One of those interesting people is standing shadily on a street corner and looking at nearby elves. One of his hands is in his pocket. He's unusually dark for someone in Ferelden. Unusually human, too, though he's hunched over so that it's not immediately obvious. And he's muttering to himself, which is a sure way to make people not want to look at someone.
The things he's muttering to himself aren't the ravings of a madman, though. "Not her, I'm sure she'd just rupture... couldn't get him... promising. Excuse me, young man?" he quavers in the voice of an old beggar. "Spare a silver?"
The "beggar" affects concern, murmuring about how he'll get him inside and it'll be alright. "I just don't know what happened," he says to the mostly uncaring witnesses.
He gets him inside. It's so nice that nobody goes into the abandoned orphanage anymore. It makes a lovely workspace. And the storeroom already had a table with straps, for reasons he doesn't particularly care to think about.
Once the elf is strapped in, the human sheds his disguise and is joined by several others. "You know, I really think this one might be a breakthrough. Our problem earlier was that we picked the strongest, healthiest ones to work with. But this one looks half dead already. Maybe that's what we need."
His larger companion grunts. His smaller companion spits on the floor. His fanciest companion says, "Shall we bring in the cages and the lyrium, then?"
"Yes, I think we shall."
"If this one doesn't work, we're through," cautions the fancy companion. "Lyrium does not grow on trees."
"Yeah, yeah," retorts the former beggar. "Just bring in the others."
The others are summarily broughten. A few are weeping. The rest are mostly just angry. One gasps in horror. "Tev! No! You can't do this, not to him, he's-"
"He's a little shit, is what he is," mutters a burlier elf than most. "Don't know what's wrong with him, making me beat the shit out of him all the time."
The first elf glares. "Because you're an asshole!"
The second elf takes the high road and punches him in the face.
"Hey! Quit that! You're all going to die soon enough."
The fancy captor rolls his eyes and immobilizes the elves with a large glyph. He heals the first elf's nose with a wave of his hand. "We don't want them wasting their blood," he explains. "It's ours, you know."
The first elf cage begins to glow red. Shrieks of agony rise from its occupants as their blood rips its way out of their bodies and flows towards Tev.
Once it reaches him, the apparatus begins to glow with heat. The lyrium crystals slowly melt, and travel through specially made funnels toward specific points on Tev's body. The first drop to hit him should be agonizingly painful; it's pretty much guaranteed to get worse.
As the lyrium melts through his skin, the blood of his fellows trickles through him as well, forcing his body to heal. This is not appreciably less painful than the lyrium itself.
The process continues. In the third stage, instead of lyrium, he's frozen and burned and shocked and filled with pure horrible magic until the blood runs out. In the fourth, he's covered with glowing crystals, which are then covered with lyrium, which causes them to melt into his skin as well. And the final three cages are simply bled into him with nothing to make up for. The straps feel tighter against him once it's done.
The fancy mage wipes his forehead with an embroidered handkerchief. "Gentlemen, I think we've done it. ...Well, we haven't done it, he's still an elf, but look at that chest."
"He's no golem, but those are rock hard!" snickers one of his compatriots, who is immediately high-fived while the mage shakes his head in disgust.
"All of you, out. Guard the doors. I'd like a word with our subject. Our little masterpiece..."
The fancy mage and the rest file out of the room, the mage taking a moment to incinerate the corpses of the elves and scatter their ashes through the room to simulate dust. He then leaves, muttering about a report to the Magister.
"Beautiful. It's beautiful." He traces a finger down Tev's gleaming torso. "To think of the power held in this frame... what was so frail and sickly, now stronger than any warrior of legend."
He breathes in and smiles. "We'll have to test you, of course. It should probably wait until you're less... emotional, though. Don't worry, you'll be cured of that soon enough."
It may be noted, at this point, that one of the straps holding Tev to the table was less protected than its fellows during the procedure. It held up admirably, but it won't hold forever. In fact, it looks like it's not going to hold for more than about- well. There it goes.
Then he has to take a moment to come to terms with the fact that he just did that.
Then he has to take another moment to tear the straps off his legs.
"Fuck you!" says the unarmed elf. He charges.
The swords cut him, but not nearly as deep as they should; he barely bleeds. Certainly nothing about this prevents him from punching them both very hard.
He looks around the room.
There are teddy bears strewn around, for some reason; they occasionally spark with arcane energies. There are cages containing drifts of ash which were previously elves. There are some Tevinter corpses. There's an elaborate arcane device most recently used to do weird things to Tev, and a ruined strapped table used similarly. There's a crate that still contains a few lyrium crystals. There's a wooden chest in the corner.
...Carefully avoiding the teddy bears, he opens the wooden chest.
The shield is... strange. It's made of a metal that looks like nothing Tev is likely to have seen, and it's painted a sickly green, embossed with a serpentine dragon. It shimmers oddly in the low light, sparking in time with the inexplicable arcane teddy bears.
He somewhat dubiously picks up the shield.