Been a while since I tried a hand at a fanfiction, since my old laptop died; Lets see how long it'll take for me to lose interest, ne?
Inspired by Mass Vexations and other good self-inserts.
The soft mutter of conversation had filled the train; some talking on their phones, others to each other. Many were silent, but the void of silence was still filled by voices and the rattling of the train, which was packed, but not to the brim. At the tail end of rush hour, there were plenty of people who either willingly waited or had to catch up at work. At the front of the train, there were only five standing. A couple, who were gossiping happily, a business man jabbering away on his phone, a trendy teenager texting away on a fancy device fresh off the market, and a less trendy one reading. This girl's ears were blocked by a music device, but the mythology in her hands was what kept most of her attention.
As the music changed from something older than her to a foreign song from a video game, her attention was briefly diverted from the excerpt from the gods to mortal world around her, the confined space currently passing through a tunnel. A quick swallow removed the uncomfortable feeling in her ears and soon, the gods of sleep had her attention. And while Morpheus, Phobetor, and Phantasos were not something the girl would usually read about, but required for some project.
"Now departing from *** station. Next stop is ***. Please take all your personal belongings with you when departing the train." Several seats were emptied, and only three were left standing, the business man, the texting teen and the girl. Three more stops and she'd be on the bus home. A good a time as any to stop her studies. The book disappeared in her bag and her thoughts instead focussed on the past few days. She knew she was behind on the project, but only because a game she enjoyed came out recently. Only when she beat it for the third time the night prior did she pay attention to the neglected school work. Well, it's not like I skip school to play games, like my brother. At that thought, an amused smile formed on her face. Still, she needed the course to get into the university program she wanted, and failing the project would put a dent in her plans.
The song changed again, to another foreign song made from a program. Now she contemplated the effect of the game on her. While she was not entirely consumed in her gaming, her school work has indeed suffered recently and she had avoided social gatherings more than usual. What worried her the most were the dreams. Dreams that trapped her in her sleep; though she didn't notice it at first. It was just a bit harder to get up every day, so she'd sleep earlier. While it did little to help, the girl began to remember bits and pieces of the dreams, which would usually be forgotten an hour after waking. These bits stuck to her mind, glued to her eyelids so vivid and real.
Cliffs which reach to the sky surround the narrow channel with unnerving statues in the distance. A courtyard with an oppressive air, surrounded by statues of the tortured, leading to a tall and imposing building, which almost looks like an asylum for the damned. She rubbed her forehead to banish the images as she leaned against the wall that separated the passengers from the driver. Only a few days ago, these images would pop up in her mind, but she could push them out of her mind. Unusually, the images continued to flash in front of her eyes. The dark underground town, where people milled about or decided to fight for a scrap of food or just for a handful of coin. Maybe she should read on more about the gods. Particularly the god of nightmares. Perhaps he had something against her. The humid and rancid sewer, with robed beings gathered. Endlessly shifting surroundings, with a blackened city floating in the distance, began to create an empty valley in front of her. Was she dreaming again? She couldn't even open her eyes. A doorway grows in front of her, its intricate but empty black frame both welcoming and foreboding. The air swirled in it, almost in a dark red gas.
The train had abruptly stopped and people began to scream. A hand reached out of the doorway, the wrist slit and blood splattering the robe sleeve. A large transport truck slammed into the side of the train, close to the front, shattering the windows and twisting the metal. It grasped around, as if trying to search with touch. The ones standing were sent flying, and the ones sitting fell out of their seats. The hand found its way to the girl's neck. The train was sent off the tracks from the impact, the front car twisting to its side. She struggled, grabbing onto the bleeding wrist, trying to pull it away. Something snapped behind the train car; the support, and it fell fully to its side. Recognizing it has found a prize, the bloodstained hand began to pull. Gravity took its task, and the people fell, many hitting the poles meant for support. She tried to resist, but the hand yanked her through the doorway. The glass shattered as the train came to a rest but the screams continued.
"We are reporting to you live from the scene, where a deadly crash has taken place twenty minutes ago in the Southwest. A truck collided with a southbound train, causing one of the carts to turn on its side. Six people have been killed in the crash and many more are injured. Police and EMS are on the scene, with ambulances sending people to hospitals as fast as they can. It is estimated that at least one hundred people were on the train, with about forty-five in the front car, which was the one most damaged."
In the crashed car of the train, there were still several people still trapped inside. Some were nursing their broken limbs as best as they could. The car was silent except for the sirens outside and the cries of the injured. The void of silence was heavy with pain and death. At the front of the car two had collapsed. The business man was still, bleeding from the head and the trendy teenager was trying to pull a metal pole out of her leg without causing her too much pain. The girl was gone.
The sewers under Darktown were humid with waste, and one could not walk three paces without stepping in shit, and the depth was so that most thugs wouldn't even venture here. Despite its disgusting state, this section of the sewers suited their purposes. It was haven from the Templars, and allowed this band of five blood mages to congregate in secrecy. This particular spot was dryer than most of the other sections, something they would require for this ritual, for blood would not mix well with waste.
"The slightest error will have terrible results." The evident leader had stated as he looked over the spell. Another maleficar measured out alchemical ingredients. "If anyone screws up, I'll throw you to the Templars." The threat was enough for them to work harder.
"We shall throw the Chantry down!" he continued as a summoning circle was drawn. "We shall summon an army of demons and let them loose on the Templars! They shall regret the fact that they oppress us mages!" One of the mages pushed forth a man, dressed in none but his smallclothes. The templar swore at them and struggled with his bonds. The leader of the group gathered magical energy as he plunged a dagger in the back of the man's neck. As blood and life drained from the prisoner to mix with the magic, the other four tore the hole through the Veil. The leader slashed at his wrist with a second blade, allowing the blood to contribute to the ritual, with the other following suit. "Come to us, demons of the Fade!" he bellowed as he reached into the tear, too eager to just let something come out itself.
The girl tumbled out, landing on her hands and face, her bag landing on her rear "Ow." The mages watched her slowly get up, confused and astonished. She rubbed at her nose and scrunched her eyes, not noticing the mages whispering to each other. Her eyes opened to see a dead man on the ground and her voice left her. She looks from the corpse to the bloodied mages with blank mind. They start on her, both curious how she tumbled out of the Fade and angry that she ruined their ritual. But all she saw were bloodied armed men reaching for her. Panicked, she ran. She collided into two mages, who didn't expect her to run at them. Using her elbows as clubs, she knocked over another who was preparing a spell. Reflexively, she swung her bag at the fourth's stomach, the heavy books inside causing it to be a makeshift weapon. Her way clear, she ran through the sewers as fast as she could as the mages yelled behind her.
Ohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuck Was what went through her mind as she ran away. Why am I not waking up? She glanced behind her, hoping that none of the murderers followed her. While she learned she wasn't being followed, the action resulted in her crashing into someone. "Ow, Fuck!" She yelped as she fell to the ground. Her face stung from the man's armour and she looked up to see what she ran into.
He was a tall man with black hair, his chin covered in a shaggy beard and his nose had a smear. The girl's jaw nearly fell open as she stared at the default Garrett Hawke. Behind him was a dwarf with blond hair and plenty of jewellery, a woman with short black hair and a staff on her back, and a redhaired woman garbed in heavy armour.
"If you just tried to pick my pocket, you did a very bad job on it." The man had an amused look on his face, but the way he stood, almost reaching for the broadsword on his back made the girl cower.
"Um…dead guy, stabby people, chasing me" she stammered as she looked back behind her. They still haven't followed her, so she took a few moments before she spoke again. Hawke raised an eyebrow at her. "I-I dunno what happened, but there were some…guys with knives. They killed a guy and they tried to grab me or something."
"Shut up, I dunno. They had knives and long sticks and wore dresses and-" A snicker came from the dwarf Varric The girl reminded herself.
"Blood mages" Aveline stated as she eyed the path the girl had come from.
"Well, what luck! We just so happen to be in the market for some blood mages! Did any of them use some sort of seduction magic on you?" Hawke helped the girl up, as she looked confused at him.
"Uh, no, I was too busy running to let them, I think." She looked back again as she rubbed her cheek. Running headlong into armour really hurts, even in a dream.
"Ah, damn. Well, I hope you can lead us to them, unless you're afraid they'll go all 'stabby' again."
"Don't mock me" she grumbled, but she lead the way while trying to wake herself up. These dreams were beginning to tire her.
"Well, that was utterly disappointing." Hawke stated as he nudged the corpse on the ground with his boot. The girl was studying the papers and books hidden in a corner, trying to avoid looking at the blood and gore. The mages were gone, leaving much behind in their haste "You sure you didn't do this and lie about it?"
"Like I can draw clean circle and these straight lines…" She mumbled, but spoke louder. "No, they were here. I think there were four or five of them." She reached for the papers on the ground, intent of sifting her way through them. Bethany looked at the air around the circle warily.
"The Veil is weaker here, like someone hastily patched it." Bethany stated as she studied the circle drawn on the ground. Aveline left to scout the area and Varric had knelt beside the girl.
"Ah… a meeting place in Hightown." Varric smiled as he held up a paper and an amulet. He stepped over to Hawke, holding out the items "Looks like these guys are fancy mages, but not the guys we're looking for." The girl picked up a sheet full of complex formulae, studying it for a moment before tossing it aside as she mumbled.
Hawke looked over the paper Varric held as he twirled the amulet around his finger. "Well, we can't let a bunch of dangerous madmen run around. Think of how much competition they'll give to the Sharps." He shifted his eyes to look at the girl, who was trying to avoid staring at the blood on the ground. A futile task, but there it was. "So how did you get involved? I get the whole 'stabby' but not much else."
"I…" She frowned, trying to remember what happened before she fell asleep. Can one really recall the beginning of a dream? Shaking her head, she tried to focus. She was on a train, reading and listening to music. Then…she stopped reading? "I don't…know. I just…no. I don't get it." She rubbed her eyes under her glasses.
"Well, that was…informative." Hawke shrugged his shoulders as he looked at Bethany and Varric.
"Shut up. I just don't know. One minute I was heading home…I guess I fell asleep?" The girl shot a glare at Hawke.
"Probably drugged. Maybe they dragged her here for their ritual?" Varric studied the girl, noting her strange clothes and hair. She didn't notice.
"Next thing I know, some guys in dresses were standing around with daggers looking at me. I just ran." She glanced at the corpse on the ground, trying to be surprised at the detail her dream had. She held back a choke of disgust. As Hawke began to talk with his companions, she mumbled "Damn…this is one lucid dream… I hope I wake up soon."
"Well then it's settled. We'll get Keran and then we'll investigate this." Hawke turned to the girl. "I suggest you head on home then. I-"
"Like hell. If they did have something to do with me being here, I want some answers." She crossed her arms and tried her best to look angrily at him. Whatever. I'll just play along until I wake up, and then go about my daily life. "I escaped them, so I'm not completely useless."
"Fighting blood mages is tough. And you don't even have a weapon." Aveline had walked in to hear the girl's words. "We can take care of it and report back to you."
"If it were you in this situation, would you accept that outcome, lady?" The girl's eyebrow raised.
"A fair point, but you still lack a weapon. And-" The warrior grimaced as the girl reached for the dagger stuck into the corpse, trying to keep back her own disgusted look. Only in a dream…
"And that problem is solved…" She noticed their strange looks and tried to wave it off. "I…like the irony of killing them with their own weapons?" She tried to wipe it clean with some of the papers.
"Okay…not disturbing at all." Hawke stated slowly before looking at the girl. "Well then…I guess we'll be off…Serah…"
The girl thought for a few seconds before she replied. "Phobe. Phobetor." The god of nightmares; He's probably the bastard who got me in this mess. "Nice to meet you, Ser Hawke. Now let's go deal with some blood mages."
Now that Phobe was in a group, she felt a bit better. The dream wasn't as hectic, and it was almost as she was playing the game again. Hawke and Varric were swapping witty remarks about their trip, with Bethany and Aveline watching their surroundings. She tried to do the same, but keeping her dagger close to her hand. She had no sheathe for it and it would no doubt ruin her pockets with either its edge or blood, so she just kept it held in her stronger hand, with the blade pressed against her arm.
Darktown looked much like it did in the game, but that medium couldn't properly show how it was. The shadows reached high, and the stench in the air only improved slightly from the sewers, though it was no fresher. There were refugees mulling about, with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Some were lamenting their situation while others accepted it grimly. A few managed to ply a trade here, but there were many more thugs, who would jeer at their passing group, than traders. The infrastructure allowed for some view on the outside, but it was obscured with fog and toxic gases. Phobe bit her lip at the sights, which reminded her of the situations she would only read about in the news or on the internet.
At last, they arrived at the den. A ladder descended into the darkness of the sewers below, making her wonder what the point was in coming up. "What is with these guys and sewers?" she grumbled, but she nonetheless followed the others down into the dark.
"A whole sanctuary of blood mages…I hope we can stand against them…" Bethany glanced to her brother, who patted her gently on the shoulder, as if to comfort her.
The den looked as she expected it. Down a brief flight of stairs would be some abominations and demons, then some undead and mages until they reached the end. Hawke and Aveline wailed on them from the front lines, while Bethany and Varric peppered the enemies with their respective projectiles. They were too absorbed in their fighting to notice Phobe just attacking the ones that came near. Since Aveline and Hawke are taking the aggro though… At the very least, Phobe was fighting an abomination.
Perhaps the mage it possessed was out of shape, or the demon wasn't used to the body, but the abomination moved slowly and swung unsurely. While the girl wasn't a born fighter, she was short and quick enough to dodge most of its unwieldy attacks, and the ones she didn't felt more like a gentle thump. With the dagger in her left hand, she stabbed hard in the first vulnerable spot she saw. It was only when she was trying to pull the dagger out did she remember something. A teacher once told her that when stabbed, the body clenches around the wound as a defensive mechanism, making the weapon hard to pull out. As she dodged another hit, she wretched hard at the blade. "Out, damn you!" the girl growled out. She brought her foot up and kicked the abomination hard, finally yanking the blade out. As the possessed being staggered, she reared back for another blow, only for an arrow to embed itself in the creature's forehead.
"Not the best fighter, huh?" the dwarf chuckled as he reloaded his crossbow.
"Shut up, I don't go around actively trying to stab people." Phobe stated, trying hard not to frown.
"Which I suppose we should all be thankful for" Varric laughed as he stowed Bianca away.
The next few waves were dealt with quickly, in the same manner, though Phobe improved slightly in her fighting. Dodging was easier, and she began to get used to attacking. Hawke and the others finished the enemies off, but she tried her best.
One thing Phobe noticed though, was that the place was longer than she remembered. They were probably down there for around an hour or two now, though there was no real way to tell time between the battles and the fact they were underground (While Phobe did have her music device on her, she didn't dare risk it). She also noticed that the party had more banter than in-game. Aveline would try to prod Varric for information on Kirkwall's underbelly, though he would just brush it off, and Hawke fussed quite a bit over Bethany. Then again, there wasn't that much banter that involves Hawke in the game… Phobe tried to stay in the back to discreetly get used to wielding a dagger. Maybe after this, she can get a short sword or- Or she would wake up. Dammit. This dream is taking far, far too long. I'd better wake up soon or I'll miss school or something. And my math teacher is a tota-
Her thoughts were interrupted when they came across a man, curled up and suspended in the air by white wisps. As she blinked twice, Hawke went to look carefully at him. He seemed grimly determined, but before he could say anything they were approached.
"How wonderful, more vessels for our experiments. " A woman, with the most gaudy make-up and ridiculous clothes had walked over, with three mages in tow. She had a sadistic smile on her face, and the way she greeted them was much like a fat spider with a meal. It would've been unnerving if Phobe wasn't busy wondering if her make-up was done in the dark by Joker.
Hawke, however, was unphased. He walked towards her and glared "Where is Keran?" He asked, as if preparing to fight. His party prepared their weapons.
"Perhaps one of the demons might find you suitable." She continued, holding her arms up with a smile.
"I don't think she can hear you, Hawke. Maybe too many voices in her head." Phobe mumbled quietly.
"I am not some hopeless whelp who ran crying to a demon; I sought them out and embraced them!" The woman growled, glaring at Phobe, who just rolled her eyes.
Hawke regained her attention. "Turn yourselves in. If you do, the templars might spare your life." The comment just got a bark-like laugh in response.
"The templars! We'll destroy their entire pathetic order! If a few more fall to demons, we will seed chaos in their ranks! How many abominations can they discover among their own before the knight-commander goes crazy?" She laughed more looking up as if with hope.
"Okay…It's clear that she's not going to listen to reason…Can we just kick her ass now and save this discussion? It's giving me a headache." Phobe sighed in irritation. The woman looked at her and began to laugh again.
"Kill the vessels only if you must!" She took her staff off her back as Varric began to fire. Hawke, Phobe and Aveline rushed forward; Hawke ran at the abomination that appeared, and Aveline tried to break the ranks of the mages. As the leader sealed herself in a protective bubble, Bethany shot a fireball at the group, reaching it before Aveline. The unprotected mages staggered from the blast, giving the warrior an easy strike, which caught the right most in the chest. He fell easily. Phobe slipped around the mages and stabbed her dagger at the neck of the one in the back, tearing one of the veins and his throat. His hand clasped at the wound as he fell. A few shots from Varric dropped the last. Two more abominations came, and Aveline rushed at one. The one that appeared behind Varric and Bethany got their attention, but the mage, now out of her protective bubble, directed a spell at Phobe.
The girl suddenly convulsed in pain, a strangled gasp escaping her. She felt as though her veins burned her to the point where she couldn't even scream in pain. Her dagger fell to the ground and she soon followed when her legs couldn't support her, making only the slightest twitches. White spots appeared before her eyes as her mind tried to process the pain, but still she couldn't scream. It only stopped when Hawke cut down the mage, and even then, she needed a few minutes before she could stand.
"Are you alright?" Bethany knelt down beside her, casting a healing spell to try and alleviate the pain, but Phobe didn't notice her, nor the fact that the battle was over.
That…hurt like a bitch! Why didn't I wake up? This…The girl looked at the bloodied dagger beside her, her eyes widening. This is not a dream, is it? That's why it's taking so long...why I'm lucid, why…
"Fuck my life…" Phobe stood, grabbing her dagger again. She suddenly felt sick, from both the pain and her realization. She mumbled out a thanks as she took a place behind Hawke, who was now talking with Keran. If this isn't a dream… Then I've really been fighting. I really pulled a dagger out of a corpse, I've really just killed a bunch of people. I-I She looked at the corpses of the mages, biting her lips.
This stayed in her mind even as they exited Darktown to the Gallows.
I'll cut it off here. Sorry if it's bad due to my lack of fanfic-writing. Let me know how I did. I can always use constructive criticism.