Participants:

Anders_icon.gif Varric_icon.gif

Scene Title Maps Magisters And Mages
Synopsis Anders visits Varric looking to make a deal.
Location Varric's Suite, The Hanged Man
Date Justinian 26, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Mage frustrations, and Varric being a well informed Dwarf.
Logger Varric

In all the foul stench and miasma of death that defines Kirkwall, Anders feels ill at ease almost all the time. But worst, perhaps, of all is when inside the Hanged Man. He goes because that's where Adie is - and her pack of Wardens - but it's always dim and stuffy and crowded full of loud, drunk, obnoxious patrons. Still, sometimes there are reasons to brave the place. Today's reason is not the Grey Wardens, but the dwarf who plays the part of their host. Finding Varric should not (in theory) be difficult, but weaving his way through this evening's drunken crowd is a challenge all on its own.

Varric has a special job during drunk-thirty, and he's going to DO that job at the back of the bar near his suite. That job would be telling stories that apparently have the drunkards in stitches. "So what was he gonna do? He ran, pants split open and the full moon rising, right down the middle of the marketplace with two mabari chasing after him. I hear he joined the chantry after that." With the story concluded and his audience satisfied, the dwarf sits back with his ale and survey the crowd. "Blondie!" Yep, he's spotted Anders. "Come on over and have a drink."

"I had a night like that once," Anders says by way of greeting, mouth quieted into a wicked grin. "Except it wasn't Mabari so much as Darkspawn and instead of ripped trousers there were dead Templars." He takes the offered seat but waves off the mention of a drink. "I went with the Wardens instead of the Chantry, but you know." Six of one, half a dozen of the ones not looking to lock you up.

"Well, at least your pants were intact. You never want to face darkspawn with your ass in the breeze." Varric leans back with his mug and nods. "It'll be here when you want it," He assures. "They must have been ugly Templars if you took chasing around darkspawn over an escort to the circle." But see, he's not judging. It's all just casual observation. "So, no ale? It's the chest hair, isn't it? It's always the chest hair."

"It'd have to be some pretty nasty Darkspawn to make me choose the Circle," Anders corrects, his tone a warning masquerading as a casual comment. Not a friendly topic, that. He leans back in his seat, lifting one brow over the other in an expression that can't decide between amused and confused. "I sincerely hope you're not using the chest hair to make the ale. That sounds… possibly worse than the fungus."

Varric laughs. "Blondie, if we made it with my chest hair, the ale would taste like pure sunshine. Fortunately for both of us, this is Ferelden grain." Obviously, from before the blight. "So, if it's not the ale and it's not the chest hair, what- besides my obvious charm- brings you out? If it's the need for fresh air, you have a strange concept of fresh air." Take it from a man who stands at armpit height to about everything in the bar.

That's enough to make Anders' face do this complicated twisty thing where it can't decide if he's going to laugh or gag. "Maker, there's fresher air in parts of Darktown." And if that's not a sad statement on the quality of this establishment… but the dwarf is getting right to the point. Anders can appreciate that. "I heard a rumor." He leans forward then, resting his bracers against the edge of the table. "That there's a man in Kirkwall with good ale, chest hair of spun sunlight and access to the kinds of informants that know when slavers come and go in Kirkwall." Subtle, Anders is not, but he does understand discretion.

"You'd better put a claim down and sell access to it," Varric informs. "Blondie, your roomers are surprisingly accurate, but why don't we go discuss this man. I'd like to hear more about what you know. The walls don't have as many ears and my visitors are occupied at the moment." Which means he's going to stand and head for his suite. "I may be able to make a deal with you."

"Where do you think I set up shop?" It's fun to bounce and banter back and forth like this, with no heavy emotions or heavier lives on the line. Anders had all but forgotten. "I warn you, Varric. I'm a good, wholesome girl saving myself for marriage." He manages an almost perfect deadpan, but the grin tugging at his lips gives him away. "So no funny business until I'm good and drunk." But all games aside, he follows amiably enough.

"That's too bad, Bianca was all excited about finally seeing what mages wear under their robes. Now you really will have to take that ale, just so she won't have hurt feelings." Varric takes his usual spot at the table and gestures for Anders to sit. "Just make sure you smile when you walk out. It'll do wonders for my reputation." His own mug is placed on the table and he fills another to place near one of the empty chairs. "Even if you don't drink it, it'll smell good. So, what kind of information are you looking for? You don't strike me as the type looking to purchase housekeeping."

"Slavers." This is too important to muddy with jokes - at least to Anders. "Especially ones from the north." Were there really any other kind? "Especially especially ones from Tevinter." He does, at least, sit down with the ale in his hand. He's not rude on purpose. "Especially especially especially if the've got a man named Danarius somehow attached to them." At least it's not housekeeping. "If they're coming into the city I've got to know when and where - preferably in enough time to do some counter-planning but really just before they get the drop on me and mine is all I need." He says that last part with a bit of humor, like he's well aware of the kind of job this is. He knows what kind of job this is, he's been trying to do it himself.

"Alright, Blondie, I have the information you need and I can ask a friend or two to keep an eye out for … Danarius, you said?" It may or may not sound familiar but, the way Varric affirms the name, it could be merely so he remembers it. "All I want in return is a favor from you. You don't need to involve yourself directly, but my brother's gotten it into his head to mount an expedition into the deeproads. We both know how you stand with the Wardens, and you know I can't ask them to involve themselves." He holds up a hand. "I'm not asking for you to go or hand over originals, but I don't think you've gotten rid of the maps they hand out to you. All I need is a couple of copies. Enough to keep my brother from getting us killed."

The relief on Anders' face is truly profound. This has been an increasing strain adding weight in a way that makes it even harder to sleep at night. He's got a terrible card face. Terrible. But it's relief that slowly fades to ash when Varric names his price - not because it isn't fair but because Anders knows it isn't nearly as simple as Varric might think. "I have them and you're welcome to them," he begins. "But it would take a month or more to teach anyone else how to read them. Not to mention breaking about five-hundred Warden rules to do it." He's thoughtful for a moment. "I have… a counter-offer, however, if you're willing to listen."

"Alright, Blondie. I'm not unreasonable and you can't do what you can't do. Let's hear it." Varric sits back with his mug and takes a long drink. While he waits, he pulls out a large book and opens it up to a section with oddly laid out charts and odd markings. "Make it good enough and I'll sweeten my end of the deal."

Anders nods, taking a moment to stare down into his own drink while Varric fiddles with the book. "I… know the area fairly well." He certainly got lost down there enough to know where not to go, especially. "It can't be before Adeline's mission returns, but I can get you where you need to go." Now he is taking a drink of this ale. Cause he needs it. "And if I'm going, there's an elf fighter who'll be going as well. He's the best melee warrior I've ever seen, so your brother will pay him for his sword on the trip, but I'm your part of the deal."

For a second, Varric looks like that is the LAST thing he wanted to hear, then he sighs. "Alright, Blondie, but your maps are your part of the deal. We're paying you to read them. Sound fair? Don't try to argue with me, you don't have the card face for this game. So here's what I have for you." He pulls out a folded parchment and hands it over. "Everything that has Danarius' name on it is marked in red. You see the blue ink? That's the warehouse stops his men make here in Kirkwall. I have someone watching the slave-pen caves. This elf friend of yours- broody guy, wears black, carrying a fortune in lyrium, right?- is the one you're asking for, right?"

Anders - judging by the look on his face - was not expecting this amount of information. Frankly his jaw might actually be on the table. Well. Metaphorically speaking at any rate. "This…" He downs the rest of his ale in one go. "This will mean more than you could possibly know. You really don't - " But the eerily accurate description of Fenris puts the healer immediately on his guard. "… yes, he's the reason I'm asking." And there's something undeniably protective in the way Anders' whole posture slowly angles for a fight. "Why?"

"Blondie, there's an old saying about not checking the teeth of a gifted horse I could tell you, but… let's just say I am observant and this elf has spent some time in the Hanged Man. People like me and they tell me things. I also know that if a magister puts that much lyriumm into a slave, they're going to want to get it out." Varric takes another long drink from his mug, looking the picture of relaxation. "That's messy and it gives my city a bad reputation. Besides, slavery's illegal here. I told you I'd sweeten the deal, so here's one more piece of information your friend is gonna want." He turns the open book around so that Anders can see it. "This mansion is usually empty, but I'm an enterprising man. I thought I'd look into it. Turns out, your Magister has interests in Kirkwall property, too."

Anders eyes the dwarf warily while he talks, a tense and heavy judgment of his character and honesty. He didn't put half so much effort in assessing the part of the deal where his own ass was on the line, but placing Fenris in danger is… unacceptable. Finally he comes to a decision and nods once. "Alright." That's all he says at first. 'Alright'. No quips, no jokes, no smartass comebacks. When he finally adds to it, it's while fishing a stick of charcoal from one of his coat's pockets and flipping over one of the documents to make a quick (yet surprisingly accurate) sketch of Hightown and where within it the mansion in question sits. "I promised Adeline I would go down with her group when they go. After that, I'm all yours."

"And here I thought you were waiting for your wedding," Varric teases as he sits back again. "Relax, Blondie, we're all friends here. I don't make dirty deals and there's nothing in it for me if your friend gets reduced to ash and lyrium. I've got as much on the line as anyone else going down there, since Bianca and I are going too." He studies the mage for a few more minutes and then sits forward just a little. "If it makes you feel any better, I don't like slavers, myself."

"But that's the punchline, don't you see?" Anders finishes his sketch and spins the book back toward the dwarf. "I'm a mage. I'll never be married." Not under Chantry law at any rate. He looks at the information on the front side of his sketch one more time, struck again by the sheer volume of value these few lines of writing contain. It'll go a long way toward leveling that playing field. "I can't stand anyone who deals in chains and cages." Be they slaver or Templar. A jailer's a jailer. "Especially not when they're hunting someone I care for."

Varric holds up a hand. "Easy, Blondie. I don't make the rules, and I never said I liked them. In fact, I know a mage that's unofficially married to her templar, so I'd like to believe nothing is impossible. If I hear anything else, I'll let you know. I rarely get to make a deal where doing one thing pays off more than one person. Shit, it feels like my birthday." See the grin? He's a happy dwarf. Everyone likes a happy dwarf.

"Unofficially married to her…" Now that is enough to sidetrack Anders almost entirely. In fact, his head falls into his hands and he groans aloud. "I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and say her name is Maura." It's muffled by his arms but still mostly intelligible. "Because honestly that's how my life goes, there's no way it could possibly be anyone else." But hey, his luck could change, right? He could be wrong about this one!

Yep. That's his life. "I have literally no friends who are not certifiably insane." Not a single one. "I'm… I hadn't heard they'd both been Conscripted." Oh would he ever be having words. Sure, it's been his idea to send Maura to Adie, but he'd thought at most it'd be a solution for Adair. The idea of the innocent spitfire mage in the Deep Roads makes him feel vaguely ill. "I don't know about anything, but a lot of things, sure." Great. One more person to keep an extra eye on during this whole debacle.

"Don't look so green about it, Rose may have been innocent when she got here, but this is Kirkwall. You didn't think she'd just let him go and not go with him, did you?" Varric's question may or may not require an answer. "Blondie, I'm hurt. I'm perfectly well adjusted." He also has a bridge to sell you. "Look on the bright side, she can't be dragged to the gallows to face whatever farce of a trial they'd put her through before being executed or made tranquil."

"I wasn't going to let that happen anyway," Anders snaps, full on protective Den Mother Mode. But he deflates quickly enough and heaves a heavy sigh as he folds the all-informative parchment into more and more manageable sizes. "You're the scariest kind of crazy." It's a rough grumble but one said with a crooked little smile. "But I appreciate that you kind of have to be in this city. It's been a pleasure doing business."

Varric lets out a long sigh. "Alright, Blondie. If I hear anything new, I'll get a message to you. Come visit, alright? Staying underground like that's only ever good for dwarves that haven't seen the sun before." He puts a hand over his heart. "I'm hurt. Clearly, you need to spend more time with me. A story or two, and you'll see I'm as scary as a kitten." Or maybe wonder what kind of kittens Varric has run into.

"Kittens can be terrifying," Anders retorts, standing with a stretch and a quiet laugh. "Only a fool underestimates one." And - when it comes to cats at least - Anders is no fool. "I will," he agrees on the visiting more. "If you can get that boar of a barman to open a window once in a while, I might even make it a regular thing."

He's mostly kidding. Mostly.

"Blondie, if it'll get you out of that pit, I'll get him to air the place out once a day." Varric laughs as he puts the book back in its drawer and locks it up. "Right, it's a good thing I'm not a fool. It would be embarrassing to be cuted to death by a kitten." Before Anders can leave, the dwarf stands. "One more thing. …keep in mind that I can make sure that information is passed along to the right people if they need to be persuaded to do something like visit a place to see it in person. You never know, it might come in handy."


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