The underground ruins had once hosted werewolves and undead, but had been thoroughly cleared of both. It now stood open and relatively safe, tucked away in the depths of the Brecillian Forest. Hidden doors had been left open; ghosts laid to rest and zombies decimated... it was far off the beaten path, beyond magical protections and on the other side of a Dalish clan campsite from the rest of civilization.
In short, it was the perfect place for a renegade elven mage to hide.
Tannusen slammed his back against the filthy stone wall, and slid down its rough surface to sit on the ground, trying to slow and quiet his breathing as quickly as possible, his gaze fixed on the hidden lines of a glyph waiting in the doorway. Resting for a moment within sight of his lastest trap was a bad idea, but if he didn't pause for at least a moment he was just sure his lungs would burst.
The paralyze rune was hidden, but not hidden enough to actually catch his pursuer; too clever by far at spotting all manner of traps. The other man had thus far evaded every single glyph that the healer had left in his wake. They had served indirect purposes instead; slowing the hunter who had to wait for them to dissipate, or forcing the unseen predator to find alternative paths...
And Tannusen hardly made it easy, laying traps at choke-points he didn't even pass through, doubling back though already-set runes...
But he couldn't reach the path outside; not without the very real risk of encountering his hunter in the open -- where he would be quickly neutralized. The ruins that had been the perfect hiding place had quickly become a trap.
Tannusen slowly calmed his breathing, a sharp pain lancing through his ribs. He'd been careful with his mana with all of those glyphs, using the cheapest versions, but his energy -- arcane and otherwise -- was beginning to wane. Even as fit as he was, an exercise regimen inside the tower grounds and then walking across Ferelden hardly made him into a true athlete. He was still a mage, despite his musculature, while the man chasing him was not.
Time was definitely on his pursuer's side.
The soft clink of chainmail on the other side of the wide glyph was his only warning before something sharp grazed his arm. Tannusen was already rolling to the side and back onto his feet, not sparing even a second to glance back before diving through the open stone slab of a small side door.
His vision wavered. The world... lurched, and Tannusen lurched with it, slamming his shoulder into a statue hard enough to shake debris free from above, raining dust and dirt onto his head. He staggered, and paused to pull a dart from his arm with a soft curse. That explained the sharp "graze" he'd felt -- it was a needle, and the color of Concentrated Magebane poison was unmistakable upon its tip.
He was very nearly neutralized; the hunter had come well-prepared. They always did.
There was only one thing left to do. Grimly, Tannusen set his last rune upon the floor, feeling the last flicker of mana leave him with it, and stumbled into a doorway to wait. It was time for a whole new tactic; he'd already lost this long game of cat and mouse, but there was no way that he would wait passively to be captured...
Tannusen held his breath as his previously-unseen pursuer stepped into view. The templar armor gleamed softly in the light of old torches on the walls, and his hunter's face was obscured completely by the typical helmet, concealing his identity. The sight jerked at Tannu's spine, just as it always did, and he wanted nothing more than to step out and surrender this foolish game--
He'd known his place in the tower. The idea of him running from a templar was almost laughable! But... this wasn't precisely the same thing, and he clenched his fist until the bones creaked, reminding himself of what he was doing. History had no bearing, here.
The templar paused in front of the rune on the ground, and the tiny hesitation was all that Tannusen was waiting for. He lunged out of his doorway, the armored man whipping around to face him as though he'd shouted his presence -- but it was too late. The mage slammed his shoulder into the sword-engraved breastplate, shoving his would-be captor backwards a single small step.
The paralyze rune flared to brilliant life beneath steel-shod feet, and Tannusen stepped back from his minor, short-lived victory, placing a hand against the nearest wall and panting raggedly for air.
He didn't pause for long; couldn't, without giving in to the urge to simply kneel before that ornate steel and deep maroon cloth... the whole lit brilliantly by the glyph shining on the stone floor. The urge was terribly strong, but he pushed away from the wall and ran anyway, knowing that the glyph wouldn't hold as long as it usually did, with so little mana put into it. He could feel hidden eyes boring into his back as he bolted down the hall, and could still feel them even after he was out of sight again.
Two corners and three doorways later -- even sooner than he'd expected -- a voice shouted in the echoing halls behind him, "You can't run forever, heathen mage!"
Tannusen's heart hammered, and he took turns almost randomly, adrenalin fueling his every move as the sound of chainmail seemed to only grow louder, closer, no matter how fast he ran.
Confusion slowly chewed its way into his exhausted mind, and suddenly the game was all too real. He was a mage on the run, without any mana, with an unstoppable force somewhere behind him in the desolate ruins. Knowing that he was running out of room to flee, he doubled back in the direction they had come from, bolting past the statue he'd bashed his shoulder against earlier.
He never expected the tripwire stretched taut across the narrow hall.
Tannusen crashed to the floor with a startled yelp, and felt a needle on the ground pierce his leg.
The world slowed. His movements were already sluggish by the time he scrambled to his feet and yanked the needle free, and when he tried to run forward again his legs barely even cooperated. Tannusen was so distracted by this bizarre sensation that he didn't even hear the templar's approach, or perhaps his hunter moved with unnatural silence, now that the moment was right.
A gauntlet closed in his hair, jerking his head back so suddenly that he could do nothing for a moment but freeze in panic, and an arm like steel circled his waist from behind, pulling him back against soft cloth and hard armor. "And now," the voice said in his ear, as Tannusen regained his senses and struggled in vain to escape, his hands scrabbling at the steel-encased arm across his stomach, "you can't run at all, naughty apostate."
The hunter's voice had that peculiar, familiar echo from speaking inside a helmet, which only made Tannusen's pulse hammer harder yet as he pried at the armored wrist at his hip. The struggle pushed him tightly back against his captor, who released his hair in favor of jerking the top of his robes open with one gauntlet, the sound of ripping fabric echoing loudly in the empty hallway.
"My, you are a fiesty one," that deep, menacing chuckle made Tannusen shiver beneath the caress of smooth steel fingers, tracing lightly over his newly-exposed skin, "I think I will enjoy this."
The mage couldn't help but arch into that knowing touch, even as his fingers continued to pry at the arm around his waist. And suddenly, that arm moved, both gauntlets grabbing the fabric of his robes at the front and tearing.
A new surge of adrenalin hit Tannusen at the opportunity, and he lunged forward to escape, slipping his arms free and--
--and he crashed to the ground as his legs were swept out from under him. The other man was on top of him immediately, the weight and pinch of his armor pressing down on Tannusen's back, the rough scrape of the stone floor beneath his chest and stomach. The robe was gone, leaving him bare from the waist up, and his captor chuckled darkly at his plight, running his armored fingers up Tannu's sides and making him shiver once more.
The gauntlets left his skin, but only to tear a wide strip from the ruined robes, which then came down over Tannusen's eyes, tied securely into place despite his struggles. His belt was pulled free of his waist, but only once his hands were captured did the weight lift off of his back, the other man pulling his wrists together and securing them with the leather strap. All the struggle Tannusen could put up was not enough to do more than mildly inconvenience his captor, and soon enough he was laying helpless on the ground, blind and bound as cold metal fingers removed the rest of his clothing, caressing down his ass and legs as new skin was exposed.
"Such a marvelous body for a mage," the echo of the helmet was gone, removed now that Tannusen could see nothing but the darkness of a blindfold. Cold steel fingers curled over his shoulders and hauled him up onto his knees on the floor, bound and blind and exposed.
Tannusen moved to lunge to his feet as soon as his shoulders were released... but an armored knee pressing down on the back of his calf held him neatly pinned to the floor. His captor tsked softly. "And such fighting spirit," the other man mused aloud, "I suppose I will have to... subdue you, somehow," a bare hand slid into Tannusen's hair, calloused fingertips dragging over his scalp, and the touch of a cool steel gauntlet beneath his chin forced his head to tip up and back, "it is a matter of duty, is it not?"
He couldn't help it; the mage shuddered.
Insistent, probing wet heat ran over the delicately-pointed tip of his right ear, and Tannusen gasped, tilting his head back even further than the gauntlet beneath his chin demanded.
"So easy to manipulate," his captor's rich chuckle was so close, his breath so warm... "are all mages so eager to be captured and taken? Hmm?"
"I'm not... eager for anything!" Tannusen replied with a sharp gasp as his head was jerked back, hard, by the hand in his hair.
"You forget, mage," hot lips traced a path across his shoulder and up his neck, "you may be blind, but I can see every little twitch of something that tells a very different story..."
Reminded of his exposure, said mage shuddered, feeling his captor's gaze on his hardening flesh. "What do you intend to do with me?" Tannusen asked, trying to remember to play his role and not sound too breathless with anticipation. He wasn't a very good actor, sometimes.
"You put me through quite the chase," the other man said, his tone quite reasonable, "I am afraid the punishment will have to match."
Tannusen knew he wasn't supposed to moan quietly at that. He couldn't help it, though. The deep chuckle it drew from the armored man kneeling beside him only made the soft pulse of exposed flesh beat a little harder, and when gauntlet-encased fingertips traced his length he gave an involuntary twitch forward.
"Are all mages as eager for punishment as you?" his captor asked with obvious amusement.
"No," Tannusen gasped, challenging, pushing his hips forward deliberately, "just me." Sometimes, it couldn't be helped. He'd mouthed off to Uldred, to Greagoir; to... any number of men whose names he didn't quite remember yet... his self-destructive streak ran wide and deep, and for a moment it was easy to forget that this wasn't real.
For a moment, it was easy to want it to be real. The danger thrilled him like few things could.
That cold gauntlet traced up along his belly and chest, and closed deliberately over the front of his throat, squeezing slowly. "Stand up," his captor ordered silkily, rising with him as he obeyed, and began to lead him by the throat down the hallway, barefoot and naked, completely vulnerable with his hands still bound behind his back. At first, he could keep track of where they were in the ruins, but by the time the armored man backed him up against a stone slab just above knee height, he was well and truly lost.
And nearly as hard as the stone beneath him as he was shoved back to lay on the polished surface, forced by his bound wrists to arch his spine sharply.
His knees were grabbed, one in a bare hand and one in a gauntlet, and pushed apart. Tannusen obediently held still once released -- what else could he do? His mana was exhausted and he couldn't run through this maze while blind and bound... any smart captive would cooperate, now, and bide his time...
The mage's heart seemed to hammer into his throat at the feel of rope being wound expertly around, under, and above his left knee. Something cold touched the back of his leg, and he hissed in a startled breath as his right knee was given the same treatment, the two ends of the cold object pressing against both sides.
A metal bar. He couldn't close his legs, bound widely-spread now. This wasn't a new sensation by any means, but... it had been a while, to be sure. Without seeming to expend any effort at all, his captor lifted the steel rod -- and Tannusen's bent legs with it -- until he struggled to keep his spine arched to spare his hands. An inch higher and his ass would be lifted from the stone surface.
The templar seemed to notice his plight, because he laughed softly and paused at that precise spot, somehow, and ran steel-encased fingers over Tannusen's chest and straining stomach.
And then the bar raised further, taking the mage's ass with it. A rope, Tannusen realized belatedly as the bar stopped and held steady, his captor stepping away with a clink of armor, he picked this spot before he even caught me!
Panic and red-hot arousal vied for control, reality fully displaced in the depths of a blindfold and at the sound of familiar armor moving around the room. How many years had he heard templar boots against stone floors; the distinct clink and creak of plate-and-chain mixed with the whisper of heavy cloth?
His weight rested mostly on his upper back and shoulders, the bar leaving him exposed front and back at the same time, and Tannusen held his breath as a hard gauntlet caressed appraisingly over the soft skin of his ass. If the templar had brought a bar and rope, and had chosen this spot ahead of time... what else did he have waiting for his prisoner?
The hands left, followed by the caress of a narrow wooden rod slipping down one exposed, sensitive inner thigh. Tannusen flinched in his bindings, startled, not in the least expecting the feel of such a tool -- nearly a weapon in its own right! -- gliding across his skin. His heart pounded anew, and he barely heard his captor's deep, menacing chuckle. It made him shiver.
He remembered. Tannusen remembered the stories from young apprentices who had broken too many rules, unruly and restless in the confines of the tower and its grounds. He remembered, once he and they were older, the occasional scar; a single thin line here and there. Tannu had felt them, years later, when he'd groped those same apprentices during rushed trysts in stray storage closets, or out in the open in his bunk in the barracks beneath staring, intent eyes...
Before his Master, before the red fog, Tannusen had been a remarkably well-behaved boy. Obedient, studious... he'd never been taken away by the templars for such a punishment; had never stepped anywhere near that far out of line. And then, after he had been claimed, Tannusen had gone to great lengths to not get into trouble with... others. Drawing attention to himself in such a way would have resulted in far worse punishments than a simple disciplinary caning from the templars. And he had been obedient. Studious.
But he remembered the lines of the occasional old scar on the other apprentices, years later. He'd fantasized, though a part of him knew better, that perhaps it was Greagoir who administered those punishments, or perhaps he just... observed silently from his desk... and if Tannusen flouted the rules blatantly enough, then perhaps he would be taken by the elbow, hauled to the fourth floor...
Or chased through stone halls, pinned against the floor and bound, stripped, led away--
It was hard to keep an old fantasy at bay, suddenly, with the soft clink and whispered shush of a templar's unique armor; with his back against cold stone and his vision taken away; the smooth wood of a cane sliding up and over the tense muscles of his stomach. He swallowed, tipping his head back against the stone beneath him as the cane slid up and over his chest; his throat, and then away...
The ache of his bound arms and his shoulders against the smooth stone beneath him seemed distant, unimportant. The chill of the air was barely noticeable as his heart hammered in his ears and his hard flesh almost ached. He could feel the burn of a flush hitting his face, neck, chest -- and he hadn't even been touched yet, not really.
"Ser," he whispered, "I--"
--Crack! The sudden, sharp sting across his ass made Tannusen jerk hard in his restraints, taken completely by surprise.
The gauntlet that slid up his thigh made him tremble as though he had been here for hours, rather than minutes, and he flinched, hard, as the slap of the cane came down again, feeling almost as though he was being sliced open. He was familiar with that sensation, certainly, and imagined that the eyes he could feel boring into his face were gray, set in a stern face with a neatly-trimmed beard--
His soft moan echoed in the stone room, and the templar's breathing -- just barely audible -- caught.
Three hits in and it was already affecting the other man, as well? Tannusen flexed his thighs, pulling at the bar beneath his bent-and-bound knees to lift his ass further, openly offering himself up for more abuse, even as his shoulders against the stone beneath him screamed in protest. He barely noticed, waiting in the dark of his blindfold, listening, nearly holding his breath.
The soft hiss of the cane in the air couldn't prepare him for the strike to the back of his thigh, nor could he have expected another hit to the ass immediately after, and Tannusen tossed his blindfolded head from side to side against the stone beneath him, clenching his teeth against the pain. The sweet, so right, stinging pain.
Four more rapid strikes fell, and then the stroke of a bare hand caressed briefly over the raised lines on soft, heated skin. Tannusen exhaled a shuddering breath at the sensation, forced by his blindfold and the near-silence of the room to focus on little else but what was done to him. He could do nothing but accept the other's whims and actions, and that in itself was a thrill beyond reason for the master-less thrall, the knowledge of it running its icy fingertips up and down his straining spine and making him shiver.
The feel of the templar's hot, soft tongue tracing the sharpest sting of his marks, made him gasp, keeping him guessing at the unexpected range of sensations, forcing him to relax a little further...
And then that hand returned in a hard slap, opposite to the side where that tongue pressed, and Tannusen flinched hard, unable to keep his mental balance. It should have been frustrating, but it wasn't. If this was what punishment entailed, then he would go to great lengths to be very, very bad in the future.
His tormentor drew away, replaced by the hard snap! of the cane striking again... and again... the shock of each hit echoing through the firm muscle beneath heated skin, stretched taut by his positioning.
Over, and over, and over, setting an almost hypnotic rhythm that no longer hesitated or paused.
Eventually, Tannusen became dimly aware that his previously-rare moans and gasps were now coming often enough to run together, a near-constant noise beneath the sounds of cane striking flesh.
Those strikes came much faster now, spread out over what had to be scarlet skin. The blazing heat of it seemed to consume his mind whole.
There was no way to keep track of how many strikes he had taken; how many more he could take. If it was the will or whim of the armored man who stood over him, he would take an eternity of blows, until the cane struck the burning hollow of his very soul!
But it seemed that it wouldn't come to that. Eventually, the rain of cane-strikes slowed, and then... paused, both men panting raggedly in the suddenly-still air.
Crack! This hit was harder than any previous, and Tannusen bucked upwards, an incoherent cry spilling from his lips.
Crack! And a second, and Tannu thrashed briefly in place, nearly dislocating his shoulders -- his wrists still bound painfully behind and beneath him.
But there were no more strikes.
Instead, he felt a trembling hand in his hair, guiding his head to turn slightly to one side, his shoulders to slide a little to the edge of the polished stone...
The hot, slippery head of a hard cock nudged at his mouth from above, salty drops of precum smearing against his lips as Tannusen blindly, complacently opened his mouth for the intrusion. He swept his tongue in a slow, heavy lick against the tip of the sex that pushed gently down and in, and then along its length as it filled him.
The heavy cloth of the templar's skirt brushed against the side of his face, the soft caress of a familiar fabric. Templar.
Tannusen sealed his lips tight, and sucked gently, drawing a ragged moan from above and earning a slow stroking of his hair, the almost languid nature of this service a sharp contrast to the fire that was his still-suspended ass. But he didn't mind languid servitude, right now... not at all. His mind was reduced to little more than a pleasant buzz, a drowsy contentment blanketing his thoughts despite not having come yet, and his focus was almost entirely on the man standing over him; the hot flesh in his mouth.
The only distraction worth note was his burning skin. Not even the screaming of his shoulders and cock -- both strained to completely different limits -- could really penetrate his state of mind. And the only penetration that mattered was the hard heat between his lips, sliding slowly back out and then easing back in again.
When it eventually withdrew, still hot and hard, Tannusen tried to lean up after it despite the impossibility of his position. He strained to do so anyway, until a gauntlet on his forehead pushed him back against the stone beneath him.
The armored man stepped away for a moment, his breathing just as loud and labored as Tannusen's own.
Slowly, unexpectedly, the rope holding his lower half in the air gradually slackened, and Tannu arched his spine sharply again to spare his bound hands as his burning skin touched the suddenly ice-cold stone beneath him. The ropes at his knees came undone with quick tugs at unseen knots, and the steel bar holding his legs spread clattered to the ground.
He was hauled to sit upright on his thoroughly-beaten ass, legs pulled over the edge of the... altar? Coffin? and a hand in his hair drew him to him to lean forward, pushing the head of that cock against his lips again.
Dimly aware of the relief of cramped legs and abused shoulders, as well as the pain of his brutally-abused rear, Tannusen cooperated as he was pulled into that hard flesh, letting it slide straight into the back of his throat and down, now that the angle was right. The hand in his hair was a fist, pulling his head up and then down again, fucking his face, driving the languid servitude of moments ago back out of his mind.
The absolute wrongness of the situation, of his very compulsion to serve and to please his captor after such a beating, only made it all the hotter. He couldn't help it; he knew how screwed up he was, and he reveled in it. But only a handful of thrusts later and he was jerked back completely from his prize and released, and he heard his captor step away again. Did the man not intend to come?
"Stand up," the quiet voice had that peculiar echo of a helmet, again. Surely the templar didn't intend to start marching him back toward the Tower right now? A little nervous again suddenly, Tannusen lurched awkwardly up to his feet and wobbled a little in place, cramped legs still recovering from their own ordeal. His ass burned, but the sensation only made his impossibly-hard sex twitch in approval. Completely untouched this entire time, he felt that one moment of friction would be all it would take...
"Turn around," came the order, and Tannusen turned, gasping in a ragged breath as a cool gauntlet cupped one side of his abused ass for a moment. This... this was perfection, right here. Bound and blindfolded and burning, with a templar caressing the damage he himself had wrought. Tannusen's knees shook, and he leaned boldly back against the armored man's breastplate and sharp pauldron.
The shove forward would have sent him falling, if it wasn't for the gauntlet on his shoulder. Quick, hard movements unwrapped the belt from around Tannusen's wrists, yanking them around and up in front of his neck. The Templar's arms were around him, all cold metal and sharp angles and he wanted nothing more than to sink to his knees and -- and his hands were re-tied while Tannusen nearly swooned in place, a rope looped around his neck and then beneath his shoulders to keep the key knots well out of his reach.
Cold gauntlets took his shoulders again, turned him forcefully back around.
The blindfold was yanked off of his eyes, and he blinked in the light. Had it been so bright down here, before he'd lost the ability to see for the last... however long?
An impassive templar helmet stared back at him.
"You are going to run," the templar stated.
Tannusen continued to blink, and wiped at his burning eyes with his fingers. "What?"
"Run," the order was sharp and forceful, and the mage found himself shoved towards the hallway, "hide. Cower, if you wish. When I find you, I am going to take you."
It didn't seem like much incentive to run, when the result of being caught was--
"Apostate," the templar stated, his peculiar accent thick with dangerous intent, "I can cancel this plan and march you directly to the Tower, if you prefer. I'm sure you'll go soft again... eventually."
Okay, that was incentive. Though his legs still weren't perfectly stable and his bound hands hardly helped him run, Tannusen somehow managed to bolt out the door and down the hall, quickly figuring out where in the ruins he had been taken to. His shoulders scraped hard against stone walls as he fled, and he knew he'd have a bruise the size of his fist from a statue's elbow in the morning, but run he did.
Finally, once he'd gained quite a bit of distance between himself and his captor's chosen room, Tannusen dropped to his knees on the floor and took the ropes around his wrists in his teeth, pulling hard.
There was a soft clink at the doorway. Already. His heart clenched.
The mage didn't spare a moment to glance back; he lunged to his feet and ran faster than he thought possible under the circumstances, but still not fast enough. He was brought up short by a pair of gauntlets closing hard over his hips, yanking him back, the other man's hardness rubbing against the cheeks of his red-hot ass, already slick with oil.
"I hope you know how to relax your ass," the templar all but purred from within his helmet, pushing Tannusen up against a nearby wall, "because I'm not taking my gauntlets off to finger you."
"I wouldn't have it any other way," Tannusen gasped, pushing back against that rubbing heat, the soft maroon cloth of the templar's skirt feeling abrasive and rough against the burning skin of his rear. He braced his bound hands against the wall in front of his face and arched his back invitingly. Was he supposed to struggle? He couldn't remember.
The deep chuckle behind him only made him push even more insistently back, grinding his abused ass against the other man's slick sex and rough cloth skirts. "Poor little apostate, hiding out here all this time without anyone to fuck you..."
Tannusen felt his captor reach between them to line himself up with one armored hand, the other gauntlet closing over the front of Tannusen's throat again, making him tilt his head sharply back...
Mercifully, the push inside was slow and steady, giving him just enough time to relax and adjust, gasping and trembling between the templar and the wall. The intrusion was thick, hot, slippery and just right, and Tannu was dimly aware that his own gasping breaths had turned into pleas for more, please, more.
The other man obliged, and soon enough Tannusen was incoherent once more, rocking back to meet each hard thrust forward, feeling himself riding the very edge of his own release, unable to push himself over.
The templar found it first, of course, his sharp gasping breaths echoing inside of his helmet, his gauntlets tightening at Tannusen's hip and throat until the mage's vision flickered. His captor jerked, flooding him deep, deep inside with liquid heat, thrusting hard and fast until Tannusen was reduced to nearly clawing at the wall as the other man went still, his need all but consuming him.
A warm, callused hand wrapped firmly around Tannusen's flesh, and he almost sobbed with relief as the armored man leaned against him, trapping his chest and arms against the rough wall, and stroked.
It didn't take long before Tannusen slumped as well, wrung-out and emptied and sobbing for air.
The hand withdrew with a final, strangely-gentle stroke, and the weight of the armored man against his back retreated, the knots to his bindings coming undone under quick tugs of expert fingers. Tannusen sagged to the floor, joined shortly by the other man. Both sat, leaning against the wall beside the mess they'd made, and Tannu raised exhaustion-heavy hands to pull the helmet off his companion.
Zevran's face was jarring, even though he had known who it was, and Tannusen returned the Antivan's tired smirk.
"I'm surprised you ran so much in that armor," Tannu commented with a soft, exhausted chuckle, even as he winced and reached behind himself to finally -- finally! -- check the damage the cane had wrought. He counted only a handful of welts, and two shallow cuts. It had certainly felt a lot more cruel!
They were definitely going to have to keep that cane on hand.
"I was motivated," Zevran noted between panting breaths, peeling his other gauntlet off and unbuckling more of the troublesome armor. "You are a prize worth chasing, my dear Warden."
"Hm," Tannusen leaned against the other man once he'd stripped off the worst of the heavy steel plate. He reached into the Antivan's maroon sash and withdrew a small bottle of Lyrium, unstopping it and drinking the bright blue contents down. "...I wonder what Alistair will think when he realizes what we did to his armor?"