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

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"By the maker, bring him in here, magic may be his only hope now, come on."

"Yes, right away," Berund huffed. He was out of breath. The trip back to the town took its toll, and he needed a moment of rest. And there was no better place for him to do so than the inn. Swiftly, he pulled the branch that carried Arthur inside and into the middle of mess area. "All right, Arthur, you're safe now. You're gonna get fixed up good and proper."

Berund patted the man on the shoulder reassuringly. Then he turned to Jacques and led him aside, a look of urgency in his gaze. "Me an' my companion came across an abomination, or rather it came across us. The same abomination that put Arthur in his current state. It appeared as a man, starved an' gnarled. With knobbly fingers that ended in claws an' a head like that of a wolf. It tried to drain the life from us. Damned thing nearly did. Sound like the work of the Avvar shaman?"

"Anyways, we should probably get some rest. If that abomination was speaking the truth, we really should take the time we have to prepare."

"You may, but I won't follow. Berund and I were distracted by that abomination. It had injured Arthur and Berund escorted him to the village. The shrine remains unchecked. I believe I know the way back to were we first encountered it." The path he took was long but even in the event the ice he used to track the abomination had disappeared, he just had to follow his instinct to the clearing. From there he could find his way back to the path to the shrine.

"If you wish to reinforce the village, go ahead. Stick to me if you wish to go to the shrine. Other ideas?" Jarrett spoke fairly quickly, almost mixing his words into each other and his face looked impatient. Either choice was fine but this threat demanded efficiency.

Kari made a face when Jarrett said Arthur'd been injured. Bloody fool was probably still hanging about trying to watch the fight. Well at least Berund was with him, so hopefully the dwarf could get him back to the village...surely some of those mages were healers. Putting those thoughts aside, she focused again on Jarrett.

"If you wish to reinforce the village, go ahead. Stick to me if you wish to go to the shrine. Other ideas?"

"Alright twiggy, I guess I'm with you." She said as she secured what she wanted. Everything set, she hefted her blade and approached the elf. "Lead on."

Berund

The mages quickly began to tend to Arthur, Jacques himself did not seem the most skilled healer of the group though he quickly selected from among the other mages a pair who began to tend to the man's wounds. Gradually Arthur's breathing steadied and grew stronger, though his injuries were hardly fading his condition seemed to be stable and improving now.

"Me an' my companion came across an abomination, or rather it came across us. The same abomination that put Arthur in his current state. It appeared as a man, starved an' gnarled. With knobbly fingers that ended in claws an' a head like that of a wolf. It tried to drain the life from us. Damned thing nearly did. Sound like the work of the Avvar shaman?"

It took a few moments for the old mage to answer, a tired look crossed his eyes and he sighed before speaking.

"Any mage can become possessed and become an abomination, it is our curse, one of many reasons why we are feared." he said, then hesitated briefly before continuing "Of my people who survived our crossing over the mountains none of us are abominations, so it must be an Avvar mage."

He frowned "why do you ask me this? Did something about the abomination give you cause to think it might be something other than a possessed barbarian?"

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Returning group

Tired from the battle those of the group who made their way back to the village were welcomed warmly. Word that they had left to fight the drake had spread not long after they did so, and while it was disheartening for them to see Arthur returned in such a state to see the adventurers return triumphant was inspiring. For once in what felt like a long while the people of the village felt hopeful that perhaps they could be saved from the threat that pressed against them from all sides.

The inn was especially a welcome sight, while the most skilled healers were tending to Arthur there were others with some talent for the art who were willing to see to the groups injuries, and impressed by the groups bravery a few locals had offered up their rooms for the group's usage. It would be cramped certainly but a far sight better than sleeping in the barn again.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Shrine group

The trip to the shrine went smoothly this time, it seemed that the abomination truly had retreated to gather its forces for now, and while the occasional howl of a wolf could be heard none attacked them on their way to the shrine. Finally they arrived to see a strange stone monument standing half buried in snow.

Atop the shrine stood a pair of statues, one depicting a fearsome monster with an all too familiar visage. It looked far less human than the abomination had been, but the similarities were unmistakable. Across from it had once stood a statue of a proud warrior facing down the beast, but the warrior statue had been shattered. At the base of the shrine there was an inscription in an unfamiliar tongue.

All around the shrine there was nothing but the freshly fallen snow. If any Avvar had been here it must have been some time ago, for there seemed to be no trace of any camp of theirs.

Ash was one of the people who chose to go back to the village. Partly because of that he wanted to take some time to rest, partly because he wanted to make sure Arthur, who had been nice enough to show them the way, was fine, and because he had a feeling that the abomination would not be waiting for at the shrine. Besides, if they knew who and what was the source of the demonic energy, was there truly a reason for any of them to check the shrine out?

I just want to rest.

In the end, dragon and demons taken care off, he still couldn't rid himself of his ailments, his ill mind. Thus, he had gone back to the village. Being told that there were rooms available, offered by locals, made him feel happy, while the relief first came when he noticed that Arthur was fine. He felt fine, and was in a good mood, until some of the mages approached him, offering him to take care of the few remaining injuries.

"No," Ash replied, frowning for once. His tone was hostile at best, he didn't want them to be near him. What if they saw that he had used blood magic? There was something frightened, unsure to his tone.

"Go away, I don't need your help."

"Did something about the abomination give you cause to think it might be something other than a possessed barbarian?"

"Well, I suppose not, was just lookin' for some insight. Although..." Berund's face reflected his deep thinking, he scratched his chin as he recalled the seemingly incorporeal voice of the abomination and the words it spoke to himself and Jarrett. "It did seem particularly intent on feasting upon everyone here. You mages especially. We tried to fight it, but it ran off very quickly. Came across Arthur shortly after, an' he said it was headed towards to drake's cave. What business it had there, I couldn't say for sure. It was keen on protecting somethin', shoutin' on about 'they can't destroy it.' If it reached the others, they'll have more to say about that, I'm sure. Hard to say if it had the power to follow through with its plan, though it certainly believed it could."

Before he could hear Jacques speak up again, the door to the inn swung open and in came the rest of Berund's companions. Save for the elf and female Qunari. They didn't seem particularly somber, so he doubted the two were lost. More likely they had matters to attend to. Nonetheless, he was relieved to see the others had returned in one piece, however worn they may be. He acknowledged their presence with a friendly wave and smile.

The appearance of the Abomination placed Selthan in a trance, which made his legs feel like bark and respond like a force of nature. The words of the demon haunted him, reminding of the flashing memories of the Kirkwall rebellion. The heat, blood, and rage o both sides mixed together like the horrible Abomination itself.

Von had left the cave ahead of the others, leaving a dangerous message in the wind. A scowl was permanently scratched on his face, he knew what will happen, and not everyone will come out unhurt. "I will have to kill mages again." He said to himself. Feeling the warmth of the potions within him, Von's body responded negitivly, forcing the feeling of nausea on him.

Stopping, Von held himself against a tree along the snowy path. He ordered his mind not to waste the potion, for it would renew the hurtful feeling of the last battle. Grinding his teeth, he pushed off the tree and kept walking. ("There is something to do, something that will help everyone, and that is to alert the village of the soon to come attack!") Von thought. Lifting his head, his gaze met the view of the village, if Von was not happy, he certainly grateful to the Maker. Forcing a fake smile on his face, he would have to bring a optimistic future himself.

Opening the Inn door with a great heave, Von came in, followed by his cloak. Looking around, he found the mages, and their leader talking to Berund. Von's smile become semi-genuine, especially since one of his new companions survived their mission. Walking over, he raised a hand to order some booze to heal the partial damage to his heart. Sitting down by the two, Von was tended to by several healing mages. Of course, Von gave a grateful nod, "Thank you." He said, the tone in his voice was much lighter, and thankful.

Turning into business mode, Von turned to Berund and Jacques. "The drake is dead, but the veil in thin in the area. I believe the demons plan something ... and ... a abomination threatened us and the village after we killed off one of their aspiring tools, meaning the drake of course." Von said, summing up their adventure. Giving the two to think, Von allowed the healing magic to comfort him, also thanking the people that said rooms were available. In the corner of his eye, Von saw a surviving Arthur, and for a second, he smiled happily, until it turned back to a face that only a determined soldier would have.

Seeing the others come into the Inn, Von raised from his seat. "I believe we need to prepare!" He said, Templar determination burning within his heart and soul, even if his body and face screamed blood and injury. From a psychological side, his mental health was falling ...

Arriving at the shrine without incident didn't calm Jarrett. "Where?" he muttered referring to the Avvar. The place looked abandoned, not even corpses or a camp. Something had caught his attention. "The cur has pride.", he scoffed at the statue that looked like the abomination thinking the abomination enjoyed the similarities. "Feh, probably destroyed the other as a sign of it's 'control'. Thoughts Kari?" Taking one moment to divert his glare, he sighed that he was now at a loss for what to do now.

Kari was grateful for the uneventful trip to the Avvar shrine. "There's the ugly motherfucker." She muttered, looking at what was left of the shrine. I guess somebody was a bit of an art critic. She thought as she looked over the shattered statue.

"The cur has pride. Feh, probably destroyed the other as a sign of its 'control'. Thoughts Kari?"

"I'd like to drop that eyesore." She replied, gesturing to the statue that was still standing. "But that'd take at least me, Ash, the dwarves and a few pry bars, but other than that not really; other than we should probably get back since this is a dead end."

"I'd like to drop that eyesore. But that'd take at least me, Ash, the dwarves and a few pry bars, but other than that not really; other than we should probably get back since this is a dead end."

"If only we had the power to rid the world of this now." Jarrett chuckled at their banter but was genuinely disappointed that the two alone wouldn't be able to destroy it. "So be it. One moment before we depart." Jarrett pulled out one of his daggers and bent down. Acting with as steady of a hand as he could in the weather he cut off a part of his leggings. "Nothing a tailor can't fix." Laying the piece of cloth on the nearest flat surface he begin trying to recreate the inscription. As good as he was at targeting hearts his rips were unrefined enough that at least a few letters or words were misinterpretable. "Hopefully either the mages or if we find them, the Avvar, will make sense of this. Let's be off." He was cynical about this paying off but it was worth at least this much effort.

Nola stepped into the inn, sighing happily as the warmth of the building. It had been a good morning. A Drake was dead, demons had been vanquished, and she had a pouch full of drake scales. All she needed now was a warm meal, and an afternoon at the forge and she would consider it a perfect day. Sadly this was not to be. Arthur was wounded and the mages were working to get him better. With a sigh she stepped over fire. Poor bastard. Hope the mages are enough. She thought rubbing her left shoulder. The potions had been enough to dispel most of the pain, but it was still sore.

Nola wanted to relax, after fighting the drake she was tired. But of course her companions had other ideas.

"I believe we need to prepare!" Von cried from a table. Nola just sighed. "Yes your right, we do need prepare. What you don't seem to realize however is that that includes resting. For one hour at last. I'm beat, in case you missed me getting chewed on back there." She leaned against the hearth, enjoying the feel of the hot flames on her face. "So relax for a bit jumpy, Anything we need to grab can be grabbed on our way out the door."

"It did seem particularly intent on feasting upon everyone here. You mages especially. We tried to fight it, but it ran off very quickly. Came across Arthur shortly after, an' he said it was headed towards to drake's cave. What business it had there, I couldn't say for sure. It was keen on protecting somethin', shoutin' on about 'they can't destroy it.' If it reached the others, they'll have more to say about that, I'm sure. Hard to say if it had the power to follow through with its plan, though it certainly believed it could."

"I wonder...," Jacques thought for a moment, his expression darkening as he did so "could it mean to give us over to other demons? Like in the Fereldan tower incident..." he shuddered "what a horrible thought. And it called this feasting? A hunger demon perhaps, they aren't typically powerful, I would have thought a pride demon behind something like this."

While Jacques was somewhat lost in his worried musings Marsha approached Ash, noticing how troubled the qunari looked.

"You look tired," she said "get yourself a drink and get some rest, I'll wager we haven't seen the end of this yet."

"So relax for a bit jumpy, Anything we need to grab can be grabbed on our way out the door."

"Your friend is right," Marsha said "you should get some rest, just tell us what we should be preparing for exactly and I'll see about setting some of these louts to work on it."

Marsha motioned towards some of the locals who were discussing among themselves in the tavern. They certainly seemed in higher spirits now than the night before, and some even looked interested and eager in what the group might be doing next.

________________________________________________________________

The shrine group arrived back at the tavern to a similar, if somewhat reduced, version of the greeting the others had received. Jacques turned to approach them as they arrived.

"Ah I was wondering when the rest of you would be back," he said "I had heard you had split up to examine the shrine on your way out, what did you find?"

The elderly mage wrung his hands together somewhat nervously as he asked "the other news I've heard of this... abomination worries me, did you find anything about it from the Avvar?"

"Just tell us what we should be preparing for exactly and I'll see about setting some of these louts to work on it." Nola rubbed her temple as Marsha gestured back towards the villagers. She had no doubt they could do some heavy lifting in order to get defenses up, but how would a group of untrained villagers prepare against demons? She needed a drink or five.

"Well for right now I don't quite know what to tell you to start setting up." She admitted with a shrug. "but tell you what, gimme a few minutes alone with some of my companions and I'll see what I can do to get something drawn up." She straightened her self with a sigh. At least she wouldn't have to fight while she planned. "Ash, Von, come with me for a bit yeah?" She said jerking her head up the stairs. She turned to Marsha. "Don't mean any offense ma'am, I can just plan better when I don't have an audience." She said before climbing to find an empty room. Plus she didn't want to cause a riot with what she had found out.

Luckily, the mages quickly got the point, and started stopping to heal him, and instead discussing what kind of demon it could be. Ashtalan wasn't particularly interested in what kind of demon the abomination was. He knew it was a mage who had been overpowered by the demon and possessed, but in the end, a demon was a demon. This wasn't the fade, and it seemed unlikely to try to break through, so he found the discussion pointless. Head resting in his hands, Ash dully stared at the wall, the pulsating, nauseating tendrils on it going up and down in sickening rhythm.

I wanna sleep. Perhaps I won't be as tired in my nightmares.

He closed his eyes, though quickly opened them again, seeing as Marsha spoke to him.

"You look tired. Get yourself a drink and get some rest, I'll wager we haven't seen the end of this yet."

"No offence," Ash started. "But I'm no good with alcohol. I'd love some food and something to clean my armour with," he replied, as he loosened some of it. A lot of the blood had simply dripped off during the walk, but the armour and leather in particular were still coloured by that bloody red. Marsha nodded, then went to talk to the others. In the meanwhile, Ash finished removing his armour. While it certainly wasn't a lot compared to what most of the others wore, it was still good to get it off, especially since it had grown a bit sticky due to the blood.

Not like I need it... that much.

Waiting for either the food or the water for cleaning to arrive, Ash looked over at the others, and was surprised when Nola said his name, motioning for him to follow her upstairs. Well, him and Von.

"Ash, Von, come with me for a bit yeah?"

"Now?" he mouthed, but got up, pointing at his stuff, trying to make it clear that she was to look after it, just in case. Then he followed her, walking up to her and muttering.

"Will there be a bed where we're going?" he asked her, sleepily. Apart from Von, he doubted anyone else could have heard it. "Because I need to lie down... and I don't feel like discussing too much, so if I'm not getting any food..." he trailed off, and tried to smile a little, not really managing.

"Ash, Von, come with me for a bit yeah?"

Swinging his tankard backwards, Von chugged the last of his ale. He slammed it down with a gasp of satisfaction, and looked to the Dwarf. "Good, I want to talk too." Von said, a voice full of impatience. His eyes looked side to side, the morale had increased after the drake's defeat, but, Von only wondered how long this will truly last. "Not for long ..." Von said out loud, letting his thoughts partially spill out to the public domain.

Stepping out of his seat and picking his belongings, Von nodded to the two. "You ... were right though. We all need to prepare." Von said to the two in front of him, before he started to walk along with the others. Once again, his thoughts were plagued with darkness, and Von's mind already predicted that he would receive nightmares in his slumber to come. Shuddering at the thought, Von stopped for a slight second.

"Damn the black city." He said quietly.

Kari basked a bit in the praise from the villagers that greeted Jarret and her as the returned; after shaking a few hands, she spotted the Orlisian mage that'd greeted them when they first got here. "So, Jacky-boy wassup?"

"Ah I was wondering when the rest of you would be back, I had heard you had split up to examine the shrine on your way out, what did you find? The other news I've heard of this... abomination worries me, did you find anything about it from the Avvar?

Setting the tip of her blade into the snow, she sighed at Jacque's questions. "We found fuck all other than an ugly ass busted statue. No Avvar, no signs of any summoning ritual, nothing. Looked like me and Twiggy here were the first ones there in a while." Yawning a bit, she stretched and hefted her sword once more. "If you've got more questions fine, let's just take in out of this Maker damned cold." Stepping into the inn once more, she spotted the others disappearing into a back room, while out front some of the mages worked on Arthur. Securing a seat near the fire, she soaked up the warmth while Marsha got her something to eat.

As Marsha came back, Kari stopped her with a raised hand. "A bit of an odd request, but can I get an empty pot and a bowl of very hot water?" Reaching into her armour, she pulled out a few silver coins and a tooth from the drake, handing them to Marsha. "Once I'm done with them, you really won't be able to use them again."

Berund took in all he could of Jacques words. His deliberations of the type of demon at work, and just what its ultimate plan was. These were certainly concerning, and as much as he would like, the dwarf couldn't offer much in the way of answers. Soon the other two members of the party had entered the inn, seemingly without incident. Kari's words confirmed this. As she went off for the fire, Berund walked over to the elf.

"I see there was no luck catchin' that abomination, eh? Shame that. At least that gives me another chance at its head. I should like to think it might be a good prize. For the mean time, it appears we're due for an assembly of sorts," the dwarf added, motioning towards their comrades climbing the stairs. He made his was across the mess and made sure to give Kari a pat on the back along the way, adding in jest, "Care to join the rest of us, your tall and tawdriness? I'm sure you're welcome to bring your bath along with you, if you'd like."

Arriving behind Kari, Jarrett kept his head down and was far less cheerful than her. It didn't take long for the cause of his dull mood.

"Ah I was wondering when the rest of you would be back, I had heard you had split up to examine the shrine on your way out, what did you find? The other news I've heard of this... abomination worries me, did you find anything about it from the Avvar?

"Lit..."

"We found fuck all other than an ugly ass busted statue. No Avvar, no signs of any summoning ritual, nothing. Looked like me and Twiggy here were the first ones there in a while."

"...Yes." It was an accuracte enough summary though missing a few details. Jarrett went past Kari towards Jacques as she moved to closer to the fire. Before he reached Jacques he was met by Berund.

"I see there was no luck catchin' that abomination, eh? Shame that. At least that gives me another chance at its head. I should like to think it might be a good prize. For the mean time, it appears we're due for an assembly of sorts. Care to join the rest of us, your tall and tawdriness? I'm sure you're welcome to bring your bath along with you, if you'd like."

Jarrett shook his head in a friendly manner. "One moment. For your assembly and prize." Continuing towards Jacques, "I would hope you or someone else here understands this?" He asked loud enough for most in the room to hear and presenting the torn cloth to the mage, griping it tightly just in case someone tried to take it. Before any preparations could be made he wanted an answer.

"Will there be a bed where we're going? Because I need to lie down... and I don't feel like discussing too much, so if I'm not getting any food..."

"Good, I want to talk too."

Bloody soft the both of them. One's a Templar who managed to hide his self righteousness long enough for me to like him, and the other has enough power to level this building and he's whining. Neither of them get how the world works yet. Nola thought, her previous good mood now ruined. One hour. One hour is all she wanted, now she had to think up a decent way of defending this little bundle of sticks from demons. She opened up a door to a room. Inside sat a bed, a small table and two chairs. Perfect. She gestured Ash to the bed and Von to the chair as she took the other and put her feet up on the table. She looked at both of them for a moment, thinking.

"Okay boys...." She said after a minute of silence. "Sense you two are probably the best qualified, how do you defend against demons?"

I wonder why she called me and Von in particular.

He had heard somewhere in the cave that Von was a Templar -which was... weird, he would admit that he wasn't sure what to think of that- and probably judging him a lot now. So why Nola wanted both of them with her, together, was beyond him. Regardless, he was happy to see a bed in the room they were going to talk to.

Ash pretty much fell into the bed the moment they got up. He went under the cover for a short while, taking a moment to pick up the pillow and roll around in bed till he was facing the chairs. Then, he propped the pillow under his chin, and, all rolled up within the blanket, he buried his face in the pillow, waiting for either of the others to speak before lifting his head again. The bed was a tad small, so he had to curl up a bit to fit into it, but otherwise, Ashtalan felt very comfortable. Even with the delusions playing tricks on him. He could have fallen asleep like this, he was sure of it, though he doubted that sleep would last for long.

"Okay boys.... Sense you two are probably the best qualified, how do you defend against demons?"

Ash lifted his head, and examined her for a moment.

Did she think I'd know?

He supposed it made sense for her, he was a mage. However, he had received no formal training, what he did know he had read in books. Ash smiled slightly, it was a tired, yet rather pleasant smile, and then shook his head.

"I don't know, learning my kind of magic doesn't really teach you how to defend against demons..." he started, trailing off for a moment, trying to think of anything that could help. He found little, however. "Besides, the demons doesn't have any blood in the first place. All I could recommend is getting any mage and villager with the ability to become a mage from sleeping, because the abomination might try to prey on someone in that manner... well, any mage apart from me," he continued, twisting a piece of hair with the one hand over the cover. How much could he tell her? He supposed it was no use hiding from Nola -and, since Von was there, him as well- his current state of mind. If anything, it could help.

"You should let me sleep. I can guarantee you that this isn't the demon that'll get me either way, and currently there's tendrils clawing at my mind, screams with no owner nor origin, and this blood mist that makes it hard to see, and that's sort of mentally tiring. I'll help, no doubt, but there's very little I can do to help preparing." He shut his eyes for a brief moment, almost instantly regretting having said anything about it, then sighed, continuing.

"I suppose what I'm saying is that I'm a bit crazy sometimes because a demon took my sanity. It's... a long story, but don't worry, I would never hurt anyone."

Did I just tell a Templar that a demon took my sanity?

Apparently, he had.

I must be crazier than I thought.

Ash just examined the two others, waiting for a response of some kind.

Gently, Von nodded at Nola's gesture, and ended up on the seat. His posture looked forced and uncomfortable. The silence did not come to his mind, for it was already keeping him occupied. Von was never one for conversation, usually taking the silent and listening roles at the events in his former noble life. He had not disliked it, but he found it a nuisance, especially when it came to the public and oppressed classes of the city. Even back then, he found a dislike of the Templars, yet, irony prevailed.

Lifting a small smile, he could remember the time a shackled mage performed tricks for his small band of childhood friends, all except him hadn't survived to this day. Before opening his mouth, he heard Ash talk about how he was in the wrong specialization. Revealing a genuine smile, it seems that the two had more in common than they first thought.

"I suppose what I'm saying is that I'm a bit crazy sometimes because a demon took my sanity. It's... a long story, but don't worry, I would never hurt anyone."

"Hasn't everyone." Von said, his smile weirder than ever. The Templar took a short second to pray to his Maker, then let out a satisfied breath. "Don't worry, if a demon forced you to become a puppet ... ... I'd kill you. Not out of anger, or duty, but as a mercy to both of us." Von said, leaving a heavy breath in-between speaking. "... you don't want to feel what they felt. Their muscles and flesh twisting ..." Von said but forced himself to become stop that train of thought. "Anyway, point is, I don't want anyone else I know to turn into one of those things." Von hissed, his eyes betraying the anger he felt for the demon kind. After all, who wouldn't be angry at someone who killed their friends.

Von knew how hard it was for his mage friends. It was impossible to release them, but he helped them in anyway he could, yet, when it counted, he couldn't risk himself for them. It was another sin he wore upon his profession. Looking towards Nola, Von turned the tide towards the more important topic, and his Templar profession came into play. "Well. First we need to put the civilians somewhere safe, for they are the most valuable." Von started his plan, each detail consisted of errors that were made many time before. "Second, we need to persuade the group of mages to do something. Most likely to either protect the civilians or the town ..." He kept speaking, but his breath trailed off in the warm Inn air. "... I don't want them to turn, but if it's for the civilians ..." Once more, Von's speech trialed off.

"Point is, with our resources, we have no special way of dealing with the demons. We would both need a large amount of Templars or mages, and much lyrium." Von spoke to the two. "So ... the only way to fight, is to kill. Of course, this is the extent of my Templar knowledge ... " Von said, finally admitting his burden, not only that, but to a blood mage, another thing his friends fell victim to. "Either way, this is my proposal ... it's just that the civilians should be the priority here, especially how they treated us so far." Von said, his noble tone hard, and his hands crawl into an equally hard fist on his legs.

Coming to focus, Von smiled, he hadn't talked this much since Kirkwall.

Nola pinched the bridge of her nose with a sigh. That'll teach me for asking for a mage and a Templar about tactics. "No you two, not how to kill. Kill I can do. It's defending, driving them back. How do I protect those people down there....." She pointed at the floor. "from the monsters out there?" She pointed towards the forest. "And I swear on my ancestors that if you guys say kill the demons or keep the people awake I will personally see you two tied and used as bait." She leaned forward, her elbows on the table. "Is there really no defenses we can set up? Ditches, pits, barricades? Something? From what I can tell they bleed and die just as much as the next beast. They may take more of a beating but all the same."

Marsha began carrying out the groups requests almost immediately, starting with Kari's. She muttered a comment about having some old rusted pot that would probably do and left to fetch it. She soon returned with said rusted pot in tow, along with some poor lad she'd roped into carrying the bowl of hot water for her.

"I would hope you or someone else here understands this?"

"Let me see," Jacques said, taking the note. For a few moments he poured over it, brow furrowed in concentration.

"Yes, yes its old writing, but I've studied enough to make out the gist," he said "it's a ritual, and a warning."

He frowned "You are certain there was no one at the shrine?" then shook his head "no, it does no good to doubt you now. This demon, it was known to the Avvar, from what I can make out the shrine was dedicated to it, or maybe it its defeat? There are some words I don't understand. But the demon seems to have once threatened them until an... ally of some sort, likely a spirit if I may make a guess, defeated it. Or maybe delayed it? Again its hard to tell."

He sighed "the rest is a ritual of some sort, I think its to commune with this spirit that defeated the demon once before, though it could be nonsense or worse," he said "I can try to translate it as best I can if you like, though I think we've enough troubles on our hands without dabbling in barbarian magic."

Listening to Jacques' analysis was already more than what Jarrett had hoped for. Keeping his ears attentive to Jacques, he noticed the lack of his companions voices. It seemed some of the others had left the room, probably with Berund to get rest and prepare he thought.

"The rest is a ritual of some sort, I think its to commune with this spirit that defeated the demon once before, though it could be nonsense or worse. I can try to translate it as best I can if you like, though I think we've enough troubles on our hands without dabbling in barbarian magic."

"You needn't do more than translate. Thanks." He reached out and shook Jacques hand and asked for the note. The mage deserved a show of respect. "The ritual should be investigated. I can assure no harm to the innocent." It seemed reckless to Jarrett to test the ritual on the abomination first and foolish to abandon something they had limited knowledge of. In his own mind he was absolutely confident about his promise of keeping the innocent safe.

"ASH! VON! A moment?!" He shouted, sure that everyone in the building had heard that.

"Don't worry, if a demon forced you to become a puppet ... ... I'd kill you. Not out of anger, or duty, but as a mercy to both of us... you don't want to feel what they felt. Their muscles and flesh twisting ... Anyway, point is, I don't want anyone else I know to turn into one of those things."

Ash smiled, nodding, appreciating the thought.

"Fair enough. They'd have to compete with the Sloth Demon already waiting for me to let him in... patient guy, has been trying to get me to say yes for more than 10 years. I have a feeling its waiting till I become crazy enough to willingly agree, wouldn't like to harm the body after all."

He spoke of it with a surprising lightness, neither of the others seemed to care much, and, in the end, that was a lot better than them getting upset. Still, he had to admit that he was feeling rather listless regarding what they were discussing, more so because Nola shot down all of their suggestions.

"No you two, not how to kill. Kill I can do. It's defending, driving them back. How do I protect those people down there... from the monsters out there? And I swear on my ancestors that if you guys say kill the demons or keep the people awake I will personally see you two tied and used as bait."

Shouldn't have asked a blood mage about how to defend. That's like asking a dwarf about magic.

"Is there really no defenses we can set up? Ditches, pits, barricades? Something? From what I can tell they bleed and die just as much as the next beast. They may take more of a beating but all the same."

It's not bleeding if it's not blood. Then it's like, leaking.

Ash raised an eyebrow. "Not letting anyone with a potential for magic fall asleep was a suggested defence," he muttered, chuckling a bit, and leaned as far to the side as he could, before one of his horns stopped him from leaning further down on the pillow.

"It's a defence for a possible attack from the fade, not some way to kill them. Regardless, I get that it might not have been what you want... Let's see then..."

"Have someone who can sense them, mages, keep watch in the outer borders of the village. On both sides, and the mages should be sent in pairs, the very least. We already know where they'll try to get through the veil, the drake cave, but they could be trying to go around. Barricades and ditches won't do you much good for the demons themselves, but you might want to consider them in case the wolves are sent on us again, either as a distraction, or as a way to soften us up before the main forces come... I think that's about what I can think of. My knowledge of demons is limited at best, I never did hang out much with mages."

With that, Ash was ready to let the others figure out the rest for themselves and was already feeling himself drifting off to sleep when someone shouted through the building.

"ASH! VON! A moment?!"

"Nooo," Ash said, of course not loud enough for whoever had called -Jarrett, probably, it sounded the most like him- to hear it, and curled up more. Ash wasn't going to walk up and down the stairs all day.

"Von, could you please ask Jarrett to come up here if he has something to say? I'll make it up to you, whenever it's making some potion for you or something more fun," he remarked, nonchalantly.

After thanking Marsha, Kari set to work, pouring a bit of hot water into the pot before setting it aside. That done, she rummaged through her kit and pulled out a small pouch with a fine greenish powder inside; pouring some of the powder into the water, she mixed it with the tip of her knife until it was fully dissolved. Her playing with pots and powders drew the attention of a few of the mages, prompting a well-built Ferelden born fellow named Alphonse to introduce himself.

"You're an alchemist too?" He asked. "I thought you were just a warrior." Kari laughed in response. "Maker, I'm no alchemist, I just know how to make vitaar and a neutralizing wash so I can clean it off. It's handy stuff but starts to itch after a while." "Fascinating. If you don't mind me asking, what was the in that powder?" "Not at all. It's a mix of dried elfroot, dried druffalo gallbladder and fine ground rock salt." Dipping her hands into the near-boiling water, she leant forward and plunged her face in, scrubbing vigorously with her hands; she did this for a few minutes, stopping every so often to come up for air. "Ah, that's better." She said, leaning back; the water was now a washed out pale pink. Alphonse reached towards the bowl, but Kari snagged his hand in an instant. "Don't!" She yelped. "Vitaar is lethally toxic to non-Qunari, and I'm pretty sure that even as diluted as it is, that shit there would still make you pretty ill." The mage flushed with embarrassment as her retrieved his hand. "I...sorry...thank you." He said, before shuffling off in as embarrassed silence.

After disposing of the wash water herself, she contemplated mixing a new batch of paint but changed her mind; one, the stuff could give off some wicked fumes during processing, and a crowed inn would not be a good place for that and two, she didn't really feel like tracking down the village blacksmith, then trudging all the way out to his forge...assuming he let her use it. Instead she decided to just stay by the fire and enjoy the heat.

"Is there really no defenses we can set up? Ditches, pits, barricades? Something? From what I can tell they bleed and die just as much as the next beast. They may take more of a beating but all the same."

Nodding at Ash's suggestions, Von muttered a few concerns under his breath before looking up. "That's what I meant by "special way". A platoon of Templars might erect a chant or something, and a bundle of mages might do something special. So ... I think those group of mages could be one of our biggest weapons ... as long, as they don't sleep." Von said, giving a wink to Ash. "As for physical protection. Depends, I've heard of the Redcliff assault and how the Warden protected it ... oil barrels and barricades may help again corpses and any other physical enemies they may manipulated ... but they're demons, not of this world." Von said, his tone the opposite of confident.

"It ... it's hard coming up with this when you don't have the knac-" Von started to say, but was interrupted.

"ASH! VON! A moment?!"

Puffing a low sigh, Von raised his right hand and pulled it down, over his face. "Uhh, only if we had one of these ... "moments"" Von huffed, as he gave a nod to Ash and Nola. "Well, I better see him before he yells, more." Von said, his tone a little reluctant to go downstairs and away from comfort. Releasing his tight grip on the chair's arms. The Templar stood as if he had drunk a little too much. Steadying himself with a light slap to the face, the man walked out of the room, dark green cloak trailing behind.

Coming down the stairs to the Inn, Von noticed the presence of several companions, to each he gave a hard nod before reaching Jarrett. "Yes, we heard. If you are willing to talk, Ash and Mrs. Nola are upstairs resting." He said, a noble tone and posture dominating his form. "... facing a drake was tough on all of us. But, there is much to do, like ..." Von's voice trailed off, and his eyes gazed to the mages.

"Yes, we heard. If you are willing to talk, Ash and Mrs. Nola are upstairs resting. Facing a drake was tough on all of us. But, there is much to do, like..."

Von seemed distracted or tired to Jarrett. Picking up the conversation, Jarrett spoke up, "My thanks. If there is one thing we must do I will require you and Ash." It was then he noticed what was distracting him. "The mages? What bothers you? If you have an issue it can," About to dismiss Von's thoughts, Jarrett shook his head and corrected his words. "...can be dealt with first. Afterwards, would you please accompany me to meet Ash?"

"The mages? What bothers you? If you have an issue it can ...can be dealt with first. Afterwards, would you please accompany me to meet Ash?"

Focusing his eyes on Jarrett, Von shook his head. "It's something else." Von said, waving his hand towards upstairs. "Anyway, it's better if we all meet." Von said as he began to walk back to the stairs. "Nothing good is coming. We all know that." Von said, his tone knowing that he stated the obvious. If anything, he wanted the town on alert. After all, it would be a terrible fate to die after hearing of a defeat against a dragon-kin.

With one foot on a step, Von turned slightly around. He had hoped the others would join him, but his pleading eyes had focused on the mages. "... hope, huh?" He spoke to himself, giving off a wry smile. Looking back to Jarrett, Von nudged his head at the stairs. "Lets go. I would like to plan before resting."

"Well, that settles it, time for assembly," Berund said with a shrug. The dwarf was eager to start going over plans to fight the abomination and whatever it had planned, not really concerned about rituals or communions with demons. The mages could sort out all that business. At least planning for a skirmish was something he was familiar with. He started to make his way up the stairs before he called out to Kari who seemed preoccupied with her washing. "Would you care to join us, Your Cleanliness? We're about to have ourselves a talk, an' I think your presence would be appreciated."

"Would you care to join us, Your Cleanliness? We're about to have ourselves a talk, an' I think your presence would be appreciated."

Looking over at Berund as he called for her, she chuckled as she stood. "Well unlike some dwarves, I know what the word 'hygiene' means." Running her fingers through her hair to neaten it up a bit, she joined the others. Seeing as there was not a whole lot of room, she made her way to the back and dropped onto the floor, leaning against the wall. "So, just how are we going to stop that wolf-headed fucker? Or are we just going to leg it?"

Nola rubbed her eyes. Better but the advice she was hoping for still didn't come. Either these two were a lot more ignorant than she gave them credit for, or there was little one could do to stop a demon in it's tracks. But that couldn't be. The demons were still enemies and any enemy could be beaten. They just needed the right strategy. But what was the right.....

"ASH! VON! A moment?!"

Nola sighed as Jarrett called from below. She sat back again thinking, barely registering Von's departure. She covered her eyes with one hand, trying to think of something better they could do other than just barricades. There had to be something. She gave up a few minutes later with a heavy sigh. "Get some rest Ash, someone will come get ya before the fighting starts." She said to the qunari as she rose and stepped out of the room. She looked down in time to see Kari stand from a stool in the corner.

"Well unlike some dwarves, I know what the word 'hygiene' means."

She couldn't help but smile as she leaned on the railing. "Hey now giant. We know about Hygiene. We just have more important thing to think about other than if we offend peoples delicate noses." She said with a laugh. She quickly made her way down the stirs to join the group. "Like our other worldly friends for example. Any chance you guys found anything at the Avvar camp sight? Like how to stop them? Ancestors know our mage wasn't much help."

"Lets go. I would like to plan before resting."

Jarrett gave a slight bow and nod to Von before heading to the stairs. "We will make this brief. All of us need to be at our peak to protect this town." Walking up the stairs, the creaking caused by the two could be heard by some of the patrons. Jarrett wondered for a moment if Ash could as well. Passing by Nola on the way up, she spoke up at them

"Any chance you guys found anything at the Avvar camp sight? Like how to stop them? Ancestors know our mage wasn't much help."

"We found something. Whether it is of use shall be known shortly." Guided to Ash by Von, Jarrett cleared his throat and presented the note. "The Avvar shrine had this inscribed, Jacques can translate it. It seems a ritual, perhaps created by their apostates. I wonder, what secret could an apostate hide?". Jarrett inquired, his voice filled with satisfaction and a sly smile.

"Get some rest Ash, someone will come get ya before the fighting starts."

It was fairly obvious that Nola had expected a lot more when calling Von and Ash there. However, he didn't have the kind of knowledge she wanted, and nodded, closing his eyes and making himself comfortable.

"Sorry for not being much help," he muttered, yawning a bit. "I don't really know anything about this, I never was a part of the circle, after all, and I spent quite a lot of blood back then, so I really should rest." As he heard her leave, he curled up further, almost drifting into a soft sleep by the time Jarrett entered, together with Von, and then followed by more people.

"The Avvar shrine had this inscribed, Jacques can translate it. It seems a ritual, perhaps created by their apostates. I wonder, what secret could an apostate hide?"

"Anything between heaven and earth," Ash muttered as a reply, half asleep, before his mind told him that this probably wasn't a dream. He sat up.

Apostate, huh.

Ash realized that he probably should have told the others that he wasn't actually trained or educated as a mage, thus, whatever they wanted him to know, he probably didn't. Even so, he took the note.

"What kind of ritual is it?" he asked, eyes still at the note. He recognized some of it, not much at all, and was sure of even less, only certain words of it that he had happened upon when reading.

"I can't exactly read this, so it doesn't tell me anything. There's something about a demon and a spirit... I think." He bit his lip, frustrated, he really had no clue about what it was supposed to be.

"But it looks like it's relevant to the abomination, so I'd have it translated. Besides, a ritual might just be what we need, depending on what kind it is. If we can attack first, that would be better than waiting around. Why don't you have the fancy mages downstairs do it?"

"Besides, a ritual might just be what we need, depending on what kind it is. If we can attack first, that would be better than waiting around. Why don't you have the fancy mages downstairs do it?"

"Heh, nothing to worry about. Jacques will translate, you will perform, Von and I will keep watch." Keeping a focused look on Ash and grabbing the note, Jarrett's mouth widened with glee and a sense of arrogance to it. "You will aid your friends and this town, right?" Waving off Ash he turned around and asked, mostly at Von, for input. "Hm... is this suitable everyone?" His posture and voice had turned around too it seemed as his tone was much more calm and submissive.

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