Jump to content


Life, Laughter, Blood, Doom

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 WeeRLegion


    TFP : D

  • Member
  • 2925 posts

Posted 12 December 2009 - 12:56 PM

So I felt compelled -no doubdt to the dismay of everyone affected- to, after a long pause, to resume scribbling.

This time it's Dragon age: Origins , and while I'll be making up a ton of crap on the fly while writing it, there will also be some spoilers.

The genre will probably be Dramedy for the most part, with brief excursions into straight out comedy and parody.
For later chapters, I've got some gore-baths planned, and somewhat relevantly, some angsting and moping about it all.

Also, I'll just say it straight off the bat here; while I've got it basically planned as an origin-to-endgame fic, I will take lots of liberties with the canon, (and especially combat mechanics) in between.

And, well, I've bored everyone to death by now, so here's the terrors I've come up with thus far.

*Oh, and I've yet to enlist a proofreader of any sort. If you know something about writing, and feel interested after reading the first few chapters, do drop me a note.

CHAPTER 1: Harrowing

Towering somewhere behind her, the first enchanter muttered his final words of advice and encouragement.
It all passed in through one of her pointed ears and out through the other.

Terrified, Suzianna stared at the bowl of burning lyrium in the center of the round room.
Did it have to be today, the harrowing? Couldn't it be held tomorrow? Or maybe next week? Next month would be better still... she wasn't ready!

She hardly noticed when somewhere in the muffled background Greagoir snapped at Irving for being overly helpful, and then began monotonely reciting a few ceremonial words for the ritual.
Then all fell silent.
The rest was up to her.

Trying to breathe deep and calm, Suzianna took a trembling step towards the center of the round chamber. The only other option was to be made tranquil.

She took another step, to not lose emotion.

One more step, to avoid becoming an uncaring husk of a person.

Just a little further. She wouldn't submit.

Still another step. She wouldn't become a willing slave.

And a final step. She would rather plunge into the unknown.

She stared at the slow dance of the unnatural flame. She would rather die than lose her self. She would, she assured herself.

Cautiously she thrust her shaky hands into the flame.
It did not burn her, but licked her palms like a slimy tongue.

The world began to slowly sink away, swallowed up by a grey mist, and the silence turned into an alien chorus of echoes, water dropping into a pond of reality.

Only the enthralling flicker of the flame remained in the center of her attention, until it too fled beyond her sight, into a bizarre turquoise sky like none she'd ever seen.

Suzianna found herself sprawled ignomiously on a sward of yellowed grass.
Or paper cut as grass, and grass again, as the environment fluidly changed with the breath of it's otherworldly winds.

The dry-yellow paper-meadow stretched almost as far as her eye could see; only in the furthest horizons could she discern ranges of tall mountains breaking up the bizarre prairie.

Conveniently though, a large flying bookshelf came drifting by from nowhere, and for lack of anything else to do Suzianna climbed up on it and sat herself crosslegged on top.

The flight stretched on and on, but if anything, the horizon only seemed to move further.

Frustrated, Suzianna began browsing through the books on the shelves.
Most of their titles were odd, unlike any she'd ever read on any real book.
She quickly scanned through the messily scribbled and mostly blank pages of 'Demons and blah blah blah', and then set herself to glancing through the stick figure filled 'Drawing drawing inspiration from lesson induced boredom'.

Ah, she realized, the shelf contained only her own recollections of lessons learned, or lessons not learned, as the empty pages of 'Morrcus the Magnificient's Guide to the Historical Roots of Fereldan High Magick' testified.

Scanning further through the mass of books, Suzianna found her diary in the center of the lowest shelf.
She pondered a moment about taking it up, but finding a trace of nervousness in herself still, she decided not to, she had to stay focused.

But the dreamy paper-meadows rolled further and further beneath her flying bookcase, and the suns above remained as glowing and static as ever.
Time passed, and more time passed, and the more time that seemed to pass, the more certain Suzianna became of that time was just messing with her.

Eventually she did take up her diary.

It was just as she remembered it, a large book, with pages enough for many years, with leather hinges and heavy, wooden covers with simple burnt-in lettering.
Even the inconspicuous thin steel pin and the tight string loops holding it's thick backing in place were there.

She pulled the pin, and the backing fell open to reveal her secret stash of contraband goods, just as she remembered it; a thin reed pipe, a small pocket of spiced weed, and a tiny glass bottle partially filled with lyrium dust.

She looked around. One way, then the other.

Still no sight of a demon of any sort.

She sighed frustratedly, and loaded the pipe with her dreamed up ingredients.
She willed a small flame to leap from her fingertip to light the pipe, and was about to light up her relaxation, when abruptly a low rumble emanated from all around.

Bewildered and spooked, Suzianna extinguished the flame and scanned her surroundings, but everything seemed just the same as it had been.

Fingers trembling with expectation and fright, she summoned the tiny flame anew.
Another rumble -or maybe more a deep groan- shook the landscape, and she quickly killed the flame again.

She sat still, her gaze wandering in the alien landscape, but she saw nothing. Nothing, nothing, and more nothing.

She gathered her determination, and was about to see what kind of an reaction greater magics would bring, but an earth-shattering, booming laughter interrupted her preparation.

The earth itself seemed to bellow with wicked mirth as the faraway mountains rose up in the shape of an deformed gigantic arm, and picked a sun from the sky, squishing it between it's fingers, and making it bleed fire over the trembling landscape.

Suzianna watched on, paralyzed in horror, as the landscape began to violently shake, crack, and peel away, revealing an beastly shape stretched from one horizon to the other, where the falling away crust of the ground now had revealed a second arm.
The demon spoke, but the voice was far too deep and snarly for Suzianna to make out anything but the malice behind the words spoken.

One by one the suns died between the giant demon's fingers, until the turquise of the sky was replaced wholly by a star-littered darkness.
Then the demon set it's sights on her. Slowly, almost lazily, reaching closer and closer with it's titanic, taloned hands.

In a senseless panic, Suzianna grasped at the sky and began dragging herself upwards with sheer will alone.

But she could not outpace the gargantuan talons that reached for her, and which quickly caught an impossibly gentle hold around her ankle.
Without thinking, Suzianna blasted the massive hand with an arc of lightning, which seemed insignificant in comparison.

And suddenly, there was no more demon. Anywhere. She looked around, and it was just gone. She was alone, floating in a star-filled sky.

Still no demon. And a moment passed, and nothing.

Had she survived? What? But nothing changed?

Then a ripple passed through the sky. And another. And a third.

Suzianna followed the ripples to their source, which was just another point in the tapestry of stars.
She walked closer. Indeed, there the sky seemed to lose it's distance, and it became a fabric. A fabric that rippled. ?Right...?, she thought.

The rippling grew in intensity, until finally gigantic claws punched through the tapestry and tore it all apart, leaving Suzianna standing alone on a blot of untorn blackness, face to face with an orange, bloodshot, eye the size of Denerim.

She blinked.
The eye did not blink.
She screamed.

From the corner of her eye she could see the taloned hands reaching for her again, and a gigantic maw began cracking open somewhere far below her.

She threw all she had at the eye.
Fire, lightning, what few icicles she could manage to summon, and her socks when she was through with everything else.
The eye caught on fire. She caught on fire. Everything exploded and turned to pitch black darkness.

?More fire!?, she thought, and mustered her will for a final spell.

Then everything was on fire, and there was cold, and there was water running all over her, and she yelled; ?BURN! DEMON! BURN!?.

She leapt up, throwing flames and lightning this way and that as she did, and hit her head hard on the bottom of the bunk on top of hers. And she blacked out.

Edited by WeeRLegion, 12 December 2009 - 12:57 PM.

#2 WeeRLegion


    TFP : D

  • Member
  • 2925 posts

Posted 12 December 2009 - 12:57 PM

CHAPTER 2: Jowan

Suzianna slowly awoke, lying in a bed, with a murderous headache pounding away at her skull, and a general feeling of chilly discomfort crawling all over her.

Cold and wet was not her favourite state of being.

Someone was muttering quietly at the bedside, and held a large hand on her face.

She opened her eyes a little, and saw fingertips.

Her senses quickly focused, and she recognized the muttering she heard as one of the templars' anti-magic recitations.

She opened her eyes a little wider, and saw shinyness; armor polished to a blinding glare.
And purple cloth. Definitely a templar then.

The voice sounded familiar too. Oh. Cullen. Suzianna sighed inaudibly.

?Oh well...?, she thought, and sitting up suddenly, she yelled at the top of her lungs; ?IS THAT HAIR I SEE ON YOUR PALM, CULLEN?!?.

The young templar instantly recoiled up and away from the bedside, to a decent distance, his face bluhing as deep a red as it ever had as he stammered in full panic; ?I! W-what? There's no!?

He silenced himself quickly enough though, and collected what little composure he had in store, as he noticed the impish grin pasted on Suzianna's thoroughly tattooed face.

The smile went away, and Suzianna grimaced painfully, ?Ow. Ow. OW! I swear I'd be giggling madly right now, if my head wasn't killing me...?.

?You probably shouldn't make any hasty movements now... That's, quite a bump you've got on your head, there.?, Cullen carefully touched the bump with his fingertip.

?OW! You mean dumbass!?, Suzianna yelled.

?Er. Well...?

?Wait, wait. Cullen, stop. Cullen. Did I make it?

?Make what? Oh, right, the harrowing... I'd already forgotten all about that, what with you setting the dorm here ablaze and everything...?, Cullen gestured at the scorch-marked bunks and furniture.

Some of the beds were lacking their linens, leading Suzianna to surmise that there indeed had been a fire of some magnitude.

?But you passed.?, Cullen smiled, ?You're one of the magi now.?

?Whow.?, Suzianna let out a sigh of relief, ?A mage.?.

She collapsed back on the bed, and as an afterthought muttered; ?I hope I didn't incinerate anyone here or anything...?

?No. Nothing serious.?, Cullen looked about, ?Anyway, since you're awake and no longer setting things on fire, I really should get back to my post...?

Suzianna chuckled, ?Oh, you know me, never know when the firebug bites...?

Cullen answered with a smile, and with a tense, courteous, nod of his head he turned and left.

For a while Suzianna just lied still, still cold and uncomfortable, but far too tired to get up and do anything about it.

She felt the bump on her forehead; ?Oww...?.

It felt neither nice nor pretty; ?Aww...?.

Someone knocked on the dorm's door, and Suzianna raised her head to see who it might be; the door was open at daytime, and knocking was merely a courtesy.

?Hey! Suz, you're awake!?

It was Jowan. Tall and skinny Jowan, with his face pretty as a dwarf's ass, and halfway to growing as much hair. It might have been called a startling beard in a friendly place, but Suzianna measured beards against Irving's, and therefore... Jowan had asshairs on his face.

?Oh, hey Jowan.?, Suzianna greeted. ?Come to pay homage to the new boss of you, have you??

Jowan snorted amusedly.

?More like, whip your lazy ass out of bed and up the stairs. Irving wants to see you.?

?Why??, Suzianna asked. Then her almost jovial -though somewhat headchey- expression fell. ?Oh... It's about the fire, isn't it??

Suzianna wrinkled her mouth mournfully. This wasn't quite the glorious first day as a mage she had envisioned.

?But my head! My head's killing me! I need to rest!?, she protested.

?No, actually, I don't think it's about the fire at all. At least he didn't mention it...?, Jowan speculated. ?He did mention mage robes though, and looking at you, I'd say you're definitely going to need something new to wear.?

Suzianna quickly looked herself over. 'Definitely', was an understatement. She would look more dignified wrapped in a pink blanket and a ribbon.
As long as it wouldn't be a thoroughly charred, and consequently ripped and torn blanket at least, as that was the state her apprentice robes were for the most part in.

?I can't go anywhere looking like this! I look... well. Harrowing!?

?Well...? Jowan pondered, and looked about. ?You can rule out borrowing anything from Keili.?

Suzianna turned around, and for the first time paid attention to the one and only chest in the room that had been carelessly left open.
Keili did that on occasion, tried to show the world she had nothing to hide. The world was grateful; as a consequence Keili sometimes had very little to hide herself with.

But now.
Someone had poured water inside the chest to extinguish the burning clothes and personal affects found within, but... a little late.
Only scorched tatters remained floating on soot-black water.

?I, errr...?

?Yeah... I'd stay out of her way if I were you.?, Jowan agreed to Suzianna's unspoken thoughts.

?Sage advice there...?, Suzianna mumbled, picturing just what horrors she herself would visit on anyone who treated her own possessions in a similar manner.

?You know...?, Jowan started, ?It'd be such an awful irony, for you I mean, if the maker now, of all times, began answering her prayers...?

Suzianna wrinkled her mouth skeptically. ?It couldn't be worse than the self-flagellation she puts herself through for... well, for anything she does or doesn't do.?

?That's a bit harsh.?

Suzianna slowly dragged herself up.

?I guess. She is as friendly and nice as they come, for sure.?, Suzianna admitted, ?But I just don't get her. How can she feel so terribly dirty for something as silly as a little gambling, or a smoke??

Jowan shrugged, so Suzianna went on, ?Yeah, that'd definitely have been a rhetorical question if I actually knew the answer...?

In the silence that followed, Suzianna began rummaging through her chest of belongings, hoping to find something decent to wear.
Failing to find anything, she moved on to the next chest, belonging to, who was it? Well, some chick whose name began with an M, and who was new at the circle, fresh from Denerim.

There was an odd black-covered book in the chest, and curious as ever, Suzianna had to take a peek inside, then slam the book shut quicker even than she had opened it, and shove it back into the chest and slam the lid shut on top of it.

?What was that??, Jowan asked.

?Ahem.?, Suzianna sought for a suitably vague phrasing. ?Just some... Instructions I'll never need, at least not as long as the population of the guys' dorm remains as fugly as it is.?

Jowan thought for a moment; ?Oh.?

Suzianna moved on to rummaging in the next chest in line, this time the belongings of... whoever it was, someone with plenty of A's in their name.

?You know, you could just go as you are, maybe wipe the soot from your face or so...?

?No.?, Suzianna snapped sternly.

?I mean, it's not like there's anyone left in the tower who HASN'T seen you already. The only one whom I did not see come through here while you snored, after the firestorm and all, was that smartmouth templar Bran... and that's because he's stuck guarding the gate.?

Suzianna ceased her rummaging, and gave Jowan a resentful glare; ?I don't snore!?

Jowan threw his arms up in mock surrender; ?And you don't set things on fire while you sleep either... Nor do I suppose do you...?

?Hey! You're talking to a mage now! Keep that up and I'll sic the fires on your sorry apprentice-ass!?

Jowan snorted in reply.

Suzianna kept rummaging, and finally found a suitably non-ragged, non-dirt-encrusted, non-smelly spare robe in the personal chest of someone... Aislina, was it? A very short girl for an human, a perfect match for an elf of average stature.
The hems wouldn't even dust the floors.

Oh, wait, no, Suzianna realized, it belonged without a doubdt to that K person who had arrived on the scene just in time to glare daggers at her back.

?I'll just borrow it!?, Suzianna begged.

K-person was not quite happy with that. ?You're already wearing what you borrowed a month ago.?,

Suzianne was genuinely surprised. ?What? Really??

K-Person kept glaring, she meant it, really. ?Just where do all my own robes disappear to anyway...?, Suzianna dourly wondered.

K-Person seemed to only icen up; ?There's a PILE of them at the laundry room!?

?Oh. um... You wouldn't be as kind as to get them for me??


?But I can't go anywhere like this! And I can't send Jowan either! They'll think he's just some pervert, asking for girls' robes!?

?Jowan lives in the males' dorm, he IS as much a pervert as any of them can imagine him to be!?

?Yes, but... Pleasseee??

After a moment of glaring at an overly friendly smile, K-person grudgingly submitted, and Suzianne happily moved on to cleaning herself up in the wall-separated bathing corner.

She was disappointed to find that there was barely enough water available to wipe her face clean with, but then, she figured that was merely the just desserts for setting fire to the dorm.

Suzianna quickly brushed her hair, and lacking means for a proper cleanup, she settled for an emergency ponytail.
It was quiet.

?Jowan, why are you being so quiet? Talk, Jowan. Talk.?

She received no answer, so she tried a second time, pitching her voice high and sing-songy; ?Jowwies!?

This time she caught Jowan's attention, who answered from behind the wall; ?Oh, what? ... Oh, don't call me that! It's awful.?

?Why are you being quiet??

?Oh, I'm just thinking... I've been an apprentice longer than you have... And they call you to the harrowing before me? It's not fair.?

?And why is that a big deal? I've still been at the circle longer than you have.?

?Yes, well... What if they aren't planning to call me at all??

Suzianna wrapped up her hasty preparations, and approached Jowan with a questioning wrinkle to her lips, ?You're just being silly, everyone gets called to the harrowing. Eventually.?

Jowan wouldn't be so easily calmed however; ?The tranquil don't.?

Suzianna blinked. ?You think they'll make you... tranquil??

?I don't know, maybe. I asked Irving about it, and he just seemed... evasive...?

Suzianna cracked up with laughter; ?BWAHAHA! Now there's a joke! They fear the power of Jowan the mighty! So much so that they cannot suffer him to have it!?

?I'm serious!?, Jowan almost yelled, though from his mouth it only sounded like an unusually loud whine. ?Look... maybe you've heard about it, but... There's these rumors about me being a blood mage.?

?A scary mean bloodmage??; Suzianan snickered, ?You? That's just stupid! You couldn't kill a dead cat with those spells of yours!?

Jowan grunted with irritation, ?Well I could kill a LIVE cat, or a dozen! I mean, I mean, if I felt inclined to!?

Suzianna could not help but giggle, ?Jowan the Fearsome, Slayer of cats! Ohhh, you crack me up, Jowan. You. Crack. Me. Up...?

?Hmph. So what was it like anyway? The harrowing I mean.?

Suzianna fell silent, then spoke in a more serious tone; ?Well, it was unpleasant. They don't call it harrowing for nothing.?

?Yes, but, what did you DO? -Besides light a few fires- you know how some people never come back from that ordeal! How did you get through it??

Suzianna wanted to tell him just what it had been about, but she also knew she wasn't supposed to, so she opted to do both.

?Well. First there was Irving talking, then there was Greagoir talking. Then there was a huuuge meadow... And I was riding a bookcase... And then I almost had a smoke. But then I climbed into the sky instead. And then I cast a lot of spells, and then the dorm was on fire.?

Jowan stared at her, bewildered. ?If I didn't know that you're supposed to be meeting Irving to receive your mage-robes even as we speak, I'd swear you've just been smoking something again.?

Suzianna shrugged merrily, she was out in the clear now; ?True story, I swear. And it was harrowing too, to boot.?

K-person chose to make her appearance then, with a folded up robe in her hands, no less.

Without inquiring for names or anything, Suzianna thanked K-person as smarmily as she could manage.
Failing to appreciate that, K-person only shoved her the robe with an angry grunt, or maybe rather an somewhat more feminine 'Harrumph'.

?Well, I'd better put this on quickly.?, Suzianna disappeared behind a screen.

Jowan nodded, his mind adrift amidst other matters; ?Yes, you'd better not give Irving any further excuses to spank you.?

Suzianna glared irritatedly at Jowan. Jowan did not notice.

?But I like it when he spanks me!?, Suzianna quipped loudly, clasped her hands together, and batted her eyelashes in a gesture of mock swoon.
She sniffed, and went on longingly ?He's the only real man in this cold and lonely tower!?

Jowan was violently yanked from his musings; ?What? EW! If I see nightmares of that I... Well. I'll do something to you!?, Jowan's face distorted with disgust, ?Ew! I hate it when you do that...?

?Oh I know. Me too.?, Suzianna smiled innocently; ?But I just love the look on your face!?

Jowan groaned. ?Just, put on the robe already...?

Suzianna did, and they were finally on their way towards the first enchanter's office on the second level of the tower.

As they passed by the chapel however, Jowan decided to excuse himself. ?Oh, I just remembered, I've got to go. To go. To the chapel.To worship the maker, -you know. like I always do- in the chapel.?

Suzianna raised an eyebrow and shook her head incredulously, but decided not to ask, she was late enough already. She was about to take her leave, but as Jowan opened the door she caught a glimpse of Keili inside, praying, as usual.

?Wait, Jowan. Could you tell Keili that I'm really, really sorry about... Well, all her stuff.?

?Of course, Suz. I'll tell her.?

?Thanks Jowan. I'll see you later then. Gotta hurry now.?

And with that, they parted ways.

Edited by WeeRLegion, 12 December 2009 - 01:00 PM.

#3 WeeRLegion


    TFP : D

  • Member
  • 2925 posts

Posted 14 December 2009 - 03:28 AM

Suzianna halted outside Irving's office and knocked.

?Come in!?, Irving answered in his familiarly dry and crackly voice.

Suzianna pushed open the door, and was surprised to meet two men as opposed to just Irving, the other being a dark skinned stranger. Someone who saw a lot of sunlight, a rare person in the tower.

The stranger was no templar either, though his simple breastplate shined almost as terribly as theirs, and it's sharp glare only magnified impresiveness of his deep black beard, which Suzianna estimated to carry at least as much authority as Irving's.

While Irving's beard was bushy and spacious, much like an overgrown tousled grey hare -stuck to his face in the most dignified manner possible- the stranger's beard was... like a fit and trim warhound, kept thoroughly cleaned and meticulously cared for.

Someone spoke.

Suzianna didn't notice. Her head tilted to the side as she was drawn hypnotized to the mysterious and dark depths...


She recognized Irving's voice, and snapped free from the trance. ?Hm? What? Er. Hello??

?Child, it is rude to stare.?, Irving scolded, and quickly went on; ?Anyway. Duncan, this here is Suzianna, the newest sister to join in the ranks of the circle in full capacity. Suzianna, this is Duncan, leader of the Grey Wardens in Ferelden.?

?A pleasure to meet you, er... Ser? Yes. Ser, Duncan??, Suzianna ventured; there were few 'Sers' in the tower.
Everyone was either an apprentice, a mage, an enchanter, or that bastard templar who was nowhere to be seen, or that most honorable templar who glared suspiciously at the discussion.

?Just Duncan will do.?, said Duncan, stroking his beard, ?And it is a pleasure to meet you as well, Irving spoke highly of you.?

?Yes, good.?, Suziana acknowledged, and asked a little sheepsihly, ?Um, Irving, why am I here?? Somehow she doubdted this Duncan of the grey wardrobes was a proper tailor of any sort to sew her robes or anything.

Irving gathered his thoughts. ?Duncan is recruiting mages, to join the King's army at Ostagar.?

?Oh? And... Um. Why am I here then??, Suzianne inquired. ?'cause, you know, if you wanted me to join the kings army, it occurs to me that I could certainly serve that purpose better in Ostagar than in your office.?

?Now, child, as a Mage, I expect you to set a good example... so wouldn't you try to cut back on the cheek, even a little, hm?? Irving paused, ?At any rate, nothing is settled yet, I will have to negotiate this with Greagoir still.?

?Greagoir?! Baaah!?, Suzianna protested. With Greagoir involved, no-one would be getting anywhere from the tower. ? You know, Duncan, you really should just recruit all these templars here, such goodfornothing layabouts they are, not one bit of work for them here in six days of seven. Put the tincans to some use for once.?

Someone noisily cleared his throat behind Suzianna, and intuitively she knew that it without doubdt would prove to be none other than Greagoir himself.

?And then there's days like this, when someone sets fire to the women's dorm, and there's work a plenty for all of us.?

Well, she was in it. Or she would have been, she realized, were the day still yesterday, but she was a full mage now. Greagoir couldn't just send her to kitchen duties, not now, not a mage!

She figured she might just as well see how far she could stretch the limit.
Duncan looked on, feeling a little out of place, but hiding such feeble emotions behind his beard.

?That's just drivel!?, Suzianna fired, ?You couldn't even save Keili's underwear!? --Duncan's dicomfort almost reached an externally observable level-- ?Irving, please, what do we keep these templars here for? ?, Suzianna ranted on, ?Send them off to the war! To do some good for a change!?

Suzianna looked smugly at the glaring knight commander, who quickly turned his expectant glare at Irving, who at first found himself at a loss for any words his decency would let him speak out loud.

?That's, QUITE enough. And, er...?, Irving thought quickly, ?Suzianna, I did not yet happen to mention the customary period which all new mages take handling the libraries and the book registry??

Irving glanced at Greagoir, who lightly nodded his reluctant approval, even as his tense and wrinkle-mouthed expression loudly screamed; ?Just look how terrible they grow up when you act all soft and nice like that!?

Suzianna smirked, and willed a conspicuous rain of fiery sparks to fall from her hand; ?Oh! Books! I love books!?

Irving slowly dragged his palm across his face, silently screaming; ?Whatever have I done wrong??.

?Just... Take your robe and staff, and this insignia ring, and...? -Irving roughly handed over the items- "See Duncan to his quarters. I have much to do now. Much, much, work...?

?Of course Irving, anything you ask.?, Suzianna chirped, ?Greagoir, if you will excuse me...?, Suzianna curtsied lightly, ?Duncan, please follow me, if you will.?

As Suzianna left the room with Duncan, Greagoir courteously closed the door behind them and locked it, just fast enough to catch the hem of her robe between the door and it's frame.

Duncan watched expressionlessly as Suzianna without success tried to tug herself free.

?I, er, may I borrow one of your knives for a moment? Ser Duncan??, Suzianna asked, an embarrassed red slowly making it's way on her face.

?Certainly.?, Duncan answered, and unsheathed one of his swords, ?Would it not be easier to simply knock, though??

?Oh no.?, Suzianna quickly denied, ?That would be embarrassing. And I won't need this robe in the future anyhow.?

?As you wish then.?, Duncan replied with a light, amused smile, and handed over the blade, pommel first.

Suzianna took hold of the hilt, but as soon as Duncan let go, the blade swung down and the tip clanged against the stone floor. Suzianna tried to lift it, but hard as she tried, she could not.

?It's... a bit heavy...?, she remarked, now thoroughly blushed.

?Oh??, Duncan wondered amusedly, took the sword back, and swung it about a few times, ?No, no, it is still as light as ever. Here.? He courteously offered the blade again, but Suzianne did not accept it.

She eyed the stranger up and down, from beard to boots and back, trying to puzzle out what he could possibly think to gain.

Hm. A courteous older man with a beard? Maybe he fancied himself a teacherish sort?

?Mm... I acted a bit silly in there, didn't I??, Suzianna ventured.

?Did you??, Duncan merely smiled, ?It is not my place to judge.?, and with that he leant down and severed the stuck-in brim of the hem with a few fluid cuts.

?There, that was your general intent, I assume??, Duncan sheathed the sword. ?Now, if you could kindly still show me to my quarters??

?Yes, um, of course. This way.?, Suzianna muttered, perplexed, as she had half expected -and hoped- for Duncan to just take his leave and leave her free to slip into some dark corner somewhere with her embarrassment.

They walked a ways in silence, until Duncan posed a question; ?I take it you have lived here quite long??

?Yes.?, Suzianna admitted, ?Never lived elsewhere, really. How did you guess??

?Oh, I thought you seemed quite... familiar, with Irving and the most respectable Knight Commander there.?

Suzianna chuckled, ?I suppose I am quite familiar with those two. I have been here since before I could walk, or so they say. Irving's one of the people who raised me since I could form sensible sentences.?

?Hm.?, Duncan mused, ?I thought most apprentices came in here a little older than that.?

?Oh... most do...?, Suzianna slurred, stretching vowels to buy time to settle comfortably into storytelling mode; ?Most people raise their kids just happily till they're a bit older. Or at least until they start looking too much alike that sly, redheaded stud from the neighboring farmstead, after which it's just waiting for the sour-milk-morning and OFF to the tower with the dirty little witch!?

Suzianna smiled smiled wryly. ?Off to the tower with it's unnatural hair and it's beady little green eyes!?

She quickly glanced at Duncan, who behind his beard seemed amused enough, so she went on; ?Really, if we received a bundle of kindling for every mundane child of a dirtfarmer that gets passed this way, we would have enough to burn down the whole of Ferelden!?

Duncan let out a little breath of amusement, a faint laughter even, for those with half-full glasses.
?But you are neither green eyed, nor red haired.?

Suzianna glanced sharply over Duncan again, puzzled by his curiosity.
Then she casualyl pulled a lock of her messy black hair loose from her ponytail, and staring crosseyed at it, she exclaimed; ?Damn! You're right! My parents must have been green eyed blondes!?

Duncan gave her a measuring look and a lgiht chuckle, but refrained from further questioning.

?Anyway, Ser Duncan, it seems we have reached your much sought after quarters at last.?

Suzianna grabbed the door handle, ?Now, if I'll just get this thing open...?.
'Ah, dammit...', she muttered under her breath. The door was stuck, as the sharp vaulted abominations tended to be.

She pulled, yanked, kicked, and shook... and then it hit her in the face. And she stumbled backwards. And she hit her head in a vaulting support pillar. And she would have afterwards hit her head on the floor too, had Duncan not caught her mid-collapse.

?Oww...?, she whined weakly.

She found herself sitting upright, reclining against something.
Probably sitting on the floor, since the hazy Duncan and the blurry red robed person beside him seemed to have grown to gigantic heights, and probably leaning on the wall, since little else was to be found in the corridors.

?I think she's coming to?, said the red robed mage, and leant in closer, looking carefully in Suzianna's eyes. ?Mm. I don't think there's any severe damage.?

As her features sharpened, Suzianna recognized senior enchanter Leorah.

Leorah let loose a flow of healing energy. ?There, all better.?, she said, and patted Suzianna's head gently. A gentle gesture which still came across as a sledgehammer pounding on an anvil.


?Aw, shucks.?, Leorah stood up.
?You'll be allright.?, she said, and flashing a gentle smile on her face she departed hurriedly.

Suzianna sat still for a time, holding her head, staring at the carpet.

And boots. Shiny leather boots. Suzianna glanced upwards.

Oh, Duncan was still there, looking a little concerned. Just a litle. With a weak undertone of amusement as well. That beardy bastard.

?Don't mind me, don't mind me at all. I'll just, sit here a moment...?, Suzianna tried to excuse herself.

Duncan, however, did seem to mind, so she went on; ?I do this sort of a thing regularly, you know... Really, it's a wonder there's anything left to break of my head at all.?

Duncan smiled. ?I try to make a habit of not leaving dazed people sitting alone and unattended in hallways. Please.?
Duncan leant down, offering a helping hand, and Suzianna took it, and slowly clambered up, managing a faint 'Thank you', as Duncan led her into the guest room and sat her down on a chair.

Duncan opened a little cupboard and took out a wooden goblet.
?Water??, he asked over his shoulder.

?Yes, please, thank you, yes.?, Suzianna answered, and Duncan took out a second cup, and poured both full from a jug left on the desk.

Suzianna quickly downed all of it, which helped her headache enough so she could begin trying to think what to do about the herd of nugs still left rampaging between her ears.

Duncan sat down by the desk, and began quietly scribbling something into what Suzianna assumed to be a journal or the like.

Suzianna tried summoning some chill to cool her pounding head, but chill had never been her forté, and it was hard to concentrate when a distracting thought kept popping into her head.
That thought of course was 'BOOM!', and it came up with every beat of her pulse.

?Could I have some more water, please??

?Certainly.?, Duncan answered, and poured her another cup, which she quickly drank dry.

?BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!?, said Suzianna's head, and supporting it with her hands, Suzianna replied with a quiet groan.
?Boom! Boom! Boom!?, said Suzianna's head, and Suzianna rubbed her temples and replied with a little grunt of discomfort.
?Boom. Boom. Boom.?, said Suzianna's head, and Suzianna raised it.

Scribble, scribble, scribble. Duncan was still writing.

Suzianna looked around. Ah, the guest quarters... With the creaky bed...

Had Duncan been anything less of a stranger, she would have been tempted to disturb him with hearsay of what went on in the small space whenever guests weren't present.
Some of it was true, even; magic wasn't quite enough to occupy just every waking hour of a mage's life.

A few memories of her own, from several years past, came floating up, but Suzianna quickly brushed them aside. They weren't the best of memories, and they'd soured intolerably with events, realizations, and the loathing, that came after.

She focused on the present.

?So, Duncan, what is it like outside??

Duncan kept writing, ?Mm. You don't get out much, do you??

?No, not much at all.?, said Suzianna with a sigh.

?Well, I'm afraid I cannot tell you much.?, Duncan wrapped up his writings, and turned around in his chair to face Suzianna.

?For the past months the rising threat of the darkspawn has kept me thoroughly occupied. And I never was one to keep up with news that aren't immediately relevant to my work.?

?Oh, I wouldn't know what to ask about the fashions of Orlais anyway.?, Suzianna managed a weak chuckle, ?I've never even seen any of those.?, she paused, and continued ponderously; ?But maybe, who knows, maybe in the next five hundred years they'll manage to infiltrate the circle as well.?

Duncan replied wryly; ?That, or maybe both the tower and Orlais will be overrun by the blight when we fail to obtain the necessary commitments from the circle.?

?Now that's a cheery thought...?, Suzianna pondered, ?The tevinters would then have to fight a horde of darkspawn clad in full ballroom attire.?

Duncan chuckled lightly, ?Ah, if only they were that stupid...?

They sat quietly for a moment, then Duncan sighed, and turned more serious; ?If only. But no, we need more mages to beat this blight. The seven we have won't be enough.?

?Say...?, he ventured on, ?You have lived here a long time, you are more familiar with the internal politics here. What say you, am I just wasting time here??

?I, um...? -Suzianna felt very much tempted to pull the 'I just live here' card.- ?Well, talking to me, you probably are... But let me think...? -but then, she abhorred admitting ignorance-.

?Well.?, Suzianna began feeling her way through the thought; ?Irving would probably be more than happy to send as many volunteers as he could... But it's really Greagoir's call to make, and he hates us all with a passion.?

?Hates you? I wouldn't think so, he seems much too levelheaded a person to pursue a career working so closely with mages just... out of spite.?

?Mm. I suppose...?, suzianna admitted, ?But he thinks we'll all just... flip open the doors for blood magic, demons and possession as soon as we cross the threshhold to this dump... He's just so damned dutiful.?

?So giving Greagoir some assurance that all the mages he lets out will return roughabout unchanged might help him see the greater threat here??

?Mm. I guess I might actually be right about that!?, Suzianna chirped, and a after thoughtful break continued, ?But then, there's still his boss in Denerim, who, if, say... if a frightened initiate were to send her a note from Ostagar, detailing all the demonic fizzles and poofs that the scary people in the awfully foreign robes kept making with their spells... Well, she'd be compelled to meddle.?

?And Greagoir would not happen to be keen to tread on any toes, would he??, Duncan mused. ?No, I suppose if that were the case he would have committed more in the first place...?

Suzianna shrugged helplessly.

Duncan sighed. ?Sometimes I do wonder if all the rules and regulations of the chantry really are necessary... The blight is the threat here. A few rogue mages, or even abominations, they would never come even close to the amount of harm that an unchecked darkspawn horde will do.?

Suzianna smiled sympathetically. ?Well, you could always try reminding ol' Gregs of how much more unpleasant it'll be having the darkspawn chew him out as opposed to just this revered whatever from Denerim.?

Duncan chuckled. ?I doubd't he would appreciate the implications, true or not as they may be.?

?Well.?, Duncan stood up, ?It has been interesting talking to you, thank you. But. I should not keep you from your duties any longer.?

?It's been a pleasure.?, Suzianna slowly started towards the door, then turned around as a final, slightly embarrassing, thought curiously tugged at her mind, ?You... said Irving spoke highly of me??


?What did he say??, Suzianna stammered, feeling utterly ridiculous, inquiring a stranger about compliments.

?Well, he praised your talent and spirit, most of all. Why do you ask??

?But, why... Why would he... He always seems so disappointed...?, Suzianna pondered.

?Mm... Well, thank you, Duncan.?

Suzianna turned, left, and closed the door very carefully behind her.

Duncan looked amusedly at the closed door for a moment, then turned back to the desk and resumed his writing.
What he had left unmentioned was the marked lack of praise for anything resembling discipline or propriety.

#4 WeeRLegion


    TFP : D

  • Member
  • 2925 posts

Posted 14 December 2009 - 03:29 AM

Suzianna shuffled along the hallway, and down a few flights of stairs, heading for the dorm room.

Enough headache for one day, she'd decided, now to just find some unburnt and unwatered linens somewhere, then a bath, and off to peaceful dozeyland.

Through the library, past the basement entrance... and there was Jowan, eyes bulging with... What? Excitement? Terror? Sublimated nard-pain?

?You must come with me.?, he would have shouted, but being a moderately sensible person, he whispered instead.

Suzianna protested; ?Not now Jowan. Right now I need to do... nothing! Except take a bath and...?

But Jowan grabbed her arm and began pulling her back the way she'd come. Past the basement entrance, through the library, up the stairs... towards the chapel.

?Jowan! What the hell?!?, Suzianna protested.

Jowan remained silent.

Suzianna groaned as they approached the chapel door, ?What is it? Did you decide to marry me all of a sudden? Without asking me? I'll just be straight with you, the answer is going to be NO.?

Jowan remained silent

?Oh, please... please, don't tell me... oh, maker...? Has some charlatan actually turned you into an devout chantrian, and now you think I need to patch that gaping, templar-hating, hole in my heart as well? Is that it??

Suzianna glared expectantly at Jowan. ?Geez! Didn't we already agree on Andraste being a mage?!?

?We need to talk. Alone.?, Jowan finally said as he shut the chapel doors behind them.

?What? In the chapel? Where even the maker might hear us if we don't whisper??

?Do watch your mouth.?

A tall young woman in chantry robes appeared from behind an ornate divider, clearly a little irritated by the irreverence shown.

Suzianna her looked her over impassively, then turned to Jowan with a raised eyebrow. ?Your genius plan involves us talking alone where both the maker AND his lackeys can hear us??

?Please, I'm serious.?, Jowan said frustratedly, ?Could you for a change NOT assume the worst of my intellect??

?I am a realist.?, Suzianna deadpanned with a hint of feigned indignation.
Stares were exchanged in a cold moment of silence.

?Oh, fine.?, Suzianna yielded. ?What's got you all worked up now? And what does she have to do with it??

Jowan took a deep breath. ?Do you remember a few months ago when I told you I'd met a girl? This is her. This is Lily.?

Lily offered a hand in courteous greeting, ?It is good to meet you. Jowan has told me much about you.?

Suzianna looked Lily over with a measuring glare. She was almost as tall as Jowan, and kindly described as 'stout' or 'sturdy', which provided a curious counterpart to Jowan's extremely light build.

Suzianna smirked. ?Jowan, seriously, the tower is full of pretty gals... And you just have to go after the one who plans to hunt mages and drink their blood for a living??

?Templars don't drink...?, Lily started loudly; but shut herself up quick.

Suzianna gifted her with an annoyed sneer, and turned back to Jowan. ?She's not even particularly bright!?

?Please.?, Jowan said, putting a hand on Suzianna's shoulder, and tried to look her in the eyes, which was difficult, since her eyes were preoccupied with the hand on her shoulder.

Suzianna looked at the hand, then at Jowan, then again at the hand, and again at Jowan.

?This... is serious, isn't it??, Suzianna eventually managed.

?Yes, it is.?, Jowan said. He squirmed, like trying to swallow a fistful of maggots.

?They're going to make me tranquil.?, he finally said.

If there was anything Suzianna abhorred more than templars, it was the tranquil. She stared at Jowan, eyes wide.

?Wh-what? How do you know??, she weakly asked, and absentmindedly swatted Jowan's hand off her shoulder.

?Lily saw the paper authorizing the rite on me. In Greagoir's office. It was already signed by Irving!?

?What?! Why? Why would they want to do that to you?!?

?I... guess they take the rumors of me being a blood mage seriously.?, Jowan said, and quickly added, ?But they're not true of course!?

Jowan shook his head. ?Someone must have seen me sneaking in here after dark, to meet Lily, and assumed I was up to something forbidden. And... I suppose it is, meeting an initiate. But it's not what they think it is!?

Over the course of the discussion, Lily had quietly inched closer to Jowan, and now whispered in his ear; ?Jowan! Is she really someone we can trust??

Jowan turned to look at her. ?She's an abrasive jackass, but Lily...?, their eyes met. Time slowed down. They connected.

?I would still trust her with my life.?, Jowan gasped.

For a passing moment they stood there, admiring eachother, then Lily noticed that something was missing.

?Jowan. Where is she??

The door stood open.


?Irving! Irving! Open up!?

Suzianna pounded on the door of the first enchanter's office.

?Irving, you bastard! Open up now or I swear I'll set fire to this door! Dammit Irving!?

The door unlocked, and turned a little inwards. Suzianna kicked it open the the rest of the way and rushed in, straight into the first enchanter.

?Irving! How can you?!?, Suzianna yelled, hands balled into fists, staring angrily upwards at Irving's beard.

?I can what exactly??, Irving inquired, with subdued irritation coloring his voice, ?And while we're talking, let me remind you, that 'bastard' is NEVER an appropriate term for addressing the first enchanter.?

?You're going to make Jowan tranquil! You can't just do that!?

?Oh.?, Irving's expression mildened, and he turned ponderous, ?I take it then that Jowan also knows... Hm. That young initiate he dallies with must have revealed it to him then.?

?I can't believe this!?, Suzianna shouted. ?You admit you're planning to... KILL Jowan! And all you're interested in is who he DALLIES with?!?

Irving returned to the moment, and paced to a more conventional conversation distance. ?I'm sorry, but it is not in our hands.?

Suzianna closed the distance with a few angry steps. ?Of course it is! You signed that paper! You can take it back! You can tear it to pieces!?

Irving sighed, ?Do not think that I wouldn't, were it as simple as that. Whatever Jowan may have done, I do not think we should be quite so harsh... But my signature there. It is mostly a formality, it is Greagoir's call to make, and...?

Greagoir. His name worked like a bucket of liquid hopelessness. Suzianna felt a numbing despair creeping in. ?But... There's got to be something you can do! Jowan isn't a blood mage! You know that!?

Irving paced around a little, ?I fear there is nothing. Greagoir has only postponed the ritual thus far out of courtesy, waiting for further proof.?

?FURTHER proof??, Suzianna spat out, bewildered, ?What proof does he have??

?Greagoir has a witness.?, Irving said calmly, ?A witness whom he trusts.?

?But, but! He hates us! He hates mages!?, Suzianna blurted out.

?Let us not speak ill of my colleague... As much as we disagree on the policies of the chantry concerning the circle, and indeed, this issue, I trust Greagoir's judgment. Implicitly. He would never call for such extreme measures without a cause.?

Suzianna wrinkled her mouth miserably. ?There's some mistake! Jowan isn't a blood mage! He's a... lousy bloody apprentice who sneaks around at night! Not a blood mage!?

Irving shook his head, ?There is nothing further that we can do about it.?

?But...?, Suzianna whimpered, ?There's got to be something!?

?I fear there isn't.?, Irving said gently.

Suzianna looked at him, her eyes watering and the corner of her mouth twitching, all fire gone. ?But... But... It's Jowan... He can't just... end...?

Irving looked at her for a moment.

?Too proud to say it...?, he thought, sighed, and caught the little mage in a fatherly hug.

?Shhh.?, Irving lulled as Suzianna hugged him tight, ?We've all lost dear friends... It's the price we pay, so not all of us are hunted.?

?But it's not fair! Why does he have to pay it??

?It doesn't take much...?, Irving sadly admitted. ?He's made mistakes.?

They stood quietly there a while.

?I'm sorry I was such an ass earlier, Irving.?, Suzianna muttered mildly.

Irving rolled his eyes, and quietly mumbled; ?Now if only you would remember that the next time you feel like jumping in Greagoir's face...?, earning himself an annoyed grunt in response.

Suzianna looked around the room, and suddenly seemed to shake all traces of her previous melancholy.

?Jowan isn't gone yet.?, she stated absentmindedly, and started hastily towards the door.

?You aren't planning on doing anything stupid, are you??, Irving worried.

?Of course not!?, Suzianna grinned, and rushed into the corridor, leaving Irving shaking his head and thinking he probably should have asked about completely idiotic pursuits of self-destruction as well...

Irving sighed.

#5 WeeRLegion


    TFP : D

  • Member
  • 2925 posts

Posted 15 December 2009 - 09:27 AM

?You IDIOT!?

Lily weakly pummelled on Jowan's shoulder.

?You IDIOT!?

?Ow! Lily stop!?

?You bring her in here, tell her everything, and as soon as you turn your eyes, she goes off to tell somebody!?

The following punch hit harder than the previous ones.

?Ow! Lily! You're hurting me!?

?So.?, Suzianna chimed in as she entered the chapel. ?You two... lovers, have a plan??

?See! I told you she'd be back!?, Jowan yelped victoriously, and as an afterthought snapped angrily, ?And just where the hell did you disappear to like that?!?

?Er. Nevermind that now.?, Suzianna tried to evade, but neither Lily's nor Jowan's angry glare would relent. ?Eh, look... I think they're planning to do the ritual this evening or so, we need to do something, and fast!?

Jowan was easily appeased. He seemed a little taken aback by the news of the hurried time schedule though. He scratched his head wearily, ?We do have a plan...?

Lily, would not be soquick to forgive and forget though. ?You're not going to tell her anything, Jowan!?, she hissed.

?Lily, we need her! We need a mage for this!?, Jowan pleaded.

Lily did not seem happy about the arrangement, but did not protest further, so Jowan turned to explain; ?I need to destroy my phylactery... We know it's in the repository room in the basement. But it's behind a warded door... It takes a password to open it, which Lily has, and then a touch of magic, from a mage.?

They had a plan. Suzianna was surprised. ?Great. To the basement then.?

?Wait.?, Jowan stopped her, ?It's not quite as simple as that though, there's still a second door in there. We were thinking to use a rod of fire to melt the locks, but Owain wouldn't give one to an apprentice.?

?Yes.?, Lily piped up, ?You need to get it for us. Shoo! Go get a rod of fire now.?

The women glared icily at eachother. ?Of course.?, Suzianna finally agreed, ?I'll just put on my mage robes and go get the stick?, she turned to Jowan, ?You two should just, wait in the basement, or something...?

It was settled then.

They went downstairs together, Lily and Jowan heading for the basement, while Suzianna sped to the dormitory.
She quickly pulled on her mage robes, and rushed back upstairs into the storeroom, as fast as she could without drawing curious looks.
It was a challenge, as very few things inside the Circle Tower ever required anyone to run; running commonly implied a herd of angry warthog-spirits or the like on the rampage.
Running drew attention.


?Hello Owain, you creepy bastard.?, Suzianna warmly greeted the tranquil man in charge of the storeroom.

?Hello Suzianna.?, Owain impassively answered, ?I would appreciate it if you would cease referring to me as 'creepy bastard'. While 'creepy' is a subjective definition and you have the right to make up your own mind about what you think it fits, 'bastard' is not. I knew both my mother and my father well before I moved to the Circle.?, Owain paused, his face as blank as ever, ?I find it slanderous.?, he finished.

?Yes, well your mother wouldn't know you now, so it's just as well.?, Suzianna snorted. ?That is... Not a chance! You creepy bastard...?

?That is a claim that cannot be tested. My mother died five years ago.?

Suzianna sneered. ?What? She sent you a letter to tell you that??

?My father sent me the letter informing me of her demise.?

Owain thought for a moment. It could only be inferred from the break in his speech, as otherwise he did not seem any more thoughtful than ever.

?Any letter sent by my mother after her death would have to be either a forgery or proof of demonic possession.?

?Ugh... Enough, you're creeping me out, you bastard... Just get me a rod of fire and we can get this over with.?

?What purpose do you intend to use the item in question for??

?What? That's none of your business, just give me a rod, you ass.?

?It is procedure.?

?Hmph. Procedure, is it... Well, I'm going to set you on fire with it! How's that? Now get me a rod already!?

?I'm afraid I cannot relinquish a rod of fire for that purpose.?

Suzianna stared with slackjawed exasperation at the ever serious Owain.

?Fine. I'm going to... Use it for research.?

?What manner of research??

?Well, reasearch into... Uh. Burning things, of course.?

?Very well.?, Owain turned around and went to fetch something from a cabinet in the store room.

?Here is the requisition form for a rod of fire. Fill it and return it signed by a senior enchanter.?

Suzianna glared at him murderously. What? After all this questioning there was still a form to fill? Baah!Then she went behind a corner, crossed a few random tick-here-boxes on the requisition form, and signed it as Irving, counted to thirty, and returned the form to Owain.

?There. Can I have my rod of fire now? Please??

Owain stared blankly at her. ?You are acting unusually courteous. You must have done something that goes against the rules.?

?Argh! Just. Give me the stick!?

?Very well.?, Owain fetched a rod of fire from a locked drawer. ?A rod of fire. Use it with care.?

Suzianna stared at him blankly. Some things she thought she would never understand, or, well, she wouldn't bother trying, even less asking, when it worked in her favor.
Shaking her head, she left.

#6 WeeRLegion


    TFP : D

  • Member
  • 2925 posts

Posted 15 December 2009 - 09:28 AM

Two figures stood in a gloomy hallway.

In the light of the magical smokeless braziers, one punched the other on the shoulder. Repeatedly.

?Ow! Lily! Stop! She'll be here any minute! Ow! My shoulder! Stop!?

The door to the basement opened. Suzianna stood in the opening, waving a crooked little stick. ?Tarraam! A rod of fire!?

Jowain beamed. ?See! I told you she'd succeed!?, then pain struck him. ?Ow! You can STOP hitting me now...?

Lily sniffled. ?The door is this way.?

The trio rounded a corner and walked a short bit along a wide hallway. At the end of it they found a wide wooden door.

?They call it the Victim's Door.?, Lily eagerly explained, ?It's made of two hundred and seventy seven planks, one for each original templar. It is a reminder of the dangers that all those cursed with magic pose.?

Suzianna raised an eyebrow. The planks of the door did not remind her of much anything at all, but calling magic a curse made her clearly recall her desire to punch in the gut and singe the eyebrows of anyone who let such drivel pass from their mouth.

?Magic isn't a curse! Stupidity is!?

She glared disdainfully at the initiate, who glared right back.

?The chantry says it is!?

?The chantry worships a damn mage!?

Lily puzzled a moment with the reference. Heresies weren't part of her general reading curriculum. But she had heard talk...

?Andraste wasn't a mage!?

?Sure was! How else do you explain all the magic she kept flashing about??

?Andraste did not do magic! Her power came from the maker!?

?As does mine no doubdt, at least once a few hundred years of arguing fanatics are done embellishing the details.?

Lily seemed shocked. ?You're a heretic! A blasphemer!?

Suzianna smiled smugly. The ad-hominem, factual as it was, completed her victory. She was about to invite Lily to call her a 'bad person' as well, but Jowan interrupted her.

?Girls!? -unfriendly frowns turned to Jowan- ?Ladies.?, he corrected himself.

?My phylactery? Remember? Behind that door there? Can we go smash it? Please??

The women turned towards the door.
Glancing angrily at Suzianna, Lily spoke the password; ?Sword of the maker, tears of the fade.?

Suzianna shhok her head with distaste. ?Lamest password. Ever.?
She found both of the others staring at her expectantly. ?So... What do I do??

?Cast a spell at it.?, Jowan instructed.

?Which spell??

?I don't know. I don't know if it even matters...?

Suzianna shrugged, a blast of fire it was then, and the door opened to reveal a short corridor with two doors, in addition to the one they'd opened.
Lily walked up to one of the doors. ?This is it. Melt the locks off.?

Suzianna held up the rod of fire, and willed it to release a blast of roaring flame. And nothing came of it.

She tried again. ?Eh. Owain must have given me a faulty stick. That prick hates me, I swear...?

?No, wait.?, Jowan attempted to cast a spell. It failed. ?I think something is eating all magic here.?

?These wards.?, Lily gestured at subtle carvings running around the door frame, ?They must be the templars' work. Oh! I should have known! Why would they use an ordinary lock for a door like this? Because magic locks would not work! Oh! We are finished!?, she threw herself sobbing on Jowan's beaten shoulder.
Jowan buckled somewhat under the weight.

?Yes. Brilliant. Such reasoning and deduction...?

Suzianna turned to look away. Incidentally, 'away' was also the direction of the second door. ?Say... Anyone have any idea what's behind that door over there??

Lily and Jowan turned to look.

?Didn't someone sometime say they also stored dangerous artifacts in here??, Jowan wondered.

Suzianna shrugged. ?Let's find out.?

She walked up to the door, and attempted to use the rod again. A roaring blue jet of fire instantly licked the ceiling. Suzianna smiled.

?This makes me happy.?, she absentmidedly muttered as she focused the flame into a sharp, controlled tip, and blasted the lock with it until only so much molten iron remained.

The rusty old hinges creaked loudly as they pushed the heavy door open.

The room was full of artifacts of all kinds. Small ones were packed in locked boxes, while larger ones stood bare, arranged in rows; they were fenced off with ropes and chains, and probably someone's sincerest prayers than no one would be rude enough to disregard the restrictions.

?This place needs sparkles.?, Suzianna commented on the thickly dust-covered sight.

?I'd rather just have some light.?, said Jowan, eyeing the corners where the light from the hallway did not reach.

With a Meh, Suzianna fired up the rod again. ?There's light enough for everybody and then some.?

A silent moment.
?So where do we start??, Jowan asked.

?Uh, I don't know. Just, anything with a lot of oomph? Or maybe just a big hammer to vandalize those wards with... anything.?


Lily remained silent, she was clearly uncomfortable with so many things labeled both dangerous and magical all around.

They began browsing through the items disorganizedly.

Suzianna melted the locks on a pair of strongboxes, but Excepting an angry treebranch that tried to bite her, she found nothing particularly interesting.

Jowan focused on a row of statues, while Lily mostly stood around, trying not to touch anything. She eyed everything warily, clearly expecting some artifact or another to pounce upon her with murderous fury.

Suzianna moved on to inspecting a set of cast iron figurines on a table. They all seemed very evil. Some of the men represented even had sharp moustaches.

A bizarre spiked bowl with inscriptions drawn over it in seemingly random spots caught her attention. She leant in closer.
The bowl was of cast iron - or looked like it anyhow - but with it's rough spiked surface, it seemed somehow almost organic.

As she leant even closer to take a better look at the inscriptions, a tongue of flame leapt from the blazing rod of fire into the bowl.

First there was just a little smoke, then a little glowing spot appeared in the bottom of the bowl.
The spot grew, and the glow intensified, until the bowl was beaming up an bizarre pillar of pulsing, solid... light, that lit the whole room with it's red glow.

Jowan raised his head, ?What's that? What did you do??

Suzianna shrugged. ?I found us some light.?

Jowain walked over, and began studying the bizarre artifact.

?Have fun with that. Don't think it's going to be much help for us though.?, Suzianna casually commented.

?Probably not...?, Jowan said dryly, ?If I'm guessing right, it's a demon calling beacon.?

Suzianna seemed a little flustered, ?Oh... Mm.?, she started. ?You remember how I pretty much slept through those lectures about old languages and everything...?, she finished apologetically.

Jowan did not take his eyes off the bowl. ?Well, yeah, you snored.?

Suzianna grunted. ?The demons are staying in the fade, so we might as well use it as a lantern. C'mon! It's shiny! It's bright! The best lantern ever!?

Suddenly a heavy, metallic, chained-shut, trunk on the opposite side of the room shook violently. Something writhed about inside.
Lily screamed.

Suzianna and Jowan shared a look and a thought; ?Then again, maybe not.?

Suzianna quickly grabbed a staff from a nearby stand, and while Jowan tried every fitting turn-the-fuck-off-already-you-infernal-piece-of-junk phrase he could think of, she snuck closer to the large crate.

?What did you do?! What did you do?! What is it?!?, Lily screamed in full panic.

Suzianna gripped the staff tight with trembling fingers.
She called up a faint trace of magic, and poured it into the staff. It sent a fiery orb smashing into the wall. It was the right kind of staff.

Suzianna inched closer to the back and forth swinging container. She could now hear it clearly, punding and scratching, something hammering and clawing violently on the inside of the lid.

Behind her Jowan yelled; ?Kotnik adarab utaal!?, and everything went dark.

There was a loud crash, Lily began screaming, and Suzianna felt an aircurrent as something rushed close past her.

Suzianna blindly fumbled for the rod of fire. It took long, too long.
Stupid! stupid! stupid! She didn't need the rod for anything!
She conjured a flame into her hand, and there was light.

Lily was still screaming, but seemed to be unharmed. Jowan just looked around wildly, eyes wide with fright, ?What is it?! Where is it?!?, he screamed, scouring the room with his eyes.

Lily calmed down, she did not seem to be in immediate danger of getting ripped to shreds.

The crate lied on the floor, smashed open, but otherwise little seemed out of place in the large storeroom.
A few small shelves and stands had been knocked over though, and broken glass and pottery littered the floor. Something had rushed through, fast, powerful, and careless.

?Whoa...?, Suzianna took a deep breath, and tried to get some stability to her voice. ?I... think it, whatever it was, ran out.?

Jowan scowled at her, shocked, ?You're not touching shit in here anymore!?, he yelled, uncharacteristically rough and commanding.

Suzianna shrugged meekly. She could hardly object. Hell, if there were more surprises lurking about, she did not even WANT to object, not even for the principle of it.

?Uh, Lily, could you watch the door??, Jowan shakily asked, ?Yell if anything comes back this way.?

Lily at first opened her mouth to object. She did not like the idea of letting spooks run rampant in the tower.
But she did not quite feel up to running rampant AFTER spooks in the tower either, so she quickly convinced herself they could not interrupt their project of breaking and entering, and quietly took a place by the door.

While Jowan resumed inspecting a row of statues, Suzianna walked over to the broken monster-container, warily, just in case there still would be something inside. There wasn't, nor was there much to be made of what remained.

The lid was in pieces, shattered with great force.

Lettering in some foreign tongue was carved on pieces of it, but Suzianna could not comprehend it.

The insides revealed nothing peculiar either; something large, but still within human limits, had been held inside. And now it was out somewhere.

Suzianna shivered. ?Well...?, she quietly uttered to herself, ?Can't go hunting for it right now...?, unknowingly in silent agreement with Lily.

Meanwhile, Jowan had found an large, angry looking statue of a dog.
As far as he could translate the inscriptions running over it's base, they implied that it was some sort of an magic amplifier.
It was probably Tevinter in origin, as most of the dangerous artifacts found in the room were.

?Find anything??

Suzianna popped up behind him.

?This just might be what we need...?, Jowan pondered, ?I think it amplifies magic. If we can work the rod of fire with it, we might just be able to blast down the wall between these rooms here.?

?Seriously??, Suzianna asked incredulously, ?That's going to be one hell of a blast and noise.?

?Can you think of anything better??

?Hm...?, Suzianna glanced at Lily, and continued in a conspiratorial whisper, ?Well, we COULD use your girlfriend's head as a battering ram.?

?Uhh...?, Jowan sighed frustratedly, and answered in an equally quiet voice to avoid being overheard, ?You don't really hate her all that much, do you? You don't even know her.?

?But she's stupid! And she's joined the templars!?

?She didn't exactly have a choice, Suz, she was handed over for the chantry to raise when she was little.?

?C'mon Jowan! Did they really FORCE her to become a mage killer? I don't think so. She could be peacefully trying to convert the heathens in the wilds or something. But noo, here she is, looking to learn the best ways to stick a sword in any who get out of line... Oh, oh! Or maybe they just thought she seemed the best for the job.?

?You're just being a terrible ass. If you weren't paying attention, she's right here, helping me.?, Jowan inhaled deeply, ?Look... Whatever's brought her here, I don't care. I love her, Suz. And I'd very much appreciate it if you'd show some solidarity here, at least until we're clear and done here.?

Suzianna glanced over at Lily and wrinkled her mouth. ?Well, I guess love overcomes all...? - ?Thanks.?, Jowan was a little too quick to say - ?...even the LARGEST obstacles...?, Suzianna completed the thought, and smiled warmly at Jowan.

Jowan gave her a pained look. Then an anvil droppepd on his head. Well, it wasn't really quite an anvil, nor did it really drop from anywhere. It was a thought, and it occurred to him, ?You're being jealous! Maker! That's what this is all about, isn't it??

?W-what??, Suzianna was at first caught off-guard. ?Jealous? Me? No. Way!?
Then she fully regained her footing; ?Just look at her! What would I want with someone like her??

Jowan stared at Suzianna blankly, who smiled back, more honest looking than humanly possible. ?Yup, that's me. Straight as an arrow.?

Jowan's blank stare was relentless.

?You know, if I ever stray on that side of things, it'll be with someone prettier and less brainwashed... At the very least.?

Jowan surrendered, ?Ugh... Let's just move this thing in place.?, he said with a sigh.

They started pushing and pulling the heavy statue, moving it inch by inch closer to the target wall.

Lily was startled up by the noise. ?What are you doing??

?We're thinking to make a hole in the wall there.?, Jowan grunted as he pushed the angry hound a little further.

?Can I help??

?Noooo.?, Suzianna drawled, ?Feel free to let us do all the hard work.?

?Har-de-har, Suz, you're just killing me today...?, Jowan rolled his eyes. ?Please, Lily, help would be appreciated...?- Jowan glanced over Suzianna - ?This feeble elven wench I have prodding about here is made of chickenbones and vellum.?

?Hey, you're not supposed to be mean...?, Suzianna whined with mock offense as the three of them set to work.

After a while of sweat and labor they had set the dog-statue to stare angrily at the wall they had decided to demolish, and moved most of what they could lift away from the.

Much to their dismay, they found that the statue seemed to have no reaction whatsoever to whatever magics and common startup phrases they could work.

They tried, and they tried again, but to no effect.

Jowan stood up nervously. ?Ah, Lily, why don't you go watch the door while we puzzle this out.?

Lily shrugged, and went her way, and Suzianna gave Jowan an inquiring look.

Jowan answered with a whisper. ?I, ah, should have guessed... I think it's probably from ancient Tevinter. And it's in the dangerous artifacts locker room...?

Suzianna raised an eyebrow. ?Are you saying it uses blood magic??

?I... Think it might, yes...?, Jowan said, and noting the disapproving frown on Suzianna's face he continued, before she could start an argument, ?Look, I don't like it. But we don't exactly have many options right now.?

Suzianna looked over the statue and grimaced. It suddenly seemed that much more bloodthirsty.

?It shouldn't require very much of it, anyway. Just a cut across the palm should do, giving it a taste of it. Not really magic at all, actually, just... blood.?

?I don't like this.?, Suzianna shook her head, eyes fixed on the dog.

?Yeah, me neither. But do you see an alternative??

?I guess not.?, Suzianna sighed, ?Well. If it really won't be magic, well, I guess it won't be so terrible.?

?So if you'll go distract Lily, so she won't notice and get all kinds of shocked??

Suzianna snickered mischievously. ?You want me to prod her further, do you??

?Would you really have to??, Jowan despaired.

?You know I would.?, Suzianna assured with a grin. ?Just you go and talk to her and I'll do the bleeding.?

?Look, I really think I should do it. It's my phylactery we're after.?

?Mm... Look, if I go talk to her, she'll soon enough be running wailing up the stairs. You know she will. And then we'll both be screwed, no matter what we find inside.?

?I REALLY should be the one to do it.?

?Meh! Just go and talk her head off already, silly. Shoo! I'm the mage here, do as I command.?

Jowan yielded with a hopeless shrug, and went to distract Lily, while Suzianna grabbed a small utility knife from her belt.

There, Lily was distracted. ?Now... Who's a bloodthirsty little puppy, who??, Suzianna quietly cooed as she put her hand in the snarling mouth of the angry dog-statue.
She closed her eyes, and with a grimace, she quickly slashed her palm.

A little flow of blood gushed from the wound and splattered on the tongue of the thirsting stone-hound.

A faint pulse passed through the storeroom, the lights seemed to fade, though not much, and the air turned cooler.
The statue's eyes seemed to, not quite light up, but turn more reflective, somehow deeper, though if you focused, you would still see that they were just the same.

?Hey! Jowwy! I think I got it working!?, Suzianna shouted cheerfully and quickly wrapped one of her socks around her bleeding hand.
It hurt. Quite a bit, but she hid her grimace.

They gathered behind the statue.

Holding the rod of fire with her right hand, Suzianna placed her left on the head of the statue. This was it, finally.

She aimed at the wall. Her hand shook a little, she had not done any spells of the magnitude they were expecting here.

?Well? What are you waiting for.?, Jowan prodded.

Suzianna breathed deeply. She focused. ?Simon says, go BOOM!?
She summoned up all the magic she could muster, and blew it all into the rod.
The room went pitchblack as shadows ate all the light, while the dog's eyes flared blood red, and there was a loud roar, followed by a blast of searing heat and pressure that knocked them all over.

Slowly the light returned.

Through the billowing cloud of dust they saw it. A massive, gaping hole in the wall.

A few tiles fell down from the ceiling.

Jowan coughed. Suzianna coughed. Lily wasn't staring quite as slackjawed, she was merely staring with her eyes wide; she did not cough, but she had to wipe her eyes.

?It worked.?, Suzianna remarked blankly, simultaneously suffering assaults of guilt and insecurity for punching holes in the tower's walls, and pure GLEE and BLISS, for punching BIG-fucking-HOLES in the tower's walls.

?It worked.?, Jowan agreed, and began striding towards the repository chamber. ?Come on! Let's find my phylactery!?

The chamber was smaller than the artifact room, housing only a few shelves of phylacteries up on a raised platform.
The trio made their way inside and up to the shelves.

They started sorting through the tiny bottles, and soon enough Lily gleefully called out; ?Here! I found it!?.

Lily handed the tiny vial to Jowan who held it up, almost entranced. ?Such an little thing. And so fragile.?

Jowan dropped the vial, and it shattered, spilling a blot of blood on the stone floor.

?It's... Kind of unbelievable we're kept in check with such tiny little breakable thingies...?, Suzianna stared at the glass-shard littered pool of blood, ?It sucks.?, she concluded with a scowl.

Jowan just shook his head mirthfully. They'd actually done it! He turned to look at Suzianna. ?Thank you. Seriously, Suz, thank you. Wow. I mean, wow! We did it!?

Suzianna squirmed. ?Aw, you know I hate it when you suddenly get all sincere and all like that...?

Lily turned to look at her, all ice and anger somehow wiped from her expression. ?Yes, thank you! We couldn't have made it here without you!?

Suzianna squirmed even more. She even had to fight an urge to shuffle her feet, as well as an urge to strangulate Lily, for stepping up from the level of interaction she was comfortable with.

?It's... nothing, really.?, Suzianna finally mumbled. ?And anyway, there's still the matter of getting out from the tower.?

Jowan seemed to sink into thought, prompting Suzianna to ask; ?You do have a plan? You weren't just thinking of knocking out the guards and making a run for it? ... Oh, maker. Please, don't tell me you were...?

?I, er... You don't think it would work??

Suzianna sighed. ?It'll work if it has to... We don't exactly have the time for anything brilliant anyway... But let's try talking first. Maybe Bran will let us for a stroll outside.?

It was agreed then, and they began making their way out from the basement.

They weren't counting on running into the templars of the tower, all waiting in formation for them, just up the basement stairs. In fact, they had been counting on rather the opposite being the case.
Greagoir and Irving at the head of the group cemented the disappointment.

The trio tried to look as not-guilty as possible. It did not work.

?An initiate conspiring with a blood mage.?, Greagoir preached, ?I am disappointed in you, Lily.? Greagoir stepped closer, and gave Lily a hard scrutinizing look. ?She seems shocked, and fully in control of her mind. Not a thrall of the blood mage then.?

?And this one... Newly a mage...?, Greagoir turned to scowl at Suzianna, ?Irving, I WISH I could say I am disappointed... Well, alright, I am a little, but just the tiniest bit. Seriously, Irving, you need to get your mages in check...?

Irving shook his head, ignoring the personal rebuke. ?I'll just... be disappointed for the both of us then...?

?You don't care what happens to us! Or any of the mages.?, Jowan yelled. ?You just bow to the chantry's every whim!?

This outburst earned Jowan a kick in the shin and an quiet, angry hiss from Suzianna; ?Idiot! Totally the wrong time for that...?

?Enough!?, Greagoir broke the quarrel, ?Witnessed by the templars gathered here, with the power bestowed upon me, I sentence this blood mage, Jowan, to death.?

The templars began moving towards Jowan.

?And you, initiate.?, Greagoir turned towards Lily, ?By allying yourself with this blood mage, you have scorned your wovs and made a mockery of everything we stand for.?, he angrily shook his head, ?take her to Aeonar.?

?W-what??, Lily stuttered, taking a frightened step back, ?The mages' prison??

Jowan snapped.

He pulled a large curved dagger from a hiddenfold in his robes, and punched it right through his palm, yelling; ?I won't let you touch her!?, as he did.

He had everyone's attention.

He swung his arm in a wide arc, sending a shower of blood on the whole templar detail, and on cue, deep red shadows rose from the blood and assaulted the templars, until everyone but the three accused lied smothered unconscious.

Lily stared on with bewilderment and horror.

Suzianna stared on, put utterly speechless by bewilderment, shock, and crushing sensations of gullibility and stupidity. She fancied herself neither of the latter, which did not make it any better.

?Blood magic! Jowan, how could you!?, Lily gasped.

?I just... dabbled!?, Jowan pleaded. ?Please Lily! I'll give it up! I'll give up all magic! Come with me!?

?Your 'dabbling' has 'just' knocked down a 'few' templars, Jowan. And Irving. And Greagoir.?, Suzianna muttered quietly.
?Damn!?, she shout out in shocked amazement, ?That would have knocked down their mothers too if they were present!?.

She was ignored. Everyone present was either knocked out, or engaged in the final stages of a lover's quarrel.

?I do not know you!?, Lily wailed dramatically, and raised her hand commandingly in a dismissive gesture, ?Get away from me, blood mage!?

Jowan's mouth stretched to it's limit in grief, and he rushed from the scene. He did close his mouth before he left though.

Recovering from the surprise, Suzianna knelt down to help the slowly stirring Irving up on his feet.
Greagoir stood up on his own, as did most of the templars.

?Get after him!?, Greagoir barked furiously, and began pacing about angrily.
?If you had let me act sooner, none of this would have happened!?, he frustratedly growled at Irving.

Greagoir turned back to face Lily. ?What is she still doing here? Get her out of my sight!?

Suzianna could not quite keep her mouth shut. As much as she did not like Lily, she did not think she deserved Aeonar either. ?Lily didn't know he was a blood mage!?

?It is alright.?, Lily spoke with the distant calmth of a martyr, ?I was wrong... I have conspired with a blood mage, and will accept whatever sentence is set for me... even... even Aeonar.?

Greagoir angrily waved the templars to action, and they promptly began escorting Lily to lockup until she could be taken away.

?And you, what are we to do with you...?, Greagoir growled, finally addressing Suzianna, ?You have made a mockery of the Circle with your antics!?

Irving joined in; ?You knew he was a blood mage, and still you chose to help him. Why??

?I.. Um...?, Suzianna tried to come up with an answer that would ease the pressure, ?Mmm...?, she tried hard, ?Mmm??, but she failed.

Suzianna ventured; ?I... did not BELIEVE he was a blood mage??

Greagoir muttered under his breath; ?Idiots... Worse than abominations...?, then he addressed Irving with a biting tone of sarcasm in his voice, ?So, what should we do with her, Irving, should we assign her to library duties to teach her a lesson, maybe we should have her clean the toilets as well this time??

?No need to be snide, Greagoir, none of us saw this coming.?, Irving said defensively, ?At any rate, she has broken the circle's rules, but most of all, the chantry's. It is your judgment to make what she deserves for this.?

Suzianna was stunned. Irving would not bail her out this time? But that was what Irving did! What he was supposed to do!
A shocked and hopeless ?Irving!? was all she managed, as she realized that it was a lot she had been taking for granted.

?Very well then.?, Greagoir started, ?Suzianna, for the crimes of aiding and abetting a blood mage, possibly conjuring non-permitted entities, as well as probably a slew of other violations as well, you will be confined in one of the guest rooms with only bare necessities until this incident is fully investigated, furthermore...?, something caught Greagoir's attention. ?What's that? A SOCK in your hand??

Greagoir closed the distance in a single stride, and forcibly grabbed Suzianna's wrist and twisted her hand up. He looked at the blood-stained bandage, and turned his -now fully iced-up- gaze up to meet her's. ?How did you get this??

?I, um...?, Suzianna could not lie fast enough.

Greagoir swiftly yanked the sock off. ?A clean cut??, Greagoir's eye's narrowed and his voice turned even colder, ?Not an accident then.?

Suzianna stood petrified. She had seen the knight commander in many moods, from roaringly furious to jovial.
But she had never seen him stare back at her with such coldness, with a hand on the hilt of his sword, emotionlessly calculating if he maybe should brandish it and hack her to pieces then and there.
?I'm not a blood mage!?, she desperately whimpered.

?Greagoir.?, Irving urgently joined in, ?We shouldn't be hasty. It still might be just a cut... She did not run out with Jowan, after all.?

Greagoir relaxed himself somewhat and sighed.
He turned to give orders to the templars; ?Lock her up in an empty closet somewhere. Keep a three-man guard detail until further notice.?

?I'm not a blood mage!?, Suzianna yelled, but the templars that not so gently proceeded to drag her into confinement did not listen.

#7 WeeRLegion


    TFP : D

  • Member
  • 2925 posts

Posted 16 December 2009 - 09:07 PM

The small room was mostly empty.

It had a sturdy, locked door, a candle, a bench, and an empty bucket.

And then there was Suzianna, slouching apathetically on the bench, staring dully at the candle burning on top of the upturned bucket.

Suzianna had little to entertain herself with, except wondering if maybe she'd be lucky enough to score time in Aeonar with that terrible saint Lily. Or if maybe Greagoir would feel a little snappy and turn her tranquil, or maybe he'd feel like playing it safe, and just turn her over to the executioner.

Suzianna could almost hear a black hooded, friendly, vaguely foreign gentleman with a bared pot belly and a black cowl asking with a smile; ?So what shall it be for you, little miss? Sword? Ax? A halberd? I also have very sharp gardening scissors, which could be good for that little neck of yours. Or maybe a meatcleaver? Oh, please, little miss, it is nothing personal. It is just a job. I swear it will only hurt once.?

And somewhat morbidly, she could see herself asking for the gardening scissors.
And the vaguely foreign, black hooded gentleman would bring out a massive pair of scissors. And they would be rusted to oblivion, and...

In short, Suzianna felt time drifting by in pace with the occasional pearls of cold sweat that ran down her back

Greagoir had once shown up to ask questions about the dangerous artifacts, and something along the lines of ?WHAT THE HELL DID YOU LET OUT OF THAT IRON COFFIN?!?, apparently all everyone knew was, that something had stormed out of the tower, and taken down the front doors as it went.

Suzianna had no answers of course.
She debated leaving out the bowl incident, but figured that Lily would probably be spilling her guts about everything.
So instead... ?It was Jowan porking with the bowl, I swear!?

The bastard had lied to her and left her in the drink, it was more than fair, she thought, or wanted to think. The anger and betrayal did make it a bit easier.

And Jowan was dead enough anyway, Suzianna thought. Phylactery or not, either the templars would catch him and cut him up, or he would get mauled and ravaged by an angry bear.

The thought amused Suzianna for a moment.
Jowan the dork, alone in the wilderness, good as a prepared supper for anything with fur and teeth. And hopefully talons too. And spikes. And poison.

But it was only amusing for a while, imagining beasties, chewing on Jowan with a berry topping, soon enough Suzianna drifted back to the company of the potbellied executioner and his gardening scissors.

Time passed, and more time passed. Then a distinct, orderly, clanking and stomping emanted from the outside.

The door creaked open, revealing Irving standing in the doorway.

Suzianna instantly leapt up and close. ?Irving! Irving! You've got to help me! I'm not a blood mage! I don't want them to cut off my head with big rusty scissors! I swear I'm not a blood mage! Really! You've got to help me!?

Irving remained quiet.

?Irving??, Suzianna peered past the first enchanter, into the corridor, ?You... Sent the guards away??

?Yes.?, Irving said tensely, and took a deep breath. ?Being the first enchanter, I cannot be witnessed shouting at people like a complete sociopath.?

Suzianna was utterly disheartened. ?You're... going to shout at me like a sociopath??, she murmured.

Irving regarded her sharply for a moment. ?No.?, he said, ?I still have some self-respect left.?

Suzianna pouted pitifully, the tone of Irving's voice clearly enough implied what he did NOT have in abundance for the moment.

?Just tell me, what has gotten into you? It is one thing getting on Greagoir's nerves for the heck of it... and wholly another helping a blood mage destroy his phylactery by blowing holes through basement walls.?

?I... It's stupid, I know...?, Suzianna sighed frustratedly, ?But I trusted him! What was I supposed to do??

?I think you know full well what you were supposed to do.?, Irving retorted in a serious tone.

Suzianna squirmed. She did not like serious.

?And then, blood magic...?

Finally, something she could honestly deny, ?I didn't do any of that! It's just a cut!?, and a little dishonesty never hurt in an emergency, ?I told Greagoir! I had a knife in my hand, I got it when that whatever from the coffing-thingy rushed out and knocked me over!?

Sighing, Irving scratched his beard.

?Irving, please! You've got to help me! Greagoir's going to kill me if you don't!?

Irving stood quietly for a moment, then slowly answered; ?You aren't quite as badly off as you think you are... Duncan has been inquiring about you, and your capabilities... I believe he might draft someone, maybe you, into the Grey Wardens, especially so if Greagoir refuses to release more mages for the war.?

?So...?, Suzianna started quietly, a little frightened to ask, unsure of what Uirving might say after everything, ?What have you told him??

Irving smiled cryptically, but remained silent.

Suzianna took a moment to read his expression, then a weak smile began tugging at the corner of her mouth, ?You've been lying your head off, haven't you??

Irving chuckled quietly, and turned to leave. ?Oh, one more thing. Keili had a message for you.?

?She... hates me??, Suzianna guessed.

?No, that wasn't it... She says she believes in you... that you are not a blood mage. And -I assume it must mean something to you, as to me it is gibberish- but she also said that being rid of her wordly shackles has let her reach further in her faith.?

A moment of silence followed, which Suzianna spent staring shocked at Irving.

?It says something to you??

?She's walking around without underwear, and it's made her even holier?, Suzianna answered flatly, eyes still wide from the fear of the unknown.

?I, er... I believe this is the moment I take my leave.?, Irving muttered, and left, and soon the templars loudly stomped back to their guardposts outside the door.

Suzianna sat down on the bench. She was happy.

The executioner and his gardening scissors were gone. Well, not completely, they still lurked behind a bush somewhere, but they were far enough. Suzianna had hope.

A bizarre hope, the kind of which she'd never thought she'd have, namely, the hope of Greagoir being even more a stiffnecked stick-up-his-shitter than he usually was.

But it was hope.

#8 WeeRLegion


    TFP : D

  • Member
  • 2925 posts

Posted 20 December 2009 - 10:39 PM

Prolly the last update for a while now, what with christmas and all. Have fun, people! @_@


Looking over the water, the Circle Tower on the lake had seemed somehow so very small.

Well, not really, it had still looked pretty huge, but there was just... so much of everything else, everywhere.

Irving's predictions had proven accurate, Greagoir had refused to release additional mages, and Duncan had shown up, and offered to induct Suzianna into the Grey Wardens.

Suzianna of course had accepted, more than eager to get her neck off the chopping block.
She had almost kissed the black-bearded warden then and there, but Greagoir's angry protests had been enough to dampen her euphoria.

And so she had gone off to pack her few belongings, and after a whispered ?Thank you. For everything.? and some half-sad puppy eyes made at Irving, they had set off, with Greagoir staring holes in their backs, and Irving acting as impassive as he needed to keep the peace.

They had walked for most of the day, during which Duncan had caught Suzianna staring amazedly at more mundane objects than he could count.

It had rained a day earlier, which among other things meant that their interaction so far had mostly consisted of; ?My feet are wet.?, ?That's because you're wearing shoes. A traveler needs boots.?, ?I don't have boots! I have wet feet!?, ?Well, walk barefeet then, it's not too cold.?, ?What? Like a beggared hippy-apostate??, ?Oh, beg your pardon then miss, I must have mistaken your persona...?, ?Bah! Next you're going to ask me to walk around naked, so the sun will dry me faster in case it rains!?, ?...?,?I'm just kidding! Jeez! ... And I'm not exactly an apostate!?, and so on until sunset.

They set up camp in a copse of woods near the shore of lake Calenhad. Though, that isn't quite true; Duncan arranged a small fire in a hidden nook, then set up his own tent, put more wood to the fire, hanged his sweaty socks to dry on a treebranch, looked about, and found Suzianna suffocating herself with what he assumed was her tent, from the shape of the mess it was hard to tell.
So, truthfully, Duncan set up the camp, then sat the embarrassed Suzianna down by the fire while he went to fetch water.

?So, I take it you didn't go camping often??, Duncan humorously asked as he strode back from the lake with a pot full of water.

?Naa.?, Suzianna admitted, staring at the fire, ?The docks of lake calenhad are as far as I've ever been from the tower. And that's just twice.?

Duncan put down the copper pot, and began hammering a sturdy branch into the ground to hang it over the fire with.

?They do not teach cooking at the circle, do they??, Duncan looked at Suzianna, the implied question painted all over his face.
Suzianna seemed preoccupied with the fire, so he went on; ?I heard they didn't... This hasn't by any chance been rectified in recent years??

?Oh. Sorry. No, no cooking.?, Suzianna returned an apologetic gaze, ?I can roast beef though.?, she said, and flashed a little jet of flame from her hand.

?Hrm. I've tasted spell-roast before... It tends to be a bit... 'charcoalish' on the surface, and sometimes a little raw on the inside.?

?Oh.? Suzianna turned her gaze back to the fire. ?I could have helped you with that, though.?, she said, pointing at the fire.

?Ah, indeed. I should have asked.?

Duncan pulled a few pouches of dry meat and vegetables from his pack, and began chopping them up for the pot.

?So. Cooking.?, Duncan started, ?As far as I can tell, it mostly involves either roasting something over a fire, or cutting raw materials into edible chunks and putting them either into, a pot with much water, for a soup, a pot with a little water, for a stew, or a pan, for something else.?

?It's that simple??

?Well, some would no doubdt disagree... But those people are mostly frog-eaters from Orlais, so their opinions need not be heeded.?

Suzianna chuckled lightly.

Duncan smiled, and turned his focus back to the soup he was preparing. Or stew, if he'd leave it hanging overtime over the fire.

?So, tell me a little something of yourself.?

?What? Me? Why would you want to know anything about me??, Suzianna wondered, acting a little more surprised than she was.

Duncan stirred the pot. ?I think you'll find that you'll be living on the road a lot from now on. It would do you good to learn to enjoy friendly chatter, as talking happens to be the best way to pass the time and the miles.?

?I enjoy talking!?, Suzianna attempted to deny. ?I talk lots!?

?Just, not about yourself??

Suzianna shrugged uneasily. ?There's... nothing to know about me. I grew up in the tower.?, she tried to smile deflectively, ?The end!?.

?Still?, Duncan persisted, ?you are to become one of the Grey Wardens now, and I like to know a little something of every one of us.?

Suzianna raised an eyebrow. ?I've lived my whole life in the tower, and I'll be hard pressed to remember the names of fifty people living there... What's the point??

Duncan turned more serious. ?To keep things in perspective, for one.?
He sighed wearily, ?Many of us have no families, and few friends outside our order. When one of us falls in battle, to the people, it is just a dead grey warden. It's not a relative, it's not a friend, and it's not the relative of a friend... Our sacrifice is easily forgotten because it is what we do, what we are supposed to do. It is our duty.?

Duncan paused to gather his thoughts. ?I do not want to be one to forget.?
Suddenly his expresion turned less serious, and he concluded with a friendly smile; ?And I like to know who I'm traveling with.?

?I, ah...?, Suzianna was caught a little short of speech, ?Whow.?, she summed up her thoughts. ?I guess I do owe you some answers, if that's really what you want.?

Duncan chuckled. ?You did leave me a little curious. You never told me how you first came to the tower.?

?That??, Suzianna pondered where to start, ?I did mention that I came to the tower straight from the crib, yes? Um. Well, as I heard it, I was somewhat unceremoniously dumped in the hands of some templar taking a tour through the Denerim alienage. They can't afford to raise kids there who aren't going to be there to take care of their parents when they're old, or that's what they say... I don't know what I did to deserve it, maybe I burnt momma's tits with my filthy, magic, hands? - Suzianna made a face and wiggled her fingers - ?but whatever the case, they thought they were better off dumping me on an walking armor-polish ad.?

?Not possibly that you were better off raised by capable hands??

?Pft!?, Suzianna snorted, ?I never asked them ? I don't know who they are!?

Duncan chuckled.

?I don't for sure owe them a thing. All they left me with was a name and a blanket which the moths ate many years ago.?

?Of course...?, catching a measure of hostility in Suzianna's voice, Duncan decided to change the subject. ?That still leaves me wondering as to those tattoos on your face. They look vaguely dalish, if a bit... inorganic for their tastes.?

?Oh, these...?, Suzianna tocuhed her brow, as if trying to feel the simple black crescents and claws painted all over her features in a vaguely symmetrical pattern.

They were something she'd had for many years by then. She had ignored them, and eventually, everyone around her had also come to ignored them.

?Well?, she started a bit evasive, ?it's a rather long story.?

?Time is all we have on the road.?, Duncan warmly noted. ?I'd still like to hear it.?
Duncan leant closer to the pot. ?But, It seems supper is ready.?

Duncan poured some soup-ish vegetable-meat-mash into a pair of metal porringers, and they began supping.

?So, how about it then??, Duncan prompted.

Whenever Suzianna was trying to at least somewhat impress an stranger with her few achievements, the story of her tattoos lied somewhere beneath the bottom of the pile. ?Ah... It's... It's rather silly, really...?

?All the better!?

?Oh, fine.?, Suzianna turned to look intently elsewhere, ?I think it's been almost six years now... It happened when me and a pair of friends, against all odds, managed to sneak into the lyrium storeroom and got the door locked behind us... We waited for the door to open, so we could get back out, but it just didn't! Of course, it was silly to think it would; it's only opened as few times a day as possible, because well...?, Suzianna glanced at Duncan, who to her disappointment did not seem anyhow bored out of his wits, blasted old fart that he was.

So Suzianna went on; ?Well, you know lyrium, there's fumes... And in a storehouse full of lyrium, there's LOTS of fumes... And they sort of make people weird...?

?I see. So it was a spur of the moment thing??

Suzianna shrugged. ?I guess they must be... Sadly, or, well, maybe luckily, I really don't remember any more details than that... But back then I did have a terrible, infatuation -you could say- with the dalish and their ideas; running wild and free. So I suppose I might have imitated them, if indeed I did make any choice about it.?

?But for some reason you kept them? The tattoos I mean.?

Suzianna snorted. ?It's not for the love of the dalish, that's for certain. Naa, they just wouldn't come off, which did leave even the senior enchanters baffled.?

?You don't like the Dalish??, Duncan asked with mild surprise.

?Nope. They're morons. They might have had a score of homelands by now if they just stopped running about and did something about it.?

?Oh, hardly a full score!?, Duncan humorously protested, ?Maybe three at most.?

They shared a little laugh, and turned to finish up the supper.

Afterwards Suzianna went to clean up the dishes in the lake, and Duncan began settling into his tent, leaving what remained of the fire to die off on it's own.

It had thankfully been an uneventful, bandit and darkspawn free, day on the road.
Of course, that was to be expected; the darkspawn had not stretched quite so far north yet, held at bay by the king's army, and the bandits skirted on the edges of the warzone.

But they probably would run into bandits, or highwaymen, or some sort of muggers, if not tomorrow, then the day after... And soon enough then it would be stray darkspawn too.

Duncan sighed.

And then there was the issue of familiarizing the newbie to the order of the work.
Duncan tended to sum it up with four essential concepts; Kill Darkspawn, Intimidate People, Kill People, and for the maker's sake! Be polite to people!

He figured he'd best start with the first and the last concepts.
The rest wasn't strictly necessary; people would fear a mage plenty enough without her intentionally scaring them.

Duncan sighed again.

Scaring people for kicks... That was quite exactly what he'd expect that mouthy girl to do...

And where had she wandered off to, anyway? Doing the dishes shouldn't take quite so long...

Duncan rose up, and strode down towards the lakeshore.

It was dark, so at first he only caught the a reflection from the metallic pot and the porringers on the grassy shore.
Then he noticed a tiny ember of a fire in the forest to the left.

And there was Suzianna. Standing around, doing nothing. Except staring closely at an... oak.

As Duncan walked closer, Suzianna wrapped her arms around the thick trunk of the tree and pressed close.

And she muttered something, quietly, looking all too happy with a smoking little pipe in her mouth.

Duncan looked on silently for a moment, but as the silence stretched on, he felt the need to ask what was going on.

Suzianna did not at first respond, but then she -without letting go of the tree- slurred; ?It's a tree!?

?Er. Yes.?, Duncan agreed, ?It is a tree.?

Another moment of silence.

?It's a tree. But why are you hugging it??

Suzianna inhaled deeply, rubbing her cheek against the bark, and lazily muttering, ?It's a magnificient tree! It's so... full of life!?

?It. Is? Is it??, Duncan asked, puzzled.

He knew booze, and he knew plenty of other liquids that only the most desperate soldiers at camp would chug down, but Duncan knew nothing of lyrium spiced weeds and their effects.

?Have you drunk something??, he finally asked.

Suzianna kept admiring the tree. ?It's so... huge!?

She turned her gaze up towards the canopy, ?It's so tall! I've... never seen such a big tree so close...?

?It is... quite tall, yes.?, Duncan again agreed. ?Is there a point you are... trying to make??

There wasn't. Suzianna pushed her face closer to the tree and drawled; ?Look, Duncan! There's little insects, walking all over the tree!?

Duncan looked. Not at the tree, but at the scene.

Then he made up his mind. She was drunk. Off her ass. He didn't know how, there were no bottles in sight, but somehow she was.

?Enough of this. What have you had??

Suzianna slowly turned around, her head lolling left and right.

She almost lost her balance, so she leant back against the tree with a smirk, and wiggled the pipe clumsily between her fingers.
And then it was no longer in her hand, it was in Duncan's hand, then it was in the air, and with a splosh it disappeared into the water.

Suzianna pouted sulkily at Duncan.

?No more of that.?, Duncan said sternly. ?The roads will get more dangerous tomorrow. And once we reach Ostagar, there will be even less room for such frivolousness.?

Suzianna groaned disappointedly.

?Now. Finish the dishes, and get to sleep. There's a long road ahead of us tomorrow.?

Duncan turned around, and was about to head back to camp, but then he heard a thump. He turned around again, and found Suzianna lying face down in the grass.

One, two, three, four, five... Suzianna made no effort to get up.

Duncan crouched down, and leant close with his ear. He caught a faint snore. He sighed.

One, two, three, four, five... No change. Duncan gave the sleeping mage a light slap on the cheek.
One, two, three, four, five... No change. Duncan grabbed Suzianna by her shoulders and shook her.
One, two, three, four, five... Still no change.

Duncan dragged his palm across his face. Oh, maker... One, two... Ah, dammit. He grabbed Suzianna under his arm, and began toting her back to the camp.

At least she didn't weight much, being quite skinny, even for an elf.

And then she stirred. And she looked at him, in a funny way. And smiled. Oh, maker, no...

?Mmmmm... Duncan.?

Duncan frowned, but said nothing.

?I like your beard, Duncan.?

Duncan added a grimace on top of the frown, and still said nothing.

?Do you want to kiss me, Duncan??

And they were back in camp.

Duncan proceeded to rapidly wrap the wriggling mage rough and tight in her bedroll to restrain her, muffled her with an extra blanket, and shoved her into her tent.

A few mumbles of protest later Suzianna dozed off happily.

Duncan slumped down.

Maybe he should have recruited that anti-social Niall fellow after all...

Ah, but there was nothing he could do about it now. And -he sighed- it was just, a little...-no, he wouldn't fall for optimism-, it could be a capital hiccup.

But. She was still a mage... And if she could cast spells as well as Irving let on...

Well, maybe it could still somehow work out, if he could just... point her in the right direction...

He decided then, that he would dump the fresh recruit on Alistair, whom he figured might be more amused than he himself was. It would be an educational experience for the both of them, of that Duncan had no doubdt.