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

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"We can talk about it over a pint in moment if you'd like, but right now I gotta see about a proper meal"

"So thoughtful" he said with an amused and friendly smile. "I'll be over by the wall at the back". He started walking down the middle of the bar, unsurprised he was ignored by the rest of the patrons caught up in their world. During this, Jarrett took note to keep an ear listening to this mage, Jacques. "Now how does he say he fits into all of this?"

He was about to find a place to relax over there when he noticed an exhausted Ash. Calling back to Berund, "Can you see that Ash receives an extra drink? Help him get some rest."

The stalker - er, erhm, ranger, led them to the village's inn which was a warm and inviting place with the opportunity for a drunk night looming in the horizon. The place was packed full of locals and a group of fellow in robes Raven didn't like the sight of. 'Bloody Mages', she muttered a curse under her breath when they were all seated. The dwarf got two dead puppies in with him in some delusional hope he could eat the damn things, all skin, bones and sinews - he could keep on trying, while Raven gorged on a chicken pie which tasted suspiciously like cat. Not that she would know, oh heavens no, she would never eat such a thing...Though in times of trouble, she was forced to cook up a pet or two. Parrots made for a delicious soup.

A bloke in robes introduced himself to the group and Raven wandered away. She stumbled upon another table and grabbed the first tankard she found, tipping it over abd gulping down whatever was inside. She spat it out violently, "Water?", she eyed the young mage with rage, "You drink water in a tavern?". Raven signaled the serving wench to her, and called out for ale. "This is the time to be merry and whatnot, come with me!", she offered the entire table of anxious mages. Raven jumped over to what seemed like a troubadour, nudged him a bit and whispered a secret before bursting into song.

"Find me, Still searching", she sang with a beautiful melody and an intoxicating voice, "For someone,To lead me". She motioned the rest of the mages to pick up their cups of ale and rose on top of a stool.

"Promise,Surviving,The Breach,In the sky!", she pointed at the roof above and those surrounding her shouted after her, "In the sky!".

"Templar, Igniting, Fire inside me!", she opened her arms and the mages sang with her.

The tavern went along for the ride, and the troubadour was nearly stoned to death with coins flying his way.

"Let the man speak his piece."

The local grumbled to himself but turned back to his table, Jacques nodded "Merci," he said "I can't say that I know everything, but I have some theories I will gladly share."

"The wolves did become aggressive shortly after our arrival true, but I believe that is an unfortunate coincidence, the breach has weakened the Veil everywhere after all, and while I don't know of any rifts in the area that still allows demons to more easily slip through and possess animals, corpses and the like. I will admit that even given that this is an unusual concentration, though personally I attribute that to the Avvar barbarians, they have strange rituals said to involve willingly letting themselves be possessed, none of my people have had any traffic with demons so it must be some Avvar shaman, there is a shrine of theirs not far from the village, I'm certain a local would be able to lead you to it."

"Sure none of your lot had anything to do with this," the belligerent local said "just like I'm sure you've got nothing to do with that avalanche what blocked the route to Orzammar, or the dragon that's coming to eat us all."

Jacques sighed and his expression became forlorn "there was an unfortunate avalanche that caught us when we were coming across the mountains, we lost a few good mages to it, as for the dragon I believe there was a rumor of some drake being sighted nearby, though you'd have to ask the locals for more. If you have any questions to ask me then by all means go ahead, I am eager to find some relief from this nightmare."

"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?"

"Eh?" Marsha said, looking at the wolves "We don't eat wolf around here, but eh, I'll see what can be done if you insist."

She started to take the wolves when Raven began her singing, Marsha listened for a few moments then began to laugh "Ha, seems you lot might be good for business after all, you're right what kind of tavern serves water at a time like this, help yourself to whatever you like! There's not much left, but if we're all going to be eaten we might as well provide a well rounded dinner!"

With renewed enthusiasm she set about providing food, primarily stew, and drinks for all, it was surprising how quickly the small woman could move about.

Ash listened to the head mage speaking, with some interest. He had been correct in believing that the wolves were possessed by demons, and while there were no rifts, a weakened veil could be rather bad news. He hadn't expected for the man to know this much, however, apparently Jacques knew both the cause and solution to the problems the village was experiencing.

And something about a dragon... I do wonder how much we would get to take out a dragon.

He'd probably give up a lot of that money for the meal to arrive faster, however. As the necessary information had been given out, Ashtalan felt himself slipping into a comfortable sleep. It would surely be less so soon enough, but he liked this feeling, it was a rare moment of calm... which is why he couldn't help but feel very annoyed when the small human, Raven, started running around, starting a ruckus and even singing.

Must every day be a party to her?

He thought to himself, remembering how she had acted back when they were taking the job. He covered his ears, shutting out as much noise as he could.

I'm not getting any sleep tonight, am I?

A dreadful thought. However, as a bowl and cup was put in front of him, Ashtalan lifted his head, smelling the delicious food. It didn't look that delicious, but he was sure the ants were not actually there, nor the... eyeball. Actually, that one could be real.

He started eating, happily, though not touching his cup. While he'd love something to drink, he wasn't going to try his luck.

Ignoring the noise being generated by their pet drunk, Kari focused on the mage's words...as well as the outburst from the local, while the Elf faded into the crowd.

"The wolves did become aggressive shortly after our arrival true, but I believe that is an unfortunate coincidence, the breach has weakened the Veil everywhere after all, and while I don't know of any rifts in the area that still allows demons to more easily slip through and possess animals, corpses and the like. I will admit that even given that this is an unusual concentration, though personally I attribute that to the Avvar barbarians, they have strange rituals said to involve willingly letting themselves be possessed, none of my people have had any traffic with demons so it must be some Avvar shaman, there is a shrine of theirs not far from the village, I'm certain a local would be able to lead you to it."

"Sure none of your lot had anything to do with this, just like I'm sure you've got nothing to do with that avalanche what blocked the route to Orzammar, or the dragon that's coming to eat us all."

"There was an unfortunate avalanche that caught us when we were coming across the mountains, we lost a few good mages to it, as for the dragon I believe there was a rumor of some drake being sighted nearby, though you'd have to ask the locals for more. If you have any questions to ask me then by all means go ahead, I am eager to find some relief from this nightmare."

Jacky's comment about the Avvar was about as good a lead as anything, but the dragon really caught her attention. A damned dragon...now THAT is some good coin. She thought with a smile. A nice fat purse from this Inquisition, plus once word gets out I'm a dragonslayer, I'll never have to buy drinks again. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the lady that'd greeted them when they entered taking off with Berund's wolves. "Ma'am," She called out. "Can you set aside a tooth from one of those? We may need it for proof to show our patron."

As food and drink started to appear, she sat herself across from Ash with her blade propped against the table. "Mmmm" She sighed, stretching her arms over her head and enjoying the warmth. "That's nice. Weather like this is why I usually stick to the Free Marches."

When Raven started to sing, the group started to do their own things in the Inn. Von had already ordered a cup of ale, and crept to a free table in the corner of the room. Sitting down, he exhaled, the journey tired him. Placing his bag down, he enjoyed the warmness as he sat at the corner of the table, back facing the wall. Almost forgetting his best habit, he pulled out his journal, a black hardcover book, which had his family's emblem on it, just like his armour. Von placed it on the table, and soon enough his inkwell and quill with it.

As he held the quill, his handhold on it could tell a examining person, that he was wielded it like a noble, with a graceful style. About to write down his most recent entry, the Inn filled with the voice of Raven. Feeling exhausted, he allowed the song to play, his mind examining each verse of the song. It was one he had heard once before, and he counted it among the best. Waving down a serving girl, Von asked her to get a bowl of stew. She brought it easily to him, but the look on her face said that she'd rather be in a warmer region. Von being ever the gentleman, he paid her and gave a silver coin as a tip, not only that, but he paid her a compliment that gave her a smile.

As the girl skipped away, Von heard the most significant verse of the song.
"Templar, Igniting, Fire inside me!"
Von gave a smile. Taking a moment to take off the top of his armour, he held the Templar ring that hung around his neck, under his undershirt. Picking up his quill again, he felt more motivated to write today's events, and the things he heard in the room.

Entry 24.

Snow falling, like a burning elven forest.
Light signifying. Like magic among the horizon of life.
Darkness descends among us with rabid teeth, and spitting breath.
Eyes betray of others, of other life.

Demonic presence, a enemy to all, a enemy to us.
Blades fall, blades fell. Onto the onward trail of our journey.
Death purged them, and almost touch.
A humble home, for a honest battle.
Songs, warmth surround me.

Myths, making the Dragons come back.
Other influences of magic or men.
Avvar attack?

Templar's burden, igniting my soul, weighing down my path to the Maker.
This lonely path, may be illuminated by others.

Closing the book with a satisfying thud. Von looked up and saw that the table was more populated. Almost forgetting his own stew, he shoved the book back in to his bag, and started chowing. Keeping to himself like usual, he heard Kari speak.

"That's nice. Weather like this is why I usually stick to the Free Marches."

Finishing the last of his stew with a gulp. Von took a sip of his brew. "Agreed, but it's nice to see weather like this once in our lives." He spoke while placing his cup down. "So ... what do we do about rooms? I doubt we will get one here." He asked the crew, wondering where they would sleep. If anyone, Von would like to have a nice bed for once.

Nola had kept quiet as Arthur led them the inn. The adrenaline from after the battle already cooling, she wrapped her clock tighter around herself anxious to get to the warmth. She sighed with relief as they entered, enjoying the slight sting as warmth began to spread over her. Much better. Doesn't beat a forge but better than that damned snow. She thought smiling as she made her way behind Kari to the fire place.

She only half listened as Jac....Jaq...Pete gave his explanation of events,to focused on the stew that came by. Not bad as far as surfacer dishes went. She nearly choked on a spoonful though went she heard a particular part of the conversation though.

"....as for the dragon I believe there was a rumor of some drake being sighted nearby, though you'd have to ask the locals for more. If you have any questions to ask me then by all means go ahead, I am eager to find some relief from this nightmare."

After a brief coughing fit she looked at Pete a grin on her face. "A Dragon ya say? Now that's a piece of news I would have loved to hear about earlier." Any smith worth her hammer dreamed of working with dragon, even if it was only a drake. Ancestors arses I'm half inclined to kill that thing for free if I get a good share of it's scaled and bones.

She snapped out of her thoughts as Von spoke up from the corner.

"So ... what do we do about rooms? I doubt we will get one here." Nola shrugged as she went back to her stew. "Proly right." She spoke around a mouthful. "Times like these, we'll be lucky to get some space in a barn."

"So you pass off the lacking accusation of you with an equally lacking accusation of the Avvar?" The question was quite loud, meant to draw Jacques' attention. "Either a hypocrite or a liar. Either way," Jarrett pondered to himself but regardless of everyone's involvement in this incident, he needed to know what side everyone was on the moment.

"But will you or anyone else be aiding us in investigating this? The possibility of a Dragon dictates that division is unacceptable. To not do so is insanity.", Jarrett spoke with a commanding tone. Attacking a dragon by oneself is a feat best kept by dead legends. Mistrust, unpreparedness and any other simple factors could spell death for even weaker foes such as the wolves they had encountered.

"Times like these, we'll be lucky to get some space in a barn."

"Well, that's not so bad. There are far worse places to lie for a night, I can assure you of that," the dwarf said, taking a seat at the table with a rather large drink in hand. In the time he was making sure the accommodations for his food were in order, he missed a large part of Jacque's story, only catching the tail-end of his spiel. What's all this about a dragon? Berund thought. I've got the slight inklin' that's not gonna be easy to dispatch. Figuring there'd be time to consider it later, he pushed the thought aside and put on a great big smile. "Oh yes, I can tell ya a great deal of places less comfortin' than dirt 'n' straw. Enough to fill that book o' yours, certainly." Berund added with a hearty chuckle, nudging Von in jest before taking a large gulp of his drink.

"Can you set aside a tooth from one of those? We may need it for proof to show our patron."

Marsha nodded "that shouldn't be an issue," she said before turning her attention back to making certain that everyone was properly fed and inebriated.

"Times like these, we'll be lucky to get some space in a barn."

"You've got that right," Marsha said, overhearing the statement as she walked past carrying drinks "Every room here is taken, most of the mages are sleeping on the floor down here, Arthur might give you some room at his house he seems to like you folk. Although I expect it'll be space on his floor."

As she mentioned Arthur she nodded towards a corner of the room where Arthur now stood, apparently having slipped into the room during the revelry. He didn't seem to notice Marsha pointing him out, rather was wrapped up in drinking and singing along (poorly) with some of the other locals. Fortunately their singing was hard to hear over everyone else, as high spirits abounded in the tavern.

"So you pass off the lacking accusation of you with an equally lacking accusation of the Avvar?"

"I beg your pardon?" Jacques said angrily, he seemed uncomfortable with all the noise and activity in the tavern and so was already on edge "here I had hoped to find some peace from random accusations in Ferelden, instead I find more of the same Templar inanity as everywhere else. I have been through my harrowing, as have many of my students here, we do not deal with demons yet you do not even consider the possibility that those savages might have a hand in this."

"But will you or anyone else be aiding us in investigating this? The possibility of a Dragon dictates that division is unacceptable. To not do so is insanity."

"It is a drake, not a proper dragon, if it exists at all and is not some drunken yokel's fantasy," Jacques said "in all likelihood it will not even approach the village they are rarely found outside of their mates den after all. If you wish to seek it out regardless then ask one of the villagers, they know the area far better than my people. Who I will remind you are weary and wounded from our harsh journey across the mountains, if we were in any condition to do something about this we would have already, as it stands I will be staying here with my students to ensure the injured among us recover, and to aid the village in case the wolves attack it again."

"That's nice. Weather like this is why I usually stick to the Free Marches."

"No kidding, I don't get how anyone could live here," he replied, and smiled, he didn't want to get caught up in what seemed like it would become a discussion between the mages and Jarrett. Even if they claimed they had no role in the demons being there, Ashtalan simply didn't want to talk to them, which was a shame, because it limited who he could talk to.

Oh well, there's always some other time to be friendly with people.

"Every room here is taken, most of the mages are sleeping on the floor down here, Arthur might give you some room at his house he seems to like you folk. Although I expect it'll be space on his floor."

"That's a shame," Ash replied, still smiling, but sounding a tad disappointed. Then again, it wasn't her fault. "Also, I have something to ask of you," he muttered as he motioned for her.

"Could I have some water instead?" he asked her, whispering, most of all so that Raven wouldn't hear it and start something. "I don't really drink alcohol. I'm asking like this so that... well, so that there won't be a fuss about it." The tavern-owner nodded, then went to get him a cup of water. He thanked her, and started drinking it. Unlike alcohol would have been, it was refreshing.

Might as well get another bowl of stew too.

When everything was in order, Ashtalan felt more at ease. Sleepy, tired, and a bit sore, but he was happy.

"So," he asked no one in particular. "If we don't get to sleep inside, who sleeps with who to keep our body-temperature up?"

Hearing the two Dwarves talk about sleeping places with him, Von still sat in his corner. His cloak hood over his head, and the rest wrapped around him. "I'm willing to settle for the barn." He smirked, as his thoughts wondered what would have happened if they skinned the wolves for more warmth. Marsha spoke up about where they might sleep, and Von was unsure about Arthur, to the cloaked Templar, the man seemed a little too welcoming. That is when Jarrett spoke up to the mages.

"Here I had hoped to find some peace from random accusations in Ferelden, instead I find more of the same Templar inanity as everywhere else ... "

Hearing the keyword of "Templar", Von sank into his seat, feeling nervous that he was a soldier from probably the most bias Templar corps in Thedas. "Oh Maker ..." He muttered quietly. In this part of the world, he had hoped that such conflicts would not exist, and that he would not have to have a awkward conversation to any of the mages that surrounded him. Feeling a bit guilty, and mostly tired, Von's gaze wondered to Ash.

"If we don't get to sleep inside, who sleeps with who to keep our body-temperature up?"

"I'm still up for the barn." Von shrugged, a grin appearing on his face, but disappeared quickly as he thought about how much was mixed with this little village. Raising his mug, he sipped the last of his ale in silence.

...a dragon...

'A dragon?'

"Andraste balls"

Four balls of cloth filled with sand fell to the ground in a soft thud with a cheer from the audience that gathered around raven. She was getting pelted with coins nearly as much as the troubadour, which was saying quite a bit about her juggling skills. The mention of a dragon caught her off guard. She didn't agree to be a bleedin' dragon slayer, she got uneasy in the presence of a few wolves. She doesn't have any fancy armor or magical lightning bolts like some god from across the sea. She was Raven, she was someone, really nobody, just a girl who used to be many things at once.

"Keep up ya cur!", a voice pelted her with a cup instead of a coin. She ducked to retrieve her balls that were on the table she was standing on, getting a loud cheer from the crowd behind her as she bent over. Raven straightened in a snap movement and threw a ball at the bugger who yelled at her, and three more at the audience that cheered at her arse. "Show's over!", she said while gathering the coins she earned in her deep, pastry filled pockets. She walked off the stage and made her way back to her party while the party got back on track with another singer, albeit a rather poor one, picked up on a different song.

"Getting rich, eh?", Raven approached the troubadour with a sleazy smile. "Nice fingers you have there...", she winked at him and continued, "you're incredible! What are you doing in this dump?". The troubadour was taken aback by her comment, and conjured some excuse involving dwarves which put him there at that time and day. "Someone like you shouldn't stay in this pig shit place... There's a nice place up-town, for better people", Raven got closer to him and looked him in the eye, "I'm not rich enough, but you could tell me all about it". The singer grinned and offered to share a room with her in the other, most prestigious lodge. The lodge existed alright, and Raven passed over it numerous times during her stay in Starkhaven. "But I can't leave my friends without a room... or maybe you could help them out, since you don't need a room here anymore?".

Raven skipped along to the tune of a harmonica to the table with her companions with an iron key in hand.

"...The possibility of a Dragon dictates that division is unacceptable. To not do so is insanity..."

"The possibility of facing a dragon is insanity", Raven corrected the lanky elf, whose name she kinda forgot already, and wiggled her hand with the key attached. "Guess who got a room?", she smirked at her companions.

"Times like these, we'll be lucky to get some space in a barn."

"So long as the horse doesn't try to mount me in my sleep, I'm fine with that." Kari said, tucking into her food and drink as it arrived, giving a nod of thanks to Marsha. Though she couldn't quite hear what Jarrett and the mage were saying, obviously Jarrett had upset the mage. She was trying to see if she could catch any of their conversation over the din Raven was stirring up, but her efforts were interrupted when Ash spoke.

"So, if we don't get to sleep inside, who sleeps with who to keep our body-temperature up?"

"Keep dreaming spell-flinger." She said, grinning over her drink. "If you get lonely, I'm sure they have a horse or two stabled."

"I'm still up for the barn."

"See there? Now you two can wrap your big strong arms around each other for warmth." That earned the laughter of a few patrons that were within ear shot, and Kari saluted their laughter with her drink.

"Guess who got a room?"

Kari took another drink, the sighed, giving Raven a hard look. "Were you born stupid, or did you have to work at it?" She said after a moment. "We may be here for a while, depending on how much trouble there is here, so the last thing we need is some air headed little fuckwit with sticky fingers causing problems." Letting out a sigh, she set her empty cup down, and snagged the full one Ash obviously wasn't drinking. "Listen girly, you want to fuck about and nick shit from honest people, just fuck off back to whatever cesspit you oozed from and leave this to the grown ups."

..."Were you born stupid, or did you have to work at it?..." Raven flinched at the ravenous insults Kari flung at her with increasing speed and spite while the key still dangled from her hand. "...the last thing we need is some air headed little fuckwit with sticky fingers causing problems..." She stopped listening by that point and weighed her options. The big-ass sword the Qunari carried will split her in half, but she couldn't swing it in the middle of the tavern surrounded with so many people. Carrying a stick that big has its disadvantages, but it wasn't the only thing she had with her. The fingers holding a cup could curl into a painful fist, and even though Raven could probably dodge her between the drunkard's legs she was still bound with her to that job they both signed onto.

"Go and visit your horses", she leaned forward, "might cool your temper".

"I've got myself a room for the night and you're free to join", she turned to the others.

"I'm still up for the barn."

Ash shrugged, though he made it clear that he was just joking around. "Well, I'm sure that's comfortable too, though personally, I didn't come up here just to sleep in another barn, rather dig out a hole in the snow, honestly."

"Keep dreaming spell-flinger. If you get lonely, I'm sure they have a horse or two stabled."

"Hey, I said who was sleeping with who, clearly I implied that you'd have someone to cuddle with as well, so no need to get jealous," he grinned, and finished his glass of water. It would be nice to leave for a more quiet place, but that mean talking to that Arthur, and he wasn't sure how much he wanted to see that other head again.

"Guess who got a room?"

"Were you born stupid, or did you have to work at it?"

As Ash sensed that things might become very heated, he got up, hoping to get elsewhere. while a room sounded good, there was still fact that it was true that the inn had been full. Besides, if they did try to murder each other, he'd rather not get involved.

Besides, even if she did get a room, I doubt it would be big enough for all of us.

The dwarves were small, but not that small. Heck, even the bed would probably room two people at most. Getting up, he walked over to Arthur.

Oh hey, only one head.

"Hi, Arthur? I was wondering if some of us could sleep on your floor, Marsha said you might say yes, so... well, I'm trying?" He chuckled. "Anyways, I understand it if you'd rather not, but we're here to help, and being rested would make everything so much easier."

Jarrett noted that Jacques had listed his excuse as exhaustion. Still he had no intention of forcing someone who appeared innocent to combat danger. Perhaps he was paranoid given the war or perhaps he simply wanted someone to blame but he needed to be confirm Jacques' role in this first. For Jarrett it was worth risking violating Scout Calien's request for him to represent the Inquisition in a positive light. He was formulating a plan but luck was on his side it seemed.

"I've got myself a room for the night and you're free to join"

"I'll not pass on that opportunity." He gestured over to Raven. "Though before sleep, I might need to ask you for a 'favour'." Jarrett winced inside as he tried to sound seductive. He hoped she wasn't easily offended in this state. Winking over at Kari, "I'll try not getting them sticky." He quickly changed attitude from playful to apologetic and raised his open hands defensively. "Ah! Sorry. I find getting in dirty situations can relieve tension. Calm down and combat this tomorrow."
He had hoped to add that before Kari could get angry at his intervening in their conversation. Damaging her opinion of himself wasn't necessary after all.

Turning back to Raven, he began waiting for a response.

Nola stared at the the others as Raven and Kari fought. The girl was being a fool....again. The Giantess had finally lost her temper, and Nola wanted to be out and away before she started swinging. She turned away from the unfolding scene to look for Marsha, before she could get far the Elf spoke up.

"I'll not pass on that opportunity. Though before sleep, I might need to ask you for a 'favor'. I'll try not getting them sticky. Ah! Sorry. I find getting in dirty situations can relieve tension. Calm down and combat this tomorrow."

Her mouth dropped open at that. After a moment she picked her jaw up off the floor and found Marsha as fast as she could. "All the same I'll stick with the barn. Thanks for grub though, couldn't have asked for better in this cold." She dug a few gold from her belt pouch. "For your troubles. And please if they get too rowdy throw their asses in the snow. It might do 'em some good." She jabbed a thumb over her shoulder. She turned to leave but stopped, thinking. She turned and looked back at Marsha. "Don't suppose you have a few extra blankets do ya? We can probably make do with what's in the barn, but a few more couldn't hurt."

"Go and visit your horses, might cool your temper"

"Temper? What temper?" Kari said, with a sip. "You're merely an irritation, and a potential complication. I'd be shouting if you were making me angry." Setting her drink aside, she began to tuck into a bowl of stew; it was not bad, but not great either. I think I got spoiled by the cooking in Val Royeaux. Off to the side Jarrett, made a truly awful attempt at flirting, so bad she couldn't stop herself from giggling; Maker she hated how she sounded when she did that.

"Ah! Sorry. I find getting in dirty situations can relieve tension. Calm down and combat this tomorrow."

"Calm? I am calm. Why does everyone think I'm getting upset?" She said, doing her best to sound hurt. Out of the corner of her eye she caught Nola giving some coin to the inn keeper and motioning back in her direction. "You too short stuff? Ye of little faith." Why does everyone always assume Qunari just walk around thumping everyone who looks at them funny? She thought as she tucked back into her meal.

"See there? Now you two can wrap your big strong arms around each other for warmth."

In the middle of slurping his own stew, Von was enjoying the warm food. Upon hearing the jab at him from Kari, his mouth was full, so he was giving her a sly gaze, wanting to make his own jab at her. Knowing that hot food was great in this climate, he remembered that the journey here was greatly cold, and that thanks to the lack of fires, Von dined on his dried food. Keeping the growling, childish intent to get the Qunari back, Von simply kept quite and kept eating his stew.

"might cool your temper".

("Oh ... ooh. I don't like where this is going.") Von thought, thinking that the situation would turn a little worse. He finished off his stew and ordered a water from a working lady, giving them the usual treatment of a tip and charming smile, which usually ended with a giggle. Picking up his refilled mug, he took a large sip of the water, placed it down with a satisfied thud, and was about to rise from the table. Seeing how everyone was making a move, especially Jarrett the rogue, Von didn't want this to end bad, but surprisingly ...

"Temper? What temper?"

Kari responded to the rogue pirate, and then turned to Jarrett.

"Calm? I am calm. Why does everyone think I'm getting upset?"

Smiling, Von returned to his mug, and drank the whole thing. Then he picked up his pack and unequipped upper-armour and started walking. Once besides Kari, he patted her shoulder. "Ma'am, I believe she deserves a few kicks in the arse for that ... either literally or with jokes, doesn't matter." He said with a shrug, his childish grin spread across his face. Turning to the rest of the group, his face turned back to his normal smirk. "Now excuse me, I'm going to the barn, because I'm sure all the horses smell better than you lot." He said jokingly before excusing himself.

Before leaving the front door, Von walked over to Marsha. "Madam, may I gain permission to ... well, sleep in the barn?" He asked, disguising his embarrassment. He remembered his family estate where some of the servant boys used to sleep in hay piles in the barn.

"If it looks like a Qunnari, talks like one and smells like one...", Raven mused loudly just so Kari could hear.

"...I believe she deserves a few kicks in the arse..."

'Fuck you ya cunt' Raven kept her thoughts to herself.

The quiet guy got not so quiet and left quickly.

"Though before sleep, I might need to ask you for a 'favour'."

"If you like little girls be careful...", Raven pointed her hand elsewhere and a blade popped out with a certain gesture, "...I could just as well do things to you in your sleep".

"Anyways, I understand it if you'd rather not, but we're here to help, and being rested would make everything so much easier."

"S'not a problem," Arthur said "Not sure I got room for all of you, but those of you who'll fit are welcome to stay."

The hour had grown late and the tavern was finally beginning to quiet down, many of the locals had either gone home or were drifting out, in some cases carrying a friend who'd had a little too much to drink with them. The mages had sequestered themselves off for the most part, some of them seeming to have already begun attempting to sleep on the tavern floor, though others were still standing and waiting for more space to clear up.

"I can fit probably three of you," Arthur said "should probably figure out whose coming and whose sleeping somewhere else now, I'll be heading out soon."

"Madam, may I gain permission to ... well, sleep in the barn?"

"Don't suppose you have a few extra blankets do ya? We can probably make do with what's in the barn, but a few more couldn't hurt."

"Eh? Well sure," Marsha said "just mind the animals, the goats aren't likely to make sleeping comfortable. Just head left heading out of here a ways and you'll find it, here I'll get you a key."

Marsha proceeded to accost some of the other locals, and soon had managed to acquire a key by browbeating them about helping out people that had arrived to help them. She tossed it over to Von as she took her place back behind the bar.

"Should be plenty of room for all of you in there if you really need it," she said "I'm just sorry there's no room here for you. As for spare blankets we keep some in the barn for the animals when it gets like this out, you ought to be able to find one or two that aren't being used. Damnable wolves have done a number on us."

"S'not a problem. Not sure I got room for all of you, but those of you who'll fit are welcome to stay. I can fit probably three of you, should probably figure out whose coming and whose sleeping somewhere else now, I'll be heading out soon."

"No worries, I'll mention it to the others. It might just end up being me, actually," he muttered, as he heard mentions of the barn. Why anyone would rather sleep there than inside a house was beyond him, but that didn't matter much.

"I'd like to be able to go to sleep as soon as possible, so I'll be quick about it."

With that, he walked over to the others.

"Arthur has some left-over space in his home if someone would like to join me. Said he'd be able to fit three of us or so. If you're all set, I'll see you guys in the morning."

He rubbed his eyes, yawning, the tall mage was clearly sleepy. Ashtalan had a comment in mind, flirty, of course, but the situation at hand seemed to be a bit tense still. For some reason, Raven was holding a blade, while Kari was eating, minding her own business. Apparently the hostility was towards Jarrett this time.

Can't everyone just get along?

"Now now," Ash said to them. "Just kiss, make up, and be friends again, now's time for sleeping, not fighting. Be careful so that the demons don't invade your mind and make your eyes explode, though, if your eyes start itching that's a sign. And that'd be unpleasant, which is no good, because then your clothes would get all bloody. And then there's the tentacle that forces its way out your throat..." Ash murmured, too tired to notice how macabre what he had just said was. He smiled innocently, the sleepy giant being rather cute.

"Sleep tight."

Okay then. Now to bed.

He waited half a minute for anyone who might join him, before going back to Arthur, waiting to be taken to the man's humble abode.

As for spare blankets we keep some in the barn for the animals when it gets like this out, you ought to be able to find one or two that aren't being used. Damnable wolves have done a number on us."

Nola bowed her head. "Thanks, and if we have a say, I don't think the wolves will be a problem much longer." She said with a smile.

"You too short stuff? Ye of little faith."

She turned her head towards the giantess. "We never said a thing about faith giant. You wanna talk faith, mention caves around me sometime." She said with a smile. "But no, I just want to try and get an early start tomorrow. The sooner we deal with these people troubles, the sooner they can get on with tier lives." And the sooner we get paid. She thought before turning to Von. "C'mon Von let's head to the barn, we can get the good piles of hay before the rest turn in." She jerked her head towards the door before grabbing her pack and heading out.

Kari sat and enjoyed the heat, and her meal while the others talked. She enjoyed the warmth so much, that she fell asleep where she sat, only to awake to Ash going in to detail about something...unpleasant. "Well that's charming." She muttered as she rubbed her eyes.

"C'mon Von let's head to the barn, we can get the good piles of hay before the rest turn in."

"Like you need a whole pile." She called out to Nola, as she got to her feet. Grabbing the gear she'd shed when she sat down, she thanked Marsha and paid her, before stepping outside. Andraste's Slit its cold...why would anyone live in a frozen place like this? She though, not for the first time. Following her nose, she found the barn easily enough, only to find it locked. "Fuck...hope one of them has the key."

"I'm just sorry there's no room here for you. As for spare blankets we keep some in the barn for the animals when it gets like this out, you ought to be able to find one or two that aren't being used. Damnable wolves have done a number on us."

Catching the key from Marsha, Von gave a courteous nod. "No, no. It's no problem. I thank you for the food, drinks, and room. Maker help us in the days to come." Von said, and took a short, graceful bow, which made von almost look like a natural noble. His thoughts wondered about how they could help this town in the days to come. A Drake, demons, Avvar, and mages. A combination that spells something unpleasant to the town.

Von's face reflected the happiness though. The Lyrium and Lyrium potions in his bag would allow them to fight a little better against whatever demons were out there, especially in these times, demons were one of the biggest bullies.

"C'mon Von let's head to the barn, we can get the good piles of hay before the rest turn in."

Smiling to Nola, Von agreed with another nod. "Agreed, we may as make the most of our rest." He said, before a low voice called out, making the Templar stop dead in his tracks, allowing the moment to slow down, and making his mind turn a little grim.

"Be careful so that the demons don't invade your mind and make your eyes explode, though, if your eyes start itching that's a sign. And that'd be unpleasant, which is no good, because then your clothes would get all bloody. And then there's the tentacle that forces its way out your throat..."

Von's eyes opened as he caught the more darker part of Ash's speech. If anything came from his better training, is something like that was a little dark for a mage. ("Could he be ..?") Von thought to himself, allowing the darker Templar thoughts to surround him. Hearing Nola move out from the Inn, Von was jerked out of his thought process, making him leave the Inn, his eyes still on Ash. His cloak blew with the cold winter as he closed the door behind them.

Wondering to the barn with Nola, Von saw Kari waiting outside in the cold.

"Fuck...hope one of them has the key."

"Yes, yes, no one has to get frozen tonight." He joked before pulling out the key and unlocked the door. Von's hand gestured that the ladies would go in first. "Are we the only ones sleeping here? A locked door would make it quite easier to sleep ..." Von said in a questioning tone. "Is the environment that bad? Are barns usually locked?" He asked. While he has become used to the commoner life in the past couple of years, the barns Von usually slept in were rather open.

Be careful so that the demons don't invade your mind and make your eyes explode, though, if your eyes start itching that's a sign. And that'd be unpleasant, which is no good, because then your clothes would get all bloody. And then there's the tentacle that forces its way out your throat..."

Berund had just began to dig in to his wolf-innard stew when he heard Ashtalan's admittedly disturbing warning, giving him pause. "Well, my friend, you paint a wonderful picture for demonic influence. Really, I would love to hear more, but you do seem tired and I am occupied as it is with my meal. Let's pick this up sometime tomorrow, shall we?" He shook the strange images from his mind and hastily slurped at his bowl. Considering the rather large size of the bowl, it didn't take long for him to eat his fill. The innkeep must really know her customers to give Berund such a hearty portion, and when he returned the bowl to the bar, he made sure to leave a considerable sum of coin along with a kind word of thanks for Marsha. Returning to the table, and what company was left, he looked to Ashtalan and spoke up again, "While I'd be much more inclined to sleep in a room than a barn, sounds to me like you could use a little, er...less crowded rest. Yes," he gave a nod to Ashtalan and Arthur, bidding them a good night before stepping out into the cold.

"...that bad? Are barns usually locked?"

Berund shivered once the frosty winds nipped at his nose, and was relieved to see the fresh prints trailing to the barn. Thankfully the door was still open and he swiftly stepped inside, shaking off the most recent flakes of snow that had fallen on his shoulders. He only managed to catch the tail-end of Von's line of questioning. The dwarf walked around the barn, prospecting for a decent bedding as he respondedn "Usually, yes. Though I appreciate you waitin' beforehand."

Raven's gesture managed to somewhat unsettle Jarrett. "I'll bunk somewhere else". The rest seemed to be growing more tired. They seemed to be agreeing on the barn. The situation wasn't turning out as well as he hoped. And yet it was strangely helped by the next big thing he heard.

Be careful so that the demons don't invade your mind and make your eyes explode, though, if your eyes start itching that's a sign. And that'd be unpleasant, which is no good, because then your clothes would get all bloody. And then there's the tentacle that forces its way out your throat..."

Coming from a mage especially that was unsettling. He wasn't the only one that noticed. Von seemed uncomfortable as to what Ash had just said as well. Not wasting a chance to kill two birds with one stone Jarrett whispered over to Von with a genuine look of distress on his face, slowly turning his gaze to Ash's back. "Keep watch." Turning and nodding to Von, it was more than clear he wanted someone's guard raised.

He began moving away from the group toward a close tree, lowering his hood. "Keeping watch out here tonight" he said to all of his companions while his hand half-heartedly gesturing to himself. Slumped against the tree, it gave him a decent enough view to keep watch on all the major buildings, throughout the night if necessary. Exhaustion wasn't an excuse for Jarrett.

'Lonely...I am so lonely... I have nobody....but my own...'

Everyone left outside, except for the horned mage with the tentacle fetish, and people were slowky leacing the tavern to their homes. The mger mages were making their beds - hard wooden floor, with Ash among them. Raven took pity on the giant lightning slinger, and approached him carefully. She nearly bumped Marsha on her way.

"Hello", Raven smiled at the woman and brightened the room with her gaze. She greeted her back and asked how she was doing.

"Pretty great. Tonight was so much fun!", Raven cheered. She dug her hands in her pockets and presented the contents to the barmaid, an assortment of coins and bits of leftover pastry stuck in between.

"Is that enough? I can't count that good", she admitted quiety. "I want to pay for what we ate and if there's more, cover their tabs", she notioned at the half-sleeping mages scattered across the floor. "They've been through enough", Raven unloaded the coins and went to Ash as he was getting reafy for the night.

"So...hey", Raven tried her best to keep her fearsome first impression. "I saw you decided to sleep here and, uhm, I have a room for just myself. I was wondering if you wanted to, erm, keep me company? You could keep a fire, eh... if you want. I dont want to get eaten by tentacles or have my eyes explode or anything like that".

It seemed no one wanted to join Ash on Arthur's floor. It struck him as rather weird, why would so many people choose the goats? It wouldn't be any warmer than a floor, he had realized that much back from all the times he had slept there, and the hay was going to stick to their clothes and make everything itch for days.

It's up to them, though.

"So...hey,I saw you decided to sleep here and, uhm, I have a room for just myself. I was wondering if you wanted to, erm, keep me company? You could keep a fire, eh... if you want. I dont want to get eaten by tentacles or have my eyes explode or anything like that"

Figuring that her comment didn't mean "keep her company", but actually to keep her company, Ash titled his head.

"Actually, there's no room for me here, I was heading over to Arthur's place to sleep on his floor..." Ash started, though he rubbed his neck. "But sure, I'll just let Arthur know, I have a feeling he won't be too upset over not having a giant sleeping on his floor."

The comment about the tentacles and eyes made him realize that he'd said some things he really shouldn't have. He went over to Arthur, and explained the situation, mentioning that he thought the others were insane for wanting to sleep in the barn, before apologizing for wasting the other's time. Getting back to Raven, he spoke again.

"There's that," he smiled, then added; "Also, the thing with the tentacles were just... you know, tired ramblings. I wonder if some of the others might have been put off by it too, but hopefully they understand that it doesn't actually work like that. I'd love to keep the fire going, though, it is rather cold in this village."

Having said that, he made his way to the room when Raven was ready, found his assigned sleeping spot, got a fire going, then pretty much fell asleep as he laid down, his sleep a deep, dark and unsettling one.

The blizzard continued through most of the night, the howling of wind accompanied by that of wolves though it seemed that they kept their distance from the village for now, perhaps temporarily cowed by their losses. Still between the bitter cold and ominous noise the night passed uncomfortably for most, some more than others as Jarrett was eventually forced inside lest he succumb to frostbite or hypothermia. Still the storm had died down by morning and the rising sun shone across the white blanket of snow it had left behind.

Whenever they woke, whether it was due to the sounds of animals or the bright light of the dawn the members of the group would soon find themselves drifting back to the tavern where meals were being offered to them and to the mages. There wasn't much to go around, but it was warm. Now that the storm had broken and the day had settled it was time for the group to decide what to do next.

Greeting the late Berund, Von closed the door behind him, and locking it. "This will keep trouble out." He said with a hopeful tone, smiling as he walked to a lantern to light it for the group. As each member took a space of hay, Von had settled into one of the corners, he had made a little bedding and pillow of hay. By the time anyone looked to him, his armour and pack were besides the bedding, and his weapons were located in tactical positions in case of attack.

During his Templar training, Von had discovered that each member had to be apt to equip armour in fast times. This training went double for the Kirkwall branch, and as his teachers said, they wanted to run out fast in 'blood magic' emergencies. Von's first sight of this was not good, they had to slaughter apostates. The worst part. There were no blood mages among them. That was another reason Von ran from the troubles of Kirkwall and his position.

Yet with a mage of his own group, Von made notes, but his guard was placed up after Ash spoke those creepy lines. He was happy that Jarrett was on guard too. Von was happy to keep his lyrium close. After reflecting on the day, Von stepped up and made sure everyone was settled in it, before blowing out the candle with, "Good night, friends."

As he stepped carefully to his sleeping area, snuggled into the hay, and wrapped his cloak around himself, Von's eyes looked at the openings of the barn. The locked door and windows were welcomed, especially when the howls of the night mixed with the wind.


A bright light shined into Von's face, allowing the young Lord to wake up naturally with several irritated blinks. Rising off the hay, he immediately felt the bitter pinch of the morning cold. Shivering, he re-wrapped the cloak around himself. After equipping all of his armour and pack, he greeted any other awoken members before unlocked the front door.

Von walked easily into the Inn, greeting Marsha politely and giving the key back. "Thank you miss, I had a nice sleep thanks to the journey." He said smirking. After ordering breakfast, which consisted of bread and nice cheese, Von sat at the same place as last night. Being quite early, he decided to drink some water first, for today, the group had to discuss about what to do now.

Short collab between Iron and I:
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

When Ashtalan opened his eyes, it was without knowing if this time he had managed to wake up, or if it was just another nightmare. His sleep had been filled with fog and sounds that had yet to disappear. A bloody mist seemed to fill the room, corrupting what he saw, and causing him to shake, not because of the cold, but because it made him feel ill. He saw Raven, or at least, he thought he did, though he wasn't sure of anything anymore. However, her being there made it more likely that this was the waking world, and got up.

This is not going to be a good day.

The girl woke up not remembering where she was. She couldn't remember he name either. There had been so many they've all blended into a great storm of lies and deceptions. She was still alive, the only thing she was certain of, and the only good thing she had. That, and Lady whose steel she felt next to her thigh.

"Good morning M'Lady", she spoke softly to her only friend. Her hair was all knots and dirt, and covered her face entirely. The first thing she noticed was the cold, which meant it was winter.

'What Winter is it... How old am I?', she pondered on the question while she examined the place she was staying it. She pulled he hair back and saw the contents of the room - a lamp, a window, a Qunari, a bed -
Wait, was that a Qunari?

That was certainly a Qunari. A half-naked one at that. 'Did I...Did he...', she panicked quietly and slid out of bed. She still had all of her clothes on, which was a good sign.

Her belongings were at her corner of the room, all jumbled together. She couldn't remember owning half of them. The Qunari made a sound that startled her and she let out a high pitched yell. She turned around and covered her mouth with one hand and waved at him with the other.

"Morning", she said while avoiding eye contact.

Ash barely got startled by Raven's yell, while he had certainly not expected it, it was only a sound among others. However, he tilted his head. Examining her, he wondered why she had gotten that startled. Did she see some of what he saw?

Impossible.

It couldn't be that. It took a while for him to respond to her, enough for one to start wondering why he was that quiet.

"Morning." A brief reply, as he started dressing himself, ignoring the sound of blood dripping that seemed to linger in the back of his mind.

The girl picked up her belongings and scattered them on her bed. Something had to give her a hint about her whereabouts and who she was. Then again, why bother? There wasn't a thing waiting for her but death, and today wasn't his. She drifted like a leaf in the wind, enjoying the ride as long as she could.

'Blades...blades...even more blades...', the girl looked over at her luggage, "Cool, a sling". She picked it up and played with it a bit, then got bored with it and threw it back on her bed. It pushed a leather notebook back and it fell to the ground, opening at a certain page. She bent over the bed and looked down at the scribbles in confusion. "Weird...", she said loud enough to catch the Qunari's attention.

By the time Raven spoke again, Ash had already gotten dressed and was ready to leave the room. Not that it was much of a rush, he had no appetite, and he wasn't sure of how he felt about seeing the others. Raven had managed to not look horribly malformed in his deluded vision, but what about the others? Hoping to distract himself, he leaned over to look at what Raven was calling weird, noticing that she was trying to read something.

"What's weird?" he asked, not feeling too curious at the moment, but it was a note, and pretty much anything that could be read had some value to him. He started reading the words on the note.

"Hmm?", the girl looked up and saw a giant towering over her. She inched away from him and sat back in the bed with the notebook in hand.

"It came with the bag-", she pointed back at a leather satchel. "It's something mysterious and foreign, I know it. If I could just know how to read that...".

"Maybe you can read it?".

"I can," Ash replied. It wasn't exactly uncommon to happen upon people who couldn't read, but it still struck him as odd. Such a natural skill for those who could, it was easy to forget that he had been taught how to once. He started reading some of it, though it became obvious what it was.

"It's recipes for poisons and such. Also..." he trailed off for a bit, rubbing his eyes. He wasn't tired, but it helped him... well, see more 'clearly'. Ash still got somewhat distracted by the hallucinations every now and then, but he continued speaking regardless.

"It explains what you've got in the bag. I don't know what good the notebook will do you if you can't read, though."

"I can learn", the girl admitted before closing the notebook and placing it inside the satchel, "all I need is a good teacher". She carefully placed the blades on her person while continuing the conversation. "I know you're a mage, and it takes a lot of studying to be a good one", she stopped, took in a deep breath and closed the leather jerkin on her person with its iron clasps. "Maybe you could help me", she looked in his eyes, using her charm and puppy eyes to win him over.

Ash felt sort of compelled to mention that most of the magic he knew was not something he had studied, but rather made a deal with a demon in order to master, but it wasn't exactly something he needed to tell anyone. Besides, he had studied a lot outside of that. And it could be a good way to keep his mind off that which he did not want to think about, like the worries about whether he was going to lose what remained of his mind or not.

I suppose that's a yes then.

For as long as they travelled together, anyways.

"I could," Ash replied, and got up. Normally, he would have a compliment or a flirting remark alongside that, but he didn't feel like it. He felt like going back to sleep, but knew that was no use. Besides, who knew what awaited him in the sleeping world. He stretched.

"And I will, later. For now, I'll... just go downstairs." He hoped it would feel less unpleasant than the room did, though he doubted so. A careful smile crossed his lips, though it didn't extend to his eyes.

"You might want to do the same, Raven, I think there's food being served."

I'm not too eager too eat now, though. I'm glad I ate plenty yesterday.

'Raven, huh', she thought when she left the room, 'I like that name'.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

By the time Ash had made it down the stairs, he had gotten to know why this was not going to be a good day. The delusions were not only worse, but fluid, shifting around him and creating new opportunities for him to react outwardly to something that simply did not exist. He took a seat in front of Von -Von looked okay, Marsha certainly did not- and for a moment, did nothing but examine the other in silence, hoping that if something was off, he'd notice it. His expression, while not directly hostile, was off, almost empty for a short while, as he was looking at things that were not there.

Finally, he gathered himself enough to smile, warmly this time. Together with the somewhat odd conversation with Raven, he was slowly getting used to what the world felt and looked like this morning, enough to try to act normal, at least.

"Good morning," he said, looking away for a bit. "I wanted to apologize if I said something a bit weird yesterday, I was exhausted, and my mind goes strange places when I'm sleepy. If I made you or someone else feel uncomfortable... I'm sorry." He glanced at the food, but had no appetite still, so he ultimately ended up ignoring it.

After being let into the barn by Von, Kari claimed a hay pile and burrowed in as best she could, before drawing her cloak about her. Keeping her sword against her side, and a hand on its hilt, she drifted off to sleep; many years of sleeping 'rough' as a merc let her fall asleep quickly almost anywhere. That said, she'd slept in nicer places.

Morning

The sound of Von getting strapped into his kit woke Kari with a yawn. Grunting a morning greeting as he left the barn, she unwrapped herself and climbed out of the hay, shaking off as much as she could before following back to the inn. Pushing through the door, she made for the fire to banish the chill that had seeped into her overnight. Idly scratching at her vitaar she sighed, it would be nice to wash the stuff off and really clean up, but considering what they were about to go do there was no real point. Accepting a cup of warm broth from Marsha, Kari nodded in thanks before going to sit with Ash and Von. Sliding into the seat, she made a bit of a face. These people are stretched enough as it is with the mages...they can't afford us hanging about here too much longer.

"Morning gentlemen." She said after a moment. "Had a thought last night. Since we need to check out the Avvar, and leaving a dragon...or even just a Drake would be good for these folk, I thought we could try a 2-for-1 approach. We use our more 'stealthy' compatriots to scout out one problem while we deal with the other. Personally I'd have them scout the Avvar while we go Drake hunting; once we're done we meet at an agreed upon point and hear what the have to say. If the scouts say the Avvar are an issue we go in a deal with them, if not wee leave'em be. Thoughts?"

"Morning gentlemen. Had a thought last night. Since we need to check out the Avvar, and leaving a dragon...or even just a Drake would be good for these folk, I thought we could try a 2-for-1 approach. We use our more 'stealthy' compatriots to scout out one problem while we deal with the other. Personally I'd have them scout the Avvar while we go Drake hunting; once we're done we meet at an agreed upon point and hear what the have to say. If the scouts say the Avvar are an issue we go in a deal with them, if not wee leave'em be. Thoughts?"

"I agree," Ash replied, absent-mindedly, not eating anything. All he had in front of him was a goblet of barely touched water, and even that was covered in that bloody mist. It almost looked like it did when he was using blood-magic, just more off-putting.

"As long as I'm not counted amongst those stealthy ones. I suppose, with my height, that wouldn't really be an issue," he then added, seemingly out of nowhere. He really didn't want to be scouting, his sight was at best unreliable at this point, and at worst dangerously inaccurate.

"But yeah, leave the small ones to go scouting, while the rest of us take out the drake, sounds like a decent plan."

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