Zevran/Greagoir: this needs to end
She was cruel to the end, his Warden, the one who saw him as more than an object, one who he could confide in and who he had feelings for, feelings he thought long dead as he sought death after Rinna. She had not given him self-worth, she had done one better, she had helped him to find it and now he is bereft. He wishes he could find it within him to hate her but no, he cannot. He will remember their talks, their times in the tent, that she went to her death with his earring, his token of affection, the only other thing he had left to give her.
He finds himself drifting. They split apart; Alistair remains, Sten and the Mabari go together, Oghren goes off to join the Wardens, Wynne and Shale travel, Leliana stays in Denerim and Morrigan has disappeared.
It is a madness that drives him to the shores of Lake Calenhad but he is allowed to enter the tower where he seeks out Knight-Commander Greagoir, the man in his office, staring at nothing and if he is surprised to find an Antivan Crow in his office, seeking him out for no particular reason then he does not show it. Zevran is allowed to remain following a discussion that he will confine himself and talk to none of the mages, will not stir up trouble and Zevran follows the orders for what else is he to do? He listens for traces of her and the First Enchanter has a wealth of tales of the talented mage who stole his heart but he finds more company in Greagoir.
So easy, to fall back into an old crutch. This is sex. This is meaningless. This is him proving he can still do something, still has some modicum of worth and value without her, without anything. Why the Knight-Commander says yes, he does not question and every night it becomes routine, Zevran chasing his pleasure relentlessly, Greagoir seeking whatever it is until it comes to a halt.
"I cannot," Greagoir says firmly and he is so much larger than Zevran, age having diminished none of his strength, "she was a good girl, an honest girl, she was well loved within these walls."
"She was well loved without them too," Zevran replies, grief tightening his voice.
"This needs to end. This will end. You will not find what you search for here and I have sullied her memory enough by dallying with you."
"How did you know?"
Greagoir gives a sad smile that stirs something in Zevran's chest. "I have known her since she was handed over to us - she mooned over a Templar boy once," Zevran knows, remembers her crying about this Cullen into his chest so openly he had panicked over what he was to do with her, what he was meant to say when he had never cried for Rinna, "Not that a thing came of it but I saw her with you. She loved you lad."
To Antiva then. To bloody streets in boots she found and in gloves she gave. To the life he has always known, merciless and cold, an endless procession of cut throats and bodies in his bed for just the night. He throws himself into his work and wraps his old life around him like a cloak, Greagoir's words following him with every action. This needs to end, the Crows, this wretched gaping void in the middle of him that he fills how he can but it is never enough, will never be enough but he cannot seem to die, doomed to go on living all the years alone that they should have had together.
Cruel to the end, she was and so too, shall he be.
Sten/Warden: anything to keep warm
He has become used to how keenly humans feel the passing of the seasons and when winter comes, she attaches herself more keenly to his side or finds excuses to use her fire spells to keep warm. He is accustomed now, to icy fingers sneaking beneath his shirts or armour, and he did not shriek like a girl child when she did it the first time. He is going against the Qun but this Warden, this Saarebas, this woman, she is honourable and he still has not returned to Par Vollen, is in Amaranthine with her as she establishes the Grey Wardens Order anew.
In what she calls 'intolerable bloody cold, by Andraste's frozen holy nipples'.
He still does not fully understand these people and their remarks invoking their deities. But his thoughts are interrupted by her crawling into bed, shivering and shoving her bare feet between his thighs which makes him grunt before reaching down to rub them, chafing heat back into pale skin.
"What is your wish Kadan?" He asks as is custom and she smiles, leaning up to kiss him and tug at his hair lightly.
"Undress," she commands, a voice he has followed since she was a callow girl learning how to fight battles and recruit allies and assemble an army.
"Meravas," he replies and she does likewise before she tugs at him so he is wrapped around her; she is so small compared to him but there is strength, even if it is not wholly physical, in this form and she has learned how to look for an advantage and press it when she wants to.
He has fond memories of that.
"Removing our clothes does not get us closer to being warm."
"I read a book in the tower, a torrid romance about a couple lost in the Anderfels," she begins, smirking and tracing her fingers down his arm and over an old scar, "they were so cold, they thought they might freeze to death but they would do anything to stay warm. Anything."
"Parshaara," he retorts, even as he strokes down her back, "that would not-"
"Parshaara," she echoes, "Humour me."
"Meravas," he assents.
Kadan: That which is held close to the heart.
Meravas: "So shall it be."
Zevran/Tamlen: on unsteady legs
Whatever this is between them, it is out of loss. Zevran tells him of Rinna once the sorry story of Mahariel has been told and they drink into the night saluting two brave women who met their death at their hands, at the hands of those who loved them more than anything else. It is not gentle between them. It is hard edges, the raw, scraping agony of loss, the sharp jagged edges of their own pain against the other, the deaths so different yet still the same. It is what anchors Tamlen enough to keep on. To sink his knife between the ribs of the Shriek that was once his golden, beautiful Mahariel and to fight by Zevran's side against Taliesen who let his jealousy turn to treachery.
"I can't look back," he tells Zevran, shoving him against the door in Denerim's castle, "I can't look back, I can't...I don't deserve to die."
"Then don't," Zevran growls against his lips and they are still bloodied from the back alley fight and Tamlen can barely stand, on the precipice of everything at once. "Lie with the witch or have Alistair do it. Cut the Darkspawn down, vanquish your Archdemon and I will wring the necks of the Crows one by one."
It is a promise. It is something. He can never go back, he can only stumble forward.
Sebastian/Marian: caught red-handed
He has never been so mortified in all his life as he is in this moment, the sheets pulled close to his chest to hide what she has already seen, his heart racing as he looks anywhere not her. The shame burns and he clears his throat nervously (Maker, why is his cock still hard even now?) and tries to meet her eyes.
"Sebastian?" She asks, her usual humour absent and it is the note of real, genuine concern that reminds him of just how much he loves this woman.
"I-I, oh Maker this is awkward."
"Have you broken your vows?"
"It...I...I'll have to pray. A lot."
"Then I'll pray with you."
She smiles and leaves him to it as he lies back with a groan because he knows just what she was hinting at. He really will have to pray.
He never thought he would do this (again, he supposes, but the night with Morrigan can't count because that was to save their lives) but he lies in his marital bed, the Champion of Kirkwall next to him, both of them panting. She is on the run, hiding and Denerim is a stopping point on the way, trying to gain some information and when he spotted her, he ushered her in and promised safe passage to Amaranthine to see her sibling in the Wardens. No one knows she is here at all. The same way no one knows where his wife is.
"What about your companions?" He asks and he thinks that he sounds old, tired.
"What about yours?" She counters, a wisp of magic snaking through the air and around them.
"They were never mine, they were hers, you should have seen her."
"You miss her."
"They'll miss you. Maker's breath I'm on the other side of this to you."
"We have to make sacrifices," she says quietly, exhausted herself, gathering up her robes and he should have known but it still hurts. Everyone leaves Alistair, why are you not used to this by now?
"You killed him."
"I'm a mage like him but I could never condone that."
"If you see her," he begins but shakes his head, sits and swings his legs over the side of the bed. He wants a drink. He wants several drinks. He wants to walk out of this palace, find a dingy, stinking ruin of a place and stay forever.
"I'll tell her."
"Why are you doing this?" Hawke comes around to the bedside, her smile a ghost, the same smile she smiled before she kissed him goodnight.
"Champions and Heroes, we sacrifice ourselves, our lives, every little piece of ourselves for the people."
"Just go," he waves her away, rubs at his eyes and the door opens and clothes once she is done dressing her, leaving him alone again. Like always.
He finds her amulet, one she gave him as they travelled and falls back into childish ways. It shatters and he throws himself back into bed and old nightmares until morn.
Greagoir/Duncan: zombie apocalypse
"What are these damn things!" The Templar yells, his voice muffled by his helm - they have learned to avoid contact with the blood of these beasts but the Taint provides Duncan with adequate protection - as he cleaves the head from another of the beasts.
"Not something I am intimately familiar with!" Duncan calls back, his dagger punching through the head of one before he kicks it back, the last of the wave vanquished for now. He takes a ragged breath and wipes at his brow, covered in blood and sweat as Greagoir rests his weight on his sword, his chest heaving. "The dwarves have called them zombies. A Darkspawn experiment to have their dead return to life until they took over the Darkspawn too, passing on a new form of corruption."
"One that can be passed on to us," Greagoir removes his helm, scowling fiercely at the bodies, "Andraste's tits what a bloody mess."
"We must rally our forces as best we can."
"Any idea what works on them? Besides what we've done thus far."
"Fire will destroy them, lightning too and ice will freeze them and rocks pin them to allow them to be cut down by your Templars."
"I will not risk any of them," Greagoir vows and Duncan hides his smile - he might not always approve of the Circle and the restrictions but Greagoir cares for his mages and does not hurt them or treat them harshly unless they deserve it. He crosses over to the man, a man he has known many years now, recruiting a mage here or there, and he would kiss him but he fears the blood on him being passed to Greagoir and instead clasps his hand over Greagoir's atop the pommel of his sword.
"Have heart friend," Duncan counsels, smiling.
"Damned fool," Greagoir mutters but he smiles before he dons the helm once more. "Come, we'll meet in the main library and organise there, find someone to guard the yougest and the Tranquil against these mindless beasts."
Desire demon/Anders: I couldn't
He lied to them. To all of them. It was not merely Justice - he should call him Vengeance now and be done with it but Justice is his old friend and to him, this is Justice - but something else. The Desire demon who stalked him through the Fade, who cupped his chin in her clawed hands as Justice stood by, unable to truly intervene, trying to guide Anders to the right path. She had crooned, that oddly beautiful face, her body pressed to his, tail snaking around to hold him close as she moved and breathed, her form barely covered by drapes of chain necklace and fabric. The aura had cloaked them both as she had pressed her lips to his ear.
"What is it you want, my pet, what is your desire?" Her clawed hands trailing down his body, opening his robes as he had reached for her, smile on his face.
"I would be free. I would bring the Templars down." And then he had grabbed her and pressed her to one of those damnable trees, her shrieking and clawing at him before they fought.
He had won and she had been his. It would be on his terms. They had negotiated, him removing her of what little covered her piece by piece, unable to believe he was truly doing this, doing what he had sworn not to do but he could not do it just as he was and this was Kirkwall. This place old and corrupt, once a blood sacrifice. They had forced his hand and he would see them pay.
They sealed their deal with her in his lap, guiding her hips as she rode him to completion. A Tevinter Magister would give his all for this, he knew that, to know how it felt to play Desire in such a way, to feel her clench tight around him and breathe yes, yes, yes to each and every one of his demands.
He had woken with renewed purpose. But he couldn't tell them, couldn't sully his cause. It would be too much for Hawke even if Merrill had been kept close, too much ammunition for Orsino and Meredith and now that it is done and he in hiding, Desire crawls to him in dreams once more, Justice silenced by now having fulfilled his purpose. He is not gone but he is quiet, tamed, sated. For the moment.
"What is your desire," he asks her as he pulls her chains tight around her throat, just enough to make her gasp and arch, "what is it that you want?"
"My wants are yours."
He is beyond an Abomination, he is something else altogether.
Pride lurks in shadows unseen. He is hungry, like Rage and Sloth and Hunger and Desire too. They shall feed well. Soon, oh soon they shall feast upon this one but there are so many mages who are so very desperate, all within easy reach. The pickings are choice and delectable, their appetites insatiable. They shall savour dessert.