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Old 01-18-2013, 03:08 PM   #21
Drizzt Do'Urden

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

“The Brecelian Passage,” Quinn looked into the deep forest. The trees swayed in the wind, gently whispering as the branches danced and tangled amongst one another. “If we go through here, we can cut several days of travel to Denerim, rather than going around the forest.”

“We should not venture through the woods,” Navah looked from Quinn, then to William. “If the things that Quinn said is true… the woods may prove too dangerous to pass through. Darkspawn is one thing, you can sense them William. But werewolves, from the stories I have heard, are cunning hunters, and hunt in packs. We would be foolish to try and cut through the woods.”

William looked at Berik to see if the Rivainian Elf Assassin had anything else to add. The assassin smirked, “What do I care? If we go in the woods, we fight some big wolves. If it gets too bad, I just slide into a shadow and make my get away, right?” Though he had said it with a smirk, and a hint of humor in his voice, William could not tell when Berik was joking and when he was telling the truth. Some of the stories Berik shared were so outlandish that it became difficult to tell when he was just telling a story of some grand adventure or some highly exaggerated tale.

“Let’s go around,” William finally said. “It will take us a few extra days to reach Denerim, but it will be safer.”

Following the western side of the Brecelian Forest, between the dense woods and the mountain range, the trek proved to be slower than they had anticipated. The Brecelian Forest reached out, directly against the mountain range, forcing them to climb upward, into the mountain range itself.

The chill of winter bite deeper the higher they climbed. On the third night, Berik returned from scouting. “You’re not going to believe this, but I saw smoke not far from here. That means some form of village or something.”

“Out here?” Quinn asked. “There’s no villages that I know of out here in these mountains.”

“Well,” Berik shrugged, “I don’t know what to tell you. I saw smoke. Which means fire. Which means warmth. It beats shivering in these caves, taking shelter from the snow.” Berik smiled, “And besides, civilization means finding someone to share a warm bed with.”

“I hate to admit it,” Quinn muttered, “but I wouldn’t mind a soft bed to sleep in, if there’s an inn or something.”

Two guards, adorned in bright chainmail stood proudly as William and the others approached. “What business do you have here?” One of the guards asked, his hand moving to the hilt of his blade.

“We seek shelter from the snow and cold,” William answered, stepping forward. “I am Grey Warden.”

“You, nor the Grey Warden are welcomed or have any jurisdiction here,” the guard replied.

“This is Ferelden land,” William said more firmly.

“We do not consider ourselves Fereldians,” the second guard retorted. He approached the first guard and put his hand on his shoulder. “However, we do not want any trouble. If you promise to remain within the Inn and leave at dawn’s early light, I see no problem with you being here.”

“Understood,” William acknowledged, still scowling at the first guard who eyed him with great disdain.

As they approached the building that had been an Inn, pointed out by the second guard, Quinn quickened his pace as much as he could, while leaning heavily on his staff. “There’s something wrong here,” Quinn whispered. “I have never heard of a town called Nahash. I am well read, well versed.”

“I know,” William muttered with a smile. “Relax, Quinn.” William placed his hand on Quinn’s shoulder reassuringly. “Look at this place. The wood work and stone work look new. And judging by the guard’s reaction, they have probably made no indication to make their presence known to the general public of Ferelden because they’d be forced to submit to a Bann or Arl in the area.”

“And why do they have an Inn, if they don’t allow anyone within their walls?” Berik asked, walking behind William and Quinn. “That seems kind of strange, right?”

As they entered the Inn, William looked at the others and approached the Innkeeper who looked somewhat disheveled. “Innkeeper, if I may ask a question?” William began.

“Yes, yes, of course Grey Warden,” the Innkeeper smiled, trying to comb back his hair by continuously running his hands through it. “What can I do for you?”

“We were wondering,” William started the question, “why is there an Inn, when my impression from one of the guards outside is that strangers are not welcomed here within Nahash’s walls?”

“Not welcomed?” The Innkeeper laughed. And laughed. Quinn immediately thought that the Innkeeper wasn’t truly laughing because he was amused; he was laughing to buy himself some time to think up a lie. “Strangers are indeed welcomed here. However, with this cold winter and reports of Darkspawn and a Blight… the Inn has sort of fallen short on making money… so I have been forced to let people go. I can’t afford them if folks are too frightened to travel.”

“But my friend over there,” William gestured to Quinn who sat at an empty table, holding onto his staff, dark shadows looming over his eyes, his cowl pulled over his head. Even as the lanterns and candles flickered around the inn, nothing seemed to penetrate the darkness that lingered on his face. “As you can see, he’s a mage. He enjoys explaining how well versed and educated he is,” William chuckled, as if this was all a casual, normal conversation, “and he says he’s never heard of Nahash. I said it’s because the buildings look new. And the guard outside, pretty much gave me the impression that those of you here may not be that excited about being under the thumb of some Bann or Arl, who would not doubt expect taxes out of you.”

“Indeed,” the Innkeeper laughed merrily.

“Then how,” William’s tone suddenly grew cold and serious, “do you expect travelers to ever find you? The only travelers who would wander this way, are those who skirt the edges of the Brecilian Forest, as we have done.”

“We don’t enjoy the idea of a Bann or Arl ruling over us,” the Innkeeper replied, seeing that this had been a set up to learn more about Nahash. “But there were enough travelers who stumbled across our town, just as you have, who skirt the edge of the Brecilian Forest, for fear of the rumors that the forest is haunted and plagued with werewolves. So rather than house strangers within our own homes, or Church as we had been doing, we built an inn. It was prosperous at first, with people traveling and following the river to Denerim, until they reached the Brecilian Forest, which they would always skate around, and eventually come across us in the mountains. Many were adventurers, some were families, some were merchants. We had all kinds. But ever since this Blight and Darkspawn thing emerged, no one travels anymore. I don’t think anyone has stayed at this inn for many moons passed. You can imagine my surprise when I was notified that we had… guests.”

Berik walked past William and leaned against the counter. “So, then I don’t suppose you have a Home of Harlots?”

“A what?” the Innkeeper asked, bewildered.

“Evening entertainment? Prostitutes?” Berik explained.

“No,” the innkeeper looked at Berik with disgust. “No. We do not have harlots here.”

“Shame,” Berik shrugged and returned to the table to sit with Quinn. “It would probably dramatically increase business. Not to mention, guards like the welcoming committee out front would be less… agitated.”

William stifled a laugh and looked at the Innkeeper, “We would like four rooms.”

“Unless she wants to share a room with me,” Berik leaned forward and looked at Navah, who blanched at the thought and immediately looked out the frost covered window. Berik looked back at William, “Ah, sadly, four rooms it is.”
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