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Into the Underground [Group 2, Closed]

Mysaria Grivia

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Grey Warden
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29
#1
(( Alongside Wardens At The Gate, Aerion Hunter, Siali Arnith ))

Mysa had never been to Orzammar.

She had the opportunity to traverse much of Ferelden early on in her Warden career, visiting the teyrnir in the north, Redcliffe in the south, and her eventual placement in Gwaren. Denerim and Amaranthine were the most familiar places to her, considering the strongholds the wardens had. The Frostbacks had been a sight to see as they approached from the road, looming above and snowcapped. It was a glorious vision to get to see them this close, and even closer still when they made their way into the Gherlen Pass. It was almost enough to allow her to ignore the cold, but not quite. She pulled her cloak around her with one hand, keeping her other tight on the reins of the horse that carried her.

That was mostly new to her as well. She'd been practicing, trying to learn how to ride for a few months now, and while she could stay on the creature, if it ever bolted she knew she'd be in trouble. Which made the marketplace outside of Orzammar a welcome sight. It meant standing on her own two shaky -- and somewhat sore -- legs. She looked around at the other wardens, proud to be part of this expedition, before her eyes fell on Aerion near her. She gave him a warm smile, as they navigated their way past the vendors.

She knew once they were in the tunnels, things would be harsher, more tense, so she wanted to enjoy the less dangerous moments while she could. That's when a voice near Aerion called out, “Oi! Big ‘un! How’d you manage to rate six? If the Wardens be givin’ out harems, I might join up!

Her eyes widened a bit, before her expression hardened at the near-toothless man. Before anything could exit her mouth, Cauthrien had stepped in, sword pulled from scabbard and Dragon moving into a near menacing position, scaring off the heckler. Mysa exhaled, watching Aerion for a moment, wondering if he had understood what the man had meant.

Finally, they were greeted by the dwarven captain, “Wardens, King Bhelen is expecting you. We’ll see to your horses.

She thankfully slipped off the saddle, though she took a moment to brace against the side of the horse she had been riding. She could have made this trek with just the strength of her own legs, but something about being saddled so long threw her off. Cauthrien called for them to gather their things from the horses, and she began to untie her supplies and packs. Most of her sundry involved various healing elixirs and items to make more in a pinch, but there was lyrium as well. That she carefully handled, attaching the well insulated bag to her belt.

"I do hope it's as warm as expected inside the mountain." She'd heard there were lava flows, so she could only imagine it was, but she could feel the cold all the way to the bone and was ready for some warmth. She moved closer to Aerion once she had everything from her horse, hand touching his forearm before heading over to Cauthrien. "Will we be getting rooms, or will we be going straight to an audience?"
 

Aerion Hunter

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#2
Aerion had not been looking forward to this trip. Frankly, he had been dreading it since Aria had brought it up, knowing full well that she wanted to go. What she was expecting, he didn’t know. Considering how much of her life had been spent in smaller spaces, he supposed she might be more used to it than he was giving her credit for, but considering how ‘never’ was the earliest he had wanted to return to the Deep Roads, this was much too soon for his liking.

There was absolutely no way, however, that he would let her go it without him. Not to mention, as the most recent traveler through the Deep Roads in Ferelden, he felt fairly obligated to go, even if he didn’t want to.

Destination aside, the trip wasn’t all that much fun, either. Back in Gwaren, Aria had managed to secure a fairly large horse for him to use - one that, thankfully, had not given him any trouble. Considering how he’d never ridden a horse, nor felt comfortable doing so, getting him used to riding one at all took a fair amount of time. At least it didn’t seem to might carrying his extra weight, something that Aerion was always worried about.

The presence of a market so close to the entrance to Orzammar was something that confused him at first, but made sense after some thought. They would get first dibs on anything sold from the place. His mind was on the matter when a shout bellowed in his direction, drawing him out of it.

“Oi! Big ‘un! How’d you manage to rate six? If the Wardens be givin’ out harems, I might join up!”

Aerion briefly shook his head, startled out of his reverie by the words. So caught up in his thoughts was he that he initially didn’t understand the implication. Six? What was he rating, and why was a ‘six’ the deciding number? The Warden-Constable was the first to react, showing him her blade in response, and the way the dwarf stood down had him truly thinking about his words.

Oh.

A low growl escaped him, and he glared over at the dwarf’s retreating form. But as tempted as he was to give chase and introduce his fist to the dwarf’s face (could he even reach? He would have to duck first, he was absolutely certain), they were here for far more important reasons than him. Although Aerion couldn’t help but wonder if punching the dwarf might at least excuse him from having to go into the Deep Roads again.

The order came to dismount and gather their things, and Aerion was only partly relieved from being able to get on his own two feet again. Collecting his pack of supplies, there was a fair amount of heft to it, having insisted on carrying the heavier items that Aria might have, along with his own. "I do hope it's as warm as expected inside the mountain."

Well, that was one way of putting it. “Some parts are. Others feel colder than this mountain.” The lack of light was the worst of it, really. He hoped they were fairly good at following their noses… if not, he knew what his role in all of this was going to be.
 

Siali Arnith

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Grey Warden
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46
#3
The trip had produced a few conflicted feelings. For the first, Siali was pleased to have such an extended time with her lover by her side. The second was the usual buzz of tension under her skin at having the huge form of Aerion around. The third was excitement. They were going to Orzammar, seeing where Erna had been raised, and they might even do into the Deeps themselves. Thinking about the fights that might be about to come, as well as attending to the responsibilities of her new rank, kept Siali occupied and cheerful enough that she’d done very little grumbling on the journey. Max had seemed to be happy about being out of the city, trotting along in a group of comrades, although Siali had worried for him a bit after they’d got snowed in. He seemed to have shaken the cold pretty well, though.

Nothing had tried to attack them (which would have been suicide, anyway), and despite the loss of the snow day, they’d made pretty good time since. They’d reached the mountains and as their horses had tramped up the pass, Siali found herself looking to the woods and wondering if this was the same path she’d taken on her roundabout flight from Highever. It wasn’t even that long ago, on the scale of her life time, that she’d been unarmoured, barely armed, broken and starving somewhere in these woods.

If only she could have seen herself now.

Although back then if somebody had implied she was part of a human’s harem, she would have torn both their arms off. When the merchant did the same here, she only considered it for a moment, lip curling, before ignoring him. Cauthrien had the situation in hand. Instead she focused on wrapping her head around the size of the entrance gates. Why did the place need to be so big when the average occupant could walk between Aerion’s legs without headbutting him somewhere unfortunate?

Siali swung herself off Max, and started picking up the various items attached to him. Some of them, like the tent and sleep roll, could be dropped off at wherever they were staying inside, but most of them were her weapons. Besides her swords, she had a number of daggers, a small wooden chest that was carefully packed to the brim with poisons and explosives, and one very sharp stiletto. Just for anybody who might not be keen on the Wardens running around the city.

Mysaria was also gazing up at the mountain by the time she finished. “I do hope it’s as warm as expected inside the mountain.”

Aerion was the voice of experience in this, apparently. “Some parts are. Others feel colder than this mountain.”

“Hrm. How long were you in the Deep Roads before, Aerion?” Siali was aware that he’d had experience, although she didn’t know the full extent of it. She was still getting used to her new role and was trying to learn useful information about her fellow Wardens all the time – even if she had previously not had a great working history with them.
 

Mysaria Grivia

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#4
Some parts are. Others feel colder than this mountain.” Aerion said, and she was struck once more that he was going into this with great reservation. She knew the last place he wanted to be was underground again, but part of their duty involved this. She hoped that he would be able to tolerate it with her and the others alongside him.

Hrm. How long were you in the Deep Roads before, Aerion?” Siali spoke up, and she let Aerion answer that. It was still a miracle that he had returned at all, and instead of lingering on that thought, and her having to leave the Free Marches while he was on assignment, she focused on the rest of the group and the captain who was speaking to them.

Your audience with King Bhelen is at the eighth bell tomorrow morning,” he said to her inquiry, and she gave him a polite nod. “He has reserved a block of the best rooms at Tapster’s for the duration of your stay.

Cordelia seemed interested in comforts, and Tapsters should have some comforts for them. Would they have surfacer food she wondered? When the captain mentioned the feast coming tomorrow, she felt her stomach rumble. So much talk of food had awoken her hunger. It seemed extravagent, though, and she wondered if it was just a formality. Wardens were well respected here, but that seemed a bit much for their arrival.

They moved inside the mountain and she was glad for the warmth. By the time they reached the doors of the tavern they were staying, she had slipped off her cloak and held it folded over one of her arms. Tapsters was a lively place, plenty of people in there drinking and singing. She moved a little closer to Aerion, her nerves flaring up for the first time in a long time.

Wardens, welcome,” A dwarven woman approached them when they entered, all smiles and hospitality, “King Bhelen has provided for your stay. Your rooms are on the second level, and a private dining area has been reserved for you. Meals and drinks are on the house.

That was probably good, and she felt her stomach rumble again. Cauthrien turned to the group, “Everyone get settled in your rooms and get cleaned up. We’ll meet down here for dinner in an hour.

She overheard Niamh speak to Siali a moment later, "S'pose ye might want a hand gettin' stuff t'yer room.."

She grinned to herself and looked up at Aerion, "It will be nice to get the dust of the road cleaned off."

Mysaria nodded to her fellow wardens as they parted and found their various rooms. Unloading wasn't too difficult, but she took some time in cleaning up and talking with Aerion about the height of the rooms and the size of the beds. Once they were both presentable, she had changed into clothes more temperature appropriate, and lead him back up the stairs to find the room where they would take their dinner. The woman who had greeted them showed them in.

Food had already been set out, and she placed a hand on her stomach again, laughing a little, "You would think I hadn't eaten in a week."

She took a seat, waiting for Aerion to sit next to her before taking his hand and giving it a squeeze. She took out a book and pencil after, and began writing some of what had happened upon their arrival down, making notes of names and people and surroundings. She glanced up at Cauthrien, "Is a royal banquet a normal custom for wardens visiting Orzammar?"

She hadn't touched the food yet, waiting for everyone to arrive before doing so.
 

Aerion Hunter

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#5
“Hrm. How long were you in the Deep Roads before, Aerion?”

“Nearly three months. We travelled from the Free Marches to Redcliffe.” It had begun as a test, but then it turned into a situation where the test turned into a genuine investigation, and Aerion spent far more time under the earth than he ever desired to. The only benefit was exiting near Redcliffe and being reunited with Mysaria once more.

The meeting with King Bhelen came the next morning, implying that the Wardens had the evening to themselves. A part of him wished to request going back above ground for the night, but he was certain that such a request would not only be denied, but that he would be lectured about proper behavior again. One more night under the surface was not worth souring the trip before it had scarcely begun.

"It will be nice to get the dust of the road cleaned off."

He did have to admit that the idea was attractive, and carried their things into their assigned room. He’d been surprised to find that the rooms were larger than he anticipated… although the bed was definitely not made for someone of his height. He would figure it out, but first the offer of food was a much more tempting offer than curling into their last proper bed for the foreseeable future.

"You would think I hadn't eaten in a week." Aerion hummed in agreement, taking out a chair for Mysaria and then sitting himself, unaware that if he was trying to be a proper gentleman, he should offer the same for the others, as well.

"Is a royal banquet a normal custom for wardens visiting Orzammar?"

As far as he’d come with social norms, food was definitely one matter in which he still could not bring himself to wait. But he kept it simple, tearing apart some of the dried meats. This was something he had enjoyed, actually. Nug was delicious.

“Didn’t the Warden help get the king in power? Could be he thinks he’s with us. Or sees us as with him, so wants to treat us well,” Aerion mused. He had done a fair amount of research on Aeden’s exploits, asking anyone that would speak of it about his journey during the Blight. He’d gotten a lot of different versions, but some things were consistent, so he assumed that some of it was factual, at least.
 
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Siali Arnith

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46
#6
Three months below the earth. Siali would give everything to the Wardens, but even she balked a little at the idea of that long spent away from the sky, especially if she was hoping to see it again. Then again, the way Orzammar was built suggested it might not be so claustrophobic as she imagined. The ceilings arched far above their heads; while it was clear there was no sunshine creeping in, it was easy to imagine she was simply in a large hall rather than underground.

And for the moment they didn’t need to go diving into the Deep Roads immediately. The air was warm, which made for a comfortable change from the cold outside, and when they reached the tavern the dwarves there were welcoming. Nobody glowered at them from the corners or muttered and then laughed in the way of people passing jokes about the people they were watching. Siali could have sat down with a mug of ale and some food right then and there, but Niamh suggested giving her a hand to get to her room. Both Wardens knew well that Siali was perfectly capable of carrying her own kit upstairs, suggesting that Niamh might have an ulterior motive.

Given that Mysaria and Aerion currently looked as though they were getting ideas for the baths that the Antivan mage kept going on about, Siali didn’t feel it would be too out of place to accept, and she did, with a grin. “Yeah. Let’s get this lugged upstairs and tidy up a bit before we eat.”

Consequently, after experimenting the bath and a little private time with Niamh, Siali was already in a good mood by the time she came back downstairs. The travel to Orzammar had been long, cold and occasionally hard enough to test her temper, but all of that had fallen away after a good soak. No wonder Sofia had been so excited about it.

She was starving, and sat at a space near Aerion and Mysaria, with room for Niamh to sit by her side as she started piling things on her plate. The mage was glancing about with a curious eye.

"Is a royal banquet a normal custom for wardens visiting Orzammar?"

“Didn’t the Warden help get the king in power? Could be he thinks he’s with us. Or sees us as with him, so wants to treat us well.”

Politics. Siali loathed politics, although she would engage in niceities with nobles more freely nowaways than she used to. It was usually their lands Wardens were going onto in order to find darkspawn nests, anyway. “I wouldn’t look that gift horse in the mouth. If it makes the mission easier, so much the better.”
 

Mysaria Grivia

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#7
The others filtered in not long after they had gotten settled, and Mysa looked around. Three mages, with two of them specialized in healing was a good thing. Especially if there task took them into a nasty nest. Though she was certainly hoping that this foray didn't lead them to the same thing they had found in Redcliffe. She had seen all she wanted of broodmothers, though she knew realistically, she'd likely see more before her last days came upon her.

Aerion was already digging in, and she finished her notes, acknowledging everyone with a friendly smile and a nod of the head as they got settled in.

Didn’t the Warden help get the king in power? Could be he thinks he’s with us. Or sees us as with him, so wants to treat us well.” Aerion responded to her comment.

"He's not with us, it just makes me nervous that he may expect quite a bit more from us than what was originally proposed." She said that in a quieter tone, even if they were in a private dining room. She didn't want to offend but she wasn't going to not express her concern.

Cordelia expressed her concern over any customs they may need to acknowledge before eating, but Cauthrien quickly assured her to go ahead and start eating. Mysa finished up her note taking for now, getting some of the soup first. While the room itself was warm, and the bath had been a blessing, she still felt chilled internally. The soup would help alleviate that.

I wouldn’t look that gift horse in the mouth. If it makes the mission easier, so much the better.” Siali said. Maybe she was being too cautious, but she had spent a good portion of her life accepting things as they seemed, and was shown a harsh reality of people's ability to deceive. She was working on balance but hadn't quite reached that point yet. If anything, the people who were part of the wardens were the only people she fully trusted.

Exactly,” Cauthrien was in agreement with Siali. “The Wardens were instrumental in putting King Bhelen on the throne, but I doubt it’s only gratitude behind his honoring us with a banquet. He wants to be seen as being allied with the Grey Wardens, and that could work in our favor. After we eat, you’re free to explore the city; I’d recommend staying in pairs, at least, until we get a better idea of the climate here. I know that not all of the dwarves are happy with the changes the King has made.

"I just worry he will ask more than he should of us, apologies if I seem nervous," she was nervous. Mysa shifted just a fraction closer to Aerion, his presence making her feel calmer.

A server approached offering them drinks, "Just water for me please."

Once everyone had given their orders, Cauthrien spoke up again, “Keep your ears open if you’re out and about for anything that might give us an idea of how things stand here. We’ll meet here for breakfast before the audience with the King.

That was something she hadn't really considered. There were a few things she had read about that she was actually interested in. Perhaps the hospitality the King was extending would be of benefit, "Do you think they would let us into the Shaperate? I don't have anything specific I'm looking for, but I would love to see how they organize and catalog things. If we can, if any of you would like to go with me, I'd be happy to have you along. If not, I'd definitely love to visit the Chantry here. I'm curious about how well it's doing here."

She took a sip of her soup as she flipped open her notebook again, writing a few more things down.
 

Aerion Hunter

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#8
"He's not with us, it just makes me nervous that he may expect quite a bit more from us than what was originally proposed."

It was an interesting point, one he hadn’t considered. The idea of being expected to do more than their initial goal of finding the source for Denerim’s occasional waves was one that would only mean being delayed down here even more. That wasn’t something he was at all pleased about.

"Is there... a ceremony? Or might we partake?"
The question made him pause, stilling the hand that held the dried meat, his eyes widening a bit as he looked for confirmation that he hadn’t screwed up.

“Dig in.” The comment was reassuring, and Aerion proceeded to serve himself some meats, finding that he still enjoyed the taste of nug despite the memories it bought back.

That they were to make their presence seen afterwards made a fair bit of sense. If the king wished to associate himself with the Wardens, showing that the wardens were present would only help him. Theoretically.

When the server got to him, Aerion tried to recall what the others had requested. “Ale, please. Whatever you think best.” He enjoyed the taste of ale, but he didn’t know enough about it to specify which he wanted. Nor did he want to hold up the server when the others needed drinks as well.

“Keep your ears open if you’re out and about for anything that might give us an idea of how things stand here. We’ll meet here for breakfast before the audience with the King.”

Listening was something he was good at, but discretion was not. Especially around here when no one even came close to his height outside of the people at this table. "Do you think they would let us into the Shaperate? I don't have anything specific I'm looking for, but I would love to see how they organize and catalog things. If we can, if any of you would like to go with me, I'd be happy to have you along. If not, I'd definitely love to visit the Chantry here. I'm curious about how well it's doing here." For once, Aerion couldn’t say he was eager to stay at Aria’s side, for neither had any appeal to him. Cataloging things was something that she thoroughly enjoyed, but something that bored him to tears.

"What about them fights," Niamh asked. "Ain't there some place what there's fightin' matches? We allowed to fight too?"

“I'd like to see that, too. It was the… Proving Grounds, I think you called it?” He asked Aria, seeking confirmation. From what Aria explained to him, their caste system made perfect sense. To him, anyway, since he’d come from something similar in his past. He was very curious to find out what the dwarfs considered warriors however… Considering their height, he had to admit their skill, since they had quite a bit to overcome.
 

Siali Arnith

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#9
Siali remained close by Niamh’s side without her elbows getting in the way as she ate, listening as Cauthrien issued her orders. Technically there was little beyond attending the audience and getting a general sense of the atmosphere of the place, but both were important to keep in mind. Siali had read enough reports about the Hero of Ferelden’s adventures in Orzammar to know that the current king owed his position almost entirely to the Wardens – and also that a reputation surrounded him. A missing brother or two here, a disappeared enemy there. Yet he’d also empowered the casteless to engage in professions previously shut off to them. Given that one of those professions involved training as a soldier, though, Siali suspected that one served Bhelen on a number of levels.

Maker’s breath she hated politics.

The mages wanted to check out the Shaperate, Niamh expressed an interest in the fighting matches. “We allowed to fight too?”

“I'd like to see that, too. It was the… Proving Grounds, I think you called it?”

“Yeah. And me too.” Siali speared another piece of unidentified meat with her knife. At least it tasted good, and she wasn’t about to question its exact origin. “I think we’d get a better sense of how people feel about the King and the Wardens generally there rather than in the Shaperate. Although I’m going to check that out later too.”

Since joining the Wardens, Siali had been making full use of having access to a large library for the first time in her life. All that knowledge just sitting there, ready for the devouring, and everything she learned made her all the more curious. Despite her dislike of politics, she’d learned a lot about it second-hand through the historical works she’d read. The Shaperate might provide something similar, assuming they were allowed to access it at all.
 
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