We had left Kirkwall right after breakfast, that way we would be home before dark. The trip to the Dalish camp was quite amusing. Zevran was trying to goad Sebastian to telling him about his ‘wild’ years. Of course Sebastian was having no part of it. I could actually hear him starting to pray under his breath for self-control. I couldn’t help but laugh when Merrill kept on asking what Zevran meant. Boy, that girl was so innocent.
When we arrived at the gate the two guards there were on full alert. They even pointed their weapons at us. I could tell something was extremely wrong, their auras just swimming with worry. Merrill starting talking to them in Dalish and by the way their voices sounded something had definitely happened. Merrill quickly turned to us and told us to follow her. We quickly entered the camp and ran to Marethari, the Keeper. She had been talking with a Dalish male, most likely a Hunter. Marethari turned to us as Merrill quickly addressed her formally in Dalish, then started speaking in Common Tongue.
“What is going on, Keeper?”
“A few of our young hunters have been taken?” Sebastian asked,
“Do you happen to know by who?”
“That I do not. This Hunter, Yevjmael, was one of the five that went out this morning have returned. He said they were ambushed by some Shemlen. He was only able to get away because they didn’t see him.” I looked at Zevran,
“Do you think they were slavers?”
“Most likely, but not ones from Kirkwall. None in the city would have the stones to try and get elves from here, especially hunters.” Sebastian was the next to ask,
“And how would you know that?” Zevran smirked,
“You try getting in a fight with a Dalish Hunter.” That caused Yevjmael to smirk. I just shook my head,
“Where was the last place they were spotted? Maybe Zevran and I can track them down.” Marethari’s eyes widened at this and Yevjmael
“You would help us, asha?”
“Yes, I would help. No one deserves to be taken from their homes by force. Just lead us to the place they were taken and we can continue from there.”
I could see Merrill smiling at me. Yevjmael looked at the Keeper, who nodded in agreement,
“Then follow me.” And we did.
We had been following Yevjmael up the mountain for a good few hours, which it had started to rain as we walked. It was raining so much I actually pulled my hood over my head, along with Sebastian. Unfortunately Merrill and Zev didn’t have one. It was midday by the time we got to the area that the others were taken from. As soon as we arrived Zevran and I got to work on locating tracks. When we did Zevran told Yevjmael to go back to the camp and fortify it just in case the slavers returned. Reluctantly he left us and I asked Zev why he did that. His answer was that he would get in the way. Merrill didn’t really like that idea, but she went with it anyways.
We followed the tracks for a good bit until Zevran and I heard noises up ahead. We immediately told the other two to stay there while we checked it out. As we crept closer to the area, I focused on the area around me to guess how many were there. Zevran could tell what I was doing and gave me a hand signal asking the question. I immediately signaled back, saying about 15. Zevran signaled me to follow him and we climbed a tree that was a few good yards away, perfectly camouflaged from the slavers eyes by the wet leaves. The area looked like a little camp; a tent in the back next to the cliff and a fire pit in the middle. True enough, the four Dalish had been chained together in a circle while three slavers stood over them, four others were going through their possessions, and two standing guard outside the tent. That meant that the other two were in the tent. Zevran was correct again, for they definitely weren’t from Kirkwall, their gear being to fine to be even associated with any of those vermin. I leaned towards Zev.
“Who do you think they are with?”
“I really can’t tell. I’ve never really seen that armor before.”
Just then the tent opened and out walked a cloaked figure, the hood completely covering the face, and a woman with an arrogant look on her face. I could tell that the cloaked person was armed, but I couldn’t tell how much they were packing. And I sort of figured out that the woman was a mage. There was the familiar aura of magic surrounding her, but it felt...tainted. It hung around her like a thick veil, blacker than anything I could remember. Was she a blood mage? I never really fought one before so I really couldn’t tell at the moment. I looked over at Zev to see what he wanted to do. All of the sudden I heard something flying directly at me. Just as I turned to see what it was Zevran pulled me towards his body, his arms immediately wrapping around me. I turned my head to see that a dagger was sticking in the tree right where my head would have been. It actually would have gotten me right between the eyes. How did they know we were there? I looked at Zev and saw that he hadn’t taken his eye off of the cloaked figure, who was the person who threw the dagger!! That caused all of the slavers to jump into action and all of them ran towards us, except for the four that were guarding the hunters. Zevran let go of me right in time to jump out of the tree, daggers in hand, and land on the closest man, driving the blades deep into his chest. I immediately followed suit, pulling my whip out of its strap and getting into the fight, slicing two of the slavers that had ran other to attack the ex-Crow.
Luckily, the noise that the slavers were making alerted Sebastian and Merrill to the fight and they immediately jumped into the frey; Sebastian letting arrow after arrow fly and Merrill throwing fireballs.
While fighting I kept part of my attention on the cloaked figure. They just stood there like a statue...that was until I felled my third slaver. No one was coming right up at me so I figured I’d get the fight started. The figure noticed I was heading their way and slowly walked away from the woman. That was when they pulled a wicked looking sword, keeping it close to their side. We both started slowly circling each other until I finally had it and flicked my whip at them. They easily dodged. Over and over again they dodged. It was starting to get on my nerves. I started swirling my whip in a circle movement to try and grab the sword away from them and when I had enough momentum I slung it. Just as the end was about the connect with their blade they grabbed it, grasping an harmless part like an expert. And with that they pulled me towards them. I gasped, unprepared, and just as my face was about to collide with their fist something pushed me out of the way.
As I regained my balance I saw that Zevran had taken over. This had caused the figure to back up and watch us.
“Zev, what on Thedas are you doing?”
“This fight isn’t for you, Aska.”
“What do you...”
“They were toying with you! About to make you lose your focus and attack in a fury. That would have been your downfall.”
That was when he turned his head to look at me. I froze when I saw his expression. Even though I hadn’t seen it before I instantly knew he was being serious...he was being a Crow. His aura was instantly different, almost as if it was a whole new person. I had never felt this from him before, even when the odds were against us. Did that mean this warrior was that good?
Just as the two’s blades collided I was again attacked by a slaver. After quickly dodging his sword, I growled and instantly dispatched him with a dagger through the eye. That was when I heard a woman’s voice yell,
“If you are quite finished playing with him, finish him.”
I turned to see Zevran and the figure circling each other, crossing blades every once in a while. It almost looked like a dance... a ritual in my eyes. Both didn’t divert their attention from each other, always able to perceive where the next attack was aimed for and dodge in the nick of time. Every once in a while blades would barely touch flesh and small cuts would appear on each of the fighters evenly. If I didn’t know any better I could have sworn the cloaked figure knew just how to fight Zevran... and for that I was extremely worried.
I looked over to where I heard the voice and saw the mage woman from earlier just standing there with a slaver, most likely her bodyguard. She had an annoyed look on her face as she looked at the figure,
“Well if you are not going to I might as well do it for you.” She lit a fireball in her hand. I knew she was a mage,
“Only way to make sure it was done properly.”
That was when the fireball flew out of her hand. It had moved so fast neither Zevran or I had time to react and it hit Zevran in the shoulder, causing the figure to jump back to escape the flame. He growled in pain as he fell to one knee, holding his wound. Sure, I had seen Zev take a hit from a fireball before, but never had I felt this much force coming from the attack...and I’ve never seen him fall to the ground from a fireball. I could see around where his fingers were to realize that his whole shoulder was hit... and it was still on fire; almost like still burning coals. This mage was powerful... and she knew it. The cloaked figure immediately turned the woman, an angry aura surrounding them. The woman just had a smug look on her face as she said,
“Oops, didn’t kill him. That can easily be rectified.”
That was when she sent another fireball through the air. I couldn’t believe how fast she casted her spells. I quickly looked over to her target, knowing that a glancing blow was strong enough to bring Zevran to his knee, I didn’t want to see what a direct hit could do. But that’s when it happened. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The cloaked figure had grabbed Zevran by the straps of his armor and pulled him out of the way before looking back at the mage. It was like a stand off, the cloaked figure watching the mage, almost as if they were daring the mage to strike again. That’s when the mage said,
“Well, at least now you can at least finish him yourself. Hurry up and put him down like the mongrel he is.”
That’s when their aura grew hot. I don’t understand what was going on, what set the cloaked figure off? Were they protecting him or were they upset that the mage was taking away her fun? It didn’t matter. This was my chance! I wasn’t about to let them hurt Zevran or anyone else further. I quickly flicked my whip directly at the figure’s body. Unfortunately, even with everything that was happening the figure hadn’t dropped their guard all the way and they blocked it, but not with their sword but with a scythe.
Proklet (Blasted), every time you meet a warrior with a custom weapon... that meant they were extremely good with it. The two weapons were connected with a long leather like rope, meaning they had enough skill to use the two for close range and long range.
The figure slowly started swinging the scythe back and forth in one hand as they grasped the sword tightly. I slowly grabbed one of my biggest daggers and grasped it tightly as I flung the end of my whip behind me, ready to pull it around in full force. I slowly got into a fighting stance and as soon as I did the figure charged.
The person was so fast that I barely had time to block the sword with my dagger. Just as I did they brought the scythe around to get me in the side. I immediately let go of the handle of my whip, the strap holding it to my wrist, and grabbed the blade as it got close. I was definitely glad I wore metal gauntlets. That was when I got kicked in the stomach and was forced away, my dagger flying out of my hand. As I gasped for air I knew that the person was coming around to attack again. I quickly stepped out of the way and kicked the person in the back. That was when I knew the person was an elf, the build slender and long muscled. Even when kicked away, they didn’t miss a beat. As they turned around they threw the sword at me. I quickly flipped out of the way and onto the top of a boulder. As I set my sights back onto the spot the elf was before I realized they had vanished. I looked around and immediately felt the presence behind me. I quickly jumped off the rock and turned around in mid air, swirling my whip in the area I was. My whip connected with only air.
Blast it! The elf was extremely fast, faster than what I’ve ever competed against. Just as I landed on the ground another slaver ran up at me, sword and shield in hand. I just growled, quickly dispatching them and returning my attention to the elf, but my attention was diverted yet again by even more slavers. Heck, there was even an assassin style fighter among them. He grabbed one of his knives and threw it at me, aiming for my head. I easily snatched it by the handle as I side stepped it, not stopping as I quickly spun the knife to where the blade was in my hand and threw it back at it’s owner. The assassin was too stunned to do anything before the blade lodged itself to the hilt right between his eyes. The next two slavers had split up and tried to sandwich me in between them, charging with their blades in front. Right before they reached me I jumped above their extended swords. Their blades were parallel to each other so I planted my foot on them, my weight pushing them to the ground and pulling their masters’ towards me suddenly. Using the momentum to my advantage, adding a twirling motion, I used my free hand to quickly slice through both of their throats, my gauntlet quickly slicing through like a hot knife through butter. After they both fell to the ground I quickly looked for the cloaked person.
The figure had been looking from Zevran to the mage woman, mostly the later. The mage had made her way to stand in front of Zevran, who somehow was on his back clutching his shoulder. As I looked closer I realized the mage had her boot on his throat. I could hear him gasping for air. That was when I saw her bury the end of her staff into his shoulder. He could barely scream with his airway obstructed. That sadistic witch, she was actually enjoying seeing Zevran in pain. I could tell the figure was royally ticked for some reason, but I wasn’t about to ask. They had hurt Zevran, a man that I would almost consider a brother, and they were going to pay. I quickly pulled the dagger out of the assassin’s head and threw it at the mage with renewed strength. Just as it made it halfway the figure flicked her sword in front of it and blocked it. The woman turned away from Zevran as she diverted her attention to what had happened. I pulled my whip around behind me and gripped a dagger in my other hand and charged. The figure hadn’t been paying me any attention so I had the advantage... sort of. They immediately registered my location and, almost as if it were reflexes, disarmed me of my dagger. I quickly got over my shock and tried to follow through with my whip. And just as I did I felt something sharp go up through my stomach and out of the top of my back, the force knocking my hood back. I gasped, immediately tasting the metallic taste of my blood and looked down.
The elf, now in a crouching stance, had stabbed me with the scythe right under my left side ribs and had curled it up so the tip was sticking out of my back. I gasped for air as the blade entered me all the way to the hilt. I tried to look at the figure to see their face, but they weren’t even looking at me. Even though I was in extreme pain I could still feel this person’s aura. It... it felt clouded. Like they actually didn’t want to hurt me, but couldn’t do anything about it. I didn’t understand why, but it felt like the person was...pitying me, like they couldn’t bear to look into my eyes as I felt my life force fading away. As if they didn’t want to be plagued by the memory of my face. After what seemed like 30 minutes I started to feel the slicing pain as they started to pull the blade out of my body, but I stopped them by grabbing the hilt. Their head immediately turned up to see my face as I looked down at theirs. I still couldn’t see their face, but for some reason I felt their body flinch when they saw my face.
That was when I heard someone yell my name. That snapped the elf out of their trance and they started to pull the scythe out of me again. I gasped as I painfully reached for the dagger that I keep closest to my chest, my most precious one. I grabbed the hilt of the dagger and pulled it out, swinging it around towards the elf’s neck. That caused them to pulled back faster than I expected, pulling the scythe out of me at an angle that injured me even further. I gasped, instantly feeling my left lung start to slowly fill with my blood. I coughed up blood as I fell forward, forward onto the elf. I coughed up more blood as my body thudded against theirs, staining their cloak. I looked up to their face, but still...nothing... and then my world went black.