Heart and Home Chap. 16
Rumors woke with spring in southern Thedas. Whispers carried on a breeze, tales of massacre, rebellion, and unrest. Even in the smallest villages where news was last to arrive, the people felt a change in the wind. Orson sat in a tavern in east Orlais, reading reports and drinking wine. His wide girth was barely contained by the creaking wooden bench he'd commandeered, but the mage barely noticed his discomfort. Orson's agents reported success all around, both in and out of the circles. Some mages, inspired by Anders' first strike or perhaps by their own counted miseries, were already in revolt. Some met death on templar blades; some disappeared into the country side. Others were holed up in their towers, spitting defiance at the chantry and any who sought to rule them. It made Orson smile, his chins gathering beneath the baring of teeth.
The best news of all was a rumor that the Grand Enchanter would be convening a council to vote on mage freedom. If it was true, the mages would set t
Slinging InkI wanted to write a love story.
The ink dammed my pen,
the words would not come,
And it died. Stillborn.
I thought to write a tragedy instead,
high drama, love unrealized and early demise.
But my tale is too common,
details plagiarized from a thousand lives.
This left me to comedy,
twisting tears to laughter
and bitterness to irony.
I spilled words onto the page.
They lay flat, letters a jumble.
Barely any sense,
and nothing to amuse.
Uncontained, they overflowed.
I have none.
The story was born.
Proudly, it painted truth and lies
with equal fervor.
We were noble in those words.
We were horrors on those pages.
It was an epic inked in stolen letters,
living in two dimensions,
growing with each pair of eyes.
I wanted to write a love story.
Strange Companions pt. 2Dako woke to the smell of burning pitch, unpleasant and acrid in his nose. He was honestly surprised he still noticed it after so much time in the underground passage. The last six days (nights?), the three crawled, climbed, and slid along the path beside the river. The wizard's feet and back ached from physical exertion, though he did his best not to show it. His companions were more likely to ditch him if they felt he was a liability than to extend a helping hand. So far, Dako had done his best to be useful. Using small cantrips to make things easier, to keep their path lit and their bodies warm and dry. He wanted to remind them as often as he could that his magic was necessary to their survival. It may not be a fact, but perception was more important than truth.
Baldy crouched nearby, roasting a small, pink fish with staring white eyes. The things looked disgusting but tasted about like the fish Dako was used to. He was glad Dermot could find and catch them, really; otherwise they w
Heart and Home Chap. 15
Winter crawled by, marking the passage of weeks by snow drifts and ice storms. The ranches and farms around Sheeplick met each day with the usual routine: stoke the fire, check the animals, feeding, cleaning, patch and repair. Hawke found herself settling into the rhythms of life until it was no longer a struggle to rise with the dawn and begin the day. She still missed Kirkwall, the excitement and ease, but there were things here to appreciate. The way the sun turned the sky pink at dawn, or the way chimney smoke curled into the clouds like a dark ribbon. The taste of fresh milk and eggs, and the smell of clean snow. For the first time in many years, Riese began to relax. And when she did have a dark day, there was Fenris.
He began to smile more, humming as he went about his daily chores. The elf had never been so happy, so pleased with himself. When the roof to the chicken coop collapsed from a snow drift, he repaired it all on his own and had to show her his handy work. He looked so
Strange CompanionsIt was a cave - definitely a cave. The rank, damp smell of mildew mixed with a sharp, mineral scent gave it away. The darkness around him gave no relief to his eyes, nothing to anchor him in this place other than damp stone beneath him. Dako stretched his legs as carefully and quietly as he could. The numbness in them was quickly replaced by pins and needles, a burning sensation that spread up his calves in waves. Must have been at least three or four hours since he was knocked unconscious. At least I'm not dead, he thought ruefully. Pain was as good a reminder of life as anything else.
Dako couldn't feel his fingers. The bastards that had knocked him unconscious and tied him up had taken no chances. Afraid he might be able to use magic if they left even the slightest room to move, they had placed bags over each hand and then tied them tight. He sighed. Hopefully there was no permanent damage. Dako had too little money to go wasting it at a temple for healing, and less chance of making
Heart and Home Chap. 14
It was a small, wooden shack that Fuller Tillman led them to. Little better than a windbreak, with a sloped roof that looked rotted but somehow managed to keep out the wet. Despite that, it was a welcome shelter. Tillman was still talking when Hawke dropped off to sleep. She intended to stay alert, nervous about this odd old man that had come to their rescue, but exhaustion claimed her and she sank, helpless, into the darkness.
Riese opened her eyes to Kirkwall, though the city seemed more lifeless than ever it had in the decade she spent there. It bent and warped at the edges as if melted. The mage knew it was not wise to tread the Fade when she was so weak, but something had pulled her sleeping mind here, and she wanted to know what. Besides, it was pleasant to be back in Kirkwall, even if only in dream. So she carefully began to explore the alleyways and houses. It looked much as she had remembered it. Row after row of featureless houses, and the sets of stairs bridging the wealthy