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kill v. maim, Anders, Carver and Cassie
Posted: Apr 26 2018, 12:36 AM
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.”
Posted: Apr 27 2018, 11:22 AM
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.
"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.
Posted: Apr 27 2018, 01:02 PM
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.
Posted: May 10 2018, 04:01 PM
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.
Posted: May 16 2018, 03:12 AM
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.
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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