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Old 01-18-2013, 03:06 PM   #17
Drizzt Do'Urden

Join Date: November 24, 2001
Location: Neverending Nights
Age: 48
Posts: 634
Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

William sat up gasping, and immediately screamed as his muscles burned. Tendons that had been ripped, reminded him that he was lucky to be alive. His hand instinctively reached for his sword, which he found within arm’s reach.

“Don’t move too much,” Navah whispered, as she ran a wet rag across William’s forehead. He was burning with fever.

“What happened,” his voice was barely above a horse whisper. “The Darkspawn?”

“Are taken care of,” Navah answered. “For now.”

“We won,” William choked the words, each breath felt as if he was inhaling crimson flames.

“We did,” Navah nodded with tears in her eyes. The fell, landing on William’s face. They seemed to hiss and bubble against his feverish skin. “It would seem that Berik saved your life in a way.” She looked up at the assassin who sat comfortably in the chair next to them.

Berik smiled, “All in a day’s work, right? You didn’t think I left you guys did you? Come on,” he laughed as he saw William’s dubious expression, “I don’t seem that shallow do I? Ah, perhaps it’s best you don’t answer that, right? I went ahead and scouted. You know, an assassin always wants to know who or what he faces. Managed to keep my one good eye on them,” he smirked, as he pointed to the patch he wore, “Saw the Darkspawn and followed them, got behind them, and when their front line attacked, I went after the Ogre. With no Darkspawn around him, it makes it easier to kill him if someone isn’t around to defend him, you know? And you – you,” he laughed, “you were a good – no, great! - distraction. It allowed me to get right on him from the trees! We make a good team, you and I.”

“That’s the most I’ve heard you talk,” William tried to smile, but his body ached so horribly, that it drove the smile from his face before it ever reached his lips.

“Had a lot to say, I guess,” Berik shrugged. “Looks like you’re going to live, thanks to Quinn.”

“Quinn?” William looked at Navah. “Where is Quinn?”

“He is… resting,” Navah answered. “His last spell… wore him out greatly.”

William tried to sit up, “Is he all right?”

“He is,” Navah answered, placing her hand on William’s chest. She eased him back down, and despite his feeble resistance, his body surrendered and laid back down against the pillow. “You need to rest.”

“He saved me,” William whispered. “I remember…” William closed his eyes.

He heard Quinn standing above him. He couldn’t see anymore, by this point. The world was rapidly fading. He felt warm drops on his forehead, then his face. Blood. He could taste the salt on his lips. Fresh blood.

He had tried to open his eyes, he could barely see a shadowy figure above him. Quinn was cutting his hand open with his ceremonial dagger. He was whispering words of magic… spidery in their sound… complex, woven, like a web of silk… then Quinn kneeled in front of him, painting symbols on William’s forehead with the blood, then duplicated those same symbols on Cursant’s forehead. Then he plunged his dagger into Cursant’s heart and began chanting. He took Cursant’s life force and channeled into William, using the symbols to bond them. When the spell was done, Quinn removed the dagger from Cursant’s heart, breaking the circular bond between Cursant and William, so that the life force had no other choice but to remain within William.

Navah tried to fight the tears. “It was Cursant’s desire… his dying wish… that he give his life for you, William. He redeemed himself by standing strong against the Darkspawn. His final act was for you, because he saw in you … something he’s not seen for a long time, William. He saw hope.”

The decimated town had rapidly elected Orlen to become the new Bann of the area, because there was no way to reach the Arl quick enough. Bann Orlen commanded his people, those who survived the onslaught against the Darkspawn, to begin packing their things and taking only what they needed – that they would move quickly and head for Denerim to seek sanctuary.

In the short hours that followed, William refused to remain still. Using his sword as a balance, he stood and with great assistance, went outside the Chantry where he could smell burning flesh.

It had been a practice of the Chantry that bodies be cremated after death, just as Andraste had once burned. There had been so many bodies, that they had been tenderly placed within a shallow grave and set afire. Many mourned and cried around the fire for lost brothers, fathers, uncles…

The Chantry stood around the fire, humming the Chant of Light…

“Maker, my enemies are abundant.
Many are those who rise up against me.
But my faith sustains me; I shall not fear the legion,
Should they set themselves against me.

Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

These truths the Maker has revealed to me:
As there is but one world,
One life, one death, there is
But one god, and He is our Maker.

They are sinners, who have given their love
To false gods.

All men are the Work of our Maker's Hands,
From the lowest slaves
To the highest kings.

Those who bring harm
Without provocation to the least of His children
Are hated and accursed by the Maker.

O Maker, hear my cry:
Guide me through the blackest nights
Steel my heart against the temptations of the wicked
Make me to rest in the warmest places.

O Creator, see me kneel:
For I walk only where You would bid me
Stand only in places You have blessed
Sing only the words You place in my throat

My Maker, know my heart
Take from me a life of sorrow
Lift me from a world of pain
Judge me worthy of Your endless pride

My Creator, judge me whole:
Find me well within Your grace
Touch me with fire that I be cleansed
Tell me I have sung to Your approval

O Maker, hear my cry:
Seat me by Your side in death
Make me one within Your glory

And let the world once more see Your favor
For You are the fire at the heart of the world
And comfort is only Yours to give.”

“Wasted breath,” William heard the familiar voice of Quinn. He turned, slowly, for it was the only way William could move at the moment. He smiled when he saw Quinn, his robes covered in blood. Something was different. Quinn’s face seemed more taught, his skin pulled tight, whitened, perhaps. William also took notice that Quinn now leaned heavily on a staff.

“The staff,” William wheezed the words of concern.

Quinn looked at the staff, sighed, and looked back at William. “It would seem that saving you Grey Warden took more out of me than I had anticipated.”

William was about to pursue the question further, but from beneath Quinn’s cowl, he could see the Blood Mage’s eyes. This was something that was better left unasked, like many aspects of Quinn’s past.

After the ceremony of the Chant of Light was complete, Sanara walked from the blazing fire to William. “It’s good to see you up and about, Grey Warden. There was a time there, that even with your friend’s magic, that we were not certain if you would make it through the night.”

William said nothing. Sanara nodded and understood. “Listen, I must thank you for what you have done. Not only have you saved so many lives here,” Sanara said, “but you gave Crusant a chance to redeem himself before the Maker. He stood with you, against the Horde, and fought to the end. I understand that he also… sacrificed… himself… for you,” Sanara continued, tears stinging her eyes. “I do not approve of the use of Blood Magic, I never will,” she added, “but I am glad that he could, in the end, give his life up so that you might live. I pray that he is redeemed in the Maker’s eyes, and that the Maker can forgive him for the sin he committed.”

Bann Orlen approached. “Grey Warden, I can never thank you enough…”

William smiled and shook his head, signaling that he was already done with hearing all this thanks. He turned away and returned to the Chantry to lay down again.

Bann Orlen looked from William to Quinn. “He grows weary,” Quinn answered, flatly.

Bann Orlen’s eyes drifted to Berik, who stood leaning against a post, his arms folded in front of his chest. “I should have you arrested for the murder of my brother still, assassin.”

“Try it,” Quinn warned, shadows looming over his eyes that seemed to burn from the darkness beneath the cowl. “Berik is with us now. Under the Grey Warden’s care. If you attempt to arrest him, I will incinerate your flesh where you stand and send you on your merry way to your lady Andraste.”

Bann Orlen stared at Quinn for a long moment, as if testing him.

“You have more pressing concerns,” Quinn added. “You and your people had better flee to Denerim as quickly as possible. We won’t be here a second time to save you while you hide behind the Chantry doors.”

Bann Orlen spun on his booted heel and left. Sanara looked at Quinn strangely. “He will make a fine Bann when things calm down.”

Quinn looked at her and sneered, “Spare me your feigned kindness and thanks,” as he too took leave, entering the Chantry to sit across from William.

Sanara stood outside the Chantry with Berik who grinned at her. “You know,” he finally said after a moment, “I have always heard that women are like wine. They get better with age and are often more intoxicated in the bedroom. I don’t suppose you have a lot of tension like I do that needs a desperate release?”

Sanara, nearly sixty years old, looked at Berik appalled and rapidly stormed off.

“Wonderful,” Berik muttered. He saw several women standing around the circle of bodies that had been cremated and approached a middle-aged woman. “I couldn’t help but notice you were crying,” he said with feigned sincerity.

“My husband, he died in the darkspawn attack,” she wept.

Berik wrapped his arms around her, “There, there. Which one was he?”

“Turanos,” she said. “His name was Turanos.”

“Ah yes,” Berik nodded holding her close. “Turanos fought like a warrior he did. In his dying words, he held my hand and said that he loved you greatly, and that I should pass the message to you. But he also said that he knew his time was gone and that you should find love again. Perhaps we could retire to your place and share tales of Turanos and his bravery? And share… one another?”

She looked at him, wiping the tears from her eyes, “I would like that. Tonight, I would like that…”
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