Oct 24, 2021 9:12 PM
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The Alienage in Denerim is not what you'd call a nice place to live, but it's calm, and it has some nice scenery. Enormous tree, shanty-huts, that sort of thing. And the people are always interesting.

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?"
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The short thin blond elf with the bright blue eyes glances up at the... beggar.

"Sorry, old man, I don't have any coin on me," he says.
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"Oh, that's all right," says the... old... man, as he jabs the elf surreptitiously with a glowing dagger. "That's not all you can give me."

Electricity courses through the elf's body. It's enough to bring down a Qunari and the war nug he's riding on.
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The elf goes down.

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Naturally.

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."
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Their captive remains unconscious. He is not in the best of health.

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While he, uh, sleeps, his captors bring in a crate of raw lyrium crystals, which are placed in an elaborate mechanical apparatus consisting mostly of funnels.

"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."
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The commotion causes Tev to finally wake up. He starts struggling and cursing.

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The elf who spoke in Tev's defense makes a desperate noise through his paralysis. The elf who did not rolls his eyes.

"Didn't you say you hit him with the zapper? He's impressively not-comatose."
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He is much more expressive than a comatose person, that's for sure.

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"Feisty little thing. Well, let's begin the procedure. First cage, siphon! First crystals, imbue!"

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.
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Tev does quite a lot of screaming.

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"Cage two! Second batch! It's working!"

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.
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Tev spends a few seconds whimpering to himself. Then he starts struggling again. Stubborn little thing, isn't he? Well, not exactly little, not anymore...

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The non-fancy mage, the one who kidnapped Tev, spends a moment beholding his handiwork.

"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.
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He finally manages to take a full breath. The strap breaks, freeing his right hand. The rest of the straps on his arms and torso follow almost immediately; he more or less just sits up as though unobstructed, grabs the mage by the front of his robe with both hands, lifts him into the air, and flings him across the room.



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.
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The crunch of the mage hitting the wall attracts the attention of the guards! They seem upset about their colleague, but not particularly worried about their chances against an unarmed elf. "Stand down!"

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"Fuck you!" says the unarmed elf. He charges.

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The guards shrug and begin industriously swording him.

Their swording is not particularly effective! This is distressing to the guards.
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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.

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They are wearing plate armor! Punching should not affect them.

Punching affects them.

They do not get up.
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Tev shakes out his stinging fists. They stop stinging. He rubs one of his shallow sword cuts. It's almost fully healed.

He looks around the room.
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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.

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...Carefully avoiding the teddy bears, he opens the wooden chest.

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The wooden chest contains some glowing red and blue bottles, three gold sovereigns, thirty silvers, five copper bits, a suit of fairly high-quality chainmail, and- a shield.

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.
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Tev feels fully justified in taking all the money. He leaves the chainmail, in no small part because wearing chainmail over his lack of a shirt sounds really uncomfortable.

He somewhat dubiously picks up the shield.
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