Times of War: The Deadwood

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Esthalia, Jan 29, 2014.

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  1. "And so is the Golden City blackened

    With each step you take in my Hall.

    Marvel at perfection, for it is fleeting.

    You have brought Sin to Heaven

    And doom upon all the world."

    -Canticle of Threnodies 8:13


    [​IMG]

    The chantry teaches us that it is the ignorance of men that brought the Darkspawn into our world. The Mages sought to uncover the glories heaven, but instead; they destroyed it.

    They were cast out, twisted and cursed by their own corruption.

    Returning as monsters- the first of the Darkspawn.

    They became a blight upon the land, unstoppable and relentless.Since that time, Ostagar has become a booming camp for King Caillen's forces, keeping the nasty creatures at bay and waiting for the day that they will rise up with all they've got in an attempt to overcome them. New members, willing and not, are briefed on the current Darkspawn situation, as well as any required news in camp, before being assigned a group and sent out on their first missions.
    Today, of all days, was a blessing to the dwindling numbers at Ostagar, fresh blood is being brought in by the scouts. These members will be crucial in the Kings plans to extinguish the Darkspawn threat.Three large caravans brought both capable men and women to aid in the ever going battle. Among new supplies and weaponry, they were going to be the key in achieving the goals set by Caillen and his wide spread intelligence...


    Within one of the Caravans, was a Dalish Elf and her trusted hunting companions, Esessar: a mabari, and Eio: A hunting hawk. Neviha was born among the Dalish Elves, noble wanderers who refused to join the society of humans that subjugated their homeland so long ago. The Dalish struggled to maintain their half forgotten lore in a human land that fears and despises them.
    The elf is young, believing that her kinds outlook on the social progression of race is a bit archaic and closed minded. Though she has not been living long, she has proved her skill as a hunter, also expressing the sacred ability of befriending the wildlife surrounding the Dalish camps. It is rare to see such a connection to a Dale with nature now and must to her keepers dismay, she wishes to use her gift in any way she can in order to defeat the Darkspawn threat.

    Ostagar was most definitely not what she had thought. It's rotting pillars and decaying walls were not quite as regal as the idea of a famous camp. Of course, Neviha had done her research, understanding the vast historic importance of the place. Representing the furthest point of encroachment by the ancient Tevinter Imperium into the barbarian lands of the southeast, the fortress ofOstagar was once one of the most important defensive Imperial holdings south of the Waking Sea.
    Straddling a narrow pass in the hills, the fortress kept the Chasind from the fertile lowlands of the north, being exceedingly difficult to attack due to its naturally defensible position. Standing at the edge of the Korcari Wilds, its Tevinter garrisons watched for any signs of invasion by barbarians. Though most of the walls still stand, as does the Tower of Ishal, it does not seem as strong or threatening as before, especially now that the threat were Darkspawn and not Barbarians.

    Neviha sat with her legs crossed, under the nearest tree to watch the hustle and bustle of the camp. The parchment she held in here hand told her everything she needed to know: what she was doing and whom she was doing it with; simple enough.
    The elf's hand moved to smooth through Esessar's coat, delighting in the natural calm her was able to give her despite the change. Soon enough, she would meet those who would be fighting by her side and she hoped they would be worthy.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________

    Towards the middle of the camp, Hibce sat in the worn dirt that surrounded a campfire, watching the flames flicker and dance as his calloused hand stroked at his silver beard. With a grunt of indifference, he watched warriors of all races and kinds funnel out of the newly arrived caravans, peering under his bushy eyebrows at the men and women who might die within the next coming weeks.

    Being a seasoned fighter, Hibce knew that he would be paired with more than a couple of these people, making him that much more uncomfortable about getting acquinted. If there was one thing he disliked the most, it was the grief that came with loosing a friend to the ugle face of war.

    Another grunt left his chapped lips as he lifted his large ax into his lap, smoothing his leathered hand over the side of the blade and gazed down to look at his reflection on the cold metal.

    Sure enough, there would be grief.





     
    #1 Esthalia, Jan 29, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  2. Lyrium tasted like precisely nothing, he had come to realize.

    He knew that some Templars added it to their wine, and said that it gave them quite the kick. He knew that some dropped it in hardened cubes into their tea, like sugar. To them, it was the sweetest thing in all the wide world. Knight-Captain Nathalie Milou had told him once, that Lyrium in draughts made her violently ill. He had watched her, as she sifted out the dust onto a red altar-cloth, and tilted her head down, inserting a thin glass straw into one of her nostril and breathing it. She had coughed and choked afterwards, but then her eyes shone with such a righteous fury that he dare not question her. He, on the other hand, merely mixed it with a little water and put it into blue-glass bottles sealed with coloured wax. He had been a Templar for long enough to be expected to take care of his own needs, his own powers. And the preparation of the thing that gave him strength was part of that, a personal touch to gifts that had been honed through anonymity.

    There had been whispers, of course, about Ser Daínn Temerate. It had gotten to the point where he did not know which of the rumours were true, or which were things that he had dreamed of doing. He was either next in line to take the position of Knight-Captain, should Milou fall or rise out of her station, or he was so vile and false that even the Divine saw him as a monster. Daíinn had to be certain it was the first of those beliefs - the Divine knew that magic was not meant to rule man, as the so often quoted statement went. She would understand that the mages that he had taken in - they had been true heretics, enemies of the faith that he held near and dear to him. In the haze of Lyrium, clarity was invoked; the face of a young girl with red curls down her spine, a nose half-bludgeoned in, teeth protruding from the curl of a fat lip, her robes torn to nothing but thin ribbons. She clutched the cloth around her narrow form, hands on her breasts to hide them - as the templars began to close in all around her.

    The Knight-Captain had pressed a bloom of Andraste's Grace into his hands after removing the straw from her nose. She sniffled once, her nostrils red with broken blood vessels. A thin milky mucus hung from her nose, but Daìnn said nothing in response, standing resolute and silent as the flower passed into his hands. Her eyes sparkled with the bright blue fervour of self-assurance, of faith, as she watched his metal fingers close around the flowering stalk with the tear-drop shaped white flowers. "The dog-lords will try to lead you astray, Daìnn." She murmured, and her words were sharp and brittle in her throat, like so many chunks of broken glass. Her accent was strange- she was not from Starkhaven but was an imported gift from Val Royeux- and what a gift she was. She pressed one of her white hands to his gauntlet, forcing his hands to crush the stalk of the flower, as easily as they had choked Enchanter Balaika two days prior; the knife-ear had interceded on behalf of an apprentice charged with disobedience to the Templars who presided over their prison. She whispered in his ear, her once cutting tone gone slurring and slush; "Remember where you came from, Ser Temerate." She kissed him on the top of his head, the forehead half concealed by dark curls, where a Tranquil's brand would be.

    He wiped his mouth, and the mud and grey of Fereldan came back to him. He was Ser Daìnn Temerate, of the Starkhaven Templar Order, and he was here to kill darkspawn and Maleficarum. He stood near the edge of the Tenplar encampment within Ostagar. They had welcomed their brother with caution, and watched him with careful, frightened eyes beneath metal eyes. They were here to watch the mages, the ones whose leashes they claimed to hold. Daìnn was not there to hold the leash of any mage- he was there to cut the leash, when Maker willed it. He struck an imposing figure, even in the camp of mage hunters. He was tall, and carried an immense but regulation sword across his back. Dark green blue eyes stared out from the shadow of a peaked, black cowl that was anything but regulation. The sword wreathed in flames on his chest was flecked with small, rusty crusty flecks. Blood had crusted into the engraving. The last Harrowing he had presided over had not gone well. His hand was closed around a small wax capped bottle, now empty, that had once been filled with a milk white fluid that seemed to shine of its own accord. One part water, three parts Lyrium, and all of it was gone. Tethered to a post was a roan-red stallion with a dark mane and tail - he went by the name of Cynmar. The other Templars were foot soldiers, not wealthy enough to have their own horses. Or perhaps it was because they were dog-lords - all of them, running to the sides of their immense black and dun mastiffs.

    Daìnn regarded the camp with cold eyes. He slipped the empty bottle into his side pouch, hearing it clink against the others. There were now 8 bottles remaining, one for each week, for the two months he expected to stay in Ferelden. He held out hope that it would be a briefer stay, but he doubted it. Maleficarum were hard to track, and until he had mounted the witch's head upon a spike, he would not be satisfied. His eyes skimmed the ruined columns and dark trees. Who knew what lurked in those cold grey shadows? Above all else, he watched the mage circle, with the white trails that spiraled into the sky from their magic. He could smell it, the acrid, metallic smell of steel sparks that hung in the air. He slipped away from horse and campfire, moving quietly and unhindered through the Templar camp to stand on the edge of the Circle of Mages. His eyes flickered, as he studied their entranced forms, deep within the Fade. How easy it would be, to wade into them and slit their throats. He'd aim for the cartilage that cradled the larnyx and then slice straight up through the soft tissues of the throat, into the vocal fold. No more spells. No more tricks.

    Daìnn leaned against one of the ruined columns, hearing the crunch of plate against stone as he did. The knight folded his arms across his chest and watched, the Lyrium giving him pins and needles from his eyesockets to the folds in his toes. He grunted once, and rubbed at his temples, feeling his head throb for a moment. Flames, he wasn't used to it. Not even after ten years of training, the headaches and numbness still got under his skin, making him prickly and discomforted. His metal hands clenched around his pauldrons with a satisfying crunch of plate. The sharp sound cut through the pain, and his heightened senses made the grate of metal-on-metal sound like a yelp of pain. It comforted him. It felt raw, genuine. In a world where so many things could be feigned, the truth was revealed through the milk-white lens of Lyrium. Through Lyrium, even the falsities of the mages' flesh were torn away. He could see their bones.

    And he could watch the connections of their bones for days - for eternity even. The soft meshing of blood against tissue against cartilage against bone against cartilage against tissue against blood round and around with flesh only barely keeping it all in. It was too much for Daínn to bear. He had to tear his gaze away, lest e succumb to his wanting, and to tear them away from the Fade would be terrible. For all their crimes against man and Maker, mages were still useful. They could run fire and death upon the enemy - the blackened things that crawled out from behind the doors of the Maker's Golden City - but it was important to tug their leashes, enough to leave a mark, 'lest they forget who they belonged to. Maker. Maker, and all of Maker's servants - Daínn was proud to include himself in this number, and the pride made a small, slip of a smile creep across his face. He turned his back on the mages, and looked at the camp. The smile faded. He couldn't see anymore bones.

    Lyrium may have tasted like nothing, but there was nothing else like it in the world. It was faith, pure and simple, and it could sweeten anything.
     
    #2 Sir Basil, Jan 31, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2014
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  3. A single figure strode out of the crest of thick forest to the north, moving at a consistent pace, the green of his cloak perfect camouflage for the verdant conditions near the camp. He seemed to be carrying a recent kill, a small deer across his shoulders. There was a ruck at his side, and various squirrels hanging from his belt... he was seemingly successful in his venture of hunting. He maneuvered through the bustle of the camp, passing all manner of soldiers, retainers, Templars, and mages. The majority of the camp was human, but there was a population of Elves of different professions, and a small minority of dwarves acting in the roles of shock troops. There was a coming storm, no doubt. Varric could taste it, it was so palpable. The number of Blight skirmishers and exploratory patrols he encountered has been significantly less than it was a week ago. It troubled him.

    He arrived at his evergreen-colored tabernacle tent, clearly unlike the others at the camp. The tents of humans were made of linen cloth, white as the snow. He didn't like it; it stood out too much against the terrain. At least Cailan had tactical expertise and fortified Ostagar; some discretion needed to be practiced as a general, after all. Nothing but an extreme, sustained attack from masses of infantry could take the stronghold. That, or a dragon. He entered his tent, which was strewn with the workings of an avid huntsman; dozens of arrows, seemingly fletched by a trained hand, were stored neatly in quivers, accompanying a handful of different types of bows upon a rack, and a whetstone. A single large, comfortable-looking fur bedroll was set neatly off to the corner of the tent.

    He laid out his game upon a sturdy wooden table, stained with the red claret of recent preparation, then pulled a hunting knife out of a small sheath, and a bucket out from underneath the table, starting to dress his kills with practiced haste. He would greet the newest arrivals to the camp somewhat later. For now, feeding the detachment that he was a part of was the main priority. One couldn't live off of hard-tack alone.
     
  4. Finally after days, maybe weeks of travel they'd reached their destination. Coming across the stone bridge leading into the fortified encampment known as Ostagar is a group of warriors from Denerim, knights and sellswords clad in leather and steel. Oh, and one mage that most of them were all too ready to be rid of. The whole way there the young girl had been a pain; Asking too many questions, insisting they stop each time they passed by an eatery, humming the same tunes for hours at a time, whining like a child any time she didn't have her way. There'd been a couple of times whether or not to leave her behind was put up to debate, and if she hadn't proven herself useful in combat along the way she might not have earned that majority vote. Thank goodness for her offensive spells and the unimpressive tactical skill of the bandits and wildlife they'd encountered along the way. Routing them was all too easy, child's play is what she called it. The swordsmen and archers accompanying her were inclined to agree, but impressed with her showy display of her magic.

    "Hey, were here. We made it", said a young knight with short-cropped blonde hair and the faintest hint of a beard strapped across his chin. "About damned time, eh Riley?", asked a gruff bowman riding at the knight's side, lifting a hand from the reigns of his horse to dig under his thick brown beard and scratch his chin. The balding archer looked over at the man who'd spoken first, grinning as he spoke again, "Watch out, she's doin' it again."

    "Gah! For crying out loud!", the blonde yelled through clenched teeth as his head ducked and shoulders tensed, "Wake up back there and get off me!" His companion's warning came a little too late, as was made evident by the scowl on the swordsman's face. The hooded figure resting against the knight's back groaned in response. "I know you hear me", he growled, eyes narrowed. "Nn.. Shut up Garrett.. Trying to sleep..", the young woman grumbled, to which a pale fellow a bit ahead of the others called back, "Ain't me, girlie."

    The woman lifted her head, cursing under her breath as she wiped a hand across her lips. "I'm up, okay? Jerk", she said as she sat upright, flipping her hood back and untucking her wavy chocolate hair. She wiped her hand off on the bottom of her shirt, then rubbed at her amber eyes and rested her chin on the knight's pauldron. "Oh hey", the girl said through a yawn, "We made it. Finally." The blonde sighed, not responding to his passenger the rest of the way, up until they'd been seen inside and dismounted.

    "Alright then. You'll be wanting to head over there, check in with the templars I suppose", the knight earlier referred to as Riley said, aiming a finger in the direction of the mage circle then waving her off, "Have fun bothering someone else." Instead of walking away she held her place in front of him, frowning and pressing her fists into her hips, "What kind of a goodbye is that? You do realize that one of us, probably you, could die here before we meet again." "What do you expect me to say? Good luck? It's been fun?" "Something like that, yes. You can't say you don't care, Riles. You and the other guys like me, I know you do." The blonde stared at her for a moment as if she'd said something stupid. "No, we really don't. And don't call me that. It's Riley, not Riles", he said as he turned to wander off in the same direction his other companions had gone.

    "Jackass", she muttered as she watched him go, "Ah well. Plenty of others here to buddy up with." She turned her attention toward the mages and their watchdogs Riley had pointed to, rubbing her chin. Templars. She hadn't interacted with them before, but she recognized them when she saw them. Her adoptive father had always warned her of them, against approaching them. He wasn't here right now though, she thought with a smirk. That expression was wiped away with a particularly deep yawn. "Later..", she said as she turned to find a nice place to take a nap, dragging along until she found just the right spot.. She'd settled for the back of a certain green tent, pulling her arms inside of her shirt and and enjoying the shade for all of two minutes before sleep took her once again.
     
  5. Freyja had a hard time determining just how she really felt about this situation. She was a templar - a respected member of the order. She has been trained for the majority of her life on simply how to control and observe those born with the arcane arts, she was never taught in depth about the Darkspawn and their capabilities. Maybe she was frightened she thought but yet the word didn't feel right when she thought of it describing her, after all as long as she stuck the sharp point of her blade into the head of the fiends they would die. Perhaps she was excited? Is that why she found it so difficult to sit still among the other fighters? No, that was not the word she wondered for, if it was her choice she wouldn't even be here. On the road to Ostager. Then it out of the blue it hit her, she was apprehensive. Freyja let the word mentally configure itself before nodding. It was the word she was searching for. "Apprehensive.." She reminded herself, the one word drowned out by the chatter of her carriage mates.

    For today Freyja thought she would let her hair down. As Ostager approached, the days of
    relentless travel had caused enough discomfort that it would seem impossible letting her tangled hair rest in its annoying braid. Freyja never let her hair down while she worked a the tower however the women templars had to be strictly professional, after all everybody already took their rites and the last thing she needed was to be reprimanded for attracting the eye of too many people. Freyja was hardly the person to flaunt her assets however so the rule hadn't bothered her much but now she was weeks away from Amaranthine, she could at least take some liberty with her actions while in camp right?

    Ostager was hardly what Freyja had thought it to be. As she arrived at the molding cracked front gate, her amber eyes
    wandered all over the ancient - now worn out architecture. How beautiful this place would have been had it not been left to slowly die out, Freyja thought. But her roaming thoughts were cut off when a familiar templar greeted her from afar. He was a young man, with messy ashy hair and stunning icy eyes. Freyja knew him, he was her best friend.

    "Frey! Hey Frey! So they finally sent you down here for the darkspawn, yeah?" He spoke in a deep voice, his diction and annunciation surprisingly unpolished for somebody wearing the garbs of the templar before wrapping his strong frame around her in a hug.

    "Levi - er, yeah. You were sent here a few weeks ago yes?" Freyja asked slightly stunned as she sheepishly stepped back, her cheeks slightly warm.

    "Yeah..everything has been alright so far but it won't be long till the next battle. Why don't I walk you to the mage tents where all the other templars are?" Levi offered, though turning around to walk giving Freyja no choice to follow. She only nodded quietly, her hand resting on the honey silk braid made of her hair. She was admittedly disappointed that the rules would even constrict her here.
     
  6. [​IMG]

    Daìnn saw her, as soon as she approached, and he could not help but take in the differences between her and Knight-Captain Milou. Milou was a tall woman, with broad shoulders and a man's gait. Her hair had been the changing leaves of the Vimmark mountains, and her eyes had been the depths of the Minanter river. The Knight-Captain had not been beautiful, but there was something about her, behind her heavy lidded eyes and the tug of a smile at the corner of her mouth. Daìnn felt a faint smile pulling at his own mouth, at the recollection of hers. He recalled the last time she had smiled at him, when he had thrown the body of a hedge-witch unto the pyre that she had constructed, of all known maleficarum. The hedge witch's glassy eyes reflected the twist of her smile. The burning bodies had filled his lungs with their decaying smoke, and he saw bones for the first time, the outlines of the structures that kept them all together. She had laughed when he told her that he could see the bones of mages. It was strange. He did not lust for her, he did not want her in such a crude way, but he missed her all the same, the enigmatic shift of her cheek, the sparkle in her eyes. She had been Starkhaven, the Free Marches, even if she had come from somewhere far away. Her hands were large and strong, but had a delicacy to them that Daìnn could not recall ever possessing, not even when he was a boy, and still had the girlish traits of a boy not yet put through voice cracks and awkward growths. Daìnn did not believe that Milou had ever had a moment of unsettling puberty - he believed that she had born it with the grace of a woman, not the clumsiness of a girl. But what did Ser Temerate know of women and beauty? He knew only that their screams were higher than a man's, and their bones were thinner.

    But the girl who approached him now, she was a girl. She was no woman yet. She wore the plate of a Templar, emblazoned with the sword and flame, but Daìnn's own engraved breastplate was different than the woman's. Her sigil matched the men surrounding him - she was a local knight, then, and the way that she was greeted by another seemed to solidify her identity. His sharpened senses picked out bits of their conversation, but it hardly clung to him, it only drifted in and out of his mind. Her name was Frey, if the boy was to be believed. He was a boy, that was certain, hardly a man. He wondered if the boy - Levi, if the girl spoke truthfully - had ever killed a maleficar. He doubted that. Daìnn had seen streets run with blood, he had seen the nip of ash at his eyes from flaking human skin. These two, girl and boy, had never seen a mage burn. And perhaps they never would - they were here to fight Darkspawn, to combat the Blight that ravaged Fereldan. Daìnn could only speculate that it would not spread to Starkhaven. It was too far, and the oceans were too deep, even for the Deep Roads. But what did Ser Temerate know of caves and holes? He knew only that the darkness was the place from which all foul things came.

    Daìnn watched them both, the girl and boy Templar, playing at being mage-hunters. They were both young, both unbearably young. He could not see their bones, and he supposed that if he could, Milou would have laughed at him. It was strange, to see her standing at the side of the girl, even though he knew she was not there. The comparison between this Frey-girl and Milou was stark. The Frey-girl had golden hair that was knotted and unkept, and fierce eyes like Fereldan gold, but without the brittleness of faith, of illusion-dispelling clarity.The boy did, he had something of the Lyrium-borne truth in his eyes, but Daìnn did not want to make assumptions. Whatever their condition, their state, they were still Fereldans. And the dog-lords treated their mages differently than they did in Starkhaven. He was used to seeing the First Enchanter pushed along by the Knight-Commander - but here in Fereldan, their colourful tents seemed to have only a handful of Templars watching them, instead of the usual two templars per mage, if they could spare the troops. Maybe they were careless, these Fereldans. Or perhaps the dog-lords had simply let their mages kill their Templars, and the few that remained were hostages of a world that would soon fall back into Imperium standards. But what did Ser Temerate know of Fereldan? He knew only that this is where the blood mage who had killed his sister was here, somewhere.

    Daìnn watched the Frey-girl and Levi for a moment longer with his green-blue eyes. He then, began to move towards them with the crunch of metal and the shifting of plate and woolen skirts. In the wan light, the glitter of encrusted blood was blinding - but he supposed that was only because of the lyrium he had consumed not moments before. Despite the brightness, he did not blink. The Starkhaven Templar walked with a purpose in his step, and a head held stony and high, looking directly at the target of his inquiry; Frey and Levi, or whatever they truly were. His eyes lingered on the boy for only a minute longer than the girl. The girl would succumb more quickly, should a maleficar come up from the earth, like the Darkspawn did. The boy would try to hack the witch away, but they would both fail. She would drain them dry like bulls for slaughter were rendered bloodless, and then, she would use their bodies as grim puppets. Milou's smile flickered across Daìnn's face, the shadow of a smirk not from arrogance, but from what a good, Maker-fearing man would call 'confidence'. An apostate would have called it 'malice' and perhaps they would have been right. The Maker knew that what he did was right, and favoured him with a thin, silky breeze that tousled his greying brown hair. He had greyed prematurely - blood magic had done that. Something worse could have happened, but it was only a few silver strands in his head. He had seen men who had their eyes gauged out by maleficar-knives, and a girl-squire had her lips ripped off by an apostate's curse. He had stitched shut the wounds himself, and then stitched the apostate's mouth shut. Daìnn wondered if the Frey-girl and Levi had ever seen an old Templar. Daìnn never had. He assumed they were put on a boat, sent to Val Royeaux to serve as hands of the Divine, as Milou would be when her time came. But what did Ser Temerate know of the Divine's wishes? He knew only that the truly noble died before their time.

    Once he was within a foot of the Frey-girl and Levi, he spoke. The accent that tinged his phrases would have sounded so foreign, so far-away and wrong, but it was their words that were twisted and wrong. Daìnn knew that they did not speak the same dialect as him, and that the Starkhaven variant was true, true and right. He opened with words that would show the common bond between them; their shared faith.
    "
    Blessed are the righteous, the lights in the shadow. In their blood the Maker's will is written." He paused for a moment, and then added, "Benedictions, four-eleven." He stared back at the two templars, after citing his source, green-blue eyes glittering like glass in his face, "I am a Templar from Starkhaven, here to assist versus the darkspawn and all black things." His eyes shifted from focusing on the boy, Levi, to the girl. He met her golden gaze with his own dark one. Milou's words drifted back to him, "Remember where you came from, Ser Temerate." The Blight had to be fought. But perhaps, there was something more rotten here in Fereldan. A pollution of the marrow in the nation's bones. But what did Ser Temerate know of corruption? Only that it must be removed. No matter the cost.
     
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  7. "Come on you lot, surely you can do better than that? Four against one? Are you all that'll challenge me?" The duelist cried, brandishing a pair of fire pokers. A woman at the outskirts was taking bets as four very heavily armed soldiers stood in the ring with the elf. Each man wore heavy armour, while Zaigou wore just his standard clothing. This was the third match he'd taken up today, with each match drawing more of a crowd. "C'mon guys, this is my last match for the day, surely you can give me at least a challenge!"

    Upon this last bit of bravado, two more stepped into the ring, and the pirate grinned darkly. "Alright, this is more like it! Ladies and gentlemen! Place your bets with the lovely lady yonder, it's gonna be a fun fight!" He called out over the crowd. He turned to face his opponents. They looked to be Templars from what he could tell. Moments later, they began. He never cared for templars honestly. He knew mages were dangerous if untrained, but the idea of being locked away and treated like a monster for being born differently never quite appealed to him.

    As they rushed, he shifted his stance, switching his grip on the fire pokers slightly, before engaging them. He ducked below a wild swing and sprung off the ground avoiding another. They were working as a team to try to take him on, and for the moment, he was playing with them. Trying to get the crowd going. After a moment, he saw an opening and swung the black iron utensil, knocking the templar to the ground. There was a small gash on the man's side through the armour where blood could be seen. Zaigou smiled "That's one!" He called out as he shifted amidst the swinging weapons.

    Just as he rolled out of the way of another sword swing, a hammer came down, brushing against his leg as it smashed into the ground. In response, he used his arms to spring him up off the ground, propelling his lower body up against the templar's jaw. The man lay unconscious on the ground. "That's two!" He shouted over the cheers of the crowd. It proceeded this way, the duelist using his agility and skill to one by one dispatch each of them, using tools that were never designed as weapons. In the end, he was victorious. He turned to the templars are the side and nodded his head towards them. They did well, for carrying all of that heavy armour.

    Zaigou approached the woman taking bets and took his cut of the earnings, roughly five sovereigns worth of coin. It went well with the other eight he'd earned in his previous matches. He turned to the crowd and gave a flourished bow. "Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a pleasure, but I must bid you adieu." He said, picking up his proper weapons and heading towards the main part of the camp. Ostagar, Blight ignored, was turning into a fairly profitable venture.
     
  8. Daylight was fading fast with all the bussle around camp, leaving Neviha longing for some sort of inkling towards her objective. Was she just supposed to wait until she was called upon? Was she supposed to seek someone out? She hadn't really been told.

    A meloncholy hand ran over Essesar's coat, spending time watching people and curiously fantasizing about what might come later. Eio, her hawk, was perched in a low limb of the tree she rested against, stretching his wings from being cramped in the wicker cage during travel. Every so often, the bird would look down at his elf, shreiking just loud enough to pose a question; what now?

    From across the way, the Dale was attracted to a bright green tent, different from the others in a way that it was colorful and reminded her of the resting tents back home. With pursed lips and curious eyes, Neviha watched as a man carried a deer corpse through the entrance flaps of the structure.

    From the looks of him, he didn't seem Dalish, lacking the intertwining tree tattoos on his body that were the symbol of her people. She wondered why a human would have a tent in that color, considering how much it reminded her of home, but yet again, it could have just been coincidence.

    With a push of her palms against the ground, the Dale was up and walking towards the tent, Eio swooping down to join with her shoulder pad and announce himself with twisting her long black hair between his beak. Essesar also followed along, shaking the dust off his underbelly and catching up with her long lean legs with a huff.

    As she touched the fabric of the entrance, she announced herself, tucking her nimble fingers between the slit in the cloth and pulling back. "vedui'" She would speak in traditional tongues, curious if a response would be roused from the stranger. "n'uma 'ksh sinome...I don't mean to intrude..." Essesar made it a point to enter the tent first, looking about before she entered completely.

    Inside, the man was working on preparing the deer for eating, which made her smile for a reason she was unsure of. As her brown eyes washed over the inside of the tent, she noticed the man and the bow he wore, giving her even more reason to feel at home. He was a hunter; just like herself.
    "Tua...do you want any help?"

    ___________________________________________________________________

    Long enough had passed, leaving Hibce impatient as his eyes caught the sight of a group of playful templars. It would have been very innocent if he didn't know that they were charged with taking down viscious malificarum, something he had only rarely seen. Still, the way they played reminded him something of predator animals, play fighting until faced with the real thing; training themselves for what was to come.

    Hibce looked back at the fire, tracing lines nonchalantly into the dirt next to him as he thought over the plans he had been disclosed about a day ago. He and this new team were to go into the wilds and seek out a 'nest' of darkspawn, elliminate them and then report back to the general at Ostegar.

    Though the job didn't seem too difficult, the Dwarf couldn't help but feel the stress of keeping a new wave of men and women in line. Some were much less experianced than others and he could only scratch his greying beard at the though of how difficult it might be to get them focused. He doubted some of these 'kids' had even seen a darkspawn before.

    Even so, he would be patient and wait for the call into their meeting. Then and only then, would he figure out what whelps were in his care.
     
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  9. "Andaran atish’an, make yourself at home... if you could help me with skinning these squirrels, that would be great." Varric greeted the woman in a faint Francophonic accent as she entered his tent, noting the Dalish greeting and the hawk upon her shoulder. He could tell that she was a skilled huntress, given the avian, and her clear Elven roots. He was almost taken aback by her rustic beauty, perfect complexion, the tribal tattoos punctuating her exotic appearance. He would have loved to be more sociable, but he was glad that she happened upon his tent when she did. The bounty of the forests are what's going to maintain this army; the prospect of keeping the supply lines in the Korcari Wilds open was dubious at best.
    "Call me Varric. Color me surprised that you're talking to a shem..." He didn't look up as he said this, as he was busy sliding the hide off of the deer corpse. To the more morbid-minded, it was reminiscent of removing a large sock. He laid it to the side, then started to separate the muscle tissue from the ligaments and bone structure; neat, with close to surgical precision.
     
    #9 tinfoil_fedora, Feb 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2014
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  10. A crisp breeze carried the smell of fresh lumber, some already being used for firewood. They were getting close. Among the last of the caravans were more men of Denerim. Armed to the teeth and with an extra package in tow, the group consisted of fighting men and women, as well as city born elves and a handful of dwarves. Among them sat a well guarded mage, a hitchhiker and volunteer. Though no templars were with him there were enough swords and spears around that Garth wouldn't dare attempt any trickery. Other than his overall plan to avoid execution, he wasn't exactly planning on tricking anybody. Not today, at any rate.

    Garth sat tied to the back of a wagon by a strong length of rope, his prized ironbark staff currently held out of his reach. It wouldn't stop him from casting any spells, but it put everyone else at ease.

    When the gates of Ostagar at last came into view, Garth couldn't help but marvel at what must have once been a magnificent fortress. He knew the tales of the site well enough, but the descriptions paled in comparison to seeing the structure with his own eyes.

    "This is where King Cailen's forces make their stand against the darkspawn hoard?" The voice came from the man to Garth's left, clad in iron armor with a few daggers strapped to his waist.

    "Yes, Kimble. That is Ostagar. As soon as we drop off the mage with the rest of his kind we're meeting with our other forces."

    "Y'mean we have to go to the Mage camp first?" The fear in his voice left Garth turning his eyes to the man, giving him a rather cold looking glare and making him flinch.

    "No. I suspect I will be given an escort to where the others are being... kept. A templar or two, no doubt." It was true enough. Once the guard watching the gate was informed of their particular cargo, the whole group was forced to wait while a man came to inspect Garth.

    After a brief wait, sure enough a fully armored and armed templar arrived, using a knife to cut Garth free of his restraints. Much to Garth's relief it was not one he recognized. Perhaps he was from another circle tower. After rubbing his reddened and sore wrists he was handed his staff. Cool to the touch and surprisingly lightweight for it's size, he had to inform the templar watching him that it was elven made and was not carved from the wood virtually all other human mages used.

    On his walk to the mage's camp Garth watched the bustle of the others around him. Smiths, warriors, archers. Even quite a large group of mabari war hounds and their masters. The sight of a tranquil visibly upset the mage, earning him a shove to the shoulder from the templar behind him, getting him moving again. If he had any second thoughts, it was too late now.
     
    #10 Hirohashi, Feb 20, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  11. Samira lay there in her perfect spot behind that lovely green tent, dreaming. Dreaming of visiting a fanciful city in the sky populated by gorgeous Orlesian people, each of whom treated her as though she were of a high noble family. She'd feast on fine cuisine whilst reclining on the absolute softest bed she could imagine and having her feet rubbed, enjoying shows of exotic dancing and advanced spellcraft combined. In this wonderful world she too could harness those most powerful arcane energies as though it were simpler than lifting a finger, but even that was something she wasn't doing in this dream. No, this was an escape from all those days of travel.. Most of which she'd actually spent as a passenger on the mounts belonging to the knights and mercenaries she'd tagged along with, doing next to nothing save during attacks along the way.. Honestly, she really didn't need the break, she was just being lazy.

    That is until the handsome blonde fellow rubbing her feet started speaking a language she couldn't understand in a voice that was definitely not Orlesian.. Or a man's. Then the lovely redheaded woman feeding her pastries said something about.. Skinning squirrels? That didn't sound right at all. Oh, and again, the voice was mismatched. She'd try to ignore it, but soon the odd conversation would be joined by the noise of a busy encampment and bring her back into the waking world.

    Samira grumbled quietly as she opened her eyes, frustrated to have been awoken from another nap prematurely. From the sound of it though, the tent she'd picked to rest behind was occupied and if theirs were the voices that were speaking those odd words in her dream then maybe these people would be interesting enough to lessen the disappointment of having to leave behind all the jelly-filled goodies and fun shows. The young woman pulled her arms out of her shirt and rolled onto her belly, wiggling over right next to the tent and pressing her ear against it as though one would really have to do that to hear chatter through such a weak barrier. While doing this probably wouldn't make the voices inside any clearer, it would however force the tent to flex the tiniest bit, somewhat showing the shape of the girl's face and perhaps some of its features if the material was thin enough.
     
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  12. "Neviha..." The dale settled on the easy way of introducing herself, stepping closer to the center table in order to set her bow and quiver down and help with the preparations. With a click of her tongue, a hand was lifted and straightened for the hawk to move along, using it as transport to jump and hook his talons against the edge of the thick wood. It seemed less inclined to the carcass and more interested in Esessar, who was still curiously sniffing about the ground. Under a small leather hood, Eio's head swiveled, following the mabari's body wherever it went.

    "My people are not very progressive in their way of thinking, I will admit that...Amin'eithel" Thin leather gloves were pulled finger by finger off her slender hands, tucked into the belt that held her tools and trinkets. With a careful touch, the table was caressed, searched and mapped out in order to begin the process of skinning and preparing the way she had been taught since childhood.

    "O Falon'Din Lethanavir--Friend to the Dead Guide my feet, calm my soul, Lead me to my rest..." The words were whispered with a practiced tongue, soft and humble. Animals were always cherished in this way, marking the Dalish respect for the earth. Two fingers reached to gently press against the tribal tattoo in the center of her forehead, then down to bless the skull-top of each squirrel; sending peace before dismemberment.

    "I do not see all people with the same clouded eyes of revenge." As she looked back up at Varric, she smiled, hoping to at least come off more polite and welcoming than her stubborn Dalish family. "Besides, I assume we are here for the same reason, yes?"
     
  13. Varric continued butchering the deer carcass, gutting it and removing the inedible entrails, keeping the large intestine to make blood sausage out of. She was Dalish through and through, but lacked the rooted, narrow perspective of her kine. He pulled down his cloth mask, revealing the rest of his slightly dusky, Orlesian, distinctly Elvish features, as well as a wispy goatee. He smiled. She showed immense respect towards what sustained them all. He considered that a virtue where others considered it to be 'quaint.' It was then that he noticed the Mabari warhound, peering up at him with palpable intelligence in it's eyes. It almost seemed like it was appraising him. A noble companion, with excellent combat capabilities, it's jaws strong enough to rend throats and crack skulls. The bond between the Dale and the hound, he could tell, was inseparable.

    "Yes. The forests are our home. A home which the legions of the Black City wish to corrupt and pervert. We shan't let that happen, for all of the earth is a tomb, by which nothing escapes. Not even the Blight."

    With that, he started preparing the squirrels for consumption, a more delicate task, falling silent. With the two working together, they'd have food for the detachment prepared before dusk. He might not share the same deities as Neviha, but that didn't change the fact that he harbored the same respect that she had. Sans ritual.
     
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