Warriors Such As: Chapter 15

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with the next chapter of this crazy adventure! 🙂 I promise, despite the terrible chapter title (so sorry for that, but I seem to be in a gallows humor mood after writing this part and also it is 1:36 in the morning here…getting slap-happy now), things start looking brighter by the end of this installment.

Word count: 5317
Rating: PG for lyrium ritual which is pretty much torture…
Fenris/F!Hawke
Summary: Thayer and Varric return to Ath Velanis but Metis is already being prepared for lyrium markings…

Read it here or on:  DA  |  AO3  |  FF.net

Comments and reblogs are always appreciated! I love seeing what you think of each chapter, what parts you liked or want to respond to, or even just a note if you enjoyed it!

Hawkquisition
Part 4: Warriors Such As
Chapter 15
Wherein Metis gets a
tattoo

Hawke,

Maker willing, you will never have to see this letter. But it must
be written, just in case, a contingency to be delivered only if we do not
return from today’s assault upon Ath Velanis. I leave it here in camp with
strict instructions that it be sent only in the event that neither I nor Varric
return to tell you in person.

At this moment, Fenris and Metis are trapped in the Venatori
fortress and we who escaped are preparing to go back in for them. And for our
mission, of course, but I confess I am more concerned now with bringing them
back safely. You came so close to sacrificing yourself for us all in the Fade,
Hawke, and after working more closely with both you and Fenris I know how that
would have devastated him. And here I have gone and put him in much the same
position to devastate you. I swear to you, I will do everything to ensure that
he returns to you unharmed.

But here I am forgetting the purpose of this letter. If you are
reading it at all, I suppose everything I could do was not enough. So I must
tell you what I would say in person if I could:

Your husband was the bravest of warriors. If the worst has come to
pass, he, as well as myself and the rest of our team, must be either dead or in
the magister’s hands. We were caught in a trap when we first infiltrated the
Venatori fortress, and though Varric and I escaped to plan a second assault
upon it, Fenris and Metis were cut off from us and forced to hide as best they
could until we returned with help. And if you are reading this, that help was
not enough. I am so, so sorry, Hawke. I bear full responsibility for this, for
bringing your husband and your friend into danger and not bringing them home
again. I could not have asked for better companions. It may be small comfort to
you, to hear that they gave their all, that they fought with everything in them
to right the wrongs we discovered in Seheron. It may be poor condolence to know
that I would do no less, but that even all our efforts combined were
insufficient.

But if you are reading this, we have failed. And the threat
remains. The Venatori have not, as I write this, yet perfected their lyrium
ritual, but from what the magister said when he sprang his trap on us I think
he expects that having Fenris in his clutches will somehow supply what he needs
to achieve that goal. The Inquisition, even without an Inquisitor, cannot allow
this to happen. So as sorry as I am for losing Fenris, I must apologize too for
what I ask of you next. Summon the advisors of the Inquisition, Hawke. Inform
them of what has happened and work with them to plan the next step. You cannot
leave Ath Velanis unchecked. I do not hold out hope that your next move might
even rescue whatever remains of us in Venatori hands, but you must put a stop
to their experiments here if we have failed to do so.

I do not ask you to come yourself, Hawke – please have a care for
the child you would leave behind! – but I will understand, all the same, if that
is what you decide to do. I ask only that you do not rush into your
counter-move, nor neglect to bring a force sufficient to stand against a number
of Venatori with Fenris’ markings and skills, for if you are reading this
letter, that is what you are surely soon to face.

I pray it will never come to pass.

And with that, Varric and I depart now to prevent all the fears I
have written here. It will be one of the happiest moments of my life, Hawke, to
return to camp and tear this letter to shreds.

In earnest hope,

Inquisitor Thayer Trevelyan

~*~

Fenris took little satisfaction in the delay brought on by his
desperate gamble for freedom: the ritual to mark Metis could not begin until
the Venatori had reset the laboratory – cleaning up the mess he had made and
swapping the injured mages for others of Licinius’ apprentices. When, however,
he and Metis were rounded up and marched down the hall, to be tucked away in an
empty chamber until the Venatori had finished preparations to begin the ritual
again, he gladly took the opportunity to speak with his father alone, in
whispers lest the guard outside the door might not be the magister’s only way
of overhearing.

“You cannot really mean to go through with this,” he began in a
furious hiss, brows furrowed as he rounded on Metis, hands clenched into fists
where the Venatori had bound them behind his back.

“I would not object,” said his father wryly, “to an alternate
solution.”

“Then tell him you are not willing!”

“He’ll kill you, Fenris.”

“And he will unmake you!” Fenris shouted. Metis winced and
nodded to the guarded door, gesturing as best he could, with his hands likewise
bound, for quiet. With a sigh, Fenris began to pace, but he dropped his voice
again. “Nothing is worth that. Not even my life.”

“I beg to differ.”

“Do you realize what this will do to you? Aside from the
likelihood that the red lyrium will drive you mad as it has the others,
even if the ritual succeeds, even if you gain the abilities that my markings
gave me, it is what you will lose that concerns me – no, it terrifies
me.” He met Metis’ gaze with wide and furious eyes. “Danarius’ ritual left
me with no memory of my life before. You will look at me when this is done, and
you will not know me.”

Metis dropped his gaze to the floor, but a weary smile quirked at
one corner of his lips. “Back to where we were just a week ago, then.”

“Does that week mean so little to you?” Fenris hissed. “Or are you
so prepared to forget all the rest as well? Varania and our mother, even the
very fact that any of us ever existed?” Metis winced, but Fenris continued, his
voice edging again alarmingly far past the whisper. “Are you so eager to serve
your master again?”

Metis blinked, and then, with a sigh, lowered himself awkwardly to
sit against the wall. “Perhaps you’re right.”

Fenris, somehow managing it with grace despite his bound hands,
came to sit next to him. After a moment of staring at the floor between his
knees, he spoke, hushed and trembling: “You are – Metis, you are a good man.
Those markings will remake you. I…I am afraid, father, to lose you again, so
soon and so utterly.”

Metis stared at him in wonder. “Do you know,” he said, “I believe
that’s the first time you’ve called me that.”

“I might not have another chance to.” Fenris grumbled, looking
away.

“Don’t be so sure,” Metis smiled. “At the least, this has bought
us time. You said once that this ritual can take days. I assume that’s true for
Licinius as it was when you…?”

Fenris nodded slowly. “His process is very similar to what I
recall of Danarius’ ritual. They had barely made any progress on the Fog
Warrior when you interrupted, and the mages would have needed to rest soon
anyway, to recover their mana. I do not think the Venatori could complete a
full set of markings in less than two days, more likely three.”

“Well then, just how long do you expect it to take the Inquisitor
to find us?”

Fenris opened his mouth to speak, then thought better of it,
frowning as he considered the distance back to their camp, the size of the
fortress. Thayer and Varric would have wasted no time, from the moment that
gate cut their party in two. Metis elaborated, “We’ve been wandering this
fortress all night, haven’t we? It must be tomorrow by now. I would wager that
Thayer Trevelyan is quicker about rescues than Licinius is at his ritual.”

Turning narrowed eyes upon his father, Fenris protested, “Unless
he is already within the walls – which, if he were, the Venatori would be
busier preparing a defense than your markings – they may not have time to
complete the ritual but they will surely have time to begin it.”

“I would also wager,” Metis nodded thoughtfully, “that the effects
of it which we most hope to avoid – the memory loss, the madness – do not
arise from the beginning, but more gradually, as exposure to the lyrium –”

“And the pain.”

“– yes, and the pain, presumably, as all of it combined suffices
to break the mind.”

Fenris scoffed, almost fondly. “How can you speak so…academically
of what you are about to suffer?”

“Avoidance tactic?” Metis grinned. “I’ve been researching the red
lyrium lately, you know. I’ve seen some terrible things, Fenris. One learns to
approach it rationally, even clinically, lest the mind fail to withstand it.
And one endures.” He shrugged. “If rescue is late, my boy, it need not be too
late. If no other chance of escape can be found, if I must let him begin the
ritual upon me, I do not think all hope is lost.”

Fenris considered this in silence for several minutes, till Metis
felt his eyes grow heavy as his thoughts began to drift to the memories Fenris’
words had stirred. Mara. Their first kiss, her hair soft and dark beneath
his hands, her eyes taunting, tantalizing, her laugh teasing and fond all at
once. Her hand in his, slender and strong. Her glance across a crowd bringing
warmth to his cheeks, her gaze that never left his when they danced at their
wedding. The first time he held Varania, his own green eyes in her mother’s
delicate face, eyes crinkling as she broke into infant cries and he couldn’t
stop smiling. And then those eyes again in Fenris’ face, so many years passed
that the memories of his baby girl had faded or surely he would have sooner
recognized him, this son he had so long not even known he had…

No. Losing those memories would be untenable.

But losing his son again, even more so.

Then Fenris broke the silence, speaking softly: “Perhaps…one
thing the magister said was correct.”

Metis looked over at him, brow furrowed in inquiry.

“You go into this willingly,” Fenris continued. “Brace yourself
against it, and you may withstand the ritual better than his previous subjects
have.”

Metis nodded slowly. “Will you tell me, then,” he whispered, “what
to expect? The more I know, the more I may brace myself for it. Academically,
you know.”

Fenris drew in a long breath and then nodded. “Very well. If
you’re sure it will help.”

“If…you’re sure you don’t mind talking about it.”

“Better that than letting you go through it unprepared.” And he
began to speak of pain. Slowly at first, halting, overwhelmed himself at the
memory of the torment he had long struggled to put behind him. But it became
easier as he went on, the warmth of his father beside him a reminder that his
purpose was to spare Metis the same panic he had felt at the first bright flare
of pain from the brand on his skin, the first white wash of pain from the
lyrium bonding to the burns, the mad rush of pain overwhelming his thoughts,
flooding his mind and crowding out his dearest memories. Fenris grasped at
Metis’ own tactics and found the strength to explain it all calmly,
academically, observing from time’s distance the unspeakable trial he had gone
through and finding it possible to speak of it after all.

And by the end, his father’s head leaned against his shoulder; for
which of them the comfort was meant, Fenris was unsure, but it was enough for
them both. Bound hands prevented Metis from working any magic, but Fenris could
feel the lyrium in his skin listening to the magic in his father’s blood, as if
waking from the sleep induced by the magister’s potion upon them both.

Magic. Fenris tensed again and
said, “Promise me one thing, Metis?”

“Anything,” came his father’s voice, weary and tingling with that
same magic.

“I…do not know if Licinius is correct in his theory, that the
markings will be more effective on a mage. But there is a risk for you beyond
what a warrior would face. The lyrium…it is connected to the Fade. I know you
are a capable mage, father, to have resisted the temptations that come with
your power all these years, but promise me…”

Metis chuckled as Fenris trailed off, shifting uncomfortably
against the wall. “Have no worries there, my boy. I promise not to take the
easy way out, no matter what demons offer when the pain seems unbearable.”

“They can be very persuasive,” Fenris winced, remembering years
ago, in Kirkwall, a dream into which they had all walked together and the
demon’s promises for which he had abandoned Hawke.

“Oh, I’m familiar with their wiles,” Metis said. “Persuasive; not
particularly innovative. I’ve lost count of the number of times they’ve tried
to portray your mother in my dreams. Occasionally your sister. Never you,
though. How curious. I don’t think the demons knew about you either.”

“Now they surely do,” Fenris almost smiled. “Suppose they try to
portray me during the ritual? Offer you a way out, power to kill the magister,
take his place and set us both free?”

“Sounds a very demonic strategy indeed,” Metis grinned. “But I
shall have you there, the real you, right beside me to tell me what an idiotic
idea that would be.”

“That,” Fenris grinned back, “you shall.”

~*~

“Trust me, Inquisitor,” Varric said, his voice hushed in the pale
pre-dawn light. “It’s a perfect blind spot. I got in this way just fine the
last time.”

“I have every faith in you, Varric,” Thayer said, gauging the
distance to the top of the outer fortress wall as he gave the grappling hook a
few preparatory swings. “I’d just feel better about this if the ships had
reached us already. We could use the distraction.”

“Look, Shiny, last time we had Qunari dreadnaughts creating
the distraction. And it was a mess. This’ll work. We slip in, shoot the
magister and find our friends, and when the ships get here they can deal
with rounding up the rest of the Venatori. You know, the part that can wait.”

“Well,” Thayer grinned as he let the hook fly up to the ramparts,
“I’m glad to see you remember the objectives, Varric.”

~*~

All too soon, the Venatori returned for their test subject and
template, marching them back down the hall to the laboratory so quickly that
Metis stumbled twice and even Fenris found it difficult to keep to his feet.

But the lyrium in his skin tingled once more when Metis stumbled
against him, and Fenris caught his breath. The potion was wearing off. Would
Licinius think to drug them again before this ritual began? Or would he perhaps
want Metis’ magic unhindered when they began bonding the lyrium to his skin?

It was something, at least. They had been rendered helpless
too many times this night. To have his lyrium awake again was a card up his
sleeve that Isabela would have envied. Figuratively speaking, since his
gauntlets and all his other clothing were still stashed wherever Licinius had
put them before his first attempt at copying Fenris’ markings. His wrist,
without Hawke’s favor and her violet sachet, felt barest of all even as the
ropes chafed at it.

And then they were stripping Metis as well, though only to the
waist, his upper robes pooling behind his back as they locked him down on one
table in place of the Fog Warrior, who had been cleared away to Maker knew
where while the laboratory was restored. Fenris shifted, glancing around at the
guards still gripping his arms, and the doubled guard of Venatori at the door,
Licinius and his Tranquil and two new mage assistants all fussing over Metis,
scrubbing down his skin and positioning him just so. Fenris considered finding
out just how well recovered his markings were, but the extra guards and his
lack of any other weapon, as well as the fact that they already had Metis fastened
into his restraints, stopped him from any rash attempt at escape.

Then Licinius, raising his staff, motioned for Fenris to be
brought close. Feeling the ropes cut away from his wrists, he tensed, prepared
to be returned to restraints himself, but the magister had other ideas.

“We must be sure the markings are done exactly right this time,”
Licinius said, beckoning Fenris closer to Metis’ table, where a chair had been
set out on his right hand side. “I want you where we can see you most easily.
Sit here. No, draw the chair up closer – right up to the table. Yes, that will
do. Now hold your arm out, on the table next to him, and – perfect.” Fenris
scowled and then felt the expression frozen on his face as the magister once
again caught him in a paralysis glyph.

“Will…you…” Fenris bit out, with marginally less difficulty than
the last two times this had happened, “ever stop…doing that?”

“I need you perfectly still,” Licinius chided. “And the restraints
would be ill positioned for our first session, anyway. We’re going to take the
procedure a little slower this time, just to be sure there are no
untoward…effects to inscribing the markings on a mage. I intend to begin with
your left arm, gardener. If that turns out well, we can go on with the rest. And
if problems should arise, well, limbs are expendable.” Fenris tensed at this
despite the magic holding him so still, and Licinius chuckled. “Relax, both of
you. This will all be over soon enough.”

Sooner, Fenris hoped, than the magister could guess.

Licinius nodded to the Tranquil, who brought forward one of the
red lyrium bottles now neatly lined up on the side table once again. One of the
assistant mages stood ready to apply the lyrium, while the other reached for
the heated branding rod. Metis’ jaw worked as he watched the Venatori gather
around him. Meeting Fenris’ eyes, he managed a faint smile. Fenris tried to
smile back, barely managing it despite the paralysis glyph. Then Metis turned
his eyes upon the arm prepared for the ritual, swallowed, and went very still.

Licinius glanced between Fenris and Metis, reached to adjust the
angle of Fenris’ arm, and then laid a hand on Metis’ left arm, which had been
left free of its restraint so that the whole arm could be branded without
working around the metal cuff. “Keep as still as you can,” he advised. Then, at
his signal, the mage with the branding rod stepped forward.

At the first touch of the rod to the back of his hand, Metis
sucked in a gasp of air through clenched teeth, eyes widening at the shock of
pain. Licinius’ hand, still resting firmly upon his arm, kept his reflexive
flinch from marring the lines as the rod moved steadily up to his wrist, as the
trail of lyrium followed after, as the magister reached with his free hand to
bathe the lyrium lines in the magic that fused them to Metis’ flesh. Fenris
watched his father tremble and shudder while the smell of lyrium and burnt skin
brought tears to his own eyes, and whispered finally, “Breathe, Metis. You have
to breathe.” And with great effort, pushing against the paralysis, he stretched
his hand scant inches across the table till his littlest finger brushed against
his father’s, and grasped for his hand. Their fingers linked, and suddenly
Metis’ breath wheezed out again. He whimpered, tears welling in his eyes as the
rod moved on up past his wrist, and finally gasped in a shuddering long breath
and –

At that point, his screams came as a relief.

~*~

Infiltrating Ath Velanis proved easier than expected, for the
fortress was in disarray.

Thayer and Varric, with their share of the Fog Warriors, scaled
the wall and found only a handful of Venatori guards patrolling it. Daggers in
the dark (or what was left of it as the sun went on rising over the fortress)
quickly dealt with them, and within minutes their team had moved on from the
outer wall to the next layer of the Ath Velanis defenses. Finding these
likewise underguarded, they proceeded nearly unhindered till they stood atop an
inner wall, listening at the door that had till now been guarded by only one
highly nervous Venatori Zealot, now crumpled on the floor.

From within came the sounds of battle. Thayer exchanged a glance
and a shrug with Varric, then signaled to the Fog Warriors to follow as he
slipped through the shadows inside.

Objectives: Magister. Allies. Prisoners. The magister could be anywhere in this huge hideout of his.
Fenris and Metis, likewise, though Thayer guessed Licinius would keep them
close if he had caught them by now. The prisoners, however, that was a place
they could start. “You remember where the dungeons were on your last visit,
Varric?” Thayer asked.

“All too well,” the dwarf nodded, taking the lead.

The sounds of combat grew louder as they hurried towards the lower
levels of the fortress. “Caligo’s team, do you think?” Varric guessed.

“Let’s find out,” Thayer said, breaking off into a corridor that
seemed to lead toward the chaos.

They emerged at last into a room lined with tables – or
presumably they had been arranged in lines, before the fight swept in to
make barricades of the furniture and a general mess of the room. There was no
sign of Caligo and the other Fog Warriors who had been sent to infiltrate the
fortress from the south while Thayer’s team came in from the north; instead,
they saw half a dozen Venatori warriors in close combat with a ragtag gang of
elves and men, wearing no armor over their shabby clothing, wielding swords and
daggers and table legs and what appeared to be one whole chandelier with a
relentless fury, though there seemed to be fewer of them still standing than
were scattered around the room, dead or unconscious, while the Venatori all
seemed to be still standing.

“I see odds that need evening,” Thayer murmured. “Whoever they
are, the Venatori are slaughtering them. Let’s change that.”

The Fog Warriors fanned out around the room, bursting in on the
fight with a ready will, while Varric climbed onto one of the still-upright
tables to rain down Bianca’s bolts on the enemy and Thayer slipped in to stab
Venatori backs while Varric had them distracted. It was over quickly.

One of the elves in the ragged clothes came forward afterwards,
while the rest of his group moved to check on their fallen comrades and rouse
the survivors. Drawing closer, Thayer could see the traces of white paint in
the elf’s hair – a Fog Warrior, once.

“You’re…not one of Caligo’s team, are you?” Thayer asked,
squinting to be sure. He usually had little trouble remembering faces, but
their Fog Warrior allies were new, and also numerous.

“Caligo?” the man’s face lit up. “She is with you?”

“Other side of the fortress, if their insertion went as well as
ours,” Thayer grinned. “A friend?”

“A wise woman,” he said solemnly, “who warned me against venturing
too near Ath Velanis. If I’d listened, I would not have spent these two months
in the Venatori dungeon.”

“Ah!” Thayer beamed as the puzzle came together. “You’re the
captives they were planning to install those markings on.”

The man nodded. “I’m Aeris.”

“But…I take it Caligo’s team weren’t the ones who broke you
out?”

Aeris shook his head. “No. It was no Fog Warrior, but an elf
wielding a greatsword, tattooed like one of Licinius’ warriors but not red, if
that makes sense.”

Thayer grinned. “It makes the best kind of sense, friend Aeris.
And the best kind of news. Think you could point us in the direction of those
dungeons?”

~*~

It was quiet in the laboratory when the mages finally finished the
markings on Metis’ arm. His screams had gone hoarse, as the ritual dragged on,
and finally dwindled only to shuddering breaths. Fenris ached to press back
against the paralysis spell again, as he felt his own markings returning to
their strength, lending him a resistance to magic that could have thrown off
the spell entirely with enough effort – but he would settle for grasping his
father’s whole hand more firmly in his own. But that would not go unnoticed as
Licinius and his mages looked between his white markings and the red ones they
were still twining around Metis’ arm, so Fenris settled for the linking of
their pinky fingers, willing what strength he could through the contact.

Then at last Licinius and his mages stepped back, looking over
their work. Metis’ skin shone with sweat and his eyes behind his spectacles
were closed, but his breath began to come more evenly now that the branding had
paused. With them came a groan, and his little finger twitched against Fenris’
grasp.

“A satisfactory replica,” Licinius nodded, raising Metis’ marked
arm to inspect it from all sides. “Well done.” He gestured to his apprentices
and they staggered over to return the branding rod and lyrium flask to the
table, while the Tranquil stepped forward and began gently rubbing a clear
salve into Metis’ branded skin. “This will prevent infection to the brands,”
the magister explained. “It would be a shame for all this work to go to waste.”

The Tranquil wrapped the arm in a clean white bandage when he had
finished rubbing in the salve. Next he brought a flask to Metis’ lips. Fenris
stopped himself from bursting through the paralysis to grab the Tranquil’s hand
just in time, instead looking up at him and growling, “What are you giving him
now?”

“It is water,” said the man in his toneless, detached voice. “The
burns are dehydrating, and his throat will be raw.”

“Ah. I…see,” Fenris mumbled, still hovering tensely at Metis’
side for fear of magebane in the water. But even without the magister’s
potions, Metis was in no state to work magic.

“An hour’s rest should suffice,” Licinius was telling his mages.
“Go and prepare yourselves for the next section, and we’ll –”

Then a murmur at the door drew his attention, and Licinius strode
over to the guards. Fenris strained against the paralysis spell enough to turn
his head and watch as the magister conferred with another Venatori at the door,
panting and disheveled. Within moments Licinius turned his sharp gaze back to
his assistants.

“It seems I am needed elsewhere,” he said. “Rest, as I said. And
you –” he turned to the guards. “Keep the subjects somewhere safe until we are
able to continue. Not in here. And no fewer than two of you guarding them at
all times, no matter who comes through, until I tell you otherwise. Do I make
myself clear?”

The guards nodded and “Yes, ser”’d him, and Licinius departed in
haste.

The paralysis spell broke when they pulled Fenris away from the
glyph at his feet, tying his hands again behind his back while he shook his
head and rolled his shoulders, stiff from hours of leaning over Metis’ table.
They loosed Metis from his restraints as well, but hesitated to tie his hands
when when he cried out at their touch.

The guards exchanged a look. “Not much he can do even untied at
the moment, I guess,” said the first.

“Like the others,” the second guard nodded. “Good for nothing the
first few hours.”

“Can he even walk?”

He couldn’t quite, but they managed to prop him against one guard
while the other force-marched Fenris down the hallway. The closet in which they
eventually deposited them, perhaps in their distraction at having to half-carry
the branded mage, wasn’t even the same chamber they had been locked up in
before.

But it had one pleasant surprise. Piled in one corner were the
clothing and armor that had disappeared from Fenris between being knocked
unconscious outside the dungeon and fastened to a laboratory table for the Fog
Warrior’s branding. There was no sign of the sword taken from him by the
Venatori, nor of Metis’ staff, but it was something going right and
Fenris felt his spirits begin to rise.

As soon as the door was locked behind them, cutting off the two
guards’ nervous conversation about what in the Void was going on elsewhere in
the fortress, Fenris gave his markings free rein, flaring bright blue and
slipping like a ghost from the ropes at his wrists with a sigh of relief. In a
few minutes he was back in his own outfit and armor, smiling and bowing his
head in thanks for a moment when he found Hawke’s red ribbon and violet sachet
tangled with the rest. He wrapped her favor back in its accustomed place on his
wrist with fierce gladness before turning to help his father back into the
sleeves of his robes.

“How are you holding up?” Fenris whispered, reaching tentatively
towards the bandaged arm, hesitant to touch him.

“I would be extremely pleased,” Metis rasped, eyes still closed as
he huddled on the floor, holding the marked arm to his chest, “if this
interruption means the rest of these appointments are to be rescheduled.”

“I was hoping for a full cancellation, myself,” Fenris managed
half a smile. “And I think the Inquisitor’s humor has rubbed off on you.”

One green eye opened, Metis’ eyebrow quirking up at him. “No, I’m
fairly certain Varric is responsible for my jests in the face of certain
annihilation.”

“Nothing is certain, Metis.”

“That dwarf’s sense of humor certainly is.”

“A fair point.” Fenris frowned then, quirking his own brow. “Are
you certain that this sudden urge to jest is not simply a sign of possession?
Did a demon of…of wit make you any promises?”

“No, lad,” Metis sighed. “It is a sign of weariness. I lack the
will to speak sense.”

“Do you lack the strength to escape?” Fenris asked, easing Metis’
sleeves back over his arms and fastening the robes carefully.

“Help me stand,” Metis said, all trace of jest and most of the
weariness vanishing from his voice. Fenris did so, and Metis leaned on him for
the first few turns around the small room, then managed a few steps on his own.

“Well,” he said at last, “I’ll manage to walk, but I won’t be
running from pursuit any time soon.”

“Then if we are pursued, we stand and fight.”

“I’ll do well even to stand. And I’ve no staff, but I…even if I
did, Fenris, I’m not sure I could cast at present.”

“Then I’ll fight.”

Metis nodded. “Time to go, then?”

“Thayer has to be behind the disturbance. Let’s not wait for him
to find us.”

“What about the guards?”

Fenris stood facing the door, flexing his fists. “There are two of
them,” he noted. “I have two hands.” And with a grim smile he strode forward,
lyrium flaring, thrusting both hands through the wall to each side of the door
and directly through the chests of the guards who had taken up their posts
there.

Crushing the door’s lock with similar efficiency, he eased the
door open, saw that the hallway was clear apart from the guards bleeding out at
his feet, and beckoned to Metis to follow.

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Blogger Gatherings!



Click the button for reports from the 2010 Spring Blogger Gathering, hosted by Linett of Nimrodel!

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