Female Hawke mage, eventual Fenris romance. Rated M for language, violence, sexual content, and suggestive themes. This is my first piece of fan fiction, so reviews are welcome and hoped for. This story takes place three years before Act 1. Bioware owns all characters, dialogue, etc. I love you, Bioware!

Broken Bonds

Carver Hawke looked at his sister Selene from the corner of his eye and frowned. They'd been running for days since the darkspawn had descended on Lothering, but Selene showed no signs of fatigue. She never slowed, never rested. Oh, she allowed the rest of them to catch their breath, but she never joined them. She kept watch, her eyes constantly moving, searching for darkspawn. Her green eyes blazed, but if you looked deep they were empty. There was no weariness, no sadness for what they had lost, just grim determination. They would live through this. Selene would get them out. Carver recognized that look. He'd seen it once before.

Three years earlier, the Hawke family lost their father Malcolm to the darkspawn. That's what they'd been told. There had been rumors springing up about a Blight, but no one had reported seeing darks wan anywhere near Lothering.

Seventeen year old Selene had nearly gone mad in the Chantry, screaming at the Holy Mother and the Knight-Commander to let her see her father's body. She would not believe him dead until she saw for herself.

The whole thing seemed like a dream to Carver. He found himself staring down at a burned, mangled corpse that was barely recognizable as Malcolm Hawke. He was wearing the amulet Carver had made for him. Carver looked to Selene with wide, horrified eyes.

Selene's eyes glowed with cold fury. "The darkspawn didn't do this!" She snarled. "Darkspawn eat their victims, they don't burn the bodies to cover torture. This looks more like Templar work to me!"

"The bloody Knight-Commander, Selene, don't!" Carver pleaded, laying a hand on his sister's arm.

"You should listen to your brother." the Knight-Commander said, in a smooth voice. "What would your mother do if she lost a husband and a child?"

With a cry, Selene flung herself at the Knight-Commander. Using magic didn't even occur to her, she was in such a rage. It took all of Carver's considerable strength to pull his sister off the Templar. He had to hand it to her though. She had a mean left hook.

"Don't you ever threaten my family!" she screamed as Carver dragged her from the Chantry. "I don't care if you're the bloody Knight-Commander, I'll fucking kill you!"

Two weeks later Selene disappeared. Leandra went to the Chantry every day to pray for her safe return. Carver went to question the Templars. Selene's outburst was common knowledge by now, and there were rumors. He was frustrated to find that they seemed honest when they said they were not involved. He was unable to speak with the Knight-Commander directly, however.

Carver possessed no magic himself, but he always knew when people were lying. He didn't always know the truth when he heard it, but a lie he could spot in an instant. The Templars lied about his father, but not about this.

Five days she'd been gone. Most of those days, Carver and his twin sister Bethany had forgone sleep altogether. Instead, they formed parties for search for her, left frantic messages with huge rewards on the Chanter's Board.

If he lived to be a thousand years old, Carver would never forget the day his sister finally came home. He strapped his sword to his back that morning and set out alone to continue the search. Most of the other villagers had given up hope of finding her alive. Truth to tell, Carver was beginning to lose hope too, though he would never confess that to his mother. Carver was certain that another loss would break Leandra. He would find Selene alive, or he would bring back her body so she might know peace.

As fortune would have it, he didn't have to go far that day. Carver was barely outside the city when he spotted a dark haired woman wearing nothing but a blood-soaked tunic limping in his direction. It was her. It had to be.

Heart in his throat, Carver ran to Selene as fast as his legs would carry him. She crumpled in a heap at his feet. He turned her over gently and felt his breath leave him in a rush. Her face was so battered it was hard to tell who she was. Carver's hand trembled as he gently brushed her hair away from her face. Brilliant green eyes flew open to glare, unseeing.

"Fucking…Kill you!" she gasped, the went limp.

"Oh, Maker…" Carver choked on the words, gathering Selene into his arms. He ran toward home like the arch demon was on his heels. "Why didn't you heal yourself?" he growled, not expecting an answer.

"…magebane…" she whispered. Carver did not think he could run any faster, but after hearing that one word, he suddenly felt as though he was flying.

"Bethany!" he bellowed for his sister as he kicked the door in. he strode to the back room to lay Selene down on a cot.

"Oh, Maker! My little girl!" Leandra wailed, hovering nervously around the bloody form of her oldest daughter. "Carver, what happened?"

"I don't know yet. Where's Bethany? Bethany!"

"I'm here!" She pushed her way into the room, her arms full of bandages, poultices, and salves. She stopped dead and stared in horror at Selene. Carver snapped his fingers in front of her face, and she gave herself a shake. "Take Mother out of here." she commanded. A blue glow appeared in her hands as she approached Selene.

With one last agonizing look at his sister, Carver led Leandra back to the kitchen and made her sit at the table while he rummaged through the cupboards for his father's whiskey. He poured a generous shot for his mother, then after a moment's hesitation, poured one for himself. He was surprised when she didn't reprimand him. He was only fifteen, after all. Leandra took a deep breath, wiped her eyes, and held out her glass for another shot.

"She'll be alright," she said in a shaky voice. Bethany's an excellent healer." She took another drink and burst into tears again. "I'll never be able to forget seeing her that way." Carver didn't know what to say. He'd never been very good at comforting people.

"Carver, I need your help!" Bethany called, rescuing him from his awkwardness and giving him an excuse to feel useful. He entered the room to find Bethany holding a naked Selene in a sitting position. Her bruises had faded and she looked vaguely human again, if still covered in blood. She wasn't completely healed yet, though. A tattoo of three sinuous lines had been carved into her skin, curving around the underside of her left breast, widening slightly as it crossed her ribcage, winding around her back and around her waist to form a fine point on her right hip. It appeared shallow, but it wouldn't heal, and it wouldn't stop bleeding. Selene's eyes were wide, staring at nothing.

"Magebane." Carver snarled.

Bethany nodded. "I can help her, but she's weak. I need you to hold her up so I can clean and dress this…wound." her mouth twisted in disgust at the last.

Selene was silent as Bethany worked on her. She never cried out, never made a sound when the salve was applied. Bethany knew it stung, and whispered soothing words as she gently moved her fingers over her sister's twitching muscles. When she was finished she wound bandages around Selene's torso and slipped a clean tunic over her head.

"Sleep now." Bethany whispered as Carver allowed their sister to rest her head once again. She had already drifted off. The twins looked up to see Leandra standing in the doorway, eyes still glistening with tears, but no longer hysterical.

"How bad is it?" She asked. "Details. Tell me the truth."

Bethany hesitated a moment. "Bad. Four cracked ribs, three broken. Her left eye socket was crushed, her collarbone fractured, one of her wrists was broken, the other was dislocated, a dislocated shoulder, internal bleeding, bruised kidneys…they…skinned her with a knife infused with mage bane. I couldn't heal that, it will scar. There is more, but…" She broke off with a glance at Carver. There was no need to continue.

"Who?" Carver snarled.

"She's not talking right now. She needs rest. I don't know anything more."

Selene pretended to sleep as she listened to her family discuss her injuries. It was too much to hope they wouldn't know the full extent of it. She would protect them from this as much as she was able. She tuned them out and her mind raced as she tried to think of something to tell them. She fell asleep before a plan had fully formed.

When she awoke it was dark, but she could make out Carver's shadow. He was sitting on the floor, using her cot as a pillow while he slept. She reached out to rest her hand on his hair. Maker, she loved her little brother. He was always there for her.

Carver woke with a start and grasped his sister's hand in both of his. "You're safe now." he whispered. "Are you alright? Do you need anything?"

"Light." she croaked. Carver lit a lamp, and small flames appeared on several candles around the room, revealing Bethany and Leandra. "Thank the Maker." Selene sighed in relief. "I feel like I've been in the dark for ages. How long have I been gone?"

"Five days." Leandra answered. "Today would have been the sixth. Maker, Selene, what happened to you? Who did this?"

Selene hesitated. She wasn't ready for this, but looking at the worried, exhausted faces of her family, she knew she had to tell them something.

"You don't have to tell us everything," Bethany began.

"But we must know who took you." Carver finished. "This atrocity cannot go unanswered!"

Selene's lower lip trembled. She had expected this. "Bandits, I think. There were five of them. I killed two, but one managed to knock me out. When I woke I was hanging by my wrists with a sack over my head." She took a deep shuddering breath and told her family the story, keeping back as much as she could. "They left me for dead." she told them, her lip curling in contempt. "It took a long time, but I finally managed to break free." She winced as she remembered her wrists breaking, her shoulder popping out of place as it bore the brunt of her fall. "I was in an old slaver den in the Wilds. As soon as I saw daylight, I ran. That's when Carver found me."

"Did you see who it was? Hear any names?" Carver asked.

Again, Selene hesitated. "The leader was bald with blue eyes and a thick goatee. They called him "boss" mostly. They kept the sack on my head, so I didn't get a good look at the other two. One had dark eyes and long dark hair. He should have a rather large wound on his neck." She bared her teeth, reliving a moment when she had bitten the man and spit his own flesh and blood back in his face. She suffered for it, but it was a small victory to show them that she could be dangerous without magic.

Leandra and Bethany fervently whispered their sympathies as tears streamed down their cheeks. Carver sat, quiet and thoughtful.

"I think Selene needs to rest now." He said, herding his mother and sister from the room. Instead of following them, however, he went back and sat at his sister's side. "Your story was good. Mostly true. Those are the best lies, the ones that are mostly true. The hardest to spot, the hardest to understand. They're gone now. Tell me the truth, Selene. Was the Knight-Commander behind this?"

"No."

Carver nodded, satisfied. That was true. "Then who was it? You can trust me, Selene. I promise to protect you."

Silent tears leaked from Selene's eyes, and she swallowed the desire to tell him everything. "It was bandits."

Carver stared at her for a long moment. "You know I know you're lying, right?"

"It was bandits." Carver searched her face and saw her determination to protect this lie. He turned his back and stormed from the room.

Selene felt a sob escape her. She knew she had broken something special between them, but she didn't have a choice. Ser Alrik. She would remember that name until the day she died. She lied to protect her family. The Templars would never take another Hawke.