itsadrizzit: Amy Pond from Vincent and the Doctor (Default)
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This is a short chapter, but I think it's an important one. We get to see the first interplay between the three major players. We get just a hint of backstory for Jo as well as a peek into the past of Jo and Nate. In addition, Anders' conflicting feelings kind of fill me with glee (because I'm a mean, mean writer) and Nate being downright awful in the sexiest way possible is a little hot, even to me, and I wrote it.

The bits at the beginning about Anders not being able to sleep weren't in there originally., but I had a discussion (or watched someone else have a discussion, idek anymore) about the warden dreams and how they might affect mages differently than others and how Anders is basically really messed up anyway so probably nightmares about darkspawn aren't a thing he deals with well, so I thought I'd write in a bit of a throughplot about Anders coming to terms with all the new stuff that comes along with being a warden.

The Dance

I abandoned any thoughts of sleep as the day broke grey and cold, filled with the misty rain that lingered in that part of Ferelden. Unable to find solace from the voices that screamed across my dreams, I’d jerked awake in a panicked cold sweat several times that night. After the third time, I’d given up and wandered down to the kitchens. I was famished anyway.

It felt odd to me, wandering around in the dead of night, going where I pleased with no one questioning my movements. I’d run across a few servants preparing for the following morning, but each of them in turn had nodded in my direction and shuffled to the side of the corridor to allow me passage.

Fatigue won out after my meal of cold chicken and day–old bread, so I’d headed to my room hoping for a few merciful hours of uninterrupted sleep. I hadn’t gotten them, but at least I’d managed to doze until the sunrise.

I wanted nothing more than to crash back into sleep, but I knew it was futile so I forced myself from the warmth of my bed. My stock of healing herbs had run out and the plants were far easier to find when their petals opened to drink in the morning light. I scrubbed my face with cold water, scowling at the dark circles already beginning to form under my eyes, and crept out the door into the mists of the Ferelden north. Another oddity—using the front door. I was accustomed to slinking out back entrances or kitchen windows, scouting for danger with every turn. Whatever else Josephine Cousland had done when she made me a Grey Warden, she’d at least given me the freedom to enjoy the open sky without looking over my shoulder for Templars. I supposed I should be grateful for that.

The herbs I was looking for didn’t grow in direct sunlight, so when the trees thinned, I turned to head deeper into the forest. My eyes caught a flash of silver as I moved and I dove to the ground, face inches from the damp earth. I prepared for the worst, readying a lightning spell in my mind. Maybe I could stun them long enough to gain myself a head start back to the keep. I climbed to my feet, but remained in a crouch. I’d have to act fast and move faster.

I peered around a small tree then let out the breath I didn’t even know I’d been holding. A small figure stood alone in the clearing, two blades moving in unison. She wore light leather armor with no helm. Her dark hair, bound away from her face, reflected the few rays of sun struggling to peek through the clouds. Sweat glistened on her forehead as she danced with graceful movements, swords sweeping up and down in perfect harmony.

Nothing at the Circle was that graceful. Mages learned about combat and battlefield movement by reading books. With few exceptions, when we practiced spell casting it ended up all awkward staff wielding and flailing limbs. Even the sex was awkward. Find a deserted corner, an empty classroom, or a dark closet and move aside your robes while kissing in a frantic rush. There was little joy in it. Little pleasure. Something to pass the time. Nothing as sensual and seductive as the perfection I was witnessing in that clearing.

I let myself watch her for a while. Few women had stirred such intense longing in me and I wanted to enjoy the feeling to its fullest. The tingling on my skin. The blood surging through my body as my heart pounded.

The smell of leather and soap and a familiar sweetness wafting into my consciousness broke my trance.

“Why are you watching her?” The low voice behind me held a seduction of its own.

“She’s beautiful,” I said. An honest answer.

“She could kill you in two blows. She’s gotten good.”

“You mean to tell me she always fought like that?”

“No. I used to win with ease. I am not sure I would anymore. She begged me to train her. I wish I had not given in. Then she would have died with her family and I would be mourning her passing, not thinking of my father’s blood on her hands.”

Silence hung heavy between us as we watched her train. I needed to say something. To lift the tension. He spoke before I could find my voice.

“You’re a mage?”

“That’s what they say. Any rate, I certainly hope so. Otherwise spending all those years locked up inside a tower was even more pointless than I thought.”

“In my experience, mages are a danger to themselves and to others. She puts her trust in you despite the warnings of a Templar. I wonder if that is wise.”

“Me? A danger? I don’t think so. From what I hear, you looked her in the eyes and threatened her life. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve threatened no one. All I’m doing is trying to live my life. But I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand that.”

Another shining example of the ignorant prejudice of Ferelden nobles. Raised to follow what they were told. Never question. Never doubt. Listen to the Chantry. Listen to the Templars. Perpetuate the corruption generation to generation.

“Someone like me? You know nothing about me, Mage. I spent eight years in the Free Marches, witnessing firsthand the corruption of both Templar and mage alike. Neither is something I wish to see again.”

He stood close. His eyes fixed on mine in an intense stare. A hunter stalking his prey. I was powerless. He could stab me before I could react. He knew it. I knew it. He knew that I knew it.

“I’ll be watching you, Mage.”

I returned his gaze. My most defiant stare straight into intense gray eyes. “Is that a promise?” I whispered.

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itsadrizzit: Amy Pond from Vincent and the Doctor (Default)
itsadrizzit

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