Warriors Such As: Chapter 19

We are nearing the end! *gasp* I’m amazed how long this story has gotten. But still loving it. So here are a few scenes before the long awaited reunion with Hawke…

Word count: 3027
Rating: G
Fenris/F!Hawke
Summary: Our heroes depart from Seheron, but there is still the matter of certain red lyrium tattoos to be dealt with.

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

Masterpost in case you need to catch up or start from the beginning!

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!

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Hawkquisition
Part 4: Warriors Such As
Chapter 19
Wherein the ship sails

“You know, Varric,” Thayer Trevelyan said, gazing at Ath Velanis
looming in the distance as the sun rose over the jungle, “that fortress looks a
pleasanter place already.”

“No, Shiny,” the dwarf disagreed, shaking his head as he climbed
to the Inquisitor’s vantage point on a pile of rocks at the edge of their camp.
“Not possible. Not even if you redecorated and put in a bar and dancing girls.
Ath Velanis will never be pleasant.”

“Slightly less menacing, though?” Thayer suggested. “No longer a
haunt of Venatori desperate to relive their dead master’s glory days by
building him an invincible army running on red lyrium.”

“That did contribute a lot to the menacing air,” Varric admitted.

“Might as well go ahead and put that bar in, now that we have the
architect of their dastardly plan in custody.”

“For all the good he’s likely to do you,” Varric grunted. “Elias,
on the other hand, might be more reasonable.”

“Elias?” Thayer frowned, then his eyes widened. “Oh. Do you mean
you found the Tranquil? And learned his name?”

Varric nodded. “He was fairly receptive to the job offer, once he
saw the rest of the Venatori being marched off by the Fog Warriors. I’d wager
it’s been a lot for him to swallow, the last few months, going on with their
world domination plans even with Corypheus dead. Not much point in it, but
would Licinius listen if he explained why?”

“So he’s content to change sides?”

“I think all he wants is purpose and protection, and the Venatori
can’t give him that anymore. So yes, Inquisitor, agent acquired.”

Thayer smiled. “And hopefully he can do what we need of him?”

“Oh, he knows the formula, all right. He whipped up a batch of it
on the spot to prove it to me, even if he did have a lot to say about how we
could have saved him the trouble by not destroying all the potions along with
the laboratory in the first place.” Varric shrugged. “Either way, Metis will
have what he needs.”

“That’s a relief, I’m sure.”

“One more thing, Inquisitor,” Varric said, drawing a tightly
rolled scroll out of his jacket. Thayer raised an eyebrow as he carefully
unrolled the parchment and peered at words in a language he did not recognize.

Varric explained, “I found him in the magister’s chambers, going
through a stash of things he apparently considered worth saving. Talked him
into donating that one to the cause once I realized what it was.”

“Which is?”

“Just a few hundred words in what’s apparently an old dialect of
Tevene,” Varric smirked. “Unroll it the rest of the way though. Check out the
pictures.”

Thayer narrowed his eyes at the dwarf, weighing his words for a
trick, before complying. He unrolled, at last, a series of diagrams at the very
end of the document, distorted where the pages had crumpled from much
rerolling, but there was no mistaking what they depicted. Thayer gasped and
nearly dropped the scroll.

“So they’re a bit rough,” Varric continued, “and apparently
nowhere near the detail of Fenris’ markings, which would be why Licinius
thought he’d use him as a live template. But yeah, looks like these are the few
hundred words that started it all. Some sort of ancient treatise on how to fuse
lyrium to a man’s skin and give him magical fisting powers.”

“Magical – what?” Thayer stuttered, side-eying the dwarf.

“Never mind. Thought you might be interested in the scroll, that’s
all. Crack the code, maybe someone can learn something useful from it
about…well, about what to do for a guy who’s been put through an arm’s worth
of this stuff, right? Or at the least, you can destroy it and hope it’s the
last of its kind in the world, so no one gets ideas like this again.”

“Maker bless you, Varric,” Thayer breathed. “Ath Velanis looks much
pleasanter with this in hand.”

~*~

Hawke, long desired and dreamed of, soon to be seen,

I am up with the sun to read your letters and write to you again
before the ship sails. Though that will not be terribly early today, since
Thayer has sent Varric with the Fog Warriors back into the fortress to take
care of some things left undone in our haste.

…And even now a scout brings me a third letter. You must have
sent this one before receiving my note last night, for I do not think the
ravens could have already borne that to you and back again with this. I suppose
I would not be surprised if there were yet more of your letters winging their
way to us now. But we sail today, so by the time you receive this letter there
will be no more camp to send your replies to. Save your words up, sweet Hawke,
that I may listen the longer to them when I hold you again. Happily I will pass
the voyage imagining what you are preparing to say to me, so much so that when
I see you I shall be speechless myself, having prepared no words of my own.

All the more important, then, to fill this letter with my answers
to your letters while I still can.

Your concern about my sudden influx of family is kind of you,
Hawke. You will meet Metis soon and judge for yourself what manner of man my
father is, but suffice it to say that I have been pleasantly surprised to learn
that you are not the only mage in the world on whom I can rely. He offered
himself for the Venatori’s ritual to stop the magister from killing me, Hawke,
and I…in that moment I knew I could not bear to lose him again. It was a
foolish thing for him to do, but he bore the process bravely. The Inquisitor
intervened and so the ritual was not completed, but he received the markings on
one arm.

You write of Merrill’s success curing Emmen of the red lyrium. Do
you think her methods can be extended to the markings created by the Venatori
here? Please, ask her, earnestly on my behalf, to prepare for such an attempt.
We are bringing Metis with us back to Skyhold in hopes that the lyrium in his
markings can be cleansed. Markings such as mine can be borne and controlled, despite
the trouble they have brought me, but the red lyrium in Metis’ markings
threatens to overwhelm him. For now it has not spread beyond the channels
created for it, yet even so he hears it calling to him the way we have seen it
do with others before it broke their minds.

I cannot have this man’s mind broken, Hawke. I make it my task,
till we reach Skyhold again, to keep him in the present, keep him from slipping
away into its clutches, but I do not think anyone can forever resist that
corruption. We must find a way to cleanse his lyrium as soon as possible.

But that is only one reason I am eager to return to Skyhold, dear
wife. May the ships sail swiftly this time! If the winds are favorable, we will
be home in time for Malcolm’s birthday after all. He will, I hope, not have
forgotten me. And yes, his chatter (as you write of it) does make his Da smile.
Has he truly not yet decided what to call you? If he can say “Da” and “Po” and
“Boo” and all of that, surely it is not beyond infant capabilities to pronounce
“Hawke”. I shall make a point of practicing that with him if he has not learned
to say it (or “Ma” or whatever other ridiculous combination you have been
needlessly trying to teach him) by the time I return.

Be well, my Hawke. I hope you have recovered, or soon will, from
whatever ailed you in your recent letters. I wish you all health and safety and
happiness, and I will hurry back to you in case Skyhold alone cannot supply the
latter.

Yours,

Fenris

~*~

“What will you do with Ath Velanis?” Caligo asked the Inquisitor,
as the soldiers began ferrying the Inquisition’s equipment out to the ships
anchored near Ath Velanis’ broken gates.

“I was thinking of asking you that, as a matter of fact,”
Thayer replied.

“What?” the Fog Warrior turned to squint at him.

“I don’t intend to establish an Inquisition stronghold in
Seheron,” he explained. “Too far away to maintain, and we really have no need
to involve ourselves in northern politics. Also, I can attest that everyone on
this island except for your people would be tripping over themselves to
drive us out.”

“I can attest to that, too,” Caligo grinned.

“The Fog Warriors, however, have proven fine allies,” he said,
sketching a bow that drew a huff of amusement from her. “Also, I’d rather see
your people take this island back than either the Qunari or Vints overrun it.
Plus you’ve suffered a great deal from the Venatori in this fortress
yourselves; you bore the brunt of captives to fuel their experiments.” He
glanced over towards a cluster of Fog Warriors further back from the shore,
where one dark-haired elf was crouched down, animatedly drawing something in
the sand while another stood shaking his head. “Your friends,” he said, nodding
towards Aeris and Nubis, “were quite brave.”

“They were idiots to come here,” Caligo said, but the warmth in
her voice was more fond than angry. “I am relieved we found them alive.”

“As am I, having met them,” Thayer smiled. “So I have two
proposals for you, lady of the Fog Warriors.”

She glanced up at him, eyes narrowing. “I’m listening,
Inquisitor.”

“I’d like to bring Nubis back to Skyhold with us. We’ve heard from
those who remained behind that they’ve had some success there with a process to
cleanse red lyrium from a boy who was infected with it.”

Caligo’s eyes widened and she glanced from the Inquisitor back to
her friends. “You could…fix him?”

“We could help him, I hope.”

She frowned. “It would be very far from home. He…we missed him.
His family back at the camp…”

“I cannot promise that he will not lose his mind to the red lyrium
the same as those who were completely marked with it did, if something is not
done for him. And I cannot truly promise that my people at Skyhold will succeed
in curing him. But I would not ask you to send him alone. You’d be welcome to
come along. Aeris too. Anyone you think should go with him, in fact. It would
surely be easier for him to heal with friends nearby.”

She nodded slowly. “I…will think on it, Inquisitor. And I will
ask Nubis what he wishes.”

“Of course.”

“You said,” she reminded, jutting her chin up at him, “two
proposals?”

“Ah, yes,” Thayer smiled. “I propose that the Fog Warriors take
charge of Ath Velanis. Occupy it and make a stronghold from which to take back
the island, if you like. Or burn it down, if you prefer. I would be satisfied
knowing its fate is in your hands, either way, and no longer in the
Venatori’s.”

Her hand flew to her mouth. “You would give us the fortress?”

“A going-away present?” he grinned. “It’s not exactly a nice
place, either. Just ask Varric. I don’t think he’d let me keep it if I wanted
to. But you could make use of it.”

“I cannot accept for the clan,” she shook her head. “It is not my
place. But I will send word to the Fog Dancer of your proposal. And I think she
will be happy, at least, to decide its fate. I would not mind if she ordered it
burnt to the ground.”

“Well, tell her Happy Satinalia from me, then,” Thayer shrugged.
“A token of an alliance of mutual benefit, and a friendship I hope to see
continue between our people.”

~*~

The ships sailed from Seheron as the sun began to set, turning the
sea to fire. Metis stood at the railing, watching the fortress recede, running
through a long-ago memorized list of herbs in his mind to keep from listening
to lyrium-song. …Felandaris, the demon weed, grows where the Veil is thin.
Amrita Vein, strong roots in sand, bears water deep within. Wood from a tree of
Dragonthorn crafts bow whose shafts fly true. Its gentle leaves add fortitude
to many a mage’s brew. Honey-sweet, the Vandal Aria thrives in arid climes.
Bells of blue on Crystal Grace: do spirits hear them chime?…

“You are not wearing the bandages,” Fenris’ voice broke him out of
his mental recitation. Metis glanced back to see his son eying the red lines of
his hand with a frown as he joined him at the railing.

“They get itchy after a while,” Metis explained.

“You’re not scratching at them, I hope.”

“No, just enjoying a little fresh air before wrapping it up
again.” Metis grinned, narrowing his eyes at Fenris. “I do believe you’re mothering
me now. Are sons allowed to do that?”

“How would I know?” he huffed, but smiled back. “I am only
ensuring that you last long enough to have the markings cleansed.”

Metis stared at him, his eyes crinkling with a frown of
realization. “You’re worried,” he said finally. “That…you’ll lose me.”

Fenris bowed his head. “You should not have taken the markings.”

“Yet I did, and there’s no changing it now. The time for that
argument is past, truly,” said Metis, raising his unmarked hand to Fenris’
shoulder. “I’m not leaving, son. Not unless you want me to.”

Fenris looked up, eyes wide in shock. “Why would I wish that?”

“You’ve managed without me all these years. Maker, I wish I’d been
there to see you grow up, but you became a fine man all the same. You are no child,
Fenris. You don’t need me hovering.”

“I – no. Perhaps not. But perhaps…I would not mind. Having you
near.” He shook his head. “No, that is ridiculous. Metis, you are my family. I
have lost too much of that to not hold fast to you now.”

“Then consider me held,” Metis grinned.

“So long as my grip is stronger than the lyrium’s.” Fenris
frowned, leaning on the rail and looking down into the water.

“It will be,” Metis said, confidence buoying him up as lightly as
the ship in the waves. He dropped his gaze to the markings on his hand, eyes
dancing from line to line, studying their patterns. With Fenris near –
ironically inclined to hovering himself – it was easier to divert the
lyrium-song to the back of his mind, dam it up behind years’ worth of conversations
they would have to catch up on. Including one that, before yesterday, he would
never have expected to have with anyone, let alone his long-lost son. “Fenris,”
he asked, “you’ll show me how to use them, won’t you?”

Fenris gaped at him, starting to speak at least twice before
thinking better of it, his brow furrowing as he considered his words.
“You…want to use them?”

“As you do?”

“Forgive me if I find the image of you pulling hearts from
chests a little difficult to swallow.”

“I wasn’t thinking of the chest thing specifically. There are
surely other applications.”

“Oh, surely.” Fenris rolled his eyes. “I could show you a card
trick that quite impressed some of the Inquisitor’s people once.”

“I’m serious,” Metis said. “I mean, it’s unlikely your people at
Skyhold have a way to completely remove the markings, even if they manage to
cleanse them. If I’m stuck with them, they may as well make themselves useful.”

“I suppose…”

“Especially if they’re going to continue to stifle my magic,” he
said, all trace of jest vanishing from his voice.

Fenris glanced at him, eyebrows knit with concern. “It’s gone
again? You summoned vines against the magister.”

Metis nodded. “It seems the bit of potion that splattered me
nullified the lyrium enough that I could reach my mana for a time.”

“But there’s magebane in the potion.”

“I reached it. It wasn’t easy. But it was just enough of
the potion to quiet the lyrium without being enough magebane to completely shut
off my magic.” He pulled a small flask from a pouch at his belt. “Varric
convinced Licinius’ assistant to make a new batch.” He uncorked the flask,
showing Fenris the blood-red liquid within. “So that’s an option, if I need to
access my magic.”

“You cannot always be keeping yourself drugged with that,” Fenris
pointed out.

“I’m hoping the red can be cleansed at Skyhold and the lyrium left
behind will be…like yours,” Metis shrugged. “But in the meantime, I need to
learn to use it.”

“Even with the potion rendering them useless?”

Metis shook his head. “Saving the potion for emergencies. The
lyrium’s still singing up a storm, but I’m getting better at ignoring it. I
think it’s time I…started fighting back.”

“By using the markings? Metis, what if using them before they are
cleansed only opens you up to their song?“

Metis frowned in thought, nodding slowly. “You have a point. Here
– take this.” He handed over the potion flask. “Surely quieting the lyrium
would loose its hold on me, should that come to pass. I will not train with the
markings without you present, and I will trust you to use this if I come near
to losing myself.”

Fenris hesitated, then nodded, taking the flask and tucking it
away in his own pouch.

Metis smiled, then reached for Fenris’ hand, bringing his son’s
long fingers up to meet his own, palm to palm, crimson brands to white. “You
have control of your markings. Right now, mine are trying to control me.
I need to know how to do what you do. I will master this, lest I fall to
it.”

Fenris stared down at their hands, then nodded,
reaching with his free hand to clasp Metis’ marked wrist in a gentle grip. “I
will do what I can.”

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