Chapter 1: The First Desicion
She had never spoken to anyone. She grew up in the woods, alone. Now she was in a dark room, being questioned by an angry woman.
"Who are you?" the woman demanded. She shrugged. Again. "You don't know who you are?" the woman glared at her. This time, instead of shrugging, she used her hands to spell out Tharanil. "Tharanil?" Tharanil was taken aback. Most people did not know her sign language. She nodded. "And you have no idea why you have that green mark on your hand?" Tharanil shook her head.
"Cassandra!" another woman burst into the room. "It's getting worse. We have to do something!" Cassandra sighed, and unlocked the chains around her hands, tying them with rope. Tharanil stood up, and Cassandra lead her out of the dark room. As she stepped into the brightness, Tharanil noticed that in the sky, a green vortex had appeared, and chaos had strewn the landscape.
"Come on, we have to get to the breach!" Cassandra led her through a small town, and out. They followed a road that led to the breach. They came across a small breach, flooding the area with demons. Soldiers lay dead or dying everywhere. Tharanil franticly searched for a weapon while Cassandra hacked and sliced through the demon army. Tharanil noticed a bow and a quiver lying on a supply crate. She grabbed it. She had experience with a bow, so she nocked an arrow, and loosed it. Arrows sprouted out of demons, and Tharanil didn't know if all of them where hers.
Cassandra killed the last demon. Tharanil felt someone grab her hand and thrust it into the mini breach. Her eyes widened in surprise, her mouth open in an 'O'. The mini breach convulsed, shrinking into nothingness. The other hand fell away, and Tharanil stared at hers.
"Solas! What are you doing?" Tharanil turned to face an elf, leaning on his staff. The elf shrugged.
"I thought that the mark would close the rift. I was right." Tharanil could detect smugness in Solas's voice.
"Isn't anyone going to thank me?" Tharanil turned again, but saw no one. A sigh, then the voice spoke again. "Down here." Tharanil looked down. A dwarf stood there, holding a crossbow.
"Varric! You're not supposed to be here!" Cassandra yelled.
"So, you're not going to thank me? And here I was thinking you liked me." Tharanil could see the dwarf Varric's easy going, joking nature, and from what she knew about Cassandra, could tell that they did not get along.
"Varric.. Aaargh!" Cassandra turned away from the newcomers, shaking her head. "Fine. Your help will be... welcome."
Varric clapped Solas on the back and said, "All right! Let's take these demons out!"
Solas readied his staff, Varric his crossbow, and Cassandra her sword. There was some debate about if Tharanil should get a weapon, but eventually they decided to let her have her bow. Fighting through waves of demons, they came across a second rift. Solas told her how to close it, and they continued on.
They approached the breach, and more demons poured out of it. They reached a bridge, where fortifications had been made against the demons. "Cassandra! Thank the Maker!" The other woman from the dark room. She had clearly been arguing with a man in a white robe.
"What is it, Leliana?" Cassandra looked around. Several solders where there, along with some people in white robes, with the symbol of a sun adorning there hats and robes.
"We have too options. We can ford the mountains to get to the breach, or organize a full on assault on the breach." The man Leliana had been arguing with stood up, and they continued bickering.
"Let Tharanil decide."
Chapter 2: The Mountain Pass
I can't stress this enough, there might be spoilers!! Dragon age GAMES, so Origins, (One) Two, and DEFINITELY Inquisition, (Three). YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!
Tharanil glanced back and forth between Cassandra, Leliana, and the man she learned was Chancellor Roderick. After some deep thought, she signed "Mountains." with her hands. Cassandra breathed a sigh of relief, and the team, (Cassandra, Solas, Varric, and Tharanil) made there way up the mountain pass. They entered a building, and more demons lay within.
"We're almost to the Temple of Sacred Ashes!" Cassandra called as she hacked through the last demon. They made it to the exit of the mountain pass, and found a group of scouts, lying dead on the snow.
"Well, we found the patrol that never returned," Varric muttered. Cassandra bowed her head before continuing on. The party reached the site of the explosion. Strange red lyrium was growing everywhere, and burnt bodies littered the ground. The breach lay in the center, convulsing. Suddenly, there were no longer at the site. Or they were, but Divine Justinia was there, and so was Tharanil.
"Send help!" The Divine called.
"What's happening?" Tharanil signed. Divine Justinia may or may not have been able sign in Tharanil's language, but she continued asking for help.
"Get help! Warn them!" Tharanil nodded, and then the breach exploded, and they were jarred back to reality.
"That was Divine Justinia!!" Cassandra exclaimed. The other solders backing the small party murmured among themselves. Cassandra turned to Tharanil. "You were there when the Divine was.."
"I don't remember anything." Tharanil signed. Cassandra nodded, and conveyed her message to the others. Tharanil moved closer to the breach, her marked hand outstretched. The breach convulsed. Demons sprang from the breach, and the solders fought back. Tharanil kept back, and shot into the fray.
Cassandra was in the thick of it. Tharanil was in between Solas and Varric, using their ranged arsenal to attack the horde of demons. After what seemed like an eternity, the last of the demons fell, and Tharanil tried to close the breach. That was the last thing she remembered.
"Tharanil!" A vioce was calling her. Tharanil felt like she was trying to swim upwards, but kept being pushed down. "Tharanil!" The voice was clearer. Tharanil blearily opened her eyes.
"What?" She signed, closing her eyes again and rolling onto her side.
"She's awake!" Tharanil sat bolt upright. Someone was leaning over her.
"Good." Cassandra entered the small house. "We've stopped the breach, but it won't last forever. Come." Tharanil followed Cassandra into a Chantry. "We've found others willing to help with the cause. A panel of advisors, if you will." Tharanil passed Varric and Solas, a woman talking about requisitions, and a man barking about elfroot.
"Cassandra!" Leliana called from inside the Chantry. She was standing nest to a fair-haired man with a sword, and a dark-haired woman in a dress.
"Tharanil, you all ready know Leliana," Cassandra gestured at Leliana. "This is Cullen." Cullen bowed. "And this is Josephine." The woman gave a small curtsy. "They will advise you and help you with problems we might face in trying to get an army, and gain influence." Cassandra led Tharanil to the back of the Chantry, to a small room with a large map of Thedas on it. "And this... is the war table."
Chapter 3: The War Table
Tharanil looked at the war table. The huge map of Thedas sprawled across it, with a couple markers on it. "Here, you will make any decisions that will need to made. We must help others to build our army to take down the breach."
"We will help you deal with problems. We are your advisors." Josephine stepped to the other side of the war table, across from Tharanil. Cullen and Leliana stood next to Josephine. "We actually already have a situation."
Cullen took it from there. "We have an area to scout, and a Chantry Mother to protect." He pointed to an area on the map. "This is the Hinterlands." Leliana put a report in front of Tharanil. "I think sending in Leliana's spies will be the best course of action. We do not have enough connections, and our army is not nearly big enough." Tharanil nodded. Cassandra motioned for Leliana to send in spies. Leliana left.
"All right. As out reach grows, we will run into other problems, but for now we should be good." Cassandra and Tharanil left the war room. "You need to meet the people at the head, in charge. Will you talk to the potions master, blacksmith, our researcher, and quartermaster?" Tharanil cocked her head before nodding. "Well, 'talk'.." Cassandra stood, a slightly sheepish expression on her face, before she regained her composure and left Tharanil to her mission.
"I need iron! Why can't anyone get me iron?" A very angry woman was yelling at some men. "Oh. Hello. Wait. Are you the Herald?" Tharanil nodded. "Wow. I'm Threnn, the quartermaster. Or, I would be, if we could actually fill a requisition!"
"You need iron?" Tharanil signed. Threnn looked confused.
"What? I need some iron, and a logging stand. If you can find someone to get me the supplies I need..." Threnn trailed off to yell at a young boy for not finding iron. Tharanil left to talk to the potions master.
"And I need elfroot." Tharanil entered the apothecary.
"Elfroot? I can get you elfroot." Tharanil signed. Adan looked mildly puzzled.
"If you can get me elfroot, I'd really appreciate it." Adan showed her a bit about potion making, and mentioned some notes he wanted to look off of. Tharanil made note of that, and went to find the blacksmith.
"This is quality armor, this is." Tharanil heard the sound of hammers, and the smell of hot metal and burning. "Oh! Hello. I'm Harrit, the blacksmith. You wanna try making some armor, or weapons?" Harrit taught Tharanil a bit about his craft, and Tharanil made herself a new bow, and a better set of armor. She still had to talk to the researcher. She went back to the chantry.
"Oh. I'm Minaeve. If you find anything, bring it to me. I'll look at it, and maybe find some weakness about the creature you'd have never found otherwise." Tharanil now had several quests to complete. She was about to leave the Chantry when Leliana ran up to her.
"My scouts are done!"
Chapter 4: The Hinterlands
As you probably know by now... Tharanil is mute. So, I'm going to use quotation marks for her signing. I did the 'she signed' speaker tag before, but I'm using other ones now. Just know that she's not actually talking.
"My scouts found Mother Giselle." Leliana led Tharanil to the War Room. Cullen and Josephine were already there. "She refuses to leave the sick unattended. We don't know how to get her out."
"I'll go. Where are Solas, Cassandra, and Varric?" Tharanil signed. She started to leave the room. Leliana, Josephine, and Cullen exchanged looks.
"Ok... I guess we could set up a camp..." Tharanil turned back around, nodding. Leliana sighed. Tharanil moved to the edge of the town. Varric, Cassandra, and Solas arrived not long after. A small envoy of soldiers joined them, with materials to set up camp. The party trekked through the snow covered mountains. They arrived in the Hinterlands and set up some tents for resting. Tharanil fell asleep soon after, not getting to see the rest of the set up through.
"Hey! Herald-ness!" Tharanil struggled to consciousness. Varric had poked his head through the tent flap. "It's time to move out!" Varric had his usual sly grin on, and from what Tharanil could see, had Bianca drawn. She had questioned him about the unique crossbow, but had never received a straight answer.
"Ok. I'm getting up." Tharanil stood, stretching. Varric's head disappeared. Tharanil changed into her armor, (which she had managed to take off before falling asleep) and did quick brush through her waist-length bright red hair. As she stepped out into the bright sunlight, she could hear Cassandra arguing with Varric about something. Tharanil looked around the camp. Solas was sitting, his back resting on a tree trunk. Cassandra was chastising Varric for waking Tharanil up.
"It's ok!" Tharanil stepped in between them. "Is everyone ready?" She assessed the camp. There was a fire, and to tables. One covered in alchemical ingredients. One had some papers on it. A worker came up to her.
"Herald! You might want to take a look at this." Tharanil examined the paper. It was a requisition for iron and drakestone.
"I'm on it!" Tharanil put the paper at the requisitions table. She looked back at her crew. They had donned their armor as well. Solas was leaning on his staff, Varric was petting his crossbow, and Cassandra's face was stony. Tharanil nodded at them. She added the requisition to her mental list of all her quests. She was also supposed to explore the Hinterlands, and claim things to use in the fight against the demons, and the breach. She had met with Leliana before going out, and she gave her a partial map, and marked some specific places.
A copy of the map was on the requisition table, and Tharanil glanced at it. There was a couple noteworthy locations. Leliana had pointed out six good spots for camps. Thay had already made one, so Tharanil looked at the other five. When she had examined the map, she turned to face her team. "Are you ready?" she signed.
"Let's do this!" Varric smirked. Cassandra nodded, and Solas dipped his head. Tharanil set out to the Hinterlands.
Chapter 5: Exploring the Hinterlands
If you want to answer any of the previous chapters questions, just comment!! I also might make my own side quests, what do you think? Oh, and if you've played Inquisition, you might realize the timeline portrayed here does not exactly follow the one of the game. I know that. It's just a but different. Thanks to you all for taking the time to read my story! I know there are lots of great DA fanfics out there!
Tharanil led the party away from the camp. Technically their first order of business was to get to Mother Giselle. She was at the Crossroads, Lead Scout Harding had said. Cassandra, Solas, Varric, and Tharanil headed out towards the Crossroads.
"Sorry to interrupt, Herald, but the advisors and I were working on something, and it will likely be ready be the time we return." Cassandra said. Tharanil nodded to show she heard. Actions spoke more than words ever could, as Tharanil well knew. Besides, it took a long time to sign anything.
"So, the Crossroads. Refugees caught between a pointless mage templar war." Varric shook his head. They entered a valley, close to the Crossroads. Templars and mages were fighting everywhere. Forces protecting the refugees were overwhelmed. Tharanil waved her team forward. She readied her bow. Cassandra used her templar expertise against the mages, Solas, his magic against the templars. Varric and Tharanil shot arrows wherever they could.
"They're fleeing!" The templars and mages numbers had dwindled, and they realized they were no longer in a position of power. Tharanil let out a breath she didn't realize she'd been holding. They journeyed closer to the Crossroads.
The forces were clearly overwhelmed, caught in the crossfire of the mage templar war. Tharanil nodded to her party, and they entered the fray, making it easier for the forces to get rid of the last of the templars and mages. They were thanked.
"Were's Mother Giselle?" Cassandra asked. They were pointed in the direction of what looked like a makeshift infirmary. As they got closer, they could here Mother Giselle reassuring an injured soldier.
"Lie down." Mother Giselle stood to greet them. "Welcome to the Crossroads. I am Mother Giselle." Tharanil nodded. "I know some people in the Chantry who might be willing to listen to your cause, and hopefully put out some good word for you." Tharanil nodded again.
"You are with the Chantry, though. Why do you want to help us?" She signed.
"Usually we would follow Divine Justinia's lead, but now that she is dead, I follow my heart, and my faith. I will meet you in Haven. I hear Cassandra has something important to discuss with you." Mother Giselle left with an envoy of soldiers.
"I know we must get back to Haven, but when we do come back, we must speak with Horse Master Dennet. If we are to raise an army, we will need a good calvary." Cassandra said.
"Yes. But now, we shall go back to Haven." So after resting for a bit, Cassandra, Solas, Varric, and Tharanil left the Hinterlands and traveled back to Haven to hear the big news, and sort out the Chantry rumors.
Chapter 6: The Chantry Rumors
Tharanil, Varric, Solas, and Cassandra got back to Haven, arriving shortly after Mother Giselle, who had taken up residence in the Chantry. Cassandra led Tharanil to the War Room where, on top of the map, lay a book with an eye and a sword on the cover.
"What is this?" Tharanil signed.
"This book gives us the authority to act, without Chantry support. We are going to reform the Inquisition of old. The Chantry, of course, doesn't support us. They continue to spread rumors. They call us heretics for calling you the Herald of Andraste. We intend to meet them in Val Royeaux. Clear up the rumors." Cassandra lifted the book of the table and set it on a nearby bookshelf.
"We are planning to use the names Mother Giselle gave us to destroy the only weapon the Chantry has. Unity, against us." Leliana was holding a paper. "We're ready, if you are, Herald."
Tharanil nodded. Cassandra called Varric and Solas over, and they left Haven. Val Royeaux was easily the fanciest place Tharanil had ever been. Everything seemed to be adorned in jewels and enameled with gold. The people were fancy too, but they seemed nervous, and it broke the illusion of superiority. There was a Chantry sister, proclaiming the Inquisition a bunch of heretics. Tharanil frowned.
"We are not heretics! We never claimed to have the Maker's blessing!" Tharanil signed furiously. Her rant was lost on the people and sisters, however. They just looked confused.
"We have called the templars here! They will deal with these heretics!" The sister stepped back. Sure enough, the templars came into view. "Thank y-" One of the templars punched the sister in the gut.
"We have come to protect Val Royeaux from the Inquisition." A templar leered.
"Lord Seeker Lucius?" Cassandra asked. The Lord Seeker did not respond. He sneered at the people of Val Royeaux, and the Inquisition. "We need help to close the Breach, and if the templars will help-"
"Hmph." The Lord Seeker did not want to help the Inquisition, that much was clear. "Come, templars!" He yelled. "Val Royeaux is not worthy of our protection!" The templars marched out of Val Royeaux. Tharanil could her people gasping, and scared whispers.
"Well that went well."
Chapter 7: Sera
Cassandra shook her head. "We need to go back to Haven. I don't understand the Lord Seeker's actions!" The party agreed, so they started to leave. Tharanil heard a whooshing sound fly past her.
"An arrow with a message?" Solas inquired. Tharanil picked the arrow out of the ground and unraveled the note. Tharanil read the note.
"It looks like we're on a scavenger hunt." The note said to search the docks, the upper market, and the cafe. The docks were the closest, so Tharanil oriented herself and looked for the docks.
"Herald, I think that messenger is trying to get our attention." Cassandra pointed at a messenger. Tharanil walked up to him.
"You're the Herald?" Tharanil nodded. "Great. This is for you." He gave her an invitation to a salon of Madame Vivienne. There was enough time to search around for the notes. In each place they searched, there was a red handkerchief with a strange message on it. After a bit of decoding, Tharanil found what the messages where for.
"We have a secret meeting place. I don't know who we're going to meet." Cassandra looked skeptical.
"It could be a trap." Tharanil nodded. The place was not to far from the markets of Val Royeaux, and was about a twenty-five minute hike. It looked abandoned, a dock of some sort. There were a few guards that attacked them, but the party dealt with them. Tharanil looked around. There was a door on the other side of wherever they were. Tharanil pushed it open to be greeted with a fireball that she barely dodged.
"How much did you expend to discover me? It must have weakened you immeasurably!" A person dressed in Orlesian finery stood before them. Tharanil gave a confused look at her squad mates. Cassandra shrugged, and Solas and Varric looked equally confused.
"Just say 'what'!" Someone had come out of the shadows. An elf, with short blonde hair and drawn a bow.
"What is the-" He never finished his sentence. An arrow flew straight into his throat, killing him.
"Blah blah blah, obey me, arrow in my face." The girl walked over to the man, yanking the arrow out. "Eww!" She turned, putting the arrow back in her quiver. "You glow, right?" Tharanil stood there, confused, before hesitantly nodding. "Great. Get your weapons out, reinforcements. Someone tipped me their equipment shed. They've got no breeches!" The girl cackled as a wave of pant less guards swarmed them. When the fight was done, she turned to face Tharanil.
"So, Herald. You're a weird one. I'd like to join." Tharanil was taken aback by the sudden turn around, but they couldn't have enough volunteers right now. "Great! See you at Haven, Herald. This will be grand!"
Chapter 8: Lady Vivienne
Sera ran off, towards Haven. Now, all that was left was to see to Madame Vivienne's invitation. Then they could go back to Haven. The salon wasn't far from the docks, and they arrived in a timely manner. People whispered as they opened the doors.
"Herald! We've heard oh so much about you!" Tharanil turned. A finely dressed woman standing next to a man dressed in equal finery was addressing her. Tharanil waved. "I can't begin to believe half of it is true!"
Tharanil shrugged, and Cassandra stepped in. "People do get caught up in a good story." The lady laughed.
"It is a good story, at that!" The man smiled.
"The Inquisition. Pah!" A marquis strolled down the stairs. "You are nothing." Tharanil crossed her arms. The marquis reached for his back to draw his sword. His arm never made it. He froze, an icy aura swirled around him.
"Now, now!" A woman who could only be Lady Vivienne practically glided down the stairs. "We can't have that sort of behavior! Especially when talking to my guests of honor!" Lady Vivienne walked past the marquis to address Tharanil. "You are the wounded party in this unfortunate affair. What would you have me do with this poor marquis."
"Whatever you wish, Lady Vivienne. He is your guest." Tharanil signed. Cassandra relayed the message to Lady Vivienne, and a ghost of a shocked expression sparked in her eyes. Vivienne took it all in stride, chastising the marquis and letting him go. She beckoned Tharanil to follow her.
"I am here to offer my services as the First Enchanter, and the leader of the last loyal mages." Vivienne said.
"Your offering your services to the Inquisition?" Tharanil asked by way of Cassandra. Vivienne nodded.
"Yes, my dear. If you'll accept it." Tharanil nodded. "Then I suppose I shall see you at Haven." Vivienne left. Tharanil soon left the salon, and the party traveled back to Haven.
"We have much to discuss, and when you're ready we shall meet you at the War Room." Cassandra said, as they arrived. Tharanil nodded. She would be there soon. After a much needed nap.
Chapter 9: Warriors Join the Party
"Fiona offered to talk to the Inquisition?" Tharanil entered the War Room.
"Yes. To me, while the Herald was otherwise occupied finding a red handkerchief." Josephine looked confused. "It's a long story. Ah, Herald!" Cassandra turned.
"Word has spread of what happened in Val Royeaux. People are panicking because the templars are no longer protecting the Chantry. And now that Fiona has offered to speak to you, it would appear that talking to the mages about helping the Inquisition close the Breach is not a bad idea." Josephine wrote on her clipboard.
"I don't think the templars are entirely ruled out. They could use their abilities to weaken the Breach." Cullen interjected.
"Pure speculation." Leliana returned. "The mages can use their magic to power the Mark."
"I'll talk to the mages in Redcliffe, then." Tharanil decided. Josephine nodded.
"Then leave when you are ready." Tharanil nodded. She had spoke to the blacksmith, and using some of the equipment she'd found, Tharanil had crafted better armor and weapons for Solas, Varric, Sera, Cassandra, Vivienne, and herself.
"One thing before you go." Leliana called. The others had returned to their posts already. "The others have decided this isn't a big deal, but the timing is peculiar. The Wardens have gone missing." Tharanil's eyebrow's shot up. "I normally wouldn't suspect them, but at this time, with everything going on..." She sighed. "There is a lone Warden in the Hinterlands. Warden Blackwall. If you could speak with him.." Tharanil nodded.
"Hello." Not two seconds after Tharanil stepped out of the Chantry, someone called her. She turned. "Sorry, I'm here to make a deal, but I'm having a hard time getting anyone to talk to me." Tharanil nodded to show that she understood. "I'm Krem, from a mercenary company known as Bull's Chargers. We're down at the Storm Coast, and if you want to see us in action, come down. We'll join the Inquisition."
Tharanil thought about it. The more people the better. She nodded. Krem left. So, Hinterlands, Redcliffe, Blackwall. Storm Coast, Wardens, Iron Bull. And a report of Inquisition solders missing in the Fallow Mire. Tharanil's plate was filling up, fast.
She called Sera, Vivienne, and Cassandra to go to the Storm Coast. They would meet Bull's Chargers there.
Chapter 10: The Iron Bull
Can you tell that I've been playing a lot of Dragon Age lately? Maybe you know because this is my THIRD CHAPTER TODAY.
"Hey. I'm Lead Scout Harding." Tharanil nodded. "We haven't been able to learn much, as some of our solders have gone missing. I hope you can help find them. Here's where we were supposed to rendezvous." Tharanil looked at the map. It was a small house, on one of the small mountains. Or large hills, depending on how you look at it.
With that information in mind, and a new requisition, Tharanil set of to the shore to meet Bull's Chargers. She could hear them before she saw them. "I hear fighting!" Cassandra called. Tharanil nodded, drawing her bow. The rest of the party drew their weapons.
They were good at what they did. Bull's Chargers were fighting what looked like bandits, maybe. Tharanil nocked an arrow. She didn't know if they wanted help, but she was going to give it. When the enemies had been defeated, a huge Qunari turned to face them. "How'd we do, Krem?" He yelled over his solider.
"Five or six wounded, chief. No dead." The Qunari smiled.
"That's what I like to hear! Open the casks, Krem!" Krem nodded. "Now. You're the Herald, right?" Tharanil nodded. "I'm Iron Bull, and I've got a deal for you. You get the Chargers. We're expensive, but the Inquisition can afford us. And you get me. You need a front line bodyguard? I'm your guy. So, wadda ya say?" Tharanil looked at Cassandra, Sera, and Vivienne before nodding.
"We can always use more people." Tharanil signed. Iron Bull looked confused by Tharanil's signing, but smiled.
"Pack it up, boys! The Chargers just got hired!" Iron Bull yelled to his crew.
"What about the casks, chief?" Krem hollered. "We just opened them up! With axes!"
"Find some way to seal them, then. You're Tevinter, right? Try blood magic." He turned back to Tharanil. "One more thing. Might make you mad. I'm a Ben-Hassarath. Ver heard of them?" Tharanil shook her head. "Well, their a Qunari group. They're interested in the Breach. I'll be sending reports back to them, and you get whatever information they send to me. Sound fair?" Tharanil took in the information before nodding. "Then I'll see you at Haven." Iron Bull left.
Okay. Rescue some solders, go to the Hinterlands and find Blackwall, talk to the mages. Tharanil set off for the rendezvous. What she found their were more bandits. They seemed to be wearing a type of uniform. After she had dealt with them, she searched the cabins.
Chapter 11: The Blades of Hessarian
"Our men were killed by a group called the Blades of Hessarian. It looks like there's a way to challenge their leader." Tharanil signed, looking at a letter left on the ground. She would need some metals, but the metals were common on the Storm Coast. As she suspected, she soon found the materials required, and brought them back to the Inquisition camp.
The people quickly assembled an amulet. Tharanil checked her map, seeing where the Hessarian camp was. After a bit of hiking and a skirmish with a bear the arrived at the camp. The guards at the gate stepped aside as Tharanil passed through. There was whispering about the party, speaking of previous tries to kill this leader. The leader was at the other edge of the small camp. He smirked, calling two mabari to his side.
"I see I have a challenger." The leader drew his sword. Tharanil drew her bow, and the party their respective weapons. The leader attacked, and his mabari charged. Tharanil kept out of the way, firing three shots at one mabari. The fight didn't last more then five minutes. One of the Blades came up to Tharanil.
"The Blades are loyal to you now, Herald." Tharanil nodded. "We are your eyes and ears on the Storm Coast." Cassandra gave them some orders, and the party left the camp. Tharanil led the team back to the camp, where they rested. Vivienne told Scout Harding about the men, and the Blades of Hessarian.
"We must speak with Warden Blackwall, in the Hinterlands." Tharanil said. Cassandra nodded. So they went straight to the Hinterlands, resting when they got there. Warden Blackwall was by the lake, and Tharanil knew of a good camping spot there. They set up a camp, restocking on potions.
Tharanil and her squad crossed the small river where they could ford it, and went around the lake. Warden Blackwall was there, talking to some trainees, or something. "Conscripts! Line up!" There weren't many of these 'conscripts'. But Warden Blackwall appeared to be training them to fight. Blackwall finally noticed Tharanil. "What are you doing here-" He raised his shield, and an arrow landed right were Tharanil's head would have been. "I don't know who you are, but if you help," Tharanil drew her bow in response.
The attackers were bandits of some sort, and Tharanil, Sera, Cassandra, Blackwall, Vivienne, and the conscripts made short work of them. "Go home, conscripts. Take back what was stolen from you." The conscripts nodded, thanking Blackwall, before they left."So, what are you here for?"
"Warden Blackwall, We were wondering if you knew anything about the disappearance of the Wardens." Cassandra asked. His brow furrowed.
"Can't say that I do. I recruit new people. It's solitary work. I haven't seen another Warden since the Blight." Tharanil looked confused. She signed something to Cassandra.
"So you don't know anything? That's really not helpful." Cassandra translated. Tharanil beckoned the party after her, and they started to leave.
"Wait." Tharanil turned. "I can't give you information about the Wardens, but maybe you need a Warden to stop the Breach. Maybe you need me." Tharanil smiled.
Chapter 12: The Redcliffe Mages
Warden Blackwall went to Haven. Now to talk to the mages. There were several small skirmishes on the way there, and three rifts, which Tharanil closed with her Mark. On the body of a templar she found where their base was. An apostate had a note about cave where some rebels had holed up. Wiping out those bases might make the roads safer for travelers. After some discussion with the group, they decided to deal with the apostates and templars.
The templars weren't to far from where Tharanil and her party had set up camp. They had barriers and fortifications, but using sneak and some tactics, the templars were killed. Tharanil searched around for useful items, armors, weapons, and crafting materials. She looked at the note again. The cave was in Witchwood.
There were a lot less templars about, but the apostates were still a problem. Tharanil, Sera, Vivienne, and Cassandra reached the cave after fighting several groups of apostates. "It's a shame all these poor apostates turned their back on the Circle." Vivienne said, in her haughty tone. Tharanil noticed that almost everything Vivienne said was in a haughty, entitled tone. Must come with being a noble.
The mages weren't to big of an issue. The cave they were in however, had a wall at the back of it. The wall had three gems in it, all dark. Tharanil didn't know what it was. She didn't have time for that. She had to speak with the mages in Redcliffe. There were some more rifts on the way, and some small groups of mages and templars. Also, a bear.
The rift outside Redcliffe was weird. Tharanil didn't know exactly why. Time was weird there. They entered Redcliffe after closing the weird time rift. The Gull and Lantern is where they were supposed to meet Fiona. It was at the other end of Redcliffe. There were a lot of mages and refugees in Redcliffe. Fiona was in the Gull and Lantern, but didn't seem to recognize Cassandra or Tharanil.
"Fiona? We are here to discuss an alliance with the mages." Cassandra said.
"That's all well and good, but I am... no longer in charge of the rebel mages." Fiona said, and stepped to the side. A man in a red hood came in.
"Hello, Inquisitor. I am Alexius, leader of the rebel mages." Alexius sat down at one of the tables, and gestured for Tharanil to sit across of him. "You are here to discuss an alliance?" Tharanil nodded, sitting in the seat across Alexius.
"I though Fiona was the leader of the rebel mages?" She asked, translated by Cassandra.
"Well, she was." He might have said more, but the man who had come in with him, the one in the yellow robe, start to fell. Tharanil leapt to her feet to catch him. Alexuis made a huge fuss, and apologized before leaving. Tharanil waited till he had left to look at the note the Felix had given her.
Come to the Chantry. You are in danger.
Chapter 13: The Redcliffe Chantry
Tharanil shared the note with her friends. They agreed to go to the Chantry, though Sera was less then pleased with all the 'magey stuff'. "Why can't we just fight bears?" Tharanil heard her mutter. Tharanil smiled. She turned to leave, but Vivienne stopped her.
"My dear, you need to rest." Tharanil shook her head. There was work to do. Maybe later. The Chantry wasn't that far from the Gull and Lantern. Tharanil pushed open the huge wooden doors. She realized that they had deadened the sound of fighting. There was an active rift in the Chantry, and a mage was fighting demons. Without even thinking Tharanil drew her bow, shooting down a demon that was about to attack the mage. They made short work of the rift, but it felt weird. Like the rift they had encountered outside Redcliffe. When Tharanil had closed it, the mage turned to her.
"How do you close those rifts?" He asked, turning to her. "You don't know do you?" He smirked. "Just wave your fingers and poof! Rift closed."
"Who are you? Where is Felix?" Tharanil signed, and Cassandra translated. Tharanil had grown to expect the tiny flash of confusion that flashed across their faces.
"Forgive me. I'm Dorian Pavus, of House Pavus." He gave a small mock bow. "And Felix will be here as soon as he can get away from his father. Ah! Speak of the devil!" Felix came through a side door.
"I shouldn't have played the illness card. I thought Father would fuss over me all day." Dorian smiled.
"We need your help. Did you notice how the rift in here messed with time. Speed some things, slowed others down. How do you think Alexius swept the alliance of the rebel mages out from under you? He is messing with time." Tharanil heard Sera mutter something about 'stupid magey stuff'. "He bent time to arrive here before the Inquisition. If you agree to help us, I want to be there when you take Alexius out." Dorian gave them some more information about Alexius.
"We must get to Redcliffe castle!" Tharanil signed. Vivienne and Cassandra shared a look.
"My dear you really must get some rest." Tharnil shook her head. Vivienne sighed.
Tharanil bolted upright. She was disoriented. She was on a bed, and there was bookshelves around here. She hadn't realized she was so tired. She felt energized. She stretched, getting out of bed. She was back in Haven. Tharanil pushed open the door to the room she was in.
"We are sorry for the deception, Herald." Cassandra came up to her. "We need you at your best if we are to stop this war and close the Breach." Tharanil nodded. Even if she didn't agree she understood. Now, though, resting time was over. It was time to meet Dorian at Redcliffe Castle.
Chapter 14: Haven Life
What would you guys think about me doing a collection of one shots for SPOILERS when they get to Skyhold?
What do you think about me adding OC's to the Inner Circle? I have a mage and rouge that I'd like to use, but they don't have to be in THIS story. Comment please!
As you may know, I just completely changed this chapter. It's contents, it's placement. Hope this is better.
You may be wondering what happens on a normal, not busy day at Haven. Well, you might find Tharanil outside Haven, hunting. She brings back meat and leather to the people of Haven. Or she might be sitting on a rock, listening to one of Solas's many stories about the elves of old. Maybe listening to Varric's tales. Sometimes she trains with Cassandra or Cullen. Sometimes Sera.
Cassandra and Cullen are usually training. Varric wrote a lot. Books, letters. He also talked a lot. Tharanil could never figure out what Blackwall did in his free time, because, like Cassandra and Cullen, he never seemed to have any. He was always busy. Sera was often playing pranks. Josephine was always talking to one important person or another. Leliana was always planning, plotting. Iron Bull trained with his Chargers sometimes, but Tharanil often found him in the bar, drinking. Tharanil didn't know what Vivienne did, because she stayed clear of Vivienne. She and Tharanil disagreed on a lot of things. And Vivienne was mean. When Tharanil found Solas, he wasn't doing anything most of the time. Though she did find him reading and researching.
Someday's, it felt like there wasn't even anything wrong. When Tharanil was in the forest, hunting. When she listened to Solas's or Varric's tales. When she pulled some pranks with Sera, or talked with Iron Bull. Some people couldn't seem to relax. Around them, Tharanil was always reminded of the pressing issues there were. When she trained with Cassandra or Cullen, or was at the War Table, or when she discussed plans with Cullen, Josephine, Cassandra and Leliana.
Almost everyday, Tharanil was doing something different. But as far as a normal day, that was usually off somewhere, killing things. And that was okay.
Chapter 15: Into the Future
Leliana's people would sneak into the castle, and Tharanil would create the distraction, going in with Cassandra, who volunteered, and one other person. Then they'd meet Dorian and stop Alexius from whatever evil he wanted to unleash with his weird time magic. Vivienne wanted to see this 'time magic', so she came too. Tharanil, Cassandra, and Vivienne marched up to Redcliffe Castle. Alexius thought they were here to negotiate. They were not.
"Well well. You seek to get the alliance of the rebel mages?" Alexius sat on a throne. "What are you going to offer me?"
"Nothing." Tharanil signed. Alexius looked confused, but not for long. Dorian pushed open the doors to the throne room.
"They're here to stop you." Alexius's eyes narrowed.
"Dorian." Dorian nodded. Alexius, realizing they were not there to talk, pulled an amulet out. Dorian seemed to know what it was, and his eyes widened. The amulet created a rift like thing and Tharanil's world went black.
"Someone's in here!" A voice pierced the blackness. Tharanil got up groggily. Dorian lay on the floor next to her. It appeared that they were in a dungeon of some sort. A flooded dungeon. Two guards had noticed them, and haas drawn their weapons. Tharanil quickly drew her bow, gently kicking Dorian's side. Tharanil took care of the guards, and Dorian sat up.
"Where are we?" Dorian asked, examining their surroundings. Tharanil shrugged. It looked like they might still be in Redcliffe castle, but it was different. Red lyrium was growing everywhere, and the castle seemed in a state of disrepair. "Maybe the question to ask is, when?" Tharanil looked at Dorian shocked.
"You mean we were transported in time by Alexius's amulet?" Tharanil signed quickly, before realizing that Dorian probably couldn't understand her. Sure enough, he looked confused. This was going to be a challenge.
"Uh, we might have been transported through time by Alexius's amulet, if that's what you were asking." Tharanil nodded. As they explored more of the dungeon, Tharanil thought of a way to communicate with Dorian. This would by very difficult otherwise. Tharnil heard someone's voice. She rushed through one of the doors.
"Herald? Is that you?" It was Fiona. She had... was that red lyrium? Growing out of her. Tharanil came close to the bars. Dorian rushed in to the room. He spotted Fiona.
"Fiona! What year is it?" Ha asked.
"Harvestmere.. 9:42 Dragon." They had missed an entire year.
Chapter 16: Future Redcliffe
Alexius had transported them forward a year! "We have to get back to our time!" Tharanil signed. Dorian's eyebrow's furrowed.
"If you are asking how we get back to our own time..?" Tharanil nodded. "I assume we should find that amulet, which is probably with Alexius." A voice came from mother room in the dungeon. Tharanil's eyes widened, and she broke into a run. "Wait for me!" Dorian called after her. Tharanil skidded into another room. In a cell, sitting cross-legged, was Cassandra.
"Herald? You're alive?" Cassandra stood. Tharanil nodded. "We saw Alexius's rift consume you!"
"Nope. Just sent us forward in time." Tharanil unlocked the door.
"Where is Vivienne?" Tharanil asked.
"She's through here." Cassandra led them through the dungeon. "Things have been awful since you disappeared. Empress Celene was assassinated, and a demon army is taking over." Vivienne was in another dungeon room. Tharanil quickly unlocked the cage. Vivienne also thought that she had died, along with Dorian in the rift Alexius had made.
"We must find Leliana!" Cassandra gestured to the stairs.
"Leliana's here?" Tharanil signed. Cassandra nodded. Vivienne gave Dorian a suspicious glance. They headed for the stairs. Tharanil heard Leliana and another person talking from another room. Tharanil burst in, and the Leliana wrapped her legs around her torturers neck and broke it. Tharanil rushed over and picked the locks on her handcuffs. Leliana grabbed her bow.
"Well, now that we've got a nice party going, we should get to the throne room. That's probably were Alexius is, and our best chance of getting back to our time." Dorian led them up the stairs. There were some guards, but for a huge castle it was eerily quiet. When they got to the throne room, it was locked with some mechanism. Impossible to pick.
Vivienne and Dorian examined it. "Locked with some kind of magic." Vivienne muttered.
"I think we need red lyrium to unlock it." Dorian said. "Five shards should be enough to fit in here. We should be able to get them of the guards. I don't want to touch the stuff on the walls." Five shards. Tharanil nodded.
Chapter 17: The Throne Room
Redcliffe Castle was bigger than Tharanil had expected. There were huge rooms fit for balls and small rooms for taking care of the big rooms. After exploring much of the castle, which had red lyruim everywhere and was generally in a state of disrepair, and fighting many guards, they managed to find five pieces that fit together. Dorian did some weird magic and unlocked the door. Sure enough, Alexius was in the throne room. Something was wrong. Alexius looked...defeated. Tharanil had expected a fight.
"I knew you would be back." Alexius turned to face the party.
"Give us the amulet!" Tharanil signed.
"The Herald wants the amulet." Cassandra translated. Suddenly, Leliana pushed past the group. She picked up Felix and held a knife to his throat. Tharanil's eyes widened in shock.
"Leliana!" She signed, rapidly. "What are you doing?"
"Stop!" Cried Alexuis. "I'll give you anything you want!" Leliana's eyes narrowed.
"I want the world back." Leliana drew her knife across Felix's throat, killing him. Alexius raised his staff.
"You want a fight?" He roared. Tharanil leapt back, bow readied. The fight was long. Alexius was clearly distraught about Felix. When it was all over, Dorian went over to Alexius's body.
"He wanted to die didn't he?" Dorian sighed, taking the amulet from Alexius. "Give me an hour to work out the spell."
"And hour?" Leliana shook her head. "You have to go now!"
Cassandra and Vivienne nodded at one another. "We will give you time." Tharanil shook her head, but Cassandra continued. "We are already dead. The only way we live is if this never happens." The heavy throne room doors closed, with Cassandra and Vivienne on the outside, and Leliana, Tharanil, and Dorian on the inside. Dorian worked furiously on the amulet while Tharanil listened to the sounds of fighting outside. The door fell away as a horde of demons came through. Several never made it in, as Leliana fired arrow after arrow. She started reciting the Chant of Light.
"It's ready!" Dorian had created a similar looking rift. He ushered a stunned Tharanil through it. Tharanil and Dorian fell through, appearing seconds after the had left."You're going to have to do better than that."
Chapter 18: The Mages Join The Inquisition
Here is were you see some of the world options I choose really come into effect. Namely, who my Warden choose to rule Fereldan.
Alexius crumpled. He was easily arrested be Inquisition forces. They lead Alexius and Felix away from the mages that had gathered around. "I'm glad that's over with." Dorian said, watching Alexius. Suddenly all of the mages started whispering. Tharanil turned to face the commotion and saw several guards march in, leading none other than King Alistair. "Or not."
"Grand Enchanter." He said, addressing Fiona. "I was very surprised to here you'd given away Redcliffe Castle to a Tevinter magister." Fiona walked towards him, and Tharanil couldn't quite make out the expression on her face.
"King Alistair!" She exclaimed.
"Especially since I'm pretty sure Redcliffe belongs to Arl Teagan." Alistair glared at Fiona.
"Your Majesty! We never intended to," King Alistair cut her off.
"I wanted to help you, but you've made that impossible." King Alistair shook his head. "You and you're mages are no longer welcome in Ferelden."
"But, we have many who need protection! Where should we go?" Fiona interjected.
"You could come with us." Tharanil signed, and Cassandra translated.
"What are the terms of this arrangement?" Fiona asked.
"Hopefully better than what Alexuis gave you. The Inquisition is better than that, right?" Dorian stepped forward.
"It seems we have little choice in the matter." Fiona waited. Tharanil thought. She had wanted the mages as her allies, but they didn't seem to be able to handle themselves. Could she really trust people who had given a castle to Tevinter magisters? A castle that they didn't own? Tharanil sighed. She would have to put some restrictions on the mages.
"I'm sorry, but we'll need to have some guidelines and rules. You'll be conscripts, but treated fairly and equally. If those in the Inquisition do not honor this, we will be forced to give them a change in status." Tharanil signed, and Cassandra translated.
"I know we shouldn't have listened to Alexuis but-" Tharanil stopped her.
"There is a giant hole in the sky. We need people we can trust, and those we can't need restrictions. I'm sorry." King Alistair turned to face Tharanil.
"I wish the Inquisition well. I'd like Redcliffe back to normal by sundown tomorrow." Fiona nodded.
"Then we will accept the Inquisition's offer. We'll prepare to journey to Haven. The Breach must be closed. We must do what we can to restore peace to a world that sorely needs it."
Chapter 19: Closing the Breach
"Are you ready?" Cassandra asked. Tharanil stood before the gaping expanse of the Breach, surrounded by mages. She nodded. Solas walked over to the mages. He instructed them to give Tharanil their energy, but Tharanil could barely hear him. As she walked towards the Breach, she felt the magic flow through her. Tharanil reached out, Mark blazing. She felt powerful.
All of a sudden, a blinding light shone from the Breach. Tharanil slumped to the ground, drained. She heard yelling. Cassandra and Solas rushed over to Tharanil, who looked up. The Breach had been sealed. Then, she passed out.
"Herald?" Tharanil awoke on a comfy bed. She heard sounds of celebration. Time had passed, it was now night. Tharanil sat up. Cassandra had poked her head through the door when she heard Tharanil awakening.
"Did it work?" Tharanil signed.
"Solas says it's only temporary, until we can get more power. But for now, we are safe." Cassandra left. Tharanil walked outside. The people of Haven were dancing. She couldn't help but smile. Tharanil sat on a bench, watching the festivities.
"Getting some well earned rest?" Tharanil looked over to see Varric. "You did good." Tharanil nodded, smiling. Suddenly, she heard a noise. Tharanil stood. In the distance, she could see a massive army. She raced to the gates, where Cullen was ushering people inside.
"What's going on?" She signed.
"There's an army in the distance. Move! Move!" Cullen shouted to the citizens.
"What flag do they bear?" Josephine asked.
"None." Leliana had joined them. "But my scouts say that it's templars."
"This is how they react to us siding with the mages?" Cullen shook his head. He pulled the gates closed as the last people flew through them.
"What do we do?" Josephine asked. Tharanil heard something. She pressed her ear up to the gate. It sounded like someone dying.
"I can't come in unless you open!"
Chapter 20: Cole
My favorite character, if you didn't know.
Also, pretty long chapter today. Hope you enjoy!
Tharanil raced to the gates, but two Inquisition soldiers beat her there. The gates creaked open, and an enemy soldier marched towards them. They never made it. A well placed dagger made sure of that. As the soldier fell, Tharanil could see a boy with messy blonde hair and a large hat with two daggers. Cullen had raced out after Tharanil, sword drawn.
"I'm Cole. I came to warn you. To help. People are coming to hurt you. You probably already knew that." The boy put his daggers away.
"Who are you? Where did you come from?" Tharanil signed.
"I'm Cole. The templars come to kill you." Tharanil took a step back, shocked. This boy could understand her sign language?
"Templars?" Cullen interrupted. "Leliana was right. Why are they just attacking blindly?"
"The red templars went to the Elder One. You know him? He knows you. You took his mages. There." Cole pointed. Tharanil could see the whole of the massive army, and one tall figure, covered in red lyrium. "He's very angry that you took his mages." It was a little much at once. Tharanil managed to sort out top priority, the people of Haven, and turned to Cullen. She could sort out everything else later.
"I need a plan." Tharanil signed. She had never noticed before, but there was always a delay, as people worked out what she had signed. Cole had answered instantly.
"Haven is no fortress. If we are to stand our ground, we must control the battle. Go out there and hit that trebuchet." Cullen turned to his forces, laying the ground rules. "That is Samson! He will not make it easy. Inquisition! With the Herald! For your lives! For all of us!" Cullen lead the forces while Tharanil and Cole went to get the other members of the Inquisition. Tharanil lost track of Cole in the chaos, and hoped he would be all right.
"We need to hold the trebuchet!" Tharanil signed. Cassandra and Dorian joined her and Sera as they ran for the trebuchet. It was under heavy fire. Tharanil, Cassandra, Dorian and Sera leapt into the battle. They relieved the Inquisition soldiers, who were inspired to be fighting among the Herald and her closest allies. They rallied, and eventually, the got the trebuchet back. They fired the trebuchet, causing an avalanche. Then, Tharanil heard a roar. A dragon? She looked up, confirming her fears.
"We have to move quickly!" She signed.
After they had regained all the trebuchet, Tharanil passed around healing potions. They went to regroup at Haven. Several people were trapped, and Tharanil tried to rescue as many as she could. They finally made it back to the Chantry. The doors opened, revealing Chancellor Roderick and Cole. The Chancellor hurried them inside before collapsing.
"He tried to stop a templar. The blade went deep. He's going to die." Cole lead the Chancellor to a chair.
"Herald!" Cullen called, jogging over. "Our position is bad. That dragon stole back any time you might have bought us with that avalanche.
"I've seen an archdemon." Cole remarked. "I was in the Fade, but it looked like that." Tharanil looked at Cole, confused.
"I don't care what it looks like! It's cut a path for the Elder One's army. They'll kill everyone in Haven!" Cullen ranted.
"The Elder One doesn't care about the village. He only wants the Herald." Tharanil was taken aback.
"How do you know that?" She signed.
"He wants to kill you. No one else matters, but he'll crush them, kill them anyway. I don't like him." That wasn't the answer to her question, but before she could ask it again, Cullen spoke.
"You don't like..? Herald, there are no tactics to make this survivable. The only thing that hindered them was the avalanche. We could use the remaining trebuchets, cause one last slide."
Tharanil shook her head. "There's already in Haven. To get them, we'd be buried."
"We're dying, but we can choose how. Many don't get to." Cullen replied.
"Yes, that. Chancellor Roderick can help. He wants to say it before he dies." Tharanil turned to Cole and Chancellor Roderick.
"There is a path. You wouldn't know it unless you had made the summer pilgrimage, as I have. The people can escape. She must have shown me. Andraste must have shown me so I could tell you." Chancellor Roderick stood, shakily. Tharanil nodded. "If this simple memory can save us, this could be more than mere accident. You could be more."
"We'll get the people out while I cause the avalanche." Tharanil decided. Cullen nodded, but then stopped.
"What of your escape?" Tharanil didn't respond. "Perhaps you will find away." Cullen sighed. "Inquisition! Follow Cancellor Roderick!" He lead the wounded and the soldiers away, to the path. "Keep that things attention until we are above the tree line. If we are to have a chance, let that thing here you."
Chapter 21: Tharanil Meets The Elder One
Was the last chapter too long? Feedback is always welcome!
Tharanil gathered Sera, Iron Bull, and Solas. The ran for the trebuchet. "Cover me while I aim it!" Tharanil signed. Again, the delay. Tharanil realized how nice it was to have someone understand you instantly. She still didn't know how he did it, but no matter. She dashed for the trebuchet while her team members gathered into an attack formation. The trebuchet was hard to turn, and many times Tharanil wanted to run out to help her team mates, but the people of Haven needed her.
A large red lyrium infused monster leapt over the wall, but Tharanil kept turning the trebuchet, occasionally firing an arrow at the behemoth. Finally, the trebuchet was ready. Tharanil leapt into battle, helping her party finish off the behemoth. The dragon flew overhead. Tharanil urged her team to run, and she followed. The dragon attacked, knocking Tharanil off track. She hoped they had made it. Tharanil lay on the soft, cold snow. Her head hurt, and she was tired. Tharanil blinked, and looked at her surroundings.
The Elder One was there, walking towards her, wreathed by fire. She quickly stood. The dragon landed behind, her, and she was trapped. Tharanil noted, however, that Sera, Iron Bull, and Solas had escaped. Good. The dragon roared at Tharanil, but the Elder One interrupted it. "Enough!" He yelled. "Pretender. You toy with forces beyond you knowledge. No more." Tharanil narrowed her eyes.
She wanted to sign, but she doubted the Elder One could read it. "Exalt the Elder One, Corypheus! You will kneel!"
Tharanil shook her head, looking at her surroundings. Corypheus continued to talk, but Tharanil wasn't paying attention. That is, until he walked over to her and grabbed her by the hand, lifting her off the ground. Tharanil realized just how tall he was in that moment. "You have taken the Anchor." The Mark on her hand burned as green and red energy surrounded it.
Corypheus let out of frustrated growl, and threw Tharanil into the trebuchet. Her head felt even worse now, and she was probably bleeding, but in the distance she saw the Inquisition above the tree line. She smiled. Tharanil quickly picked up a sword that had been tossed nearby. She was terrible at swordsmanship, but Corypheus didn't need to know that. "You can not fight me, mortal!" Corypheus taunted.
Tharanil shook her head. She didn't have to fight him. She fired the trebuchet. Corypheus looked up, shocked. He roared angrily. Tharanil's world shattered, and she fell down, down, down.
Tharanil awoke on something sticky, yet soft. Something very, very cold. Tharanil sat up, groaning. Something wasn't right. Snow was white, wasn't it? Tharanil reached up and felt her head. It was bleeding quite heavily. Not knowing exactly what to do, she put some clean snow up to her head wound, freezing it. she ripped some cloth of her armor and put it around her head. she also had several smaller cuts on her arms, legs, and torso, but she didn't have enough supplies to take care of those.
Tharanil was in a cave system of some sort. Not seeing many other options, she waited a couple minutes to fully wake up, and shakily, she stood. Tharanil, one hand on the wall, another around her stomach, ventured out in search of the Inquisition.
Chapter 22: A New Base
This chapter is pretty text heavy, so bear with me.
Tharanil made her way through the cave slowly, keeping in mind her fresh wounds. It wasn't like she was able to move any faster anyways. She went mostly undisturbed for a while, until she ran across a rift. Tharanil was really not in any shape to fight, and she was a bit fed up right now. Tharanil did not want to fight, but then her Mark started glowing, and on an instinct, she thrust it towards the rift. A new power came from her, and a small rift appeared, like a vortex, killing the demons. With great effort, she closed up the rift and rested before continuing on. She made it through the caves, slowly but surely.
Tharanil knew she should move faster, but she couldn't. Her head was still bleeding and she was sore all over. Tharanil finally reached the end of the cave, which opened onto a snowy mountain expanse. It didn't look any more promising than the caves, but Tharanil kept moving through the snow. She heard no signs of life, just the howling and roaring of the wind and the whistling of the trees. Everything was bathed in a thick blanket of snow, which continued to fall heavily. The wind and the snow made for a cold pair, and Tharanil was chilled to the bone. Tharanil was slowed by the snow, the wind, and her fatigue and injuries.
After a long trek, she stumbled across an old fireplace and some scraps of food and other materials that signaled a large party had camped here. Tharanil's hopes soared. Tharanil reached a hand over the coals. They had no heat left. This camp was at least a day old. The hope drained out of Tharanil. Sighing and shivering, she trekked on. She didn't know how much time was passing, as the sky was eternally overcast and pouring down snow, and the wind hadn't changed much either. It was a while before she came across another camp, where the last of the coals had gone out what was probably a couple hours before.
She was getting closer to whoever was making the camps. Tharanil dearly hoped that it was the Inquisition. At least somewhere where she could rest by a fire, and get food and be healed. That idea sounded like a dream to the cold, sore, tired, bleeding Tharanil.By the time she found the next camp, Tharanil was tired, cold, thirsty, hungry, and fatigued from blood loss, lack of food and water, and the fight with Corypheus. Most of the bleeding had stopped, but fresh blood still trickled down her blood and snow-soaked face. This camp still had embers. Tharanil rested her hands over them before setting of again.
She knew she must be close, but she was losing energy and willpower rapidly. The cold embrace of the snow was so inviting. Tharanil though she heard the distant murmur of voices, but it was probably the ever constant wind blowing through the trees.
Unable to continue, Tharanil collapsed into the cold snow. The wind howled, and Tharanil thought it sounded triumphant at finally having made her give in. The wind blew harder than ever through the trees. Snow fell profusely, and in mere seconds she was half-buried in the soft snow. "It's the Herald!" Someone cried out. Several pairs of boots crunched through the snow towards her. Tharanil tried to move, to respond, but she was tired and freezing.
"Thank the Maker!" Another called. It might have been Cassandra, but Tharanil couldn't tell. That voice was the last thing Tharanil heard before her world went black.
Chapter 23: Restoring Hope
Tharanil awoke feeling warm. She opened her eyes. Her wounds were healing, and the bleeding had stopped. She was on a soft bed near a fire, and there was food and water by her. Tharanil sat up, and it didn't hurt. She wasn't nearly as sore. Smiling, she happily dug into the food and gulped down some water. Mother Giselle was next to her. Tharanil viewed her surroundings. It was unusually quiet for a camp of this many people, except for the bickering of Josephine, Cullen, Cassandra, and Leliana.
"What happened?" Tharanil signed. Mother Giselle paused, while Cassandra came over.
"The Herald wishes to know what happened." She translated. Tharanil felt a pang of loneliness and isolation.
"We found you in the snow and brought you to camp. You're wounds have been bandaged correctly, and you see the food and water." Mother Giselle smiled. Tharanil nodded to show her understanding. Tharanil looked out across the camp. The Inquisition's people where looking pretty lost and hopeless, as was Tharanil.
"They are lost. Perhaps because of the ordeal they have been through. They saw their savior stand and fall. Now they have seen her return." Mother Giselle said. "They saw what they needed to see. The further out of reach our enemy is, the more miraculous your actions seem. The Maker works both in the moment, and in how it was remembered."
Tharanil thought on this. "It's going to take a lot more than hope to take down Corypheus." She signed, and Cassandra translated. Trying her legs, she stood and walked towards the edge of the tent that was covering her. The camp was eerily silent. No one spoke. Until Mother Giselle started singing, a song Tharanil had never heard before.
"Shadows fall, and hope has fled. Steel you heart, the dawn will come. The night is long, and the path is dark. Look to the sky, for one day soon, the dawn will come." Others joined. "The shepherd's lost, and his home his far. Keep to the stars the dawn will come. The night is long, and the path is dark. Look to the sky, for one day soon, the dawn will come."
Tharanil marveled at how this simple song was bringing the whole camp together. She could feel people's hopes and dreams for the future, their love and their doubt being poured into their words. The people kneeled before her. "Bare your blade, and raise it high. Stand your ground, the dawn will come. The night is long, and the path is dark. Look to the sky, for one day soon, the dawn will come."
Usual chatter returned to the camp as the song ended. "An army needs more than an enemy. It needs a cause."
Chapter 24: Finding Skyhold
Thanks to everyone for 500 hits!!!! *fireworks*
"May I speak with you?" Tharanil turned, it was Solas. She nodded, and he led her away from the camp. He faced her, lighting a torch with magic.
"A wise woman. Her kind understand the moments that unify a cause. Or fracture it. The orb Corypheus carried, the power he used, it is of our people." Tharanil realized he meant the elves. "Corypheus used the orb to open the Breach. In doing so, he must have caused the explosion. I do not yet know how Corypheus survived, nor do I know how people will react when they learn the orb is Elven."
"You think they will blame us?" Tharanil signed.
"Possibly. History would say so." Solas replied. "There are steps we can take, however."
Tharanil thought of Solas's words as she followed his advice. "By attacking the Inquisition, Corypheus has changed it. Changed you. Scout to the north. Be their guide. There is a place that waits for a force to hold it. There is a place where the Inquisition can build, grow." After trekking over many mountains, she finally saw it. "Skyhold."
"You were right." Tharanil signed, as she and Solas looked at the enormous fortress before them. People cheered. They had found their base. It was a bit chaotic, everyone cheering, moving boxes, setting up temporary places to be. After a long nap, Tharanil found Cassandra, Josephine, Leliana, and Cullen. Cassandra waved her over.
"They arrive daily, from everywhere. Skyhold is becoming a pilgrimage." Cassandra started walking, and Tharanil followed. "If these people know, then so does The Elder One. We have the numbers and walls to put up a fight, but this is far beyond the war we expected. But we do know now what allowed you to stand against Corypheus."
"My Mark?" Tharanil signed, looking at her hand. "It was an accident that I even got it."
"The Anchor has power, but it's not why your still standing. Your decisions let us close the Breach, your determination brought us out of Haven. You are the monster's rival because of what you did, and we know it." Cassandra led her up stairs to were Leliana was holding a sword. "The Inquisition requires a leader. The one who has already been leading it." Tharanil looked at the sword. People had gathered on the floor below. "You."
"They all agree?" Tharanil asked.
"All of these people live because of you. They will follow." Tharanil shook her head. "That was not your question, I know. I will not lie, handing this power to anyone is troubling, but I must believe this is meant to be. There would be no Inquisition without you. How it will serve, how you lead, that is your choice."
Tharanil reached for the sword. "Tell them Corypheus wants to live as a god, and he will not rest until I am dead. Corypheus must be stopped." Cassandra nodded.
"Wherever you lead us!"
Chapter 25: Preparing Skyhold
Tharanil, Cullen, Leliana, and Josephine opened the huge double doors of Skyhold. "So this is where it begins." Cullen commented.
"It began in the courtyard. This is where we put that promise into action." Leliana said.
"What do we do? We know nothing about this Corypheus except that he wants your mark." Josephine said.
"We have one advantage. We know what Corypheus plans to do next. In that future Redcliffe, the Empress of Orlais had been assassinated." Leliana said.
"Imagine the chaos her death would cause!" Josephine said. "With his army..."
"An army that's growing. In the future, he had a massive army of demons." Cullen shook his head.
"It wouldn't matter if he was a god. He could conquer the entire south of Thedas." Josephine sighed.
"I wish we had more information." Leliana said.
Varric walked into the shabby castle. "I know someone who can help with that." He walked up to them. "Everyone acting all inspirational jogged my memory, so I sent a message to an old friend. She's met Corypheus before, and may know more about him. She can help."
"Anyone who can help is welcome here." Tharanil signed.
Varric nodded. "Parading around might cause a fuss. It would be better if you met on the battlements. In private. Trust me. It's complicated." With that, Varric left, going back out of the huge double doors.
"Well then, we stand ready to move on both these concerns." Josephine looked at her clipboard, and started writing.
"On your order, Inquisitor." Cullen said.
"I know one thing. If Varric's brought who I think he has, Cassandra is going to kill him."
Chapter 26: Zara Hawke
Ok, see if you can pick up on the trend.
Game one- romanced Zevran
Game two- Romanced Isabella
Game three- Romanced Sera, but would have romanced Cole if he was an option.
Also, when I first wrote this, I didn't realize at first the amazing fact that I get to bring one of my favorite characters to life. Hawke. Totally humorous, all the way.
Double daggered rouge, if you were wondering.
Tharanil's advisors quickly set to work on different tasks. Tharanil walked around, exploring the enormous space. She had huge quarters, with a desk already covered in paperwork. There was a forge, a library, a garden, a market, stables, kitchens, a brand new war room and several other rooms, towers, and hallways. Finally, after she had a pretty good idea of where stuff was, she decided to meet Varric on the battlements. Standing next to Varric was a woman with medium length black hair tied up in a pony tail. She had several tattoos and battle scars, and she was wearing armor with two daggers strapped to her back. She also had a lot of freckles.
"Tharanil, this is Zara Hawke." Varric introduced. "Zara, Tharanil, the Inquisitor." Tharanil nodded. "I figured you might have some friendly advice about Corypheus. We did fight him." With that, Varric backed away.
Hawke leaned against the battlements, looking out. "You've already dropped half a mountain on the bastard. I don't know if my knowledge will be very helpful."
"Any knowledge will be helpful, I'm sure." Tharanil signed. Hawke watched closely, reading her sign language with some difficulty.
"Well, then, what can I tell you?" Hawke asked.
"You've fought Corypheus before?" Tharanil signed.
"Fought, defeated. We killed him. Apparently not well enough. The Grey Wardens were holding him. Somehow, he used his connection to the Darkspawn to influence them." Varric walked back over.
"Corypheus got into their heads. Messed with their minds. Made them fight." Varric said.
"If the Wardens can't be found, they might be under his control." Hawke reasoned.
Tharanil thought on that. "That does seem logical. Can we stop them from being controlled?"
"Maybe. We'll need to know more first, though. I have a friend in the Wardens. He was investigating something unrelated. His name's Stroud. Last time I heard from him he was worried about corruption in the Warden ranks."
"Corypheus would certainly qualify as corruption." Varric agreed. "Is your friend gone as well?"
"He said he'd be hiding in a cave near Crestwood." Hawke crossed her arms.
"Thank you for the help." Tharanil signed.
"I'm doing this for myself as much as for you. Corypheus is my responsibility, because I can't seem to kill him dead yet." Hawke smiled. "Let's get him this time."
Chapter 27: The War Room
I am that person that goes to the library and returns home with seventeen books and locks themselves in their room to read for five hours.
In case you were wondering.
After her conversation with Hawke, Tharanil met her advisors in the war room. "We have received a message from an anonymous person." Cullen informed her. He handed her a neatly written note.
It has come to my attention that you and your followers are endeavoring to close the Breach in the sky. I would like to offer my assistance as both a researcher and as someone who will fight your enemies. If you wish to accept my offer, I will meet you at Skyhold. I do not expect you to greet me unarmed, but if you could refrain from having arrows trained on me the moment I walk through the gate, I would appreciate it.
Tharanil studied the note. "Also, we have received several other notes." Josephine said, handing her a stack of papers. Tharanil read them. Places that needed help, people in danger, places like 'Emprise Du Lion', Forbidden Oasis', and 'Emerald Graves'. There was a lot to do. "I will study these further in my quarters." Tharanil signed. She set Josephine and Leliana on minor errands and asked Cullen to bring the anonymous person to Skyhold. They nodded, and Tharanil climbed the stairs o her huge quarters.
She set the papers on her desk, and organized them quickly. After the twentieth paper, however, the words were swimming before her eyes and her head hurt. So Tharanil set off to the library. On the way there, she passed Solas, who apparently had taken to painting the walls. They were quite pretty. Solas was bent over a shard that lay on his desk. Tharanil continued up the stairs. She reached the top, and began browsing. Tharanil had loved to read since she had read her first book. She gathered several and sat. Only then did she notice Dorian, who waved at her.
"Hello, Tharanil. You have quite the selection of books, I see." He looked over at her stack of books. There had to be at least twenty. Tharanil nodded.
"Yes. I'm glad that Skyhold has this great selection of books." Tharanil replied, opening the top one. It was a book on elven culture. Dorian nodded. He had chosen three books. Two on magic, one on Tevinter. Tharanil hadn't read very many books on Tevinter, but from what she had read, Dorian probably wouldn't like the contents of that book.
Dorian followed her gaze. "Ah, yes. I am, in fact, only reading this book to count the number of lies it contains. While some books have a fairly neutral stance on Tevinter, many paint it in a poor light." Dorian sighed. "I'm used to it." Openeing the first book on magic, he took a seat by the window. Tharanil and Dorian sat in silence, absorbed in their books, until Leliana called Tharanil to the war room. With seven books still unfinished, she asked Dorian to watch over them.
"No problem. Go save the world." He replied. He had made it to the Tevinter book and his face seemed to have adopted a permanent scowl.
"The anonymous person responded rather quickly. They will be at the front gates in two hours." Leliana said, as she led Tharanil back to the War Room. "Also, we have procured gold for Skyhold, and here's your take." Leliana handed Tharanil a coin purse.
Tharanil accepted it and they reached the War Room. With the more information, she was able to make some calls, putting Josephine, Leliana, and Cullen back to work.
Chapter 28: Asaaranda
The introduction of my first not Inquisitor original character!!! I'm excited. I hope you like her. :)
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Two hours later, Tharanil found herself at Skyhold's front gates along with the entirety of her inner circle. Everyone was waiting differently. Sera was playing with her arrows, Iron Bull was talking to Krem, Cullen shifted from one foot to another, a hand on his sword, Josephine was scribbling on her clipboard like always, Leliana was in the nearby market, looking at shoes. Blackwall had a small block of wood he was whittling, Cassandra had a book that she refused to let anyone see even the cover of, Varric was telling Sera a story. Vivienne was in the market with Leliana, Dorian had brought a book on magic, Solas was reading it with him. Cole was just standing there, and so was Tharanil. She watched the others, until a noise made her look up.
Suddenly, the doors opened. Everyone stopped what they were doing and gathered around Tharanil. The anonymous person had arrived. She was a Qunari. She had one long, elegant black horn. The other one was broken right at the stub. She had black hair that reached her shoulders. She was tall, even for a Qunari. She was almost as tall as Iron Bull. She wore armor, but it looked a bit like a robe. A scar ran from her forehead to her lips. Her eyes were a piercing hazel. On her hilt was a sword, and on her back, was a staff. She bowed. "I am Asaaranda."
"Thunderstorm." Bull muttered under his breath.
"Welcome, Asaaranda." Cassandra said.
"I am here to help with the Breach." Asaaranda continued. "I assume your spymaster will want to question me first?" Leliana nodded, and Cullen, Asaaranda, and Leliana left. Everyone else did too, slowly. Except for Bull.
"She's Tal Vashoth, Inquisitor." He growled. Tharanil nodded. "I wouldn't trust her." With that, he left. Tharanil went back up to her room, asking a servant to get her when the questioning was complete. With nothing better to do, she went over more of the papers. Particularly the one one the 'Emerald Graves'. She had read that it was a forest. Tharanil loved forests.
We've been contacted by a "Fairbanks," who says he has information of value to the Inquisition. He offers a trade: the information in exchange for the Inquisition's help in eliminating a dangerous rebel band calling themselves the "Freemen of the Dales." There have been reported sightings of these rebels all over the Dales, where they have caused significant problems for Orlesian troops. Uprooting them could be a good move for us.
First, let us see what Fairbanks has to say. He is hiding out somewhere in the Emerald Graves, a legendary Dalish forest.
Beneath, she had written a note with her advice. "At your word, I'll send emissaries to meet with Fairbanks-along with hidden agents to watch him."
There was a knock, and a "Leliana is finished, Inquisitor." Tharanil quickly wrote a "Yes" on the note and headed down to meet Asaaranda.
If anyone wants to know how Asaaranda got her name, I may be willing to write a one shot side story about that.
I'm totally willing.
Chapter 29: The Emerald Graves
Tharanil met Leliana in the War Room. It was more crowded than usual, with Tharanil, Leliana, Asaaranda, Cullen, Josephine, Iron Bull, Solas, and Vivienne. Tharanil handed Leliana the notes on the Emerald Graves. Leliana took them and then turned to Asaaranda. "It seems that Asaaranda is telling the truth. She is willing to fight with you and offer her knowledge to help close the Breach."
Asaaranda nodded. "She can accompany us to the Emerald Graves, once you are done." Tharanil decided. Leliana nodded, relaying the message to Asaaranda before looking over the Emerald Graves notes once more.
"Is there anything you need of me at this moment, Inquisitor?" Asaaranda asked, her tone steady.Tharanil wondered if she knew of the distrust in the people around her. Tharanil shook her head. Leliana, Josephine, and Cullen immediately went back to work, Leliana calling in Lead Scout Harding to help. Solas and Vivienne left to their respective places. Tharanil wondered if Solas was going to paint more. Josephine had a servant lead Asaaranda to her quarters. Iron Bull waited until Asaaranda left.
"So, Boss." Tharanil looked up at him. "Can I come with you to the Emerald Graves too? I don't trust her." Tharanil nodded, and Iron Bull left with a grunt. Tharanil decided to look at some more of the many tasks that needed doing. She also had her books brought to the War Room. It wasn't long before Leliana handed Tharanil a note.
Lead Scout Harding made contact with Fairbanks and his men in the Emerald Graves, and had a run-in with the rebel Freemen of the Dales. They are as violent as we've been lead to believe. As for Fairbanks, Harding was unable to coax much from him. He will only share what he knows with the Herald of Andraste, it seems.
Fairbanks is holding his information close to his chest. I wonder if it might relate to something bigger than just the Freeman of the Dales. If there is a chance at all, then we must learn all we can from him. Harding has set up an outpost in the Emerald Graves. Be careful, Inquisitor. The forest of the Graves is treacherous, and home to enemies both new and ancient.
Tharanil called Bull, Solas, and Asaaranda, to come with her as they set of for the Emerald Graves. It was a two to three day trek from Skyhold. Bull and Solas had started a verbal chess match. Asaaranda remained completely silent the entire journey. They managed to get there in a day and a half by riding. Iron Bull had a gigantic red hart. Asaaranda had a slightly smaller brown hart. Solas rode an elegant black horse. Tharanil rode a graceful snow white halla.
They finally made it to the Emerald Graves. "Hello, Inquisitor."
Chapter 30: Fairbank's and the Freeman of the Dales
Lead Scout Harding greeted the Inquisitor and her crew. "Hope you're wearing comfortable shoes. We've spotted fade rifts all over the place. We've located Fairbanks. He won't share his information with anyone but you." Tharanil nodded. "One more thing. We've spotted these "Freemen of the Dales". Watch you back."
Tharanil set out into the forest, thinking of the legends. The legends say that a tree grows here for every elf that perished in the defense of Halamshiral. True to the reports, they met a band of Freemen shortly after leaving the camp. The recognized the party as Inquisition, and didn't seem to happy. They shouted things like "Death to the Herald!". After defeating them, Tharanil reached Fairbank's camp quickly. Recognizing them, a scout told her that Fairbanks was waiting inside the camp.
Tharanil quickly found Fairbanks. She signed a greeting.
"Hello, Herald of Andraste. I am Fairbanks." He returned.
"I've been told you have some information for me." Tharanil signed. Solas translated.
"Yes. I will give you the information when the Freeman have been defeated." Fairbanks responded. "I've marked some locations on this map."
Tharanil took the map. "We'd be happy to help." Tharanil looked for the closest possible Freeman base. They seemed to have taken hold of most of the woods. Tharanil nodded farewell to Fairbanks, who told her of some other things she could to to help, the details of which were inside a cave like rock structure. After grabbing and examining some papers, Tharanil left Watcher's Reach and ventured on.
A second group of Freeman greeted them about halfway to their destination. This group, however, was much larger. Tharanil flipped onto a rock to try and get better elevation, and Iron Bull covered Asaaranda and Solas, but Tharnil could see they weren't going to win this one easily. Suddenly, all of the enemies collapsed, green arrows sticking out of their heads.
Tharanil and her party stopped moving, looking up towards the trees. Sure enough, an elf jumped down from the branches. She had long black hair in braids that went all the way down her back. Her expression was serious, but there was laughter in her eyes. Her face was long, her eyes and nose narrow. "Hello, Herald." The elf said. She put away her bow and arrow.
"Hello. Who are you?" Tharanil asked.
"Revas." The elf replied. Revas turned and looked around at Tharanil's company. Revas reached for her bow again, face contorting in rage. "YOU!"
Tharanil quickly looked back at who Revas was aiming at. "You betrayed them all! And now what are you doing? Hanging out with the Inquisitor? For your own selfish reasons, no doubt!" Revas yelled.
"I see." Solas replied. Asaaranda put a barrier around Solas while Iron Bull held out his sword threateningly.
"What do you see, exactly?" Revas hissed. Tharanil looked at Revas, motioning for her to put down her bow. Sighing, Revas sheathed her bow and arrow. "I suppose I'm going to be taken to Skyhold now? Interrogation and such?" Tharanil nodded. "Fine." Revas said.
Revas glared at Solas the entire way back to Skyhold. No one spoke. The tension in the air had Tharanil on edge. When they finally made it back, they were greeted by Cullen and a small force. Tharanil had sent a message ahead explaining the situation.
"She will be ready for questioning shortly. Where would you like to preform the interrogation?" One of the solders asked.
Revas hummphed. "Don't tell me when I'll be ready." She murmured under her breath.
Tharanil, who was still quite unfamiliar with Skyhold's vast layout decided to let Cullen decide. He picked a room in the basement. It was small, and empty except for a table and two chairs. Two guards stood on either side of the door. Cullen stood in the room next to Tharanil, who sat across from Revas. "Revas. Why did you try and attack Solas?"
"Straight to the point, eh? Because he betrayed and killed my family a long time ago. And he's a jerk." Revas stated.
"Can we trust you to refrain from killing him?" Tharanil asked.
"Yeah yeah." Revas waved her hand. Suddenly she straightened. "Actually, I'd love to join the Inquisition. You're fixing the Breach, right? Can I help?" Revas's change in attitude puzzled Tharanil, but they needed anyone who was willing if they were going to close the Breach.
"Of course. We'll have quarters assigned to you shortly." With that, the interrogation ended. Revas was true to her word, never even threatening Solas. She didn't talk to him at all actually. Tharanil quickly moved back out to the Emerald Graves with Asaaranda, Iron Bull, and Revas.
"Here, let me mark all the Freeman camps on your map." Revas pulled the map over to her.
"You know where they are?" Tharanil asked.
"Yeah. I've been living in this forest for a while. Nothing goes on in it without my knowledge."
So someone drew me FANART! *squeals* It's Revas!
Thanks to laserquestin.tumblr.com
Chapter 32: Freeman Camps
Very sorry for the long wait! I'm not going to do a canon side-quest ever again. They are to much work to keep track of. So, I'll make up my own from now on.
Revas's knowledge proved helpful. All of the places she marked were indeed Freeman camps. Tharanil and Revas fought from the sidelines, and Revas was very good with the bow and arrow. Occasionally, she threw knives. When the bandits had been wiped out, Revas gave one more location. "It's like a mine thingy. A bunch of people are being held prisoner there."
"All right." Tharanil led the party there, sneaking up on the guards outside. She signaled for Iron Bull to go first, while the rest of them hung back. The Iron Bull charged in, and Tharanil quickly shot the first couple bandits. Assaraanda shot chain lighting, and Revas fired swiftly and accurately. It turns out Revas was right. It did appear to be a mine.
"Who-who are you?" One of them asked nervously, eyeing the dead bandit's that lay strewn across the ground.
With the Iron Bull's help, Tharanil explained what was happening, and that they were all free to go now. All the former prisoners emptied out quickly, running out of the mine. Tharanil searched the bodies for clues and loot. When she had finished, she turned to her party, signing that they were going back to Fairbank's.
Tharanil, Revas, Assaraanda, and The Iron Bull soon arrived at Fairbank's camp, and told him that they had finished the mission. After that, they were all feeling pretty tired, and they returned to Skyhold. Tharanil had barely taken off her armor before she fell onto her bed and slept.
When she woke up, her armor had been neatly arranged, and she was under the covers. The clothes she wore under her armor was still on, so she changed into her normal Skyhold attire. It was really comfortable. Tharanil walked down to the main hall. There were a lot of important nobles, lords and ladies of such and such from the kingdom of a place.
Tharanil stealthily made her way outside so as to avoid conversation or confrontation. She walked up to the ramparts and sat, looking out at the mountain range that Skyhold was surrounded by. They could see someone coming from miles away, and the rough terrain made for no walk in the park. Tharanil smiled slightly, thinking of what she and her friends had built so far.
She was lost deep in thought, thinking about everything that had happened. She glanced down at the eternal proof of it all. The glowing green gash in her hand. Tharanil stared at it as it glowed faintly. She had used it to close rifts and stun demons. How? How did it work? Tharanil was finally woken from her reverie as a voice spoke behind her.
"Are you listening too?"
Chapter 33: Cole Stays
Tharanil turned around to see Cole. She waved. "Ah! Inquisitor!" A loud voice interrupted. Tharnail turned again. Cassandra was there, with Vivienne and Solas. Tharanil stood facing the four. She tilted her head to show she was listening.
"Ah." Vivienne's lip curled slightly at the sight of Cole. Tharanil's eyes narrowed. "That thing is not a stray puppy you can keep as a pet, Inquisitor. It has no business being here." Vivienne crossed her arms as she spoke, leaning her weight on one foot. Her tone suggested she was trying to explain something simple to a child that couldn't understand.
"Wouldn't you say the same of an apostate?" Solas interrupted. Vivienne glared at Solas, who gladly glared back.
"Inquisitor." Cassandra said, addressing Tharanil and ignoring the two mages. "I wondered if perhaps Cole was a mage, given his unusual abilities." Tharanil nodded slightly. Maybe.
"He can cause people to forget him, or even entirely fail to notice him." Solas explained, turning his gaze back to Tharanil. "These are not mage abilities. It would seem Cole is a spirit."
"It is a demon." Vivienne said with contempt.
"If you prefer. The truth is somewhat more complex." Solas said.
"Cole helped us. He warned us about Corypheus and the templars at Haven!" Tharanil signed. She waited as Solas, Cassandra, and Vivienne read what she was trying to say.
"Yes, but what will it's help cost?" Vivienne said, still using her patronizing tone. "How many lives will it claim later?" Cassandra sighed. She turned to Solas.
"What are we dealing with?" Cassandra asked.
"It doesn't matter!" Tharanil tried to interrupt, but her signs went unnoticed. She glanced at where Cole had been standing and realized he was gone. She turned her attention back to the conversation, where Solas was explaining spirits and demons.
Vivienne was about to object again when Tharanil tapped Cassandra not-so-lightly on the shoulder.
"Cole stays." With that, Tharanil turned to find Cole.
Chapter 34: Talking to Cole
"Haven." Cole spoke as Tharanil neared. "So many soldiers fought to protect the pilgrims so they could escape." Tharanil looked at the fire in front of them as Cole continued. "Choking fear, can't think from the medicine, but the cuts wrack me with every heartbeat." Tharanil glanced at Cole. He didn't look injured. Was he... reading someone's mind?
"Hot, white pain, everything burns. I can't, I can't, I'm going to... I'm dying, I'm..." Cole sighed. "...dead."
"Are you okay?" Tharanil signed. Cole didn't respond, only walked forward. Tharnail followed.
"Every breath slower. Like lying in a warm bath. Sliding away. Smell of my daughter's hair when I kiss her goodnight." Cole looked down. "Gone." He turned. "Cracked, brown pain, dry, scraping. Thirsty." Cole walked over to one of the injured soldiers and gave him water. Tharanil watched. She realized, like a typical leader, she hadn't really thought about the soldiers much.
The soldier thanked Cole, but cole spoke to Tharanil. "It's all right. She won't remember." Tharanil glanced at the soldier.
"You help people." She signed. Cole stood, and nodded.
"I used to think I was a ghost. I didn't know. I made mistakes... But I made friends, too." Cole glanced at Tharnail. "Then a templar proved I wasn't real. I lost my friends. I lost everything. I learned how to be more like what I am. It made me different, but stronger. I can feel more. I can help."
"Will you? You can stay, help the Inquisition." Tharanil signed.
"Yes, helping. I help the hurt, the helpless, there's someone..." Cole walked over to an injured scout. "Hurts, it hurts, it hurts, someone make it stop hurting, Maker please..." Cole pulled out a knife. "The healers have done all they can. It will take him hours to die. Ever moment will be agony. He wants mercy. help."
"You don't know that he will die!" Tharanil signed, slightly panicked. No one would remember him, but she couldn't have Cole killing people.
"His body is failing." Cole said. Tharanil shook her head.
"He might get better! The healers may think of something new!" Tharanil tried. She briefly imagined Vivienne's reaction to Cole killing someone within three seconds of Tharanil saying he could stay.
"How do you know?" Cole asked, tilting his head slightly. Tharanil shrugged.
"I don't. Neither do you. Uncertainty is part of life." Tharanil signed. Cole looked down at the scout.
"Try." Cole said. He turned to Tharanil. "I want to stay."
Chapter 35: Crestwood
Tharanil woke up in her large, comfy Inquisitorial bed. Sunlight was shinning through the windows, and Tharanil was seriously considering pretending to be asleep, but she heard movement all over Skyhold and knew she was probably required to be somewhere. Tharanil stood in Josephine's office as people bustled about doing very important things, Tharanil was sure.
"Do you need something, Inquisitor?" Josephine asked, looking up. "I think Leliana wanted to talk to you about something Hawke said?" Tharanil nodded, backing into the War Room. She turned to face the huge sprawling table that represented all of Thedas, and yet fit into a small room.
"Ah, Inquisitor." Leliana said, looking up from a stack of papers. "I've gathered some of my fastest agents to send to Crestwood. They'll look for this Warden friend of Hawke's. They should be back shortly after sunset if I send them now. Would that work, Inquisitor?"
Tharanil gave a decisive nod, and Leliana left. Tharanil stood, alone in the War Room. The map stretched out in front of her. Tharanil picked up one of the pieces. How many people did this represent? Tharanil sighed inwardly. She had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and now she was leading an enormous force to save all of Thedas.
Tharanil suddenly remembered two other people in slightly similar positions. One of whom she could actually talk to. Tharanil made her way out of the War Room and across Skyhold.
"Well, hello there." Zara Hawke was sitting on the battlements, legs dangling over the courtyard. She had a bundle of books that looked like they might have been written by Varric and a string of rope. Zara saw Tharanil's confused expression. "Oh, this?" Zara said, tying the rope around the books. "These are Varric's Sword and Shields series." Zara pointed down. "And that is an avid reader of the series."
Tharanil looked over the ledge and saw a familiar figure practicing her swordsmanship on some dummies. Cassandra. Tharanil knew only a little about the Swords and Shields books, but she knew enough to be thoroughly confused. Zara just laughed as she finished the last knot and began lowering the rope so the books descended.
Zara hopped back into the safety of the battlements and ducked down, motioning for Tharanil to do the same. Thinking that Zara would probably get along well with Sera, she did. Tharanil heard Cassandra become confused, then flustered, then very angry. Cassandra followed the rope up to Zara's black hair.
"ZARA!" Cassandra yelled.
"Quick! It'll only take about one minute and fifteen seconds for her to get up here!" Zara said, grabbing Tharanil's hand and beginning to run. Tharanil was wondering what she had gotten herself into as Zara tried to lose the raging Cassandra. "I may or may not have forgotten that Cassandra probably knows this place better than I do." Zara said.
Tharanil sighed, running ahead of Zara and taking the lead. She would point directions when they needed to turn, and eventually the both ended up in a remote room of Skyhold, panting slightly.
"Thanks, Tharanil!" Zara said, grinning at the Inquisitor. Tharanil nodded back. Zara leaned back, stretching. Was this really the woman who had saved Kirkwall? She seemed very normal. She didn't have any qualities that struck Tharanil as being particularly heroic, or that would make her a good leader.
"You seem very average." Tharanil signed. Hawke laughed when she read Tharanil's message.
"Is that so?" Zara said, looking at Tharanil. "You mean in relation to my Big Impressive Title, you mean? Champion of Kirkwall?" Tharnail nodded. "Yeah, I suppose that's a normal reaction." Zara had a glint in her eye. "But I could say the same of you."
Chapter 36: A Meaningful Conversation
In which Tharanil realizes something about being a hero.
"Me?" Tharanil pointed to herself. Zara nodded.
"You don't strike me as a great leader. You're no Josephine, or even Varric, manipulating your way through social situations." Zara laughed. "You don't seem like some noble warrior. You're not stoic like Cassandra, Blackwall, or Asaaranda." Tharanil looked down. "But that's not a bad thing."
Tharanil glanced up at Zara, whose grin had turned into more of a warm smile. "What do you mean?"
"The best leaders are the ones who understand." Zara said. "And you do. You're not above the people. You are the people. And that's more important than any noble sacrifice, or political navigation skills." Zara clapped Tharanil on the back. "I'll see you around, Lady Inquisitor."
Tharanil was left standing in an empty room, thinking about what it meant to be a hero, and what it meant to be a leader. Tharanil left the room, orienting herself. She was close to the tavern, and decided to enter. It was lively in the tavern, different sounds mixing and blending into the music and into the background. Apparently the bard had composed a song about Sera.
Tharanil took a seat in the back of the bar. "Hey, Inquisitor." Tharanl jumped slightly, turning at the voice. She recognized the face, but couldn't quite place it. One of Bull's Chargers? "I'm Krem."
"Hello, Krem." Tharanil signed. She didn't know a lot about Krem. She had only spoken with him once, when she had met The Iron Bull for the first time. "How are you?"
"I'm good, Inquisitor. I'm good." Krem grinned. All of the Bull's Chargers seemed very nice. They shared a bond with The Iron Bull.
"How are the Chargers?" Tharanil asked.
"Ready, Lady Inquisitor." Krem replied. "Actually, I had an idea." Tharanil nodded, signaling that she was interested. "Anytime you're to busy doing other stuff and don't have the people to spare, you can always ask us to step in. I was mulling it over and I came up with a few jobs we could do." Krem handed Tharanil a letter.
"Thank you." Tharanil signed, accepting the letter. It seemed her initial impression of Krem wasn't far off. He seemed very thoughtful and nice. She waved goodbye and left the tavern Tharanil dropped the letter off on the War Table and was about to leave when Leliana entered.
"Good! I didn't miss you. My scouts are back."
Chapter 37: Going to Crestwood
I'm planning on starting a story that's purely one-shots about Tharanil's time in Skyhold. They will take place at different times in the storyline, so be warned for spoilers. I already have one-shot about Asaaranda, but these will be posted in a different story.
Anyways, enjoy the new chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Leliana handed Tharanil a report. It was, like usual, written by Scout Harding. Tharanil scanned the paper.
Hawke's Warden friend is somewhere here. Disappeared before we could talk to him. He's good. Be careful on the road - lots of undead. People here need our help. Explain more once you're here.
"We are ready to go to Crestwood on your command." Leliana said. Tharanil nodded, thanking Leliana and leaving the War Room. It was late, but Tharanil made plans to leave first thing tomorrow. She trekked up the flight of stairs to her room and sat at her desk, staring at a mound of paperwork. Shoulders sagging, she pulled the top paper of the stack and began reading.
"The papers cannot be evil, they are just papers." Tharanil jumped about a mile in the air and looked up. Her desk chair was oriented so she could look out onto the balcony and beyond. Cole was perched on the balcony railing. Tharanil couldn't help but smile. She was about to sign when Cole interrupted her. "If you know the papers cannot be evil, then why did you think it?"
Tharanil shrugged, setting the paper she had been holding back on the stack and standing, stretching slightly. "I'm good. So are you." Cole responded to Tharanil's unasked question. "Were are going to Crestwood tomorrow." It was not a question. Cole stepped onto the balcony and Tharanil walked out onto it.
The wind blew her hair and she smiled, closing her eyes. "But... papers come from trees. Trees are nature." Cole said, responding to Tharanil's thought about how pretty nature was. Tharanil nodded. She should probably get back to the papers, then. "I'll see you tomorrow." Cole said, then disappeared from view.
Tharanil stood on the balcony for a beat more, looking at the snowcapped mountains in the distance. Then she turned, a light smile still on her face, and walked back to her desk, picking up the papers once more.
Tomorrow was another adventure.
Also I noticed that people have bookmarked this??? Like, people are going to get an email when I finally update this??? Thank you!!
Chapter 38: Holy Heck Update
Whoops I pulled a classic fanfic author and accidentally abandoned all of my fics. HOWEVER, do not despair!! I will definitely come back to this fic and that's why I'm making this update. Summer's almost here! I will be able to play Dragon Age again, and I'll have time to write as well. I should be able to get an update out about a week after school lets out.
At the time I am posting this, I have two more days of school. It's possible that I could get out a chapter before the end of school, but that's super unlikely.
So why am I getting everyone's hopes up by posting an update that they're shortly going to learn isn't more content? Because I wanted to thank you all, mostly. The fact that this has triple digit hits?? Double digit kudos?? 4 bookmarks? The support you all have given this fic is mostly why I'm returning to it! (Besides the fact that it's fun to write).
I have a lot of ideas, especially around how I'm going to write conversations between Cole and Tharanil because I'm unhappy with how the last one was written, it felt kind of clunky and hard to understand.
I also am posting this before I can actually write the chapter so I can let you all know that I'm coming back as soon as possible, I hope that will at least tide you over. Just letting you know that this fic isn't dead.
As I was looking at the statistics of this fic, I realized that I started it in 2015. That was two years ago!! So for everyone who has stuck with me, thank you so much! I will definitely be coming out with new content, and not just for this story! I haven't forgotten about my other fics either.
So, main points:
I'm coming back!
Your support is amazing!
And most of all,
- Signed, an amazed fic author