Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize from the game.

Author's Note: This is something of a short interlude, I suppose. The last side trip, before we wrap up the story. Hope you like it, do leave your feedback.

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Chapter 49 – The Fruit of Ambition

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A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you.

~ C. S. Lewis

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The whitewood staff tore through the air to land on the woman's back with a resounding crack. She screamed in pain as she collapsed on the floor, writhing. The look of savage fury on the face of the bearded man changed to a malicious grin as he raised the staff again and brought it down once more. The hall was entirely silent; the other slaves didn't utter a word.

And it was a beautiful hall. A table of delicately carved and polished stone stretched across most of it. At the head of the table stood a wooden chair that was more a throne; it put the rest of the seating to shame. There could be no question; that was where the magister sat. Paintings adorned the walls on either side, with doors leading into the inner chambers. A horde of slaves was busy preparing the table for the magister's guests. Guests of course referring to the people to whom he wished to prove his superiority. He was well known for having a terrible temper.

"Bitch!" The magister roared as he struck one last time. "Drop anything else and you'll wish you were never born."

The woman writhed on the floor, sobbing softly. The other slaves rushed to clean the spreading alcohol that had been dropped. The magister was on the verge of hysterics; it felt wonderful to get rid of all his frustrations like this. He had been searching for a way to let out his brewing rage and now he had found it. The slave was reasonably attractive after all. The smile stretched wider. No one would deny him, the world was his.

The woman yelped as he tugged her to her feet.

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A sylvanwood staff lay propped against the wall as a Tevinter magister heartily slurped from his glass and stuffed meat down his throat. The man was enormous, even by the standards of the most decadent of the Tevinter elite. But could he help it if he had a true appreciation for food?

His private chamber consisted of a large bed and an even larger table where he had his meals. Meals that lasted a significant period of time, as it so happened. The plates were of the finest gold of course, even the glasses were gold. He signaled to the elf servant in the room. The slave rushed to the magister's side as quickly as he could.

"More drink," The mage snapped offhandedly.

"Sire, we have no more at the moment," The elf said hesitantly. "I will make arrangements immediately."

The magister's look caused the slave to shrink in fear.

"Do so," He ordered coldly. "And bring me more meat."

"I… we have no more meat either Sire," The servant said in a somewhat high pitched voice.

The mage roared in anger and grasped his staff. He would not be denied, the world was his.

"I wonder how elf flesh tastes," The magister said in a guttural shout. His eyes gleamed with only excitement.

The slave screamed as the staff was raised.

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The red steel staff was lying alongside the carefree mage. The magister lay with his eyes closed in his palanquin, waiting only for his slaves to carry him to the gardens. The walk would have taken a matter of seconds, perhaps a minute. But what was the point of slaves if you had to work yourself.

The palanquin was designed beautifully, gilded in gold with velvet curtains to hide the mage's pale face from the heat of the sun. He had earned his unbelievably easy life after all. Four men walked up and grasped the poles and began to ferry him out. The palanquin was unreasonably heavy, to begin with. And there was a hole where the palace opened out into the garden.

And so, one of the slaves tripped, bringing the palanquin crashing upon the ground. The magister sighed as soon as he had gathered his wits. He pushed open the velvet curtains slowly and looked at the guilty slave who was bowing deeply. Well, he would have some manner of payback. No one would deny him, the world was his.

"You, are you married?" He asked lazily.

"Y-yes Sire," The man stuttered. The mage knew it had been a good decision to hire families.

"Bring me your wife," He commanded with a smirk as a look of horror flashed across the man's face.

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The silverite staff clattered on the floor, forgotten. The magister slammed the voluptuous red haired woman against the wall and kissed her brutally and greedily. He sighed in pleasure as the other women stroked and massaged his body, slowly undressing him. There were few things that pleased him more than the hours and hours he spent in his harem.

Of course, he had forcibly enslaved any woman in the city who had taken his fancy. They had all been willing enough once he had turned the rebellious ones to ash. That was when the door creaked open and one of his guards tossed in a panicked woman with disheveled black hair. Her eyes betrayed panic and worry. The mage gently pushed aside his admiring throng.

He recognized the woman soon enough, it was his latest acquisition. And she had been engaged to some poor man the city, not that he cared anymore.

"Come, pleasure me," The magister purred.

"N-no, please no," The woman begged, turning her head aside.

The mage's face contorted in anger. He would not be denied, the world was his.

He grabbed her hair and pulled her up. He would have his pleasure one way or another.

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A dragonbone staff was laid across the lap of the clean shaven, thin man. He leaned back in his golden throne with a soft smile on his face. He wore jet black robes and of course was feared by many. He was the greatest mage in the world. He had accomplished impossible goals effortlessly. His throne room was nothing more than a vast, empty chamber forged of gold. Beneath his right foot was sprawled an old man with white hair. And beneath his left foot was a small black dragon, squawking in pain.

The magister grinned contentedly and ground both his feet down. Shouts of pain from the man and roars of agony from the dragon were his music. After all, he was everything now. No one could deny him, the world was his.

He had done it all and he had finally received his reward. To lord over everyone, as was his right.

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The whitewood staff flew from his hand as the bearded magister's eyes widened in fury. The slave bitch had actually raised a hand against him. But then fear enveloped him.

The woman's presence had grown to oppressive levels and his head was pounding.

"So angry, so much rage," The slave said softly as she laid a hand on his head.

He shrieked as his skin began to blister and rot, his throat going dry. He shrieked like a beast as he stumbled around the room. His beautiful hall began to fall apart. Paintings tore of their own accord and a piece of the ceiling crushed his precious throne. For a single moment he saw bright gold.

And so is the golden city blackened.

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The slyvanwood staff slipped from the magister's hand as he vomited noisily. The elf's hand had grasped his head firmly. The mage's skin wrinkled even as he shrieked, eyes beginning to become blank. He could not make words anymore, only scream gutturally.

"So much hunger," The elf murmured.

The slave was bursting with a bright, white aura that hurt his eyes. Around the magister, his precious food went stale and began to crawl with insects and maggots. For a single moment he saw bright gold.

With each step you take in my hall.

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The red steel staff snapped like a twig as the palanquin collapsed upon the magister. The slave, who was echoing with unnatural power, was holding the mage's head firmly. His scalp boiled as his hair was singed off. He could only scream in a beastly voice, emerging from a dead throat.

"So lazy, so much sloth," The palanquin bearer said coldly.

His gardens burnt around him and his palace collapsed. For a single moment he saw bright gold.

Marvel at perfection.

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The forgotten silverite staff was kicked aside by the black haired woman. She was scowling in anger, nails clawing into the magister's scalp as she radiated unusual power. The mage roared in agony that was amplified when he looked over his once lovely body. The wretched, wrinkled, dead skin covered everything. He could make no noise and his mind was slowly dying.

"So lustful, so much desire," The woman hissed viciously.

His harem exploded around him as the rubble began to bury his now terrifying form. For a single moment he saw bright gold.

For it is fleeting.

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The dragonbone staff was still upon the golden throne that was rapidly corroding. The magister's rotting body was flung across the chamber repeatedly. There was a single presence within the collapsing chamber, something the mage could not bring himself to see. He was reminded, though, of how his father beat him when he was a child. It was the only other time he had felt such fear. His shout was like the cry of a monster as he slammed into the floor. A great force struck his back as though he was being stepped on.

"Such pride and hubris," A voice bellowed. It still reminded him of his father.

He saw a flash of gold. A great city of gold that turned black. And then he remembered. He attempted an indignant shriek but his dead throat allowed for only animalistic roars. This was not how it was supposed to end. Heaven was rightfully his for the taking. He thought he heard a voice murmur about ungrateful playthings and children before the floor gave way beneath him.

You have brought sin to heaven and doom upon all the world.

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He was conscious of falling and then he was conscious of being surrounded by dirt. In the darkness he could still feel his corrupted, dead body. The voice of his beloved god burst through his mind, causing his head to throb painfully.

"I will not bear this indignity! I will NOT suffer this curse-"

And then the voice was gone as were his intelligent thoughts. There was only a beautiful song that played through his mind. And he had to kill, and make more. But the music was more important; he had to find the source of the tune. Never had he felt such longing.

The beast began to claw through the dirt.

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Author's Note: Hope you liked it. Do leave your thoughts. Next update shall continue with the main storyline.

To my reviewers:

interesting2125: Thanks! Yeah, I think Morri's had a slight change in her world view eventually. The gardener could be taken as the voice but... actually, more on that later (sort of). Hope the final fight doesn't dissapoint.

Lehni: hanks! Yes, it's essentially a metaphor (which sort of goes both ways). Just a short way of putting up the role of 'fate'. Anyway, more on that a bit later. Glad you liked the Leli/Morri fluff.

Nightwish11606: Thanks! And great to hear from you! Glad you liked the fluff, I did think the story could use a little after what it went through. Hope you like the final showdown!