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Aug 22, 2019 9:15 AM
Anya and Tabs' characters in AU Thedas
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Anders felt like he had been running for years. First from the Templars, then from the Wardens, and now from darkspawn.

Funny how things almost came full circle.

He hadn't meant to stray so far from his companion, but the whispers in his head told him she wasn't too far. At least if something went wrong she would know. Well, he hoped she would. Not that Anders couldn't defend himself. 

He was lost in thought, prowling the edges of the horde, his mind stretched out to allow for the foul creatures in their horde. His commander had asked (ordered really) him to scout the darkspawn, and he was deep in his task, concentrating on keeping his sanity while the thoughts of the monsters slipped through his mind like shards of glass.

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A young woman comes running over the nearby hill, looking tired and covered in dirt and scratches. Her clothing is raggered, but was once very obviously rich and well made. 

She comes to a stop suddenly when she spots him, eyes wide in fright. She raises her hands in front of her and grits her teeth.

"Are you with them?" Her voice is rough with disuse, but steady. She takes one step back, "Come one step further and you'll regret it."

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Anders raises a hand to shoulder height, the other grips his staff tighter. "Hey now, I don't mean any harm. Particularly not to beauitful but worn looking people," he says, trying to sound soothing. "I'm pretty sure I'm not with 'them', whoever they are. Unless they're Wardens, which I am."

He glances over her, looking for wounds or blood. "Are you injured? Do you need healing?"

He keeps his hand up, trying to look as nonthreatening as possible. 

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Junia steps back once more, but then stops suddenly, throwing a searching look behind her. She see's nothing, but that doesn't mean that there's nothing to see. 

She looks back to the tall man, still on guard. "What, Wardens? They're all dead." She glares at him and then notices the staff in his hand. "...you're a mage."

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"Well, not all are dead. Unless I perished a while back and you are the blessed Andraste come to punish me for not being pious enough," Anders says, grinning in his most charming way. He sends a careful pulse of healing magic her way, just in case, but can't sense anything beyond exhaustion and a few scrapes. 

He gives her another grin, waving his staff at her. "I am! Anders, Spirit Healer and apostate, at your service."

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Junia jumps and waves her hands, the air ripples and a translucent barrier appears between them. "What in the actual fuck are you doing?!"

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"Sorry! Sorry, bad habit," Anders says, pulling his magic back. "Healer. Just sending out a bit of magic to see if you're injured. Completely harmless. Swear." He makes a cross over his heart with a finger. 

He notices the ripple in the air around the woman then, and his heart soars. "You're a Mage?! Andraste's knicker weasels, I haven't seen another in...well, years! How did you escape the tower? And how are you holding a barrier that steady without a staff?!"

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"Andraste's blood, don't." She glares at him, ignores his questions and looks back over her shoulder, all the while keeping her barrier up. "Look, you have to go. There are Templar Hunters behind me and they're out for mage blood."

She starts to move around him, giving him a wide berth, and starts heading westward.

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"Hunters? Now? Well, thank the Maker they have their priorities right," Anders says with a lopsided grin, which fades quickly when he sees the way the woman is going. West. Straight towards the horde, still prickling under his skin.

"Hey! Hey, you don't wanna go that way!" He calls to her, not daring to chase after her. It would be catastrophic if she decided to run. 

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She stops in her tracks and turns towards him, "...do you have a good reason, mysterious-apparently-not-dead-Warden? There is literally a squad of Templar Hunters right behind me. I do not have a lot of options."

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Azry felt the pulse of Anders beneath her skin beat harder as he got closer to the horde. Normally she wouldn't panic. She'd trust him, let him follow her orders his own way. There was nothing in particular this time that should've worried her. 

Except...

Unable to stop the worry in her heart, she clicked her tongue at her steed, and dug her heels in so he took off along the tree line, her mabari keeping pace beside them. Once Anders was close enough she could just make out his voice, she dismounted swiftly, and crept soundlessly through the shadows, immediately more worried that he was talking to someone. She shushed her mabari, who nodded his fluffy head and sat, poised to run if he needed to, and then she emerged from the forest, seeing Anders talking to a woman. A very tired looking woman. 

"Because that way leads to a veritable horde of darkspawn ready to rip your face off and eat your innards," Azry says plainly, giving the woman a once over before turning to Anders. 

"Taken to adopting people, have we?" She says. 

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"You can't tease me about adopting anything. How many pets are you up to?" Anders jokes back, hiding how relieved he is to have back up. Especially if there are Hunters. 

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She startles at the sudden appearance of the elf, but notes that she does not bare the Templar symbol, plus she's an elf. She steps back a couple of steps regardless, and mentally reinforces her barrier.

"The Horde? Fuckfuckfuck. I need to go that way. I have a- friend waiting for me."

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"A friend? Well, unless they're a darkspawn, I'm afraid there's not much chance of meeting them any time soon," Anders says. He feels sympathy for her, deeply. He tried to get to a friend once, when this all started, and wound up a Warden instead. 

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"He's strong... and he was further north when we parted. Maybe he managed to avoid them." She bites her lip and thinks. "If what you say is true, and you are Wardens, you know the path. You can do that right, navigate blight ridden lands?"

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Anders turns to look at Commander Tabris, and his mouth drops open to start a sentence. 

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Azry shuts him up with a look. "There's only two ways we can help. We can get you somewhere safe and you can make your way from there. The other way you won't like so I'm not even going into it."

Azry gives the woman a long searching look. "You need food and rest. Anders can heal you. Then we'll take you south. You can follow the mountains back north after that."

She whistles lowly for her horse and dog. 

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She finally takes a full measure of them both, especially the elf, who seems to be in charge.

"...there is the problem of the Hunters tracking me. They have my blood, I was injured a while back, so they will keep coming...but you look capable."

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Azry sucks in a breath when the woman says Hunters. Anders has had to dodge them from time to time, bastards taking advantage of the chaos to become the monsters she knew them to be. 

"They'll have to go through us first. I'm not in any danger if they cast a silence, and the sword on Anders' hip isn't for show. You come with us, we'll protect you."

Her horse whinnies lowly behind her, coming up and nudging her neck lightly. Her dog is far more interested in the newcomer, sniffing the air with a cocked head. 

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Anders chances a step closer, his hand raised once more to assure her he means no harm. "We'll get you away from here safely. No darkspawn, no Hunters. Promise." 

He crosses a finger over his heart again, winking roguishly. 

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Aaand there was relief. That was new. She hadn't felt that since Katari. And that had been... nearly a year ago- fuck.

She steps towards the man and tentatively lets the barrier spell dissipate. "I do need healing, but we should go someplace else. I've been here too long, they wont be far behind."

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"We've got a camp a while back from here. You'll be safe. Plus, you'll have two battle hardened warriors to fend of the hunters," Anders says. 

He gestures at Azry's ginormous war horse. "And here's Soris, our steed. Faithful and true and only listens to Azry, the miser."

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"Mock my horse at your own peril, feathers," Azry says wryly. She swings herself up onto Soris in a smooth motion, rubbing her steed's neck. 

She holds her hand out to the woman, offering her a hand up. 

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Junia blinks at the huge horse but accepts the hand, and climbs up. "I had heard that all the Warden's were dead. How did you survive?"

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Azry hauls her up, making sure that she's comfortable. Her legs are longer than Azry's so she shouldn't find it too hard keeping balanced. 

Azry thinks about her question while Anders pulls himself up behind the woman. She's not sure whether to be completely honest or not. It's certainly not Azry's proudest decision she's ever made, and she feels like part of her has spent the last ten years fighting so hard because she's trying to make up for it. 

Anders taps her side once to let her know he's balanced, and with a whistle to the mabari and a dig into her horse's side, they set off, leaving the horde behind them for the relative safety of the forest. 

"I ran. From Ostagar. It was after I was recruited. I made it back home in time to get my family out, and then the horde arrived. I met Anders not long after that, made him join and that was that, really. We've been fighting ever since," Azry says over the beating hooves. 

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"She says 'made him' like I had another option. The Circle Tower had been destroyed not long after I left. It was either go with her or end up dead, really," Anders says, trying to keep his tone light while a stab of pain rips through his heart. 

He lost so many friends that day. Bambi, Delilah, Niall. 

Wynne. 

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