Suffer to Live

For the Dragon Age Kink Meme

AU: Where the chantry is less ‘lock up all the mages and kill them at the first sign there’s a demon’ and more ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’.

No circles, but still templars, finding and killing all the mages. How does this effect hawkes life in kirkwall? Does Anders seem less crazy? Was Fenris owned by a mage, or someone else? Is Bethany alive or dead?

Could be their policy from the start, or it could be sometime (pre-chantry explosion plz) they decide it’s the only way, everywhere

“Malefica.” Half-dead and unsteady, the dark haired man turned around, revealing the distinctive device of the Order Templar and eyes that burned with fanaticism.

“Oh, lovely,” said Bethany. “I suppose that betrayal and darkspawn weren’t enough – now a Templar. What next? Perhaps there’s an untouched Chantry just up the road with a pyre for me and a dungeon for the rest of you? “

“Witch.” The man raised his sword even as Marian and Carver closed ranks before Bethany. “The Order demands… the Order…”

He stumbled.

“Wesley!” the red-headed woman with him grabbed him around the waist, keeping him steady. “They saved our lives, Wesley. Surely the Maker understands…”

The man hissed, “Malefica non vivere sunt!”

“Wesley, please.” The Templar looked down at her and shuddered. “We can’t do this alone.”

“If he touches any of us, he dies – do you understand?” Marian’s voice was cold enough to burn.

“Sister, please stop.” Bethany touched Marian’s shoulder. “More darkspawn come. There is danger enough from them without us turning on one another. Look at him – he is terribly injured and no great threat to me.”

Marian felt Carver tense beside her. It was true that they could use the woman’s blade – she had been competent enough, if overwhelmed, but it went against the grain to allow the Templar to draw breath.

From the time that she first held a blade or cast a spell, there had only been one rule.
Templum non vivere sunt – Thou shalt not suffer a Templar to live.

“Spirits of the Old Ones,” Carver muttered as they rounded another switchback. “Is there no end to them?”

The woman – Aveline – ran forward, grabbing the attention of the darkspawn ahead and Mother’s distressed cry alerted them to more darkspawn behind them. Marian jerked her head toward Bethany, and he ran back just as Bethany rained fire down the chittering mass. With a breath, Marian called the implacability of ice into her daggers and bolted forward, leaving another trail of blood and death behind her.

“Look there – high ground!”

Marian grunted, tripping a hurlock and sliding a knife into its vitals. Carver raged through, hewing heads from necks almost casually on his way to the Emissary they guarded. Bethany came up the rear, a fury of ice and fire as she protected Mother and the injured Templar.

They needed to get the lay of the land, and with luck they might find a defensible position.

“Go!” she shouted to Aveline, sprinting toward one of the Hurlock bolters. A blast of ice passed her, freezing another, and she could hear Bethany calling out to Carver –

“Brother, no –“

Marian looked up. He was too far ahead, isolated from the rest of them. Vulnerable.
The ground trembled, and a sound, like a drum made of rock and teeth, and a roar –

– King Cailan, shining in the darkness, a star held up above the battlefield for a moment before falling, falling, falling in a glittering, failed dream –

– and her brother, arcing down in a trail of blood and viscera, a broken toy cast aside by an Ogre’s brutal hand.


Mother’s broken wail echoed in the narrowing lane of Marian’s vision, fury exploding in her blood. Everything squeezes into the sound of Mother’s despair, an everpresent now.

Marian takes one step.


Lesser darkspawn seem to blur by, statues awaiting her whirling blades.

A stride.


A giant hand surges forward, and she slips by to thrust her blades into its back, twisting viciously.

It howls, kicking back, and Marian tumbles with the blow, rising to doge the things single-minded charge. Aveline darts forward, lightning quick, and bold as fire, blade flashing red in the setting sun.

One step.


Aveline in that thing’s grip.

A running leap as it screams in triumph and her dagger slides deep between jutting ribs. Marian pulls herself up its chest as the Ogre sqeals and flails, dropping Aveline.

An inch.


It’s all she needs and her off-hand strikes true. Red-black blood geysers up as she severs the thing’s jugular, and she falls with it, screaming.

It is dead – and the world slides back into place.

Bethany is on the ground beside Aveline, her hands glowing with weak, white energy before it stutters out. She looks up, face grey with fatigue. “She’ll –“

“Malefica,” the Templar interrupts, coming up behind Bethany. “Keep your filthy hands away from my wife.”

Marian stares at him, eyes narrowed. In his hand is a darkspawn blade dripping red-red blood. Her eyes dart to where Carver lies – and there is Mother, lying beside him, gutted.

“Templar, what have you done?”

His smile is sweet and his eyes flash silver. “Only what the Order demands.”

Bethany is dead before Marian has the chance to raise her blades.

“She saved your life!”

“She was a witch.” His voice is strange, guttural. “Do not think that I do not know that you are, too. Were there time I would purify you with flame.”

“Templar,” the word hisses out, vicious.


He charges unevenly forward, spitting forth the Chantry’s bile, and she sidesteps him, shoving her knives unceremoniously into his back. He falls to the ground, frothing and spitting as blood pools around him.

“Hmmmmm. I had wondered what you would do.”

Marian lifts her blades as a woman walks up the far path, carrying a darkspawn corpse. Her long white hair spills to her waist, the sides swept up in what look like horns, and her armor is exotic in a way that gives Marian chills.

“Oh, do not threaten me, child. You do not know what it is that you are dealing with. Or perhaps it is that I do not know.” The woman tosses the corpse aside. “It is often hard to tell.”

“Who are you?”

“I have been called many things – Flemeth, Asha’bellanar… an old woman to talks too much.”

“Flemeth?” Hawke stared at her. “The Witch of the Wilds?”

“So some say.” Flemeth’s golden eyes seem to peer into Marian’s soul.

“What brings you here?”

“Well, it is hardly polite to have guests without greeting them.”

Marian eyes the corpse tossed so casually at Flemeth’s feet. “Do you frequently kill your guests?”

“Only the boring ones. Or the interesting ones.”

“Then I hope that you find us neither.”

“Oh, but you are interesting. I passed by and saw an Ogre felled by those who taste of magic and one who hates it. ‘Who is it’ I thought, ‘who would face down such a foe, especially in such company?’” Flemeth shrugged. “Now I know, and it is hardly necessary for me to kill you as the darkspawn will do the job for me. You are, after all, heading for the center of the horde.”

For a moment the world is utterly silent, but for the faint and ragged sound of Aveline’s breathing.

“You cannot mean to leave us here.”

“And why not? Have you some reason why I should aid you?”

Because we’re people! Somehow, it doesn’t seem likely that Flemeth considers that a sufficient reason to rescue anyone.

“Please – I cannot carry Aveline all the way to Gwaren alone.”

“Gwaren?” Something like a smile graces Flemeth’s lips. “Surely such is not your final destination.”

“No.” Marian considered the many stories her mother had once told of her family, of the great regret concerning their estrangement. “I’m heading toward Kirkwall.”

“Kirkwall?” Flemeth’s smile is entirely predatory. “As it happens, I have a small task that needs to be completed there. Or perhaps it is that the task has me. It is hard to tell.”

“A small task?”

“I merely need someone to deliver an item, and here you are, no longer interesting but not boring in the least.” Her laugh is eerie. “Is it fate, or is it chance? I can never decide. No matter. I can deliver you and your companion to Gwaren, if you will do this small favor for me.”

Marian shrugs. She can hear the chittering of darkspawn approaching and Aveline is still unconscious. There is no choice. She grabs Aveline’s shield and sword and nods to Flemeth. It pains her to leave the bodies of her family, but there is no time for proper rites for the dead.

Later, ensconced in Gwaren, Marian wonders if it was expedience or kindness that made Flemeth use her flame breath to reduce everything on that small plateau to ash. Either way, she is grateful that her family’s souls have been freed of their corporeal binding.

Tomorrow, she and Aveline will board a boat with a dozen other refugees and hope that they will find some safety in Kirkwall.

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