Author's note: Thank you to whomever decides to read this, I hope you like it. This is my first time putting any of my writing out into the public, so if you choose to honor me by reviewing, remember what it was like for you the first time. Constructive criticism is welcome.
Disclaimer… Personally, I think the fact that this is a fanfiction website kinda clues us all into the fact that the work put forth here is derived and or inspired by another source, but as many others seem to be dancing to this tune; Bioware and their affiliates with respect to Dragon Age II own all characters, source material, etc… I can only claim the lens I use to focus them, and the words I write.
Fire and Fog
Taut like ragefire coursing through his skin, burning, beating to the rhythm of obscurity, His fists clenched, unclenched, he looked to his feet. "Do you know why you will die?"
"I will die only at my Master's hand. No other has the strength to take my life."
"Oho, little wolf, you have become very brave, haven't you? Certainly too brave, no, no, no, you must respect your betters, little pet."
He shook as her ice froze his armor to his skin, and burned his fingers more deeply in seconds than any fire could do. He gritted his teeth, to keep from crying out, "You will die of minor wounds, little pet, because no matter how valuable your skin has become, you are yet just another animal in the Master's stables… and I don't like you." Her shrill laughter caused his skin to prickle around the marks, and he knew that she drew some terrible pleasure from his agony, from his fears. "Sleep tight pet!" She trilled, slamming the door to his sleeping place. In the near-dark, every shadow looked to be a demon. He shook, huddled in a corner. His markings began to put off a quiet glow, as the lyrium in his skin reacted to his most basic emotions, that glow, banished the most terrifying of shadows, and his eyes closed of their own accord as exhaustion took him into the fade.
"Dog can make his own way, Magister, there is no room."
"You will not leave my slave, he is too valuable-"
"No room! If we take him, we will have to take hundreds like him, and as the load builds so does our weight. You wish to survive? Command your pet to meet you elsewhere, and get aboard the ship. Hurry."
Denarius looked back at Fenris, who realized with terrible, dreadful fear, that his Master would leave him. Fenris looked down, his trousers were ripped, his armor dented, his face, he knew was purple. If he was not healed, he might slip from consciousness, earning a new beating… surely Denarius wouldn't… "Master?"
"Go to Minrathous. I will be there."
"Yes." Fenris said, but he had already boarded the vessel, and they had begun to weigh anchor. Fenris had little time to wonder how he would cross the waters with no boat, injured, and alone, before the sounds of a raging battle hit the pier.
When he woke, the world was alive with the musics of the wild. A cruel sound, so very alive! It stirred something within him- what? He could not say. Then the lady with the fey eyes knelt beside him. He did not have the strength to stop her. She touched a cool cloth to his neck, and he felt the ghost of a wound absorb the numbing cold, before he began to shiver. "You wake?"
He looked at her. She was thin, and small. Her tight lips conveyed a concern he could not recognize. "I am not asleep, if that is what you are asking."
Slowly her mouth's tightness eased, "You will live."
"No one can kill me." He sighed, "Only my Master's will."
"You say that, but the Qunari gave it their best shot." A short thick fellow snapped as he ambled into the light, behind the fey eyed lady.
"Yet I still draw breath." Fenris said in his best imitation of Denarius' sullen arrogance.
"That in its self is a miracle." The lady said, "The Saarebas would have liked nothing more than to fillet your lungs with his ice. He did try, but-"
"Sharna." The man snapped, "Leave the dead alone. Why you wished to help a Magister's pet is beyond me."
"He is just like us, Bardum, before we won our freedom."
"We win our freedom with each breath we take, if he refuses to breathe, why should you trouble to heal his lungs?"
"Because I can! Because if Mota hadn't done the same-"
The man clicked his tongue, and the woman stopped speaking, but her eyes continued the argument, and as he spoke, Fenris believed that she had won. "I know." He said, "I… suppose I just can't see taking in a Magister's dog."
"He is no less a man than you, my love."
The man quirked his eyebrows, "You know this?" Fenris shifted awkwardly, as he realized that his armor was not strapped to his body.
"I feel this." She placed a hand on her chest, which rose and fell in time with Fenris' own. "I am certain of it."
The man reached out, and stroked the top of Sharna's head, "If you are certain, then I stand ready to defend your certainty." His eyes snapped to Fenris' "Elf."
"Yes." He replied, looking studiously over the man's right shoulder, just as he had been taught.
"You have a name?"
"Yeah. You know how to hunt?"
"Are you willing to defend your freedom?"
Fenris blinked, "My… what?"
"Freedom. Will you defend it?"
"I… am not… I am the property of Magister Denarius-"
"Not anymore. You were left behind, Fenris." The lady said, "You can be free, now."
"You aren't making sense!" He growled, "I know what I am. I-"
"How can he know the price of freedom, when he does not understand the concept." Bardum sighed.
"He can learn, Love."
"Love would be an easier topic to teach than freedom. His chains are burned into his skin,"
Flying through the forest, the warriors spread about him, he hefted his sword with a cry and a curse, and then he met the Qunari. The group of three, Ashaad, Avaraad and Saarebas, were unprepared, but not unready. They did not but meet the group, before Avaraad commanded Saarebas to work ice and fire into Fenris' bones. Fortunately, the Fog Warriors protect their own, and before the mage had lifted his hands, an arrow plunged into the exposed flesh below his chin. Saarebas gurgled, staggered, and fell. Avaraad cursed, "You will pay for that Baas!" He roared, as Fenris blocked him. The enormous gray warrior snarled, "You will submit to the Qun!"
"I submit to nothing!" Fenris roared, seeing his former master in place of the enormous Qunari warrior, he tore through Avaraad's midsection, hefted the blade up, and swung around, using his momentum to propel himself into a jump, then bringing the blade crashing down into the fallen male's chest. Ashaad backed away, eyes flicking from Fenris, to the unknowns around him in the trees.
"The Qun does not forbid retreat. I will leave. Allow me to take the weapons of Saarebas and Avaraad."
"Why should I let you go?" Fenris snarled, "You have been harrying us for weeks!"
"I will no longer trouble you."
"But others of your kind will!" He growled, feeling the lyrium in his skin pulse, burn like ice and fire tearing at his epidermis.
"Fenris, I think you can let him go." Bardum said coolly, "Ashaad, you will not return here? The Qun will allow you to speak nothing of us in return for your comrade's souls."
"I… cannot say. I will not return. The thing I seek lies elsewhere. Arishok may take my words and send more here. I cannot promise you."
"Then we will keep the blade of Avaraad, and the staff of Saarebas."
His eyes twitched, "Payment… in return for their souls, I will discourage Arishok from sending the Beresaad. Is this acceptable?"
"Yes." Bardum said.
"No." Fenris snarled. Bardum shook his head, and Fenris amended, for his fellow's sake, "Yes. It is acceptable." Though the words tasted sour on his tongue.
"Take them, and be well."
The Qunari's eyes frowned, though there was no change in the rest of his face. "Thank you. Panahedon." He said, gathering the warriors' respective weapon of choice. "I do not hope you die."
"The feeling is mutual Ashaad. May you find what you seek."
Fenris' lip curled, but before he could speak more, Bardum's eyes silenced him. "We need to move camp."
"Yes." He acknowledged, still watching the Qunari seeker retreat into the jungles of Seheron.
"Come on Fenris."
Before his mind could react, his feet were moving. Obeying.
The day was far too bright. The wind too still. "As though the Maker holds his breath." Fenris said quietly. "This bodes ill…" Fenris was on edge, had been for days. Something was wrong. Something was coming.
"Do you ever smile?" A young female of the clan asked him teasingly. Fenris lost his tongue.
"Yes?" He seemed to ask himself.
"Oh? Would you like to hear a joke?"
Fenris sighed, "Surely there is something better for you to be doing than pestering me."
"Mama told me that if I got you to laugh, I could make sasasca for Daqun."
"So… a joke?"
"If you must."
"You could just laugh."
"But that would cheat you out of you task." He hid his smile from her behind an inscrutable frown.
She sighed dramatically, and then took a deep breath, but whatever she would have said was stolen from her lips as she crashed forward, into him, a ruined house of smoldering flesh. Fenris looked up with horror and fury in his eyes, to find a cruel pair of eyes, smiling at him from across the clearing.
"She was a child."
"You have been a very naughty boy, my little wolf!" Denarius' eyes scolded Fenris, "Heel." He commanded. Fenris fell to his knees, feeling as though his body, his soul were being dragged back into the dark confines of the Magister's staff.
"I told you to heel." He snarled, hitting Fenris with the lightest of flame bursts. "Now, Heel!"
Fenris returned to his Master's side, his back bent, his skin aglow. It seemed to echo… those words Bardum had whispered about chains in his skin. His markings burned brighter, "Please, master. Don't hurt-"
He used the blunt end of his staff to smack Fenris across the jaw, "I commanded you to Minrathous, yet here you stand! You never left Seheron!"
"Master, I tried, I-"
"And All I hear from you is excuses! Fenris, you have defied me!"
"No! Master, I was set upon by Saarebas, they nearly-"
"Quiet! You will now pay your dues to me."
It was then, that the Fog Warriors appeared, mightily painted, fearsomely armed, they beat their chests in challenge. Sharna stepped forth, "You are a mighty warrior, Fenris. A free man. You need not submit to this twisted creature!"
He looked at her with such longing, not for her, she knew, for what she represented… but "It is inevitable, Fenris, you are a slave. My slave."
Fenris' eyebrows twitched, and he knelt. The position was unfamiliar after so long. His back was curved, after finally remembering straightness.
"You will kill each one of them."
"No, I can't-" His protests wanted to be fervent, but they sounded weak. In the end, they were weak.
"You can and will, Fenris."