Alistair watched his fellow Grey Warden, striving, as always, to overcome his innate confusion when around her and figure out what in the Maker's name was going through her pretty little head. And she is pretty, he mused to himself as his eyes idly ran over her form. Gorgeous, even. That blond hair, those blue eyes, and that tight little—
Shaking his head quickly to banish those thoughts, he sighed inwardly. Too bad she has to talk once in a while. Suppressing a chuckle, he added to himself, No wonder Duncan was so frazzled when he finally arrived at Ostagar with her. She certainly is…unique. As his eyes once again lowered of their own volition to what he insisted on referring to as her hindquarters, his thoughts once again began tracing the lovely curves he found there.
The object of his musing stood looking up at the towering structure of Soldier's Peak, mouth agape, blue eyes wide and vacant of thought. Suddenly she turned and addressed Levi Dryden. "Dude, like, that is so totally gnarly! I mean, Highever is still, like, waaaay awesomer, but this is, like, not too bad, ya know?" Returning her gaze to the imposing fort in front of them, she shrugged and said, "Still, let's, like, get moving, ya know? Um, I soooo don't want to just, like, stand around in the snow. I mean, my armor is totally gnarly and keen, but it isn't, like, made for cold weather, ya know? Duh!" And with that declaration, she started towards the fort, hands absently reaching back to the hilts of her dual daggers as if to make sure they were still secure in their sheaths.
As always occurred when someone spoke with – well, listened to – Dailana, Levi's eyes glazed slightly under the onslaught of her singular way of describing things. As Alistair followed after her, he murmured to Levi quietly, "You get used to it…eventually."
Hastening his footsteps to catch up with her, he was peripherally aware of Dog (I mean really, who names a Mabari warhound Dog? he wondered once again) passing him to walk by her side, looking at his mistress with more adoration than sense. Behind him, he could hear the constant low muttering of Sten, still in leather armor instead of his preferred plate armor because of losing yet another duel with the surprisingly lethal Dailana. Thank the Maker she likes my Warden armor. It's astonishing how difficult it is to tell her no. A ghost of a smile crossed his lips as he remembered when Zevran had tried to stand up to his fellow Warden's insistence that he wear no helm because it would "like, cover up that totally amazingly gnarly tattoo!" despite the fact that they had been about to go up against several archer squads.
At least Wynne had been able to get that arrow out of the assassin's ear without too much permanent damage… Although he has been very careful to avoid Dailana's line of sight when she chooses who is to accompany her, for all that they frequently share a tent at the camp. As much as I still don't quite trust him completely, the fact that he hasn't killed her by now is a sign of remarkable self-restraint. Of course, I get to wear a helmet because, he shuddered, "those horns are, like, totally wicked cool, dude. Radical!"
Alistair was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't notice their fearless leader come to a halt in front of him and turn around. He only managed to avert a collision by reaching out to grasp her upper arms in an instinctive response. She blinked at him, then issued an utterly gorgeous smile. "So, like, ready to do the wild thang yet, my luscious little hottie? We could, like, pitch the tent right here—"
Groaning, he snatched his hands away. "N-no!" Taking a deep breath to combat his sudden intense blushing, he added, "S-Sorry, I just didn't expect you to stop so suddenly."
Blowing an errant wisp of hair out of her face, she shrugged. "Whatever, dude. Like, your loss." Reaching into her pouch, she withdrew some bombs. Everyone in the party instinctively took a step back, not wishing to revisit the 'fun' from the Brecillian ruins when her errant bomb throwing had almost managed to decimate them while taking on a Revenant and full complement of werewolves. Alistair's scars still smarted on cold nights. Rolling her eyes at their reaction, she said, "Dudes, just, like, take a chill pill! I'm just, like, getting ready to wail on those totally bogus skeleton losers over there." That said, she turned around and casually started lobbing fire bombs as if they were Mabari crunches.
Looking past her, Alistair saw an advancing contingent of skeleton warriors, now engulfed in flames. Repressing an urge to swear ("because, like, bad language is totally barf me out to max, duh!"), he quickly readied his sword and shield before advancing into the melee, the lithe and infernally attractive Dailana at his side.
I just wish she wouldn't giggle, he thought morosely as his sword connected with the first enemy he encountered. Or call them "gnarly charlies." Pulling his attention sharply back to the enemies before them, he drew about himself the strange battle calm he had cultivated in his years of training at the Chantry. The sword became one with his hand, swinging through the air with the greatest of ease that only came over him during the heat of battle, filling him with a sense of confidence and purpose that eluded him elsewise—
His concentration was suddenly broken by a high-pitched shriek that rang through the air. Oh, shit, he thought. I've heard that before. Bracing himself, he slowly began to back away from his enemies, shield positioned before him, knowing what was coming next.
"You son of a bitch, you made me break a nail!" Implacable hatred in her voice, Dailana raised her weapons in front of her. "You'll pay for that, you- you- lame hoser!" With a guttural growl, she launched herself forward into the midst of the horde.
Alistair sheathed his sword and put his shield across his back before crossing his arms in front of him and leaning back to admire the carnage. Beside him, Levi Dryden watched the unleashed fury with a face that lost more and more color as each enemy was felled with increasing ferocity. Sheathing his own weapon, Sten stood next to Alistair, a thoughtful look on his face.
"I begin to wonder how we could arrange for the Archdemon to break one of her fingernails," the normally stoic Sten declared to his erstwhile companion. "It appears that it would be the most efficient method of ending the Blight." He nodded approvingly towards the incandescent rage of Dailana Cousland. "It is as watching an atashi in battle. Remarkable."
Nodding absently in agreement, Alistair waited until each and every last skeleton warrior was down and unmoving before carefully approaching his fellow Warden to begin the process of calming her down from her berserker rage.
Many dead gnarly charlies and loudly lamented broken fingernails later, they emerged into a room with only two doors, one of which glowed ominously. Cocking her head, Daliana scrutinized the glowing door. "Like, bogus," she said as her finger twirled a lock of her hair. Looking down at her faithful companion, she ordered, "Um, go check it, Dog."
With a low growl, Dog approached the door, hackles raised. Once he had reached the threshold, he sniffed it carefully, then barked at it. When neither of these actions elicited a response, he returned to Daliana's side and whined pathetically.
Well, that was effective, Alistair thought to himself.
"Ugh, gag me with a spoon." Sighing in exasperation, Dailana turned to the other door. "Um, I guess we have to, like, go in there and, like, deal with the trap that's obviously in there. Barf me out, dude."
He glanced sharply at her, unaccountably surprised at this evidence of forethought. Perhaps she isn't as dumb as she— Watching as she stalked to the door and flung it open without a care in the world, he shook his head in resignation. No, I suppose she is as dumb as she seems to be. As she stopped short of the doorway and stretched her arms up and out, as if limbering for battle, however, a hot surge moved through his body, lingering in a very embarrassing location. Grateful for his full body armor, he moved forward to take his place ahead of her, shield at the ready. Brushing past her, he felt the heat emanating from her body, making his armor even more uncomfortable. Why does she have to be so bloody beautiful on the outside and so… not otherwise? And why do I have to notice so often?
Pushing those less-than-flattering thoughts aside, he entered the room first, alert for an ambush. He came up short when he saw a solitary figure standing behind a desk at the far end of the room. With her usual perspicacity, Daliana moved past him, looked at the woman, and said in strident tones, "Bee tee em, like, seriously, you need to totally rethink your moisturizer. I mean, your skin is so grody to the max, like, gag me with a spoon bad, ya know?" Tilting her head while the expression of the woman – who was obviously possessed and had been dead for some time – darkened in anger, she added, "And, like, the hair? I wouldn't be caught dead with something like that. Um, I hate to break it to you, but it really ain't working, chica – but then, like, with a face and body like yours, there isn't, like, much that would, is there?"
It went downhill rather rapidly after that.
When their enemies lay dead at their feet, Levi Dryden said with a hint of reproach, "I think that was my great-great-grandmother."
Tossing her hair and rolling her eyes, Dailana said, "Like, she was totally bogus. She's probably grateful to be, like, put out of her misery. I mean, did you see her split-ends?" The Warden shuddered. "Barf me out, I mean, gross!" Ignoring the resigned glance exchanged between Alistair and Levi Dryden, she went over and looked at the supine corpse that had been the last Warden Commander of Fereldan before Duncan, then turned to look at Sten brightly. "But this armor is totally bitchin' sweet! Time to get nekkid, boys!"
They all stared at her as a feeling of consternation stole over Alistair. "Wha—" he began.
Rolling her eyes, she advanced on Sten and blithely unhooked the straps that held the lower half of his leather armor in place. As it crashed to the ground, leaving him in his smalls, she turned and advanced on Alistair. "That armor she's stylin' would look, like, totally righteous on your sculpted ass, Prince Hottie. So, like, you need to put on her armor, and then Sten can put on your armor, and then, like, we could all be bodaciously radically awesome and match!" Smiling as if she had solved all the problems in Thedas, she reached out for his waist.
Quickly intercepting her hands by grabbing her wrists, he blurted, "Um, thanks, I, uh, I can take care of that myself." Ears flaming bright red, he asked, "Could you please, um, leave the room while I, uh, while we-?" He trailed off, knowing that his face must be as red as the bonfire in their camp.
Pouting, she scrutinized him from head to toe in such a way as to make him really grateful for his full coverage armor, then started twirling a lock of hair around one finger and shrugged nonchalantly. As she walked past him towards the door, she reached out and slapped him soundly on the ass. "Whatever! Bee tee em, just, like, hurry up, ya know?"
Casting his gaze towards the ceiling, he sent up a silent prayer. Maker, please, just… just let me get through this. Get through what, he had no idea…
After yet more dead gnarly charlies, but, thankfully, no more broken fingernails, they reached a room that contained shelves full of books and cages full of, well…
"Oh, totally gross! Those are, like, human bodies!" Upper lip curled in disgust, Dailana went over to minutely examine the dry, dusty skeletons inside the metal enclosures that lined the wall to the left. "Barf me out!" Shuddering, she turned away from them, ignoring the books that littered the floor and nearby table completely.
Alistair glanced at their fearless leader, noticing the gore liberally spattered across her body and armor. She's covered in the blood and guts of demons and worse, and she's grossed out by actual dead skeletons? Skeletons that likely won't get up and attack us? Shaking his head, he sighed. I will never understand this woman.
Yet something on the table did catch Dailana's attention. "Sweet, look! Wine! Man, I am parched after, like, delivering righteous justice to all those dead losers!" Horrified, Alistair watched her raise an obviously sinister beaker of liquid from the table and bring it to her lips. Before he had more time than to inhale to shout out a warning, however, she had recoiled from the red liquid and dropped the beaker to the floor, where it shattered and splashed viscous red ooze all over the floor. "Oh, ugh, grody! That smelled, like, so totally gross!" Gagging slightly, she turned and coughed for a few seconds before inhaling deeply and shaking her head.
Wiping her mouth with the back of her blood-encrusted hand, she shuddered dramatically. "Bee tee em, that was, like, so foul! Who would, like, leave, something like that just sitting around? Bogus!" Spitting onto the floor in a surprisingly ladylike fashion, she muttered, "Ugh, if I ever, like, find the dork who left that heinous concoction out - *BAM!*" She emphasized her meaning by slamming her hand flat on the table in front of her. Dog whined a complaint at the sharp noise, and she hurriedly knelt down to pet his head. "Don't worry, my little Doggy. You are my pwecious, pwecious baby, yes you are!"
Sten sighed, as he did every time he heard Dailana address the Mabari warrior as one would an unweaned puppy. "Should we not continue?" he growled.
Standing so quickly that everyone but Sten shifted back in surprise, she demanded, "Um, do I, like, need to whip your ass into line again, Sten of the Beresaad?" A surprisingly intent look suddenly took hold of her face, and her eyes… Suddenly there was nothing empty or vapid about her eyes.
The question hung there for a moment before Sten bowed his head. "No, kadan. Forgive my impertinence. It shall be as you command."
Alistair stared, fascinated. I've never seen her so… serious? No, in command. He shivered slightly. It's… kind of hot, actually.
In one her signature mercurial change of moods, Dailana grinned from ear to ear, a vapid expression once more claiming her exquisite features. "Sweet! Um, and don't you, like, forget how totally gnarly my blades are!" Pivoting to meet Alistair's eyes, she said, "Time's a-wastin', my delectable hottie! Let's, like, head out!"
Ignoring the amused looks of his companions, Alistair resolutely followed after his fellow Grey Warden, certain that nothing more terrifying that her could lie beyond the door she opened and charged through.
And he was right.
In the large room at the top of the tallest tower of Soldier's Peak, an old man stood hunched over a large table strewn with the artifacts of a mage. The air smelled of dust and decay, of magic and death. Warily, Alistair loosened his blade in his sheath and followed Dailana through the room.
A weedy voice carried through the room. "I hear you. Don't disrupt my concentra—"
Dailana cut him off. "Pfft! Whatever, you old geezer. What are you, like, doing all the way up here in, like, Podunk, Thedas? I mean, it can't possibly be for, like, this bodacious weather or nothing, like, can it?"
The mage turned around to look at his surprise visitors. With a start, Alistair recognized him as the Grey Warden Avernus from the visions they had experienced during their time in Warden's Peak. "You—You're that mage from Sophia Dryden's time!"
"I am indeed, young Grey Warden." Regarding Dailana with a piercing gaze, he continued, "Even now the demons seek to replenish their numbers. Are you to thank for this welcome but—"
"Whatever!" Dailana scoffed. Putting her hands on her hips and straightening one leg, and making Alistair's mouth go completely dry by doing so, she continued, "I don't need, like, a total lecture on the history of all the totally grody stuff that we had to fight to get up here. I just want to, like, get rid of all of it so that I can, like, store my stuff here, ya know? I mean, I need somewhere to keep, like, all my dresses and stuff that I don't want to get wrinkled and gross and whatever."
Avernus seemed taken aback by Dailana's instant dismissal of his words. "You mean you don't wish to know more about who I am or what happened here?"
Rolling her eyes, she said, "You really are, like, an old fart, aren't you? Bee tee em, it must be so, like, totally bogus getting old and decrepit." As the familiar glazed look started stealing over Avernus' face, she added, "So can you get rid of the totally skanky bogus demons down by that Shroud—"
"Veil," Alistair corrected hastily.
"Veil, Shroud, whatever!" she grumped. Turning back to Avernus, she said, "Um, so, like, can you get rid of those things? Cuz their blood is, like, totally saturating my gnarly armor, and it's getting, like, so grody to the max!"
Bemused, the old mage replied, "Yes, well, I suppose I can assist you in this matter."
Dailana grinned. "Sweet! Come on!" Pivoting quickly, she swept out of the room, leaving them all in her wake.
Recognizing the stunned look on the old man's face, Levi Dryden leaned towards him. "You get used to it… eventually."
Avernus glanced at the man in astonishment. "Truly?"
Dryden shrugged. "That's what he keeps saying," he said, indicating Alistair with a gesture.
Turning to Alistair, Avernus repeated, "Truly?"
Sighing, Alistair said, "Let's just go after her, shall we?"
The fight against the gnarly charlies and (Alistair winced as he kept hearing her use it as a battle cry) the "rank skanks" wasn't going well. Avernus, obviously working to his utmost if the sweat that covered his bald head was any indication, held aloft his staff and muttered extensive incantations, but the demons just kept pouring out of the hole in the Veil. He'd killed so many that he was starting to get a stitch in his side and a notch in his blade. I don't know how much more of this we can take, he thought as he desperately parried and blocked his way through the denizens of the Fade. Who knew there would be so many!
And then, like a miracle from the Maker, it happened.
"You bitch of a rank skank, you made me break a nail!"
After that, it was a simple enough task: he just followed the whirlwind of wrath that was Dailana around the room, stabbing the few opponents she didn't quite finish off. In the end, she stood in the middle of the huge room, surrounded by piles of dead demons, breasts rising and falling rapidly as she panted heavily, covered in blood and gore, face triumphant. Suddenly she raised her twin daggers to the ceiling and crowed, "Yeah, bitches! Who's the woman? I'm the woman!" Strutting around the room, she began chanting, "Dumb but deadly! Dumb but deadly!"
Alistair couldn't help but stare. Hot.
Behind him, he heard the incantation issuing from Avernus' lips come to an end. Glancing over at the Veil, he saw the blackness whirl furiously for a second, then slow down and finally stop. Wearily the old mage closed his eyes and whispered, "It is finished."
Collapsing on the floor, Alistair gasped for breath. "Thank the Maker that's over."
Sten merely sheathed his sword, though it was obvious that he, too, was fighting to recover his breath. "That went better than expected."
"Pfft!" Dailana said, waving off the comment. "I am totally, like, the master of disaster!" She paused. "Um, or would that be the mistress of distress? Or, like, the Cousland of retribution! Or, um, the—"
"If you are quite finished?" Avernus interrupted in an irritated tone of voice.
"Huh? Oh, right, sorry, old geezer." Casually turning to him as if they were not surrounded by a scene of carnage worse than anything they had encountered outside of Ostagar, she said, "What's up, gnarly charlie?"
Alistair looked at her sharply. She's never called anyone but an enemy that. A sudden premonition of something bad swept over him, and he tried to force his tired body upright.
Meanwhile, Dailana had walked over to stand next to Avernus. "Before you start in with, like, your tiresome old windbag whatever stories, though, I have, um, like, a totally rockin' question for you."
"What?" the old man snapped. Alistair groaned and tried to force his suddenly jellied knees to stiffen sufficiently to help him stand up.
Twirling a lock of her hair around a finger, eyes wide with innocence and empty of intelligence, she said in a girlish voice, "Did you make that, like, totally radical wine that was on that gnarly table outside where we found you?"
Drawing himself up with pride, Avernus nodded his head. "Yes. That tincture has the potential to free all Gre—"
He stopped as Dailana punched one of her daggers through his chest. Looking at her in horror, he stared into her suddenly intense blue eyes as she swung her other blade behind her shoulder.
"Bam!" she whispered. Her shoulder flexed, and the blade danced in a vicious arc.
The mage's head landed hard on the stone floor and rolled to the side. Shrugging the headless body off of her first weapon, she leaned down and quickly and efficiently wiped off her daggers on his robe before sheathing them.
Looking up to meet Alistair's stunned gaze, she shrugged, once again the dumb but deadly Dailana. "What? That stuff, like, totally reeked." Whistling to Dog, she said, "I'm, like, going back to camp. I, like, totally need a bath. See ya, Prince of Hotness!"
Alistair watched her go. What… what just… happened?
Levi shot him a wry glance. "So… used to it yet?"
Shaking his head in confusion, Alistair muttered, "Maker, no."