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Meat and Sarcasm Gal XD
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Tue Aug 4, 2015, 6:22 AM

Okay, so I have to show this off. I MUSTTTT. I commissioned a watercolor from emedeme of a pair of my OC's (main characters in a story I'm writing) and IT CAME.

   SeikoImani by FyreQueen89 

LOOK AT IT. THEY'RE GORGEOUS. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL.  She also sent me a birthday present.

001 by FyreQueen89

It is 100%  safe to assume I squealed. Shrieked, really. And then started doing little pterodactyl screechy noises and trying to remember what words and breathing are. XDD So, in short, they're gorgeous, I'm still speechless at the perfection, and eme is awesome(but we knew that already, yes? :giggle:).

On a completely unrelated note, after hitting the mall yesterday: Hot Topic, Y U have tons of merch for every Hogwarts house EXCEPT Hufflepuff?! We want to show house pride, too. *pout*

  • Reading: Deluge ~Lisa T. Bergren
  • Watching: Stargate: Atlantis
  • Playing: Pillars of Eternity(is harrrd)
  • Drinking: coffee



Tue Aug 4, 2015, 6:22 AM

Okay, so I have to show this off. I MUSTTTT. I commissioned a watercolor from emedeme of a pair of my OC's (main characters in a story I'm writing) and IT CAME.

   SeikoImani by FyreQueen89 

LOOK AT IT. THEY'RE GORGEOUS. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL.  She also sent me a birthday present.

001 by FyreQueen89

It is 100%  safe to assume I squealed. Shrieked, really. And then started doing little pterodactyl screechy noises and trying to remember what words and breathing are. XDD So, in short, they're gorgeous, I'm still speechless at the perfection, and eme is awesome(but we knew that already, yes? :giggle:).

On a completely unrelated note, after hitting the mall yesterday: Hot Topic, Y U have tons of merch for every Hogwarts house EXCEPT Hufflepuff?! We want to show house pride, too. *pout*

  • Reading: Deluge ~Lisa T. Bergren
  • Watching: Stargate: Atlantis
  • Playing: Pillars of Eternity(is harrrd)
  • Drinking: coffee
23. A New Development

They all stare at me  for a minute, no one entirely sure where to go from here. I can practically see the wheels turning behind Jowan and Velanna's eyes as they try to figure out how this happened, and why it took so long for something to show.

Jerin's the one to break the silence. "What exactly is an 'Awakened darkspawn', if y' don't mind my askin'?"

"Oh, that's right, you weren't a Warden yet when we had that fun little adventure," I mutter. "Short version? Some creature called the Architect found a way to create a ritual very similar to the Joining, only using Grey Warden blood to free darkspawn from the Old Gods' song and give them free will. Some of them didn't like that, went crazy, and attacked us, because the Architect needed Grey Wardens. So I guess they figured they'd wipe us out to keep him from allying with us, or using us or whatever. But this was what, two years ago?"

"Closer to three, I think," Jowan chips in.

"Fine, almost three. I just don't understand how or why an Awakened would lay low for two and a half years only to stop caring now. It's weird."

"Very," Velanna agrees. "I wonder if it's injured. You know, it was stealthier and more careful about its movements before, but now is hurt and desperate and doesn't care as much?"

"That's... a possibility," I allow. The only other thing I can come up with is that it hasn't been wandering for two years plus, it's newly awakened, but I really don't want to go there unless we have to. "But I guess we can't really know without findin' and askin' it."

"Wait, they talk?!" Jerin demands, utter disbelief in his eyes.

"Part of being Awakened," I nod, smiling thinly. His reaction isn't that different from mine when I first encountered one at the Vigil. "They can talk, and strategize, and basically do anything a human foe can do--think, learn, outwit you."

"Now there's a comfortin' thought..." he mutters, running a hand over his face.

"Hey, we've beaten a whole army of these things," I point out. "I think, between the four of us, we can handle one."

"I hope so," Jowan mumbles. "It sounds like a tricky devil from what we've learned."

"Let's just... stay positive, shall we?" I give him a pointed, raised eyebrows look and poke him under the table where Jerin and Velanna can't see. "It's still a darkspawn, which means we can still sense it. Shouldn't be that hard to track."

"Except that if we can sense it, it can also sense us, so it'll be able to get away," he counters, ignoring the poke.

"So we follow. It won't get away from us; it can't."

He leaves unsaid the excellent point that it's avoided us so far, instead asking, "So... next move?"

"Well, if it's just one darkspawn, and we won't be looking for multiple sources, we could just stake out that cave, see if it's still using that."

"You mean... just stay out in the woods?" His nose wrinkles in distaste.

"Oh, that's right, you don't like camping," I tease.

"I don't mind camping," Jowan corrects. "I just don't enjoy sleeping outdoors as much as some people do." This time, I'm on the receiving end of the poke to the ribs.

"Aw, was someone spoiled?" I needle, grinning at him.

"Nah, I just had an actual bed the first two decades of my life," he rejoins, raising an eyebrow.

"Would it be a terrible imposition to ask you to stop flirting so we can continue planning our next move?" Velanna interrupts, tone sweet but eyes sharp.

I clear my throat, Jowan cough sheepishly, and we return to the matter at hand. "So, we need to find out if the darkspawn is still living in the cave. Two of us can wait in the woods for that, and the other two can continue investigating the various sites and other caves in the area--"

I'm interrupted by the arrival of Mayor Valemont, who bursts in through the door and promptly almost collapses in relief. "Oh, good, you're here..."

I frown at the man's disheveled state. "What's wrong? Did something happen?"

He nods, actually wringing his hands as he tries to collect himself enough to reply coherently. "Th-There was another sighting."

The four of us are on our feet fast enough we almost knock over the table.

"Where?" Jerin demands.

"The mill," Valemont stutters out. "It went after some of the more remote storage bins. One a' the workers startled it and it ran."

"Alright, Mahariel, Velanna, you two head for the cave, since you've been there before and know the way. Jowan an' I have an in at the mill, so we'll go there, gather what information we can. You watch for signs the darkspawn is back in the cave. Best case, you can get eyes on it and we'll know what we're dealin' with here."

They both nod, Jerin looking like he wants to protest the predictability of the 'Dalish get the woods' assignment. But he keeps his mouth shut and trails Velanna out. Jowan and I aren't far behind. We split off our separate ways with nods of 'good luck' all around.


While the mill is closer in than this darkspawn has come before, it's still toward the outskirts of the town, and secluded enough I can see why it was deemed an acceptable risk.

The few workers and supervisors who hadn't left yet are all milling around, murmuring among themselves. Brady's standing near the edge of the crowd, not looking at all surprised when he sees us coming up the hill.

"Fancy meeting you here," he says wryly. "Betcha didn't plan on runnin' into me again so soon."

"Not so soon, no," I concur. "You sobered up fast. We only saw you a couple hours ago."

He shrugs. "They needed me to cover Dario's shift. Bastard overslept and didn't show again. And, well, let's just say Jasen was sick more often than not this past winter and leave it at I got bills to pay. That can sober a man up real quick."

I have to give him that. "So what happened?"

"Honestly, I'm not entirely sure," Brady admits. "Brenner was out in the bins, doin' random quality checks t' make sure ev'ryone was doin' their jobs proper, and then we hear yellin', then an awful loud thud, then nothin'. S' me an' Chambers go to investigate, find Brenner lyin' senseless, lump on her head an' huge gash on her arm. But one a' the nearby bins had been torn open, so we weren't sure if whoever she bumped into attacked her, or just startled her and made her fall."

"Can we see?" I ask. 

"I can show you the bin," he nods. "But th' foreman took Brenner in his office t' patch her up and isn't lettin' anyone in 'til he thinks she can handle visitors. Foreman's her brother," Brady clarifies when he sees the mild confusion on my face.

"Ah. Well, let's see what we can find from the scene of the... incident, then." I lace my fingers between Jowan's as we head out into the maze of metal grain bins. This should be interesting.
Acceptance ch 23
Not really much to say this week, this chapter fought me quite a bit. Oh, and also, I'm covering extra hours at work for a coworker who's on vacation again(different coworker, but it still equals extra hours for me), so next week's chapter might be short/late/skipped depending on how my writing time goes. Just wanted to give you a heads up. 

Acceptance ch 1

Acceptance ch 22
Jowan, Velanna, and Dragon Age in general belong to BioWare

Rahna, Jerin, and Brady belong to me
Title: Challenge Accepted
Author: FyreQueen89
Game: Dragon Age Inquisition
Characters/Pairings: m!Lavellan/Cassandra, OCs, brief appearance by Vivienne
Disclaimer: World, locations, Cassandra etc belong to BioWare. I'm just borrowing them to give myself an acute case of feels. :)

"Ow. Ow. OW!" The increasingly louder cries of pain were followed by a vehement string of elvish that sounded suspiciously like curses, and then by a remonstrative reply also in elvish but higher pitched.

Cassandra bit back a wry grin as she rapped her knuckles against the doorframe. "Permission to enter?"

Tighe looked up at her from where he was perched on the edge of an infirmary cot, shirt halfway off and something just this side of sheepish in his eyes. "Permission granted."

"Though I don't know if y' really want to," Lira chipped in as the warrior crossed the threshold. "He's bein' a right baby at th' moment."

Tighe wrinkled his nose at his sister's commentary. "It hurts."

"Good," she shot back, clearly exasperated. "Maybe next time you'll think twice when this bonehead challenges you to some stupid competition." A dark look at the lanky blond leaning against the wall.

"Do I want to know what happened?" Cassandra interjected before Tighe could retort.

"Hadrel challenged me t' see who could reach th' battlements first," the elven mage answered, still looking not quite sheepish. "Without usin' th' stairs."

"You mean-"

"Climin' th' wall," Lira supplied with a nod. "Yes. The idiots are lucky they aren't dead."

"We've gone climbin' before!" Hadrel protested, lilt thick on his voice.

"Mythal'enaste.... In trees. Or up cliffs. Nature is easier to climb than mortal-made. As you can see." Lira looked up at Cassandra, huffing hair out of her eyes. "I don't know how you put up with this idiot, I really don't."

The warrior chuckled. As a fellow younger sister, she knew exactly where this tirade was coming from. "Mostly because he's my idiot."

Tighe snorted. "I love you, too, princess."

She ignored the salty comment. "So, what is the damage, exactly?"

Lira sighed. "Dislocated shoulder, two cracked ribs, he may've messed up elbow an' wrist, too, but I dunno yet."

"My hand slipped," Tighe supplied defensively before Cassandra could ask. "'Bout halfway up."

"Halfway-" the warrior swallowed an incredulous snort. Even at the lowest, that was a good twenty feet. "How are you not dead?"

"Sorry to disappoint, emm'asha," he teased, grunting in pain as his sister felt along his arm for other injuries. "There was a roof, 'cause we were... OW... near the OW!!... stables."

Lira sighed in exasperation and snapped something elvish and impatient before concluding, "That's broken..." as she gently pressed Tighe's left wrist.

He muttered something that sounded a lot like curses. "What am I supposed to do about it?"

"Well," she began as she stood. "I can fix your shoulder, but if one of your shem mages can do anything about the broken bones... it might be a good idea. Unless your girlfriend wants you to be Lord Inquisitor Sulkypants for the next two months."

"Two months?! Lira, I have responsibilities. I don't have two months to-"

"Hence the suggestion to magically aid the process," she cut him off, raking hair out of her eyes.

"It... might be something to consider," Cassandra chipped in, sitting next to him.

"But Vivienne's the only one good at healin' spells, an' I'll get a lecture an' a half if I go to her."

"What are you, five?" Lira demanded as she finally gave in and pulled her hair back. "Lectures haven't scared you in decades, big brother."

"You don't know Vivienne," Tighe grumbled. "Her disappointed frown is worse than Keeper- Elgar'nanes masa, Lira!"

She snatched her hands back at his yelp of pain. "Emm'abelas, Tighe, but I hafta get your shoulder back in. Y' can't just walk around with it popped out of joint."

"It hurts," he repeated his earlier complaint through clenched teeth.

"Take my hand," Cassandra instructed, interlocking her fingers with those of his good hand. "Squeeze when it hurts. And Hadrel, I believe it will go better if you help, rather than just watch." The blond elf muttered something under his breath as he pushed away from the wall. Whatever he said earned him a scolding look from Lira, but Cassandra didn't particularly care. She just focused on the task at hand. "One of you steady his arm, and the other pull on and roll his shoulder to try and get it back in joint."

Tighe made a face. "That hurts just listenin' t' you talk about it. Though now I'm curious how you know what t' do."

"It's quite simple," Cassandra replied, giving Lira a subtle nod. "Like many other things, this is something I learn through experience."

"Doin' it, or havin' it done t' you?" he probed, fingers tightening as Lira began pulling on his arm. "Falon'Dines av'ingala."

The warrior brushed her thumb over his knuckles. "Both, actually. It is inevitable, with being a Seeker. Either in training or in actual combat, it happened to almost all of us."

"Almost all?"

A small smile quirked her lips. "There are a few lucky or skilled enough to avoid it. Daniel was one."

Tighe's  grip tightened further and he sucked in a hard breath through his nose as Lira was forced to let go and try again. The second attempt was quickly successful, pulling a sharp yelp of pain from him, along with some more elven curses. But he tentatively rolled his shoulder, slumping in relief with barely a wince when it became plain that, at least, was fixed. "Thank the Creators..."

Lira gave him an apologetic smile. "Abelas, isa'ma'lin."

He shrugged with just his good shoulder as he gingerly released Cassandra's hand and stood. "Not like you had much choice, da'mi. Were you just goin' t' let me suffer?"

She rolled her eyes. "Sil gara. You would have deserved it."

Cassandra cleared her throat before Tighe could retort. "I think it would be best if you went to see Vivienne now, Inquisitor."

The mage chuckled. "Fine, fine. But I'll need you to hold my hand through the lecture I'm sure t' get."

"Don't worry, I'll protect you," she assured him with a teasing smile.

"B'fore y' go," Lira spoke up. "After seein' your mage, that arm needs t' go in a sling, regardless of how much she can help. T' take some a' the weight off the muscles. Especially with the broken ribs."

"Understood," Cassandra nodded. "I will see to it." Both she and Tighe were quiet for the first couple minutes as they slowly made their way down the hall, until the warrior commented, "She is quite knowledgeable, your sister."

Tighe nodded, pride gleaming in his eyes. "She was trainin' as a healer's apprentice. Almost done, too, b'fore... well..."

The Seeker simply nodded, knowing the destruction of his clan was a wound not yet healed.  "It does make me wonder, though, why did you go to her and not one of the Inquisition's mages?"

This smile was sheepish. "I didn't want you to know. It was a stupid thing t' do, and I'm truly lucky I'm not dead, I know that. But Hadrel's challenges... They're one a' my best memories from my clan, and havin' him here... I don't want t' tell him no." 

"It's like having a piece of home come to you," Cassandra ventured, remembering how much it had bothered him that he was changing, drifting further from his roots.

"Exactly," Tighe nodded, swaying slightly and making Cassandra wonder if she'd be better off carrying him. "It's somethin' to assure me that who I am now isn't so different from who I was then." He grinned wide enough to bring out his dimples. "You shems've got me speakin' King's Tongue an' wearin' shoes. It's a bit of a challenge t' stay me. 'Specially when I'm head over heels for a beautiful holy warrior with stars in her eyes an' steel behind her smile."

"Very poetic," Cassandra allowed, face going pink. "But flattery will get you nowhere. Especially when it is so obviously a figment of your imagination. Most likely brought on by the pain."
"Nope," Tighe insisted, barely catching himself against the wall as his knees wobbled again. "You're my beautiful warrior princess an' there's nothin' you can do about it, emm'asha."

She snorted. "Definitely brought on by the pain. Enough of this." The last was brought on when he stayed where he was, hand braced again the wall, jaw clenched tight. Cassandra scooped the elf up off his feet, one arm under his knees and the other around his back.

He laughed as he wrapped his good arm around behind her neck. "Does this make you my knight in shinin' armor?"

"Only if you are my damsel in distress," Cassandra shot back, nudging open the door to Vivienne's stairs with one elbow.

"Touche," he surrendered, still grinning as Cassandra made her way up the stairs, carrying him as if he weighed nothing. "Though I do seem to have the 'distress' part down."

"You are quite good at getting yourself into distressing situations," the warrior muttered.

Tighe made a silly face at her and pressed a quick kiss to her cheek as they reached the top of the stairs. "Whatever y' say. Just protect me from the big bad healer."

Cassandra chuckled. "Now you do sound like a damsel in distress." She raised her attention to the dark-skinned mage. "Vivienne, we need your help..."


Vivienne did manage to greatly accelerate the healing process for Tighe's wrist and ribs--all the while lecturing on how he simply could not do foolish things like this anymore, did he need a reminder of how they needed him, how many people looked to the Inquisition for hope? They didn't need to see the Herald of Andraste, their leader, suffering injuries after agreeing to a childish and inane challenge.

He just sat and took it, his relief at the lessening pain outweighing the discomfort of the reprimand. When all was said and done, he was down to two weeks of taking it easy. Still not ideal, but better than the two months Lira had forecasted.

He thanked Vivienne profusely, promised to be more thoughtful in the future, and released his white-knuckled grip on Cassandra hand. "I should prob'ly go find somethin' t' use as a sling for th' sake a' th' muscles. Like Lira suggested."

"A wise idea," Vivienne nodded. "Your sister has a good healer's head on her shoulders. It will also serve as a visible reminder not to push yourself too hard during the healing process."

The elven mage nodded his understanding and started down the stairs. Cassandra stayed right behind him. "Y'know, vhenan, the danger of me faintin' is past. Much as I appreciate your help you can go your own way now."

"My way lies with your way," she replied stubbornly. "At least until I'm sure you've actually followed your sister's advice."

"It really is very cute the way you worry over me," Tighe chuckled, leaning against the wall. "Not to mention enjoyable."

Cassandra gave the only appropriate response to his teasing--a scoffing snort--and shepherded him along. "Let's take care of that arm."


And take care of it she did. She helped Tighe find something to use as a sling, helped him get it settled in the cradle of fabric, and proceeded to lurk around the rest of the day to help with things he couldn't do with his dominant hand out of commission. And when the muscles cramped in rebellion halfway through the night, hard enough to wake him up and curl him in a ball, Cassandra woke with him, and her strong fingers kneaded and rubbed at his shoulder until the muscles--and Tighe--relaxed enough for him to get to sleep.

It wasn't until the end of the first week, however, that the Seeker made a discovery that--once again--challenged the devil-may-care goofball persona that was what everyone thought was Tighe Lavellan. It was the sort of thing that didn't click in the moment, indeed it was several hours later before it dawned on her. Fortuitously enough, she was talking to Tighe when it hit her.

"You know, Inquisitor, I made a most... interesting observation earlier, when I went to look in on the horses," she began, linking her fingers with those of his good hand, partly out of affection and partly to prevent escape. "The part of the wall where you took your tumble and hit the roof on the way down, it's right next to a haystack nearly as tall as the stable itself. I'm just curious how in the Maker's name you missed the haystack and hit the roof instead."

Tighe ducked his head and blushed, trying to escape her gaze if he couldn't avoid the question. "I didn't miss," he muttered, so quiet she barely heard.

"What?" An eyebrow quirked.

"I was aimin' for the roof," he admitted, eyes on the ground.
"Why in Andraste's name would you try for the option that hurt more?" Cassandra demanded, confused and mildly annoyed at his reluctance to answer. Was he trying to force his way into being given a break? Did he think it would just stop his fall and he could jump down? 

The elf sighed, unthinkingly raked his bad hand through his hair, noticeably swallowed a curse or two, and finally answered, "Sometimes th' agents' or pilgrims' children'll play in th' haystack. I didn't want t' risk hurtin' anyone."

"Besides yourself," she corrected slowly, once again reminded how many damned layers there were to this man.

He nodded sheepishly. "B'sides m'self."

"Tighe." Cassandra tipped up his chin so he would meet her eyes. "That's a good reason." She kissed his forehead.

"So y' think I made the right decision, then?" Tighe whispered, smile slowly spreading across his face.

"I do," she whispered back, brushing another kiss against the bridge of his nose.

"Y' don't mind th' extra challenge this poses?" He half'nodded toward his still-splinted wrist. If he thought the Mark complicated things, broken bones were a thousand times more annoying. Cassandra had to help him with a lot

"Not for a second." She hesitated playfully, waiting until the mage pushed up on his toes to press her third and final kiss to his lips. "Challenges tend to be the fun part."

Tighe chuckled, pulling back just enough to murmur, "I can make you regret saying that, vhenan."

"I am well aware," Cassandra replied wryly, settling one arm loosely around his shoulders. "But you won't, because then I would make you regret that."

He grinned, freed his hand from hers, and cupped it against her cheek as he kissed her again. The look in his eyes when he pulled back was clear. Challenge accepted. 

It was going to be a long week.
Challenge Accepted
AI YI YI THE FLUFF IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE. I finally used the Black Emporium to makes the tweaks to Tighe's appearance that I wanted, and got him actual Dalish armor(used silverite to get him in the warrior coat, and got him the Ardent Blossom crown. :3 Dude couldn't be more elfy if he tried. SERA GREATLY DISAPPROVES). In playing with him after making these changes, talking to Cassandra etc, I was finally hit by the OMG THEY'RE SO CUTE. (They're my canon, I need to ship it like FedEx.) ANYWAY.

I wanted to write something that had some more of Hadrel and Lira in it, as well as Cassandra romance fluff. I don't remember the exact  thought process that led to this premise, but I'd like to thank every deity in existence for it, because I love it to bits. Particularly the Knight in Shining Armor exchange. And the discovery that Tighe Lavellan is A)left handed and B) A HUGE FRIGGING BABY about pain. It's GLORIOUS. Oh, and I played in the CC and designed Hadrel and Lira.

For the elvish, I used this wonderful thing as well as Project Elvhen on AO3 in addition to the DA Wiki.
emm'asha= my girl (endearment)
El'garnanes masa= El'garnan's ass
emm'abelas= I'm sorry
Falon-Dines av'ignala= Falon'Din's teeth
isa'ma'lin= brother
da'mi= little blade (endearment)
Sil gara= I thought about it/the thought occurred 
vhenan= heart/love

Cassandra, Vivienne, and Dragone Age in general belong to BioWare

Tighe, Lira, and Hadrel are mine
24. How Sweet Home

As the small boat slid across the surface of the lake, Trinne stared at the approaching tower and gnawed her bottom lip in thought. She had an additional something to worry about, beyond Greagoir and Irving's reactions to seeing her again. Travel to the tower was never cut off. Never. Not once in the entire time she'd lived there had they refused to let people in. Out, obviously, was restricted and monitored closely, but in had never been hard. For that to be the case now, something had to be very, very wrong.

Which was not a pleasant thought when it concerned your home.

None of them really spoke on the boat ride; she was too nervous, and Alistair and Cousland both seemed to not have any idea what to say. They finally docked, Carroll held the boat still while they got out, and then he left. And there was nowhere to go but forward.


Chaos was the only word that came to mind to describe the scene that greeted them as they entered the tower; memories washing over Trinne as she passed through the doorway.

"No, I won't let you touch her!"

"Stay away from me, blood mage!"

With a shake of her head, the mage wrenched herself back to the present and looked around for Greagoir. The mess of templars crowded in the room made that difficult, but she did find him--smack in the middle, giving orders and drumming his fingers against the hilt of his sword anxiously.

"Knight-Commander!" Gesturing for her fellow Wardens to follow her, Trinne beelined for the man.

Greagoir's head swung in their direction and he scowled. "Of course you would come back now. I gave Carroll strict instructions--"

"I'm here as a Grey Warden," Trinne interrupted what was shaping into a rant. "Nothing more, nothing less. We came to ask the mages to fulfill the treaty they made to aid against the Blight." 

He groaned, rubbing his forehead. "Damn the Grey Wardens and their ceaseless need for men... As you can see, the mages are in no position to fulfill the treaty."

"I can see," she nodded, surveying the templars who filled the entrance hall. Guarded, wary, some injured and all clearly tired. "What in the name of Andraste's pyre happened?!"

Greagoir sighed, still trying to massage away his headache. "The tower is no longer under our control," he informed her bluntly. "The halls are filled with abominations and demons." He shook his head. "We were too complacent... First Jowan, now this..." Steely eyes narrowed as he glared at her. "Don't think for one second I've forgotten your part in his escape."

"Oh, Maker forbid," Trinne shot back sarcastically, inwardly wincing as Alistair suddenly looked much more interested in the conversation. Cousland, thankfully, was distracted by the wounded templars huddled in the corner. "And don't you think for one second that I regret my choice. Few things in life make me happier than knowing my friend got away from you."

Shut up, Trinne. SHUT UP, an inner voice screamed, flashing panic at Alistair's further increased interest and the scowl on Greagoir's face. Change the subject, idiot. Back to now and off Jowan before Pretty Boy gets curious enough to ask questions.  

She was pretty sure it was too late for that, but keeping Greagoir from rupturing an artery was an equally good reason. "Him escaping seems like small potatoes compared to this."

"True enough," the knight-commander agreed.

"What happened? And where's Irving?" Trinne demanded, the First Enchanter's absence glaring the moment it dawned on her.

"We don't know, and we don't know," came the grim reply. "All any of us saw were demons, hunting without discrimination between mage or templar. I ordered a retreat, and we pulled out and barred the doors. I have sent word to Denerim, calling for reinforcements and the Right of Annulment."

His almost defeated sounding statement snapped lightning down her spine. "You can't! What- What if there are people still alive in there, innocent people?!" She thought of Leorah, Petra, Niall... all the apprentices, children. "They can't all be dead!"

"And what would you have me do, girl?" Greagoir snapped back. "It is too painful, not to mention dangerous, to hope for survivors and find naught but death and demons. I'll not risk my men on a fool's errand."

"We'll do it," Trinne blurted in desperation, refusing to accept that everything, everyone that made this place home for more than a decade was just gone. Behind her Alistair flinched, and Cousland actually started paying attention to the conversation. She  had a sinking feeling she'd bitten off more than she could chew--again--but was too stubborn to let it go. "Mages aren't exactly defenseless," she pointed out. "Some might still be alive."

The knight-commander frowned. "And what of the abominations? They are a force to be reckoned with, and you will surely face more than one."

"Please, this is me we're talkin' about," Trinne scoffed, with bravado she didn't entirely feel. "I can handle myself. An' these two aren't bad, either. We've survived an ogre, I think we can handle some abominations."

"Trinne..." Alistair mumbled, nudging her arm at the exaggeration.

She waved him off. Okay, so technically they had only survived that encounter because a woman straight out of legend rescued them. She tried not to think about the image of Cousland, broken and dying on the tower floor, the sting of helplessness, followed swiftly by the sting of genlock arrows. "We can do this, Greagoir."

He sighed. "Fine. If you insist. Your deaths will be on your own heads, though. And I won't accept the tower is safe unless I hear it from Irving himself, are we clear? Until I hear his voice, those doors stay closed. And if he is dead, then the tower is lost and we will enact the Rite of Annulment."

That was a lot to hang on one man's survival, but she didn't really have a choice. "Deal."

Trinne started to walk away, but Greagoir grabbed her arm. "Remember, Amell, once we close those doors behind you, we will not open them again until I hear Irving's guarantee it's safe."

She shook loose. "I heard you the first time, Knight-Commander, ser. We have a deal. Now, if you'll excuse me, we have abominations to slaughter and a First Enchanter to rescue."

And with that, she walked away. She would have marched straight up to the imposing spiked doors and demanded to be let through at once if Cousland hadn't cleared his throat and pointed out that they should probably stock up on supplies before venturing in, under the circumstances.

Despite her hurry, Trinne had to admit he was right. So they stopped by the nervous, jittery quartermaster first, before approaching the trio of templars who guarded the doors.

"We're ready. Let us through," Trinne requested, foot bouncing with impatience.

One of the three grunted and moved to open the doors.

"Funny," Alistair muttered under his breath as the doors creaked open. Locking things up and throwing away the key was always plan B..."

"My sides are splitting," Trinne snarked, not in the mood for jokes sprung from impending doom hanging over her home. 

Alistair must've caught on to that fact because he sent her an apologetic smile as they stepped through the doorway and into the tower. "Nice touch with the ogre bit, by the way."

The mage shrugged. "I have a bit of a... 'big talker' reputation around here. Half the templars are convinced I talk a better game than I play. I had to throw in something to make him agree. This is my home, Alistair! I can't just stand by and let them enact the Right of Annulment without tryin' to help first!"

The door boomed shut behind them, underscoring her words.

"Um..." Cousland cleared his throat. "What is the Right of Annulment?"

"It's only used in extreme cases," Alistair explained. "If a Circle is corrupted beyond hope of rescue, the Right gives the templars permission to cleanse the fallen Circle-"

"To kill everyone," Trinne clarified angrily, face white as she surveyed the carnage filling the hall before them. "From the First Enchanter down through the freshest-arrived apprentices, every. Single. One. Like I said, I can't let them do that to my home without at least trying to save it."

"And what if we can't save it?" the warrior pointed out. "What if it's too far gone and we can't help?"

Trinne shook her head. "I can't even think about that. I can't." She almost savagely yanked open the door to the first block of dormitories. Her room. Jowan's room. She pushed the thought away like the pesky irritant it was, fighting the urge to scream, cry, throw up--maybe all three--at the state of the room. Bloodstained walls and floor, broken beds, smashed chests, piles of.... she didn't want to know what heaped against the walls. She stood staring at the mess for a minute, frozen like a statue, before moving instinctively toward the bunks that had been hers and Jowan's. One of the bedposts was splintered, the other three doing their best to support the top bunk. Trinne paid no heed to the precarious arrangement and plopped down on the lower bunk, making the whole thing sway.

"Um, that might not be the best idea..." Alistair muttered, shoulders tensing.

She ignored him, feeling around between the support slats and the mattress until she found the folded parchment. The black cord and its three-bead pendant were still safe inside. The mage allowed a sigh of relief to escape her lips as she gingerly rose from the bed.

"What?" Alistair frowned in confusion.

"Something my sister made me," Trinne replied shortly, tucking the parchment-wrapped bauble in her belt pouch. "Before my magic showed up."

"I didn't know you had a sister," the warrior blurted, watching her scan the room.

"Yeah, well, I do," she shot back, tone blunt. "Two, actually, that I know of." Thirteen years gone, Mum likely had at least one more kid. She absently kicked the base of the bed. It creaked and shifted, revealing a low wooden chest. A thought occurred to her as she stared at the battered lid, a deep, clumsy 'J' carved in the corner. I bet it's still there... Shame to just leave it... She sat back down on the lower bunk and pulled the chest into her lap to dig through the contents, fingers clenched against the carving on the lid.

"Do we really have time-"

"This will just take a second," Trinne interrupted Cousland's protest, not even looking up as she dug through everything that had been important to her best friend. True to her word, it didn't take long to find what she sought, even though it was buried underneath everything else. She flipped through the leatherbound book to ensure she had the right thing, then tucked it in her pack and stood. "Alright, let's get going."

"What was that?" Alistair pressed as they exited the ruined dormitory.

"Nothing important," Trinne brushed him off. "And nothing bad, just... a personal memento."

He was smart enough to recognize an off limits topic when he heard one, and let the matter drop.

Unfortunately, what he chose as a new topic was just as bad. Maybe worse. "So, this Jowan the Knight-Commander mentioned..."

No. Maker, no, please, not this, not now. This is better discussed later. 

"...what's the story there?"

Sod. She hesitated, decided she was justified, and replied, "Short version? He's my best friend, the Templars were going to make him Tranquil, and I helped him escape. Greagoir--obviously--hasn't forgiven me yet."

"You helped your friend become an apostate?!" He stared at her like she'd flipped off the Divine, helping to further justify her in what she hadn't shared. "Why would you-"

"Did you not hear the word Tranquil leave my mouth?!" Trinne cut him off angrily. "Tran-quil. Cut off from the Fade, along with all the wonderful side effects. He and I would both rather be dead than Tranquil, so forgive me if I'm not exactly sorry he avoided that fate!"

The warrior looked briefly taken aback before--wisely--letting it drop with a simple, "So that's why... Duncan had to recruit you? 'Cause of that?"

"Yes." She didn't want to fight about it anymore than he did, so she let it go. Part of her was slightly worried about the conversation they'd be having if Alistair ever learned the details she'd left out, like the blood magic. And the Chantry initiate now languishing in Aeonar. But mostly the blood magic.

However, that was a concern for later. When she she wasn't leading the way through a charnel house that used to be her home. Is this what it felt like for Cousland? the mage wondered briefly as every face she recognized twisted the knots in her stomach tighter.

If so, she felt a good bit more empathy for the rogue, coupled with amazement he hadn't broken down completely.

Maybe he did, her subconscious prompted as she searched the second dormitory in vain for survivors. Not everyone reacts with hysterics like you would, remember. 

She had to concede that point, and pushed the whole matter out of her mind as she reached for the door to the library foyer. The sounds of combat filtered through the stone door as she hauled it open, and she saw Alistair and Cousland reach for their weapons.

They weren't necessary. The white-haired senior enchanter standing between a rage demon and the terrified huddle of children summoned a spell that turned the demon to ice sculpture before she shattered it with a blow from her staff.


The only thing more surprising than seeing the healer again so soon was that Cousland seemed to recognize her, too.
Of Wardens and Pariahs ch24--Home Sweet Home
Ta-da! New chapter, with lots of Trinne feels, some mage-templar sniping, and the start of the boys seeing what makes my girl tick. Including her propensity for diving headlong into situations that may be way, way over her head, and the hot button issue that is her BFF. There's no way hiding that Jowan's a blood mage will come back and bite her, right? Right? *crickets* Obscured details about her buddy's life choices aside, this is going to be such a fun little adventure for our kids. Demons and abominations and utter destruction, OH MY.

Of Wardens and Pariahs ch1--First Impressions

Of Wardens and Pariah ch23--Here's Hoping

Alistair, Greagoir, the Circle, and Dragon Age in general belong to BioWare

Harvey belong to freethegoats

Trinne is mine
22. Unexpected

Whatever Velanna had been expecting as she followed Owen through the farmhouse, the Farrows' dwelling in general and Ezekiel's room in particular weren't it. The house was far neater than she had expected, knowing it was occupied by four men, at least one of whom was barely out of adolescence. It wasn't pristine, but neither was it a filthy cesspool like she'd worried it might be.

Ezekiel, at first, refused to open his door when Owen knocked, until his younger brother informed him one of the Grey Wardens wanted to talk to him. Upon hearing that, the door opened, though Ezekiel was nowhere in sight.

"Play nice, Zeke," Owen muttered as he turned and headed back to work.

Velanna stared at the open door for a moment as the heavy tread of Owen's feet faded down the stairs. She almost would have preferred it for the house to be dark and dank, with narrow, musty hallways. For Ezekiel's room to look like a trap or a cave. It would explain the unease building in her gut.

"You comin' in, Warden?" prompted a voice from behind the door. Softer, higher than she would have expected from a farmer, especially after talking to his brothers. But nothing about this family or their farm had been what she expected--well, other than Owen's bouts of surliness--so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise.

She stepped into the room and the door closed behind her. "Hello, Ezekiel."

There was a soft snort of laughter as he closed the door. "You're a woman. And an elf."

Velanna glared at him, despite how far she had to tip her head back to do it. "And yet, somehow, despite those impediments, I manage to do my job just fine," she spat.

The lanky brunet held up one hand in an open-palmed gesture of peace and grinned at her. "Fiery, too. I meant no disrespect, Warden. Just... surprised Owen didn't show you to his room rather than mine."

"I'm taken," Velanna retorted frostily. "And there's this." She raised one hand and let a ball of flame form briefly in her palm. "It would have been entertaining to watch him try, I suppose."

Ezekiel's grin widened. "Not surprised anymore. Little brother has a sense for who's worth tryin' an' who to let pass. I'm sure he picked up that you're all business and not worth the risk, and slotted you into the latter category. I've just... the only Wardens we've heard about were men. Human men. And neither of those describe you, hence my shock. I apologize."

The elven mage raised an eyebrow. "And word of the Hero of Ferelden never reached this... charming backwater? Last I checked, she is both female and an elf."

"And an exception to the rule," Ezekiel countered, not even flinching at her dig regarding his hometown. "At least from what I understand. But I doubt you wanted to talk to me to argue semantics regarding the Wardens. Come, sit, and ask me whatever questions you had in mind." He gestured with his heavily bandaged and splinted arm, winced, and then tapped the seat of a ragged armchair with his good hand.

Velanna sat. "We--my fellow Warden and I--were wondering what exactly caused, well, that." She gestured at his wrist. "It struck us as odd that you wouldn't talk to your brothers about it, and even more so that  you've become so reclusive."

The farmer sighed, scratching at the bandages around his hand. "Colin and James callin' me all manner of variations on fraidy cat and girl does not inspire me to spend more time around them, Warden. Or to give them the whole story."

"So there is something you didn't tell them," she prompted.

Ezekiel hesitated, raked his good hand through tangled brown curls. "They wouldn't have believed me, anyway..."

Velanna raised an eyebrow. "The things I've seen during my time as a Warden, your odds are significantly better with me."

He chuckled. "That's good to know."

"So, what did you see?" She leaned forward, the ragged chair creaking under the shift in weight.

"I'm... not entirely sure," Ezekiel admitted. "I think it was a man. The height and build were right for your average human, but the brief glimpse I got of the face..."

"Brief?" Velanna frowned.

"He--if it was a he--had a hood, pulled up and hiding his face. But when I startled him, it slipped down and I got a quick look before I fell and he bolted. I got the feeling he--or it-- was just as surprised as I was by our little... encounter."

The elf bit her lower lip, and then played a hunch. "Ezekiel, where was this?"

"Edges of Hafter's Grove, a few days back. Why?"

"We found a cave there that looked occupied, and bore signs of the darkspawn taint. In Hafter's Grove. If that's where you ran into this person or thing, anything, anything you can tell me about them could help in tracking them down," she pressed.

Ezekiel shook his head, lips pursed. "I'm sorry, Warden, that's all I got." He nodded toward the bookshelves in the corner. "And I've been tryin' to figure what in the blazes it could be. I have several books on creatures, from the monstrous to the mundane, many with illustrations. I haven't found anything that looks even remotely close to what I saw." A small laugh. "That's the other reason I've been so reclusive; I've been reading. It may not be a common practice for my brothers, but they know I do it frequently. Nothing ominous there."

It was Velanna's turn to laugh. "I suppose the timing just seemed suspicious. You have a strange encounter in the woods, and then refuse to leave your room afterward? That sounds like something out of a frightening tale to me."

"Eh, good point. Especially right now, with everyone so on edge, I guess I see what you're gettin' at."

"I am glad to see there's nothing sinister at work," Velanna said as she stood. "Thank you for what you were able to tell me, and if you remember or discover anything more, please let us know."

She left with Ezekiel's promises to do so in her ears, and the warning twist still in her gut.


One thing I learn very quickly, as Jowan and I work our way down the main street, is that no one aside from the farmers has ventured very far from the clustered buildings that make up this town since the corruption started appearing. While this is a wise move, as it kept the corruption from infecting any more people and spreading, it also means anyone who doesn't own a farm is less than no help. Most of them are extremely apologetic about this and promise to let us know if they learn anything. Some are defensive when I start probing, and I get kicked out of a couple places--once strictly for the "crime" of being an elf. The proprietor doesn't even let me ask any questions, ignores me when I inform her I'm a Grey Warden, just unceremoniously bundles me back out into the street.

So Jowan deals with her instead, and I take the jackhole who clammed up when he learned Jowan's a mage. The results are still the same--a whole lot of nothing. Disgruntled and disappointed, we head back to Mayor Valemont's to meet up with Velanna and Jerin. Maker, do I hope they had better luck than we did.


They did. As I listen to Jerin describe the cave in Hafter's Grove and the signs it was occupied by someone with the Taint, my stomach flips. When Velanna shares the results of her conversation with Ezekiel Farrow, the flips turn into knots.

"This sounds more like a person got tainted and nobody caught it, but they've retained enough of their mind to isolate themself so they don't infect anyone else."

Jerin shakes his head. "Owen was adamant, the wounds on the sheep they lost were darkspawn claws. Not teeth, not a knife or a dagger, but claws."

"So... human-level intelligence, carries the Taint, doesn't want to hurt people, but has no qualms killing animals for food..." It hits me with the force of a physical blow, and my eyes go wide. "We're dealing with an Awakened darkspawn."
Acceptance ch 22
To quote a certain storytelling dwarf, "Well. Shit." This is gonna be fun. 8D

Acceptance ch 1

Acceptance ch21

Acceptance ch 23

Velanna, Honnleath, Jowan, and Dragon Age in general belong to BioWare

Rahna, the Farrow clan, and Jerin belong to me

Think fast! Favorite character from How I Met Your Mother? 

6 deviants said Barney
3 deviants said Lily
2 deviants said Robin
2 deviants said Marshall
2 deviants said Augh, I can't pick *headdesk*
1 deviant said I LOVE THEM ALL
No deviants said Ted
No deviants said Ranjit(XD)


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