[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 209
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Anders ♂, Aveline ♀, Fenris ♂, Isabela ♀, Merrill ♀, Sebastian ♂, Varric ♂, Theron Mahariel ♂, Kallian Tabris ♀, Varania ♀
Rating: M (L2 N0 S0 V3 D1)
Warnings: Cormac-typical violence, blood and guts
Notes: Hawke wedding disasters, volume two. Fire and mayhem.
Back in the garden, Sebastian watched Artemis count his footsteps, muttering the numbers under his breath as he measured the distance between the chairs and where Sebastian was standing. As Artie approached, Sebastian stepped aside to give him space, but Artemis took his arms and pulled him forward. "No, stand here," he said. "This is three steps. Three is a good number. Now, step a bit to the right. No, that’s too much. A bit to the left. Just a hair. There."
Sebastian didn’t dare to move. He kept his feet planted where Artemis had set him and threw a helpless look at Bethany over Artemis’s shoulder. He almost preferred Anton’s antics to this.
Fenris watched in patient amusement, reaching out to take Artemis’s hand again when his mage started counting again.
"He isn’t going to do this through the whole ceremony, is he?" Varric sighed, looking up at Isabela’s shapely bottom, where it perched on his protective bubble.
"Artie, my darling dearest brother," Cormac called out from where he leaned on the side of Varric’s bubble, handing bunches of grapes to Isabela, so she could eat them, feed them to him, and try to throw them into the brim of Anton’s hat, "you’re about to be married to this apparently handsome elf who can do utterly terrifying things in bed. This is a joyous moment. A once-in-a-lifetime chance to just relax and let the rest of us worry for you. So, please stop manhandling Sebastian and come have a glass of wine. Just a little. Just to calm your nerves."
"I don’t know." Bethany raised her voice to be heard from where she stood with Anton and Kalli. "I rather like watching him manhandle Sebastian! I think Sebastian should be manhandled more often."
"Kinky! Manhandling the Chantry boy!" Theron cackled, as Anders licked soft cheese off his fingers. "She’s right," Theron muttered after a moment. "You are good at that."
"I am a magnificent creature," Anders declared, looking entirely smug, almost like one of his cats.
Artemis realised he was still manoeuvring Sebastian, one hand on each elbow, and he jumped back, pulling his hands away. He offered Sebastian an awkward smile. "Right. No more manhandling. Of Chantry boys or otherwise."
"You can manhandle me!" Theron called out.
"Sorry, I’m only manhandling one elf today," Artemis replied, hooking his arm through Fenris’s. A drink. One drink couldn’t hurt. A grape bounced off his head as approached Cormac and the drinks, his grip tight on Fenris’s arm to keep from scratching at his skin. Isabela cheered when the grape caught in the flower crown.
Cormac spotted the man in the doorway, first — realised that wasn’t Cullen or Carver. He squeezed Isabela’s hand, tugging her down from Varric’s bubble, as she lobbed another grape in Bethany’s direction. Varric looked up, as soon as the barrier fell.
"Who comes?" Cormac called across the garden, not expecting anyone else, but potentially unsurprised by the appearance of other local nobles who might have decided to pay their respects.
But, as the man stepped into the light, Cormac knew this was no one he knew. Varania stepped closer to Anders, ducking behind the tall mage.
"Ah, my little Fenris…" the man drawled, swaggering into the garden. "This is a surprise. Marrying your new master, then? Is this the ‘Artemis’ you wrote about?" He eyed Artie, making the connection from the matching flower crowns. "Did your parents hate you, young man, to give you such a name? Although I suppose you’ve lived up to your namesake’s legacy. The very same mistakes. Although, if you return my property to me, I may be willing to let you live. You’re not Tevinter. You wouldn’t have known what you were doing."
Two steps, and Artemis stood in front of Fenris, pulling his elf behind him and blocking him from Danarius’s view. He had never seen that look on Fenris’s face, had never seen him shrink back like a beaten dog. "I know exactly what I’m doing," Artie growled. "Do you know what you’re doing? Crashing our wedding, invading our home? You’re right. I’m not Tevinter, but you’re not in Tevinter."
Fenris reached for the dagger strapped to his leg, missing the weight of his sword even more now. His mage’s hand was tight on his arm, keeping him in place. This was backwards. Fenris was supposed to shield him, not the other way around.
"How?" Fenris breathed. "How did you…?" He looked past Artemis, past Anders, to where his sister shrank behind him, trying to make herself as small as possible. "Varania! You led him here?"
"Now, now, don’t blame your sister, Fenris." Danarius smiled almost soothingly. "She just did what any good Imperial citizen would do."
Varania continued to cower behind Anders, and Anders got the sense there was a lot more going on than Danarius was admitting to, not that it mattered. What mattered was that some asshole blood mage had walked into his friends’ wedding, and started making demands. Two spells left his hands in rapid succession — the first, paralysis, the second, anti-magic. Only the second one caught, unfortunately, but he could see Bethany thinking similar things, on the other side of the chairs. Anton had already disappeared.
"Why would we blame his sister, when we could just blame you?" Cormac asked, as Danarius took a moment to recover, slapping a barrier on him, before he could step off the glowing ward. And then the patio filled with men in platemail — non-Templar platemail. "Well, shit."
A swirling cloud crept across the patio, and in the confusion, the clank of blades on armour could be heard. Sebastian backed toward the trees, on one side, suddenly extremely concerned that he was entirely unarmed. He supposed if there were any more Hawke weddings, he’d have to assume they wouldn’t be peaceful events. After all, there were three more Hawkes, and the two, thus far, had gotten far more exciting than weddings were supposed to be — or at least far differently exciting.
A flicker happened inside the barrier, and suddenly Danarius was no longer contained. "Stupid Fade shit," Cormac muttered under his breath, as an indigo glow crept across his skin, hopefully providing him with some equal access to the spaces Danarius was moving through. He hoped. Or this was some even weirder magic he’d never seen, and that was both extremely likely and extremely frightening.
"Now, now, there’s no need for us to fight," Danarius said, hands up, palms out in a placating gesture even as magic twitched at his fingers. "I’ll give you one last chance. Hand over the slave."
"He’s no one’s slave!" Artemis snapped. A shove of force magic glanced off Danarius’s shield but still knocked him back a step. "Now get off my lawn!"
"Knew I should have brought Bianca," Varric muttered, slipping a knife from his boot and another from the cheese plate, pausing to lick it cleaned before adjusting his grip and slipping into the shadows.
"Do I detect a note of jealousy?" Danarius laughed as Artemis summoned a wall of rock around him and his fiancé. "It’s not surprising. The lad is rather skilled, isn’t he?" His lips curled in a suggestive smile that made Artie’s stomach twist.
"Shut your mouth, Danarius!" Fenris snapped, tattoos lighting. He phased his arm through Artie’s grip to stand at his mage’s side.
"The word is ‘Master’."
Lightning arced through the air, forking past the stone and flaring over the shield Cormac had thrown over the couple. Fenris leaped forward with a snarl, and the ground trembled under Danarius. Behind the magister, half his men continued to battle each other, and an assortment of rogues flitted through the crowd, slicing and stabbing. Sebastian finally found a hefty knife beside a large cake, and lobbed it into the fray, missing the man he’d meant to hit, but catching the one behind him right through the eye-slit of his helmet.
"Nice one, Chantry boy!" Varric called out, between dodging and stabbing.
Theron was still looking for a weapon, when he heard his wife shouting about ‘shem fuckboys’ from somewhere in the middle of the melee. "Healer! My wife!" he called out, knowing she’d been hit, but not knowing who could fix it. Anders, of course — but the thought occurred to him after he’d picked up a chair and charged the magister with it. The chair connected solidly with the ground, and Theron dropped, after it, clawing at his head and howling.
Bethany flicked a hand in the direction of the screaming, and after a few seconds it stopped. She slid another hex into the undulating mass of armour, before spotting Merrill, wrapped tightly around a tree branch, with a knife in her teeth. The roots rose up and seized Danarius, and an unearthly wail tore out of him, as his skin blistered and his blood boiled. Still, he was too quick — seconds and gone again — but Merrill pursued him with trees and vines.
And Fenris pursued him with dagger and fingers, both limned a Fade-touched blue. Danarius’s smile started to look strained, forced, as he fended off attacks from all sides. He leaped from one side of the garden to the next, but Fenris knew his strategies and was on Danarius each time even before he reappeared.
Merrill reached down her hand. A cold light shivered over Danarius’s shield before it fell, and Fenris’s lips curled in an ugly smile as he launched himself forward, hand stretched towards Danarius’s heart. The spray of blood that hit Fenris was Danarius’s… but Fenris’s hand never connected. Fenris froze against his will, muscles locked and stare focused on Danarius’s smug face. Cold washed over him as he recognised the spell.
"Now, Fenris, manners," Danarius tutted. With a wave of his hand, his shields went back up, and with another, Fenris turned around, his dagger pointed at his friends instead of his former master. "That’s better."
"Oh, not this again," Artemis muttered.
Cormac responded almost immediately, tossing a barrier around Fenris, before realising it probably wouldn’t hold him. "Anders? Hold that!" He gestured toward Fenris, casting a negation field, at the same time. Fenris’s eyes cleared for a second, but it wasn’t enough. Still, the ground lit green, beneath him, and he stayed put, with a confused, if apologetic look, that seemed aimed at no one in particular.
"Tell me," Anders called out, stepping into view, with Cormac’s glaive in one hand, embers dripping from the tree branches above his head, flames chasing his every step, "does the name ‘Corypheus’ mean anything to you?" His grin was wide and wild, and a giddy laugh forced itself between his teeth. "He claimed to have walked the Black City."
Danarius’s attention shifted immediately. "Foolishness," he scoffed, fending off another hex and casually slamming Bethany against the garden wall, with a flick of his wrist, "there was one so called, but he’s thousands of years dead. Am I supposed to be impressed that you’ve conversed with a legend?"
"No," Anders seemed utterly indifferent to the way his skin seemed to part around the blue light pouring out of him, "you’re supposed to be impressed that I killed him."
Danarius paused. That was obviously impossible, but… what if it were true… He was only distracted for a second, but it was all the opposing mages needed to launch their next attack.
"Dispel!" Cormac shouted from behind Anders, and the anti-magic waves rushed in from one direction and then another, battering Danarius between them. Even two mages and a constant hail of dispersion didn’t seem to be enough to actually stop his magic, but he suddenly appeared to be having difficulty casting anything that took more than a couple of seconds.
Fire rushed out from around the magister, a coiling inferno that cracked and blistered the chairs, scorched the grass, and singed the trees. The shields made the heat less intense for everyone Cormac could maintain one for, but he and Anders seemed untouched, both glowing blue, if different shades.
Danarius shrieked, the sound filling the gardens and likely all of Hightown, and Artemis stalked towards him, ignoring what heat touched him through the shield. "Do you have any idea how long it took to plan this wedding?" He knocked Danarius back, his spell finally connecting, and the magister barrelled back into one of his armoured henchmen, flames and all. "To build this garden? To clean up this house?" Artie’s fingertips burned from throwing so many spells, but he kept pushing, shoving Danarius back and away from Fenris, knocking him into chairs, into trees, and for once not caring about the mess. "But I don’t care. I don’t care one bit if you destroy it all, as long as I get to wipe the floor with you for what you’ve done to Fenris."
Through the flames and garbled screams, Danarius’s fingers twitched with an ice spell, and Artemis slammed him back again, skull cracking against the side of the house.
Fenris came back to himself in time to watch Danarius curl up against the wall of the house, flames still licking at everything. Cormac’s hand clenched rhythmically, and Danarius’s body collapsed a little further with each squeeze. Artemis’s fingers flicked and Danarius slammed harder against the wall. "Amatus, the fire…"
Ice climbed the wall, from one of the mages, and as the spell spread, it became increasingly obvious that the flames around Anders were his own. Eyes burning blue, Anders remained motionless, as if stunned. "WHAT RIGHT," Justice demanded, at last, "HAVE YOU TO IMPOSE YOURSELF UPON THIS PLACE? NOWHERE IN ALL OF THEDAS RECOGNISES YOUR CLAIMS. YOU HAVE ENSLAVED AND TORTURED SENTIENT BEINGS. AND NOW, YOU WILL DIE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE."
Merrill dropped from the tree, as the fire went out, beneath it, and she rushed to check on Varania and Sebastian, who had hidden themselves behind the tables.
Artemis kept slamming Danarius’s body against the wall long past the point he stopped moving, and Fenris watched, both horrified and awed by the destruction his adopted mage family had wrought. "Amatus," he murmured, taking Artemis’s hand the way he had earlier. "Amatus, that’s enough."
The burning in Artie’s fingertips had spread up his hands, and he almost didn’t feel Fenris’s touch. He blinked, turned to his fiancé and promptly folded him in his arms.
"Amatus, you’re crushing me," Fenris said, voice muffled against Artemis’s shoulder. He watched Danarius’s corpse over Artie’s shoulder, watched it twitch and compress in the grip of Cormac’s magic.
"It’s over," Artemis murmured in Fenris’s ear. "He can’t chase you anymore."
As much as Fenris could see that, he didn’t quite believe it, not yet.
Around them, the garden was filled with bodies. Tevinter bodies, thankfully. Izzy helped Bethany to her feet, tutting over a tear in her dress. Kalli staggered over to them, rubbing one injured leg. "Are all shem weddings like this?" she asked. "Because suddenly I’m fondly reminded of my first wedding…"
Cormac, still glowing, wrapped an arm around Anders, the other hand still clenching, rhythmically, as Danarius ceased to be even a corpse, the exuded liquid now a pale yellow, rather than red. It had been enough years that the force he could apply to an unresisting target was unmatched, and he had some plans for this one — plans that occurred to him as he continued to collapse the former magister into a small stone.
"Anders, sweet thing, it’s over," he said, squeezing the hip of the pillar of flame, at his side.
"IT IS NOT OVER," Justice boomed. "IT HAS JUST BEGUN."
"It’s my brother’s wedding. We can strike out to correct the wrongs of the world, after, but this is supposed to be a joyous, glorious day. I suppose we’ll have to settle for a triumphant bloody mess, in which nobody we like died." Cormac glanced around as the stone grew ever smaller, boiling the pool of blood it lay in. "Speaking of people we like, where’s Cullen? And I’m still short a brother…"