Ahh no reviews? Makes me sad :'( Anyway, here is the next chapter. Only a few scenes, leading up to the big confrontation. Sorry if there are any major spelling/confusing parts. I tried to go through this as best as I could but I've been distracted as of late with someone close dying.

- 6 -

Nothing Sacred

Rain stomped down the hallway, her footfalls audible for once and yet the leather soles were only a light thwap thwap on the carpet. Muttering curses beneath her breath, she entered the grand dining hall with its crimson walls and earth colored mosaic flooring, and slammed her fists onto the elegant mahogany table, resounding in a boom that rattled the candle holders resting on top.

"Oh!" a servant -one of the few Danarius had brought with him- jumped to her feet, the flint stones she had been using in her failing attempts to relight the dying flames in the fireplace dropped to the floor. "I am sorry. I-I was only trying to-"

Leaning with her hands on the table Rain lifted one hand, waving it in the direction of the fireplace and the elven maiden, and with little effort on her part a fire flared to life. "Leave," she snapped and the younger woman flinched at her harsh tone before swiftly bending over to pick up her flints while giving worried glances. Her face was pale but the color was returning after the initial moment of fright, and her copper-red hair shimmered as she straightened, pausing as if wondering if she should say anything, only to shake her head and started for the hallway Rain had just came from.

Rain sighed, knowing the slave did not deserve her ire and more gently said, "Asuri."

She stopped, turning as she gave Rain all her attention. "Mistress Rain?"

"Take this pack to storage and start gathering Master's possessions." Pushing herself from the table she shifted the pack from her shoulder and handed it to the young servants awaiting hands. "Has his breakfast been served?"

"Yes, not but ten minutes ago. He will be eating at least ten more, but he is getting impatient, Mis-"

Rain nodded. "I understand."

The servant took a step to leave knowing she was being dismissed, only to hesitate and decided to speak her mind. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

Rain's gaze went to the fire and slowly she shook her head. For a few heartbeats more the young elf stood there, dull hazel eyes watching her, then slowly left, giving Rain ample time to call her back if need be. But she needed nothing from the slave. No, she could not help her. No one could. She frowned as thoughts, conflicting, confusing, rambled on in her mind. Why did I do that? Offered him something so... She looked up at the ceiling as she crossed her arms, unwilling to finish that sentence. She needed to collect herself. Something she was not used to doing given she rarely lost control. Why had she proposed to help like that after deciding contrary to it just seconds before? After deciding the gains were too minimal for the risks?

She mulled these questions in her mind, but found the answers murky. On some level she sympathized his position in life, but there were many unfortunate souls out there like him. Many she had run across experiencing exactly what he was facing if not worse. Why would she present him this... salvation? When she offered it to no one else, even when the risks were not going against her cause?

Whatever the reason, it was done. It did her no good to fret about it. She knew better than to get flustered by the rash words that seemed to come out on their own accord. She could not take back what she said. Could not undo the spoken words. No, now it was all up to Fenris how this would play out. Sighing, she allowed her muscles to relax as she dropped her folded arms to her sides. Fenris. Fenris was trouble for her. All those bound by lyrium magick were. She had known this. Even if she had not been told to be wary when handling them, she could feel the connection, the pull, and knew better to be so... free with them. And there was nothing that different about him than the other lyrium branded warriors back in the Imperium. He was not different. He was not special.

So why then had she done it?

Soundless once more, she strolled to the fireplace, trying her best to sort out the chaos of her normally ordered mind. As she leaned against the graceful carved marble she rested her head on her propped up arm watching the orange dancers with skirts of swirling yellow and red, and shoes of blue sway and jump on the blackening wood. Sisters of flame. One of the oldest magick in this world. If she listened to the sighs and whispers of the world around her, these dancing sisters sang the faintest of songs, one that sung of an ancient glow of life. Rain was not endued with these flaming sisters -nor her own sisters of water for that matter- but there were few out there who could speak with and direct such magick. An amazing frightening sight to behold indeed. And, of course, ignorant to this were the minds of Thedas, trapped with narrow sight, blinded by twisted beliefs and ideals, unwilling to look beyond the surface. Maker. Old Gods. And other religions long forgotten had led the people of Thedas down arrogant, self-satisfying paths. But those of the Fade were just as to blame.

The realm of dreams and echoing pasts was not the only realm or magick out there.

No, Fade magick was only one piece to a larger puzzle. And Rain had used one such magick when giving that offer -that of a truthfully spoken word. This magick did not care that she now regretted making him any offer or that if he agreed to an oath of this magnitude it would do more than simply complicate things for her. This magick only cared that in that one singular moment she had wholly meant and believed what she had said. Giving her dedication forevermore, if he so chose. This magick went with the thought that truth had a certain sound to it. A belief where no matter how much you practiced the spoken word you simply could not obtain that sound of truth. You can definitely get close. Fooling those who failed to listen carefully or who are blind. But once you hear a promise or oath given with a person's whole soul and being... Such a sound could not be unheard or mistaken.

That did not mean truths spoken like this could not turn out to be lies. Truth was not universal for all people. Truth was in the eye of the beholder and if a person believed with their all that what they saw and experienced was the truth and the only truth. Then that someone could unknowingly lie while still speaking their 'truth'. There were no consequences for this. No, the only consequences came was when a person gave their spoken truth, such as an oath or vow, and went back on that. Turning away from this magick was dangerous, and painful. There was a pull to obey a spoken oath once made, and some even went crazy when ignoring that pull.

And if there was one thing she knew it was that her and crazy did not mix well together. She had to keep her word.

Even so. Giving such an offer did not mean her goal was unattainable. It only meant she had more planning to do. Much more planning. Fenris added a degree of uncertainty she had not accounted for. Sighing, she rubbed her forehead on her arm her mind already starting to churn possibilities and outcomes in her head. So many... Too many. She needed a better understanding of him first to narrow down her focus. Him accepting her offer would be telling, more so for the reasons. His dislike and distrust of magick had drifted with time, not as sharp, but it was still there, bubbling beneath the surface like a vat of a potion brewing, steam drifting up before his eyes and tainting his view of the world. Only spending time with him and observing him would give her what she needed, but part of her worried. She had already once slipped with him. While not special there had to be something...

"Time to talk, Rain," a male voice said behind her suddenly.

Rain was caught off guard, a rare moment where she was lost completely in her thoughts not paying heed to her surroundings. She had warnings. The sound of his footsteps. His heavy breathing. But had not taken notice until his spoke and beefy fingers jabbed into her raven hair and painfully yanked her body against his muscular front clad in relaxed trousers and shirt, jerking her head back, forcing her green eyes to meet his furious brown gaze. His hold on her waist, fingers digging inter her hip and in her hair hurt but she did not fight him. Even as his prickly chin and upper lip from day old stubble crushed against her mouth claiming her viciously as his tongue invaded her mouth in a brutal kiss. Having not been ready she did not relax into him as she should have. As he would have wanted, his supposed lover. She realized too late when he pulled his mouth away -then again she doubted it would have altered his frame of mind anyways- as he sneered at her. He moved swiftly, her head slammed into the marble hearth with a resonating crack and light exploded behind her eyes as the force struck and rattled her mind, hardly feeling the floor as he flung her away from him.

She breathed into the floor, not groaning nor moaning a single sound, and if she had been in the right set of mind she would have if only to give him the satisfaction and dissuaded him from further attacking. But she was not ready, had not been -still- her mind should have switched over, given into the role she needed to be in. The hit she had not braced herself for was making it difficult to focus, all she could feel and think about was the swirling lights in her eyes as she stared blankly at the gray colorless tiles that should have been earth-toned, or the cold of the fire on her side and back as it snapped, hungrily consuming the wood only an arm's length away, his foot slammed down on her back and her breath whooshed out from her lungs.

"Where are your lies, Rain? Tired of pretending you love a man like me?" His foot lifted up before promptly slamming back down, not allowing her any air. "You really had me fooled with your tempered rage and vengeful story, of course I wasn't hearing half of what you said as you taunted me with this tempting body of yours." Taking his foot away, he bent, seizing her arm and hoisting her onto her feet, eyes greedily searching her body before he shook his head and backhanding her with his left hand and she fell upon a chair and the table only to slide down to the floor. "We were supposed to overthrow Danarius together, free both of us from serving him as we took his property, his slaves, and his power. Imagine my surprise when Robert came to me, worried about you and this trip, and confided in me about a similar goal only..." He snorted as he kicked her in the solar plexus. "...dressed up differently for someone as pathetic as him. Instead of rage he got haunted lonely eyes along with a pitiful story to match his..."

With another kick, Rain heard more than felt the snap of two ribs breaking. She could feel the pain but such pain was the poke of a sowing needle to her and easily overlooked as she listened to him talk about another man she had seduced. It was the thing she needed to jog her mind, awaken her from her dazed stupor and grasp what was happening and what needed to be done. He kicked her again and this time she added a hiss of air for effect, a sound he smirked at as he continued to talk and kick her. And she waited. Waited for him to tell her how much he knew, who he had told, and if he had told Danarius. She had been a fool letting her guard down -again, she might add!- but she could use this. His rant. He was going to tell her everything she needed to know. With another, more powerful kick she found herself rolling and sliding back into a wall. Of course being beaten to get such information was not her first choice, but it was not the first time she had needed to resort to damaging her body to get what she wanted.

All she had to do was let him in his rage tell her.

.~-~.

Fenris had done as Rain told him to -albeit begrudgingly- cleaning the blood and grime from his legs with the rag and water after taking his trousers off. He couldn't believe the nerve of that woman, that witch, confusing his mind like that. And what about him falling so easily to her manipulations? Tossing the rag back into the bowl, he paused as the memory flooded his mind. Her body pressed against him as she stood on her very tip-toes, lips so close and the warmth of her breath soft on his own lips. Without comprehending his fingers came up to his lips, lightly touching them, mind imagining what would have happened if she hadn't stopped. Only to shake himself from such disturbing thoughts, jerking his hand away and cursed as he grabbed his new trousers. He was no better off than when he had first met the woman as these conflicting thoughts tangled with uncertainty and frustration kept hold of him.

But at the same time he couldn't ignore the new budding sense of-Well, not hope, but it was a very close cousin to it- and while he did not like her, or the way she could manipulate people (especially him!) he could see how having someone like that on his side would be beneficial. Even before this deal she offered, she had made sure his friends survived and had healed him far better than Danarius had most certainly wanted. Presentable could mean many different things and as far as his Master was concerned if you could fight without being a nuisance you were good enough. Looking over his body now, feeling the stretch and pull of muscles, he could feel that other than the ribs he was almost completely healed. Would she be punished for over-healing him?

He was fastening the string of the new black trousers when a man's angry voice reached him through the door. It was muffled by the thick wood, making it impossible to tell what the man was saying. And at first he tried to ignore it, reaching for his leather and clothe tunic and rubbed the expensive material between his fingers, amazed once more by the quality. As long as the voice wasn't Danarius he didn't care who the man was. He moved, swinging the tunic around and slid one arm through the sleeves when he thought he heard the angry voice say 'Rain'. He held his breath as he strained his ears, trying to hear what else the man was saying or if he could hear her. Was Rain fighting with someone?

But the man simply would not stop talking. And for those brief seconds he took in air it sounded like he was hitting something. Or someone. Fenris gritted his teeth as he slid his other arm into the sleeves, ignoring the minor discomfort in his chest and hastily started to tie the font. Why would she be fighting one of Danarius' men? Fenris had the impression most if not everyone was under her control or manipulations. About three more tugs from being done, he stopped tightening the tunic, scowling at himself. Why did he care if she got into some fight? It shouldn't matter. But at the same time he couldn't discount that initial feeling of... concern? It couldn't have been that. The woman had clearly demonstrated she could handle herself. She wasn't weak. She didn't need protection. And why would he even want to give her that?

Cursing, he finished the ties before grabbing the new belt. It wasn't that he wanted to protect her -to be honest he wasn't sure what this feeling was only that his body was tense and his gut was unsettled by the sounds past the door- but with every thumping sound alongside the man ranting, he kept glancing at the door growing more anxious. Sliding the extra end of the belt into the loop, he went for the door and glanced around the dark room with distain briefly before easing the door open. The man's voice grew louder, clearly talking sternly to someone. Fenris checked his right finding more of the hallway, and then left that led out into the dining hall he remembered faintly from the day before. There was a shadow casted on the table, tall and bulky, as the angry man paced before the fire.

Fenris silently inched into the hallway and crept towards the room, listening as the man ranted about another named Jortus. "...all the pieces of your deception fell into place after that, my love," he hissed the term of endearment like a curse. "Jortus came to me, as did two others as I waited for Danarius' punishment in my cell and they told similar tales." Fenris halted momentarily, pressing against the hallway wall when the shadow of the angry man stopped, looking off at someone and he tensed further hearing the soft whimpers and tears of who he could only guess was Rain. The man's voice lowered, muttering, "To what end have you gathered such influence?" When she didn't answer, the man stomped over and his shadow stretched long across the far wall as he picked up another and pinned them against the wall by the neck. "You could kill Danarius now if you took the right measures. Why aren't you?"

Having reached the end of the hallway, Fenris froze, letting what he heard settle over him. She can kill Danarius? What about the blood curse? But then this man would know of her connection to the Magister wouldn't he? He was one of Danarius' men, a guard more likely. Why does he believe she can kill him?

"Tell me mal'dixit!" the man snapped, and Fenris looked beyond the corner just as the massive man punch Rain in the stomach, she coughed, spitting up blood on the man's brown shirt and it dripped down her chin to the mosaic floor below.

Her face was red on one side, the outlines of fingers there while her eyes were puffy, tears streaming down her cheeks and mixing with the blood on her chin. But it was her eyes, bright green eyes that on the surface told of fear and confusion but beneath hid a kindling spark of rage. At first he missed that spark, so small and hidden as it was, but he had seen true emotion in her eyes for a split second back when healing him, the memory so strong and vivid that he could see through the fake emotions -no matter how well done- and he shivered. Why is she allowing him to beat her? More than this question, though, he wanted to know the answer to the man's questions.

But she remained silent, lower lip quivering with mock fear as her finger nails dug into his arm. The bulky man sighed, his other hand came up to her face, fingers caressing her cheek. "You are very good. I will give you that. If I had not seen the proof of your treachery for myself I would give into those pitiful eyes. Such a shame..." His hand trailed down her front, feeling her curves, grasping her breast as he leaned in. "I enjoyed this body of yours, I will miss ravaging it." Fenris felt ill watching him manhandle her, his big hand slipping under her red shirt, pawing her roughly to the point that he would leave bruises on her honey colored flesh. "Perhaps I will take you. You think you can pretend one more time?" He snorted. "Does not matter, I'll take it whether you do or don't, like I always have."

As the man's lips crushed over hers, she moved to hit him but he let go of her neck, grabbing both of her arms and pinning them to the wall as he kept her legs from kicking with body. Fenris stepped from the hallway into the room furious with rage glinting in his forest green eyes and white markings surging blue, his fists closed and shaking beside him. He didn't know why Rain wasn't fighting back more than her feeble attempts. Perhaps her magick had been used up? Only the Maker knew how much she had used recently, fighting, and then healing him. But he wasn't going to stand there and watch while this man raped her. Before he could take another step towards the man and plunge his hand through his back and rip out his heart, however, the man roared in pain, throwing Rain and she smacked against the wall, landing on her side next to the marble fireplace.

"Bitch!" he cried, the word slurred as he turned to face her, blood dripping from his mouth. "You nearly bit my tongue off."

Having pushed herself up into a sitting position, Rain smiled, dark and sinister with their joint blood in her mouth coating her teeth and lips. She rose without a hint of discomfort, the meek woman from before replaced with a vicious demonic one, her voice low as she spoke, "Pity it was not something lower." Her gaze glanced down at his offending member in question.

The man stepped back -Fenris couldn't blame him- as the change in her seemed to slap him across the face. She stood, relaxed, her green eyes roaring with a fury neither could comprehend. Realizing himself, the man stiffened, refusing to look any weaker and sneered at the insult. "Forget Jortus' plan, I'll kill you." His hand went for a hidden knife concealed at his waist, the blade glinted in the firelight.

He lunged thrusting his knife at her, she dodged and caught his wrist using his forward momentum against him as she twisted his arm, turned and threw him down to the ground next to her. Spitting her mouth free from the blood -joining it to the red smudges Fenris could see on the tiled floor- she wiped her lips as she glared at the man. "Oh, Hastian... here I thought you might be a real threat." She walked next to him and he groaned, moving to prop himself up on his elbows before reaching for his knife that had fallen down beside him. She casually placed her leathered heel on his hand as his fingers curled around the handle and he gasped as she grinded those fingers between the handle and floor. "Only to find that you have become a lap dog for another. I should have known better, we all know there is not an ounce of brains in that thick skull of yours, but someone had to be you owner commanding the leash." There was a few loud snaps as the bones in his hand broke and he cried out from the pain, trying to yank his hand way. "I must thank you for giving me your owner's name. Jortus, who knew the sickly bastard had it in him?" Bringing her right hand up, the scent of the Fade grew as a ball of fire kindled, hovering on her hand, flickering up and licking the air.

Hastian looked over his shoulder at her, eyes wide. "Y-You can't kill me, Danarius will-"

"Will not care about you, and not even blink if I dispatch you. I believe it goes with the reason why you have not told him. I suspect he thinks you treacherous after killing poor Robert, right?" The color drained from his face, mouth opening, unable to form words. "Oh, Hastian. You told me yourself that you slit his throat in a bout of rage and that someone managed to talk Danarius out of your own death. If I tell him you were going to betray him and thus rid him of a pestilence like you he would merely congratulate me."

Growing serious, Hastian managed to pull his hand away and held it to him as he turned to his back, glaring up at her. "Yes, that all might be true, but, if I die or disappear before we get home Jortus will step forward with his proof."

"And what, Hastian, would that be?" she pushed him, and he opened his mouth as if to say only to shake his head and close his mouth, scowling at her as he recognized that he had said to much. She shrugged. "Hn, right. I highly doubt that given he was not your first line of defense. Jortus as you say has a plan and you have messed up that plan by revealing that he is another player in this game. He is not going to be thrilled to know I know, now is he, Hastian?" Once more the color left his face, but he didn't stop glaring at her. She gave a small chuckle, letting her arm fall to her side and the fire extinguish as the magick left her. "You are an insignificant coward. Go, and stay out of my way the rest of the trip."

Fenris watched as the man's gaze darkened enraged to be dismissed like this, so casually, but said nothing as he awkwardly got to his feet and cradled his broken hand to his chest. Glaring at her, he took a few steps towards Fenris before noticing the captured slave was even there as his brown gaze met green ones. Fenris refused to move out of his way and the man opened his mouth as if to yell at him only to catch the look of distain on the elf's face, and the lyrium branded into his skin that glowed faintly, deciding not to say anything, the man walked around him cursing under his breath as he left the room. For more than a minute Fenris gazed over his shoulder, listening as the footsteps disappeared and thinking about what he witnessed. He clenched his fists more, knuckles turning white. Furious didn't come close to describe how he felt. Why would Rain allow that man to do this? Almost rape her! He shifted his eyes and opening his mouth, about to ask if she was blighted insane when he found her curious gaze on him.

Shifting, he closed his mouth, feeling uncomfortable under her scrutiny. His cheeks flushed somewhat as her look made him feel as if he should be embarrassed, though why trying to save her from that man would warrant embarrassment was beyond him. She walked slowly to the table, keeping it between them as she pulled out a chair and let the legs grind against the tile. She sat down, lounging as she toyed with the carved wood of the chair's arm, not once looking away from him. It was then he noticed the blood trailing down the left side of her face as he tried to hold his anger, staring back at her and yet not into her eyes. The crimson life sustaining liquid was trailing down her hairline on the side of her face that had been hidden from his angle. He had though the blood on her chin only from her mouth...

"Sit," she said, her voice light, unrevealing of her thoughts.

He glanced at the table and a chair across from hers but did not follow her command. She didn't speak to command him further so he remained standing, while she merely stared at him. For several minutes he let the silence persist before his irritation and frustration won out. "You let him beat you."

"Yes."

"Why?" His brow creased as he tried to figure out the strange woman before him. "Why when you could have..." his voice trailed off, searching for the word.

"Tortured the information out of him?" He frowned at the term she used, but he couldn't deny that it was the right one. That small smile returned her gaze still boring into him. "I find information is more truthful when people do not realize they are giving it, and anything he did was nothing in comparison to what I have had done to me before. But he does not matter, I know you heard it and I know you are dying to know why."

Uneasy, he looked down at the floor at his feet. Yes, he wanted to know why she had not killed Danarius yet if she could, but he had a more nagging issue on his mind. "Why did you dismiss him like that? That man... he is only going to attack you again."

Her brow rose, looking to be truly surprised by his question, then amusement softened her features, flashing him teeth as her lips tugged up more. "You caught that, huh?" She waved a hand at him in dismissal of the concern. "Do not let it concern you. I have a plan that will take care of him without me bloodying my hands." She sat up and leaned forward, propping her arms on the table as her face grew serious, all the amusement leaving, her features becoming cold and distant, harsh even. As beautiful as a thorny rose. "No matter what happens, Fenrehs, know that I know what I am doing and I do not want you to interfere. While... gallant of you, I did not need you trying to save me today and I could have learned far more if you had not moved to stop him."

His mouth fell open on its own accord as he uncrossed his arms, and before he could stop himself said in disbelief, "You... you were willing to let him r-rape you?" The initial surprise turned into rage, unable to imagine why anyone would allow something so... so... awful and his face darkened, disgusted.

Frowning, she turned her head to look at the fire. "We both know I could have killed him easily enough... even without magick. I find myself more curious that you thought I needed help." He noticed how she didn't answer his question as her gaze flicked to his briefly before returning to snapping and crackling flames.

"But rape?" he grumbled out, his voice low and rumbling. "Do you have no honor?"

Fenris noticed her tense but remained silent for lingering seconds that dragged on far too long for his liking. Leaning back in the chair, she brought her hand to the side of her forehead and pulled her hand away to look at the blood on her fingertips "I am amazed. For an ex-slave who had no choice you... hold a rather strict view of honor."

His tongue clicked, hitting the roof of his mouth as he audibly showed his distain as he sneered. "Choice. You said yourself I had no choice. Has it happened before me? Had it happened to me? Of course, we are objects that the Magisters will use as they please. But never would I go out of my way to allow that to happen."

Body already shaking with pent up rage, he stiffened further when he felt her summon magick and a faint green light shimmered over her sitting form, healing all the wounds she had just received. Her eyes were closed, head bent slightly as she concentrated. With only the snapping and popping of the fire to answer his boiling thoughts, he wanted to yell at her, wanted to walk over and... and... And do what? Shaking her or voicing his disgust would not change what had happened and whatever was to come. Relaxing somewhat, he crossed his arms. No, if anything this shrewd woman was absorbing his reaction and it was working against him somehow. As another minute passed, he turned away and walked to the fireplace, making sure to keep her in his peripheral vision.

With fading magick her eyes opened and she finally answered him, "Choice. Yes, it always comes back to that does it not?" She stood from the table and moved to the other side of the fireplace, looking at the dancing flames. "Nothing is sacred to me that cannot be used to obtain my goals, Fenrehs, including myself."

His gaze shifted sideways to her, taking her in as she stood there emotionless once more. But that wasn't what made him shifter with unease. It was the look in her eyes as the fire reflected in them mirroring what she tried so hard to hide. The devotion. The burning passion he saw, it rattled him as he realized she truly believed what she said. Whatever her goal was, this woman was going to move heaven and earth to accomplish it, and nothing was for keeps. In the end, if her own death was required she would willing sacrifice all for it. Such a passion reminded him suddenly of someone he wished he could forget. Hawke. How many times had he seen such a passion burning in her eyes as she faced odds stacked heavily against her?

And yet it wasn't the same. Hawke was many things. Brave, stubborn... to name a couple, but even she never set out on a task purposely knowing she was going to have to sacrifice everything including herself. Hawke fought for those around her but she also fought for herself, her goal always having been survival. This woman standing next to him... She wasn't fighting for herself but something she deemed greater. Greater than him and those she used as pawns. His mind went back to the other nagging question that the guard had brought up. If she could kill Danarius now, why wasn't she?

What is she fighting for?

Before he could ask, though, Danarius voice seethed through the estates making him flinch as he looked away from Rain and to the hallway. Their Master's patients had run out, Fenris' time was up.

.~-~.

Seven shadows fell in a line before the estate that had been tucked on the edges of Hightown. The Dulour estates with its rich architect likened to Antivian adobes, stained glass and red slated roof amazingly blended in with the rest of the buildings. Unique though it was, it was only one such unique building in a sea of splendor in this part of Hightown where the elite had a lot more sway in what they could build or alter to their homes and if not for the circumstances the estate would have been overlooked by all of them. Hawke stood in the middle, Anders to her right, Sebastian to her left with Aveline, Merrill, Isabela, and Varric filling out on both sides. All there, staring up at the estates. All with a sense of foreboding as the afternoon sun tried to chase away the chill from the storm.

"Are we sure this is the place?" Aveline asked, turning to look at Varric next to her. "Last thing I need is a headache if we barge in on an elite family and disturb their peace."

Varric's fingers tapped on Bianca's grip as she rested on his shoulder. "The boy who overheard that Sarain woman talking to another orphan girl said she was staying in this section of Hightown. All my contacts have said all of the owners but the Dulours have been seen within the last few days."

The red-head huffed, "But even I have heard that they went on vacation to Antivia." Sebastian glanced at Hawke worriedly, seeing her shift anxiously and dark circles under her hooded eyes from lack of sleep.

The dwarf chuckled. "Then cheer-up. If we have the wrong place then no one will be home to know the wiser." Hawke stopped moving and noticing Varric added, "Not that we have the wrong place. I would bet my fuzzy chest hair we found them."

"Then let's stop wasting time here gabbing," the Champion snapped harshly, stepping forward towards the giant doors.

"Wait, Leana." Anders followed after her. "Would it not be best to enter through a side door or something? Or at least split up and-"

"No. She knows we are here, there is no point." He flinched at her tone, pausing briefly in his pace but continued. The others shared concerned looks before walking after them.

Reaching the huge doors she grunted as she went to yank them open, uncaring of the loud grinding noise as the hinges swung with resistance. With them ajar she took a few steps and froze, breath caught and her heart leaping into her throat as the others filed into the greeting room behind her. Thoughts pondering why she had stopped, they were startled when they found a set of two smaller doors open to a grand hall beyond, lit by a fire and occupied by a dark form sitting the wrong way in a chair with their hunched back to the doors as they watched the fire. All knew swiftly who it was as his white hair seemed to glow with the light of the fire in the dim room, his long sword resting against his shoulder as his hand loosely held the hilt and the tip dug into the dark wood of the floor, other arm propped up against the back of the chair.

"F-Fenris?" her voice cracked.

"You shouldn't have come, Hawke." His voice was low, gritty, echoing off the tall walls and chilling the blood in her veins.

Behind the group the huge doors slammed shut and the four wooden planks fell down into their slots, locking the door, making everyone jump and Merrill squeal with fright. Isabela had grabbed onto Sebastian at the sound, and the Chantry Brother shook her off as she murmured sarcastically, "So much for an easy exit."

~~~~.~-~.~~~~

Well that's ominous... Has he escaped? Doubtful, but one never knows. Will Hawke and Rain fight? Perhaps. All that is known is that something big will happen. Let me know what you guys think will happen, or if there is anything you want to have happen. I love getting feedback!