UNBOUNDHere on Unbound, our plot follows four different timelines, set throughout the canonical history of the Dragon Age. The events following Trespasser, the time of the Inquisition, the rise of the Champion of Kirkwall and the quest of the Warden against the Fifth Blight.
And So is the Golden City blackened
With each step you take in my Hall.
Marvel at perfection, for it is fleeting.
You have brought Sin to Heaven
And doom upon all the world.
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ruya, mother. a rivaini seer. blind from birth, her inability to perceive the material world through sight allows her to `see` the world beyond the veil clearly.
- a human eye inside a triangle on the back of her neck.
- a ship at sea on her upper back. beneath the waves, on zareen's lower back, lurks a huge, squid-like sea monster.
- on her chest, a pair of falcons engaged in a fierce aerial battle.
- on her left forearm, a sword-hilt dagger with a snake coiled around it.
- a waxing crescent moon on the inside of her left wrist.
- a waning crescent moon on the inside of her right wrist.
- on her left calf, a ship's anchor with a shark coiled around it.
- on her right foot, a human skull pierced through with a rondel dagger.
- a pair of 1mm round gold stud earrings.
- a 1mm round gold stud in her left nostril.
- two pairs of delicate gold rings inserted through her septum and through the centre of her lower lip.
- fit and well; lacks physical strength but is agile and athletic
- eats healthily, but drinks more than she recommends her patients do
- stable, but occasionally experiences nightmares in which she relives the wrecking of the halcón
- occasionally has dreams which contain coded visions of possible futures, but cannot experience visions at will and is usually unable to discern their meaning
13 haring, 9:40 dragon
The storm comes out of nowhere.
Zareen is below deck when it hits, removing an arrow from Adán's shoulder: the sole casualty of an otherwise successful raid on an Orlesian merchant galleon. Adán curses in Antivan when Zareen pushes a wad of honey-coated gauze into the wound to open it, though - to his credit - he manages to keep almost still.
But even a little movement is enough to break the sinew securing the shaft to the arrowhead. Zareen discards the loose shaft into a metal pail beneath the operating table, reaching for a scalpel with her free hand. Nothing for it now but to search for the arrowhead and hope to discover it sooner rather than later.
“An inch to the left and you might have lost the use of this arm,” she tells Adán as she makes the first incision into his shoulder. “You're lucky.”
Adán only grunts in response, setting his jaw hard and gripping the sides of the operating table until his knuckles turn pale. Two cuts later, Zareen locates the arrowhead, buried deep in the intersection of Adán's arm and torso: easier to push straight through than to pull back out.
Zareen pushes a forceps into the third incision to grasp the arrowhead and pushes gently. It's a slow process, the care required limiting the speed at which the procedure can be completed. Zareen talks to distract Adán from the pain, and, several minutes later, lifts his shoulder from the surface of the operating table to collect the arrowhead, slick with blood.
And then, without warning, the Halcón lists so violently to starboard that Adán slides from the operating table into Zareen, casting them both to the floor in a torrent of objects that spill from the surface of the table and from an overturned medicine chest: surgical instruments, dried herbs tied with twine, jars of salts and ointments, unfurling rolls of gauze. Cries of alarm filter down from the deck above, barely audible beneath the piercing rasp of the ship's timbers under stress and the thunder of waves breaking against her sides.
By the time Zareen emerges on deck, arms raised to shield her face against the violence of the storm, the ship is past saving. Seconds later, a wave a hundred feet high breaks over the Halcón's port side and pulls her into the sea.
For months and years to come, Zareen will relive the next hours in dreams from which she will wake in a cold sweat and shaking: helpless in the grip of currents made wild by the storm as the ship breaks up around her, beset by the biting cold of the sea, the gale, the driving rain, now dragged beneath the waves, now fighting to resurface, now colliding with a splintered fragment of the Halcón's mainmast to which she holds fast for all she is worth.
15 haring, 9:40 dragon
Zareen wakes on a strip of white sand. The day is cold and bright. Zareen’s mouth is dry and tastes of salt. When she tries to move, she finds she cannot. The tide breaks over her.
A hand grips her jaw, lifting her face up to meet the gaze of a man with short ash-blond hair and piercing grey eyes. A second man leading two grey horses by their reins approaches, visible in the near distance.
“Elle est vivante,” the first man calls over his shoulder to the second, who breaks into a run, urging the horses on with him. Orlesian. She’s alive.
Between them, the two men lift her from the sand and set her astride one of the horses. The blond man presses a canteen made from hardened leather into her hand.
“Eau,” he says. Water. Zareen drinks. The other man takes off his cloak and wraps her in it for warmth.
Their faces are familiar. Where has she seen them before? It’s only later that it comes back to her: in a dream some seven days ago, a dream in which the men's attire had been emblazoned with an image of a human eye pierced through with a flaming sword.
Their names are Edmond and Gaétan, and they are brothers. Edmond is a mage like Zareen; Gaétan is a templar, or was, until the Circles fell. Now mages and templars fight each other, and the brothers are journeying to Haven, to the Conclave, where peace will be brokered and the conflict ended. Gaétan tells Zareen this while she sits astride his horse and he walks alongside, leading the horse by its reins.
They rest the horses at a village east of Lydes. Zareen exchanges her gold necklace for supplies and a horse, a bay mare she names Safiya. That evening, seated around a candlelit table set with plates of roast meat and pewter chalices of wine typical of the region, Edmond asks her where she will go.
Zareen’s ship and crew are gone. What else is there for her on land but to follow these two?
“I thought I might go with you to Haven,” she replies, after a moment’s thought.
They leave the following morning.
29 guardian, 9:41 dragon
The journey takes longer than expected, a blizzard forcing them to take a circuitous route through sheltered mountain passes. They arrive in Haven to find the Temple of Sacred Ashes destroyed and the sky itself rent asunder.
It’s Gaétan, this time, who asks her what she plans to do next. Zareen doesn’t hear him at first, her attention held instead by the symbol painted in vermilion on the white canvas tents that have been erected outside the village: a human eye, pierced through with a flaming sword.
Gaétan repeats his question. Zareen shoulders her pack and pulls on Safiya’s reins, leading her towards the village.
“I’ll stay here,” she calls over her shoulder.
For now, at least.
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