[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 267
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Carver Hawke ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V2 D0)
Warnings: Canon-typical violence, angst
Notes: Being a templar isn’t all defending the good people of Thedas, as Carver learns, the hard way, once again.
Of all the reasons Carver told himself he’d joined the templars, washing chamberpots was not among them. In fact, it was, perhaps, the absolute worst thing about the entire decision — he was stuck with it. Every time he opened his mouth, back to sticking his hands in filth. It wasn’t even like he could leave the Order. It was a one-time decision that couldn’t be reversed, and Samson, the poor bastard, was the proof of that.
At least Cullen was out of the dungeon. Anders thought he’d be back at work by the end of the week, and Cullen thought sooner, but Carver wasn’t sure Anton was going to allow that. And that thought was almost as gross as the chamberpots. Cullen would actually listen to him, when he talked, unlike this blighty jerkass temporary captain — Lieutenant Penis, the men called him. His name was actually Denis, but anyone who acted as much the dick as he did deserved the name.
And there was the sound of boots. Three pair. Carver looked up, only to spot Lieutenant Penis himself, standing between and before two other templars. Fantastic. Maybe they’d want him to wash the corpse-rot out of the dungeon, next.
"Ser?" Carver asked, not getting off his knees, as the lieutenant stopped before him.
"Hawke," said Lieutenant Penis, chin tilted at a haughty angle so that Carver had a clear view up his nostrils. "I have another job for you. Unless, of course, you’d rather continue as you are. You do seem attached to those toilets." He cut a smirk to the red-headed templar to his left.
"Oh, I’m sure they’ll be dirty again soon enough, ser," Carver said with a tight smile. There was a comment somewhere in there about certain templars being full of shit, but Carver managed not to say it. "What can I do for you?"
"You can lend a hand — after you’ve washed it — to Sers Mettin and Agatha, here." He tilted his head at the pair of templars behind him. "They are, as I understand it, having some trouble hunting down a cabal of blood mages."
Of course they were. It was always blood mages. Blood mages and toilets, that was Carver’s templar experience.
"That is because this hive of blood mages and their supporters know us," said the red-haired templar, Ser Mettin. "If we get close to them, they’ll scatter like cockroaches."
Carver finally rose to his feet. Even with poor posture he was a good few inches taller than Lieutenant Penis.
"You could take them unaware," Mettin said, looking a little pensive at the idea.
"We can’t dally, of course. If we’re seen with you, they’ll know," Ser Agatha put in. "But, we’ll be right behind you. Shouting distance."
"Maker," Carver sighed, taking a few deep breaths, to avoid punching the sense into his colleagues. He was sure this was some sort of trap meant to expose him as a sympathiser — possibly as a traitor. "If you’re going to be wandering around behind me, can you at least wear something less obvious? Plain armour? Maybe a cloak? If I’m not supposed to be seen with the two of you, then the two of you probably shouldn’t be seen following me, either."
"The man makes a point," Mettin admitted, tipping his head thoughtfully as he dug into his pouch for something. "Here are the details — who and where we think they are. Should be pretty straightforward."
Carver took the paper and unfolded it, and a completely unamused smile crossed his face. "In the sewers! Lovely. Of course you brought this to me."
"Is there a problem, Hawke?" Lieutenant Penis asked, the squint of his eyes strongly implying there best not be.
"No, no problem, ser," Carver said with a heavy sigh. He pocketed the paper. "It’s just good to know that today has a theme."
Carver didn’t bother changing out of his working clothes, not when the dirt and stink would help him blend in in Darktown and not when he was just going to get Maker-knew-what on his boots anyway. He’d grabbed his sword, though — he wasn’t an idiot, despite what his brothers insisted — and a couple of healing potions, courtesy of Anders.
After a lifetime of dealing with Anton sneaking around and picking his pockets, the pair of cloaked idiots behind him seemed painfully obvious, even at a distance. Carver had to fight the urge to turn around to tell them so.
"Join the templars, Carver," Carver muttered to himself as he climbed into the tunnel leading to the sewers. "It will be grand, Carver." Then again, the alternative involved living down the hall from Cormac, so he supposed it was an even trade. Plus it meant Artie was no longer colour-coding his undies.
Carver dodged the first arrow on pure reflex, head jerking back as it clattered against the wall next to him. The second arrow he dodged more intentionally, swearing as he pulled out his sword. By the third he might have been missing Cormac. A little.
They saw him coming, but they didn’t know him, and thankfully they weren’t expecting something drawing a sword that large to be moving as fast as he was. He twisted out of the way of another arrow and spun, the greatsword cleaving through some part of three archers, as he made for the stairs. They might yet live. They might not. They were definitely not going to be drawing bows, though.
The stairs were a deathtrap, but the railings at the top were high enough that staying close to the wall made for an impossible angle. None of them could shoot straight down. And none of them were stupid enough to step out onto the landing in front of him. Instead, the rest of the archers scattered back into the room, an occasional arrow zipping past him, as they fled further into the tunnels.
Carver looked around at the mess left behind. Archers. Just archers. But, under one of the bodies was a note. Fleeing the city to hide in caves? He hoped his brother’s mines weren’t involved — enough fuckawful things had already happened there. The last thing that place needed was blood mages. Although there was a passage to the Deep Roads, which might be something of a lure. Still, there was so much of Sundermount, and so little in the way of information about which caves.
He crept through the dim room, following the way he thought the archers had been running. This was definitely an ambush, now, and the fact that he still hadn’t seen any actual magic really made him wonder what was going on. Made him doubt that this was anything but a setup.
And — there. That was definitely ice. Definitely ice that had just narrowly missed one of his favourite body parts. Carver pressed himself against the wall. "Can you stop shooting at me?" he yelled, voice echoing down the tunnels. Did they even know he was a templar or were they just killing anyone who came through here? Or was Ser Penis just trying to get rid of him?
Carver gave the mage a moment, but the bastard shot lightning instead. Gritting his teeth, Carver hefted his sword and charged down the next flight of stairs, following the trajectory of magic and throwing a smite out ahead of him. He watched the mage’s arms move and braced himself for the next spell, but it fizzled out at the mage’s fingertips.
"I asked nicely," said Carver, sword held defensively in front of him. He looked past his blade into the mage’s terrified eyes. "Mind if we have a chat?" The mage’s stare flit to the side, and it was the only warning Carver needed to step back and to the side, a second jet of ice from a second mage just missing his hip.
"Andraste’s flaming cootch!" Carver swore before tossing out another smite.
And the magic kept coming. Each time he hit one of them, it would only stop them for maybe half a minute, if he was lucky — he didn’t have the kind of power behind him that Cullen did. Not yet, anyway. But if he could hit all three of them — there had to be three, judging by the rate of fire and ice hammering past the bottom of the stairs — if he could hit all three in sequence, maybe he wouldn’t need it to last that long. He could get past them — get the archer out — then hit them again.
Nodding to himself, he took a deep breath and leaned out, tagging the easiest one to hit. A fireball shot past his head as he ducked back. A count of three, and then the next one, three more and the last, and then the magic stopped. He didn’t waste time thinking — just ran out. The archer assumed he was going for the mages and aimed accordingly, but he blew right past, the arrow skimming over his shoulder instead of into it, as he moved. One slice, and the rather surprised archer was down.
He turned back and smited his way down the line again, the other way, before sheathing his sword. "Andraste’s tits melted to light the temples, can you knock it off?" Carver shouted at the terrified mages. "I’m really trying not to have to kill you!"
The three mages huddled together, fingers still twitching as though trying to cast, their pale faces reflecting the torchlight. "What do you want?" asked the mage closest to Carver.
Mettin and Agatha’s footsteps echoed as they clomped down the stairs, and Carver had to wonder just how unnoticed they could have possibly gone.
"We’re just trying to figure out what’s going on," Carver said, hands palm out and non-threatening as the mages eyed the new arrivals.
"We’re not going back," said the mage, voice shaky but the clench of his fists defiant. Mettin walked past Carver toward the mages, and Carver finally saw the sword in his hand. "We’re not."
"Mettin—" Carver began, but Agatha’s hand on his chest stopped him. He threw off her hand. "Wait. There has to be another way."
Another smite fell on the mages. They tried to run, but there was nowhere to go.
Agatha held Carver back as Mettin slaughtered the mages.
Mages. Just mages. Even with their lives on the line, Carver hadn’t seen any of them go for a blade or any blood. Just the same elemental shit his brothers had been slinging around as long as he could remember. "We could have taken them alive," Carver roared.
"Why? They’re just robe trash. And troublemaking robe trash, too. Better we don’t have to keep track of them." Mettin shrugged.
Carver shook off Agatha’s hand and knelt, checking the bodies for anything that might help him figure out what was going on. "They might have told us something, if they lived," he said, looking for a reason that wouldn’t make him look any worse than he did. They were dead now, and there was nothing he could do for them. Nothing he could do about them, either, until Cullen came back.
He found more notes and, reading them, realised this was the Mage Underground. These were Anders’s friends. Which meant this was definitely illegal, but how was he supposed to feel about having been responsible for the deaths not only of people not guilty of the things they were accused of, but friends of his brother’s lover. Whatever else he thought of Cormac, Anders had been a surprisingly good friend. Anders had saved his life, and this was no way to pay it back, but he couldn’t get out of this and expect to survive. And even then, it wouldn’t stop, it was just that no one would know what had happened.
Mettin and Agatha searched every corner, making sure no more mages were hiding in the crevices. Carver pretended to help but mostly focused on not being sick.
"That’s one hideout clear," Mettin decreed. He clapped Carver on the shoulder as they retraced their steps. "You do good work, Hawke. I’ll give you that." He stepped over a cooling body Carver had cut down, and Carver tried to smile.