[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 386
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Carver Hawke ♂, Cullen ♂, Varric ♂, Isabela ♀, Aveline ♀, Anton Hawke ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Fenris ♂, Ella ♀, Keran ♂, Ser Marlein ♀, Merrill ♀, Samson ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Sebastian ♂, Nathaniel Howe ♂, Meredith Stannard ♀
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V2 D0)
Warnings: Canon-typical violence
Notes: A first success! Anton has a very good idea.
Artie lowered the top of the stone shield again to follow Anders’s line of sight. "That statue is doing more than blinking," he said, eyes round. It turned its head, side to side, lifted the spear in its arms. He’d stood next to that statue. He barely came up to its ankles. "How is this possible?"
"What is it?" Fenris asked. "What’s happening?" All he could see was stone, but from the look on the mage’s faces, he was going to need his sword. Where was his sword?
Artemis reached down to run his hand over Fenris’s hair and lower still to squeeze his shoulder, a gentle reminder to stay down. "Oh, not much. I just learned that red lyrium can make statues move. Did you know red lyrium could make statues move?" He swallowed, watching the statue descent the steps, the templars throwing smites that landed and slid off. "I love you, by the way. I’m fairly certain I said that yesterday, but I can’t be sure about today and it’s no less true today."
"There’s vomit on your shoes, and you’re still with me. That says it enough." Fenris kissed the hand on his shoulder, grateful when he didn’t vomit over that, too.
Moments later, there was a call for a healer, and Anders darted out from behind the shield.
"I gotta do this, beloved," Cormac said to Artemis, taking his glaive back off his shoulder. He looked at Fenris, before he dashed out. "You take care of him."
Varric and Isabela had taken up behind a column, with Anton.
"Shouldn’t you be halfway to Tevinter, by now?" Anton asked, leaning under Isabela’s elbow, for a better look at what was going on around the other side of the column.
"Maker’s breath! Take off with a priceless relic just once, and you never hear the end of it!" Isabela elbowed Anton in the head and peered around the pillar over him. "Your life would have been easier if you had just cut me out of it. But, you stood by me. I brought you Qunari, and you fought the Arishok."
"Yes, but if I’d let them take you, I wouldn’t have been able to shout at you about it, after," Anton drawled.
"Well, I’ve never been so glad to be shouted at," Isabela teased. "But, I’m with you, this time. No fucking off with priceless relics in the middle of the fight. Promise."
"Nervous, yet, Anton?" Varric asked from the other side, as the statue slammed its spear into a group of scattering templars.
"My mother didn’t raise any stupid children." Anton rubbed his face and checked his pockets. "I know how dangerous this is going to be. Is. Already is."
"Well, that’s comforting. It’s the most dangerous thing we could ever do, but at least we know that," Varric drawled, jabbing a finger at the statue. "I’m not sure all of this is right, but I’m absolutely sure that is wrong. I’m with you."
"We’ve faced down — I was going to say worse than this, but we really haven’t, have we. My brothers have faced down dragons. We made it out of the Deep Roads." Anton clapped a hand on Varric’s shoulder. "What could possibly go wrong?"
"Oh, for fuck’s sweet sake, Anton, shut up before you curse us all," Isabela groaned.
"The chains…" Anton muttered, eyeing the ones that still dangled, from the other statues. "I wonder…"
"What are you muttering about?" Varric asked, sighting down Bianca and wondering if there was any point in shooting a fucking statue.
But Anton dashed back out from behind the column, darting behind templars and past the bronze behemoth trying to stomp on them. He made for the statues still behaving as statues, eyeing the lengths of chain that bound them to the rails. Bronze chain. Bronze rails. If he could work one end free…
"Aveline!" he called out, tapping her shoulder as he passed. "I have something for you to take you anger out on!"
"I was planning to stab you later, but sure."
A few slams of her shield broke off the end of one chain, leaving it to swing free.
Yards away, Samson barely stumbled out of the way of a bronze foot. "This is not how I’d planned to die, Cul— Ser— Captain." His shield slammed into the creature’s calf, leaving a dent but little else.
"Then maybe you shouldn’t," Cullen replied distractedly, looking up, up at four arms and a spear aimed at him. The thing was slow, thank the Maker, but templar armour hadn’t been made with dodging in mind.
"Great advice, Captain. Hadn’t thought of that."
"Just keep it away from the mages," Cullen reminded him and their companions. "They’re the ones with the—"
Instead of stabbing, the statue took to slashing, and the broad sweep of its blade missed Cullen but swept three of his templars to the side as if they were nothing.
"Shit," Cullen hissed. "The ones with the firepower. And healing. Anders!"
But, Anders was already there. "Get them out of the armour! It’s crushed!" He tried to keep the fallen templars alive as he dragged them out of the way.
He moved toward the corner that still held the Tranquil, and pointed at one. "You! Help me move them!"
The man did as he was told, without hesitating, grabbing one of the templars and running back toward relative safety. Anders caught up with the other two, after a moment.
"Get the armour off them! Quickly!" Anders said again, healing rushing to his fingers, as he did what he could. He couldn’t move fast enough. "Four of you. I need four of you," he said finally. "When Ser Cullen calls for a healer, you run out and get the fallen. If you can move them, I can probably save them."
"I’m strong," Maddox volunteered.
"Good. You’re on my team. And this guy who was just helping. I don’t know any of your names, and I’m sorry." Anders examined the group and pointed to two more Tranquil. "And the two of you. Do you think you can do this?"
"We can," they assured him.
On the ground, the templars stirred, finally breathing easy again.
Aveline watched the whole affair, shaking her head and wondering if any of what they were doing was having an effect. Above her, Meredith watched too, in a halo of red light that made her grinning teeth gleam. Then Anton threw the end of the heavy chain at Aveline’s face.
"Here! Hold this!"
Aveline swore, catching the chain on the edge of her shield and wrapping it around her shield-arm. "Anton, what—?"
But he had dashed off again, this time to Anders and his Tranquil contingent. The chains were heavy, too heavy for one person to manage, and Anders had the right idea. "Elsa!" he called out to the Tranquil whose name he’d heard earlier. "New instructions! Grab a friend or six!"
When she stared at him blankly, Anton muttered a curse and picked out six other Tranquil. "You, you… you… not you… and you three. Come with me."
Quietly obedient, the Tranquil followed, and they took their portion of the chain without question and with none of Aveline’s frustrated huffing. "Anton, would you just blighted tell me what we’re doing?"
"Hopefully, something more useful than poking at the thing’s heels," he answered cheerfully. "Now, if we can just get the thing closer…" He doled out instructions, watching the templars trying to corral the statue.
Cormac watched his brother move, even as he held up a barrier around Meredith. They couldn’t seem to hurt her, but at the least, he could keep her from hurting them, while they were distracted by the statue. The statue that was, he was chagrined to note, too large for him to get a proper grip on, although he’d managed to crumple a few of the thing’s fingers.
The chains. Of course.
"Carver! Pull to the left!" Cormac shouted. "Draw! Draw!"
Carver moved without question, taking ten men with him, shouting orders as they moved.
"Cullen! Make sure it doesn’t turn around!" Cormac called into the fight. "Keep it backing up!" After a moment, he glanced over his shoulder. "Artie, I need you to shove the ground around a little. Make that thing stagger back. … and please don’t hit Cullen’s men…"
Artie nodded, eyes wide but determined. Keeping a grip on the stone shield, he gathered another spell under his fingers. Best not to miss this target, but at least it was a rather large one. He waited for an opening, breath held alongside the spell, and — there.
Carver felt the air shift but not the impact, thank the Maker, and the statue staggered back, the ground trembling under its steps.
"Go, go, go!" Anton called out, and the Tranquil and Aveline obeyed, curling around its legs like a human whip, chain in hand.
And Cullen finally caught on. The statue was slow, slow enough for them to wrap the chain around its legs one, two, three times before it stopped stumbling.
"Pull!" Anton called out, and the Tranquil pulled in the chain in separate directions, tightening the loops around its ankles and forcing its heels together.
"Get back!" Cullen called out, waving his men and women behind him. The statue toppled, smashing the stone underneath and making the ground tremble.
The statue rang as it struck the ground, a muffled echo like a dropped bell. "It’s hollow!" Varric shouted, as the realisation hit. "Beat it flat!"
Sadly, few people were equipped for that — swords dominated, with the occasional dagger, bow, or polearm. Merrill rose to the challenge, though, slamming a boulder against the thing’s chest. "Artemis! Help me hit it!" she called, and Carver waved the templars back, a look of undisguised panic on his face at the idea.
Cormac returned his attention to Meredith. He’d imploded the heads of ogres, she should be no trouble at all, but something else protected her, and he couldn’t exert enough pressure to crush her — to even touch her. He wondered, again, if she’d gotten runes into her armour. Enough shield reinforcement, and even he might not be able to get through it, but Fenris — well, Fenris couldn’t even stand, at the moment.
Behind another column, Sebastian objected to being tied down. "Damn it, Howe! You can’t do this! This city is lost, what are you doing still standing here?"
"I’m doing what a Warden’s meant to do. I’m going to war with the impossible." Nathaniel snorted and watched the battle. "If we lose, nothing’s going to save you, even if you do manage to get out of Kirkwall. Look at that thing!"
He studied the scene, before grabbing Sebastian’s belt-bound ankles and dragging the prince with him, over to Anders. There were enough people who could keep an eye on Sebastian there. "What can I do?" he asked Anders.
Anders barely spared him a glance, hands still glowing with healing as he walked between the wounded. "Keep an eye on the field," he said. "I have a team of Tranquil bringing me the wounded, but you’re faster." He pulled out a few potions from a pouch at his hip. "Here. There’s only one of me."
Nathaniel nodded, taking the potions and sticking them in his belt. "Still better than the Mother," he said.
Anders replied with a weak laugh. "If Meredith sprouts tentacles, I’m cutting my losses," he said.
There were still no tentacles the next time Nathaniel looked, but no one seemed able to land a hit on her, where she stood over them on the platform. On the ground, the statue stopped moving, as statues ought, and Anton cheered, joined soon after by Merrill.