Title: Taste of Freedom (Chpt. 1)
Game: Dragon Age 2
Author: Blissy-Kills, aka Sessils
Characters/pairing: Anders, Varric, Fenris and Cinnamon Hawke
Author's note: All characters belong to Bioware, except Cinnamon Hawke. Enjoy c:
For as long as she could remember, Cinnamon had consorted with spirits.
Many would call them demons, and call her a blood mage or an abomination for doing so. They were wrong- And this is not the plain ignorance or willfully turned head that claims so. Among the power hungry demons that roamed the Fade, there are many more benevolent spirits that lingered to, hidden away like the oldest and dustiest books of a library. They, unlike the demons, do not wish to cross the Veil, the only thing that stands between the Fade and the real world, to possess the minds of mortal humans. They are content in the Fade.
However, there is an expectation to every rule.
There must be.
A cloudless night had finally succeed in converting all of the Free Marches into something beautiful. Stars winked and shot across the sky, and for once everything was moderately silent.
Somewhere just out of Kirkwall a small party had set up camp for the night. Now the campsite and the trees around it was lit by the blue tinted magic of Anders as he illustrated to a certain Fereldan apostate how to be a better Spirit Mage.
"You have to feel the magic to be able to heal wound Hawke. Let it come from within, not just be skin deep."
With a tired but determined sigh, the quiet mage brushed brown hair from her face and stared down at the light in her hand, trying to do as the other said. Her magic, unlike Anders, was a brownish colour, tinted with strands of gold and white. It hovered warmly in her hand, and with a sense of calmness Cinnamon pressed it against her bloodied leg. She wasn't entirely sure she'd done it correctly until she removed her hand, and saw nothing but a faint scar. Anders clapped and smiled widely, obviously surprised.
"Whoa, you've got the hang of this fast. It's like your connection to the Fade it stronger then most."
As Cinnamon blushed and cut away the rest of the bloodied bandage Anders studied her, a small smile on his lips. The Fereldan mage, who had never actually been to the Circle, seemed to know a lot more about magic then many Circle Mages, maybe even more then some Senior Enchanters. So while his next statement was a bit sudden, it wasn't entirely unfounded.
"You must have made a few deals with some demons yourself."
Getting a nervous laugh from Cinnamon, Anders began to realise just how much the Fereldan apostate had changed since she first got her. Varric had told the story many times, but only a few of those times were actually accurate. Anders however, and known the girl since her second year in Kirkwall, and could see these changes clearly on her face.
The long, dark scar still painted her left cheek, and she had plenty more around her body. Her blue eyes sparkled with kindness, and her pale skin showed that the mage never got out a lot in Fereldan, and that the Kirkwall sun was proving far to elusive for her. With straight chocolate hair, pale pink lips and freckles, it was a surprise Cinnamon wasn't the most popular noble in Hightown. And Lowtown, for all the times she went down to visit Varric, Merrill and Isabela.
It might have been something to do with the fact Cinnamon was a very withdrawn, quiet and shy woman. Or maybe because she tried to keep everyone at arms length.
However, before he could speak his mind, Varric and Fenris were standing beside Cinnamon with wood in their arms and varying emotions playing on their faces.
"What are you two doing exactly, except for putting on a light show?"
Cinnamon laughed before slowly standing. Without asking she took the wood from the dwarf allowing him to sit down just a little from Anders and pull out a bottle of whiskey and stamina potion. Turning around however, Hawke very nearly crashed into Fenris, who had been waiting for her to move. Blushing a bright red as her hands flew up by instinct and landed against his arms Cinnamon moved aside, letting Fenris bend down and place the wood.
"Lady Spice, if you're not careful, you'll draw more then just Templar attention to yourself."
Cinnamon's reply was to huff at him, though that could have been an attempt to get her brown locks out of her face. Through the corner of his eyes Anders watched Fenris, watched the way he watched Cinnamon through a lowered head. An anger flared up in Anders at the look in his eyes. Finishing up the apostate in question stood and turned to face the dwarf, a lopsided smile painting her face.
"I already have my mother trying to marry me to some noble's son Varric. You reminding me isn't helping my state of mind."
Getting a chuckle from her dwarven friend Cinnamon shook her head, completely missing the look of surprise on both human and elf's faces. Without a sound Cinnamon gathered up her staff and turned to go, meaning to head away from the camp. Fenris's hand on her arm however stopped her, and Cinnamon glanced over at him in surprise.
"Where do you intend to go?"
If it were anyone else, Cinnamon may have just sighed in annoyance at being treated like a child. As it was Fenris, she rested her hand on top of his and smiled kindly, glad that the darkness hid the blush that now coloured her entire face.
"To go find food- No, don't follow me. I promise I won't die, I just... Need sometime alone."
Not waiting for a reply Cinnamon disappeared, her footsteps the only reminder left of her as the darkness eat her up.
"You disgust me mage."
"Maybe I'll grow on you, if you let me."
Anders reply was sharp and harsh, a bit of blue flaring in his eyes as he spoke. Fenris simply laughed, and grinned back, obviously enjoying this match of insults and attempted reasoning.
"I'd prefer cancer."
Struggling not to chuckle, Varric shook his head and took another swig of his mixture. Shortly after Cinnamon had left to go find food, Anders and Fenris had gone for each other's throats with witty insults and harsh words. Varric couldn't say what had started it, but it may have been something to do with the way Anders watched Cinnamon as she disappeared into the darkness.
Shaking his head, Varric was about to return to his thoughts when a noise caused him to look up. It came from the direction Cinnamon had disappeared into- And although it was soft, it sounded pained. Like someone getting a rather nasty surprise.
"Hey, you two idiots. Did either of you just hear that?"
Snapped out of their states, it was Anders who looked over at Varric in confusion, paused, then opened his mouth to reply.
Whatever he meant to say Varric missed, because a scream cut him off. Female, pained and rather familiar.... And very close. Even before it was ended, cut short for someone reason, Fenris was on his feet. He knew that voice.
Varric and Anders followed hot on Fenris's heels as he ran in the direction Cinnamon had taken, greatsword being pulled into his hands even as he moved. Fearing the worst, the three spun around a group of trees and bushes, to come into a long but narrow clearing- And find the worst.
Only a few metres from them stood a mage, a tall female with pure black hair, Tevinter robes and her back to them. Upon hearing the three crash into moonlit clearing she spun around, and they finally found the source of the screaming.
Wrapped in her arms was Cinnamon, her hands bound by magic behind her back and her staff lying a few feet in front of the two. One of the mage's hands held her shoulder, and even from their distance Fenris could see the burn that caused the scream was fresh and painful. The witches other hand held a huge, sharp ritual knife to the apostate's throat, pressed closer still as she spotted them.
"Oh, are these your little friends magelet? The ones here to save you from me?"
Cinnamon did not reply, instead staring at Varric with terrified eyes. He could see they swarmed with unshed tears as the mage swallowed, trying to breath calmly. However when the older female realised her prisoner would not speak she sighed, and fire roared back into her hand to burn the already charred skin on Cinnamon's shoulder.
She couldn't help it- Hawke screamed in pain, the tears that she was barely holding back now flowing down her cheeks as the girl struggled to keep herself standing. The black haired female roared with laughter, and both Fenris and Anders took a step closer only to have the older mage tsk at them.
"Now now, don't ruin my fun. This little wrench ran straight into my trap- And yet, she is more then I expected to find. First I thought I might demand something, but she is more a prize then any coins you charlatans hold."
Digging her sharp fingers nails in caused Cinnamon whimpered, unable to stop herself against the torrent of pain. She could see blue flare up over Anders as he took a small step forwards, hands held out open in front of him.
"Give her back to us! What can you gain from having her- You can not keep her with you without draining your own magic!"
A morbid laugh left them all with goosebumps, and yet Fenris could not keep his markings from glowing a faint blue. He could nearly see Cinnamon shaking, because he knew she would be- He knew that was what she did when she was trying to keep emotions in. It was what she had done when she received the later from her brother, and she had fled the closest person- Him.
Such a kind creature should no have to die today.
"Oh, but you can't tell? Well then, maybe it is best this girl remains with me. She'll be better appreciated within my company, maybe as a slave. Or a prisone-"
"Don't trust her she's a bloodmage- Arh."
Cinnamon's outcry caused the three to hiss and pull out their weapons, suddenly realising the implications of such an accusation. Her words of warning however had been cut off as the older mage, the blood mage, pushed the knife deeper into her skin and blood began to run, staining the top of her white robes.
"Well, aren't you a loyal bitch? Ready to die for your friends, hm?"
The bloodmage turned her gaze towards the three armed men, watching with an amused gaze as their eyes flickered from her to the younger apostate in her arms. Interesting companions they were- A glowing elf, a crossbow wielding dwarf and what looked like another mage, except he too glowed. Anger and fear for their friends just seeped out of them, and as she looked back at the girl she felt her smile growing back. This would be fun.
"Any last words girl, before I slit your throat?"
She could feel the pitiful thing shaking against her, and yet the only thing she could see on her face was tears and a bitten lip. The magelet drew a breath, her eyes never leaving whomever it was she was staring at, and while her voice was soft it rang out through the clearing loudly.
"Whatever becomes of me, I care not. But if you harm my friends, I promise not even death will spare you my revenge."
Silence greeted her words, and for a moment the blood mage was at a lose for words. The pure anger and strength in her quiet words were astonishing, and yet after a few moments the older female found her voice again, laughing as she shook her head. Without another word she changed the gripping on the knife and began to chant the few words that needed to be spoken, ready to do the deed.
In front of her, the young woman let her gaze meet that of the glowing elf's, and a single tear streaked down her chin as she offered him the faintest of smiles.
Finishing her chant the blood mage tore the knife against Cinnamon's throat, ripping it open. Blood rolled out from her lips and neck as the young girl fell to her knees, that very precious blood floating up in swirls to be absorbed into the older mage. Without waiting for the girl to be drained she shoved her body sideways, letting it fall on it's side as she stepped over and grinned unwholesomely.
And as demons rose at her command, Cinnamon let her eyes close, her name a cry on her friend's lips as they charged.
A warm touch on her neck caused Cinnamon to stir, and her eyes flickered open as though sleep had just vanished. Blinking against the bright light, Cinnamon instantly knew she wasn't where she had been, and yet, everything looked so familiar...
Her hands snaked out, and very gently Cinnamon pulled herself up, glancing around herself as she did. She wasn't in the Free Marches, or anywhere near Thedas for that matter. She was in an empty plain, the grass that brushed against her leaving no feeling. Observing her surroundings slowly her eyes ultimately gravitated back to the two figures in front of her.
One was short, maybe even shorter then Cinnamon, with elvish features and a grin on it's face. The other was much taller and yet more held a softer form, one that blurred at the edges. Hawke gently tilted her head, her brain struggling just a little.
"I am in the Fade, aren't I?"
Getting a nod from the taller of the two and a giggle from the other Cinnamon continued, her head tilting now the other way.
"You are a Spirit of Joy-" She said, pointing to the shorter one, then moving to the other. "-And you are a Spirit of.... Compassion?"
As if it had been holding itself back, the Spirit of Joy darted forwards. Cinnamon jumped, but relaxed quickly as it's arms looped around her and bliss ran through her veins. Giggling Cinnamon returned the hug before looking up, her eyes focusing on that of Compassion. However before she could speak the spirit raised a hand, a smile playing on it's lips.
"We can not talk long- We were only just able to pull you from your path to death. Listen to me Cannella."
Cinnamon winced at the use of her real name, but as the warmth of Joy left Compassion replaced it, a hand tilting her head up. Her gaze met with the Spirit's, and Cinnamon felt four years old again, meeting a Spirit for the first time.
"We care for you. We have always cared for you. And we know death is not your destiny today. You are Cannella, even if you choose not to accept the name- And you don't break your promises."
Without her consent, tears began to streak Cinnamon's face, and the girl bent her head, ignoring the hand on her chin as a sob left her lips.
"Please, stop calling me that- And please, I don't... I don't know how to get home."
Her world began to brighten slowly, and Hawke glanced up towards the two spirits. They both smiled at her sadly, even as Compassion raised her hand towards her. Cinnamon simply watched it, no longer sure about... anything.
" Trust us. We will show you the way."
A few more moments past, where Cinnamon's vision became brighter still. Finally she slid her hands into Compassion's, only to have Joy slid it's over top. Blinking away tears Hawke smiled faintly, trying to see them through the light.
"We will see you again Cannella. Thedas has not the only souls that need you."
Before Cinnamon could ask what she meant the world went bright white, and Hawke lost her focus, slipping away softly into lightness.
Fenris felt the blade of the blood mage's staff bite his skin and he grunted, somehow dislodging it as he rolled away. He had never seen a blood mage this powerful, or this crazed. The battle was not going well.
Even without looking, Fenris knew Anders and Varric were having trouble- Last he looked they stood back to back, one fighting while the other took a potion of health or stamina then changing. They could not keep this up much longer.
Neither could Fenris as he was once more forced to dive away, landing on his wounded side on the already bloodied ground. Wincing in pain Fenris spun around, greatsword whipping around with him. However, he realised too late that the mage was not in front of him.
Metal cut through his back and Fenris roared in pain, falling to the ground once more as blood began to run from the cut on his back. However as the elf began to roll back over, meaning to get on his back and flipping himself up, a foot on his wounded side caused him to stop, hissing in pain. The witch crackled, raising her staff high above her head, the blade part pointed his throat.
"Be prepared to met your friend again elf."
Fenris twisted his head away the witch and the staff that came down even as everything began to slow down. On their own accord his eyes fell onto the friend in mention, onto her still, lifeless form. She lay just behind the witch, lying on her side and yet, facing him. As his death neared, the staff falling down towards his skin, Fenris willed Cinnamon to wake up. He wished, just for one more time, that she would quietly shake her head at him whenever he insult mages, or smile at Varric with her shoulders shaking. He... Needed Hawke to wake up. Right now.
It was at that exact moment that Cinnamon's eyes flashed open, and her hand shot out to grasp the bloodmage's leg.
The world rushed back into motion as the blood mage cried out in shock, her other foot moving sideways and shifting her aim. Fenris felt a woosh of air slid over his skin as the staff landing a few inches in front of his neck, having narrowly missed him. However, he did not move, as the blood mage looked down in terror at Cinnamon.
For her part Hawke simply looked up, her eyes sparkling with anger and her grin fueled by the same emotion.
"I, never, break my promises."
With a cry of rage so much stronger then anything Fenris had ever heard from her, the mage sent one last lightening spell straight through the blood mage. Fueled by her emotions, strengthened by the power given to her from the spirits, Cinnamon's magic began to fry the older mage the longer she forced it through her.
The anguished cries of their summoner caused the demons that surrounded Varric and Anders to paused, giving the two enough time to rip into their opponents. It was then that Cinnamon finally let go, and both she and Fenris watched as the witch fell sideways, dead before she even hit the ground.
Without another thought for himself or anyone else Fenris scrambled to his feet, only to fall down to his knees beside Hawke. Her throat was no longer ripped open- Instead it seemed to have been pulled back together, now forming a huge and horrid scar across her smooth neck. Fearing the worst, that Cinnamon would die again after all this, Fenris could only watched in shock as Hawke smiled faintly and touched his chin tenderly. In some detatched part of his brain, Fenris felt blood from her fingers mark his cheek, though whose blood the elf was unsure. She shook from head to toe and her eyes fluttered weakly, and yet she took the time to comfort him
Her hand fell away, leaving streaks of red on his skin, but Fenris grasped her cold fingers tightly, looking into her eyes even as they began to close again. He couldn't lose her again- Not again. She was the best friend, the only friend, he had ever had. And he couldn't deny wanting to know her better, in other ways.
"Cinnamon, no, please..."
"I made... A promise didn't I?"
Blinking in shock, Fenris watched as her eyes slid closed, feeling the hand that lay in his go limp. Unable to stop himself he lowered his head, pressing his ear to her chest. There, very faintly, he could hear her heartbeat, though it beat frightening slow.
It was all the elf needed as he hoisted Cinnamon into his arms, turning around and strolling towards Anders and Varric. The two were breathing hard, both downing potions of health and stamina/lyrium as fast as they could. Upon seeing Fenris and still Cinnamon in his arms, they too feared the worst. And yet, Fenris had very little energy to tell them otherwise.
"She lives. Barely. We need to get her to Kirkwall, and fast."
Getting a nod as a reply Fenris let Anders led the way, hoping against everything that Cinnamon would stay alive. She had already denied death to save him- Now he would see if she could do it for herself. And he would see if she kept all her promises.