Heart of Darkness

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Artemis, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Heart of Darkness

    Orlais was a pretty enough place. Marsara roamed the great marketplace as merchants sold their wears. Though beautiful, the prices were enough to cripple a man. From what few things she did see, common goods were sold at uncommon prices. Marveling a sculptors pieces of art, Marsara was very aware of the looks she was getting. All of Tevinter knew of the infamous Mage-Templar war and the Elder One's resurrection. While the current Divine's policies were kinder to mages, the distrust of potential abominations scoured the common folk. Scared sheep powerless to do a thing.

    "Exquisite rendition of the fourth Duke." The artisan - hidden behind her mask - motioned towards the thing Marsara held in her hand. "But an uncommon taste amongst Val Royeaux."

    Marsara saw the green eyes of the artisan, her contact from what she gathered. All she was told by her order - the Venatori - was to meet a contact who sold pieces of art. Now, she had but to confirm. "I am a appraiser of the old art and history," she said. "When I reflect back on the histories, I stand in awe thinking how they may have shaped Thedas."

    The merchant regarded Marsara until she nodded graciously. "Such is the power of art, my dear lady. If I may have your time, my workshop is not far from here. My sculptures are more numerous there. Would you care to come along?"

    Nodding Marsara gestured to the artist. "After you."


    "Are you certain?" Marsara leaned back against a cushioned chair as she soaked in what the artisan told her. "There can be no mistakes. We've endured one set back. Another one won't be forgiven under his purview. Not for I or for you. How are you certain this artifact is truly what we seek?"

    "My network tells me, lady Tarakis," said the artist. "I've made sure to verify with many sources - discreetly of course. While it's surface is worn out and its scheme dated, that orb is what you seek. I've tried restoring it, but the hue won't change. Not because it won't, but the color returns to this no matter how thorough the cleaning. There is magic in it, lady. Can you not feel it?"

    Marsara could. That's what troubled her. What could the Council of the Venatori want with this? The magic - even for Tevinter standards - tasted foul. Marsara wanted to place it in a dark place and never touch it again. Unfortunately, that wasn't what she was bid to do. Confirm and retrieve. That was her charge. "I trust you've been compensated?"

    "To satisfaction," said the artist. "Shall I get it ready for travel?"

    Marsara nodded. "Other than you and I, who else knows of this orb?"

    "The two of us and a trusted art broker. I was discreet."

    "Good. Prepare it then."

    Watching the artist leave, Marsara settled into her cushion as she reached into her bag and retrieved a small book. It was for leisure. Though it wasn't an appropriate time for such things, all she could do was wait. Why not pass the time in good cheer? Turning the page, she still felt the orb on the grounds. Blood magic - no matter how small - could go a long way. If the artist carried out treachery, she would know of it.​
  2. Anariel had always hated Val Royeaux - or any Orlesian city of Orlais. Oh, certainly it was better than Tevinter, and she felt fortunate for that, but the way the Orlesians, especially the nobility, sneered and wrinkled their noses at her made the hairs at the back of her neck stand up in anger and frustration. Even so, there was little that she could do. She was a professional and, as such, she could not do anything that would draw attention to herself. There were things that needed to be done - things that were more important than any of these weasels.

    She rounded a corner into a shadowed alleyway and slipped, completely unseen, through a window that was too high for anyone that was not as well-trained as her to even reach. She moved quickly from shadow to shadow until she was within earshot of her target. She heard two voices - a man's and a woman's. The man, a double agent, had tipped her off about a Venatori agent who was coming to retrieve an item, both of which might be of interest to her. As soon as the man left the room, Anariel slipped out again.


    She tracked the woman across half of Orlais, trying to find the perfect opportunity to finally capture her. The woman had shown herself to be a powerful mage (from what Anariel could ascertain, at least), so if she made even the slightest mistake she was done for. She also thought it a good idea to track her as far as was safe - so that she might figure out where exactly the Venatori stronghold was. By the time they got to the border of the Western Approach, she figured that she had a fair idea of possible locations.

    Anariel finally made her move while the woman slept. There was still some shrubbery and a sparse few trees this close to the border of the area - although, it was up for debate whether one could truly consider it life. She climbed up the tree quickly, perching on one of its sturdy branches as she pulled out her bow and an arrow. Carefully, she knocked the arrow and aimed. After three breaths, she loosed - and missed her target by an inch. She swore under her breath. If that hadn't woken the woman up, it would be a miracle.
  3. It was night. Marsara clutched the orb in her hand that the artist provided. It surprised her. She expected to endure an encounter in Orlais or on the road. The Inquisition's spies ran deep. Perhaps the loss of Sister Nightingale - the current Divine - hurt their organization more so than they let on. The Inquisition was stretched then as well. From dealing with disputes between nations and focusing on the Tevinter-Qunari tension, it allowed the Venatori to slip on by with minimal worry. Marsara didn't mind it one bit. When the Tevinter Imperium rose to new heights, those who supported them would thrive. Those that didn't would burn.

    As night drew on, Marsara casted some wards around her as her eyes began to droop. Soon enough, sleep overcame her.


    It felt like seconds when Marsara felt her wards jolt her awake. Her eyes snapped open as an arrow almost bit deep into her skin. Jumping to her feet, she peered into the night as her staff was already in hand. Conjuring up in an inferno in her hand, she spread it amongst the desert ground of the Western Approach. Seeing someone in the tree, Marsara took out a dagger as she slid the metal smoothly along her hand. Conjuring the words of old, she reached out to the life of the woman as she felt the blood that flowed through the assassin.

    Sealing a silent pact, she ordered the body to fall as she saw the person collapse from the tree. Walking towards the spy, Marsara readied to create a barrier at any moment. She wouldn't kill the assassin yet - the elf assassin.

    "It seems your employers will be disappointed," she said as crimson blood flowed readily down her hand. She wouldn't be able to sustain this for long. The effects would be too taxing unlike if her slaves were here. "If I were to guess, you were hired by a rival House or the Inquisition. So, out with it. Which is the truth? Do not lie, elf." ​