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Dissonant Spirits

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Haven 9:41 Dragon, Entry 1

I can still hear the satisfying crunch of his nose caving under the heel of my palm. The cartilage crumbling; his head and body knocked back from the force. I'd been waiting all night to do that. Ever since waking up to a world of screams, shoved through snowy terrain with barely a scrap of decent clothes on me and unattended while others were given preferential treatment. Babbling surrounded me. Didn’t think much of it until I heard a twanged voice complaining about the “dirt shit cold” and that they weren’t no “dang ruski commie.” They spat and complained about getting tobacco. There was a tiny bearded fellow next to him who I didn’t understand. Sounded like Cantonese.

The game made it seem like less than a hundred people survived because the rest died in the Temple. But there were hundreds of survivors and this refugee camp barely sufficed, what with the addition of us. Crowded, under stocked, and unprotected, I’m surprised I survived. We were kept in packed tents until we were able and pushed out. Men were pulled into the line of soldiers, given a sword and shield. We were told we would fight, and in the same breath they would hiss knife-ear at us, jeer and cackle when some of us were too weak to hold up the old weapons.

It doesn’t matter the language, doesn’t matter the words that are spoken, but a slur is a slur by the tone - by how you say it. They could have said it in passing, with no inflection and I would have rolled on because that phrase meant nothing to me. It was their intent behind the word. Knife and ear used to hold no meaning, no power but here it held the connotations and intent of anyone who ever called me a nigger.

“Hey, Ser.” I called out to the soldier. I was as tall as he was slouching, taller still when I stood straight. This unnerved him, probably because he’d never seen an elf with this much confidence. I met his gaze, kept my head up. “I would appreciate it, if you didn’t call us that.”

A beat and they walked up to me. “What was that, rabbit?”

“I said. I would appreciate it-” Only I didn’t get far before there were repercussions for my back talk. The same repercussions I remember my grandfather telling me about the 60s. Knife-ears aren’t supposed to talk back. Knife-ears aren’t supposed to request to be treated with respect. Knife-ears are supposed to keep their head down. Knife-ears are supposed to say ‘yes, ser’ or ‘no, ser.’ Knife-ears are supposed to be obedient.

The other soldiers did nothing. Even the elven recruits. The few Templar knights looked away as they ground my face into the dirt. Said I belonged there because of the shape of my ears and the color of my skin. They tried to rope me up into the line of soldiers again but I let the weapons drop. It had nothing to do with the bruises or busted face and everything to do with principle.

It nearly killed me.

Chapter Text

Haven 9:41 Dragon, Entry 2

Still alive. I had a lay down. I clarify this because documenting what happens is essential. Keeping good records is important. This document may become the ostraka to some future historian so they can learn. Whether from home or here. I hope from home. Or maybe I can share it with my folks.

I did some exploring through Haven before I hid away here. They don’t notice one elf from another - so long as you keep your head down. Even if you’re as tall as the humans. You’re invisible or interchangeable with other elves because you all look the same. I was used to that.  A few times I was picked out for my complexion but only referred to as the “dark one.” I was sent to deliver requisition requests from Minaeve to Threnn. Something they couldn’t trust to the children apparently, or rather because the children scattered when Minaeve came out. Teasings and mutterings about magic

I was only in the Chantry because it was quiet in there and I was able to get away from more errands. Even if everyone was buzzing around outside. It buzzed a bit in here, sort of like the lull of noise that continues after leaving a very loud room, only it was constant. I snooped around. The dungeons were my target and I was fairly surprised the locks were exactly what I expected. Simple three tumble locks that you pin up and then slide the bolt, thus locking the tumbles in place and sliding the rest of the bolt into the latch to lock. Didn’t even need a lockpicking set, just reach my fingers in, hook around and release the tumbles to unlock.  

The thrumming of noise got worse the deeper into the dungeons I got, when I remembered the herald was there and guards. I did not want to go exploring there.

Minaeve caught me as I left the dungeons and asked, nicely might I add, to deliver her request to the quartermaster.

Threnn gave me a hard stare as I approached but most of her focus was on another elf. Pale, brown haired. She was asking about supplies.

“Tell Seggrit he’ll get them when they’re ready. Now off you get Orla.” Threnn spoke like a woman who had to deal with idiots all day long. She reminded me of my sister after a long shift at Wal-mart. Fetch this, get that.  Do you have anymore in stock? The snippy attitude she had. Only, at least Threnn was allowed to say Piss off. The elf walked off with a dejected look.

“If you’re here to clean, Hess can get you a bucket and broom. Anyone calls you knife-ear, you come to me.” Threnn told me as she rubbed her temples. Hess turned out to be strikingly pale elf next to the requisitions desk that was littered with parchments.

“I’m just here to deliver a requisitions request.” I held it out to her. Her eyes closed, as she took a deep calming breath and she grabbed it and looked it over. She held it out to Hess, muttering under her breath about ‘pampered apprentices.’

I was about to walk away, the task given to me complete, when she handed me a stack of papers, a parcel or two from a box besides her. “Take these to Harritt.”

So off I went to Harritt. Just in time to come across the soldiers running down from the Temple with an injured fellow. I was handing off the parcel to Harritt who dismissed me when I was pulled into the line.

That whole knife-ear thing happened. Once they were done teaching me a lesson, the soldiers dumped me by the apothecary.

That’s when I first saw him.  It’s his fault we’re here. His fault the breach was sundered. His actions dragged perfectly innocent people over from the beyond. He had to have known this would happen, again. He's done this before and he hasn’t shown remorse.

And I don’t mean us, like the fellow from the south and the person from China. I’m talking about everyone. Even the humans who beat me, the mages, the dwarves, and the vashoth folk too. We are nothing to him. That's why he had no problem burning it all down and trying to start fresh. But it didn’t work. Just like his first plan, he messed up.

I don’t advocate for violence but punching him was satisfying. It was also not a good idea. Punching him again, also not advised. Kicking him in his balls - well that was just hitting him where I knew would hurt. If I could have, I would have strangled him with his scrotum. But I was dragged off and dumped far from him into a snowbank to “cool my fiery head” outside the main gates of Haven. There might have been an added kick or two by the guards.

I didn’t stay there for long. The soldiers were going to come through there, running in full armament. I did not want them to try to pull me into line again while in less than optimal condition to walk despite the apothecary’s efforts.

I managed to get far enough away and into the surrounding forests. The breach was still high and letting loose rifts but it wasn’t in this area. I found a cabin. I remember it being the apothecary’s master’s cabin in game. Something about Taigen’s notes found here that would show a lyrium potion recipe. But the cabin was untouched, empty and forgotten. I managed to sneak past the druffalo and rams of the area. They were grazing in a single patch of exposed grass and weeds. Not too far from them was the logging site.

The buzzing was less out here. In the cabin it was still there, like a deep drumming hum of a bass line that made the ends of your hair tingle. But out there in the forest it was nicer, quieter. It was there but a lot less loud and more like the Hum, it was more familiar.   

I’m hiding out in here. Like a criminal. Not an unfamiliar feeling. Even though he should be the one punished.

You know, in the quiet moments after exiting the Chantry, he would stare through us all. We’re equivalent to Tranquil to him. Because we’re not real. We are a mistake. If ANYONE is the mistake. It’s HIM.

 

...

 

Stewing in anger causes nothing but more problems so I took a walk. Ill-advised but one that was needed. I’d been camped out in this cabin for a day.  There was a supply here that surprisingly wasn’t taken by Haven forces. A point of luck in my favor. Should take inventory if I’m to stay here.

There was a half burnt out fire-pit. It was shaped so that a shelf bracket could latch on easily.  

Also:

  • 2 bedrolls on cots
  • 2 dressers
  • 1 wooden desk, wooden chair
  • 1 moderately used copper pot
  • 1 ceramic water filter
  • 14 large barrels scattered on the ground floor and loft. (Haven’t checked them)
  • 5 small ale kegs
  • 6 boxes of various sizes
  • 2 Fur rugs
  • One portrait of a woman. I assume this to be Master Taigen, or their spouse?
  • A dresser top full of dried herbs
  • A shelf of assorted bottles and jars of ingredients, metals, and liquids
  • 1 cast iron cauldron
  • Aforementioned shelf bracket. 
  • Fire prongs, a set of knives. 
  • Ceramic knife (sharp!)
  • Two copper pans
  • 3 cheese wheels (One large, medium, and half eaten small)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 4 sacks of grain.
  • 5 bottles of wine - 1 half full next to an interesting picture book on a bed cot
  • 3 bottles of brandy
  • 2 small bottles of spirits
    (I took a sip of each to check)
  • 1 copper distillery
  • 4 beakers, some type of bunsen burner stand but without tube feeding gas into it. (How do they light it up?)
  • A buzzing lead box full of glowing blue dust with a scoop
  • A pair of tongs
  • 4 Plain linen beige shirts, 2 brown pants, an apron
  • 1 nightgown
  • 1 pair of night pants
  • 1 pair of gold-rimmed spectacles
  • 1 pair of leather boots
  • 3 pairs of woolen socks
  • Scattered papers of various measurements and a recipe
  • 5 scrolls with several chemical (alchemical?) theories written on them
  • A stack of blank parchment in one of the dressers
  • A chant of light - no surprise
  • 2 inkwell bottles
  • 3 black feathered quills and numerous nubs to go with them

 

Outside there were

  • 4 small empty animal traps.
  • 2 Four feet high and five feet wide stack of logs.
  • A barrel of charcoal (it was open)
  • 5 sealed barrels
  • 2 Traplines for set traps in the area.
  • 1 axe

 

That’s a hefty amount of stuff to work with here. Maybe they forgot it in the rush and chaos? If Adan knew about this place he would have found Taigen’s notes and all of this. So I think they didn't know. 

I’m sure I’m missing a lot. Mainly because I haven’t done a thorough job into the containers but it’s a start.

I’m getting hungry. I have food here but I'm nowhere near well enough to prepare it. Plus I'd like a hot meal, even if it's watered down stew and stale bread. Hopefully I can sneak back into Haven and onto the food line for supper before getting back here. I’ll hide this somewhere safe. 

 

...

 

I miss ya'll back home. 

Chapter Text

Haven 9:41 Dragon, Entry 3

My fingers are bleeding through the bandages and hurt but I have to write this down.

Got into trouble in Haven. When I snuck in, someone had just been burgled. So who did they blame?

Me. The punishment for theft is a lashing. They held my hands down and lashed at them until they could see the knuckles. I was still already bruised up from the earlier clash. Talk about insult to injury - except injury to injury.

Threnn was the one that found me. She makes the rounds around the requisitions supply tent after dinner to make sure no one thinks about stealing (they didn’t get burgled but the lyrium supply). She pulled me aside and bandaged me up, said I should try to stay out of trouble and “maker’s sake, hunch down a bit more so you’re not so tall.”

Didn’t realize I wasn’t doing enough to make myself seem unassuming. Good tip though. She got me a bowl of food when she heard my stomach making an awful racket and then sent me off.

After everything my parents went through, my grandparents fought for, and I have to be reduced to keeping my head down.

Not right.