Into the Darkness

Musings of a Mage #6

Thankfully we’ve finished with the little dock town of Jader and are heading out to the Circle of Mages with our Caravan to help our “fellow Gray Wardens”. It’s going to prove a long and tedious trip with the lovely company we’ll have along the way—thankfully the two books I salvaged from the underwater cavern at Jader will come in handy while I distract myself.

After a solid day of reading the book on blood magic I was desperate to try out a few techniques. Dinner was the perfect excuse. I convinced Ailen to go hunting with me and I practiced my blood spells on a bear before he dispatched it for our plates. I’m even going to get a fine blanket out of it—I call that a rather productive day on the trail if I do say so myself. And although it was productive I find I despise travelling dusty roads all day via caravan. It’s more boring than I anticipated and after sitting, bouncing in the wagon, tucked next to Ailen I was ready to burn the whole forest down with boredom and frustration. The filth of the day and wound up tension from being so close to Ailen for so long meant I needed a bath. And it appears I wasn’t the only rather affected by the day’s travel as Ailen seemed eager to join me in the river. I must say, there is certainly something to be said for a werewolf’s stamina…the elf and the human lover that I’ve known weren’t nearly as…vigorous or thorough. Mmmm, I can only imagine what his other form would be like. Perhaps I’ll have more to entertain me on our travels than I anticipated. Ironic really that I find this country rudimentary and savage and yet the Wilder is what has my interest.

Thankfully despite our evening’s entertainment I remembered to discuss with Ailen, while alone in the caravan with each other, about a certain blend of tea to ensure less complications for us down the road considering our indulgences. Turns out an appropriate remedy was already being served to me—that presumptuous cocky buffoon. He’s quite lucky he was rather skilled in our little endeavor or I would have burned him alive for the assumption alone; so I spent the night reminding myself, atop him, why I liked keeping him around.

The next day on our little journey I delved further into my blood magic book—it’s starting to become clear to me that what Staton can do won’t be in this book. He’s perhaps progressed past any known blood mage in history. It pains me to think I will have to speak with him to get the information I so desperately need. On top of this annoyance the brute and the elf chattered like clucking hens and in an attempt to drown out the noise I decided a few little interesting stories with Ailen were in order. I told him of Pierce and I’s true “joining” and about the Old God and our spirits. I also decided, since he seems rather enraptured with me, it was safe to tell him about my father being the Archon and that the Crows were likely still after me. I was pleased to see I gauged him correctly as the news didn’t alarm him as it should have. Since our little dialogue was proving useful I asked a few questions of my own. I eased him into the information I was seeking easily and went from “oh bear is your favorite food” to figuring out my suspicions on Wilder life were incorrect. How interesting. Ailen has not had children yet and has only bedded werewolves, apparently I’m his first human. The crude man that he is seemed slightly shocked that I’d only been with two men. Just because I have a clever tongue for banter with men doesn’t make me a whore—I suppose in this backwater country women are either prudes or sluts…a shame really. Another thing Tevinter got right—women aren’t afraid of their own bodies or their own sensuality. In fact, women aren’t afraid of power in general, whether it stems from their curves or their magic. We camped near another stream in the evening and I was able to assert my own power of Ailen in ways we both enjoyed.

On our third, and Maker thank you, final day on the trail I finally forced myself to speak with Staton about his blood magic. To my surprise it was like he had been waiting for me to do so and was relieved that I had. He readily gave over his notes on the subject. His research on how to fix the taint in animals, the joining ritual, how to manipulate the taint to live longer…it was all there. It’s all the information I wanted, but instead of thankful I’m suspicious—why did he give it to me; and more importantly, why was he so very relieved to give it to me. That Tevinter bastard has something up his sleeve, they’re always plotting. I wasn’t the only person with something on their mind. Pierce talked to me about Sawyer and the Elf leaving. Apparently she’d overheard them discussing taking off and once I got her to admit she wanted them to stay I agreed to resolve the matter for her. This will after all mean she owes me. Pierce also discussed the redheaded bitch with me. The redhead explained to Pierce she knew we’d be leaving as the redhead herself would “put an end to us” if we didn’t. Honestly, I’m not surprised by her revelation. That doesn’t make her a fate seeing, on the contrary, it’s clear we all despise one another and only a matter of time before we come to blows.

I spoke with the brute and easily persuaded him to stay. His mind works like rusty cogs and it wasn’t hard to see what he needed to latch onto. Hope. Hope that he could matter if he stayed with us and fought the blight, hope that he could protect Pierce and hope that blood mages weren’t the monsters he’d always thought they were. Silly fool, of course we’re monsters…no we’re worse; but the only blood mages he’s ever known are from Ferelden—Tevene blood mages are something else entirely. It’s said after all, Tevene mages are what pulled the Gods from their thrones and turned the blight on mankind. The Tevenes became the first true darkspawn. Ironic that an Old God has made Pierce and I what we are…just like my ancestors. Regardless, I told Sawyer highlights of my past—my father the Archon, my dead elven lover and a narrow escape with the Crows…painting myself as the victim and he couldn’t resist. Of course he’ll stay, a man like that only has one purpose in life—to serve.

Pierce felt the need to discuss with the Brute and the elf about our “joining” and after a ridiculous conversation about them wanting to look the Old God’s city of Sanctuary I ignored them the rest of the day. Apparently they weren’t the only ones looking for conversation as Ailen asked a few questions of his own. I suppose that is only fair since I interrogated him yesterday. Well I’m nothing if not productive so I figured I’d drum up his possessive and protective little pack nature and gave him a few damsel in distress stories to chew on. I told him about my tutors using blood magic on me as punishment and about being forced to drink lyrium potions to test my resilience. I even told him about how my elven lover was killed, the vengeance I planned to get on my father and about my narrow escape from the Crows. It had the desired effect of course, he was almost professing his devotion, but what I didn’t expect…it was actually rather easy to speak with him, perhaps even comforting. Hmmmm, that’s something I’ll need to quell and did so that night by humoring myself with him in the wagon.



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