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Inquisition: Song and Fire,She stood reading the note sent by Varric, wondering if she should tell her sister before she left. But there would probably be an argument about it. An insistence to go with her. And that just wasn't possible this time. Fenris caught her looking over, and met her eyes. “I have to go.”“I know,” he softly replied. “I'll keep her safe.”“I know you will.” She was out the door a moment later, leaving the letter on the table. It read:Dear Birdie,Look, I know this is probably a bad time, but this Inquisition could really use your help. And probably your sister as well. That Corypheus guy is back. Fire-Eyes told you about him, right? Well, he wants to rule the world, or destroy it, or both, and I can't let that happen. I've marked the included map to show where we are right now. Please hurry. I'm out of my depth here. We need the Champion of Kirkwall.Varric.* * *The storyteller stood watching the crowd trek across the bridge and into Skyhold, keen eyes trying to pick out his friend. The very short reply he'd received had indicated that Adia was arriving within the next day or so. But he saw no bows, and no tattooed Elves among this group. Just a whole bunch of staffs and families with children. Suddenly, two small shapes ran up to him, pulling their hoods down as they practically tackled him. “Uncle Varric!” the dark-haired of the boys shouted excitedly. The Dwarf was momentarily taken aback as he saw a tall form also break from the crowd, pulling his own hood back.“Wait, what are you two doing here?” Malcolm and Karl giggled like only children with a secret can, and glanced up at their father. He still wore his coat from Kirkwall, and his eyes still held both sadness and snark, but the beard was new. “Blondie?”“Shh, not so loud,” the healer gently admonished. “I'm Gunther, remember?”“But if you're here, then where's Birdie?”“Recovering from a difficult childbirth,” another voice explained. The woman it belonged to stepped over to them as the rest of the crowd passed into the fortress. “So sorry to disappoint, but you get me instead.” Her hood came down, and red eyes met Varric's and a shy smile graced her face.“Fire Eyes, while I'm glad to see you, are you sure about this?”“Adia wasn't there to see Corypheus; I was. And her daughter was only a day old when your letter arrived. There was no way I was even going to show it to her.”“Oh... Well, I guess I'll need to send congratulations to her and Fenris.”“Besides, part of this is our fault, regardless of what you wrote,” Anders continued. “We decided to try and help however we can.”“So the letter about being interrogated by the Seekers didn't give you pause? I sure would have rethought things.”“I'm hoping this Seeker Pentaghast will see reason and be more open to my help if I don't antagonize her,” Amber offered. Varric started chuckling. “What's so funny?”“Cassandra seeing reason. C'mon, I'll get you settled, and then introduce you to the Inquisitor.”* * *Amber felt very odd sneaking around the fortress, but Varric had insisted it was more for Anders' protection than her own. He seemed fearful of this Seeker, but spoke nothing but praise for the Inquisitor: Lady Melody Trevelyan, a mage. She'd been the sole survivor of the conclave explosion, been branded by some magick that marked her hand, and this let her do “freaky shit” as Varric called it. She'd also managed to free the rest of the mages of Thedas from a plot by Tevinter, and had somehow convinced some of the rogue Templars to join her as well. Now though, Corypheus had shown himself, and the village of Haven had suffered for it. That left the Inquisition to seek out their new home in Skyhold, an old Elven fortress. “And now you're here,” the Dwarf finished up.“Still very unsure of what I need to do, by the way.”“Well that's easy! We just need to figure out how to kill Corypheus.”“Varric, I thought he was dead, remember? I wouldn't have left that place if I thought otherwise.” He patted her hand, giving her a sympathetic look.“I know, Fire Eyes. But maybe you and the Inquisitor can brainstorm something. I mean, you're both mages, and she's been through a lot too.”“I'm surprised you haven't come up with a nickname for her yet.”“Well, not much can top “The Herald of Andraste”. Besides, using her title gets her used to it. She's a lot like you in that regard.”“What, a reluctant hero just trying to do what's right?”“Pretty much. Oh, here she comes!” Varric had insisted they'd meet on the top of the fortress “away from prying eyes”, but Amber was betting he just meant “away from the Seeker”. The woman who was coming towards them was dressed in a light green shirt that matched her eyes, and light-brown pants and vest that matched her hair. The staff she carried was simple wood wrapped around a stone at the top, and she seemed rather unremarkable until Amber's gaze drifted to her hand. There was a nimbus of light around it, glowing a vibrant, shimmering green. Steadying herself on the low wall, Amber tore her gaze from the mark. Varric put a comforting hand on her arm. “Sorry about that. I forget how sensitive you are to powerful magick.”“That is indeed very powerful magick,” she agreed, regaining her balance. Then Varric addressed the other woman. “Inquisitor, meet Hawke: Also known as the Champion of Kirkwall.” The wry smile on Amber's lips was unmistakable.“Though I don't use that title much anymore,” she countered. The Dwarf held up his hands and walked a little ways away. “I'm Amber Heidenreich, formally. Hawke was my maiden name.”“I'm Meldody Trevelyan, of the Ostwick Circle. And forgive me for saying this, but I thought the Champion of Kirkwall was a red-headed archer?”“She is. That's my twin sister Adia. Varric's official version left me out.”“But... Why?”“Because at the time that the Mage Rebellion started, I'd just had my sons. Varric was kind enough to take out any reference that might lead someone to them.”“Then why are you here now?”“Because you've come across an enemy I thought I'd killed, and want to help make sure he's permanently dead.”“Corypheus.” Melody's voice hitched a bit as she said the name.“Yes. So, I'm here to pledge my aid to the Inquisition as long as you'll have me.”“What can you tell me about this... Man?”“Well, he seems pretty sure that he was one of the magisters that corrupted the Golden City, for starters. The same ones that then became the first darkspawn.”“So those stories are true?!”“Possibly. At least if you believe what Corypheus does. He'd been locked away by the Wardens since the Ancient Age. Still thought Dumat was around when we first freed him.”“Well, now he wants to set himself up as a god. He claimed that the Maker's throne was empty.” Melody shivered as she remembered that conversation: Hoisted up by one arm, staring into the dark, evil eyes of a creature that wanted her dead for something she couldn't even remember. Amber placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.“You won't have to face him alone ever again. I promise.” Green eyes met red ones, and the women shared a smile.“Can I ask you some things? So I can learn about the real you?”“Sure. Ask me anything.”“You and your sister were both Champions? So whatever Varric wrote about happening to her, also happened to you?”“More or less. I wasn't present during the final battle with Meredith, though.”“Was she really as unhinged as the story says?”“Yes.” Now it was Amber's turn to shiver a bit. “She'd taken the red lyrium idol we'd found and had it made into a sword. It drove her even more mad, and eventually killed her.”“Did Anders really blow up the chantry?” Amber paused, biting her lip as she looked at the sky.“Yes. He was angry. So was Justice. They unleashed that anger into a last-ditch spell they'd come up with months before that. The explosion killed a lot of people, including Grand Cleric Elthina.”“Wait, are Justice and Anders different people?” Now the red-eyed mage smiled.“Very much so. How Varric writes them was how they were when we first met. But they are both very different. I'll introduce you to them.”“They're here?!” Melody couldn't keep the shock off her face. What would Cassandra do if she found out about this?“Yes, though Anders goes by “Gunther” now when we're in public. Justice does his best to not be seen by strangers. They protect our sons very fiercely.”“So your sons are... Theirs as well?”“Yes. I know it seems complicated, but we're just used to it.”“This whole thing seems complicated. How did you ever deal with all this?” Melody turned and rested her arms on the low wall, hanging her head for a moment. “I'm not a hero. I never wanted this.”“Neither did I.” Again, their eyes met. “All I wanted was to keep my family safe. Soon that meant our friends as well. Life just kept throwing things at us. If it wasn't for Adia, I don't think I would've made it as far.”“I have family helping me as well,” Melody revealed. “My older brothers came to help as soon as they heard what had happened. But I'm still the one everyone looks to; the one making the hard choices. And I don't know if they're the right ones.”“Do you try and weigh the outcomes as best you can?”“Of course I do! I'm not going to just pick something on a whim.”“Like allowing the mages to be allies of the Inquisition?”“That was thanks to Dorian asking me if the Inquisition was better than Tevinter. And I suppose, if it was better than the Circle they were running from. I hadn't really though about it, to be honest. My experience at the Ostwick Circle was a good one.” Amber's eyes narrowed at that statement.“A good one? They took you from your family!”“But I could visit,” the Inquisitor countered. “Or they could come visit me. I understand that Kirkwall was horrible, and Ferelden had so many problems, but... I couldn't relate.”“But you did, because you didn't let them be prisoners. You accepted them as allies.”“To the disappointment of quite a few people.”“Did they make you take it back?” Now Melody looked a bit perplexed. For all Cassandra and Cullen's anger at what she'd done, they'd never contradicted her. In fact, they'd tried their best to help get everyone settled and working together.“No, they didn't.”“Because they weren't there, and the choice wasn't theirs to make. That's why they named you Inquisitor: Because you will make the choices they won't or can't.”“Speaking of choices, we should probably go tell everyone you're joining us.” Amber sighed heavily and pinched the bridge of her nose.“You're right, I'm just not looking forward to that. I want it clear that my husband is off limits to that Seeker of yours.”“I'll tell Cassandra that he's an ally, and to treat him with respect. Maybe he'll get along with the other mages in our group.”“You have any flippant, flirty, or sarcastic ones?” Melody blinked and giggled.“Dorian. I'm sure they'll get along great. Come on, let's go find Cassandra first.” The women headed to where the Seeker normally stayed, to hear shouting coming from the floor above. Racing up the stairs, they saw Varric running in circles around a table, being chased by a very angry Cassandra.“You knew where Hawke was all along!” she accused“You're damned right I did!” he shot back, glaring at her.“You conniving little shit!” She caught up momentarily and took a swing at him, which he ducked under.“You kidnapped me! You interrogated me! What did you expect?!”“Andraste's tits, what is going on here?!” Amber shouted, coming over to Varric. Melody stood between her two companions, hands held up to both of them.“Hey! That's enough!” The Seeker looked angry, pointing at Varric.“You're taking his side?”“I said enough!” Melody focused her attention on Cassandra, grinding her teeth in annoyance. The warrior took a breath, and then looked at the Inquisitor.“We needed someone to lead this Inquisition. Hawke was our only hope. She was the Champion of Kirkwall. The mages respected her. And you kept her from us.” The last bit was said with another glare at Varric. The Dwarf shook his head and gestured to Melody.“The Inquisition has a leader.”“Hawke would have been at the Conclave. If anyone could have saved Most Holy-”“It wouldn't have been either of us,” Amber finally spoke up. Cassandra stared at her. “The Hawke Varric told you about is my twin sister. She hatesthe Chantry even more than I do. Adia would've told you to jump off a cliff. I would've told you to leave me alone. I'm here to help the Inquisitor, not take her job or title. I've had enough of both.”“You can't change the past, Cassandra,” Melody gently explained.“So I must accept, what? That the Maker wanted all this to happen? That he... That he...” The emotion building in her eyes was snuffed out a moment later as she narrowed them once more at the storyteller, turning to Melody. “Varric is a liar, Inquisitor. A snake. Even after the conclave, when we needed Hawke most, Varric kept her secret. Both of them, it seems.”“Fire Eyes is here now. We're on the same side.”“We all know whose side you're on, Varric,” Cassandra shot back. “It will never be the Inquisition's.” Amber's staff hit the floor, redirecting attention to her, where her hand was wreathed in flame. Varric took an involuntary step back, seeing the look of hate on her face.“Continue this tirade, and I won't be on their side either, Seeker. I won't stand here while you insult my friend.”“What reason could he have had to keep you from us?!” she demanded. Suddenly, there was a shout from outside:“Help, I'm being attacked! Send for reinforcements, Krem!”“Fairly certain you're a goner, Chief!” The argument halted for a moment, the group raced outside to see what was going on. When Melody saw the scene, she tried not to laugh. Bull was standing near the tavern, swinging his massive horns, from which hung two small boys. The children were shrieking in delight, though hanging on tightly. Krem sat a few feet away, amused by the situation. “Ah, here's the Inquisitor to lend a hand.” Bull turned, a smile on his face.“Sorry boss, didn't mean to disturb you. But these little assassins just came outta nowhere!” Amber looked at Melody, her eyes wide.“Boss?”“Yes, that's The Iron Bull. He pledged his company of mercenaries to our cause.”“He's a Qunari.”“He's a pretty good guy once you get past the horns, Fire Eyes,” Varric explained.“Still. Malcolm and Karl! You get off that man this instant!” The boys immediately stopped laughing, and looked at their mother. The Qunari knelt down, and they let go of his horns and stood in front of her. “Did you ask him to play, or did you just jump on him?”“We wanted to be like you and Aunt Adia!” Malcolm explained. “When you killed the Arishok.” Melody saw Bull's eyebrow go up, but she mouthed “later” to him.“Well, he's not the Arishok; he's part of the Inquisition. So apologize right now.” The boys turned, heads bowed a bit.”“Sorry,” they chorused. He placed his large hands on their heads, smiling.“Hey, it's all right. Tell you what: If your mother says it's okay, we can play later.” They looked up, and Amber knew she couldn't tell them no.“That's fine. But get back to your father, and no running off this time.” They laughed and went running back towards the camps, where Anders met them coming up the path. He looked uncertain, but she made a shooing motion, and he nodded and headed off with the boys. “So, you must be Hawke.” Bull continued, looking her up and down. “I thought you were a redhead?”“No, I got the red eyes, not the red hair. If you'll excuse me, Inquisitor, I'd like to talk to my sons about not wandering around here. I'll see you later.”“Of course,” Melody agreed, watching the other mage head off to follow her family. Varric turned to Cassandra, who seemed still confused about what she'd just seen.“Know what I think? If Fire Eyes had been at the Temple, she'd be dead too. You people have done enough to her.” Then he walked off after her, and Cassandra turned to Melody.“I didn't know she had a family. Why didn't he write about that? Or tell me?”“Because I think he was afraid you'd go after her anyway,” the mage answered.“And you would have,” Bull spoke up. “The Chantry would've demanded it.”“I... Yes, they would have. And apparently both of them would've turned down our offer.” Then she sighed heavily. “But Varric is right: We do have an Inquisitor. Once who has brought us much hope. And now with Hawke-”“Amber. Please call her Amber.”“With Amber here, maybe we can figure out how to beat Corypheus.”“Maker willing, that's exactly what we'll do,” Melody vowed.
Pair of Hawkes: Finale and New Beginnings,Anders stood on the deck of the ship, gazing at the flames and smoke that still rose from Kirkwall. Well, what remained of Kirkwall, anyway. He'd tried to sleep, but there was a part of him that wondered if he'd ever sleep again. So many things had happened in the last day that he wasn't sure if this was all some fever dream. And it had all started so wonderfully... “Gunther?” he started at the soft voice, wiping away tears he didn't remember shedding. But now he turned to face the woman whose arrival had begun the events that had marked him. As a fugitive. As a war-monger. As a murderer. “Gunther, please talk to me.” Mother Greta Heidenreich stood on the deck, hands clasped in front of her as if in prayer. She had the same eyes as Macha, though he knew his hair color had been from her. Now though, she wore the gray proudly, as it was a symbol of the wisdom she'd gained over the years. Where she'd been wearing chantry robes when they'd first met, now she wore a simple frock with a shawl over it. Somehow, that made her seem more vulnerable. “I don't know what to say,” he finally managed to tell her. “It's like today was a bad dream, but I know it wasn't. And I am partly the reason why.” “Because of the Chantry?” “Of course because of that!” The anger startled her for a moment, and Anders put his hands over his face and shook his head. “I'm sorry. You are not to blame for anything that I have done.” “But Gunther... I brought that woman back to Kirkwall. I trusted her.” That woman. Meredith. Either escaped from Aeonar, or having fought and killed the guards bringing her there; it didn't matter. She'd come back to the city with his mother, having called herself a “simple follower of Andraste”. And then all hell had broken loose... “You couldn't have known what she was.” “I should have! She carried that sword that made me feel uneasy. But I didn't want to pry. And she tried to kill you! She tried to kill your wife and... My grandchildren.” Anders crossed to her taking, her hands in his, doing his best to put a reassuring smile on his face. “But we're not dead. And she is. That's all that matters.” Greta buried her head in his chest, not caring that the coat he wore smelled like blood and smoke. “She made you do such an awful thing, though.” Anders swallowed hard and took a deep breath. Maybe she would hate him for this, but he needed to tell her the truth. “No, she didn't. I'd planned for that for a long time. It was going to be the final argument, and the start of the Mage Rebellion.” Now she looked up at him, both curious and frightened. “You were already planning to blow up the Chantry with magic? But... Gunther, why?” “For all the reasons I said to Adia and the others. Because there is no compromise. Either mages are free, or we aren't. And now, maybe there is a chance to actually have that happen.” “There were innocent people in there.” “I know. And that will haunt me for the rest of my days. I'm still surprised Adia didn't kill me...” “She may yet.” Both of them turned at the voice of Fenris. He was standing by the stairs to the lower deck, arms crossed. Carver and Merrill were at his side. “I'm also surprised you let me live.” The Elf snorted and shook his head. “Anders, I may not agree with anything you did, but neither have I lived your life. If the “Circle” is your Danarius... Who am I to take away your revenge?” The blonde tilted his head, staring at the warrior in shock. “Are you saying you'll help me?” “Venhedis, no!” Fenris quickly countered.“I intend to take Adia far away from all this nonsense. A simple life will suit us best. But... I will not stand in your way, either.” “Neither will we,” Carver added. “And you'll always have a place with us whenever you need to rest.” He paused for a moment. “You just have to promise me one thing.” “Anything.” “You keep Amber and those kids safe. If I ever hear that my sister was killed because of this war, or my nephews were hurt in some fool battle-” “The Templars will be the least of your worries,” Fenris took over, markings flaring for just a moment. Merrill gave all the men a chastising look. “You're forgetting that Amber won't let Anders walk into danger, either. Just like Adia won't ever abandon you, Fenris. Or that I'm staying by your side, Carver.” “Spoken like a woman truly in love,” Greta praised as the Dalish blushed. “But this has been a trying time for everyone. We won't be solving anything without sleep and time.” Fenris nodded and led the other two back down the stairs. Anders turned towards the captain's quarters, catching sight of Isabella at the helm. “What about you?” He knew she'd heard everything all ready, so there was no use trying to hide. Isabella flashed him a quick grin and shook her head. “I'm just waiting for all of you to get off my ship so I can go back to being my little pirate self,” she teased. “But don't think I won't help when you need it. You've all grown on me, damn it all.” “I'll keep that in mind, Captain.” With that, Anders headed into the spacious room, his mother following. Macha and Keran were asleep on two small sofas, and Anders smiled at his siblings as he headed for the “bedroom”. It was a large canopy bed divided off by hanging silks, and Amber lay on one side of the bed, deeply asleep. Shadowfade and Ser Pounce-a-Lot had nestled at the foot of the bed, their three kittens tucked between them. And lying in a box lined with clean linen, were two tiny babies. Anders stared at them for a moment, breath catching in his throat. “Maker's breath...” “It was a difficult delivery, but everyone was fine,” Greta explained. “I'm just glad that young lady healer offered her services.” “One of the mages?” “Yes, by the name of Bethany. After her fellows were settled, she asked if we needed any help.” “I'll be sure to thank her tomorrow. I'm sorry I wasn't here.” “You best save that apology for your wife, Gunther. But I'm sure she'll be glad you came back unharmed.” Anders shook his head and sighed. “Physically, anyway.” “We'll talk more in the morning. Get some rest.” Greta turned to go, when a blue glow stopped her, and she turned back. Her eyes widened as she saw the entity her son had joined with at the forefront, eyes shining a bright blue. “I am sorry,” Justice said, frowning a bit. “That I put his family in danger. That I put you in danger. Years ago I would have been fine thinking of you as necessary sacrifices. But now... Now there is guilt and sadness at that thought.” “That just means you have changed.” “I'm not sure if I like all this “change”. But...” He looked at Amber, then at the children. “There are worse things to change for, I suppose.” “There are indeed. It will take some getting used to, but if you are a part of my son, I will do my best to accept you, Justice.” “I will try not to make it an unpleasant task, Lady Greta.” She patted his shoulder and turned back towards the other room, finding a plush chair and blanket before falling asleep. Justice turned to Amber, noting with some amusement that she was awake. Her eyes were tired, but she smiled at him. “Come back to bed, please.” Her voice was soft, no doubt strained from the delivery. Justice climbed in beside her, wrapping an arm gently around her before Anders took over again. “I'm sorry.” His voice was a whisper she almost didn't hear, and Amber shifted herself as best as she could to make eye contact. “You saved me from that bitch. Don't apologize for how it happened.” “Your barrier would probably have held.” “Not against that sword of hers,” Amber noted dryly. “Tell me you destroyed it.” “Actually, she destroyed it herself.” “What?” “She didn't mean to, but she kept calling on more and more power. Eventually... I don't think the lyrium could handle it, and it shattered.” “What happened to Meredith?” “She became a... Statue? This really creepy, metallic statue that looks like it's screaming.” “Is everyone else all right?” Now Anders grimaced, but knew she wanted the truth. “Adia was badly injured. I managed to heal her, but she's going to need recovery time as well. Everyone else was the usual big fight bumps and bruises.” “I'm sorry I wasn't there.” “Sweetheart, you were in labor. What would you have done?” Her response was to weakly smack him. “See? You need to regain your strength as well.” “I will. And then I guess... We figure out where we're going.” “Isabella already set a course for Amaranthine, so we'll have some friendly faces for a bit.” “And then what?” “What do you mean?” “Anders, I heard you yelling at Meredith about freeing all mages. This crusade is important to you. I can't keep you from it.” “But... Amber.... I.... What are you saying?” “I'm saying that we're going to need to be on the road, and I don't know how that's going to work with two newborns.” “Then we won't be on the road,” he quickly assured her. “Maybe we can find a small farm, or I can help the Wardens in their infirmary for a while.” “You and Justice would give up fighting?” “Not forever. Just until we can move the boys safely. And I have a feeling that there's going to be fighting everywhere, anyway. We'll have plenty to do.” “Speaking of the boys.” She motioned at the box they were sleeping in. “We have to name them.” He helped her sit up, propping her against the mound of pillows against the headboard. Anders retrieved both babies, giving the dark-haired one to Amber, and gently cradling the smaller blonde. “Do you have any ideas?” She smiled, kissing her son's forehead. “They represent everything we've been fighting for. So I was thinking to name them after the ones who inspired us to get this far. Malcolm and... Karl?” “Those are wonderful names. I can't think of any greater honor to bestow on those who meant so much to us, than to pass their legacies to a new generation.” At that moment, the door opened, and Varric peeked his head in. Anders made a motion for him to come closer, and the Dwarf crept towards them while being mindful of the sleepers. “Blondie. Fire Eyes. Tiny humans.” He smiled at the last words. “Malcolm and Karl,” Amber told him, carefully pointing to each. “A grand legacy indeed,” Varric agreed. “Which is actually what I wanted to talk to you both about.” From his coat pocket he pulled his notebook. “It occurred to me that writing in two helpless children into this story would be a bad idea.” “I appreciate that, Varric,” Amber said after a moment. She was sure there was more. “Well, and then that got me thinking that maybe I ought to just rewrite the “Tale of the Champion” all together.” Now even Anders looked confused. “But there are two champions.” “See, Blondie, there's a lot of versions of this story. Sometimes it's two, sometimes it's one. Maybe one Hawke is a mage, and another is a warrior. I mean, people can't even keep it straight whether Hawke's a guy or a girl. So maybe I just take the version I think is best and work with that.” “And leave me out?” Amber sounded very hopeful. She'd never wanted to be a hero in the first place. Maybe now she wouldn't need to be. “I could, sure. Or maybe the mage Hawke people speak of has a different name. Maybe they aren't even the elder sibling. What if people mixed up the twins, and it was the younger two who were? And who says you got involved with the renegade Warden? Maybe it was actually the pirate captain who stole your heart.” “That still leaves me in this tale, though,” Anders observed. Now Varric winked at him. “Really, Gunther? That's awfully presumptuous of you to take credit for a crazy mage possessed by a vengeful Fade Spirit. We both know that Anders would do anything for his cause. Are you really that man?” Both mages blinked at the storyteller, realization dawning on them. “So, let's get the proper introductions out of the way: I'm Varric Tethras, writer and occasional adventurer. Who might you be?” “I'm Gunther Heidenreich, and this is my wife Amber. Also, our sons Malcolm and Karl.” “Well, it's been a pleasure to make your acquaintance, folks. Now if you'll excuse me, this Dwarf has some writing to get done.” He got a few steps before Amber's voice reached him. “Varric... Thank you.” “Consider it a birthday gift for the little ones, Fire Eyes. They don't deserve to get roped into all this. And Blondie?” “Yes?” “That was your freebie back there. You ever do something like that without telling at least me, and Bianca will want to have some harsh words with you.” “Understood.” Satisfied, Varric left the new family alone. After a quick feeding and change, the children were settled back into their make-shift crib, and their parents settled down for some much-needed sleep. Amber drifted off, opening her eyes in the Fade and seeing the ship's quarters around her still. As her gaze drifted to where the boys where, her heart thudded in her chest. Two people stood over the box, each of them holding a baby. But when they turned, fear became a flood of emotion. “Sweetheart, don't cry,” Leandra gently admonished. “They're beautiful!” “It's about time I got to meet my grandsons,” Malcolm added. “Mother... Father...” “We'll always be in your heart, Amber,” her mother said, smiling gently. “Family never leaves you. Not truly.” “You've got a lot of living to do. We'll always be proud of you.” “Father, I'm sor-” “You've nothing to apologize for, little firebrand. I'd do it all again just for this moment.” Amber felt a presence at her back, and realized that Justice was sitting behind her. “Keep her safe, will you? I don't want to see either of them before their time.” “I will, Malcolm Hawke.” Then the dream faded, and Amber found herself staring into Justice's eyes. The Spirit looked slightly confused. “Your parents are very understanding. If that was truly them.” “I'd like to think so. Goodnight Justice.” “Goodnight Amber.” The waves rocked them both to sleep as the ship plowed through the dark waters, and on to the next chapter in their lives.
Pair of Hawkes: Feynriel's Fade Quest,It was about a week after the twins returned from Orlais before the next call for their services arrived. Both Adia and Anders had new scars to show off to the group, and Isabella was taking a bit more of a "protective" stance around all the mages. Amber' s patience with Fenris continually wore thin, but she dealt with him for her sister’s sake. They had received a letter from Arianni, requesting their help with her son once more, and journeyed to the Alienage. “I swear this city would fall apart if we all just up and moved,” Adia quipped as they headed through Lowtown, hands locked behind her head. “I'm starting to wonder if moving would be a good idea...” Amber mused. “I'm pretty sure you two would still get pulled into trouble,” Anders predicted. “I must agree,” Fenris added. Isabella stopped short and grabbed both Hawkes’ arms, grinning broadly. “Quick, someone tell Varric to mark this day down! They both agreed on something!” she teased. Amber just rolled her eyes as Anders shook his head and sighed. Fenris gave the pirate a stony glare. Only Adia seemed to share the mood. “Surely it will be a day to remember!” Then she addressed her sister’s earlier comment. “Well, it'd be different if we went looking for trouble. But we don't. It usually finds us in some way.” “Same with the Commander,” the healer told them. “She could be walking to the market, and a horde of darkspawn, or street thugs, or Fade beasts would just show up.” “You're making that up!” the other mage accused, raising an eyebrow. “If only I were.” “Amber, technically when we walk into a market something usually attacks us as well,” the archer reminded her. “So Anders' story can't be that far-fetched.” “...Point taken.” “By the way, did this letter say what sort of trouble the boy was in?” Isabella asked, returning them to the task at hand. “Something about his dreams again,” Adia replied with a shrug. “I've never heard of a mage who couldn't eventually be woken from his dreams,” Anders stated with a shake of his head. “If they're deep enough in the Fade, it could be almost impossible,” Amber reminded him. “But what are we supposed to be able to do about that?” Fenris wanted to know. This sort of thing was beyond him, and he didn’t see why he or Adia needed to get involved. Said rogue looked up and tilted her head. “Kick him really hard and hope he wakes up?” Both mages stared at her, blinking a few times, trying to determine if she was serious. Isabella chuckled and shook her head. “Always the simple answers, sweetie.” “Not necessarily wrong, though,” the Elf pointed out. They arrived at Arianni's home, to find her pacing and wringing her hands. “Oh, thank the Creators you've come!” she exclaimed when she saw them, looking slightly relieved. “Well, we couldn't very well say no, so here we are,” the redhead assured her. “Where is Feynriel?” “At the Dalish camp. Keeper Marethari came with news that three days ago, my son fell into a dream that no one can wake him from. His lips still fog a mirror, but the Keeper fears he is close to death, and the Demons will not let him return to his body!” Amber’s eyes widened in horror, but Anders looked determined. “Then someone has to go in after him.” “To the Fade? Are you insane?!” Fenris demanded of the healer. “We already know he is, Fenris,” Isabella scoffed with a dismissive wave. “But that does sound like quite a pickle this boy's in.” Adia held up a hand. “...Has anyone tried to kick him awake? I'm not very fond of this “going into the Fade” thing.” Merrill came out of Arianni’s house, shaking her head sadly. “The Clan has tried to jolt him awake, with no success. He is deep in the Fade, apparently.” “Please, you must help my son!” the desperate mother begged. “...Adia, if you're not comfortable with this, Anders and I can handle it,” Amber offered with some hesitation. Sure enough, her twin looked at her like she’d grown a second head. “Uh, no. I've heard stories and you're not going in there alone. I don't like the idea, but I'll do it if that's the only way.” Anders wrinkled his nose at the archer. “...What am I, chopped liver?” She gave him a playful smile. “Hi Anders! I forgot you came with us!” “Oh, may I come?!” Isabella asked, bouncing a bit. “I've always wanted to actually remember what I dream.” Fenris remained sullen and silent. Adia cocked an eyebrow at the pirate. “I find cutting back on the drinking helps with the remembering.” The smile faded a little when she looked at the warrior, tugging on his arm. “What's wrong?” “The Fade is the place for mages, not warriors...” he began, before sighing heavily. “But if you are going, then I am as well.” “It'll be fine,” Adia promised. “We'll all just stick together. We've gotten out of weirder things.” “Well, then it's settled.” Isabella cheered, clapping the former slave on the back. “Oh thank you!” Arianni said, clasping her hands together. “Come inside then,” Merrill told them. “The Keeper and I are almost finished getting ready.” They entered the small hovel, and the Keeper stood, smiling slightly. “It is good that you have come so quickly. We do not have much time to spare, I fear.” Amber bowed slightly to the older woman, concern on her face. “Keeper Marethari, why is this happening to Feynriel?” “He is what is known as a Somniari, or Dreamer: A mage capable of entering the Fade at any point, and being conscious of it. They can also invade others' dreams, and either help or harm them,” the elder Elf replied with a sigh. “There was a Somniari in Tevinter, who slew rivals in their sleep. Danarius bested him at his own game, and then slew him in the mortal world. It is how he became so powerful,” Fenris explained. “Dreamers also attract great interest from Demons,” Marethari continued. “Right now, Feynriel cannot control his power. That is why he needs your help.” “So how do we help him?” Adia wondered. “Can we-” She motioned to Fenris, Isabella and herself. “Even get into the Fade? Isn't that something only mages can do?” “The Keeper found an ancient Dalish ritual that will allow you to enter the part of the Fade where Feynriel is,” Merrill told them with a smile. “There, you can get him away from the Demons, and hopefully get him to wake up.” “Adia, we have to help him,” Amber told her twin, clutching her arm. “I know, I know,” the archer sighed. “We will... But he better be more grateful this time.” She managed a small smile. “So what do we have to do?” “See, I told you: Their bravery is inspiring!” Arianni gushed. “If I may have a word with the Hawkes for a moment?” Marethari said, gently pulling the twins into the other room. “There's a problem, isn't there?” the red-eyed mage guessed. “Possibly,” the Keeper replied with a nod. “Feynriel must not be allowed to become an abomination. The chaos and havoc a Dreamer abomination would wreak would be.... Unthinkable. If it comes down to it, you must kill him in the Fade. That would make him what is known to the Circles as "Tranquil".” Amber’s eyes nearly bugged out of her head as her jaw hit the floor. There was no way she was going to- “...Or I could just slit his throat now while he's asleep and we can just avoid this all together,” Adia spoke up. “ADIA!” “What? Amber, I'm not making anyone Tranquil. You said yourself it was a fate worse than death.” “But we're going to save him, damnit,” the mage shot back with a shake of her head. “I'm not going to allow him to die or be stripped of his emotions, either.” “That's fine, I'd rather that happen,” the redhead agreed. “But if it comes to it, we're leaving the Fade and I'm going to physically kill him.” “...Very well.” “Anyone you bring with you could be tested in the Fade. Are you all aware of this?” Marethari asked as they rejoined the others. “I never give in to temptation,” Isabella stated. “No Demon shall twist my mind!” Fenris vowed. “...I'll be all right,” Anders replied, wondering what would happen with Justice. “It'll be interesting... That's all I'm going to say about it. Let's just get this over with,” Adia told the Dalish. They were all instructed to lie on the floor, inside of a circle drawn in chalk, filled with arcane symbols. Merrill and the Keeper started chanting, and the group felt themselves fall for a moment, and then they opened their eyes to see a hazy, muted area that looked like the inside of the Gallows. The archer sat up, rubbing her eyes and looking around. “So... This is the Fade?” she asked, slowly getting to her feet. Fenris walked over and pulled her up, grimacing at their surroundings. “So it would seem.” “So, do the magick-wielders want to guide us from here?” Isabella asked with a low whistle. She’d seen stranger places, but this was the land of dreams. Amber and Anders turned from where they were standing to face the trio, but both looked incredibly different: Anders had the same blue lines and glowing eyes as when Justice manifested, not to mention the faint outline of armor, and a sword strapped to his side. Amber's eyes were glowing orange-red, and she had what looked like a fiery nimbus surrounding her entire body. “I had not thought to return in such a way. It is good to feel the breath of the Fade again,” Justice stated, looking pleased. “Everyone all right?” Amber asked with a smile. Isabella blinked a few times, but Fenris took a step back, one hand moving to the hilt of his sword. Even Adia was taken aback by what she saw. “Amber...” “What?” “...You're on fire.” The mage seemed confused for a moment as she looked down at herself, and then back at her sister. “I'm not on fire.” “I believe your sister means the magick that surrounds you,” Justice realized. “OH! No Adia, this is what I keep locked inside me, from when my eyes changed.” The redhead proceeded to poke the mage. She felt warmth where her hand touched the nimbus, and a wave of.... Power that washed over her. “Adia, is that wise?” Fenris asked, still with a hand on his weapon. “I haven't decided...” She kept poking Amber in random places, trying to see if there was any other reaction. “We should not delay. I sense Feynriel's mind straining,” Justice told them as he started walking down the hallway, Amber following him. “...So, it's his world, and we play by his rules?” Isabella wondered. “Seeing as how Justice is from the Fade, I'd be more inclined to listen to him and do as he says rather than running blindly into something,” Adia pointed out. “Hurry up, slowpokes!” Amber called back. “...I'll show you a slow poke,” the archer mumbled, mentally forming a plan to poke Amber in all her ticklish spots when they got back to the real world. As they walked through a set of doors to the "outside", the group saw what appeared to be a Shade coming towards them. “Well, today is my lucky day: Two rare magicks at once,” it said. “You are in the domain of Torpor. I do not wish to fight, if you are inclined to listen to my proposal.” “A Demon of Sloth!” Justice cried, standing in front of Amber. “Away with you!” “Now, now, I mean you no harm, Spirit,” Torpor assured him. “Justice, if he doesn't want to fight, why not just listen to what it has to say?” Adia suggested. Amber’s jaw fell open, and the Spirit looked upset. “Sounds like a plan,” Isabella agreed with a shrug. “Adia, it is a Demon. It deserves nothing but death!” Fenris argued. “Always so rash, little Elf... It is a wonder the Rage Demons have not gotten to you yet,” Torpor stated as the warrior bristled. Adia quickly moved in front of the Elf before he did something foolish. “What is it that you want?” “You seek the boy? I do as well. There are two other Demons in this Realm also vying for his soul. I can help you against them, if you but give me the boy when all is said and done.” “Absolutely not!” Amber stated. “Foul creature, you will not possess the boy!” Justice vowed. “That's sort of counterpoint to why we're here, isn't it?” Isabella brought up. “Adia... Can I kill it yet?” Fenris asked between clenched teeth. The redhead sighed heavily at the Demon and side-stepped out of the warrior’s way. “Have at it.” A moment later, two Rage Demons appeared, but were instantly attacked by Amber and Justice while Fenris dealt with Torpor. Combat was over rather quickly. Fenris narrowed his eyes at the younger twin. “Demons cannot be talked to, Adia. They only seek to corrupt people.” “We need to find Feynriel,” Amber reminded them. “Agreed,” the Spirit said as they took off again. “We need to stay out of their way in this place,” the pirate whispered to her fellow rogue. “All three of them are...” She shivered. “Exquisite, but deadly.” “I would have to agree with you.” Adia frowned a little. “I don't like it in here.” They headed through another door, but suddenly felt as if the world was shifting around them. Adia and Amber took on the appearance of Arianni, and saw a young Feynriel sitting with Vincento. None of the others were there that they could see. “Now, easy on the down stroke. Good! I'll have you scribing all of my letters soon,” he was telling the young boy. “Then maybe I could come with you to Antiva, Father? Mother said maybe next summer, right Mother?” He looked right at the twins, though whether he saw both of them was up for debate. Amber nudged her twin and whispered: “Adia, Vincento doesn't feel right to me... Kind of like Torpor, but different.” Her senses at least weren’t being overrun here, unlike the real world. “...That's not Vincento,” the redhead stated. “He denied Feynriel when I first talked to him. He doesn't care about the boy.” “Mother?” Feynriel asked again, smiling brightly. “Your Father doesn't care about you, Feynriel,” Amber told him. “Don't listen to her son. She's the one who's always been ashamed of you.” Adia bristled and pointed at the “man”. “Liar! Feynriel, don't listen to him. He's a fake!” “A... Fake?” “She's trying to keep us apart! She-” the illusion of Vincento began. “Feynriel, please think about this,” Amber interrupted. “Do you even know who this man is?” Now the boy looked at his “father”, frowning a bit. “I... Wait, that's right! It was Mother who taught me to write! Not...” He tilted his head, obviously confused. “Who are you?” “Don't... Question...” As he tried to speak, it got more difficult, until the illusion gave way, and a Desire Demon stood in full view. Feynriel’s eyes widened in terror, and he gave a short scream as he fled through a wall. The twins regained their appearance, and the others appeared next to them. “You!” the Demon cried, pointing at the Hawkes. “You turned him against me!” Adia blinked a few times, staring at the creature. “...I'd say you did a pretty good job of that when you decided to get naked.” But the Desire Demon quickly regained her composure, smirking now as her eyes passed over the assembled people. “Take away one of my pets, and I'll take away one of yours. Just how loyal are these friends you drag into the Fade?” “Test me if you dare, Demon,” Fenris snarled. “Do not test my patience, creature,” Justice warned, eyes narrowed. “No Spirit, you and your human are of no concern to me,” the Demon quickly assured him. “And you Elf, are not my type. What you desire, you have.” But now she turned to Isabella. “But would your pirate queen stay if the open water beckoned? What do you say, sweetheart? A two-mast brigantine, square-main topsail, and a hundred well-built lads to answer your every whim. I know you’ve been looking for a stiff masthead.” Its hands ran up and down its body as Isabella sauntered forward, hips swaying and eyes firmly on the Demon. “The Siren's Call Two will be waiting in Kirkwall's harbor. I'll be under the furs in the captain's quarters...” “Isabella, it's a Demon!” Amber warned. “Well, if it wasn't a Demon, I wouldn't think it could grant wishes,” the pirate replied with a small smile. Adia was staring at their friend, jaw slack. “Isabella! You can't be thinking of... Don't leave us!” Isabella was now standing in front of the Demon, and drew her blades. “I like big boats. I cannot lie.” With that she twirled the daggers and leapt at Amber, who stared wide-eyed as the rogue came at her. Justice, however, met the blades with the staff, pushing the others mage away as he parried again. “Amber, get back!” he shouted, trying to snap her out of her shock. “Isabella, no!” Adia growled, drawing her bow and attacking the Desire Demon. “You bitch! Give her back!” There was sheer chaos all around as Shades joined the fray, and the redhead managed to kill the Demon just as Justice drove the point of his staff through Isabella's chest. She stared at him for a moment before fading out of the Fade. “Isabella...” Amber whispered, shaking her head. Fenris still had his blade up, and was glaring at the Spirit. “Monster, you killed her!” “I did no such thing!” Justice shot back, noting the warrior’s stance. “She is now out of the Fade and back in her body in her right mind.” Adia immediately got between them, one hand on the Elf’s chest. “Fenris, stop it! Please don't start a fight with Justice in here. Let's just find Feynriel and get out of here before anything else happens.” “Do not even think of turning on us,” the former slave cautioned, leveling his weapon at the Spirit, who smirked. “You do not frighten me, Elf.” “Justice, don't!” Amber chastised as she took his arm. “We have to find Feynriel.” “The boy is more important,” he agreed with a nod. “Let us hurry.” The archer shook her head, annoyed at not only the situation, but Fenris’ reaction. She walked up beside her sister. “Remind me to kick Isabella in the shins when we get out of here.” “I'll even hold her down for you,” the fiery girl offered. They entered the next room, and saw Feynriel as they knew him standing with Marethari. Again, it was only Adia and Amber. “And so it is with great honor that I present the savior of our tribe! Though he came to us as an unknown, he has risen to be our greatest!” Marethari was saying. “Oh for the love of the Maker...” the redhead swore. “Not this again. This is another trick.” She looked at Amber and huffed. “I hate this place.” “You get used to it. Let's get Feynriel out of here.” “Feynriel, that is not the Keeper. It's just another Demon trying to trick you!” Adia called to him. The boy looked up and blinked, seeing the girls. “But... But I have the power to save the tribe!” “Do you think they trust you with this power?” the mage wondered. “Nonsense! Feynriel is one of us!” the “Keeper” argued. “Do you trust yourself with this power?” Amber continued. “Power to kill someone in their dreams? The power to change reality?” “It's just another Demon trying to trick you,” the archer added. “Get away from it.” Feynriel shook his head as if trying to clear it. “That's right... The Keeper said this power was dangerous.” “No, you can make this world as you want it to be!” Marethari told him. “No! I refuse this!” he shouted, again running through the nearest wall. As the twins watched, a Pride Demon took the place of the Keeper, and stared at them. “With my power joined to his, Feynriel would have changed the world!” “Or set it on fire,” Adia shot back, glaring at the Demon. She was relieved to see that Fenris and Justice were with them once more. “Would your friends turn down my deal so quickly?” the creature asked, looking thoughtfully at Amber. “Wouldn't you prefer living in the open, instead of in fear of misinformed people?” “I would never submit myself to you, Demon!” she told it, staff out and ready. “Your pleas will not work on us,” Justice told it, standing in front of the mage. But as the Demon completed its view of the group, its lips pulled back in a smile. “Then how about you, Elf?” “What about me?” Fenris demanded, staring at it. “You could kill that magister, and rule where and what he did. With just your martial prowess to hold his lands.” The Elf lowered his weapon, blinking a few times. “...I... I could, couldn't I?” “Do not listen to it!” Justice cautioned, already afraid of where this could lead. Adia turned to stare at Fenris, eyes wide. He couldn’t possibly… “Fenris... No. Don't listen to that thing. It’s telling you lies and you know it! Don't turn on us... On me.” “Don't you see?” he argued, seeming conflicted. “I could protect you with Danarius dead. And you would rule Minrathos as Queen.” “Adia...” Amber’s tone held a warning. She could almost see the threads of magic the Demon was weaving over the Elf. If it got any worse… The archer backed up a bit, fear and desperation in her eyes. “Fenris don't let that thing get to you! You can kill Danarius without its help. You don't need it!” “I-” he began, before the Demon stepped forward and made its final offer: “Kill these things, and I will grant you my power! The power to take down the magisters!” An evil grin spread across the Elf’s face as he adjusted his grip on his sword. “Yes...” Without another word, he attacked Justice, who quickly shifted his attention. Amber hurled a bolt of lightning at the creature. “Maker curse you, Demon!” she snarled. “He already has.” The Demon attacked the twins, but Adia just stood staring at Fenris, who continued to assault the Spirit. All the fight seemed to have gone out of her, and she didn’t even seem to be truly seeing any more. “Adia!” The archer was vaguely aware of her sister’s shout before she was violently shoved to the ground. There was a short scream, and then Justice’s voice reached her ears: “Amber!” “...Amber?” she repeated, her mind not really bothering to work through the fog it was currently in. Fenris had betrayed them, so what did it matter? She saw her sister get to her feet, eyes glowing, and felt a scalding wind sweep over her. “You think Demons know every trick in the Fade? Guess again!” The mage released a blast of fire that seemed to sear the very air, and the Pride Demon screamed in agony. In a matter of moments, it was wiped from reality. Justice removed the point of the blade from Fenris, who disappeared in a flash of light. He came over and looked between the girls. “Are you two all right?” “Fine... Adia?” Amber replied, coughing for a moment. But the redhead continued to stare at the spot where the Elf had been, not even acknowledging them. Amber cursed under her breath, already beginning to feel the after-effects of what she’d done. “Justice... Grab her so we can finish this.” “Amber, you-” he began, before she cut him off. “Will be fine until we're done here. Don't think Anders and Fenris are the only stubborn ones in the group. Let's go.” “...As you wish,” he said with a sigh. Anders was not going to be happy with him when they shifted back to the mortal realm. “Adia, let us be away from this place and finish our task.” He gently pushed her back towards the main area. She allowed it, putting all her will into not breaking down into a puddle of tears. Feynriel was standing there, and Amber said a few things to him, and it seemed like they had agreed on something. He then walked into the very fabric of the Fade, and then she felt a tug on her essence. A moment later, she was back in Arianni's house, with Merrill standing over her. “Welcome back, Adia! Everything all right? Isabella and Fenris woke up and just... Ran out.” “...Where did he go?” she asked quietly. “I'm not sure. Maybe back home?” Adia stood up, trying to shake off the feelings of betrayal and heartache. “Feynriel is fine. Amber and Justice talked to him. You'll have to ask them what they talked about; I don't know. When they wake up, just tell Amber I went home.” She quickly left the Alienage and began the long walk home, hands jammed in her pockets and head down. After fighting with herself over which way to go, she ended up standing in front of the door to Fenris' mansion. Another few moments of internal arguing, and she let herself in, closing the door quietly behind her. “...Fenris?” The sounds of muttered curses drifted down from his room, but the Elf didn’t make an appearance. Quietly ascending the stairs, she stood in the doorway for a moment. Her arms were now crossed over her chest, but her head was still down. “...You asked me not too long ago if I still trusted you. Do you remember that?” she finally asked, startling him from his pacing. “...Adia... I...” He shook his head and looked away. “Yes, I remember.” “I trusted you.” She looked at up, face a blank mask. “Why did you betray us?” “You cannot understand what it was like, Adia... I could see everything that Demon was saying; feel what it would be like to rule in place of Danarius. To be safe and finally free.” He crossed to her, but remained just out of her reach. “You are safe and free, Fenris. How many times do I have to tell you this? There's not a force on Thedas that would stop me from killing that man myself if he came for you again.” Adia dropped her arms to her sides and shook her head sadly. “You accuse Anders of being an abomination because of his merger with Justice, you try to convince me that my own sister could easily be tempted by the powers of a Demon, and you parade around declaring that you are better than the mages and could resist a Demon's offer...” Now they locked eyes. “But I didn't see either of them accepting anything they were offered. Isabella I could expect to betray us, but you?” “I would never hurt you! I didn't, even with that Demon whispering to me!” “It told you to kill us! All of us! Did you think you could be selective and just murder my sister and Justice?! And for that matter, do you think I'd want ANYTHING to do with you after? And that's assuming the Demon allowed you to let me live!” “I would have taken its head myself if it tried to harm you!” He grabbed her shoulders, bringing their faces inches apart. “You deserve more than what you have, Adia. You deserve to rule, and have people follow you. You would be a good leader. Better than any magister in Tevinter, and you would do it without magick. That is what I wanted.” But the rogue shoved him away and jumped back, eyes narrowed. “Don't touch me,” she growled, hands balling into fists. “I don't want any of that. I want a normal life with those I care about. I don't want to lead anyone and I don't want anything to do with those who'd accept a Demon's offer of power and then use that power to hurt my family.” “How can you think of that... Justice-creature as family?! It killed Isabella.” Now Fenris knew that the pirate wasn’t actually dead, but what damage had been done to her with her “death” in the Fade. For that matter, what had happened to him? Adia stared at him for a few moments before rearing back her fist and letting it connect with his jaw. “You are such a hypocrite!” The warrior lay sprawled on the floor for only a second before growling and leaping at her, shoving Adia hard against the wall as he pinned her arms at her sides. “A hypocrite?! You saw what happened to her! That thing dropped her without a second's hesitation. I attacked it when the Demon spoke to me, yes. But I would not have attacked you.” The archer grunted as she hit the wall, quickly twisting in his grip. “Isabella turned on us and attacked us! Justice was defending from her attacks!” She head-butt him, and then brought her knee up, catching him in the gut with it. “You wouldn't have had a choice, Fenris! You made a deal with it! If it wanted me dead then you would have killed me!” “NEVER!” One of his hands came up and wrapped around her throat as he dropped them both to the floor. “I would sooner turn the blade on myself than use it against you.” Adia bucked her hips upwards, bringing her legs up and locking them around his chest. She then rolled forward, flipping them over and landing on top of him as she grabbed at the strings on her vest and popped it open to reveal the regular (not armored) shirt underneath. “You might as well just stab me and get it over with now because what you did was a hundred times worse than any physical pain you could ever do.” Fenris lay there, staring at her in shock, eyes wide. “You were willing to kill us all back there to get the upper hand on a man you're not even sure is still hunting you. You're no better than a blood mage.” Shock turned to anger as he shoved the redhead off and rammed her into the nearest wall, markings flaring brightly. “I AM NOTHINGLIKE THEM!!!” Adia yelped in spite of herself, feeling the wall give slightly under her. “YOU ACCEPTED HIS OFFER! How is that not being like them?!” “What will it take for you to understand that I could never harm you?!” He was seething, teeth clenched and muscles straining. She jerked her arms free and put her hands on his chest, shoving him back and away from her, detaching herself from the wall. “Maybe not physically, but you do it enough emotionally. You put my sister and Anders down constantly for being mages, you make me feel like a bad person for wanting to help the mages because you can't see past your own bad experiences with magick, and you play games with my head almost daily...” Adia took a deep, ragged breath to try and calm herself. “...I can't keep doing this, Fenris.” “What is that supposed to mean?” he wondered, looking confused. “Nothing,” she replied with a frown and shake of her head. ‘It doesn't matter. I shouldn't have come here. I'm sorry.” She pushed past him and headed for the stairs. However, a hard tug on her braid stopped her. Fenris had grabbed it and wrapped it around his hand, using her hair to pull her back against the wall, his body pressed against hers. There was something in his eyes that Adia had not seen before. “You are the most infuriating, stubborn, beautiful woman I have ever met.... I don't want to lose you, Adia.” The Elf bent his head and roughly kissed her, one hand still wrapped in her braid, and the other at her waist, holding the rogue still. Adia squeaked against his lips and struggled for only a moment before falling still and returning the kiss. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and she pressed herself even closer against him. After a few minutes, Fenris finally let go of her hair and stepped back, face flushed. “I... I am sorry if that was a bit too forward.” Instead of answering, the archer reached forward and grabbed his jerkin, twisting her hands in the fabric as she pulled him back against her, kissing him much like before. It was his turn to be momentarily startled before wrapping his arms tightly around her back. When Adia broke the kiss, he seemed surprised. “You still want me, even after... What happened?” “Maker knows I shouldn't, but yes, I do. I've made that clear a few times. But...” She looked away as if expecting rejection. “Do you want me?” “More than anything,” he assured her. “I'm sorry about… I...” He sighed, and the redhead looked up, eyes wide. “...You do?” The former slave started chuckling. “Yes. I guess I haven't made it obvious, but I do. I care about you Adia. More than I've ever cared for anyone before.” “So... Does this mean we can stop "dancing" around each other, as Amber calls it?” she asked with a small smile as she blushed. “Yes, I believe that's what it means. Speaking of your sister...” He sighed again. “I should apologize to her.” “No...You should apologize to Anders and Justice.” Fenris looked up, defeated. “Them as well,” he hesitantly agreed. The archer gently cupped his face. “If you do and manage not to start a fight with them, I'll let you into the wine cellar at the estate and you can take whatever you like.” Now the warrior smirked. “Deal,” he replied with a nod. Adia kissed him again before taking his hand and heading towards the Hawke Estate.* * *They arrived at the mansion to see Lirene talking to Leandra, who looked horrified. Shadowfade was pacing by the front door, Diego watching the cat. “Oh, Messere Adia! Thank goodness you've arrived,” Bodahn exclaimed when he saw the two of them. “...What's going on?” Adia wondered, raising an eyebrow at the scene. “Adia, I need to go to Darktown. Your sister collapsed in the Alienage, and Anders brought her to the clinic,” Leandra told her in a rush, wringing her hands together. “I came as soon as I heard what happened, Lady Adia. We were just about to leave,” Lirene added. Adia turned on her heel and raced towards Darktown, her heart thumping wildly in her chest. She was vaguely aware of Fenris telling her to wait up, but she wasn’t about to slow down for anything. Getting to the clinic in record time, she saw Varric and Merrill outside the doors. The Dwarf tried to say something, but she rushed right past them and skidded to a halt in the clinic. “Amber!” she called out, eyes darting around frantically for her twin. The dark-haired mage was lying on a cot, eyes closed, pale, and the rogue could hear her wheezing slightly with each breath. Anders was kneeling next to her, holding her hand. He looked up when he heard the younger girl. “...She'll be fine,” she said softly. Adia was next to him a moment later. “What happened?! Why does she look like that?!” “In the Fade, she tapped into the magick she has sealed inside her,” the healer replied with a frown. “But her body has a hard time stopping the magick once it begins flowing. It seared her lungs badly, and she collapsed before she could even tell Arianni and the Keeper what happened to Feynriel. I got her here and got the worst of the damage taken care of, but she's too weak right now for me to continue. She needs to stay here and-” Fenris chose that moment to round the corner, and Anders stood up and glared at the Elf. “This is your fault!” “What are you talking about?” the warrior demanded. Adia grabbed the blonde’s jacket to get his attention. “Anders! Focus! She needs to stay here and what?” “And rest,” he finished, not taking his eyes off Fenris. “Tomorrow I'll finish healing her.” Leandra raced in with Diego and Shadowfade at her heels, dropping to her knees beside the cot. “My baby!” “Get out of here Fenris, before I do something we will both regret,” Anders warned as he turned his attention back to Amber. “Are you threatening me?” the Elf shot back with a smirk. “You don't have the guts to-” A moment later, Fenris was slammed into the wall by a spell, and then Justice stepped towards him. “We will not say it again. Leave.” “Oh for the love of Andraste's toasted ass!” the archer shouted, moving in between Fenris and the angry glowing mage man. “Justice, please! He came down here to apologize, nothing more. Can we NOT do this in front of my mother?!” Leandra was still by the cot, shock clear on her face as she watched what was going on. “...Adia...” she said softly, clutching at Amber’s hand. “...Andraste's flaming knickers...” the duo said as the Spirit retreated and Anders ran a hand down his face. “I regret this already...” “You two can beat the shit out of each other another time, but not here. Not in front of Mother and not while my sister is hurt,” Adia stated with a growl, shifting her gaze between Anders and Fenris. “If either of you cannot conduct yourselves like adults I swear I will spank the both of you like children with my bow!” “Sweetheart, if anyone is going to be spanked, let the Mother in the group handle that,” Leandra said with a small smile as she stood. “Now then: I don't know what that was all about, and I'll get answers later. Right now I just care about getting Amber better. Does she have to stay here, Anders?” “No, but...” the healer swallowed hard and shook his head. “You really want me to carry her all the way through the City to the estate?” “Not if Adia still has my cellar key, no,” the older woman replied. “It's in my room back at the estate,” the redhead revealed. “Fenris can always fist the door though and save time.” “...I can what?” the Elf asked. “He can what?” Leandra echoed. “You know, that glowy thing your hand does. Can't you use it on the door and break it open or something?” “I could. Can't you just pick the lock, though? Or have Varric help you?” “Whatever you do, please make it quick,” Leandra entreated. “I'd rather have Amber home than here... No offense, Anders.” The blonde’s shoulders slumped more. “No, it's all right... Nobles shouldn't be forced to stay in a place like this.” Leandra frowned and lightly smacked his shoulder, and Anders jumped. “You sound like my husband when we first got to Ferelden and slept in barns. Are all men so hard on themselves?” “I'm starting to wonder the same thing myself, Mother. Maybe it's just a broody mage thing,” Adia added as she smirked at Anders and exited the clinic, climbing the ladder to the cellar. She proceeded to go to town on the lock, quite a few curses escaping her mouth before she managed to get it open. “Blondie, the door's open!” Varric called out. Anders came out of the clinic, Amber held securely in his arms. “Someone's going to have to take her for a moment while I climb the ladder.” “Um, I'm a little short for that, unfortunately,” the Dwarf apologized. “I'm not strong enough. I'm sorry...” Merrill softly added. “...I-” Fenris began. “NO,” the healer stated flatly. “Adia, can you hold your sister up?” Leandra asked with a heavily sigh. The rogue echoed the sigh and took her sister from the blonde, glaring half-heartedly at him and shaking her head. “Really Anders, he's trying to be helpful.” “Hate me later,” the blonde retorted. “I know I'm being petty, but I don't care right now.” He climbed the ladder and took Amber back from her. “He attacked Justice in the Fade, and his betrayal nearly cost you your life at the hands of that Pride Demon. And then Amber...” He looked down at her, frowning. “She was more concerned about you than her own health.” Adia climbed the ladder after him and headed up the stairs from the cellar to the main floor, holding the door open for him as he carried Amber. “It comes with the territory. It never fails; one of us usually gets hurt when we think the other is in danger.” Anders got up the stairs and placed the dark-haired girl gently on her bed. “You're lucky to have each other... My siblings probably don't even remember me.” Adia gave him a friendly smile as she covered her sister with a blanket. “You can have Carver,” she offered. He gave her a sideways glance. “Do you want us to kill each other? Bad enough Fenris and I are heading that way.” He paused for a moment, and then looked more serious. “I take it you and he... Discussed things?” The redhead blushed fiercely. “Define “discussed”. If you mean we exchanged words and blows in equal amounts than yes, we did.” “You seemed almost broken in the Fade, from what Justice showed me,” Anders revealed. “But you seem fine now... Present circumstances not withstanding.” “I was in shock,” she replied with a frown. “I didn't think he would actually do it. Isabella I kinda expected she would: It's just who she is, and I'm sure she's at the Hanged Man right now regretting her choice with several large bottles. Imagine how you'd feel if Amber did that to you? Or if Justice turned on you?” The mage shuddered for a moment and violently shook his head, wrapping his arms around himself. “...So he apologized?” His voice was so low she had to strain to hear it. “In the best way he knew how,” she gave him a small, goofy smile “We'll both be feeling it in the morning, but he wanted to come apologize to Amber. I told him he needed to apologize to you and Justice as well.” Anders took a deep breath and uncurled. “I don't think that's a good idea right now... Maybe when Amber wakes up I'll be more open to it.” Adia gave him a hug. “I understand, Anders. For what it's worth, I'm sorry I caused Amber to get hurt.” He seemed surprised at the gesture, but returned the hug. “It's not your fault. I just don't like seeing her like this. I'm sure she doesn't like it when I get hurt, either.” “No one likes to see the person they care about get hurt.” The archer patted his shoulder. “Do you need anything?” The blonde shook his head. “No, I'll be fine. Just like the Deep Roads, except warmer. I'll let you know when she wakes up.” Adia gave him a sideways glance. “Right, so you need something to eat then if it's just like the Deep Roads. I'll bring you up something.” There was a knock on the door, and Fenris stood there with Leandra. Shadowfade came racing in, jumped on the bed, and curled up by Amber's head. “Adia, do you need anything?” the warrior wondered. “I'm fine, Fenris,” she replied with a smile. “Very well.” He turned away as Leandra sat next to Anders. “I'll be down in a little while for dinner, dear,” she told her middle child. The rogue gave her mother a hug and joined the Elf in the hallway. “...Are you okay?” “...The honest truth?” he replied after a moment. “No, I am not.” “What's on your mind?” she asked, taking his hand. “Your sister is injured, your mother beside herself with worry, you were nearly heartbroken, and I was slammed into a wall by Anders of all people.” Adia raised an eyebrow and grinned. “I can put you into a wall if it'll make you feel better. But Amber will be fine, and my mother always worries.” Fenris sighed heavily and leaned against the wall. “You know what I mean. And then the worst part was that I did actually feel... Threatened by that Fade creature.” Adia poked his nose. “He has a name, Fenris. I would greatly appreciate it if you used it. Justice is pretty powerful from what I've seen. No one would fault you for feeling threatened.” “Yet he resides in a body that under normal circumstances, I wouldn't even raise my guard around.” “Well, maybe this'll teach you not to underestimate people again.” “...And you are not angry with me for your sister's current condition?” “I've no one to blame for Amber getting hurt but myself. You do horrible things to me, and I let the situation get to me when I should have kept my wits and fought rather than stand there like a fool.” Fenris blinked at her, confused. “...You blame yourself? But... But I was the reason you lost your focus in the first place.” Adia shrugged and leaned against the wall next to him. “I shouldn't have let it get to me like it did. Yes, you were the cause of it, but I should have had more control over myself to not shut down like that.” “I am sorry, Adia.” He grabbed her and hugged her tightly for a moment. “I caused you that pain, and almost caused you to lose the one thing you keep fighting me over.” She returned the hug, resting her head on his chest and smiling a bit. “What's done is done, I don't fault anyone for it. I knew going in there was going to end badly. But,” Adia lifted her head and locked eyes with him, now grinning broadly. “If you ever betray me again, I just might have to beat your ass.” “I'll be sure to keep that in mind,” he acknowledged with a chuckle. “Maybe we should-” Leandra was suddenly in the doorway, smiling brightly. “Amber's awake!” The younger Hawke grabbed Fenris’ hand and dragged him back into the room, going right to her sister’s side. Amber looked confused as to where she was, and her eyes widened when she saw the warrior. “Got 'im back?” she asked, voice rough and raspy. “Sweetheart, try not to talk,” Anders admonished gently. “You might start-” “I'm fine, And-” the other mage interrupted, before a coughing fit stole the rest of her sentence. The blonde sighed and put a hand on her chest, a moment’s concentration making the coughing cease. “No, don't listen to the healer. He only knows what's best for you...” His lover’s response was to sheepishly stick her tongue out at him. “Logic, the biggest enemy in the world,” Adia teased, sitting on the edge of the bed. “You need to stop this bad habit of saving me from being stupid. Maybe if you let me get my ass kicked once I'd learn.” But Amber shook her head. “...My job...” “Amber, your sister is a big girl too,” Leandra chimed in. “Let her take her own lumps once in a while.” Again, the dark-haired girl shook her head. “Promised...” “Confused mage,” Anders stated, holding up a hand. “Amber...” the rogue said with a sigh as she poked her twin’s nose. “I'm sure even Father would agree to letting me getting whopped a few times. He wouldn't fault you for that.” The other girl rubbed her nose and frowned for a moment. “...Keep you... Safe...” “Amber, a mage doesn't exactly make the best bodyguard,” Fenris pointed out. “That's a fair point,” Leandra agreed. Amber narrowed her eyes and huffed. Adia swatted at the Elf, catching him on the shoulder. “Not helping.” “What? I was being truthful, and that is a reason for her to step back every so often. She is a mage, and more delicate than a warrior like myself.” “...She can light you on fire with a flick of her wrist. Delicate my ass.” She turned back to Amber. “You are a silly woman and I shall make you pay for being such when you're better.” But her twin was now looking back and forth between Adia and Fenris. “…Good now?” The archer just blushed and nodded. Leandra stood and smiled at her daughters. “That's my cue to leave, I think.” She kissed Amber's forehead. “Now be good and do what Anders tells you, all right? I'll bring up food for you two in a little while.” She turned and hugged Adia. “Thank you, dear, for being there for her.” “Always will be,” the redhead promised, returning the hug. “We might as well be attached at the hip.” As the older woman left the room, and uncomfortable silence slowly descended on the group. Finally, Amber looked at the Elf. “...Fenris...” “Yes?” he answered, slightly fearing the tirade that might follow. “...You...” She huffed and coughed for a moment. “Idiot...” Anders started snickering as the warrior seemed relieved. Adia giggled and patted her sister’s hand.“Your way with words is astounding, sister.” The red-eyed girl stuck her tongue out. “Well, if you don't want to be teased maybe you should listen to the healer and save the talking until you can do it. However,” She looked at Fenris. “Did you have something to say?” He fidgeted a bit before nodding. “Yes... Amber, I owe you an apology. It seems that no one is immune to a Demon's temptation. Not even myself.” “...Mm-hmm...” she said, giving him a sideways glance. Adia shifted her gaze to Anders, but still addressed the former slave. “And what about to them?” And now the warrior cringed and sighed heavily. “Adia, I'm not... I feel very uneasy when that- Justice manifests.” “Funny, I always feel uneasy around you,” the healer shot back, folding his arms across his chest as Amber giggled. “Does it have something to do with the lyrium?” the archer wondered. “Or the fact that the two of you are just jerks to each other?” “I am unsure,” Fenris revealed with a shrug. “I figured it was both,” Anders scoffed. “Anders...” Amber warned. “Right... Sorry...” “How about we all call a truce and just... Start over?” Adia offered. “And how do you propose we do that?” Fenris wondered. “Justice will probably hold a grudge, Adia. I know I will too,” Anders added. “You,” Adia pointed to Fenris. “Will stop being an ass to the mages. And you,” She looked at Anders. “...Are you two both going to hold a grudge against Isabella as well?” The healer frowned and shook his head. “Isabella doesn't profess to be better than mages. Though that whole "I never give in to temptation" bit was a rather laughable.” “It was, but it still doesn't change the fact that she did the same thing Fenris did. I doubt the outcome would have been much different if anyone else came with us. It's stupid to be mad at one and not the other,” the rogue pointed out. “Adia, define "being an ass to the mages",” the warrior brought up. “Be nice to them, or something that resembles nice. Don't bait, don't argue, and for the love of the Maker's ass use Anders' name.” “To be fair, I doubt "Anders" is his actual name,” the Elf said with a smirk. “...Says the Elf named Fenris,” the blonde retorted. Amber broke into giggles again, but that quickly dissolved into a short coughing fit. Adia flicked her gaze between the two of them and sighed. “You two are so alike it makes my head hurt.” “I'm not making any promises,” Anders informed them. “I'm a smart-ass by nature; you know that. And I know that anyone can be tempted by a Demon. The Circle in Ferelden, Tevinter, Merrill-” “All mages by the way, and not helping your case,” Fenris interrupted. “You and Isabella aren't mages, though. And the Commander was in the Fade a few times herself, and she and her companions were tempted at times too.” “...You too?” Amber realized as Anders grimaced. “Me too. I even suggested she ally with a blood mage at one point. I must have been temporarily insane.” “So we can all agree that everyone can be tempted by Demons, not just mages?” Adia spoke up. “I think we're making progress already.” “If you say so,” the warrior said. “Well, we haven't killed each other... Yet,” Anders added. “The day is young, and you are still you,” the former slaved reminded him, raising an eyebrow. Adia met her sister’s gaze and shook her head. “...It’s days like this that I question why I'm attracted to men and inwardly wish Isabella would teach me how women supposedly "go at it".” As her sister’s eyes went impossibly wide, and the healer began laughing, Fenris looked… Bothered. “You aren't serious, are you?” “Well, Isabella is good for "relieving tension" as she calls it,” Anders reminded them as the Elf frowned. “Not helping...” The archer smiled and hugged him, shaking her head. “No, I'm not serious. It was a joke.” “Be that as it may...” He looked at Anders and sighed. “Adia wanted me to speak to... Justice.” There was a pause as the healer pursed his lips. “...Okay, I'm going to make this clear: I am not responsible for how he reacts.” “...Be fine...” Amber assured him as she tugged on his coat. “I wanted him to apologize to Justice as well,” Adia told them, staying in front of Fenris. Anders dropped his eyes down for a moment, and then lifted them up. “If I may suggest a few things?” “That depends on what they are,” the warrior replied, folding his arms across his chest. Andes began ticking off points on his fingers. “Don't challenge him, don't argue with him, and for the Maker's sake, don't piss him off... I don't want to have Vengeance take over.” “...I will try not to do any of that, provided he also behaves himself.” “Trouble...” Amber predicted, rolling her eyes. “...I suddenly feel like we should go outside, if only to save Amber's room and the rest of the estate from being blown up,” Adia suggested. “No, better to do it here, in case passer-bys hear or see anything,” Anders countered. “I can agree on that,” Fenris said with a nod. “Just... Don't destroy the house,” the rogue warned. “I think Mother would be very sad.” Anders started to stand, but Amber grabbed his hand and held it. He nodded, closing his eyes, and the blue veins cracked open, what seemed like blue fire circling him. Justice opened his eyes and looked at Amber, relief and a bit of fear on his face. “I knew you were injured!” “Okay now...” the mage assured him. “But you were not, and you refused help. And then that Elf-” “Who is standing right here,” Fenris interrupted. Justice slowly turned his head, glaring at Fenris, whose markings flared for a moment as he took a small step back. Adia kept herself planted in front of the Elf, inwardly praying Justice wouldn't truck over her to get to him. “Justice... Please, hear him out.” “Say your peace,” the Spirit said after a moment’s pause. “I...” Fenris swallowed hard. “I attacked you wrongly in the Fade. The Demon whispered in my mind, and I believed that it would grant me what it promised. Had I been in my right mind-” “The outcome would have been no different,” Justice cut him off. “...Excuse me?” the former slave demanded, stunned. “Your apology has the right words, but the wrong feeling behind it. You are not sorry for attacking us. Given the chance, you might even do it now. You are sorry because Adia was emotionally damaged by your actions, and her sister was physically harmed, which caused her more grief. Your words are better saved for Adia.” He shook his head. “I cannot accept them as sincere.” Adia looked between the men a few times, tilting her head. “...Huh?” she finally asked, completely lost. “His apology is nothing but empty words, done for the wrong reasons,” Justice explained. “I may not understand mortal emotions very well, but I do know that a lack of emotion means you are not fully committed to whatever it is you are discussing. There is nothing in your voice, your stance, or your expression to indicate that you truly believe what you are saying, Elf. That means either you are lying, or you are merely placating someone.” Amber gave the glowing man a sideways glance and shook her head. “... Justice...” she sighed out, coughing a bit. Adia meanwhile, was staring at Fenris, who finally blinked at her. “...What?” “...Is he right?” The warrior pursed his lips and looked down. “...Partially. The Demon forcing me to attack, I am sorry for. You feeling betrayed, angry, and heartbroken, I am sorry for. Amber getting injured and worrying you and Lady Amell, I am sorry for.” “What aren't you sorry for?” the rogue demanded. “Saying it will defeat the whole point of this, Adia.” Silence descended on them again, and then Adia shoved him hard into the wall. Amber sat up in shock, and Justice watched the situation with mild confusion and amusement. “Not this again!” Fenris shouted, trying to remain still so that he did not provoke further action from anyone. “This seems to be the only way I can ever get an answer out of you. I thought you wanted to apologize because you were actually sorry for attacking Justice, not because you wanted to please me,” Adia explained, grinding her teeth a bit. “I'm sorry for how it happened,” he tried to tell her. “Elf, if you wish to fight me, we can settle this,” Justice proposed. Everyone went still at that statement, and Amber wasn’t sure she liked where this was going. “Um-” she started to say, before Fenris interjected. “You would risk me killing the body?” “You cannot kill us,” the Spirit replied with a smirk. “It would merely be a test to prove who is more capable. If we win, you will sincerely apologize, and never attack us again.” Adia stepped away from Fenris as the warrior considered the terms. “If I win?” he wondered. Justice shrugged and rocked on his heels for a moment. “We will admit we are an abomination, and surrender ourselves to the Circle.” “No,” Adia quickly said, seeing the fearful look on her twin’s face. “Why not?” the men asked in unison. “Because I said so. Those terms are insane!” She pointed at Justice. “In the chance you lose to him, you're not going to the Circle because it'd break my sister's heart, and I don't feel like blowing it up to get Anders out of there.” Now it was Fenris’ turn. “You're just not going to attack either of them again, ever.” “I wouldn't lose to him, Adia Hawke,” Justice assured her with a grin as he folded his arms. “But if that is your wish-” Fenris took the bait. “No, we will settle this. But if I win... If I win, you will never manifest around others again. If Amber chooses to associate with you, that is her decision.” “...Stubborn...” the red-eyed girl muttered. “I swear to the Maker that if either of you damage this house or call attention to the guards, I will end you both,” Adia stated with a sigh. “No, we will do this at my home,” the Elf told them. “Tomorrow. In front of everyone, so there is no backing out of our deal.” “Those terms are acceptable,” Justice agreed. “Until tomorrow.” The veins disappeared, and Anders fell to the floor, swearing as he shakily got to his feet.“Of all the bloody stubborn, idiotic, ego-driven ideas...” “...Okay?” Amber asked, reaching for his hand. “I'm fine, love. For the moment, anyway.” He sat down and ran his free hand across his face, still shaking his head. “For the record, I think this is a horrible idea. A horrible, very bad idea,” Adia brought up. “Me too,” the healer agreed as Amber vigorously nodded. “What's so bad about it?” Fenris wanted to know. “Firstly, for as much as you're going to be fighting Justice, it's still Anders' body. Secondly, I'm not sure either of you know when enough is enough and you're both too stubborn to yield,” the rogue pointed out. Anders raised his hand. “For the record, I'm a big baby who really doesn't want any more scars from blades.” The archer stared at the former slave, a very serious look in her eyes. “Promise me that you'll stop before it gets out of hand... Before one or both of you are hurt.” “Adia, what could he do to hurt me?” “Need I remind you that I sent you flying into the wall of my clinic,” Anders stated, raising an eyebrow. “Without needing to touch you.” “...I promise to stop before Anders is the one needing healing,” the warrior vowed with an evil grin. The healer looked at Amber and sighed. “Sweetheart, it's been a pleasure knowing y-” She smacked him as hard as she could on the arm. “OW!” “...Not funny...” she wheezed as another coughing fit seized her. Anders held her until she could breathe normally again. “...I'm sorry,” he apologized softly, kissing her forehead. “...I'm not going to patch up your wounds if you get your ass kicked,” Adia told Fenris, frowning at him. “I will not have need of healing.” “Fenris, you’ve never seen Justice fight,” Anders argued. “I have seen you fight.” The blonde stared dumbstruck at the other man. “It's not the same thing! He's not a mage!” “Then I shall need to be a quick study tomorrow,” the Elf retorted with a shrug. Adia had heard enough, and proceeded to drag Fenris into the hall, closing the door after them. What would it take to get through to him? “You have no idea what you're getting yourself into,” she cautioned. “And you do?” “I've seen Justice fight, Fenris. You're not going to be fighting Anders. I don't think you get that.” “And how is it so different?” The rogue put her hands on her hips. “He fights like you do.” That made Fenris worried for a moment. “Explain.” “He's a warrior, you dope. At least from what I can gather. You're not going to be fighting some delicate mage tomorrow. Not by a long shot.” “He is still in a mage's body, regardless of what he was,” the Elf dismissed. “That will factor into it. I am not worried, Adia, nor should you be.” “I am worried, you ass. I'm worried you're going to get hurt, and I'm worried Anders is going to get hurt. If you weren't going to be sincere about apologizing, then you should have just told me you weren't really sorry instead of faking it.” “It meant something to you, though,” he replied, looking at the floor. “I didn't realize he could sense my emotions. Or lack thereof.” Adia huffed in annoyance. “It did mean something to me, but I'd rather you be truthful than lie about it. Now I can't help but wonder if you're even really sorry you betrayed us at all.” “Adia, no!” He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her close. “I didn't want to hurt you. I do not want to hurt you. And you were hurt by my actions, and for that I am sorry. But the truth? I chose my first target. And anyway, it wouldn't have mattered. Anders would just have woken from the Fade like Isabella and I did.” “And what would have happened if you beat Justice?” she asked, looking up at him. “Who would you have attacked after that? Amber? You do realize that if you ever raise a finger at my sister, I'd kill you with out a second thought.” “...Yes, I know. Nor do I wish to test you on that.” Fenris was positive she would make good on her threat, and the long range and short temper of the archer was enough to keep him in line. She grinned at him. “Smart man. Why did you accept its offer, anyway?” “I... Do not know. At the time, I felt like it would be the only way for me to defeat Danarius. Now... Now I just feel used and foolish.” “You know if he ever came for you we wouldn't allow it, right? I know you and my sister and Anders have your differences, but there's not one person in our group who'd allow that to happen.” She gently caressed his cheek, but he shook his head. “Are you certain about that? They wouldn't cheer to see me gone so they could get back to their crusade in peace?” “Fenris, regardless of how they feel about you, they know slavery is wrong. You've seen it yourself what happens to the slavers we run into. Stop being silly.” “I still think they feel it would be better were I not around. I am the only one aside from Sebastian and Aveline who does not outright support this crusade of theirs. And I am the most opposed to it.” “Yes, but I want you around, so that has to count for something, right?” “I... I suppose it does. Amber wishes to ensure your happiness as much as you ensure hers. She has what she wants, and you... Have what you want?” He looked down at the woman in his arms as she wrapped hers around his neck. “I think so.” Adia gave him a soft kiss and smiled. “Do you have what you want?” “For the most part,” he replied with a small smile of his own. “I will admit to still wanting Danarius' heart in my hand, but for now... I am content.” “Good. Just... Promise me you won't underestimate Justice tomorrow. I really don't want to have to tell you "I told you so" while nursing you back to health.” “I will be fine, my little rogue,” he assured her. “I'll just have to take your word for it,” she said with a sigh. “Stubborn man.”* * *The estate had quieted down after dinner, with Adia and Fenris heading into the library to talk and drink, while Anders remained upstairs with Amber. The healer was sitting on “their” bed, watching the dark-haired woman sleep, when a sound at the door caused him to turn. Leandra stood there, but instead of concern, he saw... Intention? “Leandra, is everything-” “You and I need to talk, Anders,” she cut in uncharacteristically. The blonde hung his head, know that a serious tone like that could only mean one thing was being asked about. “Justice.” There was a sigh of resigned acceptance that escaped him. He'd shown the mother of the woman he loved a reason to fear him. It was all over. He never should have- “I get the impression that I am the last to know about... Him?” There was a gentle, yet slightly disapproving tone to Leandra's voice as she came up to the bed. “Well, not the last. But if I can be honest, I'd liked you to have never know about him.” “Why is that? What is he?” “A Fade Spirit. Of Justice. We met while I was in the Wardens and became friends.” Now the older woman had a confused look. “How does one become friends with a Spirit?” Anders shrugged and smiled a bit. “Honestly, you usually don't. But he was trapped outside the Fade after a magical mishap, and the Commander said he could come with us. Since I was the only healer, everywhere those two went, I followed. We got to talking, and he eventually convinced me to try and free the mages of Thedas from the Templars.” “So you two can talk even though you share a body?” The confusion was slowly turning into curiousness. Anders realized he'd left out a couple of important details. “Oh, well... Yes, but we weren't always together. When Justice was first trapped here, he inhabited a... A corpse.” “Why that's dreadful!” “Yes, it was, but we all got used to it. But when we gave the body back to the former owner's widow, I volunteered to be his... Body.” Saying it out loud in this manner made the healer realize just how odd this whole arrangement really sounded. “How long have you been together?” “Right before we came to Kirkwall, so about 4 years, give or take.” “How long have Amber and Adia know about him?” Ah, now here was one of the questions he'd been dreading a bit. He doubted very much that Leandra would like the girls keeping this from her. “Since the beginning,” he finally admitted, looking away from her. “We were going to try and save a friend of mine, but the Templars... He was... I couldn't-” There was a gentle hand on his shoulder, and he looked up into Leandra's eyes. Eyes that matched Adia's, including the acceptance he saw in them. “Amber told me what happened to Karl. And Malcolm told me enough about what can happen to a mage that the Templars don't like.” Anders nodded, and found himself pulled into a motherly embrace. “I trust you Anders. You are a good man. And once I speak to this Justice, I'll be satisfied.” “I...” There was no argument he could make that wouldn't sound like a flimsy excuse. So he pulled back, stood up, and took a deep breath. 'Behave yourself,'he warned. 'As if I would harm Amber's mother,'was the indignant reply. Leandra watched as blue lines began lighting up all across Anders' frame, even shining beneath his clothes. A moment later, his eyes flashed to a pupil-less, glowing blue, and he- No, Justice- bowed to her. It was a very knightly move. “Lady Leandra Amell, I am Justice. It is good to finally meet you face-to-face.” His voice was deeper, and there was a reverberation that made the hair on the back of her neck stand up for a moment. But Leandra hadn't been raised a noble to forget her manners now. She stood and curtsied back. “Ser Justice, it is indeed good to meet you.” “My apologies for my.. Outburst earlier today. There is still much anger I need to work through, and Fenris seems to be able to bring us back down so easily.” “I can imagine that a former slave from Tevinter would have some issues with a Spirit of the Fade,” she conceded. “But if you could please try to not injure him? Adia would be very upset if something happened to that young man.” Justice frowned, sighing heavily for a moment. “I can make no promises, especially since he and I are dueling tomorrow afternoon.” “Dueling? Whatever for?” “Because of the exact reason you mentioned. Fenris believes I am a Demon, and therefore Anders an Abomination. If I win, then he will stop calling us these things.” Now it was Leandra's turn to frown. “And if Fenris wins?” “Then only Amber will ever be speaking directly to me again. I promised I would never manifest around anyone else.” “Isn't there a better way to settle your differences than fighting?” “We are both warriors, Lady Amell. And warriors settle things in this manner. Rest assured, Anders will be fine. Both of your daughters have forbidden us to kill each other, and we will stop the duel if they tell us to.” Somehow, that didn't make Leandra feel too much better. “You sound like a Chevalier.” “A what?” “A Chevalier. A knight of Orlais. They are supposed to be warriors who hold to a high moral code;who uphold justice for everyone.” Now the Spirit was intrigued. “That does sound like the ideal I embody. Perhaps a mortal long ago met one of my brethren and took that purpose back to the waking world.” “Perhaps it was even you yourself.” Now he shrugged, wondering if maybe was she correct. Though he hadn't interacted with mortals often in the Fade, he had always tried to teach those that asked about his namesake. “I have one further question, if you will indulge me?” “Of course.” “What is Amber to you?” He blinked, silence descending on the room. It was the question he'd been trying to answer for himself three years now. “I... Do not have an answer to that, Lady Amell.” “No? She and Anders are lovers, and were friends before that.” “Feelings and emotions are still new and confusing to me,” the Spirit admitted. “But Amber means the world to both of us, and we would die defending her, or avenging her. ” Leandra smiled and nodded, curtsying once again. “That is all I needed to hear. Goodnight, Ser Justice. Tell Anders not to be so worried about you.” She took her leave, and the healer piped up from where their essences merged: 'Easy for her to say. Andraste's knickers, that was nerve-wracking.' 'Why? She wished to know about me, and seemed pleased with my answers.' 'Thankfully. She could have easily decided we ARE an Abomination and run to the Templar.' 'Never. You worry too much. Amber's mother would never betray us like that.'Anders resumed control, looking at the still-sleeping Amber. “You're right. I guess I'm still just nervous that this happiness will all fall apart one day.” “Worry later,” Amber's soft voice drifted up as her eyes fluttered open. “Come to bed.” The blonde smiled as he got changed and climbed in beside her. “Goodnight, love.” “Love you too.” Then she was asleep again, and Anders followed soon after. Tomorrow was going to be an interesting day.
Fereldan BarbariansWhen Zevran reappeared in the evening after leaving Eamon’s estate hours earlier, no one was surprised to see that he had brought something with him. They had plenty of money and the others had already spent some of it in Denerim’s huge market that seemed to have just a bit of everything in it. What they did not expect, however, was the way he held the bag close to him as if to protect it. Naturally gold was the automatic assumption, then the question of just where he got such a large bag of gold, but when the elf ran off to the kitchen of all places, that was when the curiosity took full hold.He could hear their mutterings to each other as he slipped away. Really, they had been travelling with an elf for weeks and they still didn’t take into consideration that he could hear them just fine when they lowered their voices low enough for human standards. If he hadn’t been so happy then he would have been offended. His excited, noiseless steps carried him to the kitchen where they all gave him curious stares, which he ignored as he ran to the little corner he had set up for himself. It still lay untouched and Zevran couldn’t have been happier that his simple request was heeded. That might have also been because they were all servants (elf servants) but he refused to let that rankle him now.The assassin seated himself and rubbed his hands together, excitement dancing in his chest like how his people would dance with their feet flying during the Satinalia festival. He couldn’t remember being so ecstatic since he had first lain with the warden. With deft hands he undid the bag and let the scent of its contents overwhelm him rush of warmth: the sharp roasted scent and with a heaviness that hid its bitter flavor. But with it came a pang of homesickness so strong that it twisted his gut harder than any knife. He remembered the smell of the cafes in Antiva City, with spices and pastries and coffee and he better stop thinking of such things now while he had the coffee beans right here and wasn’t even doing anything with them. It had cost him a small fortune and hours of running around trying to find an Antivan merchant who was selling proper coffee beans and not the low-quality trash they sold to ignorant foreigners, but it would all be worth it.There were curious stares, Zevran could sense them, but he ignored them as he poured the roasted beans into the grinder, carefully measuring out a proper amount. He could hardly believe that he actually found a genuine coffee grinder in Arl Eamon’s household, but the noble had admitted that it had been a gift from a visiting Antivan and he didn’t use it that often. For shame! He hoped the Antivan never found out about Eamon’s indifference to his precious gift. It was an insult where he lived.He hummed a little as he worked, grinding the tough beans into grains, then even finer until they were like sand. Laborious, time consuming, but with the smell that rose from them it was all beautiful and worth every second. It was so close to home, the smell of fire and wood and the warmth coffee aroma that drifted about the kitchen and had even the most indifferent cook turning their head to catch a whiff of the tantalizing smell. Zevran grinned and filled the little pot that came with the set with his fresh grounds, then water and spices on top of it, then scooted it close to the fire while being careful not to set it in the coals. It would have a place on the hearth, out of the way of everything.What barbarians, who didn’t even use the gifts they were given! Presented with the finest fruits of his homeland and ignored them! Well he would fix that, he would see to it. He dealt with the sugar and cream while he waited for the coffee to boil, and when he could hear it bubbling he snatched it up before it spill over and began disturbing it among the tiny porcelain cups, all of them hand painted and decorated in little gold swirls. They were no doubt the most expensive thing in the whole kitchen, actually this whole floor of the house (and he had looked) and weren’t even put to use! He ignored the annoyance it brought him and sipped his right away, a silly smile spreading across his face at the familiar warmth and sharp taste that invaded his body and—ah! Perfection, like being at home. Sweet, sweet bliss that radiated from his body and left him feeling weightless.Humming again, Zevran picked up the tray and made his way gracefully out of the kitchen, the cups barely rattling from his movements. Oh, he couldn’t wait to have his friends try them! He would let Antiva seduce them all with her wonders and beauty and educate these barbarians yet.
Inquisitor Allanys - Dragon Age Inquisition by LoohConrado
Aidan Hawke - Dragon Age 2 by LoohConrado
Ah Yes by VeneficaVespera
[COMMISSION] Grace Ashwell by xxmiraine
Hawkes by grapeChello
face by grapeChello
Mentoring by KalypsosWonderland
Saarebas by KalypsosWonderland
Dragon Age Origins
Warden by nica-nyan
Commision by SirinAnari
Don't go... by KalypsosWonderland
Dragon Age Origins: Writhing Wrath by PaleCaesar
Dragon Age Awakening
Noble Beast by arcanefeathers
Anders x Surana by VeneficaVespera
Secret Santa Gift: Surprise Hug! by Mutantenfisch
Commission: A Warden's Kiss by Mutantenfisch
Dragon Age II
Fenris fanart by KiraxHuimang
Marian Hawke by DrosselTira
Bethany Vampire Milf by GothicGamerXIV
Guardian of the Lilies by point-maitimo
Dragon Age Inquistion
Commission - Inquisitor Narquelion by point-maitimo
Tarot Cards
Dorian by point-maitimo
Composit Other
Ghilannain mask by Ekalita
Simple Templars bifold wallet by Arnakhat
Right Hand by kupieckorzenny










I am a horrible person. I can't believe it took me this long to announce the winner. I'm so sorry guys!

Ok, so I know this is roughly 6 months late, again, I'm very sorry for the delay, but today I will finally announce the winner of the Sumer Sun and Fun Contest!

Congratulations Slykins for your winning piece!

Summer Fun Contest by Slykins

As promised 1,000 points have been sent to you and your work will be on display in the Featured folder for 1 month, or until I remember to take it down.

Thank you guys for being patient with me and I can;t thank you enough for joining the group and helping it grow to where we are today.
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Meerkat-meow Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2018
Thanks for accepting me! :)
LilSisSyd Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome!!
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LilSisSyd Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I'm sorry. Yes, of course, you can join. I usually do the acceptions however I just recently changed jobs and I haven't had time to sit down and go through the submissions for too long. I apologize if it seemed like we were ignoring you. I promise that the next time you ask to join, I'll accept it as soon as I can. 
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Thanks for the add :D
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Thanks for letting me join :happybounce:
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