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Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by samanthinator, Jun 12, 2013.
(( Alright, I'll begin working on my intro, unless you'd like to start us off. ))
Weisshaupt...The place was grand, for human engineering. A dwarf could have done better, but that fact was obvious.
Considering the beating that his people were taking from the...the darkspawn, as the humans called them, rebuilding it properly was not likely. Not for centuries, if the dwarven people even recovered. Caridin's golems were helping, but the damage already done by the 'spawn was incredible.
Shaking his head quickly, clearing the thoughts of the home he had left, Rorik glanced around at the strange surface world that would be his home. Cold, mountainous, and...open. Not that he would tell anyone, but he hadn't unclenched his toes since he had left Orzammar with the other Wardens. Who's to say that he couldn't just fall up into that huge, open sky? Dark blue eyes flicked upward at the clouded sky, then he shuddered and looked back down.
He didn't know anything about the group he was waiting for. Were they humans? Elves?
He hoped there were no mages. Dwarves may have a resistance to magic, but that was one thing he didn't want to test in person.
Rorik was short and stocky, like most of his people. He was dressed in fine dwarven plate, minus the helmet. His hair was dark brown and long, braided tightly behind his head. His beard was braided in a similar fashion, albeit more decoratively. He had a pale face, scarred by years of fighting the cursed creatures in the Deep Roads.
That was why the Wardens had selected him; he was experienced for his age. House Burkal was one of the more prestigious in the warrior caste, and he'd been trained for battling darkspawn since he could walk.
Pulling his ax and shield from the specially designed straps on his back, he checked the edge on the ax and strapped the shield to his arm. This would be the first time he'd fight darkspawn on the surface, and Stone curse him if he wasn't excited.
For a slave accused of murder, there are generally very few options. As a rule, in fact, there is only one option: death, usually of the grisly and unpleasant kind.
Edain supposes, then, that he should count himself among the lucky ones; he gets to die with churning darkspawn blood in his belly, rather than a Tevinter blade, and oh, how grateful he is to his masters, those benevolent men and women who so graciously granted him the freedom he's yearned so long and so ardently for.
He spits into the dirt and curses them and wishes them dead. This isn't freedom. No matter what happens here, he will die. If he returns to his masters, there will be an execution—and a very public one at that, for who doesn't love to watch an elf hang twitching and choking from a noose? If he runs, there is nowhere for him to go, and he will die hungry in the mountains... and if he goes through with this Joining process, even if he survives the ordeal of getting his own vial of darkspawn blood, it will almost certainly kill him.
That's what they said, at any rate, these Grey Wardens. All this talk about their great sacrifice and blah, blah, blah... like it's a noble way to die, screaming and screaming as your insides corrupt and turn against you.
Still... there must, he supposes, be some part of him that hopes to live, or else he would have ended it all by now. There are plenty of mages and warriors in this small group of recruits. A few choice words would be all it might take to antagonise them into slaying him, but he holds his tongue and finds himself watching the last few stragglers arrive, all of them looking confident—except, he notes, a dwarf, the only one among them, who keeps looking up at the sky like he's expecting it to devour him.
“You have your task,” one of the Grey Wardens is saying, “one vial of darkspawn blood each. The surrounding forest is crawling with the blighted creatures—”
“Oh good,” Edain interrupts. It's not in his nature, normally, to speak out, but... well, why not? He's not bound to his masters any longer. He can do as he pleases... at least to a certain extent. As it is, the Warden silences him with a look, and continues unperturbed.
“My fellow Wardens and I will be in the area, to warn you of impending attacks. May the Maker watch over you all.”
Edain scoffs. The Maker isn't watching over any of them.
Glancing around and sighing, Rorik figured that his bet bet was to join in with the fairly angry looking elf. The rest of the group seemed to have their heads shoved up their arses.
"Atrast vala," he offered in greeting as he walked over to the elf. He muttered a few curses in dwarven once he realized his mistake. Damn surfacers and their language. He corrected himself quickly, "I mean, greetings, stranger."
He swallowed, then looked up at the elf, going straight to the point. Straight to the thing he'd been wondering since he left home. Rorik hadn't dared ask the Wardens, as they'd probably have laughed.
"Can you fall up?" There was a subtle pause between 'you' and 'fall', as he was determining the correct word choice. Sounding like a lyrium-addled simpleton to the first elf he'd ever spoken to would be disgraceful.
It's a lost cause, really. He looks around helplessly as the other Warden candidates draw their swords, flex their muscles and generally look imposing. They're excited, they wanted this, he thinks a little bitterly. This is their choice, their chance to be heroes. Only one other person in their little group looks a bit put off by the whole thing, and Edain isn't particularly surprised when the dwarf approaches. The fearful, the downtrodden, the generally irritated... such people flock together, in his experience.
He inclines his head a little as the dwarf realises they don't speak his language in these parts. A common mistake, and Edain isn't generally the judgemental sort. Not with dwarves, anyway. The dwarves aren't to blame for the plight of the elves; the blame for that falls to the humans, the ones who have already dashed off to hack the limbs off darkspawn.
“Can you fall up?” the dwarf asks, with an expression on his face that suggests he's been waiting to ask someone for a long time. Edain looks briefly bemused, but he's heard that most dwarves live their whole lives underground, so it's not really that strange a question... and Edain admires his forwardness.
“No,” he replies, with only the barest hint of a smirk on his face. He wants to say more, to make light of it, but over years of slavery he's had silence beaten into him, and instead of talking he just ducks his head. “Uh, I'm... it's...”
By all the gods, how do you greet a person when you're supposed to be their equal? The only thing he's ever been equal to before is dirt.
“I mean to say—that is—it's a pleasure to meet you, sir.” It's all comes out as a jumble, and he flinches as if expecting to be hit... but then, after a brief internal struggle, he straightens his back and puffs out his chest, and starts again. “Name's Edain. Yours?”
Is that the normal greeting up here?
Rorik couldn't help but wonder that as the elf fumbled with his words. He figured not, according to how the human Wardens had acted when he met them in Orzammar, but it might just be an elf thing. Perhaps...
He knew that slavery was practiced on the surface lands, his people had a healthy lyrium trade with the Tevinter Imperium. He also knew that more elves than humans were enslaved, but he didn't dare ask if this hunch was correct. Such a topic would be sensitive, and that was best avoided.
"No?" Rorik released a breath he hadn't been aware he'd been holding. So no, he couldn't just fall into that open sky. "Thank the Ancestors," he added, although much quieter. "I am Rorik, of House Burkal. Warrior caste." He nodded seriously.
There was no point in explaining that he no longer had his caste status. It would take far too long, especially if this surfacer had no understanding of the culture of his people.
With a grin, he hefted his ax. "Let's go show these humans how to wage war, eh?"