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Generated: Jul 17, 2021 5:03 AM
Post last updated: Feb 02, 2018 6:32 PM
Dream of a Time Without War
Elissa and Embrium in Thedas
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"Leandra."

"Em, this is our home."

"No, it was your home. In a week it will be a pile of rubble and ashes -"

"Em."

"I don't care what everyone was saying, Leandra, this is a Blight. Ostagar is gone, you can see the smoke, Lothering is doomed. You can't stay. Please, leave. Don't get the kids killed."

"That's not fair."

"I know."

 

"Someone might stop them, maybe the king is still alive, maybe they just retreated, it's the king and Teryn Loghain, they can't have just lost."

"Leandra."

"Fine. We'll go. If they get closer. I am not abandoning our life while there's still hope."

 

"I'm sorry."

"Oh, Em, it's not your fault. I know you're just trying to do what you think is best."

"Not for that. I need Malcolm's notes, his books - "

"No, Em, we've talked about this - "

"If you're fleeing at the last minute you won't have time to take them all, they'll weigh you down too much. I'll give them back if you get out or if it all blows over somehow but - "

"But Bethany..."

"You know some of those aren't appropriate for her."

"It worked out fine for you and Mal, maybe when she's older..."

"Leandra."

 

"...I'll get the chest. We'll go to Kirkwall when - when we go."

"Thank you."

"Say goodbye to the kids."

"Yeah."

 

"What's not appropriate for me?"

"You were listening in."

"Duh. Don't dodge the question. What's not appropriate for me?"

"...We'll tell you when you're older."

"That's not fair."

"I know."

"I love you Auntie. Take care."

 

"Sefton. I assume you heard everything?"

"Yes."

"I'm going to Orlais. I'll make my way up to Kirkwall when I can."

"Good luck. I promise not to be eaten by darkspawn."

"I know you don't like sentimental goodbyes. I love you. Keep your family safe for me."

"I will."

 

"Carver."

"Em."

"Are you doing OK?"

"Beth fixed me up."

"Not what I meant."

"I'm fine."

"Stay that way."

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She is wiping tears out of her eyes and not paying attention to where she is stepping and there is a bark and a crash and Embrium is sitting on the ground blinking up at what can only be another group of soldiers fleeing the battle of Ostagar. Malcolm's chest is lying on its side in the mud, still closed, thank the Maker.

"I'm so sorry, I didn't see you there."

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There are three of them: a young man in steel plate wearing sword and shield and thoughtful expression, a young woman in faded brown leather carrying a wooden staff of the type used for hitting people with rather than the type used for casting spells, and another young woman, this one in chainmail with two swords at her belt.

The last of the three offers Embrium a reassuring smile and a hand to help her up. "Don't worry about it. Are you all right?"

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My hometown is about to be overrun with darkspawn of course I'm not all right.

"I'll live. Are you coming from Ostagar? What happened, how bad is it..."

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"Bad. But we're working on it. I'm not sure how much of the news has gotten ahead of us - I'd say it's 'leave town immediately' bad but not 'hide under the bed and wait for the world to end' bad."

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"Oh good, I don't need to worry about bringing a bed to hide under when I leave town. Working on it how, from what I heard everyone is dead and there's a massive darkspawn horde, which sounds like a difficult problem."

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"We lost the king, a big chunk of the army, and all the senior Wardens, but that's hardly everyone. There are treaties guaranteeing troops to the Grey Wardens from just about everybody in case of a Blight, and there's no longer any doubt about whether this is a Blight. So we collect those and then go flatten the darkspawn horde with them. Pretty straightforward, as plans go."

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"...You're grey wardens. And you have a plan. OK, that's better than I expected." She pauses for a moment, chewing her lip thoughtfully. The Templar are all at midday prayers, she could probably take these three if it came to a fight, but they're grey wardens so maybe not, and they're still near the Hawke house and maybe saw her coming from there, Malcolm's notes don't have his name but. Best be careful. 

"I don't know how useful I will be but I would like to help if I can."

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"I'm sure we can find a use for you. My name's Elissa, and these are Ambrose, my fellow Warden, and Clare, who guided us out of the Wilds."

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"A pleasure. Embrium. She's Chasind?"

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"More or less," says Clare.

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That doesn't sound like she's hiding something at all. Which, fair enough, so is Embrium.

"Are you planning to be in Lothering for more than an hour or just passing through? If there's time there are some things I want to grab..."

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"You've got at least a few hours to pack, don't worry. The plan is to catch up on the news, find any other survivors of Ostagar who might be interested in helping us, resupply where possible, and then head for Lake Calenhad to get started on the collection."

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Carver would want to help but she wouldn't do that to the family.

"I'll get everything together then find you, I suppose. I don't know how much news you'll hear, 'the king lost at Ostagar, everyone dead' is the big story of the day."

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"I was hoping to hear that my brother made it out of the Wilds alive but it doesn't look like I'm going to be that lucky."

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"I'm sorry. He might have, I just think that even if he did that wouldn't be what people are talking about."

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"So maybe I'm not going to learn much by eavesdropping on the local gossip, but if I ask around I might be able to build a better picture. Any suggestions about who I should talk to?"

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"Try the Chantry? A lot of the injured are being kept there, and the Revered Mother and Ser Bryant are the most likely to know who has passed through. Most of the sisters and templars should be there now, midday prayers are just wrapping up, so even if the Revered Mother doesn't know they could do a survey pretty quickly if it's important."

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"Okay. Thanks."

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And while they are doing that, Embrium will steer well clear of the chantry and repack her books to fit Malcolm's in and load her books and alchemy supplies onto her cart, then go looking for the Wardens.

"Any luck?"

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"Nobody's heard anything about my brother, unsurprisingly. The Circle of Magi is apparently being overrun by demons and/or overzealous Templars, depending who you ask, and the Arl of Redcliffe is so deathly ill that he's got knights scouring the countryside for the Urn of Sacred Ashes on his behalf. This is awkward since those are exactly the next two places I was planning on going, but I don't want to delay either of them in favour of the other. Probably we'll end up sending Ambrose to the Circle and me to Redcliffe, and meet up again at the gates of Orzammar; you can come along with whichever branch of the expedition you prefer."

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"Demons and Templars and Darkspawn, oh my. I'll take Redcliffe. Clare?"

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She shrugs. "The Circle, I suppose. Of the two options it seems likelier to involve hitting things with sticks."

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Elissa chuckles.

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"Herbalism is sort of like hitting things with sticks if you are very loose with your definitions of 'things,' 'sticks,' and 'hitting.' Probably less satisfying than demons and/or rampaging templars, though. Best of fortune to you."

She turns to Elissa, "Anything else before we go?"

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"Don't think so! Let's get going."

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And so they do, after a brief detour to pick up Embrium's horse and cart. And about ten minutes out of town...

 

"So, uh. There might have been some reasons I didn't mention for why I picked Redcliffe? I'm kind of an apostate."

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"What a coincidence, so is Clare."

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"That sounds like I don't have a lot to worry about. I'm surprised she went to the Circle, then...?"

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"Oh, Ambrose was trained as a Templar, no one's going to suspect his traveling companions of apostasy."

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"I seem to have lucked into the exact right choice of allies. What inspires your...tolerance?"  Her voice goes deadpan. "Aren't you afraid I'm going suddenly turn Maleficar and feed you to a demon while I bathe in the blood of children and cackle in an unnaturally deep voice?"

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"Well, to begin with it had independently occurred to me that there are probably more reasons someone might end up an apostate than being a cackling demon-worshipper, and then I met Ambrose and he confirmed my suspicion that the Templars are kind of fucked up and avoiding them is a completely reasonable life choice. He doesn't like them much either; he's much happier as a Warden."

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"Yours seem like eminently reasonable hands for the fate of the world to be in. And here I was, worried that I might have to save it behind your back."

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"I like to think I'm the sort of person who'd handle the fate of the world with appropriate care! Glad you agree."

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"Well, with that out of the way - I have some recently-acquired possibly-relevant books I would like to study now that that's no longer suspicious. I doubt I'll find a convenient 'immediately end a blight' spell but I'd be surprised if there's nothing useful there."

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"Sounds good!"