The Other Hawke
By: Ryu Katanna
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
It hadn't taken long for Harry to gather a few people together for the job Athenril had asked of him. Merrill, Anders, and Varric hadn't been hard to find and had been all too willing to help him with this short and simple job. Normally, Harry would have asked Fenris, but with the current state of their relationship, he was unsure if that would be wise.
They made their way to the Docks only to be caught in the middle of a fight with Coterie thugs. It was veritable chaos during the fight in which Harry had made his way to the center where a young boy coward from the sight before him. They managed to defeat the thugs as Harry guarded the boy against harm. As the last of the thugs fell he turned the to the boy.
"Th-Thank you. I thought them Coterie men had me for sure." The boy said as he checked behind him before looking back at Harry and continuing.
"I guess the whole thing was a trap. There were no dwarves when I went to make the trade, just Coterie, waiting to kill us. They got the rest of the boys, I ran. I was hoping they wouldn't find me here, but they did." Harry shook his head as the boy explained this before even knowing who they were.
"You give away too much information. If I hadn't been asked a favor by Atheril then you would have just been telling someone you don't know what you were doing. Though you are a bit young to be doing this. Just how old are you?" Harry informed the boy before asking his question.
"I'm fifteen, but I can usually pass for a man. My mama was ripped in two by one of them big horned darkspawn. It's just me and my sisters now. Working for Athenril's the only way to feed the girls." He answered and explain why he was doing this kind of work.
"It's not the only way. It's just the only way you know you can in your situation." Harry said with a small sigh before taking a moment to think as he rubbed his fingers against his brow.
"What are you thinking, Harry? I know that face." Merrill asked knowing her old friend would not just leave this boy with no way to feed his sisters.
"I'm thinking that I could use the services of a strong lad and his sisters. What is your name, and how many sisters do you have? How old are they?" Harry replied before looking back to the teen.
"My name is Pryce. I have two sisters. Arina is twelve and Celi is ten." Pryce answered seeing that this may be a way out, and a better option than working for Athenril depending on what the man would have them do.
"Well Pryce, I just so happens that I could use someone to run errands and do some odds and end jobs. Nothing like the work Athenril would have you do. Nothing dangerous. If you are the only one they have then you shouldn't be risking your life when they are dependant on you." Harry replied only to see the surprise on the boy's face.
"What would you have them do?" Pryce asked remembering that he had included his sisters as well.
"Can they cook? Can they clean?" Harry asked knowing that they most likely could.
"Of course. Mother taught them." Pryce answered with some pride.
"Then let me offer you this. I will employ you to run odd jobs for me. Mostly delivering paperwork and orders, and helping a friend heal and tend to the wounded in his clinic. I will also employ your sisters to cook and clean for me and my charges. In exchange, the three of you will have one of the rooms in my home, food in your stomachs, and some coin to get things you may need such as clothes." Harry offered as Anders perked up at the mention of an extra pair of hands around the clinic.
Harry tried to help him as often as he was able, but he was also a very busy man when it came to his day to day life. An extra set of hands to help out on a more regular basis would really be appreciated. Merrill couldn't help but smile at her friend's generous offer. She had always known Harry to be generous with anything he had. She had an idea of what he had in mind and approved. Varric just shook his own head with a smile. He knew Harry could be ruthless with slavers and people who acted against his own moral code. Then he would turn around and do something like this and remind him what a good man he was beyond the rougher edges.
"I- I guess I will accept your offer. It has to be better than working for Athenril, at any rate." Pryce answered with surprise at the offer knowing he wouldn't find a better on in Kirkwall.
"Good. Merrill, Varric, would the two of you go with Pryce to retrieve his sisters? Take them to my home. I'll be there after I return the goods to Athenril and speak to her." Harry said before moving to Athenril's cargo and lifting it.
"Of course, Harry. Will you be alright on your own?" Merrill asked as she nodded in agreement.
"I'll be with him. We will meet with you in a bit." Anders replied for him as they all moved to leave the Docks.
"Alright. Let's get this done." Harry said as they headed up the stairs and split up in Lowtown.
Athenril wasn't going to like what he had to say, but he knew that she would relinquish the boy from her employment if it was to him. What she cared most about, she would get. Her cargo was safe, but Harry couldn't help feeling he was getting the better part of the deal.
The night had stretched on. As Harry had predicted, Atheril had released Pryce to Harry after she had received her property. She knew the boy would be better with Harry looking after him and she wasn't that cold. It never really did sit well with her when she was forced to employ children. Harry knew that but she had to make the money somehow.
Harry had returned to his home in the alienage with Anders. They met with Merrill, Varric, and Pryce. It was then Harry met Arina and Celi. It had not taken long for Harry to get the three set up in the room that had been his. Instead, now Harry would sleep in his workroom. The three of them had been settled and told that they would speak in the morning as he got the girls bundled in his own sleeping furs.
The conversation with his friends had been brief after that. He had told Anders he would send Pryce to him to learn what he would need to help out. Merrill had been asked if she would seek out the Hahren after she woke. Harry would have to explain the presence of three more humans among the elves. Varric had dismissed himself back to the Hanged Man around that time. Harry knew that soon enough he would be visited by a curious and concerned brother and sister.
Harry woke to feeling a bit stiff, but thankful for the mild climate. He would have to go hunting soon. With the three children staying in his home he would have need of more furs before winter arrived. He stepped out to find all three were awake and standing around the fire in the main room. They looked a bit sheepish as twelve-year-old Arina cooked over the flame.
"It's okay. You may make use of anything you find here. Just stay out of my workroom unless I've specifically asked for something. Some of the herbs are toxic and vials may be poisonous. I have no wish for you three to be hurt. Understand?" Harry asked as he took note that he would have to build a new table and chairs.
All but one of the chairs had been broken after finding out about Zathrian's fate. The man had been his mentor in healing, and his loss had hit Harry hard. He had lost so much more to the Blight than he had ever known. Zathrian's Clan had taught him so much. Now, most of them were gone.
"Yes, sir." Three voice's answered him and Harry nodded.
"Eat. We will speak after you have broken fast." Harry said before waiting for them to finish.
It didn't take long before they were done, and with their bellies full, Harry motioned for them to follow him. He stepped outside to see the now familiar sight of the late morning bustle of the elves. Many nodded to Harry in greeting as the seen him. Returning the greetings, Harry gestured around them as he looked back at the three.
"Tell me. What is it you see?" Harry asked before stepping to the side so they could look around.
"Elves." Pryce answered with a little hesitation at the curious looks he and his sisters were receiving.
"People." Ciel answered when Harry didn't respond only to receive a small smile that said they were getting warmer.
"Men, women, and other children." Arina answered as she too looked around.
"Yes. Do you want to know what I see?" Harry asked only to receive nods from the three.
"I see community. I see people who are discriminated and beaten down for what they are working together. I see a race of people who have been subjected to unfair treatment for generations only because they are different. I see people who know suffering. Yet, it is those same people who have come together to help each other. To protect each other." Harry answers as a note of pride and affection filled his voice.
He went silent as the children looked around with new eyes. He could see the moment each of them started to understand. Humans and elves were indeed different. Humans only came together in times of strife. Even then most would sooner abandon one of their own if it meant they could improve their own station in life.
"I see the people who I vowed many years ago to help. I see the ones who have had no voice that could be heard and have chosen to speak for them if only so they will be." Harry finished with a small smile as Merrill walked up to him alongside a curious Talena and stiff faced Valeron.
"I already spoke with the Hahren, lethallan. I explained, and she sent Talena and Valeron to meet them." Merrill told him in her bubbly way as she greeted him.
"So you bring yet more shem among us?" Valeron's voice expressed his disdain, but Harry had gotten used to it from him by now.
It was his way, and Harry held no ill will toward him because of it. He knew of the People's history.
"They are children, Valeron. Orphaned in the Blight. They seek only to live; like all of us." Harry replied only to look at Telena when she spoke.
"What do you intend to do with them, Harry?" She asked softly as she studied them.
"Only to give them the means to live until they are old enough to do so on their own. I was thinking Pryce could run the simple errands for me to the Keep. My friend could also always use an extra hand at his clinic. The girl's I was thinking could help with the cooking and cleaning in my home and some small, reasonable, chores around the alienage." Harry replied only to see Talena breath what looked to be a small sigh of relief.
"So they would be working for you?" Telena asked with a small smile as she knew Harry wouldn't take advantage of the young ones.
"Yes. In exchange, I have offered a room in my home, food from my table and some coin for things they may need. As you know I do not spend much of my time in my home when I'm being called to my other responsibilities. They could take on other work around the alienage, or with my mother if they wish to as well. I just hope the People will accept their presence as they grow. At least until they can provide for themselves." Harry replied as he noticed a few other elves from the alienage lingering around the hear what he said.
There was a brief silence before Talena turned to the three Harry had taken in.
"Do all three of you agree to work for our Ambassador?" She asked just to make sure they would be fine.
"Yes, ma'am. Harry has been most generous in his offer." Pryce replied knowing that this was probably the best thing they could do.
He had been working for Athenril. Harry had said that the jobs wouldn't be dangerous, and it would provide his sisters with more than he would have been able to. He had been struggling since their parent's death. Some days he was surprised that they had made it this far. He honestly couldn't thank the man enough for this opportunity.
"How do you feel about the elven people?" Talena asked with a nod of acknowledgment to his answer.
"We've never really been around elves before. Mama always said to treat others how we would wish to be treated though." Arina chimed in as she fingered her dirty skirt bashfully under the older woman's gaze.
"I do not believe their minds to have been so poisoned by the human's bigotry." Harry said with a small smile at the young girl's answer.
"Are you sure you will be alright with three more mouths to feed?" Talena fretted a bit when she thought of how much the young man already did for her people.
"I have been truly blessed in life, Talena. I live in a wonderful community, do good work to contribute, have a roof over my head, a fire in my hearth, and food in my pot. I learned many things from living among the Dalish. One of those things was that the blessings one receives in life are meant to be shared." Harry spoke honestly knowing that the woman would understand.
"Very well. We will tell the Hahren what has been said here. You have been a blessing to us as well, Harry. I do not think she will object." Talena said with a smile as the elves who had gathered around nodded in agreement.
The kids could stay. During that time they would learn. They would grow, and hopefully, they would be better for it. Hopefully, they would see the truth in Harry's words.
It was a few weeks later that Harry found himself just outside of Kirkwall once more. He had been so busy during that time that he hadn't spent much time with his sister. He felt a bit guilty, but with things as they were, he couldn't help it. Yet, he knew she had been kept just as busy.
He had handed off the letter he had found in his search for Feynriel. Marian had taken it to the Templar it had been addressed to. Harry didn't know what had come of that, and nor did he much care. He had been distracted with getting Pryce, Arina, and Ciel settled. They now all had their own sleeping furs, decent clothing, and a table and chairs in the main living area.
He had heard from Varric and Merrill about some mages who had been making demons possess Templars. It concerned him. Had they been making demons out of spirit in the Fade. Harry had Merrill take him to where they had found the Templar in a stasis. Under her watchful eye, Harry had fallen asleep to enter the fade to investigate. Luckily, he found that the spirits hadn't been forced against its purpose. Unluckily, there was still a few demons who were lingering in the fade, waiting for the chance the mages had promised. He had left quickly to avoid their attention.
He had been further perturbed when he had heard of the altercation with a Qunari squad. Harry had been busy in Ander's clinic teaching Pryce what to do when it had happened. He did not like the sound of the woman who had instigated tensions with the Qunari. She had planned for his sister to perish in the fight. No, he did not like what he had heard about the woman at all. This Sister from the chantry. This Sister Petrice. If he ever had the displeasure of meeting her she would know it.
Now here they were looking for escaped Circle Mages to save them from their own stupidity at the request of a kind-hearted Templar name Sir Thrask. The Templar had been interested to meet Harry personally after he had help Feynriel. Harry knew the man thought his heart was in the right place, but if what Harry felt from the Mages connection to the fade turned out to be true, then it was a kindness that had been misplaced.
Harry almost shivered from the feel of the fade as he moved further into the cave with Marian, Isabela, and Fenris. He knew this feeling. There was the heavy, oily feeling of blood magic coming from the area. These Mages really were desperate. The question was; how much further were they willing to go for the chance of freedom?
Once a mage resorted to blood magic is could become a powerful temptation.
It wasn't long before Harry's suspicions were proven correct. That much was obvious as skeletons that had been possessed by demons rose up. They were all quick to reach for their weapons. They had all expected some form of resistance after all.
The fight was quick and all too easy as the old bones broke and cracked on impact with cold steel. The mage that had attacked them, however, took a bit more time. Harry straightened as he tucked his Dar'Misu back into place after they had made their way farther in. He could feel that they weren't alone after this most recent attack. A glance at his sister and the others told him they knew it too.
Looking over Harry could see a mage shaking and cowering away from where the fight had taken place. Marian approached him wearily. The would not be taking chances. They had been attacked by possessed corpses. Who was to say this mage had not set a trap?
"Maker's Blessing! I thought I was going to die down here in this... the tomb! Are you with the Templars? Please, I need to go back to the Circle. I never wanted to be involved in all this. Not when he started making those... those things!" The man said, and Harry only relaxed by a fraction as he reached out to touch the fade around the young man.
When he came back clean Harry settled back to listen to the conversation.
"Who is 'he'?" Marian asked to get a feel for what, exactly, they had walked into.
"Decimus... it was his decision. He kept saying the Templars would label us blood mages if we fled- why not use it if it's our best tool? He slit his wrist, and the magic... it rose from the blood and woke the skeletons in the cave." The mage explained almost breathlessly as he told them what he had witnessed.
"I ran. Decimus is wrong- blood magic is a work of evil, not just a power the Templars keep from us for spite!" He continued with such conviction that Harry knew this young man had seen the truth for himself.
"Decimus is the leader of these mages?" Marian asked wanting to know more.
"He's crazy. He said, with our phylacteries gone, no one could find us. We would be free... I think maybe he set the fire. There must be a demon working through him. No normal man would profane the dead like this." The mage said, and Harry couldn't help but think that he was wrong.
There were people in the work who practiced the art of necromancy.
"The Templar Thrask is waiting outside. Surrender to him, and you won't be hurt." Marian told him as she gave him an option.
"I surrender! Take me to the Templars! I want nothing to do with this... blood magic." The mage entreated earnestly, and Harry could tell he really meant it.
"The rest of them, They're still following Decimus. He's gone mad. I think he'd kill us all just to take the Templars down." He finished before hurrying away towards the entrance to meet with Thrask.
"Well, that was informative." Harry muttered as he turned to continue on in the direction they needed to go.
"Yes. Looks like the others are following this Decimus. Whether it's from fear or they really believe that blood magic is their only way out, we should be careful." Marian said as she can to walk next to him.
The four of them continued on until they came to an area that was more open then the paths they had traveled through. Harry eyed the skeletons they walked around wearily. He just knew that they were going to become a problem. Soon there eyes settled on two mages kneeling before a third. This man must be Decimus, then. Harry was reminded of Voldemort as he took in the sight.
"They're here! The Templars have come to take us back to the circle!" A long-haired blonde mage shouted in warning to the others as he turned to glare at them.
"Decimus, no! Stay your hand. These are no Templars." A brown haired mage woman pleaded with the man.
"What do I care what shield they carry? If they challenge us, the dead themselves will rise to meet the call!" The man, Decimus, had a crazy look in his eyes as he called upon his blood magic in a swirl of power.
Seeing this, the woman turned and fled. Harry drew his Dar'Misu in one fluid motion as he turned and block an attack that had been aimed at his back by a skeleton. Using his foot he kicked the skeleton back before attacking another. This fight, however, was far from over.
Spells flew from Decimus and a couple other mages. It didn't take them long to decimate the corpses, but the mages were a different story. Harry dodged the spells that hame flying as he closed in on one of the mages. The force from him first blow made them stagger, but his second was aimed to finish it. Harry looked over to see that the other mage had already fallen, and Marien had just finished with their leader. Decimus lay dead before his sister.
"You killed him! Oh, Decimus, you should have listened to me, love..." The brown-haired woman came running back as she stared at the body on the ground in shock.
"I saw what you are. How could you murder one of your own just for daring the defy the Templars?" She said with a visible expression of anger that had Harry shaking his head incredulously.
"You think he brought those skeletons to like to serve me tea?" Marian asked with an acrid sarcasm, and Harry couldn't help the laughter that escaped him.
"I warned him. I told him, once he marked himself as a blood mage, that was all anyone would see."
"Are we supposed to believe that you had no part in his actions?" Fenris asked clearly not believing her in the slightest.
"I swear to you. I have had no truck with demons." The woman said seriously as she looked directly at Marian.
"Please... we only want our freedom. Without your help, the Templars will execute us all for Decimus's crimes." She entreated for understanding.
"If not in the Circle, how do you intend to live?" Marian asked as she thought about it.
"I hear there are places, outside the Free Marches, where the Templars are not so vigilant." The woman answered, and it was then Harry knew they couldn't have come up with any plan other than 'run'.
"I would never turn a fellow mage over to the Templars." Marian replied and Harry bit his tongue.
"Then we must first throw off pursuit. There is a Templar who followed us. You must have met him when you entered. Kill him, and we can get clear of Kirkwall before the Templars send more men." The woman stated as if it was a reasonable plan.
"Yes. Let's murder a Templar. Surely that will help." Fenris responded with angered sarcasm.
"I believe I've heard enough." Harry said as he made his presence known.
"Harry?" Marian asked curiously.
"If you do this Marian, you will have no aid from me." Harry told her only to receive a lot of surprise from his companions.
"What? Why?" Marian asked with some confusion for his reasoning.
"It is obvious they have no real plan. They know only what their goal is, and will do what they feel they must to reach it. Not for one moment would I believe they would not resort to blood magic again. They are desperate, and a desperate mage is dangerous. Here there is a group of them. They belong in a Circle where they can be protected from themselves." Harry stated as he watched a gleam enter the mage woman's eyes before it was quickly hidden.
"We have a plan. I just said as much." She defended before Harry quickly tore her down.
"Really? How many of you have ever lived long enough outside the Circle to know what you will encounter? Do you have water? Food? Do any of you know how to hunt?" Harry asked as he spat out this questions at rapid only the chuckle as she didn't respond before he continued.
"No, I thought not. You would be as children in a world unknown to you. You are so desperate to flee that you would entreat another the kill for you. You ask my sister and friends to dirty their hands with the blood of a man who sought us out to help you. You who would see him dead." Harry almost snarled as they woman moved to speak again.
"I have heard and seen all I need to. You would play the victim, but I can see more in your eyes. This is why I do not deal well with shemlen. You are so quick to kill for your own desires. To turn on another. You spoke of Decimus as your love. You were kneeling before him as if he were your salvation but as soon as he is dead and no longer of use to you; you use him and his crimes as an excuse. What love you had for him." Harry remarked snidely before turning away and looking at his shocked sister.
"I will have no hand in helping them. They belong in a Circle." He told her before stalking away.
Marian would make her decision, just as Harry had made his. He stopped before leaving completely. He could not leave without Fenris, Marian, and Isabela. If the mages decided to attack after all then he knew he would need to be nearby.
"You speak to them as if you are not one of them. Yet you are a mage." A voice said to him after a quiet moment and Harry turned to see Fenris had followed him.
"Yes, Fenris. I am a mage but I am not a mage like them. I have no intention to do real harm with my magic. I have vowed never to use Blood Magic. It is an acid that poisons the user. Decimus was half mad already." Harry said with a small sigh as he looked back at the elf before continuing.
"Don't you see, Fenris? Don't you see the differences between the two? They know what they are doing is not right, yet they would do it anyway. They would kill a man who thought only to help them if it only meant the slightest chance of freedom. You were angry with me a few weeks ago for helping Feynriel. Yet, with as scared as he was, he never thought to use his magic to harm his captors. He could have, but he didn't." Harry explained and only hoped Fenris would understand this time.
"That is the difference. I believe that some mages should be in the Circle. Both to protect others and to protect them from themselves. At the same time, there are those of us who just want to live our lives, and there are those like Fenrial. He has a special kind of magic. One that left unchecked could be disastrous. I took him to the clan because I knew there would be little the no help for him in the Circle." Harry explained as he hoped Fenris would understand.
"What about you? What is it you want?" Fenris asked as he thought about what he was being told.
"I do not use my magic very often, Fenris, but when I do it is often only to heal or to defend. If you want to hate me then that is fine, but hate me for something I've done. Not something that I can not help being a part of me. If I had my way I wouldn't want this magic. At the same time, it is because of it that I can fulfill my vow." Harry replied with a sigh as he looked over at where his sister and Isabela was rounding up the mages.
It would seem a decision had been made. Marian looked back at him before giving him a small smile and nodding. Harry breathed a sigh of relief that she had listened. These mages would be returned to the Circle. He looked back at Fenris to see the elf was watching him. Harry knew it would take a long time. There would doubtlessly be differences in opinions, but he felt they would be able to work through that. No one ever knew what the future would hold.
Well, that is it for this chapter. Let me know what you thought. I will update when I can. I have some family stuff going on as well as may be moving. As it is there are only one or two more chapters for The Other Hawk. There will be a sequel containing Acts 2 & 3. Hope you liked it.