the end

9/9: inspired by reaching the end of DA2 again, sob!! I can’t handle my life without this game

“What the fuck did you do?” Hawke shouted, shattering the stillness of the night-shrouded coast. Besides the low hush of the wind through the scrub, his voice was the only sound. He pivoted and stalked back a few paces towards Anders. They faced off for a moment before Hawke raised a hand as though to strike the other mage, forgetting for a second the scathing roil of magic beneath his surface. He wanted to feel the damage he dealt, for once—wanted to feel flesh give way.

But nothing came of it. The fury drained out of him in a sorry trickle, leaving him utterly void of—anything. Always the one to find sardonic humor in the midst of any situation, Hawke just felt vitiated. Anders had stolen the final vestige of stability he’d had, after the devastation of his entire family.

“What the fuck,” Hawke said, “Did you do.”

His fist dropped to his side but remained clenched. Anders, who’d shown no inclination to respond to the implicit threat, relaxed visibly nonetheless. His face tightened into an expression of sour indignation.

“I did what needed to be done, Hawke. You of all people should know that.”

This time when Hawke brought his fist up, it was to strike Anders across the face. A solid hit and one he stepped into. Anders stumbled backward and Hawke cried out—pain clutched his knuckles and thrummed up from his hand into his elbow.

“That hurt,” he said, looking aghast at Varric. The dwarf, ever beside him, gave him a baffled look. “You never told me punching someone hurt, Varric.”

“Well, if you’d asked, I would’ve told you,” Varric said. “As it stands, can’t say the subject ever came up.”

Anders touched a hand to his jaw and made no move to rejoin their group. He stood a few feet off, looking wild and wary as a wolf. Something about that made Hawke livid—Anders the hunted, Anders the secluded castaway who’d never needed to be. Hawke’s eyes narrowed to slits and he felt Varric’s hand on his arm. But the time for heeding reason had passed—Hawke had held everything in restraint for too long. He’d barely grieved the deaths of his family, one by one, first to keep the remaining family together and then to keep Kirkwall together.

No more. There couldn’t be more, because his reasons for stability had been steadily, almost thoughtfully, eradicated.

“I have nothing left,” he said, his voice low and rough with grief. “I have nothing left to fight for and nobody left to fight. Besides you.”

Anders said nothing but that glow, that hated glow, kindled behind his eyes. “You know not what you do,” he said, his voice an unearthly rumble.

“I know that I should’ve done it years ago,” Hawke said, his breath coming quicker as the magic in his blood boiled. “The moment you began lying to me I should’ve done it.”

The magic begged release and he let it go. It twisted out from him in a jolt of furious lightning, energy so unbound a tongue of it struck him, as well. Anders cried out and then fire roared loose from him—Hawke, consumed, didn’t even move. The fire struck him and the last of his restraints fell with the onslaught of pain.

He yelled and lightning showered down upon them. Energy crackled in the air and sparks struck fire from the brush. The night came alive in blinding white, and Hawke felt himself slipping, giving way, relenting…

Varric’s hand closed around his arm. Hawke screamed at the pain this caused him, but the dwarf held, brushing sparks off his coat with his other hand and swearing in a steady stream.

“Don’t fuck it up this badly, Hawke!” Varric shouted above the crackle of energy. “Fuck it up a little—you always do—but not like this!”

Hawke glanced down and met Varric’s eyes. Then he looked up and over at Anders, who stood braced beneath the shower of electricity. His eyes, illuminated in the flicker of magic, were the eyes of an exhausted man—they were also wild with fear and sorrow. The hail of lightning tapered off and ceased.

The two mages stood panting, squared off across a few feet of dusty path. Hawke shook his head, then turned to rejoin the group. He didn’t care whether or not Anders followed, though he knew he’d never forgive himself if he let the fugitive die like a hunted animal alone out here on the coast.

He passed Fenris and stopped, caught the elf’s green eyes and said nothing as they studied his own.

“You should have killed him,” Fenris said.

“I would have lost myself in doing so,” Hawke said. He felt—so empty.

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hard bright wings

9/eh don’t remember when I wrote this, couple days ago

“Death is in his hard bright wings”

aka that moment where both your warriors die and your ranged rogue has to tank the dragon while your spirit healer mage uses his 0 offensive spells to kill it

Hawke knew how exaggeratedly Varric loathed the Deep Roads, and he’d honestly done everything in his power to meliorate the experience somewhat. Until now. Not everything could be avoided.

Well, the dragon definitely could’ve been avoided. And waking the dragon by weighing a chunk of stone in his hand and lobbing it before Carver could stop him. Hawke supposed if he’d been a bit quicker and more attentive with healing, perhaps Fenris and Carver wouldn’t have fallen so quickly in the battle that ensued. Then, maybe, they wouldn’t be pinioned against the back wall of a corridor with the dragon bearing down on them.

The familiar ache and surge of magic pooled and then poured out of him. It siphoned through his staff and a rush of lightning fulgurated across the dragon’s scales.

“Distract him!” Hawke yelled, a plan sitting nebulous and half-formed in the back of his head. Without bothering to complete it, he lunged around the dragon and up the corridor.

“Excuse me?” Varric yelled behind him, followed by the low ka-chunk of Bianca launching a bolt. “No! No! Mage! You son of a bitch, get your apostate as back here and cover me!”

Hawke laughed, sliding to a stop behind the dragon and dodging its tail when the thing lunged for Varric.

“What qualifies me as a distraction, anyway?”

“You’re loud and very irritating!” Hawke gritted his teeth, adrenaline hammering in the back of his skull. “And probably quite tasty, too!”

“Well thank you,” Varric said, ducking before raising Bianca and firing another salvo of bolts. The dragon twisted backward, shaking its head. Hawke felt the fire burgeoning in the dragon’s chest—behind the beast, even, the temperature rose a couple degrees. He couldn’t imagine how Varric felt.

Again the surge of magic from his flagging reserve. This time, he formed it into a glyph on the ground beneath the dragon. It flashed brilliant green and the dragon, fire glowing in its gullet, froze in place, a look of stricken rage in its eyes.

“Holy shit!” Varric yelled, firing a bolt into the beast’s throat. Hawke, sweat standing on his skin, whirled his staff around and electricity sizzled loose from the weapon to strike the dragon. Again and again, panic seizing up within him, until the wings crumpled inward and the dragon collapsed.

Hawke and Varric looked at one another across the folded corpse.

“What the hell were you thinking, ‘be a distraction’?” Varric said, shaking his head as he stowed Bianca against his back. He stepped gingerly around the dragon.

“Stand still,” Hawke said, his brow furrowing as he summoned his mana, feeling the usual tide of placating warmth as the healing magic left him and poured across Varric.

Finished, Hawke stood straight and glanced toward where Fenris and Carver lay. In time they would regain consciousness. For now, he thought, he could rest and regain his strength.

stories

9/6: “People need stories to survive reality.”

I’m replaying Dragon Age 2 for the billionth time so please enjoy all the fanfic, i can’t help myself. also there are probably a lot of tense changes in this i can’t be bothered to pay attention to tense, jeez!!

Here’s a simple truth: People need stories to survive reality. It’s what keeps lowly serial writers such as myself in cheap Darktown ale. If my years have taught me anything, it’s that the kind of story doesn’t matter. Could be an in depth literary treatise on the state of mankind—could be Hard in Hightown. I think it’s the nature of being a story, the lure of escapism. That old story, recycled down through generations, that breathes life into the soul of a man.

Anyway. Feeling like I’m starting my own comprehensive treatise on the state of mankind, here.

I’m sitting on a cliff on the Wounded Coast and Hawke lays stretched out on the dirt beside me. It’s the sort of quintessential moment you’ll have with people that outlines that ineffable quality of your relationship. The breeze off the ocean blows cool and the sky is that perfect indecision between dusk and sunset, where the clouds are low and blue-violet and the horizon blushes pink. It smell exactly like the transition between summer and fall—you know it? I hope so, because I’ll be damned if I could describe it.

“What’re you writing?” Hawke asks somnolently, rolling over enough to bring his shoulder against my thigh. “Love stories?”

“Why yes, I’m composing several ballads devoted to the reflection of the sunlight off your biceps.”

He coughs with laughter, a sound that lets me know I startled him with my jest. It’s a sound that, through all the years we’ve known each other, never fails to make me smile. Hawke is a lot of things you’d never know from the stories, even the ones I wrote. He’s hilarious and sly and thrives on physical contact. He makes you feel like the funniest damn person in Thedas.

“Really though,” he says, and I look sideways at him. He looks just as bright and mischievous as always.

“Would it freak you out if I said I was writing about you?”

He smiles. “No. Does that make me terribly conceited?”

“Only if it doesn’t make me horrible that if you minded, I still wouldn’t stop.”

“Fair.”

He rolls back over onto his back but keeps his arm slung companionably over my knee. I don’t mind. The way he carries on with Anders, I have my suspicions about Hawke—but he’s never given me any indication that he feels more than friendship toward me. Besides, even if he does, I’ve been propositioned by far uglier men.

I begin to write again but dusk has begun to melt into full sunset and I grow more and more preoccupied. Down the cliffs the ocean ripples, stirred by the indolent breeze, the stippled surface alight in shades of pink and orange. Across the tongue of the Waking Sea, the austere silhouette of Kirkwall rises, limned now by clouds shattered into a thousand shades of purple. I find it difficult to avert my eyes. Kirkwall isn’t a beautiful city by any means, but it has its moments.

“Mother was always telling us to enjoy beauty where you can find it,” Hawke says, voicing my thoughts. He has an eerie way of always doing that.

I look at him and he smiles.

“I don’t know what to do, now that she’s gone,” he says. “It’s like—my entire life has been this litany of protecting mother, making her proud. And now she’s gone. I don’t know what to do.”

“You know what I did when my mom died?” I say, and Hawke’s eyes flick up to find mine. “I read her the entire first novel I ever wrote, while she wasted away. And when she died, I destroyed it. Don’t be me, Hawke. Don’t tear apart everything you’ve worked for. She wouldn’t like that.”

He looks at me, and I watch the infinitesimal motion of his pupils for a long moment, both of us silent as the sun sets.

“I don’t know how,” he says. “All I know how to do is tear myself apart.”

I touch his wrist where it drapes across my knee. He twitches a little and then his fingers tighten against my calf and I notice he’s crying.

“Never fear, Serah Hawke,” I say as grandiosely as I can with my throat tightening around the words. “That’s what your gratuitously handsome dwarven friends are here for. To hold you together.”

“I have more than one gratuitously handsome dwarven friend?” he says, lifting an eyebrow.

I chuckle. “I hope not. You don’t want to make me jealous.”