[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody In Ass Major – Chapter 178
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Cullen ♂, Carver Hawke ♂, Ella ♀, Ser Keran ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V2 D1)
Warnings: Blood, guts, trouble in the ranks
Notes: Anders to the rescue. Anton is pissed. Cormac doesn’t want to have to tell Artemis.
Anders came up the centre of the tower, doors that all opened from the stairs, but not from the halls — he’d run straight from the clinic to the Darktown entrance that shouldn’t have been there, and maybe one day he’d tell Cullen about it, but not today. He ran up the hall, clutching at his bag, to keep it from rattling, just in time to see Carver sit up — or try to sit up, anyway — and that wasn’t just any templar Cullen had been calling about, that was Carver.
"Loren, you piece of shit, get back here I’ll fucking ki—" Carver started to shout, and Cullen leaned over him, over the healer’s arms, pushing Carver back to the floor.
"Stay down! You’re still bleeding," Cullen roared, still shaking with the idea of having to tell Anton if Carver died.
"Carver?" Anders asked, coming up quietly, and looking over Ella’s shoulder. "What happened?" He nudged the girl out of the way and knelt at Carver’s shoulder, nodding to Cullen to stay put, as he looked at what the other healer had done and started to work with him, making minor corrections, first.
Carver was still swearing, trying to swing his arms, and he looked like he was trying to figure out the answer to that question himself. He blinked up at Cullen, eyes wide and wild. "Captain? When did you—? Anders?"
"Hold still, dammit!" Cullen said, and Carver finally — for once — obeyed that order, slumping back to the floor. "You’ve been stabbed."
"Really?" Carver spat, face twisting as the mages continued to poke and prod at him. "I couldn’t tell!"
Cullen rolled his eyes, even as a relieved smile pulled at his lips. He’d much rather deal with a sarcastic Carver than one bleeding and barely conscious. For now, anyway.
Carver looked about as best he could while horizontal, searching the faces around him. "Where’s that fucker Loren? I wasn’t finished with him!"
"Loren?" Cullen repeated, eyes narrowing. He was about to ask if Ser Loren had done this — and why — but remembered there were mages here who didn’t necessarily need to know the details, not if there was infighting among the templars.
Anders, however, had no such concerns. "Who’s this Loren? Artie’s going to want to throw them down the stairs, you know. Can’t disappoint your brother." He picked the least-threatening Hawke sibling, sure that the idea would rile Carver and get him talking.
"Ser Loren," Carver spat, "thinks he can just help himself to the ‘robe-trash‘. Captain, he attacked the girl. Mage. What’s your name?" He blinked up at the woman still hovering nervously nearby, trying to rub the dried blood off her hands.
"Ella," she replied, not looking at Carver.
Anders tipped his head, eyes squeezing shut, as a flicker of electric blue lit out across his skin, and he forced Justice back. Not now. At a curious look from the other healer, he shrugged. "Just working too hard." But, Justice clamoured to be heard, hammered at Anders’s concentration.
"I saw it happen. I punched him, after a little discussion on the subject, and now I’m bringing it to you." Carver glared at Cullen, daring him to do something, anything.
"I see," Cullen said, his tone neutral but his expression darkening. "I will take care of it."
Carver scoffed, giving him a look that said he didn’t believe him.
"I will," Cullen repeated, "once I’m sure you’ll be all right." He wasn’t going to leave Carver alone just yet, even if he trusted Anders to take care of the situation. Anton would kill him if anything happened. Then again, Anton would kill him if he didn’t take care of Ser Loren.
Carver swore, head thunking back against the floor. "Maker, Anders, what are you doing down there?"
"Helping save your life, you ungrateful git," Anders replied without rancour, closing over the last bit of skin.
Anders left the appropriate way, down the outer stairs and through the courtyard, to avoid drawing any further suspicions to himself or any other mage still inside. It took him longer to cross town, this way, but the sunlight and fresh air were important, after a couple of hours in the Gallows. He didn’t miss the tower, and after that, he missed it even less. Justice still raged, but less so, as they moved away from the source of the problem. Cullen had promised to ‘take care of it’, and Anders had more faith in that declaration than he thought he’d ever had in a templar’s word. It wasn’t so much that Cullen wasn’t trying as that he was fighting an uphill battle against centuries of tradition, from the inside, and no one trusted him to keep them safe — which, really, Anders didn’t blame them for. Cullen probably couldn’t keep them safe. Not yet. Certainly not by himself. But, it was a step, and some days, Anders thought he might be willing to settle for ‘less bad’. A world in which mages were people, instead of objects. He could very nearly live with just that, some days.
Bodhan let him in, with a quick question about the grim look on his face, to which he replied only that he couldn’t talk about it yet, and he was going to go wake Anton. Anders assumed that would involve waking him, since it was barely midday.
Anders pounded on the door of Anton’s room. "Get up! We have to talk! Now!"
"If it’s about what I might have caught at the Rose, it can wait!" Anton groaned, loudly. "I was out with a merchant caravan from Rivain until dawn!"
"It’s not about that, and it can’t wait. Open the door!"
Anders heard the click of a lock turning, and then the door swung open onto a disgruntled, half-dressed Anton. Then Anton spotted the blood on Anders’s coat, and that disgruntled look became concerned. "What happened?" he asked. "Do I need to stab anyone?"
Anders shut his eyes and grit his teeth as Justice tried to push his way to the front. "You might," Anders said, wrestling the spirit back under control. "Carver was hurt. He’ll be fine, I healed him, but he was stabbed by another templar. Cullen would be here to tell you, but he’s busy sitting next to Carver’s bed with a big sword, looking pissed as fuck."
Anton’s eyes lit, jaw clenched, and Anders readied to stop him if he tried to push past, to march down to the Gallows in a half-dressed rage. Instead, Anton took a long, steadying breath and asked, "This templar who stabbed my brother, does he have a name?"
Anders’s eyes were blue, when he opened them. "Ser Loren. Takes after Ser Alrik, as I understand it."
"Perhaps not the brother I expected to be stabbed by templars," Anton muttered, after a few deep breaths, surprised by the humour he could still find, even in this.
"We all thought it would be Cormac," Anders assured him. "Cullen says he’ll see to it, though. I believe him."
"As do I, but that’s my little brother. I’m sure Cullen will handle it appropriately. So will I." Anton smiled beatifically, and turned to the wardrobe, rifling through shirts until he found one that suited his intents. "It won’t happen again."
Anders nodded. "I should probably let Cormac know."
"And then sit on him. I don’t want him in my way." Anton sat on the edge of his bed and pulled on his boots.
"Go downstairs, before you go out. Shelves in the middle of the room, third shelf, left side, yellow potions. Drink one, and take two with you. You haven’t slept, and I don’t need to clean up another Hawke, today." Anders patted the doorframe as he backed out of the room.
"You have—" Anton laughed quietly. "Of course you have something for that. The way you work, you’d have to."
"Oddly, I don’t use them. I have Justice." Anders turned and went looking for Cormac.
Anders found the eldest Hawke in the study, bent over the desk, quill moving furiously over the parchment. At least Anders didn’t have to worry about ruining a good mood.
"Knock, knock," Anders said, leaning against the doorway. "I’m afraid I have news you’re not going to like."
"And the sentiments conveyed in—" Cormac looked up in the middle of a sentence. "Am I going to like this even less than Hubert’s latest stunt? Should I compose myself first? How angry am I going to be?"
He wasn’t taking it seriously, yet. The latest financial reports were in, for the quarter, and Hubert’s accountant had left a slip between two documents that was loaded with blatant insults to Cormac’s competence and intelligence. He was in the middle of an extremely angry letter that he was probably not going to send. He thought he might file a complaint with the — except the viscount was dead, and the post hadn’t yet been filled, something he kept forgetting. It was his problem, and he was running out of higher authorities to take it to. He seriously considered Anton and Bethany’s offer. Zombie Hubert might be a more bearable business partner.
"I suspect you’re about to hate someone more than Hubert," Anders said with a pained smile. And he told Cormac what he’s told Anton, that Carver was stabbed, that he would be fine, and that Ser Loren was being… ‘taken care of’. "So please don’t do anything stupid. Anton and Cullen are dealing with everything."
"Oh, if Anton’s taking care of it, I don’t have to. I just want to see it when he’s done." Cormac’s eyes glittered with an unpleasant glee. "Did I ever tell you about the time he got a templar into the middle of a lyrium-smuggling dispute? Half of that was Athenril’s problem, but this guy had an eye on Bethy, and then he just… didn’t." He smiled. "I’m not sure they ever found his eyes, actually. Funny thing."
"Yeah. Funny." Anders still eyed Cormac, surprised the man wasn’t halfway to the Gallows by now. Surprised and relieved. As he’d told Anton, he didn’t want to clean up after more than one Hawke today. Justice still rumbled in the background, dissatisfied, and Anders wiped a hand over his face. "You know Carver was protecting that girl?" he added with a weak laugh. "The one Justice — I — almost… The one escaping from the Gallows that night we killed Alrik." And he was supposed to have helped her, to have improved her life, and yet there she was, still suffering the same injustices at the templars’ hands. Had anything changed since he’d come to Kirkwall? "But… you should be proud of him. Of Carver. None of us were thrilled at the thought of him becoming a templar, but at least he’s become the right kind of templar. Mostly. Though I hear he’s still keeping the latrines sparklingly clean."
"That… sounds like Carver. Polishing toilets since the first time he ran off with the king’s army." Cormac leaned back, forgetting he was sitting on a stool and not the usual chair from that desk, and caught himself with one foot as he tipped back. He went on, like nothing had happened. "You obviously told Anton. Does Artie know? Does Bethy know? Of course, knowing Anton, he’s probably already telling Bethy. I can’t imagine he’d go out without her, this time."
"That… is a frightening thought," Anders said, quirking one eyebrow. He had no doubt this Ser Loren would regret crossing the Hawke family. Assuming he lived long enough to feel something like regret. "But no, I have not told her or Artie. I came straight here."
"I’m debating not telling Artie until later. Until there are remains to show." Cormac rubbed his face and put up the quill he’d been using. "And that is because I am a chickenshit. Let it be so known, blah blah, start walking before I change my mind and sit back down. You tell him. I’ll catch him when he runs for the door."