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An Offering Of Hope [Closed]

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
14
#1
((15 Guardian, 41 Dragon; Haven, Late Afternoon; Sati Adaar ))

Josephine moved along the dirt paths of Haven as swiftly as she dared. Eyes followed her progress, and too much haste would give rise to concern, which would give rise to rumors, which might give rise to panic. The Inquisition remained balanced upon a knife’s edge, and those who would grieve, were the fledgling movement to founder, were few. Revered Mother Giselle had sent word to Val Royeaux, hoping to persuade the surviving officials of the Chantry to grant an audience that would not end with Sati and whoever accompanied her in chains. No reply had yet been received.

But the Grand Clerics were undoubtedly paying attention, and the Herald’s accomplishments had been noteworthy. The warring mages and templars that had been wreaking havoc in Ferelden’s Hinterlands had been neutralized, the combatants either joining the Inquisition or being slain. The denizens of that area had been given food and blankets against the last few weeks of winter, most of the rifts in the area had been closed and the groups of bandits that had thought to capitalize on the chaos had been dealt with swiftly and with a finality that sent a clear message to any others who might be considering the same.

It had without doubt been a collective endeavor, but the one who had unwittingly become the face of the Inquisition had fulfilled her role better than any of them had dared hope a few short weeks ago. Sati Adaar was a courageous and skilled fighter, a gifted tactician and a surprisingly adept diplomat. She had been fearless when confronting the demons to close the rifts, utterly ruthless with the bandits preying upon the farmers and townsfolk, and while she offered mercy to the mages and templars who surrendered and swore fealty to the Inquisition, those who refused to stand down were treated as harshly as the bandits.

But she showed compassion, as well, responding to requests for even the most menial favors from the desperate folk that thronged the settlements, from coaxing a stubborn druffalo back to its pasture to picking herbs for a healer to returning a lost wedding ring to a grieving widow (after she had killed the templars who had murdered and robbed the poor woman’s husband). Even Cassandra had begun to thaw toward her, while Varric had dubbed her ‘Lucky’ (tongue firmly in cheek), and if Solas still seemed to view her more as a specimen for research, there was increasing respect in his demeanor.

But while she fought alongside them, she held herself apart the rest of the time, the hurt in her so palpable that it hurt Josephine to watch her, and the reports from their latest excursion …

She reached the simple hut that Sati had claimed as her own, glanced down at the missive that she carried. She had intended to give it to the Herald at the war table, but Cassandra had come alone, her mood grim, to report that Sati had gone to her quarters immediately upon returning.

She lifted her hand and knocked upon the door. “Your -” She glanced around, ensuring that no one was close enough to hear. “Sati? It is Josephine.” The Vashoth still treated her with a cautious formality, though the ambassador sometimes caught the violet eyes watching her, the expression in them unreadable. “May I come in?”
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
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Posts
74
#2
Sati sat on the edge of her bed, a bowl of warm water and a pile of bandages to hand. The water was already bloodied and a few strips of fabric were balled by it, also reddened. Cassandra and Solas had both been vocal about her accepting healing - either from Solas or Adan - but she had quietly insisted on being able to tend to herself. Varric had restrained himself from comment, but even though he hadn't worn the worried expression of the other two on their return to Haven, Sati had sensed his concern as well. Slowly, meticulously, she began to apply an elfroot salve over her raw knuckles, holding back a hiss as she did so.

The Inquisition was beginning to get a reputation, and a reasonably positive one at that. Running all over the Hinterlands thrashing both mages and templars who had let themselves become so crazed with freedom that they didn't care who they hurt, assisting in every minor task that had presented itself, and sealing rifts, more positive whispers were beginning to ripple outwards. Not enough to quell the numerous dissenting voices in Orlais yet, but offers were starting to come in from people wanting to test the Inquisition's dedication to keeping order. So far they had risen to the challenge well.

Objectively, she should have been pleased. But it was hard to take pride when she felt herself frequently dancing along that razor's edge of control, which to fall over would render her as savage as the wild Tal-Vashoth both she and 'true' qunari despised. With each incidence of a person deciding to take advantage of the weak and the desperate, she had felt her anger growing. Even small, kind tasks, like retrieving a druffalo or searching for a missing woman on the road, backfired when demons erupted on the route or the young woman was found already dead. And all the while, there was no trace of any of the Valo-Kas.

Until today. Stumbling across an outpost of renegade templars, she had noticed that one of them had strewn himself about with necklaces of fangs and animal horns. No more insane than the next person, but during the fight she had recognised one twisting black spiral as being too big and unique in shape to belong to anybody other than a qunari. Or a vashoth. It was blunted at the end, having clearly been sawn off from the source.

By the end of that battle, Ruin had been on the ground, and she had been driving her fist into the dead man's face over and over until Cassandra had, at last, pulled her way. When she retrieved the horn it was obvious that the others had come to the same realisation as she had, and it had been in a quiet tone that Solas suggested they return to Haven and leave finding good points for the watchtowers to another day.

Sati was ashamed of herself. She hadn't completely lost her mind - she still had known friend from foe - but there was no sense in punching a dead man repeatedly. She knew it was born from her frustration of not knowing what had happened to her family, but all it had earned her was the wariness of her companions and painful hands. And she didn't know what to do with the horn. It lay on the desk for now, somehow sad and also obscene. Like having a severed limb lying there.

As she started to bandage her hands, there was a knock at the door. "Your-" Sati braced herself, trying to regain some equilibrium so she didn't shout at the hapless messenger. Then realised it wasn't necessary as they announced themselves. "Sati? It is Josephine." A pause. "May I come in?"

It was probably best that the ambassador didn't see her in this state, but at the same time Sati didn't want to sit alone brooding in her hut. Josephine, even when delivering bad news, tended to have an easing effect on her. "Yes." She cleared her throat hoarsely. "Come in."
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
14
#3
Josephine would not have been surprised to be told to go away, or be greeted with silence, and she was prepared to press the matter. Instead, after a long moment, a gruff voice from within bade her to enter.

Turning the handle, she stepped into the tiny abode and could not quite suppress a gasp at the sight of the blood. “Maker’s breath, Sati!” Even though she knew that blood tended to appear more extensive than it actually was, the pink-tinged bowl of water, the bloody rags and the blood still oozing from the Herald’s knuckles made for a startling sight. Setting the missive aside on the desk, she crouched in front of the Vashoth, taking hold of one of the callused and bleeding hands and picking up a clean rag before catching herself.

“May I?” she asked belatedly, looking up apologetically into the bleak visage of the other woman. Cassandra had said that she had refused healing, magical or otherwise. “It would be easier than having to do it yourself.” Sati did not shy away from difficulty; at times, she seemed even to court it, but she generally did so by rejecting the assistance of those who would support her, if she would only permit it. She fulfilled her duty with a dedication that even Cassandra found commendable, but she plainly did not consider herself as one of them, as a true member of the Inquisition. And as she was increasingly becoming the organization’s most visible member, that needed to change somehow.

“What happened?” she asked cautiously after a bit. Cassandra had been vague on the details, saying that it would be better if Josephine heard it from Sati herself. All of them knew by now that the Vashoth found it discomfiting to be discussed in her absence. Leliana seldom let that deter her; the loss of Divine Justinia had left her Left Hand bleak and driven by the need to both find those responsible for her death and see her wishes carried out. Sensitivities and sentiment were of no concern to her, but Cassandra had developed a surprising degree of respect for the Herald that she had once been reluctant to accept.

Or perhaps not so surprising, given Sati’s performance these last few weeks.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
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Posts
74
#4
Sati had been bruised and bloodied numerous times over the course of her life. She wasn’t reckless, but the life of a mercenary made injury unavoidable, no matter how good you were. And she had seen many horrific wounds over the last few weeks - burns and jagged bite marks from demons, a man who had only just survived a savaging by wolves in the Hinterlands, and and some who had survived the explosion only to be left with barely anything clinging to their bones. Everybody in Haven had seen at least a few things better left to the realm of nightmares, so the horror in Josephine’s voice took Sati a bit off guard. Even the ambassador would have experienced worse.

Nonetheless, she gasped and then knelt before Sati, picking up a rag as she did so. Sati stared down at her, nonplussed until Josephine asked for permission. “It would be easier than having you do it yourself.”

Sati’s thoughts rebelled against having the ambassador bloody her hands over her, but it made sense. She finally gave sway to the argument for treatment, and stretched out her fingers so Josephine could tend to them better. “Thank you.”

She was steeled against the stinging in her flesh, but not quite so much against the sight of Josephine, with her head bent, carefully tending to the pulverised skin. Sati hastily rearranged her face when the ambassador looked up again, trying to appear stoic once more. It didn’t take much, especially when Josephine asked her question. “What happened?”

Sati glanced over at the dresser. “That’s a qunari horn.” She wouldn’t fuss with the semantics of Vashoth, Tal-Vashoth and qunari - Josephine would know. “One of the templars was wearing it on a rope around his neck, along with fangs and claws.” He’d obviously seen her people as animals for the hunt, and once the qunari was dead, thought nothing of claiming a trophy.

“I...thought it might belong to one of mine. The Valo-Kas. I lost control.” She would spare the ambassador the details; the crunching of bone beneath her hand, the hot blood pulsing from the remains of the man’s face, his agonised screams as he’d died from the brutal beating. He hadn’t deserved honour in his death, but she hadn’t acted with honour, either.

Her regret and the pain of mentioning the Valo-Kas caused a carefully constructed wall around her heart to crack. Breathing slowly and carefully didn’t help, and she took her hands from Josephine, pressing them against her face and hiding her eyes as she rested her elbows on her knees. One shaky breath was followed by another, even more ragged, and she balled her fists against her eyes, trying to force the tears back in.

It was so hard. Her parents who knew where, her mentor dead, and her adopted family either scattered or burnt to ash. She had borne the weight as best she could, even while many people were trying to kill her, but this had been too much. Even though she was certain it didn’t belong to one of her own, the thought of what they might have suffered even after surviving while she was being paraded around like some sort of figurehead was a lot to bear.
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
14
#5
For a moment, Josephine was sure that Sati would reject her offer of help, and was marshaling all of her powers of persuasion when the warrior relaxed a bit, extending her battered hands to the ambassador.

“Thank you.” Her voice was low, her expression set into an impassive mask. She never complained, never flinched away from any task that was asked of her, but she stood resolutely alone, never allowing herself to lean on any of them, even for a moment. Never truly trusted them, though Maker knew, she had been given little enough reason to.

Still, a diplomat took the small victories and used them to build upon. Josephine took up a clean rag, dipped it in the water and cleaned away the fresh blood that had seeped from the contusions across the knuckles. Beneath, the flesh was bruised and beginning to swell. She wondered if any bones were broken, but someone with greater skill would need to make that determination. She had seen worse - much worse - in the hours and days after the explosion, when every able body had been called into service to aid the wounded, but even this was enough to make her gut clench nervously. Sati was a formidable warrior, but a disciplined one, as well, wielding her greatsword with steely precision. The damage to her hands had not been received while fighting with her sword; she had hit something - or someone - repeatedly and with great force. It spoke of a rage and a propensity for violence that Josephine had not yet witnessed in the Herald.

And yet, Cassandra, while clearly troubled, had not seemed to feel that Sati was a danger. Josephine smoothed elfroot salve across the knuckles, staunching the flow of blood, then dared to ask Sati what had happened, hoping she was not overstepping her role.

The other woman was silent for a moment, stony violet eyes lifting to stare across the room. Josephine turned her head to follow her gaze and sucked in a harsh breath.

“That’s a qunari horn,” Sati said - needlessly - of the twisting ebon horn, her voice and face flat, devoid of emotion. “One of the templars was wearing it on a rope around his neck, along with fangs and claws.”

Dannazione,” Josephine breathed, anger sparking in her chest. The war between the mages and templars had valid grievances on both sides, to be sure, but the mages were, for the most part, lashing out in anger after centuries of being treated as less than human. Some of the templars were genuinely devout and dedicated to their duty as both guards and guardians of the mages, but too many seemed to have been simply drawn to the opportunity to exercise power over those who could not fight back. That same cruelty, that same arrogance, had led one to treat a fallen qunari as nothing more than a beast, its horn a prize no different from a bear’s claw or a wolf’s tooth. “Sati, I am sorry,” she offered, turning back to the Herald. “Was it -” She couldn’t finish. Their efforts had been too little, too late for at least one of Sati’s company.

“I...thought it might belong to one of mine. The Valo-Kas. I lost control.”

Thought. It had not been, then? That should have been good news, but Josephine saw Sati’s mask beginning to crumble, emotion rippling unchecked across the scarred face in the moments before the Vashoth buried her face in her hands, the first tears that the ambassador had seen her shed escaping her eyes. She had been through so much, lost so much … but not as much as she believed.

Rising, Josephine retrieved the parchment from where she had placed it and sat on the bed beside Sati, placing a cautious arm around the taller woman’s shoulders. She couldn’t witness such pain and not offer comfort, nor could she fault the Vashoth for what she had done to the templar. If she had believed that she were facing one who had killed Yvette or one of her brothers … she might not be so devastatingly effective as the warrior in administering justice, but she would have tried to kill them with her bare hands, if no weapon was available.

“After we spoke before,” she began, “Leliana and I began seeking any word of the Valo-Kas.” She through diplomatic channels, the Inquisition’s spymaster through more covert means. “We have located a number of them. Some had fled the explosion and become lost; our scouts are guiding them back to Haven. One of them was your company’s commander - Shokrakar?” She formed the unfamiliar syllables of the name carefully. “She sent you a message.” She held out the rolled parchment. Leliana had insisted upon breaking the seal to ensure that the missive did not contain any suggestion that Sati abandon the Inquisition, but Josephine had not yet read it.

“We have also located several others who were taken prisoner by nobles in the lands bordering Haven,” she went on. “Fereldans are notoriously suspicious of foreigners, and even after it was made clear that you were not responsible for the explosion at the Conclave, they continued to hold them. I have been negotiating, and I believe that I can gain the release of most. Leliana’s people will free the rest, if the nobles refuse to see reason.” It would undoubtedly anger the nobles, but it would send a clear message that the agents of the Inquisition were off limits. “It’s not all of them, I know. I wish we had found them sooner.” In the initial confusion and struggle to create a semblance of order from the chaos, none of them had even thought of what had become of the rest of the Valo-Kas. Lives had almost surely been lost in the interim. “I am sorry.”
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
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Posts
74
#6
Sati had no illusions that Josephine was masterful in her work. Even though she had to be frustrated by some of the idiotic people she had to had to deal with in the course of being ambassador, Sati had rarely seen those brown eyes spark with anger. Although she had occasionally noticed simmering annoyance. Now, she didn’t even attempt to censor her disgust over what Sati had found, and what it meant. Sati tried, through a throat that tried to shut with every breath, to indicate that the horn had not belonged to one of her own, but she could not be sure how successful she was before pain stole her breath and she had to hide her face.

Her parents had urged caution regarding her feelings, especially after her brother had disappeared. The Valo-Kas had celebrated emotion as a poke in the eye to the Qun, whether positive or negative. And Ser Lehmann had taught her balance; sorrow and joy were equally valid, but anger should never affect her actions. She gave into sorrow, then was jolted slightly as the mattress sagged and a warm arm slipped around her shoulders.

She didn’t shift away, though.

“After we spoke before, Leliana and I began seeking any word of the Valo-Kas.” Sati looked up, disbelief on her face. With everything else going on, she hadn’t expected either the spymaster or the ambassador to have time or resources to search for her missing kin. “We have located a number of them. Some had fled the explosion and become lost; our scouts are guiding them back to Haven. One of them was your company’s commander - Shokrakar? She sent you a message.”

Slowly, Sati took the parchment from her. The seal was broken but she couldn’t bring herself to care about that; her mind seemed to have gone somewhere quiet. Josephine mentioned that yet more of the Valo-Kas had been captured by various nobles, and that moves were being carried out to secure their release, by fair means or foul. Then, Josephine apologised.

“It’s not all of them, I know. I wish we had found them sooner. I am sorry.”

Sati set the letter aside, and wrapped her arms firmly around Josephine, hugging her tightly for a few long moments. She wasn’t alone; even if the Valo-Kas couldn’t be with her right now, at least some had survived, and she hadn’t lost a whole family all over again. For the moment, the only way she could express her gratitude was with an embrace - although that seemed to be a mistake, as the scent of whatever Josephine used on her hair crept up her nose and acted as kindling to a small spark better left untended for now.

When she could speak again, her voice was hoarse, and she pulled back a bit. “Thank you. Thank you. I thought - I honestly thought they might all be dead.”

When she could, she let go entirely, and unfurled the message. It had occurred to her that the missive might have been faked, to secure greater allegiance on her part - instead, the contents made her snort. Nobody could have got the measure of Shokrakar that well. She held out the letter to Josephine. “She seems to be her usual self.”
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
14
#7
Josephine could no more have ignored Sati’s distress than she could have slapped the Vashoth, but the arm that she draped around the broad shoulders was careful, ready to be drawn back at the first hint that it was not welcome. The former mercenary had accepted the role of the Herald of Andraste, even as she steadfastly refused to embrace the title, but she had been given no real choice in the matter, given the mark on her hand and the fact that most of Thedas held her responsible for the explosion and wanted her dead. She had been forced into this fellowship and believed that she had lost all of her friends in the Valo-Kas. She deserved more than that, and fortunately, Josephine could offer her the consolation that not all of them had died, and the hope that still more might be found alive.

Sati took the parchment, holding it and listening in silence as Josephine explained what had been done and apologized for what they had not been able to do. The Valo-Kas had been employed by Justinia for the Conclave, but they were now the responsibility of the Inquisition, and they had been allowed to slip through the cracks. Perhaps it was an understandable slip, given the sheer volume of matters to be attended to, but it had cost lives, and those that had died had done so believing they had been forgotten. Finding those who still lived made sense from a practical standpoint, as well as a humanitarian one; an organization that showed no loyalty to its own could not be expected to command loyalty in return. There had been no question of what must be done, once the inner council had realized what had happened.

The hug from Sati caught her by surprise. Antivans were a demonstrative people for the most part, with hugs and kisses to the cheek exchanged as easily as handshakes and bows in other lands. In Orlais, things were more nuanced, and Josephine had learned quickly that a hug given a shade too tightly or held a moment too long were often taken as an invitation to dalliance. She had grown much more circumspect in her greetings and interactions, hugs reserved for those that she considered true friends. Here, in Haven, that number, while never large, had dwindled down to Leliana. She offered comforting hugs to those who had need and would accept them, but the aloof and reserved Herald had never seemed to be one of them until now.

There was nothing circumspect about the embrace; it was a bear hug, fueled by overwhelming emotion, but it was careful nonetheless, the powerful arms not exerting too much pressure, and after a moment, Josephine returned the hug. Maker, she was large! It was very different from standing a bit away and looking up at the Vashoth to being surrounded by her, feeling the strength in her powerful frame, breathing the scent of armor that still clung to her: steel and leather and sweat and a subtle, spicy smell that must be her skin, that last a realization that sent a sudden prickle of self-conscious awareness through Josephine. Such musings were hardly proper to entertain where the Herald of Andraste was concerned; and she brought herself under firm control as Sati loosened her embrace and drew away slightly.

“Thank you.” Her voice was rough with emotion. “Thank you. I thought - I honestly thought they might all be dead.”

“We feared it as well,” Josephine admitted, “but Cullen found the patrol schedules from the week of the Conclave, showing that many of them had been assigned away from Haven. It gave us a place to start.”

The Herald released Josephine and shifted sideways on the bed, opening the missive and scanning it briefly, then letting out a chuff of laughter. “She seems to be her usual self,” she remarked, offering the parchment to Josephine.

The ambassador accepted it curiously, her eyes dropping to the blocky script, feeling her lips twitching before she had finished the first line.

Sati,

I heard you were dead, and then a prisoner, and then maybe you fell out of the Fade and landed on your head and forgot who you were. Seriously, stop that. We still haven't been paid.

Some of our kith made it out of that giant shit hole full of demons after the explosion. The rest are dead or missing. I don't know how many were rounded up by angry humans. If you're not dead and you remember who you are, help me find our brothers and sisters.

Shokrakar

P.S. If you forgot who you are, I'll remind you: Your name is Sati Adaar. You're Vashoth. You didn't get paid for being blown up.

P.P.S. If you are dead, disregard this message.


“Scout Harding said she was quite … colorful,” she said with a light laugh, passing the letter back to Sati. “We will of course pay the Valo-Kas according to the terms of their contract with the Conclave … and if they wish to offer their services to the Inquisition, we would be most willing to negotiate a new contract.” The Inquisition would gain a formidable fighting force, and Sati could have her chosen family close by.
 

Sati Adaar

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74
#8
Sati wasn’t mindful of any tension in Josephine’s frame, and when the other woman returned the embrace she simply took it as a comfort and didn’t read much into it. That she thought the other woman somebody worthy of admiration was beyond doubt, but right now her thoughts lay with her adopted family, and the fact that - for once - life hadn’t seen fit to strip them all away from her. Indeed, the incident seemed to have barely dented Shokrandar’s spirits at all, and she laughed over the message before handing it freely to Josephine.

The ambassador might be a master of the neutral expression, but she was smiling at the contents before she’d even finished.

“Scout Harding said she was quite...colorful.”


“That’s an understatement.” Sati smiled. “When I first met her, I was adrift, almost wishing I could unlearn Ser Lehmann’s lessons and become a truly mad Tal-Vashoth so I didn’t have to think at all beyond the next impulse. I tried to pick a fight, she kicked me seven ways from Summerday, and then announced I was part of the group. She’s done me good.” Somehow, the older Vashoth had seen the pain rearing up behind her eyes and decided to be a target for its outlet, goading her until she fought and then patching her up afterwards once the pain had come pouring out.

“We will of course pay the Valo-Kas according to the terms of their contract with the Conclave...and if they wish to offer their services to the Inquisition, we would be most willing to negotiate a new contract.”

Sati almost hugged her again, although she thought Josephine might have endured enough suffocation for one day. “I would...appreciate that greatly. It would be good to be able to see them, even if it’s just on occasion.” Instead of hugging, she caught one of Josephine’s hands between hers and squeezed it slightly. “Thank you.” She knew not all of this would have been purely altruistic - keeping her upright and fighting would keep the Inquisition going - but it was further than she’d expected anybody to go. She grinned. “Plus, I think they’d appreciate the steady work, and the chance to kick demons around for a few weeks. Qunari are shit-scared of demons, Vashoth tend to view them as a good challenge.”
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
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Posts
14
#9
Lace Harding had faced demons and bandits, rogue templars and rebel mages, and was in general as unflappable a soul as Josephine had encountered, so the awe with which she had spoken of the leader of the Valo-Kas was noteworthy.

“She’s like … a force of nature! She’s even bigger than the Herald! And she’s got tattoos everywhere! I mean … everywhere I could see.”

“That’s an understatement,” Sati replied with a smile when Josephine told her of the scout’s assessment. “When I first met her, I was adrift, almost wishing I could unlearn Ser Lehmann’s lessons and become a truly mad Tal-Vashoth so I didn’t have to think at all beyond the next impulse. I tried to pick a fight, she kicked me seven ways from Summerday, and then announced I was part of the group. She’s done me good.”

“That sounds … unconventional,” the ambassador observed delicately, “but I am glad that you found her, and the others.” She had seen firsthand the reactions that so many had to the lone Vashoth, even knowing that she was an ally. To be utterly adrift in the world with no friends would be dreadful. “And I am very glad that we have been able to find at least some of them.” Hopefully, their ordeal hadn’t so soured them on Ferelden that they would not be open to an offer of further employment.

Sati’s elated expression when she made the suggestion resolved her to up the offer if need be. “I would...appreciate that greatly. It would be good to be able to see them, even if it’s just on occasion.” Strong hands caught hers, their grasp surprisingly gentle. “Thank you.” The violet eyes held hers with an arresting sincerity for a long moment before the Herald’s expression dissolved into a mischievous smile. “Plus, I think they’d appreciate the steady work, and the chance to kick demons around for a few weeks. Qunari are shit-scared of demons, Vashoth tend to view them as a good challenge.”

Josephine laughed. “Well, they should have no lack of challenges of that type.” She stood, gesturing that Sati should shift back to her earlier position. “Now, I should finish bandaging your hands.” The bleeding had stopped, but the raw flesh across her knuckles and the bruises that were starting to reach full color made Josephine’s own hands hurt in sympathy.
 

Sati Adaar

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#10
Sati huffed a small laugh at Josephine’s response over how she had become a Valo-Kas in the first place. Not everybody would have reacted well to simply being told they were in a mercenary group now after a thorough drubbing, but there had been more than she was currently letting on. After the fight, Shokrakar had sat down next to her and asked for her story. After tending to her bruises and battered pride, Sati had done so, and the announcement that the Valo-Kas would be her new family had come after that. It had been sudden, but received with no small amount of gratitude. Sati was economical with her words by nature, but she preferred having company around her, and the Valo-Kas had been just that.

Were still. They’d survived. She grinned as she pointed out that they would likely take the Inquisition asking them to fight demons as a huge favour, and earned a laugh. “Well, they should have no lack of challenges of that type.” She stood, leaving a lingering trace of warmth where her hands had clasped Sati’s. “Now, I should finish bandaging your hands.”

Sati could have finished bandaging them herself – it was hardly the first time she’d ever had to patch herself up after a fight, and it wasn’t the first time she’d resorted to punching, either. But Josephine had lifted her out of her previously glum mood in the most effective manner possible, and she didn’t feel the need to be alone again just yet. She spread out her fingers in Josephine’s direction, waiting. “Thank you.”

The knuckles were looking a bit ugly, though, and Josephine wasn’t a physician by trade. It seemed unlikely that she was used to dealing with this, which made the gesture even more kind, given that she could have sent for a healer instead. Sati tried to reassure her. “It isn’t as bad as it looks. Just skin. I’ve had worse injuries.” She’d probably broken most of the bones in her body at one point or another so far. Wielding a greatsword allowed her to do a lot of damage but it also meant taking the brunt of the damage from others, to protect the ranged fighters. That she was good with it was spoken by the fact that her body wasn’t a latticework of scars. Rather than saying that, though, she indicated the one across her face. “This one hurt like a bugger. Thought I was going to lose an eye. Some ass with a poisoned sword.”
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
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Posts
14
#11
Sati’s spirits had been lifted considerably by the news that at least some of her comrades-in-arms had survived the explosion. More effort would be needed to convince the remaining nobles to release the ones that remained prisoner, but the Herald’s efforts, and the resulting elevation in the reputation and status of the Inquisition, should aid Josephine’s negotiations. And if all else failed, Leliana’s agents would act.

Hopefully, being reunited with her friends would keep Sati from fighting so recklessly. Apart from the obvious and practical concern of the one individual with any chance of closing the Breach not seeming to care if she lived or died, it had troubled Josephine to see anyone hurting so; she knew how she would feel if she lost her parents, her siblings. She could not imagine herself reacting so recklessly and violently, but she was a diplomat, not a warrior, and she was enough of a pragmatist to know that each set of skills had a role to play in their mission.

“It isn’t as bad as it looks,” Sati told her as Josephine smeared a pungent smelling ointment over the torn and bruised flesh across her knuckles. “Just skin. I’ve had worse injuries.”

“I have no doubt.” The scars that the Vashoth bore were mute but eloquent testimony of that much. “But care must be taken with injuries to the hands. An infection could be devastating.” Hands were vital to the work of each of them: Josephine wrote, Sati fought. Magic could heal, but it was far better to keep a wound from becoming septic.

“This one hurt like a bugger,” she remarked laconically, gesturing toward the scar that bifurcated her face. “Thought I was going to lose an eye. Some ass with a poisoned sword.”

“It must have been … incredibly painful.” Just thinking about it hurt. The face was so sensitive, and bled so profusely. “You must have had a very skilled healer.” The pale line was startling, beginning on the right side of Sati’s forehead and crossing the bridge of her nose onto her left cheek, but not nearly so disfiguring as it might have been. The fresh wound must have been horrendous to behold, but if the other woman had been concerned about the marring of her appearance, she gave no sign. Quite possibly, such scars were considered badges of honor among mercenaries, bold advertisements of just how fierce and resilient they were.

She applied the bandages carefully, but there was no real way to do so in a way that would not hamper the Herald’s manual dexterity. “These should be changed every day; you should keep them bandaged long enough for healing to at least begin.” That Solas would heal her if she requested it was a given; perhaps now that her despairing rage was past, she might permit it.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
74
#12
Despite Sati’s reassurances, Josephine continued to fuss over her hands. “An infection could be devastating.”

Sati quietly admitted to herself that she didn’t mind the attention too much. Besides it evoking the comradeship after a battle – being bandaged up and assisting others in her group in turn, sometimes laughing about what had gone wrong – Josephine was gentle with her in a way she didn’t often experience. Staring at the other woman’s face would probably unnerve her after a while, so Sati went to the first topic she could to distract her, and indicated the scar on her face, explaining its origins.

“It must have been…incredibly painful.” That was still putting it mildly. The poison had sent Sati into a delirium that had lasted about three days, and the details of which her memory her thankfully removed. “You must have had a very skilled healer.”

“He was.” Sati touched the scar idly, feeling the ridges of hardened skin beneath her fingers. “He was also apparently none too pleased about having to patch up a raving ox-woman, but I’ve found coin can overcome prejudice in a lot of situations.” She still didn’t know where Shokrankar had found him, but he’d done a good job of keeping her alive long enough for the poison to leech out of her system.

Josephine had finished bandaging her, leaving her with hands made paw-like from the swathes of gauze. She wasn’t going to complain. Better than an infection. “These should be changed every day; you should keep them bandaged long enough for healing to at least begin.”

Sati nodded. “I’ll speak to Solas later to see if he recommends letting it finish naturally or if he can help it along.” She rested one hand over Josephine’s. “Thank you. For the news and taking care of this.” A small smile touched her lips. “I appreciate it, Josie.”
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
14
#13
From the beginning, Sati had seemed to take the prejudice and hostility that she was greeted with in stride to a surprising degree, but it was becoming apparent that she had dealt with such shameful reactions for much of her life. Even the healer who had treated what must have been a grievous wound to her face - and poisoned, to boot - had required additional pay to treat an ‘ox-woman’, though he had at least possessed enough honor to do a proper job of it. What could have been a hideously disfiguring scar simply added character to the Vashoth’s face, and drew focus to her lovely violet eyes … though Josephine rather doubted that the practical mercenary would give such factors much consideration.

That Sati was without doubt practical was something that the ambassador was counting on. Bandaging the contusions across her knuckles was a simple enough task, but if left to heal naturally, the dressing would need to be changed daily and would hamper her ability to handle her weapons. Josephine was not presumptuous enough to order the Herald of Andraste about, but she was careful to make it plain what would be required for proper healing.

Sati accepted it with a nod. “I’ll speak to Solas later to see if he recommends letting it finish naturally or if he can help it along.” Josephine gave a private sigh of relief; she was quite certain that the mage would advocate for magical healing in this case. One bandaged hand lightly covered her own, and she looked up in surprise. “Thank you,” Sati told her. “For the news and taking care of this.” A faint smile curved her mouth as she added, “I appreciate it, Josie.”

Josie. Despite the surge of triumph, the ambassador allowed herself a warm answering smile; a diplomat learned not to celebrate victories too ostentatiously. “I was happy to be able to assist,” she replied, “and very glad to be able to bring you good news.” She stood, brushing dust from her knees. “I should get back to my office,” she said, wondering how much paperwork had accumulated in her absence. “Dinner should be ready soon. Venison stew, I believe.” A far cry from the sumptuous state dinners of Val Royeaux, but they were still very much dependent upon their hunters to supplement the scant provisions that had been donated or traded for.
 
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