"Oh come on, you know you want to." Marric flashed a smirk, his bright green eyes glittering with mischief.
"No. I do not." Fenris groaned as he hoisted his broadsword over his shoulder in a practiced motion. He scowled at the mage, narrowing his moss green eyes.
"But, you would look so stunning in mage robes, Fenris. Hate all you want, but mages at least know fashion." Marric teased as he did a little half spin, placing his hands on his hips and batting his eyelashes. His spiky red hair bouncing slightly as he posed.
Fenris raised an eyebrow at Marric. Slightly taken off guard by the action. The fool mage couldn't seem to say anything without it turning into some kind of elaborate prank or joke. That mouth of his would no doubt get him in trouble one day.
"Keep your fashion to yourself, mage. I have no use for dresses." Fenris couldn't help but smirk. Something about Marric's bright green eyes, carefree humor, and teasing attitude brought out this uncontrollable urge to either punch him or mock him. Most of the time Fenris went with the latter. Marric, after all, was a powerful mage, even if he did often make a fool of himself.
"Dresses?" Marric laughed. "Oh, I see how it is. Don't deny it, Fenris.. you would love to see me out of this dress." He winked at the elf, flashing a toothy smile, a direct contrast to his dark caramel skin.
"Ughh.... That is your whole point? Hawke, don't be ridiculous. Besides, did we not come out here for a reason? Or was this another one of your jokes as well?" Fenris shifted his weight, crossing his arms in annoyance.
"Didn't you hear that Qunari outside of the Docks? He said a whole Qunari patrol went missing. Then he had the audacity to blame me. As if I would do something so... so.." Marric's tone became a bit more frantic, and he stumbled on the words a bit.
"Brash? Naive? Impulsive?" Fenris offered, bluntly. A slight smirk on his lips.
"I was going to say brave..." Marric beamed, "but truth is.. I'm not sure if I like the idea of hunting something that made a whole patrol of those guys disappear. Of course, that's why I brought you along."
"Then let us hope we fare better than them." Fenris grumbled. Marric always seemed to run into trouble. Even if he didn't go looking for it, somehow it still inevitably found him.
They were walking along one of the paths on a cliff's edge in the Wounded Coast. Marric had apparently become bored on their long walk, and decided to chastise Fenris in his usual fashion. He had known the mage for 3 years now, and something about Marric... he couldn't quite put it into words, but the foolish mage had such an easy going manner Fenris couldn't help but be drawn to him. That and his ridiculous facial hair. That slight tuft that jutted out from his chin. It distracted Fenris at times, but was just so... Marric.
Whatever that means...
A sudden grumble of thunder in the distance startled Fenris out of his thoughts.
"Great, and now it looks like the Wounded Coast is going to rain all over this little outing. Sure you don't want to rethink that leather, Fenris? I bet it chafes something awful when wet." Marric's grin was back, a mischievous look glittering in his eyes.
"hmph. I'm sure I will make due. Let us just find this patrol, or what is left of them, and be done here." Fenris's patience was starting to wear thin. In truth he wasn't looking forward to being stuck out in the middle of nowhere, and especially not in the rain.
"Over here..." Marric said as he spotted a side path, nearly hidden by underbrush. It led down the cliff face toward the ocean below. "I think I see something."
Fenris stepped in front of the mage instinctually, knowing that if they were about to come across a foe it would not be wise for Marric to be the first one into the fray. They made their way cautiously down the cliff. Fenris noticed Marric had one hand poised on his staff, ready to pull out a spell. He also noticed the mage had stopped talking. A rare occurrence.
"I don't like this..." Marric said uncomfortably. "It feels.. wrong.." Marric's eyes darted around. No longer the mischievous look, but one of general apprehension.
Then they saw it. On a small outcropping, the remnants of the Qunari patrol were splattered and mangled across the ground. Their blood soaking the white sand a deep crimson.
Fenris drew his greatsword. "These bodies are fresh. Whatever did this could still..." but he never got a chance to finish.
The tingle of magic buzzed across his flesh, and his markings lit up in response. A shade, two, three, demons summoned around them... but.. where was the mage responsible? Fenris sprung into action, charging the shades, swinging his greatsword in a large, sweeping arch, slashing through the beasts. He raised his sword above his head and let it come crashing down full force, splitting one shade from head to base. It groaned with an ethereal tone and then dissipated into the void. "Venhedis..." Fenris said, using his anger to focus his attack on the next shade. Slashing with quick, practiced motions, he quickly rendered the shade into pieces, and it, too, vanished.
Fenris heard a low growl manifest directly behind him. He turned, only to see the face of a rage demon encased in ice. Marric always did have good timing. He nodded to the mage, who was slinging fire and ice in turn at the remaining shades, slowing them, and shattering their ethereal frames, leaving only a residual smear on the sand. Fenris raised his sword to the rage demon, shattering it's frozen form with one blow, icy splinters scattering in all directions.
"Where is the mage?!" Fenris yelled out. "This is blood magic, there has to be a mage!" Marric was finishing off the last of the shades, Fenris darted to his side to keep him from being vulnerable to attack. The last of the shades fell to a fiery blast that sent it screaming back to the void with its brethren.
"I saw no mage, unless I count myself, but there has to be one, right? I've never heard of shades summoning themselves. Whoever it was, they couldn't have gotten far." Marric started looking around, trying to glean where a rogue mage could be hiding.
Fenris took off down the path, searching the cliff for any signs of someone fleeing the aftermath. He leaned over the path's edge, narrowing his eyes, listening for footsteps. Nothing. Just the growing clouds enshrouding the coast in shadow and mist.
Suddenly from behind him he heard Marric call out.. "A little help here?!"
Fenris charged back up the path, in time to see Marric, fending off an abomination. Fire and ice shooting from his hands as he spun his staff in practiced rhythm. "I think I found the mage!" He smiled even as he wore a face of concentration.
Fenris charged the abomination. The fleshy, mangled creature was larger than any shade, and Fenris needed to position himself between it and Marric. He leaped into the air, and his blade came down onto the demon's head with a sickening crack. The mangled face, still retaining some semblance of humanity, turned to him. Blood splattered from the ghastly wound, but the abomination just roared in anger and came forward. His full focus on Fenris now.
Good. That was my intent. He smirked.
"Ahh, a shame that you are going to die, no?" Fenris taunted the abomination, his rage flooding him, his markings making his whole body surge with blue light.
Marric unleashed a sheet of ice that froze the abomination in its tracks. Its movements becoming slow and clumsy. Fenris was quick, and landed another powerful blow through the creature's shoulder, cutting it down through its torso. It fell, making a final, sickening, gurgling, groan; joining the dead Qunari in the sand. The crimson pool underneath it growing as the wounds continued to bleed.
"Guess we know what happened to the Qunari, then."Marric said, a slight sadness in his voice. He placed his staff back onto his back in a practiced, nonchalant motion. "Of course, it had to be blood magic.." he whispered it.
"Hmph. At least we can report back and clear your name." Fenris grunted. Marric and him did not always see eye to eye, especially when it came to mages, but he knew when Marric had that kind of tone it would do no good to bring it up. The abomination was dead, and so was the patrol. Fenris decided to leave it at that, and remained silent.
"Yeah, well that was kind of a long walk for not much, huh?" Marric's smile was back. "It will be just as long walking back. Damn Qunari."
As if to accentuate the point, a peal of lightning tore across the sky, carrying with it a loud rumbling of thunder.
"Well, this is just getting better and better..." Marric laughed, and looked up at the darkening sky. "Think we will make it back to Kirkwall before drowning?" he laughed.
"No. We need to find somewhere to wait out the storm. It appears --"
"Catastrophic? World Breaking? Monsoonish? Downright Deadly?" Marric cut him off mid-sentence.
"I was going to say worthy of the Wounded Coast," Fenris couldn't help but chuckle.
"Oh, well in that case..." Marric laughed, "One of these caves? Hopefully it isn't overrun with Tal-Vashoth or bandits... or spiders..."
"Or more abominations." Fenris growled under his breath.
Marric sighed loudly, "And here I thought 'maybe he won't say anything about it!' Guess that was too much to hope for, huh? Is this where you tell me how every mage has to do this? How every mage finds some excuse for power, even if it means turning into.. into.. that..." Marric pointed a finger at the abomination still laying in the sand, a dark husk of mangled flesh with startling human eyes that stared up at them.
"One day you will realize that not every mage is worth your pity, Hawke." Fenris retorted, a slight sneer coming to his lips.
Another peal of lighting, this time igniting the coast in a blaze of white fire, the clap of thunder drowning out any sound, rumbling through the earth at their feet. The wind picked up suddenly, blowing sand and underbrush across the path. Fenris brushed away the shock of white hair that blew into his eyes. Marric's red spikes of hair jostled slightly, and his robes whipped around his legs.
"I don't want to argue with you, Fenris. As much fun as it would be to see you get all wet and uncomfortable in this torrential downpour, I'm not keen on staying out here debating while lightning strikes us dead." Marric's grin was back. Jokes again. Typical Marric.
"Then let us go, quickly." Fenris offered.
Though he knew it was probably too much to hope for that they would actually find an abandoned cave, and so kept one hand poised ready to unsheathe his greatsword at a moment's notice.
He smiled when he saw Marric had his hand similarly poised on his staff. Marric may be naive when it comes to mages, but he was not unskilled or unaware. Fenris respected that in him.
They headed back up the path, heading west. The lightning was coming quicker now, and the wind came in forceful gusts. Although it was mid-day the sky was dark, overcast, the heavy scent of moisture lingered in the air.
Suddenly they heard shouts from the path above them, Fenris knew those shouts, Qunari. Tal-Vashoth to be more precise.
A few light drops of rain began to stain the sand. They were out of time.
"Shall we end this quickly?" Fenris smirked at Marric as the mage drew his staff.
"We had better, this rain is going to absolutely ruin my robes, not to mention my hair." Marric laughed. "After you, Fenris." He made a grandiose bow at the waist and gestured his hand toward the approaching Tal-Vashoth.
"Hmph." Fenris grunted as he charged past the mage into his first victim, making quick work of the stunned mercenary as Marric slung fire and ice from behind him. The rain was coming down heavier now, the blood from the fallen enemies mixing with it, turning the white sand below them into a dark red mire.
Fenris barely dodged an arrow as two archers appeared ahead. Marric turned his attention to them. A ball of ice freezing one solid while the other was consumed in flames. He turned his head and could see Marric a good distance behind him, twirling his staff, throwing his hands out in all directions. From the side another warrior charged toward the mage. Fenris had his sword buried deep in the torso of an enemy in front of him. He had no time. He tried to shout a warning, but the Tal-Vashoth was already on Marric. "Vishante!" he cursed, as he pulled his sword out in a sickening spray of gore, and charged to intercept.
Marric was distracted, trying to pin down and finish off the archers. He did not see until too late. The warrior knocked him off his feet, but Fenris was on him. He charged in front of Marric, his foot slipping on the slick sand slightly. The warrior was close, too close, and Fenris instinctually reached his arm out, plunging it into the Tal-Vashoth. His eyes went wide, a cracking of bone, and tearing of flesh resonated as Fenris withdrew his gauntlet from the victim. The rain already washing the dark gore from his armored fist.
He turned to Marric, who was trying to get to his feet. "All done? Alas." Fenris smiled down as Marric slipped in the slick sand, unable to get proper footing. Fenris offered him his hand with a slight chuckle.
"My hero! See, I knew there was a reason I liked you." Marric teased, accepting Fenris's hand and pulling himself to his feet cautiously. He was beaming at Fenris, that silly grin, but as Marric got to his feet Fenris realized how close they actually were.
Marric hadn't let go of his arm, and those bright green eyes were staring into his own. The rain had plastered Marric's hair down somewhat, but it was still in those ridiculous spikes somehow. He could hear Marric's quickened breath, his chest rising and falling. From the battle no doubt. Even in the rain the man had that fierce grin. It was... Fenris suddenly realized his heart was beating a little too fast. An impulse began creeping into his mind. The realization that being so close... didn't bother him.
"The cave..." Fenris managed to break the awkward moment as they stood staring at one another.
"Yeah, right. Cave, shelter, rain." Marric chuckled. "Here..." he continued, and began to remove his outer robe.
"You want to do that here?" Fenris raised an eyebrow at him.
"Now what do you think I'm planning?" Marric leaned in slightly, putting his face even with Fenris. As cold as the rain was, and as insistent as the chill in the wind came, Fenris somehow still felt his face go hot.
He quickly looked to the side uncomfortably, and took a couple of steps backwards. He was never sure what Marric was going to do next. It was... concerning. Especially when Fenris was caught off guard by something Marric said or did. Which was more often than he liked to admit.
"Oh, Maker Fenris... I'm not going to run around butt naked in the rain or anything. What do you take me for?! Here! Look!" Marric laughed and lifted the robe above his head as a make-shift canopy.
As if on cue the rain began pouring down even harder. Marric had to shout a little over the sound of the wet drops berating the stones and sand. It seemed to mute everything around them. Everything except Marric and his bright red hair, holding his precious mage robe, which was covered in sand and mud, over his head in some futile attempt to keep dry.
"Oh, well that's.. something." Fenris stood for a moment, realizing that he had no choice but to endure the rain. His chest plate would not exactly make a good canopy. He could feel his hair heavy on his forehead and water dripped into his eyes. He tried to brush the white tendrils away, but they stuck, and he eventually just sighed and gave up trying. He turned to start making his way up the path, but before he could get two steps in Marric's laughter stopped him.
"Fenris, if you could see yourself right now..." Marric cackled. "Just.. get over here." He said between laughs, and motioned for Fenris to join him under the "canopy."
"It's just rain. I don't..." Fenris began, but Marric cut him off.
"Fenris if you say you would rather walk up to that cave looking like a drowned cat, then I'm going to feel guilty about having this. I'll have to walk in the rain with you just to make myself not feel guilty, and then we will both look like drowned cats." Marric smiled. "Promise I won't bite... well, not unless you want me to." He waved his hand again, indicating a spot next to him.
"Drowned cat is it?" Fenris sneered mockingly. The rain was coming in sheets, and it was pointless to stand here debating something so ridiculous. "Fine." Fenris complied and took his place next to Marric under the robe. The taller man leaned down slightly to accommodate him, their shoulders touching as Fenris held his side of the robe up above his head.
It felt warm, and dry, and the world around them suddenly seemed so cold.
It took a couple of tries before they were walking in sync enough that the robe kept both of them under it. Marric laughing and Fenris smirking when one of them would pull the robe too much and leave the other exposed to the rain, causing them to draw closer to each other in attempt to stay dry.
"This is ridiculous. You do know that right?" Fenris finally said as they reached the mouth of the cave.
"Yeah... but you know what?" Marric turned toward him, their faces only inches apart. "I finally got you to wear my robes." He smiled, those bright green eyes glittering.
Fenris laughed. A true laugh. It came out of him unexpectedly, and he realized he couldn't remember feeling anything like it before. This mage, Marric Hawke, what was he; that he could bring out such things.