[ Master Post ]
Title: Assing it Up – Chapter 19
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Carver Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂,
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Sibling rivalry
Notes: Carver has an opinion. Several of them, actually. Fenris and Artemis attempt to sympathise.
"Maker, you really are a noble, aren’t you?" Carver muttered, taking in the elegance of his brother’s dining room. He hadn’t been in Artemis’s house much, if only because the house seemed like a fixture to keep Artie out of everyone else’s shit. Oddly, that didn’t seem to have worked, given the way Anton still shouted about not being able to find things.
"You’re just now noticing this?" Fenris asked, clearly amused. "I’d have thought the wedding might have been a clue, if your mother wasn’t."
"Mum’s different. She was always like that. And that house is just another piece in whatever game Anton’s playing." Carver picked up a fork and studied it. "But, this… you guys made this. You chose this. And you really put it on, too." He displayed the handle of the fork, pointedly. "They’ve got flowers on them. That’s hardly utilitarian design. That’s some … fruity noble shit."
"Carver, I could throw you through this wall without lifting a finger," Artemis reminded him. "Don’t make fun of my cutlery."
Carver set down the fork with a huff. "I’m just making a statement. ‘You have fruity forks’. See? Statement."
"Of course they’re fruity! That’s a salad fork!"
"A salad…? What the fuck is the difference anyway?"
"Size," Fenris pointed out, holding up one of each fork. "It is the dwarf of forks."
"Great," Carver muttered at his plate. "I’m eating salad with a fruity dwarf fork."
"You used to eat with your toes when you were two," Artie drawled. "I think you’ll manage."
Not quite hiding a chuckle, Orana dished out their salads. "If Messere prefers," she said to Carver as she set down his plate, "there is other silverware. The handles of the forks are made to look like bird feathers."
Carver looked ill. "That’s almost worse."
"By which my rude brother means ‘no, thank you’," Artemis said.
"Well, at least our rudest brother finally left town," Carver grumbled, reaching for a little bowl of dressing. "You seem to be doing better, without him around. Alienage looks great."
Fenris subtly changed his grip on his fork, watching both brothers in his periphery.
"Natia is very talented," Artemis said, stiffly polite as he pushed the olives around on his plate until they formed their own cluster off to the side. "And just because there is a table between us, Carver, does not mean I will hesitate to punch you. Again."
"I still don’t understand why you keep defending him," Carver huffed, cramming a large forkful of leafy greens into his mouth. "‘S not why ‘m here. ‘S Merrill. Cullen." He finally swallowed. "Phylactery."
"Phylactery?" Fenris asked. "I know that’s a mage thing, but no one has explained it. I know Anders was rather upset about them, but you know how hard it is to ask him anything, once he gets started."
"It’s blood magic," Carver mumbled around another mouthful of salad. "They take the blood of the mages and turn it into like… a tracking thing. Right, so, you know how a lodestone will always show you north? A phylactery will always show you the mage it came from."
"Those aren’t just for mages," Fenris pointed out. "How do you think Danarius kept finding me? I destroyed the ones I could find on his hunters, but there was always another."
Artemis chewed on his salad as he considered. He supposed that made a certain amount of sense, but he’d never thought of Danarius’s magic as being the same thing. "I used to think it was just for mages," he said, spearing a few leaves of lettuce onto his fruity dwarf fork, "until that asshole, Du Puis. Gascard?" He continued moving his food around instead of eating it for the moment, his stomach twisting at that memory of their mother. "Something Orlesian, anyway. That’s how he kept track of those… women."
"Ugh, don’t bring up that pissmonger while I’m eating," Carver groused, mouth full of half-chewed greens.
"So, if you’re bringing up phylacteries, Merrill, and Cullen all at once," Fenris said, ignoring the gross way Carver chewed, "should I assume one has made a suggestion about the other two?"
Artie’s brows lifted, but he looked less than surprised. "Ah. Cullen saw her using blood magic. Of course. He can’t just let that slide."
"It’s stupid," Carver insisted. "She’s not summoning demons with it."
"It almost never starts with summoning demons, but it almost always ends there," Fenris muttered. "You know, blood magic is forbidden, even in Tevinter. Doesn’t seem to stop anyone from using it."
"Why is it always demons?" Carver barked, slamming a hand down on the table hard enough that his wine licked at the edge of the glass. "She’s not summoning them! She’s destroying them!"
"And what happens if she summons one accidentally?" Fenris asked, spearing one of the olives from the edge of Artemis’s plate without even looking. "The blood calls them. It tempts them." He paused. "I didn’t pay much mind to the magic at home. It was all the same — magisters finding new ways to protect themselves and kill each other. And torment their slaves. But, I remember there was a line, when it came to blood magic. If you were using your own, it was acceptable, and no one felt the need to comment, but if you were using someone else’s — which everyone did anyway — it was always behind closed doors. The Magisterium might be convinced to set the templars on someone using unapproved blood magic. Except they didn’t, always. I don’t know. It wasn’t my concern. And I came to understand most of the accusations were lies, anyway. But, everyone was very clear that more blood meant more power, and it also meant stronger demons. And the only way to get more blood was to use someone else’s. A lot of someones." He gestured broadly. "Kirkwall is proof of the point."
"How many years have you known her, and you still think so little of her?" Carver snapped. "When has she ever used blood magic except to help, and when has she ever used blood that wasn’t hers? She’s not a magister! She almost bled out in the battle with Meredith, which we would never have won without her! And this is how the Order repays her? This is bullshit!" He punctuated this shout with another slam of his fist, and Artie held his breath as he watched the wine in Carver’s glass slosh against the sides. "Artie, you’re a mage! Back me up, here."
Artemis took his time answering, pausing to take a sip of water. "Oh? Suddenly now you’re interested in my magey opinion? Are you sure you don’t want to find Cormac and ask him, since according to you he controls all my thoughts and actions?" Artie’s smile was brittle. It was spiteful, sure, but he was running low on patience. "And you don’t need to summon demons for them to come for you, Carver. You weren’t in the Fade with us. You don’t know what it was like."
"This isn’t even about demons! This is about my fiancée getting some life-long tracker attached to her! You’ve seen what the Order is capable of!" Carver jabbed his fork at his brother. "Really, if it was just Cullen, I probably wouldn’t care, but it’s not. Any of those phylacteries can be called for by the Chantry or the Knight-Vigilant. And what if Cullen gets assassinated? I mean, we’re not exactly toeing the line, here. Kirkwall’s an experiment. I’m not even sure Val Royeaux is going to tolerate what we’re trying to do, here. And if I have to run, she’s coming with me, and I don’t want assholes in platemail up my ass, when I do it!"
Fenris cleared his throat and gestured at Artemis.
"And I don’t want assholes in platemail up my brother’s ass, either!" Carver shouted.
"A little late for that, don’t you think?" Fenris’s eyebrows lifted ever-so-slightly. "One of your brothers is married to one of those assholes in platemail."
Artemis bit his tongue to keep from saying the quip that popped into his head, one he was sure would traumatise Carver even further. "Carver, I get your concerns, and you know what? I suspect Cullen’s already agonised over all of them, even before you chewed him out. Which I have no doubt you did when he asked." Artie wiped a hand over his face and set down his fork. "Not that I blame you. If she were my fiancée, I’d fight it too."
"If she were your fiancée, I’d have a few questions," Fenris drawled. Artemis kicked him, and Fenris cackled, his foot pinning Artemis’s to the floor.