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9/15 c62 15Vanessa Masters
Awww Shepard comforting that poor girl, and then...oh boy. Seeing the arishock in bath rofl.
9/15 c61 Vanessa Masters
I hope this soar doesn't end in a tie breaker. Like with turians
9/15 c60 Vanessa Masters
It's either fish that thing out of wherever it's hidden, or Shepard sleep with the arishock.

I'd rather do the finding lol
9/15 c59 Vanessa Masters
By the time they reached the library tent, the Arishok was making the deep rumbling growl that turned Shepard's insides to liquid fire. He whirled on her as soon as the tent flap had fallen shut behind her.

"Once again," he growled, "you have seen fit to involve yourself in matters of the qun. I am rapidly losing patience."

"You are?" Shepard retorted. "I lost mine a long time ago." She pointed in the direction of the tent flap. "Without my involvement," she continued, "Seamus Dumar would be dead. Is that what you wanted?"

"The viddathari is not your concern!" he roared.

"Like hell!" she roared back. "Part of my job is to protect people!"

"Your role is to learn and to submit, like all kabethari!"

"I am not one of your converts!"

The Arishok's eyes glittered. "You are kabethari, uncertain of your path. That will change."

"No. It won't," said Shepard firmly. "And we aren't talking about me. We're talking about Seamus Dumar."

One huge hand reached out and grasped her wrist. "You are wrong. On both counts."

Shepard broke his grip. "So what was your plan?" she asked, her voice bitter. "What political machinations would the kid's death serve?" She took a step forward and poked him in the chest. "What were you trying to prove?"

"I?" The broad brow furrowed beneath the sweeping horns. "I sought to prove nothing. Asit tal eb. What happened was simply a result of the foulness, the decay of this city." His eyes bored into hers, and he caught her wrist again. "Can you not see it yourself?"

An image of Omega arose in Shepard's mind. "I've seen worse," she retorted.

"When a wound festers, it matters little that another was worse. What matters is that the wound be treated; the rot removed. I can no longer ignore what is all around me." His fingers felt like the shackles she'd worn when the Alliance took her into custody the day she'd surrendered herself on Earth. She tried to break his grip a second time.

"An infection means nothing when you're bleeding out," she said from between her teeth. "If you take the city, many people— innocent people— will die."

There was a moment of gut-knotting tension. Shepard stopped struggling, and held the burning yellow stare heartbeat for heartbeat.

The Arishok released her.

"Go," he said. "Make certain the bas know I will no longer tolerate threats to the qun."

_

And what are your demands, if the Win demands shepard dead?

Oh, this is spiraling towards that intense end that I love and hate
9/15 c58 Vanessa Masters
She straightened her shoulders. "If the qun demands retribution, shouldn't it also demand protection?"

"No."

"Where's the sense in that?"

"I do not need to explain myself to you!"

"You do if you expect me to understand your reasoning!"

"It not necessary for you to understand. Your capacity for understanding is limited."

"Oh yeah? Well, I understand that this is a setup! If you would pull your pointy head out of your ass for a minute you'd see that the viscount's planning an intervention. And the smart move is to prevent it rather than letting the viscount force your hand!"

"And the bas will insist the viddathari is a prisoner."

"Not it you let me go with him!"

They stopped. Their faces were still only inches apart, and both were breathing heavily. Green eyes fought gold eyes in the all-galaxy glaring competition.

"It's the logical choice," Shepard continued after a moment. "It's the only choice. I am as close to neutral as either of you are going to get in this city. I won't let the viscount detain the kid, but if he changes his mind, I'm not going to force him to return to the compound."

"No," said the Arishok with an air of finality.

"Of all the bosh'tet…" she muttered. "Have it your way." Shepard threw up her hands and stalked away.

_

Well, thank goodness she didn't listen to him, but the Adhad called her Shepard only. Wih oh.
9/15 c57 Vanessa Masters
Lol Hawke trusts Varric to SATISFY her.

And Anders, fresh out of bath, shirtless...yum.

Uh oh, drama!

And Griffon lol

I'd wager that's not the first, hairy, drooling, snoring critter you found in your bed, Hawks.
9/15 c56 Vanessa Masters
And you thought the qunari could help," he said with a nod. "I still don't see the problem."

Shepard grabbed the mage's coat and pulled him nose-to-nose with her. "The Arishok wants me."

"He's not the only one."

Abruptly, Shepard released the mage's coat and skittered backward as if too close to venting plasma.

Anders blinked in consternation. "Not me!" he hastened to add. "Or, well, yes, of course, but no…" He took a deep breath and let it out. "Shepard, you may be the biggest— what was the word you used once?— badass?— I've ever seen. And remember, I was recruited into the Wardens by Edana, who killed an archdemon and ended the Fifth Blight. I know badasses. You? Not even the same league."

He shook his head. "Of course the Arishok wants you. You're probably the only woman he's ever met that could honestly challenge him in a fight."

Shepard groaned and put her head in her hands again. "That's the problem."

Anders made an impatient huffing sound. "What problem?"

Shepard lifted her head again to glare at him. "You sound like Hawke," she complained.

"So maybe Hawke is right," he snapped. Then he frowned. "How do I sound like Hawke?"

"She doesn't see why I'm not rolling around with the Arishok right now."

"I assume because you don't want to be," Anders said with a shrug. "According to you, you've saved the galaxy. As problems go, I don't see how this compares."

Shepard straightened up. "The Arishok is one of the leaders of his people," she repeated dully. "Of the qunari, the followers of the qun. And he's attracted to me, a human who is pretty much the antithesis of the qun." She ticked the points off on the fingers of one hand. "He's stuck in Kirkwall because his honor and sense of duty won't let him leave until he finds whatever it is that was stolen from the qunari; he feels nothing but contempt for the city's inhabitants, and in my estimation he could take the city in less than a day of fighting." Shepard shook her head. "He's already a powder keg, and now all he can think about is breaking his cultural norms to do the forbidden monkey dance with someone he doesn't even respect."

She inhaled sharply through her nose and smiled grimly. "The situation is… problematic."

Anders was silent for a moment.

"Ah," he said. "If your ship does come for you, do you think there would be room for one more?"

_

Oh yeah, and Hawke finally grasps the seriousness. But to be fair, her mother died recently so.

Oh, Merrill. So, unless Varric says it it's not a bad word? Rofl
9/15 c55 Vanessa Masters
I'm not talking about the ruins." Fenris made a dismissive slashing motion with one hand. "I'm talking about the qunari."

Shepard paused in the act of toweling her hair and gave the elf a surprised look. "Ashaad? What about him?"

"He calls you kadan."

Shepard scowled. "You mean there's something worse than basra?" She ran the now-damp rag over her limbs to dry herself the best she could.

Fenris shook his head. "It is not an insult, Shepard," he informed her. "It is a term of affection."

The rag dropped from Shepard's fingers and she gave the elf an incredulous look. "He's calling me sweetheart?"

Fenris folded his arms over his lean chest. "And just why would you think that?"

Crap. The skinsuit, like her underwear, was sticking to her as she tried to pull it on. Her skin was still too damp for the fabric to slide easily.

"Me?" she snorted, struggling with the damn thing. "You were the one who said it was a term of affection."

"Shepard, why would you seduce the Arishok?!" he demanded harshly, dropping his arms and moving closer. "What did you think it would accomplish?"

"You… I… what?!" With a yelp, Shepard fell into her hardsuit, legs tangled hopelessly in the woven synthetic underlayer. She glared up at Fenris. "I am going to kill Hawke," she said flatly. "And what makes you think I had any say in the matter? Have you met the Arishok?" She tried to straighten the garment and get it over her hips. "How was I to know that he was turned on by uppity women?"

Fenris looked puzzled and wary. "Are you saying he took you by force?"

"What?! No!" With a certain amount of wiggling, Shepard forced the skinsuit past her hips and thrust a hand into an armhole. "There's been no… we haven't…" she grunted and tugged fiercely to pull the underlayer up and over her shoulder. "Hawke knows that." An uncomfortable bout of contortion and her other arm was in place. "Damn you people and your stupid friend fiction!"

Shepard ran the zipper up on the suit and rested her forearms on her knees, giving Fenris a dark look. For his part, the elf looked even more confused.

"Friend fiction?" he murmured. "Then you…" Fenris paused, and looked at her intently. "Shepard, tell me truly: what happened between you and the Arishok?"

"Nothing," she said. "A misunderstanding," she amended. And then, because Fenris was still watching her expectantly, she sighed and tried to explain. "Look, the qunari were used to getting some whenever they wanted. But then they end up stuck in Kirkwall for three years. Most people are afraid of them, so it's not like there was any mixing with the locals going on, and, well..."

"Well what?" grated the elf.

Shepard shrugged. "I wasn't afraid. I got in his face a lot, and he… liked that, I guess."

"And you haven't…"

"No!"

_

Well, poor Shepard, I feel for her, but this is more serious than she thought.

The arishock is one of the top three. So, yeah, unless you cleave his head in half, you ain't getting away from him.

And her learning what kadan means.

Anders "sleep ambushing her" lol

Calling Varric, pint sized bastard ha!
9/15 c68 Doomharvester1
Nice! Shepard has set up her own thermopylae. If she can bottle neck them on the stairs from the harbour to low town she could probably hold them for a bit depending if she attempts a non-lethal holding action or a lethal one, how the Arishok responds to said holding action ( does he order her killed, incapacitated or taken prisoner) and how the city guard and the templars react to the disturbance her holding action will cause because i can see Meredith trying to take shepard out with the qunari while shepard is busy and has her back to them. Should be interesting.
9/15 c41 Guest
I just wanna say that every update from you is a joy. Your sense of humor is amazing. I’m sorry for the criticisms you recieve and some of us would understand if you don’t update as often or if you stop writing altogether. This is your story and you have free rein on what to write. Take care
9/15 c59 Kaosdrachen
"You are kabethari, uncertain of your path. That will change."

... It strikes me that the Arishok not only has no idea how wrong he is, he doesn't even have the context to begin to realize how terribly wrong he is and that the absolute last thing anyone sensible would /want/ to see is Shepard being certain of her path.

When Shepard is certain of her path, when the situation has gotten dire enough that only one option is left, that's when Relays explode and worlds burn. That's when she destroys /everything/ that gets in between her and her goal, no matter the cost, because it's /that/ important.

... If things go like they do in the DA2 game, Shepard being certain of her path will /be/ the last thing he sees, shortly before she puts a bullet from Garrus through both his horns at once.
9/15 c68 Artimuos Sen
I hope during the invasion Normandy arrives and half of the people think Shepard as Andraste reborn rejoining Maker via flying ship.
9/15 c65 Artimuos Sen
Wow Aveline is really incompetent, those two guards at least deserve suspension, no wonder the city is in such a mess with a idiot leader.
9/14 c56 2moistlemon
ngl at first I was sort of shipping Shep and the arishok but now their "relationship" comes of more as creepy than anything, idk if that was the intention but the way people keep on insisting despite her denial kinda grosses me out. I know Shep just addressed this issue but all the social pressure surrounding their relationship just adds to this feeling imo

ps just wanted to say so glad you're writing again, i remember feeling a little annoyed at seeing this story unfinished when I discovered it a long time ago (after you had stopped updating). in retrospect I feel like a dummy for not considering the fact that there was a really good reason for it (besides just writer's block, which I feel is why most fics don't get finished here). either way, I will never understand those who outright disrespect ff authors, like I sort of owe y'all a large portion of my mental health just for the amount of entertainment y'all provide and the amount of terrible times y'all have got me through with your works (for FREE?!). in other words, thank you for writing again for a community that has treated you poorly in the past, that's pretty awesome of you.
9/14 c68 dylansandy1993
I love it!
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