• Hello Guest, the Post-Trespasser timeline is open to all characters now. If you want to play your DA:O/DA2 timeline characters in the Post-Trespasser timeline, please check out the thread below. It will give you all the information you need to get up and running in no time:

    Getting your DA:O/DA2 Character ready for Post-Trespasser!

Letting Slip The Dogs Of Shenanigans [Closed]

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
356
#1
((29 Haring, 9:35; Evening; Hightown; Joscelyn Hawke , Adelaide Orland ))

It was exactly as Kalindra had described: the brute squad spread out on the ground, stomping around menacingly and rushing to investigate whenever a bird rustled in the shrubs, and not a single sodding eye directed past head level.

Not that Celeste was complaining, mind you. Stupid opponents were a gift from the Maker, but stupid opponents could still kill. She wasn’t worried for herself and Josc, or even for Addie. If everything went according to plan, they would have the girl out of there and back at Lady Hawke’s mansion before anyone realized she was even out of her room. But if things went according to plan, the brute squad would be chasing Nicolette and Edwin, and that prospect worried Celeste a bit more than she was used to.

Still, Varric had his people spread around the place, and most of the crew was hovering, as well, ready to step in if things got pear-shaped … and quite possibly even if they didn’t. Sterling’s Really Bad Night at the Hanged Man had raised the bar for shenanigans, and with this likely to be the last caper in Kirkwall for a good while, everybody wanted a piece, and everybody wanted to make it memorable. With that much potential mayhem, it should be no trouble at all for Nico to get herself clear of any fighting that broke out.

Which meant that Celeste really needed to get her head back into her part of this scheme: getting Addie out and digging up the kind of dirt that would take Barrett and Sterling out of play permanently. And if she got the chance to use any of the party favors that she had loaded the pockets of her vest with, damn right she’d take advantage of it.

From her vantage point in the shadows of a chimney on the roof of a neighboring mansion, Celeste took the lay of the land. The trellis beneath Addie’s window had been removed, but others along the side of the house remained untouched. Which meant that Barrett felt fairly confident that he had secured his daughter in her room, and he thought that her sneaking out was the extent of what he had to be on guard against.

Perfect.

Her eyes flickered from the light in Addie’s window along the line of darkened rooms on the second floor, mentally reviewing the layout that Edwin had described. No sign of him yet, and she hadn’t seen Nico since the minstrel had kissed her goodbye an hour or so earlier. That didn’t worry her; if she couldn’t see them, then the morons below definitely couldn’t.

Abandoning her perch, she slipped down into the narrow alley between the two estates and settled into the shadows to wait for Josc.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
67
#2
She went over what she was bringing with her at least twelve times. Algernon had been running circles around the room thinking he was going to be able to go out with her tonight. She finally asked Bodahn to take him out for a walk right before she was about to leave.

Just daggers tonight. Her sword would be unwieldy for the kind of work they were doing tonight. She put on her darkest leathers, still protective but also rather plain and easier to blend in. Finally, she did her last check and made her way out the door.

Everyone in the house was made aware that Adelaide would be making an extended stay at the Hawke residence tonight. Her mother had taken special care with fixing up a room just for her, and additional security measures were discussed and would be implemented by the morning.

Only people she knew she could trust would be running guard duty on the house, mostly in plainsclothes to not draw attention to the increased number of people milling about.

She casually made her way out into the street, acting like nothing was different than any of her other nightly strolls. She took the long way to the alley she would be meeting Celeste at, making sure it looked as if she was making her way to Lowtown for her nightly Hanged Man jaunt. She cut through alleys once she was out of obvious eyesight, and eventually made it to the alley that she and Celeste had agreed upon.

She settled into the shadows herself, confident her friend was there even if she couldn’t see her. Her voice was low when she spoke, barely audible, “Any sign of our girl?

She highly doubted Adelaide would have access to her balcony even if they had removed the means of her normal escape. But even a glimpse of her through a window would have been nice to know. She wondered if the occupants of the Orland Estate could feel the building storm that was beginning to close in on them.

Signal should come soon, yeah?” She knew it would, but she was filled with nerves, and had to fill the waiting space with something.

This had all the potential to go either terribly good, or disastrously bad. And with Hawke’s luck, the latter felt more likely, no matter how much planning they had put in.
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
356
#3
Celeste didn’t have long to wait before Josc slipped into the alley, a shadow among shadows. “Any sign of our girl?” she murmured as she stilled, her eyes on the house and Addie’s window on the second floor.

“Nothing yet.” Celeste shifted out of her place of concealment and joined her friend. A light shone behind the curtains, but Addie had not pushed them aside to peer out. Likely, she had been forbidden from approaching the window, the edict enforced by the watching guards below. There were two of them on the ground beneath, their indolent posture suggesting both a lack of training and a lack of urgency. “There.” A shadow behind the curtains and the faintest shift as the fabric at the window’s edge was nudged back enough to allow the room’s occupant to peer out. No way that she could see into the alley and her soon to be rescuers in the shadows, but she could definitely see the two trolls at their post, and the curtains twitched back into place and stilled as one of the pair looked up, scratching lazily at the crack of his ass.

“He hasn’t moved her.” It had been a possibility - though only a slight one - that would have made things a lot trickier. Normally that was a challenge that Celeste relished, but too much was at stake here. Get in, get Addie, get the evidence, get out.

“We’ll go in there.” She pointed to the last in the row of darkened windows on the second floor. Edwin had said that all of the other chambers on that side were guest rooms that were seldom occupied; entering the one furthest from Addie would reduce the possibility of any guards stationed in the hall outside her door hearing them.

“Signal should come soon, yeah?”

Celeste nodded. “We’ll know it.” Edwin was in no mood to do anything by halves, and Nicolette was a consummate performer; whatever distraction they devised was not going to be subtle. Hopefully it would be enough to draw the Troll Twins away, but Celeste had a few surprises of her own handy if it didn't. She glanced sideways at her companion. The coiled energy emanating from Lady Hawke was something new, but she understood quite well the worry that was gnawing at the other woman. “We’ll get her out,” she promised. It was long past time for Addie to break free of her gilded cage and start living, and that was more than worth some risk.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
67
#4
Celeste joined her in her hiding spot, which had at least a decent view of the grounds. Josc could not help but stare at those curtains, scared that she wouldn't be in there. That somehow their plan had come unfurled, and she had already been whisked away.

There.” Celeste's single word had her release the breath she had been holding, and she caught sight of Adelaide briefly, peering through the curtains before retreating back inside. Josc glanced down at the idiot guards, gritting her teeth. That the Orland patriarch would treat her so poorly, that he had treated Edwin so poorly. For as much as her family had it's own complications, it was no where near as fucked up as treating his children like pawns and property.

Celeste pointed away from Addie's window, “We’ll go in there.

"Looks easy enough to climb, even without what we've brought," no lattice work, but the walls looked as if they had enough cracks in the stone to traverse. It seems the whole house had been divested of the lattice that she had been using to climb into Adelaide's window at night.

Josc was anxious about the signal, anxious about all of this, which was not normally her style. In almost everything she did, she went in with confidence and swagger, and always came out on top. Well, almost always. Those time's she didn't -- well she had been good at getting away and flipping the bird behind her.

We’ll get her out,” her pirate friend seemed to be able to read her thoughts.

"I know we will, sorry for being..." she didn't get to finish her thought as she heard shouting, and not long after the guards under Addie's window were running towards the front gate of the house. She looked over at Celeste a little wild eyed.

"I think that's our cue," giving the guards a few more moments to get out of sight before going to climb over the low wall separating the estate from the rest of Hightown.
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
356
#5
Josc stared up at Addie’s window, tension radiating from every line, the carefree rogue who had helped Celeste prank the shit out of Humbert Bartier nowhere to be seen. Not that she was feeling much different. This was no prank, no lark, but there were similarities, nonetheless: the first step was getting in quickly and without attracting attention. Barrett Orland had removed the trellises that Celeste had been using on her clandestine visits to Addie, but he couldn’t do much about the rough-hewn granite stones that had been used to build the mansion itself, providing a stately and imposing facade, but also providing enough textured surface that a blind man could scale it.

"Looks easy enough to climb, even without what we've brought," Josc remarked when she pointed out her chosen point of ingress, her eyes hungry enough to suggest that she might make a try at it with the Troll Twins still at their post. Contingency plans were second nature, and Celeste already had an alternative in mind if Edwin and Nico’s ploy didn’t draw them away, but as with most backup plans, it was riskier. And if that didn’t work? Well, she’d improvise. Going back to the Wicked Grace and trying again later was not an option; one way or another, they were getting Adelaide out of this house tonight.

"I know we will,” Josc replied to her whispered assurance, looking a bit chagrined, but no less wound up, “sorry for being..." The comparative stillness of the night was broken by shouts rising from the front of the estate; the Troll Twins exchanged a glance, then began lumbering in the direction of the ruckus.

"I think that's our cue."

For a moment, Celeste didn’t respond to her friend, torn as she had never before been on a caper. Little more than a month ago, she had been outraged that the mage underground would put Nicolette at risk; tonight, she was the one who had put the gentle minstrel in harm’s way and in the company of a man that she didn’t fully trust to act rationally. The urge to race in the direction of the outcry, to make damn good and sure that nothing happened to Nico, was strong … but that would leave Josc to get to Addie alone, and no one to search Barrett’s study for evidence while his daughter was spirited away. The rest of her crew were watching out for Nicolette and Edwin, as was Varric; that would have to suffice, because if they missed their opportunity now, they might not get another.

“Go!” She raced behind Josc, scrambling over the wall and darting across the expanse of lawn to the house, then took the lead, ascending swiftly to the darkened window on the second floor. Locked, but the same style as those in Addie’s bedroom, with two panes hinged at the side and latching in the center. A thin strip of metal through the crack made short work of the latch, and Celeste swarmed over the sill into a bedroom whose slightly musty smell suggested that it hadn’t housed a guest in some time. She pulled the windows closed after Josc climbed in, just in case the Troll Twins returned to their duties and actually looked upward.

Creeping to the door, she eased it open a crack and peered down the corridor toward Addie’s room; no guard in sight, but the shouting from the front of the house drifted up the stairwell. The noise would soon rouse Barrett from his slumber; they needed to move quickly. “Clear,” she whispered to Josc, stepping aside to let Lady Hawke take the lead, her senses keyed to any sound or vibrations emanating from within the mansion.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
67
#6
Josc nearly leapt into action before the guards had moved on, her body tense and poised for sprinting and climbing. But she waited. For Addie's sake, and for Celeste's sake. The pirate had been a better friend to her than she believed she ever deserved, and Josc was of a mind to repay her for all her assistance in this and other things.

Go!” Josc sprung into action the moment the word came out of Celeste's mouth, the journey to the target balcony a blur. Celeste was already unlocking the window by the time her adrenaline lessened enough for her to take things in. She could see the faint light of the fire, hear the estate guards yelling, and hoped all of her friends out there would be safe once they were done.

She climbed in shortly after Celeste, taking in a deep breath and trying not to choke on the dust of the room. She stood nearby as Celeste scouted the hallway. She nodded when Celeste confirmed the hall was clear and slipped into the hallway. While she wasn't the best at hiding, she could be quiet when she tried, and she certainly tried now. It didn't take long to get to Addie's room, her lockpicks already out and working at the door.

"This shouldn't take long," Josc said, and a moment later the door popped open with a soft creak. She slipped inside the room, waiting for Celeste to enter with her before shutting the door behind her.

Josc did her best to remain focused before looking for Addie in the room, "Keep an ear out for Barrett, I'll get Addie ready to go."

She knew Celeste had to go to the man's bedroom, but going in there while he was still in attendance wasn't the best course of action. Hopefully he wouldn't make a stop by Adelaide's room before going to check on the commotion.

Finally, she turned to see Addie in the room, and gave her a relieved half grin, "We're here to rescue you, m'lady."
 

Adelaide Orland

Noble
Noble
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
73
#7
Day had slipped into night far too quickly. Addie had gone to the window several times, hoping to see a familiar face appearing over the wall, or to see a red kerchief being waved from a nearby house, or...well, anything to confirm that her message wasn’t still sitting in the alleway, wrapped around the stone. Of course, if her message had got through, it was unlikely that a rescue would be mounted in the daylight hours, but knowing that did little to ease Addie’s rising desperation. The guards below had been vigilant enough that escaping on a knotted bedsheet was out of the question. She’d considered trying to drop something on his head to knock him out but the only things heavy enough in her room to do enough damage were also too heavy for her to lift.

Her stiletto was still up her sleeve. She’d changed into the outfit she usually wore to the Hanged Man, and braided her head back tightly, in the hope that if she was rescued, there would be nothing to get in the way. And if she wasn’t - well, she might be able to catch her escort unawares, barge through them and flee. Failing that, she was going to fight. She would not go meekly towards the fate Father had planned for her. A poker had remained in the fireplace, and Addie had been shifting it from hand to hand in readiness for hours now.

The tension was almost killing her. She had to assume Celeste hadn’t received her message, and of course she didn’t want to be taken away, but now she wanted something to happen just so the waiting part of it would be over. Every time a set of footsteps had become audible, she’d tensed, and then felt increasingly drained as they faded away from her door.

And then, long after the sun had set...shouts. Addie’s head jerked up as a scream of pain, then one of rage, sounded from the front of the estate. She ran to the window, but the guard below was still there - evidently he’d been ordered to hold his post no matter what. There was nothing she could see to explain the noise, but now more sounds joined it; thumping, a loud, wet splat, cursing, a series of dull thuds. No swords clashing, though.

The cacophony was such that she almost missed the sound of a quiet clicking noise in the lock.

Addie sped out onto the balcony, hidden by the curtains, holding the poker with both hands. She wouldn’t make this easy for them. However much she could slow them up - even by a few seconds - was time bought against her being dragged onto the Tevinter’s ship.

There was a murmur, and Addie froze, wondering if she was hearing correctly. Because that sounded like Josc’s voice.

"Keep an ear out for Barrett, I'll get Addie ready to go."

Addie peered around the curtain, poker at the ready. Not just Josc, but Celeste as well, and Josc was grinning at her, looking relieved. “We’re here to rescue you, m’lady.”

After a second to confirm that her imagination wasn’t playing a cruel trick on her, Addie bolted towards Josc, wrapping her arms around the other woman’s neck. Fear and relief left her shaking so badly she could only gasp out her thanks, and it took more effort than it should have to make herself let go. “Thank you...thank you! Please, let’s go - he’s so angry, I’ve never seen him so bad, he can’t see any of you…”

If Father knew Josc or Celeste had been involved in this, Addie wouldn’t put it past him to hire the Crows to get rid of them.
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
356
#8
Josc made quick work of the lock, but there was still far too much time for Celeste to listen to the ruckus being raised at the front of the house. It sounded like a right donnybrook in progress, and a spark of pride flickered briefly among the shadows of worry, but every second that it went on was a chance for things to go tits up with Nicolette in the thick of it. The crew was there, and Varric, but that didn’t guarantee that nothing would go wrong, and a prospect that she normally relished had her guts knotting up instead. Too much at stake, too much to lose if they failed: Addie’s freedom, Nico -

Then the door was swinging open on well-oiled hinges, and she slipped inside behind Josc, one hand on the hilt of a dagger as she scanned the room, the knots tightening when she found it empty. Had they managed to move her already? No, there’d be no need for the guards below her window if they had … unless it had been a ploy to draw them here while Barrett Orland took his daughter to the docks -

The faintest sway of the heavy drapes that hung over the doors to the balcony caught her eye, and no sooner had Josc spoken aloud than Addie burst from behind them, dropping the poker she’d been wielding to fling herself at Lady Hawke. “Thank you...thank you!” Her eyes were dry, but her voice was thick with emotion, her face pale and drawn with fear. “Please, let’s go - he’s so angry, I’ve never seen him so bad, he can’t see any of you…”

No sounds from the hallway; Celeste stepped past the lovebirds out to the balcony, looking down to confirm that the coast remained clear. “Get her out of here,” she ordered Josc tersely, gesturing to the balcony and the night beyond. “Now. Get a signal to Varric so they know to break off the diversion. I’ll meet you at the Hanged Man with whatever I can find.” Once she knew that Addie and Nico were safe, she could focus fully on making sure Barrett Orland and his bastard of a second son got exactly what was coming to them.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
67
#9
Josc was not expecting Addie's hug, so she stood there in brief shock before giving her a brief hug back. It would have been easy, had this not been life or death, to maintain the contact. There'd be time for it later though, and they parted a moment later. “Thank you...thank you! Please, let’s go - he’s so angry, I’ve never seen him so bad, he can’t see any of you…

The desperation in her voice made her angry, and almost made her wish she was the one staying behind. But no, they were going to do this the right way, and get Barrett and Sterling ruined. And that meant that Celeste had to find the evidence.

Get her out of here,” Celeste ordered, “Now. Get a signal to Varric so they know to break off the diversion. I’ll meet you at the Hanged Man with whatever I can find.

Josc nodded, and moved to the balcony edge. She secured the grapnel, and dropped the rope, keeping an eye out for the guards return. "Once we get to the alley I have a cloak and a mask you can put on. I'll go first so I can defend you if any guards decide to come back."

Josc reached over and gave Addie's hand a squeeze before she swung her leg over the rail, then looked to Celeste, "Good luck. We'll all see you at the Hanged Man."

She began to move down the rope, looking up for Addie to start her descent too.
 

Adelaide Orland

Noble
Noble
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
73
#10
It took Addie a moment to remember she’d sent the message to Celeste in the first place, rather than Josc, and she had a moment for a brief flare of embarrassment before it was quickly swamped by the desire to get away from this place. While the estate had never felt like a home in the way of being a comforting haven from the world, she’d lived there her entire life and she’d imagined that when she finally got away there might be a pang to leaving the familiar behind. Now, she couldn’t get away fast enough.

Celeste concurred. “Get her out of here. Now. Get a signal to Varric so they know to break off the diversion. I’ll meet you at the Hanged Man with whatever I can find.”

“Wait, you’re not-?” No, no time for explanations. Celeste evidently had something else in mind, and Addie wasn’t going to hold up the sailor’s plans by asking a lot of questions. The noise outside had continued unabated for a few seconds, but she didn’t know how much longer she had, and for all she knew the guards - or Father, or Sterling - were making a line for her room to ensure she was still imprisoned. Worry gripped tightly at her chest at the notion of Celeste encountering any of them.

But if she did end up encountering Father or Sterling - well. Neither of them would ever have dealt with a woman like Celeste. Addie had to put her trust in the captain. Nonetheless, she darted across the room to hug her as well as Josc was securing a line to the balcony. “Thank you. Be safe.

Apparently the guard below had been distracted as well; there was no shout of alarm as the rope was extended over the balcony. “Once we get to the alley I have a cloak and a mask you can put on. I’ll go first so I can defend you if any guards decide to come back.”

Addie nodded, feeling the pressure of Josc’s hand on her own gratefully. The other woman went ahead of her, and Addie waited for a few seconds before following.

She didn’t look back at her room; she simply gave Celeste one more grateful glance.

Going over the edge was one of the scariest things she’d ever done. Even though she’d had tumbling and dancing lessons from a young age, she’d never swung from a rope like this before, without even the trellis to help with her footholds. And that was without factoring in her fear that at any moment the guards would return.

There was another almighty bang from beyond the walls and she almost lost her grip, but managed to slither down the last few feet, her breath coming fast with panic. She leaned against Josc, gripping her arms until she felt steady enough to move.
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
356
#11
Josc wasted no time, producing a compact grapnel and lightweight rope before Celeste could offer her own and securing it to the balcony rail to give Addie a more secure means of descent. Addie hurriedly embraced Celeste. “Thank you. Be safe.”

Celeste returned the hug, then nudged her toward the window. “No worries,” she promised with a wink.

"Once we get to the alley I have a cloak and a mask you can put on,” Josc told the girl as she scanned the ground below. “I'll go first so I can defend you if any guards decide to come back."

She swung over, paused to meet Celeste’s eyes. "Good luck. We'll all see you at the Hanged Man."

Celeste nodded and grinned. “The one with the best story buys. Varric judges.” She waited above as they descended, one hand in the pocket holding Dax’s smoke grenades just in case the guards returned. Once she saw them safely over the low wall and into the concealing shadows of the alley, she ducked back inside and went to work. First priority was buying time for them to get clear. She closed and latched the doors to the balcony, then moved to Addie’s closet, snagging an armful of fancy dresses and carrying them to the bed, where she arranged them in a heap that approximated the shape of a slumbering person. Before drawing the blankets up, she set a smoke bomb on top of the pile, where it would be triggered by whoever snatched them back in a rage. Extinguishing the lamp to plunge the room into darkness, she stepped out into the hallway, keeping an ear cocked toward the stairs as she re-engaged the locks. With luck, it would take some time for them to discover that Addie was gone, and they’d waste more trying to figure out how she had escaped a locked room.

That done, she slipped into the shadows and headed toward the other bedrooms. Edwin had thought it likely that his father kept his most important documents secured in his bedchamber, and Sterling’s smallclothes were long overdue a dose of rashvine nettle power. Among other things.

Chateau d’Orland was going to be a very interesting place to live for the next few days.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
67
#12
Josc helped stabilize the rope as Addie climbed down behind her. She was worried about leaving Celeste behind, but she knew the woman was a master of getting in and out of places unseen, occupied or not. She'd have to trust her friends skills now more than ever, and hope she didn't get caught. It would be hard to make a deal with Aveline, as the Captain's hands would be tied, if the Orland patriarch didn't just outright kill her.

She had to focus, and focus she did on the reason they were here in the first place. Josc had a moment of panic after a loud bang caused them both to jump, but Addie managed to hold on and get to the bottom. When her feet settled on the ground, she was breathing hard and the grip on Josc's arm was tight. "It's alright, you're on the ground. We're almost home free."

Thankfully, whatever hellacious distraction their friends had caused had kept the guards from returning to this part of the estate. She wrapped an arm around Adelaide's shoulder and guided her to the gate. She kept looking over her shoulder, but she was content they were safe for now. The gate had a lock that Josc easily picked, and once it was open she ushered Addie through.

"This way," she said, guiding her to one of the nearby narrow alleys. There was where she had stashed Addie's disguise, and once they reached it she threw open the crate.

"Here, once you get this on, we'll head to the Hanged Man. Once everyone sees that you are safe, we'll head home." Josc said with a bit of a nervous grin. Hopefully Addie would be alright using her home as a hideout.
 

Adelaide Orland

Noble
Noble
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
73
#13
Even though they were tight on time, Josc took a second to soothe Addie, for which Addie was immensely grateful. She had been nervous the first time she clambered down the trellis and escaped the garden, but that was nothing to this - her father had proven willing to sell her to make his own life a little easier, and Maker knew what he would be willing to do to her once he discovered she had escaped. Let alone the people who had helped her do so. What if he caught Celeste? Or the guards managed to catch any of the others who had been pulled into helping? The thought of that, as much as the precarious climb down, had her breath seizing in her chest for a moment, and Josc talking her down prevented her from totally succumbing to panic.

No guards came to them, although the sound of the commotion in the background continued as they ducked down a nearby alleyway and Josc retrieved a wrap of cloth that turned out to be a cloak containing a mask. “Here, once you get this on, we’ll head to the Hanged Man. Once everyone sees that you’re safe, we’ll head home.”

Addie was already fumbling at the clasp of the cloak with nervous fingers, her haste making her clumsy, almost dropping the mask before she thought to tuck it under her elbow first, and then Josc’s words drove home and she could not help staring at her. “Home? As in, your home? You’re happy to let me stay with you?”

They’d shared a few evenings out, and a wonderful dance, and the occasional stolen kiss, but this was so much more - Josc was willing to take on Father’s wrath. No matter how careful they were, it couldn’t be too long before he found out where she’d gone, and then his fury would have a new direction in which to vent itself. Addie knew she should protest, worried of what Father might do to Josc or her family - it would be safer for her friends if she were to strike out on her own.

Instead she wrapped her arms tightly around Josc, clinging to her again for a few long moments. With her emotions running high it was difficult not to tear up, but another bang - this one followed by the sounds of something splattering and a series of outraged yells, followed by peals of laughter - reminded her of the need for haste. She finally managed to get the cloak on, and pulled the mask over her face. Fortunately, Kirkwall being what it was, she wouldn’t be the only person running around at night with their face obscured. It was a nightmare for the city guard but for tonight was a blessing.

This done, she squeezed Josc’s hand. “I’m ready.” She glanced back at the manor for a moment as they started, but not out of nostalgia. Only concern for a friend. “Will Celeste be okay? How’s she getting out?”
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
356
#14
The urge to prank Sterling was strong, but Celeste knew that the task would have to be the digestif once her main mission was completed. The most important thing was to ensure that Barrett Orland would never be able to pose a further threat to Addie, never be able to force her back under this roof. And the sands were already trickling through the hourglass, had been from the moment Nicolette and Edwin triggered their distraction. Sooner or later, that distraction would end - she wasn’t going to allow herself to dwell on just how - and the guards, Barrett and Sterling would be returning to the mansion. She was confident that she could make it out of the mansion undetected, but she needed to complete her search before it got too crowded in here.

Into Papa Orland’s chambers, then, the bedroom dominated by a massive, mahogany four-poster bed - minus any frilly draperies - the blankets thrown back, with an oil lamp left burning on one of two matching nightstands, along with a dresser, armoire and a small writing desk beneath the window. The latter seemed far too obvious, but she approached it first anyway, confirming with a quick search that while it seemed to be in use, it contained no sensitive documents or any dead space to accommodate hidden compartments. The dresser nearby looked far more promising, and an investigation of the drawers turned up false bottoms in two of them. One contained a jumble of sovereigns; tempting as it was, it was imperative that Orland be given no opportunity to accuse Adelaide of wrongdoing. Leaving the gold untouched, she replaced the panel, rearranging the clothing atop it before moving on to the next.

And … jackpot.

She carefully lifted the papers from the compartment and carried them to the bed, shuffling through them in the light of the lamp, anger and satisfaction warring for dominance on her features. Barrett wasn’t just a shitty father; he was an all-around bastard. He’d been working with a Tevinter slaver for years, ‘selling’ troublesome tenants, or those unable to pay their rents on his slum tenements, having his thugs kidnap them and deliver them to ships bundled up in fine Orlesian and Antivan rugs. Extra money for young and attractive specimens. Still more for virgins. Barrett kept excellent records: dates, descriptions, prices. Everything but names; evidently, that didn’t matter to him.

The same ‘Vint had agreed to take Barrett’s daughter off his hands, provided he could guarantee her virginity; evidently he had, because the next missive sealed the deal with a price far in excess of any of his previous sales, with an arrival date set for this week.

Bastard.

With luck, Josc’s friend would be able to sneak aboard, and the ‘Vint had Barrett’s end of the correspondence. What she was holding was damning, but she wanted to bury him in a cell so deep that he’d never see the light of day again. She rolled up the papers, tucked them into an inner pocket of her vest, closed up the compartment, and set the drawer back to rights. No fun in giving him any warning before yanking the rug from under his sorry life.

Moving to the window, she listened. From the shouting, they hadn’t caught anyone, and the distance of the noise suggested that she had a bit more time. Her lips curled into a smile.

Sterling’s turn.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
67
#15
Home? As in, your home? You’re happy to let me stay with you?” Addie's surprise was obvious by the way she was staring at her, and Josc gave her a cheeky grin that turned into a warm smile.

"Of course. My home is yours for as long as you want it to be, Addie," Josc said sincerely. What came next surprised her more than it should have. Addie was wrapping her arms around her in a tight hug. The young woman's appreciation warmed Josc, and she hugged her back. If time and circumstance had been on their side, she might have even kissed her. That would have been the romantic thing to do right? She'd read romances before, hoping to glean such information out of them. It was still a little shock to Josc how much she wanted to woo Adelaide.

That could come later. First, they needed to get out of here. The trip to the Hanged Man would be easier than what they had achieved so far but it still had its dangers. Josc was glad she had her weapons on her in case anyone decided to mess with them. The route was all mapped out in her head. The bang from nearby brought her out of her thoughts, and ended the hug. She saw the tears in Addie's eyes and gave her another warm smile.

"You have more people in your corner than you realize. Just wait until you see the group back at the Hanged Man." People who gave a damn what happened to her, or were at least loyal enough friends to participate in this endeavor. Josc kept an eye out on the mouth of the alley while Addie put on the cloak and mask. Josc pulled up her own cloak so they wouldn't seem too out of place traveling together.

Josc noticed her looking back when she said she was ready, frowning as she thought of Celeste still in there, “Will Celeste be okay? How’s she getting out?

"Celeste has gotten out of tighter spots than that. We have to trust she'll make it out, like she always does." Josc held out her hand to Addie, and then they were off down the alleyway. "If we need to do another rescue, don't worry, we're prepared to go in and save her too."

Once they were at the mouth of the alley, Josc looked both directions before guiding her companion out into the streets. She made sure the pace was brisk, without breaking into a run. "If we get stopped, let me do the talking. I should be able to handle anything we encounter."
 

Adelaide Orland

Noble
Noble
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
73
#16
Josc hugged her back, and Addie had to smother a fresh bout of tears. The shock and relief of the last few minutes were almost too much to bear. She’d known Sterling was capable of being cruel, and she certainly knew of Father, but she’d never thought the full force of it would be directed at her. Maker above, she hadn’t even defied him in an overt fashion. A few excursions to the Hanged Man, and he’d sold her. She’d never been his daughter, she saw that now. Just an asset.

Fortunately she was more than that to others, as Josc now sought to reassure her. “You have more people in your corner than you realize. Just wait until you see the group back at the Hanged Man.”

There were others? Celeste, and Josc, of course...did Eddie know? If he knew, oh Andraste, he would have insisted on coming. “What about Eddie? Is he safe? Father knows he’s here, he’s definitely going to come after him for this once he realises I’m gone-” her self control was slipping and she managed by force of will to still her tongue, concentrating instead on getting the mask on and pulling the hood over her head, calming herself enough to ask about Celeste.

“Celeste has been in tighter spots than that. We have to trust she’ll make it out, like she always does.” Josc took her hand. “If we need to do another rescue, don’t worry, we’re prepared to go in and save her too.”

Addie would rather that they didn’t have to, and she glanced nervously over her shoulder one more time before they set off. She could still hear shouts and clashes. Somewhere nearby, a woman started singing, a clear voice delivering a taunting litany at top volume, which then faded as the singer evidently started running away. Another distraction, most likely. It worked; there didn’t appear to be anybody pursuing Addie and Josc directly. They strode out into the streets without incident. “If we get stopped, let me do the talking. I should be able to handle anything we encounter.”

Addie nodded.

The first part of their walk went without trouble; Josc guided them expertly around the patrol routes, clearly familiar enough with where both guards and templars trod regularly. As they drew close to Lowtown, however, there was the tramp of boots, and as they moved towards the shadows Addie noted the armour that the soldiers wore was not that of Kirkwall. The spikes and helmets with drilled face covers were distinctly Tevinter. In the middle of them plodded an old man, richly attired and thin, cruelty written openly on the carved lines of his face. Most likely her ‘betrothed’. Addie nudged Josc and pointed, murmuring under her breath. “I think that’s him.”
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
356
#17
The evidence needed to bury Barrett Orland secured, Celeste slipped cautiously from his room and stood motionless in the hall for a long moment, listening. Quick, anxious footsteps pattered on the first floor: servants roused from sleep by the ruckus, scurrying about in fearful silence as they tried to anticipate the mood of the master of the house.

Down the hall to Sterling’s room, easing the door open and stepping inside. The smell hit her first, making her nose wrinkle in disgust: sweat, piss, food gone bad, and the pungent odor of more solitary wanking sessions than she wanted to think about. When her eyes adjusted to the gloom, the sights were no more appealing: dirty clothes strewn carelessly across the floor; dishes with half-eaten foods in varying states of mildew and decay stacked on pretty much every horizontal surface alongside empty wine bottles. The bedclothes were in an utter disarray that suggested that the bed hadn’t been made recently; evidently, the servants balked at cleaning up after this slob.

She approached the bed first, pulling on her gloves and opting not to look too closely at the sheets as she scattered a light dusting of rashvine nettle powder. A quick search of the dresser drawers revealed that Sterling was running low on smallclothes, but she gave what was there the same treatment as the sheets, then pulled the gloves inside out over the paper packet as she doffed them and tucked the bundle away in another inner pocket, looking around speculatively. She had a limited amount of time for mayhem, so she wanted the most return for her effort.

She eyed the nearly brimful chamber pot in the corner, then the half-full bottle of wine on the nightstand. Sterling would definitely be in need of a drink after tonight’s excitement; might as well make it as memorable as the rest. She tipped some of the bottle out in the corner around the chamber pot - it looked like his aim was more than a bit indifferent, so another wet spot wasn’t going to stand out - then carefully transferred some of the contents in the chamber pot to the bottle. Not too much: she didn’t want the smell to tip him off before he got a good mouthful.

As she returned the bottle to its place on the nightstand, a door exploded open below, slamming into the wall, and a heavy tread drowned out the furtive footfalls.

“I want wine and glasses brought to my study!” Barrett Orland bellowed, thundering across the first floor like a bronto. “No, not that swill!” A muffled cry and the sound of glass breaking. “Get me a decent vintage from the cellar and be quick about it! You! Go get the girl and bring her to my study! No … I’ll get her myself.”

Logic dictated that now would be the proper time to make her exit, but Celeste didn’t even bother to try resisting temptation. She moved silently to the door and cracked it open ever so slightly, watching as Papa Orland stomped up the stairs, oil lamp in hand, and turned away from her to make his way out of her line of sight to Addie’s room at the opposite end of the hall, then listening to the clack and clatter of the locks being disengaged.

“Wake up, Adelaide.” The bastard’s voice oozed smug triumph. “Your future husband will be here any minute, and I want you looking your best.” A few seconds of silence, then a harder voice: “I said get up, girl. Don’t think I won’t drag you downstairs by your hair. I’ve coddled you long enough.” A bit more silence, then, “Little bitch. I warned you.”

The lantern’s light dimmed as he stepped into the room. A moment later, there was the POOF of the smoke grenade, a startled shout, then a bellow of rage interspersed with coughing. “Conniving bitch! Ungrateful slattern! Where are you?” Judging from the crashing thudding, he was tearing the room apart in search of her. “I’ll present you to him bound and naked if I have to drag you out of hiding!” A hint of panic touched his voice as he apparently began to consider the possibility that she was really gone. “DAMN YOU!! COME OUT! COME -”

The tinkle of breaking glass was quickly followed by a cry of alarm as the faint illumination from the lamp suddenly intensified. “Shit, shit, shit!” The panic in the muttered cursing was more than a hint now; then came the thwapping sound as Orland evidently snatched up something to try to beat the flames out. Celeste cautiously cracked the door open a bit more so that she could peer down the hall. From what she could see, all he was accomplishing was to fan the fire even higher: golden light flickered on the walls of the corridor, growing brighter by the second.

All right … now it was time to go.
 
Top