"Blah blah urgent, something about me, someone was looking for you, blah blah then something about Fenris being jealous..." Anders grinned devilishly, his light brown eyes scanning the note from Varric. Hm. His eyes looked like they had little red and gold speckles in them. I sighed, flopping back onto the bed and motioning him to continue. "Blondie is up your skirt, blah- hey wait a minute. How did he know?.."
I chuckled inwardly, sighing aloud again. "Of course he knows. He's Varric. Now go on. What is so important, you think?"
He looked up from the note, turning towards me. "Me being up your skirt, of course." He stated matter-of-factly, poking at my nose. "Maker's breath! A witch!"
I jumped a little at his loudness of his voice, my eyes shooting open immediately. "You bastard! Why must you scream?" I slapped him on the arm playfully, glaring at him. Anders pouted out his lip, pulling me into his arms in an almost suffocating hug. "Get off me you crazy nug!" I giggled, biting at him. "Now can you please read me the actual note and not just the tidbits you find amusing?"
He groaned, pulling away from me slowly and looking back at the note. He scrunched up his nose at it, a heavy sigh leaving his throat before beginning back over the note more carefully.
"Hawke, I write to you in urgency. I sent a note on an urchin yesterday but never got one back. Guess you didn't get it or you were too busy with Blondie. I also sent him a note asking about the details so I can write it in my book. Guess he didn't get it either. Anyways, we got a big problem down here. An old friend of a friend said someone was in Lowtown looking for you at night and said to tell you to come to the pub as soon as you can. I was gonna go with just Merrill since Isabela is already there but Fenris insisted on going, too.. Because of some reason blah blah. You know how he is with the brooding mysteriousness. One thing isn't a mystery, though, he definitely likes you, Hawke. And he hates that Blondie is up your skirt. When I told him where you were and told him you were at home, he wanted to come see you but I told him you were already being 'cared' for. He literally turned red with anger! Well, let me stop stating the obvious and tell you the news. It's bad, but it's good, too. Good news is, we found help. Bad news is, the help we found is a witch, and she found us. So, please hurry or else I'm going to have to beat Blondie for keeping you in bed for two days straight. This woman scares me." Anders read the note aloud, looking over at me as he crumpled it back up and threw it in the trash.
"Love, I hate to scare you but we need to leave now." His eyes were more serious and stressed than minutes earlier as he looked at me, brushing his hand over the side of my face. "We must know what is going on with you."
===Merrill at the Hanged Man===
I leaned back to the corner, meekly watching as the witch roamed carelessly through Varric's room at the Hanged Man, my fingers fumbling nervously over the buttons on my robes as she rummaged through his things as if it were nothing. "May I ask what your looking for? Maybe I could be of assistance, Asha."
"Merrill, darling, there are preparations that must take place before she arrives. Would you know where a pot would be?"
I bit my lip, looking down at my feet as I rubbed them over the wooden floor beneath me. "Ma nuvenin, Asha. As you wish." I started for the door, keeping my head down as I passed Varric. He stopped me, placing his firm hand in front of me with a wide grin.
"It's okay, Daisy. I got this one. I have the feeling I may need to go get a drink, anyways." And with that, before I could argue he practically ran out, leaving me and an extremely quiet Fenris with the woman. He hadn't spoke much so I kept my distance as he cursed to himself under his breath. She peeked up at me from her bent over position, smiling warmly. She had a flat piece of glass laid on Varric's table in front of her, examining it with her hands as she watched me.
"My girl, care to help me with the brew we must make Hawke? I promise not to bite you just yet." The older woman chuckled, letting her white hair fall to her face as the skin around her eyes wrinkled in laughter. I walked towards her slowly, my hips swaying as I made my way to her. "There's much to be done. I need a dagger or a knife of some sort."
I turned towards the exit, seeing Varric and Isabella already standing by the door frame. "I knew Heartbreaker and Backstabber would come in handy, Revaini." He chuckled to her, hitting her on the arm playfully to get her attention. She smiled over at me, pulling one or the other from her back and nodding to me before throwing it at me. The dagger swirled through the air before I could reach my hand up to grab it. I saw a pale hand reach in front of me just before I hit my shoulder, grabbing it from thin air.
I rotated back towards the table, smiling sheepishly at the witch. "Ma serannas, Asha. Thank you. What must we do?"
"I'm going to need to get this done quickly, so I would hope you all would help with mixing. She dug into her pouch, pulling out a large sum of ingredients as Varric dropped the small cooking pot on the table next to me, leaning against it. "I'll need to slice into the stems of the elfroot I've collected and extract the inner stem. The rest needs to be discarded, and the inner portion must be chopped. Then, it'll be placed in the pot with dried crumbles of deep mushroom that Merrill is going to prepare." She looked over at Varric, smiling at him. "I have a few chunks from a spirit shard," She handed them to him, ushering him to the chair, "Grind them to a powder as best you can."
She set down a small flasks of what appeared to be concentrating and distillation agent and a vile lyrium dust before resting back into her chair. "It'll all need to be condensed down and brewed with a few more.. Stronger ingredients. I usually wouldn't need help but there's a long day ahead of us and I needn't use all my energy on such perilous tasks."
"Ah, of course, witch. Wouldn't wanna waste the energy your going to use to kill my friend on making her poison.." Fenris glared at her from across the table. She looked up and laughed at him, slapping her fist on the table.
"Of course, child. But why would I waste my time making poison for just one girl if I could just turn into a dragon and eat all of you?"
I grabbed the wilted deep mushroom from the table as she started on pulling apart the freshly pulled elfroot, only looking up once in a while to put the driest pieces of the mushroom in the pan. "What other ingredients are there?" I asked curiously, looking up from my spot to see Varric sitting next to me with the back of his pocket knife pounding on a piece of spirit shard. She pulled away the frail outer body of the green plant, tossing it to the side and equipping Isabella's dagger.
"Well, there's a few more, actually. Deathroot will be needed to put her into a trance so whatever inside her will rise. Demonic Ichor to persuade it to come out. Usually both of these would be toxic when mixed correctly with any type of distillation agent. After consuming the poisonous ingredients she will stop breathing but the spirit shard's dust will keep the spirit alive. She will be paralyzed as her mind crosses to the Fade, but only until the spirit comes out. That's what's been happening, and she's been too weak to fight her way back while her health drops dangerously. I've added elfroot to give her some more health, and the lyrium and deep mushroom should help her by raising her magic levels and her stamina."
I looked up from the table, watching the witch finish off the potion she had made for my friend. I was nervous and weary about continuing, but I had no other choice. It all seemed to make sense, and this might be the only way to save her. "Merrill, my child, you are going to have to work on keeping her alive while the others monitor her breathing. I'm going to have to examine what comes out, since I'm unsure that it's even a spirit so that is why she must take this. We will have just enough time to see and maybe speak to this being before we have to get her out. She won't make it long in there. According to you and from what your friends saw, we might have a bigger problem. Best to find out what's inside her before it takes over."
Fenris stood up from the table, glaring at me as he stepped forth. "Your going to let this witch poison Hawke? You vashedan bitch! This must not happen. I won't let it. I don't care if I have to kill you and everyone else in this room! I'll be damned if a blood mage takes another life!"
I glared at him with sadness in my eyes, pushing him away from me. "Fenris, this may be our only hope. We have to do something for Hawke." My voice shook as I sat down, keeping my head faced away from him as tears threatened to leave my eyes. "If she dies, you won't have to kill me. I will kill myself for being foolish and losing a great woman."
I hand pressed to my face as a tear fell, grabbing it from under my eye. "Don't cry, da'len. If Hawke is what you say she is, this won't affect her." The woman's piercing yellow shaded eyes stared into mine, a smile moving to her face. "She's a strong woman, she can fight this. I won't let her die. She's done me a great service and I owe her this."
I nodded, watching her carefully as she walked back over to the pot, mixing in the last ingredient- the lyrium. She cleared her throat. "Also, due to using such a powerful concoction, something might slip back from the Fade with her. The Ichor attracts spirits. We need to stay armed so we can fight whatever comes back because it will be coming for her and she won't be able to fight it. Also, I'm aware that there's a healer in your group? Will he be present?"
"Yes, they are together right now, he wouldn't dare to be away from her while she is ill." I spoke quietly, shuffling my feet to the door. "I think they are coming."
"All the better, I will need his help, too."