He finds that he has grown fretful, worried about his legacy. Not any brood of toddlers clamoring at his feet, demanding sweets or his ear with upturned faces, but for the litany of stories penned – the tragedies and the bawdy romps - all that bear the Tethras name.
He frets about fire. About water. About wind and rain, about the quaking earth beneath his feet. About the negligence of the armies, the mindless hate of the mob.
It was folly to craft onto paper – such a delicate vessel, an ephemeral span, easily destroyed by nature and carelessness. And then what? Ashes and echoes. Memories already fraying at the edges.
When the Qunari invaded and Kirkwall burned, he wondered over his work - the half-finished pages, the scant phrases he had managed to capture. In the heat and press of battle, he mourned all the words he had thought were surely gone. They danced in his mind still, but as each hour went on, the steps of that fictitious dance changed ever so slightly. And that energy, that zest and zeal that he had once succeeded in scratching out might become beyond his capability to recreate. Just shades of what was that would haunt him, despite what he might be able to resurrect.
When the smoke cleared and the rubble was pushed away, he found it all preserved in the stone-lined strongbox under his bed. The pages hadn’t suffered much, growing only slightly stiff and potentially brittle.
But that was when the concerns began to plague him, when he saw the fragility in stark, unnerving clarity.
Perhaps, he thought, he could follow the oral traditions of bygone days. Maybe he should bend some coin to hire robed acolytes, have them stand on the street corners and shout out each paragraph in cadence, let the stories rise and fall and seep into heart and mind through repetition and forced song. But then wouldn’t the stories become malleable? Bent and twisted to meet the immediate need of whatever audience wandered by? They would be like the recipe that over time suffered under tweaks and dashes of spice not hearkened to before – ultimately, a recognizable dish, but the flavor would never match the original feast. The heroes might become legend, but the author is lost, the genealogy fades, the branches are severed from the tree.
Eventually, he chastises himself, promises to invest in wards, protection spells. But even then, a tome could be lost, forgotten - left behind or aside, dropped into some dank pit, left to crumble and fade until some bold pirate with a price on her head comes along, blows the dust off the cover, untangles the leather from the overgrowth of vines.
His laughter is low and rueful. He must sink his heart into the Deep. Son of Stone, he must acknowledge that death, even to words, may come. Best to face the truth of it.
And yet the scratch of the quill is his comfort, the rhythm to which his heart beats, and he knows no peace, no contentment quite like watching the page soak up ink, watching the curves dry and harden and become firm validation of hours well spent. Hammering ink to paper in whorls and filigree as intricate as those hammered onto a clan pin, or etched deep into a blade
His toil, his children. Would that he could protect them from everything and yet still let them shine.
This is silliness that I had intended to doodle some time ago. I imagine that the team would pilot a giant griffon robot, and fly around Thedas battling
robeasts ogres and awakened magisters.
But really, it’s just a vehicle for this joke:
A silly doodle, in which Varric has penned some smut.
For kyeshgall, mostly.
Because I couldn’t leave this crossover alone…
Although I’m now crossing three fandoms. (Source reference here.)
I imagine the Bianca!Oakenshield combo would yield some sort of javelin ejecting mini siege engine. But who would the two dwarves form? Varin? Thorric??
Because the grass is always greener…
…or the hair is always thicker yet tangle-free?
“TEN!” prayed Sebastian, as he knelt before the statue of Andraste. He closed his eyes in prayer as he wished blessings and good fortune on all of his friends.
“NINE!” laughed Varric, as he slammed the empty shot glass down next to the others. His opponent groaned and slumped to the table, defeated. The grinning dwarf pulled the small pile of coin toward him as he chuckled to himself.
“EIGHT!” counted Anders, swirling a small glass full of the foul-smelling brown fluid. He glanced back at the open book, noting the precise measurements. The formula was so close, he could feel it. It had taken almost all of his supply of drakestone and sela petrae, but he was sure he could finish soon.
“SEVEN!” bellowed Aveline, as she kicked the last of the unruly prisoners into his cell. “Bloody thieves can’t even give me a night off,” she grumbled as she slammed the door shut and locked it with a large iron key. She could be home, toasting the new year, but she knew that her loyal guardsmen deserved the night off. She sighed, pouring herself a small glass of wine from the bottle she kept locked in her desk.
“SIX!” sighed Fenris. He looked down unhappily at the last of Denarius’s wine stores in the cellar. Only six bottles remained. He’d have to buy more at the market soon. He idly wondered whether Hawke would help him carry bottles of wine to his home if he asked nicely.
“FIVE!” whispered Bethany, carefully turning the page. She could not tear her eyes away from the book Isabela had sent her, and huddled in her bed quietly so the templars would not hear her. The tales of Jethra the Passionate were amazing, but five lovers at once? Unbelievable!
“FOUR!” shouted Gamlen, as he smashed the ball with his mallet. “I may be old, but I’m still the best wallop player in Lowtown!” he laughed. Charade could only roll her eyes as she readied her own mallet for a swing.
“THREE!” announced Jethann, as he uncovered his eyes. Looking about the room at the Rose, he gave a sly wink and a grin as he took in every detail. “Ready or not, here I come…”
“TWO!” said Sandal with a wide smile, as Bodahn appeared bearing a platter set with a pair of cupcakes, each iced with pink frosting. His smile went even wider as he took his first bite, while his father figure looked on in pride.
“One,” whispered Isabela, as she pulled the last of the silk scarves from her body, leaving it completely bare in the candlelight. The scarf fell slowly to the floor as the pirate sauntered towards her lover who awaited her on the bed.
“Happy new year to me,” replied Hawke with a sultry smile, before blowing out the candle.