Dragon Age: The Sixth Blight [IC]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Bears, Jul 10, 2016.

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  1. Denerim_concept_art_2.jpg
    Fergus stood silently at the center of the royal palace’s courtyard with his hands held formally behind his back, he was clad in a golden armor akin to the one worn by his uncle during the Battle at Ostagar. It was early morning and the sun was still hidden behind the horizon. Today was the day of his “expedition” and despite his serious expression and confident posture, the prince had his uncertainties.

    The Anderfels was for the most part, unexplored. It was an arid, harsh land with plenty of beasts willing to sink their fangs into a steel chest plate. The few cities they had in the area were known to be unfriendly to anyone who wasn’t an Anders or in other words a native, and their warriors were some of the finest, if not vicious in nature.

    But he had no choice but to go. The Blight was growing closer and closer each day and this journey was Ferelden’s only hope of surviving the onslaught. You’d think that due to the severity of the situation it’d warrant a series of caravans with rations and supplies, platoons of knights to protect it, and the official royal flag flying behind it all. Fergus certainly thought it was necessary but the Queen of Ferelden, his elder sister, did not.

    It would be foolish to commit so much resources to finding an order that abandoned them in their time of need was what she told him. Fergus swore it was as if she forgot that their parents had been a part of that very order. But with the darkspawn already occupying most of the Kocari Wilds, Fergus understood why she’d want to keep Ferelden guarded.

    So instead of a proper expedition, the prince had to be content with a small group of adventures willing to travel through the politically tense nations between Denerim and Weisshaupt. He created this group by sending out a series royal invitations throughout the nation. These letters hid none of the dangers that would come with the expedition but heavily emphasized the immense amounts of gold and glory one would receive granted they survive. The letters also included the immediate benefits of joining, the most striking probably being temporarily immunity to Templars. Fergus winced at the memory of him approaching the Chantry with that request.

    The exclusivity of these letters coupled with the riches promised within them caused quite a stir in his country however. Over the past few months they’ve become almost legendary in status— many blood thirsty, gold hungry warriors and rogues across the nation have been killing and stealing from one another just to get their hands on a single letter in hopes that this expedition is their ticket to a better life.

    This tactic, though morbid, allowed the prince to test the skills of his group before he would even meet them. Those who arrived here today, with their invitation in hand, were both capable of getting a letter but also keeping it safe from the many people who would kill them for it. Fergus knew full and well he was spilling his own countrymen’s blood but he also knew so many more will die if the Grey Wardens weren’t brought back to combat the blight.

    He was interrupted from his thoughts however when he heard the light sound of boots tapping against the stone behind him. Fergus turned knowing full and well who was approaching him. She was an elf, with fiery red locks and incredibly pale blue eyes. She was dressed in light armor and carried a fine blade at her hip. Valora. The prince smiled.

    “Do tell me you have the letter hidden on your body somewhere.” Fergus spoke lightly as if ignoring the fact they hadn’t properly spoken to each other for the past four years. They were close once but their duties drove a wedge in between what could have been.

    "No. I’ve just come to wish you luck.” Valora admitted, stopping as she arrived at the center of the courtyard with him. It seemed like ages to Fergus since they last dueled on these grounds. “I did receive your letter, but your sister would prefer I go to Orlais and see if I can drum up some support for your cause there.”

    Fergus offered her a half smile before he nodded. He was glad his sister saw reason, but couldn’t help but feel disappointed that Valora had decided not to join him. Now he just had to make sure that the elf couldn’t see that disappointment in his expression.

    “Well I appreciate it, Val. It means a lot.” Fergus replied softly, his lips forming a somber smile as he met her eyes. The elf held his gaze at for a moment before she offered him a slow nod while she turned around and began to walk away.

    “Just make sure you return alive, Fergus. Alexandria would never forgive herself if otherwise.” The duelist spoke without turning back. He watched her in silence as she disappeared back into the castle and he wished she hadn’t said anything to him at all. The last thing he needed to feel before setting off for the Anderfels was regret.

    He turned back to the rest of the courtyard and let out a long, dwindling sigh. He hoped that it wouldn’t take long before the group arrived. The sooner they left the better - for a wide variety of reasons.
    #1 Bears, Jul 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
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  2. He'd been watching behind the tree, looking out for something to come near. Anything really, but he preferred to have at least a person come his way. He paused as he heard the clopping of hooves that was getting closer and closer. Just a little more...A little more...There! He shot a fireball in front of the horse's feet, startling it. There was swearing as a man fell off the horse and his ride ran away. He rushed forward with his staff encased in ice and thwacked him hard on the head, several times just to be sure he would stay stunned. The man was holding something in his hand, a letter? Was it the same one he had heard so much about? Might as well take it, just in case. He swiftly yanked the letter out of the man's hand and ran as fast as he could from his target, all thoughts of taking his money gone.

    It turned out to be that very same letter the prince sent out. Elwyn was stunned when he read the first few paragraphs, as he hadn't expected to run into such a precious thing. What luck! Perhaps he'll earn his fortune this way, rather than beg for his family to let him be the heir once more. Not like they would've done it, though. He'd stolen a horse and rode his way to the castle in Ferelden, stealing money and food along the way when necessary. True he was a disgraced noble now, and one that can use magic. But even then, his life had some merit and he felt like that the letter would help him gain his honor back.

    He was nearing it now, nearing the castle as his horse trotted along. Truthfully, he hadn't been feeling too good, that time of the month kicking in a few days before he reached the castle. But that wasn't going to stop him from coming and being a part of the expedition. He stopped at the front gates where the guards stood. "I'm here by invitation of the prince," he said, his voice low to imitate a true man's. He pulled out the letter from the pocket of his robe and showed the guards, in hopes of being allowed inside.
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  3. Gerric walked along the stone roads with a confident and purposeful feeling in his stride. His current destination: Castle Ferelden. In his possession, a note from the Prince about the expedition to find the Grey Wardens. Gerric seemed like the last person to care about what happened to the world around him, so why would he agree to help everyone else with this expedition? There was quite a simple answer: Templar Immunity. As a Blood Mage who had left his Circle, Templars weren't normally too happy to have him around and that was something Gerric would do almost anything for to get rid of. So, with his acquisition of the note, his dream had come true and he was safe. He also figured the note would really only work if he actually suffered along with whatever group had decided to go, so he was on his way to the castle.

    Now, how did he manage to get his hands on one of these notes? Well, much like anyone else had, although he didn't have to do the murdering for it. He just so happened to find it on a corpse after killing someone else who attempted to kill him. It was a vicious cycle, really. A man killed another man trying to get the note, Gerric came along and was accused of trying to take the note, so Gerric's hand was forced to defend himself. From then on, he kept the note close to himself at all times, keeping it hidden away deep in his robe. Had there been many people who had attempted to take the note from him? Yes. Had any of them been even remotely successful of even harming him? No.

    So, with his note still safely tucked away in his robe, he neared the castle. His gaze was indifferent and unamused as it always was. He did note that there was someone else talking to the guards, seeming to hold a note that was identical to the one he himself had. No words left his mouth as he neared the guards, pulling out his own note and holding it open. He said nothing to the other man there and made no indication to the other that he even acknowledged his presence. Standing there silently, he waited there with his note until he was instructed to go or do anything else.
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  4. The journey away from her clan had been one of the hardest things that Solavir had ever done, though she expected that there would be a great many more difficulties in the coming days as she bid them farewell. She swore to hold each memory she gained in her time apart as a painful shard in her chest, building an array to keep close to her and share again when she had returned to her people. It is said that every time you pick up a memory and examine it you destroy it a little and it was with that thought in mind that Solavir tried to keep her thoughts in the present. It was, however, not the only reason for keeping her thoughts clear. She needed to keep her wits about her in this dangerous new place where she knew no one.

    Not long after she had trekked into the shem lands, she had found direction from fleeing villagers afraid of being overrun by darkspawn. These directions had taken Solavir to the shimmering city of Val Royeaux, a beautiful bastion amidst the turmoil outside its walls. The words of darkspawn had flown from her lips almost at once, urging anyone that she could find of the dangers. There was little doubt in her mind or in the mind of the keeper that these were the signs of something stirring, the indications of the blight. Her words, however, seemed to fall upon deaf ears. If they heard her behest, they made no indication that it bothered them. If they were concerned about the blight, they were not about to show a crack in the beautiful facade of their masks. They would dance their troubles away in lavish balls and did not have a breath to spare for the knife ear with the vulgar markings across her face.

    Solavir had gone from noble to noble, pleading that they listen, not knowing that none had heard from the Grey Wardens. The doors closed in her face, though often not before they managed to spit at her through it. Still, with her persistence and desperate warnings, she managed to attract a fair amount of attention for herself. This was a boon when a mysterious letter carried by an arrow whizzed past her face and embedded in a wall not far from her one afternoon after another unsuccessful attempt at requesting an audience with the Emperor of Orlais. In truth, Solavir would have been hard-pressed to tell anyone what she thought this man's name was, as her people did their best to have little interaction with the chevaliers who passed close by at times, but it had not stopped her yet from trying to demand that he grant her an audience at once.

    At first glance, she thought that the guards were again on her tail, as they had been trying to capture her and eject her from the city for some time now. A closer inspection, however, yielded a mysterious letter promising riches, fame, and most importantly, Grey Wardens. There was little interest in wealth or glory in Solavir's heart but that someone was working to stop the blight, which would surely devastate her people, was enough to earn her attention. She had tucked the letter carefully into her robes and left the city the same evening, spitting on one of their statues as she slipped into the night.

    The journey from Val Royeaux to Ferelden and its royal castle had been more arduous than she had anticipated. She had stolen away in the night but it seemed as though her location had been betrayed by its very shadows. A pair of men armed with swords had come fast upon her not long after she left the city. Their initial aggression blindsided her but they were quickly frozen in their tracks. More bewildered by the unexpected attack than anything, Solavir had questioned one of the men as to why they had set upon her. He had, as she should have predicted at this point, spat at her and called her a "knife-eared robe". She had felt little remorse when she froze him the rest of the way. Her greatest regret from the encounter is that their horses had been spooked long before she thought of them and had already fled, leaving her to continue again on foot.

    Another attack came from a more stealthy foe when Solavir had tried to settle in and get some rest a short distance off the highway in a rocky outcropping. A rogue from the shadows had surprised her, managing to draw blood as she whirled away. Exhaustion and irritation meant that the rogue was dispatched swiftly with little interest in interrogation. There had been a bright note to the encounter, however. The rogue had tied up their horse before trying to sneak up on Solavir. It was not a difficult matter to find the beast and Solavir covered her distance a great deal faster with its aid.

    With increased precaution, Solavir closed in on the last legs of her journey with only minor wounds and a steed thoroughly spent from little rest and a demanding pace. It was a relief when she finally arrived at the city of Denerim, nearly as exhausted as the horse. The guards of the city had given an almost indifferent general questioning of the woman who was at this point too cautious to indicate at all that she was looking for entry. Another fellow, however, who strode through the town with purpose, making a direct path to the castle. She glanced around her for any suspicious figured who might in turn be watching her before following in the direction that the man had gone.​
    #4 Kitti, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
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  5. [​IMG]
    He panted softly, gripping onto the little envelope in his hand for dear life. That was... Exhilarating, and yet so terrifying at the same time. The Qunari had been so big, much larger than himself. That was expected though, he was only ten. In fact, his birthday had just recently passed! Boy, it was interesting. His mother hadn't shown up, nor had his father. That left him alone and bored, which is what brought him here now. Ur'gari had heard about the expedition as he'd wandered around the streets of Ferelden, from some elderly human woman. She'd been gushing about it to what looked like her son, but of course he wasn't too sure. She'd said that whomever had been invited would be promised riches and much, much more. It intrigued him.

    Maybe he wasn't in it for the treasures he'd hold later on, maybe he just wanted something to do. Or, maybe he was just tired of being alone all of the time. Whichever it was, he was going to do it. Even if that meant risking his life- Or already risking his life, just to steal the invitation from a Qunari.

    It was the brute's fault for not noticing him, people were advised that if they had been invited, they must always be alert. Because if they weren't? Well, their invites would probably be stolen. Clearly the guy either hadn't been paying attention, or he thought it was some sort of joke. Clearly not though, the guy didn't have an invite anymore... He did. And that made him smile in triumph. He couldn't been stepped on and killed! But he hadn't! Which meant that he was perfectly capable to go on this expedition with everyone else.

    Besides, he wasn't like normal kids. Because he was a Sarebaas, but no one really knew that besides his parents. They hadn't really allowed him much freedom due to that, so that's why they were able to keep who he was hidden. They had come into trouble a few times though... But, there was no point in trying to explain that! It was in the past, he was older, and much stronger. He could keep something like that happening all over again. There wasn't any time to think about it anyway. He needed to figure out how he was going to get to the royal palace. It was pretty far from where he was right now..

    He wouldn't dare run anymore, after escaping the guy from earlier, he could barely breath. His lungs felt constricted, they burned, but thankfully his breathing wasn't as erratic as it had been.

    Looking at the envelope in his tiny hands, Ur'gari grinned. It didn't matter how he got there, as long as he had an invite, he was happy. Actually, more than happy. He was ecstatic, scared, nervous, and maybe even a little proud of himself. It was an exciting day already! He hoped that it would continue to be like that. Normally his days were boring, filled with loneliness and nothing fun. Maybe today would change that, for the better or for the worse... right?

    Well there was no point in doubting it, he'd already done the deed. And as long as the Qunari didn't find him along the way, then everything should be fine.
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  6. Itwa-Adim let out a bloodcurdling roar as he felt the cold steel dig into him, scraping against his collarbone as it penetrated deeper. He twitched, shoving his shoulder forward and wrenching the blade free of his attacker's grip. Adim whirled around, the flat of his own great blade smacking across the face of another attacker. He could hear the dry snap of a neck breaking, and took a moment to look over the convulsing mess of meat on the ground with visible glee. Adim raised his greatsword high, bringing the point down with all his might on the man's neck, easily decapitating him as the blade sunk into the ground. Grabbing the blade from his shoulder, he threw it without looking, burying the bloody blade in another attacker's eye. As he fell to the ground, Adim turned to his original attacker. A wicked predatory grin, barely visible through the blood and paint covering him, spread across his face.

    Adim charged, head down, and slammed into the frightened human into the ground. A heavy foot pinned the chain mail clad attacker to the ground, struggling to move under his weight. "Send more people next time." He said, gripping the human's flailing arm above the elbow. He pulled and twisted, tearing the arm off at the shoulder with a wet ripping sound. He smacked him in the face with the bloody end, knocking him unconscious. With his three attackers dealt with, his rage finally began to abate. Adim started searching the bodies, looking for anything of value. He found an antivan fire grenade on one of them, and wondered absently why they hadn't used it on him. Oh right, dagger to the eye. He broke it open, scooping out a handful of oil and rubbing it onto the bleeding hole of the only survivor. A strike of his flint and steel and the oil ignited, cauterizing the wound. If the fleshy one was lucky, someone would find him.

    He went back to looking through the bodies, eventually finding a bit of parchment with a fancy seal on it. He couldn't read much, a combination of functional illiteracy and overly decorative lettering. He could pick out a few key words though, like treasure, glory, and the name of the royal palace, where they were to meet. That was enough for him to decide to follow it. Adim took a minute to pull his sword from the ground, cleaning the blood and dirt off before attaching it to the magnetic discs on his chest harness.

    Adim walked for days, stopping only for meals and to refill his waterskins. When it became too dark to walk, he would climb into a tree, sleeping hidden away in the leaves until he could see again. So long as he was being hunted, he didn't dare stay in one place too long. Eventually, he came across a small town. He walked the streets slowly, looking for anyone who might be Ben-Hassrath, and stopped in his tracks when he saw a diminuitive Qunari. He looked young, barely old enough to be separated from his Tamassran. At least, he thought it was a boy...at that age it was hard to tell. Adim walked up to the child, tapping him on the shoulder. It never occurred to him that maybe a giant Qunari, still wearing a military patterned vitaar, might be terrifying to someone so young. "Can you tell me what this says?" He asked gruffly, pulling out the paper. At least he could be reasonably sure someone this small couldn't be a Ben-Hassrath spy.

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    A lone crow soared above the long and entangled streets of Ferelden's capital, Dernerim. Silently, it cut through the dawn light in a straight line towards the royal palace. The crow watched below as a group of varying races were gathering at the front gates. But as it arrived at the courtyard it swept downwards gracefully, sweeping right in front of the Castle's crowned prince, Fergus. It then glided upwards before landing atop the roof. It turned to meet one eye with the Prince, who in return watched it with a cautious eye.

    Suddenly a bright light enveloped the crow spontaneously. Fergus winced, covering his eyes until the light quickly faded. Standing where the crow once stood was a beautiful woman. The woman was dressed in a tight fitting bustier and a varying length skirt adorned with black, green and aqua feathers. Her wavy ivory locks were cut before they could reach her exposed shoulders and her eyes were a bright amber that cut straight through the early morning light. Fergus positioned himself defensively in reaction, drawing the blade sheathed on his back.

    "Who are you?" The prince questioned his eyes fixing into a cold, cautionary glare. She laughed before she hopped down from the roof and onto the courtyard with him. Her lips curved into a smile as she dropped her dark wood staff to the floor. The woman rose her hands as a sign of peace but her cocky smile remained.

    "An ally for the time being -- you may call me Isadora if it pleases you." She replied with a tone both sweet and poisonous. Isadora dropped one hand into a satchel strapped along her waist, and pulled out one of the letters he had written. Fergus's slowly stood straight and sheathed his blade, but his eyes continued to follow her with caution. Isadora dropped her hands to her sides and tilted her head. "You are quite quick to trust me, Prince." She cooed.

    "If you wished to caused me harm, you would've already done it by now." Fergus replied with utmost seriousness.

    "Your clothes and demeanor tell me where you are from Witch. I know your kind wish to reclaim the Wilds just as badly as I wish to protect Ferelden." He continued bluntly. Isadora was surprised by his deductive response, perhaps even impressed but she didn't let it show. Instead she laughed and clapped her hands mockingly.

    "I'm glad to see Ferelden's prince takes more from his mother than his father." She quipped before turning towards the direction of the gates. Isadora spoke without turning back. "Your expedition members are gathering quickly, Prince. Allow me to offer you some advice before we depart."

    "What is it then?" he replied.

    "Before you have us take ship to the Marches, there is a Grey Warden in Ferelden who's yet to have disappeared with the rest of his order." Isadora revealed, her face still turned away from Fergus and her tone becoming quiet and almost solemn. "He's was cursed and has slept for years until recently. His slumber has spared him from whatever drew the rest of his Order to obscurity. He lies deep in the Brecilian Forests however and could make a formidable ally were you to pursue him."

    "The Blight isn't going to wait for us while we take a detour." Fergus retorted quickly as he shifted weight onto one of his legs and crossed his arms, the witch turning her head over her shoulder to meet his eyes as he questioned her further. "How do I even know you are speaking of the truth?"

    "That's the thing, Prince..you don't. It's just something for you to consider." Isadora chuckled softly in response before turning back once more. "Now if you excuse me.."

    "Where are you going?" He asked before she could begin to walk off.

    "I simply wish to meet my companion when he arrives at the gates. Don't worry prince, regardless of where you decide to go after this I'll lend my powers to your cause." Isadora replied before turning around and offering him a wink. "For now."

    And just like when she first arrived a quick, spontaneous and slightly blinding light consumed her form. When it faded she was once again a crow. She cawed once at Fergus, her goodbye of sorts, and took off back into the morning light. As she arrived at the gates she perched atop a nearby roof and watched as more gathered but her companion hadn't arrived. Varsus would know that crow was her when he did however.

    #7 Bears, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
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  8. Once Ghrem had heard of the mission, he knew he had to be a part of it. The riches were enticing, but also was the promise of countless darkspawn he could kill. He had a lot of frustration to vent and a lot of arrows to vent it through.

    He’d located an invitation in the hands of a dwarven warrior by the name of Borgam Something-Something-Caste-Name. The dwarf was a notorious gambler and a horrible card player. So, Ghrem challenged him to a hand of Wicked Grace and kept infuriating Borgam by winning. The other dwarf let lose a spittle-ridden declaration that Ghrem was cheating. Ghrem, of course, gave a non-commital answer. This further infuriated Borgam. He challenged Ghrem to play an actual hand, not cheating, and the prize at the end was Borgam’s invitation. As one might suspect, Ghrem won that hand as well.

    “You sodding duster,” Borgam said, slamming his hands down on the table. The force of it caused Ghrem’s newly-acquired-riches to leap off of the table and into his lap. His ale almost joined them, but Ghrem was quick enough to cease it from tipping over. “You cheated!”
    “To be fair, I cheated less than I usually do. It’s a card game after all. Part of the fun is knowing everyone is cheating.” He tilted his head to the side. “Didn’t you know that?”
    Borgam growled. “You should have never of left Dust Town, you ugly piece of shit.”
    “Says the man with the blond beard that’s so straight it looks like someone attached straw to their face.” He rubbed his chin. “Was your mother a scarecrow or is that an aesthetic choice?”
    “That’s it. You’re going to die you shitting nug-fucker.” Borgam stood up from his chair in such a haste that it nearly toppled out from underneath him.
    Ghrem also stood, his hand going to the knife at his waist. “Quite the insult there, Borgam. That must have used up your allotment of intelligence for the year.”
    The angry, blond dwarf went to grab his ax about the same time Ghrem took a step forward and laced his fingers into the man’s horribly greasy beard. He would blanche his hand later, now he needed to look less disgusted and more intimidating. Ghrem brought his knife to Borgam’s neck. The other dwarf became particularly still, his pungent breath hot on Ghrem’s cheek.
    “I only have so much patience, Borgam. I am not a kind man, but I am a very busy one. So, I’m going to take your invitation and leave you your riches. But I’m going to need something from you first. Tell me what the invitation says.”
    Borgam let out a nervous chuckle. “The duster can’t read.”
    Ghrem’s knife bit into Borgam’s neck and blood trickled from the nick.
    “Sodding… fine.” Borgam relayed the information that the invitation had on it in intricate detail. Denerim. Fancy Lordling. Darkspawn. Grey Wardens. He memorized those key phrases.
    “Now I’m also going to need your pants. Take ‘em off real nice and slow.”
    Borgam stared at him in defiance. Ghrem pressed the knife closer to his neck. Borgam unlaced his breeches and let them fall to the floor. With an odd jerking action, he got them over his boots and kicked them into Ghrem’s legs.

    “Thank you,” Ghrem said, pulling Borgam’s beard tight. The other dwarf let out a soft noise of pain as Ghrem sliced his beard clean off. Letting the blond mat of hair fall to the ground, Ghrem scooped up Borgam’s pants, threw them into the tavern’s fireplace, grabbed the invitation, and left.

    He may have made a more-than-awkward hustle to his horse after that. Borgam had friends in high places, and Ghrem was certain that they would be sent after him at any moment. Fortunately, he’d been within the Carta’s surface branch for so long, he knew how to get around without being seen or noticed.
    Ghrem took a thin, winding road through the woods. His horse, Nug, trotted quietly over the raised roots and overgrown patches. Ghrem had saved her some time ago when a merchant sought to butcher her and sell the meat because she was smaller and wirier than all the other horses born that season. Ghrem’d bought her, taken good care of her, and she’d rewarded him by being a damn fine horse (that he could get onto without any issue.)

    “You don’t think I’m ugly, do you Nug?” Ghrem asked the horse, running a hand through his wild black locks. “I think I’m rather handsome. He was just jealous because his mother birthed him onto his face and then stepped on it.”
    Nug let out a snort.
    “Rude, but I’ll give you that. All this tavern-hopping hasn’t been particularly good for my physique. I think I’ve put on a stone.” He patted his belly.
    Nug snorted again.
    “Fine. Two. I guess you would know, considering.” He ran a hand over the curve of his bow that hung from Nug’s saddle. “I can still shoot and fight and talk my way out just about anything. That’s all that matters. Also—I’m about to go on a mission wrought with danger and probably really poor rations. I’ll lose it.”
    Nug was silent.
    “Your faith in me is astounding,” he said, dead-pan.

    - - -

    Denerim was a bustling human city with too many dogs and too much mud. Ghrem rode Nug into the city, but as things became more congested near the heart of it, he dismounted. He led her by her reins, and she was content to trot along beside him. There was no distinct flow or rhythm to the way the city was laid out. The unmentionables, like the alienage, were sidled at the edge of town, but all along the inner parts there were merchants intermingled with residences. Ghrem paid little mind to the words that erupted from the seller’s lips: “Antivan” this, “Orlesian” that, “Tevinter” thing-a-ma-bobs. Stalls over ran with produce, rugs, potions, or even weapons. He saw a few dwarven merchants, all bragging about how their wares were better than human’s and especially better than the dwarf closest to them. Most of them had unmarked faces. They were probably smithing caste, up top to sell and buy, before returning to their nice homes in Orzammar. Ghrem tried not to be bitter, but he really only had disgust in his heart for the caste system. Not to mention, he thought his red mark made him look more dangerous, and it brought out the blue in his eyes. That was not something he’d be repeating to anyone—ever. His sister would have loved Denerim. She’d have paused at every stall, annoyed every vendor, and made off with a few necklaces that she didn’t spare a coin for. That thought made Ghrem’s insides twist.

    He pulled the invitation out from the pouch at his hip and looked it over again. Not that it was any help. It was an overly fancy thing, and quite frankly if he hadn’t of needed it to join the expedition, he’d wiped his ass with it. It was the small things that made him happy.

    A few eyes landed on the invitation, and he tucked it away. He hadn’t encountered any problems along the roads. Then again, he’d taken secret Carta routes and traveling by night. Borgam probably hadn’t alerted too many folks about losing the invitation—pride and all. But he’d still have laid down a pretty coin or two for some of his closer confidants to get the invitation back from Ghrem and to probably, most likely, rough him up.

    Ghrem knew where to head. He’d never been here before, usually non-dwarves pawned out Carta goods to humans, but cities were all the same. Stick the big-ole phallic symbol in the middle for all to admire. So, he headed that direction for the castle. And lo and behold he was correct. There was already a small crowd forming. Humans. Elves. Warriors. Mages. Shiver. Mages. Of course, he did know if they were a mage or not. They surely weren’t wearing a sign—even if he could read. Still, there was that air about them. Robes. Staff. Mystical huffiness. Then again, they could just be a noble’s son or someone that enjoyed not wearing pants. He didn’t’ know. Still, that didn’t mean he’d chance it.

    Instead, Ghrem reached inside his waist pouch and grabbed his long, black pipe and some clove. He packed it in tight and lit it with a flint. Maybe it would mask the severe smell of ale and horse. He didn’t think he smelled poorly, especially in a world where people slept in the hay, mud, and shit.

    “I have one of those, as well,” Ghrem said, his voice was husky from smoke but naturally low and deep. “I’m just not going to parade it around. Sure, we’re at the gates, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t lose my head.” He pointed upwards with his pipe. “A lot of rooftops. A lot of vantage points. You young lads would do good to stuff your excitement back into your britches.”
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  9. Cold, hunger, and exhaustion Varsus had come to know them well. After all not many a fine horse would be sold to a barbarian, and though his companion could easily have stolen them a horse or two Varsus was not so beaten to rely on the help of meat. The winds through the mountains or the wrath of the storm, it was all the same and nature fell from his body like he were made of heated stone. So far now, So far away from his home, and the tribe that knew him as their father. A fools gold quest that promised nothing of value for him and yet after reading that fateful letter, or rather, her reading it for him... There was no denying what must be done.

    Of course, the letter hadn't just simply fallen into the hands of a barbarian. No not at all. So much had been spent on this endeavor but before that the letter had more blood on its white enveloped to be accounted for than even Dragons of old. Varsus settled next to her and stared into the fire. As he recounted what poor fates had brought him to this point.

    He could hear it. They were running, running for their lives. The stench of guilt stuck to them like a curse, and even more taunting was the smell of fear. The poor fools knew that they had come where they should not have. Varsus remembered it well as he lead the hunt that night. Stupid little thieves gathered around and took place atop a cliff thinking that it would do them good to have the higher vantage point. Oh how it felt to rip their flesh from bone... Oh how it felt to see them squirm... filthy little elves that had gone too far into the forests. The memory alone was enough to send Varsus into a near psychotic Euphoric laughter.

    Among the bones, clutched in the still twitching finger of a detached hand they found it. stained in blood of all kinds, so much that its matted contents were hard enough for the greatest scholars to decipher. It was good that their tribe had a great scholar on their side, just as she'd always been. Alas, the contents promised riches, glory, fame.... None of the words stood out to them. Perhaps that was just the level that their inteligence had reached in all of this time. Varsus however saw more. A word not written but in 'invisible ink' for only his hungry eyes to see.

    "opportunity to save my people

    The fire flickered once more and Varsus returned from his day dreaming just in time to watch her sway away from him. Her voice was softer for him than she dared to allow others to know, and Varsus had come to treasure it. "Sleep well Varsus." Varsus followed her all the way to her cot, with eyes alone. He had come to know they way her body twitched with every single movement, he'd memorized it the masterpiece of a bard. And just as she lay down he whispered into the crackling of the fire. "Sleep well Isadora." Before he too snuffed the fire and found his bedroll.

    The night faded as quick as it had come, and Isadora was the first to wake. A scroll was left and she was gone.

    "You filthy creatures... I will never free you. You will remain like this forever!"

    Varsus woke with a start and instantly reached for his weapon as he sat up. Sweat was still beading from his face, and his beard was soaked. It didn't take long to realize that it was another night terror and Varsus stood up, donned his armor and covered what remained of his tracks. The camp would be found surely but it would look to be long since abandoned.

    The city, or rather the capital was now in sight for him. Varsus made his way down a trail, but as it had always been, nothing is just so simple as it seems. As expected of valor-less rats, they waited for him just outside of the view of the castles towers. Three of them. Each had a different blade to distinguish themselves as if they had no need for names. Of course they didn't now that they were to cross him.

    "My hands are stained in the blood of warriors, Leave now. You are not worthy.."

    Varsus normally would never give anyone a warning. This world was cruel, and no one cared to warn you before they stabbed you in the back. Perhaps her was feeling mildly generous this day, perhaps he was eager to see that Isadora was safe. It didn't matter unfortunately.

    The first came at him swiping furiously in wild strokes with two miss-sized swords. It was a pathetic display of the poor fools desperation, for even in his eyes the man knew he could not win. Varsus drew his great-sword then and with the blunt of it he swat the boy away from him into the nearest tree, just in time for the smaller of the remaining two to jolt inward and try and stab him in his side with a dagger. Varsus turned in time and gripped the boy by his throat, lifting him off his feet. The dagger tumbled to the ground and Varsus threw the boy away from him. "Stand down!" His voice was a mighty roar as he glared into the first boys eyes. "I do not know your reason for needing this letter, and I can not afford to care. If you attack again I will kill you.. I do not wish to kill helpless children." His words ended flat and before they could answer Varsus continued past them.


    The last of them charged. And with one quick and mighty titanic movement the boy fell with his sword. His body was split in two halves. And the horrified yells of his friends were but haunting cries.

    Varsus closed his eyes, as a sigh passed his lips and he continued through the city gates.

    The capital was a spectacle like none Varsus had ever known, and it was clear that his blood stained northern plate armor was nothing like the style of this place. And to be honest he already hated this place as well. The call of the wild, the winds of nature, you couldn't feel that here, but all around the stench of workers and humans and possibly even more so today than normally. "Qunari..." Varsus growled under his breath. He didn't have a personal issue with the man beasts, it was a practical issue if anything. Biased maybe. Never the less Isadora had explained how this city worked, and Varsus made his way through the rats nest to the castle gates.

    As he got closer, the smell was that much more potent. Varsus eyes surveyed all around him for anyone more proficient than the poor boys outside the city. He was not about to lose his chance now. Passing over one more large hill, the trail brought Varsus before a fairly large group of what he could only guess were contenders for the promise of riches, and fame. Eyes followed his barbaric figure as he stomped past some of them, locking eyes with two qunari; one the normal size, and the other was but a child. "even children are being allowed to attend this event?" Varsus grumbled in passing and did his mood lighten when he noticed out of the corner of his eye the small form of a crow.

    Varsus held his arm out and waited, and as she perched upon him he felt the edge of his lips curve into a half smile. "Not exactly how I envisioned me holding you, but I suppose it works just fine. Varsus took a knee then and lowered her to the ground, should she want to take her true form. Then the giant of a man stepped forward and called out so that none could ignore him. "I am Varsus White-mane of the Wilds. Who among us is the one that sent out these letters!?"
    #9 Wolfsin, Jul 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
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  10. An Implausible Duo


    Arching above a pair of lonely travelers was a blistering sun that the pair had not encountered for a long time. Kinloch Hold’s shadow beared across Lake Calenhad, echoing it’s size to world around it.

    A sigh left the steel mask of the fire mage as his gaze turned from Raghnall to the path ahead. When Ered had first received his letter of invitation to the expedition group, he was ecstatic, and then disheartened. Everytime he took a gander at the Templar at his side, his heart dropped. The weathered warrior only reminded him of his time with the Circle, and his… horrid experiences. If only he had been assigned a different babysitter.

    “Obviously the Circle has no trust in my abilities… I shouldn’t be watched over by someone who can’t even take care of himself…”

    Raghnall halted the steel faced mage without turning his head to acknowledge him. Letting out a heavy sigh, he repeated a hymn to himself in order to keep his temper. “I’m only going to tell you once, boy. Lyrium is the material in which Andraste breathes power into us Templars. I take it in order to perform a duty, to protect the world from the likes of you.” Raghnall let his hand fall as he continued toward the docks.

    - - -

    After they rode across Lake Calenhad, the Templar purchased two horses with silver that the chantry coffers could grant him, and they set for Castle Ferelden.

    “Keep up, we haven’t much daylight left.” Raghnall pulled his reigns close to him, turning his horse into the shade of the trees. They had been riding for two days, and were approaching their third. The templar dismounted, surveyed the area, and then nodded. “We will set camp here, and ride with the dawn.”

    Ered ignored the Templar’s words as he slowly pulled his horse up behind his. The mage then dismounted before tying the beast to a nearby tree. After doing so, he quickly moved through the nearby brush, grabbing any pieces of tinder he could find. Once he collected a fairly large amount of wood, he walked back to the slowly forming camp. He then walked in a circular formation, forming an outer layer for the fire with large logs before dropping the rest within the middle. Ered then took a few steps back, before snapping his fingers. A small flame ignited in the center of the pile, which then slowly spread out among the rest of the lumber. Within mere seconds, a large fire had been built.

    “Seems like I am doing more than you are right now Raghnall. Need some more lyrium to function properly?”

    Raghnall shook his head to himself as he began to set up camp. “Keep lighting flames like that and you may add a few more burn scars.” Raghnall broke a few sticks over his leg then tossed them into the fire. “Best you start looking for a meal for us, I assume you know how to cook since the sear on your arms is just the right color.” As Raghnall unbuckled his armor he moved to the horses and opened his saddle bag, the templar pulled out his bedroll and threw it to the ground. Like clockwork the templar undressed himself, finished setting his bed, then stretching before settling in front of the fire.

    Angered by Raghnall's comment, Ered moved deeper into the forest, searching for any small creatures or birds that they could both eat during the coming dark. Small balls of flame were kept ready in both of his palms as he trekked along. He walked for a few minutes, seeing nothing before him, before hearing a low groan in the brush to his side. Instantaneously, the mage crouched down. He kept his breath low as he crept through the small woodwork. A small grin came upon his face as he put his eyes upon the rabbit before him. It had not noticed him yet, which meant that it was time for him to strike. With swiftness, he fired out his right hand in the direction of the rabbit. The small ball of flame departed from his palm and hit the rabbit’s head before it had time to look in the direction of its hunter. Seeing no need for the ball of flame in his other hand, he let it to dissipate. Ered then retrieved the rabbit from the forest floor before heading back to the makeshift camp.

    Night came soon as they prepared their meat and ate to themselves. Raghnall sat across from Ered with his sword by his right, he chewed his food slowly as he watched the mage consume his meal. No words were exchanged between the two during their small ‘feast’. It seemed as if the two of them were incompatible partners. Ered was very volatile, and felt as if the Templar’s very presence was bothersome. It was if the Circle had brought along the Chantry slave just to purposefully smite him. A deep sigh emitted from the masked mage once again as he looked to the side.
    He would rid himself of the Templar sooner or later, and it would most certainly be sometime during the upcoming expedition.

    Ered settled with the quiet crackle of the flame, and finally Raghnall was alone. The Templar rested his head on the tree he laid against and pulled out a small folded letter. “It’s a shame,” Raghnall remarked at the sleeping mage, ”I had hoped to have better company.”

    - - -

    The pair rose with the dawn and rode the rest of the day to Castle Ferelden. Raghnall and Ered arrived last to the gathering, which to Raghnall was the unreasonable. "I am Varsus White-mane of the Wilds. Who among us is the one that sent out these letters!?" The pair stood apart but back from the rest of the group to give them each an understanding of who their companions were. Even at each other’s throats they still kept their distance, unsure of the situation. They silently agreed on one thing, that it would take at least double this many warriors to defeat The Blight.

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  11. Unnamed-Forest.jpg
    Fergus rubbed the back of his head as he made his way from the courtyard to the front gates. As comfortable as he was in front of Ferelden politicians and what not, he was never a fan of giving big addresses. When he lead a personal group of Ferelden knights, he knew each and every one by name and knew them well and so speeches were never difficult. But now he was approaching a group of complete strangers and he couldn't help but feel slightly nervous.

    When he came to the front gates, he heard from afar the large Chasind man's question and the arrival of the last of the letter holders. Signalling a guard, the large barriers rose up and from underneath the prince emerged from within the castle. He cleared his throat as he made his way down the many steps towards the adventures who had gathered in front of him.

    "That would be me." Fergus quipped as he approached them. The letters each of these people possessed did not mention that the crown prince of the nation would be their expedition leader but they knew now. "Fergus Alexander Theirin, the younger brother of Queen Alexandria and this expedition's organizer and leader." He introduced himself with a friendly and light tone, stopping a few steps before the ground so he could see each person that had survived through his little test of skill. Quickly as well as silently he assessed them.

    He first looked at the warriors who he would soon be leading from the frontlines. The most was noticeable to Fergus was the Qunari who was hunched over and speaking to what Fergus innocently guessed was a child Qunari. He never saw many of their kind, but the large one seemed formidable and would likely be a force on the battlefield. Next would be the Chasind barbarian who called for him moments before he came down the steps, he was incredibly large in stature and like Fergus and the grown Qunari, fought with both hand son his blade. Last was the Templar representative who arrived recently with his charge. Though he wasn't officially allowed to perform his sacred duty on the mages gathered, Fergus was glad he'd be around to stop any from going on a rampage.

    The group only had one rogue judging from equipment and oddly enough to the prince, that single rogue was also the only dwarf. Fergus never saw many agile dwarves on the battlefield, and he was curious to see how the dwarf would look slipping in and out of the fight. The prince did his best to hide his curiosity however and turned to the mages.

    His initial thought was that there were many that had gathered and that made him slightly uneasy. His father was never the biggest fan of magic and neither was Fergus but regardless he was glad they'd have enough magical power to deal with large groups of Darkspawn. The prince only saw one mage who wore the Ferelden Circle's marks and that was the one who came last with the templar. That meant the other three, the white haired man with equally pale skin, the man who held himself like a noble in his dirtied travelling clothes, and the attractive but distant elf were all apostates. Fergus also laid eyes on Isadora, the witch of the wilds disguised as a harmless crow and did his best to keep himself from glaring.

    "I'm not the one for big speeches so you'll excuse me if I keep this simple." Fergus began after clearing his throat once more. "The letter each of you hold tells you what we are doing and what you'll be getting out of it. Everyone knows what is at stake here so I won't repeat it. While each of you are apart of this expedition I expect and will do my best to earn your respect as it's leader."

    "We will be journeying towards the Anderfels, but not before we head south and into the Brecilian Forests." He continued his eyebrows narrowing as he moved closer to Isadora who had perched along the side of the stairs. "The reason as to why will be revealed when we get there. I just ask each of you for your cooperation and commitment and if someone has a problem giving that it'd be best for you to leave now." Fergus turned back to everyone and waited to see if anyone was going to leave. When no one moved he smiled handsomely. He turned back to Isadora and his smile faded back into a glare.

    "Lead the way, witch."

    The crow cawed loudly once before the light that Fergus was beginning to get tired of him caused him to wince. Unsurprisingly, Isadora now stood there in her human form. The witch looked over the group that had gathered and smiled slyly at Fergus' disapproval towards her. She walked passed the prince and down the stairs, ignoring any comment or reaction about her sudden appearance, only offering Varsus a wink as she passed by him. Silently Fergus joined her at the front of the group as they all began to move.​

    "Come then. If any of you get left behind, tis' not my problem."

    The group of eleven then headed south, travelling along the road and meeting little resistance before actually entering the Brecilian. Upon entering the forest, it became harder to follow Isadora who quickly and constantly twisted and turned throughout the vast woods. Without much to fight, the group had time to exchange their names but not much more, the roots and maze-like structure of the wilds required a decent bit of concentration in order to not get lost or left behind.​

    The deeper into the forest they got, the harder it was to determine the time. Eventually the trees above them clouded out most of the sky and on occasion the group ran into and quickly dispatched of packs of wolves. They walked for a cumulative of eight hours straight before the lack of sunlight and fatigue made Fergus decide to stop the Group and set up camp. Along with Adim and Varsus, Fergus collected large amounts of firewood while Raghnall supervised and assisted his charge, Ered, with starting two campfires. Elwyn, Solavir and Gerric were tasked with setting up the tents as Isadora and Ghrem went out to hunt for food, the former of which transforming to a bear to do so.

    By the time the forest was almost pitch black, the camp had been set up and the two hunters returned gathering enough venison and fish to last the group one meal. Nobody said much as they all sat around the fire, saving up what energy they could. Fergus wasn't surprised, everyone was complete strangers and it'd be awhile before anyone was sharing any drinks. The only one who seemed to constantly talk was the young Qunari child..thing. He still wasn't sure what Ur'gari was.

    After dinner Fergus left everyone to their own devices, going back to his tent and stripping to his undergarments in order to cool off. He lied down for a moment but was restless and gave up on the notion of sleeping anytime soon. So he sat outside and preoccupied his time sharpening the blade he inherited from his mother. The first day was relatively easy but Fergus figured it would only get harder from here on out. He also figured he should try and talk to someone, but he wasn't sure who.
    #11 Bears, Jul 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
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  12. Gerric never moved a muscle as the others filed in around him. He made no indication of even knowing anyone else was even there as he stood silently, giving off a more than noticeable unapproachable aura. Other than his steady breathing, one could easily think him either a statue or even dead as he certainly held the appearance of a corpse. He didn't even flinch when a booming voice commanded to know who called all of them together. A voice that would normally startle any normal person when such a powerful sound resounded from behind them, but Gerric was far from normal. The only movement he made was to turn his head when he heard the declaration of who was apparently the one who brought them all together.

    It would be a lie to say he was surprised, as nothing surprised Gerric. But, the fact that their misfit band of wannabe heroes and adventurers was to be led by none other than the Prince of the kingdom was intriguing. There were many reasons as to why he would lead this group rather than any other knight and Gerric could list enough of them to make a proper essay, but he didn't. He stayed silent and watched as the Prince addressed them all in a very casual manner, making it blatantly obvious that the Prince wasn't one for extravagance or for much of public speaking, even to this small group.

    This was both good and bad, but Gerric chose not to dwell on it at the present moment. Following the one dubbed 'Witch,' Gerric trailed along close to the back of the group. He took this time to glance around who he'd be 'adventuring' with for the time being. His gaze trailed over the front of the group, led by the Prince and the warriors behind him. The ones who stood out most, obviously, were the incredibly large Qunari and the small, childlike Qunari. While the young one seemed to be small and almost harmless, it was obvious there was something powerful about the child to go on a quest such as this.

    Turning his gaze away from them, he stared at the human warriors. Silently and internally, he smirked in confidence at the recognition of the Templar in their group. Knowing full well the Templar couldn't do anything to him for his magic gave Gerric a slight sense of arrogance that was about as easy to find as any other emotion on his face (which wasn't easy, even for someone who could read people like a book). They all seemed as if they could handle themselves, and Gerric was more than happy to have a multitude of people to take the heat off of him in any fight they will undoubtedly come upon.

    Then there was the rogue. Who also happened to be a Dwarf. There was something about him that Gerric couldn't quite put his finger on. The Dwarf seemed rather peculiar and even slightly funny. While not entirely sure of what to make of the Dwarf, Gerric was sure of one thing: there was always something about rogues. He didn't feel as if he should keep his eye on the Dwarf, but he wasn't about to get close to him. Or anyone else, for that matter.

    Lastly, there were the other mages. They had made up quite a proportion of this group, which was interesting to Gerric. To see so many mages in one place with many different abilities was sure to only be a positive aspect to this group. While he wasn't instantly sure what each of their respective abilities were, he could tell that they were all quite different from one another.

    He walked in perfect silence as he followed at the back of their group, his feet even seeming to make barely any sound as his shoes met with the uneven ground of the forest. The wolves were easily dispatched as they feebly attempted to ambush the group of obviously seasoned warriors, mages and a rogue. Gerric did note, however, the odd looks and vibes he got from some of the other members as his practicing of Blood Magic was revealed to all. Although it didn't bother him, he did note that some wouldn't be too happy with someone with his abilities being around, but they'd just have to deal with it.

    Time passed quickly for him as he kept to himself and focused on the trail, making sure to keep free from any snares or stray branches that could hinder his movement. When the Prince had finally decided for their merry little band to stop, Gerric was more than happy to oblige. He wasn't tired from walking by any means, he just hated extended movement. And though this was obviously going to be happening on a much grander scale as their journey continued, he still would hate it while toiling through it.

    After finishing helping set up the tents silently, he moved away from the growing mass of people that was their group. A fire was started and food was cooked and divided up amongst each member. The food, while not the most expertly cooked, was filling enough to tide most of them over for a while and Gerric was more than content with the ceasing of slight stomach pangs from their journey.

    He stood away from the main group, reclining against a tree with his arms crossed and eyes closed. Obviously not sleeping, he seemed to be in deep thought or seemed to be delving deep into his own mind. Alone, he could reflect on what had happened over the day. Ostracizing himself for his abilities and refusal to speak, he kept to himself and allowed the others to mingle with each other. He wasn't here to make friends and he didn't care if no one liked him, as it would be no different than anywhere else.

    Opening his eyes after his moment of reflective thought, he opened his eyes and looked back over the group. Many of them were already speaking and laughing. Making bonds. Gerric made no move to intrude as his eyes trailed over the rest of the camp, noticing that the Prince, who happened to be the closest to the tree Gerric was currently reclining on, was occupying his time by sharpening his blade.

    Giving the entire group one last once-over, he rested his head back against the tree and closed his eyes once again, letting his mind wander and drown out the buzz of voices that had settled in the air around him.
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  13. @galactical

    Elwyn had to raise an eyebrow when the prince himself said he'd be leading the expedition. He thought he would be the type to find comfort within his own castle, much like Elwyn was before he was taken by the Circle of Magi. Well, I guess we'll have to see if he's trained, rather than hide behind someone's back, he thought to himself as his eyes narrowed at Fergus. They were going to check for something in the forest first? What could possibly be there that's valuable? If he were in charge, he would've gone straight to the path they were supposed to be on. I'll see how it goes. Prove to me that you're a good leader, Prince.

    There was nothing challenging on their journey until they reached Brecilian Forest. Even then, the wolves were easily dispatched and they continued onward without much of a fuss until they made camp. By that time, everyone knew each other's names, but Elwyn felt no connection to them whatsoever. At least, not yet. He'll probably change his mind as the journey continued. Until then, they were just strangers in his eyes.

    The meal was eaten in relative silence. The young man thought it was because nobody knew each other and had no idea what to say. As for himself, food first, talk later. He scanned the crowd to see if anyone would start a conversation that would be interesting. Any news of sort would count. When his eyes fell on Ur'gari, he couldn't help but glare. Why was a mere child on this trip anyway? Weren't his parents going to be worried about him? He had to ask.

    "Ur'gari, was it?" he asked, "Why did you think it was a good idea to join this expedition? I'm sure it's too dangerous for you to be here and wouldn't your parents be worried about you?" He paused before asking the whole group, "Why did you all choose to come here anyway? Was it for the riches? The fame? Or something else?" He slumped his shoulders as he said, "For me, it's to restore my lost honor."
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  14. Though the surprise detour in their journey had initially unsettled Solavir, she had not felt the need to voice any opposition in the plan. She could not be the only one who felt the increasing pressure of the darkspawn threat, especially not in light of the fact that this man was the prince of Ferelden. Her trust in the ruling strategies of humans might not be deep but she was willing to give him enough credit given that he seemed to be the one to call together this group to search for a solution to the threat, meaning that he more than likely took the warnings of the blight seriously. This mollified her concern and gave her the faith in this venture to follow obediently for now into the forests despite not being told why they would go so far away from their goal first.

    The dealings that Solavir had had with humans up to this point had been rare and brief, affording little chance to see what the shems were like among their own. Though she had thought that there would be a good chance of getting to see what the humans were like, she had not been prepared for the prospect of observing a qunari and a dwarf at the same time. In truth, Solavir had never even seen a qunari before, outside of tales from her keeper and the odd illustration of one. She would have been lying if she had tried to claim that the immense size of the man did not intimidate her somewhat but she tempered her initial unease with the rational rebuttal that it was good to have someone along that could strike that feeling into the hearts of others. He was, she reminded herself, on her side for now in this. To have such powerful warriors along was a boon, since she doubted her own ability to heft a two-handed blade as he could.

    The same thought was her general opinion toward the man who seemed to be a templar, the one who had accompanied another mage to the castle. Given that her life had been devoted to study alongside the keeper in her clan, the idea that she could be considered an apostate, a word shems used for those mages who didn't roost obediently in towers like servants in a rookery, was too absurd to have even been given a thought. The word apostate had as little meaning to her as telandas seemed to hold for the shems and she had equal feelings for the templar and the mage he accompanied alike. They were equally alien to her and she felt little kinship to either.

    When it finally came time to make camp, it was evident that all of the gathered group had begun to tire from the trek. Even Solavir was welcome for the rest, though she was not so fragile as many mages and well-used to long excursions in the wood. This forest was different in more ways than she could count from her home but the dense foliage surrounding her and the distant sounds of wildlife still brought her some measure of comfort. Everyone had begun to draw apart from one another, suspicious looks on many of their faces as they split into groups to make camp.

    After all the preparations had been completed: tents pitched, wood gathered, and fires stoked, the time for actually socializing with one another came and it was as uncomfortable as Solavir had imagined it would be. These people gathered were from every different walk of life imaginable, it seemed, and they were at a loss for what to say to one another. Still, it gave her hope for their future endeavors that another young mage in the group had approached the qunari child and began speaking to it. The corner of her mouth tugged up into a smile and she glanced around to see what the others were doing.

    Biased by her own curiosity, she drifted closer to the dwarf with hesitant steps and an awkward air about her body language. She had spent her life surrounded by more or less the same group of her own kind and making friends had not been a part of her study.

    "Ah, a dwarf, then?"

    She could have kicked herself for the awkward words that spilled from her lips practically unbidden. She had gotten nervous and said the only thing that came to mind and it was exceedingly stupid. She winced a little and raised her hands to twirl a strand of hair between her fingertips.

    "Sorry, yes, of course you are. Ah, Ghrem, right?"

    @Tyrannosaurus Rekt
    #14 Kitti, Jul 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
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  15. From one trek to the next, the choice of moving by word of Isadora kept Varsus anger in check. He did well to ingore the rest though and make sure that his large strides kept him as close as he could be to both Isadora and the prince. He must have looked menacing to this high born, though Ferghus certainly did well to hide it. Still the idea of a hulking man from that forest of all places, shroud in full plate armor with roughly crude designed and blood stained armor following so close would unnerve most men. For Varsus to make this travel however he would have to endure to have some respect for their leader. After all it was he who had gathered the warriors here today.

    There was little to be said as the company trudged on through the forests. Isadora was a graceful as ever as she danced through the woods like they were her ballroom. Varsus wanted to chase her, but held himself in check and contented to stay close to the prince as he watched her lead the way. The wolves were of no issue, most of them dispatched before he even had to look at them, coincidental that the small little pack attacked at the heel of their company. Varsus paid no mind to the soft whimper of foolish pups who'd gotten in far over their heads, his dark eyes pierced onward into the endless forests, and he reveled in the silence of their travel. None of them were friendly with each other after all.. The little bit of chitter chatter that did occur he did his best to avoid falling into.

    It wasn't too long that as the sun began its end cycle, and the moon came to replace it, they chose the best place to set up camp. This would be their life after all for quite some time as they sought out the help they needed against the blight. Of course with camp fires, weary bodies and tents the promise of ... socializing also came. A grunt left his lips as Varsus settled his own tent and gathered a large quantity of firewood for the night. Were it up to him the cold of the night would do fine to keep him aware of those that might slit his throat in his sleep, but surely the others were still to attached to their warmth, and comforts to accept such a crude night. And right on time, with the fire going, food cooking and the night settling in it was time to 'make friends.'

    One of the bigger topics of discussion was easily the smallest of their group. A little Qunari boy going by the name of Ul'gari that surely didn;t have a place among such warriors and cut throats. Varsus kept his mind to himself though and simply listened as he turned the meat against the fire. Wome children, Qunari..... a Dwarven thief.. and... mages.... Fucking.. mages. The thought drew a snarl from him as he glanced over at the Templar and his charge. The white haired boy... at least none of them... were like him. That was oprtimism at its finest considering Varsus knew nothing about them. One thing he did agree with though, is he also was in question why those that were here, were here. However to obtain information, you had to give it.

    "As I said, I come from the Kocari wilds... I am Varsus. I could care less for riches or fame. There is something that must be proven, and I will prove it. It is that simple."

    Varsus hoped that this would be enough to get the others to talk. Silence was good truly, but in this situation the more you knew the better. Especially in gambling.
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  16. This was an odd assortment of people. Quite frankly, Ghrem was concerned that most of the invitations had passed multiple hands. Was that a qunari child? Right. Multiple hands. Yet, he couldn’t argue the point or even bring it up. He’d also acquired his through less-than-noble means. So, he decided to accept this for what it was: a grab for riches by those that needed them. He wondered if anyone was truly here for the threat. Their esteemed leader, and wet-behind-the-ears lordling, Fergus seemed to be embroiled with passion. It was as if fighting the darkspawn was the only way to become a hero in this day-in-age. And maybe it was. Ghrem didn’t care about the heroism. He’d never been interested in being virtuous or well loved. He enjoyed the shadows. He enjoyed manipulating things from behind a curtain. He also enjoyed not being compared in talent to a child—qunari or no. If he had any honor to besmirch, it would have been very besmirched.

    So, instead of heading towards the Free Marches, they dived into the Brecilian Forest. It was an odd choice of first places to visit, but then again Ghrem hadn’t been brought upon this mission to lead. No, he was here to plug holes with arrows.

    Though the darkness and tightness of the forest reminded him of why he disliked it so much. Nug snorted often in complaint. He’d probably have to leave her behind if they got into any more overgrowth. Of course, he’d come back for her. Still, he didn’t like the notion of leaving her here where wolves or other wild animals could get to her. It was fortunate that they made camp when they did, because he was coming on the cusp of quite the serious decision regarding that.

    Fergus ordered him to help hunt with the shape-shifting witch. Ghrem snorted. Just because he had a bow didn’t mean he was a hunter or a ranger that could land the something to eat. He didn’t much want to be the “guy that let everyone starve.” So, he was a bit elated when the witch turned into a bear and vaulted off. Right. A bear could rustle up something—surely. Surprising to him, and possibly a few others, he was able to procure a deer. He also had a less than amusing time dragging it back to camp and setting it up to gutted and cleaned.

    Yet, once all that was over, the food was cooked, the excess set out to dry, everyone was able to relax. There were slow ebbs of conversation. Ghrem leaned against a tree close to the fire and lit his pipe. He’d also grabbed a bottle of potent swill from Nug. The green glass bottle reflected the light from the fire in a very enchanting way.

    His thoughts were interrupted by a voice. It was the young elf woman. He smiled as she announced his race before remembering his name. “What? Oh no. What witchery turned me from a handsome elf to a dwarf? Curse you magic!” He feigned shaking his first at the sky in anger before chuckling. “Don’t worry about it. I get it a lot on the surface. I realize we aren’t as common. And I’m sure the qunari get it a thousand times worse.” He looked at the intimidating form of Adim. “Well, maybe not.”

    “You are,” he started to say, but paused. His free hand seemed to count something before he came up with a name. “Solavir, correct? I have a little jingle in my head to remember everyone’s names. Unfortunately, it’s quite lewd and so it doesn’t bare repeating out loud.” He patted the ground next to him. He’d laid an old riding blanket out on it. “Please, sit. And feel free to have some.” He needled the green bottle towards her.

    “I’m actually glad you came to speak to me. I have a question.” He took a long drag on his pipe. “It’s nothing inappropriate, I assure you. Which may surprise you, but sometimes I can be a gentleman. It’s about your facial markings. You see, in my society, having markings like this,” he said, pointing to his face, “is not good. It means you are less-than-a-person. Practically dirt for the other, unmarked dwarves, to walk upon. Aye, aye, and don’t worry about pitying me. I’m fine with my station. On the surface, though, there’s none of that. Qunari wear face paint to make them larger jackasses than they already are. Humans mark their faces to make it more intimidating… or exciting… I really can’t tell. To be fair, though, I think our little lordling could use something to break up his face. I just want to squish his cheeks. He has the face of a baby nug.” Ghrem smirked, wildly. “But elves. I’ve never heard the reasoning behind that. I mean, I’ve heard rumors. But the rumors are odd and involve blood orgies out in the middle of the woods. Why blood? I have no idea. Seems like you’re wasting a perfectly good orgy.” He paused. “That’s not tactful conversation. So, ah, feel free to answer at your own discretion. This is me just indulging my curiosity. Also, I’ve had a few drinks. Things such as this are easier to ask.”

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  17. Having been expecting Ghrem to scoff at her attempts to strike up a conversation, especially given how badly it had started off, Solavir was instead pleasantly surprised to receive not only a welcoming response but an invitation to sit down and partake in whatever it was that the dwarf was drinking. Her cheeks had taken on a pink hue, of course, at his ribbing to her rather awkward opening sentence but by the end of it, she couldn't help but laugh. His entire response had been a series of surprises, from the bit about the naughty jingle to the, hopefully less than serious, question about elven orgies and she felt more at ease almost at once. She released the stray strand of hair with which she'd been busying her hands and instead took a seat next to Ghrem.

    Solavir had seen little in the way of alcohol, tasting only a few sips of sweet wines previously, and with this limited experience to go off of foolishly thought to try the bottle that had been proffered. She took it in her hands and swirled it a little, peering curiously first into the mouth of it before touching it gingerly to her lips and taking a mouthful of it at once. It was most certainly not sweet wine. She regretted her decision almost at once and was fortunate to have swallowed in her surprise rather than compound her shocked expression with the embarrassment of spitting it out. It hit her stomach in an instant, feeling strangely like liquid fire and she wasn't certain whether she liked or disliked the feeling. With watery eyes, she quickly regained her composure, trying to appear as though nothing out of the ordinary for her had just transpired.

    Placing the bottle hurriedly back down and in a fluid motion bringing the sleeve of her robe across her face, Solavir quickly dabbed at her eyes with the cloth as subtly as possible before continuing on with an answer to the dwarf's inquiry, which did not horrify her so much as amuse. She appreciated his inquiry in twofold, as it were. Both the opportunity to ask him more about himself and learn something about dwarves and because the glimpse at his curiosity, the interest in learning that she could identify with, made her feel some camaraderie already though she could count what she knew otherwise of him on one hand. The spark of curiosity was one of those things that she valued most, as the pursuit of knowledge had been her calling up to this point.

    "It seems a pity to ruin your fantasy but there was no orgy when I got my facial markings, at least not one that I was invited to. These are bestowed upon my people when one of us reaches adulthood. The keepers say that the markings honor the gods of my people. The markings that you see on my face are in honor of Dirthamen, god of knowledge. And also secrets, I suppose." As Solavir explained the vallaslin, she traced over the familiar patterns across her face with her finger, drawing her hair back from her forehead where it obscured some of the lines. She was proud to have received the vallaslin of Dirthamen and it was a topic of conversation that she was more than willing to teach about for one who was curious.

    "If the markings on your face designate you so lowly, why did you allow them to mark you?" She inquired, tilting her head a little before realizing, given what he'd said already in regards to his station, that it might be a sensitive topic. "If you would rather not talk about it, I understand. My clan does not often come into contact with children of the stone and my curiosity can get the better of me. If you're prefer, you could tell me the rhyme to remember the names instead."

    @Tyrannosaurus Rekt
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  18. Ghrem tried not to laugh as Solavir tried to drink down the liquid in the green bottle. To her credit, it was one of his more potent brews, but it was cleaner than most. Yet, he may have snorted a little bit at her watery eyes. It wasn’t mockery. He’d been there too. And he had to admit, his face had probably not been as adorable as Solavir’s, trying to remain polite in the midst of the horrible onslaught to her senses.

    He took the bottle back and took a long drink from it. He then set his pipe down and procured a clean handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the mouth down. It wasn’t in response to her drinking, of course not. He just feared that she would be put off by his lips touching it if she wanted more. Of course, that hadn’t stopped her the first time, but she hadn’t witnessed him chug it down like a parched man swallows down water. He tucked the handkerchief into his belt. He was in his plainclothes, now, having put away his darkened leathers and armor. They consisted of a long, gray shirt that hid most of his torso, his deep brown pants with a few bright red patches, and his worn boots. He would have taken his boots off, but he didn’t trust the spider population in this forest to not crawl into them and devour his toes whole. This was fine.

    “Awe,” he said, feigning a massive frown as she told him that there was no orgy. “Though it figures. City humans don’t know their ass from the rumor of it.” He listened intently as she described the process. It was a gift. It was in honor of some elven deity. His eyes followed her finger tracing the marking. That was—something. He couldn’t do that to his own marking. Though, he’d probably jab his eye out if he attempted it.

    “Thank you for answer that. That sounds like a very interesting process. And this may be the liquor talking,” he said, “but the markings suit you. Then again, I couldn’t see anything marring your face. Someone could paint a cock and balls on there, and you’d still be quite pretty. Well, pretty with questionable.” He snorted. “Sorry. Not tactful.”

    Her next question made his smile drop a little, but he tried not to be dour about it. “Oh, this is far less embarrassing than my rhyme. I think being hung upside down, naked, covered in Orlesian bows would be less embarrassing than my rhyme.” He ran a hand through his short, black hair. It still stuck up in odd places when his finished, as if he’d never even tried. “We aren’t given the choice. It’s expected of us. All casteless are branded. All of us. Even surface dwarves that return back home are branded. Though, with less frequency now-a-days, given our whole dwindling population.” He shrugged. “As bad as it sounds, there is unity in being viewed as less-than-a-person. You see another dwarf with a similar brand and you know they’ve experienced the same things as you have. That’s always familiar.”

    Ghrem leaned back on the tree and picked up his pipe from its resting place. “So, I take it you’re here to take on darkspawn? You don’t strike me as the sort that needs riches—unlike a few of these people. There are some shifty types around here.” He leaned in. “For instance, look at the white-haired elf. Don’t you feel as if he’s judging us? I’m sure combating darkspawn would just make him cry every time he got blood on his fineries. And what about that child qunari? You can’t tell me that they even comprehend what is going on. I have my eye on that one.” His smile got bigger and wryer. “And then there’s the dwarf. He’s the only one with a lock-picking ring and bow. And haven’t you heard about all casteless dwarves being a part of the Carta? On top of that he’s devilishly handsome in all the wrong ways. I don’t trust him and his smug, gorgeous face.”

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  19. embed.png
    With eager eyes glued to the royally decorated invitation held in the palms of his hands, the young boy kept on walking. He had asked earlier a shopkeeper what direction he would have to walk to reach the the capitol, Denerim and after the initial weird look he was used to receiving when first speaking to someone, Ur'gari got his directions. The town he was in was just an hour and a half walk away and he couldn't help but beam with excitement.

    But at the same time he knew his parents would've never approved of him leaving the town without them. Throughout his childhood they dropped him off at different villages and visited on occasion. Later on they would always move him to a different town whenever they felt it wasn't safe anymore. He knew that they would be so angry if they found out what he was doing. But then again it was his birthday and neither of them came to visit him so what did they care? He grinned cheekily to himself. I'm old enough to make decisions on my own, he thought.

    Lost in his internal dialogue, the boy did not notice the shadow of a qunari consume him until it was too late. His throat dropped into his stomach and he was sure that the qunari he stole the invitation from had caught up to him as he felt a tap on his shoulder. He spun around certain that the next thing he'd see was an axe coming down on him. Instead, he was greeted by another qunari who was not intent on killing him despite looking way more fearsome than the first. "Ah.."

    He requested to the young boy's help and for a moment Ur'gari stood there unsure what to say. "Y-Yes! I can read it for you." He offered before taking the paper and quickly realizing it was in likeness to his. He looked up at the qunari before looking back down at the invitation. "It's telling us to meet with other adventurers in a city called Denerim."

    Adventurers. The word rung through his head as it came out of his lips and he enjoyed the sound of it. Ur'gari handed the large qunari back his letter before presenting his own with a childishly eager smile. "I have one too! If you want, you can follow me to the meeting place. I asked for directions earlier - my name is Ur'gari!"

    The words came out quick and rapid. The child didn't realize that his excitement was beginning to get the best of him as he turned and walked out of the gates upon learning the grown qunari's name, Adim. The odd looking duo later arrived at the courtyard with the rest, a few people arriving after them. Ur'gari kept close to Adim but watched with wide eyes as the Prince came striding down the steps in his fancy golden armor. Before he realized he had magic and when his parents were always around him his elven mother always told him stories of princes and knights. Ur'gari was quite literally seeing his dreams come to real life and he couldn't help but have the biggest smile planted on his lips.

    His giddiness kept him energized throughout the entire walk. He kept a quick pace with his eyes stuck on the different grown up people around him, although he never ventured too far away from Adim. All the while, his eyes wandered curiously. There were so many different kinds of people, that oddly enough he felt at place seeing as he's always been different. Eventually however, he met the eyes of the witch they were all following and he offered her a smile which she seemingly ignored as she resumed looking forward without acknowledging him at all. Isadora obviously didn't like him much but Ur'gari refused to let that spoil his mood.

    When they decided to set up camp Ur'gari was still as energetic as ever. His parents always complained that he couldn't keep still for long but nobody in the expedition seemed to care and he loved it. With a determined look he walked around the camp offering his help to whoever was willing to take it. He even approached the white haired mage but like Isadora, he didn't seem to like Ur'gari that much. When they all sat down to eat dinner and the little boy was content munching on the leg of a turkey that Isadora had hunted. When one of the other mages spoke up to him, he forgot to swallow completely before he spoke.

    "It's not too dangerous for me!" He protested innocently, the corner of his lips drooping slightly. "My mama and papa taught me how to use my powers alright and I can protect myself and sides' they don't care what I do now.." His eyebrows furrowed as he went back to the last time he saw both of his parents. Suddenly he shook his head as if to cast away the the thought. He resumed to munching on his turkey leg and refused to let bad memories spoil his mood as well.

    #19 Bears, Jul 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
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  20. Itwa-Adim grunted in response and followed closely behind Ur'gani, his eyes constantly scanning the crowds milling about for anyone who could be Ben-Hassrath. At one point, he'd noticed a commoner watching him intently, only to turn away in fear and try to nonchalantly walk away when Adim gripped the haft of his greatsword. As he looked around, he noticed most of the people that saw him tried to avert their gaze. A spy wouldn't be so quick to telegraph their intent; he was safe for now. Still, he'd thought the same when the last group attacked him....there was a reason he was a soldier and not a spy. The muscles in his sword arm twitched impatiently, prepared to snap the blade free from its magnetic hold in the blink of an eye.

    When the pair got to the courtyard, he seemed to be the only one nonplussed by the arrival of the prince, mainly due to the fact that he didn't really know who he was, only thinking that that fancy armor would make him a liability. The golden hue of the metal signaled to any enemy marksman he was someone of rank, a commander who should be the primary target. On top of that, formal armor was often weaker than its standard counterpart. He could smack the prince with the flat of his blade and break several ribs easily. And this is who was to lead us? Humans...

    Adim followed the group silently, looking for anything of note, such as enemy movement, food, or the like. By the time they began to bed down, he had a fairly clear mental image of the land around him. As the others began striking up conversation, he began to learn a bit more about the others, including his little guide being a Saraabas. If he were still an Arvaraad, he would be duty bound to strike down the young mage before he became corrupted. Indeed, he could feel his arm reaching subconsciously for his blade. He stopped himself, remembering that things like that are the reason he left the Qun in the first place. He would not murder a child who posed no threat on the risk he'd be corrupted in the future. "My name is Itwa-Adim. I won't care about yours until we've survived a battle together and you've proven yourselves worth remembering." He said, finding a rock to sit on. "I'm not here for fame, glory, and anything else. I just want to be pointed toward something to kill." He left out the part about him being hunted. If they were allies, they'd learn soon enough, and if any were enemies, why alert them to his status?

    From the pack strapped to his waist, Adim pulled out a large stone bowl, a pouch of powdered herbs, a few vials full of verdant liquid, and a small obsidian knife. He balanced the bowl on his expansive lap, dropped the herbs inside, and dumped the mystery liquid in right after. He stirred slowly with a stick he found nearby, letting the fluids begin to thicken into a paste. Once it seemed thick enough, he held the blade to his wrist and, with an almost imperceptible twitch of his fingers, cut a small slit into the vein, spraying his blood into the mix. Adim held his wrist to his mouth as he mixed his blood into the paste. Once it reached the proper shade of red, he grabbed a few fingers worth, smearing it into the cut to close it. Afterward, he began smearing it across his body, reapplying the vitaar that covered him from the waist up. He could feel his skin hardening once more, the markings doing their duty.

    Once Adim was finished, he noticed quite a bit left in the bowl, and handed it over to Ur'gani. "This will help protect you, but don't let anyone else use it. They're not like us, they'll die from it." With that said, he walked to the tallest tree in the camp, easily clambering up its trunk like it was second nature to him. He found a limb large enough to support him comfortably and leaned back, surveying the land for any dangers. At this point, he'd spent so many nights in trees it was uncomfortable spending the night anywhere else, exposed and unable to survey the land for encroaching danger.
    #20 Gateman, Jul 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
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