[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 243
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Anton Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Carver Hawke ♂, Merrill ♀,
Rating: M (L2 N3 S1 V0 D0)
Warnings: Pantsless Carver
Notes: Anton ventures forth to rescue another apostate. Hopefully. Anders learns things he never wanted to know about Carver.
The next afternoon, Anton was a little slow out of bed. He’d spent so much of the preceding day drinking, after meeting with that poor mage, killing her. Cullen had distracted him for a few hours, but once Cullen had fallen asleep, he’d picked up the bottle again. He had lands and money and a will to do right. Why couldn’t he help these people? And now he had a terrible hangover, and he hoped Anders was in better shape, if they had to go to the alienage, today, and he knew they did. The faster this was finished, the sooner he could be sure he’d done everything he could — both for these mages and for his family. Not for the first time, he considered letting the Knight-Commander meet with an unfortunate accident, but there was no guarantee that would solve this problem or even help with it. Cullen was the obvious choice for Commander, but the Chantry might not see it that way. And really, he couldn’t be sure Cullen would ever forgive him — not for ending Meredith, but for making him Knight-Commander.
Anton staggered into Anders’s clinic in the early afternoon, looking a little worse than he even felt, and Anders’s bitter, knowing chuckle did nothing to help, even if the healing that washed over him made things substantially better. Taking the glass Anders held out to him, Anton sank onto the nearest flat surface and poured it down his throat.
"Do you understand, now?" Anders asked.
"More than I did," Anton admitted. "They’re as dangerous as she says, if they’ve all actually fallen to demons, but she made them dangerous."
"It’s not just Meredith, but she’s certainly not helping the problem." Anders took his time washing his hands and getting his coat, as Anton settled into a less hung-over state. "I tried. I’m still trying. I’ve written to the Grand Cleric, spoken to the Grand Cleric, but she insists the Maker works in his own time, and it’s to us to suffer until he makes his move. I sent copies of her responses to the Divine, signed my complaint as a Warden, expressed my concerns about the situation here. But, I never heard back. I don’t even know if the Divine reads her own mail. I’m trying, Anton, but where is the Chantry when the people need them? Why are all these people hungry and living in the sewers? Why am I the only healer working with the poor? Why is Meredith permitted authority far beyond what the Templar Order should ever have, by law?"
"The Chantry back in Lothering wasn’t like this," Anton said, after a moment. "The Mother and Sister Leliana were always there to help. The village gave what they could to the Chantry, and the Chantry gave back, when people were in trouble. It was the templars who stayed behind to defend the town and the refugees who couldn’t get out in time, when the darkspawn came. Whatever I think of the system they work for, they tried to save us."
"I lived in a place like that," Anders said. "Mother Anneliese always had time for the children, and I’m sure we made her crazy. The whole village would descend on the Chantry once a year for the naming, and it didn’t matter who could bring food, everyone ate. It was a festival, and Mother Anneliese made sure no one went without."
"Village? I thought you were from Kassel." Anton popped his neck and tried standing. It was a much more agreeable condition, without the hangover.
Anders wobbled a hand before he picked up his staff. "Kind of. It’s near there, but Kassel’s the place people have heard of. It’s like if you were from Honnleath, but you told people you were from Redcliffe, because none of them were from Ferelden."
Anton nodded. "I can see it."
"Who do we need to talk to, today?" Anders asked, waving to one of his assistants as he stepped out the door.
"Name’s Huon. He’s an elf. They got him older, I’m told. He was already married, and his wife works for a dressmaker in Lowtown." Anton shook his head. "This isn’t going to be pretty, but we can probably get them both on a ship. Assuming he’s not…"
Anders winced. "I’d hesitate to say, if they got him old enough to marry. I was twelve, when they took me. I was already old, for that. Those of us who had lives were always so much more likely to fight it." He paused. "What do we do for proof, if we send them away?"
"We find a corpse, take the ears, and say we found him dead." Anton shrugged. "It’s the best I’ve got. They can’t tell it’s not him, can they?"
"Not without a phylactery, no. As long as it looks roughly like him and hasn’t been dead longer than he’s been out, you can probably get away with it."
Body parts aside, it was the happy ending Anton hoped they’d get this time. Two nights in a row of heavy drinking was bad for the liver.
On the Alienage steps, they ran into Merrill on her way home from the market, a basket balanced in the crook of her arm. She tutted as she inspected her basket, pushing produce aside. "Elgar’nan, did I forget to get turnips? Where is your head, Merrill?"
Anton choked on his ‘hello’ at the mention of turnips. He was finally sober enough to remember that conversation with Cullen. And, Maker, how could he have forgotten it?
Merrill turned and bumped right into Anders, who reached out to steady her and her basket. "Oh! Pardon me, I —! Anders?" She had to crane her neck back to blink up at him. "What brings you here?" She stepped back and checker her basket again to make sure she hadn’t dropped anything.
"Him, mostly," Anders sighed, pointing a thumb at Anton, who waved.
"Meredith, actually," Anton sighed. "I’m looking for an elf named Huon. Mostly I want to get a good look at him and get him out of town. The Knight-Commander has informed me if I don’t bring him back, dead or alive, she’s going to dispose of Cormac."
"Creators… That seems like you’d want to bring him to the Gallows, not put him on a ship," Merrill said, heading for her door. She could look for the turnips once she unpacked the basket.
"And that is why the obvious choice is to do nothing of the sort. As long as he’s not endangering people by being out, I want to get this guy out of Kirkwall. I won’t sacrifice innocent people for my family, but I will absolutely pretend I’ve done so." Anton took the basket as Merrill fumbled for her keys.
"Oh, that’s an excellent idea. I like it very much!" Merrill smiled and stumbled into the house as the door finally stopped sticking. "Have to get Carver to fix that," she muttered, taking back the basket.
"Fix what?" Carver swaggered to the door of the bedroom, and leaned against the doorframe, naked. And then his eyes lit upon his brother, behind Merrill. "Damn it, Anton!"
"Oh, Maker! Carver! Wear clothes!" Anton covered his eyes and looked away.
"Merrill likes me just fine without any! What are you even doing here!?" Carver shouted, leaning back to grab a sheet to wrap around himself.
Merrill clapped a hand over her mouth to stifle her giggles. "Oh, Carver, I wasn’t expecting you for another couple of hours!" She set her basket down on the table — which no longer wobbled thanks to Carver — and stretched up on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek, beaming.
"And I wasn’t expecting him at all!" Carver whined, flipping a hand in Anton’s direction, his other hand holding the sheet in place. "Or him!" he added, finally noticing Anders peeking over his brother’s shoulder. Anders waved. "Andraste’s dimpled ass, I don’t need an audience!"
"They’re here about Huon, ma vhenan," Merrill said, placing a hand on his chest, just over his heart. "Nyssa’s husband."
Carver’s scowl softened before twisting into a look of confusion instead. "Yeah, I know him. One of the escaped mages. I already talked to Nyssa about it, but she hadn’t heard anything." He shrugged. "Probably out of the city by now. I already reported this. Why are you here about that?"
Anton and Anders exchanged a look, stepping properly into Merrill’s home so they could close the door. "Because these mages escaped with help from templars," Anton told him. "I’m not going to ask if you were involved or if you know who was involved. I don’t want to know. But Meredith is dealing with some trust issues regarding her templars right now, and we’re here to… check your work."
Carver sent Anders a dubious look.
Anders shrugged. "Ostensibly."
Carver muttered several vile things about Cullen under his breath, and then immediately regretted thinking them. Ox noises. He was never going to unsee that.
"That is absolutely not true," Anton protested. "He’s—"
"I don’t want to know!" Anders volunteered. "Yes, hello, totally unrelated party in the room. Not sleeping with any of you. Do not tell me your husband’s thoughts on dragons or oxen or anything else that just came out of your brother’s mouth, thank you."
"I think I forgot the turnips," Merrill murmured, after a moment. "I’m just going to go introduce them to Nyssa and get some turnips. Don’t start wearing pants in my absence."
"Only if you promise me you’re not bringing my brother back with you, again. Any of my brothers." Carver scowled in Anton’s direction again.
"Or your sister, I assume," Anders added. "Unless Merrill has added a second Hawke to your tally… Have you, Merrill? Izzy would be so proud."
"Don’t bring him back either!" Carver called after them.
"Still hasn’t said anything about Bethany," Anders pointed out to Merrill, to Anton’s dismay.
Merrill gave him a devious smile as she tugged the door closed, pulling the handle three times to make sure it was properly shut. "Well, in that case, I suppose it’s Nyssa, turnips, and Bethany."
"Are you speaking Elvish?" Anton asked, talking over them both. "Because I didn’t hear that. Nope."