Quentin to go that far. It was unfortunate about your mother." Orsino tried to explain.

"You are as bad as the rest of them!" Marian raised her voice. "Get backed into a corner and you resort to desperate magic! But before all this, you approved of forbidden magic that has been banned through ALL of Thedas!"

"It had its purpose!" Orsino's voice hardened.

"That magic doesn't have a purpose but to hurt people!" Carver ground out between his teeth. "Enough of this, sister, he pays for what he has allowed to happen! Because of him, our mother is dead!"

"For once, brother, I am in agreement with you." Marian's voice hardened.

"It is good that you see the truth of it, Champion." Meredith all but crowed with glee.

"I will not go quietly!" Orsino roared and called upon the blood of the fallen mages that he had killed. The First Enchanter changed before their eyes as he grew larger and misshapen, taking in the bodies into his own abomination. The dead now served the mage and all of it sickened Marian. Swallowing the bile that rose in her throat, Marian planted her staff in the ground and called on her force magic.

Father had told her at one time that she was destined for greatness and her magic was fast outstripping his. With her affinity for pulling the natural kinetic energy around her, Marian learned to harness the difficult magic. With greater control, came greater power. What added to it was her belief in justice and doing right. Tonight, her own beliefs and faith was tested but as Marian opened herself to draw more energy, she felt her body sing in connection to the Fade. A spirit watched her; she felt it give her a gentle push. Love for her friends and family, Kirkwall, the templar that captured her heart, gave Marian strength to fight the abomination that used to be Orsino.

That's it, dearie. Love is strength. The Fade spirit whispered to Marian and faded beyond her reach. It wasn't a demon, Marian could tell. The spirit shone with warmth and demanded nothing. It gave Marian a nudge to use her full potential. With a yell, Marian released a shockwave toward Orsino, sending the monstrous thing staggering back and dazed. Not letting up, Marian called upon cold air, having it swirl around her in a maelstrom before releasing the ball of cold energy. With Orsino frozen and dazed, Marian ran toward him, the bladed end of her staff at the ready. She ran up his body and with all her strength and magical force, slammed the bladed end of the staff into Orsino.

The monstrosity shook and roared, refusing to believe it was dying. Marian pushed her staff further in and twisted, feeling the crunching of bones tremble up her arms. Don't get sick now, Hawke! Don't you dare! Marian gritted her teeth and swallowed hard.

With a final shudder, Orsino collapsed to the ground, throwing Marian off to land hard on her back. The wind got knocked out of her as she lay there gasping for air. Carver kneeled next to her, easing his sister into an upright position. Inhaling sharply, Marian caught her breath.

"You didn't have to skewer him, sister." Carver jibed at her.

"Oh, add a little fire and we could have had roast elf….err, whatever, on the menu." Marian didn't miss a step.

"You are an odd pair." Meredith walked up to Marian, looking at her and Carver in puzzlement. "It is over. I will go and make sure the rest of the keep is secure. Gather yourself, Champion and meet me in the courtyard."

The knight-commander strode out of the hall, leaving the siblings, their friends and the surviving templars. Overall, the templars only lost one of their number. One of them took his helm off to reveal the young man, Keran. Marian smiled at the familiar face. "Keran!"

"Hello, Hawke." He smiled shyly. "Meredith didn't need to know I was with Carver's group, lest she suspect something. We don't have much time but Cullen told you to expect betrayal?"

"He did." Marian nodded.

"Good. I better get this back on and follow you out. You have friends, Champion. It doesn't matter that you are a mage. You are the Champion, which is all that is needed to be said."

Marian stood up and dusted herself off and walked over to the gross form of the former first enchanter. Grabbing her staff, Marian pulled, scrunching her face at the squelching and sucking sound as the weapon left the body. "Ugh!"

"How can you still be squeamish what with all the monster slaying and killing you do?" Carver snorted.

"Because I can." Marian gave as the only explanation.

-}[]{-

Cullen walked around the devastation of the Gallows courtyard, assessing the damage and losses that happened tonight. He tried not to focus on his worry for Marian while with Meredith in the tower. With the recognition of both knight and mage lying dead at his feet, his heart grew heavy. Cullen raised his head as he heard the bold footsteps of the knight-commander. Meredith arrived ahead of the others, and this sent a shiver of fear through his body as Marian wasn't with her.

"Cullen!" Meredith snapped to her second-in-command. "The Champion will be arriving shortly. I want her arrested."

"Why?" Cullen was shocked, even if he expected Meredith to turn her back on the woman who helped her take care of a threat, the suddenness of Meredith's command threw him.

"Don't question me, serrah!" Meredith hissed. "You will do as you are commanded."

Then her demeanor abruptly changed as she took in the bodies of mage and templar being cleared from the courtyard. "Look at all this."

Cullen spotted Marian as she arrived with Carver, Aveline, and Varric, along with the templars he sent with Carver. He began to breathe a little easier but was still vigilant against Meredith. Meredith didn't pay any mind to their arrival until she had said her peace.

"Magic is a cancer in the heart of our land, just as it was in the time of Andraste. And like her," Meredith finally turned toward Marian. "we are left with no choice but to purify it with fire and blood." Cullen moved to stand a little closer to Marian, as Meredith turned back onto the carnage.

"Strange way to treat a sick patient." Marian responded but her eyes were flat, showing no mirth in them despite her sarcastic comment.

"Sometimes a limb must be amputated to save a life. Unpleasant but necessary. My surgery here is not yet done." Meredith's eyes took on a fanatical gleam, which Cullen didn't like. "I'm beginning to wonder just how large your part in all this actually was."

"Meredith…" Cullen softly warned the knight-commander to cease her line of supposition.

The knight-commander ignored him and continued. "A refugee to our city and an apostate, gathering power and influence without any accounting? How can I trust that the mighty Champion of Kirkwall is not a worse threat to this city than the Circle?" Her voice rose at the end, eyes blazing with a fevered paranoia and distrust.

"And you have done nothing but grasped at power, finding excuses to jump at shadows in order to help Kirkwall?" Marian fired back.

Cullen groaned at the snide accusatory tone in Marian's voice. Either way, this wasn't going to end without one or the other dead. He made sure to position himself between the two women as they traded thinly veiled threats.

Meredith put on a face of mock sympathy. "The people of Kirkwall will mourn your loss, but I will tell them you died battling the mages. A righteous cause, don't you think?"

Cullen stepped forward at that point, the truth of Meredith's madness now fully known. He steeled himself as he faced the intimidating commander. "Knight-Commander, I thought we intended to arrest the Champion?"

She turned to Cullen, her eyes narrowing at him. "You will do as I command, Cullen." Meredith stated flatly.

"No!" He shook his head in refusal. Anger flared in him, lending harshness to his voice. "I defended you when Thrask started whispering you were mad. But this…this is going too far!"

"I will not allow insubordination! We must stay true to our path!" Meredith's voice rose as she reached behind her and pulled out her blade. The blade started to glow an evil red and give a deep thrumming noise, reacting to Meredith's anger.

Marian gasped and Varric shook his head in disbelief. The mage was about to step forward but Cullen gave a look to her to stay back. He had heard Marian's story about Varric's brother finding a pure lyrium idol in the Deep Roads. It had eventually led to Bartrand's demise. And now, Cullen connected Meredith's madness to the lyrium forged blade she had purchased a short three years prior.

"You recognize it, do you not? Pure lyrium, taken from the Deep Roads. The dwarf charged a great deal for this prize."

"It wound up poisoning his mind in the end." Marian said.

"He was weak, whereas I am not!" Meredith swung the glowing blade around and pointed it at Marian. "All of you, I want her dead!"

Cullen stepped in front of Marian, the point of the blade coming dangerously close to his breast. "Enough, Meredith! This is not what the Order stands for! Knight-Commander, step down! I hereby relieve you of your command!" His voice took on authority as Cullen faced down the mad knight-commander.

"I will not partake in the killing of my own sister, templar vows or no!" Carver cried out, as he stepped forward to stand next to Cullen.

Meredith blinked and then narrowed her eyes at the templars in front of her, guarding Marian from her own blade. "My own knight-captain falls prey to the influence of blood magic." She said quietly, madness making Meredith's eyes bright. "You all have! You're all weak, allowing mages to control your minds and turn you against me!"

"Stand down!" Cullen roared at the knight-commander.

Meredith swung around in a circle, eyeing all the templars that stood there, refusing her orders. The low hum and glow from the blade throwing them off. Marian pushed through the two templars, her face hard set as she stood there, waiting for Meredith to confront her.

"I don't need any of you! I will protect the city myself!" Meredith all but yelled.

Before Marian could intercede, Meredith started praying fervently to the Maker, the sword blazing brightly from the raw lyrium folded into it, and slammed the sword into the ground, sending a shockwave outwards. Marian stumbled back into Cullen, his hands coming up to steady her.

Shaking her head, Marian straightened and swung her staff around. "All right, no more nice Champion." She growled and started gathering magical energy to her. Cullen released his sword from its sheath and brought his shield around, standing beside Marian. He spared a quick glance and gave a nod to Marian. Cullen hunkered behind his shield and moved to cover Marian while she released her force magic.

Carver yelled and charged in with a sweeping blow to the Knight-Commander. Meredith blocked the young man's charge easily, sending him stumbling back. Her focus was on the Champion and Cullen.

Meredith charged the couple, but Marian released a spell to slow the other woman down before the full force of the charge struck Cullen. Other templars surrounded their former commander, closing ranks and hoping to trap the woman. Meredith's however, set her eyes solely on Cullen and Marian, pressing them back with her advances. Cullen met each swing of the knight-commander's blade, gritting his teeth against the force of the blows. His only concern was to protect Marian, at all cost.

Then Meredith moved so fast that Cullen lost sight of her and then he heard her voice boom throughout the courtyard. An explosion of light from the sword flashed around the courtyard and struck the bronze statues lining the walls.

"She's bringing the statues to life!" Marian panted.

"Let the other's handle that. We have to take out Meredith." Cullen growled out to Marian. "How are you faring?"

"I'm holding on, knight-captain." She grinned at him.

Her smile was all the encouragement Cullen needed to press forward and end this conflict.

-}[]{-

Marian covered her eyes as the power of the dark lyrium flooded the courtyard, mixed with Meredith's scream as it overtook the knight-commander. When her sight came back, Marian looked over to the smoking form that was once the commander of the templars in Kirkwall. Wisps of lyrium licked around the desiccated figure. One of the templars rushed forward to kneel before the remains, reaching out but snatching their hand back in fear. The templar took its helm and revealed a young woman. Her eyes were full of fear as she looked at Meredith.

The mage turned to look at Cullen, who had an indescribable look in his eyes. His mouth opened as if to say something but snapped shut. He dropped to his knee and raised his sword up in front of him, the blade touching his head in homage and respect to her. Carver followed suit, along with Keran and the rest of the remaining templars in the courtyard. The cacophony of noise as a hundred armored men and women went to their knee struck Marian speechless.

"Well, you don't see this every day." Varric commented.

Shaking her head, Marian turned around at the sea of kneeling templars and then gasped as Aveline and her guard had done the same thing. "Aveline!" Marian cried.

Her friend looked up at Marian, awe and pride shining in her face. "You deserve our respect, Champion. I would even go far as to say, Viscountess of Kirkwall."

"What?"

Cullen stood up and came to Marian, pulling her towards him. "You have saved Kirkwall yet again, Marian. You have the respect of the templars, the respect of the guard, and even the people. The people of Kirkwall have wished you as viscountess for a long time but Meredith ignored them."

"But Cullen…what do I know about running a city?" Marian panicked.

His smile softened and he tore off his gauntlets in order to touch her face. "Do what you always do, my love. Rule with your heart and your sense of justice, as I have done."

Cullen brought her face to his and kissed her in front of all the templars and guard. Marian could hear her brother groan and mutter, embarrassed by the open display of affection between his commanding officer and sister. Isabella and Merrill giggled, while Varric and Fenris sighed.

Dropping her staff, Marian threw her arms around the templars neck and kissed him back, deepening the kiss until it left her dizzy with joy. She didn't care that they had an audience and they all knew about her love for Cullen. Kirkwall was safe once again and Marian was once again in her templar's arms.
Finally, the conclusion of the battle and the vanquishing of the evil Meredith. The epilogue is WIP atm. It will be a little wrap up to this series. It is hard to believe that it is over.

However, I do need to get back Bonny Prince and I Am Grey.
-------
<<Prev-[link] | Epilogue - WIP

CALLING ALL ARTISTS! Contest just starting based on the Abandon series. For more details, refer to the journal: [link]
© 2011 - 2021 CelticWolfwalker
Comments11
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
kitiaramajere's avatar
Good job making siding with the templars work. (I can never do it, sigh)
XD
CelticWolfwalker's avatar
lol I could. I like Anders and hate killing, as it just makes him a martyr but Cullen isn't a bad templar and actually can be reasoned with. Besides, my Hawke's always were the reluctant Champion. Pretty much played down the middle of the road.
Teru-is-True's avatar
8D Just...just yay. <3
CelticWolfwalker's avatar
The best is yet to come. :D
Teru-is-True's avatar
*squirms in anticipation*
Philliwolf5's avatar
YAY! Very nice work! Look forward to the epilogue!
illusionaryennui's avatar
There will be dancing in the streets - reunited and it feels so good...

*giggles* Enough puns for all I can now say is this: Well done.
CelticWolfwalker's avatar
Nothing wrong with puns. I know there are a couple used in the story.
illusionaryennui's avatar
I know... I just keep hearing the song in my head - there's a song for everything, it seems. Still, I can't help but love this story. *hugs* :glomp:
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In