Dragon Age

Chapter 5: Trial by combat

Clods of sodden earth were cast into the air as spurred steeds thundered onward, Eye’s that had given up hope gazed upward regaining their lost glimmer as Anastasia’s yells of a cure pierced through the heavy mist in their minds, only Ser Villem resigned grimace remained as the dwarf, accompanied by Lemore, began insisting upon the infected being, aside from those too far gone, allowed to live so that the long awaited cure might be administered, after a furious back and forth between Villem, a Chantry Arbiter called Ser Gelda, Anastasia and Lemrore, Villem’s pale grimace turned to ashen fury as he lost his argument while simultaneously being accused of treachery, the evidence of the men he had apparently ordered onto the road to attack the group being levelled in his direction, A trial by combat was requested, the casteless dwarf relished in accepting.

By a cauldron nearby it was more than just the cure that was brewing, Student and Teacher were discussing what right any man had to decide the fate of another, despite Stoyanka’s best efforts to intervene, Remi ultimately deprived Ederith of any responsibility regarding the infected, Anastasia once again dirtied her merciful knife, the worse off were loaded into a wagon for the ride to Wulverton, The agreement to Ser Villja fresh in their mind, at long last a safe journey was had, Stoyanka begun her preparations and again began to brew the cure, fresh as it was required, Edarith, dismayed that so little Shadow Moss had been kept for the sprites, and frustrated at her seeming lack of ability to prevent their demise, broke away from the group, with Zevvi in quick pursuit she ran to seek some lonely solstice and shelter from the worsening weather.

Daria Fiore entered the village, a perplexed look on her face, the absence of people struck her certainly as out of the norm, feeling her hand stray, as but a precaution, to the hilt of her sword, winding her way to the village centre she emerged onto a scene of some peculiarity, the robes of a circle mage, currently with his back to her, only caught her attention so much as the old woman kneeling over a cast iron cauldron, waving her hands and chanting in a voice that was not at all pleasing to the ear, as she moved closer, transfixed by apparent open witch-craft being practiced, she failed to notice the mage turning in her direction, Rapid realization rippled across Remi’s face as he called for some hitherto unnoticed friends to halt Daria’s continuing trajectory. Hastened words were exchanged before the dwarf released Daria from her cast iron grip, with assurances that no action was to be taken against the healer as she performed her ritual, Daria set off to find her true quarry, Ms. Tarramar, of whom she had been appointed “protector.”

Edaraith’s pleas fell on death ears until the jingle of coin caught Anastasia and Lemore’s attention, Lacking the threat of infected, the journey to Dosov village was a relative walk in the park, a brief aside for some minor purchases with an increasingly happy trapper, the trip, by comparison to others, was a walk in the park, Baba was less jovial upon noting the templar in the midst of the group, begrudging the idea of her even setting up tent at the end of the ramp, the moon was raising into view as Ms. Tarramar skulked off for the tree-line, her templar babysitter hot on her heels, in the clearing, enticing it out with half remembered lullaby’s, a lone fire-sprite appeared, tentatively approaching, before making a feasting on the precious pinch of Shadow-moss remaining, it’s joyful song offered such stark contrast to the mournful one previously sung, the song floated in the air as the sprite departed back to its kin.

The embers on the fire we glowing in the dark, giving no hint as to the terrors running through the woods, or the crocodiles that were chasing them, As Edaraith and then Daria burst into the clearing by the tents the group sprung into action, Anastasia was roused from her story sharing with Baba as Remi unleashed a blast of flame before retreating to a position of safety, the dust settled quickly, one of the river reptiles frozen solid by an altogether jubilant Remi, Daria cleaned the purple blood from her blade while maintaining a confident silence in the face of jibes levelled at her by Edarith during the fight, The morning’s ride back to Sothmere was so much more relaxing, sights and sounds were taken in without the looming haste of previous journey’s rush to deliver the cure, and it was only as the party rode into Sothmere that they noticed a concerned look upon Ser Gelda’s face, and the absence of something they couldn’t quite put their finger on.

Chapter 4: Shapes in the mist

The mist seemed to swirl and dance, revelling in the opportunity to mislead any stranger lost in the swamp, the figures ahead were shifting uneasily as Anastasia barged her way to the front of the group, bellowing half-dwarfen challenges, The leader stepped forward, identifying himself and his band as a group formed with the intent of killing those infected with the cursed blood, after allaying their fears of Anastasia, borne as much for her ferocity in addressing them as from her yellowing pallor they begrudgingly allowed the adventurers to go on their way

Eventually large shapes solidified in the mist, as the party passed close to a village suffering from signs of an attack, flies buzzed gleefully around the innards of a down steed as a large shadow swept silently by, a ways beyond the village is when the owner of the shadow made itself known, what had once clearly been an owl was no longer entirely wholesome, its beak breaking apart into 4 segments to let loose an unearthly shriek as it begun to dive in assault, with every swoop the party tried to bring the owl onto the ground, but in the end, it was a combination of arrows, frost magic and a few lucky swipes of an axe that drove the Blight Owl off, and with a final pluck of his bow string, Lemore sealed the wretched creatures fate, sending it tumbling gracelessly to the ground.

Dosov village could be forgiven for not noticing the rapid exchange of a swamp boat for horses as our hero’s continued their ride onward, their pace was hard and steady until the lone figure of a knight greeted them at the crest of a hill, As his charger thundered down the hill, his thick armour and determined face did little to draw the parties eye from the razor sharp sword he held in position of parley, the crest of Wolverton sat proudly on his breast, and identifying himself as Ser Villja, his plight was made quickly apparent, he led a small warband on the hunt for a cure, and he was anguished to confirm that in essence made the party his quarry, thankfully, his honour held out and he was instead convinced to trust the group, though the 10 or so men-at-arms he held just beyond the ridge were harder to convince, eventually the knight agreed to escort the group back Sothmere in return for enough of the cure to help his own villagers.

The murky waters of the Sudiand River greeted them with much the same peril as it has during their previous crossing, fording the tumultuous waters with the heavy hempen rope in tow, the party had little time but to nod, albeit with immense triumph from the dwarf, at the trapper in Witchford as they continued up the path. Again, weapons were lowered in parley as a group of riders, this time bearing the insignia of Richta, Quick words were exchanged regarding the nature of their patrol, before the group continued upon their way, it was until Ederith fell from her horse, struck by a spear, that their betrayal was realized, the fighting was drawn out, with many blows being exchanged to break through the thick armour of the knights, who fought until the last, through bloodied and broken teeth he spat out his final confession, Ser Vilem had sent them to intercept and destroy those who would wish to cure the infected.

The sight of struggling villagers as the party neared Sothmere did little to lighten the hearts of the party, seeing great pyres with still living people tied to the posts, was cause for great alarm as Lemore and Anastasia spurred their steeds into a rumbling charge while proclaiming the arrival of the cure and for the cessation of dealing with the infected, Remi and Ederith with equal speed moved off to Stoyanka as she stood waiting, cauldron ready in the nearby field.

Chapter 3: Shadowmoss

The excited snipping of a monstrous crab now bearing down on the revolting helmet of soup was broken only by the hurried cry’s to take up arms against it, ignoring the arrows now attempting to pierce it’s shell, and the Mabari puppy gnashing at its face, the crab was at last forced to defend itself after the Orlesian Elf Lemore managed to up-end the hapless crustacean onto it’s back, the ensuing flaming assault to its shell and having a leg torn off during Zevvi’s vicious assault, the crab at last lurched back into the water from whence it came, unable it’s hunger unsatisfied.

At last, as the sun was lying low in the sky, little lights faded into view and begun to flit and a flicker between the long reeds in the direction of this little island in the swamp, A sad song began to swim its way through the swaying grass, followed by gentle sobs from out in the dark, As the fire sprites began to gather and dance around their repulsive offering, Lemore trudged through the mud to the source of tears, Dielza, the young sister to the deceased clown Olek, had been shadowing the party for days, only the song of the sprites causing her to break her silence.
There was hardly time for explanation before the sprites picked their time to dart off, deeper into the swamp, Remous kept up best he could, leading the party via a rope tied between Zevvi and Lemore, until eventually the sprites led the party to their doorstep, Ancient Tevinter ruins, After much confusion, and the Mabari seemingly trying to communicate the existence of a cave the group finally took the plunged and swum through a subterranean tunnel.

Their heads bursting through the cool sedimentary water, eyes adjusting to the light, when the a long slender form set itself out amongst the gloom, The discarded skin of a giant snake that slithered from the caves deeper in and begun it’s assault on the group, snatching up Zevvi in its coils and quickly casting the party into chaos, even with a war hound chewing into its side and Remous alternately burning and freezing it’s flesh, the snake showed no signs of slowing, it was only when the apparently absent trio of Anastasia, Dielza and Lemore announced their return with the crack of a large stone statue being toppled over, did the guardian finally meet its demise under the pulverising weight of the falling stone.

The defeated song of the sprites echoed hauntingly through the tunnels as the jubilant party surged forth, coming across a pit containing what could only be assumed to contain the remnants of the previous population to live here, a exalted bark was quickly followed by Zevvi dragging a piece of armour from the mound, although more interested in an attached sock, as the glint of a single golden crown caught Remous eye.

At last the final chamber was reached, and the shadow moss, which was finally revealed as being the fire sprites food source as well as being produced by the now dead guardian, was gathered up into a large sack, deciding it wasn’t enough, the group undertook the altogether thankless task of splitting open the guardian on the way out to take what little they could to add to their supplies.

Emerging from the water into the cool air of the swamp it quickly dawned on the party that they had no clear way of leaving the swamp, having first been led by the raven and now by fire-sprites, they begun the task of working their way through the swamp, they however were not alone, as the howl of swamp wolves pierced the night, the group readied arms around the boat as Remous began spreading some lantern oil over the surface of the water.

The fight was messy as three wolves were quickly set aflame, Remous was briefly taken out of the fight as Lemore unleashed a quarrel of arrows into the lupine aggressors, Dielza almost instantly regretted her efforts to bring the flagging Remous back into the world of the living as he spun and planted a large kiss on her bewildered self, the fight was ended in quick succession with a loud wet tearing sound from Zevvi’s direction and the crack of Lemore’s first against a wolfs disgruntled snout

Gathering their wits the party continued with their efforts to reach the village of Dosov.

As the group look on in shock, as a giant crab approaches their outcropping, Sothmere has a visitor...

Bogdan throws his arms in the air in desperation, “Listen, I’m just as sick of that Sheriff as you are. I feel the danger every time I pass the barn on my way to my forge, and I’m sick of it. Surely there’s something we can do.”

Vilem, sat at his desk, runs his hands down his face, his tiredness showing. "I’ve told you, I have this well in hand. " He stands, “Speaking of which…”

Taking a step around his desk, Ser Vilem smiles broadly, “Ah, Ser Gelda. It’s an honour as always.”

Gelda Cermac stands in the doorway to Ser Vilem’s abode, holding herself tall and proud as a knight should. Her thick pauldrons astride a face that bears the teltale signs of at least one battle hard-fought, with a wicked scar adorning one cheek and an eyepatch above it. Her close-cropped hair proving that she takes her position seriously, rather than use it to hide her deformity.

“Vilem, you son-of-a-bitch!”, she strides towards the man in front of her, grasping his forearm in comraderie. “Your father is well, and sends his regards. Now, tell me about the issue you’re having, it sounds like you’re lucky I was in the area.”

Vilem’s face suddenly darkens, all the joy disappearing. “Well, I’ve been having some trouble this past week. Something only a person of your position could possibly resolve…”

Chapter 2: Into The Wilds

The kill must have been quick and clean, the absence of any fresh blood on Anastasia’s battle-marked armour said as much, minutes were spent in silent contemplation before a caw from the raven overhead shook everyone back into action.

There was a river to be forded, and a broken ferry unable to cross it, An arrow splashed heavily, almost half way across before being cursed and tugged back by the rope affixed to its shaft, eventually with options and time running short in equal measure, four horses entered the gentle rapids, after many shouts of encouragement, and a steadying hand, grateful hooves again found purchase on dry land, Wet robes were the extent of the damage as the horses were spurred on.
The Raven had just taken off, after gulping a fresh cockroach, when an unfamiliar figure was spotted ahead, his cart was not upturned and aflame, always a good thing, and as it happened the trapper who owned the cart was as glad of the chance to barter with the adventurers as they were to gain information of the approaching swamps, with the location of a village, and the name of the elder, Baba, to ask for, the riders continued on.

By a virtue, the marshland did not create any great hindrance, sadly however, of the local colour the same could not be said, the ambush was sprung from high-ground, announcing itself with a volley of arrows from above, Horses were dismounted, hurriedly and for some, not by choice, as a second flight of arrows came in.

While all party members drew blood, it was Anastasia who commended herself against the Chasind ambushers, fighting off 4 at once with reckless abandon, Zevvi called an end to the combat by way of presenting his new toy, A mostly intact spinal column freshly ripped from a terrified Chasind, the rout was quick and merciless, Remi rode down two of the fleeing warriors with a gout of flame from horseback, their screams of agony intermingling with a lone, drawn, piercing scream from the smoking tree behind which Edarith had dealt with her adversary in a most unspeakable way.

Exhausted, the sight of Dosov, A village raised on stilts to protect as much against the encroaching waters as it was enemy tribesmen, was a welcome sight, Baba welcomed in all but young Edarith who opted to remain behind so as to see to the horses, drink was shared back and forth and a deal struck, a bed and a stable in return for some healing magic in the morning.

Vibrations rippled across the water and a small flock of water-fowl took flight as Edarith approached the parties quarters, baulking at the source of this localized disruption, a chorus of heavy snoring, she sought refuge with a local woman, who enlightened her as to the source of this infection, local tribes’ Shamans crafting new types of poisons for raids on the closest Ferelden villages. The poisons must have transferred to those handling them, however, and they were having less than intended results. She slept soundly with the villagers, away from the rumble that was threatening to capsize the supply hut in which the rest of the party rested.

A swamp-boat was acquired early in the morn and the group continued on their way, passing quickly through the swamp until the raven, as though struck by lightning, flopped gracelessly onto a small island, dead. The reagents given to them by Stoyanka were retrieved and boiled in the helmet of the somewhat disgruntled Anastasia, the reek of the resulting brew proved too much for Remi’s sense, and as he emptied what was left of the mornings breakfast onto the grass, he noticed through blinkered eyes what appeared to be a large swamp crab emerge from the water, shuffling towards the horrific brew…

Chapter 1: The Chasind Attack
The start of the Adventure Blog

On entering the town of Sothmere, everything seemed fine aside from the weather. The rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits as the town engaged in a groundbreaking celebration to commemorate the start of building a new fort.

Lemore, Anastasia and Remi met one another, while enjoying the games and entertainments of the celebration, playing games of skill, or receiving fortunes from a teller in a small tent.

That all changed when the Chasind attacked.

Suddenly, there was screaming, running and fighting as yellow-skinned Chasind, mad with some sort of disease, burst into the celebration grounds. Killing many, biting others and giving them a sickness, they were stopped by the group and their skills.

Among the bitten were Anastasia herself, Dielza (a young elven thief befriended by Lemere), and the daughter of the sheriff of Sothmere itself.

In the aftermath, despite pressure to kill the infected from a local knight and blacksmith, the sheriff chose to send Lemore, Anastasia, Remi and Edarith, a young wandering Circle Mage, into the Korkari wilds to the South at the behest of a local elder, in search of a cure.

Setting out, they make their way South to the village of Wichford, a small settlement with a Ferry across a river in their way. Getting there, they discover that Sothmere was not the only place attacked by the diseased Chasind, as Wichford has been all but wiped out, and is now infested with blighted Bloodcrows.

After dealing with the crows, they hear a sound upstairs in one of Wichford’s buildings, and entering they discover a wounded man, nearly sick with the disease, who is able to inform them that a second group of Chasind exited the wilds this morning, heading along the road the group came from. Guessing that they must have skirted the Chasind, and that there simply isn’t time to deal with them, the group decide to put the wounded man out of his misery, on his request, and look South to the forests where they will find the cure…


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