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Unfortunate Technicalities

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I shouldn't be doing this.

“Someone! Please! Help me!” A French- Orleasion woman shouts behind the ridiculously large oaken doors, pure desperation and heart stopping fear seeping through the wood.

 What's right, and what's meant to be?

 No future Inquisitor is nearby, most people are in the library or one of the many offices.

 Fuck. I'm just a kid, I'm just fifteen how I'm the hell am I going to save this foreign world?

 My heart is pounding and oh no I'm going to cry-

 With a mighty clang, I slam the doors open, a horrible grimace on my face as I take in that bird look in’ asswipe that’s going to murder me.

 “The fuck is going on here?!” I shout because I need to let something out before my chest bursts. The bird peers down at me with disdain and his eyes narrowed. Gods, how could you do something like that to your face? How could you allow something so corrupt to grow on you like a parasite?

 “Foolish girl, you have no idea what you’re intruding upon. Kill her.” Coriphy-shit says with irritated wave of his hand, and the Grey Wardens- the look in their eyes is glassy and reddish. Tainted by the blood magic binding them to the false god - start walking towards me with swords and staffs drawn.

 The Divine chooses this moment to kick the stupid ass Solas sphere at me and the one thing I remember is ‘ shit grab it with your left-!

 Time and space magic bullshit . Do I look like The Doctor’s companion to you?


 

 Pain and chafing wrists, the soft clink of chains hitting each other when I shift- My left-hand feels like it's being scrapped out from the inside.

 My eyes shoot open and I only have a moment to appreciate the terrible dungeon I'm in before bright ass fucking green fills my vision and pain decides to shoot up my forearm by it’s veins.

 I'm not ashamed to admit a ugly sob breaks its way out of my mouth at the feeling, nor ashamed to know my watering eyes let a few tears fall.

 The door to the cell opens with a unceremonious clank that terrifies the shit out of me while I'm still reeling from the mark’s growing. What's scarier? The face of a terribly pissed and murderous Cassandra Pentaghast, Right hand to the Divine and ready to disembowel me, or the knowledge that I'm going to loose my left arm?

 God, if you’re out there? Don't let me die before twenty. Hell, I'll take eighteen. Just make me legal first.

 I try to jerk away when Cassandra goes for my still glowing hand, stopped by the chains anyways, but it doesn't stop me from flinching hard as she tugs me back forward with it.

 “What is this?! Answer me prisoner!” She yells and oh my god no panic attacks in Thedas please. I know exactly what that terrible tremble in my hands is godfucking damnit.

 “I- I don't know. ” I almost sob. She's legitimately terrifying, twice my age, and much stronger. She could actually kill me right now and it'd be easy .

 She shoves the hand back into my chest with a glare and I honest to god whimper .

 She takes a step back and blinks, genuinely surprised by the way I'm trying to make myself smaller and scoot as far from her as possible. Yeah Cass, you’re terrifying a kid right now and make me want to cry for my mommy. Oh god. Never gonna see mom again am I-?

Fuck. Not right now.

 “I-” Cassandra starts looking lost, but Leliana only puts a hand on her shoulder. “Take her to the forward camp. Right now sealing the breach is more important.” She says not sparing me a glance.

 Oh no. Demons .

 Dead fucking bodies lines up in rows with a lone sister praying over them, a man near the side seemingly ignored while he rocks himself back and forth. He's having a mental breakdown and no one stops to help because there's a hole in the sky and their friends and families and Divine are all dead.

 Why this universe? Why no Ouran Highschool Host Club where I can live in comfort and no one is dying.

 In my panic I don't notice that Leliana has already left and Cassandra is quietly unlocking my shackles. Is it possible for guilt to really roll of of someone? Her lips are pinched, brows furrowed, and a self deprecating frown on her face as if to say ‘ You fucked up again. Already, Cassandra? ’.

 I guess my babyface probably has something to do with it. Or the fact that I whimpered. God I hope I never have to mention that to anyone.

 “Follow me.” The Nevarrian states, walking out the door quickly.

 Stumbling to my feet I rub my wrists with a wince. You can do this Zoe. You can fucking do this.

 Walking out of the door and up into the Chantry prior I don't bother looking at the Sisters and few Mother’s looking at me scornfully. I get it, it's like I've been caught green handed.

 Cassandra leads the way and stops to look at-

 At The Breach.

 A tear in the veil that spits out demons every minute and thunders. Growing like it has fingers reaching outward to tear this reality apart.

 It grows with another low thunderous sound and I'm suddenly being helped up from my knees by callused hands.

 “This is the Breach, the product of the explosion at the Temple and a tear in the Veil itself.” She explains and I nod with watery eyes. “Every time it grows that mark on your hand does so as well. It's killing you.”

 I give a choked laugh, because this is just like one of those fanfictions I kept reading all the time.

 “You think it will close it.” I mutter. “I'll try to or die trying Seeker Pentaghast, don't worry about me.” I finish lowly, because for all of this madness it's true. Even if I'm in some backwater terrible ass-end of a different world I'll be damned if I don't do anything to help it.

 My fucking heart will end me today or soon. Stupid Divergent test and it’s ‘Erudite and Amity’ bullshit proving true.

 Cassandra nods, but doesn't let go of my hand as she tugs me along with her other hand on the pommel of her sword. She's looking at the people around us who give me bad looks, and the people around us look at me, this pitiful looking thing who looks terrified out of her damned mind.

 All of this self worth bullshit isn't relevant right now. Focus on that confidence you’ve kept alive despite the fires of Puberty . Fuck periods are going to be a bitch in Thedas.

 “The people of Haven have already decided you’re guilt. Their hearts mourn their lost and the Divine, so they lash out like the sky.” Cassandra explains quietly, and it's funny, I remember those lines being much more heated in the game.

 I really do change things don't I? The Inquisitor was a grown ass adult and I’m a teenager just entering Sophomore year. Not to mention I've got a scholar’s fingers and obviously haven't swung a sword in my whole life. Give me a little Dagger and I'm good to go but a two pound sharp metal stick? No thanks.

 Keep monologuing. It's a coping mechanism that's keeping you from breaking down Zo-zo.

 Fuck that sounded just like my best friend. Keep moving Zoe. Focus.

 Before we head off the first bridge - oh god bodies in rows - while the scouts open the gates Cassandra draws her sword and looks me in the eye.

 “I can promise there will be a trial, but we must close the breach first.”

 Another change. Gods have mercy I hope I don't die before I've tried booze.


Unlike the game, there is no convenient crate of weapons for me to kill the shade with. Thanks a fucking lot Maker. Piece of shit.

So you know what I do?

I duck under its clawed strike and punch my fist right into it, freezing it from the inside out .

It shrieks a nightmare inducing sound that makes me want to crawl in the bloodied snow and stay there, but I only tear my hand out and watch with morbid satisfaction as it falls back and shatters into a million different shaped pieces.

A mysterious prisoner is suspicious. A fucking Apostate prisoner already has the noose around their neck.

I'm lifting my hands up in instant defense before Cassandra is even close, words of “You’re a mage-?!” Dying on her lips. 

“I’m a dirty apostate, and you’re a Seeker. Why would I tell you…?” I mutter slowly putting my arms down with a frown on my face. It's not like I just figured the Mage thing out or anything. Nope. Not at fucking all.

Cassandra looks like she wants to reply to that but only shakes her head with a scowl.

“I should remember you came willingly. Are you wounded?”

With my quick shake of no she nods and starts of again with a fire in her step.

She's powerful and awe inspiring when she fights, this Amazonian. She'd make any warrior woman jealous of her skill in battle and looking good while doing it. Even if her glare makes me want to pee my freaking pants. Several more demons fall to her blade or shield while I send ice up and impale her targets from the ground with a quick stomp of my foot.

I'm so happy these things aren't people. So. Happy. 

I don't think I can stomach anything but demons, and this still makes me a little guilty.

I keep from getting more than nicked on my right upper arm, two scratches lining the side of it. They’de faded to silvery scars seconds after Cassandra practically shoved a potion at me, muttering something about them fading away in a week or so.

When we finally come close to where Solas and Varric are hanging around, I feel the pull of the anchor to two different somethings. A faint one to Solas, and a large one to the tear. I don't know why I'm noticing it, but it's weird as hell feeling how… kindred his magic and the anchor’s is. The anchor is like some bastard child of Solas’s subdued primal magic and Coryphy-shit’s corrosive scary as hell magic.

My heartbeat pounds in my ears when I hop down to the fight with Cassandra, attempting not to clutch my jacket in my anxiety to stop my trembling hands, so I can start throwing the elements at demons.

Holy shit I'm fighting demons.

It'd be cool if I hadn't seen so many bodies so far.

I send a icicle through a Shade that was going for Varric with his back turned, pinning it to the stone wall and sending another spike of ice up from under it to kill it. 

Just like water bending, don't think about it too much.

“Quickly! Before more come through." 

A warm hand grabs my left wrist and by instinct I'm sealing the rift shut. 

I stumble back a little when Solas lets my hand drop, and I give him a little nod.

“Ah, thank you.” I say, running my fingers through my hair in habit. He just shakes his head with a serene smile that almost(?) looks forced. Hell if I know, I don't presume to know the mind of a ancient eleven god.

“The doing was yours, I simply helped you along.” He says.

“It was the mark, not me. I couldn't close tears in the veil before the thing was smacked on my hand.” I grumble with a sigh, fingering my jacket. Why do I have to talk to people when the world is ending? Damned plot. Damned Kayuga, bet that Moon Goddess had something to do with this on sheer principle. Fucking around with mortals is her thing.

“Even so, it is a feat to have gotten this far at all. I'm glad to see you still live.”

“What he means is, ‘I'm the one who kept you alive while you slept.’ Varric Tethras, rogue, storyteller, occasional unwelcome tag along. And you are?” Varric pipes in and I find myself smiling and lifting an eyebrow.

“Zoe Avery. It's nice to meet you.” I say, resisting the urge to hold out a hand for him to shake.

“You may rethink that in time. If there are to be introductions, I am Solas.”

From there the conversation slowly dies off, and we set off towards the goal. The Breach.


I wake up four days later very much not in the generic not very appealing Herald clothes, so I change into the fluffy Avvar clothes anyways because it's freaking cold and I live in fucking Florida.

Under my clothes is a necklace with the Saint of Travel on it that I distinctly remember losing. A joke, probably.

Instead of waiting to scare the crap out of that poor elven lady, I sneak out the window and shimmy up the rock face to avoid all the people lined up. Like hell I’m being paraded around like some side show Jesus man. Religious figure or not I don't do that crap.

Pulling myself up with a grunt I ignore what people who are staring and head straight for the Chantry, snow crunching under boot while I go over the plot in my head.

Protologue, Hinterlands mess with Mother what's her face, Val Royeaux where I recruit Viv and Sera and yell at the Envy shit who punched that old lady, then Blackwall and Bull. After that I choose between Mages or Templars, or figure out how to do both , deal with the same Envy demon (like hell that thing scares me, my mind is a steel trap) or scary as fuck time magic where all of my inner circle are slowly dying…

Seal the breach, get Haven crushed-

We really need to talk about escape plans, even if it isn't that pilgrimage path we need to be more prepared. I still don't understand how Leliana had never thought of it with all her scheming, paranoia, and sneaking about.

Huh. So that's what a Chantry looks like when people aren't trying to murder you.

It's obviously a place of worship, and the old time Catholic Church would no doubt appreciate the aesthetics and racism. Not sure how they’d feel about a female pope though- ( not very happy at all. )

“What is the Herald wearing..?” A sister whispers near me while I stand outside the Chantry, and I sigh, running my fingers through my hair.

Stepping forward I push open the doors and shut them behind me, eyeing the stone columns and pews at the sides of the large room. Sisters and a few Mothers whisper prayers in front of small shrines, probably for the dead, probably in hopes that the breach won’t start growing again. My footsteps are silent while I walk, following the sound of shouting and arguing to the war room. The words are too muffled for me to hear, so I just open the door.

“Ah, here she is. Guards chain her, I want her on the next wagon to Val Royeaux.” Rodrick states as soon as he sees me, and I’m ducking away from the armored men before they can try anything. I swear to Freckled Jesus if this world ruins my love for hugs and gives me touch aversion, I’m going to stab someone.

Leliana looks almost amused by my ducking away, and Cassandra waves the men off.

“Disregard that, and leave us.” She says with only a small frown, watching the men salute and close the door behind them while Rodrick silently fumes.

I get it, this is all scary, but am I what you think of when a terrorist attack happens? Seriously?

“You still think I did it Chancellor, after I saved the world from being swallowed?” I grumble, grimacing and eyeing the old man with clear distrust. He wavers just a little before narrowing his eyes further, getting ready to respond with a biting remark. 

“That doesn’t matter. You are not a suspect any longer.” Leliana says, and the holy man’s face only gets redder. 

“What do you mean she is no longer a suspect?!”

I lean back against a small pillar, watching the adults finish their argument before Rodrick storms out in a flurry of robes and slams the door behind him. His steps pound outside the door even with it closed. The weird face he made when Cassandra did the book smacking was quite therapeutic, even if I feel bad. He’s just doing what he thinks is right, though it isn’t fun to know the governing body of a religion think I’m a Divine murderer.

Cassandra runs a tired hand down her face, then turns to face me. I try not to flinch away from her intense look, very much reminded by the face she made when we met with less murderous intent, but she notices my tensing anyways.

“I have not had the chance yet, with your recovering, but I am sorry for the way you were treated.” Cassandra says slowly, awkwardly. I feel awkward too, so I just shrug then run my fingers through my hair. “You thought I murdered your Divine.” I say simply, a small frown on my face.

Your Divine?” Leliana asks with a cocked eyebrow, still leaning comfortably against the wall. She reminds me of a cat constantly waiting to pounce on you, really.

“I’m a dirty heretic.” I say in deadpan. “Not a follower of Andraste or the Maker, the Dalish gods, or anything else really.” I explain. Cassandra looks like she can’t compute someone being religionless, and Leliana seems to regard me with much more interest than before. Agnostic and Atheist really aren’t a thing here then, not all that surprising considering all the shit the Chantry pulls.

“They are calling a Herald of a faith you do not believe in then.” Leliana says and my frown only deepens.

“Indeed.”

“And you don't wish to protest it?” Leliana asks and I sigh.

“Of course I do. I have no interest in being bowed to or treated like Andraste reborn or something, but me telling them to shove it won't do anything now will it?” I explain, fingers taking a run through my hair. “People believe what they want to believe unless it's shoved in their face.” My psychology teacher made that much clear even if I didn't have common sense.

Leliana stares for a few more long moments, than nods in satisfaction.

“If you’re both quite done, we need to discuss your part in the Inquisition.” Cassandra says. Her hand is laying on the old book while she looks at me and I dig my hands into my jacket to hug myself.

“Close rifts, close the breach, kill demons. With my hand this isn't a choice anyways, is it?” I ask, but it's generally clear I realize the situation. Leliana would probably just drug me and drag my ass back anyways, even if I had somewhere to go.

I have no one to go to . Fuck, I want my Mom and Dad. I wanna watch and see if Lola’s chin scar ever fades and if Ava gets a tattoo-

Not yet, stupid brain. Wait until you’re alone to start that shit.

“You do have a choice-” Cassandra attempts to protest, but I just shake my head at her with a wry smile.

 

“No, I don't.”