Hawke's young in this. Probably about 20 when everything starts. So no Champion beard just yet.


"Pack quicker. We need to more," Carver shouted, moving through the small house like a madman, pulling at pots, flinging drawers, looking for any last dire items they might need.

"Carver, please," Bethany soothed, her eyes going to Mother. Leandra was whimpering, her head buried in Garrett's chest. The usual expression of glee was missing from their brother's face. Carver growled; even that cocky bastard knew this was serious.

Carver straightened angrily, "We cannot stay here," his eyes flashed dangerously. He knew he'd never get the images of Ostagar out of his head. The screams…the smell…the horde…King Cailen's corpse… His fist clenched at his side.

Garrett's eyes suddenly darkened. "Mother, I think it might be time for us to move again," he murmured as he untangled himself from the weeping woman and he moved to the window sill. The Imperial Highway was barely a spec in the distance but the black wave moving down it was unmistakable. "They're here," Garrett added darkly.

"Oh Maker," Leandra murmured, clutching her stomach.

Garrett sighed heavily as he turned back to his siblings, "Is everything ready?" He reached down and scratched Shep, the family Mabari, behind the ears. The dog whined.

Bethany nodded.

"Good," Hawke murmured as he turned towards the door. Leaning against the fireplace was his staff, he grabbed it and tossed Bethany's to her. "Last time we had to run out like this father was being chased by Templars," Garrett chuckled, "That was much more fun," he added glibly.

"Would you just shut up," Carver growled, brushing past his older brother.

Garrett chose not to retort; Carver tended to fight sloppy when he was agitated and they couldn't afford that. His eyes drifted up the steep hill their house was wedged against. It would be slow enough going getting to higher ground without having to worry about his brother's state of mind. Mother's age was starting to show; she wasn't as fast as she used to be.

They emerged from the house slowly. Hearing his mother bite back a sob Hawke winced. Lothering had meant so much to her. They'd been on the run for years, always weary of setting down roots. But they'd had seven good uninterrupted years in Lothering as a family before…before Father had died. And after that, they'd spent another three rebuilding their lives. But always in Lothering.

"Which way?" Carver's voice roused Hawke from his musing. Hawke bit back a grin; Carver hated being in his big brothers shadow-but as soon as a decision had to be made, guess who he turned to.

"We could go North or we could go South. Do you have a coin on you?"

"Garrett!" Bethany hissed, elbowing her big brother in the rib. The icy glare she sent him wiped away his smirk.

"We get to high ground," Hawke gestured up the mountain, "At the very least we'll be able to see the Darkspawn horde as it comes at us," he added under his breath.

"I heard that," Bethany muttered, shooting him another glare.

Their progress up the slope was slower than Garret had feared. By the time they reached the peek, the Chantry was already in flames. Hawke shivered; regardless of his feelings about the Chantry and its Mage Hunters, seeing the house of The Maker in flames…

Garrett turned his attention to his brother who was bringing up the rear guard. "Carver, you might move quicker if you're sword wasn't bigger than you," he smirked as his brothers face reddened. Garrett pulled the knife from his belt, "If you want this instead just say the word." So much for his resolution to keep Carver's mind focused; his brother's buttons were just too easy to push.

"Maker's breath, you're an ass," Bethany muttered.

Carver opened his mouth to retort when their mothers scream cut him off.

"Darkspawn," she whispered, pointing towards the side of the hill. A handful of darkspawn were headed straight for them, their pale, gray faces and foaming mouths clearly visible.

"Scouts," Bethany swore softely.

"How did they get up here? You were supposed to be watching," Carver accused as he pulled mother farther down the trail away from the horde.

Garrett pushed his sister in front of him, making himself rear guard. Chances were this was his fault. Regardless, he planned on keeping himself between the darkspawn and his family. "Don't look at me, I was watching the front," Garrett glanced back over his shoulder, "Why weren't you paying attention? The sides were you're responsibility," he goaded. Slowly they started pulling away from the horde.

"I was watching the back!" Carver shouted angrily. "Watch the back, watch the sides, watch everything!" Garrett heard Carver mutter. Unsure of whether to roll his eyes at his brother or sigh in exasperation, Garrett opted to do both.

More spawn appeared on their other side, much closer than the others. One was much too close. Instinctively, Hawke felt a surge of magic rush through him and he pointed the staff towards the Hurlock which immediately screamed in pain as it caught fire. Another, an archer, was lining up a shot. Hawke paused and took aim. The creature screamed as it burst into flames and jumped off a nearby ledge. The milliseconds Garrett had paused had cost him. A group of the creatures was gaining and his family was pulling away from him. Slinging his staff back over his shoulder Garrett broke into a sprint.

The creatures were licking at his heels and he could hear the blood rushing through his ears as he ran to catch up to his family. Bethany turned suddenly and fire erupted from her hand. Hawke ducked effortlessly to the side, and another spawn burst into flames. The flames licked at the ground, cutting the rest of the spawn off from them, allowing them a moment to breathe.

Smoke was now rising from what had once been their house.

"Maker," Leandra's voice broke, "We lost it all…everything you're father and I built…"

Garrett felt his throat tighten. "Well at least we're still alive. That's no small feat," he offered hopefully.

"We should have run sooner, why did we wait so long?" Bethany finally turned her glare on Carver.

"Why are you looking at me? I've been running since Ostagar," Carver folded his arms across his chest indignantly.

Garrett bit back a retort. Yes Carver, you got to go fight for the kingdom because both of your siblings very existence is a crime. Hawke sighed and ran a hand through his hair; father had taught him more than enough spells-he should have been at Ostagar, should have been able to serve his kingdom, same as any other Fereldan. Being an apostate didn't mean he lacked patriotism…or whatever it was when applied to the survival of the human race…and the elven one…and probably the dwarves too. He bit back a chuckle; Cailan really shouldn't have been so picky about who was allowed to fight at his side. Garrett sighed; he really was a sick individual, the king's body wasn't even cold yet. Bethany would be ashamed if she knew what he was thinking.

"Not to interrupt the finger pointing, but the Blight isn't going to wait for us to finish our little chat before they attack again," Garrett muttered, glancing back at the Darkspawn trapped by the slowly fading flames. The darkspawn prowled back and forth, gurgling cries sporadically erupting from their throats.

"Then lead on," Carver jerked his head down the path they were on. Garrett smiled politely; he was impressed that his brother had managed to defer leadership to him and make it sound mocking simultaneously-Carver was learning. Garrett was so proud.

His delight was short lived as another wave of darkspawn emerged, this time from the direction they were headed.

"Where do these things come from?" Carver moaned as he charged ahead , swiftly beheading one darkspawn and gutting another in one fluid motion.

"I think The Deep Roads," Hawke yelled, roasting a darkspawn as it moved towards his brother.

Carver stared at his brother incredulously for a second, before turning and slicing the sword arm off the last Hurlock.

"We need to move faster," Carver breathed heavily, wiping the blood from his sword.

"Where are we going?" Bethany said suddenly, her voice cracking fearfully, "We can't just wander aimlessly."

Garrett's fist clenched. He couldn't promise his sister-any of them-anything, not even that they'd make it through the night. "As long as we wander aimlessly away from the horde I'm happy," he said, offering her a smile.

"We could go to Kirkwall!"

There was a pregnant pause as the suggestion sunk in.

"Why…would we go there?" Carver asked.

"It certainly wasn't my first choice," Hawke added, "Or my fifth."

"There are a lot of Templars in Kirkwall mother," Bethany added nervously.

"We have family there. And an estate!"

Hawke nodded. "It's as good a plan as any," he shrugged. Before anyone could argue Garrett spun on his heel and resumed walking.

Soon the sound of steel on steel hit his ears and Hawke ran towards the sound, stopping at a bend in the road he poked his head around the corner to investigate. He swore softly. Darkspawn and templars. His eyes darted skyward momentarily in frustration; when he'd said he would rather be running from Templars he hadn't really meant he wanted to run from Darkspawn AND Templars. It had been more of an either/or request.

Carvers hand was suddenly on his shoulder, pulling him back, "Let them slug it out. We'll fight the winner," he whispered.

Hawke shook his head glumly, "I'd rather take my chances with the Templar," he muttered.

Carver sighed, "Fine, ignore my advice…terrific, get yourself captured. I'm not the one who will have to wear those robes." Nevertheless, Hawke saw his brother's shadow right behind his as he charged towards the fray.

The darkspawn fell easily to the combined might of his brother and the strong red headed woman accompanying the injured Templar.

"Apostates! Keep your distance!" The Templar yelled, even as Carver slew the final darkspawn.

Bethany chuckled darkly. "So the Maker has a sense of humor. Darkspawn and now a templar, I thought they'd all abandoned Lothering," she challenged.

Hawke bit back a smile. Bethany had simply beaten him to the punch; he'd wanted to say much the same…only she said it much nicer. She was always the nice one.

"I'm sure in the face of a Blight we can all be reasonable," Hawke smiled towards the still furious looking templar.

"The spawn are clear in their intent, a mage is always a-"

"Wesley dear they saved us," the red head chimed in.

Hawke allowed his smirk to stretch across his face as he watched the Templar instantly retreat.

"There's a good Templar," Hawke smiled. "Can you keep up?" he gestured to the man's wounded arm.

"Even with healing…I don't know," the Templar admitted.

"Bethany, why don't you give it a try," Hawke added.

Bethany turned sharply towards her brother, "Are you sure that's wise?"

"One more sword between us and the Darkspawn? Yes please," Carver muttered.

Hawke smiled, "For you Carver, that was oddly eloquent." Bethany moved towards the Templar reluctantly.

Carver rolled his eyes. Two more bodies-even if it was just one more sword-that would mean the world of difference between whether or not they made it out alive.

The red head stared at him intently, "I recognize you."

"That's not good," Hawke muttered.

"You fought at Ostagar," the woman looked him up and down.

Carver nodded.

"I can't do anything more for his arm Garrett," Bethany announced, removing her hands from Wesley's shoulder.

"It feels…slightly…better," the Templar winced. "…Thank you," Wesley added with some effort.

"Now I've seen everything," Hawke muttered.

Darkspawn continued to flood their path, their number always seeming to increase. The red head-who introduced herself as Aveline-turned out to be an exceptionally talented warrior. She would plow into waves after wave of enemy, corralling the spawn so that he and Bethany could pick them off from a distance.

"Quickly," Aveline sighed as she bashed in one final spawns head with her shield, "Before they regroup."

Bethany took lead, Carver flanking the left, Aveline the right, with Hawke bringing up the rear guard. They formed a tight bubble around their mother and Wesley as they moved. The ground below them suddenly started to tremble. Garrett felt his heart begin to race-earthquakes were an exceptionally rare event…then he saw the horns peek against the crescent of the horizon. An Ogre.

The large beast charged towards the group, bellowing furiously.

"Stay together," Aveline screamed, reaching an arm out to pull Wesley and even Carver back.

Bethany stood her ground, pushing mother behind her. Garret realized a second too late what his sister planned.

"Bethany! Get back!"

"Maker give me strength," She murmured, slamming the butt of her staff into the ground. The fire erupted from it, and the Ogre was instantly drawn to the flame. Hawke lunged forwards to grab her, but the Ogre was faster.

It's fingers curled around her and slammed her against the ground. Bethany screamed in pain. It wound up again to slam her into the ground. Any sound Bethany made was drowned out by the deafening sound of bones mashing dirt. Satisfied, the Ogre threw her aside like a ragdoll. The last sickening crunch of hearing her land broke echoed in Hawke's ears.

The Ogre roared again and charged. Carver pulled their mother out of its path. Seemingly oblivious to the monster, she ran to Bethany's side. Hawke stared mutely at his sister's face. Her eyes were open and lifeless. She was gone. With a scream Garrett threw himself into the battle, sending wave after wave of magic towards the goliath beast. Carver was hacking at the thick hide of its legs, trying to topple it, while Aveline stood directly in the fiends path, keeping the brute's attention on her. They danced and parried the beast, constantly forced to divert their attention as other darkspawn appeared.

Hawke raised a hand to his face to wipe away the sweat and frowned. His nose was bleeding. He swallowed hard, feeling dizzy and light headed. He'd never fought before, not in anything more than a few small skirmishes, and he'd never used this much magic before in his life. He swayed slightly and dropped to a knee, trembling. His vision started to twist and dance in front of him.

"Garrett!" Carver's voice broke through to him. The Ogre was standing over him. Tightening his grip on his staff Garrett rolled quickly out of the beasts way when it lunged its claws out to grab him. Stumbling to his feet Garrett swung the staff down and stabbed the end of the staff through the creatures hand. It roared and swung its other hand towards him and the staff. The Ogre's hand slammed through the staff, snapping it like a twig, and he backhanded Hawke, sending him sailing through the air. Hawke landed hard, gasping as all the air was sucked from his lungs.

Carver jumped on the creatures back and thrust his sword deep into the creatures back. Flailing, it reached for him too. Carver screamed and twisted the sword in the creatures back, snapping the muscle tendons. The Ogres arm fell uselessly to its side and began to sway. Leaping from its back Carver rolled out of its way as it fell dead.

Hawke rose shakily to his feet. Splintered shards of his staff were wedged into the skin of his bare arm. Ignoring it he ran to his mother's side.

"Bethany, it's over," their mother's voice trembled as she shook her youngest child's arm forcefully, trying to rouse her from death.

Hawke sank to his knees next to his sister. Bethany's eyes were still wide open, lifelessly staring at him. Garrett clenched his teeth. She was gone…his little sister. He reached a hand out slowly to close her eyes.

"Don't you touch her! This is your fault," his mother hissed, pushing his hand away.

Hawke's face paled. It wasn't his fault. They'd been fighting an Ogre, no one could have …but if he'd been faster. He should never have let her take lead; he should have made her switch with him. It should have been him.

"You daughter is gone miss. Allow me to commend her soul to the Maker," the injured Templar offered.

Hawke listened numbly as the Templar who, hours earlier had wanted to attack Bethany, gave her her final prayer. He wasn't sure Bethany would appreciate the irony. For once, even he didn't.

Carver stood up and turned away from the body, his shoulders heaving . Hawke watched silently as his mother continued to cradle Bethany's body in her arms; she was still weeping. A sudden knot formed in Garrett's stomach as he realized they wouldn't even be able to bury her.

"We need to move," he said finally, his voice flat; Bethany wouldn't want them all to die hunched over her corpse. Leandra looked up at him, her eyes and face still red from tears, and glared at him accusingly. Hawke glanced away unable to deal with her anger. Maybe it was his fault.

The screeching cries of darkspawn filled the air. "Maker, not again," Aveline swore, pulling her sword and shield from her back again.

Standing, Hawke winced as he flexed his arm. The shards of wood imbedded in his flesh wouldn't make casting much fun…not that he had much juice left anyhow. Hawke inhaled deeply, calming himself, searching for the strength. There wasn't much left…maybe one last fireball…a horde was coming towards them, a mob, all scrunched together. The flames licked at his fingers…almost there. He gritt his teeth, pulling forth all the energy he could and sent the fireball hurling towards the darkspawn who screamed viciously as they exploded into flames.

Suddenly a blood curling screech filled the air. Hawke stopped breathing as he turned to stare at the beast who'd made the sound. It was a dragon. He felt a small sardonic smile tug at the corner of his lips. So this was how it ended? Not at the hand of darkspawn, nor templars, or even Ogres…dragons.

The dragon's wings unfolded, sending a shockwave through the air. It launched itself into the sky, its mouth opening wide to consume all of them. It went straight for the darkspawn, lighting them aflame and tearing at the rest with its mouth and fangs as the small group of refugees watched in awe.

And then it changed into a woman.

Dragging a darkspawn's corpses in one hand the woman sauntered over to them, a coy smile on her lips.

"Well, well what do we have here," she murmured. Hawke heard the clank of armor hitting the ground as Wesley fainted. Hawke smirked; there were probably way too many apostates around for him to handle.

Hawke ignored the tremor of terror in his stomach as the woman stared at him. He reminded himself that if she'd wanted to kill them she would have done it as a dragon. So they were safe…for now.

And if she did decide to kill them, it wasn't like there was much they could do anyways.

"That's a nice trick," Hawke offered. "I want to turn into a dragon," he mused.

The woman chuckled, "Who says I'm not a dragon?"

Hawke smiled. He was really starting to like this alarmingly powerful apostate, "Then this is an even better trick," he gestured to her human form.

She ignored his remark, "If you wish to flee the darkspawn, you should know you are headed in the wrong direction." She turned to walk away.

"What, that's it? You're just going to leave us here?" Carver asked indignantly.

"Can I not? I spotted a most curious sight. A mighty Ogre vanquished. Who could perform such a feet? Now my curiosity is sated and you are safe-for the moment. Is that not enough?"

"Well I'd still like to be a dragon," Hawke mused.

The witch heard him and laughed heartily. She paused a moment before speaking, "The darkspawn are everywhere-or soon will be. Where is it you'd run to?"

"We're trying to get to Kirkwall," Carver admitted tersely.

"Kirkwall. My, that is quite the voyage you plan," she mused. "You're king will not miss you?"

Hawke grinned, "I certainly doubt he'll miss me," he glanced back towards Aveline and Ser Wesley, "Well, he might miss the Templar," Hawke admitted glibly.

The witch laughed again, "Such a tongue…for a mage," she stared at him silently for a moment, "Hurtled into the chaos, you fight. And the world will shape before you," she murmured, her eyes far off and glassy.

Hawke glanced at Carver. His brother shrugged. The witch continued to mutter to herself quietly.

"It appears I may be able to help you yet," she announced, smiling sweetly.

Hawke shifted uncomfortably. "There must be a catch…"

"There is always a catch! Life is a catch! I suggest you catch it while you can," she chuckled.

Hawke felt Carver tense next to him. "Maybe we shouldn't trust her," he whispered, "We don't even know what she is."

"She's a Witch of the Wilds Carver," Hawke said calmly, still staring at the witch. Father had told him and Bethany about them years ago. He'd also heard the Chaisand tales; unlike Carver he didn't feel above listening to the 'foolish tales of the barbarians'.

The Witch nodded, "Indeed. Some call me that. Also, Flemeth. Asha'bellanar…an 'old hag who talks to much'," she cackled again. "Does it matter? I offer you this, I will get your group past the horde. In exchange for a simple delivery that is not far out of your way."

Hawke tensed. He didn't like this. This may not have been the fade, but he was dealing with a demon all the same. "You can turn into a dragon. Why do you need me to make a delivery for you? Can't you just fly on over and deliver this…whatever it is…yourself?"

"I have…an appointment to keep here," Flemeth said cryptically.

Hawke sighed and turned to Carver. Carver shrugged; typical.

He could still hear mother weeping hysterically behind him. She was in no mood or condition to offer consul. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Aveline trying to redress Wesley's wound. The two of them wouldn't make it if they continued at their current pace. And without Bethany…He couldn't lose anymore of them. He had to keep what was left of his family safe.

"I'd have to reach Kirkwall first," Hawke agreed reluctantly.

The witch smiled at them. "Then let me tell you what must be done…"


Liberties will be taken as the story cotninues...Varric glossed over some big things(like...years...)...and I think he neglected to mention a lot of character moments...

Hopefully some people will think there is some potential here. I dislike directly rehashing the plot...want to hit the points of it but...focus my attention elsewhere as well...if that makes sense?

Enjoy and Review!