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Slaver Caverns outside of Kirkwall

She liked to eat in front of him. He knew when he’d had nothing all day but a bowl of gruel that he’d be waiting on Hadriana at dinner. He would attend her and her “friends” in her opulent apartments, pouring the wine, serving their extravagant meals. Watching him, she would curve her mouth around a juicy bit of steak, eyes half-closed in pleasure. She wanted him to ask for some, to pilfer a taste of the excess they squandered. Fenris would never grant her such a victory.

One of her companions stood near him, reeking of perfume and wine. He did not move, did not let his face betray anything as she scraped a manicured nail down one of the lyrium markings on his neck. “Just how far do these tattoos go?” While he imagined the satisfying pop her windpipe would make as he crushed it, Fenris stood still, impassive.

Hadriana’s mouth twisted into a delighted sneer. “There’s one way to find out.”

There was only one person whom Fenris wanted dead more. Danarius was not here, however. His former master had placed a large bounty on him, enough to tempt one band of slavers after another to make the long voyage from the Tevinter Imperium in northern Thedas to the sparsely populated Free Marches in the south. Now Danarius had sent his apprentice, Hadriana, to recover his recalcitrant property. All this effort would have been ridiculous were Fenris just another expendable elven slave. Fenris, however, was much more than simply an elf: He was a weapon.

Now Hadriana lay before Fenris, the broken bodies of her guards strewn around them in the dark cavern. She had bargained for her life with information about his and Fenris had meant to keep his word. Let her crawl back to Danarius and report her failure.

It was her smile that killed her. After she had told him that he had a sister named Varania and where to find her, Hadriana’s dark red lips twisted into a sneer. It was the look she would wear while getting him into trouble, knowing exactly what Danarius would do to him. It was the expression on her face when she’d walked in on several of Danarius’s associates using him. It was that smug look of victory.

Fenris leaned his greatsword against the rock wall. She would die by the power her master had inflicted upon him. As effortless as making a fist, Fenris activated the lyrium engraved in his right hand and arm. The magical substance glowed bluish-white as his arm became incorporeal. The smirk was gone. Hadriana’s blue eyes widened as she opened her mouth, whether to scream or beg for her life, Fenris was beyond caring. He plunged his hand into her chest as if it were water. He could feel the currents, could feel the tissue his hand moved through, and found the slippery fish that was her heart. All at once he deactivated the lyrium and his fist again became solid in an explosion of blood. He felt the fish writhe, and then stop. When he withdrew his hand, his gauntlet was covered in her blood.

Turning from her corpse, he was almost surprised to see the dwarf and two mages who had fought beside him. The blond mage, Anders, had his arms crossed, ruffling the feathers that adorned the shoulders of his teal robe. In another situation, it might have made his disgusted expression humorous. The other two were also watching him, their faces unreadable. Fenris really didn’t want to know what they were thinking. He moved to go around them, back toward the passageway they had followed into the cavern. “We’re done here.”

“Fenris…” Fenris tried to ignore Kaiden Hawke, but the red-haired mage stepped in front of him. “We’ll find your sister. If-”

“Are you mad? This is a trap! Even if I have a sister, Danarius has to know about her, and that Hadriana knew.” He pressed his fists to his forehead, filling his senses again with the smell of her blood. “All that matters is that I finally got to crush that bitch’s heart. May she rot, and all the mages with her.”

Anders shook his head. “After all we’ve done for you… How many times has Hawke risked his life to save your worthless hide?”

Kaiden’s ice-blue eyes flashed with anger as he turned on his friend. “Anders!” The mage flinched, but continued glaring at Fenris.

It was ridiculous that Anders, of all mages, protested loudest their treatment. While he claimed that not all were bad, he had done what even blood mages condemned: He had allowed himself to become possessed. The mage claimed that it was a good spirit, a spirit of Justice, but that didn’t matter; he was still an abomination. Fenris sneered. “You saw what was done here. Mages will always find an excuse to use blood magic and consort with demons. Even if I find this sister, who knows what the magisters have done to her. What does magic touch that it doesn’t spoil?”

Kaiden’s eyes widened but he didn’t say anything. Fenris expected him to protest the same as Anders, to tell him that not all mages were bad, to argue with him as the mage had done so many times before. He wanted Kaiden to yell at him then, but instead the mage just looked at him, an expression of sadness, but also understanding. Shit. That look was just adding to the hollowness inside. It was too much. His anger was sputtering away and without it, he felt he might collapse into nothing. Fenris turned away. “I… need to go.”

At last the elf was gone. Anders knew that he shouldn't have expected better, but he was furious that Fenris had once again cursed all mages after they had helped save his ass. It was for Kaiden's sake alone that Anders had resisted saying more.

This whole scenario reminded Anders of when they'd first met Fenris not quite a year ago. It had been a contract to recover some smuggled lyrium for a templar and Anders had gone with, eager for what he'd hoped would be an opportunity to blackmail one of the mages' oppressors. It turned out to be a ruse. Fenris had hired them to walk into a trap set for him. At first, Anders had felt sympathy for the escaped slave. He knew what it was like to be on the run and had lost track of how many times he had escaped from that mages’ prison they called the Circle, only to be caught and dragged back again. The last time that the templars had brought Anders in, he'd spent a year in solitary confinement.

Thus it was that when Fenris had asked for their help in bringing the fight to the Tevinter slavers, they had gladly fought beside him. Of course he and Kaiden had used their magic in the battle. Evidently just realizing they were mages, Fenris had turned on them afterward, as if being mages made them Tevinter spies. Anders would have been done with the elf right then and there, but Kaiden...

"You coming, Blondie?"

Anders' thoughts were pulled back to the present. Varric came up with nicknames for everyone, including his crossbow, which he'd named Bianca. The dwarf rasped his voice into a theatrical whisper, "We still have a secret informant to meet up with." He waggled his eyebrows for added emphasis. That earned him a grin from Kaiden and Anders couldn't help but smile himself. Varric was good at that.

As Anders cast a look back, his smile faded. Hadriana's face was still twisted in agony and her chest was a mass of gore. Although Fenris showed himself without honor by breaking his word, Anders was not sorry that she was dead. He had seen the bodies of the slaves she had killed, using their blood to fuel dark magic in an effort to protect herself. No, she was evil and cowardly and the worst example of a mage. Fenris, however, did not see the difference. Anders feared that one day the elf would crush his heart, or Kaiden’s.


It was ironic, this city that Fenris had come to call “home.” Kirkwall had started as a mining camp and then grown into a slave thoroughfare centuries ago when all of Thedas had been part of the Tevinter Imperium. Immense statues of chained slaves still guarded the entrance to Kirkwall’s harbor and there were more in “The Gallows.” The imposing tower had once been the seat of Imperial judgment in the region and the statues were meant to inspire fear in those who would disobey. Now the tower was used as Kirkwall’s Circle, home to all the legal mages in the city’s jurisdiction. Anders would point out that the statues now represented the plight of mages throughout most of Thedas. Fenris scoffed. For all his whining about the Circle and templars, the abomination knew nothing of being a slave.

Passing through back-ways he knew by heart, Fenris was soon in Hightown. The streets were wider here and the architecture stately rather than oppressive. Wealthy Tevinter slavers had once lived in this district and it had been constructed in the style of Tevinter mansions, including large courtyards which made more sense in the balmy north than they did in Kirkwall.

It was yet another layer of irony that Fenris – an elf and escaped slave – was squatting among Kirkwall’s elite. He passed the vine covered arches and rows of manicured shrubbery to “his” mansion. The last group of slavers to come after him had made it their base of operations. After dispatching them, Fenris had simply taken up residence himself. Part of him had hoped that more would come, so he could watch their disdain turn to terror before he killed them. Part of him had hoped that Danarius himself would come for him once Fenris stopped running. Then too, there was the very practical need of a place to stay. Fenris did not have the coin to stay at an inn indefinitely and he was not about to take charity, especially not from Kaiden. The man had done too much for him already.

Fenris pushed the door open. It was never locked; that had been the first thing he’d broken in the place. Stepping over the remains of a table, he walked through another ruined doorway and down a stairway to the cellar. Everyone was always after him to fix the place, but he had never intended to stay here long.

He had long since consumed the fine Tevinter wine stockpiled by the slavers but he had restocked with a cheap wine sold at the docks. The taste was not as pleasant, but at least it brought no memories, and it got the job done faster.

Fenris wasted no time in emptying a bottle and then uncorked another. Again his thoughts turned to Kaiden. It was a sickness, as consuming as the hatred Danarius had infected him with. The man kept him from sleep more effectively than Hadriana. Fenris could not stop thinking about the red-haired mage, his wry smile and sense of humor even in the face of danger – danger which he put himself in time and again to help others. He thought of the man’s lean muscular body and the way it might feel against his own. He would grab that long red hair as he claimed him…

Fenris threw the half-empty bottle against the wall, shattering it in a splash of dark liquid. What was wrong with him? Why did he want a mage, of all things? The abomination’s words ran through his mind. “How many times has Hawke risked his life to save your worthless hide?” Kaiden might deny it, but it was true. Fenris did not deserve Kaiden’s friendship, let alone anything more. He was a runaway slave living in a borrowed mansion. Kaiden may have been a Fereldan refugee, but he was descended from nobility. Since coming to Kirkwall, he had restored his family’s name and fortune. More than that, Kaiden was a good man, even if he was a mage. Fenris was not a good man. Hell, he didn’t even feel like a man much of the time, rather more like an embodiment of hatred and vengeance, like that abomination…

Cool air brushed his face. Fenris didn’t remember deciding to go out, but he owed Kaiden an apology. The stone was cold on his bare feet as he descended the stairway and followed the walkways to the Hawke estate. Hightown was quiet tonight. He sat on the bench outside the door to await Kaiden’s return. Running his hands through his white hair, he leaned back again the stone wall of the courtyard. He took a deep breath and tried to slow his heartbeat through force of will. Why had he thought coming here was a good idea?

He had almost decided to leave when Kaiden appeared at the entryway. The man looked exhausted, as if he'd gone through a decade in the course of one day. It was easy to forget how young the man was, maybe a decade younger than Fenris and the youngest of their ragtag group, yet they all looked to him for leadership. For that matter, all of Kirkwall did. Fenris remembered that they had been on their way to meet with the source of a letter imploring Kaiden’s help when the slavers had ambushed them. Had Kaiden continued on to that meeting without him?

Kaiden stopped when he saw Fenris. “I was worried about you.”

“I… was thinking about what happened with Hadriana. I owe you an apology.”

Kaiden waved a hand. “There’s no need. I understand.”

“You are generous.” Fenris rubbed the back of his neck, for once uncomfortable with silence. “You… found who sent the note?”

Kaiden nodded and walked forward, removing his traveling cloak with a grimace. “It was a templar.”

Fenris saw that Kaiden’s robe was stained with blood and he felt his chest tighten at the thought of Kaiden being attacked, and that he hadn’t been there. “A trap?”

Kaiden shook his head. “He had cornered a group of apostates in a cavern. He had hoped to end the matter without bloodshed and wanted me to talk with them.”

Fenris nodded. “But they turned to blood magic.”

Kaiden sighed. “Yes, Fenris, some of them had turned to blood magic, but not all of them. I agreed to help them escape.  I had planned to tell the templar that they had all turned to blood magic and I had been forced to kill them.” He narrowed his ice-blue eyes. “Seems that would have been easily believed.”

Fenris ignored the jab. “Things never go as planned.”

“No, we left the caverns to find a whole company of templars. They forced the issue and we had to fight them.”

Fenris sprang to his feet. “You fought off a company of templars to free apostates? They’ll come after you now!”

A smile crept onto Kaiden’s face. “Then I’ll slay a company of undead.”

Venhedis! This is not a joke! You risk too much for these apostates!”

“I am an apostate, Fenris.”

“But they aren’t all…” Fenris pressed a gauntleted hand against his forehead. Coming here half-drunk had been a bad idea. “This… isn’t why I came here.” He passed Kaiden as he moved to leave the courtyard.

“So you’re just going to leave?” Contact. Fenris felt the magical energy in the hand that grabbed his arm coursing along his lyrium tattoos. He was back in Minrathaus, Danarius grabbing his arm. “Leaving so soon, my pet?”

Fenris slammed the mage against the wall, ready to rip his heart out. Stop. He stood poised for the kill, his hand on Kaiden’s chest, and felt the man’s heartbeat quicken. He looked up, expecting to see fear or anger, but instead found desire.

Kaiden watched a storm of emotions cross the face of the elf that had him pinned to the wall. For a moment, Fenris had looked like he would kill him, then the next like he might kiss him. Now he was no longer with Kaiden but somewhere else, his eyes closed and face lined in remembered pain.

For so long, Kaiden had held himself back, had kept his emotions in check. He didn’t know what that bastard magister had done to Fenris and he wouldn’t have blamed the elf if he’d never wanted to be with a mage. When Fenris had hinted his desires might be reciprocated, Kaiden had dared to hope. Maker, he wanted the elf so badly. As much as he wanted Fenris, he was willing to be as patient as the elf needed him to be. Right now, however, he realized he needed to act, to pull Fenris from the hatred and memories threatening to overwhelm him.

Slowly, as if approaching a wild animal that might start and flee, he raised his hand to the elf’s beautiful face. “I’m here, Fenris. Come back to me.” He brushed his fingers down Fenris’ cheek. The elf’s eyes shot open at the touch. With a snarl, he crushed Kaiden against the wall and attacked the mage’s mouth with his own.

Kaiden ceased to be aware of anything else. Fenris was pressed against him, kissing him hungrily, as if the elf had been craving this as much as he had. When he started to draw back, Kaiden spun them around so that Fenris was against the wall. No way was he letting this dream end so soon. Leaning down, he kissed the place where the lyrium tattoo curled behind the elf’s jaw. His lips tingled as the lyrium responded to him. When Fenris gasped, Kaiden drew back, fearful of causing the elf more pain. “The markings hurt you?”

The answer came out roughly. “Not now.” Fenris grabbed his hair and pulled the mage’s lips back to his throat. “Don’t stop.”

Kaiden chuckled. He certainly did not want to stop; he wanted more and more. Fenris made quiet sounds of pleasure as Kaiden continued his explorations. He felt the elf beginning to relax and respond to his touch, moving his lithe body against his and raking his hands down his back, so he asked, “Shall we take this inside?”

“If that is your wish.”

Yes, Maker, yes! There was nothing Kaiden wanted more, yet he hesitated, needing to be certain that the elf wanted it as well. “Is it yours?”

Fenris looked surprised, then grinned. “Unless you wish to scandalize your neighbors…”

Thinking of the priggish nobility with which he was forced to socialize, Kaiden returned the grin. “Well, that is tempting…” Fenris laughed and shoved him toward the door.

Kaiden rejoiced to find that the rest of his household had already retired for the night. Still, it felt like it took them forever to make it to his bedroom. Why did bedrooms have to be upstairs and in the back of the house?

Fenris watched as Kaiden cast a small flame spell into the hearth, lighting the room in a soft orange glow. The bedroom was paneled in dark wood whose age gave it a dignified appearance. The four-post bed was of a matching dark wood and covered by a worn quilt sewn with patterns of mabari, the noble warrior dog of Fereldan.

Kaiden pulled his robe off his shoulders and let it fall over his arms and pool at his feet. Fenris stood transfixed by the beautiful nearly naked man before him. He was not a mage from the Circle Tower, pouring over books. He had had to work hard most of his young life and it showed. Firelight limned orange the lean muscular curves of his shoulders, waist, and round ass. The man was fucking gorgeous. Kaiden was not a hairy man, but still had more than an elf and the slightly curled hair of his legs caught the firelight. The hair on his chest formed a “V” that pointed to the trail that began just over his navel and led down, broadening and thickening until it disappeared under his small-clothes.

The man moved like a cat, all grace and latent power. Fenris wondered how he had never noticed it before. Running his hands over Fenris's armor, Kaiden tried to find how to remove it. Fenris reached up and unfastened it himself, deftly, efficiently. It was always worse to make them wait, always worse to give them a reason for frustration. No. Fenris mentally shook himself. This was Kaiden.

Fenris was intensely aware of the air brushing across his now bare skin and the heat from the body of the man in front of him as Kaiden guided him to the bed. The quilt against his back was soft and smelled of sandalwood, warm and spicy, like the man who owned it. Fenris was glad that Kaiden did not smell of figs and wine. Warm skin brushed his own and he felt Kaiden’s erection press against his thigh. He started to roll over, but Kaiden stopped him with a hand to his shoulder. “Stay with me.”

Confused as to what the mage wanted, Fenris turned back to him. Kaiden met his gaze and gently kissed the lyrium markings that curled over his chin. Fenris moaned softly at the tingle of magic. Never had he thought he would enjoy that feeling, but Kaiden was a man unlike any other. Kaiden kissed the base of his neck and caressed the lyrium markings with his tongue, sending more tingles through him. Then he moved up, red hair brushing Fenris’s face as he nuzzled the elf’s ear. “You are beautiful.”

Fenris was not sure what he was supposed to do, but did not think that lying still was expected this time. He ran his hands down the broad muscle from Kaiden’s shoulders to the small of his back, enjoying the feel of warm skin against his palms. Kaiden responded by rubbing his body against his, then lifted his head to smile at Fenris. “Mmm, I like when you touch me.”

Fenris knew Kaiden had had many lovers before they met who had no doubt touched him more skillfully than he knew how. “You are generous.”

“No, I want this.” Kaiden touched the tip of his nose to his. “I want you.” He kissed the corner of Fenris’s mouth. “I want to please you.” He brushed his lips just under Fenris’s ear. “Let me worship you.”

This was madness. “I am yours.”

Kaiden trailed kisses down his body, lingering wherever Fenris responded in pleasure. He made slow progress. Magic was dancing through the lyrium. It felt like the buzz of wine, like sunlight on his skin. Kaiden continued lower and his hair swept against Fenris’s hip. Fenris felt his desire build, pulsing, painful even. He felt warm breath against him. Without thinking, he grabbed a handful of that red hair and pulled Kaiden closer. Kaiden ran his tongue up the lyrium along his shaft. Fenris gasped as pleasure arced through him. This was why the magisters… no, he would not think of that. Lifting his head, he saw Kaiden crouched over his legs, watching him, looking like a jungle cat about to pounce. Kaiden quirked a smile, then took Fenris’s cock into his mouth.

Fenris dropped back against the bed as he was plunged underwater, or pulled out of it. He’d had no idea his body was capable of such… sensation. It was overwhelming. “Festis bei umo canavarum.”

“Mmm?” Kaiden purred against him.

“It means… you will… Hawke…” He flexed his hips as his grip on Kaiden’s hair tightened. He felt Kaiden chuckle around him and it sent him over the edge, into ecstasy. He was falling, and it was exhilarating. Then all at once he plunged into a sea of memories. He was pouring wine for Danarius's first apprentice, a man with eyes cold and dark as space. He failed to catch the crystal goblet before it shattered on the clay tiles. Then he sank deeper, into the murkiness that hid whom he had been before the ritual. Sunlight blinded him as he jumped out from behind a sheet; he was small, chasing an elven girl with red pigtails through a maze of laundry hung to dry. Then they were older, he was telling her to run as he held his master's apprentice pinned to the ground, beating him; he wouldn't let this bastard touch his sister…

“Fenris?” He opened his eyes to see Kaiden’s face beside his, concern in those ice-blue eyes. “Are you alright?”

He forced a smile. “Better.” Kaiden returned his smile and settled on the bed beside Fenris, lightly running his fingers over the lyrium markings. Soon the lyrium was humming again. Fenris shifted. His leg brushed Kaiden’s erection and he felt the man shudder against him. A pang of guilt brought him out of his introspection. He would not be serviced like some magister. Fenris ran his hand through that red hair, now damp with perspiration. “Take me.”

Kaiden moved to look at him and Fenris saw strain in the will that easily turned down demons. “Fenris, you don’t-”

Fenris placed his fingers over Kaiden’s mouth, embarrassed by his continued solicitude. “I’m not made of glass.”

Kaiden looked away. “I didn’t mean-”

“I know, amans, and that is why I want to do this.” He drew Kaiden’s gaze back to him. “Take me. I am yours.”

When Fenris felt Kaiden pressing intimately against him, he tensed for a moment, fighting against the memories. Breathing in the man's scent helped him focus on where he was. This was Kaiden; he wanted this. The mage slowly pushed into him, waiting for him to relax before sinking deeper, and Fenris felt him gasp against his neck, “Maker, you feel so good.” As he began to move in a steady rhythm, something inside the elf responded, similar to the lyrium but different, deeper, sending waves of pleasure through his core. Kaiden began to stroke him in time with his movement, and the thrill of the added sensation built swiftly until Fenris didn't think he would be able to take it. His body was racked with ecstasy when the tension finally reached the point of release. Then, as he tumbled down from the heights of his climax, the darkness again overtook him.

He pinned the half-elf against the wall with his body, tore through clothing that cost more than he was worth to find smooth perfect skin unmarred by slavery. This magister's son was his. He ran his teeth over that perfect neck to a subtly pointed ear, looked into dark brown eyes as the boy smiled back at him. Then he saw nothing but his master, felt nothing but the need to obey, but just a moment he saw dark brown eyes wide with terror as he activated the lyrium...

Fenris came back to himself with a gasp and tried unsuccessfully to repress a shudder. He felt Kaiden pull him closer and kiss the back of his neck. Grasping one of the man’s hands, Fenris tried to anchor himself to the present, to this room and this man, but something tugged at his mind. He thought he had recalled something from just after Danarius had branded him…but there was only an impression of himself that he hated. At that time, there had been nothing more to him than the will to obey. Was he fooling himself to believe that he had ever risen above that? No, he was free now, damn it. Yet here he was, lying in the arms of another mage.

Kaiden's breathing had slowed and his body had relaxed into sleep. Never before had Fenris had a lover fall asleep beside him, not that he would give Danarius nor any of his acquaintances such a generous title. He’d been thrown from the room like so much trash once they were done with him. But now he lay with his back against Kaiden and the man’s arms wrapped around him. It was strange, possessive in a way that Fenris had never experienced. He felt protected, cherished even.

He wanted to join the mage in sleep but a growing anxiety prevented him from doing so, like the feeling he’d had when he knew the slavers were closing in on him. He moved to disentangle himself from the comfortable embrace and Kaiden shifted in his sleep to lie on his back. Fenris brushed a strand of red hair from his face. Maker, the man was beautiful. This sickness was only going to get worse. Already he hated the thought of life without Kaiden. And then there were those memories…

Fenris climbed out of bed and quietly dressed himself. He almost left then, but couldn’t bring himself to do so. Leaning against the hearth, he stared into the fire, seeking to calm himself and figure out just what he was doing.

“Was it… that bad?”

“I’m sorry, it’s not…” Fenris turned to Kaiden. “It was fine.” When Kaiden’s gaze dropped to the floor, Fenris mentally kicked himself. “No. That is insufficient. It was better than anything I could have dreamed.”

“Was it… too soon?”

“No!” He turned back to the fire and took a deep breath. “It’s… I began to remember… my life before… just flashes…”

“Your life before? What do you mean?”

“I told you, I’ve never remembered anything from before… the ritual… when Danarius… gave me these markings.” For a moment, he was back in that dark cell, chained… the smell of blood, consuming pain… Fenris recoiled from the memory. Focusing his gaze on the fire, he tried to remember what he had seen this night. “There were faces… words…  For just a moment, I could recall all of it… and then it slipped away. It’s too much.  I cannot… do this.”

“I thought… Don’t you want to get your memories back?”

“I’ve never remembered anything. To have it all come back in a rush only to lose it… I can’t.  I can’t.”

“I’m here for you, Fenris. We can work through this.”

“I’m sorry. I feel like such a fool. All I wanted was to be happy, just for a little while.” He could not look at Kaiden or his resolve would crumble. That would only make things worse – for both of them. “This should never have happened. Forgive me.”
soundtrack: Not Strong Enough by Apocalyptica…

Next chapter

Author's Note: This story is a Dragon Age 2 fan fiction, but I have done my best to make it accessible and enjoyable to those not familiar with the game. I started writing this story because I felt that there needed to be more to what happens between Hawke and Fenris. It is my version of what Fenris might have been dealing with also my idea of what Danarius should have been.

This story contains sexuality and violence and also deals with some darker themes. I do my best do treat these in an honest way, but it may be disturbing to some readers.

All that said, the characters have become near and dear to me and I sincerely hope that you enjoy the story. :heart:

Many thanks to my early readers on, who gave me valuable feedback and encouragement when I was not sure if my writing would connect with anyone, and to my readers here and especially those who leave comments - it means a lot! :aww:

Extra special thanks to :icondarkdelusion:, :iconbloodrainfiredawn:, :iconciarandwynvil:, :icondorianharper:, :iconyumenouveau:, :iconmewmewmizuno:, :iconsingingflames:, :iconsinger-of-light:, :icongaspode5:, :iconthelonelyseeker: and :iconmrdrace: for the helpful critiques and editing! :thanks:

And extra thanks and love to my dear friends :icondanmaro: and :iconchrisellbell: for their friendship, support, advice, and for reading countless drafts! :icongrouphugplz:

Dragon Age, its universe, and characters, all belong to Bioware.
(except for Kaiden and other OC's who belong to me ;) )

Yours to Hold by ErinM31
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I read the first version of the story and have just now finished reading the second version. All the hard work you poured into it paid off beautifully. While the first part of the story is built around the in-game events, what happens between Kaiden and Fenris introduces another layer to the tale, and makes it a captivating read. You definitely have an understanding for Fenris' conflicted personality and his reasons for becoming the man he is. The mingling of past and present was so bitter and the way his memories tainted the moments of first love making was so sad that I can't wait to read the next parts of your tale, hoping that he'll find the strength to overcome the power of the past. I have a feeling that he might with Kaiden's help. The respect and understanding Kaiden gives him certainly suggests so. It's the way you portray their emotions which made this chapter a riveting and memorable story for me.

You hooked me on your tale and I'm looking forward to reading the next part. :heart:
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The Artist thought this was FAIR
7 out of 7 deviants thought this was fair.

While I don't know anything about the original story that this was written for, I'll start out by saying that you do an amazing job grounding the reader in this world and with the characters. Many times, when I try to read pieces that are from worlds already established, it's hard for me to grasp everything about them and I'm often lost without the proper knowledge, but you do a great job in making it so that even if a reader didn't know anything about this world, they would understand the way it works, etc. For that, I definitely say good job!

On top of that, your descriptions are beautiful. They're not overly done, but at the same time, not too little. You have the perfect ground between them to make the reader engaged and able to visualize the world without beating them over the head with it.

Another thing that I have to applaud you on is your dialogue. Many times, dialogue can come off as "cheesy" or there because it should be there, but you make it a point to have all the dialogue that is added to have a purpose. Everything said is said with meaning, and I think that's what really drives this story along.

I really don't have any real criticism with this piece at all. I suppose my only suggestion would be to give this a read-over aloud and see if you can catch any unnecessary words that don't need to be in there. I came across a few here and there (nothing extreme, but eliminating some may just help get this to its final, polished form) that could be cleaned up and taken out. It would still keep the meaning of the sentence, but just make it shorter and more tidied.

I think the only real thing that I'm going to be nit-picky about overall is when "foreign language" is used, it needs to be italicized. There was one part towards the end of the chapter where Fenris makes a statement in Latin (I believe) that just needs to be italicized.

Overall, however, like I mentioned before, this was a very well written piece. You've established a believable and compelling world and atmosphere and place the characters into it well. Your style is smooth and keeps the reader interested and engaged. Very well written!
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The Artist thought this was FAIR
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roundtower Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2016   General Artist
* ¡Fantástico trabajo! Lo hemos destacado dentro de la carpeta "Featured nº5 o Destacados nº 5" en Special-Groups. (Es la carpeta donde se exhiben los mejores trabajos del grupo).
¡Por favor, queremos ver más trabajos tuyos en el grupo!. 

:artist: Trophy Emote 2 

* Fantastic work! Featured in Special-Groups in folder Featured nº 5. (Best works of the group). 
Please, We want to see more works in the group of you!. 
the self portrait Gold Medal Emote
TheMitmit Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Student Writer
You were definitely able to convey very intense emotions within a ride range. You've managed to make me very sad after reading this, and I was caught up in Frenris' inner state the entire time. At first I wondered if I could find him sympathetic after the opening, but I did come to an appreciation of his suffering. The flashbacks were handled well, they added a new layer to what was happening. 

The descriptions you had were good (the metaphor of the fish for the heart really stood out, I could feel that perfectly), however I felt at times you opted for adjectives rather than descriptions and metaphors. I would go over this again and elaborate on how you describe the setting and the characters. You describe characters as beautiful and such, but why are they perceived that way? I feel like this could flesh out the world more, and ground the characters more in the reader's mind. 

I did enjoy reading this piece,  though I'm' not familiar with the game :)
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014
Thank you so much for the thoughtful feedback and giving my piece a read even though I know that fan fiction is not your thing! :tighthug: :heart:
I really appreciate it! :thanks:

I am very glad that the story drew you in and that the emotions came across! You make a good point about the descriptions and I shall work at weaving more -- especially of the characters -- into the piece. :nod:
TheMitmit Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2014  Student Writer
You're very welcome :)
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2014
TheLoneInquisitor Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

Ok, the beginning is a quite strong one and has the right amount of words, and even if I never played DA2 now I know that Fenris was a slave, that Tevinter blood-mages are slavers and that Fenris hates all mages, but how can you blame him? While playing DAO I've never grown fond of mages, never sympathized too much with the unfortunate condition they are forced to live in Thedas, but I guess that DA2 gives you a deeper view of their plight, and if not DA2 your chapter does ;) Unfortunately I have no clue if Hadriana is a character coming from the game of if she's an OC of yours.

Fenris... I only knew his name and that he's a white haired elf with an unsympathetic face (to me) who never excited my curiosity to know him better, while Anders was the only reason I wished to play DA2. Now I must say that I rather like him, he's a very profound and dramatic character with a troubled past that overwhelms his mind and soul and sometimes carries him away. Like my Duncan :meow:

The first kiss: as Gaspode said, the story begins at a point in which many things have already happened but you miss not reading about how Kaiden and Fenris met and how their relationship evolved to this point. ... :lol: Why did bedrooms have to be upstairs and in the back of the house?
  Llama Emoji-69 (Llama Block) [V3] 

 The love scene was hot and tasteful. Fenris the man who coldly ripped the heart from a woman's chest, here turns into a helpless puppy who never experienced cuddling in his life, frightened by his desire to be happy, and he's so clumsily sweet .:meow:. 

ErinM31 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014
Thank you so much for reading and commenting and faving! :tighthug: And I am so happy you enjoyed it! :meow:

I would not count on DA2 making you sympathize with mages more! That game... I swear, all the mages become abominations but all the templars are twists and everyone besides... :stare: Makes you want to say, "To the Void with you all! I'm going back to Fereldan!" :grump:

Hadriana is a character from the game and Fenris's recollections about her were inspired by things he said in game.

I am so glad you like Fenris! He can be difficult and prickly but I really love him! :love: I guess I have a thing for troubled guys -- sounds like you do too? Hmm, makes me want to continue reading your version of Duncan all the more! ;)

Part of me does want to go back and explore the beginning of their relationship... maybe after I actually make it to the end of the story! ^^; At this point, I feel like I should finish the edits I'm working on and move onward! :typerhappy:

Thank you again for the thoughtful feedback (and the cute emoticons)! :iconflyingheartsplz:
TheLoneInquisitor Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

oh, so DA2 actually spoils the DA world as many friends of mine told me, it's nonsense :facepalm:


I have a thing for troubled guys too, yes, and in DAO there's a good collection of them, an embarrassing wealth of options ;P

But I'm 42 so I fell for Duncan at once, Alistair was too young and I had to identify myself *a lot* with my warden not to feel like a dirty old lady :giggle:

About the beginning of their relationship you could write what is called a spin-off (...I think :confused:) a one shot related to the multichapter fiction, I saw many authors do that ^^

I'll wait for the edits then, thank you :hug:

ErinM31 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014
Yes, unfortunately it does. There are some good things in DA2, such as the characters... but... :grump:

Hehe, nothing wrong with being a cougar! :giggle: I did not expect to fall for Alistair -- he is not at all my type -- but he was sooo sweet and adorkable and actually a good match for my Amell Warden :aww: except that he would have broken her heart had he become king. :fork:

That is a good idea and I may do that! :) I think that I shall also include some flashbacks as Gaspode suggested.

Thank you again! :hug:
TheLoneInquisitor Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

I was very lucky my first run was with a Cousland ^^; When I played with a city elf I had already been warned and didn't make him king, for my dalish I downloaded the 'anyone can marry Alistair' mod... no, Zevran was not an option :doh:

Flashbacks are a very good idea, Gaspode herself has put many in her story :nod:

My pleasure :aww:

ErinM31 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
I guess I got lucky on my first playthrough as an Amell -- I didn't make him king because I believed that wasn't what he really wanted anyway. It was upsetting enough when he left over my sparing Loghain. Reload... Then I wanted to kill Morrigan when she proposed the Ritual. :stab: I thought that I could sacrifice myself and so when the Archdemon's health was low I -- a mage -- was stabbing at him with a knife! :p But then then Alistair insisted on sacrificing himself. I cried and then reloaded again... :tears:

I feel like these flashbacks might actually fit best much later in the story. While part of me says that backstory should come earlier rather than later, my first chapters are already a bit cluttered. ^^;

Thank you again! :hug:
TheLoneInquisitor Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

You know? I didn't spare Loghain in my first run BUT my Cousland just tried to hint that MMMAAAAYBE Riordan's wasn't a bad idea and that we should have given him the chance to become a Grey Warden, but Alistair went mad so I let him behead the bastard... well, soon after Alistair dumped her nonetheless :jawdrop:

Reloaded, killed Loghain immediately, Alistair agreed about making me his queen ^^;

Now after having read TST I just CAN'T kill Loghain anymore, so, bye bye Aly :shrug:

The first chapter isn't cluttered at all anyway, about the others, I'll wait for the updates ;)

ErinM31 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
Psh, Alistair acts like such a child sometimes! :grump: It makes me want to finish my Cousland playthrough and take the thrown myself! :plotting:

Thank you! I really hope I finish the updates this week -- so long as my characters cooperate! :shakefist: I hope they aren't too cluttered, but maybe I put in too many threads and POVs in the space I have allotted them... I'll look forward to hearing your opinion! Oh, and chapter 2 is fine to read, but no further yet! ;)
Gaspode5 Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
This is an interesting beginning but whilst I can guess why you jumped in to the story like this I must admit I miss not reading about Kaiden and Fenris meeting and how their relationship evolved to this point. Initially I thought I might have missed a chapter or two.

That said, the story grabs you and drags you along. Kaiden is a good character and you have captured the voice of the others really well. I know I will enjoy this exploration of Fenris as well as Kaiden and their relationship.

"Anders shook his head. “After all we’ve done for you… How many times has Hawke risked his life to save your worthless hide?”" I must admit I agree with Anders here. Don't get me wrong, I adore Fenris but he is in every way as narrow minded as Anders is. In the game I remember thinking 'Ouch' when he dropped this on me (a mage) and wished there was more 'I'm deeply hurt' dialogue options.

Now, moving on to next chapter...
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014
Thank you so much for reading and commenting and faving! :tighthug: I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! :iconlawooplz:

I had thought that people wouldn't want to read the story they already know so in my first draft, there was only an abbreviated version of this chapter, an short chapter two, and then straight to the confrontation with Danarius (and where my story dramatically departs from the game) in chapter three! Once I had gained some confidence in my writing, and realized that my story really needed more development of Kaiden and Fenris's relationship, I went back and added a lot more. I thought of going back to their meeting... Maybe I should have? I guess I had grown rather attached to the story's opening. :shrug:

Oh yes, there were several situations in the game where a proper reply was lacking! :shakefist:

Thank you again for the feedback! :iconfkhugplz:
Gaspode5 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014
My pleasure! :cuddle:

It would be a very lengthy process to put in the past of Kaiden's and Fenris relationship. As I read I was wondering how it could be done without you having to write up a load of new chapters. Then I thought that if you ever wanted to flesh out that part, you could simply put in back flashes, a couple of paragraphs of memories from their earlier meetings, in suitable places. They wouldn't have to come all at the same time. There are probably key moments in their evolving relationship that they specifically remember, things that made them realise they liked the other, situations that brought them closer together. Just a thought. Somebody else might not think the back story is all that important, could be just me. :shrug:
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014
Oh that's an excellent idea! Thank you! :glomp: Others have mentioned that some more backstory of their relationship would be nice, and I have thought so too, but did not wish to change the story's opening. I'll see where some backstory would fit as I do some edits (and possible editions) to the first dozen chapters. :)
Gaspode5 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014
:handshake: I'm looking forward to whatever you do. :eager:
leyghan Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Effing fantastic. Once I started reading I couldn't stop.
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013
Nothing makes a writer happier! :love: Thank you so much for commenting and for the :+fav:! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :heart:
Greenleaf1075 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Your work is amazing! I have started a new group dedicated to all fandoms. Please join and share your amazing work! :iconfanfictionandcomics: Keep up the great work and have a wonderful day!
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013
Thank you so much! :glomp:
Greenleaf1075 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You are welcome!
Lesliewifeofbath Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is a great piece of work and I'm really happy that you submitted it to the Bards.  I just bought Dragon Age and am really looking forward to playing it. 
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2013
Thank you so much! :aww: I'm sure you'll enjoy Dragon Age -- Origins is my favorite game of all time! :dance:
MewMewMizuno Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I have to admit that I'm not familiar with Dragon Age. Even so, I never felt like what I was reading didn't make sense. Sure, I didn't understand every little bit, but the story made sense. However, a little bit more information would have been nice here and there. For example, I have trouble seeing how the first scene fits into the story as a whole. It brought Kaiden and Fenris together in that last scene, okay, but other than that I don't feel like that scene added a whole lot. Maybe that's because I'm new to Dragon Age, and new to your work, but I thought I'd mention it.
I have to say that Fenris reads like a realistic character. He went through a lot of horrible things, and I like how Kaiden did not make him forget about all that with the pleasure he gave Fenris. I've seen writers do that. A sexually traumatised character would react different from others to sex, and it's good to see that happen to Fenris. As I said, it makes him more believable as a character.
Fenris' markings have me intrigued, and I like how you made them play such a significant role in this story.
All in all, an enjoyable read even for those utterly unfamiliar with the game. Keep up the good work :D
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013
Thank you so much for the thoughtful feedback! :thanks: Sorry for not replying sooner -- I wanted to leave it as a reminder to come by your gallery and then the year got crazy... :faint: Let me know if there's any piece in particular that you would like feedback on! :)

I'm very happy that you enjoyed the story and characters! Making them believable and relatable is very important to me. I can see how the opening scene would be confusing without knowing what happened in the game; I'll see if I can find ways to improve it. :thumbsup:
MewMewMizuno Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Happy to help ^^
Since you are offering, there is one piece I'd like feedback on:…
There's no rush, take your time :)
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013
I hope I was of some help! ^^; I think it was quite an unusual request and I applaud you for taking on such a challenge! :clap:
MewMewMizuno Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you :D
YumeNouveau Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Really interesting story. I'm not familiar with Dragon Age, but as a lover of fantasy writing, it's easy to put myself into this unfamiliar world. I do wish there was a bit more of an explanation of this world for new readers like me--how this society of slaves, elves, mages and undead functions. You named some other races and classes like apostates and templars, which I have no idea what they are, so an explanation would be helpful there as well. I love the markings on Fenris, they sound so beautiful and how they react to Kaiden's touch, what a perfect way to make a sex scene unique! I also applaud you on how well you wrote the parts where Fenris gets pulled into memories of his past--those could easily have made the story choppy and stopped the narrative flow, but they were really well written and added a lot so show how damaged poor Fenris is.
The beginning confused me a bit though, I had to read it 3 times just to figure out what was going on and when these events were taking place. Sadly I didn't notice the italics until the 2nd time around, so figured it was a flashback, and then was still unsure who "she" was, since you have two unnamed women within that flashback, until the 3rd paragraph when you give his master's apprentice a name. I think it was just a confusion of too many pronouns, but after that the story flowed smoothly.
I hope poor Fenris can come to terms with allowing himself to love and be loved, I really adore tragic characters like him and will definitely read the next part. You have a great style, glad you are sharing your writing here :heart: (SIW FC)
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013
Thank you so much for the thoughtful feedback! :thanks: Sorry for not replying sooner -- I wanted to leave it as a reminder to come buy your gallery and then the years just got crazy...

I'm so happy that you enjoyed the story and connected with the characters despite being unfamiliar with the game! And thank you for pointing out what aspects were unclear; I've made some updates (and am adding additional scenes in future chapters) that hopefully make it easier to enter the world. I am always concerned about giving too much exposition at once.

Thank you again for the wonderful feedback and let me know if there is any piece in particular that you would like feedback on! :hug:
YumeNouveau Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
You're very welcome, I really liked this contest, it was great to branch out to fics I typically wouldn't read, I found your and some other lovely ones and had fun leaving and recieving feedback to improve my work.  
The characters are quite interesting, I ended up looking up more about them after reading your fics to see pictures and more about their personalities even though I'm not much of a gamer.  I'm sad you haven't written any more yet, I was interested to read more about these characters, but I'm sure life's gotten in the way of tends to do that OTL
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013
Thank you! :love: There shall be more; I've had several chapters in progress for months now, but yes, life has definitely gotten in the way this year. :( I'm starting to set aside time now, because I'm never going to "find" it otherwise, and having almost no time for art and writing this past year has not been good for me. I'm happy to be back on dA; I love the community and will be contributing more art and writing soon! :la:
YumeNouveau Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh RL *shakes fist*
I hope you can find some time to finish some works, can't wait to read them :love:
DA really is a great's got it's flaws, but it's always inspirational and amazing when you find others who are interested in your works and keep you wanting to create more :heart:
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013
Thank you so much! :hug: I've been working on several scenes but have somehow managed to get stuck in all of them! :ohnoes:
I hate it when that happens... :writersblock:

I agree -- dA has been a great source of inspiration for me and I've met many wonderful people! :love:
YumeNouveau Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh yay, can't wait to see what you come up with once you get yourself unstuck :iconherotimeplz:
SingingFlames Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I love your use of language and flashbacks. You're a very intense writer, and you really pulled me into the story, made me sympathize with Fenris from the opening paragraph. Normally, I find flashbacks can be hard to pull off, but you did it beautifully. All of yours fit naturally in the storyline and added to it.

I loved all your descriptions. My favorite line was, "It was her smile that killed her." You made a few small words into an extremely powerful statement. Excellently handled.

I really had to look for something that I thought might need improving, and since I haven't played the game, this may be how they talk/think, and therefor irrelevant. I noticed that on a few occasions they used various profanities. I have no problems with the words, but I wonder if that's era-appropriate. In one spot, Kaiden is referred to as, "fucking gorgeous." When I read medieval fantasy pieces, if there is cussing it usually uses the standard definition, not more modern slang usages (granted I don't know exactly when 'fuck' became used as more than a verb). For example, "They fucked," and "horse shit." It takes me out of the moment when I hear it used differently in a medieval fantasy piece. Again, the game may use those words that way, and if so, it's perfectly canon. (I swear I saw 'shit' and 'ass' in here somewhere but for the life of me, I can't find them now.)

Excellent story! You handled every aspect extremely well and believably. Thank you for sharing! :)
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013
:thanks: Thank you so very much for the thoughtful critique! :tighthug: I'm so happy that it pulled you in and enjoy the story! :aww:

Profanity is used in the game, but come to think of it, some modern slang usages may not have been. I'll reconsider my word choices there. Thank you for pointing that out! :)

Thank you again for reading and I shall definitely come by your gallery this week! :hug: Is there any piece in particular that you would like me to look at?
SingingFlames Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome! It was my pleasure to read it. :D

Most of my work is Transformers related, although I do have a Batman/Neil Gaiman's Sandman crossover in there. I'm not sure if either sound appealing to you. The one I'd prefer is the crossover ([link]), but here is one of the Transformers pieces ([link]). If either of those sound interesting, I'd love to have your opinion on them. (The crossover is currently being judged for a contest, so I can't change anything until I hear the results, but I'd still love some feedback.)
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013
Sorry for the ridiculously long delay in getting to your work! :forgiveme: It's been a stressful busy year and was away from art, writing, and dA for too long. :(

But I finally read your crossover piece and loved it! :deviation:

Thank you again for your feedback on my work! :glomp: I am still undecided on some of my uses of modern slang. I do see your point and they may not be cannon... yet feel right to me... maybe I need to play the game again and then come back to my story... =D
SingingFlames Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Hobbyist Writer

That's perfectly understandable. Sadly, real life tends to step in and keep us from things we wish we could be doing. I hope your life has gotten less stressful now. :hug:

I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D

That's understandable too. :) You know the source material better than I do, so it may fit in there perfectly. And, when it's all said and done, you have to write what feels right to you. After all, your number one audience is yourself. If something is telling you that it feels right, there's probably a reason for it. :nod:

ErinM31 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013
Thank you so much! :huggle:
Blacksand459 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! That is one of the most well-written prose pieces I've read on DA. Actually, it is on par with the work of professional authors.
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013
Wow, thank you so much for the wonderful compliment! :thanks:
Blacksand459 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome. :)
demonicpresance Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
Can we talk about this for a second?

This is amazing. It's fantastic. I'm in love.

Hawke and Fenris has always been my favorite pairing. And this story is well thought out. It puts all of the info you get from the game and gives it a fresh face with your own plot points.

I am a happy kitty.

And I can't wait for more.

And now I want to play Dragon Age 2 the Xbox!!
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
Thank you so very much! :happybounce: Nothing makes me happier than to know that others have connected with and enjoy my story! :aww:
unusedEmotion Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student Writer
ErinM31 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
thank you :aww:
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