Adventurers of the Inquisition: A Dragon Age RP (started)

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Nola watched as the life finally drained from the Dwarf's eyes, sighing as his body went limp. At least his pain was over. She inhaled deeply as they prepared to move on, trying to calm herself. The others were also expressing their desire to be away from this cave, and for once she agreed. This cave was wrong, she wanted to bury it as deep as they could. But destroying the lyrium would be the nest best thing. "A warning Cailen. If we do blow this thing to bits, it's gonna throw a lot of lyrium dust in the air. Touching that stuff is bad enough, inhaling it could kill anyone. I don't wanna know what the red shit is gonna do to us."

"A warning Cailen. If we do blow this thing to bits, it's gonna throw a lot of lyrium dust in the air. Touching that stuff is bad enough, inhaling it could kill anyone. I don't wanna know what the red shit is gonna do to us."

Berund considered this briefly before interjecting. "Well, we don't all hafta be here when they need to be lit. I can stay behind, see to it it's all set then bring this place down once everyone else is far 'nuff to be safe. I mightn't look it, but I'm quite light on my feet, y'know. Should be clear of the worst of it by the time they go off."

"Lets get the bombs planted then and join Ash," Calien said giving a brief shudder "the less time we spend near here the better."

The weaknesses, emphasized by recent cracks, were quite evident and took little time for Berund to plant bombs among them. Soon enough the crew was moving out of the room as the fuses were lit. A safe distance was hard to guess with how unstable Lyrium could be so Calien opted for as far as possible, leading the crew as far as he could as quick as he could soon reaching where Ash had positioned himself. He had no desire to inhale any dust as Nola had warned about, nor to get caught in any cave-ins caused by the blast.

Fortunately the destruction did not reach them, Berund as the last to leave felt it the most closely but even so all he had to endure was a rush of hot wind and a horrible, shrill noise as the whispers of the lyrium collapsed into nothing. The rest felt a breeze if that, though the noise was inescapable.

"Well well," a voice only Ash could hear spoke "found yourself another dark hole to hide in, more dangerous than the last. Tsk tsk, you really should take better care of yourself."

The piercing noise, echoing more in ones mind than in the air, cut through Ash's daydream.

"Ech, even I heard that one," Ash's demon said with a irritated tone "you know what that stuff will do to you don't you? A fate I'd wish on no one, least of all you. In fact I might even know how to keep you safe from such, might even give you knowledge enough to save those poor doomed dwarves oh if you could hear them now, if you'd just lend me your ear for a moment..."

The daydream was broken by Calien's voice and the demon faded into slow chuckling.

"Ash, you with us?" the Antivan waved his hand in front of Ash's eyes "Can't have you dozing off in a place like this."

He glanced back at the others "Seems we might have time for a short rest though, all we've been through," he said, leaning against the cave wall "I know I'll need some time to get that shit out of my head, don't suppose any of you have ever seen anything so horrible before?"

Kari was quite happy to follow Cailen out to where Ash was, while Berund set the charges. She knew enough about normal lyrium to know you didn't want to mess with it, and with what she'd seen happen to the Templars at Haven, and the shit down here, that seemed to be doubly true for this red version.

As the blast wave washed over the group, she stared down the passage way to where the lyrium had been. Let's hope that shit stays buried at least until the Makers return.

"Ash, you with us? Can't have you dozing off in a place like this."

Cailen's voice behind her, brought her about to the dazed expression on Ash's face. "Shit..." She muttered. I totally forgot how sensitive mages were to that stuff...no wonder he wanted out... Moving closer, she placed an armoured hand lightly on his shoulder. "Sorry buddy." She said softly. "Don't work with a lot of mages usually...kinda forgot how affected you lot are by that shit."

"Seems we might have time for a short rest though, all we've been through, I know I'll need some time to get that shit out of my head, don't suppose any of you have ever seen anything so horrible before?"

Kari took up Cailen's offer by propping her blade against the wall, before sitting right down and stretching out her legs. "I know I saw some fucked up things during the Blight, but lyrium growing out of people? That is a whole new level of terrible for me...one I really didn't need." The first thing she was going to do when they got back up top, was hell the miners to collapse the shaft, and if that piss stain of a noble tried to stop her, she'd bloody well throw his ass in beforehand...golem or not.

"Well well, found yourself another dark hole to hide in, more dangerous than the last. Tsk tsk, you really should take better care of yourself."

"Really?" Ash said, replying to the demon with an annoyed, but otherwise calm tone. It was bad news for it to be talking directly to him. He hadn't fallen asleep, right? Was it just the lyrium? The Fade, though it appeared more like green haze than anything else to him right now, gave of a familiar feeling.

Oh. Great.

He was about to say something witty about how funny it was for the demon to comment that Ash had to take care of himself, when the demon had lead him into more dangerous situations. However, suddenly ear-splitting screeching filled the air, and the demon's voice twisted into that of irritation, and probably disappointment. Ash didn't doubt the demon had been hoping to do this without any distractions.

That sound though, the lyrium?

"Ech, even I heard that one, you know what that stuff will do to you don't you? A fate I'd wish on no one, least of all you. In fact I might even know how to keep you safe from such, might even give you knowledge enough to save those poor doomed dwarves oh if you could hear them now, if you'd just lend me your ear for a moment..."

Ash didn't reply, and, as suddenly as the demon had appeared, it disappeared, leaving Ash with a sense of relief. He really wasn't in the mood to deal with the demon, especially not when it started speaking in riddles. What dwarves? The ones... what had they been doing? The ones growing out of the lyrium? Or, probably, the other way around? How could they be suffering?

Perhaps I should've at least---

"Ash, you with us? Can't have you dozing off in a place like this."

As if fog suddenly had cleared up, Ash blinked. It wasn't until Calien had been moving his hands past Ash's face that Ash noticed his surroundings again, and though his eyes had been opened this entire time, he had seen more of the fade than of the cave. Suddenly the others were there, though with the shrill voices he had heard earlier, it wasn't hard to figure out that they had finished what they were supposed to do. A little jarring, though nothing he hadn't encountered before.

"Sorry buddy. Don't work with a lot of mages usually...kinda forgot how affected you lot are by that shit."

Ash smiled, a bit dazed but otherwise fine. "It's... fine. It's not going to come out here, right? That explosion probably got a lot of the lyrium out in the air..." He was about to get up when he noticed Calien sitting down, and thus he stayed where he was sitting, though he made sure to make some more room for the others.

"Seems we might have time for a short rest though, all we've been through, I know I'll need some time to get that shit out of my head, don't suppose any of you have ever seen anything so horrible before?"

Ash simply nodded, adding a quiet: "Yeah.". It wasn't addressed to any of the others, and they would struggle to hear it at all. Ash didn't really want to "compete" over who had seen the worst stuff. He was a mage, for him it was expected. Ash had seen a lot of bad things, many not real, though the issue was that he had no idea which of them were.

"Do any of you think the dwarves were suffering even after the lyrium was destroyed?" he asked, having decided upon honouring his promise to Calien about letting them know if anything happened with his mind. "The demon said he knew a way to save them, but I don't know if it was these dwarves, or other dwarves, or if he was really just saying something to make me listen."

With the blast rung in Jarrett's ears he giggled in relief.

"Seems we might have time for a short rest though, all we've been through, I know I'll need some time to get that shit out of my head, don't suppose any of you have ever seen anything so horrible before?"

"Plenty. There's a lot to be done when pursuing ideals of my calibre." Nonchalantly leaving uncomfortable implication Jarrett sat down near Ash.

"Do any of you think the dwarves were suffering even after the lyrium was destroyed? The demon said he knew a way to save them, but I don't know if it was these dwarves, or other dwarves, or if he was really just saying something to make me listen."

"Oh, it made an offer huh? Heheheh. Then ask if it'd smite that child creature. Assuming it can... negotiate. Of course Ash you shouldn't agree to that offer even if you make it. I just want to test the demon. And toy with it like a bully."

The glow of the room gave an oppressive atmosphere as the bombs were being planted, but talk still echoed through the room, and people made sure that the area was safe enough to fulfill the objective. For Von, his body naturally pulled him away from any source of Lyrium, so he settled for guard duty as he paced and patrolled the area, so that no pesky Darkspawn or weird monsters would chew through and mutilate their bodies. Yet sometimes he took quick glances at the red and blue mineral, before he rapidly tore his gaze from it and shook from side to side in desperation.

The Templar even prayed several times, but with a final gulp, once again his throat felt as if it had been forcefully filled with sand. It couldn't be any worse, except his canteen lacked much weight from hours before. The missing evidence of any moisture gave birth to an itch, a literal itch, and it was one that couldn't be solved with the most violent of scratches. This only made Von extend his fingers and quickly bawled them up again into a fist, several times this process went by before the magic words were said.

"the less time we spend near here the better."

"Thank fuck." He bitterly spat to himself, before giving a quick jog back to the group. The blast was somewhat a spectacular yet depressing sight. It was great to see something you hate become complete rubble, yet as he needed it, the thirst had returned, reminding him about his long urge. Emitting a low growl as the force of the blast flew past them, the air almost seem to lure out his desire.

Ignoring the sense of sound, it paid in double as the sense of smell hit him. To the Templar, Lyrium had the scent of something sharply bittersweet, yet mixed with the harsh, burning sensation of iron, in other words, sweet-smelling blood. Craving anything Lyrium, Von gave a strong sniff, and that was when he body stood still, frozen, thinking if this should be something accepted or rejected. His eyes began to vibrate greatly, and the short huffs he breathed became ragged.

"Seems we might have time for a short rest though, all we've been through,"

Time had seem to pass with that. Placing a sudden hand on the wall for support, Von quickly began to run toward the corner of the room, lurching over and expelling any substance in his stomach. If anyone dared to look, it seemed to be thin paste with small lumps, yet what was more urgent was that it is coloured a sickly red. Not much like blood, but it had looked like a demented painter mixed blood with a little bit of blue to create an insane version of magenta.

The scene was finished within ten seconds, only leaving the sound of rough coughs, but even that stopped, leaving a short silence and the small movement of the pitiable Templar. Even so, one jerk movement was seen from Von, and a object flew through the air, landing with an impressionable splash of glass. The shards littered the ground between the group and Templar, but what was more noticeable was the blue liquid dotting the ground of glass.

Once the group had caught their breath they pressed on back towards the dwarves. The tunnels were long and dark but mercifully empty of all but the noises of distant Darkspawn. It felt like an eternity moving back in silence and darkness before the lights of the dwarven encampment became clear. Rubble was strewn about and new bodies seemed to have joined the injured and fallen but the dwarves still held.

"Ha! So you're still breathing!" Anso's voice cried out over the wreckage of the defenses "You've done it then? Stopped them? I knew it must have been you, they were about to overrun us when they just stopped and fell to pieces."

As they got closer Anso became more visible, he was bleeding from a wound in his side but grinning in spite of it. Around him dwarves tended to their own injuries, some few worked at the defenses while others worked at digging at the rubble that had trapped them in their current position. Many others rested, either asleep or in an exhausted state very near it slumped up against whatever supported them.

"Yes, we destroyed the red lyrium causing the ghosts to attack," Calien said, then shuddered "and we, well we encountered a monstrous creature, like a great darkspawn insect, it was eating other spawn."

"So it's not dead? Damn," Anso spat "we encountered it before, brought the passage down to stop it. Thought we'd at least wounded it... I'll answer any questions you have about it as best I can. In the meantime we must determine how to escape this blighted place, be best if you had some way to clear this rubble I fear my men won't last through much of a trek in the roads."

Calien nodded "Of course," then turned to the group "Go to the dwarves, ask any questions you can think of, or see if you've got some way through all that rubble. I'd rather not spend much longer down here myself."

"Ah, but not you Von," he said, grabbing the templar by the shoulder "I'd like to speak with you in private."

He pulled him away from the others before speaking further "I can tell something is wrong, you've been erratic since we arrived out here, acting like you're sick or something," he said "You aren't drugged are you? If there is something I can do to help let me hear it."

Kari was glad to get back to Anso and his men, not that they were any safer here, it was just nice to see faces that weren't horrific nightmare inducing horrors. The dwarves looked like they'd been in a hell of a fight while the party was away, but those stubborn little bastards had held out.

"Go to the dwarves, ask any questions you can think of, or see if you've got some way through all that rubble. I'd rather not spend much longer down here myself."

Nodding, Kari headed towards where the dwarves were tending their more seriously wounded, setting her blade, helm and gauntlets aside, she crouched down to lend a hand. "Any merc who wants to live to an old age needs to know at least the basics." She said with a smile, easily lifting a wounded warrior, while his companion wrapped his chest wound. Working with the dwarve's healer, she helped as best she could to tend the most badly hurt. "Okay, I hate to ask this, but I think I must." She said after a while. "How likely is that Volshen will actually try and mount a rescue? It's not exactly unheard of for a noble to use circumstance to remove a rival...especially if that rival is family."

Returning to Anso's group gave Jarrett a sense of progress and relief, even if it was fragile. Keeping close to Calien during his address, Jarrett looked over the wounded.

"Go to the dwarves, ask any questions you can think of, or see if you've got some way through all that rubble. I'd rather not spend much longer down here myself."

"Understood." Waving away at Calien as he dragged Von off, no doubt because of the Templar's instability Jarrett thought, he made his way to Anso, giving a casual wave and bow.

"Greetings Anso. Escape is on everyone's minds but we need to exercise concern over this 'child' monster. Any routes here or nearby that it can take need to be known. Anything at all, even if it's too small, closed off, or even just a weak wall. Let me know and worst case scenario, we have a better defence. Best case, my group can kill it before it becomes anybody's problem."

With a face of agony plastered across his face, and both arms wrapped around his stomach, Von huffed in short intervals, making sure there was nothing in him that would escape. While this was a focus, the Templar felt as if he needed to throw up more, for the substance of Lyrium was far more intrusive than corrupt blood and the morning stew that now seeps into the old Dwarven rock. Forcefully coughing, he gave one last spit before straightening his body.

"Go to the dwarves, ask any questions you can think of, or see if you've got some way through all that rubble. I'd rather not spend much longer down here myself."

"About time..." Von told himself, yet a unwelcome voice attacked his mind. ("Tsk, tsk, tsk. Didn't you learn?") The dark voice whispered sweetly. Quickly, Von turned back to the group, who were slowly approaching the dwarves. Yet before he could leave, a red claw gripped his shoulder. It was the demonic-like armour, but the arm felt like nothing, as if the arm was a feather. ("This is what you've done~") It muttered with a tone of ecstasy.

The Templar's eyes were unsure where to look, anyway but him, fortunately it found the small, wine-coloured puddle of blood. Focusing, his reflecting was inside it. "Y-your not here." He muttered in fear and began to walk. It followed closely behind. ("Well, no and yes. I'm in here, you're just projecting me.") He prodded a sharp finger against Von's scalp. Feeling a sudden surge of anger, the Templar threw his head to the side. ("Piss... ... off!") His venomous thought sent the thing cackling. ("Ah, such a wondrous dance. I appear, you get angry, I laugh. Remember... I. AM. YOUR. SINS.") The 'Demon' growled, and suddenly gripped both shoulders.

"Ah, but not you Von,"

As Calien made contact with Von's shoulder, the man suddenly made a flinch, the speed had made it seem that he was trying to escape his own skin. Very quickly, Calien met contact with the Templar's face. It was pale, deathly, as if he had just made contact with a monster, even worse than the one the whole group met earlier. His eyes were open wide, and the whites had become contaminated by red blood vessels, and finally, his breath matched his chest, as it expanded and contracted.

"I can tell something is wrong, you've been erratic since we arrived out here, acting like you're sick or something,"

"I... it..." He said scared, and taking one a quick glance at the nothing behind him. Von gave a single breath of relief, and slowly sunk into a short giggle. "I-i don't know. Lyrium and it appearing." Von said with an unusual smile, as if he denied something he had just witnessed. With shaking arms, he gripped both of Calien's shoulders. "I have a bad... a really, really bad Lyrium problem." He said, meeting the Squad leader's eyes with his own sad, insane gaze.

"Oh, it made an offer huh? Heheheh. Then ask if it'd smite that child creature. Assuming it can... negotiate. Of course Ash you shouldn't agree to that offer even if you make it. I just want to test the demon. And toy with it like a bully."

Ash frowned. "I don't want to ever indulge it. And if I asked it to smite the child creature, it would have to take control of my body. Believe me when I say that it won't be like with the spirit, it won't ever let me have that control back." He shuddered at the thought, and got up, eager to keep moving again. It was odd how something like that could motivate him to keep going, keep surviving in even the most exhausting circumstances.

"Lets just get going."

It took a fair while to get back through the dark tunnels and to the dwarves they had met before, who looked even worse off now than they had before. Apparently the ghosts had appeared again, only to disappear suddenly. Ash knew why, though before he could say it, Calien mirrored his thoughts.

I suppose it would be more obvious to those who where there.

Ash did his best to keep his mind clear at a time like this, part of him wanted to just drift off to sleep or whatever state awaited -the one he had so narrowly avoided- while part of him felt trapped. For good reason too, considering the rubble.

"Go to the dwarves, ask any questions you can think of, or see if you've got some way through all that rubble. I'd rather not spend much longer down here myself. Ah, but not you Von, I'd like to speak with you in private."

Hopefully he'll find out just what the issue is.

It was really starting to worry Ash now. However, he decided against talking, to anyone. He might have been able to heal the others, perhaps, but both Kari and Jarrett seemed to be on that already. Besides, someone needed to clear out the rubble, to attack the weak points, perhaps. He started looking through it, squeezing and pushing where he could. He wanted to find out where it started, what rock he could remove to make it easier to clear up. He looked over at Nola and Berund, who were currently unoccupied.

"Could either of you help out too? I think it's better we get out before the Childer arrives than after. I'd like to fight it without having to worry about the injured people."

Nola sighed with relief as they made it back to the cavern with the small camp. As much as she missed the cavern's and tunnels of the Deep Roads, she didn't miss the Darkspawn. She would be ecstatic if they got to visit a nice warm Thiag once all of this was said and done. Hell maybe she could spin it into a possible mission for the Inquisition.

By the time the group went their separate way's Nola was already at a loss. Her skills weren't much for those dead or dying. She could give them their last rights, but the few remaining dwarves had that covered. She doubted many wanted the words of an exile to be the last thin they heard anyway.

"Could either of you help out too? I think it's better we get out before the Childer arrives than after. I'd like to fight it without having to worry about the injured people."

She looked over after Ash spoke, nodding. "Good thinking Sparks, I'm not one for healing anyway. Might as well put these arms of mine to good use." She said joining him by the pile of rubble.

"Could either of you help out too? I think it's better we get out before the Childer arrives than after. I'd like to fight it without having to worry about the injured people."

"Good thinking Sparks, I'm not one for healing anyway. Might as well put these arms of mine to good use."

"Not like we weren't born fer it," Berund admitted, talking of the similarities between Ash's enlistees for digging. The former Legionnaire shed his armor-not particularly eager to exhaust himself any sooner-down to his plainclothes and began moving some of the larger stones. He would be the admit he's put on a bit of heft over the years, but one wouldn't know it when his body tensed each time he exerted himself. Beneath the soft layer of comfortable living was a frame of muscles as solid as the very rocks he carried.

Sufficiently warmed up, Berund began to do some stretches, a routine he'd neglected for some time as was made apparent by the burning in his legs. A reminder of how important even the most basic movements were, especially since his youth had bee at his back for a number of years. When he was satisfied he continued right on relocating the rubble. And when he did, he did so humming a jaunty tune he recalled from one of his favorite taverns back home. He even began to mutter some of the lines as he went along.

"Ooohh, I've heard of dwarves who get in fights
'bout every time they drink,
And those who need to have a woman
just to help them think,
And if you want to see a dwarf
whine and beg and plead,
Just pour out all his ale
and take away his mead.

There's never been a Paragon
of Wisdom or of Thinking,
And though I tried a time or two,
I ne'r got raised for stinking,
But hang around here long enough
and don't you go a blinking,
'Cuz someday I am gonna be
the Paragon of Drinking..."

"I have a bad... a really, really bad Lyrium problem."

"I see," Calien said, "are you having trouble getting enough of it, or are you having withdrawals? In either case I'm sure the Inquisition can help, we've already got supply chains established to help keep the mages stocked, or if it's the other way I'm sure a healer could look for something to ease the pain."

In truth Calien wasn't sure how bad such things could get, he'd seen Templars with lyrium problems before, usually old ones addled by the substance to the point they forgot their own name. But the Templars in Antiva were well stocked by various smuggling deals. Then of course there was the issue of red lyrium, Calien didn't voice concern that Von might have imbibed the stuff, if that was the case they would almost certainly have to kill him.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"How likely is that Volshen will actually try and mount a rescue? It's not exactly unheard of for a noble to use circumstance to remove a rival...especially if that rival is family."

"You think my little brother would abandon me in the Deeps so he could claim head of the family?" Anso said, then burst into laughter "you're not wrong to ask about it, certainly dwarven politics hasn't been kind to older brothers in recent history, but my brother isn't like that. He's not cut out for leading and he knows it, gets too frustrated and barks at everyone as though it'll make things go faster. He'll runs the books well enough but for dealing with people? Well let's just say there's a reason our mother gave him a golem to associate with."

He scratched his beard "I'd wager he's still looking, though for how much longer I can't say," he said "some of my men claim they've heard digging coming from the other side of the rubble but there's enough of it it might take another week or two to shift it all. If only we had some explosives, we brought some with us to begin with but we used most of them to try and bury that thing, not sure we got them all to go off but any that're left would be buried in there somewhere."

He glanced over as Nola and Berund began shifting rubble, then laughed at Berund's song.

"Been a while since I heard that one," he said, then frowned "say why are you two wearing your helmets? Let me see your faces."

Nola Listened as Anso spoke, glad to hear that one of the Nobles of Orzammar had their heads pulled from their asses. Or at least bright enough to realize a threat, or lack of one, when he saw one. She paused briefly to take a cooling breath, the work was hard in her armor, but she thought it better to keep it on in case of attack, rather than be caught off guard during a surprise attack. When Berund started to sing she chuckled and whistled along with the tune. That had always been one of her favorites.

Her good mood was quickly spoiled however when she heard Anso speak up again.

"Say why are you two wearing your helmets? Let me see your faces." She froze for a moment, her eye wide beneath her helmet. She glanced to Berund, trying to gauge his own response before she made her own. after a moment she decided to take the first step. It had long been her calling to protect others, whether through her craft armor and weapons, or the shield on her back. Hopefully, should things go south from this, she would receive the majority of flak. "As you wish m'lord." She grasped her helmet and slid it off her head, her short hair sticking to her brow from the sweat. She fixed Anso with a worried look, praying to the Ancestors that he wouldn't recognize either of them.

Kari jumped a bit when Anso answered her question; she hadn't realized he'd been standing so close. Still it was a good sign that he laughed instead of getting mad at her question. "Thank you for that m'lord." She replied. "Though I feel I should apologize. Fair question or not, I should not have gone behind your back, so-to-speak, to your men...I've just spent so long working around the Orlesian Court." Standing up from the wounded man who's wounds she'd just finishing binding, she bowed to Anso...which as comical, considering even in a bow she was still at least a head or two taller than the dwarf.

"Say why are you two wearing your helmets? Let me see your faces."

It wasn't until Anso mentioned it, that Kari realized Nola and Berund both still had their helmets on. A brief question as to why they were still fully kitted flickered through her mind, but it was quickly dismissed as unimportant...until she saw the worried look on Nola's face. Without even a conscious thought, Kari slowly edged over until she was beside her own weapon and helm.

"are you having trouble getting enough of it, or are you having withdrawals? In either case I'm sure the Inquisition can help, we've already got supply chains established to help keep the mages stocked, or if it's the other way I'm sure a healer could look for something to ease the pain."

As Calien talked officially about any support the Inquisition could offer, Von shook his head in a uncontrolled fashion, in fact, he had to place all his effort into listening to his Inquisition leader. "No, no, no. None of those..." He said, quickly mumbling the word "pain" under his breath. It seemed the Templar looked to his side in grimace before flicking it back to Calien.

Trying his best to ignore the alluring whispers of the demon-like voice in his head, Von quickly told his problem. "There is something in my head. It poisons my mind, demanding lyrium of both kinds, and it shows me... memories, nightmares. I... I don't really know." He said, closing his eyes in a hopeless fashion, once opening them, it seemed those eyes were as red as any human eye can get, yet it seemed his grip became stronger, almost even painful.

Letting go, Von took several steps backwards. Not in fear of Calien, but more in fear of something else. "Since entering this place, I've tried to figure why I am haunted. It could be the... the three main effects of Lyrium addiction. Paranoia, obsession, and dementia. I believe..." Von trailed off, quickly using one hand to heavily grip the right side of his face. "I believe that I've shown the first symptom back at Skyhold, so I have no idea if this is dementia gripping me, a literal demon or... a damn other personality gripping me."

"But the worst question I've been asking... can it take over me?"

"As you wish m'lord."

Anso squinted, for a moment it seemed as though some glimmer of recognition appeared in his eyes but then it faded.

"You both seem familiar," he said "spent much time in Orzammar? I swear I must have seen you before..."

"Greetings Anso. Escape is on everyone's minds but we need to exercise concern over this 'child' monster. Any routes here or nearby that it can take need to be known. Anything at all, even if it's too small, closed off, or even just a weak wall. Let me know and worst case scenario, we have a better defense. Best case, my group can kill it before it becomes anybody's problem."

"The way you came is about the only path I know of, we explored all the nearby nooks and crannies and they don't go very deep," Anso said.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"But the worst question I've been asking... can it take over me?"

"I've never heard of lyrium addiction creating a demon," Calien said hesitantly, trying to choose his words with caution "though there were stories from Kirkwall about templars becoming possessed, you're from there so I'm sure you heard..."

Calien seemed to think for a few moments then spoke again "Whatever this demon is, whether its real or just in your head, remember that it only has the power you give it," he said "now do you think you can manage it for the rest of our mission? If not then I will have to send you back to skyhold once we escape these tunnels."

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

While the other talked the shifting of the rubble continued, it was slow, heavy and exhausting work but it was all some of the dwarves had to take their minds off their current circumstances and the noises of the steady tumble and cracking of stone at least drowned out the more distant shrieks and roars of monsters lurking out in the dark. The presence and aid of some of the adventurers with it was encouraging as well.

As the rock shifted Ash began to feel something, the familiar song of lyrium too quite and muddled to be felt by any but a mage. Even then his particular sensitivity to the Fade was the only reason it was anything more than a hushed whisper in the back of his mind to him. Anso had said some of the lyrium explosives they had might have been buried in the rubble and now Ash could feel them, maybe even feel the direction they would need to dig in to reach them.

"You both seem familiar, spent much time in Orzammar? I swear I must have seen you before..."

Ash was about to ask why that was significant, when he got distracted. He didn't know why Berund and Nola had been wearing their helmets so much -though he figured it had to be a way of hiding their faces and not getting recognized- but the situation was tense now that the helmets were gone. Would there be a fight? Surely not now that they were waist-deep in rocks and the blood of darkspawn.

He had even opened his mouth as he moved rocks, but then he had stopped. Someone had moved a rock, and he had heard a song, the one of lyrium.

Is there some here? Should I... oh.

Anso had said that some of the explosives could be in the rubble right? He took a step forward, closed his eyes, and tried to shut out the surroundings to better tell where it was coming from. At first, he heard only the song, muddled, but definitely lyrium. Not the freakishly red one either.

I'm not just sensing things either, right?

No, this had to be real. It was hopeful, after all, and the things he saw were seldom those of hope. Slowly, Ashtalan was able to pick out where it came from, and when he was sure, he took a step away and pointed in that direction.

"There! There's... I think it's the lyrium explosives. If we dig there, we could use them to clear out the remainders of the rock!" he said, eagerly, as he then went over and started digging, though he wasn't sure he could do it on his own. There was more drive in his moves now, though. The thought of getting out quicker was encouraging, after all.

"You both seem familiar, spent much time in Orzammar? I swear I must have seen you before..."

Nola clenched her jaw, hoping that he wouldn't connect the dots. "Yeah....Orzammar born and raised....or at least I used to be." She said before turning her attention towards Ash. She hadn't quite heard what he had said, but he was excited, and digging with new strength. He must've found something. She just hoped it was enough to distract Anso. She set her helmet aside and gave Anso one more look before she started digging again. They needed to get out to safety first, then they could hash everything out.

"You both seem familiar," Anso said, "spent much time in Orzammar? I swear I must have seen you before..."

"Yeah....Orzammar born and raised....or at least I used to be."

Berund could practically feel the unease coming from Nola. It seemed that, for whatever reason, she was none too pleased about Anso's digging and made it clear when she turned her back to him and returned to more literal digging. The former Legionnaire felt it was a good time to cut in and hopefully keep Nola from more prying.

"Born and raised an Orzammar dwarf as well," Berund proudly proclaimed. "If ye know House Brower, then surely ye know me; Berund, son of Botin. At yer service."

"The way you came is about the only path I know of, we explored all the nearby nooks and crannies and they don't go very deep,"

"Is that the case? Hm..." After briefly contemplating worry that Anso may not understand the full extent of his worry Jarrett continued speaking. "Very well then. Thank you for your help and in this crisis I am your blade." Giving a proper bow to Anso he left his presence and proceeded to Calien, intending to further inquire about plans.

However seeing him occupied with Von, Jarrett made a fair guess as to what they were discussing. He made no effort to hide his eavesdropping in on their conversation.

"There! There's... I think it's the lyrium explosives. If we dig there, we could use them to clear out the remainders of the rock!"

Kari's concerns about what might happen between Nola, Berund and Anso where derailed by Ash's pronouncement. "Lyrium...explosives?" She muttered, not exactly thrilled at the idea. Grabbing her helm, she stuffed it onto her head and picked up her blade, before moving away from where Ash was standing. "That's great." She said a bit more loudly. "I'll stay the fuck over here while the miners see to that."

"Whatever this demon is, whether its real or just in your head, remember that it only has the power you give it,"

"You're right... I should stop listening to hi... it... no, I should just clear my head, heh." He huffed, taking his time breathing. Moving the hand attached to his face, Von's grip lightened, moving back to adjust his light, ashen brown hair. Paranoia, obsession, and dementia. Those three symptoms were repeated inside the Templar's head. Logical thinking is required, these things were not mystical, they don't have a higher power, it's just sickness. Von thought, and soon enough, he adjusted his posture, one that spoke of a slight improvement in his mentality.

"now do you think you can manage it for the rest of our mission? If not then I will have to send you back to skyhold once we escape these tunnels."

"I... I think I'll be fine, as long as I stay away from any Lyrium." Von said, but the Templar did not just speak with a weak voice, he took off the bag on his back, pulling out a small wooden box. It looked older, almost antique looking, and if Calien had any experience with Templars, this was the Lyrium kit that they acquire in the profession. Placing that on the ground, he also removed the bandolier that hangs on his body, several jingles sound out, as if several glass containers met each other. Picking the box up once again, he held them out to the Inquisition leader.

"I believe it would do me good."

"I believe it would do me good."

Calien nodded and accepted the box and vials, tucking them carefully away.

"Of course, I'll keep them hidden," he said "If you need them then let me know, a mission isn't exactly the best place to try and break an addiction and we might need you at top condition."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Yeah....Orzammar born and raised....or at least I used to be."

"If ye know House Brower, then surely ye know me; Berund, son of Botin. At yer service."

Anso frowned "Yes I remember House Brower, odd to find one of them here though particularly one who I believe joined the Legion," Anso shrugged, though he did not seem satisfied "I won't complain of allies in our present circumstances, though I'll have to ask how you two came to join the Inquisition later. For now it seems your mage has found something."

That said he moved over to Ash, motioning for the Qunari to step back "Easy there, if you're right you may have just found our way out," he said, leaning in and setting one ear on the stone for a few moments before smiling "Ancestors be praised! I can just barely hear it, probably would have passed it off as the trick of a hopeful mind if you hadn't heard it first."

Standing back up he glanced over the camp "Alright, we'll need to move everyone back there's no telling how far the blast will go when we set this off or how much rock will slide around and I'd rather get everyone moving now while we dig out the rest of the way," he said then turned to Calien "I'll be trusting you and your people to escort my injured to a safe distance while the rest of my men and I finish tunneling to the explosives, once we've set a fuse we'll join you."

Calien nodded "Of course," he turned to address the group "Berund, Jarrett, scout out ahead down the tunnel. Everyone else help me round up the wounded, Maker willing we won't run into any Darkspawn but I'm not holding my breath. If we do have to fight protecting the dwarves is our priority."

Around the camp the wounded began to stir, fortunately many were able to walk even with their injuries, though others had to lean on healthier dwarves to get far. Clearly it would be a slow effort to get them to a safe distance and with the ever present echoes of distant monsters now seeming louder than ever there was little hope they would avoid danger.

"Berund, Jarrett, scout out ahead down the tunnel. Everyone else help me round up the wounded, Maker willing we won't run into any Darkspawn but I'm not holding my breath. If we do have to fight protecting the dwarves is our priority."

"Understood sir. You want to be in charge Berund?" Patting Berund on the back, Jarrett readied to set off.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

"This is problematic." Standing behind Berund crouched down, the sight ahead of them was quite threatening. "My guess is that the emissary is the leader here. We take him out, dealing with the others should be easier." Jarrett grimaced at the area, withdrawing his expression so as to not worry Berund should he notice. "Running away, traps, combat, whatever we do I think we agree that what's most important is to be in control. So what are your ideas?"

"Easy there, if you're right you may have just found our way out."

Ash stepped aside in order to let the other verify it, though he was sort of unsure of if he should mention that it might not be that easy to hear.

"Okay, but it's not---"

"Ancestors be praised! I can just barely hear it, probably would have passed it off as the trick of a hopeful mind if you hadn't heard it first."

He smiled. "Thank the maker," he muttered as he went over to the others. "I'd rather not be stuck down here more than I need to." He meant no offence to dwarves, but the fact that they could bring themselves to live where they did was beyond him. With a beaming smile, he hoped this would all work out.

"Berund, Jarrett, scout out ahead down the tunnel. Everyone else help me round up the wounded, Maker willing we won't run into any Darkspawn but I'm not holding my breath. If we do have to fight protecting the dwarves is our priority."

Got it.

Ash thought, and started rounding up the wounded, helping some of them out with a light touch of magic here and there to make them feel slightly better. It was all he could do in this situation. As he worked, he looked towards where Berund and Jarrett had gone, hopefully they managed to scout out a route quickly. Hopefully the other dwarves dug out the explosives quickly. Heck, hopefully, they'd be out of there in no time.

"Yes I remember House Brower, odd to find one of them here though particularly one who I believe joined the Legion," Anso shrugged, though he did not seem satisfied "I won't complain of allies in our present circumstances, though I'll have to ask how you two came to join the Inquisition later. For now it seems your mage has found something."

Berund merely nodded as Anso thankfully, with Ash's discovery, diverted his own line of questioning. That's not a story I look forward to recounting, he thought as he looked on.

Calien turned to address the group "Berund, Jarrett, scout out ahead down the tunnel. Everyone else help me round up the wounded, Maker willing we won't run into any Darkspawn but I'm not holding my breath. If we do have to fight protecting the dwarves is our priority."

"Understood sir. You want to be in charge Berund?"

"Just make sure ye can keep up, Beanpole," the dwarf replied with a grin. He took a moment to gather his gear and soon was off into the caverns.


Didn't seem to be long before they happened upon a group of darkspawn.

"Running away, traps, combat, whatever we do I think we agree that what's most important is to be in control. So what are your ideas?"

Berund scratch the scruff of his neck as he thought. Jarrett was right in pointing out the emissary was primary out of all the others. The real trick would be getting to him before he became aware and could properly defend himself. "Fun as it'd be to charge in and cut them down, might be a bit of a challenge. If I didn't know 'em better, I'd suggest whittling them down quietly but that could go sideways 'fore we'd lay a hand on that emissary. But come to think of it, a good trap could do the trick. Tell me, Beanpole, how are yer rock climbin' skills?

"If you need them then let me know, a mission isn't exactly the best place to try and break an addiction and we might need you at top condition."

"Nor is going mad." Von chimed, giving a solid look to Calien before gazing towards the rest of the group's whereabouts. A small, soft smile appeared, and he took a deep breath, yet the addict gave a short cough, as if the body was already giving retaliation. Catching his breath, the Templar nodded strongly. "I'm not trying to get rid of it... at least not yet, but I'd feel better if I wasn't going to have a meltdown and cause trouble for the group."

Von's body seemed to slowly melt into a more comfortable stance, and in reaction he took a smaller breath, but his look became displeased as he took a whiff of the air. "Apart from that, mate, I'll let you go. I'm sure you want to check the rest and plan for the journey ahead out of this place...." Von said, taking a second to give a sassy gesture towards the ceiling with a smug smirk. "Thank the Maker, for after this, I can say I'm not a fan of the Deep Roads." He said, following with a short sigh.

"Anyhow, I would like to rest and make sure my blades are still sharp. I'm sure we'll need them on the way back... plus I'd just love to document all of this in my journal." Von finally said as he excused himself to find a comfortable spot to rest.

Berund crept closer to the darkspawn patrol. He'd hoped he wouldn't draw their attention too early. They we a crafty sort, the shrieks in particular. Any closer and he was sure they'd catch?wind of him. He continued to follow them, prepared to strike, though he knew he needed to allow Jarrett enough time to get into position. His hands drifted to his ax handles for assurance. He was well aware that he was outnumbered and were he to make a misstep he could easily fall to their iron and claws. He was curious as to how his elven companion was faring...

Jarrett had decided test out the extent of his rock climbing talent. He had some experience in navigating the buildings of Kirkwall but this was a very different beast to tackle.

Reaching the roof of the cave would be too difficult a task for Jarrett. He settled for a distance just above the tallest of the darkspawn group in terms of height, staying behind Berund in position.

Jarrett gave his friend a few signals that he planned to throw as many knives from his hand to the best available targets, then leap into action.

As he settled in a stealthy position, Jarrett shook for a moment in fear as he dislodged a rock the size of his foot. Thankfully a well time kick managed to launch it well out of earshot leaving only pain in his foot as a price for this misstep.

Some distance ahead, Berund was getting antsy. He figured enough time had passed. He withdrew his axes and quickly closed in on the nearest genlock. With a swift strike the spikes of his steel were lodged into the 'spawn's skull. The dwarf kicked the lifeless body away and toward the others. Now it was time to run. He turned and darted back the way he came. He could sense the shrieks on his heels. And if he was fortunate, the emissary was not far behind.

Witnessing Berund's attack, Jarrett gathered as well that the shrieks were likely on the move and readied his chain. Unfortunately for Berund Jarrett would have to wait until the moment before they attacked his friend to strike.

Fortunately however for Berund Jarrett successfully ensnared a shriek with his chain, Berund suffering no more than a frightening gash on his armour that thankfully didn't have time to go deeper.

Launching himself towards the shriek with a dash it and the other shriek were both knocked down, the latter's stealth interrupted. Pinned to the ground, the shrieks were no match for a series of relentless strikes.

Jarrett and Berund's sudden attack caught the Darkspawn off guard and cut through them before they could muster a response. One shriek managed a single half-formed scream before it was cut down but beyond the echo of that fading into the distance nothing of the darkspawn survived the encounter.

Meanwhile the group of injured began to mobilize soon catching up to the two scouts. Calien nodded approvingly at the pile of corpses.

"Good work," he said "think we'll see any more trouble?"

"If not from them then I'm sure we'll have trouble on our hands when the bomb goes off," one of the dwarves said "we should be at a safe distance here but that thing will make a boom to wake the ancestors, I don't doubt we'll have a mess of trouble on our hands when that happens."

As if in answer to the comment the sounds of boots running on the cold stone could be heard as the rest of the dwarves caught up to them.

"Hands on your ears!" Anso called out "Its going to-"

The caverns rumbled with the sounds of the blast, it was like thunder reverberating on the walls shaking free dust and small rocks even at such a distance from the blast. The rumbling continued for what felt like minutes before finally anything else could be heard, and for a few moments the contrast made the Deep Roads seem still and calm.

"Everyone alright?" Anso called out "Good, let's get moving back! Calien, your group and my men will cover the rear!"

Then a roar sounded from the distance in answer to the thundering of the bomb. No one who had heard such a roar before could have mistaken it for anything other than what it was, the cry of an ogre. But at the beast lumbered, charging, into view it became clear this was not any ogre but one clad in plated armor. Seeing the group the monster lowered its horns and began the charge.

"Fuck," Calien said, his feet betraying him as he stumbled back a step before regaining his composure, fear still visible in his eyes he called out "For the Inquisition! Stop it here!"

Kari nodded approvingly to Berund and Jarret as she passed the wreckage of their ambush. Too bad there seems to be an endless supply of these assholes... She thought as she played rear guard to the group of wounded.

"Hands on your ears! It's going to-"

It wasn't the easiest thing to do, covering ones hears while wearing a helmet, but she did what she could...that said, she still felt like her head had been caught in an avalanche...

"Everyone alright? Good, let's get moving back! Calien, your group and my men will cover the rear!"

She gave the dwarven commander a thumbs up as she tried to clear the ringing in her ears; unfortunately she managed to do that just in time to hear the bellowing roar of the ogre, and see the armoured beast charge into view. "Maker's puckered asshole, does it ever stop!?" There was no time for further bitching; instead, she took up her blade from where she'd dropped it when she'd tried to cover her ears, and made to meet the charge. "ASHKOST KATA!" She hollered, twisting to avoid its first grasping swipe, and thrusting her sword towards the weaker armour of its arm pit.

"Hands on your ears! Its going to-"

Ash hardly needed anyone telling him that he needed to cover his ears, he had been prepared to do so the moment they had withdrawn. He didn't like loud noises, not when he was the one having to deal with them. It felt like forever for the explosion to stop, everything around him shaking and threatening to fall down around them.

"Everyone alright? Good, let's get moving back! Calien, your group and my men will cover the rear!"

In that instance, he activated his blood-magic by slashing part of his arm. Ash wouldn't be able to deal with the darkspawn without a boost, and he felt sick at the thought of downing another Lyrium potion. Especially considering what was going on with Von. He wasn't sure where to start, but it became very apparent to him after he heard the roar. Calien, their not-so-brave leader, urged them forward, even as fear took hold of him.

"For the Inquisition! Stop it here!"

Ash stepped in front of Calien, protective. He doubted Calien could do much right now, not when he barely managed to step back.

"We'll keep it away," he said. "Just calm down, and don't worry. You're our leader, after all, couldn't let some ogre murder you after we've almost gotten out of here." Ash looked at the ogre, before trying to lock its body with blood-magic. It was huge, so he wouldn't be able to keep it away for long, but if he could force its body to keep still, then the others could find the weak spots, and attack. And once there was an opening, he could force boiling blood out, but before that it was more important to focus on keeping it still.

Can't anything go right for once? Can't something just happen without everything getting dangerous and difficult?

Ash would've almost have taken dealing with the demon in his head over this claustrophobic feeling. Almost.

"Hands on your ears! Its going to-"

"Righ-" As Jarrett covered his ears with his hands, the dulled noise rang throughout his head. For Jarrett it was if all sense had left Jarrett, leaving him trapped within a painful sensation. Recovering from the noise, he turned his focus to the closest source he could make out.

..ryo... alright? Good, let's get moving back! Calien, your group and my men will cover the rear!"

"G-got it!" Catching himself, he saw the monster they were challenged by. His knowledge of darkspawn was basic but the terrifying bulk of the beast immediately let Jarrett know that this was an ogre.

"For the Inquisition! Stop it here!"

"Next best thing, two birds one stone!" Seeing the ogre charge the best plan Jarrett could come up with at stopping it traditionally was to throw Berund at it. Not willing to forsake his friend so easily, Jarrett grabbed a smoke bomb and aimed it at the ogre's oversized head. "Cover and misdirection, use it!" This wouldn't stop the charge but hopefully the others had some plan they could make with this. With few other options at the moment, Jarrett then launched his hook at the arm of the creature, hoping to swing past it.

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