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

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Nola held her cloak tighter, thankful the mage had been adapt at alchemy. Note to self, learn that shit. She thought shivering under her cloak. It kept the worst at bay, but that didn't stop it from being too damned cold. I miss caves. She thought not for the first time since coming to the surface. In caves anything that could fall on your head was your own damn fault for not setting up support beams. Out here you were screwed.

She smiled as she heard the howls. "About time they showed up." She said pulling her ax from her side and shield off her back. She let her cloak and pack fall not far from Kari's as she marched forward giving the Giantess ample room.

"You lot stay protected and stop whatever is coming from overwhelming me."

Nola laughed. "Trust me lady, they'll have a hard enough time getting past me as is. Between the two of us, as long as it isn't a hundred of the damn thing we should be fine." She rolled her shoulders. "Speaking of numbers, last to five buys the first round when we get back." She said setting her feet apart and her shield forward.

"Sounds could be what the scout mentioned. House, fence, cliff, whatever, find cover. Maybe funnel these hypothetical beasts if that's what we're hearing. Better ideas?"

Upon hearing that, it became clear that what Ashtalan heard was more than just something in his head. Unless it all was, of course, but it meant he wouldn't get in trouble from mentioning it, or, as his first instinct was, aiming the strongest shock he could towards the sounds. He was about to suggest that when Kari and Nola started talking about fighting, apparently they didn't realize -or perhaps more correctly, didn't consider- the range a mage had.

"You lot stay protected and stop whatever is coming from overwhelming me."

"Trust me lady, they'll have a hard enough time getting past me as is. Between the two of us, as long as it isn't a hundred of the damn thing we should be fine. Speaking of numbers, last to five buys the first round when we get back."

Ash smirked, well, as much as he could smirk without his stiff face starting to feel odd. The howls made him eager to act, deal with the danger and get out of there.

"If they gets past the two of you, they're already too close for me," he remarked, and raised his hand. "And I'd like to at least do something, though I don't doubt you two could take them out alone."

Question is, can I?

Could he determine where the sound came from? Not really, but he could pick out where at least some sounds came from. And that was good enough for him. Without hesitating, or even waiting for someone else to say anything, he channelled the fade, and bolts of lightning struck in the direction where the sound was clearest. It was a weaker spell than his preferred one, but it also didn't have a chance of affecting anyone around him, and it was easier than opening his mouth, warning the others, and then possibly hope to hit something when it got close enough for the more shocking spell to work.

"If nothing else, the beasts will either be frightened by that, or get drawn to it," he said. "Instincts would mean the first, but if they really are acting up..." he trailed off, as he kept looking for something to move around him. Well, something that looked like a beast, at least.

There wasn't any way to tell how much time they had to prepare if it was what they feared. Jarrett crouched next to a withered stone wall along the path with his left ear to it and daggers held near his feet. His heart and breathing slowed, ready to leap at whatever danger approached. He got as good of a view as he could get in the blizzard of his allies preparing themselves

"You lot stay protected and stop whatever is coming from overwhelming me."

"Plenty protected", he thought to himself. While the tension caused seconds to feel like minutes he always enjoyed this moment in his work. Assuming the danger was there. "We're near a village, this better not be coincidence and what we're hearing is domesticated." These thoughts didn't annoy him. It would have to wait until they got close to tell but that could hardly be called a risk as if they got close to him, they got close to his knives, he rationalised.

That would soon be tested as he heard a bolt of electricity rupture the snow ahead of him. Ash is taking the initiative. It wasn't the worst plan he admitted, if they waited they could get boxed in. "Your call Ash, advance or hold. Maybe seconds to choose." At least he hoped Ash heard that and he was one to embrace pressure and not be swamped by it.

"Your call Ash, advance or hold. Maybe seconds to choose."

Ash was surprised, he hadn't really expected for someone to ask him about that. However, he spoke within an instant.

"I say hold," was his reply, as he turned towards Jarrett. Fighting meant more money, and more money meant that his time was being better spent, even if they had to fight a couple of beasts. "If they follow us to the village, we'll be in a worse spot. Besides, people seem eager to fight, and we should outnumber them, so we'll be fine. If the beasts have been scared off, that's fine too, but we get paid according to how dangerous this is, and I wouldn't mind earning some extra coins. Of course..." he looked to the others. He certainly wasn't scared, or even unnerved, but perhaps the idea of a fight against possibly crazed beasts in the middle of a blizzard made them hesitant.

I suppose that makes sense.

Perhaps all of them were, and Kari and Nola were just acting tough. Could be it. As far as he knew, he was the only deranged person there, though, he wasn't completely sure about some. In order to say something more sensible, he spoke again.

"I can't force anyone to do anything, so if someone runs, we all should. Safety in numbers, and all that."

From behind the tree, Von saw several people move into the open field, all preparing and wanting this coming fight. Mostly he noticed Kari, who called out to him. Of course this would attract his attention from the tree which shielded him, he wondered where everyone was gathering for the fight.

"Don't worry Von."
"I won't let those mean doggies hurt you."

Kari joked. Von felt a flush across his face, he almost thought it could melt the snow that thinly covered him. ("Wow, she pulls no punches.") He thought, sighing internally. His cloak blew in the harsh wind. Von knew what his strengths were, stealth was not one of them, and he remembers the compliments he received in his training days. People called his combat style a dance. If Von were to explore his honest thoughts, he would find he is also itching for a fight, eager to prove himself to his new group and friends.

"If they follow us to the village ..."

Ash only needed to say those words, and Von's hands already moved. Even if this village was empty, he would want to protect it. His inner instincts called for it. Besides, if they led the wolves into the village, they might not be the most popular people there. His legs started to move, and Von was already on a flank, prepared with longsword and dagger. "Ho ho ... very funny!" His joking voice called out to Kari. His hood flipped back, and Von was hoping that his vision would not be that obstructed by the rioting snow and cold.

"A saved village is a better village." Von's tone turned serious, and a grin laid on his face. Flourishing his weapons, he knew he was ready, and Von knew, he was in his combat mode.

Once the aura of booze and debauchery dissapiated the girl found herself in the company of complete strangers and she was too afraid to ask their names or where they were going. She had someone's coat on, which was a blessing, and had some help from a surprisingly friendly Qunnari. The other one wasn't as nice - she kept giving her those hungry looks. The others weren't any better - the elf kept sending her those shifty looks and the two dwarves were all so...dwarfish. There was the last one, a quite one who called himself Von, that always looked at her as if she would bust into song.

'How long had it been since I smelled salt air?', the question hit her over the head like an angry mule, 'And what's my own name?'.

All of that confusion and fear gave birth to even more when the cold seeped into her bones and snuggled her like a mother's warm embrace - nor that she had ever known one. Her own mother sold her off for a pipe of the good stuff, or so she was told.

The salve the Qunnari who the other always addressed as 'Ash' helped incredibly against the cold. She was also happy at the bags of sweets someone had packed in her pockets for the climb up to the village. Maybe grandma was there waiting for her basket of treats, and her little girl ate it all up.

Howls. Growls. Little fuckers after their blood. Beasts of the wild crying bloody murder, with a murder of damn crows watching impatiently from the mist of snow.

"...don't lose sight of each other..."

"Y-yeah", she was quite as a mouse. She couldn't get eaten, not today, it was a pretty bad day to get eaten. Too much wind and snow for a proper funeral and the like. 'They're not even going to bother with a burial, those mercenaries...', the thought sent even more shivers than usual down her spine.

"Lets hope they miss us"

'Not fucking likely', Von tried to cheer them up. He would have more luck resurrecting Andraste. She moved away from the rest of the group and searched her pouches for anything useful. Anything to start a fire with.

"You lot stay protected and stop whatever is coming from overwhelming me."

The Qunnari with the big-ass sword stood in front of the group and protected against the beasts. 'She's going to save us all-', Raven looked back at the eyes in the mist,'-She's gonna get torn apart!'. She found a vial of some nasty substance. She could barely read the label but she knew it went boom, or somehing of the sort.

"Trust me lady, they'll have a hard enough time getting past me as is. Between the two of us, as long as it isn't a hundred of the damn thing we should be fine."

The dwarf - the one with the smaller beard - stood together with the Qunnari in an effort to show just how short she really was. She drew her weapons and both of them stood guard against the perils ahead.

There was a god-damned lightning bolt over there by the snow. 'I nearly wet myself', she looked angrily at the mage Ash,'God damned mages'.

"I can't force anyone to do anything, so if someone runs, we all should. Safety in numbers, and all that."

"Run?", Raven frantically looked around her at the faces that accompanied her for the past two days, "Who's for running?", she asked the crew, the old habit of a vote before a fight on the ship still stuck to her.

Raven scurried back and up atop a tree, jumping from branch to branch until she was standing on top of a pretty big one half her size. She jumped at it a few times to break it, but her weight wasnt enough. She crawed to the end and tipped a couple of drops at the wood, which then exploded loudly and burst into flames. The terrified girl jumped back but there was no branch underneath her. She fell down to the snow together with the burning branch crying out "Bollocks" all the way down.

"A saved village is a better village."

"Yeah, what he said-", Raven saw Von standing at the front.

"Don't get eaten", Raven implored her three defenders as she stood up and looked for the burning branch, which curiously still burned even after being tipped in the ice. She raised it up and forward and walked in front of them. "We don't have to kill 'em. Just a bit of fire and they'll be off our ass".

"If nothing else, the beasts will either be frightened by that, or get drawn to it. Instincts would mean the first, but if they really are acting up..."

"I think it more likely you just made them a touch angry," Berund said, letting his pack fall to the ground before giving his maul a few warm-up swings. He looked in all directions to spot any movement since it seemed the beasts had gone quiet for the moment. "And let's not all gather on one side now. Wolves are pack hunters, as I'm sure some of you know. They should have an idea where we are, they'll have a mind to get us where we're not lookin'."

Trudging through the snow, the dwarf walked past Raven and the beginnings of her fire. Well, at the very least, we may be thanked for giving the beasts a warm place to seat after their meal.

"We don't have to kill 'em. Just a bit of fire and they'll be off our ass."

"Perhaps," Berund muttered, still looking into the white wall of constant snowfall. "You tend to your fire, I'll watch your back for ya." The silence from the wolves seemed to persist, and that likely wasn't a good sign. If they had been frightened, Berund figured they'd hear yipping and whining. Not the quiet of a hunt. Eager to draw them out of the blizzard, he sucked in a considerable amount of the crisp air and greatly bellowed, "Come on, ya overgrown pups! There's a juicy cut of round steak with your names on it, and it's waitin' for ya right here!" The dwarf added with a swat to his rear end for emphasis.

"Trust me lady, they'll have a hard enough time getting past me as is. Between the two of us, as long as it isn't a hundred of the damn thing we should be fine. Speaking of numbers, last to five buys the first round when we get back."

"Aw, a hundred or so would be fun!" Kari replied with a smile as she scanned for the approaching beasts. "As for your bet? You're on. I always like drinking with somebody else's coin." She couldn't help flinching as Ash cast a bolt of lightning in the general direction of the threat; it brought back bad memories of trying to claim a bounty on a mage, without a mage or even a bowman of their own...what a fucking disaster that was.

But that was the past, and now was not the time for reminiscing. While the other chattered with pre-fight nervousness, she closed her eyes for a moment and centred her thoughts. Tuning out the sounds of the others as best she could, she slowed her breathing and directed the entirety of her focus to the direction of the threat. Sword raised, she stood as still as a statue, her eyes open now and flicking back and forth. Being on the defensive meant the beast would get the first move, but they would not get the second.

The howling vanished after Ash's lightning was flung into the snowy haze, but the feeling of being watched didn't cease. For several moments, which felt far longer than they could possibly have been, there was nothing but the howling of the wind and glimpses of movement through the snow. Then they struck, almost two dozen large wolves with thick black coats and eyes that gleamed with a mad hunger leapt out from the blizzard, half from the front of the group charging right into Kari and Von, the other half from behind one leaping straight for Berund's armored back. Most of the pack charged for the largest most boisterous targets though not all, and one which sported a nasty electrical burn through its fur went straight for Ashtalan, seemingly unconcerned by its wound and barking white spittle from its mouth as it jumped for the mage's throat.

If it wasn't clear from their hostile behavior and utter lack of concern for their own health Ashtalan could sense demonic presences directing the wolves, likely forces of Rage and Hunger had seized their minds. Von could likely tell this as well from his templar training, though he lacked the magical talent to directly sense such.

It was hardly noticeable, if not for the near total silence, Berund would have missed it. The soft patter of paws in the powdery snow. There was a larger shift in the snow, far too much for a simple step and it came from right behind him. Instinct took over and the dwarf twirled with his maul swinging forcefully. The blunt studs collided with the side of the leaping wolf's head, resounding in a dull thud and crunch as its skull turned to powder. The power of the strike sent the limp beast rolling towards Raven, stopping just short of the fire. Berund met eyes with the woman briefly, adding with a smile, "Feel free to put that on a spit--I've a feelin' this'll work up an appetite."

Turning back, the dwarf was faced with another wolf, it's fur black and wild, looking almost rabid. Letting loose a deep-bellied howl of his own, he charged the beast. The wolf's body tensed like a coiled spring then propelled itself forward, intent on opening the dwarf's throat. Berund swung upward and shattered the creatures ribs, throwing it aside from the impact with a sharp, agonized whine. Then just as soon as he'd dispatched those two, another three sprung from the flurry of snow. He readjusted his grip on his weapon in preparation, grinning widely as he called out to the others. "How are you ladies farin' up there? It seems like I'm havin' all the fun! Bahahahaaah!"

"I think it more likely you just made them a touch angry,"

"If so, that's not how beasts are supposed to act," Ash replied, his eyes going slowly going over the landscape. The howling had stopped too, though he wasn't sure what that would indicate at this point. "They fear natural forces like lightning and fire, but if they attack, there is likely another influence there."

With that, he went quiet, he needed to listen, hear what he could hear. He could hear something... just the wind? Movement in the distance, or perhaps, closer than it looked due to the snow.

They're definitely there.

It wasn't a surprise when the pack of wolves attacked, charging for them.

The wolves aren't acting as they should.

He could sense that there was demonic presences, direction, perhaps even controlling the wolves. He didn't have much time to wonder if it was just a trick of the senses, or something a bit more real, as he had to attack.

That one is going straight for me.

He shuddered. Not because he was scared, but because of the sense of desperation in the wolves' attack. And this one bore his mark on it, quite literally, a nasty burn from the lightning. Ash was positioned a bit in the middle, not standing to one particular side, however, it charged right at him.

"No you don't," he muttered, and raised his arm, a stronger, more devastating kind of lighting flowing out of it. It was a bit harder to ensure that no one around him was hurt than usual, but then again, he rarely travelled with other people. If they hadn't been here, he could've dealt with the wolves more efficiently, attacking them from the inside.

I doubt I would have won, though.

That was very true. It only took seconds before the wolf dropped death, though Ash didn't have to wait long for another target, another wolf out to get his blood and flesh. He used more of his lightning, though, with as tired as he already was, he could feel the spells draining what energy he had left. Because of that, he was eager to see the second wolf roll over, dead.

There! She thought, as she spotted an indistinct shape moving through the snow. Within moments, the shape solidified into a rather large wolf...scratch that...SEVERAL rather large wolves, coming out of the haze straight for them. Slavering at the mouth, a pair charged straight towards Kari, madness and hunger blazing in their eyes.

She stood stock still until the last possible moment, before she acted. As the lead wolf of the pair lept, Kari snapped her blade out through a downward arc, stepping forward and to the side as she did. The wolf, caught mid-leap, was unable to evade and tumbled to the ground; staining the snow as it did, its head coming to rest about a foot away from the body. "One!"

Using the momentum of her swing to bring her sword around, she caught the second animal with a rising slash across its side, spilling its steaming entrails onto the frozen ground. "Two!" From there she changed to a 'half-sword' grip, and thrust at another animal that had come at her from her right. Driving the tip of the blade into its open mouth, Kari used the beasts own momentum to drive the tip into the back of its throat, and with a flick of the blade, separate everything above its lower jaw from the rest of its body. The wolf crumpled into a bloody heap at her feet. "Three!"

Nola eye the tree line as the howling stopped. She clenched her ax harder, bracing for the attack. When they charged she smiled. "C'mon then flea bags! Nice hardy roast for ya!" Two broke from the pack and lunged. She stepped to one side, lashing out with her shield to knock one from the air. She brought her ax down on the beasts head with a wet crunch. "One!" She turned to meet the other as it turned.

It bolted to her side and with snarl it lunged. Nola whipped her shield around, the edge catching the beast in the side of the head. It staggered, blood leaking from it's eye. She raised her shield above her head and brought it crashing down on top of the wolf, spraying the snow with blood and bone shards. "Two!" She called after the giantess called her third.

She twisted as she heard the growl behind her, bringing her ax around in reaction. The blade bit into a wolfs side as it rushed past her, trying to get to the softer targets in the center. A flash of red and black sped past just outside her vision as the know three legged wolf stumbled. She brought her ax down again into the chest, cleaving through bone and muscle to stop the wolf's breath. "Three!" She said clashing her ax against her shield, trying to draw the wolves attention.

(Ignore, Escapist bugged out.)

("Large things, aren't they?") Von said internally, while his hands brandished his weapons. Taking two deep breaths, he looked in front of him, a couple of wolves charged for him. ("Probably more beyond.") Von noted, his smile not falling. The warrior's instincts focused, and his ears could already hear the blood being spilled from Nola, Kari, and Berund's weapons. "Come!" Von said mostly to himself. One foot in front of the other, and it had already looked like Von had leaped towards his opponents.

Being a couple of steps from the first two, Von's left hand lunged, and the longsword within impaled the wolf's skull. Blood flowed from the wolf, and onto the longsword and left hand of Von. The second wolf, being the quick kind of animal saw this attack on it's brother. Immediately aiming for Von, it's jaw was introduced to the bolt-hilt dagger, which entered the mouth of the wolf, jabbing a hole in the back of it's neck. Surprised it fell to the ground, yet alive.

A drop of blood fell from the dagger, then Von took a quick stomp on the lasting wolf. Hoping it had died, his feet were running toward the other two raging wolves. Looking within their rabid eyes, Von could feel a presence, a strong presence of wanting and violence. Stopping his run towards them, the wolves kept running. Quickly executing his next attack, it was a flurry of movement. Metal moving fast with blood flowing, Von managed to slam his dagger into one wolf's temple, and dragged it along the top of it's body, so he was flowing past the other wolf. Using his longsword to brush alongside the alive wolf, blocking it's sharp fangs, Von felt a sting of pain within his fingers.

Pulling his dagger free, he turned to see his enemy, he also turned quickly, yet the wolf had a couple of fangs missing due to slamming into his parry. Feeling the hot liquid of blood trailing down his arm, and part of his face, Von wanted to end this wolf. A sudden pounce the wolf launch, and Von smiled. The two weapons came together in one sweep, clean slicing the wolf's head horizontally. With one final slap of blood on his face, Von had killed four wolves ... plus one hand wound. ("Not bad for a group effort.") He thought.

Remembering the unnatural feeling from the last two wolves, Von turned to his battling friends. "Something is not right with these wolves! ... unnatural." He shouted to the group, before a pinch of pain tackled his head. With a throbbing head, Von had a hard time of refocusing. He knew why this happened, the Lyrium was affecting him, his mind was battling the addiction that he was forced to earn back in Kirkwall. Swearing, clenching his teeth, Von was forced to bring his weapons up again.

"Shit shit shit shit" she sang out loud in a not-so-calm voice with the burning branch all on fire and smelling like burnt fur - or was it the wolves, she couldn't tell anymore. Everyone and their sister decided to go for the kill and obliterate those four-legged beasts, while Raven just thought of her favorite doggie when she was nine. He was half-wolf himself, and a loyal one at that, which was something hard to come by where she was at the time - which she couldn't recall for the life of her, because a wolf was trying to gnaw on her delicious calf. "Piss buckets!", she cried out a heartbeat after his teeth missed her by a fraction and jumped away from the wolf.

"They're so cuddly!", Raven exclaimed in a mixture of disappointment and sheer terror when one of them rammed into her and sent her flying back. She landed on the snow right next to the dwarf with the shorter beard - what was her name, Korra, Malfoy - oh yes, Nora! The branch kept on burning, though the thing grew too short to hold safely anymore. "They won't let me hug 'em", she complained to Nora with a sour face, "All they want is a snack". Raven struggled to get up in the freezing cold and stood behind the axe-wielding tiny defender. She scanned the field for the rest of her mates, which seemed to be alive more or less - "Hey, you twat!", she pointed at Jarrent laying back on a stone wall and watching them get devoured, "Get off yer arse and help - Argh!", Raven ducked as the axe flew right over her and cut a wolf nearly in half.

"Hey girls", Raven addressed Nora and the giantess with a grin, "You said something 'bout a competition, no?".

"Something is not right with these wolves! ... unnatural."

Ash heard Von shout. To him, it was obvious what it was, but then again, he was the -presumably- only mage there.

"Yeah, it's demonic influence!" he shouted back, as he thought of whether he wanted to use another lightning spell. He needed enough energy to get to the village afterwards -as he doubted any of the others would be willing to carry him, considering the fact that he was the tallest person there-, however, helping the others was important. He knew other spells that weren't blood magic, but none of them seemed appropriate.

I wonder----

The thought was discontinued, as he suddenly felt a sharp pain on the back of his left arm.

"Ow, get off!" he exclaimed, not having noticed one of the wolves attacking him from behind, getting a bite of his arm, but quickly letting go in order to aim for a more deadly area.

In less time than it took to think "well, that settles that", he put his hand on the thing, draining its life and using it to heal his wound. Well, as much as he could manage, there were still some marks remaining. Then, without hesitating, he got the short-sword, and stabbed what life he hadn't stolen out of the damned creature, till it no longer moved. This time making sure there were no wolves around him, he took some time examining the wound, luckily his sleeve had escaped with a couple of holes after the teeth, but nothing more.

Let's see.. that's 3 wolves.

The others seemed to be doing well enough, some injuries here and there, but the wolves were slowly getting taken care of.

That's good.

he thought to himself, before looking around, the blizzard not seeming to end soon. He thought he could see faces in it, twisted faces. That was definitely not real, yet very unsettling.

I just want to get inside.

The howls were getting louder and more aggressive. They were being attacked and from the sound of it, from all directions and Jarrett was stuck in the center. He scanned the area for the closest group. Two of them were about to head right past him, one a few feet behind the other. With a hidden grin he leapt out from cover and dashed towards the first wolf. "Ha..." Jarrett held his right dagger in a reverse grip and slammed it into the wolf's neck. Turning his head to meet the second, he saw jump at him.

Jarrett leaned to the right and tried repeating the method he used to kill the first wolf. He however aimed for it's legs. The wolf caught it's front right leg on the dagger falling to the ground. Despite the deep wound it began trying to turn around. Jarrett marched over to it and before the wolf could start attacking, started to viciously slash the wolf's legs. The scarring was deep and numerous enough the wolf was immobilised and it'd bleed out in a few minutes but that's all that was needed. "Captured one! Find out what these are after this.

With these two taking care of he looked around to see the other's progress. They seemed to be clearing out their sides well enough but they'd made little ground. The one that caught his attention was Von. He seemed to be throwing his around in pain. Whether Von wanted help or not he started walking over to him. "All right there? There could be more. I'll follow your lead but I'm not leaving."

Nola eyed the next two wolves that charged and her shield rose to meet them. Her eyes flicked for a moment as she heard a soft thump in the snow. The lass from before was on her back, whining of all things about how the rabid wolves wouldn't be her friends.

"They won't let me hug 'em! All they want is a snack!"

Nola could only gape for a moment before she heard a snarl and felt a sharp pain stab through her upper right arm. "Arrrgh! You fuckin flea bag!" She cried in pain as the wolf released her arm. She brought her shield down where the beast was only for it to jump aside. With a grunt Nola spun swiping her shield across the beasts jaw. It's head twisted on it's shoulders and fell with a broken neck. "Four!" She called before turning to glare at the girl. "Listen you moron, you want to feed the beasts go lay down belly up in front of 'em. Otherwise shut your mouth and fight!" She turned to scan for more wolves. There we're only a few left, circling the group. She heard the girl rise behind her. She better keep her ass outta trouble, I can't protect stupid. She heard a snarl behind her and she spun on the ball of her foot. Thankfully the girl ducked in time. Her blade bit deep along the wolfs stomach, it's insides spilling out as it hit the snow. "Ha! And that's five! My drinks paid for tonight!" She said laughing.

"Hey girls, you said something 'bout a competition, no?"

Her grin fell as she looked to the girl. "Between me the giantess, yes. Last to five pays for our first round of drinks at the next Tavern." She raised her shield again. "Now stay behind me if your not gonna fight the beasts."

"Yeah, it's demonic influence!"

Von, hearing Ash through the blizzard, quickly agreed to the answer. "Demons ... would they be near?" Von asked himself, looking at his multiple punctured hand. Pulling a fang or two free, the blood crawled over his hand, leaving him annoyed. ("Arg, don't get infected.") He poured that thought into his head, hoping that his crazing for the blue lyrium that was packed within his bag, it was almost like a song, but he remembered what happened to the Knight-Commander of Kirkwall

"All right there? There could be more. I'll follow your lead but I'm not leaving."

Von turned, and saw Jarrett walk to him. Showing his longsword hand, blood was covering a majority of it and the blade within. "Ah, it's not much." Von squeaked out of his mouth. While he said that the pain wasn't much, his eyes betrayed that the pain was more, and a simple punctured hand would not allow him to have the mental unnerving that his eyes contained. "Help ... would be good." He muttered to the elf. Seeing a couple more wolves come, Von felt his own blood loosen the grip of longsword hand, so he changed his stance, so that the dagger within his other hand was the primary weapon.

"One! ...Two! ...Three!"

Kari couldn't help but raise an eyebrow and smirk as Nola called out her kills. Damn that little rock-sniffer works fast. She thought, readying herself against the next few animals.

"Something is not right with these wolves! ... unnatural."

No kidding! Rolling to one side, she dodged a combined rush by a pair of wolves. No way wolves would attack such a large party, not when they're as fit as they seem. A wolf lunged at her as she came to her feet, slashing along its side, though not deep enough to kill it. "C'mon ya sheep fucker!" It leapt again, and this time her blade found its mark. "Four!"

"Hey girls...You said something 'bout a competition, no?"

"Four! Listen you moron, you want to feed the beasts go lay down belly up in front of 'em. Otherwise shut your mouth and fight! Ha! And that's five! My drinks paid for tonight!"

"Andraste's Asshole! Girl, either kill something or fuck off and let the adults work!" She hollered. While she was glad Nola had the same thought as her in regards to the little pirate, she was less enthused about losing. "Fair is fair!" She called out, accepting defeat in the matter. Now for the cleanup. They came at her from two sides; a big male that a dwarf could've almost used as a mount, and a smaller male that was at most a year old. Half-swording again, she used her blade like a spear, driving the tip into the wolf's chest just above its collar bone; between her thrust and its momentum, her sword got driven about a foot into the beast. As it fell to the snow, it pulled her off her off balance just as the smaller one slammed into her from the other side, knocking her to the ground.

Losing her grip on her sword as she fell, Kari found herself under a mass of fur, claws and snapping teeth. Ramming her right forearm into its throat, she pushed hard to keep the beast from biting her face, while she jammed her left hand underneath its rib-cage to try and dislodge it. The trashing wolf made it difficult to get a solid grip for her to throw it free, so she balled up her free hand and punched, and punched, again and again until she began to feel and hear bones break.

As her blows began to take effect, the wolf struggled less and less, though it still snapped at her face. Finally getting some good leverage, she heaved it free and scrambled to her feet, pulling her blade from her prior kill. Facing the wounded animal, she saw bloody froth foaming from its mouth, and blood flecking the snow near its muzzle; she must have jammed a broken rib into a lung. Enraged beyond all sanity, it still tried to charge her, only to be met by a swift boot to the head. As the wolf collapsed, Kari stuck her sword between what was left of its ribs and finished it.

"Listen you moron, you want to feed the beasts go lay down belly up in front of 'em. Otherwise shut your mouth and fight!"

'Hmm', Raven frowned at the dwarf-lady right before she nearly chopped her head off. 'She does have a point', she thought of the possibility of getting eaten and inched away from the bloodthirsty hounds.

"Between me the giantess, yes. Last to five pays for our first round of drinks at the next Tavern."

"Another Tavern?", her eyes glimmered like a full moon on a starless sky with great anticipation.

"Andraste's Asshole! Girl, either kill something or fuck off and let the adults work!"

Raven ducked away from the whole mess of heroic warriors killing puppies in a last-stand with her arms crossed on her chest. "I'm an adult too!", she yelled at the giant-sword-lady. Raven was minding her own business of not-getting-eaten when a certain mischievous wolf decided to try and gnaw on her delicious arm. It charged forward with a murderous look in its eyes, which prompted Raven to panic and leap in the air away from the damned creature. She hadn't enough time to draw M'Lady, which was why she found herself hanging on to a clump of wet, dirty hairs on top of a raging wolf. "Mother-eater!", she yelled in astonishment as she was flattened over the wolf's body, her legs nearly reaching the snow underneath. Raven drew a short blade from the inside of her leather jacket and jammed it in its back, so she could get a better grip on the beast. She pulled herself forward and tried to sit on the rampaging wolf. "Stay-", she pushed the knife even further inside, "-In!", and twisted it cruelly.

She found herself riding a dying wolf to oblivion, hoping in her heart not to get cut in half by a bloodthirsty Qunnari or Dwarf. "I haven't ridden a-", she grunted as her mount tried to throw her off and smashed into a tree, "-fucking stubborn mutt!", Raven hit it on the nose and his head shot up in an attempt to eat off a finger or four.

The last of the wolves lay dead or scattered, save for Jarret's captive though it seemed not long for this world, if any more lurked out in the snow they kept their distance for now, leaving the group alone in the freezing weather. Still the lights of the village glimmered alluringly ahead and they pressed on, thankfully the road became less rocky and unstable as they neared the village, though the steadily increasing blanket of snow still slowed progress. As they neared the entrance a lone figure emerged from the blinding snow to greet them.

He was a man dressed in furs with a hunting bow slung across his back, he waved to greet them though his expression was somewhat surprised, especially at the sight of the Qunari and dwarves of the party.

"Didn't expect to see travelers in this weather, but then I heard the noises and had to come see," he said as they came closer "What brings you lot up here? Adventurers I expect from the look of you, names Arthur."

He turned and started walking, motioning for them to follow "Inns just this way, I expect you'll want some place to warm up," he said "place is a bit packed at the moment, turned into our own little circle if I do say so myself, too bad the mages can't seem to do anything about the damn wolves, most people have been afraid to leave their homes lately."

At this point the hunter seemed to be talking to himself to some extent, though he still paused to make sure the group was following him as he walked.

As everyone gathered up their gear, and made ready to press on, Kari couldn't help but be a little down; she doubted the Inquisition would pay much for killing wolves, possessed or not. Mind you, She thought as they began to press on. If we can find and kill the DEMON, that should be worth some good coin. Mulling over such thoughts, she trudged through the snow, until the sight of a lone figure ahead caught her attention.

"Didn't expect to see travellers in this weather, but then I heard the noises and had to come see. What brings you lot up here? Adventurers I expect from the look of you, names Arthur. Inns just this way, I expect you'll want some place to warm up, place is a bit packed at the moment, turned into our own little circle if I do say so myself, too bad the mages can't seem to do anything about the damn wolves, most people have been afraid to leave their homes lately."

"Kari." She said to Arthur as she got close. "And an inn sounds like a bloody marvellous idea...I don't know how people can like in a place that's so bleeding cold!" She added with a laugh. "As for your wolf problem...while I don't think we got 'em all, we made a good dent in the population." Looking over to Nola, Kari smiled and winked. "Let's just hope your innkeeper has a well-stocked cellar...he's going to need it." Two Dwarves and two Qunari; the poor sod won't know wither to laugh or cry.

Ash had to take a couple of moments to get himself together. The wolves were mostly taken care of, and the few alive had either taken the chance to run away, or was dying. He would have loved to help people with their injuries, but most of them seemed able to walk, and it was freezing cold. However, he was ready to hand out health poultice if someone needed it, and did not have it themselves. He currently had enough, and on the way he had picked some of the ingredients to make more. Besides, the demonic presence in the wolves made him wonder if there were more waiting for them to stop.

I hope not, this was just about enough.

They had continued towards the village, and while the weather hadn't gotten much better, the road definitely had. It was almost easy to walk by the time they ran into what seemed to be a hunter.

"Didn't expect to see travelers in this weather, but then I heard the noises and had to come see. What brings you lot up here? Adventurers I expect from the look of you, names Arthur."

"I'm Ashtalan," Ash replied, and stretched. He was exhausted, both from a lack of sleep and from the fight, so he was happy to see someone local. If he could ignore that extra head that seemed to be--- no, no, it was a good thing. Everything was good. "And yeah, we're adventurers."

"Inns just this way, I expect you'll want some place to warm up. Place is a bit packed at the moment, turned into our own little circle if I do say so myself, too bad the mages can't seem to do anything about the damn wolves, most people have been afraid to leave their homes lately."

He felt conflicted about that. Ashtalan had interacted with other mages, of course he had, but if there were enough of them for someone to call it "their own little circle" that might be a bit odd for him. However, the thought of an inn to warm up in made him more eager than the thought of a group of mages made him hesitant, and he smiled.

"That would be great, thank you. Besides, a little packed is just fun, don't you agree?"

"As for your wolf problem...while I don't think we got 'em all, we made a good dent in the population."

"I'd say so too, I think we took out at least twenty of them," he chimed in, pleased with what they had managed.

It was at the moment that Raven balled up some snow with a rock in the center and hurled it at the fleeing wolf with her knife still lodged at his back that she realized the absurdity of slaying beasts with snowballs. It was only by sheer dumb luck and a good throwing arm that the ball hit the wolf on the head and dazed it long enough for her to get her bloody knife out and watch it scurry away in whimpers of pain. "And tell your mother!", she waved the knife around while the wolf ran off, and then cleaned it on her borrowed coat.

"Didn't expect to see travelers in this weather, but then I heard the noises and had to come see...What brings you lot up here? Adventurers I expect from the look of you, names Arthur."

"Andraste's balls", Raven jumped when that shady-looking and awfully friendly stalker - who called himself Arthur - showed up from nowhere. Raven walked funny all the way to the rest of the group who was standing around the new arrival, her impromptu ride on a wolf still sending jolts of pain down her pelvis. "We killed dozens, I tells 'ya, dozens!", she motioned at the field of corpses a mile away from them with exaggerated hand gestures, "You just had to look at all the dead puppies, it was enough fur to last you ten winters!".

By the end of the fray, several wolf corpses were lying around Berund in a jagged ring. Any wolves that were able to had scampered off into the white with their tails between their legs. Watching them retreat, he laughed and said to no one in particular, "Looks like I'll be on the feastin' tonight, eh?" He took a moment to clean some of the blood off him with handfuls of snow, though it was hardly an ideal cleaning he still managed to get a decent portion of the spatters. Then he collect his pack and slipped the maul into its sling on his back before examining the carcasses he left. Choosing two of his kills that were for the most part clean--the last thing he wanted was bits of bone in the good meat--and threw one over each shoulder. With his temporary trophies, he regrouped with the others and onward they went...

"Let's just hope your innkeeper has a well-stocked cellar...he's going to need it."

"And a good cook, for that matter!" Berund called forth from the rear with a hearty chuckle.

"You just had to look at all the dead puppies, it was enough fur to last you ten winters!"

"I dunno about that, though I've enough here to last me a couple, I think," Berund said, stepping forward towards the one-man welcoming committee. "Nice to meetcha. I'd extend my hand, but..." the dwarf trailed off, shrugging to emphasize the fact that a wolf kept each of his arms occupied.

After the battle, Von gave a thankful wave to Jarrett for his help. Gaining back his posture, he cleaned his weapons off, leaving his armour to later. Von's thoughts were occupied by the burden of addiction, he could not do anything useful with his Templar powers due to the lack of lyrium flowing through him, which acted more like a locked gate to his possible true potential ... and death. Shaking the thoughts off him, he just about saw his new companions near the village, meeting with on one of the locals.

"Von ... and somewhere warm would be welcome." Von said arriving next to Ash. His weapons were already back in their respective sheath, and yet Von's hands were still working. His right hand were covered with dried blood, and two fang-sized holes. Von was applying a healing salve onto it, with a painful smile on his face, it almost looked like there was something beyond it.

"Place is a bit packed at the moment, turned into our own little circle if I do say so myself, too bad the mages can't seem to do anything about the damn wolves, most people have been afraid to leave their homes lately."

"... hope it has food." Von said, before turning his head slightly to Ash. "Demons ... huh." Von muttered softly, as he recalled the feeling his mind gave to him, before the pinch of Lyrium addiction called it. Even now, that addiction called to him, like a bitter, soft song lingering in the back of his mind.

"Demons ... huh."

"Yeah, that's what it felt like," Ash replied, thoughtfully. He was sure it wasn't some delusion of his too, the wolves had been acting odd, everyone could see it.

"Rage, and hunger, most likely. They were desperate, and then something likely used that to take control of them. just..." he trailed off, as he heard Berund speak. The dwarf was carrying two wolves, and while not a bad idea, Ashtalan had decided against it. Besides, his kills wouldn't taste very good, nor would the fur work very well, due to the spells. It was so much easier to do when he killed animals through blood magic.

Not to mention, they're almost prepared already then.

"I dunno about that, though I've enough here to last me a couple, I think,"

"A good thing you brought those with you," Ashtalan remarked. "Seeing as mad with hunger those wolves were, the rest may just cannibalize their friends' remains." A grim thought, to be sure, but one that should be acknowledged as well. He looked to the two-headed-yet-not man, Arthur, wondering what he thought of the whole affair.

Once the battle had calmed, Jarrett wasted little time returning to his captive only bothering to wave back to Von on the way. When he returned the Wolf had perished. Unfortunate for Jarrett as he'd hope to study it's nature. He must've felt rushed and exceeded the necessary number of wounds to immobilize it.

"Didn't expect to see travellers in this weather, but then I heard the noises and had to come see. What brings you lot up here? Adventurers I expect from the look of you, names Arthur."

"What timing", Jarrett thought to himself. The situation was becoming stranger to his eyes by the minute. The others were eager to move on for warmth and Jarrett wouldn't stop them. He remained close to his companions, his left hand calm but ready to grab a dagger.

Berund, Kari and Raven seemed to be causing the most notable commotion. They were discussing their recent kills. "So how'd you enjoy your recent kills? It's... engaging." His tone towards them was judging, calm and yet accepting all at once. He no doubt sounded a tad odd to them.

"I'd say so too, I think we took out at least twenty of them,"

Arthur whistled at that "Flames, that ought to keep them off us for at least a little while," he said "I'd be surprised if that was all of them though, we've already lost some people who tried to go for help or set up traps."

"You just had to look at all the dead puppies, it was enough fur to last you ten winters!".

"Ha," Arthur laughed "glad to see you're in high spirits, most folk around here could do with a bit of cheer lately."

"And a good cook, for that matter!"

"Ol' Marsha's pretty good, we get Avvar parties through here every now and then, on their way to Orzammar, so she's used to having to whip up something big real quick," he said "though the mayor says if things keep up we might have to start rationing supplies."

As they walked through the town it was easy to sense the feelings of fear and desperation, Arthur's own upbeat attitude couldn't hide the boarded up windows and fearful glances as they walked though. Many were directed at the Qunari party members, these people had likely never seen a Qunari before as isolated as they were.

"Ah speaking of, here we are!" Arthur interrupted any discussion as they reached the 'Inn', a modest establishment that looked to serve more often as the local watering hole than as a place of rest. Arthur pushed open the door and marched in, holding it for the party behind him "Marsha! We've got some adventurers come up the trail! Real interesting lot, even got some big horned fellows with them!"

The inside of the tavern was a chaotic and packed place, a few locals sat at tables discussing among themselves and they looked up to greet Arthur warmly, though they greeted the party with a mixture of suspicious and hopeful glances. Fully half the establishment seemed to have been claimed by a group of mages wearing circle robes, they varied greatly in age from a few teenagers up to the balding man who seemed to be their leader. Marsha herself was a short woman busying herself with cleaning a glass when the group entered.

"Maker's breath! What were you thinking going out there Arthur? Why if your mother..." she stopped as she saw the group "More guests, wonderful, as if we didn't have enough troubles already. Dwarves and more demons too," she continued waving dismissively at the Qunari in the party "Well find yourselves some seats, I'll go see what I can cook up."

"Don't mind Marsha, she's just a bit irritated with having her tavern taken over by refugees at the moment," Arthur said "now if you don't mind I'm going to go see if I can get some boys together to go see what of those wolves you killed we can recover before this storm buries them."

As Arthur left the leader of the mages stood up and walked over to greet them, he seemed to shake a little while he walked and his voice was terribly tired.

"Hello, I do hope you are here to help," he said with a thick Orlesian accent "I am Jacques, formerly a senior enchanter of the circle of Orlais. If you like I can tell you all I know of the current problems here, though I assure you my people had no part in causing them."

"Right," one of the locals said "the wolves just happened to go crazy after you mages showed up, pure coincidence my arse."

Following Arthur into the inn, Kari moved towards the fire to soak up the warmth, taking care to avoid any 'accidents' with her sword in such a crowded place.

"Hello, I do hope you are here to help, I am Jacques, formerly a senior enchanter of the circle of Orlais. If you like I can tell you all I know of the current problems here, though I assure you my people had no part in causing them."

The mage speaking up caused Kari to make a bit of a face; not that she had anything against mages, it was just that his accent reminded her of the job she'd left to take this one...and the 'hand-sy' noble involved. "So then Jacky boy, what is going on around here then?"

"Right, the wolves just happened to go crazy after you mages showed up, pure coincidence my arse."

Resting the tip of her sword on the floor, she rested a hand on the pommel. "Easy friend," She said calmly. "Let the man speak his piece."

Following the rest of the group, Von already had his hood back on, and his cloak wrapped around him. This did not make his weapons visible just in case something were to happen. Yet, taking a look within the establishment already had him on alert. ("Mages ... and a lot of them.") Von though, touching the supply of Lyrium he had in his pack, now he hoped none of the mages could sense that he had Lyrium, or make the connection he was a Templar, especially since the two sides were sour and raging at each other. Once again, hoping they were nice, Von followed the rest into the Inn.

Keeping his hood on, but sweeping his cloak back, Von allowed the heat to surround him. "Ah, that's it." He said to himself. When the party was introduced Marsha, Von was surprised by the lack of information in this region of the world. "By the Maker ... the don't know about the Qunari. Strange, little place this be." He muttered to those around him. Shortly after Martha dismissed the group, Von gave a little bow out of respect. Now when the lead mage came to introduce himself, Von stuck to the back of the group. Placing a hand to his chin. "Quick to proclaim innocence." He mutter again. Realizing he was practicing his Templar 'habits', Von shook his head.

"Right," one of the locals said "the wolves just happened to go crazy after you mages showed up, pure coincidence my arse."

A ear of Von perked up. Whenever a direction such as this was approached, chaos was sure to follow. Keeping calm, he had already witnessed Kari doing her duty.

"Let the man speak his piece."

"Agreed." Von said, approaching the head of the group. Von wondered how this all happened, especially if demons are involved. After all, half a story, is a unfinished story

It seemed the local freak-show, Arthur, was impressed by their kills, and thankful as well. He was almost disappointed that the wolves seemed to be the only thing bothering these poor people, not because he wanted them to suffer, but because the more they dealt with... well, it was obvious why by now.

If we had to walk through that storm just to take care of some wolves...

There would be something in it for him, but not nearly as much as he had hoped. However, his sort of sour mood changed when he got inside the inn, warmth from the fireplace and the people, and no snow or fog. The amount of mages bothered him a bit, he had tended to avoid them, just in case they wanted him to join them, or help them fight a fight he didn't feel was his.

"More guests, wonderful, as if we didn't have enough troubles already. Dwarves and more demons too. Well find yourselves some seats, I'll go see what I can cook up."

Ashtalan just bowed, while slightly insulted, getting some food and a place to sit meant that she could call him whatever she wanted. Besides, considering what he could do, perhaps it was a bit true either way. Of course, she couldn't know that, for her it was the horns and the size, and perhaps even the colors of his skin, hair and eyes.

"Yes Miss," he replied, though he wasn't entirely sure she was young enough for that.

"Hello, I do hope you are here to help. I am Jacques, formerly a senior enchanter of the circle of Orlais. If you like I can tell you all I know of the current problems here, though I assure you my people had no part in causing them."

Ash didn't reply, just nodded and looked away. He didn't like being all shy and quiet, it made him feel out of place. However, it was for the purpose of safety.

"Right, the wolves just happened to go crazy after you mages showed up, pure coincidence my arse."

The others opted to hear the mage out, and Ashtalan couldn't fault them. However, he didn't want to get noticed, and it didn't help no matter how many times he told himself to relax. Being as tired as he was, everything became worse, blurrier, almost. Not as much seeing things now, as it was being increasingly unsure of if he wasn't already asleep.

I should just rest for a bit.

He closed his eyes, arms put on the table, and head resting on his arms, listening but also trying to get some shut-eye before the food was ready.

As Berund walked in with his pair of wolves, he was relieved to be out of the cold and not have to worry any longer about his dinner freezing. He stood by the door a moment as the rest of the group filed in, waiting to catch Jarrett's attention. "Hey, Jarrett, right? I can't say I know you enough to call it strange, but you seem a little on edge. Just very tense. And to be honest, that line of questionin' was a tad...well, it didn't seem like friendly chatter is what I mean to say. I don't know what, if anything is eatin' at ya, but how about loosenin' up a bit? Ain't a bush in sight for anything to jump at ya."

"Well find yourselves some seats, I'll go see what I can cook up."

"We can talk about it over a pint in moment if you'd like, but right now I gotta see about a proper meal," Berund said as he turned and started towards the innkeeper. "Excuse me, ma'am? What would you say to butcherin' up these fine couple of beasts, curin' the lean meat up nicely and stewin' the rest?"

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