[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 221
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Cullen ♂, Fenris ♂, Varric ♂, Natia Brosca ♀
Rating: M (L2 N0 S0 V3 D0)
Warnings: Adventures in dragon-butchering, actually kind of gross
Notes: The carving of a great deal of meat. Dragon meat.
Cormac staggered to his feet, again, using his glaive for balance. "Dragonslayer gets the heart!" he declared. "Just like in all those old stories. You’ll understand the language of birds or something." He laughed, not really believing it. There had to be some magical component the stories were leaving out. Couldn’t possibly just be eating the heart of a dragon or drinking its blood.
"I am not carving the heart out of this beast," Fenris complained. "The scales have done enough damage to my sword for one day."
"That’s fine, ’cause I’m doing it." Cormac waved Fenris aside, eyeing the stripped skin down the dragon’s side. He’d rather have gone in through the belly, but a dragon the size of a house was not going to be rolled. "Somebody get an ore cart. I don’t want to leave entrails on everything," he said, lashing out with the glaive and opening an enormous slice down the dragon’s side. Pulling, tearing, and cutting, he managed to haul a huge sheet of the dragon’s skin and muscle to the ground, spilling organs across it and out onto the ground. As the miners brought the first ore cart, he began to load it with entrails.
"That’s going to be a right bastard of a shepherd’s pie," the miner joked, eyes widening as a blade suddenly jutted from the armful of intestines Cormac was trying to wrangle into the cart.
"Didn’t you need a new sword?" Cormac asked Cullen, easing the sword out of the pile of guts. "This one looks a little less mangled than your old one."
"That… is either amazing or disgusting," Cullen replied, eyes boggling as he accepted the sword, drippings and all. "Possibly both." Not that it mattered, considering how soaked through he was already.
The miners continued to shove dragon entrails into the cart, if more carefully now that there was a chance of sharp pointy objects inside. "Hey, look," called out one miner at his next find. He held up something bowl-shaped. "Looks like a helmet. I think. Bit dented on the side here and… Maker, what is that?"
A second miner took the helmet and squinted at it, brushing aside the muck. "That? Is Orlesian," he said, cheek twitching. Part of the faceplate was visible now. Though warped and cracked, it was obviously supposed to look like a face… a face with a particularly glorious moustache. He dropped it to the ground, next to the growing pile of questionable treasure.
"Okay, that… could not have been comfortable," Natia said, cringing as Fenris plucked a morningstar out of the guts. "Seriously, how was this dragon still alive?"
"That’s what dragons do," Varric said, picking his way across a field of dragon-shit and blood. "They’ve got a second stomach — like chickens. Except in chickens, you find rocks. Apparently, in dragons, you find platemail and swords."
"Why do you know this?" Bethany asked, still further away than any of them. Even for something like this, she’d dressed relatively well, and had no intention of going home bloody.
"I’m a storyteller, Sunshine. I know all about dragons — or at least what people like to say about them. Dragons, heroes, kings, battles… all of these things are my bread and butter." Varric poked at a lump with a crossbow bolt, to reveal, after a moment’s stabbing and tugging, a silvery, if pitted, chestplate. "Well, that’s another stomach ache waiting to happen…"
Cormac made his way back toward the dragon, checking for things they hadn’t yet removed. But, the abdominal cavity was empty, and the only way to go was up. He arced the glaive under the ribs, baring the lungs, and further up between them, the heart. He took a moment to consider the situation. He was standing inside a dragon. Standing inside a dragon slain by the Knight-Captain of Kirkwall, carving its heart out to bring back to the man. A heart that was probably bigger than him, now that he considered it.
"You’ll be eating heart steaks for weeks," Cormac called back, carving the lungs out of his way, but the dragon’s muscles did not echo, instead swallowing the sound.
"This part is so much more heroic in the stories," Cullen said, peering into the dragon and trying to see what Cormac was doing.
"That’s because a good storyteller glosses over this part," Varric said. "One moment, the dragon’s dead, the next the hero is eating the heart. No one wants to hear about how the hero hacked his way through intestines and shit to get to it. Or the hero’s brother-in-law in this instance."
Fenris hummed, cleaning off his sword as best he could on a nearby shrub. "And I am suddenly grateful my husband did not come along," he said.
"Mine too," Cullen sighed, "but for different reasons." His eyes widened. "We probably shouldn’t tell Anton that I killed the dragon. He’d never forgive me."
"If I have to take the blame for this, you’re sharing the heart steaks," Cormac shouted, trying to free the heart without opening the stomach.
Varric poked around in the intestines some more, pulling free a ring with the tip of his bolt. "Hey, Captain, you could always give him this in apology," he said, lips quirked in a wry smile. He tossed Cullen the ring. "‘Sorry I didn’t bring you a dragon, honey, but here’s a ring that was almost dragon poop!'"
"So romantic," Cullen drawled, pocketing the ring anyway.
"Don’t worry, Anton! We didn’t bring you a dragon, but we brought you a month of dragon steaks!" Cormac called out, laughing, as he wrestled with the heart. "Fenris? Give me a hand? And bring the empty potion bottles. Dragon’s heartsblood is one of those weird rare components for some potions, and Anders will not hesitate to stab me in the bad way, if I don’t bring him some."
Fenris appeared at the edge of the ribs. "There’s a good way to be stabbed?" he asked, climbing slabs of lung, until he reached Cormac.
"Maker’s blessings," Cormac muttered, taking the bottles and filling them from the steady stream of blood pouring out of the heart. "Of course there’s a good way to be stabbed. Ask your husband what he caught me doing with Gantry, that one time. Or that other time. So, maybe we shouldn’t have been doing it in the barn, but it’s not like anywhere else was reasonable!"
"Hey, Shouty? Didn’t need to know!" Varric called into the dragon.
"If you can hear me that well from over there, that’s on you!" Cormac shouted, tucking the bottles into his bag and hauling at the heart again, this time with Fenris’s assistance.
The sound of blood shifting was the only warning they had, before the heart tipped over the lip of rolled muscle and tumbled into the abdominal cavity, atop a heap of lung chunks. Cormac and Fenris fell into each other, across the sudden gap.
"This is awkward," Cormac muttered, casting a barrier between and below them. "There. Should be safe to stand on that, but be careful, it’s slick."
"Mages," Fenris huffed, stepping onto the bubble and letting go of Cormac’s shoulders.
"All yours, Cullen! Come take the first slice!" Cormac called out, following Fenris back down. "I refuse to deal with the stomach until we get everything else. That’s going to be even more of a mess."