Other Stories: Supremacy

The following preview is another story that I started in September 2016. Like most of my stories, the idea hit me and I started writing. I don’t remember what I was watching, reading or listening to at that time.

The picture I found for this comes from https://www.creativefan.com/60-breathtaking-post-apocalypse-artworks/ even though it’s labeled http://www.penemenn.com – I couldn’t find that website anywhere.

Enjoy!


I was there when the world ended. Actually, that’s not an entirely accurate statement. I was there when the world we knew ended. Everything that we as a people finally held so dear to us was taken, without warning and without mercy. But it wasn’t like we hadn’t been warned. We just hadn’t bothered to listen. Most didn’t want to; those that finally dared to had done so too late. We let ourselves believe that it was only paranoia, a Creepy Pasta per se. Surely nothing like what those who knew predicted would come to pass. But it did; it finally did.

There was no zombie apocalypse, no plague, no alien takeover. Everything just ended and we were left with nothing.

What did we expect though? We gave up everything for safety, for the belief that we were doing the right thing. That there were things out there more important than our own individuality. Little by little they chipped away at our psyche – changed the way we thought, the way we ate, the way we felt.

I always believed that people had a choice, were free to choose. They even took that away from us in the end, by making us believe we still could.

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Fan Fiction: Dragon Age II

So classes are almost over for this semester and I’m going to have more time again to read and write. In fact, I’ve already dabbled a little bit on a couple of other stories.

Today’s picture is from actual game play but I found it at http://www.52miji.com. I’m thinking this site is outside the U.S. since I can’t read most of the writing.

Hope you enjoy!


Justice and Karl

Hawke considered himself a pretty powerful mage, but compared to Anders and what just happened, he paled in comparison. Whatever Anders had become, he was almost an infinite pool of mana that attacked the Templars ruthlessly and repeatedly. Man after man fell before them, too easily, until only one remained. As fatigue and injuries started to weigh him down, he glanced over and saw Anders still standing, still casting, and still glowing.

Only Karl remained stationary, that is until Anders, and whatever was in Anders, released a final blast of … something. Hawke wasn’t entirely sure what he did, but he felt it to his core. Anders would have continued his barrage, but Karl’s voice seemed to snap him back to reality.

Karl moved, looked around and shook his head, almost as though he had woken up from a long sleep. “I – Anders, what did you do?” Anders spun around and faced the man. The look on his face was something Hawke would remember for the rest of his life. Karl continued, his eyes emitting confusion and shock at what just transpired. “It’s like … you brought a piece of the Fade into this world. I had already forgotten what that feels like.”

“This … this bastard … ratted you out … to the Templars!” Carver stated in between heavy breaths.

The Warden was too elated to let the young warrior’s words bother him. “He wasn’t himself. Being made Tranquil takes away everything human inside you. He wasn’t capable of caring for me anymore. He could only follow the rules.” Again the warm smile and look on Anders’ face said more than what he explained and his eyes poured over the man’s features like a waterfall.

“I thought the Tranquil were cut off from the Fade forever.” Hawke stated as he turned to Carver. “This is what we were protecting Bethany from.”

“When you’re Tranquil, you never think on your life before.” Karl explained as he looked at Hawke. He then turned back to Anders and put a hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “But … it’s like the Fade itself is inside Anders. Burning like a sun.”

Hawke turned to Anders. “What did you do? Not the Fade part – the angry glowing bit.”

“It’s like a gateway to the Fade inside you.” Karl said to Anders. “Glowing like a beacon.

Anders frowned and a bit of the warmth and happiness in his eyes faded as he looked from Karl to Hawke and back. “I have … some unique circumstances, yes. But, Karl, what happened? How did they get you?”

“The Templars here are more vigilant than in Ferelden. They found a letter I was writing you … You cannot imagine it, Anders. All the color, all the music in the world, gone. I would gladly give up my magic, but this? I’ll never be whole again.” Karl’s demeanor changed from appreciation to fear and he released Anders, although the Warden tried to take hold of his friend’s hand. “Please, kill me before I forget again! I don’t know how you brought it back, but it’s fading.” Panic filled the gray eyes of the mage before them as he pleaded with Anders.

“Oh the poor man.” Merrill stated sadly.

Anders looked broken again and he shook his head. “Karl, no – you … you can’t ask me this …”

“Anders, I know there’s no cure for this.” Hawke started as he put a consoling hand on Anders’ arm.

“No. It’s like wanting to cure a beheading. The dreams of Tranquil mages are severed – there is nothing left of them to fix.”

“I would rather die a mage than live as a Templar puppet.” Karl said sadly. “Please Anders, if I revert I may … try to betray you again. I don’t think I could…”

Carver turned to Anders. “My sister called being made Tranquil a fate worse than death. Give him peace.”

Even Merrill agreed. “I would rather die than be Tranquil. Help him.”

Anders looked down, a defeated man, and his voice cracked when he spoke. “I got here too late. I’m sorry, Karl. I’m so sorry.”

Karl started to panic and moved back away from Anders. “Now! It’s fading …” Then he was quiet, silent. Tranquil. “Why do you look at me like that?”

Anders was on the verge of tears as he saw Karl die before him yet again. He gently touched the man’s cheek and then looked him in the eye as he drew his dagger.

“Goodbye.”

Karl gasped as the blade plunged deep into him. Anders turned as his friend fell to the ground. “We should leave before more Templars come.” He said as he walked away.

Fan Fiction: Dragon Age II

At one point I think I found the right picture for this chapter, but I’ve since lost it because I didn’t save it at the time I found it. I need to do that. This, however, is as close as I’ve come so far – it’s an actual screen shot from the game from http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Tranquility

I apologize for being behind in my postings. End of year at work, finals at school, Girl Scouts and other life things have gotten in the way a little. Not to mention that yes, I’ve actually written some on my Savior: Chronicles stories. Not sure whether they’ll also be blog stories or published as I have two other pieces of work plus my Sanity story available.

Hope you enjoy this! Thanks for your patience.


Rescue

Year 2, Day 21 – just before midnight in Hightown

It didn’t take them long to get from Anders’ clinic in Darktown to the Chantry in Hightown. The fact that they did so with absolutely no interference, interruptions or bloodshed, however, didn’t exactly sit well, though each was grateful for the reprieve. They entered Hightown slowly and cautiously, looking around for any signs of life.

The only one to see any movement, Anders ran off from the group amongst whispers of protest and practically sprinted up the stairs. The others took a slower pace, making sure the entire courtyard was clear. Anders was pacing when they made it to the top.

“Why did you…” Hawke started.

“I saw Karl go inside a few minutes ago. No Templars so far.” He stopped and looked at them. “Are you ready?”

“We didn’t see anyone suspicious out here. Let’s do this fast.”

“All right. I’ll handle the talking. You watch for Templars.”

They stood in the long hall of the Chantry. There were four large statues, two to the left and two to the right. Numerous candles surrounded these nearly twelve-foot behemoths, red candles that caused the statues to appear red, though they were probably copper color during the day. The men the statues portrayed held spears in one hand, and from the tip dangled lit braziers that emanated smoke rather than light – an incense to cleanse and purify the area.

Two doors stood between each pair, though what lay behind them was unknown to the party. In the distance were four marble pillars and a stone-brick hewn balcony upon which stood the altar. A red tapestry graced the wall along with numerous red candles. Further back and beyond the railing stood two more statues.

“When we find Karl, please, just let me talk to him.” Anders begged.

They made their way down the hall towards the pillars. As they came close they noticed mounted candle holders on them, each with a lit candle. These pillars also attached to two sets of stairs going up to the altar. Taking a chance, they decided to go up the right staircase. There was an alcove here, with lit braziers on each pillar. High tall thin windows let moonlight fall into the building. There was another door to the right and a small waiting area to the right of that.

And Karl.

He spoke as they approached, and Hawke immediately sensed something was wrong. “Anders. I know you too well. I knew you would never give up.”

“What’s wrong? Why are you talking like -?” The sheer emotion and panic in Anders’ voice was very visible.

Karl turned and faced the group. His eyes were devoid of life and there was a mark on his forehead. “I was too rebellious. Like you. The Templars knew I had to be … made an example of.”

It looked like Anders’ world crashed all around him. “No!” Thinking back, the others would describe the sight as his heart and soul breaking.

“How else will mages ever master themselves?” Karl’s monotone voice continued. “You’ll understand, Anders.” He shifted his eyes and looked behind the group. The motion made them all turn around in time to see Templars approaching them. “As soon as the Templars teach you to control yourself.”

Anders turned and faced his enemy as Karl motioned in his direction. “This is the apostate.”

Anders was too distraught for words. This was his worst nightmare come to life. Everything was spinning out of control. And then Justice took over. Anders’ eyes suddenly burned bright blue and he cried out again. “No!” Hawke took a step back, recognizing the voice from just hours earlier; Varric also noticed the difference, but none were prepared for what transpired.

He couldn’t lose control, couldn’t become the monster they thought all mages were. Those were his thoughts as he sank to his knees and let Justice burst through; and burst through he did. Hawke felt the shockwave when Justice came out. An almost inhuman flame surrounded Anders and it looked as though his skin were cracking and would completely break apart. The brown eyes were now blue, completely blue – no iris, no pupil, only a glow. And that voice, the same voice they heard when they first met the mage now took shape and appeared to regard them all as the enemy with just one single sentence:

“You will never take another mage as you took him!”

Fan Fiction: Dragon Age II

So I really didn’t have a picture for this post, at least nothing that I felt really fit. What I’m using is called “The World Reborn” by Nazgullow and can be found at http://nazgullow.deviantart.com/art/Dragon-Age-II-The-World-Reborn-416254179


A Favor for a Favor

“Look,” he said turning back to Anders. He tried his best to look at something else in his direction, but was constantly drawn back to the mage’s eyes. “My brother and I, we’re part of an expedition into the Deep Roads. Any information you have could save people’s lives.”

“I will die a happy man if I never think about the blighted Deep Roads again. You can’t imagine what I’ve come through to get here. I’m not interested …” A sudden thought hit him and he was quiet for a few seconds. “Ok, how about … a favor for a favor. Does that sound like a fair deal? You help me. I’ll help you?”

“Help our expedition reach the Deep Roads, and I’ll do … uh … we’ll do whatever you need.” Hawke stated then blushed.

“You don’t ask for my terms?”

“Let’s be more specific.” Carver stated. “We won’t do anything involving children or animals.”

The Warden looked Carver up and down, studying him for a moment. “What if I were asking for the Knight-Commander’s head on a spike?” Anders put forth.

“Well, is that what you want?” Hawke asked.

Bluff called. “You decide. I have a Warden map of the depths in this area. But there’s a price.” He turned and paced away from the group trying to gather his thoughts and come up with a request that didn’t sound completely ludicrous and impossible. “I came to Kirkwall to … aid a … friend. A mage. A prisoner in the wretched Gallows.” He turned back towards the group and jumped back slightly in shock when he noticed they had followed him a bit. He took a quick breath to calm himself, then continued. “The Templars learned of my plans to free him. Help me bring him safely past them, and you shall have your maps.”

“What do the Templars know of your plans?” Aveline asked, obviously not wanting to get into tremendous trouble with them.

“Tell me about your friend.” Hawke interjected before Anders could respond to Aveline. He then wondered for a second why that was so important to him.

So did Anders. “His name is Karl Thekla. He was sent here from Ferelden when Kirkwall’s Circle required new talent. His last letter said the knight-commander was turning the Circle into a prison. Mages are locked in their cells, refused appearances at court, made Tranquil for the slightest crimes. I told him I would come.”

Because Anders’ voice rose with each word, the others decided to back up a step or two, just in case.

“Are these accusations true?” Aveline asked.

Anders looked over at her, almost shocked to see her there. “Ask any mage in Kirkwall. Over a dozen were made Tranquil just this year.” He looked back at Hawke, realizing that he was also a mage. “The more people you ask, the worse the rumors become.”

“What do the Templars know of your plans?” Carver reiterated Aveline’s question, now worried that they may be walking into a trap. This was not something he wanted – his brother captured before they had a chance to get ahead wasn’t in the best interest of the family, even if it put him in charge.

“I don’t know! I had been exchanging notes with Karl through a maidservant in the Gallows. Then the letters stopped coming.”

“So you want to make your friend an apostate.” Varric stated.

“That’s such a weighted term. Yes, Andraste said magic should serve man, not rule him. But I’ve yet to find a mage who wants to rule anything. It goes against no will of the Maker for mages to live as free as other men.”

“Forcing mages into servitude is not the way to prevent the rise of another Imperium.” Hawke stated flatly.

Anders was pleasantly shocked. “That’s not usually the response I get. Perhaps we will work together better than I expected.”

Hawke blushed and suddenly lost his train of thought.

“Not to rain on your parade,” Aveline came to the rescue, “but how do you plan to break him out of the Gallows?”

Anders looked back at Aveline. “I’m hoping it won’t come to that. But if I did have a plan, I’m not sure telling a guardswoman would be the best way to go about it.”

“Fair enough.”

“I sent Karl a message to meet me in the Chantry tonight. Maker willing he’ll be there, alone. But if there are Templars with him, I swear, I’ll free him from them. Whatever the cost.”

“I’m not sure about attacking Templars.” Varric stated. “We might be better taking our chances with the Darkspawn.”

“If we fight Templars, it is because they decide that anyone who befriends a mage deserves death without questioning.” Anders responded.

“As just as his cause is, it makes me nervous. I don’t want to give the Templars reason to hunt us.” Merrill stated softly. Carver smiled warmly at her and motioned to not worry.

“I would help any mage in such circumstances, map or no.” Hawke stated, hoping that would calm the man down.

“Better make this good.” Carver said quietly to him. “We’re risking a lot if we anger the Templars.”

“Now you’re just trying to get on my good side. Seriously, I welcome your aid. Let’s head to the Chantry, and ensure that no matter who is with him, we all walk away free.”

Hawke nodded, and they all started for the Gallows area. They tried to move as quickly as possible as part of the night was already gone while they were discussing things.

Fan Fiction: Dragon Age II

When going over this story, it’s hard sometimes to not write down certain things that I know happened, may have happened, haven’t happened or that I want to happen. Unsure whether to omit them to increase suspense or add them to keep the audience in the know, I tend to wonder how some writers do it.

Today’s picture is called Anders/Justice by Rayne430. Yes, it’s DeviantArt and can be found at http://rayne430.deviantart.com/art/Anders-Justice-384767846.

Anders isn’t the only important person to my story.


Next Stop Darktown

Year 2, Day 21 – mid evening in Darktown

It was rather late when they arrived in Darktown. Because of what Lirene had said, they figured they’d be able to catch the mage if they took their time getting there. As they made their way to where they overheard the Warden would be Carver brought something to Hawke’s attention.

“Isn’t this the way we went to get to our estate?”

Hawke looked around and nodded. Maybe coincidence or fate, but it gave him a good feeling about this. They found the lit lantern before two closed doors, looked around a bit, then opened one of them.

Six pillars greeted them, three to the left and three to the right. Tapestries similar to the ones both inside and outside The Hanged Man hung intermittently along the walls. The floor was dirt and there was clutter off to the left. Close to one of the larger pillars were three people circled around someone laying on what they could only guess was a table. The only light close enough to them was a small lantern and in its meek glow they saw two men standing and a woman crouching over a patient, for lack of a better word.

One of the men, a tall blonde, was moving his hands over the person on the table. As they moved, they started glowing and in the faint light it appeared as though he were trying to withdraw whatever malady the patient was cursed with. None of them noticed the party walk in. The man, the mage, moved with urgency and persistence, concentrating on his patient, trying everything he could to help him. Exhaustion showed on his face, but he didn’t falter, he didn’t stop until whatever had been wrong with the person was banished. When it was done, the person on the table, a child, sat up completely healed. The woman, his mother perhaps smiled and hugged him.

The mage stumbled slightly, then turned and started moving away. The other man there, the father perhaps, walked up to and thanked the mage before the family departed. On that cue, Hawke and his party approached.

The blonde man put a hand to his head; the pain and fatigue proved it had been a long night, and it barely began. He was so wrapped up on trying to pep himself up for the next patient that he didn’t hear the party approach. His only inkling was when Justice warned him. They didn’t notice his eyes glowing blue because his back was turned to them. He quickly grabbed his staff that was leaning by the pillar close to him and turned to face them, holding a hand out to them both to protect himself and to cast if necessary.

“I have made this place a sanctum of healing and salvation. Why do you threaten it?” He, and Justice, asked.

Unaware of his condition, the group noted how different his voice sounded. Hawke especially stood transfixed, but he wasn’t entirely sure why. The brown eyes that now stared at him were full of fear and pain, but there was something else within them as well. Aside from that, there was nothing extraordinary about him: thin build, unkempt stubble beard, and deep dark circles that lined his eyes. Maybe it was that his hands were shaking slightly.

The man before him also stood still and stared at him. His heart had already been beating rather hard within his chest from the healing, but now it was all he could do to keep from hearing it pound within his ears. The young man standing before him had the darkest, deepest, most soulful eyes he had ever seen.

They may have remained that way for a long time if Varric hadn’t cleared his throat.

“We…we’re just here to talk.” Hawke finally said.

“Of what?” the mage asked suspiciously.

“We’re interested in getting into the Deep Roads. Rumor has it you’re a Warden … or were one. Do you know a way?” Varric stated and asked, seeing as how Hawke seemed to be a bit tongue-tied.

Carver had been looking around during this time, then looked back at the mage. “Strange occupation for a Warden. Aren’t you more about taint and death, not healing and salvation?”

“It’s possible we could pay you to find an entrance.” Aveline interjected.

The man, Anders if they remembered Lirene correctly, lowered his hand and relaxed his stance a bit. “Humph. If I wanted money, I’ve been going about it all wrong. Did the Wardens send you to bring me back? I’m not going. Those bastards made me get rid of my cat. Poor Ser Pounce-a-lot. He hated the Deep Roads.”

“You … had a cat … named … Ser Pounce-a-Lot?” Merrill asked.

“And you had him in the Deep Roads?” Hawke added.

“He was a gift. A noble beast.” ‘Obviously she’s not a cat person.’ Anders thought as he answered Merrill but quickly turned his attention back to Hawke. ‘I wonder if he is.’ “Almost got ripped in half by a genlock once. He swatted the bugger on the nose. Drew blood, too.” He smiled proudly at the memory. “The blighted Wardens said he ‘made me too soft’. I tried arguing that the Commander of the Grey gave him to me but in the end had to give him to a friend in Amaranthine.”

“So, you came to Kirkwall just to escape the Wardens?” Hawke asked.

“You say that like it’s a small thing. Yes, I’m here because there’s no Warden outpost, no Darkspawn, and a whole host of refugees to blend in with.” He kept his eyes on Hawke for a moment longer before he lowered them and his head. “And … some reasons of my own.”

The two sides stood still and silent, looking at each other for what seemed an eternity. “I’ve always heard that joining the Wardens is for life.” Aveline said, breaking the awkward silence.

“That’s only partly true. The ‘hopelessly tainted by the Darkspawn’ and ‘plagued by nightmares about the Archdemon’ parts don’t go away. But it turns out if you hide well, you don’t have to wear the uniform or go to the parties.”

Hawke turned and looked at the others. This … wasn’t going anywhere near the way he thought it would.

Fan Fiction: Dragon Age II

This picture is a screen shot from the game, complete with choice selection. It came from Rescue the Princess!’s channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAo2srBHYwk


Tranquility

Year 2, Day 21 – midafternoon in Lowtown

“All right. Where do we start on this?” Hawke asked.

“First thing’s first. We pay a visit to Lirene.” Varric replied as he led them out of his residence. Once they left the room, and the tavern proper, the mid-afternoon sun greeted them. Varric re-read the document he brought while the others fanned out around him to catch a peek of what he held. “Directions to our next point of contact.” He explained as he motioned to the right. Following his hand, they cast searching eyes up the stairs and passed a few merchants.

He then started walking, making the others follow quickly. “Over there, Hawke! She sells Ferelden Imports.” Varric stated happily as he pointed off towards the right.

True enough, when they got to the top of another flight of stairs and turned the corner, there was a worn nearly dilapidated sign over a rusted door: Lirene’s Ferelden Imports. Their progress was slowed when they opened the door so it took them a few minutes to enter the small barely stocked shop. Cramped in an overpopulated room, they squeezed their way towards a wall lined floor to ceiling with crates, boxes and urns with some makeshift tables in between – tables by way of a rotting planks of wood of varying sizes over some empty boxes. There was what looked like a chest on the floor to the left with a sign: Donation Box.

There were a few lanterns hanging on the walls, but not all of them were lit. Overhead were two hanging chandeliers but only one was lit. A line of people stood across from them at what was supposedly the merchant’s main table – again a plank of wood over boxes. A tired looking woman stood behind the table with her arms crossed over her chest. Behind her, another woman was set up her wares in the corner.

“Everyone please just step back!” She said loudly.

“My mother’s in labor! The baby’s coming early. Can anyone help her?” One of the people in line asked.

“I’ll send word to the healer, but -”

“My son’s hurt bad. Cart overturned on him in the blasted Bone Pit.” Another person pushed his way forward interrupting her.

“Everyone in your turn. I promise, we have donations coming in. There will be food and medicine for all of you.” She continued loudly as Hawke and his comrades approached her. “If you’re seeking aid, leave your name with my girl.” She motioned to the woman in the corner. “We serve everyone here – no one came from Ferelden without trouble. But I can’t give priority to anyone who’s already found work and lodging.” She added placing a hand on her hip as she looked the party up and down. “Or is the City Guard now recruiting?”

“Is there a way we can help these people?” Hawke asked.

Her attitude change, but only slightly. “If you’ve coin to spare, we won’t turn it down. Donations go in the box up front. Anything else?”

“We hear you know where we can find a Ferelden Grey Warden.” Carver responded.

“Most of them died, but those who lived would be in Ferelden.” Defensive dark eyes shot out at the young warrior.

“Rumor has it, there’s one in our fair land now.” Varric offered.

“Only Ferelden Grey Warden I’ve heard of stopped the Blight by slaying the Archdemon herself and put a new queen on the throne. Then again, I heard she saved the town of Amaranthine from Darkspawn; but we’re out of the Blight’s path now. Why would you need a Warden?”

A random person in line waiting to be served piped up. “The healer was one of them once, wasn’t he? A Warden?”

Lirene sighed irritably. “Well he’s not now. And busy enough without answering fool questions about it.”

“Who are you protecting?” Aveline asked.

“Surely you see what our people face in Kirkwall. They have no jobs, no homes. Most can barely buy bread. Not everyone is as lucky as you. And the Healer, he serves them without thought for coin. He’s closed their wounds, cleansed their diseases, and delivered their children.”

“He sounds very busy, but we won’t be any trouble.” Merrill stated.

“He’s a good man. I won’t lose him to the blighted Templars.”

“You mean he’s a mage?” Varric asked.

“Great. Another delicate mage flower.” Carver grumped.

“I wouldn’t stick my neck out for some purveyor of hensbane and leeches. He doesn’t want to be locked up in the Gallows just for using the gifts the Maker gave him.”

“Your healer is in no danger from us.” Hawke assured her.

“Right. Perfectly safe if he cooperates.” Carver quietly added.

Lirene looked them up and down again, but focused on Hawke for a moment more than the others. “I suppose it isn’t my secret to keep. Anders has certainly been free enough with his services.”

For a moment a coldness went through Hawke at the sound of the name.

“Refugees in Darktown know – to find the healer, look for the lit lantern. If you have need enough, Anders will be within.”

They thanked Lirene and turned to leave as others in line started requesting services and complaining. Before they left, they donated fifty silvers.

Fan Fiction: Dragon Age II

Another week has gone by and it seems that as the year’s end gets closer the busier things get. And of course trying to find a good pic to go with this chapter – well you get the idea. Originally I wanted a picture of my current characters in a meeting but I couldn’t find that. Instead, I found this map of Thedas from http://edsdragonage.wikidot.com/play-aids.

Incidentally, Deviant Art has tons of great pic for Dragon Age … I think most of the rest of the ones I will use will come from there.


A Business Discussion

Year 2, Day 20 – just after noon in Lowtown

The group (that being Hawke, Carver, Aveline and Varric) watched Merrill until she melted into the crowed, then turned and made their way out of the Alienage leaving the young Dalish to herself at her request while she scoured the area for a residence.

“I wouldn’t worry about her too much, Carver.” Hawke stated as he clapped a comforting hand on his brother’s shoulder. “She’s a lot tougher than she seems. I’m sure she’ll find a place here in no time.”

Carver nodded. “I know. We did and we were no better off.”

“Hawke, I think it’s past time I went to fix my affairs. I need to head to The Hanged Man to check up on something but afterward we need to discuss things.” Varric stated optimistically as they made their way up the stairs from the Elven quarters.

Hawke nodded.

They each slowly made their ways toward their respective residences, ready for much needed rest and prepare for whatever new adventure Varric had found for them.

Year 2, Day 21 – early morning in Lowtown

Hawke and Carver entered The Hanged Man and were instantly pummeled by the smell of breakfast – whatever that entailed today. Pondering the decision of a meal or a drink, Hawke steered them towards the bar while Carver scanned their surroundings – an action that allowed him to notice Varric walking up the stairs back to his room. As he gained Hawke’s attention, he saw someone, maybe one of the barmaids, catch the dwarf’s attention and motioned in their direction; the cocky rogue nodded to her and then turned to face them, smiling and holding a couple of mugs in his hands. He motioned them to follow him to his room and the brothers made their way to the back passing by a few patrons who were discussing the recent Blight.

“So, here’s the thing: we need to find a way into the Deep Roads.” Varric said as he put the mugs on the table and started lighting some of the side torches in his residence. As Hawke and Carver looked around, they noticed a number of documents on the main table. They also saw Aveline and Merrill already there. Yes, somehow Merrill had found her way to The Hanged Man quite by accident. It was just as well, this way she would be less likely to get into trouble. As Varric walked over towards a rather large pile of paperwork, the women drew closer to the brothers and each grabbed a drink as the dwarf grabbed one particularly peculiar looking paper. “Bartrand can lead us to the right place once we’re down there, but we need a good entrance.”

“The three of us have fought Darkspawn, but we’ve never been to the Deep Roads.” Aveline said as she turned to Hawke to make sure, and was relieved when he affirmed it.

“That’s obviously beneficial, but I’d rather not encounter any if I can help it. Fortunately, I’ve received some new information.” The rogue continued as he shook the paper he was holding. “There’s a Grey Warden in the city. If anyone knows how to get down there, it’ll be him.”

“Why would a Grey Warden know that?” Carver asked.

“The Wardens don’t just fight Darkspawn, Junior; they forge into the Deep Roads all the time. And if this Warden doesn’t know a way in, he might be able to point us to those who do.”

“Are there any other options?” Aveline asked. “In case he’s not willing to help. Rumor has it Wardens guard their secrets rather closely.”

Varric sighed. “None at the moment. Bartrand had an entrance lined up, but it was a bust.”

“Well, we’ve enough to worry about with the Templars. We don’t want trouble with the Grey Wardens as well.” Hawke stated.

“Let’s look at our options, first. I’d rather not fight a Warden unless we have to. Supposedly, this Grey Warden came in with some other Ferelden refugees not long ago. A Lowtown woman named Lirene has been helping the Fereldens. We talk to her, maybe we learn where he is. Either way, I’ll keep looking, but if we don’t find something, we’ll have a fancy expedition with nowhere to go. I’ll also keep after my contacts – see if I can drum up any other work.”

“We appreciate that Varric.”

“The city guard can always use your help as well, Hawke.” Aveline added.

Carver grinned. “Well with you leading them now, we’ll be sure not to get stiffed on payments.” He stopped smiling when she looked at him stone-faced.

“He does have a point, Aveline.” Hawke came to his brother’s defense. “As much as I love helping out the city, we do have to survive and we need this venture to do it.”

The captain relaxed slightly and nodded.

Fan Fiction: Dragon Age II

Holy Cow! She’s posting something! I can’t believe it! And I can’t believe she’s posting the story that I’m really not interested in. Ha ha!

Seriously, I’m posting here because I didn’t post last week and I should have and of course my fan fiction was written out before my other stories. Don’t fret though, I’m still working on ideas for the other stories, and as soon as my life settles a little I’ll be posting on those as well.

Today’s picture comes from Deviant Art again – they have a lot of very talented artists. This one’s called “Merrill at Kirkwall Channel” by ramgoatliver-d37weyy and can be found at http://www.deviantart.com/morelikethis/artists/426009263?view_mode=2#skins (You may have to look, I didn’t actually see this one, but I’m sure it’s around there somewhere).


Delayed Reaction.

“First you keep interrupting me, now you don’t even have a question about anything I’ve said. I realize it’s late, but ….” Varric stood, stretched, grabbed his goblet then walked slowly over to the elf, who was still on the floor, although not in the same spot he had been earlier.

Small Fry stood after handing his own cup to Varric, then watched the dwarf walk past him and into the kitchen area. Outside it was full dark with little to no noise. That in itself wasn’t as good as one would think, what with thieves still a-plenty in Kirkwall. So as Varric busied himself, his companion walked around checking doors, windows and coverings.

“I’m sorry, Uncle, even abbreviated as you made it, that and the parts I remember from Cassandra were just a lot to take in and I didn’t want to interrupt you for fear of missing something she may have omitted.” He finally responded to Varric’s earlier comment when he returned to the doorway. Leaning against it, he let his eyes gaze blankly into the darkened room, easily ignoring the dim lights of the few candles dotting the area. Although he didn’t need that light, it helped since he was tired.

“So…?”

The lone question brought him out of his reverie although not entirely out of his current exhausted condition. “I’m trying to find how it fits. It was but it wasn’t actually Flemeth who was in the locket.”

“How it fits? How what fits and fits into what?”

Small Fry waved the question away as he stepped back to allow his uncle passage back into the room. “It was but it wasn’t actually Flemeth who was in the locket.”

“So it would appear. But you heard that from the Seeker. Why come to me for that?”

“Which means … from what I recall and what Mother mentioned, the Hero never killed Flemeth for Morrigan.” He frowned.

“Something wrong?”

“Just the way she said it.”

Varric smirked. “You mean the Hero didn’t kill her this time?”

Small Fry looked up quickly.

“Daisy wasn’t the only person she confided in.”

“So you understand what she meant by that?”

“I do now. Is that why you’re here? For a translation of your mother’s favorite sayings? Or are you trying to delve deeper into something?” As he did during his interrogation with Cassandra, Varric looked down at his hands and feigned indifference.

Small Fry took the hint. “Merrill was almost like Mother though, when she first encountered your group.”

“Well, yes, and no. Daisy didn’t have much experience with humans or dwarves and it was mainly because of the prejudices each held for the other. Had things gone differently in Ferelden, Daisy may have had a slight connection, but as things were…”

“I learned a lot of what I know from Merrill though.”

“Oh she’s smart, don’t get me wrong. She’s what you mother called ‘book learned but no street smarts’. Your mother, however, had almost no experience with dwarves, elves and a whole bunch of other things. She relied on Daisy for her knowledge, just like you did.”

“Hawke seemed slightly interested.”

“In Daisy? Not really. At that point in time he didn’t know how to take her. Actually none of us did. In fact, if it hadn’t been for a few things, she may not have been party to us at all.”

“Mother?”

“And one other person.”

“You mean …”

“Ha ha! Not quite Small Fry but you won’t be shocked when you find out. We made it back to Kirkwall by mid-morning about three days later and to the Alienage just after noon. When I told this story to your mother, she smiled and said Merrill sounded…”

“Shell-shocked. Yes, I remember the term from her. But you had to describe it to Cassandra.” Small Fry smiled warmly.

“Well that’s not a term we use here often – although I hadn’t heard it before she said it – and had I used it, it would have given a few things away.” Varric stopped here and motioned towards the other doorway.

Small Fry blinked, stretched then shook his head. “I can’t, Uncle, I need to find out…”

“You won’t last, and neither will I. My wild nights are over. Besides, even Cassandra gave breaks, and I’d like one.”

The elf sighed and walked towards the doorway and into the bedroom. There was only one bed here and when he saw it, he turned to Varric questioningly.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be out here. This is far too important to just leave things unspoken. Get some sleep.”

“So you’re ending it here, your arrival at Kirkwall?”

“We tried to comfort Daisy as best we could, after all this was a huge step for her. I tried to put up the best description of the Alienage as I could, Aveline mentioned the tree, and Hawke and Carver tried to cheer her up by reminding her that she wasn’t entirely alone anymore.”

Small Fry nodded. “She was never actually alone.”

“No, but she didn’t know it at the time. I’ll see you in the morning.”

The elf waved as Varric closed the door. After a moment, he walked over and sat down on one of the chairs and looked at the kitchen area. His thoughts ever on the conversation, deep inside he pondered how best to tell the rest of the story. ‘He knows something, but I need to find out how much.’

Fan Fiction: Dragon Age II

My question: “When did I get so busy?”

The response? “When you started trying to rule the world.”

Seriously? When did I start doing a stupid thing like that? And how to I stop?

This week’s picture is “Witch of the Wild” by ElynGontier and can be found at http://elyngontier.deviantart.com/art/Witch-of-the-wild-280691465 along with a number of other great looking character pics.


Asha’bellanar

Year 2, Day 17 – dawn in Sundermount

After a night of climbing the mountain, traversing a cave, and fighting undead, the party decided to rest before finishing their quest. Although Merrill protested, the other assured her that nothing would happen: after all, Flemeth had waited over a year for her amulet, another night wasn’t going to make a difference. The morning sun met them when they emerged, and so did the faded lights shining from more hanging lanterns. The path went in three directions: to their right was the rockslide – they each grimaced knowing that had it not been there they could have already gotten everything done.

The path also led straight ahead, but that ended at a cliff. They could actually see the entire Dalish camp from this vantage point. To the left the path went in two directions: straight into a glistening barrier and then further left to an area further up the mountainside. They carefully approached the barrier, with Merrill leading the way. She stopped them about a foot before the barrier.

“I can open the way forward. One moment.” She walked the remaining steps alone, stopped, drew her dagger and sliced her palm. Blood started flowing from the wound, but none fell to the ground. Instead, she used her arcane knowledge to turn the blood into fuel to cast a powerful spell that would eradicate the barrier. She turned back to them once she accomplished her goal.

Carver, noticing that Merrill didn’t appear to be injured, turned to Hawke. “Right. That was not normal.”

Hawke looked back at him. “That was blood magic.”

“Yes, it was blood magic, but I know what I’m doing.” Merrill quickly and nervously answered. “The spirit helped us, didn’t it?”

“Sure, demons are very helpful … right up until they take your mind and turn you into a monster.” Varric chastised.

“Well … yes. But that won’t happen. I know how to defend myself. Be careful up ahead. Restless things prowl the heights.” She warned.

“You mean more than what we’ve already encountered?” Carver quipped.

They made their way into the area, of course they had to battle beings to finally get to their destination close to another high ledge. There stood what looked like a stone altar, black and cold. Merrill approached while the others fanned out behind her, and placed the amulet almost dead center on the altar but between two stone statues, one on each of the two corners closest to them. They were each at an angle, one facing towards, and the other away from a ceramic/stone urn at the back. . Merrill used a spell and lit this – a green/blue/black flame burned. She was quiet for only a moment as she recalled and concentrated on the words. “Hahren na melana sahlin. Emma ir abelas souver’inan isala hamin vhenan him dor’felas. In uthenera na revas.”

Once the last word was spoken, the day instantly turned to night as clouds quickly covered the sky and a rumbling could be heard all around them. A fire seemed to be slowly shooting up from the amulet, yet they were also engulfed in a fire vortex that started large but slowly shrank. The next thing they saw was a form rising from the altar, almost as though someone had been kneeling over it and was now done and standing up.

For Hawke and Carver, it was the dragon all over again. Flemeth stood there, staring out over them into the horizon. To say that Hawke and his companions were shocked was an understatement.

She effortlessly moved down from the altar and stood looking out over them. “Aaah, and here we are!”

Merrill bowed low before her. “Andaran atish’an, Asha’bellanar.”

Flemeth turned her yellow eyes towards the Dalish Blood Mage. “One of the people, I see, so young and bright. Tell me, do you know who I am, beyond that title?”

She didn’t rise. “I know only a little.”

Flemeth raised her hand towards Merrill. “Then stand. The People bend their knee too quickly.”

Merrill rose and Flemeth turned her attention to Hawke and his companions.

“Are you some kind of vision?” Carver asked.

Flemeth laughed. “So refreshing to see someone who keeps their end of a bargain. I half expected my amulet to end up in a merchant’s pocket!”

“I agreed to deliver the amulet,” Hawke responded, “though you could have told me you were inside it.”

“Just a piece. A small piece, but it was all I needed. I don’t believe in being in only one place. Bodies are such limiting things. I am but a fragment cast adrift from the whole. A bit of flotsam to cling to in the storm!”

“A fragment?” Varric asked, very intrigued.

“A bit of security then, should the inevitable occur. And if I know my Morrigan, it already has.”

“Is that someone we should know?” Hawke asked.

Flemeth smirked. “She’s a girl who thinks she knows what is what better than I, or anyone.” Then she chuckled. “And why not? I raised her to be as she is! I cannot expect her to be less!”

“I’m not sure whether she’s your daughter or your enemy.” Aveline stated.

“Neither is she.”

“Why did you need us to bring you here?” Carver asked.

“Because I had an appointment to keep! And because I did not want to be followed. You smuggled me here quite nicely.”

“An appointment.” Hawke stated flatly, trying hard to believe the Witch’s words.

Flemeth walked towards them. “You do not need to understand. None of you do.” She turned to Hawke. “Least of all you, child. Know only that you may have save my life, just as I once saved yours. An even trade, I think.” She turned and walked back to the altar.

“This … appointment … will lead to other plans, I take it?” Hawke asked.

She faced them again. “Destiny awaits us both, dear boy. We have much to do. Before I go, a word of advice.” She turned away from them and looked out over the altar into the horizon. “We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment … and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap.” She turned back to them. “It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.”

“What should I do?” Hawke asked.

“Do as I do. Become a dragon!” She laughed. “You could never be a dragon.”

“Are we going to regret bringing her here?” Carver asked looking at Hawke.

“Regret is something I know well.” Flemeth responded. “Take care not to cling to it, to hold it so close that it poisons your soul. When the time comes for your regrets, remember me.” She then turned to Merrill. “As for you, child, step carefully. No path is darker than when your eyes are shut.”

“Ma serannas, Asha’bellanar.”

Flemeth started walking towards them again. “Now the time has come for me to leave. You have my thanks … and my sympathy.” As she walked back towards the altar, she started to glow. And not just as an aura or a simple light surrounding her. Her whole body changed as though she had become a sun. A wind blasted against the party and they braced themselves and turned their heads – thus missing her transformation into a dragon. She spread her wings and flew away. Only Merrill ran after her, stopping only when she came to the altar.

Not having anything else to do, they turned and made their way back down the mountain.

Fan Fiction: Dragon Age II

So, I should have put today’s picture on last week’s story and that one here – more appropriate, but it’s done. And this one’s really lovely. I don’t recall seeing it in the game, but it’s on http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Sundermount


Keeper Marethari and Merrill

“You’re smiling.” Varric playfully chided.

Small Fry was sitting on the floor close to the front door leaning against the wall and staring at the dancing flames of the melting candles. Dinner was over and each held an after dinner drink, but even with the windows covered, Varric wasn’t keen on starting a larger fire. “I’m sorry, Uncle, just thinking about some of your descriptions of the Dalish.”

“I know. Most of what people know was written by those who aren’t Dalish. But they aren’t much for giving up lots of information.” Varric started as he leaned back on his chair. “At least not to most outsiders.”

The elf diverted his attention between the candles, his memories and his uncle. “No, they aren’t. Even as close as Mother was to Merrill, I wound up learning more about them then she did.”

“I’ve heard some are more lenient. The clan we encountered, the one Hawke was supposed to make the delivery too, the Sabre clan if memory serves – well their actions pretty much emphasized that they weren’t.”

“Merrill … I found it hard to believe she was from Ferelden …”

“She only spoke to me of that one clan.”

“Actually Uncle, she was from the Free Marches.”

“Do tell.” Varric leaned an elbow on the table and flashed his mischievous smile – the one he used when he was honestly interested in something.

“She was born in the Alerion clan during one of their treks through the hills of Nevarra and went to the Sabre clan at a young age.”

“You were cared for by the Alerion clan weren’t you?”

Small Fry nodded. “I was given part of Merrill’s past from them. Her grandmother and the Clan’s Keeper and First all eventually welcomed me, well welcome for lack of a better word. Made me feel as much at home as they could.” He looked away from Varric as those memories came to him. It was the happiest the dwarf ever saw the elf and for a moment his eyes appeared to take on the same lilac shade his mother was famous for. “Mother was the only person who made me feel … safer than they did. They also helped me through that period after … after Mother ….”

Varric nodded sadly.

“I wasn’t originally received ‘with open arms’ though. They were very hesitant, especially when they learned of my heritage – particularly Father.”

“Tevinter’s never had a great reputation. And what the Imperium did to them …. Humans and dwarves have only slightly better ones. Still, we weren’t exactly welcomed by the Sabre clan when we arrived at Sundermount.”

“Other elves aren’t readily received as elvhen because we gave up our identities to live among … shemlen. Or so they claim.”

“I bet they didn’t stare at you like you were a strange creature – we got plenty as we progressed, a few of them motioned menacingly, reminding us that our every move was being watched.”

“It is hard for them to trust anyone. I was lucky – I had continuous instructions from Merrill in the ways of the Dalish so that was a saving grace. I would have been happy to meet Keeper Marethari though. Feynriel spoke of her often – we often compared notes on both Keepers.”

“And your findings?”

The elf merely smiled.

“Well, if it’s anything like what I had when we first saw her standing by the largest fire then I understand. There was an air of wisdom about her; I still remember three things she said to us that I’ve lived by.”

“Oh?”

Varric raised up a finger for each phrase he remembered the elder Dalish saying. “There is great wisdom to be found all around us, if you know how to listen for it; nothing is certain; and there are few things in this world stronger than a promise kept. Of course that last one I’d known much longer.”

“So she explained exactly what it was you were to do with Flemeth’s trinket?”

“She did. We had to take the amulet to an altar at the top of the mountain, give it a Dalish rite for the departed and then return the amulet to her. After a few more instructions, she pointed us to a path on the other side of the camp that split. Part of it appeared to be sloping down, the other up. It was the higher path that she motioned towards.”

“Where does Merrill come in?”

“Right about here. Daisy was on the upper path and guided us up….”

“And she was able to help you?”

“Among other things.”