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Old 01-18-2013, 03:00 PM   #3
Vaprakgruumsh
Drizzt Do'Urden
 

Join Date: November 24, 2001
Location: Neverending Nights
Age: 47
Posts: 634
Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

The witch had been right. The Darkspawn had been crawling through the Korcari Wilds. William had been forced - more than once - to seek cover. Engaging the Darkspawn, wounded as he was, would have been a waste of his life. He knew that.

It did not help matters that the fog that insisted on lingering within the Korcari Wilds made things infinitely more complicated. There had been a legend about an Arl, who had come into the Korcari Wilds to terminate every werewolf he encountered; for at one time, ages ago, werewolves dominated and terrorized those who tried to pass through the Korcari Wilds. So furious was the Arl that he slaughtered Wolf and Werewolf alike; it did not matter. The bodies of werewolves and wolves littered the Korcari Wilds, the stench of death lingered in the woods, stained the soil. A greater werewolf, enraged by the Arl's blood thirsty vengeance, used a blade that had taken his mate's life to now stab his own heart and curse the Arl and his men. It is said that a great mist seeped from the mortally wounded werewolf's heart and surrounded the entire Korcari Wilds. The Arl and his men had become disoriented in the mist, and were lost forever; their bodies never found.

Now that very mist that had once cursed the Arl and his men and lingered in the woods was proving to be a bane in William's quest for survival. Having become a Grey Warden, he could sense the presence of Darkspawn; but so to, could the Darkspawn sense his presence.

That's when he heard it.

Their growling.

Their mocking laughter.

William drew his blade and stared through the mist.

They were moving around him.

Darkspawn.

He sneered and grabbed the hilt of his blade tightly in his hands. The blade was the only thing that would see him through this. If he lost the blade, everything was lost.

He backed up, stepping through the mist, until his back had been to a tree, to prevent them from flanking him from behind.

He could see them in the mist. He could see the mist swirl about as they ran around him.

They were taking pleasure in this. They had him. They knew that. They could sense him. They knew he was one of the Grey Warden. And they knew he was alone.

“Come on,” William shouted. “Come get me! I will send you all back to your Arch-Demon!”

Suddenly, the confident howls of the Darkspawn changed. The sound of cruel victory changed to unimaginable fear. William tried to see through the haze of the mist. He could see Darkspawn screaming, thrashing about.

William stared in horror – unsure if something had saved him from the Darkspawn – now to destroy him.

The mist cleared enough for William to see a young, robed man, standing on top of a small hill, a look of euphoria in his eyes as the blood from the Darkspawn seeped from their pores, and in the form of crimson mist, floated up to him and entered through the palm of his hands.

William charged up the small hill before the Blood Mage could cast a spell and put his blade to the Blood Mage's throat.

“That's an unusual way to thank someone who has just saved your life,” the Blood Mage sneered.

“Move even just an inch, and I run my blade through you, Blood Mage,” William assured the Blood Mage. “I saw you. The look in your eyes. You were euphoric. Just like every Blood Mage I have ever seen. You can't be trusted. You were no doubt about to use your magic on me.”

The Blood Mage placed his hand on William's blade and gave it a light push so that the cold steel was not touching his throat. “If I had wanted you dead, Grey Warden, you would not be standing this close to me. I promise you. I saved your life. Don't make me regret it. Now if you will be excusing me,” the Blood Mage replied and began to leave.

William grabbed the Blood Mage by the shoulder and spun him around, placing the tip of his blade once more to the Blood Mage's throat. “I can't let you just leave.”

“You're Grey Warden, not a Templar,” the Blood Mage answered. “That's the only reason I even rescued you. So you can,” he gestured with his hands, “go out there and kill Darkspawn, like you're supposed to.”

William stared at the Blood Mage for a moment before lowering his weapon. “What is your name?”

The Blood Mage gave William a strange look. “Are we to be friends now? Perhaps get together at Denerim and talk about the good ol' times? After you just shoved a blade against my throat? Twice, I might add? You're just like the Templars,” the Blood Mage shook his head. “You act so righteous and noble. You,” he turned to look at William, “you judge me. I see it in your eyes. You think I can't be trusted because I am a Blood Mage and you're one of the 'great Grey Wardens',” he said with a mocking voice. “Don't think I don't know about the blood that you drink to become a Grey Warden.”

“How do you know of the Grey Warden ritual?” William growled.

The Blood Mage turned and got in William's face. “Because I used to be a Grey Warden.”

“Used to be?” William shook his head. “Once a Grey Warden, always a Grey Warden.”

The Blood Mage laughed. “Foolish and idealistic,” he shook his head. “Just like the rest of the Grey Warden. You all see yourselves as so noble. So sacrificing. You do this to put an end to the Blight. You go to the extreme measure of drinking the blood of the Darkspawn to hear them. To sense them. But you would rapidly criticize us Blood Mages for going to the lengths we do to fight the Blight.”

“Blood Mages rarely become Blood Mages to fight the Blight,” William countered. “A Blood Mage is more often than not concerned about power. About himself.”

“Perhaps you're right,” the Blood Mage shrugged. “Perhaps because I was a Grey Warden – because I knew what it was like – I had already made the sacrifice to become a Grey Warden. I just went the extra step and became a Blood Mage, because magic was already within me to control.” The Blood Mage stood there for a moment. “My name is Quinn.” He turned and extended his hand to William, who took it.

“William,” he replied, giving his own name.

“Where are you headed William?” Quinn asked, brushing off his robes.

“I seek Teyrn Loghain,” William replied.

“A bad idea my idealistic friend,” Quinn replied.

“Why is that?” William asked.

“Because Teyrn Loghain has deemed all Grey Wardens traitors, and placed a rather large bounty on the heads of all Grey Warden,” Quinn answered, smiling eerily at William.

“And you're certain that this handsome bounty is not an interest to you?” William asked, gripping the hilt of his weapon once more.

“What use do I have for money?” Quinn scoffed, though he had played William's fear into his hands. “No, don't be foolish. Money does me no good. After all, I simply take what I want. As I said, if I had wanted you dead, Grey Warden, this conversation would not be happening.”

“I see,” William said, doubtfully. “There must be something we can do. Teyrn Loghain betrayed the Grey Wardens. He left us to die.”

“I know,” Quinn nodded. “I was in Ostagar.”

“I don't remember seeing you with the Circle of Magi,” William said, then thought about how Quinn would not have been with them, for they shunned Blood Mages.

“Because I wasn't visible,” Quinn answered. “I was... detained... by the Circle of Magi. To be taken to Kinloch Hold. When Teyrn Loghain abandoned the Grey Wardens, the Magi cut me loose after I promised to help them against the advancing Darkspawn, under the agreement, that if we had survived, I would turn myself back in to the Circle.”

“And yet here you are,” William said.

“Unfortunate for the other Magi, they did not survive,” Quinn shrugged.

“And you didn't have anything to do with that?” William asked.

“Perhaps you shouldn't ask questions you don't want to hear the answers to, Grey Warden,” Quinn said matter-of-factly.

TO BE CONTINUED?
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