Not-So-Happy Endings [Closed]

((OOC: 15 Solace, 9:37 — late evening — ))

Time stood still at Soldier's Peak though Marius felt as though he had aged 20 years in a matter of days. He should have seen it coming eventually, an end to the relative bliss that had surrounded him. Miriam and Adara had finally come to an understanding and had slowly built back the relationship that had been ripped away from them by the templars so many years before. Eventually, Miriam came back to Soldier's Peak and while she never quite mothered Liam the way Adara did, Marius knew the interactions were good for her. It was good for all of them, himself and Carver included. They were better people for it and Liam thrived through all of it, precocious and sneaky. 

Marius had split his time between Soldier's Peak and Denerim, acting as a courier for supplies and information. The powers bestowed upon him by Avernus no longer felt weird to him, like smoldering ash beneath his skin, and the nightmares came less frequently. He felt… whole. Complete.

Happy.

As though he had a purpose.

And then, just when he was comfortable that everything would be alright, life came crashing down around them.

Marius almost hadn’t been there the day Liam’s magic manifested. He was supposed to be on his way to Denerim but an ill-timed step on the ice had cost him a sprained ankle and a few days rest. What would he have done differently if he’d known he’d only have a few days left with Miriam? With Liam?

When Liam’s magic manifested — casting a brilliant band of ice across a window like a winter’s frost — he knew it was over. Somewhere deep down, Marius always knew it would happen. Liam was the son of a mage and magic ran strong in the Carey line. If it had just been the five of them up there, maybe they could have made it work.

But with the Drydens and the Wardens and Avernus… It was all far too risky. Liam had to be taken somewhere where no one knew of his magic, but they couldn’t all leave. Adara was the first to suggest she take the boy somewhere. Rivain? Antiva? Miriam wouldn’t… couldn’t let her go alone. No amount of protest from either Marius or Carver had changed their minds, not that either one of them really expected it to.

The Wardens would believe that one of them had died, but not all three. Eventually someone would find them. It made sense that it would be Adara.

Two days later, they were gone and all of the light and happiness that had filled the thick stone walls had gone right with them. The persistent ache in his ankle had been dulled by the numbness that fell over him. His lips still tingled from the last kiss Miriam had given him, and his eyes still stung from the tears that fell as he watched them leave.

For the first week he kept expecting to see them or hear Liam’s little giggle’s echoing somewhere in the towers as Marius wandered around, reminding himself that he had to go to Denerim eventually. Maybe Carver would go with him now? They were going to have to come up with their story for the Wardens anyway.

When he finally found Carver, Marius shuffled up next to him slowly and sighed. "It's too quiet here." The "and I don't like it" didn't need to be said.
The world was shite.

Complete and utter shite.

No one could tell Carver otherwise.

What was the point? He had everything he could have asked for: a job he not only enjoyed but was good at, a family, and an entire fortress to call home, up in the mountains where most people didn’t bother him. He and Adara had their room at the top of the tall tower, with Liam and Nel’s across the hall. He was happy. No one who’d known him for long would believe it, especially after losing Mother, but he’d found his place.

Miriam and Marious being there filled what had seemed to be missing. From time to time he would travel with Marius back and forth, using the opportunity to collect supplies that were not available from trade with the Drydens. Miriam, for all she wasn’t really great at mothering, turned out to be a pretty decent auntie. Things were good.

Until the day Liam frosted over the windows.

How in the world did you make a child so young understand the gravity of what happened? Even with his own mother and auntie mages, it never occured to Carver that he would need to explain it. Even more heartbreaking was trying to convince Little Man that he’d not done anything wrong, and that not staying with Da was not his fault.

The first week he watched the window overlooking the mountain pass, hoping. It didn’t last. Stillness was not easy for him, and his temper demanded action. He trained, grumbled enough that all the Drydens gave him a wide berth, and made himself as unpleasant to be around as possible. Wasn’t too difficult, since he’d always been a right dick. Somehow Adara and Liam had held that at bay, but no more.

Not long after began the purge. Everything had to go. All the baby furniture. Liam’s ‘big boy’ bed. Soon he ran out of things to clean, and rats asses (literally) to give.

"It's too quiet here." Marius. He went for long stretches where he forgot the man was here, dealing with his own grief. Today had been one of those days.

“Gee, I wonder why that is. You should get on investigating that.” He stood at the window with a mug of tea which had long since gone cold. He didn’t even drink tea, but he’d gotten in the habit of bringing it up from the kitchens to the library where Adara had kept all her notes on the Drydens, Avernus, their new weird abilities. Everything.

“Whatever. Never bothered me.” He’d spent so much time not caring about the quiet that he thought he’d return to it just fine. He’d been wrong. Marius was right. It was too quiet. “Suppose ‘healing supplies’ should go on the list for Denerim.” He snorted.
Carver was never the sort that Marius would have described as bright and cheery, but he was different around Adara and Liam. He'd had a lightness that seemed to come out when they were around. He'd been happy. Content. And now he was alone and the lightness was gone.

When Marius found him, he'd been staring at the window holding a mug. 

“Gee, I wonder why that is," he said to the other man's remark about it being quiet. "You should get on investigating that.”

Marius didn't respond, resting back against the wall. He smoothed a hand over his face and tried not to focus on the silence that enveloped them. What he wouldn't give to hear the fucking darkspawn chatter right now, to hear anything other than that deafening silence.

“Whatever. Never bothered me.” Carver grunted as though he wanted to convinced himself that it was true. Marius knew it wasn't. “Suppose ‘healing supplies’ should go on the list for Denerim.” A snort escaped him and Marius let out a sigh.

"We need to come up with a story about Adara," he started, tapping his heel into the floor. "There's going to be questions about how, why." Adara was a skilled mage and fighter. It wouldn't have been easy to take her down, especially if Carver or even Marius had been around. "We need to make sure they have no reason to look for them." Marius looked at Carver, his lips pulled down at the corners as they had been since he'd watched Liam and the Carey sisters leave. "A fever, maybe? Something that took her down enough that she couldn't help herself?"

No one would be asking after Miriam except for Marius. One less detail for them to worry about. 

Marius let out a groan, before he could stop himself he balled up a fist and punched at the wall. The wall, predictably, did not budge and Marius was left with nothing but a new pain to focus on. "Maker's fucking ballsack," he hissed, shaking his hand. "Fuck everything."
Marius answered with a sigh. Another time, Carver might have felt bad for chipping away at the remainder of his friend’s good mood, such as it was. This was not another time. In fact, this felt like one of the darkest times he could remember. The amount of loss in what remained of the Hawke family felt staggering. He actually longed for the days when being separated from his twin felt like the worst of it. Now Mother was gone, as Father before her, and his wife and son to be declared dead.

"We need to come up with a story about Adara," Marius reminded him, his heel bouncing against the floor with unspent energy. "There's going to be questions about how, why." Like I hadn’t thought of that, he wanted to bellow, but it was nothing that would do anyone any good. "We need to make sure they have no reason to look for them. A fever, maybe? Something that took her down enough that she couldn't help herself?"

Carver scrubbed at his eyes. This was not how he’d wanted to spend his day, ever, making up a story to explain the absence of his family. A fever. As if Adara would let something so small as a fever take her down, let alone their son. “Something that took them both.” Or Miri as well. Void if he knew. He'd never faked someone's death before. “We have to do something; there’s no bodies to back up any story.”

A few moments passed in silence, and then Marius did what Carver had been wanting to for some time: punched the wall. Of course, in a contest of fist against stone wall, Marius was at a disadvantage. "Maker's fucking ballsack," he swore, shaking his hand. "Fuck everything."

That summed it up, nicely, in Carver’s opinion. For all that it mattered. He had no idea the extent of damage to Marius’ hand, if any, and they were short a healer. “I bet that helped.”

He let out a grunt and set his cup down to avoid the urge to crush it. “There’s a section of the tunnels leading out of the mountain which have crumbled in. We could say they were crushed.” He didn’t even like lying about that. He didn’t want to think of Liam and Adara mangled in such a way.

Grunting for Marius to follow him, Carver began leading the way to the kitchens where he asked one of the hands there to run out to the ice house and bring back a chunk or two for healing.