Later that afternoon [Warning: This chapter contains brief mentions of sex and hints at rape. Please use caution when reading if you are sensitive to such topics.]
After their lessons, Olisa left to the Hanged Man to spread the word of Marianna's engagement to Seamus Dumar. Marianna had asked her sister to tell their friends, because she was stuck planning an engagement party with her mother and shopping. Olisa had opted to go to Varric first, because once the dwarf knew everyone would know.
She walked up to her friend's suite, and found him in his usual spot with a stack of papers in front of him.
"Varric," she sang. "Have I got a story for you."
He adjusted his spectacles, and didn't look up as he said, "That Temply has been smiting you? Already known Hawke."
She groaned, "That's not what I was going to say... And tell me that you haven't announced it to all of Kirkwall."
"Naw just me," said Isabela from behind her. "Well actually I found out on my own." She snickered, "You really shouldn't have Ser Serious help you with your gardening with a full moon out, if you want your little thing to be a secret." She sat at Varric's table and propped her feet up, "But I want to hear more on the smiting, because if it's anything like the gardening –"
"Ugh... Not a word you two. Now I'm being serious, Cullen doesn't exactly have permission to um... hmm... I can't think of a word that isn't dirty..." More to herself she said, "What did Cullen call it?" She walked around and also sat at Varric's table.
Isabela swore, "Are you saying Templars need permission to have sex?"
Olisa shook her head, "No. They're fine with the sex bit. Didn't you see them at the Rose?"
"Yes, but..." She rearranged her feet on the table, "Are you saying it's not just sex?"
"Exactly. It's not just sex."
Varric huffed and pushed his papers to the side, "It doesn't look like I'm going to get these forms finished anytime soon. You had a story Hawke?"
"Oh right." Olisa leaned forward, "Seamus proposed to make Anna Lady Marianna Dumar last night."
"Have they had sex yet?" Isabela asked.
"Nope," she popped the 'p'. "They're going about it like nobles with all the lawyers, contracts, and dowries. Maker's balls! Her dowry. I nearly forgot about that. Guess it's time to dust off the vault."
"No sex," Isabela mused. "What if it's small, or weird colored? Because she won't find out until the wedding night."
Varric chuckled, "Go on, get to the details Hawke."
"Well I had to practically pull Anna's teeth to get them all. But anyways, she had gone over to his suite for a private dinner. After they ate, he took her out onto his balcony where he proposed. Ring and everything."
Varric seemed to be making notes on the back of one of his Guild forms, "What did they say?"
Olisa looked at the dwarf fondly as she said, "Well dear Storyteller, you should know that everything important happened on that balcony before. The first time they discussed them, their first kiss, their first 'I love you', Seamus' first courting gift – that sapphire necklace. She said he matched it to the dress she had worn for their first dance –"
"Which was at that Orlesian couple's ball, right?" Varric interrupted.
"Yep. And Anna said that she had asked him to attend on the off chance that she could dance with him. Oh! I don't think you really know how they first got together, do you?"
Varric grumbled under his breath. "Well," Olisa continued. "When we saved him from those blasted Winters, he was quite impressed with the way she handled her ax. And when she started to work for the Guard, he would stop her after her shifts to chat."
Isabela snorted, "I bet at least half the time he was staring at her tits."
"About?" Varric asked.
"Philosophy and politics." Varric looked up from his notes, "Don't look at me like that. I've told you about our childhood."
"So back to your first question," Olisa continued. "Anna wouldn't tell me quite everything, but he said a lot of things like: 'you make me whole' and 'you are the only one I hold dear'. And after his speech, Anna just about yelled as she accepted and, as she said, she made him blush all the way to his ears."
"A lot of tongue then," Isabela added.
After the Hanged Man Olisa stopped by Merrill's, but she wasn't home so she headed straight to Darktown. Instead of talking about Marianna and Seamus however, Anders told her about Ser Alrik and his abuse of the Right of Tranquility. And he just asked for her help to gather evidence.
Olisa pursed her lips together, "I want to help you Anders, but will you allow me to do a little digging on my own first? I don't doubt what you've told me, but I just want to see if I can find any other options for us."
He smiled slightly at her use of the word 'us', "If you want Hawke, but you should know that the longer we wait, the longer mages are in danger."
She nodded, "I shouldn't take any longer than a day at most."
She headed off to the docks immediately thereafter. She found Cullen in the marketplace.
He paused in his rounds, smiled and nodded at her, "Serah Hawke. What brings you to the Gallows?"
She leaned in to him, and whispered, "Oh, I just heard a rumor... About Ser Alrik and tranquil mages." She raised a brow, "Need I say more?"
His eyes darted around to the shoppers nearby, "You needn't." He had dreaded this conversation for weeks now. Once he discovered just how vast her resources were, and Varric's, he dreaded what she would think of the Order – and irrationally of himself.
She leaned back slightly, "So it's true then?"
He shook his head, "I'm not exactly certain what you've heard, but... Meredith has handled the matter to the best of her abilities."
"'To the best of her abilities'," she parroted. "Now why does that sound like a load of nug crap?" she said condescendingly.
His eyes narrowed, "The Order respects seniority, and Alrik has been in Kirkwall longer than most. His position is only a tier beneath my own as well. Meredith has done all she can without involving the Divine." He silently hoped this issue wouldn't forge a splinter between them.
"So his standing within the Order protects him then?" She too narrowed her eyes, "Then who protects the mages – tranquil or not – who are abused by high ranking Templars who hide behind an illusion of power?" The question was more rhetorical than anything, but Cullen made to answer it regardless.
He sighed and lowered his voice further, "It troubles me to admit this, but once a mage is tranquil... they loose more than their minds. There are many who would opt to treat them little better than dogs. And there are few consequences for those that do."
She sneered, her anger misplaced on her lover, "Enough. Tell me of the mages he's made tranquil then. I've heard that many, if not all, had passed their Harrowing." Her voice was a quiet but violent hiss.
"Nearly all are female, aged between sixteen and twenty years. You are correct about their Harrowings." He saw the shift in her eyes as she put the pieces together.
"Holy Maker," she growled. "That filthy nug humping blighter!" She lowered her voice once a passerby looked in their direction. "And due to his seniority he can bypass the regular avenues for the tranquil process and do it at his leisure. And all he needs is a pathetic excuse like 'I had reason to believe the mage was consorting with a demon'." It surprised him at how much she knew of the Order. The information was not readily available to the public, and he spoke little of specific rules and processes within the Templar Order to her himself.
Her expression became sinister as she demanded, "Where is Ser Alrik?"
He wanted to tell her that Alrik didn't report in last night, he really did. But his love was once an assassin, he knew, and even without the exchange of coin he would feel as though he hired her to take care of the bastard once and for all. This and his unshakable loyalty to the Order forced him to be vague, "He has been assigned to night shifts as of late. His days are free."
"So he could be forcing himself on a girl right now," she shook her head violently.
Cullen hesitated before he asked, "What do you plan to do?"
Her expression darkened and the Templar knew he was seeing a look that many had only seen just before their deaths, "I will see how much truth I can gather. And if the opportunity presents itself, I will act to liberate him of his power." She left without another word.
Olisa arrived a little later at Anders' clinic with Isabela and Varric in tow, "We sneaky degenerate rogues are at your disposal, Anders. Let's gather your evidence." And ever looking the part of a ferocious animal she added, "And if we come across this Ser Alrik, I swear I will sever his favorite limb from his body if he tries anything." Isabela cackled behind her.
Note: Needed an Isabela part, haven't had much of her. Decided to go with her regular brand of hilarity, but tried to keep it at a T rating – it's more difficult to do than it sounds, lol. ;) Also more plot, yay!
So, back to the whole Marianna-Seamus-Fenris-Orana thing. Still don't really know what to do... How about this: what do people think if I kill Seamus, have eventual Marianna x Fenris, and put effort into giving Orana a bit of happiness? Orana's character had a lot of potential in the game, in my opinion, and I don't want to leave her out in any way. If I go this way, I can write her a nice part by like Act 3. *cough* Zevran *cough* I've written some, quite rough, different versions of a few future chapters, and I'm still indecisive. Opinions would be awesome! Thanks for everything, and I hope you're enjoying the story! :D