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Wouldn't You Give A Hand To A Friend? [Closed]

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
103
#1
((10 Solace, 44 Dragon; Viscount’s Manor, Hightown))

As expected, relocating to Kirkwall had put just about everyone’s knickers in a knot, but ultimately, they had to agree that it made sense. A token force remained at Skyhold, vetting recruits and feeding out misinformation here and there while the move was underway.

Varric had made sure that Dagna was one of the first to relocate. Introducing her to Gaddrick had been a calculated gamble: it would either be the beginning of an extremely productive partnership or the end of Thedas as it was known. But their combined talents - Gaddrick’s genius with gears and mechanical devices and Dagna’s skill with enchantments - had been what was needed to bring the idea that Varric had first conceived at the Winter Palace to reality. And both of them had been more than willing to contribute their efforts on behalf of the one who had saved Thedas.

It had taken more than talent, though. The raw materials hadn’t been cheap, but once again, contributors had not been hard to find. It had been one of the best-kept secrets in the history of the Inquisition: everybody knew about it except the one person who wasn’t supposed to, all of them equally determined to give something back to the one who had given so much of herself - literally - to the cause of the Inquisition.

And now it was done; all that remained was to see if it worked, but that required revealing it to Sati. Varric had faith in the skill of the two dwarven artisans, but he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t just a bit nervous. He’d limited the number of onlookers in the audience chamber: one of the perks of being Viscount, but there was going to be a crowd in the street outside waiting to see the results. He hoped that didn’t bite them in the ass.

Nightingale, Curly and Cassandra flanked the Viscount’s throne: the comfortable one he’d had commissioned, not the torture device that had been there when he got voted in. Bull and Krem, Sera, Cole, Vivienne and Dorian stood by. And Dagna; she would handle any tweaking of the enchantments, but thirty years of exile hadn’t lessened Gaddrick’s dread of the open sky. Any mechanical adjustments would need to be done in his shop. One of these days, Varric was going to have a tunnel dug from Gaddrick’s shop to the manor, once he could figure out how to do it without collapsing half of Hightown into the earth. Because that was the kind of shit he had to concern himself with now. Growing up sucked.

All they needed now was the guest of honor, and Ruffles should be bringing her any minute.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
77
#2
Sati had been through Kirkwall once or twice over the years, although she and the Talo-Vas had avoided it ever since the Arishok had lost his mind and attempted to take over the city. She’d visited Varric when he’d been made Viscount, of course, as much to tease as to congratulate him. His efforts in keeping out of the backstabbing mess that was the Merchant’s Guild, his general generosity, and his popularity with the majority of people who made up the city’s lower echelons had made him a natural candidate for the job, much to his annoyance. From the sounds of it, he was the Viscount the city needed, though.

And he was the ally – and friend – the Inquisition needed. Progress in moving their base of operations out of Skyhold had been slow, but it had been oiled by Varric’s influence. And if there was concern from the merchant princes of the Free Marches about the Inquisition’s presence here, nobody had yet expressed it openly, for which Sati was grateful. After everything that had happened at the Divine’s palace, she’d had quite enough of people yelling at her about what she should be doing.

After Corypheus had been defeated, she’d known that returning to her former life was out of the question. There was still quite a mess to clear up, and besides that she didn’t want to return to roaming about as a mercenary, as she wouldn’t be able to bring Josie with her. She’d thought maybe that eventually she could step down as Inquisitor and maybe serve as the ambassador’s bodyguard in an official – and extremely unofficial – context. But Solas had thrown those plans out of the window, and it was back to playing guessing games about what their enemy was up to.
Josie had taken it well. Some time had been allowed for her to return to her childhood home, and Sati had come along. It had been a blissful few weeks, deliberately forgetting everything that needed to be done and revelling in her lover’s company, but neither of them were suited to idleness. By the time they turned back towards their task, they were ready for it.

Or at least Josie was. Sati was still learning her way around her disability, how to strap a shield to the crude prosthetic that was tied around her right arm and fighting with her left. Using a dual-handed sword had at least kept both arms at equal strength, but her right side had been the dominant one and she felt frustratingly clumsy this way. Still, regular practice would bring her forward, and so she had religiously trained every morning, for hours.

Until this morning, when she was only a few minutes in. Josie appeared, insisting a matter of great urgency awaited her presence in the Viscount’s throne room; Sati had dropped everything to go immediately, concerned that one of their agents had turned up something they could use on Solas. When she got to the audience chamber she wasn’t surprised to see the other members of the council and inner circle there; it made sense they would be in attendance.

What was more surprising was how happy most of them looked. Josephine and Leliana were beaming, Cullen appeared pleased; Bull gave her a wink as she went by. It was…an unusual atmosphere, to say the least. Surprised, she looked up at Varric. “What’s happened?”
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
103
#3
Things had been quiet since the Qunari had been sent packing, but while Thedas in general was enjoying the respite, everyone in the Inquisition knew that it was simply a matter of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sooner or later, Solas’ plan would move from sneakiness and subterfuge to something more overt. Hopefully, that something wouldn’t take the form of another Breach, but his track record wasn’t exactly reassuring. So Varric couldn’t really fault the wary, ‘Oh shit, what now?’ expression that Lucky wore when Josephine escorted her in.

“What happened?” she wanted to know, not seeming reassured by the expressions worn by the peanut gallery (though admittedly, Sera’s grin could be legitimately interpreted as anything from surprise cookies to surprise bees in your underwear drawer).

Varric chuckled. “No disasters, for once,” he assured her. She was wearing her prosthetic arm: the second one that had been made for her. The first had been a hastily assembled construct of iron and leather. This one had been crafted with more care, the silverite polished and elaborately engraved, but the end was a simple hook that could be secured to a shield, and it still chafed the stump raw if she wore it for too long.

Time to do something about that.

“I suppose you’re wondering why I called you all here today.” Varric could hear Cassandra’s eyes rolling in their sockets, but one of the perks of being Viscount and bestselling author was the chance to use lines like that. Or maybe it was a side effect. Whatever.

We know just fine,” Sera spoke up impatiently, jerking her head toward Sati, “but she don’t. So get on with it!”

“Just getting in a little creative tension building,” Varric replied amiably. “Anyway, we wanted to get you a little something to say ‘Thanks for saving the world’ -”

Evidently, that wasn’t grandiloquent enough for the resident specialist in pompous proclamation. “You have given a great deal to the Inquisition, and to Thedas,” Cassandra stepped in, giving him a reproving glower, “and sacrificed much, without expectation of recompense. We cannot give you back what you have lost -” The faintest inclination of her head toward the prosthetic arm, “but we hope that this will make that loss less keenly felt.”

She stepped back, and Dagna stepped forward, beaming and holding the magnum opus of two geniuses. The exterior was primarily of stormheart, the muted forest-green not so shiny as the silverite but stronger, intricate lyrium runes inlaid along the length of the arm, but the real difference was from the wrist onward. No hook here, but a full hand: four fingers and a thumb, all of it fully articulated from within by an intricate series of gears and pulleys to completely reproduce the range of motion of a real hand. Varric knew this because he had spent countless hours in Gaddrick’s workshop as a model, grabbing and releasing, flexing and extending, twisting and rolling, with the inventor watching from beneath bushy eyebrows, then bending to scribble notes while muttering to himself.

The straps and padding were crafted from snoufeur skin: strong, soft and durable, but the ultimate key to both fit and function lay in the enchantments that Dagna had worked into the metal. While Gaddrick had been working his mechanical wizardry, the young prodigy had been laboring to develop the runes that would attune the finished artifact to its owner, binding it more securely to the stump than the straps could manage and using Sati’s own thought and will to power the motion of the hand, much as its flesh and bone counterpart had been. It couldn’t feel, but Dagna was convinced that with a bit of experimentation once it was attuned to Sati, she could create at least a rudimentary tactile awareness. Varric wasn’t convinced of the utility, but that would be for Lucky to decide.

“Just a little something that Gaddrick and Dagna threw together,” Varric said as Dagna held the prosthetic out to Sati. The Inquisitor had met Gaddrick, seen his work, would know that he didn’t just throw together anything, any more than Dagna did.

“Many people helped,” Cole piped up eagerly, “everyone wanted to help.”
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
77
#4
[Josie’s actions approved by her player.]

Varric’s warm laugh settled Sati’s unease slightly; while he could be sardonic, he wouldn’t chuckle over matters that presented a threat in that fashion. All the same Sati was left feeling a little at odds with the situation, as she had no idea what was coming next. It said something about the usual state of her life that seeing so many of her close friends smiling at the same time was downright weird. Varric began his address in an appropriate fashion for a storyteller, only to be immediately interrupted first by Sera and then by Cassandra, who had clearly been planning out exactly how she was going to say this.

“You have given a great deal to the Inquisition, and to Thedas.” Sati wouldn’t argue that point. Although there were a lot of people over the last few years who’d given more. “And sacrificed much, without expectation of recompense. We cannot give you back what you have lost-” she indicated Sati’s missing arm, “but we hope that this will make that loss less keenly felt.”

Dagna popped into few, clearly overflowing with her usual exuberance, bearing a gleaming length of dark green metal fashioned in the shape of an arm. Another prosthetic, but even at a glance, and with her limited knowledge of artificier’s works, Sati could tell immediately there was more to this one than the one she was wearing. Each finger was articulated, and small glints within the joints hinted at a complex inner mechanism. Curled markings in the metalwork refracted light in strange ways, clear evidence of enchantment; and the lashings were made of a material that looked far softer than the wool-lined leather keeping Sati’s current construction in place.

“Just a little something that Gaddrick and Dagna threw together,” Varric offered, after she was silent a few moments too long just staring at it. She’d never seen anything less ‘thrown together’ in her life. More work had gone into it than the actual starting of the Inquisition.

“Many people helped. Everyone wanted to help.” Cole’s voice broke Sati out of her reverie, and she pulled herself together. She had a suspicion about what all those mechanisms and enchantments would do, and she doubted it was for show. She just didn’t quite dare to believe it would work.

“Thank you.” Her voice was a little hoarse. She’d never been great about receiving thanks for anything, and the gift touched her about as much as anything else anybody had done for her in her life. The Inquisition had much to do, with Solas running wild Maker knew where, but they’d spared the time for this. Sati had been compensating for the loss of the limb as much as she could, not allowing herself to dwell overlong on it, but it had left her feeling almost helpless at times. Now she fumbled at the straps on her arm, trying to get the old contraption off, not quite managing to hide her sense of urgency. “Josie…”

Gently, Josie worked the buckles free, easing the leather away from where it had bitten into her arm. Sati was by now too used to injury to even hiss as it peeled away, despite the welts it had left. Cassandra came forward, hand outstretched, and took the old prosthetic, before Dagna came over and she and Josie started assisting with the new. The straps left no digging sensation as they settled on her skin, and as the prosthetic was pressed against her stump, Sati twitched sharply.

The finger on the end of the arm twitched with her.

Dagna was almost dancing on the spot from glee. Josie finished buckling the last strap, then stepped away. Sati looked at the new hand, and concentrated, trying to remember the pull of muscles in her forearm before it had gone. The hand closed as smoothly as a real one, opened again, and then one by one she flexed the fingers. Her fingers.

Sati didn’t given try to contain the grin that broke like a dawn across her face.It was odd, like moving a limb that had gone to sleep. But it was working!
 
Last edited:

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
103
#5
There were times - a lot of times, to be honest - when being Viscount just plain sucked. Squabbles between the noble houses. Collecting taxes. The time that Trouble had dropped in and inspired the local Jennies to glue together the ass cheeks of a merchant who was notoriously harsh on his workers while he was passed out at the Hanged Man.

All right, that last one had been amusing, with a fellow who normally didn’t give a shit about anyone but himself literally unable to give a shit … but as Viscount, Varric had been called upon to bear witness to the … evidence. Suffice it to say, if he ever thought he might be on the Red Jennies’ hit list, he planned to keep his butt shaved. Because … ooowww.

But there were definitely rewarding moments. Better booze. Being served first at banquets. Cutting the ribbon for the new orphanage, one of Addie’s passion projects to provide a safe harbor for at least some of the scores of children left parentless by the chaos caused by Corypheus (she’d inspired - or shamed - similar efforts in most of the city-states of the Free Marches). But by far the greatest satisfaction had been being able to do things for his friends, and the look on Sati’s face when she saw the prosthetic arm was going to get him through any number of tedious state dinners. He didn’t think she even heard the last part of Cassandra’s speech; she stared at it for a full minute before she could speak.

“Thank you.” Her voice was raw with emotion, her normally stoic expression awash with feeling, and her right hand reached to tug awkwardly at the straps that secured the silverite arm. “Josie…”

Ruffles was moving to assist her almost before she had spoken, working with the ease of much practice. Varric had broken an arm once when he was a kid, and he still remembered how even the most mundane tasks had turned into monumental challenges: getting dressed, opening a jar, reading a book. Actually missing an arm - a sodding hand - had to be exponentially worse. Lucky had told him that she could still feel the missing limb at times (which had a couple of seriously creepy story ideas twitching behind his eyes).

He winced as the reddened flesh of the stump was revealed. Lucky never complained, but Ruffles had told him that poultices were needed each night, lest the rawness deepen into ulcers. Hopefully that wouldn’t be a problem after today.

Cassandra took the silverite arm from Josie, and Dagna stepped up with the new and vastly improved model. Ruffles’ face was alight with wonder as she lifted the prosthetic and fit it to the stump; she’d kept herself apart from the creation process so that she didn’t have to lie to her lover, and this was the first time she’d laid eyes on it. The snoufleur skin was as soft as butter, but the irritation from the old arm was still present, and as Josie began to fasten the straps, Lucky flinched a bit.

The entire room gasped in unison when the index finger of the arm twitched right along with her.

“Holy shit,” Varric breathed, leaning forward on the throne for a better look, not even bothering to try to suppress the childlike wonder that had a smile plastered across his face. It was what it was supposed to do, of course, but to actually see it … “Holy shit,” the master wordsmith said again.

“It works!” Dagna’s feet described a jubilant little jig on the flagstones, her expression no less awed than any of the other onlookers. “I mean, I knew it would work, the theory was a sound one, and Gaddrick’s design was flawless, but … It works!!” She spun in place, hands clenched to her chest in excitement, then stopped, her expression settling back into a professional mien as Ruffles secured the last strap and stepped back. “Can you make a fist, please?” she asked, exultation still capering in her eyes, nearly breaking free anew when four fingers and a thumb smoothly curled into a fist, then spread out again. There was the faintest sound from the internal mechanisms: a smooth whirring noise that Varric had heard from Gaddrick’s other gadgets, but it barely carried as far as the throne, and even that was lost beneath the cheers that erupted in the chamber.

“Maker be praised.” Nightingale wore one of her rare smiles; it was good to see. She'd gotten grim again after Solas pulled his big reveal.

That is badass,” Bull proclaimed with enthusiasm.

“And very fashionable looking, darling,” Vivienne put in approvingly. “You’ll turn heads at the next grand ball.”

Undoubtedly true, but that was almost certainly not the reason for the grin that blazed on Lucky’s face like the sun as she flexed and extended each finger one at a time. At a nod from Varric, Cullen stepped forward bearing the silverite greatsword that she’d had to set aside when she’d lost her hand.

“Give it a try?” Varric invited as Cullen presented it to her hilt-first.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
77
#6
Varric was the man never short of a word or two, and all he could seemingly do right now was curse wonderingly under his breath. Sati couldn’t have articulated much more herself. There was no denying it felt strange; actual sensation stopped at her elbow, but her mind was filling in the gap. She flexed her wrist, and the new limb moved smoothly around the joint. She clenched the fist - her fist - and the muscles in her upper arm tensed. It was nothing short of miraculous.

It was the sort of miracle Dagna and Gaddrick had pulled off numerous times over during the long fight against Corypheus, but that did nothing to dull the arcanist’s delight at her success. Even Gaddrick’s glowering on more of a pleased air. Sati performed the requested motions. The freedom of movement went down to every individual joint of the finger. How long had they been doing this?

Sati hadn’t seen the inner circle look so happy in a long time. Even Leliana’s lips had curved in a quiet smile. A tension that had been knotting Sati’s shoulderblades for months eased a little, the first time it had done so without Josie gently pressing it.

A question sat on the tip of her tongue, and then she saw Cullen coming forward and had it answered. She hadn’t even looked at Ruin since she’d lost her arm, finding the loss of her favoured blade too painful. After the move to Kirkwall, she hadn’t even been sure where it was anymore. It wouldn’t have surprised her if Josie had arranged for its transport. Somebody had clearly sharpened the edge and cleaned it thoroughly. There wasn’t so much as a spot of rust.

“Give it a try?”

Swallowing to clear her suddenly dry mouth, Sati extended her new hand out, curling it below the hilt. Cullen bore the weight under her left hand had closed on it as well, and then she lifted it away from him.

The tension in her upper arms confirmed that she’d lost some of the muscle she used to use for the weapon; the shield hadn’t quite compensated for that, but it had done enough that she didn’t drop it. Cullen stepped clear and Sati started to go, very slowly, through the forms she’d first learned from Ser Lehman, so long ago.

It was still in her. It would take time to regain her full strength, and establish enough of a connection with her hand that she didn’t have to think each individual movement of the limb, but as she stepped through, moving the sword in controlled arcs, she finally felt like herself again.

She’d never been a person much given to displays of emotion. Her duel for Josie’s hand had been talked about as much for the fact that she’d talked about her feelings as much as the romance and drama of the gesture itself. It had been part of her discipline, that she would disprove the claims the Qun made about the Tal-Vashoth. But as she swung the sword, tears were creeping in at the corners of her eyes.

They were coursing fully down her face by the time she ceased, a light patina of sweat doing little to disguise them. No sooner had she lowered the sword than Josie was inside her guard, and Sati pulled her close. It took a few moments before she had collected herself enough to straighten up again, palming her face.

“Thank you.” The words felt woefully insufficient, but it was all she had - she would never be able to express fully how grateful she was, that she had this part of herself back. “Thank you - everyone.”
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
103
#7
This was going to be the true test. As beautiful as the prosthetic was, it hadn’t been made for looks, and if it didn’t give Sati back the function that she had lost when Solas had taken her hand - well, she would undoubtedly still wear it, but they might as well have poured all that gold into a jeweled necklace or some ornaments for her horns.

And Lucky knew it. Her eyes widened in recognition as Cullen stepped forward with Ruin, then tightened, apprehension warring with hope. Varric was sure that he was not the only one holding his breath as she slowly reached out. Incredible. The joint in the wrist moved smoothly, twisting to allow the fingers to grasp the hilt. Gaddrick had talked his ears off about ellipsoid versus hinge versus ball and socket joints; it had mostly gone over Varric’s head, but the results were easy enough to see. The flesh and bone hand joined the crafted one on the hilt, and Curly relaxed his support as she lifted upward.

“Oh!” Ruffles exclaimed softly, her hands clasped beneath her chin and an expression of wonder on her face as the blade rose. Lucky’s face was set in concentration: it was taking an effort both physically and mentally, but the elation that blossomed in her violet eyes was as manifest as a triumphant shout to the rafters, and after a moment to steady herself, she began moving the blade slowly through the forms that Varric had seen her using countless times before. The motions were initially halting, tentative, but Lucky’s gaze shifted between the new arm and the old blade, lips moving slightly, and with each pass, the movements smoothed out and elation melted into an unfettered joy that had a lump rising in Varric’s throat.

Tears were running down Sati’s cheeks as she slowed, then let the tip of the blade touch lightly to the floor, and she was far from the only one. Even Cassandra’s eyes were a bit too bright, and Josie was crying openly as she threw her arms around her lover.

“Thank you.” Lucky’s voice was thick with emotion, her eyes moving from face to face in the chamber. “Thank you - everyone.”

“You’re more than welcome,” Varric assured her, then, because he couldn’t resist, “Never let it be said that we won’t give a hand to a friend.”

“Ugh!” Cassandra shook her head in disgust, but she was smiling. It had taken a few years, but she was starting to warm to him.

“Gaddrick wants you to come to his shop right away,” Dagna said, stepping in to examine the arm closely, still beaming. “He’ll show you how to do basic maintenance, but he says that you’re to bring it to him for any repairs it needs, and every few weeks so that he can adjust the mechanisms.” She looked up at the Inquisitor, eyes wide and expression solemn. “He was very emphatic about that.” Yes, he was. He’d still been bellowing about it as Varric and Dagna had carried the arm out of the shop, but having seen the complexity of the inner workings, Varric couldn’t think of anyone else qualified to keep them functional, except a couple of his more advanced apprentices.
 
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