Big, heavy, freckled, just like the rest of her. Thick fingers and calloused palms that have held swords and shields for nearly thirty years now. She doesn’t move her hands much when she talks. They dangle, stiff and awkward, at her sides. But with a weapon in hand, they come to life, slow but sure. But when Donnic is sick, when I take one hit too many, they are the hands of a mother, of a sister, of a wife. Warm.
They curve, just like the rest of her. Her thumb bends flat at the first joint. She did it once at dinner. Mother laughed, Carver tried to do it with his. You don’t usually pay attention to her hands because you’re too busy looking at the rest of her. But then you catch a finger sliding up somewhere unexpected and you focus on it. They’re not misshapen, but she has a pirate’s hands, notched and wiry like rope. They tie together in the hair of men and women alike in a complex sailor’s knot.
He doesn’t have a beard, but his chest may as well be a rug, and his fingers likely have personal grooming wenches. They’re short, but queerly animated. They make shapes in the shadows of candle flames and compliment his words. They’re subtle with Bianca’s trigger, delicate around a quill. But they never stop, even when it’s difficult to get the words right. Stubby stubborn dwarf.
Her hands smell like stew and the fireplace and the dog and her perfume. Even crossing from Gwaren to Kirkwall, even in those two long weeks, even when she stopped wearing it because she couldn’t afford it, she she smelled like that perfume. Her room smells like perfume, the last ghost of her hands running through our hair and father’s beard.
Sometimes they’re gentle. They’re cool and soothing, made to touch hot foreheads and burning wounds, to revive dying flesh, to ruffle the hair of a recovering child. Sometimes they shake. Only his hands. Nothing else. Nails go unclipped unless you remind him. Sometimes his hands are hot with anger. When they glow like ice in sunlight, that’s when they burn.
Hers were most like father’s. Unwavering and firm. A little more ladylike, perhaps. Trimmed nails, sometimes painted if we were feeling girlish and goofy. They performed precision tasks, like sewing our torn underwear or our wounds.
She switches palms when the scar on one has been reopened too frequently. She makes broad gestures. Her hands are all over the place, as if she sees with her fingertips and not her big eyes. Sometimes she forgets she’s holding things and drops them. Her fingers are long and pale daisy petals. They look brittle and delicate, but she’s never broken a thing, and only bleeds if she’s caused it.
His hands change over the years. First they were soft and warm, held together too long in the sunlit Chantry. They grew colder. The bowstring cuts the bloodflow when he takes too long to decide if he wants to take the shot, to make the kill.
He doesn’t have hands; he has giant clubs attached to his wrists. He does not pat the dog, he induces brain damage. He dents things when he’s angry and when he’s not. Only the heavy weight of his metal sword settled them, made them wieldy. But his slaps still behead darkspawn.
His hands stink of fish.
The lyrium is always pale and bright, distracting, but only half of the story. His fingers are soft at first, afraid I will break under his touch. But the years have made him sure and afraid. He holds things tightly, like it will stop them from moving or changing, like he can grasp freedom and never let it go. His knuckles turn pink and the small scars along his fingers turn white. Fewer things are crushed in anger.
I’ve always had cuts and bruises somewhere, but my hands bear the brunt of it. I touch things. I feel them against palms. Sometimes they cut. Sometimes they soothe. Somewhere between Lothering and Kirkwall, my hands grew thinner. The skin now makes the slow descent into wrinkles and veins. I have burns from fire and a small patch of frostbite on my left pinky. A sharp break in the wrist leaves ghost pains. My nails never need to be trimmed; I bite them too short.