Lookie, Transition finally has cover art! I drew it myself using Isabela's starting daggers as a reference. Took me 6 hours. I'm constantly tweaking it, so new things may pop up in the future.
Also, I rewrote chapter 3. I've always known it was by far the weakest chapter, and rehashes far too much of the game itself. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote it. However, most of the unnecessary fat has been trimmed, plus one new scene in the beginning.
So, I apparently lied when I said it'd be up in a week. What happened was that I wasn't satisfied with the original version, and rewrote it… a lot.
To Anon: Writing Isabela jealous would require at least 2 chapters of set up. The reason is that Isabela's first thought, if Hawke flirted with another person, would not be jealousy. It would be, "Woot, threesome!" The only way she'd actually be jealous – in this story at least – would be because Hawke is drifting away from her emotionally toward someone else. Now to get readers to relate to Isabela's jealousy, I have to introduce an original character, make her alluring and then make her a possible serious love interest for Hawke. That is a story in itself.
They left Kirkwall in the chaos that followed in the Mage-Templar battle. Anders died by Sebastian's blade. The Chantry brother slit his throat as they watched Kirkwall burn from the ship that Isabela now captained. Hawke promised the Starkhaven royal the right to Anders' life after they made it out the city and no sooner. She couldn't afford to lose the gifted healer just before the battle of their lives, but was angry enough that she didn't care about his fate afterward.
With a motley crew that was patched together from dockworkers desperate to escape the fighting, the companions managed to sail to Amaranthine before they began to separate. Aveline was the first to leave by staying in the city with Donnic. The two once again took up posts in the city guard. Hawke sent letters now and then, and they enjoyed meetings when The Siren's Sister came to port.
Varric opted to stay with Aveline for a time. Amaranthine was close enough to Kirkwall that he still had a number of active contacts there. It wasn't long after when he disappeared underground. Occasionally rumors of his business dealings reached the guardswoman's ears, but contact with him was sparse at best. She wasn't even sure he operated in the country anymore, let alone the city.
Merrill opted to help the elves in Denerim's alienage. After losing her clan, she found new meaning in helping her race in remembering the pride their people once had. She was a great teacher, and served as a much-needed healer among the poor. King Alistair unofficially supported her presence, and the Templars were too busy with their rebellion to worry about a single mage living peacefully among the destitute of Denerim. Isabela made sure to bring her trinkets and such whenever they were in port.
Sebastian Vael left the crew when they got to Orlais. He journeyed to Val Royeaux in hopes of helping the Chantry in their time of need. Fenris went with him, but only to join the Templars. His only wish was to control the mage threat to Thedas. He had little love for the Chantry itself.
After sailing for a year and doing shipping jobs across the Waking Sea, Isabela and Hawke found themselves in Llomerryn. The former Champion remained at the Docks to negotiate with their next customer, while the captain went into the city in search of supplies.
It was here when she saw a very familiar makeshift tent in a crowded part of the market. Curiosity got the better of her. Inside she found an old woman surrounded by trinkets customary of a Rivaini Seer.
"Tell your future for five silvers?" asked the woman. Isabela almost didn't recognize her. She was far older than her years. Her arms were thinner, more wrinkled, and her face was sunken in with early signs of starvation. Time had been rough on her mother.
The old woman looked up at her. "I feel you're searching for something. I may help you find it." She gestured for Isabela to sit.
The pirate did just that. She didn't say anything of course. Her own mother didn't seem to recognize her anymore. "I am," she responded, "my mother."
The woman looked up expectantly. "For ten silvers an hour, I can contact her from beyond the grave." She held out her hands to take in Isabela's.
Isabela laughed. "You're mistaken. My mother is not dead."
Her mother shrugged in response. "Then for fifteen silvers I can help you find her." She pulled out a crystal necklace and a map of Thedas.
The ship captain quickly grabbed the older Rivaini's hand. "That's not what I meant," she nearly shouted. "Look at me!"
Finally, the old woman met her eyes, and studied her face in the dim light. She gasped in surprise and whispered a name that Isabela had long abandoned. "What do you want?" she asked in fear.
The rogue shrugged. "I wanted to see what became of the bitch who sold me into marriage for a bag of gold coins and a goat."
"I did what was best for you," her mother defended. "Luis was rich, capable and…"
"A pig, who used me as his plaything for years." Isabela tightly clenched her mother's arm, enough to make it hurt. "Don't you dare say you did it for me! You turned to the Qun and were angry that I wouldn't. What happened, mother? Did they try to force you into a loveless marriage?"
"Stop," her mother half screamed, and struggled against Isabela's grip. "I'm sorry." She said that forgotten name once more. "Please," she begged, "Why are you here?"
Isabela let go and forced herself to calm down. She sat stiffly leaned back. "I was curious." There was so much she wanted to say: about her new life; about Hawke. Isabela hated herself for it. That woman didn't deserve to know.
The old seer defiantly straightened her back in an effort to maintain control. "I did what was best," she repeated. It was hard to tell if she said it for herself or for her daughter.
Isabela slammed her fists on the table. "You think selling me off to the highest bidder was the best?" It was the same reason her mother used years ago. Isabela wanted to believe it then, but she knew better now.
"Look at you now!" She gestured at the golden adornments the rogue liked to wear. They were symbols of status, and wealth.
"No!" Isabela yelled back. "I did this! I made something of myself. You had nothing to do with it."
"Believe what you want, but the truth is that you would not be where you are today if it were not for what I did." She scowled, indignant at her daughter's accusation. She couldn't let herself believe otherwise lest she be the monster her daughter believed.
Isabela sat back and snorted in disdain. "You're still that same self-righteous bitch you were ten years ago. I don't know why I even bothered." The rogue got up and tossed a sovereign at the old woman. "Here," she said. "Get something to eat." She left without waiting for a reply.
The unexpected meeting was draining. She should have known better– should have been better. She needed a distraction.
"Isabel–" The warrior was smothered immediately. She was sitting at a table with a number of the sailors from the ship when her captain strolled in and promptly jumped her. The kiss was fierce, and passionate, but a little desperate.
Isabela didn't care that they were in the middle of the tavern. She wanted ravish Hawke at that moment, so set about tearing off whatever clothes the former Champion had.
However, Hawke was not one for public displays, and quickly pulled the rogue into their room. She could still hear the hooting by all the other sailors through their door. They knew she was getting lucky, but she wasn't so sure. Isabela liked to flirt in front of the boys, which let them know exactly whose screams they heard at night, but she never really tried to give them a show.
Something was off.
Yet the warrior couldn't say anything. She was slammed against the wall. Her mouth was taken; her hands half-heartedly tried to regain control. Isabela knew exactly where to touch, what to lick and where to bite. Rough was an understatement, but Hawke was wet all the same. Her clothes were off, fingers inside and pushing her to the edge of release.
She screamed for the Maker. Her legs buckled; her head fell on the rogue's shoulders. "Isabela," she panted. Hawke saw the chaos and anger swirling in her lover's eyes. Without another word, she led them both to the bed and returned the favor, but very differently than what just happened. There was tenderness in her touch, a caress – a kiss – done with affection. Isabela gave it rough, but she clearly needed something else. This wasn't fun sex. It was about comforting the most important person in her life in the way she needed. Hawke wanted to make Isabela feel loved.
She moved slowly, bringing her lover to the edge and keeping her there in agonizing suspension. Hawke forced their eyes to meet; she wanted the rogue to know exactly who she was with, and that she would not leave, ever.
A final push, a kiss and Isabela's body shuddered. She chuckled a bit; Hawke was too gentle for her usual preferences. Still, she smiled.
Sometimes gentle was nice.
The sex did lesson her immediate anger. She still hated that woman, but she wasn't itching to stab or fuck random strangers anymore. Now, Isabela found herself staring at the ceiling and pondering about how she wasted an entire afternoon.
On the other hand, the former Champion stared at her lover with worry. "What happened?" she asked after a long silence.
The ship captain shrugged. "Nothing," she replied.
"Isabela," Hawke lightly chastised. She wanted to know, because she cared. "You never put on that much of a show for the men, so something is wrong, or you thought today would be a good day to become a voyeur."
The rogue gave her an amused grin. "I thought you would appreciate the spontaneity of it all. Besides, today is a great day to make you a voyeur."
A little annoyed, Hawke forced their eyes to meet. "Isabela, please," she begged, "Talk to me."
The captain rolled her eyes. She didn't like talking about such tedious things, but the look on Hawke's face made her open up. Hawke wouldn't use it against her; she was special. "I saw my mother in the market today."
This piqued the warrior's interest. "How did it go?"
"As expected," she answered honestly. "She's a self-centered bitch who will never change."
She should have expected it. Had that woman been anything else?
"I'm sorry." Hawke knew she was lucky. Leandra unconditionally loved all her children.
"It's nothing to apologize for. She's always been like that." All she taught Isabela was that only survival mattered. Until Hawke came along, she believed it.
"But still," replied the warrior. "She is your mother."
The rogue scowled at the comment. "I have no mother." Popping her out into the world did not make that woman her mother. She tried not to think of her childhood, of how her mother would comfort her after a nightmare or of when they celebrated when her mother pulled in larger amounts of silver. Damn those memories; they made her vision blur.
Hawke wiped the tears away without hesitation and pulled the Rivaini into a hug. "It's okay."
She buried her face in Hawke's chest. "I'm not crying," she said in a muffled voice. That woman wasn't worth it.
"I know." There was very little she could say. No child deserved such a parent. "Is there anyone else?" The warrior immediately regretted it. Isabela once confessed to have no one, and this was a horrible time to remind her.
"You," replied the rogue. "I have you." It was ironic. She spent the majority of her adult life running from any attachments, but now she couldn't imagine being alone.
Hawke was surprised for a moment, but quickly responded with a smile. "Always," she said and kissed her lover. Even after they were together, the rogue rarely expressed her feelings so directly. Isabela usually preferred to let her body do the talking, so when she voiced her feelings, they mattered. It made the former Champion cherish moments like these more, so she pulled the rogue closer and whispered into her ear, "I love you."
Those words—Isabela never thought they could make her shiver. She had heard them many times before, but they never made her feel so important. Her mother used love to use her. Some men screamed it in the height of ecstasy. Others thought they could tame her with it, and very few ever meant it. Yet here she was, with the woman she ran from because of it.
"I know," she replied with a smirk. Now she recalled what she said in the Orlesian tunnels over a year ago. At the time, the words were empty. Now, Isabela could say it once more and mean it.
She had a purpose.
She had Hawke.
And she was lucky.
Aveline was settling into her new home in Amaranthine. The port city was a perfect place to hide in the wake of Kirkwall's rebellion. She took Donnic's last name to hide her identity, and Aveline was a very common name for Orlesian girls. With her experience, it wasn't hard to demonstrate her abilities as a capable commander and warrior, and she swiftly found a job in the city guard once more. With the steady income, the couple quickly found a new home.
It was well past midnight, and all the guests of their housewarming party had long left. Aveline finally finished cleaning up the inevitable after-party mess, when Donnic appeared at the entrance of their bedroom wearing nothing but a ragged shirt and sporting a delicate pair of leather cuffs.
"Are you up for a game tonight, love?" he asked in his most seductive voice.
Aveline found herself giggling at his boldness. "Why, Serah Donnic, have you been a bad boy?"
"Indeed," her husband played along, "I need a firm hand to guide me back to the light."
She kissed him, and took the restraints from his hands. "I think I have the perfect punishment for bad boys like you."
Aveline never did tell Isabela she didn't need those leather manacles for her birthday. She already had the perfect pair.
End Notes: Kinky Aveline booyah! Bet you didn't need that image in your mind. I would like to think they switch off on who's the guardsman. My apologies to all you sex connoisseurs. I usually avoid details, because I suck at writing it, but this chapter made it unavoidable. It's still vague, but more than I usually include.
I wrote Anders' fate like that because it never made sense to me to kill the only useful healer right before the final battle, but letting Sebastian run off like a whiny pre-teen girl was also dumb. Though sometimes I wonder if he isn't just a very ugly one.
Isabela's confrontation with her mother was interesting to write. As you all know, I've attempted before, but couldn't finish it. Clearly, I was missing the key component known as Hawke in Isabela's life. Personally, I think that Isabela still cares about her mother to a degree. After all, it's hard to truly hate a parent. At the same time, she also resents the woman for all she's done. In the end, she has to convince herself that the woman she saw was never a mother. Sorry I couldn't include a fun Isabela in this chapter. It wasn't my original intention to leave on such a serious note.
I'd like to thank all of you for ending this journey with me.
Be sure to leave a review.