This was written for the DA ficathon on LiveJournal. The prompt was ""Jowan, Niall, and Godwin as little kids playing in the tower. Rated G or PG." The Amell is Maebh Amell from my "Prodigal" and "Restoration" stories.
Godwin struggled with his own costume as Niall bounced on his bunk, babbling excitedly while waving his sword in the air.
"And did you know that King Calenhad got his armor from the Circle Tower when they endorsed him for king and that's why he's called 'The Silver Knight' because of his armor and I made mine just like that except not with metal, you know, it's actually just some old drapes but they do look like armor and I got this sword from Bran he said they didn't need it for practice anymore because it's old and splintered and and--"
"Ugh," groaned Godwin, "I know! You've been talking about nothing else for weeks, Niall. I helped you get the drapes! I used the extra for my own costume! Let's go, we're already late for the party."
Niall jumped off the bed, brandishing his large wooden sword. "Die, Severan-most-foul!" he roared, waving the sword in Godwin's face.
"Oh, come off it." Godwin shoved the sword away. "You know it was Maric that fought Severan, not Calenhad."
Niall shrugged and followed the older boy. As they reached the door they were stopped by a snuffling sound. They met eyes, and Niall frowned while Godwin pulled a face. "Hold on a minute, Godwin," Niall said in an artificially loud voice. "I think I have forgotten something."
Godwin crossed his arms and slouched. "Fine, fine, but if all the honeyapples are gone by the time we get there I'm blaming you."
Niall made his way to the lavatory, knocking on each stall door. When he knocked on the third door a small voice answered, "N-nobody's here."
"Well, it sounds like nobody has a pretty loud voice. Would nobody like to come to the party with us?"
"N-no. N-nobody has a stupid costume," came the miserable reply.
"Well! If nobody has a stupid costume," Niall grinned, "then it stands to reason that everybody has a good costume. And then if everybody has a good costume, then there's no reason for nobody to stay behind, right?"
"Just get out of there, kid," Godwin huffed in frustration. "There's loads of treats to be had. And we won't get any more until First Day and that's months away."
There was a long pause, and a sniffle. "But..."
"Oh, I'm sure your costume isn't that bad," Niall reassured the young one on the other side of the door. "Besides, nobody will notice it anyway."
The door creaked open, and the morose five-year-old boy shuffled out, dark hair hanging in his eyes.
"Oh, Maker. You just got here, didn't you?" groaned Godwin.
"Two weeks ago," mumbled the child, staring at his feet.
Niall sighed. "That's why you have the nug costume. Somebody always gets stuck with the nug costume. What's your name?"
The boy sniffled and rubbed his nose with the back of his hand. "J-Jowan."
"Well, Jowan," Niall knelt in front of the boy and straightened the pink hood on his head. "You will be accompanied by Calenhad the Great and Severan, the evil sorcerer servant of the usurper Meghren and thus not a one of them will be brave enough to torment you."
The boy looked up at him, eyes wide. "Really?"
"Sure, whatever, can we go?" Godwin was bouncing with impatience.
"Yes, let's go," and Niall took Jowan's hand in his and the two older boys led the younger to the Great Hall, where the festivities were being held.
The Great Hall had been transformed from its usual sterile appearance to an other-wordly realm, with torches glowing blue and green, and purple streamers weaving a web along the walls, and masked jesters juggling swords and breathing fire, and a fife and drum band, and tables piled high with apples, candied apples, appled candy, candied whiskey, apple fritters, and the older mages leading the younger apprentices in games, and the ever-present silent vigil of Templars lining the walls.
Jowan clung to Niall's hand, staring at the splendor. "Oh. I didn't know it would be like this," he said in hushed awe.
"That's what we were trying to tell you! Satinalia is the best day of the whole year!" Godwin grinned. "Come on, let's get some honeyapples. Have you ever had one before?"
Jowan shook his head.
"Oh, then you're in for a treat. Nancy makes them just for Satinalia and Summerday. They're brilliant." And Godwin scurried for the treat tables.
Niall and Jowan made their way to the puppet show. It was the same puppet show every year, Andraste defeating the evil Maleficar of the Tevinter Imperium. Niall could recite it in his sleep by now, but he remembered how much he had enjoyed it as a boy, so he tried to be patient. He looked down at Jowan, eyes so big they seemed to take up half of his face, and he was struck with a curious thought. His own mother had been great with child when she had to turn him over to the Tower. He wondered if she had a boy, if he looked like Jowan now. They would have been about the same age. Or maybe he had a baby sister. He wondered what she would be like. Would they tell her about him? Probably not, he decided. Not many people ever talked about the children sent away.
The puppet show ended, and Jowan applauded enthusiastically. "There you are!" grumped Godwin. "I've been looking all over for you! Here," and he deposited several sticky, apple-shaped sweets in Niall and Jowan's hands. "You should be grateful, these were almost gone. You don't want to know how long it took me to find them."
"Thanks, Godwin!" Niall popped one of the honeyapples in his mouth. The spongey sweet gushed thick honey all over his tongue as he chewed. He grinned. "Thefe are alwayf better 'n I 'member," he enthused.
"Better?" Jowan's eyes got even bigger.
"Mm-hm!" Godwin smiled, mouth full of the delicacy. He swallowed. "Now you see why we didn't want to miss it!"
All three jumped and laughed as a fire breather blasted a column of green flame over their heads.
"That's a stupid costume," declared a haughty voice behind them.
The three turned to see a strange, pale girl with very short black hair and cruel grey eyes staring at them.
"And what would you know about costumes, Silent Sister," sneered Niall as he placed a protective arm around Jowan's shoulders. "What are you supposed to be?"
She scowled. "I'm supposed to be the Hero of the River Dane, for your information. And, by the way, I wasn't talking about the nug. I was talking about you. Your spaulders are all wrong. Calenhad's would not have covered so much of the shoulder. And besagews weren't invented yet."
"Get a load of this one," Godwin scoffed to the other two. "She doesn't say anything for months and then she's the most eminent scholar of arms and armor to ever live. You think you're something special First Year? You might be older than the other Firsties but you're no smarter."
The girl frowned harder. "I'm still right." And she stalked off in her curious hunching gait.
Niall rolled his eyes. "Don't listen to her, she doesn't know what she's talking about."
"I dunno," Jowan licked the honey off his fingers. "Amell's always nice to me."
Godwin shrugged as Niall grew serious. "Listen to me, Jowan. You have to be careful who you befriend in here. A weirdo like that can get you into all sorts of trouble You should stick with us, we'll keep you straight."
The younger boy was serious for a moment as he considered this. "Can we go play some games now?"
Godwin and Niall grinned at each other. "Of course!"