Chapter 1: Grief
Hawke had become a shell of herself, everyone could see it in that moment. Once, The Champion of Kirkwall had held her head high upon the steps of the Viscount's Keep, a beacon of hope for all who laid eyes upon her, now she had been reduced to nothing but an empty shadow as the lifeless eyes of her mother burned into her own. Her eyes, once so alive and shining against the sun with promise of hope and righteousness, had been erased and starred vacantly at the corpse within her arms. She could feel their eyes on her as well, her once favored companions, as they stood near by to offer any chance of comfort or support. And yet she didn't want it, she didn't want any of this. Not anymore.
"I am so sorry, Hawke, there's...there's nothing I can do," Anders voice echoed through the room, cutting the silence with a jagged knife as it pierced her ears, causing her grip upon Leandra to slip, her mother's body slowly falling to the ground. "His magic, it...it must have been keeping her alive. I am...so sorry."
Her hands began to shake as she brought them up around the edges of her body, holding onto the last of the fading warmth within her as she tightly held herself together. Fearing she would easily break apart at any moment she began to fall to her knees, shaking on her heels, rocking herself back and forth to try and find some kind of comfort within the room around her. She felt the world around her grow dark, and then she watched herself, cradled on the ground, as if transported to another world outside of herself. A scream, loud and echoing, in the distance triggered the tears to begin to pour from her face as the pieces of her began to crumble.
"Hawke," Varric began, slowly stepping forward towards his dearest friend, as she cried leaned her head forward into the dark, her tears beginning to moisten the dirt below her as she continued to hold herself. He stopped, unsure of himself, as he watched her bellow out before him, a mixture of 'why' and 'me' escaping her cries.
Sebastian remained silent as he the grip on his bow weakened, watching her, and let it slip to the ground as he bowed his head in silent prayer for the departed. He wanted to speak the words out loud, to send some kind of peace within his voice towards his friend, his ally, the one shining light in all of Kirkwall before the light would extinguish. He had never felt such raw emotion fill around him in a long time, it wasn't the Maker's light this time, it was Hawke's. He couldn't think of the words as he felt something touch him as he stepped forward against his own accord.
Anders was still close enough to feel hear her broken breathing beneath the tears in her eyes. He made sure his steps were cautious as he, too, inched forward. There was concern in his eyes, Justice was silent in his mind, and there was a common ground of serenity among them. He placed a friendly hand upon her shoulder as her cries worsened, her head tilted back to the ceiling as she bellowed a sickening 'why' this time, completely audible. She sat back on her heels, allowing the tears pour from her eyes in a steady stream. Her hands softly grasping at her ribs, appearing as if she was trying to claw her way out of her own skin.
Her mind had began to race, images of a life once left behind, Bethany and Carver bickering at each other between the fense of their cottage. A warm, welcoming arm of her father wrapped securely around her mother as they watched her siblings chase the other around the yard, smiling as they beckoned them inside for supper. Hawke reached out, calling out for them to take her with them as the door to their home shut tight, the image disappearing in a cloud of smoke before her.
Varric and Sebastian met at her back, though she was unsure which had placed a hand on the small spot behind her. She was completely surrounded by her companions, by her dear friends, and yet at that moment within the silence she had never felt more alone.
"Guys," she began, her voice barely above a whisper as she tried to speak, "please take me home."
If Anders hadn't been holding her under her left side, and Sebastian to her right she was uncertain if her legs would even support her weight as they ascended the steps into Hightown. Varric had scouted ahead, opened every door before them, and tried to clear the way so that they could reach the Amell estate quickly. There had been a silence between them all, a serious aura weighing down on all of them as they reached the door, only to be met with Bodahn's worried expression.
"Serah Hawke? Is she alright?"
"Prepare a hot bath, I can explain on the way." Varric stepped inside first, Bodahn at his side that they summoned Sandal and hurried towards the back of the mansion to heat the water. Varric kept things direct and precise as he nearly barked out orders to his fellow kinsman as he worked.
The mansion was colder than usual, darker, and there had been much more silence as they made their way through the many doors. Serge made a few whimpers as they moved hastily, his cries echoing the vacant halls, as Varric carefully explained the events of the night to her dwarven housekeeper.
The men kept a grip on her as they moved, stopping every so often when she would shift or make a sudden noise, the series of halls like a maze just to reach the washroom. With a flick of his hand; Anders lit every torch and candle within the room and adjacent hall, illuminating the once dark area with a more somber ambiance. She kept her eyes forward, though she was fully aware where she stood, as the thoughts began to consume her.
Varric cleared his throat as the others brought her inside, the men slowly steadying her on her own feet, yet she kept a hand on Sebastian as they tried to keep her standing. Varric's expression was troubled as his eyes fell upon her face, so devoid of life and happiness that it nearly made him sick, "I know that things are fucked up, Hawke. But," all eyes had been on him as he spoke, making his way to the door, "I'm sorry I can't stay. You know where to find me if you need me, I just...need some air." He disappeared past the doorway as Anders bolted after him, angered.
"You're just going to leave? You coward!"
Anders chased after the dwarf, unsure if it was truly his anger speaking as he ran through the halls, his footsteps growing quieter as he went. The sudden chill of his hand abandoning her back sent another chill through her, as her weight shifted, nearly falling directly into Sebastian's chest piece. He caught her, holding her arms steady as she looked up at him.
He watched, carefully, as her pale tone against his sun-kissed skin created an odd contrast as he held her there. He hadn't realized he had wrapped a second arm around her waist as she continued to watch him grow more aware of his surroundings. Her delicate frame against his sent something through him as he realized just how small she appeared against him, he had never been this close to her. Shaking any thought that appeared he watched her eyes as they slowly glazed over with more tears. This wasn't his old friend any longer, that Hawke died in the basement of the killer's lair, this Hawke within his arms was all that was left. He never had seen her remotely close to the way she was before him, so defenseless, so broken, and so...
Her eyes slowly met his gaze, eye for eye, as she let a tear escape down her cheek once more. He could tell within the pale, muted gray pools that she wasn't actually looking at him but at something past him, much further past him. It pained him to see her this way, something in her emotionless expression triggered a lost emotion within his chest, a spark of something once long forgotten.
"Stay," her voice was strained as her eyes slowly closed, more tears escaping as she pleaded with everything she could muster, "Sebastian, please stay." Her tone was almost pleading as the sound of water behind her ceased, she watched his sky-blue eyes close as he lost himself in thought. A simple nod from him making a small smile flash upon her lips before disappearing.
She had known that he was a man of faith, which was the biggest factor in her decision of asking him to stay with her. Her mind was no longer her own, and she wasn't thinking completely as the images of her family flashed before her. Their eyes, open and completely drained of life burning into her mind as she tried to erase the pain. No amount of sadness, no hatred that she ever felt before equaled this moment and she knew that from this moment forward she would never be the same again.
Sebastian had been respectful, keeping an arm close by as she slowly shed her armor before stepping into the tub. He kept his head tilted away as she entered the warm pool in the center of the room, and it wasn't until she was nearly completely submerged in the water before he dared to turn his head, only to be greeted by her back and the dark fluff of her hair. He let out a sigh as he grabbed a stool from the vanity and sat close to her, watching her still form before him.
"What is it like?" her question interrupting his sudden sentence.
"Pardon? What is what like?" She remained still in the water as she spoke, her gaze fixated upon the dancing flames upon the edges which surrounded her.
"In silence," she began, "you hear the Maker. He calls out to you. He is your guiding light, is he not?" Her tone was cracked yet serious as she spoke.
He watched the ripples of the water as her fist clenched below the surface, unsure if it was out of anger or grief.
"The Maker speaks to all who are willing to listen," he smiled slightly, feeling the warmth of his faith fill him as he spoke. Hawke had never once questioned him or his beliefs and never asked anything out of line when it came to him and his vows. Sure, she would often give a few jabs towards him with the others within a banter on the field but it was never out of spite.
"Then," her breathing had increased as he brought his gaze back down towards her body, still facing away from him. He noticed she had brought her right hand over her left forearm, a fist still tightly clenched, the sound of tears dropping into the water. "Why can't I hear him now?"
"Hawke, what are you--" the words escaped him, at that moment he knew this was no longer any remnant of once cherished friend, this wasn't even a fragment of who she once was.
"Why has he abandoned me?"
Her voice was shaking through her tears as she kept her eyes forward, un-moving as she shifted closer to her, keeping a safe respectable distance between them. She brought her nails down the vein of her arm, once, twice, three times, the once porcelain flesh of her arm turning pink, red. His eyes widened as he reached out, grabbing both of her wrists in a single, gloved hand.
"Marian!" His tone was stern, almost father-like, as she felt his grip upon her skin. She looked up at him, shocked, meeting his gaze as a weak smirk slowly formed upon her capped, pale lips.
"I thought you would never touch a girl, Vael." Her voice was strained as she tried with all her might to sound like her old, witty self. He noticed her attempt as another tear raced down her cheek, his gaze un-moving from her own. She wasn't in the right state of mind, both mind and body exhausted from the events of the night, and she could tell by the stern expression on his face and he knew it too.
She then tried to smile, weakly, as he released her arms before he stood. "I will fetch ye your robes," he walked towards the doorway, pausing before continuing, "I shall see that ye fall asleep before I take my leave tonight."
And just like that he vanished from the room entirely, his footsteps growing weaker as he searched her home. Hawke leaned back down in the tub as she closed her eyes, welcoming the darkness as she drifted further into a silent, empty sleep.
Chapter 2: Differment
"It's taken a lifetime to lose my way, a lifetime of yesterdays. All the wasted time on my hands turns to sand and fades in the wind. Crossing lines, small crimes taking back what is mine. I'm fine in the fire I feed on the friction I'm right where I should be, don't try and fix me." - 10 Years 'Fix Me'
I should start putting some warnings on these, apologize in advanced since I am still new to writing and posting them, I am also going to start posting song lyrics in the beginning of each chapter to kind of help build a pseudo-atmosphere since I feel like I'm horrible at creating them OH side note, I've been having the hardest time trying to recreate Sebastian's accent so if there's random 'ye' or 'aye' thrown in just kind of picture him talking. Gosh I'm rambling again...let's go.
Warnings: Alcohol Abuse, Substance Abuse, implied Self-Harm.
Her dreams had been no less haunting as echoes of the departed danced through her head. There were no images to match the cries, simply darkness, a fire burning deep into her lungs as the waves crashed upon her still-moving figure. I feel... Another wave hit her washing over her mind and her body, before she knew it there she was standing; shoulder deep between the violent tides as the roar of thunder crashed above her head. I feel like I'm... The burning inside her throat was insufferable and yet oddly welcoming as she swore the oceans abyss spoke her name. I'm fading.
She began to choke, the burning within her core nearly unbearable as she began to cough, overwhelming her. The rushing water around her becoming even more life threatening as the taste of blood filled her mouth, coating her tongue. Bringing her eyes to the heavens above she could have sworn to the Maker that her name was spoken within the whispers of the wind, louder than ever before as the brightness of the sun shown vibrantly in her ever pale eyes. The tears began to pour again the light captivated her, stilling the rushing waters around her, calming the storm. She felt warm, well, warmer as the movement around her vanished leaving her to face the blinding light head on, reaching a hand forward towards its gaze yet unable to bring herself forward to welcome it.
A voice, unrecognizable to her ears, had been speaking almost to her as she stood with her gaze upon the sun, un-moving. Something about the beckoning orb made a small smile form upon her cracked and bleeding lips. She was weak. She was broke. She was completely alone.
"Maker of the World, forgive her.
She has lived too long in shadow
Without Your light to guide her."
The voice spoke out once more, encompassing her mind as a surge of warmth wrapped itself around her fragile body. The light began to fade, dimming as it raced further away from her still un-moving body. Her shaking, throbbing hand reaching out as the emptiness drew her back into the darkness. Her throat began to constrict as an odd pressure appeared upon her chest.
Her eyes promptly opened as she leaned over the edge of her four-post bed, coughing up a darkened liquid which took up resident in her lungs, a mix of bath water and blood. Her breathing was quickened as her eyes slowly adjusted to the torchlight around her, stinging her iris' as she searched the room. The blurred figured around her made her shutter uncomfortably as the outline of three silhouettes gazed down upon her, the image making her head spin as she leaned over once more, expelling another clump of the blackened mixture that clung to her insides. She laid back, resting her head upon the silk pillow as she watched the swirls of the fabric canopy above her head danced for her.
"I'm surprised she hasn't fallen into shock."
"She was under the water for some time, I was frightened we lost her, messeres."
"Aye, I thank you for coming back when you did, Anders. Maker only knows if we were not quick enough to grab her."
She let out a sigh as the room grew silent, the feel of eyes upon her as she kept her own gaze upwards before closing them as she drifted into a dreamless sleep.
The blood on her hand had began to dry between her fingers, making a sticky paste of mud and scab crust upon her palm. A series of giggles poured from her lips as her fingers dances around the lock pick in her 'good' hand, struggling to find the pressure point of the driftwood doors before her. Everything was a blur, as her head spun clockwise, laughter and cries making her throat almost go numb by the time the doors to the Chantry creaked open. She tried to be as subtle as possible, though her cat-like reflexes were getting the best of her at the moment, the giant doors slamming shut after a few ear-piercing squeaks against the floor tiles.
Soft giggles remained on her tongue as she swayed around the walkway before her. Everything was dark besides the one lit brazer for their beloved Andraste continued to shine brightly through the night.
"Forgive me, Maker, I have ssssssssssssssssined." She stumbled towards her left, colliding with one of the many golden statues that held up the scales lining the doorway. "Hello, handsome," she began through slurred words, her bloodied finger trailing the statues cheek, laughter rolling off her tongue. "Come here often? Oh wait. Haaaaaaaaaaaaa"
She wasn't sure if it were her footsteps she heard or if there had been another awake at this hour as she wobbled her way towards the pews before the banner and offerings. Running her hand through her already messed up hair she allowed a smile to form on her face as the symbol of Andraste upon the banner before her welcomed her drunken strides.
A strange smile replaced her all too excited one, the edges of her lips twisting in a sadistic almost Cheshire grin. She let herself fall to her knees as the source of the sudden voice ran to her side, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as she slumped down, her gaze slowly lifting to see who her white knight may have been. Yet in her current state and the dimmed light around her all she could really make out were the pools of blue meeting her eyes. "Maker, is that finally you?"
"Are you mad? Do you even realize what hour it is? Andraste preserve me, Marian have you been drinking you smell like a sailor."
"A piiiirate to be exact, dear Maker. Wait, you're just a man."
Sebastian helped bring her to her feet as she let her head lean forward, colliding with his half robed chest, biting her lip as she could smell the alcohol on her breath, causing the first tinge of vomit rise in her throat.
"You've been drinking with Isabela, wonderful. And..." He held her shoulders as she let her head dip to the floor, keeping her gaze upon the stones at their feet. His eyes scanned her body, unarmored and covered in ripped fabric, dirt, and dried blood. Another giggle escaped from her lips as a hiccup followed before she looked up, eyes at half mass and full of unspoken emotion. He looked at her poorly bandage hand before taking it in his own, concern in his gaze. "You're hurt."
"You smell, rrrreally good."
He had to shake her shoulders to keep her focused as he could feel her weight shift forward towards him. They hadn't spoken all week, not since he found her submerged within the tub as he went to clear his head throughout her home. He felt guilty at the time, still did, and yet at this moment he was more concerned why she didn't make her way to Ander's clinic for help.
"Hawke, look at me. You shouldn't be here, I can get you to Anders, he can heal you, he can--"
"No! I don't want Anders." She took an unsteady step forward, the smell of alcohol evident in her breath as he could nearly get drunk off her fumes. She placed her wounded hand upon his cheek as her eyes slowly gazed over, getting lost within his. "Why are your eyes so damn pretty?"
His breathing caught as if he were stuck within her gaze, slowly shaking his head as he shook her once more. "Hawke." His tone was stern, for the first time she looked almost scared in his presence, she let her hand linger on his cheek as her thumb slowly traced his jaw.
"Sebastian." Her eyes said it all, pleading for him, as his breathing picked up, moving his hand up to grasp hers only to push her away. Had she really just said his name in that manner? The low whine of her syllables causing almost a moan trickle out. It sparked him, yet he shook it off just as quickly as it appeared within him.
"Marian, don't." He shook her again as her smile finally faded, her vision slowly clearing as the effects of the alcohol began to slowly subside.
"Wait....why?" Her tone was soft, nearly silent as she spoke, she sounded sad even. She stumbled away from him, taking a loud seat on the pew before them.
"You're not thinking clearly. Instead of seeking medical attention you ended up here. None of this is making much sense, Hawke. What happened tonight?"
As he walked towards her she reached up with blood soaked fingers to take his hand, shaking her head. "No, it doesn't matter just, let me stay here, please."
He shook his head, trying to understand why any of this way happening. He cared about her, probably more than he should have admitted to himself. Since the day they met he made it a promise to do whatever he could to repay her, to keep her safe. And here she was, inches away from him, and he felt useless to her.
"You can't just sleep on the floor here--"
"Let me stay the night with you then. Sebastian, please." Her grip slowly tightened on his hand as a small 'ow' whimpered out of her throat, the cut on her hand reopening slightly to start to sting again. "Please, don't leave me alone again. I....I....I'm--"
He knelt down, snaking his arm around her waist as he brought her to her feet, she was still uncoordinated and swaying slightly as he slowly and silently made her walk towards the steps leading to the sleeping quarters tucked dimly away at the back of the Chantry.
She was dizzy, the scene before her colliding together into one big blur as the scene played out in slow motion. Sebastian had his arm firmly around her waist, her injured and bloodied hand draped around his neck as he softly muttered a prayer to himself. The dim light of the Chantry had began to play tricks on her mind, feeling as if she was dreaming as the images before her started to spin again. She balled her hand into a fist as he quickly kicked the door to his bedroom open, leaning her against the cobbled wall as he slowly turned to shut the door behind them. Her eyes followed him around the room as he went towards a large armoire, pulling open the smaller of the two drawers beneath the main cabinet. The clanking of glass indicated her was searching for a bottle or potion of some kind.
Why am I here?
He turned to face her once more as her eyes began to study the room, a portrait of the Blessed Andraste hung high above his bed, simple sheets tossed about on the floor. There were two lit torches within the room, one armoire painted red, and a reading table set up on the adjacent side. She noted his grandfathers bow laid resting against the wall directly next to his bed as if placed in case of intrusion. He stood before her, a caring smile on his lips as he extended the bottle towards her. Judging by the color and almost mint scent that radiated out as he opened the cork indicated Elfroot, probably to help heal her cut.
As she took it from his grasp and raised it to her lips she truly took a moment to watch her royal friend for the first time. His subtle smile that naturally formed on his resting lips, his sun-kissed skin that gave him a naturally mysterious aura, the dangerous glow of his all too perfect blue eyes. Even hastily covered in bed robes, marked distinctly with the sunburst of Andraste, she could see the outline of his broad shoulders, the size of his biceps shaped to yield the strength of his bowstring. She almost felt her face grow hot as her mind wondered what his bare chest must look like underneath it all. With one large gulp she swallowed the potion whole, the bitter taste lingering on her tongue.
Sebastian had already been at work remaking his bed as he gestured her towards it, pulling up a wooden stool to be seated next to her if she so chose to take a seat upon his sheets. She slowly sat herself down as he extended his hand towards her injured one. "May I?"
She was hesitant as she lifted her hand into his, his nimble fingers already undressing the wound as her still intoxicated mind couldn't fathom how quickly he made the bandages disappear. She watched as his eyes studied the wound, he noted how precise and clean the cut had been, noting just how deep as well, appearing as if done with a sharp dagger.
"Hawke, this is...." He paused as he brought his gaze up to meet hers again, her eyes quickly looking away. "Did you do this to yourself?"
With her eyes safely adverted he allowed his hand to run over the cut, his nails softly picking at some speckles of dried blood as he stood to grab a stale glass of water from his desk. He leaned down, tearing a piece of his bed clothes off at the seam before dipping the fabric into the glass, attempting to clean up the injury.
"I...Why would you...wait..I...no?" She was unable to speak, words were harsh on her as he worked on cleaning her up. Confusion rushing through her head as too many emotions began to pile upon her making her slowly sick to her stomach, feeling the sting of acid at the back of her throat rise once again. Against her will her body had began to slowly shake as her vision went out of focus. He watched her, carefully, as he slowly let go of her palm, her touch growing hot as she leaned herself forward, spilling the contents of her stomach onto his floor, a heavy groan following.
After a long sigh on his end he removed himself from his bed chambers, allowing her to lay back against his pillow as sober thoughts rushed within her mind. Why did I come here? The flames casting shadows upon the ceiling seemed to soothe her, her breathing slowing down as the first bead of sweat fell upon her brow. Why was he awake at this hour? The sound of the door reopening echoed as her hand slowly rose above her, reaching towards the shadows.
He was already quick to work picking up the horrid spill that slowly spread throughout his tiles. The smell of whiskey and sour acid stinging the air as he tried to rid it carefully. He hadn't spoken, simply worked steadily, discarding the bucket and mop just outside the doorway before lighting a single scented candle to clear the room. He stood there, watching her lay within his bed, her hand reaching for something unobtainable in the air, knowing full-well that it would only be a matter of time before he had to get Anders. The amount of alcohol within her trailed off with the sweat radiating off of her pale skin.
She looked almost childlike, her slender frame wiggling within the sheets of his bed, large enough to hold three sisters easily. He couldn't take his eyes off of her, worry written on his lips, as the first tinge of sleep slowly stung his eyes. For years all he wanted was to take care of her, to awake in her arms each morning and hear her whisper comfort in his ear. He longed for her companionship, no matter how sinful it would become, yearning to feel her skin against his own. Shaking the thoughts from his head he softly uttered a Chant to himself, calming his nerves, before he made his way to the opposite side of the bed.
Feeling the shift of weight she allowed her hand to fall slowly towards her side, turning her head ever so gently in his direction. "Sebastian Vael," she began, her tone full of teasing humor as her eyes watched him lay a few inches away from her. "Isn't there some law against a Brother of Faith sharing his bed with a heathen?"
"Not when it's this hour, do try to sleep yourself Marian."
He kept his hands folded together on his chest as he laid still on his back, his eyes shut as he spoke. She didn't try to push anything, didn't honestly know why she was laying there in a Prince's bed, within the Chantry, at an ungodly hour of the night. She allowed her own eyes to close as the stinging of her throat calmed the voices in her head, images of the night slowly replaying in her mind as she frowned, drifting into an uncomfortable, uneasy sleep.
Chapter 3: Acceptance
If you want to save her, first you have to save yourself. If you want to free her from the hurt, don't do it with your pain. If you want to see her smile again, don't show her you're afraid, because your circle of fear is the same. - 'Circle of Fear' by HIM
I didn't expect so many people to have read this I have to say I am a bit shocked but I also wanted to thank you guys so much. I say this a lot and only because it's true, this is the first piece of work I am actually posting to the public so I cannot fathom to thank you so so so much for sticking through it so far! Once again remember this is a dark take on the DA:2 story, though I would try and keep it canon I fear it is going into it's own dark world. The timeline is wrong and I don't care I like it better this way.
Warnings: Some NSFW thoughts but nothing too horrible, gore, vivid depictions of death.
There had been a great number of factors as to why he couldn't fall into a deep enough sleep to drown out the torturous sounds spewing from her lips. He kept his eyes fixated on the ceiling, breathe in, breathe out, as the slightest movement next to him kept the hairs on his arms standing straight up as they laid idle on his chest. It had become almost a pattern at this point, her breathing would quicken followed by a groan as her grip on the pillow below her head tightened, and then a she would whimper a low whine as her body would shift and alternate from side to side. Each sound making his breathing irregular as he tried to fight the endless demons imposing his thoughts throughout the night.
Maker, preserve me. If the heat radiating off of her body as she slept wasn't a sign enough for his unending suffering the sounds she made was enough to make him come undone at the seams. He squeezed his eyes shut, fighting desperately with himself to try and get even an hour of some form of nap, yet the darkness behind his lids didn't stay the way he hoped. Each whine, each whimper from her throat created the vision before him; her small frame above him, head thrown back as the sounds spilled out, her pale eyes nearly black with lust as her hips pressed into his, her ebony hair rising and falling with her chest covering her pale skin as she watched him through half-lidded. It was too much.
He couldn't continue to lay there and extend the onslaught which his mind brought him, sitting up all to carefully to ensure the fragile woman laying next to him would not awake to the sight of him at the moment; robes parting at the middle, throbbing member at full mast, his eyes dark with hidden and forbidden desire. No, she could never see him in this state, no matter how much he longed for her to this was just one of the many secrets he had to keep hidden away from his dear Marian. The cool feel of the tiles below his bare feet pulling him from the vile, penetrating thoughts. As he stood he heard her sigh, a heavenly song to his ears, followed by the soft words almost mumbling 'Don't go.'
The vanity across the room welcomed him as he allowed his palms to press into the wooden desk, his eyes on his reflection never breaking connection to himself. Brother Sebastian Vael, the beloved Chantry Brother, stood stoically in one instance within the reflection. Gentle, soft, welcoming blue eyes calming his demeanor. Those eyes which cried with the faithful during the mid-morning sermons, those eyes which held forgiveness and unending faith for Andraste's children day in and day out, those eyes which helped soothe the mournful and carry on the fallen to their higher place seated next to The Maker. 'Why are your eyes so damn pretty?' Her words circled his mind as he continued to examine himself. Those eyes have seen too many events, lived too many years, they were straining, intimidating, seducing. The image of himself nearly twitched, a wicked grin slowly forming on his lips as his pupils expanded. Prince Sebastian Vael, the wicked youth exiled from the throne of Starkhaven for his vile deeds. Demanding, dominating, lust-filled blue eyes changing his demeanor. Those eyes which enticed every female and male with just a glance, those eyes which made virgins blush and whispers stir in the dead of night, those eyes which coaxed moans of pleasure as his tongue followed his gaze. Those eyes.
Bringing his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose he pinched, hard, as to shake the image of himself. This wasn't the time, perhaps there will never be a time in which he would have to confront the demons of himself, but certainly this would not be the night to do it. Turning from his reflection he watched Hawke sweat out on the pillow, a firm grip still holding tight as the sound showed no signs of stopping. 'No' 'Mother' 'Please' all dancing from her tongue as nightmares plagued their way into her mind. It almost pained him to listen to her as he made his way to the door, unsure what hour it had been in the waking world. She would hate herself when she awoke, he knew this, a whiskey hangover being the worse of all the ones he's indulged in within his former life.
The door behind him slid close with ease as his eyes adjusted to the twilight filled halls around him. It had to be approaching morning by the colors which shown through the pane-glass lining the walls. This was usually the time he would begin his morning rounds, uncovering the books and copies of the Chant of Light, preparing the scripture for the masses of that day, lighting the candles lining the walls. The candles. They had already been lit, flickering softly, a glow which confused him. A soft, familiar chuckle distracting his thoughts as it broke behind him.
"Good morning, Sebastian."
Elthina's voice was always so subtle, so caring in its own way whenever she spoke to him, as if her tone itself could cause him the slightest bit of harm. She held a small twine of flint in her palm as she continued to spark the candles around them.
"It's early still, Grand Cleric, must too early for a woman such as yourself to be awake and about."
"I may be old but I am not daft, child." She didn't make any attempt to look at him, keeping a sly smile on her lips as she carefully moved from one set to the next.
His expression was puzzled, yet not unexpected. All the years that Elthina had supported him in and out of the Chantry, all the years she defended him for his choices, and all the lies she shared with him as he struggled to find himself, to make a name for himself. Of course she knew.
"Is that her blood on the tiles?"
He let his gaze search the floor before he noticed the small, dried pools leading up towards his sleeping chambers. "I can explain."
Another soft laugh escaped her lips as she stood, making small delicate strides towards his direction. "No need, child. So long as you did the right thing there is no need to explain."
"How long will she be staying?"
His expression soured, his brows furrowed, as she took a step towards her. "She isn't."
They walked together, her pace a bit faster than his own as they made their way to the back of the Chantry, a silver plate had already been prepared, pitcher of water and some simple homemade bread upon it, a single goblet. Did she hear Hawke break in last night? Had she heard her sickness upon the floor tiles? Her hospitality not unknown to him, simply unexpected.
"Elthina, I don't understand. Why aren't you angry? Where is my lecture?"
She picked up the platter before turning back to him, placing it into his palms. "You remember who you're speaking to, right Sebastian?"
"I just, you of all people should, what if?"
She smiled at him, placing her hands upon his shoulders as she matched his expression, searching his face for something uncertain. "Does she know?" She asked, her tone soft and almost dangerous.
"No. And she will never."
She pressed past him, ignoring his words, as she began lighting the adjacent candles.
They were all around her. Bethany was strung up, a fine tether around her neck as her body's involuntary movements caused Hawke to wince, unable to tear her gaze away. Her baby sister continued to convulse as her skin began to discolor, her once lively muted tan skin was turning pale, bruises of purple and black littering her skin as if a leper as her skin bubbled and blotched. A shaking hand lifted, the skin on her fingers melting away to the bone, tissue clinging to her bones as she pointed ahead. Marian could feel herself growing more and more grim as she watched her sister's body grow limp, the skin continuing to fester and decay before her eyes. "Bethy!"
Her screams fell upon deaf ears as she slowly shifted, turning her body in the direction her baby sister was trying to show her. Carver was on the darkened ground, groaning in pain as he lifted his arms, pushing himself towards her as he crawled on his stomach. His eyes were clouded, a swirl of while film blanketing his once soft blue/grey eyes. His skin was bruised, as her sisters, yet not as severe, the bruising on his muscles as he tried to pull himself forward. The sickening sound of flesh ripping as he groaned, his torso slowly separating from the rest of his body as he slowly trudged closer, the smell of death upon his body. His mouth fell open as the smell of rotten blood stung her scenes, the feel of bile rising in her throat. She tried to run, tried to move even the smallest of muscles with no avail, she was unable to get away. "Carver, no." She was whimpering as the vision of her younger brother slowly faded to black.
The unsteady sound of footsteps brought her back to the reality of the four walled room before her. The stench of death all around her as she watched her mouth slowly shamble towards her, the white wedding gown torn and soiled with the dirt of Quentin's murder lair. Marian found herself back in that moment, corpses surrounding her feet, her cries in the air around her as Leandra fell into her arms. Her mother's expression was not as she remembered that night, she was scowling, angry, as a hand reached up to her daughters head pulling her ear down to her lips as an inhuman scream broke the silence. She was alone.
As she looked around in the darkness she began to hyperventilate, her chest rising and falling in time with the furious beating of her heart as she found it hard to breathe. The black walls around her were closing in on her, much too close, suffocating. She tried to steady her breathing, tried counting backwards, anything to ground herself as she could feel herself choking, her senses overwhelmed. It was too much, Maker make it stop. Her throat was throbbing, head was ringing, no air. It pressed her harder, her lungs as if they had been replaced with smoke, her skin itched, everything was moving so fast around her.
"Marian," a voice echoed, the blurred words of her name sounding foreign, coated in the thickness of an accent of an angel from the dept of her dreams. Her chest rose and fell a bit slower as she strained trying to listen to the voice again.
"Marian, are you awake?" It was all her mind, this wasn't real.
As her eyes fluttered opened she was met with the sweet scent of fresh soap, cider wood musk, the scent of her childhood. The walls around her were white, pure and clean, as was the pillow clutched under her arm as she slowly lifted her head. She had fallen asleep on her stomach, with a single sheet wrapped around her petite frame, the sting of her hand bringing her back to the reality of her location. This was not her room. This was not her bed. Her head stung, throbbed even, as she slowly sat up allowing her eyes to readjust as much as possible before recalling what may have happened last night.
Unsure if natural sunlight or the sting of a fire, it mattered little, as her eyes stung from the light within the room. Her mind was clouded, slow, and the throbbing in the front of her head was enough to make her curse the day she was born. Had this been her own bedroom it would have been easier; the heavy drapes across the windows hiding her from the waking world, the dim colors lining the walls and matching bed-frame would allow the adjustment to light a much quicker process as opposed to the blinding, white, unholy amounts of light. Holy. Chantry.
"Sebastian?" She allowed her voice to crack, strained, the word stinging her throat as she spoke. She raised her injured hand to her esophagus, rubbing slowly as a glass of water floated above her eyes, a tanned hand grasping the sides of it as she eyes slowly traveled up his arms to meet his neutral gaze.
He allowed a soft smile to sneak onto his lips as she took the glass from his hand. "Not too quick," he added as she began to chug the contents of his offering, making sure she did not cause a spike of nausea to hit. "Now, Marian darling, what happened last night."
She held the glass in both hands, sitting cross-legged within his bed. His bed. Her eyes grew wide as she kept her gaze on the condensation forming along the sides of the cool container within her fingertips. "We didn't....?" She began, never once looking up at him as he let a small chuckle out. The shift of weight upon the bed indicating he sat close to her.
"No, no nothing like that. Unless you mean me cleaning up whiskey and stomach acid from my floor makes for an intimate night."
She smiled, genuinely, remembering what Isabela told her the day before. 'You're growing restless, Kitten. Why don't you and I play tonight, I miss your company and you're far too grim lately for my liking." Right, growing restless, distracted was more like it. She was twenty-four years old, the last of the Hawke lineage, the last of the Amell lineage, Champion of Kirkwall, solver of everyone else's problems but her own. She drank an entire bottle of Carnal, 8:99 Black in one sitting, no poured drink, no shot glass, just straight from the bottle as she spilled her woes into her best female friend she had. She had gotten loud, almost every soul in the Hanged Man watched as she stumbled her way into the street, bottle in hand.
When the night had began she was dressed in her usual leathers, both daggers strapped securely to her back, and her body was clean of any cuts of bruises. Flashes slowly came to her as she took another long sip of the water, Sebastian remained watching, the silence between them comfortable but still there. She remembered staggering up the steps of Lowtown, on their way straight up to Hightown as a group of thugs whistled, cat-called, and followed her steps as she continued to take long drawn out sips of the bottle. This was the person she hid, drowning her suicidal thoughts with the first bottle she could find. The followed her trail until she hit the market of Hightown before one of the brutes attempted to shove her against the stone pillar, causing her to crash the bottle before his head, he had hit the floor with a sickening thud as the others scowled, trying to jump her at once. Aveline must have seen the bodies by now.
She recalled her leathers being pulled, cast aside as they tried to get at her, the skull of one impaled on her Bloodletter Blade caused the others to scamper. She remember her laughter, echoing the streets as she she continued to giggle to herself, throwing the rest of her armor to the ground, her daggers creating a music as she swayed the rest of the steps towards her home, twirling the blades between each other. She remembered her reflection in the blade, a twisted smile on her lips as she ran her palm against the blade, the sigh of pleasure as she felt the blood stinging her senses. She remembers walking up the Chantry steps, determined to confess her sins through drunken laughs.
She remembers his eyes, the way he looked at her, the way she said his name.
A shiver ran down her spine as she brought her gaze up to meet his. He was watching her get lost in her thoughts, concern on his face as she took the last gulp of water. When she handed the glass towards him she finally spoke again. "Forgive me, Brother, I am sinned."
Chapter 4: Confession
This one took a little bit longer to upload since I got done with my vacation and got back into my full time work schedule. I'm also waiting to hear back from an interview, hoping I get that promotion. Either way I chose to make this kind of a filler chapter since I can't distinguish any passing of time, ever. Maker help me.
This is a shorter chapter to just kinda finish up the hectic week that Ms. Hawke had before we get into the real meat of the story. These last 4 chapters are really a kind of 'prologue' regardless. Enjoy.
No real warnings, some slight self inflicted harm, nothing bad though.
"Marian, now really isn't the time to be worrying about a confession." He began sympathetically as he looked down upon her, the slight roll of his eyes showing his lack of empathy towards her.
She shook her head, pulling the sheet from around her as she went to stand, annoyed to no end, this was her chance. This begins now. She thought as her upper lip twitched from the anger slowly coursing itself through her veins, the grip on the glass tightening as she slowly began to pace. "Amuse me for one minute, Vael."
With a sigh he stood with her, cautiously placing a hand on her shoulder as he could feel the tension in her arm, the hand holding her now empty glass shaking as she drew uneasy breaths.
"We can at least move to the confessional, make this offical in the eyes of His Most Holy."
She looked up towards him, scowl still evident on her lips before continuing. "Or, you can shut it and let me get this off my chest now. Sound like a plan, Brother?"
"That depends, are you always this stubborn?"
"Only on days that end in Y."
There was no winning this, he realized as he grabbed the stool from last night, sitting himself before her. He remained silent, watching her with cautious eyes as she continued to hold onto the glass afraid that in an instant it would be thrown directly at his head. With a steady hand he motioned for her to sit back down on the bed before he would begin. He knew she had never done this before, never had a reason to seek any kind of penance within the Chantry before or within any type of relgious structure in her life. He knew her past, knew that she had always been on the run, knew of all the times she used humor to mask her feelings. Yet after that night something inside him just knew that Hawke would never be the same. The security she held within herself fizzled away leaving a much more fragile woman. He knew he had to be weary, choose his words carefully when speaking to her, to ensure she wouldn't snap. Something about her demeanor was just off.
As she slowly took a seat on the bed she kept her eyes to the wall to the north, where the mirror sat, almost as if she was watching herself for something her reflection may do. "So," her words nearly spooking herself as she spoke, "did I even start it correct or do I need to start again?"
"Well, not completely correct. If you really want to do this then repeat after me; In the name of The Maker and His most Holy Bride Andraste,"
"This is stupid."
"I'm not forcing you to do this, remember."
She made sure to clear her throat before she began, keeping her eyes shut as she spoke. "In the name of The Maker and His most Holy Bride Andraste,"
There was a long pause as he watched her, peaking her from her right eye to make sure he was still watching. He could feel the sarcasm through her actions as she made pushed her lips together waiting for him to continue with his lesson.
"Hawke, this is where you tell me how long it's been since you confessed your sins. You seriously cannot expect me to hold your hand through this entire thing do ye?"
"Do you want to hold my hand?" The snarkiness was back, though not fully. He let out a light-hearted chuckle as he slowly shook his head, watching her through concerning eyes. He could see through her ruse, the mask she perfected throughout the years which began to crack before his eyes. She let out another sigh before closing both eyes shut tight, her tone turning somewhat serious. "This would be my first ever confession. It has been twenty-four years since I have ever thought about a confession."
He smiled, she was younger than him, though not by much. He couldn't help but let out a singular almost snort, not a full laugh but enough to grab her attention.
"What's so funny?"
"Nothing, you're just so young still. Now, this is where you get to pick how you begin. I have heard some start with the most sinful deed they have committed, others choose to confess the one sin they have done the most and regret the most. This part is entirely up to you."
She looked up into his eyes, her neutral expression speaking volumes in and of itself. "When I was only twelve years old I lied to my Pa about who ate the last of his most favorite chocolate dessert. I blamed it on Carver, was scolded for at least an hour, got a whooping too. But it was me who ate it. He never found out."
"Lying is a sin in the eyes of The Maker."
"I lied to my mother when I told her that my brother's death would be avenged, I lied when I told Bethany that everything was going to be okay, that the Blight spreading through her blood wouldn't hurt. I lied to the Arishok about the location of Isabela, knowing full well that she would have been killed, tortured, or worse.
"I disregard the way I speak, I use the Maker's name in vain on a daily basis. I damn the people I have killed to the Void before driving a blade into their flesh. I have killed many, many people upon arriving to Kirkwall. And most of those people had families, those people must of had someone they cared about, and I took their lives with the push of my hand. I didn't pray for forgiveness, I didn't want any, I'm not sure I still do."
He was unsure why she was spewing the words at this point, he watched her with care, he tried to convey with his eyes the concern he held for her without overstepping any type of boundry they had created. He was there for many a time she killed a man or several, hell, he even knew that she was the one to take care of the Flint Company, she and her troupe of merry men took out the killers who took out his family. He held as much the guilt she did for those actions, yet he prayed for salvation, he asked for forgiveness for his crimes, she didn't. That was the difference.
"You know what is the worst of them all, though, Sebastian?"
Her words broke him from his thoughts, suddenly. "What would that be, Hawke?"
"Everyday, every minute of my life, I curse my own existence. As much blood has been spilled in my name, the one that stains my hands red, the stain I cannot wash away, is the blood of my own family."
"Hawke, you didn't kill your family."
"I might as well have!" She stood, frustrated, as she began to pace before him. The glass in her hand slowly cracking as her voice strained, softly cracking. "I hear them night after night in my dreams, their voices haunting me. They are calling out to me, begging me to join them, calling me to be reuinited with them in the Void. Their eyes are burned into my soul like a stain that would wash clean, a scar with no signs of healing."
He stood, trying to catch her arm as she continued to travel the short distance back and forth before him, scuffing the tiles beneaith her feet. "Hawke, please." As he reached for her arm he heard it, the speckles of glass shattering, cascading down towards the floor as her fist clenched around the shards of glass now sticking from her hand, cutting into the wound from the night prior. Her whole body began to shake as tears stung her eyes once more. He had never seen her cry so often in the past week alone, he wanted to comfort her, to offer her a shoulder to lean on. No, it wouldn't be right. "Marian, look at me please."
She didn't. She shook in place, slowly raising her torn hand as she watched the faint crimson lines appear, allowing them to slowly stain her wrist and forearm as the liquid traveled. He watched her slowly twitch, her whole body jerk forward slightly as she began to laugh to herself through the saddness. "I'm sorry about your floor." Her tone was soft, almost silent.
He watched her shake her hand down, some shards slipping from her skin as she let the droplets of blood fly towards the floor. Clearing her throat she used her free hand to wipe the tears from her cheeks, running the hand back through her hair before she shook her head, almost reminding herself of where she was. "I've taken up enough of your time, Brother Sebastian, I apologize. Will you still be accompanying us to the Wounded Coast tomorrow?"
"I, uhm, of course Hawke. I will meet you in our usual area at dawn."
"Thank you for this, really. I'll see you tomororw."
Before he could blink she was gone. He looked towards the floor where the fresh droplets and pieces of glass laid. It had been years since someone hinted at what she hinted. Years since he was in her place, wishing that it was himself instead of his family that was now resting beneither the ground. Yet it was no longer his place to intervene, this was not his life. And though he knew that he should remove himself, to make it easier on the woman he knew that he couldn't just sit back and watch her slowly kill herself. Letting out another sigh he began to pick up the pieces upon the floor tiles. 'Sebastian stop this nonsense, this is suicide. This is murder!' Elthina's words echoed his mind as he continued to pick up Hawke's mess. 'No murder is what happened to my family. Leave me, this is of no concern to you.' 'Let me help you, let the Chantry help you.' 'No, no one can help me.' But he knew he wanted to, not that he had to, he knew that he had to help her. No matter the cost.
Chapter 5: Adrenaline
"I can see that we may be running out of time, the curtain's falling in slow motion. I can feel that the sense has left your mind, the curtain's falling in slow motion. Why did you go? I can't watch. So quiet and peaceful where did I go wrong? Say you can stay, I can't look away...you won't see me die here." - 'Murder Mitten' by I See Stars
So so so sorry about the wait on this chapter. I wanted to make sure that all the chapters were similar in length but also conveyed with I had all playing out in my mind. I know things are going a bit slow but I think it's better this way. This story is a hobby for me and I am having a lot of fun with it.
Once again, learning how to write about the passing of time and be more descriptive and stuff. Comments always welcomed.
Warnings: Self-Harm, Blood.
Anders was the first to arrive at the Amell estate, prior to dawn, and through the cellar door. The lack of sleep in his eyes matched her bloodshot, tear-stained ones as they met in the library of her home. The fire had died out hours ago, remnants of the ashen glow barely illuminating the scene as she sat transfixed, eyes un-moving as her mouth fell agape upon him entering. Her blade, stained red with her blood, slowly traveling down the length of her forearm before making its way back up, repeating the motion. His hazel eyes full of concern as he ran to her side, her body frozen as if in a trance, clutching both of her wrists within his hands.
"Hawke, are you insane?!" His tone was stern, fatherly almost, as he spoke. Her gaze still fixed upon the entrance of the room where he initially entered, as if she hadn't even seen him cross the distance to meet her. "Hawke! Look at me!"
He watched as a single tear dipped down her cheek, her neutral gaze lost before him as he slowly brought her to her feet. They had an understanding with one another for years now, she would mess up and he would be there to catch her, to help her, to heal her wounds, and she never stopped him. Anders was like a brother to her, an older and more understanding brother who hated to see her cry. Yet that's how it always happened. From the first day she stumbled into his clinic seeking his aid, he had made a promise to her and he would keep it. No matter how much he tried to seal her wounds, no matter how many nights he laid away and held her as she cried into his shoulder, she would always be the closest thing to family to him. And here he was, a pale blue light emanating from his hands as they worked their healing magic over her torn skin, pulsing as he forced his mana into her, feeling her dimming life force within his own.
She was so empty, and he knew not to pry, not to ask any unnecessary questions that may drive her to do something rash. He could feel her life straining as he pushed more of himself into her, working all he could to close the skin around the cuts on her arm, as she just stood there not even making eye contact with him, her dagger laying still on the ground as a small pool of crimson formed upon the floor.
"Serah? Messere Vael is here to meet with you, shall I send him to you?" Bodhan's words echoes through the foyer, she couldn't speak. Anders watched as her eyes grew wide, her head slowly turning to meet his gaze, finally, her head just shaking as she watched him finish up his healing.
"We are in the library Bodhan!" Anders called back to Hawke's loyal dwarven butler. "Hawke, I need you to pull it together? Okay, love?"
She reached forward, feeling the sting in her eyes as she wrapped her arms around his neck, crying uncontrollably into the feathers of his mantle. The all too familiar ringing in her ears returned as it slowly drowned all noise out from around her, allowing the waterworks to flow. By the time she would make it to the peak of the mountain there would be no tears left within her to spill. Through the piercing sound within her ears she could catch pieces of the world around her.
What have you done to her?"
I helped her, there is nothing else that you need to know."
Why should anyone care?
Shaking her head she peered to the door frame once again. Sebastian stood, stoic as ever in his blinding white armor, concern written throughout his face, as he peered at her. Anders kept a strong, protective hold on her as she watched him. There was a brief moment when hurt flashed upon the Brother's brow, yet it was erased as her eyes met his across the room. He stepped forward, cautiously, as he directed his attentions back to the man who held her.
"When she wasn't at the gates at dawn I suspected something happened. It was a shock to find you here, Anders. Forgive my assumptions."
"I--" She began, her voice cracking as she tried to string the words together for both parties sake. But the burning in her throat was almost unbearable as she slowly detached herself from the mage. "There is...I am...Aveline." She swallowed hard before continuing, feeling their eyes watching her every move carefully. "We need to get Aveline."
She didn't look back as she silently and hastily left the room, pushing aside her holy archer as she made her way to her bedroom up the stairs. The once royal colors of her bedroom reflected a dull haze over the scenery as she quickly worked to get her leathers on. The thoughts and the voices never left her, instead they only grew louder with each passing day.
'You couldn't save them.' I did everything I could.
'What a worthless daughter you are. You could have saved her, if only you had tried a little harder.' The signs were there, none of us excepted it to happen.
'Bethany trusted you, looked up to you, what kind of person leaves their baby sister to rot underground like that?' ENOUGH.
At some point her hands must have gone to her head, the tugging sensation on her scalp was nearly sickening as she felt the tight roots of her hair break loose, her knuckles slowly staining white as she tried to steady her breathing. She hesitated as her eyes scanned her belongings, which laid waiting on her bedroom floor; bags filled with spare clothing and armors, an extra tent liner for when the weather wasn't cooperating, and a single black sack filled with distance memories. The single sack was the first item she went towards, her shaking fingers fumbling with the straps and zippers which held everything together. A soft smile played on her chapped lips as her eyes scanned the contents of the bag, the hilt to Carver's great sword, Bathany's bandanna, and her mother's favorite hair pin. This trip was going to be a journey for some kind of closure, that much was certain, yet Hawke was unsure just why she had to do this. Maybe the voices in her head would die down? But what if they never stop.
She had taken longer than anticipated, apparently, when a soft knock came to the door to her back, followed by the familiar clearing of a male's throat. Hawke stood, zipping back up the bag at her feet as she turned to meet the two men waiting patiently in her bedroom door frame. The expressions on their faces matched, for once, both looking upon her with such care and concern. It almost made her sick just looking at them. Did she look that bad? What was actually happening?
"Really guys, I'm fine."
"Says the woman who's face is beat red from crying all morning." Anders never sugar-coated anything, a trait she wished she had.
Sebastian stepped forward, without invitation, and began to collect her bags for her remaining silent. He picked each one up slinging them securely over one shoulder as he watched her clutch the single black bag in her hands. She began to fidget with the straps almost anxiously as he searched for her expression. "You know, Hawke, sometimes I'm not sure who you are most days." His accent sneaking its way into his words as he watched her continue to spin the straps between her fingers.
"Vael, you should know," she began, laughing almost awkwardly as the trio vacated her sleeping chambers. "Rogue, Prince, Chantry Brother, just how many masks do you wear each day?"
He let out an equally strained noised as the three descended the stairs into the main foyer. Anders looked back at the Brother with a rather amused expression on his face. "You should see when he sneaks away to The Hanged Man, I've watched him throw back at least six drinks in a single setting before stumbling back to his Mother."
"Watch your mouth, mage."
The boys had been a good amount ahead of them as the quartet began ascending the mountain pass along the Wounded Coast. Aveline had been courteous the entire trip outside the city gates, keeping silent yet vigilant eyes upon the groups surroundings. She had made a promise to Donnic to return within the week, their wedding was less than a month away, no time to waste when it came to love. Truly it had been heartfelt when the two lovebirds finally expressed their emotions to each other, that is after Aveline's embarrassment left Hawke the injured party. Yet underneath the passion as Hawke would watch the couple lock eyes across the room it had always left her hurting. Hawke supported all her companions decisions in life for any and all decisions they made with or with out her input, but when it came to the topic of love and relationships she always had to take a backseat.
She had been the protector her entire life, it was always about looking after Carver and making sure he never picked a fight he couldn't finish. It had always been about hiding and running for Bethany's sake, one false move or one mistaken lie would result in the templars taking her baby sister away for good, she had to watch her and fight her battles for her. And her mother, Leandra had always had a rough exterior yet a fragile center. All Hawke's life was family, it was all she had known for twenty-four years of her life, and now, well now there was nothing to protect, the idea of a relationship may have sounded promising but she knew that there would be no reason to commit, she had to look after the group and be their leader, not turn into some mush the minute someone made puppy-eyes at her.
Shaking her head she spoke first towards her eldest friend, cutting the silent between them. "You are sure that Donnic is okay with you being so far from home?"
"Hawke, we aren't too far from the city. Sure it had taken most of the mid-day to reach here but it's safe, for now. I am sure if weather permits we shall make great time." Aveline kept a sincere smile upon her lips as they moved to catch up with the boys up ahead. Hawke attempted to match her smile, though hers had been subtle and unsure, as her eyes caught the faintest movement up ahead.
"Did you guys see that?" Her voice was curious as she rushed ahead, pushing Anders and Sebastian aside, their reactions to her sudden presence pushed away once their eyes fell upon Hawke's hand clutching her dual daggers tight in each hand.
Anders brought out his staff hesitantly as he prepared to erect a barrier around her. Sebastian quickened his pace to reach her side, his bow drawn at the ready, as he kept his eyes on her still listening form. Her body remained un-moving as her eyes darted around the fallen rocks and overturned sand from ahead. There had been a recent struggle, a medium sized tree snapped in half upon the remains of a camp, a fire long since died yet softly glowing from the embers which once brought the emptiness warmth. A few pieces of glass scattered upon the rocks, as if a flask had been thrown, and the faint smell of copper lingering in the air. Hawke knew the smells of a battle, and was more finely attuned to the scent of blood. Another outline, blurred, moving quickly around the group.
Aveline must have caught a glimpse of the figure as well, her shield raised to her lips as she slowly brought her sword up to a defensive stance. "From the stealth!" Her words triggered a warning and a readying call to her friends as she leaped forward. The warrior let out an almost inhuman roar as she flew ahead, a rush of sound to her left as she brought her shield into the blurr of color. It collided with a man, dropping his stealth disguise, his eyes wild with a fight as he opened in mouth wide in an almost possessed laugh. His teeth had been nearly rotten to the gums and stained nearly brown as he looked past the tank. Hawke caught wind of the direction the mad man was looking and pushed Sebastian backwards with her elbow, raising her left hand to meet the steel of another attackers blade against her own.
"I don't think they're here to chat!" Anders called as Hawke felt the familiar cooling whispers of a barrier hugging around her frame.
With a push she was able to throw off the attacker at her flank as she crouched low to the ground before leaping towards the sky, both of her daggers catching the sun's last light upon her weapons as she landed behind the second man. The familiar sound of flesh ripping apart brought a sadistic smile to her lips. When there was a fight, whenever she was involved in a fight that is, she felt as if a demon took control of her limbs, the blood and the adrenaline giving her new life.
The overpowering scent of death fell into her nostrils as she kicked the figure ahead of her, her daggers coated in a thick crimson hue as the body before her slouched to the ground. Her vision steadied around her, it had been an ambush, there were at least twelve other men surrounding the group, some with swords while others held bows at the ready a good distance away. Sebastian got to work shooting his own set of white and golden arrows towards the enemy arches as she ran to reach the higher ground. Anders laughed, his voice mixed with Justice softly as chunks of ice flew by Hawke, impaling a bandit charging close.
Time no longer existed as the team continued to defend themselves. It started with fourteen bandits awaiting for them at the first major bend of the mountains pass, they used it to their advantage having the terrain to work with from the higher ground for their archers and enough cover from the overlooking cliffs for their warriors to wait in the shadows. By the time the ninth bandit fell Aveline's armor had been completely covered in mud and blood, she removed her blade from the man at her feet as she looked up towards the rocky overpass. Three more archers stood welcoming her, their bows at the ready.
Before anyone could think a single arrow sunk it's head into the temple of one of the archers overlooking the group. Aveline turned with a smirk to meet Sebastian's equal beaming smile, his pride slowly showing. "Did you see that shot?!"
The excitement and spirits of everyone rising at the end of battle was drawing near. Hawke had been slightly struggling with a brute of a man, his great-sword having already grazed her thigh as she twisted and turned, finding her footing upon his massive blade as she propelled herself up to his shoulders, linking her thighs around his throat as she jolting his neck quickly to the side with a sickening snap. His hulking body falling forward as she quickly detached herself. She stood and turned slowly to meet the gaze of Anders, his eyes wide in fright as he watched the events before him almost in slow motion.
As Hawke's body turned towards their group the elongated whistle in the air cut the sound around them as her breathe caught in her throat. A single arrow implanted itself in the soft area of her collar bone, the sweet spot exposed from her now tattered armor. The arrow was nearly black, coated in a foreign substance that stung her skin as she tried to rip it from her flesh. "No! Don't you dare! Hawke!" Anders cries sounding further away from her as her limbs slowly grew weaker.
She landed on her knees as her fingers lost feeling, loosely clawing at the coated arrow, her blood beginning to boil as she tried to steady her breathing, her eyes losing focus as the sound of footsteps rushing to her side grew in volume. Everything was just shapes and colors as she heard the last rallying cries of battle play out. Her consciousness was slipping as she felt something warm wrap itself around her, the sensation of her blood being replaced with fire caused a ringing in her ears, or perhaps screaming, the sounds all blended together as the darkness slowly took control of her, welcoming her once again into haven of the Fade as sleep promised her a release from the pain.