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Tale of Frerin Cadash

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~9:23 Dragon: 12 Harvestmere (October.)~
On the 12th day of Harvestmere in 9:23 Dragon, the night of a blood moon it was. After weeks upon weeks of heavy rain coming from the north-eastern Amaranthine Ocean.  The wind shutters of Green Pitcher Inn could indulge in some relief. And allow the beams of crimson to cast upon the worn tables. 


A minstrel fixed the strings on her lute, a cheerful song lilting from her lips. Hoping to lift up the mood for the regular patrons. Upstairs where weary travellers could rest their bodies for some only 50 silver coins a night.

In one of these rooms often intended for those with the lesser coin in their pouches. At the meagre price of 3-whole-silvers, in such a room was one Bianca Davri. 


Screaming at the top of her lungs and cursing the very man who'd caused her current situation. The Innkeeper's wife, not an educated midwife. Though she had experienced her fair share of hidden births since she married her husband.

Often the plump human-woman would whisper gentle prayers to the Maker and Andraste herself. For a successful birth, without any complications. Not that the baby's, mother agreed at the moment.

"Andraste's tits Varric, now miles away and you make me suffer like this!?" Bianca moaned.

"Maker's breath dear, do you want your child to swear like a pirate!" The Innkeeper's wife scolded.

Bianca found the notion deliriously amusing, it wouldn't be so bad. If this spawn of her's and Varric's got a slippery tongue. Bianca had at first found the prospect of having a bastard child. Incredibly inconvenient, her family would never approve and Varric. 


Maker, no, not with all the risky ventures and - friends. - Varric surrounded himself with. And her husband-to-be Bogdan Vasca? Sure, he was kind and willing to let her continue with her inventions.

But raising a bastard? Bianca couldn't ask that of him, not when he had been patient. And allowed her twelve-months to travel Thedas at her leisure. Before Bianca wedded him and became an honest dwarven-woman. It had given Bianca enough months, to get out under the noses of the Merchant's Guild.

And her family's spies ready to go after Varric. To this backwater Marcher city Ansburg. Honestly, Bianca had thought she'd had a few more weeks before this baby was born. But, no a baby of her and Varric's couldn't stay in her womb, all the way to Wycome!

It apparently wanted to be born in Ansburg, so her she was. Bianca heaved out another scream, as the pressure built up. She didn't care that the Innkeepers wife encouraged her to push more. It fucking hurt, she'd rather be in an ancient Thaigh. And sneak passed Darkspawn than giving birth. 


"Get out you little marauder!" Bianca cried.

She knew one thing. If Bogdan wanted little dwarven heirs running around the smithy. By Andraste's fucking pyre, Bogdan would suffer with her. 

One part of Bianca would have wanted Varric to be here. She couldn't risk it, their trysts and relationship had to stop.

At least for a little while...Coded letters they sent to each other, they’d developed it together, to keep the Merchant’s guild and her family out of their affairs. And it was mostly for Varric’s safety anyway.

She was not sure when she managed to stop scream, her throat was sore. Her body covered in sweat and tidy-hair bun had fallen out of its shape. A different cry and wail came from the room and the shushing voice of the Innkeeper’s wife.

"There, there...little one. Look at you such a handsome babe." She said.

"The baby..?" Bianca asked hoarsely.

A strange weight settled against her chest. And Bianca stared down to see an odd mixture of Varric and herself in the little one. Tufts of dark brown hair, eyes as brown as the stone surrounding Orzammar.

"A healthy boy, Miss Bianca." The Innkeeper's wife said with a proud smile. Despite the ominous red-moon gazing upon the babe. It seemed like the Maker was willing, to help the young boy into the world.

"You little marauder, did you really need to steal your father's eyes? Is not fair that..." Bianca scolded, her young son.

Bianca had heard peculiar stories, from other women in her family growing exceptionally emotional after childbirth? She’d scoffed at it when she was younger, but now? Perhaps there was some truth to it.

The way her heart clogged up, a thick lump of regret forming in her throat. There was no doubt about it, this really was her’s and Varric’s son, they’d made this tiny little marauder nug? 

Looking at her son Bianca could see the forehead that had haunted the Davri clan, since their exile from Orzammar. But there was also a Tethra’s nose and eyes. It just wasn't fair, holy breeches, it made her heart ache for him to be here. 

The little boy tilted its head to the side and gurgled with a smile. Unaware of the path ahead it would not be an easy life for him.

A shrouded figure stepped out of the shadows. Having observed the entire birth, even if he'd rather go to The Giggling Breeches, brothel closer to the riverbank. Then watch a woman give birth for a fraction of the evening. He did have orders to follow. And a transaction to complete with Bianca Davri. 


"What's the little leech's name?" He asked gruffly, he wasn't a complete arse. 


He did have some manners and this was a boy. Willingly given to his clan, it was not often that happened.

Bianca bit her lip nervously, a foreboding dread crawling up her tired body. "Frerin...Frerin, Te- no, Cadash. They will be your family now little marauder." She whispered, regret filling her voice.

But as things were, she had no choice. Bianca didn't have the heart to try and miscarry. The boy was a bastard, born out of wedlock. Little Frerin's best chance at surviving would be with the ruthless Cadash clan.

Sure they were Carta, but it wasn't the first time. Bianca dealt with a part, of the dwarven crime-syndicate. Surely, they would toughen up little Frerin so he could survive this cruel world, she'd brought him into.
"Frerin Cadash huh? Think we'll manage to make a proper criminal out ye. My cousin will be happy to have ye in her arms." He muttered, he found it difficult to keep up his.

The usual gruff manner in front of a baby, that had yet faced. The horrors of the world, his cousin lost her firstborn to the blight-sickness, the darkspawn stragglers. Had been ruthless, she'd been lucky to escape with her life.

Her breasts still produced milk and Bianca Davri had approached their leader. Only four months ago offering her unborn child to the clan. It had been a pleasant surprise and a chance for his cousin to be a mother a second time.

"Remember our deal? No one is to know about his heritage, his life will be easier not knowing who we are." Bianca remarked. 


~Kirkwall, 9:34, Dragon: 22nd of Wintermarch(January.)~

Wintermarch was one of the colder months of the year. Before the gentle breeze of spring. Would arrive in the middle of Cloudreach, but that was still three months away. Kirkwall's Lowtown was bustling with activity the commoners of the proud trading city-state. Merchants eagerly promoting their goods. Just passed the market stands, closer to the edges of Lowtown, where the winding road up to Hightown went. 


Was a quaint Blacksmith's shop. The Blacksmith was a surfacer dwarf known as Birkir, with tufts of white hair making itself known in the man's beard. The beard was longer than one would expect of a surfacer dwarf. But Birkir had mastered a particular braiding technique. That prevented it from being caught on fire throughout a long work day. 


Only a year ago, a cousin surfacer of Birkir also a Blacksmith by trade. Who'd found himself with the attentive eyes of the Carta's favour for his skill. Had mentioned there was a lad often visiting his shop. And watching for hours upon hours, mesmerized by the forge and the smithy. 


Despite the lad's young age, he showed an apt understanding of smithing. He'd been unsure at first to take in an apprentice, especially in a city like Kirkwall. Adding to the fact that his apprentice was Carta and a Cadash... at that. 


"Frerin, where are you boy!?" Birkir shouted, up to their living quarters. A faint thud echoed against the floorboards and Birkir chuckled. 


Frerin sprinted down the stairs, as he also aimed to hop over some of the steps to save time. Once down in the smithy, Frerin gave his teacher a confident smile. 


"I uh...was reading Ser Birkir," he muttered.  


"I thought we agreed. No reading for you until after we closed up shop?" Birkir reminded, with a raised bushy-brow, hiding under his wispy bangs.


 "I'm sorry ser, the chapter was so detailed. I just couldn't stop right away...had to know what happened." Frerin apologised, a faint red covering his cheeks.  


"I see, which book is it this time?"


"Well, when you called ser, I dropped the Botanical Compendium. And before that, I'd read five more chapters in The Viper's Nest." Frerin informed proudly. 


His apprentice may be a Carta rat, talented pickpocketer and an almost disturbing knowledge of ways to kill a person. Frerin, behind that swirling brown nest, called hair and hazel eyes. Hid a very clever boy, with a thirst for knowledge. 


Birkir shook his head, the lad was only eleven-years-old and read books not intended for children. 


"I don't understand how you can manage to get through The Viper's Nest at your age. It's not a book written for children-" The old blacksmith admonished. "And that Healer in Darktown, giving you that Compendium for your birthday last year, you're no healer..., you're my apprentice, don't think I'll let him have you boy!" 


It was more of a friendly rivalry of sorts. But it was not often Birkir was offered a chance to teach someone with so much promise for smithing. And perhaps, he was at fault for sending Frerin down to deliver some orders to the clinic in Darktown. 


"Healer Anders is my friend. And he knows soo much about the healing arts! With the prices of healers in the other city-states...what will I do when I'm no longer your apprentice? And I do something foolish and need to fix it myself? I can't have your reputation, be dragged through the mud because I made a mistake. If I can patch myself up, I won't have to bother a healer who will be busy with other people needing more care." Frerin defended with a pout on his lips. 


Birkir truly admired the boy's loyalty, the work in the smithy was busy and often lasted from sunrise, till sunset. Even if the lad, sometimes forgot that time existed, whenever there was a book nearby. 


He didn't make it his business, to acknowledge what other purposes. The Cadash clan had agreed upon. To even let one of their youngest members, that was usually. Sent down into the deep roads, to look for new lyrium veins.


Travelling all the way from Wycome to Kirkwall. And officially legally, becoming. A blacksmith's apprentice, but Birkir was grateful for it in his older years. There were certain things he couldn't make with the same finesse anymore.

The boy had only stayed two months observing and studying his most regular commissioned schematics. It had been easier to push some of the more menial and simpler smith jobs onto Frerin. 


And the lad did good work. Birkir wouldn't be surprised if Frerin managed to take his Journeyman Blacksmith proving, with the Crafter's Guild by the time he turned seventeen-years-old.   


Birkir made a shooing, motion with his hands toward the corner where their leather aprons would be.

"Frerin, I get it. Just find your apron and tame that nest you call hair, if you want to go bald that's on you. But at least braid it so it doesn't ruin the finishing touches on the product. You got some new surgical needles to finish. Then you can go off to Darktown and deliver them yeah?" The old blacksmith voiced.  


"Yes! I hope Healer Anders will like them. Oh, do you mind if I stay for maybe two-three hours? I think Anders is lonely sometimes, even with the other assistants at the clinic." The eleven-year-old dwarven boy added hurriedly. 


Birkir thought over if he really did need more help from Frerin today. There was the Templar's request on repairing and re-forging some of the practice blades. For the Templar recruits. It wouldn't always be easy to get some time off from the smithy and the forge. Not when Master Birki had bigger orders to fill. Then again spending an extra hour in Darktown, to get in touch with a messenger from the Cadash clan. And send off the new report to his uncle.  


Not many paid attention to a child, walking past a group of Templars, catching their hushed whispers. Gossip from the elves in the Alienage. Some of them were employed by nobles in Hightown, then there were those elves that set up a stall and wares to sell at the Lowtown market. 


Frerin knew of a few peddlers in Darktown too. Well, you only went to them if you needed something illegal. Unless you worked for one of Kirkwall's mercenary groups. Or were indebted to The Coterie, going after one of their personal merchants was as good as a death sentence. 


And then there was the Qunari wandering around the city. Attempting to convert the people of Kirkwall to the Qun. Apparently, things had grown tenser ever since the Qunari washed up on the shore. Not far from Kirkwall, no one understood why they stayed.

They obviously looked down upon people in Kirkwall. And how the city was so intricately coiled with misery and struggle. Frerin shuddered at the thought of even catching the gaze. Of one of those Qunari on guard duty by the gates of the assigned compound. He had no business at the docks today. 

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Frerin's short legs brought him through the near pleasant open air and teasing rays of sunlight. Bouncing off the ancient quarry walls of Lowtown. Only to be shrouded in shadows,

as soon as he took the first downtrodden steps into Darktown. 


"Urgh, I'll never get used to this chokedamp smell. Andraste's tits it reeks..." Frerin muttered under his breath. 


One would think he had gotten used to it since he arrived in Kirkwall a year ago. It was no wonder many stayed sick until they couldn't live anymore. With the fog-like miasma, hanging over the Undercity. 


Frerin was relieved when he caught sight of the lit lantern above Anders clinic. The air inside the clinic always felt  cleaner... than outside it. He'd tried to persuade Anders to reveal what sort of magic the mage used. 


But the blond was frustratingly good at deflecting and giving a straight answer. Frerin had eventually stopped asking, no matter what sort of magic was at work. It seemed to offer Anders's patients reprieve. Until they were fit to venture, back into a life of hardship and misery.  


Frerin's brown eyes went to the darker corners of the clinic. Some instinctual part of him searching for a threat. The Carta raised him to be cautious of his surroundings. 


Darktown was brimming with other Carta clans as well as the Cadash clan. Frerin had not been able to figure out why they seemed to keep their respectful distance away from the clinic. 
It was 
weird...  Considering how Anders healed everyone free of charge, no matter what sort of life they lead. 


"Oh, Frerin? I did not expect to see you today." Anders greeted. 


The blond appeared more tired. Then the last time, Frerin had been to visit the clinic. It was difficult to tell if it was due to the number of patients Anders had helped throughout the day. Or if it was the fatigue left from a recent adventure with Hawke. A Fereldan refugee that had made a name for herself. In the past four years since her arrival in Kirkwall. 


"Master Birki said I could visit. Once I finished my tasks for the day. He's very nice like that, Master Birki said you weren't allowed to take me as your apprentice." Frerin explained matter-of-factly. 


The tone seemed to improve the blond's facial expression. An amused smile and a short laugh. 


"If dwarves had magic Frerin. I'd appreciate having such an eager apprentice. However, you do have a knack for herbal remedies..." Anders muttered wistfully. 


He did appreciate the company of the young dwarf. So hungry for new knowledge, the remnant of child-like innocence. Unmarred by this hardened world. 


Justice, or at the very least thoughts that appeared more like Justice. Supported the young dwarfs' presence in their lives. 

An embarrassed laugh left the young boy's mouth. Frerin was accustomed to downplaying his capabilities. Even with compliments from his mother and uncle, when Frerin had done well at training. Or completing a venture without a hitch. 


But Healer Anders was not Carta, Anders was a human apostate. And quite likely his only real friend, ^” and Samson...”^ Frerin quickly added to himself. 
He felt bad, Samson was a friend too, though the ex-Templar didn’t seem to understand that yet. 


"Thank you, Anders," Frerin muttered shyly. "But I...uhm had a reason to visit today." He added quickly. 
Before he grew too nervous. To even show Anders what he had carried all the way from the smithy in Lowtown. 

Anders raised one inquisitive brow, he had assumed Frerin only came down. To talk about the history of Thedas, sometimes different cultures. At times Anders felt like sharing a few fond memories from his days at Kinloch Hold. 

"Well then, you have caught my interest Frerin."


Frerin's hand went to a hidden pocket, inside his coat. And pulled out a bundle wrapped in what seemed to be made of soft leather. Emitting a clink as the bundle was jostled and held out for Anders to take it. 


The mage couldn't for the life of him imagine what young Frerin, was offering him. It sounded like metal, but not heavy like a dagger or a short sword. Fingers gingerly unlaced the leather bindings, revealing a line-up of various thin and thick needles. An assorted set of needles on the right side had a curved pattern from the eye and down to its sharp tip. 


"These are...some very pretty needles Frerin. But why offer them to me? You know I can't pay you."  Anders reminded. 


He couldn't recall seeing needles like this before. Such a peculiar design too. The young dwarf grew quite embarrassed with the knowledge that Anders liked them. But Frerin grew confused, Anders thought he had to pay!?


"You mentioned some months ago that you wanted to have surgical needles. For some of the deeper wounds, you treat down here. I used leftover ore in the smithy to make them." Frerin explained. 


"They're a gift Anders, the pattern is supposed to help with focusing your mana. And well, I melted dawn stone alloy, fusing it with the iron ore. It should offer more balance. During more complex surgeries at least, that was the theory behind them. I don't know how well they will work, but that’s the theory. I’m sure you can figure it out, Anders." The young dwarf gushed excitedly. 


Much to Anders's amusement and wonder at the boys' ingenuity. Not to mention, quite struck by Frerin's kindness. Only other Dwarf in this Templar infested city. That had shown Anders such friendliness was.


^"Reminds me of Varric, that boy."^ Justice hummed thoughtfully. 


^” But they don't look alike Justice. Though their personalities are uncanny.”^  Anders replied shortly. It was such a silly thought. Varric never seemed like the kind of dwarf to settle down with a family. 

Not to mention, the chatty rogue appeared more content. Living at The Hanged Man and occasionally joining Hawke on some very, messy adventures.


Anders picked up a middle-sized needle holding it between his fingers. He nudged a little mana towards the needle. Observing as the familiar blue glow of healing magic. Slotting itself into the curving lines along the needle. Never escaping the outer edges of the pattern.


"This...feels like a staff-" The Healer muttered. 


A very small staff created to mend and heal. Instead of conjuring up damaging spells and hexes. And made by a blacksmith's apprentice. Anders, couldn't hold back his smile at the idea of First Enchanter Irving. Studying the properties of this needle. Anders could almost hear the First Enchanter's excited voice. At the prospect of examining a new magical tool like this. 


And then a twisting swirl of unbidden emotions. Slithering around his heart like a serpent ready to strike. Clawing their way up to create a sliver of tears. Anders could barely recall, the last time he'd cried. 


It was a gift, no catch or consequences for accepting it. Genuine and utterly friendly, just like the dwarf that created the gift. 


"Thank you, Frerin this gift...I promise to save more lives with them." The Healer said, as he quickly dried away the incriminating tears. 


Even when his promise felt hollow, for a time he could keep that promise. But Justice was waiting at the back of his mind, eager to help free mages from their oppression. 


Frerin grew worried his gift had upset Anders in someway. He knew that surgical needles weren't something every physician and healer had access too. Most would rely on sewing needles, to do simple stitches. And mages, with a knack for healing, was rare too. 

"I hope so,"  Frerin said with a happy grin. 

The smile nervously faltered after a few seconds. His family wouldn't approve if his proficiency at smithing was discovered by a rivalling Carta clan. 


Or snatched by someone at the Dwarven Merchant's Guild. And it surely would make his first  job  in Kirkwall all that more difficult to do.   


"Something on your mind Frerin?" Anders asked.


"Uhm, do you think you could keep it a secret that I made those for you? I'm not supposed, to do things that attract unwanted attention towards-" He muttered hesitantly, fingers weaving against each other.


"Your clan?" The healer interrupted with a knowing smile. 

"Yes, I can't compromise the little slip we already have in Kirkwall. " Frerin explained with more maturity than a ten-year-old should have.


 Anders recalled when he used to be the boy's age. His life had been simpler before discovering his magic. A father who loved him and a mother that would tuck him into bed at night. The sound of rain dancing against the wooden planks that shaped his family's home. Echoes of the whining horses in the stables. Thumping hooves against the muddy soil, the scent of dried hay itching against his nose.


 ^"Do you miss it, Anders? A life without magic?"^ Justice asked seamlessly within the blond's mind.


^"Not as much as I used to. The simplicity of it all but my father never loved me. Not when he thought I had become cursed."^  Anders mused to himself, and the ever-present. Weight of Justice accepting such an answer. His host needed to be ready for what was to come. 


"Yes, of course, I believe I can keep one more secret." The blond healer expressed. And Frerin's features relaxed. 


Until those brown eyes grew excited. Anders had a feeling of what would happen next. 


"Can you tell me a story, Anders? You know, like uhm...where you lived with your family?" 


^"Knew it! He's even more demanding than Varric. I can barely believe that dwarf claims he doesn't have any close family left."^ Anders debated with a smile. 


"Alright, but don't expect me. To remember all the details, haven't been back there in over twenty years. Honestly, I remember more from Kinloch Hold." He warned. 


"But, you've already told me about Kinloch Hold," Frerin muttered. With a pout forming on his lips.


 "Yes, I have, haven't I? Well, I grew up in a Ferelden farmers village. About three weeks journey from Denerim.-- " Anders began his story. 


Young Frerin was enraptured by what little details Anders could remember. And he hoped that maybe one day, he would be allowed to travel across the Waking Sea. And get to explore Ferelden on his own accord. To not be in the shroud that Carta required of you, no weary looks and threats. Upon those who tried to wring their way out of a deal with the Cadash clan. But then, he knew no other way of life Cadash was his family and the Carta as much a reason he could even meet Anders at all. It wasn’t all bad, though he loved to think of maybe’s.

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~Kirkwall, Lowtown. 9:34 Dragon, 10th Guardian(February)~

A chilling breeze danced in from the Waking Sea. Clawing against the ancient quarried walls of Lowtown. Quite normal at this time of the year, the Frostbacks across the sea. Often gifted Kirkwall with a reminder that although they were further North. Not even Marcher cities could escape the allure that was at its coldest. A few months before the sun would grow warmer. Near the steps into Darktown, one former Templar fidgets from foot to foot. A nervous twitch against clamours, the drawn skin on the palm of his hand. Ever-present darkened bags underneath his eyes, matted black hair. Clothes thin and worn from use, not the best attire for such a cold evening. Yet there was a quivering gleam in the man's eyes. A trace of giddiness awaiting something pleasant. 


Shuffling footsteps travelled quickly to the man's ears. His eyes relieved, at the small boy that approached him. Sometimes he'd found pity in the young boy that offered him a temporary fix. Then again he was quite pitiful himself, his only purpose these days. Was to earn just enough coin to afford more lyrium. Other necessities like clothes, or food were no longer important. Lyrium was all he required, the light of the moon cast the streets in a ghostly glow. Young Frerin could almost be mistaken as a spirit from the fade. Samson had seen a few in his years as a Templar. His body shivered in anticipation, soon it will be better for a few days. Samson thought to himself.


Frerin cleared his throat, to gain Samson's attention. 


"You got it...don't you? The lyrium?" Samson added hesitantly. Regrettably, since he'd been dismissed from the order. There had been times when many had found it amusing to trick him into drinking other substances than liquid lyrium. 


But since, Frerin started to arrive with his deliveries. It happened less and less, the Cadash clan. Where at the very least honourable in their lyrium smuggling.  


"Yes, I got it. But tonight I need to ask you also do me a favour." Frerin said as seriously. Nose wrinkling just a bit as the boy's lip attempted a frown. 


"Wha-t, do you need then?" Samson grumbled after a few seconds, he just wanted his lyrium. Then huddle into a corner near one of the old mining entrances. And keep the worst of the wind away from his body. 


"Come back with me to the smithy, it is too cold for anyone to stay outside on a night like this." The young dwarf said matter-of-factly. 


"Look, lad, I appreciate you bringing me, my lyrium and all. But am not the only homeless in Kirkwall." Samson, quickly excused he almost expected pity in the boy's brown eyes. 


Yet he only saw genuine concern. His stomach curled in on itself with vague memories of old friends in the order. They had cared once and now they had all forgotten about him. 


Frerin huffed and brought out two shimmering flasks of lyrium, precariously balance between his stubby fingers. "I'll give you these if you come with me. And stay the night..." he promised with a shy smile. 


Samson raised one inquisitive black brow. For the few months, he had gotten to know the young Dwarf. Frerin hadn't lied to him and the half-way *threat,* if he could even call it that.

The promise of spending the night in a warm smithy was quite tempting. Brown eyes grew sad and the boy sniffed as if he were about to cry. When Samson took too long to decide. 


"Hey, lad, no need to cry! Fine, I'll go...but just for the night." Samson promised quickly. 


He may not be a Templar anymore, yet his soft spot for children. Never seemed to disappear and Frerin was quite a rare boy. As quickly as Kirkwall had a habit of, stripping most its citizen of their innocence. Samson had wondered how the boy could hold onto such compassion. When Kirkwall was a harsh mistress. And suddenly the saddened gaze grew triumphant. A grin stretching to his round ears. Frerin, really liked it when he could persuade people. With just a few changes to his facial expressions. Samson could almost swear, he knew someone else, in the City of Chains with a grin like that. Frerin's hand shot out like a strung bowstring. And clasped around Samson's shivering fingers. Before the dismissed Templar could come up with an excuse to not keep his promise. 


Samson had time to think as he followed Frerin's lead towards the smithy. The boy was resourceful, clever and although their relationship had simply been a lyrium smuggler and lyrium addict. 


Frerin often appeared reluctant to leave right away, after a delivery. The lad would ask so many questions, where he'd grown up? If he had any family? And how he'd been when Samson had once been Frerin's age. The conversations were nice, temporary distraction. 


A question formed in Samson's mind. "Frerin, you have nothing to gain by this. So why?" He muttered. 


Frerin's smiled and looked up into Samson's weary and guarded gaze. "Cause, you're my friend Samson, friends help each other," Frerin said as if it was the most obvious answer.


Samson was shocked enough that he stopped walking. And Frerin had to halt and frowned up at the strange look the older man gave him. Samson barely remembered when he'd last had a friend? 


His heart ached shamefully, this was so how far he'd fallen. Befriending a lad he could have fathered himself. If he'd ever lain with a dwarven woman, not that he could recall? It had been years since he indulged. In services offered by The Blooming Rose in Hightown. Yet, there was a part of him that warmed him from the inside out, Maddox was no longer his only friend. 


"You, really are a strange one Frerin. Are you sure you want someone like me as a friend? I've done questionable things, to earn enough coin. For Lyrium," Samson asked hesitantly. 


And sighed at the shame that was his addiction. He tried to help mages sure, but he couldn't always guarantee they would be better off. 


"That's not your fault Samson."  Frerin said, "it's the Chantry's fault, they're so mean to you. Lyrium shouldn't be used like that, it's wrong!" He added with such a wave of brimming anger. Samson couldn't fault himself for staring in wonder at the lad's, insight. He tried to remember how much he truthfully had told Frerin about his life as a Templar. 


" not hear that often Frerin, are you sure you're only ten?" Samson muttered suspiciously. 


"I'll be eleven-years-old in eight months. And yes, I'm ten-years-old until then. Is that so strange?" The smith's apprentice questioned softly. 


"Ah no, is just sometimes you sound very mature for your age. Hey, it's not a bad thing. Only a little unusual, it makes you special Frerin. I think it will serve you well, in the future. " Samson explained, even though Frerin tried to look offended at being compared to an adult. 


"But I'm nothing special, not really. The Dasher, he decides what I'm going to do next and my mum, of course, she always says I need to keep my head low." Frerin expressed. 


"That's not bad advice Frerin, but who knows? Maybe one day you will change Thedas. Perhaps, you'll be just as famous as Serah Hawke." Samson suggested.  


"What!? No way Samson! I can't do, no I can't my place is with my clan and for as long as they permit. I can learn from Master Birki too, I really like it. Smithing is a lot of much fun. And I get to create useful things." Frerin vehemently shook his head. 


He didn't like to break the promises he'd made to his family. Outsiders were a different matter but toward friends. It was nice to not be reminded of his duty all the time.  


Birkir was impatiently padding his foot against the slate floor of the smithy's door. Waiting for his wayward apprentice and a possible guest to stay the night. 


"Knowing that boy, he's used some way to make that Samson yield..." The older Smith grunted. 

Dinner was already cooling down on the table. He'd been lucky at the market near the docks. Earlier that day enough to make. A couple of Starkhaven Fish and Egg pies. 

He raised his hand in greeting as he caught sight of his apprentice happily dragging a former Templar towards the smithy. 


"This smell, is it Starkhaven fish and egg pie?" Samson asked once his feet were pulled across the threshold. And into the warm smithy, it certainly warmed his bones. 


"Yes, lucked out on some fish at the market. Might as well use it before it rots and what better than Starkhaven's finest dish?" Birki explained with pride. Chest and his long beard curving against his round stomach. 


"I couldn't agree with you more Serah Birki. Happens to be a favourite of mine. Been years since I had a chance to eat it." Samson admitted. 


"Well, then! We can't let the pies go to waste then, it’s time to eat, Serah Samson." Birki insisted as the older dwarf became. Nearly as excited as his young apprentice.

Showing Samson the way up the quaint living quarters the two dwarves shared.