Andreas and Leto awoke in each other’s arms the next morning. Andreas stretched before wrapping himself around his elf again.
“Mmm we need a bed like this,” Andreas murmured sleepily.
Leto nodded. “I must agree. This bed would have even put the one Danarius had to shame.”
Andreas looked down at Leto and chuckled. “You’re actually able to make jokes about Danarius? Who are you and what have you done with my elf?”
Leto huffed and gave Andreas a quick kiss while a smirk formed on his lips.
Andreas’ stomach decided that moment to rumble loudly and he remembered they never ate anything the night before. “How about we try out this room service Henry told us about and order ourselves some breakfast?”
They slowly got up and pulled on some clothing and Andreas used the phone in their room to call. He wasn’t sure what to order and the person on the phone described their various options. They both opted to order bacon and eggs, with a large pot of coffee and some orange juice as well. Andreas decided to try his eggs scrambled and Leto opted for over-easy.
They were just finishing up their food when a knock came at the door. Andreas answered it, letting out a surprised laugh. It was Henry, dressed like a warrior from Thedas. “What exactly are you supposed to be?”
“I’m the Inquisitor,” Henry said proudly, spinning so they could see the entire costume. “I’ve been working on this costume for weeks now, do you like it?”
“Who is the Inquisitor?” Leto asked.
“Oh yeah right, you wouldn’t know. The Inquisitor is from the newest Dragon Age game, the one that comes after the one you both were in,” Henry explained. “Remember how I said that the Hero of Ferelden is the character the player controls from the first game, and Hawke, also later known as the Champion of Kirkwall, is the one controlled in the second game? Well the Inquisitor is the one controlled in the third game.”
“Why is he called the Inquisitor?” Andreas asked.
“Well it could be either a male or female, and in this game they can be either a human, elf, dwarf or qunari as well,” Henry started to explain. “The reason they are called the Inquisitor is because of events that happen in the game, and the resurrection of the Inquisition of old as per instruction by the late Divine Justinia.”
“Did you say the late Divine Justinia?” Andreas said, dumbfounded.
“Yeah there’s a lot that happens after you blow up the Chantry in Kirkwall,” Henry laughs. “So are you both ready to be Fenris and Anders again?”
“No, not really,” Andreas sighed, “but I would like to speak with the people who…well if they are ones responsible for our existence…I just have so many questions.”
“Well maybe you’ll get them answered,” Henry smiled. “David Gaider is actually here for the con this year and I bet he’ll be able to explain a lot.”
“Who is…David Gaider?” Leto asked
“Well he’s the man responsible for who you both are,” Henry explained. “He created both of your characters and story lines, although Jennifer Hepler took over writing Anders story for Dragon Age 2. I guess you could say that for the both of you, David Gaider is your…Maker.”
“I hadn’t even considered that…in a way we are going to meet our Maker today,” Andreas sighed, sitting heavily on the edge of the bed. “That’s…wow.”
“Oh before I forget, I have some presents for you,” Henry said, walking back out into the hallway.
Leto and Andreas looked…stunned. Henry came back carrying what looked like Andreas’ old mage staff and Leto’s great sword.
“Where did you get these from?” Andreas asked in wonder.
“The dealer room,” Henry laughed. “They are replicas of course and the sword is made of a material that’s not dangerous.”
Leto hefted it. “Indeed. It is far too light.”
“I’ll let you two get changed,” Henry said. “I’ll be back in a little bit.”
Leto and Andreas unpacked their old clothes and began to change into them. After wearing the loose, comfortable clothing of their new home, it felt strange pulling on the tight leathers and heavy armor of their past.
Andreas struggled to get into his old clothes, realizing now how underweight he must have been back in Kirkwall. “Ugh, I don’t remember my robes fitting quite so…snug.”
Leto chuckled. “You’re finally eating properly and you’ve added a nice layer of muscle. You were always too thin before.”
“You’re still too thin!” Andreas teased.
“For a human, perhaps, but I am correctly proportioned for an elf,” Leto insisted.
“Not everywhere you’re not,” Andreas flirted, for the first time in weeks.
Leto blushed and almost wished he could tear Andreas’ clothes off him right then and there, but now wasn’t the time. Soon they were dressed and it felt strange to see each other in their old clothing.
“Those feathered pauldrons always were ridiculous, Amatus,” Leto chuckled as he stroked a hand over one of Andreas’ shoulders.
“You’re one to speak, Love,” Andreas smirked, running his hands over the feathers adorning Leto’s armor.
“Mine are black and more stylish,” Leto insisted.
“I could have had my robes made in black,” Andreas said. “In fact, I had been considering it for some time.”
“I think you would be quite attractive in black,” Leto mused as a knock came at the door.
Leto let Henry in and he whistled. “Wow. I forgot how real you two look. Not that you aren’t real…I totally get that you really are Anders and Fenris, but wow. People are gonna be blown away.”
“Will there really be people here who will recognize our…costumes?” Andreas asked as he tied his long hair up into a messy bun.
“Oh, most certainly,” Henry said nodding. “The most recent Dragon Age game just came out last year and I’m sure lots of fans of the game here. Hmm, you know people are going to ask to take photos of you both. Do you know how to pose for a photo?”
Andreas and Leto shook their heads. “Alright say I was a fan and wanted to take a photo, how would you stand?”
Leto and Andreas shrugged their shoulders and just stood, arms hanging limply at their sides.
Henry sighed. “No one is going to want a photo of you both like that. Take your ‘weapons’ and pose like you’re in mid-battle.”
The pair sighed and did as Henry bid, Andreas twirling his staff expertly before planting it firmly into the carpet, while Leto swung the great sword around and paused mid-strike.
“Perfect!” Henry exclaimed, snapping a shot with his smart phone. “People will love that!”
Andreas and Leto chuckled at the sight of themselves in those ridiculous poses. “Did we really look like that when we were in battle? How did our enemies not just roll over, laughing?” Andreas giggled.
“I don’t know, you look quite fierce,” Leto said, his ears pinking a little.
Henry cleared his throat and suggested they head towards the conference. Henry had already registered them and signed them in so he handed them their conference badges and they made their way out of the hotel.
At first no one seemed to take much note of them as they moved along with a throng of people, and then it happened. Someone squealed “Fenris!!!” followed by “Anders!!!” and lots of “OhMyGod, those costumes are so good!” and “you guys look so much like them!”.
They were asked to pose and be posed with and many photos were taken and many questions were asked that they tried their best to answer, all while Henry kept trying to steer them towards the BioWare booth.
It was all a little overwhelming and Leto latched onto Andreas’ arm for support while following Henry through the crowds. The sheer amount of people all packed in one place was astounding. A few times they even came across other Dragon Age cosplayers, and a few of them looked close enough to their old friends that it made Leto and Andreas do a double-take.
They finally reached the BioWare booth and Henry stopped short. “There he is. David Gaider…the man responsible, in large part, for both of your existences.”
Leto and Andreas both hitched their breath, clinging to each other, mouths agape as they looked upon their maker for the first time. He wasn’t quite what they were expecting. The man wasn’t very tall, a bit overweight and bald, with a black goatee on his face. He seemed jovial, speaking with eager fans and signing his name to various items being placed in front of him.
They hung back, not wanting to interrupt the current proceedings until the man took a moment to look up and survey his surroundings and his eyes fell upon Leto and Andreas, and a look of recognition seemed to cross his face. He leaned over to one of the other people with him at the table he sat at and that person got up and approached Henry, Leto and Andreas.
“Are you gentlemen here to see Mr. Gaider?” the person asked. Leto and Andreas nodded.
“Alright, follow me,” the young man said, as he indicated they go behind a curtain in the back of the booth, where they found a couple of couches. “Please be seated. Mr. Gaider’s autograph session will end momentarily.”
The three of them were seated, Henry removing the helmet he wore with his costume, and Leto and Andreas taking off their weapons and setting them aside. They sat in companionable silence, Leto and Andreas holding hands, trying to keep their nerves at bay.
After what felt like an eternity, David Gaider came through the curtains, smiling a warm smile and reaching out his hand in greeting to the three.
“Those are some remarkably detailed costumes you boys have,” Mr. Gaider said looking at Andreas and Leto, somewhat ignoring Henry. “Did you make them yourselves?”
Andreas and Leto were both dumbstruck, and they shook their heads no.
“Who is your costumer then? I’d love to meet them,” Mr. Gaider said.
Andreas blushed and stammered a bit. “Um…well…you see…”
Henry spoke up then, seeing how nervous his friends were. “Mr. Gaider, this is a bit of an…unusual…situation.”
“Oh? How so?” Mr. Gaider asked congenially.
Henry took a deep breath. “OK you’re going to think we’re crazy. I thought these two were crazy when I first met them…but…they aren’t. Please, can you hear them out?”
David Gaider nodded. “Alright, go on.”
“Well you see, here’s the thing…they didn’t get their clothing from a costumer. Leto’s was made by an armor smith in Minrathous, and Andreas’ was made by a tailor in Kirkwall,” Henry tried to explain.
Mr. Gaider narrowed his eyes for a moment. “Are you putting me on?”
Leto finally found his voice. “No, sir. He is not. I am Leto, also once called Fenris, the former slave of the Magister Danarius. He is responsible for the cut and design of my armor.”
“That voice…” Mr. Gaider breathed. “You do a wonderful impression of Gideon young man.”
“I am not a man, sir, I am an elf,” Leto explained. “The markings upon my flesh are the ones put there by Danarius. They turned black when we were violently flung into your world, the lyrium is gone, but the scars remain.”
“May I see? Up close?” Mr. Gaider asked, cautiously.
Leto rose and walked closer to the man, removing his gauntlets and allowing he man to run his fingers over the scars on his hands. Mr. Gaider then reached up, examining the elf’s ears, causing them to twitch in a way no human’s could.
“Oh, my…” Mr. Gaider exclaimed, sitting back down. “You’re really an elf!”
“Yes, sir,” Leto nodded.
“Please, call me David,” Mr. Gaider said.
“Alright, David.” Leto nodded.
David pulled Leto in for a hug. “It’s so good to actually meet you, Fenris.” Leto felt a bit awkward, but hugged back tentatively. Then David turned to Andreas, who stood and gave David a warm hug. “It’s good to meet you as well Anders. It feels like I’m meeting my long-lost children.”
Andreas’ eyes moistened. “It is a privilege to meet you, our Maker.”
David laughed at that. “Yes, I suppose my team and I could very well be considered your Maker, at least in part.” David sat down again. “Sit down, tell me everything,” David asked, now eager to listen to their tale.
Andreas and Leto related the story of how Merrill had asked them to help her with her Eluvian, hoping that between the fade spirit within Andreas and the lyrium markings on Leto, they could help reactivate that damnable mirror. Then they related how they found themselves in the mountains of Colorado, their trek towards the roadway and subsequent meeting of Henry. Finally they told of what they had been doing over the past couple of months since they arrived in Colorado.
David looked stunned at first, emotion shining in his eyes. Then looking at Andreas. “That was you that was attacked in Denver?” David asked. “I remember seeing that in the news.”
Andreas and Leto nodded. “It was very unpleasant and it brought back a lot of memories of my time in the Circle.”
“Ah yes, your backstory is quite tragic. Both of yours are. I’m…sorry about that,” David apologized, noting how Leto and Anders practically clung to each other. “So, you and Fenris…are together?”
Leto nodded, holding Andreas’ had a little tighter. “Yes, we are, and I go by the name Leto Freeman now.”
David chuckled at that. “…of course you would, and Andreas Bauermann, right?”
Andreas’ eyes widened. “Yes, how did you know?”
“I created your characters. Even though we’ve never revealed Anders’ name in canon, that’s the name I’ve always thought of as being your real name,” David explained.
David looked thoughtfully at them again. “How are you both together? You were written to hate each other in the game.”
“We never really hated each other,” Leto explained, “Although he did annoy me even on the best of days.” Leto playfully bumped Andreas with his shoulder and they both blushed. “I always admired him for his selflessness towards the poor, healing for days on end with little rest and food.”
Andreas blushed. “I was attracted to Leto from the day we met, and if he hadn’t been ranting about how all mages were evil, I would have flirted with him right then and there.”
“Now that we are stuck in this world, neither of us with our abilities anymore, we felt drawn together due to our familiarity with each other. This world was so strange to us when we first arrived,” Leto said. “Our old rivalry was quickly forgotten and once we both realized our attraction to one another…” Leto blushed, his ears going visibly pink.
David found that remarkable. “Well if I wasn’t sure those ears were real before…” he chuckled.
“So, then, do you have any idea how we…could possibly exist in your world?” Leto asked, changing to their more pressing topic.
David shook his head. “No, I honestly don’t. What were you even doing at Merrill’s? That’s not part of the game.”
“Well, when we’re not being recruited as part of Hawke’s party…what did you think we did?” Andreas asked.
“Well, technically nothing. Your characters generally go into limbo, although we write code for future interactions to indicate certain story progress,” David explained.
“Well, what we actually experienced is quite different. When I wasn’t off on jobs with Hawke, I was often in my clinic, and I remember those days quite clearly,” Andreas offered.
“Yes, indeed. I would remain in my mansion drinking most days I wasn’t on jobs with Hawke, although I would occasionally head out to the market to procure food or supplies to help maintain my armor,” Leto added.
“Wow. I honestly have no way to explain any of that, unless somehow we’ve created some kind of AI without even realizing it?” David said in wonder. “I’m going to have to investigate this further.”
“What is…AI?” Andreas asked.
“Oh, sorry, it stands for Artificial Intelligence. It’s something computer scientists have been trying to develop for decades now,” David explained.
“In talking to Andreas and Leto, it became clear to me that they came from a somewhat default version of the game. The Hawke in their reality was Garrett Hawke, a male rogue, who had a penchant for smearing blood across his nose,” Henry added, Andreas and Leto nodded in agreement. “Since each play-through could be customized to a degree, I wonder if we could zero in on whose play-through they came from. Maybe something about that person’s computer could have something to do with it?”
“That’s an intriguing idea,” David nodded. “You both need to recount as much detail about your experiences in Kirkwall as you possibly can, and Andreas also your experience at Vigil’s Keep. If we’re lucky we can match them up with someone’s Dragon Age Keep world state? At least it will help narrow it down.”
Andreas and Leto agreed to do so once they got home.
“Mr. Gaider, it’s time for your panel,” the young man that they had met earlier said, as he popped his head through the curtain.
“I’ll be right there Stewart,” David said before turning back to Andreas and Leto. “Would you join me for dinner later? I really would love to talk to both of you more.”
“Of course,” Andreas said, nodding.
After he left Andreas and Leto looked at each other. “Wow, he seems so…normal. Not at all what I was expecting.”
Leto nodded. “It felt much more like meeting a long-lost…father, than what I’d expect of meeting the Maker.”
Leto and Andreas went back to the hotel with Henry, having to once again pose for photos along the way. Once at the hotel, they changed into their new dress clothes that Henry helped them pick out. Andreas wore a pair of dark grey slacks, a white button-down shirt and black shoes. Leto opted for black slacks and shoes, with a dark grey button-down shirt. Sitting on the bed, Leto helped Andreas comb out his long blonde hair.
“Your hair looks so good down,” Leto said. “Wear it for me like this, please?”
“Alright, Love. I’ll wear it down for tonight,” Andreas said, turning to embrace his elf, kissing him. “I almost wish we didn’t have plans for dinner.”
Leto’s eyes brightened at the suggestion. “Do you mean?”
Andreas blushed and nodded. “I think I’m ready,” Andreas whispered, kissing Leto again, just as a knock came at their door.
“Kaffas!” Leto swore while Andreas giggled, getting up to answer. Henry was dressed up as well, wearing brown slacks and shoes, and a white collared t-shirt. He noted the slightly frustrated expression Leto had and Andreas’ mischievous grin and rolled his eyes.
“Come on, we’ll be late for dinner,” Henry said. The two followed him out of their hotel room. The restaurant was close by and when they arrived they saw David was joined by a couple of others.
“Andreas, Leto, I want you to meet a couple of other folks from BioWare,” David said. “This is Jennifer, who did a lot of the writing for the Anders character in Dragon Age 2, and this is Patrick. He’s the new lead writer for Dragon Age. They wanted to meet you both.”
“Wow, it really is you, isn’t it?” Jennifer said in awe, looking at Andreas. “I’m…actually sorry about the horrible life we wrote for you.”
Andreas smiled. “It’s alright, I suppose I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for some of those experiences. It certainly wouldn’t have allowed me to relate to Leto the way that I do.” Andreas reached out and grasped Leto’s hand firmly in his, making the elf blush.
“Wow, you’re right, he really is an elf,” Patrick spoke up. “I wouldn’t have believed it until I saw those ears pink.”
The hostess then indicated their table was ready and they were all led back. Their table ended up being a large round booth that they could comfortably sit around, with Andreas, Leto and Henry on one side and David, Jennifer and Patrick on the other, with Andreas and David sitting next to each other near the back.
While the BioWare team answered a litany of questions from Leto and Andreas, Henry studied the menu, intent on ordering for his friends as he always did.
“I still can’t believe you two are a couple,” Jennifer said. David nodded his head in agreement. “I guess there was a chemistry there that we hadn’t anticipated.”
“You may have written our conversations and scenarios where we interacted, but you didn’t write our thoughts and feelings,” Leto said. “I guess once we were outside the bounds of this…game…we were more free to act upon them.”
“I also want to make one thing perfectly clear,” Andreas said. “We just want to understand how we got here, how we were able to come to your world and exist, but we have absolutely no intention of ever going back.”
“So you don’t miss your lives in Kirkwall?” David asked.
“Maker, no,” Andreas said, and chuckled after he realized what he’d said. “Despite the attack, life here has been so much better than it ever was in Kirkwall. Also, now that I know what my fate was to be…I’m so glad I escaped that. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if Justice had truly manipulated me into blowing up the Chantry.”
“Well it wasn’t supposed to be Justice’ manipulation, you were supposed to be of one mind on that,” David said.
“Yes, your mind and Justice’s would have become so intertwined by then, that it was a mutual choice,” Jennifer added.
Andreas shook his head. “No. Never. If what you say is true, that Justice was to become more intertwined in mine, then it means that he would end up corrupting me. I would never go to such extreme measures. Never.” Andreas’ voice cracked with emotion at the mere thought.
Leto reached out to Andreas, stroking his arm. “Hush, Amatus. It’s alright. You were spared that fate and I know you are a good man.”
Andreas took a deep, steadying breath. “Thank you, Love,” he said as he placed a chaste kiss on Leto’s temple.
“Wow, you two are just absolutely adorable together!” Jennifer said.
“I’m beginning to regret not bringing back your characters in Inquisition,” David said. “We could have done a lot with the two of you as a couple. It would certainly have shocked a lot of people!”
“Well, we still can in a DLC or in the next game,” Patrick said, musing. “Except in the world states were Anders dies of course.”
“What if he didn’t really die though? I know David keeps saying he does, but what if…?” Jennifer continued.
“Do you mind not discussing…my death...please?” Andreas said imploringly.
“Oh sorry, that was insensitive,” David said.
Just then the waitress came and took their order. Soon they had drinks and food, and Leto and Andreas began to discuss their current plans for the future.
As the dinner drew to a close, they all exchanged phone numbers and promised to stay in touch. The folks from BioWare seemed eager to try and see if they could find the specific play-through, and consequently computer, that this particular Anders and Fenris came from. They promised to stay in touch on the matter.
Henry walked Andreas and Leto back to their room before bidding the pair of them good night. Even though they were still booked for another 2 days at the hotel, they discussed heading back to Denver early, with perhaps a stop in the famous city of Las Vegas along the way.
Finally Leto and Andreas were alone. Leto relaxed on the couch as Andreas paced, trying to process everything that had happened to them that day.
After a while Leto became restless. “Stop pacing and come here,” Leto said, suggestively.
Andreas was lost in thought and didn’t react.
Leto decided to take on a more…commanding…tone. “Amatus. Come. Here.”
Andreas snapped out of his reverie and looked at Leto. “Did you need something, Love?”
“Come. Here. Now.” Leto growled.
“Oh,” Andreas said, finally complying, a blush spreading on his cheeks. “Yes, Love?”
Leto pulled Andreas down to sit on his lap and whispered into is ear. “I want you.”