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Missives To A Missing Brother

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Dear Fergus,

The deed is done. Alistair sought me out last night, needing to know Anora's response before he could rest. We spent the balance of the night making our farewells to each other. Once the betrothal to Anora was announced at this morning's council meeting, our feelings no longer mattered. Alistair's conscience will not permit any further intimacies, nor will mine. He is now promised to another and it is not my place to come between them.

Anora offered a suggestion regarding where we might find some evidence against her father. She suspects he has had a hand in stirring up unrest in the Alienage and recommended that we investigate events there. I took Zevran, Sten and Morrigan with me. We arrived there to find most of the residents queued up in front of the infirmary awaiting a chance to have a Tevinter mage cast a protection spell upon them to ward off some sort of plague. I happened upon Soris, the elf we had freed from Howe's dungeons, who introduced us to his cousin, Shianni. She said that the mages were taking healthy people into the infirmary, and almost everyone who went in did not return. The mages told everyone that the missing people were plague victims. Shianni did not believe them, but could not get inside the infirmary to discover the truth.

We bribed the guard on the back door of the building and entered quietly. Other than a few guards, who flew at us as soon as we were noticed, the entire infirmary was empty. There was a desk in the far corner of the room with papers and gold sovereigns scattered over its surface. A brief search turned up a letter requesting that the next 'shipment' consist of six males and eight females. A door on the far side of the infirmary led into what was probably intended as a storeroom originally. When we entered it we found a handful of elves in cages. These we released to return to their kin. We exited out the back of the infirmary and went to the only other door in sight.

This let into the rear of an apartment building. The whole place stank of sickness and desperation. I tried to talk to one of the residents, but he was terrified that he would be the next one taken captive if he said anything. He admitted to seeing people being taken through the halls in chains, but then he refused to say anything more. He just stared at the wall in front of him as if it were his only hope of salvation.

We followed the hallway to yet another door opening onto yet another alley. There were guards in Tevinter style armor who challenged us when we appeared, then realized we were not Tevinter ourselves and attacked us. Their fighting style is somewhat different from any I had seen before, but they were overcome after a brief struggle. At the other end of the alley we entered a warehouse and began exploring it. We encountered more guards, including the one we had bribed at the infirmary. None of them seemed happy to see us and none of them survived the introductions. At last we came to a large chamber where the head slaver (for that is what they were) was supervising the loading of several cages full of elves onto sleds for transfer onto a barge on the River Drakon.

He tried to bribe us with promises of proof that Loghain was neck deep in the slave trade, and when that failed, with an offer to cast on us all a blood magic spell to boost both health and constitution. I countered with an offer to let the elves decide upon a suitable punishment which I would then allow them to administer. The slaver did not care for my offer, so we fought. Tevinter battle magic is nasty stuff, and there were a few tense moments where the outcome of the battle hung in the balance. Morrigan let loose all restraints and fought her foe with all her skill and cunning, and finally found the chink in his magical 'armor'. Once the head slaver was down, the rest of the troops fell to our blades with little more difficulty. We searched their bodies and found contracts, signed in Loghain's own hand, selling elven folk into slavery in return for Tevinter gold, weapons, and magical assistance. Again, we released the elves being held prisoner.

When we returned to the square in front of the infirmary, it was to discover that the Tevinter mages were nowhere to be found. Whether they fled when they realized the deal had fallen apart, or whether the elven folk had set upon them when those we freed made known what had befallen them, I do not know, or particularly care. Shianni was the only one still waiting in the square. She thanked us for our efforts on behalf of their community.

There was a Templar standing off to one side of the square, and this was enough to raise my curiosity. I would have thought that the Tevinter mages casting spells not sanctioned by the Chantry should have brought a whole unit of Templars, not just one. I went over to him to tell him that the mages were gone. When I neared him, however, I noticed that his eyes were covered with a white film that left him blind for all reasonable uses. I asked if he required aid. He replied that he would be most pleased to have some assistance. His task was to investigate complaints of maleficars in the Alienage, and he asked that we look around for anything that seemed out of place or abnormal.

We spread out, not really knowing what we sought, but finding it nonetheless. There was a pool of blood that smelled of rotten eggs, a rabid dog's body putrifying in the street, a poor wench who seemed to have lost her mind, and a feral dog that no one seemed to take much notice of though it barked most viciously. When we told the Templar, Ser Otto, of our findings, he insisted upon going to the building nearest to where the signs were all found. There had been a riot in the Alienage some days before, and the Orphanage had been attacked, with near total fatalities. This was the building Ser Otto proposed to enter in search of the 'sense of wrongness' that pervaded the area.

Our party helped him investigate the place, and we found several demons of various types. These we dispatched back into the Fade. There were also spirits of some of the murdered residents, kept there by the demons, according to Ser Otto. For a man who was all but blind he was a remarkably gifted fighter. He must have been a terror when he had his eyes. We were almost through the building when a very strong rage demon materialized behind Ser Otto and ran him through with a pitchfork. I think I came as close as I ever want to be to going Berserker at that moment. I felt nothing but outrage at the unkindness of fate that allowed that man to survive so much, only to be slaughtered from behind, and I threw myself at the demon in total fury. Time seemed to slow and I could see what moves the demon would make before it could make them. I skewered it on my blade and sent it screaming back into the Fade. My only regret was that I couldn't repeat the process as many times as necessary to feel that Ser Otto had been properly avenged.

After combing the rest of the building to ensure all the demons were gone, we returned to Arl Eamon's estate. He was both disgusted and pleased that we had proof of Loghain's participation in the slave trade, and hoped that it might be enough to turn the tide in our favor. The Landsmeet is set for tomorrow afternoon. It has been decided that Wynne, Sten and I will accompany Alistair. Wynne is able to speak for the Mages' Circle, I can vouch for the findings in the Alienage, and anyone who considers attacking us is likely to think twice with Sten acting as bodyguard.

Wish me luck and the Maker's blessing, big brother. This is the turning point where I find out if all my efforts have been for nothing, or if the Maker smiles on what I have done. If Loghain wins the day I expect it will be my last upon this world.

Always know that I love you, Fergus.

Your sister,