Year of the Dragon


   “Your past is but prologue of what is to come, girl,” Athenril said, throwing her cloak on the rack and settling down behind her desk.
  “Isn’t everyone’s?” Hawke replied casually, following her into the small room. Athenril smiled.
  “To some extent,” she continued, “I suppose. But you, Hawke, you’re different. Every befallen tragedy and felled ogre, every comrade and brother lost in the heat of battle, every narrow escape and twist of fate has brought you here, to my office.”
  “Is it fate? I’m more comfortable with a simple domino theory of event leading to event leading to event. Just so happened you’re the latest.”
   “You’re wrong, Hawke. I’ve seen you with a blade. I’ve seen the fire inside of you. And I have all the dry tinder you could ask for. You and I were destined for great things”
  “How many great things do you think you can fit into a year?” Hawke said dryly, overtly displeased about the payment plan she and Bethany had been signed up for. Her tone did not go unnoticed. A tone Athenril did not approve of.
  “If you would prefer to undo our deal, Hawke, I can put you back on a boat to Ferelden tomorrow. Slate wiped. Debt un-debted.”
  “No,” Hawke started, slightly repentant, “I’m just not thrilled about aiding and abetting smugglers-”
  “I didn’t hear you complaining when I smuggled you and your family into Kirkwall.”
  Hawke remained silent. This was true. 
  “Right now, you and your family are as illegal as any other contraband I trade. But you play nice for a year, help me out, and I’ll see to it that you become a fully-fledged member of our city, official papers, privileges, hell, you’ll even be marked for the census by the time we’re through. Who knows, we might even end up friends.”
  “Stranger things have happened,” Hawke said. A giant dragon had rescued her from a hoard of darkspawn a couple of weeks ago, only to transform into an old crone of a witch before her eyes. That was one of the stranger things, in fact. 
  “Your trust has to be earned. I understand. But I think soon you’ll come to realize I’m not your enemy, at any rate,” Athenril continued, leaning back in her chair, relaxed now.
  In the city of Kirkwall it seemed important to know your place.  Hawke knew that fighting it would  end her journey prematurely. The smugglers were her employers now, her extended family, and Athenril would be calling the shots, for the next year, at least. It was going to be a long one. She settled in for the long haul.


~ by Joseph Blame on April 1, 2011.

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