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Cordelia

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Grey Warden
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Posts
42
#21
Cordelia kept close to Siali, feeling somewhat uneasy as they made their way through the crowded streets. It was unlike anything she'd known before. Even before her life in the Tower, she'd never made a journey to Denerim. That was best left to her father and mother and in those cases, Cordelia was left in the care of tutors and servants. As such, the city was a mixture of exciting and genuinely terrifying. Most of all, she worried about the looks people were giving her. Between her uniform and her staff, it was clear to anyone that she was a mage. That attracted suspicion, and she shared her worry with Siali. Would some people fear her?

“Some will.” Siali was blunt but not hurtful. “But they won’t hurt you.”

Cordelia nodded. It was a bitter truth, but one worth hearing. "I do not blame them," she said. "Magic is dangerous. But I do hope they can accept my being here, as long or as short as that might be. Likewise for yourself; I should like us to become good comrades."

That meant activities and bonding. Cordelia was no expert on soldierly jocularity but she suspected that a relaxing day at the market and food stalls would go a long way to establishing a connection to her fellow Warden. True, they were not much alike but Siali still seemed a reliable sort worth befriending. Experienced, confident, knowledgeable. For now that meant knowing exactly the right stall to go to in order to grab street food. Cordelia suppressed her sense of mischief as Siali spoke with a tired looking elf and then returned with knotted bread. It somehow left like she was breaking a rule, eating such casual food. If only her mother could see her now...

“Here. These were my favourites, as a kid.” Siali offered her the bread, which Cordelia took happily. “My parents used to buy me one every time I won a fight.”

"I never received treats," she said carefully. "Unless a pony counts as treat, which I rather think it doesn't."

Cordelia took a curious bite of the bread and smiled at the warmth that followed. There were sweet touches to it, a hint of cinnamon and some sugar that did not overpower the hearty taste of the bread itself. It was good, unlike anything that Cordelia had ever really eaten. She took a moment to merely enjoy it, savoring the taste of both the bread itself and the small personal exploration it represented. Perhaps one day, she might be as city smart as she was book smart. A tall order, but sitting with a new friend and eating vendor food was a step down that path. A step towards something more worldly, which life in the Tower had denied. It left her with a question, however, which she posed to Siali.

"We've accomplished one city feat today,"
she began happily, taking another bite of her bread. "But I shan't think we'll stop at snacks. You've live here for some time. What is the something essential I should know about the city? I've spent my life away from these places; what is the one thing you believe I should know? What is the one thing you believe I should see?"
 

Siali Arnith

Prominent member
Grey Warden
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
51
#22
“I never received treats.” Cordelia had taken the bread with evident pleasure. No, Siali couldn’t imagine the templars were hot on rewarding mages for anything. “Unless a pony counts as a treat, which I rather think it doesn’t.”

Well, that was a sentence that finished like a smack to the head. Siali blinked at her, considered the generosity of the gift versus its practicality, then snorted. “Not unless you were really keen on them, and as far as I’m aware treats are less interesting if you have them around every day.” Had that been before she went to the Circle, then? Had to have been. Although she couldn’t imagine a mage trying to outrun the Circle on ponyback. They were reliable little plodders but not much for a flight.

At least this gift had been better received. Cordelia was smiling as she chewed the bread. Siali ate slowly as well. Even though she could buy these whenever she was at market now, she held herself back from the impulse, indulging only rarely. She didn’t want to lose her enjoyment of it, or of the fleeting memory it provided, one of few good ones from her childhood.

Of course, just eating a snack wasn’t enough to summarise a city, and Cordelia was eager to learn more. "We've accomplished one city feat today, but I shan't think we'll stop at snacks. You've live here for some time. What is the something essential I should know about the city? I've spent my life away from these places; what is the one thing you believe I should know? What is the one thing you believe I should see?"

Siali thought for a moment. Had she been her younger, more cynical self, she would have taken Cordelia to the alienage or the slums, to show her how many people in the city lived and struggled every day. And it was something the other woman would need to see at some point – painting everything all shiny wouldn’t benefit her at all in the long run.

“S’difficult to pick one thing. The market’s where you can see who comes to Denerim, the taverns’re where you can learn more about them, the Fort’s where the Archdemon was slain.” She had a thought. “I reckon you’d like the Wonders of Thedas, if you’re not sick of magic stuff after all that time in the Circle. Lots of people go in there, not just mages and templars. There’s lots of clever mechanical things, and scrolls and such. Interested?”
 

Cordelia

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Grey Warden
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42
#23
Siali paused for a moment, taken aback at something which Cordelia said. Was the notion of a pony so outlandish? “Not unless you were really keen on them, and as far as I’m aware treats are less interesting if you have them around every day.”

Cordelia nods, shifting on her feet and thinking back wistfully to her time with her family, before the Templars came. "It was a practical matter," the young mage explained, not even a hint of play in her voice. "Were I to be Arlessa, riding would be an essential skill. Learning from a young age was only sensible. No different than learning Orlesian." She paused. "Biscuit was a wonderful pony though..."

That was the past. The present was more exciting. Denerim's streets and corners held the potentiality for all sorts of adventure and new experiences. Loathe as Cordelia was to wander such foul smelling streets, every other part of her was eager to explore. Years of being cooped up in the Circle tower left her spirit yearning for fulfillment that it seemed likely a simple stroll would not fix. Still, she was eager to see whatever she might. Siali was a fair guide, taking a moment to consider what it was that Cordelia needed to see

“S’difficult to pick one thing," the elf admitted. Cordelia worried that her chaperone was not up to the task, but listened eagerly. "The market’s where you can see who comes to Denerim, the taverns’re where you can learn more about them, the Fort’s where the Archdemon was slain.” She paused. “I reckon you’d like the Wonders of Thedas, if you’re not sick of magic stuff after all that time in the Circle. Lots of people go in there, not just mages and templars. There’s lots of clever mechanical things, and scrolls and such. Interested?”

Cordelia beamed. A shop of books and curios, speaking to magic and perhaps the wider world? She could not have dreamt up a more perfect place for her to patronize. She nodded. "Indeed, I am very," she said. "We shall proceed there and perhaps I will even find a new book! Then, I rather think I'd like to learn more about you and your people."

She paused. "This is fun, but it is a chance to understand a world I've not truly seen until now," she admitted. "And if we somehow stumble upon some more sweets along the way, I shan't complain."
 

Siali Arnith

Prominent member
Grey Warden
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
51
#24
Riding was a necessity for nobles. They needed to make sure they didn’t strain their feet travelling from one fancy home to another, presumably. Mindful of her charge, Siali didn’t voice this thought out loud after Cordelia spoke of how learning to ride had been mandatory. “I didn’t learn until after I joined the Wardens. If somebody’d seen me with a horse in an alienage, they’d have taken it off me.” And probably kicked the shit out of her for stealing it, even if she hadn’t. “I like it. Max is a good horse.” Even if the guard had sent an awkward letter once saying she shouldn’t really be riding him inside the city walls.

Casting about for some aspect of Denerim that might appeal to Cordelia and not horrify the young mage, Siali spat out a couple of suggestions before landing on the Wonders of Thedas. The place gave her the creeps, with all the magical stuff there, but there was probably enough for a newly-freed mage to keep her happy for a lifetime. Judging by the smile she got, Siali had hit the nail on the head.

“We shall proceed there and perhaps I will even find a new book! Then, I rather think I'd like to learn more about you and your people."

Fantastic. Siali just loved talking about her ‘people’. Starting with how none of them had reached out when her parents died in the riots and she’d had mercenaries trying to cut her throat whenever she slept. Admittedly none of them wanted the trouble she seemed to attract back then, but it’d left her a bit sour on the subject of elven community. “Hrm. Well. Ask any questions you want. Not really sure to start with that.”

"This is fun, but it is a chance to understand a world I've not truly seen until now,” Cordelia admitted. Fair enough. "And if we somehow stumble upon some more sweets along the way, I shan't complain."

“That, I can arrange. There’s a place around here called Josephine’s that does Orlesian-style pastries. Not sure how they managed to remain open when Loghain was around, but they did.” Siali set off in the direction of Wonders of Thedas, altering her course slightly so it’d take them towards the bakery. “How’re you feeling about being a Warden, anyhow?”
 

Cordelia

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Grey Warden
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42
#25
Siali didn't seem to interested in answering questions about elves, and Cordelia could see that she'd made a faux pas. “Hrm. Well. Ask any questions you want. Not really sure to start with that.”

The mage gave a nod, still determined to learn more. She kicked her feet nervously before speaking. "I imagine you had certain preconceptions before joining the Wardens," she said diplomatically. "I wonder if your time in their service has change those. I ran into a rather chipper elf who also had red hair, and she seem more curious of me than I of her. There was something nice about that, about the idea that we could be comrades."

That idle thought lingered on the air, and Cordelia was glad to move on and think about book shops and pastry stands. If nothing else, Denerim had proven exciting and she wanted to see all of it. "There’s a place around here called Josephine’s that does Orlesian-style pastries,' Siali said. Cordelia smiled, the mention of such food bringing back memories of her childhood. "Not sure how they managed to remain open when Loghain was around, but they did.”

"A dreadful man," the young mage managed. "I was at the Circle when the mages rebelled, after being fed promises by Loghain. Or so I have come to understand that was partly the cause."

There was not time to dwell, as Siali asked a question. “How’re you feeling about being a Warden, anyhow?”

Cordelia paused, opting for diplomacy first but also honesty. "It is an honor," she said solemnly before continuing. "But one I fear I am ill-suited for. I am not one for combat or exertions, and the sight of blood makes me shiver. I know magic, yes, but am I really to fight darkspawn? Is that for the best? I cannot say, but I do know this is the second time a life has been chosen for me... and I do not care for my lack of choice in the matter."
 

Siali Arnith

Prominent member
Grey Warden
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
51
#26
Cordelia seemed nervous. Siali was used to people being nervous around her. Besides being naturally a little prickly, the scar seemed to convince people that she wasn’t ready to be friendly. She tried to keep as neutral an expression as possible while the other woman spoke. “I imagine you had certain preconceptions before joining the Wardens. I wonder if your time in their service has change those. I ran into a rather chipper elf who also had red hair, and she seem more curious of me than I of her. There was something nice about that, about the idea that we could be comrades.”

Siali smiled, a little. “Ah, you met Niamh.” Things were still at early-ish stages for them, and she wasn’t sure there it would all end up, but it was a small point of sweetness in her life that warmed her whenever she thought of the other woman. “Yes, she’s quite an optimistic person.”

She paused to gather her thoughts for a moment. “Well – I wasn’t a particularly good person before I joined the Wardens. And I wanted to be. It seemed the best way to still doing what I do best, but in a productive way. There’s definitely been bits I didn’t expect.” The Joining, an archdemon baby wandering around Thedas…neither of which she would mention while walking about the streets. “But it’s my home. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Cordelia asked for some recommendations and Siali provided the name of a bakery which had served her well, which somehow segued into Loghain’s role in the mage rebellion. She shrugged. “I don’t know much about that. Loghain was a dick, for sure. I wouldn’t put it past him.”

As Cordelia had asked her about how she felt about the Wardens, it seemed only fair to return the question. Cordelia paused, clearly weighing her words before she spoke. “It is an honor. But one I fear I am ill-suited for. I am not one for combat or exertions, and the sight of blood makes me shiver. I know magic, yes, but am I really to fight darkspawn? Is that for the best? I cannot say, but I do know this is the second time a life has been chosen for me... and I do not care for my lack of choice in the matter."

Siali rubbed the back of her neck, thinking. She was not quite as blunt as she’d once been. “If you make your focus healing, that might help. You’d be able to stay back from the worst of the fighting and aid the other Wardens. As for being able to choose a life…a lot of people don’t get that. They’re stuck with whatever tradition or other peoples’ prejudice jams them into. Even I didn’t get to choose much until I escaped my old life.” She tilted her head. “Would you rather be back in the Tower? With the templars looming about everywhere?”
 
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