[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody In Ass Major – Chapter 177
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Fenris ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Cullen ♂, Carver Hawke ♂, Ella ♀, Ser Loren ♂, Ser Keran ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V2 D1)
Warnings: Brotherly ribbing, face-punching, serious stabbing
Notes: Anton is terribly amused. Then, Carver picks a fight that doesn’t go the way he meant.
Cormac staggered down the stairs, mostly dressed, the next day, Anders still looking exasperated behind him. Actually, Anders was debating whether or not to do something about that hangover, after what had happened the night before. Still, neither of them were expecting to see Anton leaning on the bar.
"Where’s our brother?" Anton asked across the top of his pint, smile somewhere between amused and impolite. "This lovely lady at the bar tells me the Champion of Kirkwall was in, last night, and the very walls shook with his pleasures."
Cormac thought about explaining, but the laugh hit before he could stop it. This was entirely absurd. This was beyond absurd and out into ridiculous, by far. He tipped sideways and caught himself on a support pillar, resting his forehead against his forearm as he continued to cackle. Anders just shrugged at Anton, eyebrows arched as if he couldn’t wait to hear what Cormac would come up with.
"He’s upstairs with the elf." Cormac knew better than to be saying anyone’s name, now that Anton was in the room. Maker only knew what he’d told anyone. "How’d you find us?"
"A hairy little birdy told me," Anton said, looking somewhat relieved that any earthquakes could be assumed to be Fenris’s fault. Artemis, in a bar, free drinks, and Cormac staggering drunkenly in the morning? That had looked like much more trouble than he wanted to consider. At least Anders had been there to make sure nobody caught anything. Particularly Artemis. Particularly in a place like this. "Rough night?"
"Eventful night," Anders replied. "And I was sober enough to remember all the good parts." He grinned at Cormac.
"And I’m not drunk enough to hear them," Anton said, tipping his pint at Anders. "Nor do I ever plan to be." He raised the tankard to his lips only to grin and replace it on the bar. "Why, good morning, ‘Anton’," he told the next person coming down the stairs. Artemis looked to be in better condition in Cormac, but the previous night’s debauchery still showed in his rumpled and stained clothing and bed hair, not to mention in the way it took him a moment to understand why he was being called Anton. "I hear you had a busy night."
Artemis groaned and wiped a hand over his face. Fenris came up beside him, looking just as pleasantly tousled but much more smug about it. "The Champion of Kirkwall," Fenris said with a suggestive smirk, wrapping an arm around Artie’s waist.
The barmaid interrupted, noting that Anton’s pint was almost empty. "Another pint, Artemis?" she asked him, to the real Artie’s great horror.
"Tempting," Anton said in a low purr, eyeing the barmaid in a way that said he didn’t just mean the drink. "But I don’t know if I should. After all, I’m not the Champion."
Fenris had to stifle a snicker against Artemis’s shoulder.
"Are you saying that only the Champion would be able to satisfy this lovely lady’s obvious desires?" Cormac teased. "Gosh, Anton, what do you think? You going to teach our brother a thing or two?"
"Ooh, I think he should!" Anton agreed, grinning at Artemis. "I think we should let her choose her favourite Hawke, from among the Champion and his brothers. Well, brother. Not you, Cormac, you look like you’re going to throw up."
"Ugh, don’t say ‘throw up’," Cormac groaned, leaning against Anders, and batting his eyes at the healer, in the hopes of getting rid of this awful sensation of the floor dancing a tango without him. Anders stepped to the side and Cormac stumbled, catching himself on an empty table.
"Oh, I don’t know if the Champion could satisfy this one," Anders joked. "I think he might be worn out from banging the headboard against the wall until the building shook, all night long."
"Building’s still shaking," Cormac complained.
Artemis cleared his throat. "Yes, I think we all know who the real ‘Champion’ was last night," he said, hooking a thumb in Fenris’s direction. "Though I’d be more than happy to show our brother ‘a thing or two’ at some point in the near future." His tone said he didn’t mean that in a fun way, at least not for Anton.
The barmaid went away, hiding a laugh behind her hand and not sure whether she should refill Anton’s drink.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Carver grabbed the shoulder of the templar who was currently towering over a sobbing mage, tightening the buckles on his armour.
"It’s just some robe trash, Carver. Don’t worry about it." The other templar shrugged and gestured toward the mage.
"That ‘robe trash’ is somebody’s family," Carver snapped, shoving the templar down the hall a bit. "Don’t give me that shit, Loren. These are people. You can’t just do that shit to people."
"You’re just pissed because your dad’s trash, too. I wonder how you even got into the order, junior garbage." Loren sneered and tipped his chin up. "Oh, that’s right, your brother sucked off the Captain until he let you in. You sucking off the Captain, too? Is that how you get your ration? Is that how you’re still here? Is it because you give good head, junior garbage?"
Don’t hit people, Cullen had said, and by the Maker, Carver really tried. Still, he thought this might be an exception to the rule, and his gauntleted fist leapt up and slammed into Loren’s cheek. "Try to find a healer for that, the way you treat people."
"They’re not people, junior garbage, and neither are you." Loren staggered forward, one hand pressed to his bloody lips, and Carver missed the other hand. Platemail. He should have been fine.
But Loren’s dagger slipped between the plates and opened him from the hip to the ribs. Carver was shocked, first, before the pain even struck, and when it did, it was like a flicker, there and then gone, but the strength went out of his legs. He still landed another solid punch under Loren’s chin, as he slid to the ground, watching Loren wipe the blade on the cowering mage’s robes, before sheathing the blade and walking away, with a jaunty flutter of his fingers.
Cullen heard the shouting first, a woman’s hysterical shrieking that stone corridors warped and distorted. Next, he saw Keran round the corner, face pale and eyes bugged.
"Keran?" Cullen asked. "What’s all that noise? What’s—? Where are you going?"
Keran didn’t stop, didn’t even slow. He just kept running back the way Cullen had come. "Sorry, Captain!" he threw over his shoulder. "A healer… I need…"
Cullen didn’t listen for the rest. He darted down the hall Keran had come from and drew up short at the sight of blood, enough blood that the air was thick with it, metallic on his tongue. He saw the templar armour, chestplate with the Sword of Mercy cast aside, and his first thought was ‘blood magic’ when he saw the mage, her face tear-streaked and hands dripping red, only to hate himself for jumping to that conclusion the next minute.
"Help me," she said, voice trembling.
Cullen nodded, pulling off his gauntlets and kneeling next to mage and templar. Only then did he get a good look at the templar’s face. "Carver?" Oh Maker. Anton was going to kill him.
Carver didn’t respond. He was definitely still breathing, but he seemed to be at least dazed, if not unconscious with his eyes still open.
"Ser Keran’s gone to get a healer," Cullen said, as much for himself as anything. "You. Mage. I’m sorry, I can’t remember your name, but do you know any healers? Creation mages? Can you get someone here faster than Keran?"
The mage shook her head. "We don’t have many healers, Ser." She didn’t know his name, either, and he felt less bad. "The templars took them away, years ago, and they didn’t come back."
A chill ran down Cullen’s spine. What had Meredith been thinking? Had that decision even been Meredith’s, or was it some part of Alrik’s plan? The idea that he’d been working with nearly no healers available terrified him, especially since the viscount’s death. "Did you see this? Can you tell me what happened? If it wasn’t you, you’re not in trouble. I just need to know — I know his family." I am his family, Cullen thought.
"I can’t— I didn’t see anything. Nothing. And then the blood, so much blood. I just tried to help him, but there’s— he’s not going to die, is he?" The mage looked even more afraid than she had, sure that if this templar died, she’d pay for it, somehow.
"He better not," Cullen said gently, as much to reassure himself as her as he assessed Carver’s injury. "Do you hear that, Carver? If you die, I’m telling Cormac, and you don’t want that." He squeezed Carver’s arm. "He’s stubborn," he told the mage as he added his hands to hers to help stop the bleeding. "But thank you for looking after him."
Despite his reassurances, it was a long wait as Cullen felt Carver’s blood seep through his fingers, and he prayed to the Maker, to Andraste, that Keran would hurry the fuck up. It was barely minutes later that Keran returned, face flushed and sweaty from running in full plate, but it felt like hours. Another mage followed, an older man who was doing his best to keep up. Magic leapt to his fingers the moment he saw Carver, though he darted a look at Cullen, at Keran, the hounded look of someone expecting to be punished.
"Do something!" Cullen gestured at Carver with one bloody hand. "Keran, run to my—" It still felt strange to say it. "— to my husband’s estate, and tell whoever answers the door to send Mage-Warden Anders. Not that I don’t trust what we’ve got, but I want the best."
The older mage looked surprised at the idea the Knight-Captain would be consorting with mages outside the circle, but it did reassure him this wasn’t a trap, and he started the slow work of putting Carver back together. "Ella, fetch my potions," he said, addressing the other mage, without a thought as to whether it would be appropriate. If the Knight-Captain wanted this man to live…
"Yes, Enchanter." But, Ella paused, a wary eye on Cullen.
"The man says go. Go!" Cullen shooed her with one hand. "And bring something for poison! I don’t know what happened to him!"
"This is the one who upsets the others," the enchanter said, still trying to bind the correct pieces together. "And this wound wasn’t caused by magic." He looked up at Cullen to see if the words were sinking in. "Maybe the Crows," he suggested, dismissively, after a moment. "Maybe the Carta."
"Maybe," Cullen agreed for the sake of appearances. He suspected the other mage — Ella? — had seen more than she let on, had seen something other than Crows or Carta. Cullen’s hands clenched into fists, and he sat back, giving the healer room. He watched the mage’s wrinkled fingers work over Carver’s skin, limned in blue light, and he remembered watching Cormac and Anders put Artemis back together, remembered describing it as fascinating, which it was, in a way. Blood slowed, and skin knitted, and Carver stopped looking so deathly still.
Ella returned, shaking fingers setting down the potions she’d brought. She stayed to watch, wringing bloodied hands and offering assistance whenever the healer asked for it, while Cullen counted the minutes, waiting for Anders.