Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I just play in the world, and I have evil evil plans
The few mercenaries posted inside of the hovel had been expected, hardly a challenge really. The disappointment came when he realized that the chest they had sought to lure him with was just that, a lure and nothing more. The damned thing had been empty! He wasn't even sure why he had thought there would be anything in it in the first place, considering it was one of the oldest ploys in the book. He had sent word to Anzo for some kind of aid, under false pretenses of course, but the dwarf had come up with nothing.
So he walked into the trap he knew would be too much for him. Crude though it was, he knew how many were after him this time, and knew that he had not faced such odds alone. It would not be the first time he'd had to fight through impossible odds though, and a strange part of him looked forward to the challenge. Perhaps they would catch him this time, or be forced to kill him. Perhaps he would meet his fate.
When he walked out of the hovel, the bounty hunters were even more numerous than he had even predicted. It startled him somewhat, though he did not show it. So much for knowing how many were after him this time. If he thought he had a chance before, he knew he did not have one now. They all seemed to be waiting for something to happen, a reaction from him maybe.
It was as if they were waiting to see if he was really who he was suppose to be before they took him. After all, they had been after him for some time. Attacking some random nobody was a waste of time and money to them, and he had tricked them that way before. He readied his weapon, preparing to fight them all, when he heard her. It was not a moment he would soon forget, he thought, if he managed to live long enough.
"There you are!" The woman had cried out, seemingly to him. "Where have you been all this time? Do you know how worried I was?"
Here he was, being accosted by a stranger, and for some odd reason instantly felt the need to apologize. Even the soldiers that were there to take him away looked between the two as if there were some sort of opera going on, probably wanting to know who they would cheer for before killing them both. She walked calmly down the steps, and he could not help but take her in. This was probably the last time he'd get to take in the sight of a beautiful woman after all.
Her short raven black hair framed her face, and ocean blue eyes almost seemed painfully bright to look into, but how could he not? They seemed to pull at him in a way he could not remember happening before, and he could not make himself look away. Her skin seemed unnaturally pale for the region, so he could only assume she was from someplace else. She wore the moonlight like another garment, a goddess walking among them if there ever was such a thing. As she walked down the stairs, he could not help but notice the sway of her hips, or how long and slender her legs were. It was her smile that stopped him. Mischievous? Playful? Dangerous?
"Oh, hello." She says, almost seductively, looking to the mercenaries. She's stopped walking for the moment. "You must not know this area well, to be so woefully under equipped...the boob shoulder things are a nice touch though. Do you play with them when you think she isn't looking?"
"I don't know who you are, but you'd better get out of here. This is not your business. We are here on official business to retrieve lost property." The leader yelled, in annoyance.
"I'm sure that's just the way you presented it to the viscount too." She cooed, and then her tone shifted to one of concern as she takes up walking through the group of mercenaries. "and yet I see no property, just this man here before me. He clearly can not be the property you speak of, slavery being illegal in Kirkwall, you know. If he is, then you have either wrongfully deceived the Viscount, or you have come here under false pretenses and hope that you are gone before anyone notices you were ever even here. Same thing really. In any case, you really should be more careful. A strange creature calls this section of Kirkwall home. Locals say it is a rather large wolf. I would hate for you all to be caught unawares, strangers as you are to this part of Thedas." She is standing beside him by the time she has finished speaking, and he isn't sure if her voice was meant to lure the men under a false sense of security or to assure him that he is not alone.
"You should not have come." Fenris scolds, his voice low, though he is glad at least there is one person there on his side for the moment. "They will kill you now too."
"They won't get the chance." She says, and then she looks over at him with a wolfish grin. "Even demons run when there's a wolf at the door."
With that, she looks to the mercenaries, and she is no longer human. She is a large black wolf, larger than a Mabari hound, leaping into the crowd in an instant. It shocks him, but for the moment he does not question the help he is given. If he lives through this, he will decide if he needs to kill the shape shifter. He barely registers the pain in his heart at such an thought, having had to kill temporary allies before.
Instead, he leaps into the fray as well, and soon the two have killed the group. She turns human again, and she looks as if she knows what he's debating, but she's grinning as if she knows he won't do it. It both annoys and intrigues him. Surely she can not know the struggle going on within his mind. He moves towards her not quite able to make up his mind, when there is another mercenary who steps out of hiding.
"I don't know who you are, but you have made a mistake in aiding him. This slave is to be transported back to Tevinter. Intervene, and we will kill you." The commanding mercenary stated.
"Whatever he may have been in Tevinter, he is a free man here. I will not suffer slavers in my city. You will go back empty handed, hand-less, or dead. You decide." The woman growled, almost feral sounding now.
"That's it, I want all the rest of my men out here now!" The commander shouted, but no one came.
"Awe, did I forget to mention that the we you spoke of before is dead? It's just you now." She said, a bit coyly, but her voice was choked out.
She had neglected to notice the blood mage hiding in one of the corners. Damned mage was using some kind of swirling blood pool to drain the woman he saw before him. She grabbed her throat automatically, as one does when they suddenly can't breathe, and falls to her knees. Before he could think to move to help her, the mysterious woman pushed out with her hands causing the blood mage to lose concentration and breaking the spell. That was it, his decision had been made. He thinks no further beyond this point.
She would die the moment they were free of these two. She was a damned mage on top of being a shifter. He should have known. She had probably been hired by another of Danarius's underlings to curry favor. The blood mage was dead just moments before the woman turned around to see him shove his fist through the commanders armour and rip out his heart.
"Now that's a trick I haven't seen before-Hey!" She was surprised when Fenris pinned her against the wall, digging his spiked gauntlets into her wrists and neck. "You're hurting me!"
"Who sent you? Were you suppose to wipe out the competition, and take me to Danarius yourself?" Fenris growled angrily. "Answer me, Mage!"
"I saw the note from Anzo too late! I helped you!" She cried out, in indignation.
"Anzo sent a mage to help me?" He huffed in disbelief. "Doubtful."
"That's not something I go advertising about myself, you know. This place is known as the city of Chains for a reason." She snapped back.
He released his hold on her, begrudgingly unable to fault her logic. As tenuous as it was now, he did need her help. It was harder than he thought it should be to not feel guilty for the hurt expression that crossed her face when she thought he wasn't looking. It was easier to look through the commanders things while she pilfered the bodies of the other fallen. They would be cleared out in the morning anyway.
"Mage, I require your assistance." Fenris stated, motioning her over to him. "This note may contain the whereabouts of my former master, but I...I can not read it."
"I suppose that's better than 'come here, so I can kill you quickly, filthy mage'." She replied, a bit of bite to her voice.
"Just read it." Fenris demands, annoyed at her behavior. It was easier to be annoyed, than to admit why she had retorted so.
She takes the note from him, and begins looking at it. "There's so much here...Ah, here it is...Commander Dasan, Once you have secured the lost property, you are instructed to meet me at the Reiner Estate in High Town...I know where that is!"
"Please, I know that the letter I had Anzo send was a lie, but I truly require your help. If my former master is hiding out in a mansion in high town, I can not lose this chance to be rid of him."
"Kill him, you mean. If you're going to kill someone at least be honest about it." The woman demanded.
"That man has done things too unforgivable to name, and forced me to wear a collar with a chain on it to mock Qunari customs." Fenris growls. "So yes, I mean to kill him."
"There, was that so hard? This is your freedom, you're fighting for, after all." She tried to smile, though the hurt never left her eyes. "Killing blood mage slavers, and here I didn't get you anything."
He let the comment pass, not trying to guess its meaning. He refused to feel guilty for being overly cautious. "My name is Fenris."
She immediately grins wider. "Then it is a pleasure to help another wolf...if only in namesake, of course. Everyone calls me Hawke. If you want, you can call me Bellanaris."
"If you still wish to help me, we must go now." He insisted, and hurried on to high town. He did not think to ask her how she knew what his name meant.
On the way there, just outside of the alienage they had been in, they passed by a hovel smelling strangely of cabbages with two people yelling inside. "You had my children in servitude for a year! They should be Nobility!" A woman.
"If wishes were poppy, we'd all be dreaming. It's not my fault you went off and married a dirty knife eared Ferelden apostate!" A man yelled.
He noticed how Bellanaris began walking a bit faster than before, muttering so low even he almost did not hear it. "I'm going to have to stay at the Hanged Man again tonight. I'm too sober to be dealing with Uncle Gamlen's bullshit."
"Are you-" He was cut off.
"Don't expect me to reveal anything more about myself until you have done the same, Fenris." She interrupted. Her tone left no room for argument. It was clear the man yelling inside had upset her.
"Fair enough." He replied, and let the matter drop for the moment.
When they got to high town, he stopped them. "The man inside is a dangerous blood mage, and a Magister."
"That isn't exactly a surprise. Why does he want you back so badly? Do the lyrium tattoos have something to do with it?" She asked
He looked somewhat shocked for only a fraction of a second, before answering. Of course she would know what they were, every mage would.
"Yes. These are lyrium, burned into my very flesh. My first memory is of receiving them, the pain was...unimaginable. I am told that even in the Imperium, warriors like me are rare. Perhaps they believe I should feel honoured. At any rate, without them, I would not have escaped. They have served me well."
Gamlen in his infinite stupidity had taken to hiding her messages, or shaking them for money and then tossing them out, till Carver caught him at it. That led to an interesting conversation which ended in him being jealous that she got more mail than he did. She can see now how he lost the family money. Qunari cheeses my ass, she thinks, and then snickers in spite of herself. She'll have to tell Varric that one later.
Chiding herself on getting distracted yet again, she makes her way to the alienage. She'd already had an interesting evening killing several foreign mercenaries. They'd just seen her and started attacking, but something told her it had to do with the mission she'd read about in that message from Anzo. There was no time to grab anyone else, and she was running late as it was. Hawke got to the top of the stairs and had to do a double take, the message didn't say anything about this.
Several of those mercenaries had surrounded one of the elves in the alienage, but it was one she had never seen before. There were too many for him to take on at once, she knew instantly, though he stood poised with a great sword as if to do just that. There was something in his eyes, impossibly green though they were, that called out to her. It clicked suddenly, and she knew. Anzo's message had been a lie. This man had called out for help using the only means he felt safe enough to use, and she was not going to let him die here.
"There you are!" She called out to him. "Where have you been all this time? Do you know how worried I was?"
Why in the Void did I just do that?She thought to herself. Now every mercenary was looking to her, and back to him, an opera before the death she mused. Well, time to bluff her way through this. It wouldn't be the first time, and she'd have an interesting story for Varric later if they lived. She walked down the steps slowly, catching herself smiling at him as she went.
There was something about him that almost made her forget she was about to walk through the group of mercenaries. She'd never seen an elf as young as he looked with white hair, and his skin held a rich tan that told her he was from much warmer climates. She tried to send out a sense of calm to him, seeing how agitated he was. What she said to the mercenaries was not of import. What mattered was making him as calm as she could possibly get him to be, because she was about to do something really stupid.
"You should not have come." He scolds, his voice low. Maker's balls, but he did have to have the most sinfully delicious voice she'd ever heard in her life, she thought. "They will kill you now too."
"They won't get the chance." She says, and then she looks over at him with a wolfish grin. "Even demons run when there's a wolf at the door."
Alright, here goes nothing,she thinks, let's do something stupid. She's shifted into her wolf form and begun attacking the mercenaries before he even has time to respond to her. Soon he's fighting along side her, and she can't help but rejoice. Maybe this was okay. Maybe he really was a kindred spirit after all.
When they're all dead, and she shifts back, she can see the struggle in his eyes. It's almost adorable that he's even arguing with himself whether or not to kill her. She can somehow sense that he won't, though she can't begin to figure out how she even knows that. Her father had talked to her of such things, but that had been long ago and she was too caught up in the moment to delve into memories now. There would have to be another damned interruption just when the elven gentleman began walking towards her.
The leader of the Mercenaries was having a shit fit, she supposed, for having lost all his men. She felt him before she saw him. A blood mage hiding behind one of the corners. This was not going to go over well. She'd only planned on revealing one secret, now she was going to have to reveal two. Well, shit!
The moment was over too quickly, and suddenly he had pushed her up against the wall, angrily shouting and digging the spikes into her wrists and neck. So much for her plan to help. He doesn't believe her anyway, just another angry man who hates mages. She would stand her ground, and he would let go. This was not okay. Even when he did let her go finally, she avoided looking at him.
Maybe reading that note was a mistake. Maybe helping him was a mistake. Yet she could not make herself leave now. He still needed help, she could see. She even caught him staring when he thought she wasn't looking, and then the strangest thing happened. He reveals a secret of his own, and asks for her help.
Of course, on the way, he would have to hear Gamlen's bullshit. That idiot couldn't keep his mouth shut about anything it seemed, and of course the elven gentleman Fenris would have to hear it. She would not answer his questions, not without a price. He had spurned her help, and she was not feeling kind anymore. Even as he warned her what they were facing, she decided, she'd help him with this and then she was gone.
Back to present...
She made them pause before the door.
"That's why you attacked me." She said, the realization of it dawning on her. "Your markings react to magic. Do they hurt?"
"Yes, they react to magic. The only time they do not hurt is when I use them in battle." He answered curtly. He did not seem use to revealing so much information, but she had literally done just that moments before, and he wouldn't get any new information from her (not that it looked like he could figure out why he wanted the new information) if he did not share some of his own. They were wasting time there, and she knew that he could not understand why she had stopped them.
"Listen, Fenris. When we get inside, I'm going to have to use magic." She said, feeling disapproval from him in an instant. "It is kinda what I do, ya know, being a filthy mage and all that. I need to know how my magic affects you. If I can avoid hurting you, I'd prefer it, and I may have to heal you at some point. Do I have permission for that?"
"I can handle normal magic just fine, Mage." His reaction was almost venomous to her. "You can use healing spells on me if you have to, but not until."
"I understand. Hold out your hand for a moment, please." Hawke said, reaching out to cover one of his hands with her own when he did as she asked.
Unsure of how he would react, she hesitantly let only a small amount of healing magic wash over his hand. He stood there unmoving, as the glow completely covered his hand for a moment before receding. When she looked into his eyes again to check if he was alright, his eyes were not the bright forest green she had witnessed earlier gazing up at her. They were much darker now, and held a confusion they did not before. She pulled her hand back slowly, and looked away. She still didn't understand why she felt so hurt by his reaction before, but the look in his eyes did not help it.
"Every mage has magic that feels different than any other. Now you know what mine feels like, so you won't be surprised anymore." She said, solemnly.
As soon as they go into the house, Fenris is screaming at Danarius to show himself. The man truly had to be a foul human being to elicit this much hate from someone, and poisoning that persons view of anyone else he ever happened to meet. Hawke shook her head in disapproval. If anything, she would have preferred subtlety for this part. It was doubtful that this Danarius would stay long enough to fight them now.
Demons seemed to spill out from every surface of the place. The dead bodies this mage must have used for his rituals were everywhere. The air practically stank of blood magic. Hawke can't help but gasp for air, there's so much of it that it's almost too hard to breathe. Room after room seemed to be filled with nothing else.
All she could smell now was death and blood magic. With the last room cleared, they found that not only had Danarius not stayed, but had not even been there for the beginning of their attack on the house. Fenris looked so defeated to her, muttering something about needing air before he left the mansion entirely, like the world had been kicked out from under him. When she followed him, she found that he had waited just outside the place, as if expecting another mage to attack him. Whether he expected her to attack him or not, she did not know.
"Why are you different, I wonder?" He seemed to be talking to himself, but she was mistaken as he looked to her now. "I have been surrounded by mages all my life. They are the reason this lyrium is burnt into my very body, and yet...I find help from a mage...one who continues to help me even after I have threatened death...I...do not...understand...There was no gain in it for you...No money to be had, no power to be gained...What...manner...of mage are you?"
"My very nature as a wolf is not to be collared, chained, or bound. I see no reason to shift that when I become normal again. I want to survive, find happiness - if I can, love - if I'm lucky enough, and to stay free." Hawke responded, passionately, remembering how he saw her and was angry again. "I am a person first, and a mage second, and I refuse to be controlled by those who do not understand that I am more than just a tool for their wars or amusement. I am glad that I could help you, Fenris, but I think it's best that I get going now. Good evening, and good luck in your quest."
She started walking away, seeing as how he had seemingly no more need of her, and it was only a moment before he caught up with her again.
"You used magic without a staff or lyrium. You must have been trained well." He said, keeping up with her easily.
"I was, but not like that. I've never needed those things. I have always been able to call on my magic when I needed it. Father had to teach me to rein it in, to control how much I used it, and how much I let out at one time, but magic has always been easy for me to call on." Hawke stated, a bit perturbed. "If you want to know something, just ask."
"I do not wish to appear ungrateful. Even though Danarius was not there, I still owe you a debt for helping me." Fenris insisted.
"You owe me nothing, Fenris. I helped you because I saw you needed it, more so than Anzo's note, but if you're interested I may have some jobs available. Slavers need killing and such, crazy blood mages and the like, I'm sure. Kirkwall does seem to attract them. There's even an expedition I'm trying to get partnered with to the deep roads as well. You are a good swordsman." She said, floating the job offer out there. Why was she still trying to help him? She wondered, he had not given her another reason, and she was still angry about earlier.
"That sounds...tempting." He said, and she could see the tiniest hint of a smile. So there was hope for a friendship yet. "I meant to ask about your father before, after revealing secrets of myself like you said."
"My father was a dalish elf that got caught early in life and thrown into one of the Fereldan Circles." Hawke replied, wondering where this was going. It was strange enough that he remembered her rule of a secret for a secret, none of the others had done that.
"And that man who was yelling?" Fenris asked, his eye brows furrowed.
"Ah yes, Uncle Gamlen. He lost the family fortune and blames mother and us for it. The more drunk he is, the more vocal he is about it. I'm the one he seems to scream at most though when he's like that." She said, a bit lost in thought. "He won't yell at mother for long. He never yells at Carver, the boy passes for human even better than I do. You should see him, burly shit that he is."
"I don't understand, why you?" Fenris asked, looking thoroughly confused now.
"I'm the only one of the children to have noticeable physical indicators." She answered, tucking her hair behind her small but very pointed ears only for a moment. "Ears that are small but very pointed, eyes that are just a little bit too large, legs that are just a little bit too long, body frame is just a little bit too small...it all adds up really. I'm staying at the hanged man tonight if I can, mainly for his health. If I stay home right now, I might shiv him. If you like, you can meet some of the others that will be joining us on jobs from time to time. Please, don't tell them about the wolf shifting thing, or me being a half elf. They already know the mage bit. Though, I would appreciate it if you didn't turn me into the templars though. That one's kind of a given, really."
They had made it to the Hanged Man, and she did not give him time to answer her. She entered the unusual establishment without hesitation, and began walking through it as if it held all the familiarity of an old haunt. Perhaps it did, now that she thought about it. She knew where to go almost without looking, and the familiar group of friends waved her over gladly. Varric just nodded towards the new addition with the intention of continuing the card game.
"Varric, think the Hanged Man can spare a room again?" Hawke asked quietly.
"Sure thing. You keep one here often enough, you might as well just move in." Varric chuckled.
"I'm seriously considering it." She replied, unable to hide the troubled look.
"Is it Gamlen again?" He asked, looking up now.
"I'd rather not talk about it." She replied, but Varric hadn't been looking at her, and it seems the elf behind her had given the answer she would not. She had forgotten to mention not to say anything about Gamlen. Damn.
"So who's the new comer? Did you ask for her help, or did she just insert herself into your affairs? She does that a lot." Varric asked, his attention on the elf.
"I suppose it's a bit of both." Fenris replied, after a moment of thought.
"Ha! Aveline, that's 4 you owe me. Pay up!" Varric said, with a laugh. The red headed woman nearby huffs, and passes him coin.
"Fenris, this is Varric. Story teller, rogue extraordinaire, and probably my best buddy ever." Hawke said, introducing the two, and she continued on to the others that were there. "We also have Aveline, our local guard law enforcement, and my conscience. Maker knows, without her I might not have one. Carver, my younger brother I was telling you about, finest swordsman Lothering ever produced. Isabella, our devilishly sexy rogue with no idea what other people's personal space boundaries are, and this here is Anders. Anders is a former gray warden, pretty much the only healer the refugees have, and before you ask-" She had to step in front of Fenris to stop him from charging at Anders. She has one hand behind her on Anders' shoulder, one hand in front of her on Fenris's chest armour plate.
"That man is an Abomination!" He hissed angrily at her.
"I know." The look he gave her made her cringe, and she explained. "I don't like that fact either, alright? He did something very stupid with good intentions, and now he has to live with it. There isn't a single person in this room who can say they haven't done that."
"And when he kills someone because he can't control it anymore?" Fenris asked, in disbelief and anger.
"He's asked me to deal with him should he fall." The sincerity in her voice left room for little doubt, though Anders was a bit shocked by the admission. She was not comfortable with her own magic, but to talk about anothers' magic was even more out of character for her. "Most of the mages in my group of friends have made similar pacts with each other. Any mage could fall, it's good to have a back up plan." Fenris stepped back a bit, and Hawke let go of the both of them.
Suddenly, she spun around and asked. "Speaking of, where's Merrill? She didn't get lost again did she? What about Sebastian?"
"I think Sebastian is hiding from me again, Sweet thing." Isabella purred. "Perhaps your new friend won't be so shy."
"I think I see why he hides." Fenris muttered, and Hawke tried not to laugh.
"Chantry boy is on confession duty apparently." Varric said, seeing how Hawke and Isabella's eyes lit up mischievously.
"Oh, we should definitely torture him later, yeah?" Hawke asked, looking to Isabella. "Confess things we haven't done to each other, Oh! or things we would like to do to him...while in the confessional?"
"The choices." She purred with mischievous happiness.
"Merrill should be on her way soon. I gave her the ball of twine so she wouldn't get lost again." Varric replied.
Seeing the look on Fenris's face, Hawke tried to explain. "Merrill is naive and sweet, childlike even. Her clan kicked her out for practicing blood magic foolishly trying to bring back some piece of the past that should be forgotten. I really don't see her in danger of becoming possessed by a demon, though. I can't imagine any of them wanting to stay inside her head long enough to attempt it...trust me, you'll see what I mean when she gets here."
He saw exactly what she meant once Merrill arrived. The girl was woefully ignorant of what she was playing around with, but had somehow managed to not get possessed yet. She chatted about utter nonsense or things that seemed so random that they didn't make since, and yet he could not help but see a wild intelligence about her. How in Thedas did she not realize that Carver hasn't taken his eyes off of her since the girl walked in?
Fenris found that he could not help himself but sit down and play a few rounds of Wicked Grace when Bellanaris asked if he wanted to stay a while, though he told himself it was to study the group that would be his new working companions for a time. It was most certainly not an attempt to make up for being a complete ass earlier. She certainly was an intriguing woman, but why did she have to be a mage of all things? He had never met her kind of mage before, and if he left he knew he'd never see another like her again.
There was something else that troubled him. His hand did not hurt. It hadn't since Bellanaris had used her magic before. It felt different, better? He tried to sort things out in his mind, but everything kept leading him back to that moment when she'd shown him what her magic felt like.
Every once in a while he would catch her looking over at him in concern, but he just shook his head, and tried to focus on the cards. There was no logical reason for her to show concern for him, and yet she did. That too was puzzling to him. The others must have picked up on her worry, because soon he was having to deal with her brother.
"So, what's the deal with you anyway?" Carver asked, defensively. Fenris recognized a protector when he saw one.
"Yeah, inquiring minds want to know...or touch, you decide." Isabella said, suggestively.
"What is your story?" Varric asked, looking to him now.
Fenris looked to Bellanaris, unsure of how to proceed. He did not know how to tell them what had happened without revealing her secrets to them, something she had asked him not to do. Thankfully, she picked up on the hint, and took over. He should have known that it was a bad idea from the start, and yet he let her anyway. That grin of hers seemed to pull him in, even as he cursed it for having power over him. She sat back with a mischievous grin that had even Varric leaning in for the story that would follow.
"Let me set the scene for you. A clear night, a full moon, a hovel. After having dealt with a few strangely armoured mercs just outside of the alienage, I come up a most intriguing sight. A tall, strikingly handsome elf, great sword at the ready, surrounded by..." She pauses in thought, looking to Varric. "Twenty?" Varric shook his head "Thirty Imperial Bounty Hunters."
"There weren't nearly that many." Fenris said, in a huff.
"Oh alright...Forty Imperial bounty hunters. (Varric is trying hard not to laugh at the scowl Fenris gives her) Hopelessly outnumbered, he stands at the ready. A mysterious and beautiful woman, bathed in moonlight, appears before the bounty hunters. She walks through them as if they weren't even there, like she's walking through water and stands with the elf, who is now hopelessly drawn to her. (She leans in to him and says) That's how these stories are suppose to go, for posterity, you understand."
She has no idea how true that is, does she?, he thought. Varric seemed to be eyeing him suspiciously now, as she leaned back to where she'd been.
"They stand together, and fight their way through them all, and when they think they are done, a final ten descend upon them...Tevinter blood mages all... (Wait, now that didn't happen. Where is she getting this from? Fenris wonders.) Swords, Daggers, and a bit of magic, and they clear them all...except for one. So enraged by the attack, the elf uses all his strength to reach into the last man, and pulls his still beating heart from his chest (Anders, and even Aveline are hanging onto her every word now) When it is over...the elf captures her and pins her up against the wall (at this point Isabella is very interested, and Carver looks like he's going to kill Fenris. To his credit, Fenris is trying to look apologetic.), unsure of where her loyalties lie. She is able to convince him she is to be trusted, though he knows not if she has cast a spell on him or he is simply drawn in by her startlingly blue eyes. (She grins at him and Fenris huffs, but it is clear he is blushing. He can feel the heat from the tips of his ears. Varric is loving every minute of this, and is rapidly taking notes for use of the story later) He explains that he is newly free man, having escaped from Tevinter, and asks for her help in dealing with the former Magister that hunts him still. Demons, Shades and Ghouls await them in the mansion he was said to be, but no Magister. That filth still roams, personally protected by the black divine himself, tucked away till he is ready to send more hunters for a prey that will not be taken willingly."
She clasps her hands together, and looks to Varric. "So, how did I do?"
"I think I can work with that, a bit rough around the edges. I may need to throw in some demons and an ogre in the beginning, nothing fancy." Varric said, as he jotted down notes. "You always give me plenty to work with."
"What about three ogres at the end instead?" She asks. Varric likes her plan and makes notes for it. "How long do you think I can stay for?"
"With that story? I'm certain I can talk Cariff into letting you stay here for the week at least."
"Good, I'll be able to afford to rent it after that." She agreed. Fenris looked flabbergasted from one person to the next, surely they did not believe all that!
"But that's not true at all!" Fenris was clearly aggravated.
"He didn't ask for the truth. He's a story teller Fenris, he asked for a story. All the bare bones of truth are there, and my pitch shifts enough to where they all know which is truth." Bellanaris stated, in understanding. "You should hear some of the stories he tells about me. I'm still not sure how Griffons can come back from extinction for me and me alone, only to die again once the story is over."
"Might have to play up that whole pushing you up against the wall bit there, sweet thing." Isabella suggests, playfully. "That was my favorite part."
"Sounds almost romantic if you spin it right, yeah? A perfectly handsome elf pinning me up against the wall in the moonlight." Bellanaris agreed, with a wistful sigh. Fenris chokes on his ale at this point. "But who's to do the sweeping?"
"You at least know there's sweeping. Broody over there doesn't look like he's figured it out yet." Varric said, not even looking up from the paper.
"Broody?" Bellanaris asks, indignantly. "He's not even been here for a full card game, and you already have his nickname picked out? Mine took forever for you to stop calling me Hawke!"
"Come now, Wolf, don't be so sore about that." Varric chided, making note of Fenris's reaction to her nickname.
"Well, at any rate. I'm going to go to sleep. Fenris, will you be getting a room here or staying at the mansion? I don't mind sharing if you don't have somewhere to stay yet. We didn't when we got here." She asked, looking at him now.
"I believe I will stay at the mansion for now, Bellanaris." He noticed that she blushed at the sound of her name. "I appreciate the offer though."
"So who's going with you tomorrow?" Carver asked, curiously. He's noticed her blushing at the use of her name, but he's more surprised that she's allowed this stranger the use of it.
"Traipsing through the wounded coast? Varric, Aveline, you, and Fenris if that's okay?" She looks back to him to make sure. He nods. "Meet here at the hanged man after breakfast then. I'm going to lay down, before I fall down. Good night everyone."
When she was gone, Carver turned to Fenris. "She gave you permission to call her by her first name?"
"She said I could, yes. Is that odd? She said everyone just calls her Hawke, but that I could call her Bellanaris if I wanted. She never told me that no one else was allowed to use her first name." Fenris said, slightly confused. "Does she not like it or something?"
"You're the only one we know who can actually say it and live." Carver informed him, confusing Fenris even more. Why would she trust him with it, and not her friends? Fenris wonders. "Mother does, but only when she's mad or wants her to be decidedly more girly than she is. I don't even get to use it, I just call her Sister."
"That's it, Hawke's the one doing the sweeping." Isabella declares.
"I don't know, my money's on Broody." Varric said, getting out another piece of paper. "We taking bets?"
"Is it wise for you to make bets like this with me here? Won't she be mad you are betting on her?" Fenris asked, dubiously, eyebrows furrowing.
"If you don't want in the pool, don't bet. She'll only be mad if I don't let her place her bet later." Varric stated, and then looked at him. "You in?"
"5 sovereigns says Fenris will be too shell shocked from his life on the run to make a move, and I'm ashamed I'm betting." Aveline says, tossing the coin Varric's way.
Fenris made a mental note to remember sweeping must be some kind of code word for relationship among her friends, and would ask Bellanaris later. Did they really think he would get into a relationship with a mage? After everything that had happened in his life, that was the last thing he wanted, to trade one mage master for another. As far as he was concerned, she was a mage like any other, and should perish like any other. Yet even as he thought it, he knew it to be untrue. She was an enigma, one he intended to solve for his own sake.
"I'm just surprised you're betting first, big girl." Isabella purrs. Aveline rolls her eyes at the pirate, but she's grinning.
"8 says he confesses his feelings to her first, but she turns him down flat." Anders said, tossing his coin in.
"4 says that Anders tries to make a move no matter if Fenris does or not." Carver said, tossing his coin in. "Not that he'd win." Anders gives him a pointed look.
"9 says she flirts with him till he makes the first move." Isabella said, as she tossed her coins in. "I know my girl. She's definitely a second move kind of girl. Still won't let me try anything."
"5 says they flirt with each other till she makes the first move. This is so exciting." Merrill says, tossing her coin in. "Someone has to bet against you, Isabella."
"I'll put myself down for 10 sovereigns that says it will take her flirting and a catastrophe of some kind happening to her before he makes the first move." Varric said, writing everything down. "What about you, Broody? You a betting man?"
Fenris looks deep in thought for a moment. "You're sure this is wise? She won't get mad?"
"Wise? No. Will she be mad? Don't worry, you're safe. What's your bet?" Varric said.
"5 says Carver confesses his feelings for Merrill before the expedition gets back." He says, after a moment, and tosses his coin in.
Varric is surprised at him for even mentioning that, but laughs outright all the same. Carver is so red faced he can't speak, and poor Merrill is confused and wondering if Carver has a fever. Even Anders has to laugh at the sight. With that, the night ends for them, and he makes his way back to Danarius's Mansion. Danarius's Mansion, for he will not call it his own. Perhaps he should have taken Bellanaris up on her offer of a shared room for the night, but it was too late to change that now.
AN: So what do you think?