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The Griffon and the Raven, Chapter 12

Prompt: celebration


“There you are.” The festive music and triumphant shouts of joy could still be heard, even as far up as the Chantry’s hidden side garden.

Ravena turned at the sound of Blackwall’s voice. “You just missed Cassandra,” she said, scooting over on the bench to give him room to sit. She held up the bottle of wine she had, which he gladly took. “I forced her to go out and let her hair down.”

“Do you think she will?”

“Well, she might head down to see all the festivities, but I highly doubt she’ll drop her guard low enough to truly go wild and crazy. Remember, Varric’s down there. He’d likely tease her and then she’ll clam up for months.”

“And what about you?” he asked. “How come you’re out here all alone instead of celebrating with the rest?” He took a pull from the bottle and handed it back to her.

“I don’t know. I’ve never been one to mingle with a lot of people. I’d rather quietly celebrate with a select few.” She tucked some loose hair behind her ear. “I was hoping that you’d find me.”

He leaned closer to her. “I was hoping that you’d want to be found.” He reached out and played with the strand of hair she had just pushed aside. “What are you thinking about?”

She took a drink before leaning against him. “I was thinking about how relieved I am. The Breach is closed and now that horrible future I saw will never come to pass.” She turned her palm over and contemplated the raised scars. “The Mark always throbbed against my skin, almost like a second heartbeat. It’s silent now.”

“You saved a lot of lives today. You did well, Ravena.”

“It wasn’t just me. We all did well.” She stared at the wine bottle in her hand before setting it down at her feet. “What will we do now, Blackwall?

He looked at her quizzically. “What do you mean?”

“Well, aside from any stray rifts that might still be open, the threat is over. I didn’t want to talk with Cassandra about plans tonight, but I wonder what the future holds. The Inquisition was formed to seal the hole in the sky and restore order. What will become of us now that we will no longer be needed?”

Blackwall leaned against the back of the bench. “You’re right to think about planning for the road ahead,” he started. “But I think that you’re wrong in saying that the Inquisition won’t be needed. Look at the Hinterlands alone: the land has been devastated by what’s happened. And what of the Circles? Where do the mages go, now that the only home many of them have known has collapsed? Every peace treaty needs a good third party opinion. The Inquisition can be that voice.”

She looked down and laced her fingers between her knees. “I suppose I should have clarified.” Taking a deep breath, she looked up at him, a worried expression on her face. “What will you do, now that the sky is healed?”

“I haven’t really had much of a chance to think about it,” he confessed. “I would like to stay here as long as I’m able, to help train. I grew up a poor farmer’s son; I could be of some use in the rebuilding and reclaiming stages of recovery.”

“You’d want to stay?”

He didn’t answer her directly. Instead, he turned the question back on her. “And what of you, my lady? If the Inquisition were to disband, what would you do?”

“After helping people out with recovery?” She frowned thoughtfully. “Unless the Chantry reverses their opinion of us being heretics now that things have been resolved, I highly doubt that they would allow me to go back to work for them as a researcher. It would free my time up considerably to do more freelance work though; I’ve been playing around with the idea of writing an anthropological study on ancient cultures for years now that’s never gotten past the idea stage. And if I was very lucky, I could still get in on that Riviani job Henri mentioned in his letter.”

“I’ve never been to Rivain.” Blackwall slung his arm atop the bench’s back and nudged closer to Ravena.

She froze for a second before sinking into his embrace. “I would need a bodyguard,” she cautiously agreed. “Piracy runs rampant in some areas, and most of the temples or treasure to be found there are sunken.”

“Then that’s settled. Should the Inquisition disband, I would need to learn how to swim.”

Ravena had to quietly laugh. “You can’t swim?”

“Well, I can manage. I know enough to keep me from drowning, if that’s what you’re worried about. Just don’t expect me to go deep sea diving for treasure on my first try.” He gathered her close and rested his chin on the top of her head. “And I expect that when we’re not out adventuring, you’re going to need someone to drag you up for air every once in a while when you’re writing about your findings and make sure you eat regular meals?”

She grinned. “I’m not as bad as my cousin, but I’ve been known to skip a few dinners and fall asleep on my work.” Her grin faltered and she played with the laces on his gambeson. “But what of the Wardens? Wouldn’t they need you back?”

“I’ve been on my own for years. I figure I could spend my free time recruiting wherever we go.” It was a nice dream to have, a life post-Breach with Ravena, but one that he really had no business indulging. Yet he couldn’t keep his mind away from what had happened in Redcliffe. With trying to transport so many people to Haven and then Ravena setting to work soon after, there hadn’t really been any time to discuss things. He still didn’t know how to properly express the thoughts that were jumbling around in his head, but he did hope that he wound up saying the right words.

She sat up and leaned away from him. “Blackwall, I know that we’re talking in hypotheticals, but…”

“Yes, my lady?”

“What would you say if I truly did ask you to come to Rivain, or Tantervale, or any other number of places with me?” She turned so she could face him. “What if I asked you to run away with me, right here, right now?”

“It depends. Are you asking?”

She looked at him and took a steadying breath. “In that dark future,” she started. “You asked me to remember one thing. It was the last thing you said to me.”

“What was it?”

“You talked to me about that day on the lake, when we first met.”

He smiled. “I remember that day well. You complimented me on my reflexes.”

“Well, they did save my face from getting skewered by an arrow. That sort of deed deserves praise.” She cleared her throat. “But what you told me happened a little before that. You said that I had bewitched you, without having said a word. You said that the sunlight had made my eyes…”

“The light made your eyes look like burnished copper,” he finished. “I didn’t know who you were or what you wanted of me, but I knew then that I’d never seen anyone more lovely.”

“I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out if what you had said in the future was just because you wanted to say something nice to me before going out to die or if you truly meant it. Then I thought that you really did mean it, seeing that you made certain to tell me to remember what you said, knowing full well that I was heading back to the present. But then I could have read the whole thing wrong and…”

Blackwall cut off her rambling by seizing her hands and bringing her knuckles to his lips. “I meant what I said,” he told her, his voice low and rumbling as his mouth skimmed over her skin. “You have captivated me in ways that I have never thought possible.”

Ravena leaned towards him. “Run away with me, Blackwall,” she murmured, her mouth bare inches from his.

He couldn’t think; he just reacted. “Wherever you wish, my lady.” He let go of one of her hands in order to thread his fingers through her hair. He was tilting his head to go in for a kiss when they heard the first horrified scream.

“Flames,” Ravena cursed, jolting out of his arms. “What the blazes is going on?”

“Nothing good, judging by the sound,” Blackwall replied. Standing up, he followed Ravena down the garden path towards the Chantry’s main doors and down to the main gate.

It wasn’t soon after that all hell broke loose and Haven was buried in snow.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
reconnoiterer
Jul. 17th, 2015 04:49 am (UTC)
Okay - I think I finally found some common ground between our Inquisitors (other than being totally into brooding bearded types): I think they could totally nerd out together over ancient cultures and lore.
iceprincessd
Jul. 17th, 2015 03:54 pm (UTC)
Huzzah for the history buffs!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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