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UNBOUND

Here 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.

-Threnodies 8.13


 
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 at least to do no harm, HONOR | TBD
as played by CRIM

132" posts

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Mage
Niamh fidgeted nervously atop the saddle for the thousandth time. It was intermittently because of the altitude, the company, or the horse itself. She was sure there was a glimmer of murder in its eye just waiting for an opportunity to kick her for carrying a staff so awkwardly on its back. She was keeping her eyes open when she dismounted, for certain. The company was a small band of Inquisition regulars - including the lady Inquisitor herself. Not at all disconcerting or anything, of course not.

It wasn't as if they hadn't met before - Halamshiral had boasted a variety of deceased servants behind its doors, and she had accompanied the Inquisitor in the search for the killer. There was just a bit of a different context to following someone on an impulse to escape a stuffy Orlesian party. This was an actual expedition, albeit a small and likely brief one. Someone had requested the Inquisition's aid in a nearby village on the Ferelden side of the border that Skyhold rested on. it was nice to be asked along, to feel useful in some way, but the reverence with which some of the pilgrims referred to the Inquisitor was intimidating.

No telling how much trouble she would find herself in if she said the wrong thing here. And she was pretty spectacular at saying all the wrong things, given the flimsy to nonexistent filter between her thoughts and her mouth.

Everyone was being so quiet. They were nearly there, and a pin drop might spook these suspect horses. She had to - something. Lighten the mood maybe. Or ask for details about the problem? That seemed more productive.

"So - sorry, is it 'Herald' or "Inquisitor' that we're meant to call you? Only I hear people use them sort of interchangeably, and anyone important enough to know the difference usually just tells me to get back to cleaning things. Which is obviously wrong on a couple of levels, and not especially helpful at all," she said, finally pausing for breath at the end of a tirade that had picked up volume and speed as it went on.

She had considered planting glyphs on the floors near these important people. Not anything truly harmful, just a bit of paralysis to wake up their underthings and make them think twice about their rude preconceptions. It might make things worse for the other mages staying in Skyhold, though. A few strode confidently around the place with such an air that no one ever accused them of being the kitchen staff. (That they were human was probably not an impediment either.) There were plenty of others that were less confident, less certain of their place there while so many Templars continued to roam the halls and battlements in their gloaming armor. She didn't want to make their lot any worse.

So many of the Southern mages had made a bad choice, and Niamh knew full well. Maybe they hadn't been thinking clearly, maybe there was worse going on than even she had guessed trying to scout the situation. It didn't really matter now. She was on the side of helping people. As rude as some of those people could be, that wasn't going to change. On the other hand, maybe not the proper introduction to asking a basic question. One step and she had already managed a pretty spectacular failure.

Inhale, exhale, no more questions until she could picture just one in her mind.

" Sorry, so they say there's a blood mage living near the village?" she asked. "And some sort of illness? I don't practice it, but I've never seen any sort of plague accompany a blood mage specifically. I mean, if they've got into some of that red stuff I don't like to think what would happen. That stuff around the Temple? Sets your teeth...I dunno, rattling, or ringing a bit."

She had not gotten close enough to the Red Lyrium to determine the exact extent of its abilities. Suffice to say, it had been around the Temple, and apparently was spreading beyond. Some of the expected rules of magic were changing, and she wouldn't be surprised to learn that the red stuff could carry a plague if it fancied, nor would she be surprised if it turned up. This spec of a place didn't seem like a target for the Tevinters, but it could be an accident or a test. Lots of options, few of them positive. Not entirely the point. She was talking herself into circles again.

"But it's also possible that they've got a flu going around and wanted it to be someone's fault, just to - to be fair," she finished.
Sep 11 2016, 01:54 PM
as played by cherith

130" posts

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Rogue
Honor knew the elven woman beside her, she'd been delighted to see her again after their unfortunate adventure during the Winter Palace. At the time, she'd just picked the three people she'd first seen in Inquisition uniforms on her way to chase after the shady servants she'd spotted. But both elven woman she'd recruited on a whim had been incredibly helpful and proven themselves useful to the Inquisition. (Not that she doubted, she trusted the people that made these kinds of decisions.) She was finding it worth her while to get to know more of the people in her envoy, there were a multitude of abilities and personalities hiding within.

It helped that the woman's bright red hair gave her away easily. It was stunning, as was the woman it belonged to, though Honor had the distinct impression that it might take more than simple charm to learn more about the young Dalish. Which really just made this particular mission all that more interesting. She'd given up getting out of the whole Herald thing and realized she couldn't really pawn work off on her council either, each of them had a purpose. These sorts of missions had become the main staple of her responsibilities until they could learn more about Corypheus. She was determinedly learning to enjoy any perks she found along the way.

"Honor, please." She answered. "Inquisitor if you must, but only when we're dealing with people on business. Shouting Inquisitor to get my attention in a fight might be unwieldy. So, Honor, if you please?" Smiling at the woman she brought her horse up alongside in order to speak more closely.

"People do use them interchangeably I suppose, but honestly it all gets a bit tedious. I almost miss being Lady Trevelyan, but please, don't tell anyone I said that." Her eyes dark eyes sparkled with a bit of mischief, drawing the elven woman into her confidence. "And if any of those people back at the Keep give you trouble again, you just point them out to me. You were very helpful while we were company of the Empress and I won't forget that."

If they'd been walking she might have nudged the other woman with her elbow, but that would prove difficult on horseback so she refrained. Instead, Honor rode contentedly next to her in silence for a little while before the woman spoke up again.

"Yes, that's about the extent of it I believe. I know little about any of it to be honest, though poisons I might be able to help suss out -- if they're involved. From what Cyrus has told me in the past however, I think you're probably right. Blood mages do not a plague make. Red lyrium either, I don't think. Though it seems very few people are at all versed in what it might be capable of. Despite the worst of the stories." She shrugged slightly and nodded back towards the rest of the group that had accompanied them. "Though, it's always best to be thorough, especially given the current state of affairs."

The elven woman had a simple charm to her, an innocence Honor felt she recognized in her brother. Though Cyrus had been out of the circle a number of times, his ability to pelt questions in her directions about any number of mundane things was tenacious. It felt familiar, or at least comfortable.

"That's possible, though I am incredibly useless when it comes to matters of magic, or medicine. That's why I asked for you to accompany us. I'm hoping you'll be able to shed some light on things. And if not, we'll figure something out. Though I'll admit, it'll be nice to spend some time with you, Niamh."

Ahead, the village drew into sight and she heard the group behind them moving faster, scouts moving into place at their flank while the rest charged ahead. It drove her and Niamh's horses into the center of the formation as they approached. The village at a distance seemed empty and she let the others find the best place to pull aside and hitch their horses before dismounting herself. After, she held the reigns for Niamh so she could also dismount and extended an arm to help the woman down if she needed it.
Sep 19 2016, 10:45 PM
as played by CRIM

132" posts

group

Mage
"Just so long as the lady Seeker won't chase me down in the night for being informal. I know she's not here, but she does give a severe stare even over distances," Niamh confided.

In truth, she wasn't certain that the stare had been directed at her at all, but a properly stern look could intimidate even bystanders. Something about her just suggested that she was properly tough. Templars were frightening, with their shiny armor and the insignia that reminded everyone that they were there to fight mages, but they were intimidating for the monolith they represented rather than the steely glares of each individual member. The spymaster had a similar sort of look, too. She just wasn't seen as often in Skyhold. Perhaps the effect of her mystery would be diminished with overexposure.

The Inquisitor or just Honor was intimidating on reputation, but it wasn't quite the same thing. Being named as the Herald of Andraste gave her words weight. It didn't even matter if it was true or not, Niamh supposed. She was a little curious about it all like anyone would be. But when it came down to it, a lot of ordinary people would believe that what she said and did was supported by Andraste. They'd probably believe enough to build statues or start fires. It was really extraordinarily fortunate that Honor didn't look to be in the mood to light torches. Niamh had to hope that wouldn't change.

"I won't, I promise," she said quickly.

She adjusted her grip on the reins, trying to look more like the sort of distinguished company that an Inquisitor should have and not an elf unaccustomed to horses. Whatever Honor might say to the contrary, drawing her into her confidence like that, Niamh found herself wanting to put on a good face. Perhaps it was precisely because of that; she wanted to be helpful when presented with someone kind with a terrible weight on their shoulders. Whatever she thought of the philosophy behind it all, or the intimidation of the company she kept in Skyhold, Honor herself was nice. Simple manners could do a lot more than people supposed to make everyone feel cooperative.

Unlike the rude people in the castle attaching weighty presumptions to a pointed ear, she wouldn't find herself frozen in place on the ramparts with a paralysis glyph. It was a grand opportunity to rethink one's behavior with no serious harm done. The bees hadn't been her doing, nor the missing supplies from the kitchens. People kept yelling 'that elf' about it but she wasn't the elf in question.

"Blood mages will generally make very obvious monsters if they're cornered, I can't blame people for not confronting a real one if they aren't prepared," Niamh said slowly. "But yelling 'blood mage' when you break a vase isn't exactly helping. I mean, not literal, more that - that people say 'it must be blood magic' all the time to cover up other things. You don't like someone, say they're a blood mage, they get into trouble. You get their stuff when they're dragged off and it becomes proof that they're everywhere without actually finding anyone properly dangerous."

She was rambling a bit, and she knew full well. It was a slightly touchy subject for someone raised in Ferelden's Circle tower, where there had been plenty of politicking and danger but little attention given to the dangerous faction brewing under the Templars' noses. Uldred's lot had played the game well enough to survive. It was only foolish apprentices trying to read secret books that were caught, or people too afraid of their magic to pass their Harrowing. Then it got held up as an example of how evil mages were for years after. She'd heard more than a few whispers about it. They rarely used names, or bothered to include all of the mages that had been killed along the way. But the more everyone said that mages were evil, that everyone and their second cousin was a secret blood mage, the worse things would get. If there was actually a blood mage hiding here she'd do her part to help Honor stop them. If not, maybe she could do some proper good instead of grousing about broad opinions for a change.

"Oh! Thank you," Niamh said.

The Inquisitor - Honor - had stopped to help her down from the horse. Evidently she hadn't been very good at pretending to know what she was doing after all. That usually seemed to be the case. Never mind that. Niamh smiled brightly at Honor as she descended back to the wonderfully solid ground, using her for balance. This was sort of like being on boats, she felt all wobbly now that everything else had stopped moving without telling her legs in advance. The difference was she hadn't been retching over the side of the horse; undoubtedly a detail that was a great relief for everyone else. And the horse. It wasn't her fault, she had just been walking along and being a horse.

"Well, hopefully I can help," she said, voice dropping to a conspiratorial murmur given their proximity to a settlement. "Sorry, do you - I mean, do you walk in first and wave a banner so they don't point weapons at us?"

She turned on the spot to inspect the village that they had stopped on the outskirts of. Not that she had sometimes been chased away from villages, but...that was actually the point, there was little cause to lie about that now. She avoided small villages like this if she could help it. Only under cover of darkness, and never for long. They were often too small to have dedicated Templar patrols, but they had a tight hold on their little pocket of the world. They noticed right away if anything was out of place or didn't belong. Port cities let people wander through and go about their business for the most part, but places like this weren't safe. Hm. Nowhere was, to be fair. Places like this weren't good for hiding, that was more the size of it.

She shrugged one shoulder. "I know a lot more about avoiding angry, pitchfork wielding visitors than greeting them."
Oct 4 2016, 04:52 PM
as played by cherith

130" posts

group

Rogue
"It's true," Honor agreed. "People are quick to point fingers at people and things that they don't understand." She had learned this lesson quickly as she'd woken up in her cell, Cassandra staring down at her, demanding to know what had happened at the Conclave - what had happened to the Divine. Questions Honor now more than ever wanted answered for herself. She only knew slightly more now than she did that day. But people's perception of her had shifted immediately and they took very disparate and angry opinions on the matter. "Like being called the Herald of Andraste, for instance." She shrugged and nodded at Niamh. "I think you understand a thing or two about what that might feel like."

Her grip lingered as Niamh found her balance again on the firm ground. "You're welcome." Honor let the woman get her bearings before dropping her hand in order to lead them towards the front of the group. She kept Niamh within reach though, just in case.

"Well, that's part of why we have those guys." Honor pointed her glance towards one of the men towards the back of the party, who was lifting a banner for the Inquisition up from the back of his horse. "This way they can see who we are while the scouts get in ahead of us to start setting up. Plus-" here she dropped her voice as well and held up a hand- "and not that this has happened a lot, but in case there's someone looking for me. I'm not the first one they meet." Her nose wrinkled when she said it, disgust at both the need and the pageantry of her current station obvious. "Well, when they call for me. I prefer to just show up. Harder to lay traps for someone you don't know is coming. Or at least really specific ones."

She chuckled at Niamh's words, the sincerity in them quite endearing. Honor had the very specific impression that the elven woman had no idea how adorable that was. She resisted the temptation to tell her so, only because she was acutely aware that all of their party was at a stand-still, the scouts having arrived in the distance, dismounting.

With a deep breath, she urged Niamh gently back into motion with gentle pressure against her arm. Walking forward, she broke the line of their party stepping out to watch as a portly man from the village met with her scouts. She could see other vague shapes hovering at doors, or from around the corners of some of the small homes, watching but not willing to step out to greet the Inquisition. Honor understood how oppressive even a small group of Inquisition forces could seem, which was part of why they'd agreed on this arrangement. No need for all of them to ride into a small village, potentially wreaking more havoc than whatever trouble had called them there in the first place.

There was a signal from one of the scouts and Honor looked at Niamh. "That's our cue." Walking towards the village, she kept Niamh in her sightline. As they approached she spoke quickly and quietly. "We'll try and figure out where it started- who got sick first or where they think this 'blood mage' lives. We'll send a few people which ever place seems less likely, but just in case to cover every lead. You and I, will head wherever we think makes the best sense to start. If we're lucky, it's just the flu and a few scared villagers. If we're not-" she sucked in a breath, taking a moment to mentally prepare for the worst. "Stick close to me."
Oct 27 2016, 10:52 PM
as played by CRIM

132" posts

group

Mage
She pinched her face slightly in a frown, but said nothing. She had never been called the Herald of anything, in truth, so she wasn't sure if she ought to make that distinction or not. Perhaps the comparison was simply drawn to the fact that mages were not allowed to simply go along with things either. Niamh could see certain similarities, but there were still distinctions as well. People liked the idea of a Herald, for one thing. Not all people, but enough that she was steadily amassing a following that was there to create this Inquisition. Even a mage casting a healing spell was more likely to be chased right out of a town. Templars ensured that anyone showing them kindness could be in trouble for it. She didn't like the swooping fear of populous places, but she couldn't entirely blame people for fearing that.

At the same time, there were some downsides to being such a public thing as a Herald. Real or not, there might come a time when they weren't staring down doom from an unknown magic. The world would want to try to restore what had been but their Herald would still be there without the looming shadow of disaster to feel necessary. Whatever the Herald really was didn't even matter for that. A symbol, a general, touched by a magic even Niamh didn't understand...

Whatever Andraste herself had really been, all of the stories agreed that she had burned.

Niamh fixed a more resolute expression on her face to hide her train of thought. She didn't need to depress Honor with thoughts like that while they were trying to help people. Better to focus on the village, or maybe how strange it is to be arriving with people in armor instead of running away from them just as fast as her short legs can manage it.

"I suppose that makes sense, even if it is sort of...a lot," she said, gesturing vaguely at the scouts before Honor propelled her back on course with a hand on her arm.

"Right, of course." She was keeping pace with Honor as they walked into the village, holding her staff close to her side. "It would be easier if we had time to learn more about them. The villagers, I mean, not the sickness part. But this is an insular sort of place. Circles always had rumors and politicking you'd never realize looking from the outside."

If there were rivalries or power plays going on here that had been deemed blood magic, then that type of information would be invaluable. She had rattled it off at top speed so as not to derail the investigation time, but i was provided from a place of experience. While she had tried to avoid entanglements and their complications - a habit that had continued in her inability to truly commit to anything after escaping - she had still lost friends to Circle politicking and Templars. They were a potential bludgeon to be turned against rivals in certain eyes. It was a dangerous tactic, of course. Depending on which Templars got involved they might just call everyone in the vicinity an abomination to simplify matters.

There were few things more dangerous than an authority figure who simply wanted to simplify things and be done. Niamh was determined to not be such a thing while standing under the Inquisition's banner, beside the Inquisitor herself.

"I'd say start in that direction. U-unless you had another idea, sorry. It's just that I'd suggest having scouts check their Chantry first, make sure no one's trying to gather there for trouble or spreading disease. Sometimes people want to gather all together in a crisis in the Chantry, is all, and they think people need to reflect but they only spread flu faster," she said, picking up speed once again the longer she spoke. "But that house up there has two broken windows."
Dec 4 2016, 02:27 AM
as played by cherith

130" posts

group

Rogue
"It'd always be nicer to have more time to prepare. Of course, I'm going to wonder about the decisions I make later anyway-- either way-- so we learn to make due." If she only meant herself in that statement, the intention wasn't immediately evident and Honor didn't want to think too much about it. The Inquisition was doing a lot of things these days that impacted a lot of people and if she dwelled on each and every one, it'd drive her crazy. She was half there already, she thought. The Inquisition did was it had to on her word, whether she was right or wrong in leading it.

She tried to give Niamh a reassuring look, but her eyes kept straying to the congregation they approached. The rotund man that had met the scouts had a frown in place she could see at a hundred yards and it was pointed squarely in her direction now that they'd been called in. Her hand would give her away at a few dozen yards, so she didn't bother hiding it as they approached.

Voice mostly a whisper she said, "I've heard that about the circles -- not so much a surprise anymore." A half smile accompanied her words. "Always thought Cyrus had exaggerated that until all this happened."

Honor paused as Niamh spoke, glancing around to catch the house she'd indicated. With a nod, they crossed the rest of the distance to the scouts and the village mayor. Up close she could feel the air in the village like a tangible weight, something that clung to her skin. There might not be a blood mage here, but the combined, collective gaze of the town and the Inquisition was on her now and that was more than enough to make her shiver.

A scout gestured to the mayor. "Mayor Brandt, ma'am."

Honor smiled briefly at the man and gave him a nod. "Mayor. I'm sure you've given my men your thoughts on where to begin? We'll have them take a look around."

"No need, Inquisitor. We know who to blame. She lives just up there-- and it's about time someone took care of that witch." He grunted and jutted his chin in the direction of a rundown house with broken windows. Ah, Niamh was clever.

"Alright, Mayor. I'll look into it myself." She looked over at the redhead next to her. "We'll need to stop at the Chantry first? And if you can provide a list of those who might need to be treated, we'd like to see to them as well." With a nod at her scout leader, Jermaine, Honor gestured at the Mayor. "Take the addresses, meet us at there."
Jan 16 2017, 02:29 AM
as played by CRIM

132" posts

group

Mage
"I, ah, I see," Niamh replied weakly.

'We'll learn to make do' was perhaps not the most inspiring pep talk she had ever received. Not that she was only here for pep talks or anything. She was here because she wanted to help. Still, given her profile, the Inquisitor might want to brush up on some blandly inspirational sayings. In her own limited experience, people trying to lead movements would generally try to keep up appearances even if things weren't going well. Then again, maybe those people were wrong. She had no idea if that actually made anything better. It was better than inviting everyone to despair, she supposed, but at a certain point wouldn't people need a more honest assessment? They wouldn't be able to deal with the problems if they didn't know about them.

She was chasing her own thoughts in a circle with no reasonable answer. It was lucky that she had Honor to pull her along toward the problem, or she might have been stuck letting the anxious thoughts flutter around for a while. That was rather impractical if she had any intention of actually helping here.

"There's a lot about the circles that...no one believed, they probably still don't," she replied. "There was a lot of politicking no one would know from the outside. Call someone a blood mage and you don't have to prove it, you can get rid of them. But on the other hand, it gets the Templars into a huff about blood magic. Risk for you as well. If they 'identify' too many they look like they've lost control of things, if they find none their bosses might think they aren't looking enough. And it gets back to the fundamental problems of it."

Niamh flushed a faint pink. "I'm - I'm sorry, I'm going on a bit."

First problem: reporting blood magic was political, a means of either advancing or just surviving. No one really needed extensive proof if the rumors took hold. The Templars always erred on the side of caution; better, in their opinion, to issue the rite falsely a hundred times than miss a real maleficar. She had some disagreements about the philosophy. Second problem: if Templars abused their power in any way, there was no one they could report that to. They had no outside lines of communication to make complaints to anyone else, and no one trusted a mage over all of that shiny flaming sword armor. Not to mention making psychological quotas of how many suspected blood mages there ought to be beside Lake Calenhad was not a great strategy.

It was important that they at least gave the accused individual a fair interview. Otherwise they were just perpetuating exactly that sort of problem. She didn't know if she could impress that upon Honor, to express just how much it meant to her that she could take a chance for a more genuine justice than her own experience.

Niamh waited while Honor addressed the town's mayor, keeping her gaze squarely on the ground. She did note that she'd been right after all, but she noted it silently, not drawing undue attention. The few lurkers undoubtedly at their windows didn't need to get up in arms about an elf with a staff moving through their midst. The Inquisitor and her fancy guard could appease the local authorities and she could enjoy an afternoon with no angry mobs calling for Templar reinforcement. It wouldn't exactly do anything for them these days, but as a matter or principal she preferred to avoid that sort of escalation when possible.

"I-I'm with her," she said hastily, pointing at Honor when the mayor made unfriendly eye contact with her.
Jan 28 2017, 06:33 PM
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