Into the Darkness

Musings of a Mage #5

Pierce and I discussed the matter of needing better equipment with Master Tyrian. He did agree he would help us, but stated he would need facilities to do the work—thankfully the little dock town has a blacksmith shop and it was with relative ease we convinced the smithy to let Master Tyrian use his forge. In the meantime, we purchased what goods we could; and much to my surprise there was even a rune crafter in town who was able to create a hybrid rune to allow underwater breathing. That certainly changed my mind of the underwater expedition the mad scientist was so keen on.

Feeling better equipped we decided on attending to the bandit issue first, that way Master Tyrian would have longer in the forge while we were in town. We spoke to the town’s guard captain who, rather surprisingly, actually managed to capture a few of the bandits. And Pierce, has impeccable luck with guard captains as she was able to finagle our way in, unsupervised, to interrogate them. Unfortunately the “interrogation” was nothing more than a few menacing words before the bandit gave us the information we needed…and I had rather looked forward to his…stamina.

We easily traced the bandits back to their meager little hideout; their leader being a blood mage one would think it would have been slightly more difficult. But I suppose mages here are not like Tevenes…in fact, I wouldn’t even call these creatures blood mages—they are nothing more than sniveling children with a magnifying glass and ants. And I do so hate sniveling. It was with little effort that we dispatched the bandits and their leader; Pierce and the brute were subjected to a few of the more polite blood magic spells and it seems to have had quite a little impression. Perhaps the brute will be a little more polite…we shall see. We took the slight amount of coin the bandits had, returned the goods stolen from the blacksmith and left the rest to be confiscated by the town guard.

After, since we still had plenty of energy, and I a backup plan to drowning, we spoke with the crazy scientist and decided we would explore the cave and ruins. We reached the cavern to find a few skeletons; where Ailen felt the need to wolfe out—it seemed he was still rather hostile towards us in this form, but I removed the thorn from his paw and we were able to explore the treasures of the cave. Dozens of ancient books littered the floor, I pulled away two of particular interest, one on Grey Wardens the other on blood magic, and we agreed the rest the scientist could have—minus the gold we stumbled upon of course. On our way out of the cavern a strong downdraft caught Pierce and flung her deeper into the cave. Ailen was able to muscle her back onto a clear swimming path, but she was obviously a little blue and I was generous enough to provide her with air. I must say, her build under my hands reminded me of Sindrin—her elven heritage is perhaps a little more dominate than I thought.

Once back on solid ground we provided the scientist with the leftovers and agreed to return the next day for our pay. Soaking wet I retrieved my unsoiled shoes from the dock guard and we made our way to the Inn. Ailen seemed to work up some sort of nerve and asked me to dinner in a quaint little country way. I suppose that was his attempt at courting; regardless, I agreed and must admit dinner was actually enjoyable—not the food certainly, but the company. He is pleasing to look at and able to maintain civil banter…I hadn’t expected that. It seems this little country is full of surprises as during the early hours of morning I felt darkspawn descend upon the town. We rose to, not darkspawn, but a band of Wardens coming in from the dock.

A man, obviously the leader, flanked by a woman and 8 little helpers trooped in. The man announced himself as Statton and his female companion as Katarina—Grey Wardens from Tevinter. Statton eyed me and in Tevene told me he knew who I was. The nerve. Regardless of his status as self-proclaimed leader of the Wardens for this man to think he could intimidate me. He might have more power due to training, but my blood is more pure than he could even dream his great grandchildren could be—he is certainly not my superior in anything other than Warden rank. He then quickly singled Ailen out as well as ousted him in front of his 9 recruits that Ailen was a Were. Perhaps he is Tevene, but he is certainly unworthy of his opinion of himself. Ailen seemed to take less offence than I did and agreed to speak with Statton in private; words transpired and Statton cast a spell I was unfamiliar with. After, Statton drew a knife, cut Ailen’s arm and ingested the blood off the knife. Fool man either tricked Ailen or cured him. I’m not sure which I prefer as the cure would require my gratitude. Statton and Katarina announced they were setting up camp and began to depart. I was able to speak with Ailen out of ear shot and he explained that Statton, also fascinated by Weres, had “aged” his blood; given Ailen more control of his condition, including being able to control whether or not he infected someone. I relented and provided Statton my gratitude for his aid. Statton accepted in Tevene style and admitted he enjoyed seeing the havoc that I’d created for my Father before I’d left Tevinter. Turns out that Statton is not a supporter of the Archon; perhaps we have more in common than I thought, but that doesn’t change the fact that I must be cautious. A Tevene bloodmage is a dangerous ally at best…and Statton, with his Warden capabilities, is certainly more than dangerous.

We retired to our Inn for the night while the Wardens left to make camp outside of the city. We were privy to a little skirmish between Statton, Katarina and a few darkspawn. Honestly, I believe they led the darkspawn here so they could provide a show—perhaps demonstrate how powerful they believe themselves to be. They announced that our other Warden friends were stuck at the Tower and would need our help. As Pierce, her men and Ailen all agreed to join the Wardens I had little choice myself and, it seems, will have to endure the presence of children with magnifying glasses at the tower. I suppose it can’t be helped if I wish to surround myself with capable people—there are bound to be…unpleasantries…along the way. Perhaps I can solidify something more stable with Ailen and at least reserve myself more than one loyal dog. On our way out of town I ensured we retrieved our compensation from the scientist—lest this whole dock town endeavor would have been a waste.

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