Participants:

Anders_icon.gif Fenris_icon.gif Luthor_icon.gif

Scene Title Long Odds, Reprise
Synopsis Fenris takes Luthor for healing, Anders sees a blade he never thought to see again.
Location Darktown Clinic
Date Harvestmere 3 9:31 Dragon
Watch For A blade with a story.
Logger Fenris

All he had said was he had a job to go to. Standard fair, low risk, he'd be back soon. That's all he had left the Clinic with after waking up. He had not quite meant this soon, though. It doesn't seem to surprise Fenris when the lantern isn't lit, and it doesn't seem to deter him either. So it is that Fenris enters Anders' Clinic, helping another man inside, shirtless. They both look roughed up, though Fen isn't having trouble with walking. Just a solid bruise forming on one side of his face, and swelling in his jaw that likely means a fracture, and the gauntlet of his right hand covered in the tell tale dark red gore that comes with his crushing hearts. "Anders?" It's a call before he even really looks around, not sure where the Healer is within the Clinic, or if he is even still in, not when the lantern isn't lit. But it's only been an hour, and the elf can hope.

Luthor is limping along with Fenris's support — and he looks as though he blocked a lot of punches with his face and ribs. But there's that subtle arrogance about him that a man always seems to carry after winning a fight. Shirtless, he at least has a coin-purse on his belt, the proceeds of his violent work. "Anders?" It's not a call to the mage, but a question to Fenris. "I've been hearing about this clinic, but I've never met the man." There's genuine curiosity in his voice. "How much does he charge?"

That lantern isn't lit yet because this particular healer is a fastidious soul; he's come to terms with the fact that in his line of work (especially down here) one doesn't get to spend their days clean, but he'll be damned if he doesn't start and end the day as clean as he possibly can get. It's the only luxury he allows himself down here - some days, it's the only tether he has to sanity. So when he hears his name called from a very familiar voice (with an unfamiliar distortion to the sound) he emerges from the back with a pink face and his damp hair swept over one shoulder in the Orlesian braid he's taken to as it's grown out. Sharp amber eyes look over the pair of them with the twitch of a snarl jerking at his upper lip. "It isn't that kind of clinic," he answers, words clipped around their edges. He's not fighting either the irritation nor the concern - both emotions make it easier to enact a kind of precision that most mages can only dream of; the sunshine magic that surges in exploration through Luthor without preamble or permission is tinged with something else, something cold and alien and entirely without pity. It doesn't hurt, but it's certainly not comfortable and it certainly doesn't stray even a little beyond the limits of the stranger's body. "Get him on a table. He's not dying." And he's got things to pull from the shelves before he can deal with either of them.

Fenris is about to answer that question when Anders arrives, and answers for himself. Well, that's simple enough. Though Fenris does blink, looking at the mage and canting his head a degree to the side. It's questioning but subtle and silent. Something here, he didn't follow, but he'll do as he's told. With little more than a nod to Luthor, he's leading the way to the nearest table, half lifting the other man and then setting him down, stepping aside. "No, I don't imagine he would be dying…" Fenris says, watching Anders pull things from shelves, and letting silence hang for just a moment. "Thank you, Anders."

Luthor is no longer a stranger to weird, foreign, presences in his mind and in his body. But he doesn't have to like it. As he settles down onto the table, the Fereldan mercenary eyes Anders blankly, his features a wooden mask. "Luthor Traske," he says with the firm sort of politeness that implies some other emotion. "And I appreciate the help, friend. I really do." That, at least, sounds genuine. The veteran absently rubs at his knee, which has swollen considerably in even the last little while. Definitely something torn in there.

Several rolls of clean bandages, a pot of slightly bitter-smelling paste and three glowing glass vials come down to be lined along the makeshift workspace, Anders' movements precise but sharp. It's a dance that stops when Fenris gives thanks, shoulders slumping for a moment before he turns to the elf. "Let's have a look then," he murmurs, stepping into Fenris' space with gentle fingertips just barely against his chin to let him get a better look at this jaw. "I leave you alone for five minutes," he sighs, though there's an unquestionable affection in that quiet exasperation. "The whole reason this place exists is because people need help and the Chantry will provide only if you've enough coin to spare." He doesn't look away from Fenris' jaw, but there's definitely the sense that he's not talking to him anymore. "It is just that those upon whom misfortune falls should be able to receive unmercenary healing." Which is not at all an unreasonable thing to say, but there are certain words that tend to make Anders' friends a little jumpy. "But you didn't have an accident, did you?" And then - as though he either doesn't care about the answer or already has a pretty good assumption going - his voice lowers, meant for Fenris this time. "I think this might be broken. May I?"

Fenris doesn't pull away from Anders' looking, there's no flinch or falter, or any of the normal things that might go along with someone examining a broken jaw. But he's not stoic, either, he doesn't manage quite that well. Gooseflesh rises on the exposed skin of his upper arms, and he takes a slightly longer inhalation. None of that, though, stops the small smirk that follows. Five minutes, indeed. He stays quiet, though, letting Anders speak and look and fuss as he is wont to do. He doesn't answer any of Anders' speaking, save the very last. To that, he just meets Anders' gaze steadily, and nods once, failing pretty terribly at hiding the way his look softens at that question.

Luthor watches the pair of them quietly, his own features still as impassive as he can make them. He says, after a moment, "Fenris helped me out of a real mess by bringing me here." And that much is true — Luthor cannot keep paying all of his winnings to patch up his wounds, not if he ever wants to actually make money in the Pit. His eyes soften somewhat as he watches the wolflike elf interact with Anders. "It's a good thing you do down here," he continues. "My friends in the camp speak highly of you." There's a hesitant knock at the door and a voice — Ciann's — comes through. "Scuze me? Is there a blond arsehole in there malingerin' and wastin' time?"

That smirk earns Fenris a sigh and a shaken head - it's the only way Anders can even hope to keep himself from huffing out a laugh in reply. He fails, and that breath can't be mistaken for anything else, but at least he tried. When permission is given, he looses his hold on his magic to let it seep into Fenris' skin from his fingertips like the slow cresting of afternoon sunlight through an open window. Swelling is reduced and bones are realigned, fragments restored to their correct positions before the honeybee fizz of restorative magic takes hold and that bruise disappears as though it had never been. That same sweep of sunshine flows slowly down, seeking out other injuries and easing even simple soreness. He'll sort that out more thoroughly in a bit, but from a triage perspective Anders is now comfortable enough with Fenris' pain level to consider the needs of his other patient for the evening. "Don't praise me just yet," he warns, in that tone of voice that holds just enough righteous indignation to forewarn that a soapbox is imminent. "I don't know which kind of 'job' he picked you up out of, but I'm no fool. You're a fighter." Doesn't matter what kind. "No different from the Carta and Coterie thugs I have pounding on my door at all hours." He stops just in front of Luthor then, hands on his hips in the no-nonsense posture most healers seem to have been born with. "If you want my help, it'll be the same as them. You replace anything I've got to use on you. I won't have innocent people going without because idiots like you decided they'd have a lark of getting themselves beat all to shit." Yeah, there's reeeeeally no escaping the fact that this man has spent most of his life in Ferelden. None at all. And that would be that, except with the addition of the new voice comes a tingle in the air that raises gooseflesh down the back of Anders' neck and arms, leaving him straightening and clenching both fists in preparation for sudden movement - provided there's a need. "Friend of yours?" This, with a new edge, to Luthor.

Any other magic would make Fenris recoil, surely. Not Anders'. No, this honeybee magic has a different connotation for him entirely. And when Anders finishes with him, Fenris brings his clean hand up to his face, and nods silent thanks. He turns then, beginning to pull at his other gauntlet. It'll need cleaning after being literally inside someone's internal organs. Then, though, Anders gets on his soapbox and Fenris sighs, pausing. "Anders, his coming here was my idea…" He says quietly, "I was down at the Pit. Guy's hard up enough for coin to have the stupid want to get into the arena with me." He shakes his head, glances to Luthor, and then stops when that knock and voice comes. But it's not the voice or the knock that draw his attention, its the change in Anders' posture. The closure to his gauntlet is relatched quickly, and he steps to the mage's side in a movement that could not be called anything except protective.

"Same as the Coterie and Carta." Luthor echoes these words dully, looking at Anders for a long moment. "Well, fair enough," he says. And he lays his coin-purse — the entirety of his winnings — down on the table beside him. "I did offer to pay," he adds mildly. "And I wouldn't want anyone to suffer." He gives Fenris a brief smile of gratitude as the elf, perhaps surprisingly, speaks up in his favor — or at least mitigates the blame. And then there's the knock, and the voice. He watches the pair's reaction with interest. "Easy… It's my friend Ciann. He's just a butcher." Raising his voice, the man calls "Ciann! Come in slowly." He continues in a quieter tone. "He's got my clothes and my sword." Ciann enters, and sure enough he's the epitome of a butcher — strong beneath a bit of pudge, and young. Otherwise unremarkable, apart from his eyes — grave and considering, eyeing the space with a soldier's attention to detail. He is carrying a shirt, which he has folded around a rather distinctive greatsword in a makeshift sling — the man is very consciously avoiding touching the weapon at all, lugging it out away from his body. "Y'left your stuff, idiot," he says to Luthor. And to Fenris and Anders, apparently oblivious to his danger, "Sorry to barge in. The Cap'n here leaves his things lyin' about and expects me to pick up after him." His accent, too, is Ferelden. A distinct Highever accent, in fact.

It's honestly a good thing Fenris is nearby; there's a space between one heartbeat and the next - when the ozone energy comes closer still and he turns to see a weapon he thought never to lay eyes on again - when Anders isn't entirely sure of his own footing. It is the moment when his face crumbles into the kind of raw and tender grief that has been smothered rather than given daylight in which to heal, loss of something so precious to his younger self that he'd only ever had… two? Perhaps three. It only lasts a moment before it falls beneath the kind of fury that raises hairline cracks along his own skin - thankfully mostly beneath his clothing, but the sense of the Fade in the room has just jumped for those who can feel such things. His mouth is dry and his heart is pounding and for just that slow inhalation it looks very much like Anders may intend outright murder. "Scavenger," he spits, unquestionable venom in his voice. "Vulture." His fists unclench and clench again, a sign of the restraint that cannot accurately be measured. "Maggot. How dare you bring that here?" Nevermind that it's Ciann who brought the damn thing, that's not what he means.

In that moment when Anders sees the blade for the first time, Fenris isn't sure whether he's going to have to catch him or not, so his stance widens just a little. His brows knit in very serious concern from that grief alone. A hand raising, trajectory for Anders' shoulder. It never gets there. In the next moment, Fenris is suddenly and unmistakably aware of just how upset Anders is. His eyes widen, but when that venom makes it all the way to words, he's downright shocked. What someone would have to do to get Anders to go from looking at them as a patient to murderous rage this swiftly… His hand finds Anders' shoulder then, firm but not actively holding him. "Anders?" This question, this tone, it's simple, it's efficient. It's the tone of someone seeking clarification from a commander, though softened just around the edges for the sake of their relationship. He's not talking him down, he's trying to see if he needs help, and how much of this is actually him.

Luthor, too, reacts poorly. As Ciann comes near his side — and the butcher is moving quicker now that Anders is spitting insults at his former commander — the mercenary reaches out and grabs the blade. Anders might reasonably expect it to shock him into unconsciousness, but there's only a brief gritting of his teeth before he has the weapon laid across his knees.

"I am not," he spits out, "A graverobber. I see you know this weapon. Know who it belonged to. Well, I knew her too. I was there when she died. She trusted me." He says the last words with a sudden exhaustion, losing some of his fury. "She trusted me to let her die."

These last are said more to himself than to the Mage. Ciann speaks up. "I knew Lady Cousland all m'life," he says softly. His hand is on his cleaver. "She and Cap'n Traske were… close. Kindred spirits, like. Please don't insult him again." The words are soft, but the young man's face is not. As Fenris and Anders seem ready to kill Luthor, Ciann seems willing to die to defend him. Luthor presses a hand into the butcher's chest.

"Seems we can do this either of two ways," he says softly. "Y'can accept me at my word and hear the tale, if y'wish. Or y'can let my friend here go and deal with me as you would. I'm in no state to fight and win."

There's a flash of satisfaction on Anders' face when Luthor grimaces at the sword's touch - brief and ugly and petty in the extreme. It might have been enough to bring him back off that edge had Luthor explained it literally any other way. Fenris' hand may not have been meant in restraint, but it becomes one - the only reason Anders has done nothing despite the way his hands have started to tremble and the brightness in his eyes. He doesn't cry at much, this man - not anymore - but his temper's always been tied into his tear ducts and this is… this is fury. "You let her die and you expect me to think this a lesser crime?" But when he turns to Fenris, the venom is replaced by a kind of lost helplessness that scrabbles its way to the surface for the simple fact that he could not bear to loose this anger on Fenris. "If not for her and Cenn, it wouldn't have been me walking from that cell." It isn't much of an explanation, but he trusts - he hopes - it will be enough for the warrior who's always been too clever by half. He takes a long, slow breath then - eased by the resonance when he lays his hand over Fen's. Angry as he is, upset as he is, Anders doesn't want to kill. Not for his own pain. It's a weakness that makes him swear under his breath, face heavy with self-recrimination. "I don't want the tale," he snaps, finally. "I want my friend back."

Fenris had behaved. Really, this protective fierceness was downright civility in his world. But when Luthor decides that he is going to put options on the table, Fenris growls low and dangerous. Likely, though, he would have left it at that. Let Anders fight his own battle, but when he turns to him, and the anger turns into what it does. When the explanation comes. When Anders' resolve breaks. Fenris stops standing idly. The hand on Anders' shoulder pulls him near, and then loops over his shoulder protectively. And from over Anders' shoulder Fenris levels Luthor with a glare that is so cold it would likely be disturbing to most. He's lost 'person' privileges in Fenris' mind.

"Remember where you are. You," He begins, voice low and dangerous, "Will not be dictating the terms of this interaction. He does. Always, in this place." There is a small pause then, "You will leave. Now. Before I lose what self control I have and you meet a fate I am sure you are all too aware of." Luthor had just seen Fenris rip out a man's heart, after all, for a lot less than this, by the look on Fenris' face. He'll back down if Anders tells him to, but right now, he's taking control of this situation.

"And I want the woman I love back! She ordered me to save that poncy bastard Alistair. Ordered me!" Luthor's voice rises in kind, raw anger and grief pouring out. "I'd no idea she was going to her death, not until it was too late for me to do a damned thing to stop it." He's on his feet now, unsteady but ready to lash out. It's Ciann who stops him this time. And even Ciann has a rather poleaxed look on his face at Luthor's explosion. Perhaps he's never heard his friend say it out loud before, though certainly half his men knew the truth of it. "She tricked me," he says softly, "Because she wanted her man to live. How the fuck do you think that makes me feel? When he ran away from his throne? She died for him to be a king, and because she loved him, and he deserted her memory."

His head turns toward Fenris, defiantly. "I'll happily leave," he grits out. Ciann, who's equal parts supporting him and holding him back, makes as though to drag him toward the door. "Happily," spits Luthor, not leaving right away despite his words. He picks up his coin-purse first, deliberately. And then makes eye contact with Anders. "Id've ridden the Archdemon like a pony if she asked me to. Done anything. But I didn't know she was going to her death. I'll do anythin' for her." I will. A present-tense. And now, finally, he's allowing Ciann to practically shove him toward the door.

Anders is remarkably easy to pull, to reposition where Fenris wants him. There is something indefinably soothing about having that growl at his back, having this particular snarl over his shoulder. Far from fighting it, he melts into it a little, finally feeling a little better able to breathe. Fen's explanation of the power dynamics inside this little pocket of Darktown sanctuary, on the other hand, steal his breath from him entirely. It's a new thing, existing in a reality in which his well-being - his autonomy - is so blatantly prioritized. It's enough of a shock that he actually opens his mouth to soften that, to use that autonomy to at least see to that knee, but before he can get even a sound to pass his lips, Luthor's outburst ignores completely his stated wish and tells the damn story anyway. And that? That's enough of an emotional body-check that Anders actively whines, a pitiful sound that is entirely childish - as though this is a physical pain and not an emotional one. And at that point, there's an overwhelming amount going on inside his brain; he can remember there's something he should do (that deliberate retaking of the coin purse completely lost on Anders) but he's having a real hard time caring enough about anything to try and sort himself out enough to take care of it. Whatever it turns out to be.

There is a line, with Fenris. You don't have to be a person for him to let you walk away. When you cross a certain line, however, his ability to let someone go disappears. Apparently, Luthor has found that line. Something in all of that, somewhere, had turned all sense of empathy or anything beyond blind, protective rage. Turning Anders so that when he steps away, the healer is leaned against the table Luthor had just been upon, the lyrium lines upon Fenris' skin light up. It adds speed to his steps as he reaches to catch Luthor hard by the shoulder, aiming to step between him and Ciann, and pin to the corner wall by the door. How successful he is? Well, he's too angry to quite tell. "I believe he said he would not like to hear your tale." He spits, the only explanation that seems to be relevent to his white-hot mind right now.

Luthor cannot really resist; he staggers into the wall, his bad knee giving out, and the agony of the pain in that moment draws a gasp from him — but not a shout, not a cry. He drives the greatsword down into the ground — not to threaten, but to support himself. "That," he says softly, "Was nowhere near my tale. A ghost of a ghost of a thing." If there's fear, it doesn't show, though he must know his life hangs in the balance.

Ciann has his butcher's knife out and seems ready to attack, but Luthor lifts his hand. He looks Fenris in the face, clearly expecting to die in the next few moments, his battered features growing still and prideful as he straightens — as best he can, with the elf pinning him there. Still, he's trying to gather his dignity. "All I ask," he tells both Fenris and Anders, "Is that you let Ciann leave. His wife is pregnant."

Well that escalated quickly. Still reeling, Anders leans heavier against the table than he would really like to think about, watching Fenris' sudden progression across the room with wide eyes. It takes a moment and monumental effort to pull enough of himself out of the internal maelstrom to speak at all. "Fen…" His voice is quiet still, but it doesn't need to be loud to cut through this silence. "Fen, please?" It's undeniably a request, rather than a command. "Please let him go?" He pushes off the table to cross the room, though he is unquestionably pale and shaken. "I've had worse," he admits, mouth quirking in a valiant attempt at some self-deprecating humor - a recognition of the fact that he's not reacting well, though it does not come with an apology. "My comfort isn't worth anyone dying over." It's a recognition of Fenris' intention here and there is naked gratitude in it, but his request still stands.

"Ciann is of no interest to me." Fenris answers Luthor fiercely, and in the next moment one gauntleted hand is going to throat. If Ciann gets stupid ideas, he'll handle those later. Right now, there is just anger. Perhaps most people would make some statement about not being monsters, some claim that thinking they would hurt an unrelated party should bring offense, but well… Fenris knows well what he is. He's not looking for fear. That stoic pride does Luthor no favors, but it does not enrage him further. The light gathers around his right hand, familiar to everyone in the room. And then Anders speaks. Fenris goes still, and there is a struggle with himself, but his jaw sets hard and he growls. He lets Luthor go unceremoniously, stepping backward enough to let Luthor reach the door, but still, conveniently, between him and where Anders now is. "His compassion has saved your life. Do not give me a reason again." He growls, and then falls quiet.

"Ciann. Go." The word is a flat order from Luthor, carrying with it the habit of command, something that has been largely concealed since he arrived in Kirkwall. And Ciann seems about to argue, but in the end, he departs first. Luthor tugs his greatsword up, grimacing as he plants his weight on both knees, and moves to follow the younger man out. His eyes are on Fenris the whole while, as though he could really do much to fend the elf off. But in the doorway, he pauses, looking at Anders. There's a long moment of consideration. "I'm sorry, for my part," he finally says. And for the first time in a bit, there's no malice in his voice. Very slowly, so as not to give Fenris any ideas, he crouches and sets that coinpurse down again. Indecision, much? "The coin's for the camp," he says levelly, as he rises. "Nothing to do with this. Two different things." The difference seems, to him, to be important. He doesn't demean Anders by thanking him for saving his life, and nor does he bluster. He just turns to go, using Dragonstorm as a crutch.

"Thank you." Two words breathed out from behind Fenris, now that it's Anders' turn to be over his shoulder - though it's his forehead on Fen's pauldron, not his chin; that exhaustion is no joke. But then Luthor is talking again and Anders makes the very real effort to lift his head again. And if the guy's going to leave the entire bag, Anders' conscience won't let him walk away lamed. So there's a burst of magic that whizzes over Fen's shoulder - not visible so much as probably a little palpable at so close a distance. He'll apologize for that later, but his battlefield healing is still fairly up to snuff. The joint itself rights between one limping step and the next. It's probably not super pleasant and it'll likely hurt him for a while yet, but nothing in that man is going to heal crooked or handicapped. Well, at least, so long as the smart one of that pair can get Luthor to go get some rest like a sensible human being. But anything after this isn't really Anders' responsibility. Executive decision.

The magic does make him jump just a little, but but it's mostly in one shoulder, and he bites it back sharply. He says nothing else, just watches Luthor and Ciann go, waits. Breathes. Tries to quell the glowing still coming from his skin. Rage is not an easy thing for Fenris to ignore, but he is doing it. For now. How long that would last is up for debate.

Luthor doesn't even thank Anders. But it's not out of a sense of ingratitude — it just seems that whenever he opens his mouth lately, he makes the situation worse. So he hurries until he's around the corner from the Clinic before finally, for the first time, showing fear and relief. He slumps against the wall, his control crumbling into a case of the shakes. So close to death. And so much work still to be done.


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