[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 391
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 ♂, Zevran Arainai ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Canon-typical violence
Notes: Cullen tries to come to terms with being Knight-Commander. Sebastian makes an ass of himself. Cormac needs to sit down, now.
"Commander," he said, after a moment. "I’d offer you my hand, but I don’t have one free."
"Captain," Cullen corrected, reflexively, and then… "I’m not, any more, am I?"
"As long as no one removes you, I’m pretty sure you’re the highest ranking Chantry official in all of Kirkwall, right now. You and Bran are what’s holding this place together, at the top," Cormac replied, suddenly sitting down, as his knees buckled, and pouring Anders to the ground, again. "Sorry, sweet thing. I’ll get you home, somehow."
Cullen moved to help Cormac a second too late, his face pale from more than blood loss. "The city might have been better off with the demons," Cullen said with a cringing smile, unsure what to do with his hands since Cormac and Anders had already hit the ground. Except… no, that wasn’t something he should joke about. "I… Maker, what a mess."
"Hey, Shouty," Varric said, the cart’s wheels creaking as he brought it over. "Maybe you should save the sweeping of Grey Wardens off their feet for when you can stand on your own?"
"Just the one Grey Warden, please," Nathaniel called out from behind a pillar.
"I think he just volunteered to push the cart on the way back," Varric said with a wink. "So what do you think?" he asked Cullen. "I think there’s room enough for a couple healers." He patted the side of the cart, and it made a hollow sound.
"I think," Anders answered instead, still lying sprawled on his back, "that that is a great way for Nathaniel to roll me into the water." He peered up at Cullen. "I told you I’d make you Knight-Commander. But, is your first edict going to involve a change in dress code? I must say I’m a fan, but it’s probably time to put away your Sword of Mercy, at least for now."
"What?" Cullen blinked down first at the Sword of Mercy on his chest, and then down at the grinning mage. Then he saw his knees and remembered that he still had his skirts tucked into his belt. And realised that Anders was getting an eyeful.
Cullen’s face was tomato-red as he untucked his skirts with as much dignity as he could.
"That said, Cullen, I’m sure you’re wanting us out of your hair," Cormac said, resting his head on Anders’s knee. "Give me a few days to organise our affairs, and we’ll disappear. Scenic tour of Thedas time, for the two of us, I think. I promise to leave you some money for the reconstruction of anything we might’ve hit. I’m thinking you might want to just smooth over the bronze in the courtyard, here, though. Let it serve as a historic reminder."
Cullen laughed, first, and then, "A reminder to whom? It’s not like Kirkwall has any mages left, after that, and the Maker only knows what will come of the Order. Or me."
"Well, you’re the Knight-Commander, now. Unless the Knight-Vigilant decides to get up your ass about something, this place is yours. The Gallows, I mean. Kirkwall’s still the Seneschal’s. You might want to let him know he can start making plans for a new viscount, now that Meredith’s gone."
"I’m getting out of city politics," Cullen promised, shaking his head. "It’s not what we’re supposed to do. But, you said something about reconstruction? How bad is it going to be, up there?"
"Zevran?" Cormac raised his voice without lifting his head. "How bad is it?"
"It’s just a few estates in Hightown. Rocks in the garden. People who didn’t take the Gazette’s advice and got rocks in the ballroom. But, there is a very, very large mound of Tevinter-quarried stone at the edge of Hightown, now. I have a feeling some of it might have fallen into the earth, because it doesn’t look nearly high enough." Zevran shrugged and turned an appreciative eye on Cullen. "You know, Commander, Solona was right. I can see the appeal." He winked. "But, there is always the question of what a reconstruction will be, you know. Are you going to rebuild just what was there, or will you reach out into the places people have never been able to repair, on their own?"
"I think that’s up to the viscount," Cullen admitted, "but I can make some suggestions. You’re worried about the Alienage?"
"I am worried about all the people who are not flamboyantly wealthy, like my friends, the Hawkes." Zevran smiled, but his eyes stayed serious.
"Where’s my brother?" Cormac muttered. "Artie? You still standing? How’s your husband?"
"Technically, I’m sitting," Artemis replied, "but not because I can’t stand. Sitting just… has so much appeal right now…" As he spoke, he looked over Fenris, not quite able to hide the concern in his eyes. His elf was curled up, half in his lap. Though his eyes were closed, the tightness in his forehead said he was still awake. "Did you hear him, love? What adjective should I give him?" Artie’s hand smoothed back Fenris’s hair.
Fenris mumbled something unhappy against Artemis’s thigh.
"That’s not an adjective, love," Artemis told him. "That is, in fact, a verb, and a rather rude one, considering." Artemis looked up at Cormac with a helpless shrug. Fenris wasn’t puking any more, which was a plus, but they had no way of knowing how long this was going to affect him. "I’m going to take cursing you as a good sign."
"Well, at least he remembers who I am," Cormac laughed. "I think we’re going back to Hightown in a cart. I also think we’re not going anywhere if we don’t find someone to pull it, because I think Varric’s going to kill us if he has to do it again."
Artemis laughed weakly. "In… a cart. I’d ask if you were joking, but this is you. Do you have room for an elf?"
Fenris made a sound somewhere between a whine and a growl at that suggestion, until Artemis stroked the shell of his ear. He muttered something about magical bears but didn’t protest too loudly when Artie pulled him into his arms and tried to put his feet under them both. He carried Fenris over to his brother and the cart.
"I’ll push it," Artie offered. "I have mana enough for that, but not so much that I’d send you off a cliff." In truth, he doubted he had enough in him for that, but he was stronger than he looked.
"All right," Cormac announced. "Wounded and exhausted back to Hightown, in the cart. My brother’s going to try not to throw us in the sea."
"Please don’t throw us in the sea, Artie. I don’t think Cormac’s got enough left to barrier us out of that." Anders giggled stupidly, staring dazedly up into the clouds and smoke over Kirkwall. "Templars should stay here. I’m… I can’t imagine you don’t have potions, at least. I’ll stop by, later, if you want, Cullen. But, quietly. Nobody knows I’m still in town."
"The mages are still down with the Coterie — what are we doing about that?" Anton asked, after a moment. "Is it safe for them to leave? Is it safe for them to stay? I’d like to get them out of the Coterie bunker, either way. That, I’m pretty sure, is not safe."
"The First Enchanter is dead," Cullen pointed out. "I’d like to talk to them. To let them know things are different now. To let them know they’ll need to pick a new First Enchanter."
"Then we’ll go together," Anton offered, helping Cormac lift Anders into the now hammer-free cart. "Just, you know, don’t… touch anything down there. Keep your eyes on me, until they take us to the mages, and let me do the talking until we get there."
Cullen nodded, looking across the courtyard. He started shouting orders for the Tranquil to collect the wounded and the dead and bring them back inside. There would be time enough to deal with all of these things, but he had to get started.
"Room for one more?" Nathaniel asked, carrying a still-bound Sebastian to the cart. "I’ll keep an eye on him, but he kicks, and I’m not carrying him all the way back up to the Hanged Man, without some help."
"The Hanged Man!?" Zevran looked stunned. "No, no, caro. We are taking him to the Blooming Rose. I can afford such things. I have become a very wealthy man, in my travels."
"I didn’t want to carry him that far," Nathaniel complained.
"You take that end. I will take this end. If he squirms too much, I’ll rap him on the head." Zevran looked at Sebastian. "You wouldn’t like that, would you? And when we get there, I am certain we can buy anything we need to tend to ourselves. Anything at all. But, of course, there are some things I am hoping not to have to pay for." He winked slyly at Nathaniel.
"Like what?" Nathaniel drawled, ignoring the wink. "A bath?"
"Why?" Zevran replied. "Is my virile, masculine odour too much for your sensibilities?"
"Your everything is too much for my sensibilities."
A pair of mages and an elf ended up in the cart, knees and elbows digging into ribs, the elf looking particularly disgruntled by all the contact. When Anders shifted, Fenris all but landed in his lap, his ears sticking straight out. "Amatus," he said, voice even more gravelly than usual. "I may not mind so much if you do send us into the sea."
Artie tweaked one ear affectionately. "You’ve touched more of him, wearing less. I think you’ll survive."
"I’m not sure I will," Anders said, eyeing the look on Fenris’s face.
With Artie’s hand on the handle, the cart started to roll, a wheel catching in cracked stone long enough to jolt Fenris and to put the sick look back on his face.
"Ooh, I want to ride in the cart!" Merrill said.
"No, you don’t," Carver assured her before scooping her up in his arms. "Trust me on that."