From here on out it'll be in Hawke's point of view, especially seeing how the game is in first person. I'll try my best to relay her feelings. Also, the pairing has not been decided. I'm rather indecisive. Please enjoy.
it sinks in
Lothering was beautiful in the summertime, one year before the Blight when the land becomes black as Hell and just as tainted.
My eyes watered at the sight. Suddenly my view changed from the horizon to the sky, dizzy and a dull pain in my stomach.
"Sorry, sister! Thought you were going to block that!" yelled a familiar voice. I heard him approach but couldn't prepare myself to see the face of my younger brother.
"Woah, what are you wearing? Do rogues specialize in changing clothing mid combat?"
Tears fell freely. After ten years...
"Hey, hey! It wasn't that bad of a kick! No need to cry over it!" Carver squirmed. He held a hand out and I jumped up with as much speed as I could muster (which was probably too fast in the first place) and latched my arms around his neck.
My body shook as I sobbed silently, making Carver feel helpless and uncomfortable. But it didn't matter to me. Carver, my baby brother, was alive and breathing and real.
Carver twitched a little at the words pouring out of my mouth.
Carver sighed and allowed his arms to come around my lithe frame. "Yes, and so are you, and Bethany, and Mother. And that guy who winks at you at the market," his sarcasm was blunt. "I'm not sure you're ready for the army, Sis."
I stopped breathing, every muscle going stiff. "Bethany? Mother?"
"Holding onto the melodramatics today, eh?"
I pulled back, placing both hands on his face and stared into his eyes, looking for injury. Just because I'd never really be sure again.
"Everything's gonna be okay. It's going to be different."
His brows scrunched as he moved out of my range, his eyes asking for an explanation. I ignored it and spun in the direction of the family home and took off at a fast sprint.
I was determined not to cry again. I kept the hugs and affection down to a minimum, and was satisfied by simply watching my family interact. Even with Father dead, with everyone else we were okay. We survive. Carver's death had drove a wedge in between me and my family. I always took the blame. Bethany's kidnapping and induction to the circle made the gape wider. Mother's death shook me to my very core. Although she wasn't as fond of me as the twins, I wasn't alone. But then it was only me and Bethany left. I couldn't blame anyone but myself when I lost my sister. I forced her to leave Kirkwall with Anders.
And, in the end, every one left. I became Vicountess (despite standing with the mages). Someone had to take over and keep the city afloat. It was one of the few ways I could help others. Sebastain, hating me for letting Anders go but refusing to act on it, left for his throne in Starkhaven, offering employment to Fenris as a bodyguard and teacher. Isabela departed on her new ship, taking Merrill with her. Aveline and her husband, Donnic, moved to Orlais. They'd fallen in love with the area on their honeymoon. Varric's contacts took him away and I hardly heard from him. And Anders... well the man was somewhere with my sister.
At dinner, when everyone was laughing and enjoying each other's company, I knew I really couldn't stall any longer.
My mother, Leandra, looked up from her meal, curiosity alight on her face. I knew that she thought I've been acting weird. With the looks Bethany threw at me then Carver, she wanted to see if I got hit on the head too hard and if she should get revenge on Carver. I couldn't help smiling.
"I was wondering, could you tell us a little about where you grew up? Kirkwall, was it?"
I had to admit, Kirkwall is my home. It was odd, being in Lothering. It didn't feel like home. Just... empty.
Leandra raised a brow. I could almost read her thoughts. I hadn't changed out of my armor and I hadn't unstrapped the daggers on my back. Mother thought something was wrong, but answered anyway.
"Well, I have one brother, your Uncle Gamlen, that I grew up with. The Amells are a powerful and influential family. Why, our estate is located directly below the Vicount's Keep."
She went on and I could see that little sparkle in Bethany's eyes and the bit of interest that came through Carver's indifferent mask.
Perhaps this will be easy?
When Leandra finished, Bethany remarked that it must have been a beautiful sight to see.
Time to ask the question. I hoped for the answer I needed. "Do you think we could take ship and visit?"
Leandra's eyebrows pulled together. "There are a lot of templars in Kirkwall... And we haven't the coin for it."
Not as many templars as there will be...
Bethany looked downcast, the thought of it being her to hold them back from such a trip.
"What if coin wasn't the problem?"
Leandra gave me a look. "Of course it is! A voyage like that would cost at least twenty sovereigns a piece. I don't expect you to have eighty sovereigns lying around."
I forced down a grin. "But would you want to?"
Leandra went back to eating after a curt, "Of course."
I couldn't hold back the grin any longer. "Then it's decided."
Bethany and Carver had abandoned their dinner, watching me and mother, disbelief barely concealed.
"By the Maker, child," Mother sighed.
"If I show you the coin, you'll go pack, alright?"
Bethany looked like she was on the edge of her seat, her hands clasped under her chin, her eyes wide with hope. Carver was extremely doubtful. He was calling my bluff. Mother rolled her eyes.
"Yes, if you can manage to make it appear, I will pack."
I stood and reached into a hidden compartment in my boot, pulling out a small money bag. I didn't bother mentioning that I had several of them hidden on my person and poured the content into my hands, making an estimate of about one hundred and ten gold coins.
They stared at me, wide eyed, as a carefully put it back into the green bag.
"This will cover it." I put it back into my boot and smirked at my gawking family. "Okay, you've seen it. Now finish eating and pack. We'll leave in the morning."
I left just as Carver started swearing in confusion.
"Ah, Lara!" Bethany called as she raced after me.
I paused at the stairwell.
"What about the templars?"
I saw the fear in her eyes, although I now understood a lot better than before. Bethany feared being made tranquil. And holding her family back because of her 'handicap'. And the vicious place that was the Circle.
I placed my hands on my younger sister's shoulders gently. "Despite our bickering, Carver and I can make a pretty fearsome duo. And with you, Bethany, we can be near invincible."
She gave me a small smile. I always did get along better with my optimistic sister than my rash brother.
"Dark days are ahead, Bethany. Become diverse in your spells. I want you to be able to protect yourself and others if I'm not there."
She looked confused but I had known she wouldn't quite understand. She nodded anyway.
"Just promise to be there, sister. Even if I can protect myself. It's nice to know that you're taking care of me."
I smiled and ruffled her hair. "Go pack, Beth. I want to leave at dawn."
Bethany tilted her head to the side. "Why so early?"
I shrugged. "Just want to see where Mother grew up."
Even if it's overrun by thieves.
"Me, too, Sister."
But the look Bethany gave me said she was suspicious.
And who wouldn't be? I just pulled out a lot of money that I have no real excuse for having.
After two weeks on the boat, the City in Chains rose above us, intimidatingly. Because refugees weren't lining up at their gates, guards didn't force us to leave, just stopped us a moment to check identification paperwork. Mother asked a guard as he checked who we were about the Amell family.
I winced when the guard muttered something about thieves and Gamlen. I tried to smile.
"How 'bout Mother and Carver, you stay here, and Bethany and I will find Uncle."
Mother started protesting that I had no idea what he looked like but I waved it off. I caught the look Carver threw at me. He didn't like being left behind, but I could tell he understood why. (I'd make it up to him later.)
"He's family. How hard can it be?"
"You remember where I told you the Amell estate is, right?"
I nodded, knowing that I wouldn't bother looking there.
Even a year early, I knew he'd still be in his shack.
"Let's go, Bethany."
She skipped along as we found a ferry to take us to the Docks then continued to Lowtown.
Lowtown was easily the same now as eleven years in the future. It was a short walk from the stairs to Gamlen's shack. When I started for the stairs leading to the shack, Bethany shot me a questioning look.
"But the estate's in Hightown..."
I shrugged, going for nonchalance and pulling on the easiest excuse. "My sources say this is where he lives..." I said, channeling Varric and his all knowing attitude. His sayings always came in handy.
I knocked twice, receiving an immediate response from a mabari inside.
It pulled at my heart strings, hearing Sedas's alerting barks.
The door opened a crack, enough to let me see a glaring eye and a dangerous looking mabari, growing fearlessly. I wondered idly if he would recognize his true master?
"Who are you? Traveling saleswoman? I don't want any!"
He tried closing the door and I quickly slid my foot inside, keeping the door open.
"Are you Gamlen Amell?" Bethany asked quietly. I could see how desperately she wanted him to say no.
"What's it to you?"
So paranoid. The mabari growled at my foot, showing his large teeth. I glared slightly. "Down, Sedas," I said in Arcanum, my accent thick, but the mabari got the message.
Mabari were originally from Tevinter and always seemed to respond better to Arcanum rather and the common tongue. The story goes that the magisters brought their mabari with them when invading Ferelden and the mabari defected, finding the Fereldens more suitable masters. At least that's what Fenris said.
It's was because of Fenris that I could speak Arcanum at all. In exchange for reading lessons, he offered to teach me his language. Wouldn't it be hilarious if the first thing I said when I saw him was "Tir-ev-e er-l-ud degit-ud"? It means "Pull my finger". Arcanum is so fun!
Right. Back to the present.
Bethany poked me, and glanced to the dog who was trying to force his way outside, using his mass to force the door open.
I sunk to the ground in a crouch and allowed him to sniff me. "We're your nieces. Leandra's daughters," I said absentmindedly as I started rubbing Sedas's big head. I was forcing myself not to coo at him, something I did so often.
"Traitor," he huffed as he pulled the door wider, his teeth gritting a little. "Leandra's here?"
"Aww, who's a good boy?" Bethany said, unable to resist the ball of fur.
"And waiting for you to greet her, Uncle," I said.
He bobbed his head and stepped outside, locking his door behind him. I stood and started walking away, the mabari immediately ignoring Bethany and chasing after me, giving a happy bark. Bethany followed and Gamlen tried to catch up.
The man glared at the pooch at my side, inwardly seething no doubt. Mabari chose their masters and stay with them for a life time. He knew it was impossible to get in between a mabari and his decided master.
(And it overjoyed me to no end, knowing that the connection Sedas and I have really is set in stone.)
He was a man who had lost everything not rightfully his. Sedas one of those things. The man had won him in a card game. (And he'd cheated.)
After he spoke with Leandra for several minutes, he finally cracked and told her of his destructive habits.
I had long since accepted his gambling seeing as I had taken up the cards as well. (You can't befriend Varric and Isabela and not play.) But Mother and the twins were enraged.
"You gambled it away? Brother! How could you?"
Words were tossed back and forth between the two, snubs and digs about Leandra's eloping. This fight solved nothing.
I stepped forward and placed a hand on my mother and uncle's shoulders, applying a little pressure. Gamlen winced, receiving more of a squeeze than Leandra.
"Lara..." Mother said, her face taking on a awed look.
"This isn't the time to bicker. You can let me worry about the estate. For now, we'll stay in a hotel in Hightown."
Gamlen sneered. "What can you do?" he asked, his lips curled unkindly and I released Mother. I didn't let go of Gamlen though. "The family name doesn't pull much weight anymore. How do you expect to-" he cut off, his knees bending suddenly when I squeezed a pressure point.
"Coin still carries weight, yes? And if not, my blade is heavier."
I could feel the looks my family were giving me, no doubt wondering about the money and this intimidating new me.
I pulled out a gold coin and discretely transferred it to Gamlen. "See my mother to The Manor in Hightown. They are expecting her. Bethany, Carver, you're with me. Let's go."
It was a huge relief, walking through Lowtown, no one recognizing me, no one asking for favors. After becoming Vicountess it had only gotten worse. And the stupid crown I had to wear? Such a headache! Starting over was an odd sensation. And it's extremely hard not to let on to how much I know. My family was already extremely suspicious.
I stopped before the Hanged Man, trying to stay hopeful at the prospect of finding my companions were beyond the door.
"A tavern, sister?" Carver asked, a look of excitement on his face.
Bethany looked disapproving.
"It's to find someone. Get information, that kind of thing." I opened the door and placed a sovereign into Bethany's hand. "I believe they serve tea as well, but I've never tried it." Oh. I said something odd again but the smell of the room and the excitement of the people helped distract them from my error.
Carver pulled his twin away, dragging her to the bar. It wouldn't be another year until Isabela would step foot inside. But I thought maybe Varric would be here.
As Carver indulged and Bethany looked on to make sure he wouldn't do anything stupid, I walked in the direction of Varric's room.
On the way, I spotted a man in the corner, downing a mug of sour ale, several around him. My heart sank and I ached to go to the redhead's side first but knew I needed to prioritize. He wouldn't be leaving anytime soon.
Varric's door was wide open as always and I poked my head inside.
He looked the same, the duster, the pony tail, chest hair and Bianca positioned lovingly in his story telling chair.
His eyes gleamed when he spotted me. "Did you come for a story, Serrah?"
I smiled a little. Is it possible he's had stories not about her? She'd only heard of her exploits. He'd always said they were far to dull in comparison.
"No, actually. I came because I hear you're planning an expedition to the Deep Roads." That was the best excuse I could come up with. It wasn't for another two years, but I hoped that the brothers had at least pondered about it.
Varric's face lost the humorous glint and became serious. "My... associate and I have not yet told anyone of the possibility, but yes. We are." His eyes were stern and did not look trusting.
I shrugged. "It's not as if Bartrend doesn't have a big mouth."
Oh the lies that slipped off my tongue like the truth. My father was a wonderful teacher in the art of deceit. (But he always knew when I lied to him...)
The dwarf slammed his hand on the table, swearing.
"What do you want then?"
I pulled out one of my larger coin bags and tossed it in the air idly. "I want to become a partner."
Varric laughed. "I like you, human. You've got spirit. As one of the brothers, and because I'm smarter- I accept your proposal. But it's going to be at least a year before bartrend gathers everything."
I grinned. "Oh, I know."
Varric, so taken with my charm, decided it would be entertaining to follow me around should I want his company. I was beside myself with joy, struggling to stay composed. The first of my companions! This was really happening!
I suddenly remembered the redheaded man downstairs and raced to see him, carefully side stepping a barmaid juggling far too many drinks.
He was just as I'd left him, drinking away his consciousness, alone, and his bow strapped to his back. He lifted his mug to drink but I intercepted, my hand forcing the pint down. He glared darkly.
"Drinking won't solve your problems. It only numbs the pain."
"Begone, woman," he muttered, his odd accent, that pleasing brogue, shooting shivers down my spine. "I drink to my family, gone forever."
My eyes softened and lowered myself down next to him at the table, my hand moving from his mug to his arm.
"I know. But drinking it away is worse than avenging them. You shame their memory."
His hand stilled as he was about to bring the mug to his lips. "Revenge?"
I could have sighed. This wasn't exactly the path we took last go around (that is, if he wanted to take the revenge himself) but I wouldn't stand in the way of what he wanted.
"Yes! Of course! After I avenge them, I will be at peace!" He moved to stand quickly but swayed, the drinks he'd had taking their toll. I rushed to catch him and slowly lowered him back into his seat.
"Easy, Sebastain. You've ingested a lot of alcohol."
His breathing paused as he looked at me with wide eyes. Even in his drunken state, he knew he hadn't given me his name.
Lie fast, Hawke!
"Nora told me," I said, pointed to the barmaid.
Sebastain relaxed and let out a breath, his crystal eyes watching me. If he had been anyone else, I'd have thought he was giving me bedroom come hither eyes.
His face started turning red before my eyes, and his eyes flickered to the hand that was still touching him, something I'd not forgotten. It infuriated me, this man vowed to chasity.
I gritted my teeth, knowing how stupid I was. He was a priestly prince, bound by his word and birthright to a life I could never be apart of.
He had offered a chaste marriage, all those years ago. It was my rejection (and allowing Anders to run) that caused him to leave for Starkhaven. There he had an actual marriage with a princess, producing an heir soon after.
Chaste marriage, Andraste's...
I removed my hand with a heavy sigh.
He affected the way I thought, even now.
Plastering a fake smile on my lips, I stood after sliding him a piece of paper. "This is where I'm staying for now. You'll need help with that revenge. Call on me when you're sober."
"I didn't catch your name."
"It's Hawke. Just Hawke."
Author's Note. Chapter one, done! And I've still got more already written. I'll try to put up some more by tomorrow. Please review, let me know what you liked, what I did wrong, any misspellings or incorrect punctuation. See you all soon!
Sharem: Thanks! I hope you continue to enjoy it! (Real quick, favorite Hawke pairing?)
Review, please! I'd like to know favorite Hawke pairings. I'm contemplating putting it to a poll because I'm extremely indecisive about it. 'Cause Hawke a flexible character, it's easy to see her with anyone.
Thank you, everyone!