[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 218
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Cullen ♂, Fenris ♂, Varric ♂, Natia Brosca ♀
Rating: M (L2 N0 S0 V3 D0)
Warnings: Dick jokes, dragon-related whoopass, not actually blood magic
Notes: A great lot of stabbing and some very unusual magic. Perhaps not the best day to be a dragon.
Fenris took advantage of the dragon’s distraction to run close along its neck, lighting up with the blue of the Fade as he passed out of its field of view. If they could keep it on the ground, he was sure he could gut it. The dragon tried to fill the cave with fire again, behind him, but Cormac’s barrier kept it to an uncomfortably warm rush.
Bethany slammed hex after hex into the beast, never quite sure how many of them took. And then it looked up, focusing on something outside the range of anyone still in the cave. Fenris could see it was nothing at all. The dragon was just staring into space.
"Yes!" Bethany hissed, pounding on Cormac’s barrier. "Let them out. It’s going to be distracted for a minute."
Lowering the barrier, Cormac stepped aside. "Them?" he asked his sister.
"I’m not stupid, Cormac." Bethany winked, as Varric slipped out and vanished behind some stones with Natia.
Cormac nodded, raising the barrier again, behind him, and taking a deep breath as the indigo light crept across his skin. "You and me," he said to Cullen. "We keep it chasing us."
The dragon flapped its wings and roared in irritation, the sudden gusts blowing dust and bones across the cliff. Cullen staggered and Cormac slid back a few inches.
"Shit," Bethany muttered, uncorking a potion as she kept lobbing hexes. And then a skeleton assembled out of the bones and stood up.
"Shit," Natia echoed, eyebrows crawling for her hairline. After the first few spells, she’d gotten the hint that the girl was a mage, but this?
"Yeah," Varric agreed, steadying Bianca on the rock he crouched behind. A flurry of bolts followed, punching holes in the dragon’s wing. Its pained shriek was deafening. Smoke billowed from its mouth as its attention whipped back and forth between Varric and Natia’s bolts, the skeletons clawing at its feet, the bite of Cullen’s sword behind one knee, and Fenris’s behind another…
The dragon snarled, fire glowing behind its teeth as its wings pumped, propelling itself into the air, if not very far after a few more dwarf-related holes in its wing.
"Get back," Fenris told Cullen, pulling him under an overhang as fire rained down around them. Cullen cringed back, throwing his arms up over his face on instinct even as the fire washed down and over their shields.
"That really is a handy trick," Cullen said, lowering his arms.
"Yes, but don’t tell Cormac that." Fenris blazed Fade-blue again and tore off after the dragon. He was there when the creature staggered back to its feet, racing and jumping through the back of one hind leg, clawed gauntlets tearing at the muscle and tendons there.
The dragon roared, lashing its tail and curling around itself to bite at the two tearing at its legs. In desperation it took a deep breath, only to choke out a stream of warm water onto the warriors.
"Did— Is this dragon vomit?" Cullen’s dismay was clear in his voice, as he dripped, sword still hacking at the dragon’s thigh.
"Thank me later!" Cormac shouted across the battlefield, flicking fire near the dragon’s eye — not close enough to burn, but close enough to make it look.
Struggling, the dragon lifted off, one leg hanging uselessly. It hung in the air shakily, lashing at the warriors with its tail, before settling onto the stone above the cave entrance to consider its wounds and choose a new strategy. Trying to breathe fire at the blue and black creature who’d thrown fire in its face resulted in a belch of smoke and steam, first, and two small gouts of flame, on the second try.
"I can’t see it, Cormac!" Bethany complained. "I can probably hit it, but I can’t see it!"
"It’ll come down," Cormac assured her, stepping out into the open, as the dragon’s eyes followed him. He flashed with fire and Fade-glow, lashing ice across the dragon’s muzzle. "Flank it!" he called to Cullen and Fenris, before calling down a thundering tempest on the dragon.
As expected, it rose up and came after him, all teeth and flames. Nothing the barrier couldn’t handle. And then Cormac made a mistake — or what looked like a mistake. He dropped the barrier and lunged in with his glaive, swiping at the corner of the dragon’s mouth. The blade bit in, and the dragon took a piece out of Cormac’s upper arm, before it threw back its head and shrieked, wings beating back the skeletons and warriors that lunged for it.
"Kill it!" Cormac howled, teeth bared and eyes wide, as the air around him erupted into pure chaos, spreading outward to surround the dragon in fire and lightning, the ground cracking open as spires of ice shot out of the crevices. Blood ran freely down his arm, and for a moment, he really regretted not having Anders along. The glaive hit the ground as the indigo glow raced down his limbs again — he couldn’t get his left hand to respond. Kill the dragon, then fix the arm. Kill the dragon first.
Varric watched the whole thing unfold. It had looked like the world erupted when Cormac got hit. It looked like Cormac had dropped his shields and stepped right into that, and then the world exploded. Blood magic? Cormac? he almost didn’t notice Natia pressing something into his hand.
"Your aim’s better," she told him, with a shrug. "I’m afraid I’ll hit them."
"What is this—"
"In its mouth."
The dragon continued to shriek and roar, no longer able to lift itself far enough off the ground to get out of the storm.
Varric ducked out from behind the rocks with a look at Natia that told her not to touch Bianca. He had to creep closer than he’d like to get a good angle, between the storm and the way the beast’s head was whipping about, but the moment he had a shot, he took it, lobbing the grenade directly in the dragon’s mouth just as it inhaled, readying another breath of fire. And there was fire in its mouth but of the more explosive variety.
Natia pulled Varric back behind their shelter of rocks as the explosion blew open its jaw, the fire doing little but the force shattering bone and sending the remnants of splintered dragon teeth through the air. The noise it made was more of a wail than a roar, and Cullen and Fenris closed in as its head lolled. A flapping wing clipped Fenris’s shoulder, knocking him down, but Cullen grabbed hold, using the wing’s momentum to launch himself into the air, sword pointed at the base of the dragon’s skull.
The dragon’s last fiery breath licked at Cormac’s shoulder as the beast slumped beside him, Cullen clinging to the hilt of the sword driven deep into its skull. "And that," Cormac said, looking up at Cullen, as the world stopped boiling destructively, "is why mages. Thank me later. Right now, just hand me a potion. I only have one hand."
Fenris yanked a potion out of the bag that lay along Cormac’s right hip. "You’re an idiot," he pointed out, uncorking it before he handed over the bottle.
"Nonsense. I believe that’s a dead dragon and we’re all still alive and relatively well." The shields and barriers came down as Cormac sipped the potion and sank to his knees, sprawling in the dirt as he called forth a healing spell to make sure things went back together properly, between sips of the potion. "I just need to lie down a second. I’ll be fine. Still missing part of the sequence."
Bethany stalked over and kicked her brother in the hip. "Blood magic, Cormac?"
"It is not blood magic!" he protested, swigging the rest of the potion before he tried to sit up and got tangled in his robes. "It’s pain magic. Please. I’m crazed, not stupid."
"Pretty sure that’s not a thing," Cullen muttered, still trying to wrench his sword out of the dragon’s skull. He hoped he still had a whole sword after the way the neck bent on impact.
"That’s because you’re a templar, and you don’t read books about magic. You’re too busy filing reports and making my brother wash chamberpots. My other brother. Carver. Please don’t tell me what you’re doing with Anton. Unless you’re making him wash chamberpots. Are you making Anton wash chamberpots?" Cormac started to giggle, staring up into the sky like a fool.
"Mages," Fenris huffed, climbing up the dragon’s neck to give Cullen a hand with the sword.
"But, really, there’s a whole school of magic based on channelling pain. I’ve been reading about it for a while, but I haven’t really had a chance to try it out. Looks like I fucked up the last part — the part where I’m supposed to be able to heal myself with the deaths of my enemies, but I was always kind of piss at healing." Cormac laughed again.
"You’re still an idiot," Fenris said, grunting as Cullen’s sword pulled free until their combined force. He blinked down at what they’re retrieved. Bent, he’d expected, but not melted. "…you might want to get a new one."
"Thanks," Cullen muttered, tossing the sword aside and deciding it was a lost cause. He still eyed Cormac uncertainly. He wanted to believe him, he did, but he’d never heard of such magic. The thought made his gut twist, but this wasn’t the time to pursue it. "Well, we’ve established that everyone is alive. How about in one piece?"
"I think it singed my jacket," Varric said, thumbing a corner of his sleeve as he and Natia walked over.