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The Morning Star

Chapter Text

Anders’ stomach was filled with butterflies when he walked inside the local bar. The Hanged Man was never empty, but now it was filled with people. Which didn’t help Anders’ stress at all.

“Are you here for the auditions?” soft squeaky voice asked near him. The voice came from a short elven girl with black hair and green eyes who sat on a stool with a laptop and a notebook. ‘Merrill - assistant’, Anders read from her nametag.

“Yeah, I’m uh, Anders, I sent you the application form last Tuesday” he said, his anxiety shining through. Merrill searched something on her laptop until she nodded, wrote a number on a torn piece of paper and gave it to Anders.

“Here, take this please!” she smiled brightly and nodded towards the stairs. “There are a lot of people waiting for their turn upstairs but please join them as soon as possible. Ms. Montilyet will call you by number when they are ready.”

‘Alright, now I can’t back up anymore…’ Anders thought as he walked up the stairs. Anxiety kept building inside him when he finally reached the top and looked around. A corridor with almost twenty people ahead of him. Great.

He sat on a stool very far from the door that seemed to be The Door. The door to a life changing job or door to yet another poor year. He hadn’t applied in any other plays. Why, he asked himself again and again, but couldn’t find an acceptable answer. Only that he wanted this role, and only this.

Varric was a talented author, everyone loved his books. Anders had even bought the latest best-seller novel Tethras wrote , mostly because it was the last part of his newest trilogy. In the last pages of the book there had been a casting call for an upcoming movie that was scripted by Mr. Tethras himself. ‘Mage actors are also welcome’, had read in a small font under the main info. That was enough for Anders.

The Door suddenly opened and a short girl walked out, tears in her eyes. Everyone in the hall turned their heads towards her and the door that slowly swung closed. It was deadly silent aside from the restrained sniffing that echoed from the walls. After a moment the door opened again, showing a black-haired woman with a yellow dress standing there.

“Number 125 please”, she said with an accent Anders didn’t catch. Perhaps Orlesian?

A man in a suit stood up and walked up to her, and the door closed again. ‘Clever choice of clothing’, Anders thought and looked at his own rags. His olive green trench coat had seen better days, so had his jeans. Only the boots were new, and Anders was proud of them. They judge people by their shoes or how did the saying go…

Talking about shoes, a loud clattering caught his attention. A shorter man with a black leather jacket walked up and seemed also to desire a seat far away from the door. His black hood hid his face and hair, and he had a white scarf around his neck. Even though he was pretty covered, something was really familiar in him.

Of course, Anders thought, this was an audition for a movie role that was probably wanted by many local actors, even the popular ones. It would be no surprise if someone as famous as Emma Thompson came upstairs with a number on their hand. Perhaps he was just an actor Anders has seen a lot but couldn’t put a name on. He definitely seemed like he wanted to keep his face hidden from unknown gazes.

Anders snorted and almost jumped when the sound echoed in the corridor. Some people turned their head towards him, some just ignored it. The man with a hidden face didn’t move.

‘I wish this would be over soon..’

 

There were no other auditionees after the mystery man. After almost an hour it was just them sitting in the hall, a bit closer to the door. Neither of them had spoken, and the silence was getting on Anders’ nerves. He hated silence, and after sitting about an hour without anyone to talk to, he was fidgeting. He just wanted to speak with someone, if the other man didn’t do anything, he had to break the silence himself.

“Out of everything I think the waiting is the worst”, Anders stated, smiling nervously. The man raised his head and only smiled back before lowering his face again. It wasn’t enough for Anders.
“I think we are the last ones today… I bet they are happy too since it must have been a long day for everyone!”

“I believe acting in a film is mostly that too”, the man suddenly said with a low velvety voice and looked at Anders again, “waiting.” His tone wasn’t amused at all, but Anders could have sworn he saw the man’s lips curve.

Butterflies were back at Anders’ stomach. His voice was so creamy and deep. I don’t even know his name and I already have a crush on him. “Oh maker you are right, but it’s different kind of waiting”, Anders chuckled and tried to see the man’s eyes. They were green, Anders was sure of that, and a shock of white hair covered the other side of his forehead. Dear Andraste, give me the courage to at least ask his name.

Before Anders could open his mouth the lady in yellow opened the door again and nodded to Anders. She looked tired, which was no surprise since the auditions had been running the whole day and this wasn’t going to be the last audition of the week.

Anders walked through the door with his coat in hand, regretting it a bit since his sweater wasn’t any more presentable. At least the coat didn’t have a mayo stain from the sandwich he had eaten about 30 minutes ago. He should have put it back on -

“I’m Josephine, casting director”, the lady said and smiled, “please follow me.”

The lady led him to another room that had a wide table near the wall, three people sitting behind it watching as they walked in. An elf, a human and a dwarf that Anders assumed was Varric Tethras himself. Anders stopped near the table and watched Josephine walk behind it, already writing something on her notebook.

This was already somehow more uncomfortable than any audition he had ever been.

“So, you are a mage”, a woman sitting in the middle announced, clearly reading his application. Her eyes were sharp when she raised her gaze. Everyone seemed to look at his choice of clothing, and Anders felt his cheeks burning.

“I am, miss”, he said and the woman nodded. She looked at the dwarf sitting beside her, letting him do the talking.

“I am Varric Tethras, I assume you’ve probably read many of my novels”, the dwarf said smiling, playing with the pencil in his hand. After Anders nodded, he laughed. “Good good, and you probably know that I also wrote the script. This is Cassandra Pentaghast, our dear producer, and this is Zevran Arainai, our director. You are auditioning for the role of Adrian, right?”

“How did you guess?” Anders said smirking, trying to swallow his anxiety. “How could a mage apply for a role of a mage?”

Zevran’s laugh roared around the room while Varric raised his hands, his smile widening. Josephine also smiled softly while furiously writing everything down, but Cassandra just looked at him. Her expression was cold and measuring, but impossible to read.

“I like you already”, Varric continued. “What makes you the best option for this role, then? You have been acting on Broadway if I remember correctly.”

“I have, I’ve been in The Fifth Blight and The Plague, also in The Song of Revolution and then in some smaller plays-“

“Really? You were in The Song of Revolution?” Zevran cut off curiously and Anders nodded again.

“Yes, I was the Mage of the Sewers there”, he answered while gesturing his torso, “I had the.. the ugly robes with seaweed and everything.”

“I can easily picture that”, Varric laughed and Zevran burst into laughing. Anders couldn’t deny that his clothes were any better than that, but perhaps he earned some extra points from it.

“I know I know, I’m not really a fashion guru”, he admitted and smiled, scratching his temple. “But yeah, it was a great musical. We could actually use some easy spells there, the audience mostly approved it. I took Karl Thekla’s course ‘use of magic in art’ since I went to Kinloch Hold’s University-“

“Before you go any further I want you to know that we won’t be using any real magic in the set”, Cassandra said and cocked her head. It was still impossible to read her thoughts. Was she annoyed? Impressed?

“Why?” Anders asked before he could stop himself. Great, go ahead and start arguing with them…

Varric and Zevran looked at each other, changing unspoken words while Cassandra kept silent. Finally the elf opened his mouth.

“Well, I myself have nothing against magic, I think it’s quite fabulous and would do wonders in our set, but we had to-… let’s say, have a lot of heated conversations about it”, he said, choosing his words carefully and quickly looking at Cassandra whose face hadn’t changed at all. “Also the Thedas’ Film Foundation was a bit against it, so... it is what it is now.”

After shrugging his shoulders, Varric formed a smirk on his lips. He leaned closer to Anders on the table and tapped his pen on his notebook. “So, what else can you tell us about yourself?”

 

 

The key turned stiffly in his door’s lock, but finally Anders got himself inside his apartment. A soft meow answered him from the otherwise empty kitchen and he couldn’t help but smile. Ser Pounce-a-lot was always happy to see him, especially now when he had cat food somewhere inside his shopping bags.

Even after leaving the auditions his anxiety hadn’t eased. Even though Varric and Zevran had smiled a good amount of time during his auditioning, Cassandra’s cold gaze remained in his thoughts. When he had come out of the door, even the handsome man sitting in the corridor had looked a bit puzzled. Perhaps he had taken more time than others. He wasn’t quite sure if it was a bad or a good thing. He had gotten so embarrassed he had just left, regretting it instantly because he would have loved to ask the man’s name. Or number.

After emptying his shopping bags Anders fed Pounce and started brewing some tea. It was already pretty late and he was tired. The whole day included so many incidents he was exhausted. He only wanted to sit on a couch and watch late reruns of Dinner Date with Pounce sleeping on his lap. Luckily he hadn’t promised to visit the clinic tomorrow, which meant he could sleep without any alarms. The clinic was a good place with good work to be done, but it was still hard work without any salary. Luckily Anders had finally learned to take day-offs with no remorse.

There were no new messages on his phone, even though he had left his friend Ariana a ton of them while waiting for the auditions. Ariana Amell was his close friend from theatre and even though they didn’t see much anymore they messaged each other almost every day. Ariana had introduced Anders to many of his friends and even to some important people from the movie business. How did she get so popular, Anders didn’t quite know but he was really proud of her no matter what.

Would Ariana know something about the man? White hair and green eyes were about everything Anders remembered from the man’s looks. And that voice, how could Anders describe it well enough? Could he hear his voice again? He could listen to it all day and all night long. All the dirty things the man could say…

Anders groaned and lay down on his sofa.

 

He must had fallen asleep somewhere in the middle of the third episode. When he opened his eyes he realized he was still laying on his couch with his TV on, at the moment running some sort of quiz show. Only now the early morning light was creeping in under his curtains. The woman asking viewers to call had only a bikini on even though it was only March. ‘Ugh, those TV shows…’

The first notes of The Bee Gee’s Staying Alive started playing from Anders’ phone which ended up somewhere on the floor. He quickly jumped up, accidentally dropping a bag of chips he had gotten from the kitchen before passing out on the couch. After reaching his phone from under the couch, he checked the number. It wasn’t a private number, but he didn’t recognize it. And who the hell would call him at 9 in the morning?

‘Probably a lot of people actually, since it was Thursday’, Anders thought and braced himself before answering.

“Hello?”

“Good morning, this is Josephine Montilyet”, a bright voice sounded from the phone. Who? “I hope I didn’t wake you up or anything?”

“Not at all, I was just… eating chips?” Anders said when his eyes hit the mess on the floor. He mentally facepalmed himself and finally recognized who he was talking with.

“Ah, good to hear! I’m calling to ask you to come at the Academy of Kirkwall at 1 pm tomorrow, we are gathering all actors and assistants at the Library there. We need to discuss about the future and our schedules.”

Anders didn’t understand a word she was saying. Surely he hadn’t any rehearsals for any plays anymore?

“Hold on, wha- where? I’m sorry but what is this about?”

“Oh dear I apologize, I left out the important part!” Josephine yelled on the phone and chuckled a bit. “I’m sorry, but yes! You were chosen to play the part of Adrian. Welcome into the film industry, Anders.”