Nov 19, 2018 2:33 PM
Aria faces the Fifth Blight
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"Can you stop squawking for five seconds and help them open the gate?" A man up on the ramparts calls down. 

He waves a salute at Aria and co. 

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Nobody's ever taught her how to give a proper salute. She waves.

"Thanks for the assist. We've just come from Denerim. Not much of a Denerim left anymore, unfortunately."

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"We got a few stragglers coming our way. We've got some forces held up in here, we were going to send them city-ward. Amaranthine, city."

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The gates finally start creaking open-

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Revealing one tired, dishevelled but smiling apostate-

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An Antivan elf, wearing mismatched Ferelden armour-

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And a large assembled force of soldiers, each bearing the crest of Amaranthine.

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"Nice. City was in better shape than this area last we saw, though no promises that it's stayed that way. We left some civilians back there a couple hours ago. If you think they're in imminent danger we're happy to backtrack, but we haven't had anything decent to eat in like two days. Do you have, like, bread? Bread would be awesome right now."

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"No danger that we've heard of yet, ma'am. We've been deferring to Master Nathaniel since he returned." A captain steps forward. "We were about to head out to protect the city, a contingent will remain here to protect the keep."

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"Awwww, Fredricks. We'll miss you dearly."

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"Yes, who else better to point out our race and class?"

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"Our height and lack thereof?"

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"Our-"

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"Enough!" The man from the ramparts has made it down, and is sternly looking at the mage and elf.

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The captain, Fredricks, looks nearly purple with concealed rage. "As I was saying. We'll be sure to gather food enough to supply the new refugees."

He pauses, and looks worried. "Is it true that Denerim is destroyed?"

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"Pretty much a ruin, yeah. It's possible that some groups other than ours got out, but I think most of the city population was killed by the horde. We have some half-baked ideas on how we can hit back, but we don't have the manpower for it right now, the whole city's overrun. Love to sit down and discuss the situation over literally anything edible."

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"We'll take this group inside, Captain. Gather what supplies you need and then head off." Nathaniel is clearly shaken by the news, but remains the consummate leader.

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"Yes sir."

The soldiers do as they're told, but some are trying to hide tears.

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Nathaniel waves Aria's group inside, and leads them to the castle.

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Her own group looks pretty grim, too. Aria doesn't appear shaken, but this is mostly because she's continuing to put it off until she feels like she has the time and energy to process anything that's happened. She's pretty sure the moment isn't now, and that it's not going to come up until after everybody's eaten.

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Nathaniel leads them down into the kitchens, where it takes no time at all for two elven servants to scrounge together bread, cheese, and some grapes. They start warming up broth as well, letting the group know that it will only be a few minutes.

"Please, eat." Nathaniel takes a few bits for himself.

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The apostate wastes no time grabbing a handful of grapes, before lounging across half the bench seat.

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The elf kicks him playfully until he moves, and then sits down next to him.

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Nathaniel sighs. "I am Nathaniel Howe. The two reprobates here are Anders-" The apostate waves cheerily. "-and Zevran." The elf nods.

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"Pleased to meet you all, particularly under the circumstances," she says brightly, helping herself to bread and cheese and fruit. She hands some to Alistair, who is glaring disapprovingly at both Anders and Zevran. "I'm Aria Tabris of Denerim-that-was, this's Alistair of the Grey Wardens, that's Leliana and that's Sten. Me and Alistair were at Ostagar, but that didn't work out so well. All of us were at Denerim a couple days ago, which also didn't work out so well. Third time's the charm, though. Hopefully."

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