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 kill v. maim, Anders, Carver and Cassie
NEASSA SÉVERIN
 Posted: Apr 26 2018, 12:36 AM
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NNNG
48 posts
38 years
Warrior


Neassa took point once again, this time she paid far more attention to her surroundings, determined not to alert anything else to their location. It's not like she had been doing it on purpose she just had a deficiency when it came to engaging her brain sometimes. It was made worse by Cassie, because Cassie was sensible. Neassa naturally delegated the task of thinking to whoever she was with if she deemed them more capable than she was in whatever situation. It was rare that she didn't fein full knowledge of all things past, present and pretend but she was stuck in the deep roads, and with a Warden Commander in tow. Even Neassa could see that any attempt at winging it here would be immediately noticed. Perhaps if they were trying to negotiate the best price for smuggled lyrium she would be the authority, but as things were, she didn't mind deferring to Cassie.

The network of tunnels opened up into a vast dimly lit chamber, the ceiling was so high she couldn't see it through the darkness. It may as well have been the nights sky for all she could tell. There were corpses all over laid out in pockets of destruction, most looked Darkspawn in design but it was difficult to tell spawn from rot. Neassa sighed, the hope that this latest tunnel would lead them to the surface lay as dead as the slain Darkspawn. She had never considered herself to have such strong feelings for daylight until she was denied it.

She was getting sick of this place fast.

As she turned to head back down the tunnel to return to Cassie and report that the way ahead was clear, she felt something pull her back into the chamber. Some instinct that she had missed something. A feeling she had long laid to rest with the addiction, a sense of magic. She reminded herself she was travelling with a mage but, the direction was all wrong. As was the composition.

That's when she heard the shouting and sparks of blue lightning broke up the dark of the chamber, not far from where she was. Well, she hadn't killed anything in the last half hour so...she might as well.

As she neared the edge of the ridge she found them fighting below, a man surrounded on all sides by Darkspawn, but that was hardly a new turn of events down here. It was the man she was most interested in. If he could even be called such. She had two careers worth of experience with his sort, from Templar to Seeker she had seen every corruption of magic to ever corrupt and this thing was no more human than the Darkspawn it raged against. An abomination. A mage overcome with a fade spirit. The only thing she didn't know was the nature of the demon, but she didn't need to know that, didn't care. She should leave him to the Darkspawn, let them rend him apart and she would have had she trusted their ability to put him down.

Sword already drawn Neassa leapt down from where she was to engage, watching as the lightning tore through the fleshy forms of the Hurlocks, lancing from one to another while the creatures filled the chamber with their death rattles. She spared the one closest to her the same fate, sword bursting through his chest, his back to her. The Darkspawn were not her concern and they were so focussed on the abomination that they barely noticed her arrival, it made hacking a path to the man remarkably easy for her. He was caught in a scuffle with one of the Hurlocks by the time she reached him, it was bearing down on him, body scorched from the lightning but still determined to pull the man apart. She could respect that. But that was her job so-

“Move!” Neassa barked, as if the creature would heed her command. It wasn't given time to consider doing so before she stabbed it under the arm and forced it to the side. Her hand clamped down on the mages shoulder, steadying him and casting Silence in one, he wouldn't like this next part and might try to light her up. Her sword found his gut with a practiced ease, but she was not permitted to dig it deep enough to make an exit wound as the Hurlock from before was back at her side. How he was still alive was beyond her. “I'm busy! For fuck sake-” she snapped, holding him at bay with her free hand as its efforts waned. It wheezed, heart and lung punctured. It eventually lay at her feet, fingers curling over the edges of her boots, dying slowly. ”Finally.”

Now, where was that abomination? Oh yeah. Also at her feet. ”Who'd have thought I would find rats like you even down here.”
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ANDERS
 Posted: Apr 27 2018, 11:22 AM
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Angel
59 posts
33 years
Mage


At some point he'd gotten separated from Carver and the others. The hoard of darkspawn was unending, and besides that, they were tougher. Smarter. Anders was missing home more and more as the seconds ticked by and seeing as how he was a wanted man in that time period that was saying a lot. He panted as he stood, watching the darkspawn as they circled around him. Damn it all to the void, he wasn't made for such constant fighting. He was a healer for fuck's sake. That wasn't to say that he couldn't fight, he could do it quite well actually, but he didn't prefer it.

One of the creatures decided they'd had enough waiting and charged him. Anders grit his teeth, magic sizzling on his fingertips he caught the darkspawn pressing his palm against its forehead as it thrashed about, before shoving it forward towards another. The mage barely had time to turn his back before the darkspawn exploded, splattering blood and gore everywhere. He hated that spell. Why did he even know it? Whatever, it didn't matter now.

A hiss left Anders' lips as a darkspawn attacked him from behind, biting into the hollow between his neck and shoulder. The razor-like teeth ripped into his flesh, and for a moment all he could focus on was the pain that it caused. In a split second everything became sharper in his focus, and he allowed his consciousness to slide into darkness as Justice took over. The spirit ripped into the creatures with near the same aggression as they had. With Justice in control, there was no need to pause for breath or to rest between kills. Neither did he keep track of time to know how long he'd been at this.

The only thing he was focused on was killing these creatures that tainted the very air they breathed. He didn't even notice when some of them began to divert their attention to something else. He didn't hear the bitter female voice shouting at the creatures to move. The weight of a hand on his shoulder drew his attention moments before the sword slid through his stomach. Anders knew the moment Justice receded from his mind as white-hot pain blinded him. His hand came up to grip the blade, slicing in his palm as attempted to pull the sword from his gut. Blood splattered his lips as he released a breath, and he glared at the woman.

Templar Fantastic.

"And here I thought the only monsters down here were the darkspawn, how lucky for me." Anders hissed, his hand sliding along the blade down to the hilt, blood dripping from his hand down to the ground. He was exhausted and annoyed that the damn spirit took this moment to retreat back into his mind.
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NEASSA SÉVERIN
 Posted: Apr 27 2018, 01:02 PM
Quote
NNNG
48 posts
38 years
Warrior


She watched as the light dimmed from his eyes, form reverting back to something far more disappointing, something woefully human. Just a man.

Now she looked like a right dick, running up and stabbing a poor homeless man when there were plenty of other viable options for such egregious violence. Still, she had seen his true face. Hadn’t she? A whisper of doubt echoed in her mind.

Her more vivid hallucinations had long since stopped with the worst of her withdrawal, and there was none of the nausea that she had come to expect as a precursor to a bad turn. Besides, she was clean. Had been for years...but she knew her recovery was not finite, the lyrium would haunt her along with the misdeeds it had influenced until the day she died.

Then he spoke. And it reminded her so clearly of something any of the apostates she had ever hunted would say to her before she laid them in the dirt, and she knew she had not imagined it. This was not a misdeed.

Neassa leaned on her blade ever so slightly, meeting his bitter remark with a smirk. ‘An abomination, calling me a monster.’ Before he could get any more comfortable with her sword in his gut she dislodged it sharply, blood following blade in an arc and splashing against the earth. ‘Flattery will get you…’ how’d the rest of that go? She shrugged, didn’t matter. ‘Well, still dead but if you’re dishing it out, I’ll take it.’

As ever, the Darkspawn were kind enough to announce their intention to attack with a snarl. Neassa rolled her eyes and jabbed the abomination in the throat. ‘Just, take a breather one sec,’ that was good. That was so good. But these fucking idiot darkspawn appreciated it as much as they did her sword in their face, necks, chests, backs, whichever parts of them she could catch while ducking and weaving. When she was the only thing still standing, she returned her attention to the man. The Darkspawn lay in several degrees of dead and almost dead around them, some killed by the mage himself before she had reached him and others left twitching as she had knocked them down but had yet to cast the killing blow. Because she was all too aware of how impermanent Silence was and that magic would soon return to him.

‘Ok, let’s do this,’ she was ready to kill him now, whether or not he was ready to die.

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CARVER HAWKE
 Posted: May 10 2018, 04:01 PM
Quote
sugar
34 posts
30 years
Warrior


MEANWHILE, WELL OUT OF EARSHOT....


He was moving, but could hardly register doing so. Heavy boots pushed forwards with no real destination, so long as he didn't lose sight of the woman slightly in front of him. Picking up the pace to keep time with her, his eyes burned into her features, wondering if he hadn't been cured at all and perhaps this was just the extreme tail end of his disease. There would be no cure at all, and Carver would be lost with his thoughts, his mind playing tricks on him to give him a life of peace, someone that he would be able to look up to, someone who was experienced, older, in a path of life that was non-abrasive to anything but the Darkspawn. An ideal path, one that he hadn't even considered taking back in Kirkwall. The stakes had been too high, back then, to consider anything else.

Or maybe, Carver was just too selfish.

None of it mattered, not anymore. There was no telling if the rest of his family was still alive, as it was. Finding someone else who seemed to have stumbled across the same predicament as himself and Anders was promising, but it still was no promised way out. Carver was still stuck here, with another warden's help or not. If she couldn't figure her way out of the deep roads, then he didn't know who could.

At least he no longer had the threat of losing himself looming upon his shoulders. It certainly made sleeping at night easier. He'd been warned about the dreams, but they didn't even bother him nor wake him: what he had been through severely trumped anything he could experience now. Of that, Carver was absolutely certain.

He hadn't intended to wander this far; it had been Nolani's direction to split up, travel as far as they could safely in the split in the tunnels and then return to report their findings, and then decide as a group which way was the best to continue on. Not the greatest idea, in retrospect, but he doubted any of the others would be bringing along another person who'd suffered the same fate.

"I hope we can find your traveling companion soon," Carver observed as they walked, partially for his own benefit and for the benefit of his own traveling party. He needed to get back to them, report his findings, and eventually, he would extend the invitation to the warden and the Templar when he met her. The thought of meeting someone else who was like him quickened his heart—it wasn't as if he wasn't grateful for the warden's presence, but she was still a mage. It didn't matter, at the end of the day, if they shared the same proverbial coat of arms—the two would never be the same.

"How long have the two of you been down here?" He couldn't recall the answer, for himself. Half the time he'd spent a madman, hardly a person anymore, a shell of himself. He'd already decided it was already best to leave that part out of any stories to those who didn't already know, because he had no interest in creating a monster out of himself now that he had full control once again. He hadn't hurt anyone who hadn't wanted to be hurt, so in his opinion, everything he'd done was warranted, given the circumstances.

"I can't rightly recall, myself. Over a month, probably. I can't tell if my vision has gotten better or worse while being down here." A joke that had fallen flat. It was a serious concern, wondering if his eyes would be able to adjust to the lighting of the surface if they ever managed to reach it. Carver had gotten used to several of the bitter truths of this world, in regards to surviving—luxury had never been of real import to him, so it didn't bother him as much as most that there was nothing soft to sleep on, nothing to properly satiate taste buds. His primary focus had never been focused on things that could be taken away—more so people.

He scanned the upcoming fork in the cavern, but opted not to take the lead on it. Anders had been able to sense Darkspawn, and either Carver hadn't been able to figure out the knack of doing so yet or there were simply none around—but he'd leave it up to Cassie.
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CASSIOPEIA SOPHRONIUS
 Posted: May 16 2018, 03:12 AM
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The man was quiet. Intent. A little too intent, if she were perfectly honest. She could see him staring out of the corner of her eye, though her peripheral vision wasn’t clear enough for her to see his expression so she knew why he was staring.

She’d ran into him after Neassa had gone scouting ahead. He’d appeared out of a path that converged with theirs, though the tunnel entrance had been hidden by a turn in the rock wall. She’d nearly bludgeoned him with her staff, both because of the close proximity and her recent squabble with mana depletion making her reluctant to waste magic when blunt force trauma would work just as well. Thankfully she’d registered he was human rather than spawn in time to pull her swing, and he was spared having his brains dashed against the nearest wall and she didn’t have to clean them off her staff. Cassie could almost hear Neassa snarking ‘win-win’ in her head.

The man – Carver, he’d said his name was – finally spoke. Cassie gave herself permission to look at him properly, but whatever reason he’d been staring at her was not evident on his face. ‘And I yours,’ she said. The idea that there were other Wardens down here – plural, at least three – was more relieving than she could say. Of course, they needed to find them, and Neassa. She wasn’t going to leave her down here, not after everything.

‘I’m not entirely sure,’ Cassie admitted. ‘Not long though. A day, maybe two at most. Haven’t run out of water yet at least. I was asleep for part of it. You?’ And had that nightmare. She wanted to ask about it, but something about his behaviour was... awkward, for lack of a better word. Like he wasn’t used to this.

A month, trapped down here? That was worrying. To have not found a way out in all that time, with multiple Wardens.

Her fear that they were in a cut-off section of the Roads breathed, the ghost of adrenaline spiking through her. She shoved it away. 'Then hopefully that means we're close to finding the surface. A month is a long time to be looking for the exit.'

She managed a small smile at his joke. You take what you can down here.

There was a fork in the road. Cassie groaned internally. She hoped Neassa had had the sense to mark which path she’d taken. She could sense spawn and Wardens, not ex-Seekers or Templars.

Speaking of Wardens, she could feel the tug in her blood, leading her down the left hand path. Warden, and spawn.

Although...

She fell back, just fractionally, watching Carver, testing her theory. Sure enough, he stalled, waiting for her to take point.

‘So how long since your Joining?’ she asked, as if making conversation as she took the lead, down the left path. The sensation was too faint for her to discern more than ‘Wardens and darkspawn this way’. While the two could have engaged, they could also be safely apart – for now. Better they hurry, but if Carver was a new recruit as she suspected then she wanted that information up-front before they hit a band of darkspawn. She watched him carefully, waiting for any sign he’d noticed the pull towards the spawn. She tracked the feeling, weighing it as they got closer. Fighting? Not? How many spawn? How many Wardens? Did they need to hurry?

Too far to tell yet. She just hoped Neassa was this way too.
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CARVER HAWKE
 Posted: Jun 28 2018, 11:29 AM
Quote
sugar
34 posts
30 years
Warrior


Carver’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head at the quick response to his question—naturally, his sudden inferiority in this situation had caused a spark of anger to shoot up, threatening to overtake him, but he pushed it back down. If anything, that just meant that whatever the issue was that had dragged himself and the mage down here that it was still an ongoing problem. He simply chose not to respond to her offhand comment about finding an exit—whether or not it had been intended to be condescending was unclear, but he wasn’t about to soil the relationship before it had even been given a proper chance to start.

The fork in the tunnel caused him to balk, but it was of no consequence to either of them—the woman seemed far more experienced and it wasn’t just because she donned the proper warden armor, either. The surefooted nature in which she continued down that path where he had been left with confusion, uncertainty and a strong lack of desire to not continue in that direction was what set them apart. All he could sense was death and considering how close to it he had become within the past week, he wasn’t ready to go to head to head with it once again. Not yet. But if he ever were to have a fighting chance in the world, it would be following at this woman’s heels. Despite the battle that they would come across, he had to stay with her.

”Er, not long.” Nevermind the fact that he hadn’t been able to discern real time in quite a while, save for keeping a loose record of the amount of times he’d woken up since he had been able to regain a full sense of living inside of his own head. The experience was one that he didn’t wish to repeat – the nightmares from becoming a warden were hardly a fraction of what he had become used to. He still woke up nights from them, but it was hardly enough to spook him, hardly enough to keep him remembering who he was, where he was, like before.

As far as the Templar was concerned, no one else would know about what happened to him.

”I’m still getting used to it,” Carver offered carefully as he picked up stride to walk in line besides Cassie, not exactly lying. It was hard to be in full control again, exercising a freedom that he had been more than sure he’d never get back. ”Not exactly where I figured I’d end up, but then again—“ A slight gesture to their current dreary surroundings, ”do any of us really?

Cautious eyes turned to his right as the pair made their way through the tunnels, that overwhelming feeling of dread overpowering anything else that he might have been able to feel. ”And we’re going this way becauuuuuse…..” Not that he was questioning her judgment, if anything, confirming that it was what he thought. Surely she had to feel it, too. ”I want to help your friend, too, but I don’t think either of us are going to be able to do much if we’re dead.
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CASSIOPEIA SOPHRONIUS
 Posted: Jul 3 2018, 07:49 AM
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While not intentionally condescending, she spoke her mind when distracted by the worry they were all trapped. In a more civil setting, she would have put more thought into it – or just not said it at all – but given how dire the situation was looking she didn’t even realise it might have come across poorly.

Carver soon confirmed what she’d guessed. Now to find out how capable he was. ‘Why were you chosen; prior experience fighting the spawn? You’re Fereldan, from your accent.’ He was old enough to have been an adult during the Blight; it wasn’t an unreasonable assumption. It was a common reason to recruit; they already knew what they were doing when it came to darkspawn and had been skilled enough to kill the bastards instead of be killed or dragged off to the Deep Roads.

She smiled, remembering her first year. It was quite the learning curve. ‘It can be a rough transition. Give yourself a year or two and everything should have settled down by then. Maybe faster for you, without early menopause to deal with.’ That had been probably the worst part of becoming a Warden, after the nightmares during the Blight.

Cassie laughed, glancing around at the stone walls and taint-spattered floor in wry amusement. ‘Agreed; I don’t think even the Rivaini Seers could have predicted this.’ Whatever ‘this’ was. All she knew was that people had been transported via rifts to a section of the Deep Roads she didn’t recognise, and it wasn’t just a fluke occurrence.

Her lips twitched at the question. The lad was nothing like Cair, but in that one instant he sounded like him. She waited for his reasoning to come to a close before responding, nodding to show she understood. Because not only might my friend be this way, I think yours is as well. You might not be sensitive enough to it yet, but soon you’ll be able to distinguish between the spawn and other Wardens. And I can sense both ahead. Neassa might have taken the other path, but... well, it’s Neassa. She always finds the most trouble in a given area. If she isn’t there, I can back-track and check the other road. For now, we may as well link up with whoever is up ahead. Either it’s your friend, or another Warden who might know this area.’

She half-closed her eyes, reaching out through the whispers, untangling them until she made out the screams.

Fighting. Definitely fighting.

She picked up her pace; waving the hand that wasn’t holding her glowing staff. Stones began to roll towards them both, gathering, running up her body first so she didn’t alarm him, then Carver’s, slotting into place and forming armours of rock around the pair of them. It didn’t restrict their movement, the stones shifting to accommodate them while still protecting them. A second wave appeared to do nothing. ‘I think they’re in trouble; hurry. And if we have to fight, don’t panic when you draw your sword – I’ve enchanted it with fire. It won’t harm you, but it will the spawn. And don’t worry – I’m not in the habit of letting my Wardens die.’ Whether he believed her or not was up to his own cynicism, but she would pluck him and anyone else out of the fray, stick them behind her and call down a storm on the darkspawn if she had to. She’d probably collapse afterwards – a short sleep interrupted by a nightmare and a few mouthfuls of slightly charred deepstalker were not enough to restore her mana reserves, but desperate times, desperate measures.

She led the way, striding ahead, trying to keep track of the feel of Warden amongst the throng of the spawn and hoping to find Neassa nearby but safe, not in the middle of a horde of darkspawn.

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ANDERS
 Posted: Jul 4 2018, 10:46 AM
Quote
Angel
59 posts
33 years
Mage


A snarl left his lips as she leaned her weight against her sword, pushing the blade further into his flesh. Another bitter response was on the tip of his tongue, but he choked on blood before he could actually get anything out. Anders released a cry of pain as she abruptly pulled her sword free, splattering blood on the ground around them. He staggered slightly, blood loss causing him to be unsteady on his feet.

The blood seemed to cause the darkspawn to become more frenzied in their attack. It actually made him smile, teeth stained with blood. So he might die here, but at least he'd most likely get to see the Templar torn apart by the darkspawn as they advanced. If luck wasn't on her side, she'd be drug off to be turned into one of their broodmothers. Part of him hoped she was unlucky.

Anders barely had time to register what was happening when her hand connected with his throat. The blow caused whatever strength he'd managed to use to keep himself on his feet to leave him and he went to his knees. His hand went to his throat as if by some miracle he could convince his body to stop choking with a mere touch of his hand. Without his magic he was at the mercy of his wounds.

A hurlock managed to slip past the woman, coming at him at a run, and Anders wheezed as he attempted to take in a breath from the throat punch from earlier. His hand dropped from his throat to the ground, wrapping around the hilt of a discarded sword, most likely from one of the other darkspawn already perished. Gritting his teeth, he lunged forward, using the last bit of his strength to knock into the hurlock, driving the blade deep within it's chest.

Anders fell onto the hurlock with a groan, the hilt of the blade slamming into his gut. He rolled to the side, resting on the ground next to the fallen darkspawn. He took in a breath, one that burned from the injury to his throat, and coughed as he choked on his blood. It didn't stop a grin from coming over his lips as the woman stood over him, readying his sword to finish what she'd started.

"May the Void take you, you bloody bitch," he hissed between teeth, spray blood and saliva as he did.
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CARVER HAWKE
 Posted: Jul 7 2018, 10:25 AM
Quote
sugar
34 posts
30 years
Warrior


”Er…” Probably best to not answer that question for now, judging on the fact that wardens were not supposed to be pity-joined, and regardless of his skill it was likely what someone higher-up would think of him as, and he didn’t want Anders—or the Hero, for that matter—to get in trouble. Luckily, the time for small talk seemed to have come to a swift end with Cassie’s encouragement to move faster and that the warden she could sense might have been the mage.

His heart quickened with something he could hardly recognize as fear as he picked up the pace, drawing his sword and nodding slightly at her explanation to why it was glowing and—if the situation wasn’t potentially dire he would have stopped to admire the continual flames licking at the air like it was simply covered in oil and burning. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to have a mage or two along… this was really cool. Why hadn’t Anders shown him something like that when he was trying to gain favor? It would have changed the game a lot sooner. He supposed a moron wouldn’t be able to conjure up a great idea—or even a spell to finish out the idea.

Following at Cassie’s heels as he rounded the caverns and then yet another time to the left, his heart stopped for a moment as he locked his eyes onto faraway, dark targets—one clearly had the upper hand, and the other was on the ground, coughing blood, wounded—it wasn’t until he could take another few steps forward in confusion to realize it was—

NO!

It seemed surreal, almost laughable that the one moment he and Anders separated the mage would come to an untimely end. After everything that they’d been through down here—this wasn’t how it was going to end. Something came over him and his mind was wiped. He was around Cassie and sprinting full force to break up the pair with so little control that he just—barreled right into the woman, sending her down and him along with her. His armor, beaten down as it was from lack of attention or fixings to it from all of the battles he’d partaken in since being stuck in these caverns, still served him well and captured the brunt of his fall. A grunt and he was up again, crushing one of his knees down to the woman’s hip to hold her there. His left hand pushed to her wrist and his blade hovered just above that woman’s neck, the flames dangerously close to her skin—touching it intermittently. Surely, within a minute he’d melt her damn windpipe.

The help of his new mage friend would, ironically enough, help the magekiller find her end.

Surely, this wasn’t the best use of his energy—Anders was still laying completely forgotten, hardly at the forefront of his mind rather than taking out the one who did this to him. He lacked finesse, he lacked control—and it showed.

”You fucked up,” Carver snarled at her through near gritted teeth, though his lips widened eerily with the thrill of being able to fight another person again, his eyes gleaming in kind—”And now you’re going to pay for it.”
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NEASSA SÉVERIN
 Posted: Jul 9 2018, 10:59 AM
Quote
NNNG
48 posts
38 years
Warrior


He was a dramatic one, that’s for sure. Neassa laughed, she couldn’t help it. “Well, the Void can certainly try.”

She was moments away from murder. It would be the first in a long time, the first life she had taken since killing a stranger in a hovel in Lowtown all those years ago. Lyrium withdrawal forced a certain degree of pacifism upon her, purely in how it had left her as a weak and rambling mess. But she had kept her sword from taking any further lives upon her recovery, her ability to shrug off the act had been diminished with her lyrium intake and a wisp of a conscience had taken root in the void left behind. But this was justified. She would not have lost sleep over killing an abomination. If anything it would have felt vindicating, to be confronted with a possessed mage after all those years spent hunting apostates, killing and capturing them in equal measure, she could do it again. She could kill him and it would all be square in the eyes of The Chantry, he deserved it. Andraste had turned from him and though she was not a Seeker any longer, the training remained. The skills. She was the only one who could kill him, this was her burden to bear and she would be happy to shoulder the weight-

Whatever hit her could only be described as a speeding hulk of steel. Her world upended, eyes trying and failing to focus on the wash of colours it was met with until she hit the ground hard. Neassa saw then, when her vision found form once more, that it was a man. Any concerns she had had of being blindsided by a stampeding ogre were abated, but as he knelt roughly on her hip she conceded that even this was still not ideal.

She grunted, her comparative lack of armour left her momentarily without words- or breath, having felt the impact in every pathetic fleshy part of her body. Bones rattled inside a soft outer shell that didn't at all match up with the attitude she exuded out into the world, Neassa too was woefully human and without her armour, it was even more apparent in that moment.

She would snark about this being an unfair match later, if she lived long enough.

His sword was at her throat, his flaming sword. Where the fuck did he get that? She could feel her skin blistering beneath it, neck, chest and chin.

All he wanted to do was kill her, all she wanted to do was get away from the flames. All thoughts were overridden by the instinct to get away, she tried to strike him with her own sword, realising only then that he had a grip of her wrist. And was that...rock armour. Neassa hissed. There was no way the abomination could have recovered enough to bestow such choice items upon his saviour. No, Neassa must have missed a mage, but that too was highly unlikely.

Wait a fucking minute.

She had been so focussed on the abomination that she had forgotten she was not alone down here, that she had left Cassie behind in the tunnels. Had this man found her?

The prospect of those being Cassie’s flames burning her skin made the sting all the more intense.

She cast Cleanse with a growl as she tried to free her arm from his grip. The flames on his blade died down and the rock armor dispersed, purged by her anti magic. Even with the flames gone the burn to her skin and ego remained.

“Excuse...me…...but...there’s...a...queue...” Neassa managed, voice hoarse. She felt every word as it dragged itself across her tongue and out of her mouth ahead of the blood. In an instant, she used her free hand to shove his sword to the side, moving her upper body inwards towards him, sitting up as much as she could. Neassa swung an elbow into the side of his face in the hopes of dethroning him and getting herself free.

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