The Qunari Strike Back, Chapter One

So, probably NOT keeping the title. But, for now it tickles my geek bone.
Additionally, this is only a snippet from the first chapter. I like this story. I am also writing it in my somewhat-less-than-copious spare time.  

Dragon Age is owned by BioWare, David Gaider, Felicia Day (Tallis) etc. etc. All the characters belong to their respective owners. I’m just making them dance like puppets for my own amusement and yours. So, while the world & characters belong to someone else, the action and story are mine.

 

Chapter One

Miriam Hawke rolled over, trying to find a more comfortable sleeping position. Even through the thick bed hangings, she could hear ice as it smashed against the shutters, thrown by screaming wind. An icy storm had clamped around the city two days ago, disrupting trade and travel. Unless otherwise required, most people huddled in their homes, trying to stay dry and warm. On the upside, when she did go out, far fewer people and random ambushes. On the downside, forced into constant contact with one another, the populace had turned murderously ugly. Tempers – already at the breaking point from recent events – flared violently and often. She figured Aveline would be handling at least a dozen knifings from all over the city tomorrow morning. Even Hightown wasn’t immune to the crazy.

Winter in Kirkwall is definitely a trial. Not as cold as home; not by a longshot. But, the constant damp makes it feel worse than it actually is.

The banshee howl of the wind cranked up another octave. Even from where she huddled under the plush velvet of her comforter, she could hear her dog barking at the storm. The mabari’s deep-voiced baying carried perfectly up the stairs to her chamber. Between the noise and her worry for Anders, sleep was damn near impossible. She’d sent every household blanket that could be spared with him to his clinic. Hopefully, it would make a difference. From within her warm cocoon, she heard the shutters rattle as the wind pummeled them again. A cold draft flowed across her toes.

Wait. My toes?

Hawke scrambled up from under the covers. A pretty elf in green leather armor lounged against one of the wooden posts at the foot of the bed. Firelight picked out copper glints in her dark hair. Wide, guileless gray eyes regarded her with mock-solemnity. Hawke glanced down. A throwing dagger propped up the end of the blanket.

“Hi. Did you miss me?”

Hawke sighed. “Hello, Tallis. You want to tell me why I shouldn’t kill you where you stand?”

“For one? I doubt you could. For two? I…umm… I might need your help. Again.”

Hawke rolled her eyes and sat up in the bed, drawing the bedspread firmly around her legs. “Shocking.”

“I promise this time that I will tell you everything right up front.” Tallis sat down on the end of the bed.

Hawke snorted in disbelief.

“Please, just listen to me?”

Hawke dropped her head into her hands. “Varric is going to crucify me. If Anders doesn’t beat him to it. What, Tallis? Why have you broken into my home in the middle of the night, in the middle of a winter storm? What could be so blighted important?”

“I’ve,” Tallis stopped. Her head drooped until she stared mournfully at her own hands. “I’ve left the Qun. My role isn’t ‘Tallis’ anymore. I guess you can just call me ‘Tal’ for now.” A bitter smile crossed her features and was gone. “I suppose I don’t have to tell you what it’s short for.”

“Tal-Vashoth.” Sometimes, only Anders’ pungent phrasing was appropriate. “Andraste’s knicker-weasels! What changed? Last we spoke you were completely dedicated to those bastards.”  Hawke’s stomach soured.  “What have you done?”

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