Written for a kmeme prompt.
AN: This was begun before we had the tease of information that Danarius almost certainly sexually abused Fenris in some way, and I based my beliefs on their relationship on what Fenris said and how he behaved in game. While I'm not changing what I wrote, readers should feel free to assume that Danarius lots of terrible things before he turned Fenris in a living weapon.
Fuga In Accipitrum means "The Hawke's Flight."
The first time Fenris saw her, she was on her knees in the middle of Danarius's courtyard, wrists and ankles shackled and bound, glaring up at the magister as if she could flay the skin from his bones by sheer force of will.
Danarius walked around her in slow circles, the cloth of his robes whispering as he examined her. The auction master who'd brought her listed off all of her faults—stealing, attempted escapes, defiance, insolence. The list was damning for a slave in Tevinter and it was a wonder she still breathed.
"And why," the magister breathed softly when the large, muscled man finally fell silent, "did you see fit to bring her to me? What use would I have for a slave like that?"
The auction master nodded respectfully, but the moisture on his brow and the slight fluttering of his fingers betrayed his nervousness. Fenris watched impassively, knowing the man was no threat to his master, but continued to behave according to the training that had been ground into him.
"I normally wouldn't ever dream of dishonoring your house with one such as this, Magister Danarius, if it wasn't for two qualities she does possess."
"Oh? Do continue." There was a touch of curiosity in Danarius's voice, and a hint of threat. If whatever the auctioneer said displeased the magister, he would feel Danarius's wrath most keenly.
The man nodded again, a bead of sweat forming on his temple and then running down his cheek. "She has spirit, ser."
"I have no use for a slave with spirit, except to break them of it."
"Of course, ser, but you have mentioned in the past that certain slaves with spirit are useful to you." At that, he glanced quickly at Fenris and then back to Danarius.
The magister's expression grew thoughtful as he followed the auctioneer's look, and he slowly stroked his beard. "You might be right in that some cases spirited slaves are useful. But their uses are very narrow indeed. Spirit alone is hardly a reason for me to be interested."
"You are absolutely correct, Magister. Normally, one like her would only be suitable for manual labor. But…you said you were looking for a compliment to your bodyguard." Another quick look at Fenris. "I think she might be what you're looking for."
The conversation caught Fenris's attention and he immediately focused on the scene before him, taking in exactly what was happening and being said, instead of just allowing the conversation to flow over him.
Danarius's expression became calculating. "She fights?"
For the past few years, Danarius had become obsessed with finding another to make into a bodyguard like Fenris. But it wasn't quite as easy as simply selecting another fighter. To begin with, Danarius needed a slave—it was highly unlikely any free guard or warrior would submit to such a procedure—and slaves were generally discouraged from any type of martial training. Those that did know how to wield a weapon were often little more than brute force. Anyone Danarius chose would have to be able to think and react quickly. And not just any fighting skill would do—it needed to be something that would compliment Fenris's abilities.
And then there was the fact that Danarius liked…pretty things. Physical perfection wasn't required, but any candidate had to be pleasing to the eye. There were those Danarius had passed up immediately, simply because of an unsightly scar or other defect. Even the punishments and agonies inflicted on Fenris, whether by Danarius's own hand or Hadriana's, left no marks behind.
And despite all of this, Danarius had still managed to find slaves to test. Nearly a dozen had been purchased in the last two years, four even making it to train with Fenris before Danarius found some flaw and…removed them.
His master resumed his circling, now resembling a predator closing in on his prey, and Fenris allowed his own gaze to focus on the kneeling slave. Even as Danarius looked at her with new eyes, his own were taking her in, cataloging everything in an analytical fashion.
She would be tall when standing, probably near his own height. Her limbs, from what he could see, revealed by the sleeveless tunic and ragged pants, appeared straight and true. If they'd been broken in the past, they'd healed well. Beneath her pale skin, her muscles were long and clean, visible because of the way she tensed against her restraints. No heavy bulk like most human men, or even some women. Her frame wasn't built for raw power, but for speed and dexterity.
Even bound as she was, she knelt up, back straight and shoulders set. Part of that was surely stubbornness and defiance, but it was a stance that would give the best chance should she find herself free. She watched, through strands of dirty, black hair, as Danarius circled her, but she kept her head very still, moving just her eyes to keep him within her peripheral vision.
Fenris took a moment to look at her through Danarius's eyes. Her skin was mostly unblemished, and the handful of scars were small, light—most likely something Danarius or Hadriana could lessen or even remove. Her features were even and symmetrical, and he thought that she might even be considered pretty. Perhaps not beautiful—her face was probably a bit too sharp for true beauty—but if he allowed himself thoughts of that nature, she did seem to be attractive.
Danarius stopped circling to stand before her, lips pursed in thought. "How is her health?"
"From what her previous master said, excellent. She recovers from injury quickly and hasn't been ill in the time he's owned her."
"And how long was that?"
"Just over a year, Magister. He hoped to break her of her ways, but gave up on it as too much trouble. He merely wants to recover whatever he can of his investment. Normally, she'd be bound for the quarries, but I thought to offer you the chance to purchase her first."
"I see," Danarius murmured, and then made a sharp gesture with his hand. The auctioneer quickly reached down and hauled her to her feet with one beefy hand. The woman snarled and tried to wrench herself free, only to be rewarded with a hard cuff to the side of her head for her efforts.
"Carefully," Danarius murmured. "If you damage the goods, I won't be able to offer full price."
"Yes, Magister. My apologies."
Fenris watched as his master carefully inspected every inch of her, first with his eyes, then with his hands. He examined her as one might examine a piece of livestock, feeling and squeezing flesh, moving clothing to see something better and running his hands down her limbs to make sure nothing was hidden. The slave tried to pull back from his touch, but the auction master grabbed a fistful of hair, cruelly pulling her head back so that her struggles were ineffectual. And then Danarius reached out to grasp her chin to get a better look at her.
The woman spit in his face.
This time, the blow from the auctioneer's fist sent her back to her knees. But Danarius merely produced a square of silk from his robes and wiped his face, laughing softly. Fenris's gut clenched instinctively at the sound. Pain and humiliation always followed that laugh, and though he felt a brief stab of pity for the woman, he was grateful that it wasn't directed at him.
"Spirited indeed. Very well, you've made your case. I'll buy her." A nod of his head brought his seneschal scurrying over to produce a pouch of coins. There was a brief, murmured discussion as Danarius haggled over the price. Then, as the servant counted out the auction master's gold, another signal from Danarius brought a handful of guards hurrying over.
"Take her to the cells," he instructed them. "She'll need to begin training, but let's see if we can't blunt the blade a little before we do."
Turning on his heel, he looked at Fenris. "Come, my pet. I have business in the city to attend to."
Fenris fell into step a pace behind and to the right of Danarius, immediately on alert for any possible threats. By the time they passed through the gates, thoughts of the unfortunate woman being dragged below Danarius's palace had already faded.