[ Master Post ]
Title: Assing it Up – Chapter 29
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂, Orana ♀, Evantia ♀, Varania ♀
Rating: T (L2 N1 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Cuddly lesbians, shirtless Fenris
Notes: Artemis decides to decorate the gardens. Orana and Evantia are terribly entertained.
Orana sat on a lounger, braiding flowers into Evantia’s hair and watching Messere Artemis’s latest ventures in the magic of stone. "Pull left, messere! The arm’s coming loose!"
Evie giggled and held up a slice of cheese for Orana, as she watched the stone smooth, evening out over the cracks as the weight shifted. Lord Hawke wasn’t very good at this, but she’d heard it was a recent whim — something about the construction up on the mountain. At least, this time, he’d managed something mostly elf-shaped, even if the ears were over-large and stuck out at funny angles. She thought it looked a bit more like a deer than an elf, really, but what did she know about sculpture? Her business was flowers. "Messere, look here!" she called out, bending one arm, as Orana took the cheese from her. "It’s like this! Here’s the shape!"
Artie muttered a few choice swears under his breath, resisting the urge to throw the damn thing into the nearest tree. "Thanks, Evie," he said, one hand twisting in his hair as he looked back and forth between stone and elf.
That certainly made more sense, the way the whole body bent with the motion. Still, knowing what he wanted the stone to do and getting the stone to actually do it were two separate matters. The ears had been a nightmare, with their delicate points. He’d accidentally broken them off a few times trying to get them to taper, and they still didn’t look quite right.
Artemis was rather proud of the nose, though. He’d only blocked out the basic shape, but he’d gotten the sweep of its bridge in one try. He still felt ridiculous and frustrated, but this was progress. When he’d started, he could barely make a cube without crushing the stone.
And now to work on the curve of that shoulder. Steady, gentle pressure to smooth out the stone. Steady… steady… fuck. Another piece broke off, and this time Artie’s swears weren’t muttered.
Laughing, Orana untangled herself from Evie and stood. "If I hold it for you, can you put it back on, messere? You were almost there. You shouldn’t have to start over."
"You can’t lift that, yourself," Evie scoffed, popping a cheese ball in her mouth. Those were good, and she’d have to ask where Orana had ordered them from. Probably Orlais. Fancy things like that were almost always from far away. "I’ll help. Don’t worry, Lord Hawke, you’ve nearly got it this time! Just let us get this piece in the back for you."
Climbing up the base of the statue, the two women worked the broken pieces of the shoulder back into place, one fragment at a time. It had come out all at once, but then it had hit the ground. After a bit of shuffling and trading pieces, listening to the creaking of the arm, they got it as good as it was likely to get.
"Fix it quick!" Orana called down. "The whole arm’s getting weak!"
"Right." Artemis shook out his hands and cast again, almost too gently, at first. He focused on the seam of rock where the pieces met, and slowly the stone morphed under Orana and Evie’s fingers, sealing over the gap.
"That’s perfect, messere," Orana said, beaming. She and Evie eased back, slowly letting go, but Artemis was almost afraid to. Yet, when he stopped casting, the rock stayed in place, fully healed. Artie finally let out the breath he was holding.
"I have quite a few words for this," Artie said, gesturing at the sculpture, "but ‘perfect’ is not among them." He stood back to better made out the piece as a whole. There was so much more he could tweak and shift, but his fingertips were starting to get a bit numb. Best to leave it for now, before he accidentally knocked the entire thing over.
"Have you been studying the new sculpture on Sundermount?" Fenris asked, from the doorway, a bottle of imported apple juice in one hand and a pair of glasses in the other. "Ghilan’nain, perhaps? I can’t wait to see what you do with the horns."
Evie opened her mouth and Orana covered it, the two of them staring at Fenris in snickering horror. But, they said nothing, easing back toward their cheese and wine.
Fenris watched them inch away. "I’m wrong, aren’t I?" he asked, circling the statue. The stone looked much smoother than it had on any of Artie’s earlier attempts. This, at least, was approximately elf-shaped in an intentional-seeming way, rather than looking like a stalagmite that had naturally taken a body-like form. These wouldn’t be lining the streets of Val Royeaux, any time soon, but Artemis seemed to be improving quickly. On the other hand, what did Fenris really know about sculpture or sculptors. Or mages, really. For all that he’d spent his whole life with mages, he really understood so little about them.
Artemis cleared his throat and tried to will away the embarrassed flush suffusing his cheeks. "No, of… course it’s Ghilan’nain. What else could it possibly be?" He laughed nervously and glared the women into silence.
Fenris didn’t say that in this shape, the statue could be a lot of things. He glanced at Orana to find her biting her lips to keep from laughing.
"I have missed something," Fenris said, narrowing his eyes. "I have never had much an eye for art, Amatus. Am I terribly far off the mark?" He stepped back to stand next to Artemis, tilting his head and squinting at the stone from his husband’s angle.
"It… is an elf," Artemis said with a sheepish shrug. "In theory. It’s not terribly defined just yet, so I could… see where you’d make that mistake." He rubbed his hands together to try to get the feeling back.
Evie finally ducked out from under Orana’s hand. "Oh please, can I tell him?"
Fenris examined the lines again. "Is it Evantia? It is, isn’t it? I hadn’t known you were working with models. The curve, here, is very attractive. Very feminine. I’m sorry, Amatus. I don’t know the words to talk about this properly."
Evie started to laugh, burying her face in Orana’s shoulder.
"Evie definitely posed for it," Orana confirmed, nodding, as Fenris offered Artemis a glass of juice.
"She’s a very pretty woman, and I’m sure she’ll look lovely in our garden." And yet, Fenris was still sure he’d missed something, somehow — that this wasn’t Evie at all. He stared at the statue, waiting for it to suddenly make sense, but the epiphany didn’t come. "And to think, I expected you to decorate with Theron… It’s… it’s not Theron, is it? I am relatively certain Theron is less… ah… curvy in the … chest."
"It’s not Theron," Artie said, voice muffled by the hand covering his face. This was it. This was the moment where he went the way of Anders and spontaneously combusted. If his face got any hotter, he would have to. "It is… also not a woman." He finally slid his hand off his face. "It’s not done. I keep trying to get the shape right, but…" He gestured helplessly. "It’s hard. Sometimes the stone doesn’t cooperate or I push too hard or not enough, and I just… really want to throw the thing through a wall. Can I throw it through a wall?"
"Best not," Fenris said. "You know you’ll only end up cleaning it up."
Artemis grumbled and sipped his juice. "Anyway, as I was trying to explain to the ladies… those are not boobs. Those are muscles. Really badly sculpted muscles."
Fenris took a sip and then set his own glass aside, with the bottle. "I was going to wash, but perhaps you need me here, first?" He’d been assisting Aveline with some trouble on the coast, for the weekend. Bandits, though, were nowhere near as compelling as his husband. He slid his arms around Artemis, kissing the back of one shoulder. "Maybe you need a different model, for a little while? Evantia has lovely arms, but… you are having some trouble with the rest of her."
Stepping back, he unfastened a few buckles and peeled off his leathers to the waist, folding them roughly, before he dropped them. Behind him Evie whistled and applauded.
"And you live here?" she said to Orana. "How do you manage?"
"I’m not that interested in swords, Evie," Orana reminded her, cuddling closer. "There are much better things than Messere Fenris out here."
"I sincerely disagree," Artemis said, openly ogling Fenris. He figured it was his right as Fenris’s husband. He cleared his throat and set down his juice. "You know, I have been having trouble with the whole sculpture, not just the chest." His eyebrows tilted suggestively.
"I’m sure," Fenris said with a slow smirk. "But I was thinking we could save that kind of posing for after we send Orana and Evie out for the night." He gave the ladies a pointed look.
"Hear that, Evie?" said Orana. "We can go to that Nevarran restaurant you like."
Evantia hummed, still appreciating the view. "Yes, but it’s still a bit early for supper."