When Varric was interrogated by Cassandra about the Champion’s whereabouts, the dwarf wasn’t lying when he said that he didn’t know where his friend was. And truth be told? He didn’t know who Hawke had become. For months Varric tried his damnedest to track Hawke down after he up and left them just as they had barely escaped Kirkwall and her fiery wrath. If not to find his location, it was to cover his tracks so that none could follow. But when the rogue finally found his mage friend in a tavern neck deep in a barrel of ale, he finally realised the worst.
Hawke didn’t want to be found.
Just like the Hero of Ferelden, the Champion of Kirkwall vanished without a trace. But unlike the Warden, Hawke resurfaced two years later. The mage was found along the outskirts of the now-destroyed Lothering, camped not far from the tree where Malcolm Hawke was laid to rest. He was greeted by Sister Nightingale who was accompanied by a Tal-Vashoth Inquisition agent named Adaar, head of the Valo-Kas mercenary group hired to provide protection as a neutral party. It didn’t take much persuading for Hawke to accept his new role seeing that the Maker had once again reigned fire down onto their lands. And just like that, the Champion walked into the role of Inquisitor to represent them at the Temple of Sacred Ashes.
By the time Varric got word that his friend had willingly given himself to the Inquisition and made it to Haven, tragedy had already struck the conclave and its devout clerics. What Varric didn’t expect was that Hawke emerged from the explosion alive with Adaar... both of them bearing the anchor that would close fade rifts caused by the giant hole in the sky.
As their days together in the Inquisition passed, it was clear that Hawke didn’t want to talk about Kirkwall. Each time Varric mentioned any of their companions, there wasn’t much of a response. It wasn’t that the former Champion was disinterested—he just seemed...
‘—Distant. He became a recluse after Kirkwall. After the city calmed down, Aveline even sent three of her best guards to look for Hawke. Anders and Merrill tried to look for him in the Fade—if that’s even possible—but it was Rivaini who got so close,’ Varric explained, cracking open a nut with a small paring knife.
Adaar took another sip at her tea. ‘Where was he?’
‘Antiva. Rivaini got a tip from a friend that he’d been spotted in one of the smaller taverns. It was probably for a split second, but she swore it was him in the market that morning,’ he said, cracking open yet another nut and throwing it into the growing pile on the table.
‘She didn’t go after him?’ Adaar asked, surprised. Next to Varric, she knew that Isabela was the closest to the Champion.
Varric shook his head. ‘Isabela saw what I saw when I first found him earlier that year, and I think she finally understood when I told her that the Hawke we knew was long gone.’
The Tal-Vashoth picked an unopened nut at cracked it between her fingers. ‘Why Antiva though?’
The storyteller set down the knife and folded his arms. He’d never told anyone this, but he knew he had to get it off his chest sooner or later. ‘Y’know, this might be a long-shot but... I think Hawke had a death wish. We crossed paths with the Antivan Crows back in the day and I have sinking a feeling that he hoped that they’d take revenge on him for killing their brethren.’
･ﾟﾟ･ . ･ﾟﾟ･ . ･ﾟﾟ･ .
Sometimes Hawke wondered if he was cursed. First, it was his Father, then Bethany and Carver, and shortly after that was his Mother. Then...
This should never have happened in the first place. Forgive me.
Memories overwhelmed him, and Hawke jolted awake with an arm outstretched, reaching for the pieces of a broken dream that only brushed his fingertips. The man gasped for air, and the hand that placed itself against his back was reassurance enough that he was most definitely awake in the land of the living.
‘I got you, buddy. Breathe—deeply through your nose,’ the calming voice in the dark said, and Hawke obeyed his instructions. Controlled breathing. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Exhale.
Clarity returned to him after a few minutes—though to the Champion, it felt much, much longer.
‘Better?’ Varric asked, handing him a tankard of water. Hawke nodded wordlessly and emptied the whole thing in one go.
‘Was it the Mark?’ he asked carefully, taking a seat at the edge of the bedroll. Varric knew the anchor sent shockwaves of pain sometimes. He’d seen Adaar fall to her knees when she was sparring with Bull many times when they were back in Skyhold.
Hawke shook his head, pressing the fingertips of his free hand against his eyes to prevent the migraine from getting worse.
He took the tankard out of Hawke’s hands. ‘Oh... are you still having those dreams?’
Breathe. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Exhale.
The dwarf sighed. He knew Hawke had nightmares because they heard him scream sometimes. The stubborn man never wanted to discuss them, but Varric worried more about his silence than anything. ‘Hawke, I know it’s not my place to say it but you need to talk about—‘
Now the Mark on his hand hummed, glowing ominously as it pulsed. The pain that shot up his arm was still bearable—like little jolts of electricity when he tried to conjure powerful lightning spells. At the very least, the physical pain took his mind off his emotional hurt.
Before Varric could comment, Adaar poked her head through the tent and her sleepy eyes settled on the Champion. ‘You felt it too, right?’ she asked in a whisper. Her hand too, was glowing under the glove she was wearing.
Hawke nodded, struggling to stand and Varric had to steady him. ‘We’re getting close now,’ he commented as they exited the tent. It was probably a day’s trek more, but both Hawke and Adaar knew what was beyond the horizon.