Aftershocks Part 5: Back to Kirkwall

Varric sat in his rooms in the Hanged Man, nursing a pint of their famous rat flavored ale with a bottle sitting patiently nearby.  He was waiting for the mystery writer of a note he received earlier in the day.  A mix of fear and anticipation churned with the ale in his gut as he waited.  He thought he knew who was coming, and while he would love to see them, it would undoubtedly have complications.

Varric took the notes from his pocket and read it through again.

Greetings Varric,

It has been too long since we last spoke my friend.  If you are willing to meet again, I would like to come by tonight and share a drink with you in your rooms like we did before.  I will see you by mid evening.


And that was it.  No signature, no seal.  The handwriting was strong, but with a feminine flare to it.  Mysterious and intriguing, it was enough to keep him at home, with his cross bow Bianca close by.  He hadn’t survived as a surface dwarf in the dark side of Kirkwall for so long by being stupid.

He threw back his head and drained the last of his mug in one gulp, quickly refilling it from the bottle nearby after wiping his beardless face with the back of his hand.  Short and stocky like the rest of his kin, Varric was known in the Kirkwall underworld as the one to go to for information, and as someone not to cross.  Anyone on the bad side of Varric soon saw the bad side of Bianca, or Varric’s special friend: The Champion of Kirkwall.

The fact that no one knew where Hawke was wasn’t an issue.  Everyone thought or assumed that being an old friend of hers; Varric knew how to get word to her quickly.  The fact that he had a rat’s fart of an idea to where she was wasn’t something he was going to spread around.

Besides, it would only break their hearts if they knew.

A knock sounded at his door.  Varric’s heart skipped a beat, but outwardly the dwarf was calm.  “Come in,” he called, easing his hand down to his lap where Bianca waited.  But he soon realized he didn’t need it.  Although it wasn’t the one he was expecting, the person who walked through the door was nonetheless a welcome guest.

“Well, by my ancestors!” Varric exclaimed as he stood up to greet his guest, sheathing Bianca on his back. “I never thought I’d see you again Elf!”

Varric eyed Fenris as he entered the room.  A companion from years ago, Varric and Fenris had traveled with the Champion of Kirkwall Tanis Hawke.  They, along with a few other companions, saved the city from Qunari, dragons, and stopped the war between mages and Templars from tearing the city apart.

Tall for an elf, with a shock of white hair and bright blue eyes, Fenris was covered in what appeared to be intricate tattoos, but Varric knew them to be lyrium runes.  Fenris was a Tevinter slave before escaped and met Tanis Hawke and his master, a powerful mage named Danerius, had lyrium branded into Fenris’ skin.  Making Fenris a useful tool for his master’s spell casting.

Varric and Fenris never really mingled outside of battle, but Varric knew him to be a powerful, skilled warrior and respected him as such.  Despite Fenris’ xenophobic anger against magic and all its users.  Varric hadn’t seen Fenris since he ran off with Hawke after the first major mage/templar battle in Kirkwall and while surprised was not displeased to see the broody elf again.  Especially since this meant that Hawke was close by as the elf was never far from her side.

“Varric,” greeted to stoic elf, accepting the handshake that was offered.  “I see the years have been kind to you.”

“And to you Elf, and to you!  Come in! Sit, have a drink with me and tell me what you have been doing all this time!”

Fenris took the offered seat and glanced around the room, ensuring it was empty.

“I’ve been….traveling,” Fenris said as Varric poured another glass and set it in front of him.  “With another of our companions.”

Varric, in the midst of taking another drink, paused with the tankard halfway to his lips before continuing on.  He knew damned fine which companion.  It made for interesting group dynamics once Fenris came into the picture.  Their glorious leader Hawke had eyes for their healer mage Anders before the broody elf came onto the scene.  Soon after though it became clear that the elf was the favored one and Anders had been set aside.

“Yeah? How’s that been working for you?” he asked.

Fenris looked around the room again and leaned his forearms on the table, ignoring his drink.

“Our companion is waiting outside Kirkwall and wishes to speak with you.  Will you come?  Tonight?” he asked.

Varric was taken aback.  There was a sense of urgency to Fenris’ voice, something Varric had never heard before and it made him wary.  The elf was dark, broody, and only quick to anger when magic was involved.  Seeing him like this, edgy, fearful almost, was enough to make Varric twitchy.  And he didn’t like being twitchy.

“Is she in trouble?” he asked softly.

Fenris shook his head.  “No but we need your help.  She would have come to you herself, but could not risk being seen.”

Varric nodded in understanding.  It wasn’t long ago that a Seeker of the Chantry had him questioned about the events that led to the mage and templar uprising all over Thedas.  It had all started in Kirkwall and Hawke had a major hand in the events that transpired, so of course everyone came looking for her to get some answers.  But by the time they came looking for her she -and Fenris- were already long gone.

“You know they’re looking for her,” Varric said.

Fenris’ head shot up, and his body tensed. “Who’s looking for her?” he demanded with a low growl.

“Everyone,” Varric replied bluntly.  “The Chantry, the Circle, the templars, foreign dignitaries trying to turn all this to their advantage; hells, I’d bet Bianca even the Qunari have some fingers in the find-the-Champion pot.  Everyone wants a piece of her, one way or another.”

Fenris relaxed at little bit at that.  At least there were no immediate threats.  These groups could keep hunting for him and Tanis, but he doubted they’d ever catch up unless she wanted them to.

“That’s why she couldn’t come into the city,” he nodded in understanding.  “Too much could happen if she was recognized.”  Fenris paused and looked down at her hands. “Please, will you meet with her?”

“Of course I’ll meet with her Elf,” Varric said rising from his chair.  “If for no other reason then I need some answers of my own.”

Part 2: New Hopes