[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 315
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Aveline ♀, Fenris ♂, Cullen ♂, Meredith ♀
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V2 D0)
Warnings: Canon-typical violence
Notes: Yet more trouble with templars. Aveline is angry. Meredith is displeased.
The meeting place was in Lowtown, again in front of Gamlen’s hovel. The ground still bore muddy stains where templar bodies had bled out the last time the Hawkes were here.
"I bet your uncle would love this," Fenris drawled. "Would you like to pay him a visit while we’re nearby?"
"Actually…" Cormac looked speculative, as Ser Marlein rambled on, as if there were nothing to fear on a Lowtown street, in the middle of the night.
"We cannot stand idly by, as Meredith oversteps herself at every turn. We shall have a viscount again and return sanity to Kirkwall!" Marlein declared, proudly, to the small group assembled around her.
"This course is foolhardy," one man protested. Cormac couldn’t remember who he was, but he’d shown up at some parties, somewhere. "The Knight-Commander will kill us all!"
"Edgert, you do yourself no credit," the man behind him said. Ah, Edgert, of course. "My father and grandfather both died defending Kirkwall from aggressors. Meredith is no different. Lady Selbrech, you have my sword!"
"That’s great," Cormac drawled, "but who has your back? You’re out in the open, here, speaking as if no one can hear you." He gestured to the stairs, to one side. "Perhaps you’d like to take this meeting inside? I’m sure my uncle won’t mind. I’m sure my uncle’s out losing the kitchen table, in fact, and he won’t notice at all."
"Your uncle must be happy to have his hovel back to himself," Fenris observed, quietly. "Are you sure you want to disrupt an old man’s dreams of peace?"
"Fenris, let me turn that question back on you, in the name of your sister," Cormac replied drily.
"You make an excellent point."
Edgert looked up at Gamlen’s, then past Cormac, down the alley. Just the flicker of a glance, but Fenris caught it and followed that look, seeing movement in the dark. "Shields," he growled at Cormac, drawing his sword.
"I warned you," Edgert said to his noble companion, backing away and reaching for his sword.
An arrow plinked off Cormac’s shield and landed at his feet.
"Gentlemen!" Cormac called out. "Must it come to this? Have you time to war amongst yourselves, when the Divine is already planning an Exalted March, because of the stunts the Order has pulled, here?" He could hear the creak as several more heads turned, eyes focused on him. "Oh, that’s news, is it? Did your Knight-Commander not tell you? The Divine’s agent came to scout the city, and found the Templars wanting. This squabbling won’t really change her mind about you, or any of the rest of us. Is that how you want to be remembered? Like the merchant swilling wine as Treviso burned? We can work together to build a stronger city, you know…"
The smile slid off his face when the first smite hit, and the glaive rolled down the back of his arm, into his waiting hand.
"Really? You want to play it like that?" Cormac asked, making no move to remove himself from the focus of those around him. "And here I was, trying to make peace."
"I just cleaned up this street!" Aveline roared, knocking an arrow aside with her shield as she barrelled towards the cluster of archers in the alley. They tried to nock more arrows while backing away from the crazy woman swinging the sword, but Aveline batted their bows aside with her shield. While she distracted them, Fenris reached through their armour into their chests, crushing their hearts.
While Aveline and Fenris dealt with the archers, Ser Marlein and her companion flanked Edgert, swords drawn and their eyes hard. "I don’t want to do this, Edgert," Marlein said.
Edgert shook, but he held his sword up, the point aimed at her chest. "Neither do I," he said before lunging at her.
"Thank you!" Cormac announced, swinging the glaive around from behind Edgert and pulling the pole against his neck. "Take his sword? We’re willing to arrest anyone who doesn’t make us kill them."
Edgert thrashed, but Cormac just pulled harder. "And I don’t like the way you keep looking at my sister, so that’s enough out of you," he told the man, kicking him sharply in the back of each knee. The weight of the shackles, it seemed, had been worthwhile, and he bound Edgert as Ser Marlein held off another swordsman.
"Hunters," Marlein said, slamming the pommel of her sword into a helmet, and pounding the man into the ground, before she held out her hand for a set of shackles. "Great against magic. Not so good in a real fight."
"I hope the shackles lend themselves to surrender," Cormac remarked, sidestepping a blade and jamming the glaive pole between the swordsman’s legs. The trip didn’t go as easily as he’d intended, but once he levered the pole over his knee, the result was about the same, and the swordsman crumpled to the ground, still clutching the sword. Cormac could feel the hail of lyrium-power rattling through his bones, as the swordsman realised that standing wasn’t an option and made ready to fight from the ground.
Aveline didn’t give him that option, pounding him solidly in the back of the helmet a few times with her shield. "Hit them harder, Cormac. Didn’t you used to fight darkspawn?"
"I’m trying to be nice!" he protested. "I’d really rather not kill anyone, if I don’t have to. It makes Anders sad."
"Throw down your weapons!" barked another voice, the sound distorted by a helmet. "Conspiring against the Knight-Commander is an unforgivable betrayal of our fair city!"
"There’s nothing ‘fair’ about it," Fenris groused, lyrium glowing blue as he faced down this new opponent. His armour was cleaner and more ornate than the others, and he spoke with the tone of someone who was used to being obeyed. Potentially an officer, then, and that was not a headache they needed.
A smite washed over Fenris, but he continued to glow. "I’m not a mage!" he barked, only to choke on his next breath. He couldn’t say that any more, could he?
The templar paused, caught off-guard when the smite didn’t wash away the blue glow emanating from the elf. "Then what are you? Some form of demon?" He didn’t give Fenris a chance to respond, his sword slashing at Fenris’s face.
"I’m an elf!" Fenris snapped. He didn’t dodge. He stepped through the sword as though it weren’t there. The templar couldn’t step backwards fast enough. In fact, he backed straight into Marlein.
"Denis?" she asked. "I should have known you’d be behind this."
"This is mutiny!" Denis cried out, trying to turn to better face both of his opponents at once. "This is treason!"
"Aren’t you the asshole who used to make my little brother wash chamberpots?" Cormac asked, suddenly, and Denis’s eyes focused on him just in time to register the flash of fingers that preceded a stun that rattled the templar like a punch in the teeth. "Lieutenant Penis, they call you, isn’t it?" He tossed the last pair of shackles from his bag to Fenris. "Do something with that, would you? And don’t kill him. I want to punch him in the face, when he wakes up."
"Aren’t you the one who always says Carver deserves the chamberpots?" Fenris asked, attaching the chains to Ser… Penis.
"Yes, but I’m allowed to say that. He’s my little brother," Cormac explained, as Aveline led over a close-bound chain of captives, each tripping over the next. "Did we take more alive than dead?"
"A few, I think," Aveline confirmed, glancing around at the handful of bodies in the small courtyard. "This is going to be an interesting conversation with the Knight-Captain. I wonder if he’ll agree to an exchange of prisoners."
"I wonder if Meredith would let him," Cormac grumbled, as Ser Marlein removed the lieutenant’s helmet. Cormac’s eyes widened, and Fenris lunged for him, stopping him where he stood. "I know you. You’re the one who cast a smite on a Grey Warden. A Warden in his dress uniform and everything. Didn’t your mother ever tell you it’s not nice to start shit with the men who protect you from ancient evils?"
Still dazed, it took a moment for Ser Penis to reply. "The people need to be protected from mages not by mages," he said, tilting his chin up haughtily.
"Try not to kill him," Fenris told Cormac, one hand still on the mage’s chest, keeping him in place. "But you have my permission to punch him, if you need it."
"There may be a line," Ser Marlein said. She spat at the lieutenant’s feet. "You are a disgrace to the word ‘templar’, you cretin."
"Says the woman, skulking about in dark alleys and making deals with our enemies. Meredith will hear of this, and she will be displeased!"
"Oh, good. We’re onto the threats," Aveline sighed.
"If you were doing your job, the people wouldn’t need to be protected from you, by mages," Cormac pointed out, through grit teeth, trying to wrest his peripheral vision back from the black rage that nibbled at the edges. "People like me? Because people like you." He sucked in a deep breath, shoulders squaring against Fenris’s hand.
"You can shout at him later," Aveline said, before Cormac could get started. "Let’s get these sers into the cells at the keep."
"Lyrium," Fenris pointed out, after a moment. "Arrangements will need to be made."
"The Knight-Commander will need to arrange that with me, if she won’t take the steps to ensure their release." Aveline smiled grimly. "Ser Marlein, is it? Why don’t you go let the Knight-Captain know what’s happened. Cullen knows where my office is, if he’d like to discuss this with me, but I think I’ll be doing business with the Commander, in the end."
Fenris’s eyebrows rose. "Bold," he said, sounding grimly impressed. "I doubt Meredith will be pleased."
Marlein sheathed her sword. "This attack will cement their conviction," she told Aveline. To Cormac, she added, "When the time comes, you will have our aid. I thank you for your assistance in this matter." She tipped her head in respect before disappearing with her noble companion down the street. She barely spared the lieutenant a glance.
Fenris’s eyebrows rose higher. ‘When the time comes’? He wouldn’t say anything in front of their captives, but it sounded like Cormac had just been volunteered to lead a rebellion of some sort.
"Commander," Cullen caught Meredith’s attention, as he stood in the doorway, Ella just a bit behind him, carrying a pile of paperwork in both hands.
"What is it, Captain?" Meredith sounded distracted, and the different makes of the pages tucked between her fingers bore that out. Whatever was going on, it was a large issue involving several people. Possibly, Cullen was willing to admit, the other side of the same problem.
"Lieutenant Denis’s men, ser. They attacked a group of other templars — noble-born — in Lowtown, last night. Several are dead, including Ser Edgert. The survivors of the attack have been arrested by the city guard, as is fit, in a case like this. No mages were involved in the initial assault, so there is really no reason that I can find for this attack. Witnesses describe it as having been an ambush on Ser Marlein Selbrech and two friends, who seemed to be paying a visit to the Champion’s uncle. They were cornered in front of his home, by Denis’s men."
"The guard doesn’t have the authority. Go get them out," Meredith commanded, finally looking up from her paperwork and pinning Cullen with an icy stare.
"With all due respect, Commander," Cullen said, squaring his shoulders, "she is the Guard-Captain, and this is her city."
Meredith set her papers down on the desk and leaned over it as she looked Cullen up and down. She didn’t blink. "Captain, I would be very careful if I were you. Or have you already forgotten the last time the Guard-Captain caused trouble? Do you plan to side with her again?"
She spoke levelly, frankly, reasonably, but Cullen heard the threat loud and clear. The cold shiver down his spine matched the ice in her look. "I will talk to her," Cullen said, staring at Meredith’s chin instead. "Perhaps we can reach an agreement."
"Just get those men back here," Meredith said. She stared at Cullen a moment longer before picking up her paperwork again, effectively dismissing him.