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Old 01-18-2013, 04:06 PM   #16
Vaprakgruumsh
Drizzt Do'Urden
 

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

There was a sense of urgency through Cherathin, as the people scrambled around to prepare for the Darkspawn that were marching their way.

“I’m surprised you came back, Grey Warden,” Sanara said as people filed pasted her into the Chantry. “I’m surprised you and your merry band of bandits didn’t leave us to our fate against the Darkspawn.”

William shook his head. “We may not see eye to eye on things, Sanara,” William growled, “but I would not leave you to be slaughtered by the Darkspawn. I need you to free Cursant.”

Sanara’s eyes narrowed. “Why? Have you not done enough?”

“He’s young,” William replied, “he can help against the Darkspawn.”

Sanara seemed ready to protest, but then looked away. She knew if they lived, Cursant would be sentenced to death for his part in the assassination of Bann Vrock. If he was released from his prison to help fight against the Darkspawn, at least he might die more quickly.

Orlen rushed to William’s side, adorned in tattered armor. “I’m here to help against the Darkspawn.”

“I could use your blade, Orlen,” William admitted. “But I will need you inside the Chantry. If the Darkspawn pass us outside, you will be the last line of defense.”

“I am a trained warrior,” Orlen retorted.

“You’re also the next logical person to be the Bann of Cherathin,” William responded, as he strapped armor onto one of the farmers. “Don’t worry,” William looked at Orlen. “Something tells me you will still be fighting.”

Orlen frowned. “I understand.”

William shut the Chantry doors as Orlen watched it close. The next time those doors opened, Orlen knew he would probably be facing off against a horde of Darkspawn.


“To the front!” William shouted. “Everyone to the front! Form a line! Form a line!”

Farmers armed with pitch forks, shovels, hammers, with shields made of wood that had been nailed to small wagon wheels stood and formed a line. In the distance they could hear the roar, smell the rotting flesh of Darkspawn.

“Where the Hell is Berik?” Quinn shouted.

William’s eyes scanned the area. Berik was nowhere to be seen. “Son of Mabari,” William growled. If he lived through this night – which he had not expected to do – he would find Berik and make him pay.

“Don’t worry about Berik,” William shouted. “We will deal with him after this is said and done.”

“Listen to me,” William said, as he began pacing the front of the line, “I know you’re frightened! I know you’re farmers. But tonight you are to become warriors. The Darkspawn can not pass this line of defense. If they do, they will take your wives, your sisters, your daughters, your mothers, and drag them below, and expose them to the Taint… where they will become deformed, twisted, and they will breed new Darkspawn in a painful, twisted process… is that what you want?”

The farmers muttered.

“I asked if that’s what you want!” William repeated.

A more resounding sound of defiance muttered forth from the farmers.

Several genlocks appeared on the horizon. Farmers tensed, gripping their feeble weapons tightly. Then the hurlocks came into view, standing behind the genlocks. They raised their weapons and howled to the bloody skies. Next came the terrifying sound of the scholars – or better known as Shrieks – for the horrendous sound they generate. At the sound of the Shrieks, several of the farmers broke rank and fled, screaming. Then, the thundering footfall of an ogre. Even more men broke ranks.

Quinn looked over to William. “I truly wish I could say that it’s been nice knowing you.”

William gripped his sword and held his shield tightly in his hands. Cursant stood next to William, trembling violent. “By the Maker…” He closed his eyes and became to recite that Chant of Light, “Let the blade pass through the flesh; Let my blood touch the ground; Let my cries touch their hearts. Let mine be the last sacrifice.” He took a deep breath and continued, even as the horrid sounds of the Darkspawn continued. “Blessed are they who stand before; The corrupt and the wicked and do not falter. Blessed are the peacekeepers, the champions of the just. Blessed are the righteous, the lights in the shadow. In their blood the Maker's will is written.”

As if on cue, the Darkspawn suddenly began their charge. Immediately, several farmers broke rank again and fled as the Darkspawn lunged forward.

“Blessed are they who stand before; The corrupt and the wicked and do not falter. Blessed are the peacekeepers, the champions of the just. Blessed are the righteous, the lights in the shadow. In their blood the Maker's will is written,” Crusant repeated.

In that moment, the Darkspawn were upon them.

Forodin lunged forward, paws to the ground, and met the charging Darkspawn half way. With a flying leap, Forodin managed to grab one of the Shrieks by the throat, and with his weight, momentum and force, toppled the charging line of the Darkspawn. The Shriek screamed its horrible sound, but blood could be seen splattering around where it had fallen, and soon the Shriek fell silent. Still, the Darkspawn pressed on.

The sound of steel clashing, people dying, screaming, filled the battle field. Quinn stood near the back, using the rows of farmers as a buffer between himself and the Darkspawn. Using his Blood Magic, he was able to use the blood that spilled as well as the dying to use his magic. Flames burst from his hands incinerating the Darkspawn as they tried to break through the front lines. The occasional human who wandered into Quinn’s line of fire, also suffered, but this was war. Such things were expected.

William cleaved his blade into a genlock who struggled to pull itself free. It was already dead, it’s mind had not yet realized it. He kicked the small creature from his blade, black blood splattering across the land. The grass seemed to hiss and wither at the touch of the tainted blood. A Hurlock moved in next, stepping over its dead companion, bringing its broad sword down on William. William quickly brought his shield up and parried the block that rocked his arm. Quickly he thrust his blade forward through the gut of the Hurlock before him. The Hurlock, shocked, dropped his weapon but then stared at William. It quickly grabbed the hilt of the blade and pulled itself closer to William, howling in his face, spraying him with the tainted blood of the Darkspawn. “Back,” William growled and yanked his sword free, quickly swinging it to decapitate the Hurlock. Endless waves of Darkspawn seemed to surround him, until it seemed all that he saw was Darkspawn. The other human farmers seemed to crumble beneath the Darkspawn’s onslaught.

Then he heard it.

Thoom. Thoom. THOOM.

The footsteps of the Ogre. The shock troops had decimated the human front line, now the Ogre would finish them off. William screamed with fury and cut his way through the Darkspawn until he had reached the Ogre. The Ogre brought down its huge, stone mace, barely missing William who dove to the side. Even the strike from the mace seemed to shake the entire Earth.

William rolled away from another strike and quickly rose to his feet. He swung his sword and cut into the belly of the Ogre which howled in fury. It swung its mace again, barely missing William’s head, instead striking several of its own Darkspawn, whose flesh exploded across the Ogre’s stone mace. The field was becoming increasingly more slippery, as more blood poured onto the once flourish land, that seemed to die rapidly with the exposure of the tainted blood.

William tripped over one of the slain farmers and could not regain his footing. He tumbled to the ground, where the Ogre kneeled over and picked him up, seemingly laughing at him. It began squeezing William within its powerful grasp. William could hear the armor scream as it attempted to resist the powerful force, but it eventually gave in. Steel armor bent, folded, and ripped into William’s flesh. William howled in pain, which only seemed to encourage the Ogre more.

A familiar howl came from behind the Darkspawn.

The Ogre turned, just in time to see a figure seemingly appear from the shadows of the tree above. A glint of steel could be seen against the moon’s blood red color; and for a moment, the ogre could not tell if the dagger was decorated in blood, or if it was merely a reflection of the moon.

Then the Ogre felt the sting between his shoulder. It threw William down to the ground and began swatting at whatever had driven the dagger into his back. The figure pulled the dagger out and thrust a short sword into the Ogre’s back, and clung to the hilt of the blade for dear life as he continued to plunge the dagger into the Ogre’s neck, then finally into the Ogre’s brain – or what was there for a brain. Finally the Ogre stopped struggling, arms went limp and collapsed forward.

Berik jumped off the back of the Ogre just before it struck the ground. Berik wiped the blood from his face and arms, that had splattered on him. He quickly moved to William’s side just as Quinn finished off the last of the straggling Darkspawn. Quinn moved to William’s side as well. “How is he?”

Berik shook his head. “He won’t last the night,” Berik spoke softly. The armor had crushed William’s ribs which had punctured his heart. Each breath he drew, blood splattered from his lips.

With the sound of combat having died down, the doors to the Chantry opened. Navah saw Quinn and Berik looking down at William, their faces said everything with their silent expression.

“No!” Navah ran to William side and placed his head on her lap. “William…” He tried to speak, but blood continued to pour from inside.

“I can save him,” Quinn said flatly.

“What?” Navah looked at him. “How?”

Quinn looked at her. “I would need a life force… I could trade someone’s life force and pour it into him…”

“Blood Magic,” Navah shook her head.

Crusant coughed. “Use mine,” he said wheezing. He was lying next to William, mortally wounded, dying quicker than the Grey Warden.

“We can’t use Blood Magic,” Navah shook her head.

“Then William dies,” Quinn said, matter-of-factly, as if uncaring.

“Please,” Crusant grabbed the hem of Navah’s robes. “Use my life… make my life worth… something… allow me… to redeem myself.”

“You would not be redeeming yourself by letting this man using Blood Magic to take your life force, Crusant!” Navah pleaded, tears in her eyes. “You will die a hero who defended this village, Crusant. That will be enough.”

“He has…” Crusant coughed, his eyes rolled back to his head, “much… more to give… much more to … live for…”

“You must decide quickly, Navah,” Quinn said. “Once Crusant is dead, we will not be able to use his life force to save William. We will need to use a living person. What shall it be?”

“Why do you ask me?” Navah cried.

“Because it’s time you see that the world is not as Black and White as the Chantry would have you believe,” Quinn snapped. “There are times in this world – if you even dare venture beyond the Chantry’s walls – that you will see there are times – that sometimes difficult choices must be made! Now do we use Crusant’s dying life force to save William, or do you let William die of his wounds, slowly and painfully?”

There was a long moment of silence. Berik looked between Quinn and Navah. Then she spoke, “Do it.”

Quinn smiled, even as he heard her whisper, “Maker forgive me. The one who repents, who has faith; Unshaken by the darkness of the world; She shall know true peace.”

TO BE CONTINUED…
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