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Dragon Age - Ashes and Desire

Page history last edited by Michael 2 years, 6 months ago

back to the Index, or back to On to Denerim

 

Chapter 15

Ashes and Desire

First Day Party, Part II

 


9:29 Dragon, 25th day of Haring -- Winter (cont.)

 

     We helped Eornan lift his cousin Tienan out of the caverns; after a while, Eornan returned with food, water, torches and other supplies. Bran, Landon, Eornan, and Boaen then set out to find Malic, following his footsteps, blood trail and blaze marks. Fairly soon we heard Malic's calls for help, and rushed to his side; he had also been injured falling into the cavern yesterday (but not so badly as Tienan).

     Bran and Eornan scouted for the source of the strange air currents Malic had been seeking, while Landon and Boaen tended to Malic's wounds. The breeze came from a sort-of collapsed shaft leading upwards; the whole party followed Eornan up the shaft, and into a long-deserted, dusty and partly-burned undercroft. Pieces of burned and damaged furniture littered the floor; the chamber seemed to have been ruined decades or even a couple of centuries ago. Just as we spotted a corpse on the floor, three ash wraiths appeared and attacked!

     The wraiths were only vulnerable to magic, but nonetheless we defeated them. Afterwards, we examined the corpse -- mostly skin and bones, with the ragged remains of ordinary farmer's garb (though without belts or footwear). Later that day, we speculated that this newer corpse was from seven years ago. Other small fragments of human bones littered the floor.

     Doors opened into the undercroft -- a kitchen, pantry, dining hall, several bedrooms, the Revered Mother's quarters, and a staircase blocked with rubble. A fireplace in the dining hall seemed to be the source of the breeze, but it was too small for us to crawl up it. The remaining furniture showed signs of having undergone a severe search -- but even so we found a secret compartment within the Revered Mother's desk, and a set of papers. We took the papers away, crawled back down to the cavern, and then back up into the basement of Hounds Hall.

     Upstairs at Hounds Hall, we took Malic to see the same skilled chirurgeon that was looking after Tienan. After that, we removed our bloody, burnt, torn clothing, took long baths, and decided to visit the market along with Sara. There were many papers from the Revered Mother's desk, but several of them seemed to refer to the Chantry of Saint Justine -- apparently the undercroft was part of that parish building. Dates on some of the papers are no later than 7:20 Storm.

     Stepping out to the food and wine markets, Bran purchased from Pentag the liquor-merchant two cases (12 bottles each) of reasonably-priced wine, a single bottle of a better wine; Eornan spent 5 sovereigns on a large bottle of white shear for Tienan. As we looked over other delectable foods and beverages, a 9-year-old urchin girl suddenly stole Landon's staff! She darted off through a narrow alley, over fences and stacks of crates and barrels, up a drain pipe and across the roofs, and down into a dark, isolated courtyard. Bran, Eornan and Landon managed to follow her, but found themselves in an ambush by seven or eight well-armed rogues. The apparent leader of the rogues called upon Our Heroes to strip, leave their gear and depart -- or to die. A long, hard fight followed; as the robbers succumbed to our greater skills, some of them slipped away, including the leader and the young girl. We followed the leader, and cornered him (along with the urchin girl and one of the other robbers) in a dim, small room; Bran disarmed and grabbed the leader, forced him to strip off his veridium armor, and demanded to know why they had ambushed us, and who they were working for.

     The chief robber shook with fear, and did not want to reveal the identity of his leader; but in the end it was revealed to be the young urchin girl! She erupted into magical haze, which cleared to reveal a desire demon! While her magics briefly dominated Bran's mind, she was still no match for Our Heroes. The robbers slipped out through a secret door during the fight ...

   Our Heroes returned to Hounds Hall to clean up before dinner; some more Wardens had arrived during the day. At dinner the following persons were present:

 

  • Bran

  • Landon

  • Eornan

  • Jayce:  a female Warden, a native of Gwaren

  • Boaen:  a strong Warden and former Templar, in his mid-forties

  • Ebriss:  a Warden

  • Malik:  an elven Warden

  • Alistair:   a fairly young and inexperienced Warden and former Templar

  • Mirian:   an older female Warden and senior enchanter of the Circle of Magi

  • Hayne:   a Warden trainer of Mabari hounds

 

     The dinner was copious and quite tasty -- the first of several to be prepared by Sara for the Wardens this week!

     After dinner, Our Heroes spoke about the strange undercroft near Hounds Hall, and the "lost" chantry of Saint Justine. Mirian the enchanter-Warden was able to tell us a few things about Celatus:  a tower built originally by the Tevinter Empire, later a Circle tower, and finally subject to the Rite of Annulment in about 4:98 Black.

     Late that night, an elven serving-woman summoned Bran, Eornan and Landon from their beds and led them up into the tower, urging the still drunken and rowdy heroes to silence.  They bumbled up the stairs to meet with Duncan, the Warden-Commander of Ferelden! He was "not officially" in Hounds Hall, and didn't want us to mention his presence to the other Wardens. He shared his rather amazing supply of fine liquor with us, and asked some rather well-informed questions. He even opened a window to lower the temperature from "tropic jungle" to "midsummer day" in kind consideration of our presence.

     For Bran, the Warden-Commander wished to know if he would follow the path of his uncle, Maddoc. For Eornan, there were questions and contrition about the fire in the Alienage seven years ago.

     Our Heroes shared the information gained from the papers in Saint Justine's chantry, and (after a slight hesitation) a bit of our knowledge of what werewolves were up to. Duncan shared some very interesting information about King Maric, which may be related to the tower of Celatus and the "Tearful Eye."

     Very tired, and more than a bit tipsy, we were sent back to our beds ...

 

Celatus and the Tearful Eye

     The tower of Celatus ("secret" in the ancient Tevinter language) was erected in the hills within the northern Brecilian Forest, not far from modern South Reach, by the Tevinter Imperium. At some point, it became a Circle Tower, home to mages under the control and supervision of the Chantry and Templars.

     The Rite of Annulment was declared against the tower about 4:98 Black, and presumably all the inhabitants were slain. Certainly, its very existence, and the reason for the Annulment, is unknown to almost everyone in Ferelden, including most Templars and mages, and all the Wardens.

     Possibly connected: during the Black Age, Ferelden fought a great war against the werewolves, driving them (nearly) to extinction. 

     A couple of scholars learned of the tower, and of something within it known as the Tearful Eye, at some point during the Storm Age. One of them, Brother Renneth, petitioned Revered Mother Ida of Saint Justine's chantry, in Denerim, for an escort of Templars, but were refused -- it's not known if Brother Renneth ever attempted to visit Celatus.

     The correspondence between Ida and Renneth might have remained, secret and unknown to anyone, for decades in the desk within Saint Justine's undercroft.

     While in the Fade, Our Heroes saw a tower on another mountain, visible from the Moon Peak.

     Duncan implied there was some connection between Celatus and the disappearance of King Maric several years ago (Michael doesn't remember all of this, it was late).

     More info should be added here ...

    

 

 

On to The Paragon Fortress

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