Posts Tagged 'fog warriors'

ptsdven:

Someone asked for Fenris in Seheron, so I drew him with the Fog Warriors. 

(There’s no way he didn’t go on a few raids with them…)

jarofangrybees:

So, Morrigan’s epilogue makes me think that the next Dragon Age game will take us to Weisshaupt Fortress in the Anderfels for more Grey Warden shenanigans. And that’s fine, I love me some blood drinkers, but you know what would be really neat? Seheron. 

I mean, it’s on the other side of the continent from anyplace we’ve been before, smack dab in the middle of a centuries old conflict between the Qunari and the Tevinter Imperium. And we have that Codex entry, found in Watcher’s Canyon, about the Fog Warriors fighting to preserve their culture against two Empires who refuse to even acknowledge they exist. That’s a lot of dramatic potential without even tearing a hole in the sky! 

Let me be a Fog Warrior is what I’m saying. 

Who knows, maybe it’ll be both. The Anderfels are right across the sea there. All I’m saying is: Fog Warrior. Let me war in the fog. 

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!

image

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.”

Warriors Such As: Chapter 18

We’re finally getting out of that fortress! Also, I finally get to use Fenris’ lines upon confronting the magister that I have been wanting to for several chapters now. Hope you like them as much as I do!

Word count: 2999
Rating: PG for canon-typical combat
Fenris/F!Hawke
Summary: Thayer and team take the fight to the magister at last! And Hawke finally hears back from her Fenris.

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!

Hawkquisition
Part 4: Warriors Such As
Chapter 18
Wherein we depart Ath
Velanis

Thayer came up with a plan as they hurried back to the dungeons,
where they found the Fog Warriors who had entered the fortress with them still
searching through the prisoners’ belongings in the antechamber, though they
informed the Inquisitor that Aeris had departed with Nubis. By the time they
all returned to the hallway near Licinius’ laboratory, the flames from the
grenade had died down. “Wonder if the Tranquil’s told him anything yet,” Varric
mused. “Or if he’ll notice the smoke billowing from his beloved lyrium stash.”

“He’ll believe what he wants to believe,” Thayer insisted. “As
long as we make it believable. Now, what shall we do with these – ugh, Fenris,
did you have to snatch their hearts out through the armor? What a mess.”

“Might want to mop up some of that blood first,” Varric chuckled.
“After all, Inquisitor, it’s all about making it believable.”

~*~

The laboratory was in disarray. Either the brazier had overturned and
the Tranquil had let the fire get out of hand (odd, Licinius thought, that the
man was not there; he left his post only to eat and sleep and those only at
times dictated by his routine), or the intruders had sought to sabotage his
work. Licinius fumed inwardly as he summoned ice to put out the lingering
flames, then hurried with his entourage down the hall in search of the room
where his test subjects had been stored after the interruption to the ritual.

To his relief, the two Venatori guards that he had left in charge
of the elves were still at their posts. “The subjects must be relocated,
quickly,” Licinius announced as he approached. “Intruders are loose in the
fortress, and before I deal with them, we must be sure these two are secure.”
He motioned to the mages accompanying him, and the five Venatori and three of
his red-marked warriors they had gathered en route, to wait outside the room.

The guards at the door nodded, inclining their helmeted heads only
briefly before one guard turned to the door and unlocked it. Within, Licinius
saw the two bedraggled elves, slumped against a wall with their hands still
bound behind their backs, lift their heads. Danarius’ pet tensed as if
preparing to cause trouble, but his expression changed to one of worry when the
guards pulled the older elf to his feet. The gardener cried out as his marked
arm was jostled, but looked at the younger elf with a shake of his head,
warning him off from interfering. Glancing from helmet to helmet of the guards
who now held both subjects in firm grips, and noting as well the red warriors
and mages waiting with Licinius in the hallway, the little wolf finally nodded
back. The guards guided their charges from the room without incident.

“They’ll be safest in my chambers,” Licinius informed the guard
bearing a greatsword on his back, the one who had unlocked the door. “The wards
will not easily be broken. Come along.”

He turned on his heel to march towards his tower, failing to
notice the look the two guards exchanged.

~*~

Varric leaned around the corner, noting which way Licinius was
taking his prisoners, and then looked back to the Fog Warriors stationed with
him. “All right, it’s plan B. Fall in behind, and don’t let them hear you or
see you. Quiet as the fog, right?”

“We can be quiet,” the nearest warrior said, cocking an eyebrow.
“What about you?”

“I’ll have you know dwarves can move very silently when we have a
mind to,” Varric huffed. “It’s a center of gravity thing.”

The Fog Warrior gave him a dubious but otherwise blessedly silent
look before leading his teammates around the corner, their white war paint
blending into the stone of the fortress nearly as well as it did in their
spooky fog. Varric followed last, keeping an eye out for Venatori behind them
and muttering to Bianca, “You just had to go with plan B, Thayer.
Shoving the magister into the storage room himself would have been so much
quicker, even if he did bring backup.”

~*~

Fenris glanced around the tower room as they followed Licinius in.
Surprisingly sparse, for a mage of Licinius’ standing and supposed wealth, but
his markings tingled in response to magic in the air. Wards on the floor, he
saw, and implements of blood magic. A slave chained to the far wall looked up
at their entry and paled. Several more sets of chains lined the same wall, and
Licinius waved the guards toward these.

“Now,” the magister was saying, “as soon as they’re secure, I’ll
set the wards and then we can deal with the intruders.”

Even as Licinius spoke, Fenris felt the cold press of a knife at
his wrists, bare of armor, as the guard leading him cut his ropes. At a glance,
he saw Metis’ guard doing likewise. His father met his eyes and winked, slowly
reaching for his belt pouch.

Licinius seemed to realize something was wrong even as Thayer
reached up to remove the bucket-like Venatori helmet concealing his face. “Why
haven’t you chained them yet?” the magister was saying. “Hurry up and –” His
eyes went wide as the Inquisitor emerged from disguise and grinned, tossing the
helmet his way before drawing Fenris’ greatsword from his back and handing it
over to the elf.

“Or you could deal with us now,” Thayer shrugged, sliding his
daggers from the gauntlets of his Venatori armor. “We’d hate to inconvenience
you any longer than necessary.”

“You!” Licinius bellowed, then took three steps toward the door,
yelling, “Venatori! To me! The intruders –” But even as one of his mages and a
lone Venatori Marksman made it through the door, a wall of red light sprang up
on the threshold, cutting off the rest who were running to the magister’s aid.

“Turns out,” said Thayer, “the Fog Warriors have mages who know
something about wards, too.” He nodded to the other supposed guard, now setting
his helmet aside and shaking out dark hair. “Well done, Algor.” He turned back
to Licinius. “Our friends will deal with your backup out there, and we can have
a nice chat.”

“Fool,” Licinius spat, beginning to move his staff in arcane
patterns. “Do not think you have rendered me helpless. Target the Inquisitor,”
he shouted to his mage and marksman, “but by no means kill the elves. I’m not
finished with them.”

“You will be,” Fenris growled, rushing forward to deal with the
spare Venatori mage even as Thayer ducked an arrow and Algor raised his hands
to cast a spell.

Then with a roar not unlike the sound of the laboratory going up
in flames, Licinius was joined by a trio of demons boiling up from the floor.
Fenris willed his lyrium to light, darting forward to engage the new threat.

~*~

Outside the freshly warded doorway, the remaining Venatori and red
warriors watched the mage caught on their side summon mana to bring down the
ward. He raised his staff, gestured to the door, and –

Fell to the floor with a thump as a crossbow bolt sprouted
from his back.

They turned to see a dwarf at the top of the stairs leading up to
the tower rooms, gesturing to the Fog Warriors who now came quickly up behind
him.

“That’s our cue, Whitey,” the dwarf said, hoisting his crossbow
again as he addressed none of the Fog Warriors in particular as far as the
Venatori could tell. “Oh, and no more need to be quiet.”

~*~

Metis, meanwhile, pressed himself against the wall, watching and
gritting his teeth against a feeling of uselessness. Thinking of all the ways
he could be helping right now, if the red lyrium weren’t drowning out his
magic, didn’t help. A bolt of ice would do wonders against that rage demon; and
his vines could have kept Licinius from casting in the first place; and when
the Inquisitor finally failed to dodge that archer’s shots, as it was looking
more and more likely he would, it would be awfully nice if Metis could send
some healing his way. Fenris’ lack of his armor, left in the storage room where
they had found it when they were first locked in there, lest his wearing it should
alert Licinius that the elves were no longer the prisoners they seemed to be,
made Metis itch to throw up a barrier around him. He watched Algor’s spells
with envy but also a measure of professional assessment: the lad’s fire spells
were dazzling if not terribly hard-hitting, but he did have some skill with
wards, locking two of the demons in place long enough for the Inquisitor and
Fenris to deal with the Venatori mage and marksman. Metis strained to feel his
own magic, but the lyrium sang as plaintively as ever, demanding his attention.
Gripping the flask in his good hand tighter, he edged along the wall, trying to
draw nearer to Licinius without being noticed. If this was the only way left
for him to help, he wasn’t about to waste it on a poor throw from too far away.
Fenris needed the use of his markings, and it was best to keep Algor in control
of his magic too. The potion had to target Licinius alone.

Then one of the demons reared up before him. Metis gasped and
backed away, still clutching his potion tight even as he glanced around for any
sort of weapon. Fighting in the magister’s chambers proved fortuitous; a rack
across the room held a variety of staves, none quite like the one the Venatori
had confiscated from him before subjecting him to their ritual, but without his
magic he just needed something to hit with and any staff would do.

He feinted toward the demon and then made a dash for it on the
other side, clutching his marked arm to his chest and grimacing against the
pain. He could feel the wrongness of the creature, pursuing him all the
way to the rack, where he fumbled for the staff nearest to hand, almost
dropping the potion when he forgot he was carrying it, shifting it to his
bandaged hand as well as he could before grasping at the staff again even as
demon claws grasped at his shoulder –

And then with a roar the thing fell away from him, blue lyrium
light gleaming through a hole in what passed for its chest. The demon slumped
and finally melted away into the floor as Fenris stood there panting, eyes wide
and wild as he reached out to Metis.

“You’re all right?”

“Excellent timing,” Metis said, summoning the weakest of smiles
while gasping for breath; he was in no condition for such sprinting, especially
after the day’s events.

Fenris looked around at the battle. “One of them left,” he nodded
at the remaining demon. Metis saw fabric puddled on the floor that he took to
be Licinius’ assistant mage, and a bow cast aside suggested that the marksman
had been dealt with as well. “We will see to the demon.” He gripped Metis’
shoulder before he turned away. “Don’t let him summon any more.”

Which was, presumably, what Licinius had in mind as he again
started moving his staff through its patterns. The magister’s eyes were on
Thayer as the Inquisitor played tag with the last demon, darting in to slash at
it from one side, then the other, while Algor stood nearby flinging ice at it.
Suddenly the demon broke away from the Inquisitor to charge at Algor, knocking
the mage aside to slam into a wall while Fenris ran up from behind, ready to
slice the demon in two.

And while that drama played out, Metis crept up as near Licinius
as he dared, uncorked the bottle, and hurled it. The magister saw it coming
just in time and turned, bringing up a hand to bat it away, but the open bottle
spun and splattered him with its contents before sailing away to shatter
against the wall.

Metis, feeling an odd shock to his marked arm, looked down at his
bandages. Drops of red stained the white fabric. Blood? He frowned as he raised
his hand, recognizing the scent of magebane. The spray of the potion had
reached all the way back to him, then, a tiny trace of it splattering his left
arm even as most of it landed on Licinius.

The magister stood fuming, waving his hands, shaking his staff,
trying to bring his magic forth again, but enough magebane had reached him to
nullify every attempt. At that moment, Fenris ran the demon through even while
Thayer ran a blade along its throat, and the thing shriveled back into the
Fade. Licinius snarled and turned his staff around, advancing on Metis with the
bladed end.

“No!” Fenris shouted as Metis slowly backed away from the
magister, nearly tripping over the marksman’s corpse before Fenris interposed
himself and his sword between the mages. Licinius hissed in frustration,
swinging his staff against the elf’s blade. Reinforced with metal along the
shaft, it met the blow with only the slightest shudder, and then the magister
was wielding its blade like a polearm against Fenris with surprising skill.

Metis took note of Thayer just before the Inquisitor vanished into
the shadows again, looking, he supposed, for an angle from which to creep up on
the magister and – well, not slit his throat, Metis guessed; he had
been so determined to take the man alive, but surely if Fenris was in danger…

There was a tingling in his left arm. Metis looked at it in
wonder, unwinding the bandages. The skin revealed was still red and tender, but
there were patches, he thought, where the lyrium lines themselves had grown
darker. Quieter. Quieter. The lyrium-quieting potion. He realized
in that moment, the song in the back of his mind was quieting too. Still there,
but no longer demanding his attention, not drowning everything else out as it
had before. So little of the potion had actually reached him, he realized:
enough to quiet the lyrium’s song, but what effect would the same potion have
on his magic now that he wasn’t distracted by the lyrium? Frowning, he raised
the staff he had snatched from the rack, adding his left hand carefully to his
grip on it, and began to weave a familiar pattern in the air. It seemed to take
an eternity, and all the while Fenris and the magister wove a pattern of their
own, blade to blade, and what Thayer was up to was yet to be seen.

And then the vines came. Slowly at first; his magic was there, but
not entirely unaffected by the magebane, and he was a bit rusty after hours
sundered from his mana, but finally the vines came. He called them from the
ceiling, above where Licinius stood, or had been standing before his duel with
Fenris carried them halfway across the tower chamber. Metis bit at his lip,
coaxing, encouraging, convincing the vines to twine further that way,
no, then back this way again, keep growing, reach for it, reach for the wrists,
he needs his hands to cast…

At last, with a shriek of outrage, Licinius was hauled up into the
air by strong vines binding each wrist and shrinking back to stretch them over
his head, leaving the magister dangling from the ceiling, kicking out at Fenris
as his staff fell from his hands.

Fenris dodged the kick easily and swung back around to face the
magister. With a fierce smile he lit his lyrium and plunged his bare hand in to
grasp the magister’s beating heart.

For half a minute, they stood eye to eye, or nearly so, since the
magister had a few extra inches on Fenris with his feet swinging above the
floor. But the swinging had become barely a tremble as Licinius went as still
as possible, eyes bulging as Fenris squeezed.

Thayer, emerging from the shadows at last, approached with a
polite cough. Fenris narrowed his eyes as they met the magister’s, fire in the
elf’s matching fear in the mage’s, and finally he nodded, easing his grip on
Licinius’ heart.

“You took my father away from me once, before I was even born,”
Fenris growled at last, stretching up on his toes to glare more directly into
the magister’s eyes. “You very nearly took him away from me again today. Be
glad the Inquisitor came when he did, for if Metis had died here there would be
no mercy.”

~*~

Hawke,

It is done. With joy I write to tell you that we are finished with
this place. Thayer has the magister who was behind these experiments in custody
on the ship. The rest of the Venatori and their red warriors are dead or in the
Fog Warriors’ hands, which they may find the less desirable fate.

The fight has taken its toll on us all, but we are alive. Thayer
and Varric are well. Metis…well, I shall write more in the morning, perhaps,
before the ships bear us away from this cursed shore, but for now he and I both
need rest. But we live, and you will see him soon enough, for he must return
with us to Skyhold.

I see the ravens have brought your letters while I was within Ath
Velanis. Their scent, your scent, consoles me but I wait till morning to read
them, as well, for I am truly wearier than I can remember being in years, and
that includes the nights Malcolm kept us both up with his demands.

I will read your news and send you more of mine tomorrow, but for
now the raven bears you this promise: tomorrow the ships bring us home.

Yours, always,

Fenris

Warriors Such As: Chapter 14

Things are looking grim in Ath Velanis. Fenris has been captured, and it’s up to Metis to save him…

Word count: 4302
Rating: PG for lyrium ritual…
Fenris/F!Hawke
Summary: Licinius intends to use Fenris’ markings as a template for his next red lyrium warrior…and so the ritual begins…

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! Also, this chapter’s extra angsty, so hugs to all readers in advance… 😦

Hawkquisition
Part 4: Warriors Such As
Chapter 14
Wherein the magister
refines his ritual

“Our objectives,” Thayer ticked them off on his fingers, pacing
before the Fog Warriors arrayed for battle, their eyes intense bursts of color
in contrast to the white paint with which they had covered their skin and
clothing: “Stop the magister. Take him into custody or kill him if he can’t be
taken alive, but our priority remains putting an end to his experiments, and we
accomplish that quickest by removing him from play. Second, rescue our friends.
Fenris and Metis are more than capable. I refuse to believe they’re not still
holding their own against whatever the Venatori can throw at them, but the
sooner we get to them, the better their odds. And finally, neutralize any
remaining Red Lyrium Warriors that Licinius has already created and free any
slaves or captives he intended to put through the ritual.”

Varric coughed and added, just loud enough for the Inquisitor to
hear, “And then maybe we can leave this fortress in ruins so we don’t have to
keep coming back here every few years.” That won a smirk from the Inquisitor.
Varric considered it a small victory.

“We don’t have the manpower for a frontal assault,” Thayer
continued, nodding to the Fog Warrior archer who had guided them to the tunnel
for the previous night’s reconnaisance, “so Varric has identified a few
possible infiltration points. Caligo, you’ll lead a team from the south. Varric
and I will enter from the north with the second team. Get in as quickly and
quietly as you can, and remember the objectives: magister, allies, prisoners.
If things go to pieces, get out of there. If they don’t, we’ll meet somewhere
in the middle.”

A shout interrupted the briefing, and they looked up to see one of
the Inquisition scouts approaching from the raven cages. “Reply from Harding,
ser,” the man said, offering up a small scroll.

Thayer hurried to open it; scanning the words there, he smiled and
nodded to Varric. “The ships are on their way.”

“It’ll take them most of the day to sail around the coast,” Varric
pointed out. “Do we wait?”

Thayer considered the timing with narrowed eyes, then shook his
head. “We use that time to do this right. Licinius has probably realized that
some of us made it out of the fortress last night. He’ll be preparing
reinforcements. We need to approach Ath Velanis cautiously, but if we wait too
long…”

“We’ll face more of his reinforcements,” Varric nodded. “Okay
then, Your Heraldicness. Let’s go scale that fortress wall.”

~*~

It was cold. Perhaps, some part of Fenris mused as he gradually
regained consciousness, it was the cold that finally brought him back to his
senses. At least by the cold he knew that he was awake; it never seemed this
cold in dreams. In the Fade. There was a pounding in his head, besides, and the
ozone smell of magic.

Magic. In a panic his eyes
snapped open and he tried to sit up, thrashing against the shackles that now
revealed themselves at his sudden movements.

“Ah, welcome back, little wolf,” he heard Licinius’ bemused voice
somewhere behind him. Panting as he tried to turn, Fenris took stock of his
situation. He had thought he was lying down, but as the swimming world righted
itself while his vision caught up to it, he found himself secured by metal
cuffs at his wrists and ankles to a table of sorts, likewise of metal, cold
against his bare skin, propping him up at an angle somewhere between standing
and reclining.

The metal shouldn’t be able to hold him like this. I am a free
man.
He willed his lyrium to light, to let him phase through the bonds, but
the markings remained white and inert.

He stilled, catching his breath while his hands balled into fists.
The cuffs kept his arms stretched wide enough to limit his range of motion, but
he could still turn his head. To one side he saw a wall lined with shelves of
potions, and between them a single door, guarded by Venatori. To the other, a
table like the one to which he was bound, at an angle that seemed to match his;
stretched out on it, likewise stripped and shackled, a dark haired elf. Traces
of white paint still clung to his hair, but from the redness of his skin Fenris
guessed that more of the paint had been freshly scrubbed from his body.

Facing forward again, Fenris saw a sight out of his nightmares,
with one difference: the lyrium in the bottles was red, not blue. In all other
regards, it seemed that even without Danarius’ notes, Licinius had come to many
of the same conclusions about the process of bonding lyrium to the skin.
Fenris’ earliest memories – before his time with Hawke had begun to stir the
older memories locked behind the wall of torment that in all his years as a
slave he had not been able to breach – had overwhelmingly featured the pain of
the process and less so the specific details of what Danarius and his
assistants were doing throughout it, but he recognized the rod, even now
heating over glowing coals, that would be used to etch on the skin the burning
brands to which the lyrium would fuse. His pulse raced, his breath came short
and ragged as he realized that this must be the magister’s laboratory, where
his lyrium-marked warriors had been created – and to all appearances, soon
would be created again.

Then what was he, already the product of such a ritual, doing
trussed up on a table like this?

“What,” he finally rasped, willing to his voice the veneer of calm
that had often been his shield in Danarius’ house, “do you intend to do with
me?” Despite the cold, sweat dripped into his eyes and he shook his head to
scatter it.

“Quite simply,” came Licinius’ voice again from behind him, “you
are to serve as a template. The ritual I have recreated works; at least,
we have succeeded time and time again in creating markings like yours. But my
subjects have not been able to make use of their markings as you do, which
rather defeats the purpose.” He appeared suddenly at Fenris’ side, smiling
widely. Fenris clenched his fists in an effort not to flinch away from the
magister’s nearness, glaring at him with furrowed brows as Licinius continued,
“I theorize that the actual layout of the markings is of greater importance
than I had originally presumed. It is as if we were inscribing runes of
enchantment upon the flesh, after all. Perhaps I have been leaving out some
vital branching or,” he cast a critical eye over Fenris’ skin, running a
too-warm finger over the lines curving around his arm, “filigree. Now
that we have your markings to refer to, we can either confirm my theory or at
least rule it out by making an exact copy of these patterns on my next
warrior. If they do not work on him, we must look elsewhere for the flaw in the
process.”

“And merely to see my markings,” Fenris growled, “you find
it necessary to restrain me so?” He nodded toward his bound wrists.

Licinius chuckled as he moved toward the table where the apparatus
of the ritual was laid out, lifting the branding rod and holding a finger an
inch from it to confirm the heat now radiating from the metal. “As you may
recall, since we met I have been extending the offer of cooperation. I truly
mean you no harm. Alas, given the hostility you have shown to my men in your
time here, I can only assume that you cannot be trusted to cooperate.”

“You cannot do this,” Fenris insisted with no attempt to swallow
the hostility Licinius had already observed. “This ritual is…it is a curse.
Danarius died by the very markings he etched on my hand. Do not think you will
escape.”

“Tell me, little wolf,” Licinius drawled, inspecting one of the
lyrium bottles, “just how deadly are those markings of yours right now?”

~*~

Naturally, the crawlspaces did not quite match up to the hallways
through which Licinius and his brutes had dragged Fenris back to his
laboratory. Metis kept as close to them as he could at first, but every
intersection meant a detour, either to find another route through the
fortress’s ventilation, or to wait till the coast was clear to drop down from
one grating and summon vines at another so he could resume crawling through
another dusty shaft. Eventually, he dropped from a grating, looked around, and
realized he had no way of knowing which direction the magister had gone from
this intersection.

With a sigh, he lowered himself to the floor, listening. Even to
elven ears, the fortress was silent. He had fallen too far behind already. Licinius
was beyond his reach; he couldn’t even say for sure that the magister had
passed through this intersection. Somewhere in this place, his son was in the
clutches of Metis’ old master, a man who could not even imagine the concept of
mercy unless it were sweetened with more mercenary motivations. And once again,
Metis was too late.

“No,” he whispered, brushing aside the first frustrated tear and
forbidding its fellows to fall. “Not this time. He won’t be taken from me
again.”

It was a large fortress. But with Fenris he had already explored a
good part of it, and the laboratory could not be too far; the last time he had
crossed an intersection from one grating to the next, he had certainly seen his
son being dragged away down that hallway. So he was starting from the right
point, at least. He’d just have to explore a bit more, carefully, and be
on the alert for the magebane that would render him useless again. He brushed
the dust of the crawlspaces from his robes and picked a hallway to begin.

~*~

There was little enough room to thrash in the restraints. From the
silence of his markings, Fenris guessed that Licinius had kept him drugged with
the quieting potion. Ropes might have eventually loosened if he worked at them
long enough, but the metal cuffs were inflexible. No matter how he squirmed and
tried to make his hands and feet smaller to slip through them, his position
scarcely changed.

Licinius ignored his every move, evidently confident that the
restraints could keep the markings still enough to copy. Grudgingly, Fenris
conceded that escape, for the moment, was beyond him. He lay still, except for
his eyes, narrowed as they followed the movements of the magister and his
assistants preparing for the ritual.

Two Venatori mages were present to assist Licinius – perhaps
more, behind the table and out of sight, Fenris considered. Two warriors stood
guard at the door to Fenris’ right; whether the laboratory had any other
entrance beyond his range of sight was difficult to tell. In front of him, a
Tranquil in Venatori robes bent over the lyrium flasks, preparing a pipette
with which the fluid would be transferred to the lines soon to be branded on
the Fog Warrior’s skin.

The Fog Warrior himself seemed to be unconscious. Remembering the
pain of the ritual even after so many years, Fenris envied him that. It
occurred to him that perhaps the subject’s consciousness was a necessary
ingredient in making the ritual successful; otherwise, could not Danarius have
created his markings on a Leto who need not feel every burn, every cut,
every searing pain of the lyrium bonding with his flesh? Or perhaps the pain
itself would bring the Fog Warrior back to a consciousness he would gladly
abandon again. Either way, Fenris was not about to suggest to the magister that
keeping the unfortunate man awake might be necessary to making the markings
work. Let him rest while he might.

Soon enough, the Venatori gathered around the ritual table.
Licinius nodded to one mage and the man carefully collected the branding rod
from the brazier and approached the victim, while the Tranquil stood ready with
the first flask and pipette of red lyrium.

Licinius frowned, looking over at Fenris, considering the patterns
of lyrium on his skin once more. “The torso, I believe,” he said over his
shoulder to the branding mage. “Let us begin there.”

The Venatori mage nodded, following Licinius’ gaze to take a
careful look at the lines on Fenris’ chest before he brought the branding rod
to the Fog Warrior’s skin for the first delicate line.

The man’s screams at the first sizzle of his flesh answered one
question. No one would have the luxury of remaining unconscious for this
ritual.

~*~

Screams from a hallway he had just passed brought Metis up short.
He held his breath for a panicky moment, wondering if he would even be able to
tell Fenris’ screams from another man’s. To be sure, his son had not as yet
provided much of an example to go by in their brief acquaintance; Metis had
known many taught by servitude to keep their emotions well guarded, but even in
combat Fenris was quiet. Perhaps, in an ordinary life, Metis would have once
sought the patience to outlast a stage of teenaged tantrums, but it was too
late to even guess if Fenris had ever been the sort of child to rage against
parental boundaries.

Then a sharp, curt shout rose above the screams, and Metis would
know that voice anywhere. He turned to follow, keeping to shadows since he saw
no convenient gratings in this hallway.

~*~

“It will never work,” Fenris shouted above the Fog Warrior’s
pained screams, goading the magister. “Red lyrium is not the same as what marks
me. You cannot expect the same results.”

“It has already worked,” Licinius finally shouted back, yet
without losing his concentration, as Fenris had hoped. The magister continued
to focus his magic upon the prisoner, fusing the red lyrium into the burns left
by the branding rod even as his assistant mage slowly and carefully piped the
lyrium into its tracks. As Licinius’ hands passed over each flowing line, the
lyrium faded from brilliant red to the purple of an old bruise, forming a
membrane of sorts over the top of its channel that left the lyrium flowing
below, independent of the Fog Warrior’s body and yet now inseparably a part of
it. Apart from its color, it was in every way like the blue-white lines Fenris
knew as well as the rest of his own flesh.

“They will not be able to control it,” Fenris insisted. “It drives
them mad. What good are the markings to you if they cannot make use of them?”

“That is,” Licinius said, sounding more strained for breath than
at any time since they had met him, “the final step. And we are
nearly…nearly…there.”

“It has nothing to do with the shape of the lines!” said Fenris,
wriggling again against the bonds that now chafed his wrists and ankles from
all his prior attempts to escape them. “You cannot make this work with red
lyrium.”

“We shall see,” Licinius brushed him off, resuming his magic
without any further acknowledgement of Fenris’ arguments.

~*~

Of course the door was guarded.

Metis crouched around a corner where he could just see through the
doorway, beyond which the screams of the ritual’s victim continued, now hoarse
between gasps for breath. Venatori Gladiators in their heavy armor stood at the
door, likely to see him each time he peeked around the corner.

No going in that way. Nor did the laboratory seem to have access
to the crawlspaces with which he’d become so familiar today. Odds were good
he’d run into more of the magebane even if he could get any closer to the door
without the guards catching him.

It was a fortunate thing, then, that magic still worked from a
distance.

He could see Fenris, not far from the door, arguing with the
magister despite the metal cuffs binding him to some sort of operating table.
Beyond him, Licinius and his Venatori assistants were intently focused on the
man whose screams had led Metis here.

Intently focused, indeed.

Metis raised his staff cautiously, keeping it out of the guards’
sight around his corner even as he kept his eyes fixed on the laboratory door.
Quickly, in and out and around, through the well-known pattern, and then his
free hand beckoned, calling…

He could barely see it from here, the green vine that suddenly,
quietly, curled around the nearest of Fenris’ restraints.

~*~

“You cannot hold me here forever,” Fenris continued to feint at
the Magister with words so long as his limbs were bound.

“Nor will I,” Licinius finally rose to the bait, but his magic
over the red lyrium lines never faltered. “But my potion will keep you
compliant long enough.”

Fenris opened his mouth to reply, then twitched at a sudden tickle
against his wrist. Suspecting some new trick of the magister’s, he turned to
see…

Vines.

They grew quickly, as they had when Metis made a ladder of them.
One wrist-cuff was now wholly covered in green, and a glance at his ankles
showed them succumbing to the vines as well. Fenris glanced around, seeing no
grating overhead from which his father might be calling these vines.

There were plenty of things in this room that Fenris, from his
spot in the limelight, could not see. But it would not do for Licinius to see
what Metis was doing, either. So Fenris kept talking – Licinius had thus far
disdained to even look at his precious lyrium template when he replied; let him
not grow curious now!

“I have to wonder, mage,” he growled, “what use these marked
warriors will be to you if you must always keep them under control with that
potion? How would you even know if they learned to use their markings? And
regardless, if you rely on rendering them powerless in order to keep them from
turning on you, why make them at all?”

“Those that gain control of the markings,” Licinius replied, “will
learn to obey me in time. The potion is for temporary control. It is certainly
not our only option.”

The vines covered each of the cuffs now, pressing uncomfortably
against Fenris’ skin as the space between the metal and his limbs grew ever
more full of plant life. He willed the Venatori not to notice, to keep their
eyes on the Fog Warrior. But then the mage who had been etching the lines on
the man’s skin turned aside to replace the branding rod in its brazier, and
looked up to check his work, comparing the new red markings with the pale lines
on Fenris’ chest.

Fenris tensed as he saw the mage gasp. Licinius looked up at the
Venatori, then followed his line of sight to Fenris, his eyes widening as he
saw the sudden riot of color (even one or two blossoms had come with the
vines).

Then, just as the mage and the magister took a step towards
Fenris’ table, with a loud popping sound all four of his restraints snapped
open, yielding to the unrelenting pressure of Metis’ vines. Fenris rolled off
the table into a crouch, launching himself past the mages, at the brazier where
the brand-wielder had just set the rod down to gather heat again.

It might not be hot enough yet to scorch the flesh for lyrium
bonding, but it would do to keep the Venatori at arm’s length, at least for a
moment. Fenris looked around frantically for a better weapon, even as Licinius
and his pet mages, though clearly drained of mana by their work on the Fog
Warrior, began to gather some spell or other to stop him. His sword was nowhere
to be seen, let alone his armor or even basic clothing. Nor were his own
markings yet recovered enough from the mage’s potion to be of use.

No time like the present, then. Fenris snarled and lashed out at
the nearest mage, interrupting the man’s incipient spell with a thrust of the
branding rod at his eye. He flung the brazier itself at the second mage,
setting the man’s robes on fire and occupying him with putting out the flames.
That left only Licinius, since the Tranquil assistant appeared content to stay
out of the way and await the outcome of the fight, much to Fenris’ relief. Even
as he looked around for something more to fling at the magister, there was a
scuffle at the door. He looked up, expecting to see the Venatori guards joining
the fight.

They were, in a sense. Their weapon was merely the mage held
firmly between them, his spectacles askew on his very dusty face.

Fenris froze as the guards informed Licinius, “Found this one
skulking just down the hall, ser.”

“Well, well, gardener.” Licinius straightened, dropping whatever
spell he had begun, to smirk back at Fenris. “Couldn’t bear to be parted from
this one, could you?”

“Let him go,” Fenris warned in a low growl, crouched and ready to
spring, held back only by the guards’ grip on his father.

“But he so clearly wishes to be a part of the ritual,” Licinius
said, raising one eyebrow as he looked between the two elves. Then he seemed to
make up his mind, and raised his staff to begin a spell.

“No!” Fenris shouted, lunging towards the magister. From the door
he could hear Metis cry out as well. The guards gripped him tighter, making no
move to stop Fenris –

Nor did they need to. Licinius completed his spell, and once more
Fenris saw the lights of a glyph spring up at his feet, felt himself jerked to
a stop, held against his will.

“Licinius!” he heard Metis call, but could not turn his head to
meet his father’s eyes. “Please.

But Fenris certainly saw the magister’s smirk as he turned towards
the doorway again. “You needn’t beg, gardener,” Licinius said. “I would be
happy to include you in the ritual.”

Fenris could imagine the look of shock on Metis’ face when he
heard him reply, “You’re joking. You can’t possibly imagine I would want
to help you mark that poor man.”

“Oh, you mistake me,” Licinius chuckled. “Although it appears I
will have to replace my current assistants, nonetheless. You,” he shot a
glance back at Fenris, “seem to have well earned the wolf part of your
name. No, my old gardener, it occurs to me that I have not yet tried bestowing
the markings upon a mage. Perhaps the magic in your blood would draw a greater
response from the lyrium. How would you like to be my next red lyrium warrior?”

“No!” Fenris shouted again, straining against the paralysis glyph.
“Do…not…do this!” It was easier this time, fighting against the magic’s
hold on him. He managed to turn his head enough to see his father gaping at
Licinius as he took in what the magister had said.

Metis finally collected himself, shaking his head slowly. “No,
magister,” he said, “I think you mistake me. I would make a
terrible warrior, no matter what markings you put on me. I wish no part at all
in your ritual. I wish only to take Fenris and go.”

“You know I cannot grant that,” Licinius laughed. “There is so
much I can learn from his markings. Why, if simply copying them onto my next warrior
does not work…” He glanced back at Fenris with a smirk, folding his hands
thoughtfully beneath his chin, “we can always cut him open and find out what
makes them work from the inside.”

“What?” Metis froze, then shook his head frantically, struggling
to break away from the Venatori guards. “No. No, no, no, Licinius, I will not
permit you to harm him!”

“Will you not? How interesting,” Licinius stepped closer to Metis,
crooking a finger to raise the elf’s trembling chin. “You know, gardener, you
are stronger than you look, but have you the strength to deny me?”

“You will not have him,” Metis whispered through clenched teeth.

“Such single minded focus!” Licinius smiled. “Such willpower! Your
magic shows strength of mind as well. And I recall,” the magister flicked a
finger at the scars just showing on Metis’ arms where his sleeves had twisted
up in his struggles against the guards’ grip, “you always did have a high
tolerance for pain. You bore those cuts so stoically.”

“Not willingly,” Metis hissed.

“Yes, that’s a good point. You see, I have noticed that this
ritual of mine turns out better for the subjects who willingly submit
themselves to it. The more they struggle, the more it seems to break their
minds in the end.”

Metis stared at him. “You…want me to agree to this.”

“It would be better for all of us. A willing subject and the
proper pattern of markings. That is the alchemy I have been searching
for. Do this, and I will have no need to dissect my template.”

“You mean,” Metis said slowly, “you will have my willing
participation, or you will kill him.”

“Metis,” Fenris gasped, “don’t! You…do not know…what he is
asking…of you.”

Metis’ sad eyes met his son’s, holding them even as he spoke to
the magister: “You will release him, Licinius. When this is over, no matter
whether or not your ritual succeeds, no matter what becomes of me, you will let
him go, unharmed. No dissections.”

“I assure you, there will be no need,” Licinius began, but Metis
turned to glare at him, and the magister threw up his hands. “Unharmed.
Regardless. You have my word.”

Metis nodded. “Then you have mine.”


Question mark for replies?

fogofdust:

So we started with a little slave boy who loved his master and wanted the lyrium tattoos and ended with someone who is extremely (and reasonably) bitter and the Fog Warriors probably saw the blunt of that transition and okay just hear me out:

We know that the Fog Warriors inspired free will in Fenris, but considering how good of a slave he used to be, the process must’ve been slow.  What if the Fog Warriors knew that.  What if they went slow, starting in the mornings when Fenris would ask what they were doing that day and they’d say “I dunno, Fenris, what are we doing today?” and maybe he’d want to explore the area or maybe he’d want to spar or maybe he’d wander off alone and they would let him.  They didn’t make him do much during his first weeks there– didn’t give him scouting duty and NEVER EVER gave him guard duty– because they wanted him to have some time with himself.  And they saw him grow.  They saw him after a day of training, having his lyrium markings burn and ache for hours, and he really looked at his hands for the first time, saying “he did this to me he did this to me he did this to me” and the Fog Warriors let him be angry because anger is the first step.

They never saw him reach the second step.

Adventures in punficcing

So I just named a Fog Warrior “Caligo”.

image

I shall be amused all night by this.

(latin dictionary via Glossa)


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