The Lion and the Dove: An Inquisition's Tale

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by moffnat, Jan 24, 2015.

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    sansa stark & laylah

    Princess Evangeline Valmont of Orlais, pink Bitter winter winds tugged at each inch of skin it touched, and she shivered under the pressure. Certain parts of Orlais were victims to similar colds and harsh mountain weather, but Evangeline was always careful to steer clear of such areas for obvious reasons. Her skin smiled under warmth and the kisses of the sun. This was abysmal, a freezing wasteland that she would rather remove herself from the second an opportunity arose. But there was no choice about this, she knew. No way for her to rebel against fate. Her calling pushed her forward further up snow-smothered cobblestone and onward toward destiny.

    Destiny could have picked a warmer spot. Maker's Breath.

    The eerie, lime green glow of the hole in the sky turned the snow into a color of its likeness, offering the sense that evil lurked around every corner. She supposed it did, in a way. Evangeline had been warned from villagers in surrounding towns to be careful on the road as demons were running rampant, always flowing freely from the tear in the heavens. She was confident that she could protect herself, her knowledge of the ways of magic having saved her in the past, but still she remained wary. Demons were nothing like fighting off bandits or assassins. They targeted mages, which left a nagging sense of constant fear in her heart. If the hole in the sky grows any larger, they will come for the mages indefinitely. What would I do then? she thought, casting Fade-ridden clouds a cautious stare. Andraste, watch over us all.

    No worse for wear, the great wooden gates of Haven came into view and Evangeline audibly sighed her relief. Removing the hood from her head, she looked up to the guards on watch and brought forth a small portion of her case.

    "Who goes there?" they called down to the young stranger.

    "A messenger from Orlais," she replied, the thickness of her accent providing evidence to her origins. There was no sense in telling them the whole truth quite yet, however. "I wish to speak with the leaders of the Inquisition, or those who would hail my audience."

    The guards looked at each other, questioning the validity of her statement, but when they saw that she posed no threat they came to a quick decision. "Stay there," one said. "We will send someone to you for questioning."

    "I appreciate it," Evangeline replied, though deep down she did not. If I stay out here much longer, I'll surely freeze.

    She hoped the Inquisition's fires were warm.
  2. Lord Commander Cullen Rutherford, red The sound of steel crashing against steel echoed throughout the valley. The recruits were hard at work, training with blade and shield beneath their commander's watchful eye. Many of the recruits were green so most of them practiced with blunted swords, but the satisfying sounds of a good parry was left unchanged. Cullen walked amoung his men, correcting a swing here and a stance there. They would take his criticism and quickly attempt to correct their mistakes, never questioning. He was well respected for his skill in battle and ability to make even the lowest of rank and file soldiers feel important, taking time to get to know each and every one.

    The wind was particularly brisk today, Cullen found himself hunching slightly, taking comfort in the warmth of his fur lined pauldrons. His gaze shifted, as it often did, to the tear in the sky. It flickered and shifted menacingly above them. He huffed out a steamy breath before turning his gaze back to his men. They were what stood between the innocent people of Thedas and certain doom. If left unchecked these tears would just keep growing until the fade consumed his world. He would not allow that.

    It was here amoungst the chaos that he called training that Jeff, his assistant, found him.

    Commander, your presence is requested in the war room.

    Cullen turned towards Jeff and frowned, Do you know what this is about? He inquired. Maker, don't let it be another noble.

    Jeff shook his head, No sir, they didn't say sir.

    Cullen dismissed his assistant with a nod before heading towards the Chantry. It was a short walk, a short walk that Cullen usually dreaded. The war room was dark, smelled of mold, and within it was usually some noble from some place or another looking to either curry favor or wag a finger at them. Cullen didn't have the time or the patience for political wrangling. That was Josephine's job. So why was it he was always dragged to their meetings? Perhaps I'm like a prop, like a fancy sword one hangs upon the wall? He thought wryly.

    This thought brought a smile to his lips as he entered the Chantry.
    #2 Laylah, Jan 24, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2015
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  3. Princess Evangeline Valmont of Orlais, pink Haven's Chantry was, admittedly, rather unimpressive. Growing up in the arms of luxury, the places of worship she had visited as a child were lined with elegant stained glass and pews of pearl quartz, an altar of gems and jewels that glittered under the sun. Ferelden was a country completely different from Orlais, however, and she tried to keep that in mind as she prepared herself to face the leaders of the ever-growing Inquisition. She straightened the skirts of her navy Orlesian gown, hoping to stay presentable when so much was on the line.

    I hope my presence does not insult them.

    Suddenly, the doors to the chamber opened and Evangeline rose to her feet. She greeted the members of the Inquisition's leading forces with a long and respectful bow, long curls falling forward over her face.

    "Could it be?" Josephine muttered, meeting Leliana's gaze.

    "It must be." The redhead chuckled, moving to embrace the guest in her arms. "My lady, it has been so long since I have seen you. How did you manage to get from Val Royeux to Haven so quickly?"

    "One of the perks of being nobility," Evangeline beamed, though weary from her travels.

    "Royalty, you mean." Josephine chuckled, turning to the remaining members of the Inquisition's head. "This is Princess Evangeline Valmont, niece to the Empress of Orlais. Though, what she is doing here, I haven't the slightest clue..."

    "Forgive me for the intrusion. I hadn't meant to interrupt anything." The Orlesian royal smiled to each and every face in the room. "I simply came to offer my support, for morale as well as the aid of forces. My family sends a small group of soldiers as well, they are a few days behind." She cleared her throat. "I had also hoped to help with the wounded and teach your mages healing magic, for those who did not learn under a proper teacher."

    "All the help is appreciated, Your Highness. Though, why did Empress Celene choose to send you?"

    "She didn't." Evangeline gave a soft chuckle. "I came on my own will. I hope it is not a trouble or hindrance."
    #3 moffnat, Jan 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  4. Lord Commander Cullen Rutherford, red Cullen entered the war room after Leiliana and Josephine, sauntering in with one hand resting upon the hilt of his sword. His brow furrowed in confusion as he watched the women fuss over their visitor. He hadn't been paying attention to the specifics of their greetings until he heard the words royalty and Princess. It was then that his attention snapped more keenly upon the woman before him. His eyes narrowed ever so slightly as she spoke. Not just a Princess, but a mage. Why is she truly here? What is she after? He thought to himself, as he moved further into the room, letting the door shut loudly behind him.

    It was at this moment everyone seemed to turn and look at him. He froze midstep, uncertain of what they expected him to do. Surely they didn't want him to bow, did they? Maker's breath, I don't even know how to properly address her.

    Josephine rescued him with an introduction, "Princess Evangeline Valmont allow me to introduce the Commander of the Inquisition's forces Ser Cullen Rutherford."

    Cullen could almost feel the red creeping right up to the tips of his ears, "A pleasure to meet you Princess." Was all he managed before he felt the need to clear his throat and move to the other side of the war table, one gloved hand rubbing at the back of his neck.

    He wasn't sure what to do or say. Perhaps focusing on the bits that concerned him? Yes, that was the answer.

    "These soldiers your family sends, will they be willing to undergo more training? Most soldiers are not prepared to fight demons and the like. They must be pliable and open to learning new techniques."

    Josephine looked at him like he'd just dumped a cold bucket of water over her head. Had he broken some unspoken rule of royalty? Maker have mercy.

    He looked to the young woman before him, really looked at her for the first time since he'd entered the room. She was breathtakingly beautiful and carried herself with an elegance that usually annoyed him. He decided to hold back judgement, he was no longer one to dismiss a person based on cursory facts. No, he would give her the benefit of the doubt.

    "Princess Evangeline I am sorry if I have offered offense... I am.. Not used to addressing royalty..."

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  5. Princess Evangeline Valmont of Orlais, pink The blonde at the entrance stuttered in his embarrassment, and it was painfully clear to Evangeline that he had no idea what to do with her. The thought made her grin. There were few in this world who treated royalty for what they are--people. She was flattered by the lack of title, an odd thing indeed, though she did not let those feelings go. It would be best not to put him on the spot any further. The princess addressed him with great respect. He must be the battle commander, she thought, to ask me such questions about my father's men.

    "I have taken no offense, Ser Cullen. Please, call me whatever you wish." She stepped gracefully forward, closer to the group of inquisitors. "The men my father has provided will no doubt be open to your extensive training. I appreciate that you would offer it."

    "I expect Orlais will be wanting updates from you on our state of affairs?" Josephine inquired.

    "Yes. But I will not tell them what you do not want me to divulge." Her delicate face turned to a frown. "Orlais does not care for the state of the world as it once did. My interests are not so selfish."

    "That is greatly appreciated." Leliana sighed a small puff of relief. "I do not wish to see the Game reach here."

    "Nor do I."

    Cullen's embarrassment did not go unnoticed by Josephine, who gave an amused little laugh. "You look tired from your journey, princess. We can discuss more tomorrow after you have properly rested. One of our other leaders is away at present, but I am sure she will agree to allowing you to stay. On the morrow we can discuss it further. Perhaps Commander Cullen would be so kind as to escort you to your room?" She gestured to him in friendly manner, though not without the smallest bit of mischief. "I believe the chambers directly across from his are empty."

    "That would be wonderful," Evangeline agreed, oblivious to the tease. "It is no easy thing, sleeping on the road. Your hospitality has been beyond my expectations. I am most grateful."

    He was a Templar, she thought observantly in the back of her mind, or he still is. The way he was awkward around her said it all, as well as his stance and his method of speech. Ferelden was in the grips of a Templar versus apostate war, and she wondered if he would be wary of her for those reasons. The thought made her slightly upset.

    I need friends here. I cannot afford a lack of alliances from a war I was never a part of.
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  6. Lord Commander Cullen Rutherford, red Cullen was not as quick as the others to trust. To say that he was weary of her offer was an understatement. Orlesian's were traditionally a sneaky bunch. Their grand game was based on subtle deception and manipulations. Could the niece of the Empress really be here with men on the way, no strings attached? He found it doubtful, his gaze shifted from the young woman to Leiliana. Leiliana offered him a slight tilt of her head and a soft smile. She'd keep an eye on things. Of course, of course she would. Cullen ran a hand back through his curly hair before turning his attention back to Evangeline.

    She had tactfully stepped over his bumbling attempts at addressing her properly, which he appreciated. He gave her a nod and a hesitant smile that crinkled the scar above his lip. That was when Josephine decided to tease him. Why do they take such joy in my discomfort? She turned a mischievous smile his way and then suggested Cullen show the Princess to her room, the room across from his.

    Cullen's face darkened, smile dropping from his lips as he gave Josephine his best 'sometimes I loathe you' glare. He held that glare for but a moment before adjusting his stance, his hand dropping from the hilt of his sword before he moved back around the table towards the door. He opened it and gallantly gestured to Evangeline.

    "If you would follow me." He said to Evangeline as pleasantly as he could muster. As she brushed past him he caught a whiff of her, she smelled of roses. It was a delicate scent. Barely there but distinct to him. He loved the smell of roses.

    He caught himself absently smiling as he followed her out of the room.
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  7. Lord Commander Cullen Rutherford, red Cullen steeled himself against the temptation to lean down and inhale her fragrance. He'd already embarrassed himself enough for one day. Instead he moved to her side, both hands balancing on the hilt of his sword. He kept his gaze focused forward as they walked. When they reached the Chantry doors he cleared his throat and turned towards her.

    "Your chambers will be in a boarding house located down in the village, it's a short walk. I will show you the tavern as well, that is where meals are served."

    His gaze drifted down over her, she did not look appropriately dressed for the weather at all. Her cloak was too thin... Too Orlesian. His lips turned down.

    "Did you wear that cloak your entire journey here? Maker's breath how are you not a block of ice?"

    He didn't give her a chance to reply, just heaved a heavy sigh, shook his head and unbuckled his bear fur cloak, detaching the warm top layer before shucking out of it. He moved behind her and settled the warmer cloak over her shoulders before moving ahead to open the Chantry doors and lead her towards the tavern.
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  8. Princess Evangeline Valmont of Orlais, pink "My cloak?" she questioned, looking down to the thing piece of cloth. It was more for decoration rather than practicality, as the Orlesians primarily functioned and Evangeline hadn't questioned it until Cullen had brought it under her attention. "Oh, I don't know. It's very cold out here in these mountains, I must admit, but I never thought it was the cloak's doing and not--"

    Her speech stopped as the small weight of Cullen's cloak draped delicately around her shoulders. She stopped a moment, looking up to meet the eyes of the tall commander and questioning his kindness before letting it slide.

    Orlais would eat him alive.

    But we are not in Orlais, are we?

    "Thank you, Commander Cullen. That was...very sweet of you." Her smile was genuine, as beautiful as the roses she smelled of. The warmth of his gift enveloped her immediately. "That helps immensely. As you imagine, where I am from does not pride itself on the harshness of it's mountains..."

    Haven was a pleasant place, she decided after further introduction. The people were as dedicated to the Inquisition as she expected them to be, greeting the commander with a familiarity that shocked the young princess. She herself was greeted with friendliness from strange faces of all races and creeds and discipline, and while Orlais prided itself on lack of diversity she was surprised with the supposed advantages of the alternative.

    Perhaps my aunt overlooked this Inquisition initially.

    "Are you always so chivalrous, Commander?" she teased after a small while. "Not that I don't appreciate it. It provides a bit of charm from home that I miss. Perhaps it is good that I will see your face every day, as it will help the heartache of homesickness fade quicker."
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  9. Lord Commander Cullen Rutherford, red Cullen shifted uncomfortably under her thanks; her smile was so genuine and utterly disarming. He decided a verbal response would send him into a stuttering mess so he simply offered her a tight smile and a nod of his head before continuing towards the tavern. While they walked he wondered, she'd seemed so surprised by his gesture, it was odd to him, to think that offering a lady one's cloak on a cold day was considered surprising.

    Is it because I'm Ferelden? What? Did she expect me to let her freeze? Because I'm some uncultured Ferelden low born who knows nothing but how to swing a sword?

    His countenance darkened slightly as they walked, his brow furrowing. What was he doing escorting a princess of Orlais to her bed chamber? This was a pages job, or a diplomat's, not the commander of the inquisition's forces. A headache threatened, starting at the base of his neck, he could feel it creeping up towards the back of his eyes. He lifted a gloved hand to rub his neck.

    Villagers and soldiers alike nodded to him uttering the odd 'Commander' or 'Knight Captain' as he passed, a few even paused to greet Evangeline with words of welcome, recognizing a new face. As usual the Inquisition's forces were welcoming and he found himself ashamed at his internal dialogue. Habits were hard to overcome, if anyone knew that it was him as at this very moment he was attempting to overcome two simultaneously.

    When she spoke again it startled him from his thoughts, he blinked down at her owlishly as he processed what she said. He huffed out an exasperated sigh and then a light chuckle,

    "Maker's Breath, am I to be the butt of everyone's jokes today?" He said this with the hint of a smile coating his words, "Well, I'm glad to provide a little comfort in a strange land my Lady." he said the last with a playful flourish.

    "Now here on our right," He gestured, "Is the Tavern."
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  10. Princess Evangeline Valmont of Orlais, pink "Jokes!" she laughed. "I did not mean to make you feel the subject of humor, Commander. I was simply poking some fun. It is a common pastime in Orlais."

    Or, it was. Long ago when things were peaceful.

    Evangeline sized up the large tavern and the bustling laughter that burst from within it. It seemed that the Inquisition, though faced with the looming threat of a tear in the sky and the excommunication of themselves from the Chantry, had repaired most of what was left of human nature and the power of a smile. It infected her, the joy in which she felt all around the camp. There was a peace amidst war, a joy amidst sorrow.

    Is this the power of fighting for a just cause?

    "It's much larger than I expected," Evangeline commented with a little chuckle. "By no means to I make offense, either. Haven itself is larger than the tales I'd heard. It's a shame that the Conclave was destroyed. Apart from the obvious reasons, I should have loved to have seen where Andraste's ashes rest and the Hero of Ferelden walked nearly a decade ago..."

    I wonder if things would be different if the Hero still walked among us.

    She stepped gracefully into the tavern once she had finished speaking, letting the warmth of the inside fire embrace her. It was much needed. Evangeline audibly sighed as she slid Cullen's cloak reluctantly from her shoulders as the heat had suddenly become too much to bear. "So refreshing, thank you. You may have this back. Unless I am allowed to keep it?"

    A clear jest. The princess giggled before placing it gently back in his arms.

    "So, this is where the Inquisition calls home. I rather enjoy it. Might I have a tour while we discuss more important matters?"