[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 246
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Anton Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂, Anders ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Isabela ♀
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Drunken dumbass circle mage
Notes: Ladles and jellyspoons, Emile de Launcet.
The four ended up spending most of the afternoon waiting in the comte’s foyer, their way blocked by a servant with his nose in the air. After sending word of their presence, he stepped aside for the comtesse to greet them.
"Good evening, comtesse," Anton began, with a graceful bow.
"Oh!" Her hand fluttered up to her chest, in what was likely feigned surprise. "The Champion of Kirkwall! This is marvellous! You honour this household." She waved the four of them into the house, proper. "I will call for refreshments," she said, as they followed her into another room. "Talia!"
A moment passed with no response, and then another. The comtesse sighed. "She is so slow, this girl. Come, let us chat, while we wait."
"Thank you for your hospitality, comtesse." Anton smiled as warmly as he could manage, while Cormac kept his face turned away, trying not to be too recognisable. "I’ve come to speak with you about Emile."
"Hospitality? This? This is a disgrace! If you had just sent a message to say you were coming!" The comtesse fluttered, flustered, but still pulled out a chair for Anton, before she sat. "I haven’t seen Emile since he was taken to the Circle. He was just six. You can tell the templars not to worry. I am sure Emile will turn himself in soon. He is a good boy."
"Dulci!" a voice called down the hall. Anton turned and recognised the comte as he appeared in the doorway, his moustache bristling. "What have you done?" he said to his wife when he spotted her. "You should have told the boy to throw himself at the mercy of the templars!"
"Guillaume, darling—!" Dulci said, eyes wide and curls bobbing as she shook her head.
Anton cut a look to Cormac.
"Don’t ‘darling’ me, Dulci!" the comte said, fists clenched as he stormed over. "He’s been telling people he’s our son, that you gave him gold!"
"Guillaume, darling," Dulci tried again. "We have guests."
Guillaume paled, finally noticing the Hawkes and their companions. Anton smiled sweetly. "Oh, don’t let me interrupt! Do go on. Comtesse, I believe you were just telling me how you haven’t seen your son since he was six?"
Dulci’s hands fluttered about her as she tried to contain the situation. "Well… maybe I did see him. Just the once. I just forgot to mention…"
"I am sure," Anton said, still with that friendly smile. "But now that you’ve remembered, you realise that I am your son’s best chance at getting mercy from the templars."
"Mercy?" Dulci asked in a trembling voice while Guillaume wiped a hand over his face. "They wouldn’t really hurt him, would they? Oh, you should’ve seen his face — it just broke my heart!"
Anders looked like he might have something to say about all of this, but Cormac grabbed his hand, firmly. As much as he might like to put the fear of any number of things into the de Launcets, now was not the time.
"I gave him some money. Not too much," Dulci went on. "He said he wanted to start a new life."
Squeezing Cormac’s hand, Anders looked away, swallowing a hundred bitter thoughts about wealth and privilege. If he’d had a rich family, if he’d been anywhere near home… But, no, there’d been no help, when he needed it.
"New life?" Guillaume breathed, in disgust. "His new life is spent in Lowtown taverns, getting drunk on cheap wine! It’s a wonder the templars haven’t found him yet." He looked to Anton. "Help us, please, Champion. Emile is not a blood mage, just a foolish boy. Do not let the templars kill him."
"Blood mage!?" Dulci leapt to her feet. "Oh, Guillaume, don’t say that!"
"Please, save my son’s life," Guillaume begged.
Fenris put a hand on Anders’s other arm, with a sympathetic look. Family was a loaded word, for both of them, and scenes like this just piled more ballast into an already-sinking ship.
"If there is a way to help Emile, I will find it," Anton replied, standing.
"Thank you, Champion." Guillaume nodded deeply. "An acquaintance of mine spotted Emile in the Hanged Man, not long ago. He should still be there."
"The Hanged Man!?" Dulci pressed a hand to her face in horror. "Oh! But that place is filthy!"
"I hope he doesn’t play cards," Anders drawled, "or the only new life he’ll find is clearing tables to get out of debt."
"You assume he’d lose to Varric," Cormac pointed out. "I’m certain Isabela could find other uses for him."
"Can we not discuss what Isabela does to people who lose at Wicked Grace?" Anton looked over his shoulder at his brother and rubbed a hand over his face. "Don’t worry," he said, looking back to Guillaume. "I have friends at the Hanged Man."
"Please see to him, Champion," Guillaume requested, putting an arm around his wife. "Come, Dulci. Perhaps you should lie down." He led her off, leaving the servants to show their guests the door.
Anton really hoped they wouldn’t have to deal with a blood mage in the middle of the Hanged Man. Granted, it would be convenient for how drunk he’d want to get after…
"Oh! The Hanged Man is so filthy!" Anders mocked as they walked out the door. "Now I know what Artie would sound like with an Orlesian accent."
Fenris looked horrified at the thought.
The Hanged Man was full of its usual patrons, including a certain Ass-Pirate, who waved at them from the bar. "Hello, boys!" she called out, waving them over. "Anton, Anton. There’s still some light out. What are you doing up this early? Is there a party no one invited me to?"
"Oh, Izzy, you know the party doesn’t start without you," Anton said, looking around as he sidled up to the bar. "Speaking of parties, seen any drunk Orlesians?"
Isabela tilted her head, flagging down Corff and signalling for a round of drinks. "What, in general or are we looking for a specific drunk Orlesian?"
"One Orlesian, in particular," Anton began, only to be cut off by a very drunken Orlesian accent from the vicinity of Fenris’s hip.
"Wow… Are you… are you a mage?" slurred the Orlesian sitting alone at that table. "Because you just magicked my breath away."
Fenris blinked down in annoyance, before turning his gaze on Anton. "Why does everyone always think I’m a mage?"
"One, he’s hitting on you," Anders pointed out. "And two, you smell like lyrium. It’s a miracle you don’t have every templar in Kirkwall begging for a taste."
"No, somehow I’ve escaped that from the templars." Fenris’s eyebrow arced up, before he looked back at the Orlesian. "You wouldn’t happen to be Emile, would you?"
The Orlesian stared for a long moment, blinking as Fenris’s voice sank into his consciousness. "You… you are not a beautiful woman, are you?"
"No. I am not. Are you Emile de Launcet?" Fenris looked entirely unimpressed. In the background, Cormac and Anders leaned on each other like a couple of drunks, trying to stifle their laughter without dropping their staves or falling down.
The Orlesian squinted up at Fenris as though still trying to match the voice with the face. He swayed in his seat. "My name is de Launcet," he said. "It comes from a part of Orlais known for our stout lances." He grinned up at Fenris. "Are you sure you’re not a woman?"
"Last time I checked," Fenris drawled. "And please don’t show me your ‘stout lance’."
Izzy nudged Cormac with her elbow, darting a look at Anders before snickering. "Now this?" she said, leaning in. "This is what lack of sex does to a person. I can only watch in horror."
"Found him," Fenris told Anton, gesturing at the drunk Orlesian still looking up at him adoringly.
Anton cut his cackling short, coughing into his fist. "Yes. Right." He didn’t seem like a blood mage, thank the Maker, but then neither did Merrill.
"A round of drinks on me!" Emile declared as Anton approached, standing to the other side of him and folding his arms across his chest. Emile didn’t seem to notice him. "I’m Emile," he told Fenris. "And you are?"
"Feeling very sorry for you," Anton said, making Emile straighten and turn in his seat.
"He’s lived in the Circle all his life," Anders said softly, from behind Anton. "He can’t function in the real world."
"I’m also engaged by the templars to bring back a mage by the name of Emile de Launcet," Anton went on. "And here you are."
"Oh, bugger me," Emile swore, standing up and coming around the table to speak to Anton. "Listen, I— I know what this is about. I’m not a blood mage, all right? I— I started that rumour because I thought it would make me sound dangerous! A— and, eh… suave."
"Do you have a death wish?" Anders asked, looking like he might assist with that problem. "You grew up in the Circle. You know what the templars do to blood mages."
"I’ve only told people in the tavern. And only women." Emile looked desperately over Anton’s shoulder at Anders, and then back down at his feet. "You don’t understand. I’ve been in the Circle since I was six! Six! For twenty years I was locked up. I— I never had a drink or cooked something for myself. I never stood in the rain or kissed a girl!"
Anders looked ill, for a moment, but it vanished into a mask of amusement. "The Ferelden Circle was more fun. Everyone was kissing everyone. Though, that was before the abominations."
"I just wanted to live a little!" Emile sighed, shaking his head. He sucked in a breath and squared his shoulders. "If you’re going to kill me, do it. I’d rather die drunk."
Anton rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Did you really escape the Circle just to kiss a girl?" he asked, almost sounding impressed.
"Well, not just that," Emile said, ducking his head. "I’ve read so much about other things you can do with girls."
Anton tried not to think of Cullen’s books and hid his smirk behind his hand.
Fenris shook his head in amazement. "This is an act," he said. "The mage makes himself out to be harmless."
"No, I think he’s really that pathetic," Anders replied.
"I just don’t want to die a virgin!" Emile pleaded.
Anton bit his lip to keep from laughing. "Well, Isabela?" he asked. "Want to help him with that? Or do you still prefer Fenris, Emile?"
"Not happening," Fenris growled, ears twitching.
"What?" Izzy looked at Anton in wide-eyed alarm. "You don’t mean…?" Emile saw her and smiled at her the way he’d smiled at Fenris earlier. "No! He’s revolting! I do just fine whoring myself out without your help, thanks."
"The comtesse gave you the money so you could get out of Kirkwall," Fenris pointed out, trying to get the subject off anything that might involve him wearing less pants. "Stop wasting it."
"You will let me go?" Emile’s surprise was audible.
"I can tell the templars you’re dead," Anton said, nodding. "Anders, he’s not…? Is he?"
"Stand in front of me, and I’ll check," Anders said, sitting down as he eyed Emile. "But, I really doubt it."
With his friends blocking him from the room, Anders called Justice to the fore, bright blue lines winding down his arms and across his face. He grabbed Emile’s hand, and the Orlesian mage squealed as current lanced up his arm.
"No," Anders said, as the blue faded, and he healed the damage done to Emile. "He’s not. It wouldn’t have stood for that."
"Then you have to leave now," Anton confirmed to Emile, who sputtered in relief.
"I think there’s a ship leaving port tonight. I’ll find my way onto it." Emile’s gratitude spilled across his face. "Thank you. Thank you! But, ah… it’s still afternoon. The ship will be in port for many hours, yet. There is a girl, Nella. She agreed to lie with me. I even paid for a room! But, I will be on the ship before it leaves the harbour."
"Just one girl?" Anton asked. "My companion just confirmed you’re not consorting with demons, which is a first for this week. I feel like I should congratulate you. If I send down a couple of friends from the Rose to take care of you and make sure you get on the ship, after, which room do I send them to?"
"And you probably won’t catch anything, either. I’m very thorough, thanks for asking, Anton." Anders laid a level glare on Anton.
"I didn’t ask you, because I don’t actually give a shit." Anton grinned.
"I-It’s upstairs, the first room on the left," Emile stammered, looking dazed. "Thank you. I’ll find some way to repay you. I promise!"
Anton waved a hand. "Just make sure you’re on that ship, please."
Emile nodded, still grinning in relief as he stumbled his way up the stairs.
Fenris shook his head in amazement. "He’ll be lucky if he isn’t robbed blind within a week," he said.
"He’s lucky that we’re the ones who found him," Anders muttered.
"And about to be getting lucky," Izzy added, reaching down to squeeze Cormac’s bottom through his robes, and her wink said that Emile wouldn’t be the only one.
Anders rolled his eyes. "You claiming dibs, tonight?" he asked.
"Only because you won’t play," Isabela laughed, sidling between Anders and Cormac, one hand on either of their bottoms.
"Are we fighting over me? Can we not?" Cormac wrapped an arm around either of them. "I think we should take this back to my bed, and the two of you can take turns doing whatever you like to me."
"Whatever I like, hmmm?" Isabela smiled like she was already making plans.
"Except that. Or the other that. In fact, none of the ‘that’s that involve things made to look like they came from animals." Cormac shot her a look from the corner of his eye.
"Aw, you’re no fun," Isabela sighed.
Anton tried to force the flickers of Cullen and that dragon dildo out of his mind. "Can you not talk about my brother like he’s meat, in front of me?"
"I’m sure we could, but where’s the fun in that?" Anders teased. "Do you have any idea what you said in front of me, the other night, or were you too drunk to even remember talking?"
"If it helps, I could talk about your other brother like that," Fenris joked.
"You mean, the way Emile wanted to talk about you?" Anton shot back, grinning.
Fenris’s face twisted, ears twitching. "Let us not speak of that again. Ever."
"Oh, on the contrary," Anders said. "I plan to speak of that often. At least once in front of your husband." At Fenris’s growl, Anders stepped behind Isabela and grinned at him over her head.
Edwina appeared at Anton’s elbow with the pitcher and cups Izzy had ordered. "Sorry, Fenris," said Anton, who didn’t sound sorry at all. "But I’m just glad he’s not a blood mage."