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About Varied / Professional Premium Member Arkady Rose GerardUnited Kingdom Recent Activity
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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...

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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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ArkadyRose
Arkady Rose Gerard
Artist | Professional | Varied
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Professional artist working in both traditional and digital media, craftsman, doll customiser/costumer, jeweller, bookbinder.

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Boredom in Repose by ArkadyRose
Boredom in Repose
Tiger at London Zoo. He was unimpressed with his audience.
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He was shut in. The stone walls were crowding in; he couldn’t breathe. The door was shut fast; it did not so much as shudder as he beat his fists against it.

Shut in again. Last time, it had been a whole year.

He could still feel the touch of the red lyrium, and it was maddeningly, tantalisingly there and yet not. He wanted - no, he needed it, a burning need far beyond words, and it was gone, and the door was shut and would not yield and damn it -

The ceiling was too low. Too damned low. The weight of thousand tons of rock suspended above bore down upon his mind - days, weeks of stone between him and the surface.

Days, weeks... months... a year. It had been a year. His mind kept circling back to that, to memories of another time that he’d tried to forget no matter how much it plagued him in the dark hours of the night; drawn over and over again to relive that eternity of darkness and the shut door. He slammed his hands against it again with a scream of frustration and fear.

His nails were broken; when did that happen? He had no memory of scrabbling his fingers frantically across the rough stone surface; and yet the marks of his blood on stone were clear.

Who was that screaming? Was that him? When had he started screaming? (When had he stopped? When did his voice break, those long days in darkness?)

There were hands upon him; hands gripping his wrists gently yet firmly, pulling him away from the door, the way out; they spoke but the words made no sense; they didn’t know, they didn’t understand, and he could still hear the red lyrium and it was driving him mad with longing - a bone-deep, aching, burning need that drove almost all rational thought clean out of his head. It hurt - dear Maker, it hurt! - like the pain of lyrium withdrawal only much, much worse. It was like white-hot needles being driven into every joint; lightning racing through nerves, until his whole body ached and screamed and thoughts fragmented. He knew only that the red lyrium was gone and the door was shut. All awareness of where he was had gone. He only knew that he had to get out, and he needed the idol.

All was need. Need, pain; the red of blood and fire, the black of despair.

Something hard slammed against the back of his skull and he dropped to his knees heavily, stunned. He lifted his eyes dazedly to stare up at Fenris, who still held his wrists firmly; as Anders tried to focus his eyes on the elf, Fenris drew a relieved breath as he realised Anders recognised him once more. He briefly looked up from Anders and his green eyes widened.

“Hawke, no, wait-”

Then there was a second heavy blow against the back of his head and Anders knew no more.


***

“You are an idiot and a fool, Hawke, and you might have killed him!”

The elf was in a fury, his green eyes sparking with anger as he squared up to the rogue.

“Now, now, Broody, Hawke didn’t mean to-”

“Fenris, even you couldn’t restrain him - what was I supposed to do, stand back and watch him shred himself to pieces against that door?” retorted Hawke.

“If you’d given me a moment,” exclaimed Bethany in exasperation, glancing up from where she knelt next to the unconscious Anders. “I could have used this!” She held out a small magenta capsule.

“What’s that, Sunshine? One of Blondie’s little specials?” asked Varric, curious.

“It’s a stun capsule - he made them to mimic spirit blasts. He gave me a handful of them when we first set out, but I’d almost forgotten them.”

“I wish you’d remembered sooner,” grumbled Hawke.

“You didn’t give me a chance,” she retorted. “Just waded in swinging and doing your best to give Anders a concussion at the least. Don’t you think he’s had enough damage to the head? Honestly, Garrett, Fenris is right - you could have killed Anders. One blow was bad enough - what possessed you to take a second swing at him?”

“I wasn’t thinking!” cried Hawke.

“Evidently!” snarled Fenris. “That much is blindingly obvious to anyone with half a brain!”

“Alright, enough already folks,” interjected Varric, stepping between them with his hands upraised placatingly. “By some miracle, Hawke didn’t kill Blondie - how, I have no idea. The Maker must have been looking out for our one-eyed apostate. Question is, what do we do now?”

Anders groaned faintly as he stirred, one hand slowly reaching up to clutch at his head. Fenris was at his side in an instant, dropping down to his knees next to the apostate as Anders blinked dazedly, his gaze unfocused.

“Anders?” asked Fenris in a low, gentle voice; Anders seemed not to hear him as he slowly pushed himself up on one elbow, still clutching at his head, the gaze of his one good eye abstracted. Clumsily, he tried to sit upright; Bethany leaned against him to support his body with an arm around his shoulders; he turned his head a little towards her, not quite looking at her.

“Anders?” she asked quietly.

“Feel sick,” he mumbled.

“Anders? Mi amatus?” murmured Fenris softly as he reached for Anders’ hand. The mage let him take it, turning his head slightly towards the elf though his gaze remained unfocused.

“Anders, I’m sorry, I-” began Hawke but broke off when Bethany glanced up at him and shook her head, her expression dark with worry.

“Can’t see properly. Head hurts. Think... going to be sick,” Anders managed slowly as he clutched tightly to Fenris’ hand. “Too dark in here. Need air.”

Bethany hastily called up a ball of magelight that lit up the area around them brighter; Fenris and Hawke squinted against the bright light as Varric lifted a gloved hand to shade his eyes, but Anders did not so much as blink.

Fenris stared at Anders as the blond apostate frowned and continued to stare at nothing. Glancing at Bethany, he hesitantly lifted his other hand and passed it slowly in front of Anders’ face.

Anders did not even blink.

They all exchanged glances, and then Hawke turned away, his face ashen as he began to swear.


***


“So now I’m completely blind.” Anders’ voice was quiet, subdued, as he sat next to Fenris, his leg pressed against that of the elf, his hand resting lightly on the warrior’s arm.

“Can you tell what the damage is?” asked Bethany, glancing at her brother. Hawke was hunched over, his eyes on the ground, unable to bring himself to even look at Anders.

“I’m... almost afraid to try,” confessed Anders, his voice shaking a little. “Silly, really. After all, I have my magic back; whatever it is, I should be able to fix it, right? It’s not like my eye is gone - it’s still there, I just had a bad knock to the head. I’ve fixed hundreds of head wounds; one more shouldn’t be a problem after all.” He was aware he was rambling a little; he lowered his head, letting the words die.

Hawke said nothing, only hunched himself over further.

“You should try,” rumbled Fenris. “What is it you are afraid of?”

Anders shrugged. “That maybe... it’s permanent,” he admitted after a while. “That it’s something I can’t fix. The brain - it’s not like other parts of the body. You can’t regenerate lost bits really. I mean, you can repair damage, but it’s never quite the way it was before, and you can never fully predict the outcome.”

“You’re afraid you’ll lose your magic again,” guessed Bethany. Anders’ answer was a wan smile.

“Do you need lyrium?” asked Bethany slowly.

Anders’ breath huffed out of him in something that was halfway between a hysterical scream and a gasp, and then he dropped his head to his hands with a low moan. How could he explain to her that he’d been needing lyrium from the moment he’d opened his eyes - that even now, he couldn’t get the memory of the feel of the red lyrium idol out of his head? His whole body burned for it. He pressed his face into his hands as he doubled over and fought the urge to scream.

“Mage?” exclaimed Fenris, startled; of all the responses he might have anticipated, this wasn’t one of them - this sudden folding in upon himself as Anders bit his lip and whimpered faintly in the back of his throat.

“He took it with him,” muttered Anders. “I can still feel it though. Still feel its touch.”

“The idol?” exclaimed Varric. “But what’s that got to do with - you know?” He gestured at Anders vaguely.

“Can’t explain,” said Anders; he was was aware of their eyes on him as he tried to pull himself back together as they watched. “But - no, I don’t want lyrium. Need -” He broke off and shook his head firmly then winced, the incautious movement causing a flare of pain in his head. He needed the red lyrium, but he could not have explained to them how or why he had been gripped with such a craving after touching the idol so briefly. He could not even explain it to himself. It was a physical urge, a terrible craving that ate at him inside, gnawing at his guts and burning inside his joints. Each movement was painful, but so was sitting still. His whole body ached.

“Easy, mage,” said Fenris. “Do you have the energy to try to heal yourself?”

Anders bit his lip and nodded slowly, cautiously. “Got to try, haven’t I?” he said as he straightened. He drew a deep breath, exhaling in a slow sigh as he stared down at the upturned palms of his hands; then he reached for his belt pouch and pulled out a vial of lyrium. He stared at it for a moment then shrugged in resignation. He didn't want to take it, but what choice did he have? He needed the mana, and the clarity of thought. His hands trembled only a little as he prised out the cork with his thumb nail, then he downed it in one with a faint grimace. He lowered his head to his hands and sighed softly as the nagging pain that throbbed through his whole body receded a little, making it a little easier to think even as the whisper of mana flowed through his veins once more; and then the soft blue glow of healing magic gleamed softly between his fingers. It was cool and soothing as he let it sink into his head; and with it, his consciousness.

It was hard to concentrate; though he’d done this on patients before, still there was always something rather unnerving about looking inside one’s own head. There, the original head wound from so long ago, where the steel crossbow bolt had ripped through his head, shredding his eye and severing for a time his connection to the Fade. Though he felt himself instinctively shying away, he forced himself to look closer; to see the new flesh but recently grown across old scar tissue, sense the new neural connections forming and growing - tentatively yet, it was true, but there nonetheless, weaving anew the bridge between his consciousness and that part of his subconscious that formed the link to the Fade deep within. The tendrils were weak and fragile; either blow to his head could easily have severed them, and he exclaimed aloud in shock; he had come so close to losing what little glimmerings of magic he had so recently regained. Hawke could so easily have rendered him Tranquil.

He was distantly aware of Fenris’ arms about him, raised voices. He ignored them, and went deeper.

There was bruising and contusions; Hawke’s blows had caused a bad concussion. He reached out with the magic to harmlessly breakdown and shunt away blood that had pooled and threatened to clot, inwardly shuddering as he realised the extent of the damage within his brain - both the old residual damage, and that inflicted by Hawke. Really, it was a wonder he were alive at all!

Ah, there it was; the swelling and inflammation were pressing upon the optic nerve of his one remaining good eye. He shunted fluids, eased pressure, gently lifted inflammation to try and  restore function. With time and rest, he should regain his sight; he would not be blind for much longer - just perhaps a few hours, which he should spend in sleeping once he was done fixing what Hawke had done to him. With luck the impairment would not prove permanent.

He instinctively wanted to shy away from examining the mess that remained of his other eye and the scarred ruin that marked the path of the slaver’s bolt, but he forced himself to look closer once more. Silently he guided the healing energies inwards to where those delicate tendrils of nerves and synapses were slowly rebuilding themselves, weaving them a little stronger. They were yet raw and new, the very act of healing painful.

A strange feeling rippled through him; he felt for a moment as though he were floating just outside his own body, looking on; almost as though he were looking through the eyes of someone - or something - else; and then a moment later the disquieting feeling was gone.

He “reached” with what reserves of swiftly-dwindling mana he yet possessed for the ruined eye. There was little left of it, as Bethany had told him; there were tiny scraps; little more than fragments really, not enough to work with even if he were at his full strength. The optic nerve was gone completely; he would never see with that eye again. Perhaps he could ease the rawness of the nerves around that scarred ruin though.

But what power the lyrium had given him was gone already, though he could feel his link to his mana was stronger now. Sleep would likely restore more of his power.

He was aware of Fenris holding him close, the elf’s arms comforting as they held him. His body felt heavy with exhaustion, and he ached, every joint in his body throbbing painfully. Why was he so tired? Once, he would have eased concussion with barely a thought but now the slightest healing left him drained and ennervated. Each vial of lyrium seemed to give him less and less, leaving him empty and cold all too soon. He could feel Fenris’ chest vibrate beneath him as the elf spoke, but he was too exhausted to follow the conversation, too preoccupied with the dull ache in every limb. He was almost limp in Fenris’ arms as the elven warrior gently stroked sweat-dampened hair away from his closed eyes; he was vaguely aware of the others speaking, only paying attention with an inner wrench of effort when Fenris replied. “No, I think he is merely sleeping.”

“I never meant to hurt him like that.” Hawke’s voice, strangely subdued and quiet. “After what he’s been through - I’d never forgive myself if it was my clumsiness that made him Tranquil. I’d seen what losing his magic did to him. The thought I might even have killed him -”

Anders could tell from the rustle of cloth and leather that the rogue had shuddered.

“I’m sorry,” Hawke went on after a moment. “I’ve been letting my anger get the better of me.”

“The Deep Roads don’t exactly bring the best out in people,” remarked Varric. The dwarf sighed. “Though Maker’s balls, I know Bartrand and I haven’t always seen eye to eye - but I never would have dreamed he’d abandon his own brother down here.” There was a rustle of cloth; Anders could picture the dwarf shaking his head slowly in disbelief. “All over a lousy idol and a pile of treasure he was too much of a backstabbing nug-humper to split three ways.”

“Believe me, I’d willingly give my share up for a chance to have Anders up on the surface whole and well again,” sighed Hawke. “To the Void with the forty sovereigns; Bartrand can keep them. I should never have brought him down here.”

“It was his choice to come, Garrett,” said Bethany gently.

“I swear, when we get back to the surface I’m going to track that son of a bitch - sorry, Mother - that bastard down and kill him,” growled Varric angrily. “There’s got to be another way back to the surface.”

“And I will finish whatever is left of him after you have done with him; this, I swear,” rumbled Fenris.

“Come on, sitting here in front of a locked door isn’t going to achieve anything,” sighed Hawke as he got to his feet. “Come on, let’s make camp for the night. We’ll start looking for a way out in the morning once Anders has had a chance to sleep off his exhaustion and recover. No, you stay there with Anders, Fenris - Beth and I have got this. Varric, stew?”

“Good idea,” agreed Varric as he got to his feet. “No telling how long we’re going to need to make our supplies last.”

Anders finally drifted into sleep to the sounds of camp being struck, his body still aching and painful but exhaustion taking a greater toll.
It was the thrum of lyrium’s call and the answering stir of his blood that drew Anders slowly back to consciousness. He could feel warm hands resting against his collarbones, fingers splayed against his skin, beneath the thin worn shirt he wore under the heavy feather-pauldroned coat; feel warm breath upon his face. He opened his good eye slowly and stared up at Fenris, blinking in confusion.

Fenris’ face was lit up subtly from beneath, and Anders realised he was lying with his head in Fenris’ lap as the elf crouched over him. The white-haired warrior had slipped off his gauntlets then slid his bare hands into the wide collar of Anders’ coat, dipping down beneath the neck hem of his shirt to press lyrium-lined fingers to his skin before lighting the brands.

“Love?” he husked quietly, and Fenris stared down at him then let the silvery light die away.

“How do you feel?” asked the elf quietly, letting his hands rest against Anders’ chest for a moment longer before beginning to slip them free.

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that question?” asked Anders as he caught Fenris’ wrists briefly. He held Fenris’ gaze for a moment, then closed his eyes and kissed Fenris’ palms, each in turn, before releasing him.

“I am quite well,” rumbled the warrior. “Your healing restored me, though I think you exhausted yourself in the process.”

“I don’t have the reserves of strength I used to have,” sighed Anders. “The magic never lasts long enough; the lyrium just doesn’t last.”

“I do not think it was only the lyrium you were drawing on,” said Fenris slowly. “Just before you fainted, the light from your magic... it was... different.”

“Different? How so?” asked Anders slowly, frowning.

“It was... more silver in colour. A pure white rather than the blue your healing magic customarily is.”

“Silver?” exclaimed Anders. “Are you sure?” He remembered the voices of the healing spirits around him, and himself reaching deeper for the magic. His good eye widened; he pushed himself upright as Fenris straightened. Anders lifted a hand and stared at it. The effects of Fenris’ lyrium had died as swiftly as the light, the power draining away like water but maybe....

He reached inside and felt nothing.

No - wait. Not nothing. There was something... was that... a tiny spark? A faint glimmer, deep within?

He closed his eyes and reached. He was distantly aware of Fenris speaking his name in a questioning tone, but he was too intent on reaching into that place deep inside himself where he could feel the merest glimmer of power. He could feel sweat bead upon his brow; a droplet rolled down his face as his body trembled slightly with the effort, but he ignored the discomfort as he strained to reach that tantalising glimpse of power.

He heard Bethany exclaim, and opened his eyes to see a faint wisp of light dancing upon his upturned palm. It died even as he stared at it, what meagre resources of energy he had already  drained by that small effort; but though he was left feeling empty and weak, it was not like before. He could still feel that place inside where his magic resided; it was merely drained of power - but it was there. Even without lyrium, he could still feel it.

“Maker. It’s come back. My magic finally came back. It’s weak, but - oh Maker, it’s really there!” he said, his voice shaking with heartfelt relief. He laughed - almost an hysterical giggle, and then suddenly he was crying. He felt Fenris’ arms close around him, and then Bethany was kneeling down beside him, catching one of his hands in hers and squeezing it sympathetically and that was okay too because she knew, she understood in a way Fenris couldn’t, even though Fenris loved him, and oh Maker but he was still a mage, he was still him, even if just that small act of pulling magefire from nothing had left him wiped out and exhausted.

It took some time before Anders was able to pull himself back together enough for them to consider breaking camp and moving on. His breath still caught in little hitches periodically as they broke their fast before packing and stowing away bedrolls and gear, but once the initial storm of emotion had passed he was calmer and happier. He had no mana to speak of, but he could at least still feel his connection to the Fade; he kept catching himself reaching subconsciously for it, over and over, just to feel it was there, that it hadn’t slipped away from him once more. Maybe it would just take a little time for the energy to build up again, and in the meantime at least he could use lyrium to top it up. He no longer needed the glowing blue liquid just to feel alive and normal again - he could just take it when he needed that extra bit of power.

Except it seemed his body didn’t quite see it that way; after an hour or two, he found his hands had started trembling, and nausea was welling up inside. He tried to ignore it, but as they headed on deeper into the Deep Roads it became harder and harder; his head had started to ache again as well, making it harder to concentrate. He kept finding himself somehow drifting over towards the veins of lyrium in the walls.

In his current state, it took him a while to figure it out. Of course, he’d been taking the lyrium daily for months now. He couldn’t just stop it dead; by this point, his body practically needed it just to function. He was a healer; he should have realised this. He should have known better.

“Anders,” murmured Bethany as she paused beside him when they stopped to check Anders’ maps. “You’re trembling. Have you... run out?”

“No,” he answered quietly, though he found himself automatically patting his belt pouch as though to reassure himself. “I just didn’t take any this morning. Well, whatever time it was that I woke up,” he amended. “I’m not entirely sure what day this is or whether it’s day or night any more. Bloody Deep Roads.”

“Is that wise?” she asked, looking worried. “Not taking it, I mean.”

“No,” he admitted ruefully. She stared at him and slowly raised one eyebrow, then wordlessly held out a vial.

“Beth, I can’t keep taking your lyrium! You don’t have that much left yourself - what if you need it?”

“Right now, it’s fairly obvious that you need it more,” she said firmly. “Go on, take it - Maker knows it’s not as though having you at full power is going to be a bad thing, now is it? Particularly if there are more dragons around here.” She glanced around nervously.

“Point,” conceded Anders as he knocked back the lyrium.

He hadn’t realised just how the symptoms had crept up on him until they started to receded - the headache dulling to a background throb, his hands growing steady, the ache in his joints easing, his stomach no longer feeling rebellious. He felt less jittery and on edge, too, though that damnable scratching in the back of his mind was still enough to keep him alert and nervous.

“Anders?” asked Fenris quietly as he moved closer, voice pitched low. Even though Anders was well aware that Fenris knew of his addiction, he couldn’t quell the surge of embarrassed guilt he felt as the elf eyed the empty vial still clutched in his hand. Hastily he thrust it into a pocket and turned away, but Fenris’ hand upon his wrist checked him.

“Anders?” repeated Fenris quietly.

“I’m fine, it’s nothing,” said Anders tersely, not lifting his eyes. He could feel Fenris’ gaze upon him but refused to meet it. “Look, the others are waiting; we should go.” He pulled away, and Fenris let his hand fall.

Somehow, the elven warrior’s failure to press the point made Anders’ guilt only the more worse.

“Oh, now this is more like it!” called Varric from somewhere ahead. “Anders, can I have a look at that map again? I think we’ve found our way round at last!”

“Not before time,” muttered Anders as he made his way over towards the dwarf, pulling out the much-creased and folded maps once more.

***

They had indeed found their detour around the rockfall; just beyond the broken rock arch, they found the entrance to what appeared to be some immense, abandoned dwarven thaig, abandoned for centuries. Retracing their footsteps to where they had left Bartrand and his mercenaries took far less time than finding their way around the detour in the first place, and it was only a matter of a few hours before Varric and his brother led the way into the primeval thaig, Hawke and his small band only a few paces behind as the rest of the crew brought up the rear. There had been a joyous reunion between Bodahn and his son Sandal; they now made their way with their small donkey laden with supplies just a short distance behind Anders and Fenris.

As they emerged into a vast hall lit dimly by veins of lyrium in the walls and an indistinct red glow of luminescent mosses, Bartrand let out a long, low whistle. “Holy shit,” he breathed.

“Is this what you were expecting?” asked Varric as they stared up at the lofty vaulting arches and high walkways, the ancient carvings from an age long gone that seemed somehow strange and alien even by comparison to dwarven carving.

“I thought... an abandoned thaig, something old, but... what is this?” said Bartrand in a hushed whisper.

“How did you even know it was here?” asked Hawke, his voice lacking its usual confidence as he stared in awed amazement at the feat of ancient engineering and building that dwarfed them in the looming darkness.

“Old scavenger tales,” replied Bartrand slowly. “After the Blight. A week below the surface, they said, but nobody believed them....”

“Looks like they were right,” replied Varric.

“Make camp here!” ordered Bartrand. “We need to look around.”

They set camp swiftly, and Bodahn set to work with Sandal to prepare the evening meal. The rest of the group spread out slowly in twos and threes to explore the nearest parts of the thaig before returning for the meal.

“I don’t get it. Nothing in this thaig makes any sense,” Bartrand remarked to Varric and Hawke as they ate. “We’re well below the Deep Roads. Whatever dwarves lived here, they came long before the First Blight. But where are the statues of Paragons? I don’t recognise these markings on the walls or anything in the rubble.”

Hawke shrugged. “Who knows how old these ruins are?” he said, mopping up stew with a hunk of dark bread. “Maybe your people were different back then.”

Bartrand snorted as he tore into a chicken leg then waved the bone at Hawke, shreds of meat still clinging to it. “I know enough about our history to know we haven’t changed much. Dwarves have been mired in tradition for many ages. These dwarves may have been unique. If so, I hope they kept their valuables close at hand.” He laughed, a mirthless bark, before sinking his teeth into the chicken leg again.

Talk turned to musings of what they might find then slowly wound down. Watches were set, and gradually people retreated to bedrolls to seek what sleep they may.

Anders found Fenris had laid their bedrolls together, and as the blond apostate stretched himself out to rest, he felt Fenris spoon up against him, one arm draping comfortingly across his hip. He smiled drowsily, and was soon fast asleep.

It seemed only a short while later that Fenris was gently shaking him awake.

“Morning,” rumbled the elf quietly in explanation as Anders sat up slowly. He handed a mug of tea and a bowl of porridge to the still-sleepy mage with a small smile before rising to go seek his own breakfast.

The camp was gripped by an expectant air that morning; no-one dawdled over their breakfast, and in no time at all it seemed bed rolls had been stowed away and the scouting parties were ready to set out to reconnoitre the primeval thaig and uncover its mysterious secrets - and, hopefully, its treasures.

Hawke led their small group off down one of the narrow side routes, away from Bartrand’s other  sellswords and hirelings. They made their way past broken masonry through what might once have been a street; it was hard to tell for certain. The faint red glow of ancient lanterns lit by the Maker only knew what arcane technology or magic beckoned them on.

“Hmm, whatever’s through there seems mostly still intact,” mused Varric as he gestured towards an archway, lit by the crimson glow from beyond. “Think we’ll find anything?” His tone was one of boredom; for a dwarf, he seemed entirely unimpressed with a thaig that must have been ancient even in the early days of Orzammar.

“Bartrand is far more enthralled with this place than you are,” joked Hawke.

“Unlike him, I wasn’t born in Orzammar,” replied Varric. “Believe me, I wouldn’t even be down here if there weren’t likely to be a profit in it. The entire place gives me the chills.”

“You’re not the only one,” murmured Anders quietly.

“I just hope this is going to be worth it,” continued Varric, glancing at the archway ahead.

They descended down a long flight of steps that led to yet another hall, then another, and then a third. A flight of stairs led up from that one into a larger cavern. The entrance was blocked by two immense iron-bound doors; one stood slightly ajar, and they were able to squeeze through one after the other.

A tall flight of stairs in this chamber led up to a high dais; the moment Anders stepped through the doorway he could feel something somehow calling to him from that dais. Something up there was singing silently, and he could feel his blood surge in answer.

“There’s... something up there,” he said slowly. “Listen! Can you feel it?”

Hawke paused and stared at him, then raised an eyebrow at Bethany, who was frowning and shaking her head, distracted.

“Beth?”

“I... don’t know,” she said slowly. “I feel something, but....”

“What do you feel, Anders?” asked Fenris quietly.

“I don’t know,” he confessed quietly. “Something that feels almost familiar and yet....”

He led the way up the stairs.

Atop the dais they found a large block of golden stone - perhaps an altar, though to what god they could not have said. Some sort of idol stood in the centre, and the moment Anders set eyes upon it he knew that this was what had been calling him.

“Is that... lyrium?” asked Hawke as Anders drew nearer, drawn inexorably towards it. His blood was singing in counterpart to the haunting, hypnotic threnody that seemed to resonate all through his body, right down to his bones. As one in a dream, he reached a hand slowly out towards the idol.

Red lyrium. He knew it the moment his fingertips brushed the metal; cool and yet somehow alive. “Definitely magic,” he murmured. “Not the good kind either.” He could feel waves of palpable malevolence radiating off the metal even as it sang alluringly to him; he shuddered, enthralled in spite of himself.

“Doesn’t look like any kind of lyrium I’ve ever seen,” remarked Varric.

“What have you found?” called Bartrand from the bottom of the stairs.

“Come and see this, Bartrand!” Varric called back. “An idol made out of pure lyrium, I think. Could be worth a fortune,” he added, as his brother climbed the stairs to the dais.

Bartrand let out a low whistle as he stared at the idol. “You could be right. Excellent find.” He hefted it up with one hand, and Anders had to bite his lip against the urge to cry out, to grasp the idol to himself. It sang to him, maddeningly; he could barely think straight.

He was barely aware of Varric remarking that they should look around further and see what else they might find. He was having to fight the urge to lunge after Bartrand and snatch back the idol; he deliberately turned away, clenching his fists hard around the haft of his staff to still the violent trembling that seemed to have come over him.

A loud, screeching sound caught their attention, and they all spun around to stare at the door as it closed behind Bartrand.

NO!!” screamed Anders. He threw himself down the stairs and pelted at full speed after the retreating form of Bartrand and the narrowing slit as the door swung closed. He flung himself at it as it slammed shut with a dreadfully final clang.

He screamed as he pounded at the door. They were locked in. Trapped.

Devious Journal Entry

Journal Entry: Sat Jul 11, 2015, 12:11 AM


Guess who's getting married today...? :D

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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Devious Journal Entry

Journal Entry: Sat Jul 11, 2015, 12:11 AM


Guess who's getting married today...? :D

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Comments


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:iconkulibrnda:
Kulibrnda Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks fot :+fav: :hug:
Reply
:iconarkadyrose:
ArkadyRose Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
My pleasure. It's a lovely piece. :)
Reply
:iconblackkiba:
BlackKiba Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks for the fav! :3
:D
Reply
:iconarkadyrose:
ArkadyRose Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Professional General Artist
My pleasure. :-)
Reply
:iconadmiraldemoy:
AdmiralDeMoy Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the Loki fave. :hug:
Reply
:iconarkadyrose:
ArkadyRose Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
My pleasure. :)
Reply
:iconadmiraldemoy:
AdmiralDeMoy Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
:XD:
Reply
: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.
Reply
: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.
Reply
:iconhyperwolfy:
hyperwolfy Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
Thank you for the fav ^^
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