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John and The Hound by IMarriedMyFandoms

Unfortunately this fic is very badly brought down by the obvious fact the writer is not British and has not had this story checked over...

by iE-ma

A very effective shot, combining a natural backlighting effect from the window behind with a soft chiaroscuro effect. A light smatterin...

by iE-ma

I feel the main issue with this picture is how you've framed the eye within the picture; the image doesn't follow the rule of thirds. T...

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It wasn’t so bad - at least at the start. The tunnels leading down beneath the surface were not so different from the smugglers’ tunnels beneath Darktown that led to the coast. Anders could almost believe they were just out on another one of Aveline’s little missions. Albeit one that also featured several dwarves outfitted for an expedition and a handful of other mercenary types, in addition to Hawke and their group.

But the deeper they went, the harder it was to hold onto that little fantasy. The air grew close and oppressive, as though the weight of miles of rock over their heads were pressing down on the very air they breathed. Anders instinctively hunched his shoulders and kept his eye on Hawke just ahead. Fenris was a constant presence at his side; occasionally, at the point where Anders felt the tension rising unbearably until he felt he must scream, the elf would gently brush his fingers against the back of Anders’ hand as though to remind him he was not alone down here; and Anders was almost pathetically grateful for that light contact. He had wondered at first why Fenris had not donned his gauntlets as usual, but after the first time he caught his breath in near-panic when a torch suddenly guttered just ahead and Fenris’ warm touch grounded him, he realised Fenris had already known what he needed - almost better than he himself.

But not even Fenris’ touch could quell the craving that itched beneath his skin. Or rather, it could have - if he could bring himself to ask. And doubtless Fenris would not have questioned it but given him what he needed in a heartbeat, regardless of the pain it caused him. But Anders couldn’t, would not ask that of him. He fought down the shivers when they started, and he took to carrying his staff in his hand; it was easier to control the tremors in his hand when gripping its smooth silverite shaft hard.

It was harder to quell the voices he thought he heard in the shadows, or the unpleasant suspicion that Hawke, Bethany, Varric and even Fenris were discussing him when they thought he couldn’t hear them. He was certain at least some of that whispering he couldn’t quite make out was Bethany talking to Hawke about him, even though she denied it when he cornered her during one of their rest stops to ask.

But then she would, wouldn’t she? They all would.

Maybe that was why they’d been so insistent he come with them. Hawke had his maps, they didn’t need him. They just wanted to be able to keep an eye on him.

The dizzy spells were coming more often, and the headache was a constant, throbbing presence - it pulsed through his skull to the rhythm of his heartbeat. The elfroot tea he drank each time they paused for a rest only dulled it a little, never quite taking it entirely away. He took to adding a few drops of lyrium to the tea when he thought no-one was looking. Only a little. Just enough to take the edge off the cravings; to silence the whispers for a little while. The thrum of magic in his veins made the darkness more bearable.

His supply was slowly dwindling. He kept tally of the passing days by the number of vials still left. As the number lessened, his anxiety grew; he was jittery, perpetually on edge, irritable.

He thought the unclean scratching feeling in the back of his skull was just a dream until he realised he was awake but could still feel it. Darkspawn. He lifted his head from his pack which he’d been using as a pillow as he dozed fitfully, and stared around. There; he could still feel it. Distant - too distant to identify specifically what it was, but unmistakable.

He was trembling as he sat up, and he had to take a deep breath to steady himself as he looked around for Fenris, one hand fumbling for the pouch with the precious vials of lyrium. He managed to fumble one out but it took several tries before his shaking hands could wrest the cork loose. He downed it hurriedly, and was relieved to feel the cool wash of mana through his veins. He felt his thoughts grow clear, and mercifully his body no longer trembled as he got to his feet and reached for his staff before making his way over to the watch fire where Fenris stood guard with one of the dwarven mercenary guards in Bartrand’s employ.

“Darkspawn. Not near, but I can feel them,” he murmured in answer to Fenris’ unspoken question.

“Should we wake the others?” rumbled Fenris softly. Anders shook his head.

“Let them sleep. Whatever it is, it’s too far away for me to tell clearly what it is.”

Fenris regarded him thoughtfully. “You are certain you were not merely dreaming? Your rest has been unsettled ever since we reached the Deep Roads.”

“I am not dreaming!” Anders hissed angrily. His sibilant whisper carried unexpectedly; a couple of dwarves lifted their heads and glanced in his direction. Chagrined, Anders ducked his head. “It wasn’t a dream,” he insisted, but quieter and with less vehemence.

Fenris gestured to Anders to sit down; as the tall blond apostate lowered himself to the ground, the elf leaned forward to place the kettle back over the fire. Anders cradled his staff in his arms and stared into the fire.

“Anders,” said Fenris gently as he laid a hand over Anders’ restless fingers as they tapped on the haft of his staff; Anders’ fingers stilled. “Anders, I am afraid for you. How much lyrium have you taken today?”

Anders went still. “You don’t believe me,” he said in a shocked whisper. “You think I’m delusional.”

“Anders -”

Anders pulled roughly away from Fenris and hastily got to his feet.

“Anders -”

“Void take you!” Anders exclaimed as he turned on his heel and strode away from the fire. He heard Fenris call his name and Hawke’s sleepy voice inquiring what was wrong, but he didn’t look back. He let his anger carry him on swift feet away from the camp, for once not caring about the dark. It was some minutes before his footsteps slowed as his wrath cooled, leaving him feeling shaken and remorseful.

He planted the blade of his staff between two cracks in the ancient paving stones of the Deep Roads and rested his forehead against his staff as he drew a shaky breath. A wave of dizziness swept over him and he swayed then staggered. He put a hand out to steady himself against a nearby wall then slumped against the rock. His head was pounding again.

He was suddenly all too aware of how enclosed this path was; a rockfall had blocked nearly the whole width of the passageway, leaving a space scarce wide enough for a single man to walk upright. He glanced back and realised he couldn’t see the watch fire any more; the path was only dimly lit by the dull glow of luminescent lichen and moss. The way ahead was dark; he took a few faltering footsteps into the narrowed path and then his outstretched hand hit stone. The way ahead was blocked entirely.

He slid down until he was sprawled against the base of the wall, then drew his knees up towards his chest and hugged his knees, burying his face as he fought for control of his breathing. His heart was pounding in his chest and he shuddered as a cold sweat seemed to sweep over him leaving him shivering, skin clammy. The air felt too thin. He swallowed hard.

It was too dark. Trembling, he lifted a hand and tried to concentrate, but it was hard; his thoughts skittered like frightened spiders (Maker, why did he have to think of spiders??), and it was hard to focus. His breath escaped his lips in a faint whimper as he fought to coax a small ball of magelight into existence. A small, wavering silvery light bloomed upon the palm of his hand and he almost sobbed with relief.

He heard voices calling his name, and he scrambled to his feet, glancing back in the direction he had come. He could see torches bobbing towards him out of the darkness, and then there was Fenris, and behind him Hawke and both Tethras brothers.

“As if I haven’t got enough on my plate without having to chase after mama’s boy surfacers afraid of the dark,” Bartrand was grousing. “I swear, Varric if this -” He broke off as he stared at the rockfall beyond Anders. “Oh great. That’s just wonderful. Tell me the path isn’t completely blocked.”

Fenris and Hawke ignored him as they hurried over towards Anders, relief plain upon their faces.

“Anders, we were -” began Hawke.

“It’s blocked,” Anders said abruptly. “There’s no way through. The whole roof seems to have fallen in.”

Bartrand began to swear. “Someone tell me the mage is wrong!”

Varric stepped into the narrowed path and disappeared from view briefly before re-emerging. “Sorry, Brother; Blondie’s right. We’re not going to be able to get through this way.”

Bartrand stomped off angrily, flinging his hands up in disgust and yelling for his mercenaries.

“Well, that’s done it,” sighed Varric.

Hawke and Fenris exchanged glances as Varric followed after his brother, then glanced at Anders as he rejoined them. “We’ll have to look for another way,” he told them tersely. “Nothing could get through that rock slide.” He followed after Varric, Hawke and Fenris trailing behind.

The discovery of the rockslide distracted everyone; Anders’ abrupt departure from the camp was soon forgotten. Bartrand insisted on rousing the whole camp, ordering everyone to find a way around the blocked path. Scouts were sent down the side passages; it was a few hours before they began to return.

“There has to be a way around!” snarled Bartrand.

“Not that we could find,” replied the lead scout. “The side passages are too dangerous. We can’t get through.”

“Useless!” roared Bartrand as he punched the scout and sent him reeling, then turned on his other hired hands. “What am I paying you blighters for?” He stormed off, angry.

Varric followed him, and the brothers conferred - Bartrand gesticulating angrily, Varric’s voice calm and quiet. After a moment, Varric beckoned Hawke over. Finally Bartrand waved them both off.

“Fine, fine, you find another way around - but do it quickly!” He strode off towards his hired hands, bellowing orders to set camp once more and set to work clearing the passage as Varric and Hawke rejoined the others.

“So now we are scouts?” remarked Fenris, raising an eyebrow.

“Unless you have any better ideas? It could take days to dig out that rock,” replied Hawke, gesturing over his shoulder with a jerk of his thumb.

“I’m not hanging around for days!” exclaimed Anders, alarmed, one hand stealing unconsciously to his belt pouch. “There has to be another way around!” He turned away, rubbing his forehead as his temples throbbed painfully. “This is why I left the Wardens,” he muttered. “I hate the blighted Deep Roads....”

“Er, I hate to add to your burdens, my friends, but I fear I must,” interjected a dwarf as he approached them apologetically. Hawke turned with a frown.

“Bodahn, the supplier,” murmured Varric; Hawke’s face cleared. “Yes, of course. What’s the problem, Bodahn?”

“I fear my boy Sandal has wandered off down one of those side passages; I couldn’t help but overhear, and... well... if you should be exploring those side passages....?”

“Of course,” nodded Hawke. “We’ll keep an eye out for him, Bodahn.”

“Oh thank you, messere; he’s a good boy, is Sandal, he just... doesn’t understand danger like he should.”

They gathered around Hawke as he studied Anders’ maps. After brief conferring, they headed towards the nearest right-hand passage.

“I swore I would never set foot in the Deep Roads again,” Anders muttered to himself. He frowned, and shook his head irritably; the unpleasant scratching in his head seemed to be getting louder. “Hawke... there are darkspawn down here. Be on your guard.”

Bethany shuddered and stepped closer to her brother as Fenris loosened his greatsword in its sheathe.

They investigated one dead end after another, backtracking frequently when the path ahead was blocked by another rockfall. It seemed to Anders that each time they had to backtrack and try another path, that they were coming closer and closer to the darkspawn. The feeling was stronger now; his grip was white-knuckled upon his staff, a cold sweat sheening his forehead.

“Close... very close....” he muttered.

“What’s close?” asked Bethany, glancing back nervously; his anxiety was contagious, it seemed, and they were all on edge.

“Hurlocks. Eight of them. Very close,” he muttered tersely. “They’re just... Hawke, watch out!” he shouted in warning, as abruptly the group of darkspawn erupted almost from the very rocks at their feet and moved almost as one directly towards the rogue.

Hawke leapt back as Anders twirled his staff overhead and gave fervent thanks that he’d downed that vial of lyrium upon awakening as he sent a lightning bolt streaking overhead to scatter the hurlocks even as Bethany began to throw fireballs at them and Bianca sang death in Varric’s hands.

There was a bright silvery blur of blue-white light and then Fenris was amongst the hurlocks, hewing them apart with ease. Bethany had to hold off on the fire spells for fear of hitting the elf, but Anders leapt forward and cast paralysis on the nearest three hurlocks, freezing them to the spot whilst Fenris dispatched the others; Anders drove the blade of his staff through the throat of one, whilst Varric and Hawke dropped the other two with ease. Anders moved forward to take out another with his staff; as it fell, he turned in time to see Fenris take the head off the last hurlock in a spray of blood. Anders glanced around, his heart still hammering in his chest.

“Anyone need healing?” he asked.

“No, thanks to your warning,” grinned Hawke.

“Did we get them all?” asked Bethany?

“Looks like it, Sunshine,” replied Varric as he flipped a corpse over with the toe of his boot. “Ugly things, aren’t they?”

“Let’s move on,” said Fenris.

“Be careful; I can feel more darkspawn down here,” warned Anders, glancing around as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“How does that work?” wondered Bethany. “I mean - how is it you can feel them?”

“It’s a Warden thing. We can feel the taint. We can feel each other as well; the longer you’ve been a warden, the better you get at it.”

“What does it feel like?” asked Bethany as Anders grimaced.

“It’s... hard to describe,” he replied slowly. “It’s like... filthy claws, scraping against the back of my mind.”

Bethany shuddered. “It sounds horrible. Is it always this bad for you down here?”

“No,” he replied distractedly as he glanced around, trying to get a better feel of where the darkspawn were. “It’s frequently worse. Just wait till the screaming nightmares begin - I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that part.”

“How awful!” Bethany exclaimed, horrified. He glanced back at her.

“Be thankful you’ll never experience it,” he said quietly. “There are some parts of being a Grey Warden you can never walk away from. Never thought I’d be actively seeking them out though,” he added as he rolled his shoulders to try and dislodge the crawling sensation creeping up his spine.

“If you can feel darkspawn and other Grey Wardens... does that mean the darkspawn can feel you?” asked Bethany.

Anders lurched to a halt and stared at her, aghast.

“I’m sorry, forget I said anything!” said Bethany hastily. He stared at her for a moment longer, then started walking again. He could feel his heart racing again; he patted his belt pouch and bit his lip.

“Low on lyrium?” Bethany murmured as she stepped in closer and took his arm.

“No,” he lied. She stared at him, and he glanced away. He glanced back as he felt her press something cold and hard into his hand.

“Liar,” she said softly. “I shouldn’t. But... just be careful, OK? And don’t tell Garrett.” She stepped away.

He glanced around; Hawke and Varric were studying the map, and Fenris was inspecting something he’d stepped in, wiping the sole of his foot on his leggings with a distasteful grimace. Anders hastily uncorked the lyrium and downed it in one, then moved to join Hawke and Varric.

He wished he were anywhere but there.
In the brighter light of Varric’s rooms, the change in Anders was more pronounced. Varric, Hawke and Bethany exchanged looks, wondering wordlessly how it was they hadn’t noticed before how much thinner Anders looked. Once he had divested himself of his coat, the change was obvious. He had always been slender, but now he looked positively scrawny, all angular bones with dark shadows beneath his eyes. His unwashed hair had been hastily scraped back into a perfunctory ponytail, and his ill-fitting faded grey shirt hung from a frame that was far too sparse. Bethany glanced to Fenris, and the elf shrugged helplessly as if to say, You see?

She nodded wordlessly and glanced back to Anders, who was sitting down at the table and already reaching for the bottle of wine, oblivious to their scrutiny.

“This is rather better than Corff’s usual stuff, Varric - are we celebrating?” asked Anders as he glanced up.

“In a manner of speaking, yes,” replied Hawke as he took his place opposite Anders. Fenris slipped into his customary place at Anders’ left side, whilst Bethany took the place to his right.

“Hawke’s finally raised the coin for my brother’s Deep Roads expedition,” explained Varric before turning to call for a pot of stew, bread and bowls. “Hope you don’t mind - I haven’t had supper yet, care to join me?” he added.

“Not at all - Beth and I have been out all day and we’re starving,” agreed Hawke, exchanging a meaningful look with Bethany before glancing to Fenris, who slowly nodded. Anders was still studying the label on the bottle of wine.

“So the Deep Roads expedition is on then?” he asked, finally glancing up.

“Looks that way, and not before time,” agreed Hawke.

“You’ll be wanting my maps of course,” Anders said as he set the bottle down. “How soon will you go?”

“That’s up to Bartrand,” replied Hawke with a shrug. He leaned forward. “I was rather hoping you would join us?”

“Me?” Anders blinked. “I... I didn’t think... what with....” He gestured to his eyepatch.

“Why not?” asked Hawke as he leaned back and regarded Anders thoughtfully. “You’ve proven yourself over and over as a valuable person to have along.” He shifted in his seat and fixed Anders with his intense blue gaze. “Anders, hasn’t the past year taught you yet? You have a place with us. You’ve earned that place with us. We want you with us.”

“We all do,” agreed Bethany. “Fenris is coming,” she added.

Anders turned and stared at Fenris in surprise. “You are?”

“Hawke has need of a warrior. Or two,” replied the elf as he took the bottle and poured a generous glass for himself. “You have proven yourself almost as capable as I in that role. But I am not a healer, and Bethany is....”

“Not that good at it,” Bethany supplied herself with a chagrined look. “It just doesn’t seem to come naturally to me I’m afraid.”

Anders dropped his gaze to the table and frowned a little. He bit back the urge to point out that without lyrium, it didn’t come to him at all.

They were interrupted by the arrival of the stew. “Have a think about it,” suggested Hawke as Varric handed out bowls. Anders nodded slowly.

Food was a good distraction; he couldn’t remember how long ago since he’d last eaten. There was breakfast with Fenris, of course - though he hadn’t managed to eat much; he’d felt too queasy. He always did when he first woke up. He’d felt better after he’d taken lyrium. Only a little sip - just to keep him going, he’d told himself, until he got to the clinic. He’d meant to eat later, except somehow it was much later and he’d forgotten.

The stew smelled good, and his stomach rumbled loudly as he inhaled the savoury scent. He pressed a hand against his stomach in alarm and glanced round in embarrassment, but no-one else seemed to have noticed. He took up his spoon and began to eat.

The evening passed in quiet conviviality, and Anders slowly relaxed. He had been working hard of late; he’d almost forgotten how much he had once looked forward to these gatherings.

He was unaware of the glances the others exchanged behind his back, or the way Fenris and Hawke slowly nodded to one another, then looked to Bethany; he only looked up when she faltered in the middle of a quiet anecdote of something Merrill had told her in the marketplace a couple of days previously.

“Hmm?” he encouraged her to continue.

“What? - oh, kittens. Yes, Merrill said one of her neighbours had a cat and it’s had kittens recently,” she said hastily.

“Kittens?” Anders sat up a little straighter. “Do you think any of them are tabbies?”

“I don’t know - I’m going to see her tomorrow, why don’t you come with me?” she suggested.

“I don’t know, I have so much to do -” began Anders, dropping his gaze to his glass of wine.

“You should go, we can spar another morning,” rumbled Fenris. “It would do you good to leave Darktown for an hour or two.”

Anders reached for his glass and was dismayed to find his hand was trembling. So soon? He cradled the glass with both hands and fervently hoped the others would put it down to simple tiredness. After all, he was always tired these days. The headaches had never fully gone away (and he could fix that, he knew he could fix that, but for some reason the idea of reaching into his own brain to fix the damage wrought there terrified him even though he had done it for others so often - hadn’t he done it for that guardsman Aveline brought to him only four days ago? ... it was only four days... wasn’t it?) and exhaustion was a constant companion; one of the prices he was paying for a steady consumption of lyrium. But the alternative was unthinkable.

He took a sip of wine to steady himself, aware that Fenris and Bethany were both regarding him expectantly.

“Alright,” he heard himself finally say. “That would be nice.” He even managed to smile; a brief, flickering ghost of a smile. gone as swiftly as it had come, but it seemed to satisfy Bethany.


***

Later, in the darkness of the bedroom, he listened to Fenris’ quiet breathing as he slept. He rested his head against the sleeping elf’s tattooed breast and felt his heart beating strong and steady, and he knew he couldn’t let Fenris walk into the Deep Roads without him.

***

“Bethany, please. Don’t go.”

“Mother, please, everyone’s looking!” Bethany’s voice was a hiss of embarrassment as she shifted from one foot to the other, acutely aware of the disapproving glare of Varric’s brother. Leandra turned to her eldest child.

“Garrett, please....”

Anders turned away and busied himself with checking the contents of his healing kit for what must have been the fourteenth time that morning. Though the day was warm, his hands felt cold, though they didn’t tremble. Not yet, at any rate.

He patted his belt pouches, reassured by the feel of the small, precious vials in one. He’d counted them carefully. Two weeks, Hawke had said; Anders had carefully counted out his vials. One for each day, and five more “just in case”. Nineteen slender glass vials filled with the precious blue liquid. Of course, Bethany would have her own supply; but lately she’d been a little more reluctant to part with it, and there had been awkward questions.

He wished he’d dared buy more, but Varric was already showing signs of being suspicious about the amounts he’d been purchasing recently, and Anders was not so foolish as to risk approaching smugglers directly himself.

Not yet, at any rate.

Fenris nudged Anders then nodded over towards Hawke, who was stalking back towards the group with a face like thunder, Bethany a step behind him, her face red with embarrassment.

“Sorry about that, Bartrand,” Hawke said breezily. “All taken care of now.”

The dwarf shot him a dark look but merely grunted before turning away and shouting orders.

Hawke turned to Anders. “All ready?”

He drew a deep breath. “As I’ll ever be,” he replied. Hawke clapped him on the shoulder with a grin.

“Good man.” He turned away to speak to his sister, and Anders exhaled slowly. He was not looking forward to this.
It was a temptation. He knew that, even as he felt the press of the glass vial against his chest beneath his tunic. He told himself he carried it “just in case” of some nebulous emergency he didn’t quite care to define too clearly. He returned to his clinic and life continued much as it had before, though with a few small changes.

Fenris brought breakfast on those mornings when Anders had not spent the night with him in the mansion; the mornings were given over to alchemical work for the most part, but twice a week they would spar. The rest of the day was given over to Anders’ work in the clinic. Sometimes Fenris would join him; more often he would arrive in the early evening and find Anders still hard at work. Fenris would extinguish the lanterns, send home those who were capable of walking, and help Anders tend to those who needed an overnight stay. If the clinic were empty, then often they would return to the mansion.

If Anders had patients to tend, then Fenris would stay; tending Anders almost as much as the healer tended his patients, in a way. He kept him distracted in the lonely watches of the night; and if sometimes that distraction were physical, then what of it?

He kept the vial in a pouch around his neck; like a talisman, “just in case”.

Sometimes Hawke would have need of them both; a welcome distraction from the routine. It brought in extra coin, though Varric had been right; word of Anders’ skills as an alchemist spread slowly and often Varric would drop by with a pouch of coin for some of Anders’ little custom creations - indeed, enough that Anders could outfit the clinic more comfortably, and buy what stock of herbs he could not find himself. Much of his research were given over to healing however.

It was late summer when he had to take the first dose. A mining accident; a shaft collapsed, injured miners first trickling into his clinic, and then a flood of injured - some walking, many more not. Broken arms, legs, head injuries, crush injuries; broken spines, broken bodies. Too many, too severe for mere poultices and potions.

He had stared around him in despair, then reached for the vial.

That evening, he steadily drank himself insensible in Fenris’ arms and slept like the dead for a day afterwards. Fenris thought it was because so many had still died despite the magic from the lyrium. Anders knew it was because he could not bear the emptiness inside.

It was the first time, but it would not be the last.

The next time it happened, chokedamp had risen up in an area of the shantytown built in one of the lower levels of Darktown. The first he knew of it was the pounding upon the closed and barred doors of the clinic and frantic cries for the healer. He had flung open the doors, seen the steady stream of people being brought to him, and as he turned to ready himself for the hours ahead he reached for the vial.

And it happened again. And again. And again.

A patrol with Hawke gone wrong. A party of Tal Vashoth that outnumbered them. An ambush set by outlaws. Dragons in the Bone Pit. Anders found himself reaching for the vial again, and again, and again.

Every time, he told himself it was only because the need was dire. And the need was always dire.

At first, it was perhaps once a month. Then every couple of weeks. Then maybe two or three times a week.

After a year, he was taking it daily. He no longer tried to pretend to himself that it was need - or rather, no longer the need of others.

He needed it for himself.

And then one vial ceased to become enough.

***

“I’m worried.”

“We all are, Beth,” said Hawke heavily as he glanced up from the tankard of ale he’d been nursing for the past hour. He glanced over at Varric; the usually-cheerful dwarf was solemn, staring down at the ledger book in front of him.

“It doesn’t look good, Hawke. I’ve had my suspicions for some time; Blondie’s been buying lyrium more frequently lately, but he’s not working on anything new. He’s producing the same amount of his little blast capsules for me as he ever has. Even allowing a little extra for... emergencies....” Varric shook his head. “At a guess, I’d say he must be taking this stuff on a near-daily basis and probably has for some time.”

“He has,” said Bethany glumly. She blushed as she felt their eyes on her.

“You sound like you know something, Beth,” said Hawke. “Go on, we’re listening.”

“He... I...” She trailed her finger through a puddle of spilled wine, mouth pulling down into a small moue of distress. “I’ve been... giving him lyrium. Only the odd vial here and there, when he needed it - only, he’s been needing it more and more, lately.”

She lifted her head as her words were met with silence; she glanced, worried, at her brother. Hawke shook his head slowly.

“Beth, Fenris is going to go apeshit when he finds out.”

“When I find out what?” rasped Fenris as he appeared in the doorway just in time to catch Hawke’s words. He stared at the three of them as they sat there, aghast; Bethany’s hands flew to her mouth.

“Find out Anders is addicted to lyrium?” he suggested quietly.

“You -” began Bethany. He glanced at her.

“Already knew?” he finished for her. “How could I not?” He pulled out a chair and dropped into it heavily with a low sigh.

“How long -” began Hawke as Varric rose from his seat to pour Fenris a glass of wine; the elf took it with a nod of thanks.

“How long have I known? Or how long has this been going on?” he asked tiredly as he took a sip of the wine. Hawke spread his hands helplessly. Fenris sighed again and set the glass down before slowly stripping off his gauntlets.

“I’d had my suspicions for some time,” he said slowly as he picked up his glass and cradled it in his hands. “I don’t think he was addicted - not at first. It was slow. The odd vial here or there. It was always to save lives; I could not forbid him.” Not after what happened with Mae. The unspoken words hung heavily in the air.

“He needed it more and more though. I don’t know when it was that the lyrium became the first thing he reached for, rather than the last. But he takes it daily now.” He lifted his head slowly to regard them all, a look of deep misery in his green eyes. “He cannot function without it.”

“How long?” breathed Hawke, horrified.

“A year,” replied Bethany quietly.

Varric and Hawke exclaimed aloud in shock and horror, but Fenris merely tilted his glass slightly towards her.

“It is as you say,” he agreed.

“You knew Beth was giving him lyrium?” said Hawke slowly.

“Not precisely,” replied Fenris. “I thought it likely however. I have been keeping a careful tally on the lyrium you have sent, Varric - doubtless as you have. But there always seemed to be vials I could not account for.”

“I must say, you’re taking this rather calmly, Broody,” observed Varric slowly. The elf shrugged.

“At least whilst Hawke’s sister was giving him what he needed, I need have no fear he was dealing with smugglers and risking a tainted batch - or worse,” he added darkly. “But now....” He exhaled slowly as he leaned forward to set the glass down on the table. “Now, I am... desperate. I do not know how to help him. I need your help. I can’t do this on my own any more.” He dropped his head into his hands, and then after a moment, his shoulders began to shake.

It took them a moment to realise he was silently weeping.

***

Fenris led them back to the clinic. They exchanged glances as they stood outside; both lanterns were extinguished, but they could see light inside through the cracks in the doors. Fenris glanced at the others, then knocked twice before slowly pushing the doors open.

Anders was hunched over one of his alchemy experiments, carefully adding something liquid to a flask. He didn’t look round as they entered, too intent on his work; as they entered the clinic behind Fenris, Anders set the vial of liquid into a rack then scribbled something in a journal. He laid the quill down, then reached into his pocket for something that glowed blue. As they watched, he uncorked a small vial of lyrium with trembling fingers before downing it in one swallow. He sighed softly in relief and sat there for a moment or two, unheeding of their presence; and then he took up his quill once more with a hand that was now steady.

“Anders.”

At the sound of Fenris’ voice, Anders laid the quill down and glanced over his shoulder. “Hello, love,” he said with a tired smile, then froze as he realised they were not alone. WIth a start, Hawke realised the mage had truly been oblivious to their presence.

“Blondie, you’ve been cooped up in here too long. Why don’t you come have a few drinks with us and get away from all these fumes? Can’t be too healthy for you breathing in this stuff,” remarked Varric as he gestured at the retort stands, flasks of liquids and other apparatus that fumed and bubbled across the surface of two rickety tables.

Anders glanced at his work, then back at Varric. “I... can’t,” he said quietly. “It’s not that I don’t want to, but -”

“Come on, Anders, you can take a break for an evening, surely?” suggested Hawke.

“Love. Please,” said Fenris quietly. His voice and expression suggested that he and Anders had had this argument many times before.

Anders opened his mouth as if to argue, but then his shoulders slumped. “Very well,” he sighed. He laid the quill aside then gently closed the book. He rose with careful slowness from his chair and reached for his coat and staff.

Fenris slipped an arm around the slender mage’s waist and Anders leaned into his support gratefully. The others exchanged worried looks as they followed them out of the clinic.
Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: sexual themes)

It was a jubilant group that returned to the Hanged Man that evening. They’d found no further sign of the lyrium smugglers, but Aveline seemed reasonably confident that they’d sent a clear message to whoever was behind this new outfit that Kirkwall was not perhaps quite such an easy nut to crack after all.


“I’ll order double patrols through the tunnels for a while, but between your last sweep and this one we’ll have dealt them a serious blow - not to mention losing that shipment of tainted lyrium,” she said as she settled into her seat and nodded thanks to Varric as the rogue set a tankard of ale before her.


“What are you going to do with that, by the way?” asked Hawke, curious. She tapped her nose.


“Not your concern any more, Hawke,” she said, refusing to be drawn.


Hawke pouted, but they were all in too good spirits for him to sulk for long.


The wine and beer flowed, the cards came out, and they chatted, laughed and enjoyed one another’s company until far into the evening.


Anders was in a cheerful mood, still on a high after regaining his magic; but as the evening drew on he became slowly quieter and more withdrawn. He said nothing to the others, but he could slowly feel his mana draining away as the hours passed. As he felt his magic steadily dwindling, he took more and more solace in the wine.


Fenris was oblivious; he was engaged in a somewhat raucous game of Wicked Grace with Varric, Isabela and Hawke in which it seemed he was rather ahead. Distracted, he didn’t notice as Anders fell silent.


His mood did not go unnoticed however. As he stared into his glass, feeling himself growing cold as the power drained back into that empty space inside, he felt someone slip into the seat next to him. He glanced up morosely, unsurprised to find Bethany regarding him sympathetically.


“It went away again?” she asked quietly.


He nodded once, and turned his gaze back to the glass of wine again. She laid a hand gently on his.


“I’m sorry,” she said softly.


“So am I,” he whispered. He lifted his glass then hesitated, before downing it. He set the glass back down, empty; his hand trembled. “Now I know how Karl must have felt. Just before I...” He broke off, his voice rough, and he felt a prickling in his good eye as his throat tightened.


Bethany took his hand and pressed something cold and hard into his palm. He glanced down and stared at the small vial of lyrium, then at Bethany as she folded his fingers over it.


“Don’t tell Garrett,” she murmured. “He wouldn’t understand.”


“Nor would Fenris,” replied Anders. He stared at his hand for a moment, then tucked the precious vial inside his tunic. “Thank you, Bethany,” he said quietly.


“Just... be careful,” she replied gently as she leaned forward and kissed his cheek lightly before rising. She rested a hand on his shoulder and squeezed, briefly.


Anders glanced up to find Fenris scowling at him. He swallowed, then reached for the bottle of wine and refilled his glass. He was unable to meet the elf’s eyes. He kept his eyes on his glass as he felt the bench shift, then Fenris laid a lyrium-lined hand over his.


“Anders.” The name upon Fenris’ lips was not quite a question. Anders lifted his gaze slowly to glance at the white-haired elf at his side. The elf was frowning; his frown deepened as he stared into Anders’ face. “What is wrong?”


“I’m tired,” said Anders quietly, his voice not much more than a whisper. “It’s been a long day. I think I need to go home and sleep.”


“Home...?” Fenris was still frowning, but now his expression was a little uncertain.


“Unless... you want me to....” Anders’ voice trailed off, equally uncertain. Fenris’ expression softened as his fingers lightly squeezed Anders’ hand.


“I... do. Do you...?” Fenris was hesitant; Anders realised the elf was nervous.



“Come with you?” As the elf nodded, uncertain, Anders gave him a tired smile. “I’d like that.”


As Fenris rose to his feet, he slipped a hand beneath Anders’ elbow to help him up from his seat. The others glanced up as they stood.


“Leaving so early, Broody?” asked Varric.


“It is after midnight, Varric,” the elf pointed out.


“So it is,” Varric realised with some surprised, then waved them off. “Best get Blondie to bed then; he looks dead on his feet.”


Aveline rose and turned towards them both. “Anders, I’m glad you were with us today - and that you’ve gotten your magic back. Things would have been much worse without you.”


Anders managed to summon a wan smile, aware of Bethany’s gentle eyes regarding him sombrely. “Glad I was able to help,” he replied. “Beth, Hawke. Bela.” He nodded to them each in turn. “Thanks for the wine, Varric.”


“Any time, Blondie. You go get some rest - and don’t let Broody keep you up all night.” He winked at them both before taking up his hand of cards again. “Hope you’re prepared to lose, Hawke, because I’ve got four Kings here that say your gold is mine.”


Hawke’s groan followed them out the door as Fenris guided Anders away.


Anders was silent as they made their way back towards Hightown. He was aware of Fenris darting him sidelong glances, but he kept his gaze on the cobblestones. He hadn’t lied; he was tired - bone-tired. The last dregs of mana were gone, and it felt like it had taken the last of his energy with it. He was finding it hard just to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and it was only the thought of the large, soft bed in Fenris’ mansion that kept him going - that, and the steadying hand of the elven warrior upon his arm.


He leaned against the wall next to the door as Fenris fiddled with the lock and key, then as the door swung open the elf took his arm once more and led him inside.


Once they reached Fenris’ room, Anders moved straight towards the bed, shedding his coat as he went. He paused only to remove his boots before falling heavily onto the bed, burying his face in a pillow.


Fenris stared at him, frowning once more. He made his way over to the fireplace, stirring up the glowing embers with a poker before adding more firewood; then he stood, dusting ashes off his leggings as he approached the bed slowly. “Anders. There is something wrong.”


“It went away again.” Anders’ voice was muffled by the pillow.


Fenris paused by the foot of the bed. “I... see.” He turned away.


“Do you?” asked Anders. He lifted his head and looked around, his eye red-rimmed. “Do you really?”


Fenris reached for something on the floor beside a chair then straightened as he turned towards the bed once more. “I see the effect it has on you.” His hand lit up briefly as he phased it through the neck of the bottle, deftly removing the cork; then he held the bottle of wine out towards Anders. “It will not bring the magic back, and it cannot heal what has been taken from you. But it can help you forget for a while.”


Anders sat up and stared at the bottle of wine in Fenris’ hand for a moment before reaching out to take it. He took a long pull from the bottle then lowered it, staring down at the dusty label.


“Is this to be my life then?” he whispered hollowly. “A few fleeting moments of feeling truly alive, and then drinking myself to oblivion afterwards when it goes?”


The edge of the mattress dipped beneath him as Fenris lowered himself to sit next to the blond apostate. “It need not be,” he said quietly.


Anders lifted his head slowly and stared hopelessly at Fenris. “I wish I could believe you,” he said wistfully.


Fenris stared at him a moment, then gently plucked the bottle from Anders’ unresisting hands before gently pushing him back down to lie upon the bed.He drew upon the power of the lyrium in his flesh as he cradled Anders’ face in his hands and bent down to kiss the mage, and he tasted salt upon Anders’ lips. He kissed the tear-wet cheeks and then lightly kissed the closed eyelid of Anders’ good eye before gently removing the eyepatch and then lightly kissing the ruined remains of Anders’ other eye.


Anders’ indrawn breath was a ragged sob; he kissed Fenris back fervently, and when the elf reached for his belt he willingly allowed himself to be divested of his pants before rolling over onto his stomach at a whispered word. He heard Fenris open the bedside drawer, and then the sound of a cork popping off the top of a small glass bottle. He spread his legs as he felt Fenris’ questing fingers probe gently into him; and as the elf took him with care and tenderness, he buried his face in the pillow.


The vial of lyrium was cold and hard, pressed against his chest.

Anders was poking desultorily at his bowl of stew when Aveline joined them at the Hanged Man later that afternoon. He didn't really feel hungry, but when Fenris had dragged him there earlier, Varric had taken one look at him and then slid his lunch over in front of the apostate and ordered him to eat, and he hated to waste Varric's generosity. The pointed look Fenris gave him over the rim of his wine glass made him sigh, but he dutifully ladled up a spoonful of stew and began to eat without much enthusiasm.

“Varric, Fenris – Anders,” Aveline greeted them as she stripped her gauntlets off. “I was hoping to find Hawke here; he and Bethany weren't at his uncle's house.”

“I'm sure he'll show up soon, Red; we've our postponed game of Wicked Grace to look forward to later after all, and he never misses that.” Varric sat back in his chair and gestured to her to take a seat. “Join us, if you're not on duty?”

Aveline slapped the palm of her hand absently with her glove. “Well... technically my shift finished half an hour ago....” she said slowly.

“Excellent! What'll you have – wine or beer?” said Varric as he rose to his feet, ever the genial host.  

Aveline pondered. There was still paperwork waiting for her back at the office, but that would mean a long walk back to Hightown to the office then traipsing all the way back again for the game afterwards. She took a seat opposite  Anders. “Beer, please,” she decided.

Varric bowed towards her and headed off to order more drinks as Aveline glanced across the table at Anders, who was still slowly making his way through the bowl of stew, his own glass of wine still untouched.

“Anders, you're looking....” Her voice trailed off as he paused and glanced at her, the eyebrow over his good eye quirking upwards as though daring her to say he looked well. His face was gaunt, dark shadows beneath his eyes.

“... better than last time I saw you,” she finished a little lamely. He shrugged, then glanced sidelong at Fenris before returning his attention to the stew.

Aveline followed his glance to Fenris and frowned slightly. “Has something happened?” she asked as Varric returned and slid a tankard of beer in front of her; she absently nodded thanks.

“Seems Blondie is still a mage after all – in a manner of speaking,” said Varric.

“In a manner of speaking?” she echoed, glancing again at Anders.

The mage kept his gaze on the bowl of stew. “It appears there's something blocking my magic,” he said slowly.

“Is there a way to unblock it?” asked Aveline. Anders lifted his head and turned to stare pointedly at Fenris. Aveline glanced at the elf with a small frown.

“Fenris?” she guessed. “What does Fenris have to do with this?”

Fenris cleared his throat and looked discomfited. “It appears that if I light my brands whilst in contact with Anders, he can use his magic.”

“Beautiful, isn't it, Red? Blondie's a mage – but only when he holds Broody's hand!”

“Varric, if you turn this into one of your stories, I swear I will -” began Fenris heatedly as his face darkened; Varric leaned back and lifted his hands peaceably.

“Wouldn't dream of it, Broody! I wouldn't tell Isabela just yet though if I were you.”

Fenris grunted and tapped a gauntleted finger restlessly upon the wooden surface of the table as he glanced back at Anders.

“So lyrium unlocks Anders' magic?” guessed Aveline before taking a pull on her beer. She set the tankard down again. “Have you tried drinking lyrium?”

Anders straightened up and slapped a hand down triumphantly as he turned and stared at Fenris with an expression of vindication. Varric groaned and hid his face with one hand.

“No. Absolutely not,” replied Fenris without looking at Anders, his attention instead upon his wine. Anders threw his hand up with a noise of frustration and stared at the ceiling.

“They've been arguing this for the past hour, Red,” explained Varric as he reached for his own tankard. “Blondie wants to try it. Broody says no.”

“Wait – since when did Anders ever do what Fenris said?” blinked Aveline.

Anders suddenly developed an interest in his bowl of stew again as Fenris studiously ignored everyone in favour of the bottom of his wine glass, the tips of his ears blushing red.

“Did I miss something?” asked Aveline as Varric grinned. He directed a pointed glance at Fenris then Anders, then wiggled his eyebrows. “No!” exclaimed Aveline, torn somewhere between scandalised and fascinated. “I don't believe it!” She laughed.

“Thank you so much, Aveline; I do so enjoy people laughing at my love-life,” muttered Anders as he poked his stew. “It's rare enough that I even have one, after all.”

“It is not -” began Fenris, then broke off when Anders merely looked at him from behind his hair. “Very well, it is a – a – yes, we are, but -”

Aveline laughed as the normally-taciturn elf uncharacteristically began stammering as he blushed further.

“It is no laughing matter!” shouted Fenris as he leapt to his feet, spilling his glass of wine.

“What's no laughing matter?” asked Hawke as he paused in the doorway. “What's all this shouting? I swear half the bar downstairs can hear you, Fenris.”

Fenris glowered at him then abruptly whirled to leave. Without looking up, Anders reached out and laid a hand on Fenris' wrist lightly.

“Fen. Please,” he said quietly.

The white-haired elf stared down at the pale hand resting upon his wrist. He said nothing, but covered Anders' hand with his own then turned and sat down again, slipping one arm around Anders' waist.

Hawke stared at them both for a minute as Bethany peered over his shoulder then punched her brother lightly in the arm. “Not a word, Garrett,” she warned him.

“I didn't -” he began to protest as she squeezed past him; she shot him a warning glare and he sighed. “Fine.”

Bethany slipped into the seat on the other side of Anders and gave his shoulder a pat. His lips quirked in a small smile as Fenris' hand around his waist gave a slight squeeze; he sighed, and leaned in against Fenris' side. He pushed the bowl of stew away with an apologetic glance at Varric before reaching for the glass of wine.

Hawke shrugged and dropped into the seat next to Aveline. “I understand you've been looking for me Aveline?” he asked, changing the subject.

“Yes, it's about those lyrium smugglers,” replied Aveline. “We've been stepping up patrols in Darktown but without much success. I need your help again, Hawke.”

“Business as usual then?” shrugged Hawke.

“Afraid so. I need to come with you on this one; I've lost four good men to those butchers in the past three days,” she replied.

“Ah. Now it's personal?” guessed Hawke.

“Something like that,” she agreed. “Will you help me?”

Hawke glanced across the table. “Varric, Fenris, Anders – you in again?”

“Sure thing, Hawke,” agreed Varric with a nod. Fenris grunted assent; Anders looked first startled then pleased to be included.

“Of course, Hawke,” he replied.

“Good, that's settled,” said Aveline. “We'll go down tomorrow night. I'll meet you outside Anders' clinic just before sundown.”

Talk turned to other things; as the sun went down, the cards came out, and they played cards until late in the night, all talk of lyrium forgotten for the moment.

***

Their patrol ran into trouble right from the outset. The smugglers seemed to have been expecting them; they ran right into an ambush almost immediately. Their only warning was the snap of a bowstring then Aveline cried out as a crossbow bolt buried itself in her shoulder, punching through her guard armour.

Varric returned fire as Fenris lit up and leapt into battle, a vivid streak of silver-white light wielding a deadly blade as Anders hurled one of his ice blast capsules at the nearest smugglers before turning to bring his staff up, parrying a sword blow that would have taken his head off. Hawke buried a dagger in the smuggler's back and the man dropped; Anders nodded thanks briefly as he turned to deal with Aveline's wound whilst Bethany threw up a shield around them both, the two rogues and the elven warrior taking care of the remaining smugglers swiftly. Aveline had dropped to her knees, clutching the bolt with one hand.

“Hold on, don't move,” Anders shouted above the sounds of the smugglers dying. “Bethany, lyrium.”

Bethany pulled a vial from her pouch and handed it to him reflexively then did a double-take, staring at him wide-eyed even as Fenris cut down the last slaver and cried, “No!”

“No?” echoed Hawke, panting, as he wiped sweat from his brow and glanced back. He stared at Anders with the vial of lyrium in his hand, then at Fenris. “What's going on?”

“Blondie's still a mage, Hawke, but his magic's blocked,” said Varric as he slung Bianca over his shoulder and walked over to Anders and Aveline. “He figured maybe drinking lyrium might unlock it.”

“And I say no,” Fenris growled from behind gritted teeth. “I will not allow it!”

“What? Fenris, what the hell's gotten into you – if drinking lyrium means he can heal Aveline...!”

“I say he shall not! I won't let him risk poisoning himself on a mere chance!” snarled the elf, placing himself between Hawke and the others. As Hawke pushed forward, Fenris swung his fist. There was an audible crack as Hawke's head snapped back, and then Fenris and Hawke glared at each other. Blood was slowly seeping through the cut in Hawke's lip; the rogue wiped it away slowly, his eyes never leaving those of the elf.

“And I say he can damned well make his own choices, and if Anders thinks lyrium will help then who the hell are you to stop him?” he growled. “Damn it, Fenris, Aveline's hurt! We need Anders' magic!”

“Now, now, let's all calm down here,” said Varric in a placating tone. The dwarf wasn't quite foolish enough to step between the two men, but he glanced between them as he lifted his hands and gestured for them to back down. “Broody, we've only got Blondie's best interests here, same as you. We already know he's still a mage, so what's the worst that could happen? Lyrium's not going to poison him. At worst it'll do nothing. Where's the harm in trying?”

Fenris switched his glare to the dwarf, but Varric didn't back down under the implicit threat in the elf's eyes. After a moment, Fenris threw up his hands and turned away with a curse.

Hawke turned back to Anders, who knelt stiffly beside Aveline as if frozen, his eyes on Fenris; he still held the unopened vial of lyrium in one hand. Fenris pushed past the rogue to drop to his knees before Anders.

“Please, mi amatus,” he said quietly. “Do not do this. Use my powers instead. Draw upon my lyrium. Don't risk yourself.” He held a hand out towards Anders.

Anders shook his head. “I can't – not knowing how it hurts you,” he replied softly. “Please. Let me try this.”

“Must you do this?” pleaded Fenris. Anders nodded. Fenris stared into Anders' good eye; after a long, tense silence, he slowly nodded. “Do what you must,” he said gently.

Anders breathed a silent sigh of relief. “It may do nothing at all,” he shrugged as he uncorked the vial. After a moment's hesitation, he knocked back the contents and swallowed.

At first, he felt nothing. The lyrium was a tingling sweetness upon his tongue and lips; a coolness in his throat, sinking down into his stomach.

Then it was as though light blossomed inside; first a tingle, then a rush of energy that raced through his blood - a warmth that rose up his throat and spread down his arms to his hands. A glow spreading inside that filled him. It was as though he had seen the world only in shades of grey before but now saw colour; everything vivid, bright, filled with life. He felt alive again, the power flowing through him; he heard the whisper of spirits around them and he couldn't restrain the relieved grin that spread across his face.

As he glanced at Bethany, he could tell from her delighted answering grin that he didn't have to say a word; she knew.

“I hate to disturb you, Anders, but – my shoulder...?” prompted Aveline, her face drawn with pain.

“Hawke, I need someone to draw the bolt out whilst I heal,” said Anders as cool blue healing energies pooled in his upturned palms, the power answering his will readily. Hawke nodded and took a firm hold of the shaft of the bolt as Varric braced Aveline; Anders began channelling healing magic into Aveline as the bolt was withdrawn from her shoulder, the healer skilfully blocking off the pain as he worked to draw torn muscle and flesh back together along the path of the bolt, rebuilding the joint and regrowing skin until not even a scar was left to mar the lightly-freckled skin.

Aveline gave a sigh of relief as she rotated her shoulder to check her range of movement. “Good as ever; thank you, Anders,” she smiled. Hawke helped her to her feet as Fenris helped Anders up.

“How do you feel?” asked Fenris, studying Anders' face carefully. “No dizziness? Nausea? Anything?”

“I'm alright – a little tired, but then that's normal after healing,” replied Anders. “I feel fine. No, better than fine – I feel great!” He grinned.

“It worked!” exclaimed Bethany. “Oh Anders, I'm so happy for you!” She giggled and hugged him on impulse; laughing, Anders lifted her up and swung her around in a circle as she let out a surprised squeal. He set her down then grinned at Fenris as he released her.

“Oh, don't look so jealous, love,” he grinned; and then without thinking, he reached out to Fenris, his fingers sliding into the soft white hair as he bent to claim the elf's lips in a kiss. Fenris began to return it but they both froze then sprang apart when the others began to whoop and cheer.

“Don't mind us, Blondie!” laughed Varric. Anders stared around at them, blushing, as Fenris glowered.

“Oh, you sillies – we're glad for you!” smiled Bethany.

“Oh, that's alright then,” grinned Anders as he bent to kiss Fenris once more.

The elf's grumpy “Hrmph!” was swallowed up by their kiss.

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ArkadyRose's Profile Picture
ArkadyRose
Arkady Rose
Artist | Professional | Varied
United Kingdom
Professional artist working in both traditional and digital media, craftsman, doll customiser/costumer, jeweller.

COMMISSIONS:

SIZE: I generally work on a minimum canvas size of 4Kx4K at 300dpi - however this is open to negotiation depending on whether you want a high print-quality image or something for web work.

TIMESCALE: This depends on what you're after; simple sketches on a blank or parchment-textured background I can do on a 1-2 day turnaround; simple painting of a bust will take 2-3 days. Full-length character portraits will take longer depending on how complicated the outfit is. Full-length portrait with full painted background could easily take me up to a couple of weeks to do. It also depends on how busy I am. I will discuss and agree a timescale with you before any money changes hands.

SUBJECT MATERIAL: This is pretty much up to you with very few exceptions. I'm pretty versatile and can do pretty much almost any subject material; please browse my gallery for samples of my work. Animals are my real forte, but I also enjoy painting portraits. If you're not sure whether I can do justice to a particular subject, please ask!

PRICES:
* Simple sketch, blank or parchment background £30
* Simple portrait - head & shoulders/bust, blank/parchment background £50
* Full-length character portrait, minimal background £65
* Full painting with detailed background £80
* Pet portraits - blank/parchment background, fully-coloured, digitally painted, 300dpi suitable for printing £45
* Logos etc - POA, generally £15-£30 depending on complexity and size required.
* Tattoo designs - POA

PAYMENT: In the UK: Either Bank Transfer to my account or Paypal. Outside UK: Paypal only please. I require a 50% non-refundable down-payment upon agreement of the commission, the remainder to be paid upon completion of the commission. All pictures will be released with a Creative Commons license unless otherwise specified & negotiated. I reseve the right to display a copy of the work as part of my deviantART portfolio.

If you would like to commission me, please send me a Note or email me at arkadyDOTroseATgmailDOTcom with the subject heading of "Commission:DA".
Interests

Commissions

Simple sketches
Generally 2-3 hours' work. Simple illustration sketches - animals, children's story illustrations etc. Supplied as PNG at 72dpi, suitable for online display. Sample: fav.me/d6jf2oh
Custom art piece (portraits, Celtic knotwork)
Generally minimum 6-8 hours' work upwards. Knotwork animal or creature of your specifications in a celtic knotwork design, supplied as PNGs both against a transparent background and coloured, minimum 300dpi, suitable for printing. Sample: fav.me/d6p7nsu
Portraits: Supplied as full-colour digitally painted PNG, 300dpi, at a size suitable for printing. Samples: fav.me/d6hi5et, fav.me/d4z8wk5, fav.me/d4kux2n, fav.me/d4klzb2
Logo design
Generally 2-3 hours' work, PNG file supplied on both transparent background and on sample coloured background, minimum 300dpi suitable for printing, t-shirts etc. e.g. fav.me/d6pub7p

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Etsy Shop and Patreon

Journal Entry: Fri Mar 6, 2015, 2:51 PM




I have an Etsy shop!

Selling hand-bound notebooks, journals and miniature books. I'm also happy to take on custom commissions. Want a special journal for your Book of Shadows? How about a special one-of-a-kind recipe book? Perhaps you know someone who's looking for something a little different for the guest book for their wedding? Or maybe you just like pretty notebooks! (Or maybe your dolls do? I have notebooks and journals for them too!)

Every single book is made and bound by hand; no two will ever be quite alike. Whatever you're looking for, maybe I can make it for you?


I'm also on Patreon; sponsor me from as little as $3 a month for exclusive previews, WIPs and free line-art downloads!

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:iconkulibrnda:
Kulibrnda Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks fot :+fav: :hug:
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:iconarkadyrose:
ArkadyRose Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
My pleasure. It's a lovely piece. :)
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:iconblackkiba:
BlackKiba Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks for the fav! :3
:D
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:iconarkadyrose:
ArkadyRose Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Professional General Artist
My pleasure. :-)
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:iconadmiraldemoy:
AdmiralDeMoy Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the Loki fave. :hug:
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:iconarkadyrose:
ArkadyRose Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
My pleasure. :)
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:iconadmiraldemoy:
AdmiralDeMoy Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
:XD:
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:iconimlindy:
imlindy Featured By Owner May 2, 2013
Hi Arkady,

How are you?

My name is Lindy Fu. Our company ZQGame is looking for good artwork from talented artists. We have seen this work from your artwork site: [link]. We wonder if we can use it for our game promotional marketing. If so, is the IP yours or somebody else? What the price range would be? Please let us know. We can work on the details later. You can reach me at lindy.fu@zqgame.com.

Thank you very much,

Lindy Fu

Executive Assistant
ZQGame, Inc.
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:iconarkadyrose:
ArkadyRose Featured By Owner May 2, 2013  Professional General Artist
Unfortunately the IP of that particular subject belongs to Bioware; it is a piece of fanart depicting the character Anders from Dragon Age 2. However I would be willing to accept a commission for a similar piece featuring an original character of either your or my own specifications.

A sample list of my commissions prices is available here, together with contact details.
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:iconhyperwolfy:
hyperwolfy Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
Thank you for the fav ^^
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