A Fortuitous Fall

Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Age.

Note: The prompt was one of Zevran's Crow missions.

Zevran had only recently become a full assassin. As it happened, this mission to assassinate the nubile mage Carlotta was only his second and the first he had gone on alone. Carlotta was…not what he had expected, to say the least. He had always imagined, perhaps self-indulgently, that the marks were terrible people who thoroughly – or at least kind of – deserved their fate, not blushing beauties like the woman dressing in front of him. Carlotta had dark glossy hair, long and thick, with plush, full lips and innocent chocolate eyes. Her skin was a lovely bronze color, her legs were long and divine, and the bright green dress she had just slipped back into left very little to the imagination. Was it really any wonder that he had stopped to take a moment to appreciate the beauty he was to destroy before actually doing it?

Of course, Carlotta had quickly shown that she wasn't one to waste an opportunity. The moment she realized that her guard was dead, she had gotten done on her hands and knees. She had looked up at him with her large doe eyes and had apologized for whatever it was that she had done and whoever it was that she had offended so terribly as to deserve to die. She had asked who had put out the contract on her and Zevran had been forced to admit that he didn't know which just seemed to distress her further. He had never been very good with a woman who was upset. She had begged him not to kill her and Zevran could hardly stand to look at her as he explained that he had no choice but to kill her and that if he did not do it then surely someone else would as the Crows didn't accept failures.

She didn't seem to be listening, though, as she slowly climbed to her feel and pulled him in for a kiss. "I don't want to die," she had whispered in between kisses. "Please…help me feel alive."

And so Zevran did what any conscientious assassin would do and slept with her. She was going to die and she didn't want to. He could certainly respect that. If she wanted to spend her last few hours overcome with passion than who was he to deny her? He wasn't heartless, after all. He knew that she was still very upset about it all when she tried to kill him in the middle of the act – twice – but he couldn't hold it against her. Most people didn't want to die and she was such a lovely young woman…

"Thank you," Carlotta said softly, her voice trembling slightly. "Maker help me, I still do not know what it is that I have done to make whoever hired you hate me so much and I shall go to my grave not knowing." She closed her eyes. "If only I knew…this is all just a big misunderstanding, I know it. Still, you don't have the power to cancel the hit on me and so I must simply accept my fate and hope that you will let me die with some dignity."

Zevran began to feel rather uncomfortable. Surely this charming creature didn't really need to die. Perhaps a jealous ex-lover had gotten angry and entered one of those barbarian 'if I can't have her, no one can' states of mind. Having had her himself, Zevran could certainly see why an ex-lover might feel that way. But Carlotta didn't deserve to die over some brute's bruised ego. If only there was something that he could do…

"I am ready," Carlotta said bravely.

"I…" Zevran trailed off. "I can't make any promises but…"

"But?" Carlotta's eyes flew open and looked ever so surprised that she wasn't being assassinated.

"You can come with me to Antiva City," Zevran offered. "And you can find out who put a bounty on your head and why. It's not much but at least you won't die wondering."

"You would do that for me?" Carlotta cried, touched. She placed her hand on her breast. "That is the sweetest, most amazing thing that anybody has ever…oh no…"

"What? What's wrong?" Zevran asked, concerned.

"If any of the Crow leadership sees me then they will likely recognize me," Carlotta explained. "And they will simply kill me and I will never know."

There was really only one thing that Zevran could say to that. "Well…what if I were to approach them for you? I could explain that you don't know what happened and see if they will tell me why you are condemned to die or even if they are willing to meet with you and discuss the matter in person."

Carlotta's eyes looked suspiciously shiny at this offer. "I…thank you. When I first met you yesterday I thought for sure that I would hate you but you're so much kinder than I ever dreamed." She laughed lightly. "You're making me feel guilty for trying to kill you."

"That's always gratifying to hear," Zevran said with a smile. "I will go ahead and you will follow me, yes?"

"Of course," Carlotta nodded earnestly. "I really can't thank you enough for this."

Zevran stood up to get out of the carriage and get on his way and Carlotta stood as well to kiss him one last time. Knowing exactly how dangerous this could end up being, Zevran allowed himself to become lost in the kiss. When she pulled back he didn't open his eyes but when she began to scream he did. Carlotta was nowhere to be found. He glanced outside the carriage and found her lying on her back, not moving.

Zevran jumped out of the carriage to examine her. "Carlotta, are you alright?" he asked urgently. There was no answer. He gently brushed her hair back and saw her head bent at an unnatural angle. It would appear that s he'd broken her neck.

That was…that was odd. Zevran couldn't even say it was sad as he had barely known her but it seemed a waste for her to die now that he had just agreed to plead her case before the Crows and she might have gotten a chance to live after all.

The driver of the carriage stepped outside to see what all the commotion was. "Carlotta!" he exclaimed upon seeing her. "By the Maker…you were so close to being safe! If we could have just made it to Genellan…"

Zevran started. "Genellan? But that's in the provinces. I thought she was going to follow me back to Antiva City."

"I…well, that is…" the driver spluttered.

Zevran laughed bitterly as he realized the truth. This woman, innocent or not – and likely not given her deception – was planning on sending him to face the Crows while she went into hiding. She had been playing him for a fool.

There was really only one thing he could do in this situation. He killed the driver and went back to Antiva City, resolved to never again let a pretty face go to his head lest his next beautiful mark not be considerate enough to get herself killed before she got him into trouble.

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