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Old 01-18-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
Drizzt Do'Urden

Join Date: November 24, 2001
Location: Neverending Nights
Age: 49
Posts: 634
Default Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

Actually started this back on March 1, 2010...

Dragon Age fanfic that takes place just after the Battle at Ostagar. Touches on some of the characters from the game. Currently writing it. Have no idea at all where I am going with it. If anywhere. I call these brain dumps, where I do small creative bursts of writing to help make my brain get more creative again. A shame I don't know the Dragon Age toolset - could do something I have always wanted to do - a serious machinima with a modern game engine!

Anyway, if you're so inclined, check it out and comment either there or here or not at all!

I even made character pictures which can be seen here.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:00 PM   #2
Drizzt Do'Urden

Join Date: November 24, 2001
Location: Neverending Nights
Age: 49
Posts: 634
Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

Writer's Note: I have no idea where I am going with this. I just plan on adding to it as the mood strikes me. With any luck, those who take the time, will enjoy the ride... Please feel free to comment, question, etc.
__________________________________________________ _____________________________

William sat up suddenly, gasping for breath. His blond hair was blood stained and matted to his face. His hand went to his chest which pounded with pain with each throb of his heart. He tried to look around, but the vision through his sky blue eyes was dark and bleary. He tried to think to a few moments ago - he tried to think back - where was he? Why could he not remember? Why did his heart pound so heavily in chest? He gasped for breath, a certain sense of fear grasping his body within its cold clutches.

A gentle hand touched his bare shoulder. Where was his shirt? His armor? A soft voice assured him, "You are safe for now. You should rest. You wounds were... nearly fatal. Had it not been for mother."

Mother? He tried to fight the sweeping sensation of weariness that suddenly made his mind a further haze. His head became heavy, his eye lids felt as if they were made of steel, and despite his best efforts, William's head gently found itself resting on the tender touch of the pillow once more.

William's eyes opened again, some undisclosed amount of time later. His body still ached horribly - but considering how he had felt previously - this was a blessing. He slowly sat up and looked around.

A simple hut. Wooden. His armor, sword, possessions, all seemed to be nicely placed in a corner. How he hadn't noticed immediately was beyond him - but at the foot of the bed sat a woman in a chair staring directly at him. Alarmed he backed up against the bed - his sword and armor out of reach.

"Relax," the woman sighed. "If I had wanted you dead, I would have already done so, don't you think?"

"Who are you?" He examined her - she was dressed in simple clothes, yet stunningly beautiful beyond words.

"My name is Morrigan," the woman stated matter-of-factly as she stood up. "It would seem that one of your own betrayed you from what I observed."

"Teryan Loghain," William tried to say the name. "The signal... it was set... I saw it... but then I watched... Teryan Loghain take his men and march away... Why would he do this?"

Morrigan shrugged her shoulders, uncaring. "I don't even know who this Teryan Loghain is. But if he's the one on the hill - the one that should have led his men down when the signal was made - then yes. It would seem he deserted you on the battle field and left all of you to die."

"How many... survived?" William asked, hopeful - but he knew.

"From the field of battle, only you were found by my mother," Morrigan replied. "She returned to the battle - she believes she can try and rescue the ones in the tower who lit the fire. I say she's mad. But mother... she doesn't ever listen to me."

William tried to sit up and was greeted by pain that wracked his body, ruthlessly reminding him his body was still mending. Morrigan stood. "You should take it easy. See if mother does bring back more survivors."

"There's no time," William winced, tears stung the corner of his eyes. "I have to do something about Teyrn Loghain. He must pay for this crime." William looked up from the blood stained matted locked that covered his eyes. "One way or another, Teyrn Loghain must pay."

Morrigan shook her head. "Your body is still healing. Mending itself. You're in no shape to be chasing after this Teyrn Loghain just yet. There's still Darkspawn out there. They'll catch your scent and destroy you - and all of mother's efforts to rescue you and heal you with magic will have been wasted."

"Heal me with magic?" William looked around. "This does not look like a dwelling from the Circle of Mages. Are you... witches?"

"Witches," Morrigan laughed at the name. "Well, I suppose we are. But we're not Blood Mages if that's what you're worried about."

William grabbed his armor and began putting it on, with great effort.

"There's no stopping you is there," Morrigan asked with an amused smile.

"Teyrn Loghain must pay," William grunted through the pain. "And I will not remain in the company of witches long enough for you to charm or vex me."

"We have been trying to heal you," Morrigan replied, though not defensively - more matter-of-factly. "If we had wanted to make you our unwilling servants, we would have done so before reviving you, don't you think?"

"I know not what to think, my head is clouded, no doubt by your magic," William said as he put on the metal shoulder piece.

"Or perhaps because most of the blood in your body was watering the grass of the bloodstained battle field," Morrigan countered. "But if you can't be stopped, I certainly won't stop you. Mother will be disappointed, but then Mother is easily disappointed. Go then. Be gone with you. Good luck to you and your quest to bring this Teyrn Loghain to justice."

William walked out the door and did not look back.

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

Join Date: November 24, 2001
Location: Neverending Nights
Age: 49
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.


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.

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Old 01-18-2013, 03:01 PM   #4
Drizzt Do'Urden

Join Date: November 24, 2001
Location: Neverending Nights
Age: 49
Posts: 634
Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

The fire crackled, sending small embers into the air, like birds flying through the thick clouds, seeking the clear skies above.

“So what were you before you became one of them,” Quinn asked as he jabbed the fire again, sending a multitude of embers flowing into the mist, in their circular dance of death.

William looked at Quinn as he shined his sword with the tattered cloth he had ripped from his own clothes.

“Before you became a Grey Warden,” Quinn elaborated, though he knew that William knew exactly what he meant.

“I was nothing,” William answered. “No one. Nothing. I was a beggar on the streets of Denerim. I had no life. I had no future.”

“The perfect candidate for becoming a Grey Warden,” Quinn said with an eerie smile, his eyes staring directly into the fire. “Someone with no hope, no future, no family. If you go missing, get killed, die during the Grey Warden Ritual, no one cares, no one misses you.” Quinn shook his head. “Who was it that recruited you?”

“Riordan,” William said, thinking back to the fateful day that Riordan had recruited him. “Riordan had watched me fight several other humans that had begun beating up on several Elves who were passing through the alleyway near the Alienage. I had approached the humans telling them that the Elves had nothing and were best left alone. But the humans did not listen. They drew their daggers and swords, and with no weapon in hand, I had improvised and used a stick from the ground to strike the first human in the ear. The human had grabbed his ear in pain giving me the opening I needed to strike him in the back of the head, rendering him unconscious. I grabbed the human’s dagger after he collapsed, and fought the other three humans; killing one, as the other two fled. The Elves were grateful, yet fearful. I still regret letting those two humans go. I had seen them before roughing up Elves. Veras and Saritor – that was their names. They were up to something… something bad. I know it. But the guards of Denerim… they wouldn’t listen to me. And why would they? I was just a beggar until Riordan came up to me after that fight… That’s when Riordan had approached me, told me he had observed the fight and that he would like to recruit me into the Grey Warden; to give me a purpose in life.”

“Riordan,” Quinn said with a light laugh. He peered at William who sat across from him. The flames danced, casting unusual shadows across Quinn’s face. “I know Riordan well. He was also the one who recruited me from the Circle.” Quinn shook his head. “So if you know Riordan, then you know about his saying; how, as Grey Warden, you are not judges. Kinslayers, Blood Mages, traitors, rebels, carta thugs, common bandits; anyone with the skill and mettle to take up the sword against the Darkspawn was welcome in the Grey Wardens.”

William said nothing, instead he continued to shine his sword. The sword was clean. But he kept cleaning. It gave him something to do. Something for him to think about other than what they should be doing next. He finally looked up and stared at Quinn, “I remember he also said the Joining binds us to the Darkspawn. Those who forswear their oath and flee will eventually find themselves in the Deep Roads or deep into the Blighted Lands, given time.”

“Why do you think I’m here?” Quinn scoffed. It was clear to William that Quinn hated the fact that the blood that coursed through his veins called to him to put an end to the Darkspawn. It was the single aspect of Quinn’s life, William realized, that he could not control, despite all of his power as a Blood Mage.

“It was Riordan who convinced me to become a Blood Mage,” Quinn finally said after a long moment of silence. He shoved at the wood with a stick again, sending yet more embers up, as if they were the fireflies that would guide him to his past memory. “Riordan saw great potential in me as a mage at the Circle. He was impressed by how quickly I had mastered the magic that many could not – even my own seniors. Riordan saw in me that the Circle was holding me back. If I was truly to be an asset to the Grey Wardens, I had to be free of the Circle’s constraints. I had to tap into a magic far darker than the Circle would ever permit. Riordan kept watch over me, kept me out of trouble, out of the reach of the Templars. Until Ostagar,” Quinn shook his head at the memory. “One of the members of the Circle … displeased with me having become a Blood Mage, foolishly… challenged me. I was consumed in the moment of battle. I lost control of myself. I killed him. In a time where we needed every able hand, I destroyed him. And after that, there was little Riordan's comrade, Duncan, could do to keep me out of the hands of the Templars and Magi. It was only because Duncan spoke on behalf of Riordan that I was not immediately slain by the Templars, and that I would be given a trial at the Circle of Magi, to explain my actions, to see if I could be… redeemed.” The last words fell from Quinn’s lips with great effort, as if speaking them would poison his body.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:01 PM   #5
Drizzt Do'Urden

Join Date: November 24, 2001
Location: Neverending Nights
Age: 49
Posts: 634
Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

William took the same rag that he had used to shine his sword and dipped it into his over turned helmet, which he had used to capture water from the small pond. It was not the cleanest of water, but it was better than being splattered by blood, muck and soot. He used the rag to clean off his face, his ice blue eyes, peering from his matted blond locks of hair, “Why would Riordan ask you to become a Blood Mage, if you were already powerful as a Mage?”

“Because,” Quinn answered, laying on his side, his hands folded under his head, “Riordan saw the Blight for what it really was. Both Teyrn Loghain and King Cailan, rest in peace, underestimated the Blight. They weren’t Grey Warden. They couldn’t hear the Arch-Demon. They didn’t know how serious it was. When Riordan recruited me – he told me that the chances of surviving this Blight were next to impossible. But it was always the Grey Warden’s way to fight. Despite the odds.” Quinn shook his head. “Damn fool.”

Quinn sat up. “Now the damn idiot is probably dead, lying on some battle field, being feasted on by those vile Darkspawn.” He shook his head again. “I actually liked Riordan,” Quinn admitted, with a slight smile, as if recalling some distant memory. “He knew what it was like. He knew what it took. Despite Blood Magic being banned all over Ferelden, the Grey Wardens had always been allowed to use Blood Magic. They justified it as an excuse to fight the Darkspawn. Riordan knew the potential of Blood Mages. Knew what it was like to unlock that power – to use it against the Darkspawn.” Quinn scoffed as he laid his head down, “I’ve even heard that Grey Wardens have even intentionally become abominations…”

William looked at Quinn as the Blood Mage laid down again. From beneath his locks of blood stained, golden locks of hair, William watched Quinn. The Blood Mage simply closed his eyes and said, “You have first watch. The Korcari Wilds are full of things – not just Darkspawn.”

The fire flickered and faded; embers danced into the sky, trying to escape the flames of fire, like souls that had been damned for eternity. William’s gaze had been transfixed to the dying fire, as darkness slowly crept in closer with the dying flame rapidly fading.

William’s eyes fluttered as he fought to stay awake. Images poured into his memory. He stood there, holding the goblet in his hand, when he realized the tainted blood he had been asked to fetch by Riordan was what he was about to consume. He had seen Blaine drink from his goblet; and watched as Blaine screamed in horror moments later, grasping at his head and screaming over and over. The vivid image of Blaine’s body going into convulsions brought fear into his mind and heart, until finally Blaine’s body ceased moving and his gaze suddenly turned to the dark skies, lacking all forms of expression. Blaine had not survived the joining.

There was another image. A demon. Screaming. William could see them marching. The Darkspawn. Thousands of them. Marching.

William gasped and his eyes flew open.

“Good to know I can trust you to keep guard,” Quinn said, matter-of-factly as he packed his bag. “Surprised neither of us is dead because of your recklessness. The least you could have done is woke me up. Told me you were tired. Something.”

The daylight through the treetops tried to burn away the mist that haunted the Korcari Wilds. William rubbed his eyes, tried to focus, tried to shake the images out of his head. That’s when he noticed blood splattered on Quinn’s robes that had not been there the night before.

“What,” William began to ask, but Quinn pointed to three bodies near the camp.

“Darkspawn,” Quinn snapped. “Three of them. Thankfully, very loud. Woke me up from my slumber. Saw them before they saw me. But they’re tracking us through the blood. They will keep coming for us. We have to get moving. Out of the Wilds, because it’s crawling with Darkspawn looking for survivors of the battle of Ostagar.”

William stood. His body ached. “We should go to Lothering. It’s the closest town. If there’s other survivors, perhaps they had gone there as well.”
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
Drizzt Do'Urden

Join Date: November 24, 2001
Location: Neverending Nights
Age: 49
Posts: 634
Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.


“Up ahead,” Quinn gestured with a nod of his head. “Highway men on the ramp to Lothering. Shall I,” Quinn began to ask, a flare in his eyes, like a cat whose locked its gaze on an unsuspecting mouse.

“No,” William looked at Quinn in shock. “Unless it comes to it, let’s just take this easy and not draw attention to ourselves.”

William and Quinn walked on the shattered cobbles stone path that led to Lothering. One of the Highway Men, who had been tormenting a wounded Mabari. The Highway Man turned and watched as William and Quinn approached. “Well, what do we have here? Looking to get to Lothering?”

“We are,” William nodded coolly. “We hope without any trouble.”

“There’s no trouble to be found here,” the Highway Man smiled. “We’re just here to collect the toll to Lothering.”

“There’s no toll to get to Lothering,” Quinn snapped, stepping forward. William extended his hand and kept Quinn behind him.

“Good little Mage,” the Highway Man smirked, “your master had best keep you on a leash. I wouldn’t want this to get ugly,” he gestured to several of the other Highway Men who came out from behind other crates – clearly possessions claimed by the Highway Men – from those who had passed by previously.

“He’s not my Master,” Quinn growled.

“Easy, Quinn,” William looked at the Blood Mage with annoyance. He looked back to the Highway Men. “What is the cost of this toll?”

“For the two of you,” he glanced at both William and Quinn, trying to guess how much they might have. “Thirty Silver.”

“I have thirty silver,” William answered as he reached into his pouch. The Highway Man looked back at his companions and smiled – thankful, perhaps – to have avoided a fight escalating.

William held the coin in his hand. “Before I pay you, how much for the Mabari?”

The Highway Man was stunned. He looked at the wounded canine then back at William. “The beast’s half dead. But for you, esteemed traveler, I will sell it to you for fifty silver.”

“Fifty Silver?” Quinn snapped. “The beast is almost dead! William, we don’t need a dying Mabari.”

“Silence Quinn,” William barked. “The Mabari are to be respected. Not tormented at the hands of these Highway Men.”

“Tormented?” The Highway Man looked shocked and appalled by such an accusation. “We saved the blasted beast!”

The Mabari growled. The Highway Man shot the caged Mabari a callous look.

“Here,” William handed the Highway Man the amount of requested coin. William kneeled down and opened the cage, allowing the wounded Mabari to approach him, whining and limping. William stood and looked at the Highway Man. “This Mabari was no doubt fighting in Ostagar. If I find that you have tortured this animal in anyway, there is no force in this world that will stop me from killing you.”

“Not worried,” the Highway Man sneered as he counted the coin. “We didn’t hurt the thing.”

William and Quinn walked passed the Highway Man who were smug with joy. Quinn looked at William, “I could have easily dispatched of them. Made them pay for what they have done to this mutt you purchased, as well as others they have no doubt tormented.”

“You would have also drawn his attention,” William nodded ahead of them as they walked down the cobble path. A Templar stood guard just outside of Lothering’s gates. William looked at Quinn, “I’d rather you not draw the attention of the Templars. Not now.”

Quinn scoffed. “I could have taken care of him just as easily if he would have given us trouble,” he said under his breath as they approached the Templar.

“And what next,” William asked. “The entire town?”

“If that’s what it took,” Quinn snapped. “They’re as good as dead anyway. Look at them. All refugees fleeing, huddled about like rats in a den. There’s no Grey Warden here, William. The Darkspawn are marching this way. The people of Lothering are doomed.”

William looked at Quinn as they approached the Templar. “Your demeanor is heartwarming,” William sighed. William turned his gaze to the Templar. “Maker be with you,” William nodded.

“Andraste’s Blessing,” the Templar nodded. His eyes seemed to focus on Quinn when he spoke the next words, “Make no trouble during your stay in Lothering.”

Quinn merely smiled back at the Templar with false joy, “I would not think of it.”

Quinn could have sworn he heard the Templar mutter something beneath the steel helm from which his eyes peered from.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:02 PM   #7
Drizzt Do'Urden

Join Date: November 24, 2001
Location: Neverending Nights
Age: 49
Posts: 634
Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

Sky blue eyes gazed the small town of Lothering. Something was not right. As William passed a small family of Elves who sat by the river, he signaled Quinn to hold for a moment. Approaching the Elves who watched in dread fear as William grew closer, he knelt before the little girl. “Hello, may I purchase your blanket from you?”

“Purchase?” the male elf, clearly the father, seemed shocked. “I just assumed... you would take it... if you wanted it.”

William shook his head. “It would seem that you have all been through enough. I just need the blanket to use as a cloak.”

“Yes, well of course,” the father gestured to the daughter to get off the blanket she had been sitting on. “What would be a fair price to you, sir?”

William smiled. “You name the price. It is your blanket.”

“Would three silver be good?” the elf asked, clearly pricing well below the blanket's worth, for fear of upsetting William.

“Fifteen silver it is,” William smiled as he reached into his pouch and placed it in the hand of the stammering Elf who tried to correct William about the desired price. William closed his hand over the Elf's hand. “Take it. Take care of them,” William's eyes drifted to the wife and child. “And when you can, get out of Lothering. Head north. Away from here. The Darkspawn are marching this way. Do you understand me?”

“Yes,” the Elf stammered. “Of course. My thanks. May the Maker watch over you.”

“And you as well,” William said with a nod of his head as he threw the blanket over his shoulder and made an impromptu cloak.

Quinn shot William a questioning glance as he approached. “What's with the cloak?” Quinn looked beyond William to the Elves and shook his head. “And let me guess. You paid a handsome fee for it, by the looks of those elves.”

“Something's wrong here,” William said as he tied the cloak into a knot. His young, blue eyes looked around. “Everyone's tense.”

“Why wouldn't they be?” Quinn scoffed. “The Blight's headed this way. The place is crawling with refugees.”

William nodded. “Something else has them on edge. I don't know what it is. And,” William looked behind him at the Elves, “as for them – let's just say that I pray the Maker sees them through this. I've done what I can to help them, as they have helped me.”

“You are without a doubt,” Quinn began, “the strangest Grey Warden I know.”

William turned and looked at Quinn as they crossed over a small, stone, cobble bridge. “I am not sure if that's a good or bad thing, yet.” He stopped at the height of the bridge and pointed. “There, Dane's Refuge. Perhaps we could find someone there from Ostagar.”

“Or we could find trouble,” Quinn said, not as a warning, almost hopeful.

Upon reaching the door, William turned to the Mabari, “You will have to sit outside. Keep guard.”

The Mabari seemed content to listen, and laid just outside the door. William pulled the cowl over his head and entered the tavern.

His soft colored eyes adjusted to the candle lit tavern, and instantly he saw the first sign of trouble.

“Teyrn Loghain's men,” Quinn whispered, a smile on his lips. He could feel it inside of him; the desire to unleash his Blood Magic. “We can take them. There's only six of them.”

“No,” William whispered, lowering Quinn's hands. “No fighting, unless it comes to it. With any luck they won't recognize us.” William looked down and ensured that the cloak covered the Grey Warden crest on his armor. He signaled to Quinn, pointing out a table in the corner. They moved across the small tavern with little trouble. Teyrn Loghain's men were loud; demanding more drinks, and that they were the only force keeping the Darkspawn away from Lothering. “They prattle lies,” William growled. “They have done nothing to protect Lothering. Why, there's Highway Men right at Lothering's entrance.”

“They're here for one reason, and one reason alone, William,” Quinn said, keeping his voice low.

“Oh, and what is that?” William asked, feeling the anger rise within him as Teyrn Loghain's men continued to talk of how they fearlessly fought Darkspawn until Teyrn Loghain called for a retreat.

“They're looking for Grey Warden,” Quinn answered. “Grey Warden who might have survived Ostagar, and could protest Teyrn Loghain's actions. Remember, Teyrn Loghain has deemed all Grey Warden betrayers to the King, and claim that the Grey Warden are the murderers, indirectly or perhaps even directly, of the King Calian.”

William observed as Danal, the owner of Dane's Refuge, moved across the room. Now William could see why the men were being so loud. There was a woman there, in the face of the leader of this band of Teyrn Loghain's men.

Danal pushed the red headed woman back, slightly. “Leliana, you know I don't mind you carrying on about these visions you have had,” the owner sighed, “but the bother Teyrn Loghain's men – and call them liars – that is not... healthy.”

“But they are liars,” Leliana said. “I have seen it. Sooner or later, the true heroes will arrive. And,” she glanced back at Teyrn Loghain's men who were smiling at her smuggly, “they will put an end to Teyrn Loghain, the Darkspawn, everything. They will be the ones to set the world right again.”

“That's fine, Leliana,” Danal replied, exasperated. “I just need you to sit down. Teyrn Loghain's men are already drunk – loud – they don't need to be further provoked.”

“Yes,” Leliana said and sat down. “Of course.” Her angry eyes fell on Teyrn Loghain's men.

“There's no Grey Warden in here,” Quinn said, “Well other than you.”

“And you,” William replied.

Quinn shook his head. “I hardly think of myself as a Grey Warden.” Quinn looked around. “So what next? What if you're the only one who survived?”

“You survived,” William retorted. “That means others like us could have survived. But where would they go? Surly they would not march to Denerim without a force behind them?”

“Would they Grey Warden even truly worry about Teyrn Loghain and his claims during a Blight?” Quinn asked.

“I don't know,” William shook his head. “I was hoping a small force of Grey Warden would be here. So I would just...”

“Join them and not have to think for yourself,” Quinn finished.

William looked up from his drink. “Perhaps. Yes.”

“It's the blood,” Quinn answered. “It's urging you to fight the Darkspawn, because the song is getting louder and louder. Making it increasingly difficult to think for yourself.”

“If that's it,” William stood, and placed the glass on the table. “Then let's find some Darkspawn.”

“Now that is a plan I can agree with,” Quinn said, as he stood and followed William out the door. William called the Mabari over. He looked at the Mabari, “There's a woman over there with medical supplies. Perhaps she has something for the Mabari.”

Making their way from Dane's Refuge, they approached an elderly woman. “My lady, would you happen to have any supplies for the wounded?”

The woman looked William and Quinn over. “Neither of you appears wounded.”

“It is for the Mabari,” William answered.

“You would ask that I surrender my supplies to mend a Mabari,” the woman was shocked. “I know the Mabari are highly regarded, but above human life? Do you not see the people of Lothering? The refugees?”

“I am not asking you to surrender your supplies to me,” William corrected. “I will pay for them. Handsomely.”

“We could just take it,” Quinn hissed. “Show her the crest you wear on your breastplate. As a Grey Warden it's your given right to take supplies for the wounded.”

William looked at Quinn and scolded him without saying a word. He turned back to the woman. “I have sixty silver,” William lifted his pouch and handed to her, “for what supplies you could provide me.”

The woman was shocked. With that much she could easily hire someone to gather her plenty of supplies. “Fine then,” the woman nodded, handing William her small supplies. “I will merely pay for another to fetch me supplies in the field beyond.”

“Your kindness is greatly appreciated, fair lady,” William nodded. He knelt down before the Mabari and began tending to its wounds. “We shall name you Forodin.”

The Mabari seemed to smile back at William.

Quinn all the while simply shook his head.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:02 PM   #8
Drizzt Do'Urden

Join Date: November 24, 2001
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Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

Somewhere in the distance, a wolf howled to the lonely moon that hung in the darkened skies above. “Blight wolf,” Quinn pointed, his eyes peering into the darkness beyond the campfire. “You can hear it, can’t you?”

William turned and looked at Quinn. “The song of the Darkspawn. It’s pounding in my head,” William admitted. “They’re on the move. In great numbers, rising from the South.” There was no need to tell Quinn, though the Blood Mage seemed less affected by the Blight Song.

Day and night, they could hear the Blight Wolves, always somewhere behind them, it seemed, trailing them. They continued to move West, on the northern side of the Drakon River. In an attempt to loose their pursuers, they crossed to the southern side of the Drakon River on the third night.

“The land,” Quinn pointed out.

“By the Maker,” William muttered, drawing his breath. The disease of the Blight had not yet crossed the river. The difference was breathtakingly horrible. On the Southern side of the Drakon River, the Earth itself seemed to have withered and died at the touch of the Blight; the grass had died, and turned brown, everything seemed brittle and fragile. As if matching the darkened mood found on the southern side of the Drakon River, black clouds blotted out the sun.

Forodin suddenly snapped William from his thoughts as a low growl escaped his chest. William looked at Forodin, who seemed to be intently peering at the grassy hedge just ahead. Mabari were not to be taken lightly; and already Forodin had proved himself as they voyage from Lothering had brought them into several scattered scouting parties of Darkspawn; and Forodin attacked with calculated strikes and viciousness.

William drew his blade and moved slowly towards the hedge. Quinn shook his head and began preparing a spell that would eliminate any threat that emerged. William peered through the hedge and saw a small town. No one seemed to be stirring within the town. William signaled Quinn to come closer and look. “A town,” Quinn shrugged. “Your dog is growling at an empty town.”

“Empty because of the Darkspawn,” Quinn went on to say. “Whatever this small town was – they’re no more. Dragged into the underground by the Darkspawn, to become the latest victims.”

“Something’s not right,” William shook his head. “I can feel it. Come on.”

“In there?” Quinn scoffed. “You won’t find anything but corpses.”

“That should be properly buried,” William responded, “so that the Maker can properly welcome them.”

“We are not about to dig an assortment of graves,” Quinn growled. “I will not dirty my hands for such a task.”

Despite his protests, Quinn followed William into the small town. Bodies littered the town’s roads. Farmers, most of them, dead. “They never stood a chance,” William whispered, shocked by the decimated town. “No women,” William finally said after a moment. “Where are the female victims?”

“Probably dragged beneath the surface for whatever perversion the Darkspawn have in mind,” Quinn said matter-of-factly. The thought churned William’s stomach, bleached his face white with sickness.

Forodin began growling again. William spun around with his sword in hand. A young child stood before them, his skin darkened and stained with welts, cuts, and bruises, all of which were emitting some kind of greenish-red liquid.

“He’s been infected by the Taint,” Quinn said in hushed tones.

“They came before dawn; the Darkspawn! The Darkspawn! Came and slaughtered, father and son, took mother and daughter! Their taint in our veins! Bind us with invisible chains! Not much left of me! Far less than what you see! Not much left of me…”

“He’s become a ghoul,” Quinn said more loudly. “There’s nothing left of him. He’s standing before us – flesh and blood – but he’s gone. You have to kill him. Put him out of his misery.”

William stared at the young boy, who had begun repeating the chant of the Darkspawn invasion. “I will make them pay for this,” William whispered. “Maker forgive me and take this boy into your arms.”

With that, William swung his blade with all of his force, decapitating the boy’s head, which landed at his feet, eerily looking up at him with a strange smile.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:02 PM   #9
Drizzt Do'Urden

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Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

“You’re a strange one,” Quinn looked at William, as if unsure what to truly think. “You’re like no Grey Warden I know.”

William looked up. The dark of night covered his light colored eyes, beneath the lockes of hair. “I am not sure how to take that,” William commented as the Mabari, Forodin, settled next to him.

Quinn shook his head. “Most Grey Warden would not go through the lengths you have to,” Quinn looked outside the window of the abandoned building they had taken refuge in, “to properly take care of the dead as you have. Not when there’s a Blight.”

“Doing this helps put the Call aside,” William answered. “For the brief moment, I can think of something else besides the urge to run madly into the Deep Roads and fight the Blight single-handedly.”

“Any other Grey Warden would be doing just that,” Quinn retorted, matter-of-factly. “As a matter of fact, if any of them survived Ostagar, that’s probably where they are. Rushing head long into battle – one against a horde. But,” Quinn looked back at William, as William stroked the course fur of the Mabari, “not you. Why?”

“There’s a difference between finding an honorable death in battle,” William explained, “and being suicidal. To rush off and die would do no good. I would not single handedly stop the Darkspawn. Teyrn Loghain would get away with abandoning the Grey Wardens at Ostagar. I try to keep those things in mind, above the pounding urge of the Call.” William paused a moment, “What about you? You said you were a Grey Warden before becoming a Blood Mage. How is it you resist the Call of the Grey Wardens?”

Quinn was silent for a long moment. “The day I became a Blood Mage, and made a deal with the Desire Demon that Riordan had captured that had possessed a young girl… I heard the Grey Warden Call. But that day… the deal with the demon… the day I became a Blood Mage… it somehow… severed my bond with the Grey Warden… took away any… proof I had survived the Joining.”

“The demon severed the tie,” William responded, “no doubt to protect its interest. Whatever deal you struck with that demon to become the Blood Mage you are; what benefit would it be to the demon if you rushed into battle against the Darkspawn and perished.”

“Perhaps,” Quinn said quietly.

“Can I ask what deal you struck with the demon,” William asked.

“You can ask,” Quinn answered as he looked away, his gaze peering out into the bleak, black sky. “But it does not mean,” he added after a moment, turning to face William, “that I will answer you.”
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:03 PM   #10
Drizzt Do'Urden

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Default Re: Dragon Age: Life Begins With Death.

William awoke to the sound of Forodin’s growling. Sitting up he looked around, his eyes trying to adjust to the dark. “What is it,” he whispered, asking the Mabari that continued to growl. Slowly, William reached over to Quinn and shook him awake, immediately signaling him to be silent. There was no need to keep watch anymore; sneaking on a Mabari was virtually impossible. Something outside had triggered the Mabari’s hackles to stand on edge.

William slowly eased up so that he made as little noise as possible and peered outside the shattered window. His eyes tried to adjust to the dark, but the moon and stars had been blotted out by the very Blight that had tainted this part of the land, as dark clouds consumed the most feeble bits of light that had struggled to get by.

For a moment, William wasn’t sure he could believe his eyes. There was a woman. And she was running. Frantic. Scared.

William quickly stood and ran out of the house, despite Quinn trying to grab him. “William, don’t this could be a trap!” Quinn snapped, but the Blood Mage had been too late. The ever valiant William was already out the door, with Forodin right behind him. Quinn quickly stood and prepared a spell on the edge of his lips.

“Over here,” William called out to the woman, who paused, and stared through the darkness, unsure to believe what she was seeing. Once she believed what her eyes had shown her, her dash towards William had become even more frantic than before. She wrapped her arms around William, then hid behind him.

“They’re after me,” she wheezed, barely with enough breath to remain conscious. “They’re everywhere.”

“Who?” William asked, as his eyes peeked into the dark.

“Darkspawn,” the woman huffed between deep breaths. Even as she spoke the word, nearly ten Darkspawn emerged from the brush that she had just emerged from. They saw William and howled, pounding on their chest.

William drew his sword. “Quinn, Darkspawn out here.”

The woman, puzzled, looked around to see who the Grey Warden had been talking to. That’s when she saw Quinn standing up in the nearby abandoned building. “You’re a Grey Warden,” Quinn shouted, “go vanquish them!” William looked to Quinn, who was smirking as he was coming out of the abandoned house. “Only ten of them. Any Grey Warden worth his steel can handle ten Darkspawn.”

“Fine,” William growled. “And here I thought you were itching for a fight.” William looked at the woman. “Wait here. Forodin, guard her at all costs. All costs, do you hear me?”

Forodin barked an approval.

William drew his sword and charged the Darkspawn. Seeing the Grey Warden, the Darkspawn howled in joy and charged as well. The first Darkspawn to reach William was cleaved in half, as William’s blade cut clean through. In that same fluid motion, William brought the bottom of his hilt up and hit the next Darkspawn on what would have been the bridge of its nose. That Darkspawn toppled over backwards from the sheer force, and before it could recover, William brought his steel boot through the creature’s face. Still moving fluidly, he then spun his hilt in his hand and stabbed behind him, running his blade through the Darkspawn that had hoped to strike from behind. With that Darkspawn still with his sword through it, he used his closet metal gloved fist to punch the next Darkspawn charging him. It too fell over, which allowed William to pull his blade from the Darkspawn he had stabbed and crush the throat of the Darkspawn he had just punched.

The woman, fearful, looked at Quinn. “Are you not going to help your friend?”

Quinn, annoyed, looked at the woman. “Not yet.” He took closer notice at her clothing. She was from the Chantry. Wonderful, he told himself. She should like this…

Just as William finished off the last Darkspawn, the ground seemed to shake. “What in the…”

Suddenly the bushes ripped apart and an Ogre stepped through howling with fury. “Ogre!” William shouted. Of all the Darkspawn, the Ogres were the most respected and feared for their sheer strength and power, and steel determination. Most Ogres did not know when they were dead and should fall over.

“Now,” Quinn said, “I will help my ‘friend’ as you call him.”

Taking a ceremonial dagger he cut his palm open and squeezed his hand tightly, feeling the blood run down his arm. With his other hand he pointed at the Ogre and closed his eyes and began chanting.

The Ogre suddenly ceased moving and howled in pain. Quinn strained. William watched in almost fascinated horror as the Ogre’s eyes began to bleed; then its ears; then mouth, and soon its entire body was convulsing before it suddenly exploded, splattering blood everywhere.

“You’re a Blood Mage,” the woman screamed.

“And I just helped save your life,” Quinn snapped, grabbing the woman by the arm.

William grabbed Quinn’s wrist. “Let her go, Quinn. Right. Now.”

Quinn looked at William and with a yank pulled his wrist free and released the woman. “You don’t get it, William. She will run to the first Chantry she finds and turn me in to the Templars. They will execute me for being a Blood Mage, since there’s no one from Ostagar to speak on my behalf. Then they will possibly execute you or imprison you for your association with me.”

“Settle down, Quinn,” William snapped. “I think her first concern is surviving,” he said as he looked at the woman. Despite the soot, dried blood, and stains all over her face, hair and clothes; the woman was strikingly beautiful. “Listen to me,” he said to the woman, as her horrified eyes locked on an angry Quinn. “We can help you get to a safe place. But you will have to trust us.”

“Trust you?” she spat the words. “You’re walking with a Blood Mage!”

“Even the Chantry recognizes the fact that during a Blight, the Grey Wardens, which I am,” he pulled back the cloak he had made from the blanket he had previous purchased from the Elves, “use anyone strong enough to stand up against the Blight – including Blood Mages.”

“Perhaps the fact that there is a Blight going on escaped her,” Quinn quibbled sarcastically.

“Enough Quinn,” William said, looking at the Blood Mage sternly. William turned back to the woman. “These are not safe times to be traveling. How did you even get here?”

“I was with others, from a caravan from the Chantry of Lothering,” the woman explained. “We were on our way here, to spread the Chant of Light when our caravan was attacked by brigands.”

“Those were not brigands,” William pointed to the piled corpses of Darkspawn. “Those are Darkspawn.”

“No,” the woman shook her head. “It had been highway men who blocked the road. They were going to…” The woman shook her head. “Well, they took Sister Devera… they… raped her. Said the rest was going to happen to us. But that’s when I heard Devera scream. I thought it was the brigands. Then I heard the brigands scream. I knew something was wrong. When the ones guarding us went to check on the others… I fled… hearing their screams behind me.”

“We will get you somewhere safe,” William assured her. He ran his hand through her sunset colored hair and pushed behind her ears. “You just need to have faith in us.”

“May the Maker forgive me,” the woman answered, looking at Quinn.
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