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Dragon Age: Fanfic: On Seas of Daffodil

  • Jan. 9th, 2015 at 8:19 PM
Title: On Seas of Daffodil
Fandom: Dragon Age
Rating: G
Length: 470 words
Content notes: None
Author notes:  A short scene that is half worldbuilding, half character building, exploring Isabela and Varric's different approaches to the city of Kirkwall.  Title is from the poem 'Sunset' by Emily Dickinson.
Summary: Isabela sits on the docks and contemplates Kirkwall’s harbour.

Isabela sat on the far end of the docks, watching the steam rise from where the heated sewerage met the cool of Kirkwall’s harbour. The forges carelessly dumped their wastewater, used to cool the iron as it was worked, into the sewers. It ran through Darktown, the warmth coating the rock walls with condensation. By the time it reached the harbour it retained enough heat to hiss on contact. The heat itself was bad, but the heavy metals in the water were poisoning the bay. Only the poor fished in the harbour proper, casting their lines from the wharves. Those who could afford it sailed beyond the heads to find a catch in the open sea. There was no way of telling where the Hanged Man’s mystery chowder or the fish in the stalls along the docks were caught, and Isabela avoided both on principle.

“Rivaini,” came Varric’s voice. The dwarf strolled along the docks as though he owned them – which, knowing the Merchant’s Guild, he very well could. “Admiring our fair harbour?”

“It’s a stinking cesspool.” She looked over the harbour, past the Gallows, to the strait that led to the open sea.

“But it’s our stinking cesspool,” Varric agreed amiably, and sat down beside her.

“It might be yours,” she said. “I’m out of here just as soon as I have the coin for a ship and crew.” She closed her eyes and imagined the fresh wind in her face, the salt in her nose. The open sea was nothing like this claustrophobic harbour, penned in by cliffs of raw rock.

“And go where?” Varric asked, a laugh hidden in his voice.

“Anywhere,” she said. That was the beauty of it. She looked over at Varric, an eyebrow raised. “Even you can’t think that Kirkwall is the pinnacle of civilisation.”

“She may not be the most beautiful, but she’s always treated me well.” Varric gave the dock beside him a friendly pat.

“Your crossbow, the city. Is everything a person to you?”

“Only the ones that have souls,” Varric said. “You’re only seeing the surface of her, underneath, this city has one great beating heart.”

“I don’t want to know what’s underneath. What’s on top is bad enough.” She gazed over the harbour, past the Gallows, towards the strait that led to the open sea. “I belong out there,” she said. “The wind in my sails, the wheel in my hands. You don’t know what it’s like being stuck here.”

“Don’t I?” Varric said. He shrugged and stood up. “While we’re waiting for your ship, I’ve dug up a bottle of Rivaini wine. Care to share it with me?”

She looked up at him, and his wide open smile, and stood up as well. “While we’re waiting,” she agreed, and together they walked back to the Hanged Man.

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