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

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Ulrin looked on silently, his eyes darting back and forth between the female elf and the blood mage. Was he really going to help her, or was he going to finish her off. He kept his hand on her shoulder, squeezing it subconsciously as Thaedrin stood over her.

Thaedrin's magic coursed through Sulahn'nehn's blood, filling her with a queer sort of warmth; the blood she lost seemed to knit back into the wound like so much red thread, and fresh scabbing formed.

"She still needs proper healing magic, or her recovery will be slow. Hurry, it will be a long walk back and the flames may yet spread."

As the Constable began to lead the way back toward the fortress, in the hopes that one of his mounted Wardens may find them swiftly, Ghil watched the group with a blank expression. She left the arrow where it was for the sake of stemming blood loss, and followed them on the hike back to Weisshaupt.

She yelped, feeling the foreign object pulled from her body. Those were comforting words, she would live. Just a flesh wound. She would not have used the same phrase, to her, her life had been draining away. Sulahn'nehn smiled faintly at Diocles and passed a glance to Ulrin, thankful the two men came to her aid.

What she had not expected was Thaedrin's support and the use of his 'talents'. The weakened elf looked up to him, trying to find a way to thank him though his power disgusted her. "I...was not aware that blood magic could do anything but take life." she'd get to a thank you sooner or later.

Diocles returned the smile for just a moment, then he was back on his feet, helping Sul get to her feet and giving her a shoulder to lean on as they went after Thaedrin.

"Ghil-I trust you don't need any immediate medical attention?"

"This is nothing," Ghil muttered, ignoring the shaft sticking out of her shoulder. She seemed distracted with other thoughts. "That was a trap we just left. I did not think the Darkspawn were clever."

"It's the Archdemon that guides them. That... hum, in the back of your consciousness. What links us to the Darkspawn is the same connection."

The barbarian's face twisted in disgust. "You are saying that thing is in my head?"

Thaedrin didn't answer. His lips pursed tightly as he continued, and when he spoke again the topic had changed, "Someone will see the smoke and come to investigate. We will not be abandoned for long."

There were many things on Sulahn'nehn's mind. The attack they'd just survived, a not too long ago removed arrow, the humans who helped her, the fact that a blood mage was once again her superior, how Ghil could practically shrug off an arrow, and now this. It was a difficult concept to grasp though she'd been told before that they are all connected. It could have been due to the things swimming through her mind or she genuinely did not understand how an archdemon who is physically in their world could whisper to them as a demon from the Beyond could. If they could spring traps and find the Wardens, how did they expect to beat them if they were always on their trail?

Too many things, too many things. Help getting back to the fortress could not come soon enough. At least for now, she had support.

A screech rends the air as something appears in the sky, gliding gracefully in for the Wardens. The Griffon lands in a cloud of dust before the group of riders, Trajan Vorenus standing upon its back. He tosses the reins aside and jumps down, landing from the substantial fall in a crouch.

His gauntlets are coated in blood, and more of it is splashed across his helmet and breastplate. He is breathing heavily, and his expression, revealed by the pulled-up visor of his helmet, is one of deeply set chagrin, unusual for the unflappable man.

He strode forward and took in the recruits with his eyes. His frown deepens.

"Casualties?" he demanded of Thaedrin.

Thaedrin looked alarmed. He'd expected anyone else to turn up but Trajan, and not in this state. "Commander," he gave a stiff salute, "None among the recruits, but I have men who are absent. They may be engaged, or... worse. We've still no clues of the whereabouts of the men assigned to the tower." There was a pause before he added, "...and we've lost several horses."

A fraction of the stress dissipated from Trajan's face.

"Fine. Reinforcements are on the way, they'll find the others and clean this up."

He stared for a moment at the burning watchtower.

"The tower empty, I assumed they had all marched on to Weisshaupt, and some had... but why would a group of them turn back merely to burn down a wooden building?"

Appearing troubled, he muttered something sounding like "Dumat" as he was climbing back aboard the griffon.

When he looked back down to them, he appeared almost his regular self.

"Well fought, all! I am very impressed. I can take one more on Magister Talons here if anyone would like a ride."

Sulahn'nehn very much wanted the lift back and there was an internal struggle on whether or not she should mention such. If her wound had been what Diocles said, merely a flesh wound, wanting a ride back to the fortress may have seemed a bit selfish. What if Ghil was in more pain than she was or the others? She had accidentally struck them. She was also unsure just how equal Wardens were, could evles ride on the same back of a griffon as humans did? She made no mention of it in case someone other than herself needed it.

Diocles, having calmed considerably, snickered.

Magister Talons. Cute!

He motioned to Sul, pushing her forward slightly.

"Take this one, Commander, if you please. She took an arrow, deepish, and it'd be best to get her to a healer shortly. Plus, if we missed a splinter, it could be jarred by a horse ride."

A splinter?

She hadn't even considered that, let alone what horseback could do. If the trip would be easier on a griffon, then she'd take it. She glanced backwards to Ghil. Her arrow was still jutting out of her shoulder, she could not help but think it should be the barbarian who rode back, but the woman said nothing nor made any move to indicate she wanted the spot.

"If...If it is no trouble.", now how one actually climbed onto the back of the large mount was something else entirely.

She looked to the archer, "Thank you."

Trajan adjusted his footing on the Griffon's back so he was standing nearly sideways off the thing's flank, hanging on by the reins. He reached his hand down for Sulahn'nehn.

"Head straight back to the fortress for food and rest, and any healing you may need," he said to the others. "Oh, and Thaedrin, you'll dine at my table tonight, won't you? You too, Komnenos."

She took hold of Trajan's outstretched hand, her free hand  clutching at her middle as she was pulled up. All of those things sounded delightful, especially the healing. There was no doubt in her mind that after what they'd been through, there would be no easy sleeping. At least for her. "Be safe." were the only words she could offer her comrades.

"I don't have a harness for you," Trajan said. "hold on to my waist and you'll be fine."

The moment she had done as ordered the Griffon made a running start and took flight, gaining altitude swiftly. Trajan braced himself against the reins.

"So, Warden Susan!" he screamed back at her over the wind, "Did you kill your first Darkspawn?"

She squeezed all the tighter as soon as the  beast took off, she might have been better off on a horse. At least that was closer to the ground and a lot less terrifying to ride. She could just barely make out what he'd said over the whooshing of air. It at least managed to help her momentarily move pass what had just occurred.

Oh, by the Creators-

"Sulah-...Yes, Ser!" she shouted, immediately regretting having to tense her muscles. No one could butcher her name quite like their commander.

"Well, good. The first one's always the hardest."

They had already left her companions behind, and Weisshaupt was visible on the horizon; the griffon was going quite quickly.

"How did you find Constable Thaedrin? You may be honest."

She paused. How could she answer that question without fully stating her views on the man? The commander couldn't really want the truth from her. It would come back around to her and she did not need the constable to have more reason to dislike her. Omitting her more detailed opinions was her best option. After some careful consideration, she spoke once more. "He is...not what I expected. He is harsh and we do not mesh. But, I am sure his leadership is what saw us through...I owe him a debt."

Trajan seemed unsurprised by her assessment. He was quiet for the the last few minutes of the trip as the Griffon went in for a landing within Weisshaupt's walls.

Running a hand over the feathery down on the back of the Magister's head, he glanced back at her.

"He is hard to get along with, but it is good that you do not resent him. You are of course expected to follow orders. Remember, though, that you are a human now. He will learn to accept that, but you must accept it first."

He jumped down from the Griffon, handing the reins off to a tender, and shouted over a healer to help her down and see to her wounds.

I resent him more than you can know.

"Y-Yes, Ser. Thank you, Ser."

Human? She was an elf. Always had been, always would be. How could she just 'accept' that she was something entirely different than what she was. Thaedrin knew exactly what she was, there would be no acceptance from either party. She was so deep in thought she didn't hear the healer call to her twice. Once she snapped out of her thoughts, she was brought down and taken away to be looked over.

"...Splinters, hmm?"

Thaedrin folded his arms and resumed the hike back to Weisshaupt; it was easily another mile before they met more Wardens, on their way to stifle the fire of the watchtower before it spread to the surrounding woods. When that task was done, they picked up the Constable and his party on the way back. A derisive comment about how much Diocles loved riding double was in order, but Thaedrin hadn't the energy to make it. He'd had the presence of mind to receive reports of what had happened in their absence, but the scenery as they neared the fortress told the tale just as easily, and twice as quickly. Darkspawn. He hadn't expected anything else.

A healer found Ghil and brought her inside to treat her arrow wound, but the woman seemed to be in no hurry. She sat patiently in the Great Hall with her mail and breastplate beside her on the floor, as magic knitted her flesh back together.

The Constable took himself to his quarters in the barracks. He had managed not to lose the recruits in battle, but he would not know what became of his men until they turned up themselves, dead or alive. The sight of his singed and blood-stained uniform infuriated him enough to throw the delicate gloves and fur-lined cloak into the fireplace. He couldn't stand the feel of it. He made the attempt to at least be pleased to have been invited to the Commander's table this evening, but...

"You too, Komnenos."

...it was no use.

Meanwhile, Ghil gestured to her comrades, her shoulder freshly treated and bandaged. To Ulrin, she said "You did not die. I am surprised."

Ulrin approached the warrior woman when she gestured to him. He had been quiet the journey back to Weisshaupt, the actions of the blood mage on his mind. He did not like their commanding officer, nor did he trust him. but he was revealed he healed Sulahn'nehn. Having to feel thankful to a blood mage, it made him almost as sick as the joining.

Ulrin shrugged his shoulders at her comment. "There is a time and place to die. I decided for me, it wasn't at the hands of Darkspawn... You are as impressive as expected, Ghil."

"I know." She stood, gathering her gear in one arm, glancing between the elven man and the archer. "What are we to do? Wait? ...Hunt?"

Ulrin shook his head, "I believe waiting is in order. While they repair this place and tend to the wounded." He crossed his arms nodding. "I do not think any of them will wish to stray far from this place, let a lone let you go out on your own."

Once Sulahn'nehn was patched up, a sensation that was still strange the second time around, she went in search of the others she'd left behind. Namely in search of Diocles. There were a few things she wanted to say to him before he joined the commander at supper.

The Great Hall. It made sense for most if not all to gather there, fresh from a battle. She approached the archer, quietly trying to gain his attention. "Ser?", realizing that 'ser' could literally be anyone around, she rephrased. "Ser Komnenos, may I speak to you? If you have the time."

Diocles glanced to over to Sul with somewhat less energy than usual. He was pleased, clearly-having gotten to kill darkspawn AND upset Thaedrin-but also fairly tired. He had been up for quite sometime, after all, and battle and riding were exhausting activities. Even for one with a Warden's constitution.

"Diocles will do. What is it?"

"Oh, right. Sorry. I will try to remember that." She shook her head, she hadn't meant to start out that way. Apologizing already. Only after double checking that Thaedrin was not around did she speak up again. "I know you will probably tire of me saying this or you already have, but I wanted to thank you. Again. Properly, that is. I didn't think the Constable would help me. But you stood your ground. I would not expect anyone to care, least of all a human. Sorry. I-I don't mean that it's impossible for a human to-...At any rate, I wanted to to make sure you knew I appreciated what you did. Not many would help an elf." She shifted her feet uncomfortably, feeling she could have just not said anything instead.

"..I.. You're very welcome."

He smiled down at her, watching her grow more nervous as she spoke, reaching out to lay a hand on her shoulder.

"You're one of us now, Sul. A Warden. We would die for each other if it was necessary, but most days we do something even harder; we live for each other."

For the first time in a good long while, Sulahn'nehn burst into a fit of giggles. She wasn't sure if it was a joke, but it certainly seemed funny to her. "I think you mean to say it is hard to live with each other." Oh, how she wished it wasn't funny. Her flesh may have been mended, but it was still sore. "This is what you do? Make jokes with your Wardens. I cannot say they are without need of cheer. I won't keep you. I'm sure you have things to take care of."

He smiled. It was hard living with some of them, wasn't it?

"Well, yes. But want I mean to say is.. Don't die. You're not allowed to."

Clearing his throat, he attempted to twist his face in a foppish sneer, doing his best impression of Thaedrin.

"I forbid it."

She tittered, quickly covering her mouth. "Oh, you're bad. I would suggest not letting him hear that, Se- Diocles. He might string you up." It probably was not so wise to mock Thaedrin with so many people around. It could and likely would come back to bite one or more of them in the rear. If Diocles' goal was to put her at ease, he'd have succeeded at that. "I can make no promises of such and I certainly do not wish to disobey that order. I can say that I am in no rush to meet my Creators. I am almost positive they have much in store for me."

Ghil rolled her eyes.

"Enough. I cannot sit here all day. Give us a task, anything."

Ulrin was glad Ghil spoke up to request a task. He still found Diocles' jokes unamusing. He rather preferred when the human was serious.

"..Yes. I'm certain they do. And don't worry about me, I've been bending rules.. Among other things.. for as long as I've held a bow."

Taking his hand back, Diocles gave her a small, mock salute, as if dismissing a squad, before stifling a yawn. He glanced at Ghil, frowning at the enormous warrior.

"..Shouldn't be too long before dinner now, I should think. I might see if I have time to wax my bowstrings-If you're bored, I suggest seeing if you can help someone perform some menial task, like cleaning. Or perhaps prepare for your next fight-Perhaps some sparring."

Ghil's eyebrow quirked upward. "Vorenus said no duels." She paused, glancing around the Hall; her fingers flexed absently. "I will see if there are any who will humor me. ...The food first."

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