Title: The Mages Are To Blame (Something About Mushrooms 1/4)
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Fenris ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V1 D0)
Warnings: Expletives, corpse-mushrooms, bad ideas
Notes: This is Mav’s fault. I’m not even sorry. Fenris decides to put the floor-mushrooms to use. Unfortunately, he misjudges quite what kind of mushrooms he’s dealing with. Mayhem ensues.
There were a multitude of things that Hawke and Anders had said to him, and why he was listening to the mages, he did not know, but it all came to him at once, in some half-cocked ingenious idea. The pools of wine, blood, and puréed organ meats scattered across the front hall had, in time, dried, decayed, and begun to grow mushrooms. Mushrooms that were, as best he could recall, of an edible variety. Several edible varieties, now that he looked at them. Except those blue ones; those were poisonous. He’d hang on to them anyway. Hawke could probably turn them into something useful.
Principally, though, he could both clean the floor and fill the pantry, effectively shutting them both up. Two mages with one mushroom run, and he didn’t even have to leave the house.
Fenris scavenged a few unbroken pots and urns from the remains of the kitchen, wiping them out and lining them up along the wall. One for each kind of mushroom he was sure he’d seen, and one more, just in case. For a few hours, he wandered through the house, one or two urns at a time, harvesting mushrooms from the decay. The more he looked, the more he was almost willing to admit the mages might be right. It had once been a fairly nice place, and it would likely be at least slightly more pleasant, if it didn’t reek of fresh earth and dead blood. Still, he’d gotten used to it. It was his house, and it could reek of death if he wanted it to. All the same, that carpet had to go.
These were the mushrooms he’d forgotten, here in this back room, with the decaying, damp, blood-soaked Nevarran carpet. He kept the door shut, to keep the stench out of the rest of the house. That carpet had gone from unsalvageable to actively destructive, in the years the door had been closed, and Fenris’s eyes watered as he scavenged what mushrooms could be gotten, before throwing open a window and shovelling as much of the pooling decay out of it, as he could, using the back of a chair. Okay, maybe… maybe he’d ask the abomination for something to get the reek off the stone.
He fled the room, leaving the window open, and bringing the mushrooms back to the hall. Who knew so many edible things would rise from the flesh of dead men? He wondered at it, kicking broken tiles back into open spaces in the floor. The stench hung with him.
Maybe it was time, then. The carpets were all worthless, now, stained and eaten through, where Hawke hadn’t set them on fire, in that grand battle. Maybe it was time to scrape everything battered, worthless, and dead onto the rugs and into the crates from the cellar, and just throw it out the back. He was sure Hawke would be happy to burn it, later, pyromaniac mage that he was. And in that, everything that was his own tainted mark on this place would be gone. Would it wash out of him, as well? He had nothing left. His sister disowned, his filthy master dead, his questions answered in ways that made him wish he hadn’t asked. Nothing but these two mages who kept swearing they were his friends, and their assortment of ribald, thieving companions.
What if he just… washed it all away and became a lutenist, or something? He couldn’t possibly be worse than Anders. Nothing could be worse than Anders, when it came to music. The mage couldn’t carry a tune if it had a handle. Fenris was pretty sure he couldn’t even cast a spell for musical accompaniment, if he had the instructions in a picturebook.
What he could find of the floor tiles had fallen into place, and the room had a hint of ease it hadn’t, before. Ease, repose, how much simpler would it be to detect a thing out of place, when all things were not purposely displaced? To smell trouble, without having to find it under the stench of death?
Food in the pantry, and a lack of blood and broken glass on the floor… What a peculiar idea. Well, he might put the glass back, after he cleaned. There was something to be said for idiot-proofing the front hall. Still, he carried the mushrooms back into the kitchen, stacking the urns on a stone worktop, and went back with a bucket, to pour water down the stairs. With a rusty battleaxe and a bent shield, he scraped the remains of guards and broken pottery off the floor, slopping the filth into a few crates. The smell became, if anything, worse.
This was why he didn’t clean, he assured himself. This… foulness. Grabbing a broom, he chased the water toward the door and out, before going back to rinse the floor again. It was, honestly, a nice pattern, now that he could make it out. But, everything still stank of wet corpse. Corpse was bad. Decaying corpse was worse. But, nothing compared to rehydrated, freshly-moved, partially-decomposed eau de corpse. Quite literally, actually. And he was standing in it. Barefoot.
This, of course, was intolerable and infuriating, and the sweeping began in earnest, tides of filthy water slopping toward the open door. Fantastic. He had mushrooms, a clean floor, and a house that stank of death all over again. Fuck this. If the mages wanted it clean, the mages could clean it. He’d let them. And he’d sit back and drink wine and be delightfully unpleasant about the whole affair.
He added ‘washing the floor’ to the list of bad ideas he’d been talked into by mages — getting lyrium tattoos, freeing his family, killing the Fog Warriors, not killing his sister, and washing the floor, along with a host of lesser offences, that may or may not have included mushroom wine, which might have been Varric’s doing, but somehow it was Hawke’s fault anyway.
Fenris chased the last of the water toward the door, sweeping it out of the corners and the divets that were still missing tiles. It would take days for this to dry, here in humid Kirkwall by the sea. For a moment, he debated moving to a nice inland village, in Antiva. Warm, dry Antiva…
But, no. He had made promises, even where he had said no words, and he was bound to the fate of Kirkwall, for now. Foul, wet Kirkwall, where the stink of fish clung to everything. It was less bad in Hightown, at least, and the stench of death did keep the stink of fish out of his house. And the death stench would go, once the floor dried, he told himself. He would talk to Anders — no, he would talk to Varric about some sweet herbs, and imply something about women. And then Varric would talk to the abomination for him. He tidied the corpses, upstairs, but made no further attempts to wash the floor.
At last, he approached the kitchen, which was in no shape to support its original intended purpose. Of course, considering all he had in it was nine kinds of mushrooms, that might not be as much of an issue as it seemed. Still, if he meant to convince himself that eating anything that came out of this room was a good idea, it might do to at least clean a worktop and some dishes. Maybe he could convince the abomination to cook for him, again, if he could offer a space in which cookery might be committed. He was certain that cookery was something one committed, rather than just did. He’d watched Orana put together meals — just checking to make sure Hawke was treating her right — and it seemed to be the sort of thing one devoted a lifetime to the study of, like assassination or burglary, both of which were definitely commits. And so, he would clean the kitchen, in the hopes of convincing the abomination to commit cookery for him.
Later. After he ate something, maybe had a few glasses of wine, and waited, upstairs, for the death stench to dissipate a little more. There were an abundance of mushrooms, after all, and those didn’t need to be cooked. These were the ones Danarius had liked in soup, he thought. The ones he’d never been allowed to eat. And those were the ones he’d been eating since he crossed into the Marches. He’d eat the ones he knew he liked, and one of the Master’s, just to spite his cold corpse. He didn’t even know if he liked those, yet, and it would be stupid to try to fill up on them, if they were terrible. Mushrooms and wine, something of a victory meal, he supposed. A bottle of some Tevinter vintage and the Master’s soup mushroom, which, given Danarius, was probably going to be some unspeakably vile delicacy that was only considered suitable for the nobility because of the strength of will it took not to spit it across the table. Fenris had noticed some trends in that regard with the dishes of the high and mighty: wyvern liqueurs, live birds, turtle-penis soup… Hopefully the good mushrooms and the wine would be enough to dull the taste, if he were right. It would be worth it, either way, just to get that satisfaction of having done something he was so long forbidden. Like ramming yourself into— He adjusted his leggings and pushed the abomination out of his mind, taking his bowl of mushrooms upstairs, to relax by the fire while he ate.