Rite of the Maleficarum: Book I

Gathering the Party

"That's ridiculous," Fenris spouted in his usual coarse tone.

Anders looked equally shocked, but his expression gradually shifted to amusement. "It's genius, really," he smiled, "That kid must have some steely resolve, hiding his abilities amongst all those mages… and templars… and lyrium."

"Well, he was a Chantry boy. Speaking of which, if you two deign to join me, we have one last stop to make," Hawke said as she finished strapping on one of her pauldrons.

"Of course, Hawke," Fenris managed, spurring her to turn tail and push out through the front door of his Hightown mansion. She began to make her way toward the entrance of the Chantry.

"How would something like that even be possible?" he wondered aloud.

"It's the truth, apparently," Hawke said, "I don't see what he has to gain in lying about something like that."

"True," Anders pondered, trailing along behind the two. Honestly, Hawke didn't know what to think. Who had ever heard of such a thing? She couldn't decide what the outcome would be if anyone found out. It could show that mages do have the ability to control themselves. It would also show unassailable weakness in the Templar Order. And give some potentially dangerous mages some very dangerous ideas.

She stopped at the foot of the Chantry steps, handing her remaining pauldron to Fenris, who began to strap it on her. "Let's keep the concept to ourselves for now, I think there's enough trepidation in that particular area," Hawke suggested.

"Seems like a solid idea to me," Anders agreed. Fenris finished up and the trio made their way up the steps.

Before they reached the doors, Hawke stopped them, "Wait out here, if that's alright, this may require some finesse."

Anders feigned shock, "What? Your favorite renegade apostate and barefoot, lyrium-imbued elf friends lack the subtlety to speak to the devout?"

Fenris looked like he was going to kill him. Hawke took her chances and went inside.

She found Sebastian kneeling in prayer. This seemed to be his activity of choice lately, more often than not. Hawke waited silently near the steps that lead up to the foot of the towering armor-clad statue of Andraste, gold light ringing beautifully in the late afternoon sun. She couldn't help but think of the statue of the Champion that was erected near the docks. She could never compare herself to the bride of the Maker, but in a town of roughly two statues, it made her rather uncomfortable to think that one was of her. She remembered when she first stumbled upon it while helping out on a patrol duty for the Guard. Anders had remarked that he recalled her helm at the time as looking "far more dumb", Fenris had reprimanded him grumpily, and Aveline had called it "a regal depiction". She'd never wanted more to find a hole to curl up and die in, and found solace only in the fact that it was night, and anyone else they encountered who had seen it would most likely be someone she was there to kill.

The sunlight through the stained glass was causing the room to grow quite warm, and Hawke was beginning to regret the decision to armor up before coming. Sebastian seemed to take her inclination as a cue and finished his prayer, standing up. He noticed Hawke almost immediately and approached her, his beautifully crafted white armor momentarily blinding her.

"Good day, Champion of Kirkwall," Sebastian enjoyed poking fun at her insecurities.

Hawke did her best plate-armor curtsy and replied, "Prince Sebastian of Starkhaven, I presume?" Sebastian smiled and leaned against the wall next to her.

"What can I help you with, Hawke?"

"I was wondering if you knew anyone at the Chantry who has been here for over ten years, other than the Grand Cleric of course. Someone that might have had a friendship with one of the brothers at the time?"

"Anyone in particular?"

"His name is Ansor Restin, he was an initiate about ten years ago. His father is a Lord of Kirkwall."

"Oh, he's a templar now, right? I've seen him in here quite a bit, he's very devout. I see him speaking with Sister Greysa often. What's this about, Hawke?"

"I can't really speak about it here, sorry, Sebastian. I'll update you after we find out more?"

"Of course, Hawke."

"Is there somewhere a little more private we can speak with Sister Greysa?"

"I'll get her, meet us upstairs under the windows."

Hawke nodded and made her way upstairs. Before now she hadn't really thought of what Sebastian's reaction to this situation might be. However sincere their intentions, she could see how Sebastian would take offense to someone using the Chantry in such a way. She could only hope he would feel compassion for their situation; they were after all, quite a pious bunch. It only took moments before Sebastian appeared around the corner, being trailed by a rather meek looking Sister in traditional Chantry attire. She nodded her head in respect as she approached Hawke, and Hawke returned the gesture.

"Sister Greysa, thank you very much for agreeing to speak with me."

"Of course, Messere Hawke. You have done Kirkwall a great service, anything I can do to help I certainly shall."

"I'm inquiring about a Templar named Ansor Restin, he was a Brother until about nine or ten years ago. Did you know him then?"

"Unfortunately, no Messere, I've only been at the Kirkwall Chantry for two years. I met him almost immediately after my arrival, however. I never see any templar in here more often, he's very devout."

"What did you speak about?"

"He often wanted guidance, he was very torn over a situation he was in. He trusted in my discretion, however, I wouldn't want to speak his confidences, I'm sure you understand."

"Of course, Sister Greysa," Sebastian interjected, "We would never ask you to betray your word."

"I haven't seen him here for over a week, is he in some kind of trouble?"

Hawke nodded gravely, "I'm afraid he's gone missing. His father, Lord Restin, is quite worried. I was hoping you could tell me something about where he may have gone. I know from his father that he had kindled a friendship with one of the circle mages, Irinna?"

Sister Greysa looked pale, "He hadn't spoke of her, I'm afraid. He never mentioned associating with circle mages at all, and certainly never spoke of any life he may have had outside of being a templar. I'm sorry, Messere."

"That's quite alright, Sister, thank you for your time," Hawke turned to go when the Sister seemed to remember something.

"Oh, one thing, Messere. His mother, she came to the Chantry quite often as well, until about a month ago. I probably shouldn't mention it, but I know that he was paying a lay-brother to inform him of when she was here and when she left. I don't know who, or why," Sister Greysa looked saddened by her admission, "Maybe he would know more?"

"Thank you, Sister Greysa, that is very helpful indeed," Hawke inclined her head respectfully and exchanged glances with Sebastian. He looked slightly alarmed but also inclined his head as Sister Greysa turned to leave.

Sebastian turned back to Hawke, sighing. "I have a pretty good idea of who that lay-brother might be."


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