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Nobody Expects The Dalish Inquisition [Closed]

Vamaya Harel

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3
#1
[[OOC: 18th Drakonis, 9:41]] Varric Tethras

The trees had been thinning for the last mile. Each gap in the canopy widened Vamaya’s view of the sky, and with it, the vortex over the mountains. Against the pale blue, the green light surrounding it looked like a disease. In the distance she could see columns of smoke leaking upwards from various campfires and chimneys, and then as she began to emerge from the wood, she could see Haven itself. The settlement’s brown and greys sat in ugly contrast to the snowy backdrop, and from this distance she could make out the people, attired in drab clothing or blockish armour, milling around and treading more of the snow into slush.

All in all, it was about as she had expected. Few shemlen settlements she had seen had ever demonstrated a willingness to work with and complement the environment around. They attempted to tame nature the way they did everything else – forcefully. It was going to be hard, working in these surroundings. And she was not altogether convinced that the faith Keeper Suriah had placed in her would be repaid. She could lie to her own kind well enough, but could she be convincing enough for these people?

She wanted to return to the safety of the forest, but there was no question of turning back. Besides the shame that would come with returning empty-handed, she wanted to understand what the Breach was for herself. Besides, if she saw any indication that the Inquisition might be hostile towards the Dalish as a whole, she wanted to get that word back in time for her clan to get to safety.

To that end, Din was with her, although at the moment he was soaring overhead. Not for the first time, Vamaya wished she could do the same. To get a sense of the layout of this place ahead of time would be a huge advantage.

No point delaying. She left the treeline, heading for the camp, and received her first surprise; she wasn’t challenged. Wearing an open, if slightly nervous expression, she strode with the air of somebody who knew where they needed to go and that was apparently enough to avoid questions. There had been scouts in the forest a little while ago, but she hadn’t wanted to be seen by them. So she hadn’t been.

She couldn’t just wander around in the hope of eavesdropping on something useful, though. She needed to make herself valuable, so that people would tell her the useful things directly. Once through the gates, she cast around for a friendly face.

There weren’t many. Admittedly it was an improvement on what she had expected, which was to be shot, stabbed, or told to piss off, but there were still a fair few human faces souring at her appearance. And slightly to her left, a dwarf, wearing silks.

She didn’t really quite know what to do with that information, but he wasn’t human and he wasn’t scowling at her, so she made a beeline for him, a smile already on her lips.

“Hello! Um…is this where I join the Inquisition?”
 

Varric Tethras

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#2
Varric had stopped trying to tell himself that shit couldn’t get weirder; it just seemed to be an invitation for the Maker to say ‘Hold my beer’, and he was a mean drunk. Redcliffe … had been off the scale in terms of strangeness, and he’d evidently missed the really freaky happenings - sort of. From where he’d been standing, they had Alexius cornered, Nightingale’s infiltrators cutting down most of his minions and Lucky about to renegotiate the terms of the rebel mages’ assistance in closing the Breach. Varric had been there with Cassandra, the ‘Vint mage, Dorian, had sauntered in fashionably late, and then Alexius had started in on the ranting exposition that literal villains evidently shared a weakness for with their literary counterparts.

Then? Well, that depended on who you asked. Alexius cast a spell, and there had been a flash of light that had temporarily blinded Varric, and when his vision had cleared, Sati, who had come in no more worn than the rest of them, had been bloody and battered and in general looked like shit - if shit were seven feet tall, horned and seriously pissed off. Her eyes had been more than a little wild, and if Dorian hadn’t backed up the story she’d told, word for word, her sanity would have been very much in question.

The future they had seen made their present problems look like a mild case of indigestion, and apparently, he had lived through all of it. One of him had, anyway. He was still trying to wrap his mind around that part. Writing down the story of his own heroic self sacrifice - alongside Cassandra, of all people - had only heightened the sense of unreality and given him a bad case of the heebie-jeebies to boot. But Sati and Sparkler believed that what they’d seen was real … a real possibility, at least, which meant that the stakes had suddenly gotten higher than anyone had ever expected.

So, things in Haven were … a little tense, to say the least. Dozens of frightened and weary mages wandered about, eyeing the few templars who had joined the Inquisition like mice watching cats. The templars were no less suspicious of the mages, and Cullen had been required to speak sharply to a couple that had thought to pick up where they’d left off as jailers. And the common, non-magical folk of Thedas, after centuries of such tensions being kept hidden in towers, now found themselves tossed into the mix. And then there was this as-yet-anonymous ‘Elder One’ that Alexius steadfastly refused to name and turned into a quivering mess at the mere mention of. The creator of the Breach and the potential author of the end of the world, if that possible future came to pass.

So yeah: tense.

So the appearance of a Dalish elf - the first that Varric had seen since coming to Haven - wasn’t exactly the cue to roll out the welcome mat and polish the good silver. Most of the folk bustling around ignored her and the rest glowered at her suspiciously. Varric had heard at least one conspiracy theorist claiming that the elves had caused the explosion at the Conclave, but nobody had seemed to be giving him any credence, so it was probably just good old fashioned human prejudice. She spotted him and headed over, a smile on her face, and Varric felt a wistful twinge at the thought of Daisy. This one’s smile was more open, less shy, and her facial tattoos were a different pattern and white, but he hadn't met many Dalish, and he missed Merrill. Hopefully, she was safe where she was.

“Hello!” Her greeting was affable enough, unaffected by the cool reception she’d been given on her way in. “Um…is this where I join the Inquisition?”

“Well, you’re definitely in the right general vicinity,” he assured her. He could take her to find Sati or Cassandra or somebody. “Is your clan all right?” He’d learned that much from Daisy; Dalish didn’t go about alone unless they had to, either because they were following orders or because they’d been kicked out.
 

Vamaya Harel

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#3
Either the dwarf didn’t feel the cold or he was defiant of it, judging by the generous amount of chest on display. He stuck out in these surroundings, but more noticeable than the silk tunic or the gold looped through one ear was the affable smile that split his broad face when she asked him if she was in the right place. He was an unknown, so she kept her guard up, but was privately relieved that she would not have to weather the flurry of insults she had steeled herself to expect. At least, not right away.

“Well, you’re definitely in the right general vicinity. Is your clan all right?”

She nodded quickly. “Oh yes! Our Keeper has done a good job in keeping everyone away from the demons. We only encountered them one or two times, and they were quickly finished off. I even managed to take one down myself,” she added, tone carefully placed in the region of bashful pride. “But we don’t have any idea what that is.” One finger pointed up towards the Breach. “Other than a thing that needs to be sealed up quickly. We had word from other clans that the Inquisition was doing something to close it, so I volunteered to come and help.”

Better eager willingness than reluctantly following orders. She wanted to come across as keen, maybe a little naïve, but useful enough that they wouldn’t turn her away. Although she didn’t think they would. She had seen that more than a few of the soldiers training out front barely knew how to hold a sword yet, despite being full-grown; there was no doubt the organisation was desperate for more people. If they could survive the wrath of the Chantry, they might succeed in that, but Vamaya needed more time, and a chance to meet the leaders, before she could form an opinion on whether they would get that far.

“I’m a good hunter, and I can fight well. I know I don’t look it, but I can prove it, I promise. Oh!” She snapped to attention, one fist over her heart. “Vamaya Harel. Sorry. I forgot to introduce myself.”
 

Varric Tethras

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#4
Nobody moved to join them, but Varric could see the side-eyes being cast their way. Dalish had been scarce since the explosion; a few found that ominous, but most people shared Varric’s opinion that anybody with good sense would want to be as far away from this shit as possible. Except as far as he knew, there was no place far enough to get away from it, and maybe this woman’s clan had found that out the hard way.

“Our Keeper has done a good job in keeping everyone away from the demons,” she replied to his question. “We only encountered them one or two times, and they were quickly finished off. I even managed to take one down myself.”

“Nice job,” he congratulated her. Taking out a demon, even with help, was nothing to sneeze at.

“But we don’t have any idea what that is,” she went on, pointing up at the Breach. “Other than a thing that needs to be sealed up quickly. We had word from other clans that the Inquisition was doing something to close it, so I volunteered to come and help.”

Varric followed her gesture, but not for long; looking directly at it for any length of time made his eyes feel funny, like they couldn’t quite focus. “It’s called the Breach,” he told her. “Nobody knows what caused it, but it’s a tear in the Veil that lets demons come through from the Fade.” He shrugged. “That’s what they told me, anyway.” This kind of stuff was definitely not his specialty. “The smaller rifts were all caused by it. While we try to figure out how to close the big one, we find the little ones and deal with them. Help is definitely welcome.” For his money, she could bring her whole sodding clan along.

“I’m a good hunter, and I can fight well,” she told him eagerly. “I know I don’t look it, but I can prove it, I promise. Oh!” She jerked up and saluted smartly; Varric turned, fully expecting that Curly or somebody else official had walked up behind him. “Vamaya Harel. Sorry. I forgot to introduce myself.”

Nope, nobody there, and he turned back with a chuckle. “Pleased to meet you, Vamaya,” he replied. “I’m Varric Tethras … and I’m definitely no one that you need to be saluting, but I can definitely point out the ones who are. You heard of the Herald of Andraste?”
 
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