Tale of the Stranger (or How I Met Selena Hawke)

Chapter 12

"Are you sure you're ready, Sebastian?"

"Aye. As ready as I'll ever be."

I nodded to the Chantry priest and approached the door of the Harriman estate. I knew it would be empty upon arrival, but Sebastian had no clue as to my previous knowledge and I really didn't feel like trying to explain everything to him right now. So cautious entry it was.

We were a group of five today. Sebastian and I would be handling long range, though I could defend us if someone got too close. Anders took care of our magical and healing needs, while Hawke and Fenris were our muscle. It was a well-rounded group and I felt good about our ability to fight together. Admittedly, this would be a first forray for Sebastian, but I knew he could hold his own.

At first, I had thought about taking a couple of the guys and finishing this on our own. But then I realized that Sebastian really needed to see for himself that the perpatrators of his family's death had been dealt with. That, in the end, if justice didn't come at his own hand, he would never feel as though it had really been done. Foreshadowing, Selena, I thought to myself with a shudder. Cut that out.

Hawke and I took lead, mostly because he always lead and I had a general idea of where we were going. Fenris covered our backs while Anders and Sebastian stayed central, ready to cover long range. After going up stairs, then down stairs, then around blind corner after blind corner, I decided that all Teventer Architects were a bunch of drunken idiots. We ended up having to follow the sound of Flora Harriman's screaming at a wine cask to find her.

"She can't hear me!" Sebastian cried in frustration. I reached out to place a comforting hand on his arm, only to see Garrett's brows dipp and take a small step closer. Wow, he really didn't like me getting too close to Sebastian. Soemthing I'd have to ponder at a later time. Right now, we still had Brett and Ruxton to find.

The smell of fire lead us to Brett, along with a couple of elvehn servants. A large iron pot sat over a fire built in the middle of the dining hall floor, filled with rapidly melting gold. Brett was pacing, agitated that they needed more gold while the male servant, eyes glazed, held a short sword tot he throat of the other. Brett had no clue we were there, but the elves did, and Sebastian was forced to lay the one out cold to free the other.

I admit it. It was pretty hot. A bit too much swing in the carry through, but effective none the less. Just not something he'd want to continue for long term or he'd tear his rotator cuff- having an ex-husband that was into boxing had taught me a thing or two.

Ruxton Harriman was a bit of an eye opener. In the game, he still wore his pants and there was supposed to be not much more than over-the-clothes felacio going on. What we walked into was nowhere near that tame. An elvehn woman was chained face down over a tall bench, legs akimbo and strapped to immobility. What I could see of her back was covered in bruises, bot old and fresh, drying semen and a multitude of cuts, all oozing blood. Ruxton was nude, fucking her ass with abandon, leaning down to lick whatever fluids he could reach, then slicing her anew with a small letter opener.

Before the rest of us could react, Hawke had slammed his shield directly into Ruxton's face, sending the man flying to slump unconcious one th efloor. "Anders!"

The mage moved forward, healing powers already forming at his finger tips while I slipped down to begin work on the poor woman's shackles.

"I'm so sorry, Hawke! I would never have believed this of Ruxton Harriman. He's such a...well, a prude!" Sebastian said softly, frowning down at his former friend.

"It's the quiet ones you've gotta watch out for," Garrett reassured him. "Don't worry. It's not like this something we haven't seen before."

Except that I knew it was something he'd never seen, and that later tonight, when all was said and done, it would hit him just how bad this really was.

I managed to get the last lock undone just as Anders had the poor woman healed enough that she could slip into her clothing and make a run for it. All I could do was hope that maybe later we could find her in the Alienage and make sure she was all right.

I turned to take in the members of our party to see how they were dealing with things. Anders had moved over to Garrett, the two holding each other. Sebastian was kneeling, hands clasped, praying to the Maker for the girl's recovery. Fenris was- SHIT! Fenris!

The elf stood, staring blankly at the chains and blood still left on the bench, eyes glazed and shaking. We was gone, lost in a memory of Denarius. I approached him slowly, hands away from my sides to show I was unarmed, not that he could really see it. "Fenris?" I said softly, taking another step closer. "Fenris, it's Selena. Can you hear me?"

The others looked towards us, Anders taking a step before I shooed him back. Fenris nodded imperceptably. "Fenris, I'm going to step in front of the bench, all right? I want you to look at me. Not anything else, okay?"

Again he nodded, a little stronger this time. I side stepped into his field of vision and it was as though all the tension that had been there eased out of him. Of course, that tension was all that was keeping him upright and I had to jump forward to catch him about the waist. Damned elf was heavier than he looked and the two of us ended up on our knees, his face pressed to my chest to keep from seeing the torturous device behind me.

We stayed this way for some minutes, holding each other as I whispered soothing nonsense and stroked his hair. Thankfully, one of the boys thought to cover the bench with a sheet, though some of the blood was fresh enough to seep through. Eventually Fenris stopped shaking and took a deep, calming breath.

"I apologize," he said softly. "I was...surprised. It will not happen again."

"It's all right, Fenris. I understand. Better than you think," I told him, brushing a strand of white hair back behind his ear. He shuddered at the touch, then gave me a slight quirk of the lips that I knew to be one of his smiles.

"We should move on," he said, standing, then reaching to help me as well.

"Definitely. I want this over and done with as soon as possible. Onwards and downwards, gentleman."

The wine cellar, the first real test of Sebastian's ability to fight amongst us, went off with barely a hitch. The Harriman children began their babbling, but I didn't really need to listen to that again,so I used that time to find Sebastian's Grandfather's bow, tucking it in with my own to give to the prince at a later time.

Then came the shades and desire demon. Alowly one to start with, relatively weak, but still good practice for Sebastian. I watched him as we worked. It didn't take him long to get a good feel for how the others fought, anticipating where they would be, firing only where thye wouldn't. And he was a dead bang shot, too. Better than me, anyway.

"Hey, Vael," I called, firing into the eye of a shade about to try sneaking up on Anders.

"Yes, dearest lady?" Thwip,heart shot, another one down.

"How about a game? Most kills, loser buys first round at the Hanged Man tonight?"

Sebastian seemed to think aobut it for a moment, then reached into his quiver, pulling out three arrowsa t once, fiiting them to the string and letting fly in a heart beat. Thwip, thwip, thwip. Heart, heart, eye. "I do believe I accept your wager, serrah."

Well, damn!

Scratch of beard brushing between my legs. Tingle of magic from the cock between my lips. Deep growl from the lips at my breast. It was amazing, rapturous, everything I could possibly want.

NO! It's wrong! This isn't the way things are!

*Oh, but they could be*

Sweet mouth latched onto my clit, tingle of lit lyrium upon my other breast, a wash of the cool peppermint feeling over my entire body.

*Isn't this what you dreamed about, back in your old life? It could all be yours.*

"Fuck! Allure's got Selena!"

No! It's not right! They're nothing but puppets your way! It won't be real!

*But 'real' saw you beaten, alone and penniless. This will see you loved.*

No, it will see me enslaved.

"How do we free her?"

"Kill the demon!"

I could hear them, like a whisper on the wind, screaming their rage at the desire demon. I faintly felt my body fall to the hard packed earth of the buried ritual chamber. And I knew that if I was to be free, I would have to fight her here.

Where before I was nude and surrounded by my men, I was now armed and armored, Speed and Agility at the ready. No arrows against this bitch. I wanted to get down and dirty.

She stood before me, six feet of tits and ass and horn and tail. How anyone found that desirable I would never know.

*Come, child, you know that you desire to be loved. Truly loved. Why not let me make that happen?*

Because it wouldn't be love. It would be slavery of the basest kind. I feinted left, then stabbed right, catching the demon across the hip. That's not the way I want to live my life.

*Foolish mortal!* she cried, pushing a wave of force magic that had me sommersaulting backwards away from her. *I have lived for thousands of years! No one can resist me!*

I pushed up, flipping behind the demon to slash her twice across the spine, jumping out of reach before she could swipe at me with her long talons. Damn! I wish the guys could see this!

It became the death of a thousand cuts. I would dodge in, slice at the bitch, then rollout before she could lay a claw on me. I wasn't without wounds, of course. Seh was a powerful demon, after all, with a lot of magic at her control. But she was fighting on two fronts- here in the dream with me and out there in the real world with the boys. Eventually she was forced to relinquish control of the Fade and I woke to screaming and the clash of metal and shield.

I sat up, slowly. I was going to have a whopper of a migraine later, let me tell you. Anders was closest, half a foot from my side, shielding me best he could. Vael was slightly behind, arrows flying to strike the demon again and again. Fenris and Garrett were as close as they could get to her, unrelenting strikes raining down.

I reached out blindly and found a dagger close to hand. Good, Agility. Don't ask me how I knew, but it was the perfect weapon for what I was going to do. As loudly as my torn throat could, I yelled "Down!"

No pause, perfect precision, my warriors were flat to the ground, splayed as low as they could go. Agility flew from my fingers, straight into the demon's heart. She screamed and clutched at it before falling to the ground in a lifeless puddle. The boys all turned as one to stare at me, anders going so far as to kneel down and rest a hand across my back.

"Selena? Sweetheart? Are you all right?" Anders asked softly, fingers aglow with cool healing power.

"That damned bitch got into all my dirty thoughts," I chuckled softly. Well, fuck. My smalls are all wet again, I thought to myself before promptly passing out.

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