The First Blight: Curse of Dumat [RP/Closed]

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In all honestly, Jarrik should have left the wardens to do whatever it is wardens do when there is no darkspawn to kill - fraternize from the looks of it, but the wound in his calf had finally stopped feeling cold and numb, replaced with a remarkably throbbing pain.

He thudded to a seat on a nearby crate with a clang of metal, and began the painstaking process of removing plates and pulling back chainmail and leather to proper bind the wounds.

"Don't 'ppose you lot would be up for a drink after you're sorted? Always did wonder about the famed wardens, I bet even green recruits have stories to tell." He inquired pulling a the red sash from around his head and tying it around the wound.

Diocles was an absolutely terrible influence on her, but he was certainly a lot of fun. She'd heard of fun before. Who knew it was such an addicting thing. Or that elves and humans could share it. She hesitated for a moment before deeming it safe to return the affection by hooking her arm around him as well. How many elves could say they'd done so with a human in public. If she could write and had friends at all that could read back in Tevinter, she'd have some stories for them. Stories that may need some light censorship.

Keeping to a whisper she added, "It was rather dark. I cannot be certain it is fact or not. "

Sulahn'nehn eventually remembered others were present and cleared her throat. Terrible influence. She would love a relaxing atmosphere if allowed, but first Thaedrin world need to remove a number of sticks from his backside to give the go ahead. Could the not have a day of rest?

"Outrageous. Well, you'll need another look then. Maybe later on today."

His smile not fading, Diocles turned his attention back to Jarrik, though he kept a firm hold on the elf.

"I don't know about these 'green recruits' but I have stories you'll never believe. We'd love to join you, soldier-Assuming, of course, that you're buying."

"Yes," Alrik said to Ghil, "Do not understand. Should take everything. Make all survivors drink blood, become Wardens. Seem obvious. But Vorenus always say I do not understand politics."

He glanced at Jarrik. "Will ask Thaedrin to heal you when he returns, metal man."

"I'm buying?!?... Well I guess I must, no' unless you found some silvers in that fancy new shirt of yours."

Jarrik responded with a toothy grin. The wardens, well most of them, were the best sort of soldiers in his none to humble opinion. Folks who knew how to turn it off, those that stayed wound up tighter than drums only wore themselves out for when the fighting came.

"I 'ppose I do owe you one as well. Though there be none of that Alamarri's blood drinking or whatnot. Antivian wine is the best there is, only reason worth sticking around this crime ridden hellhole."

Ghil turned, surveying the battle-torn city cradling the docks, "Where are we going that is not burned down?"

"The advantage of owning an estate as large as lord Rorqual's is that a thrown wagon can only damage so much." Thaedrin returned from the docks with a guest, a portly man dressed in heavy velvets and weighed down by jewelry that gave the impression he'd thrown as many of his worldly possessions onto his frame as he could carry just before fleeing to his ship. His distress, however, seemed to stem less from physical discomfort as it did his talk with the magister's son. He was ashen, mopping at his sweaty head with a handkerchief. "He has very generously offered to accommodate us for the evening, perhaps the week if it comes to that."

"Of course, the Grey Wardens are honored guests. All that is mine is yours as well, for..." the man hesitated before continuing, "for as long as is needed."

"The healers are occupied assisting the Imperial soldiers. You may report to me for healing at Lord Rorqual's, or," Thaedrin gave Ulrin a rather pointed glance, "you may wait until the others are available. The choice is yours."

Lord Rorqual gave a clumsy sort of bow before giving a slave the order to lead the Wardens to the manor. Ghil straightened off the wall of the warehouse and grabbed her sword, taking a step after them before glancing back toward the Antivan knight.

"You coming?"

Ulrin grumbled to himself. Could he afford to wait for the healers? No he couldn't, he'd have to go with theothers to see Theadrin for healing. The rogue cursed under his breath and started walking with Ghil. He too looked back at the armored warrior. "If you do come, don't drink anything the mage gives you."

Jarrik sat there frankly a little dumbstuck and practically aghast. Antivian merchant lords weren't exactly well known for their philanthropy. 'Blighters damn near make it hard enough to earn enough proper drinkin' money. Or maybe I drink too much... heh too much.'

"You coming?" The query roused him from stupor, and he shook the thoughts away with a few blinks.

"Might as well, your friend there mentioned healing?" He stood with a slight wince, carefully shifting weight until the bandaged leg. "I'd rather no' this hole in my leg should the 'spawn return." As he tried his best to keep pace.

"First blood, now strange witches brews? What don't wardens drink like normal folk?" Was his puzzled response to the elf's statement. 'I guess when you're saving the realm you're afforded a bit of eccentricities.' That thought he kept to himself, oblivious of the irony.

Thaedrin hadn't lied; Rorqual's manor was indeed crushed into rubble in places, charred gardens and broken gates here and there, but the entire east wing was almost untouched. Entering, the foyer boasted elaborated carved beams supporting the vaulted ceiling, and the rugs covering the marble floors were lush and rich in color (though some were singed in places). Their lodging would prove to be just as luxurious, he was sure. With the merchant lord left behind to manage the unloading of his wares, the elven slave bowed to her master's guests and invited them to make themselves at home. She reiterated the gesture that what was Rorqual's would be cheerfully granted to the Grey Wardens for their bravery and diligence in defeating the Darkspawn.

"All of the rooms on the second floor are prepared for guests, a dozen of them, and my Lord has instructed clothing sent up for your perusal. The baths are at the end of the same hall, awaiting your pleasure. Wine and food will be served in the dining hall, at the end of this corridor here on the first floor. I beg you, please excuse the mess."

Thaedrin nodded his acknowledgement, and dismissed the elf with a gesture. He eyed the stairs almost wistfully before turning back to his injured comrades.

"Come forward, I will handle those wounds," his knife was in his hand, the blade pressed to the already-gaping gashes in his palms. The blood mage paused, brows furrowing at Jarrik, "What are you doing here?"

"He fights Darkspawn, so do we. Good enough."

Thaedrin said nothing in response to Ghil. The blade sliced through his palm and down into his wrist, the blood sacrifice giving him the needed energy to heal the woman's cracked ribs and bruised flesh.

"My goodness, thank you." The parts of the home that were untouched her marvelous, though she felt uncomfortable being helped by a slave. She'd almost began telling the girl that it wasn't necessary and that she would tend to herself, but the sound of a bath was simply amazing.

"I remain unharmed. Although, if you will excuse me, I think I will take advantage of the baths."

Sulahn'nehn pulled lightly at Diocles' wrist before heading down the hall. "I trust I will see you all in the dining hall later."

Ulrin looked about the home asthey entered. He was surprised the building still had so much to offer them by ways of accommodations. The manor was still stunning even with the rubble here and there. And he found that the longer he stood in the fine halls, the more uncomfortable it actually made him feel. The simple halls of the Warden's fort were more welcoming. This lavish home made him think of all he ran away from. And he was supposed to stay in here? He never stayed in the house. Twynne did but not he. The elf stuck close to Ghil, waiting his turn while the barbarian was treated by Theadrin's blood magic.

"Well, the burly Alamari there mentioned somethin' about patchin' me up." Jarrik nodded towards Alrik. "But I was thinkin' on the walk over, that you might be want of someone like myself along. You're fightin' the 'spawn, right? I could put my hand to such endeavors. Not like there's much left to protect here." Making a gesture towards the less intact sections of the manor with a shrug.

"Never know, might even make me one of them wardens some..." Surprise chocked the words from his throat, and this day had been full of them - first the darkspawn attack, then that ogre, the generous merchant lord and now that mage just slit his wrist open, using his magic to stitch up the wounds of the female warrior. He'd heard of the rumors of Tevinter blood mages been the cause of the 'spawn, but like most had given little thought beyond that.

'Sometimes you got to fight fire with fire, so they say? Right?' With no one else making a fuss, he silenced any internal conflicts for the moment. "...day. I mean, you said most of your lot was mostly recruits. Right?"

Alrik approvingly watched Sulahn'nehn interact with the slave.

"See?" he whispered to Ghil. "Vorenus always right. Elf girl is human now."

"Of course, my lady."

Diocles was more polite than Thaedrin, but he had none of the elves' reluctance in accepting these luxuries. He too decided the temptation of a bath was beyond resistance, and joined Sul for the journey there. The archer felt absently at his chin-He was due for a shave as well.. And had new clothes been mentioned? This was exciting. Damn, but Thaedrin had come through again. Not only did he owe the constable his life, but now even more. Well, Diocles Komnenos did not forget debts, even debts to prickly mages. He would make it all up to his superior officer one way or another.

It felt so familiar standing before the baths. It was not entirely a good feeling, but a familiar one nonetheless.

The elf gathered up a few items in preparation for a nice bath and began to strip down, needlessly folding her ruined clothes before stepping over the rim of the tub into warm water. "Dear, sweet Creators, thank you ." Sulahn'nehn slipped under the surface momentarily to wet her hair. "I fully intended to see what you meant, but this bath..."

Ghil grunted her agreement, folding her arms as she watched the two depart; better Komnenos than some other Tevinter. She liked the skinny man, he made her laugh.

Thaedrin healed Alrik and let him do what he would, which he assumed would be to stay at the dining hall eating until he passed out. Ulrin was next, and he dismissed the elf with a single word after. Their argument was still fresh in his mind, but even if it hadn't been, he wouldn't waste breath on him. Jarrik was last, and Thaedrin clenched his hand into a fist to renew the flow of blood from his wound as he turned to the man. His life trailed around his arm in a lazy spiral. The drips never reached the rugs, dissipating into empty space.

"You wish to become a Grey Warden?" The healing magic washed over Jarrik and ferreted into his wounds, filling his veins with a strange warmth. What would have taken the body weeks to self-repair was accelerated, the flesh knitting together until even the most grievous injury was no more than a pink line and a deep fatigue in the weak muscle. "Perhaps. Though I expect you do not know what it is you're asking for, I couldn't deny a recruit. In time, if you remain useful, we will surely come across all that is needed for the ritual. You may stay, then. Make yourself comfortable, I will see you again after dinner."

Diocles discarded his own clothing without ceremony or care, though his newest acquisition was given the honor of staying on the top of the pile. This was a dubious method of cleanliness considering the floor was far cleaner than the remnants of his uniform, but he was in far too good a mood to act rationally. He wasted little time before slipping into the bath, quickly mirroring Sul's action of a brief submergence. Humming softly, he took a straight razor he had grabbed from the proferred supplies, flicking it across his skin with disturbing speed. Shaving took him less than a minute. He showed his skin less care than was due, perhaps, but he avoided any nicks.

Sulahn'nehn looked on, bemused. Shaving was such an odd thing. Why did humans grow so much unnecessary hair?

Once again, she did not think ahead and bring her change of clothes. There would be some rushed walking later. When she was clean, she stepped out and toweled her hair dry before wrapping the cloth around her. The elf came over to Diocles and leaned to place a kiss on his forehead. "I should have figured out exactly where these fresh clothes were before I jumped in thewater. Will I see you tonight? "

Diocles grinned at the elf in his typical manner, his eyes running over her briefly. He refused to respond until they had made their way and worked themselves back to looking her directly in the eye. He played with the razor idly as he spoke, unconsciously twirling the blade around his fingers.

"Dumat himself couldn't stop us, though I sincerely hope he leaves us alone. Try to avoid prying eyes as you go, sweetheart-I don't want any competition after you."

The elf giggled, "Of course. You needn't worry. "

Sulahn'nehn rushed to a room, poking her head in to see if there were feminine clothes laid out. Seeing none, she continued down the line until she found the right one. After dressing and brushing her hair she made her way to the dining hall, starving.

It's not as if he'd never been magically healed before, but the blood magic was new and quite unnerving, to say the least. Normal magical healing was a soothing experience, the magic itself assisting in the process of closing up wounds. This felt more like the magic was demanding the body to heal itself faster by force. When the warmth had subsided, he took a careful step, as if the leg would give out under him, only to find renewed strength.

"Aye, ser." He responded to the mage, not wanting to press the issue on him getting in over his head. Sure, they had saved him earlier, but he held his own with the rest of him. Maybe the mage just hadn't seen him.

On that last thought, Jarrik retired to one of the rooms. Stripping out of plate armor was a lengthy process, even practiced hands would often welcome assistance. The chain shirt that went under the breastplate was especially tricky, a single man operation involved some rather humorous bending over in an attempt to shake it off. Once he was free, off came the leather that padded the heavier layers. Only then was he finally free of the whole ensemble, and about a size smaller with it all removed.

Scrubbing and polishing all the filth off until each plate shone took longer than even washing himself. Afterwards, he donned a vest of fine Antivian leather, along with matching pants and high boots, from what was made available. The short sleeves showed off the extensive Riviani tattooing dominating his arms.

Finally finding his way to the dining hall, he sniffed lightly at a crystal decanter of wine set out. He smiled and exclaimed to no one in particular. "Heh, it's the good stuff." Before procuring the whole vessel and finding a seat for himself.

Sulahn'nehn sat alone, surprised to see that she was the first one to the dining hall considering that she had first gone to take a bath. Though, the others may have had similar ideas.

She did not wish to be greedy, but great food was laid out in front of her. Quality food that she'd not seen in a very long time and this time around she was allowed to taste it. She justified piling her plate full with the Warden's hunger and having earned the treat in battle.

Jarrik entered soon after she began her meal and she would not have recognized him if it were not for the number of piercings he had. A sea of food set in front of him and he was concerned about the wine. "Oh. That's...good. I suppose." she looked the man over, particularly his face. So much metal in his face.

The table was laden with breads, fruits and cheeses, but nothing so plentiful as the meat. Some of these animals were beyond Ghil's ability to recognize and yet she filled her plate regardless. What was the worst that could happen? Poison? She had been through worse with the Joining, and there was no motive here that she could see.

When she sat down to eat, it was obvious that this had been her first stop for the evening. Her crushed breastpate hung awkwardly on a bloody uniform, hair matted to her face and neck with fluids of various origin. Here she was with hunks of pork and fowl in both hands, ravenous.

"Oh, good. How are you fee-" Sulahn'nehn looked her friend over, it seemed strange to not take care of that situation when the option was available to do so. But considering how she looked when they first met, the barbarian may not have felt an discomfort at all. "Ghil. Don't you want to...clean up a bit?"

Unlike the barbarian, after receiving healing from Theadrin, Ulrin took the time to wash up and reluctantly claim a room. He knew not to Expect to bunk with the archer in such a place, which he supposed was fine, since he didn't suspect he'd sleep very well in the manors posh beds.

He arrived at the dinning hall still looking around with a mixture of distrust and distaste for the place. They were being waited and directed by elves in this home. Every time he saw one he wanted to urge them to run. The whole city was in disarray, they could flee. They could be free. However with the Darkspawn were lurking near by it wasn't really an option. The only option was to sit down and accept that they were staying here.

In this horrid manor.

Ulrin took a seat next to Ghil and did his best not to sneer at the food as he took some onto his plate. He glanced at the large woman, not surprised to see she was eating a good portion of every meat available to them, and then across to Sulahn'nehn. He wanted to ask her how she felt about all of this. Did it feel weird to her to be on the receiving end of this life style? He wanted to ask her but he also half wanted to vomit knowing she and Diocles had gone off together to the baths.

"This is... peculiar, don't you think, Sulahn'nehn? For you and I to be, taken care of in this way?"

Diocles strode into the dining hall with confidence, choosing a seat near his young elven friend.

He proved a stark contrast to Ghil. For any opportunity for finery she had wasted, he had taken advantage and then some. The archer had taken his time to assemble a proper ensemble. He had chosen mostly silk cloths of green and brown, the latter to match his eyes and the former on a simple whim. The inner layers fit him well, showing off a fit physique, while outer layers hung loosely but straight, giving the illusion of size. He had chosen to put a cape over one shoulder, evoking the image of a Tevinter aristocrat risking trying to appear like one-He was raised Sorporati, after all.

The barbarian shrugged her shoulders, speaking with half-chewed meat tucked into the hollow of her cheek, "The Constable was there. Chose the waiting." She looked the elven girl over carefully, then nodded in approval. "Is a nice dress. No bruises or scratches on you from that monster. ...The ogre, that is."

There was a tension in the room, despite Thaedrin's absence; it was the other elf, her friend called Ulrin, who seemed the most restless. She had no frame of reference with which to relate to his feelings. Her people had also been enslaved, yes, but she had killed many by her own hand when they were sent into the pit against her. Ulrin had escaped to survive, while these elves of Rorqual's obeyed to survive. Same thing.

"Eat," she urged the elven rogue, "and drink also. You will sleep like rock on the ground."

Sulahn'nehn glanced at Diocles and then did a double take. He really did look quite handsome in dressed in finery. She gave a half smile at him before Ulrin's question made it fade. "I do not cause more trouble than is needed for exactly that reason..." she shook her head. "It is temporary. Try not to focus on it, we do not know what it is like here."

It was strange to have Ghil lighten the mood for a change whether she meant to or not. "Thank you."

I think?

"It never got near me." her inflection continued to rise the closer she got to the end of her sentence. She did mean the ogre, didn't she?

Alrik joined them, piling meat onto his plate.

"Need lyrium if iron-face to become Warden. Should find out if any around here."

Jarrik was already on his third glass of Antivian red, or was it his fourth, happy that he managed to slip out of buying drinks for the evening. The day had been far too long and harsh, and much merriment would be required to drown it out.

"Aye, that ogre was of a nasty sort, never seen one this far east before." He left off never having seen one period. "But should make for a good tale, don't ya think? Why, I'm sure you wardens have all kinds of stories, what have you?"

"Ironface."

Diocles wasn't quite sure where the others were going with the current conversation, but he didn't like it. He decided to attempt to change the topic while gathering himself a meal from the assembled plates. He raised a cup to the knight briefly.

"Jarrik's trying it, huh? Good. He could be a welcome addition."

He raised a cup to the knight briefly.

"I'm sure dear Thaedrin will sniff some out with minimal effort. Jarrik, my friend, I have tales of valor and conquest you'd scarce believe. Hmm. as a youth, I once became fortunately but dangerously acquainted with a beautiful daughter of a Tevinter magister wh-Mm. actually, I'll tell that one another time.. I should eat."

Ghil grinned at Jarrik de Avalos, "You want to be Warden? ...You have drunk too much."

Thaedrin was last to dinner-one might call it fashionably late. He was dressed simply and elegantly in deep blues and dark greys reminiscent of the Warden order, though he looked much more at home in these robes than he ever had in the uniform. A new pair of gloves hid the lesions of his palms.

"You're all here. Good. I have news." The Constable took the seat at the head of the table, naturally, and served himself from the platters on the table as he spoke, "After some negotiation, it has been decided that the wares abandoned by those who fled Antiva City during the Darkspawn assault will be appropriated to the Grey Wardens' cause. Armor, weapons, poultices... All that we need, we will take, and the rest that is useful will be sent to Weisshaupt." The merchant lord would keep what the Wardens left behind, of course, but that was none of their business. "There is news that the Rivaini have already set upon the ships that fled the bay. I believe there is potential in grooming such a people to join us in our fight, but after what befell us among the Ciraine, we need time to make preparations to meet with them. Surely, they know what diplomacy is."

He paused, fixing his eyes on "iron-face" at the end of the table, "To that end, perhaps our new ally could make himself useful."

Sulahn'nehn rolled her eyes. You can take a man out of Tevinter...

"You should. Do be sure to chew thoroughly. It will give you time to think about a change to the end of that story."

Upon seeing the blood mage, Sulahn'nehn began to hear the same coaxing voice she'd heard after the defeat of the demon once more. He must be dealt with for the benefit of the others. It was the only just way to deal with a man like that. The elf stared him down, not entirely listening to him as she reached for her silverwear. Her knife disappeared under the table.

Alrik leaned over and gave Thaedrin a well-meaning slap on the back; Thaedrin was lucky that the full force was blunted by the fact that both were seated.

"Is very well done, Thaedrin; Warden Commander very pleased, no doubt. Good thing he not send just me-- could not have accomplished this. Would have been run out of city; end up having to burn down. Well, already rubble. Still, burn down rubble."

"Aye, I may be of help there. To treat with the Rivani, there is need to understand them." He swirled the glass of wine while contemplating how to relate.

"While the Tevinter value their magic and Alamari tribes a strength of arm." He nodded to the magister and barbarians. "The Rivani place importance on ones ability to contribute to the community." Jarrik brought an arm forward to display for all to see. "With the tattoos and piercings being a sign of ones rank and value. Heh, a few of the old crones are tattooed from head to toes."

"Those matriarchs will be the key though, nothing truly moves in Rivain without their say so. But come, we have fine food and finer drink, can not politics be saved for 'nother time?"

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