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O Brothers Where Art Thou? [Closed]

Siali Arnith

Prominent member
Grey Warden
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
51
#1
[[OOC: Afternoon, 16th Drakonis, 9:41 Dragon]] Vandi Morganach Mara Kerr

It was strange to think that not two months previously, the Hinterlands had been in total chaos. Rogue templars and mages had been ripping each other apart, and when they hadn’t been fighting each other they’d been fighting anybody else they could find, in between plundering anything that wasn’t nailed down. Demons had been roaming around and then there were the bandits gleefully robbing anybody that crossed their paths. There were still signs of the fighting scattered across the landscape - a charred timber frame here, scorch marks there, sometimes a small, abandoned settlement - but the trek through had been easier than Siali had been expecting. Trade had resumed and rebuilding efforts were already in progress. And if there were people lurking amongst the trees looking for easy prey, they’d decided against taking on the Wardens.

It was almost a shame. Siali had been agitated by the silence from the north, and the whispers that whole Warden compounds had been abandoned. Although as she rode at the head of group she wore her most stoic expression, she was filled with a skittish energy that would demand an outlet sooner or later. But letting that be visible wouldn’t suit her rank, so she kept it hidden.

On the other hand, being made Warden-Captain and being in charge of the compound in Highever meant she spent quite a few of her days entrenched in paperwork, so these orders had been welcomed in a way. Although it hadn't helped with the edge to her nerves. Nothing had been heard from the Grey Warden settlement in Redcliffe since a note had been sent to the Commander saying 'we can hear it'. Nathaniel had been quick to send Siali the order to investigate, but then the mages had set up camp and evicted the arl. The resulting politics - and not wanting to throw anybody into danger completely blind - meant their departure had been delayed, but she had been ready to go the moment the messenger bird arrived to tell her it was time. Mara had been assigned to accompany her, and they would be meeting an Inquisition scout in Redcliffe who would fill them in on exactly what had happened.

Despite the attempts of the Tevinters to gain a foothold, the effects didn’t seem to have hurt the town overmuch. Siali had last been here a few years ago, on her way through to Lothering to train the local militia, and back then it had still been showing scars from the undead invasion. Now most of the damage had been repaired and the locals didn’t had quite so haunted a look in their eyes anymore - although the guards at the gate did stare somewhat at the three of them as they came through, before giving a quick salute. Siali had her winged helmet on and after bringing Max to a halt, took it off and tucked it under her arm. “Good afternoon. We’re looking for an Inquisition scout named Vandi Morganach.”
 
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Vandi Morganach

Inquisition Scout
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
24
#2
The splint had come off two days earlier, and while Hafter would likely have a limp for the rest of his life, he was getting along well. The dry, patchy fur had grown in thick and glossy, ribs and hip bones no longer so prominent, and the fearful demeanor had faded as the pup accepted his new pack. It was a fine line to walk; Vandi didn’t want to make a pet of the wolf, but he had to gain a certain level of comfort around people, and right now, he was still dependent upon her for food. A few more weeks, and she would teach him to hunt; for now, she fed him the rabbits and squirrels that she killed for him whole and tried to keep the children of Redcliffe from slipping him too may treats.

The relief in the town was palpable. The folk that had, only weeks before, sheltered the rebel mages in the aftermath of the Conclave only to find themselves the hostages to a foreign invasion, were prone to look askance at any new faces, but as one of those who had infiltrated the castle while the Herald and her companions served as a distraction, then spent the last several days hunting down fugitive ‘Vints in the forests around Redcliffe, Vandi had become an accepted face, and while Hafter might be cause for alarm in a few months, right now he was just a lanky puppy that chased butterflies.

“Wardens here to see you, ser,” one of the guards called to her. Vandi met his eyes, nodded. She’d done some asking around since Redcliffe had been liberated. The Grey Warden presence in the arling had been small: only half a dozen, but the Warden-Captain who led them was a local girl who had joined the order several years earlier.

And none of them had been seen since the day before Gereon Alexius had arrived in Redcliffe.

Vandi strode away from the tavern, headed for the gates with Hafter trotting at her heels. Two Wardens on horseback: one a red-haired elf with a prominent scar tugging the left corner of her mouth into a smirk, and the other -

“Mara!” her smile of greeting was more subdued than it would have been in other circumstances. “Where’d you leave Kitten?” A few years ago, Dane had befriended a wobbly ball of fuzz; she was looking forward to introducing Hafter to the big cat, but it would have to be well away from here. Full grown red lions tended to cause panic in human settlements.
 

Mara Kerr

Prominent member
Grey Warden
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
49
#3
It had been one heck of a month for Mara. While she didn’t mind all the travel, the worries and what-ifs that gnawed at her thoughts took away much of the joy she found in journeying with Kitten. She hardly remembered making the trek back to Denerim. One foot in front of the other was all it took for her to find her way back on trails she knew like the stripes on Kitten’s back. One word after another to explain it all to Cauthrien, and now one hoof in front of the other as she made her way back atop a (thankfully) mild-mannered sorrel mare.

The journey back to Redcliffe was just as somber as it had been returning to Denerim, if not more so. She’d kept quiet most of the time, resisting the urge to hope and reminisce. Redcliffe may have been a small outpost for the Wardens, but it had been a home to her for a good bit of time. She distracted herself by keeping her eyes on Kitten. The big cat was eager to return to her home territory - that much Mara could see in each bounding step as she pushed ahead of the group only to circle back and push ahead again. Perhaps she had higher hopes for what might be than Mara did.

As they approached Redcliffe, Mara could already see the difference a month had had on the area. The Inquisition apparently lived up to the news that reached her ears. There were more of them posted, but life looked to be returning to normal aside from the cautious glances she received from the locals. While she recognized some of their faces, the familiarity only did so much to assuage whatever fears had driven themselves into their minds.

If times were different, Mara would have put on a smile, enough to soothe just a few of those wary faces, but today she could hardly muster the energy. Occasionally she stood up in her stirrups to get a better view of the people. No Warden Blue met her gaze, and as they neared the gates, the weight she’d felt growing on her shoulders over the past month grew even heavier.

“Good afternoon,” Siali greeted the guards at the gate. “We’re looking for an Inquisition scout named Vandi Morganach.” The thought of seeing her old friend lightened Mara’s spirits enough for her to sit up straight in the saddle. She leaned to her left a touch to get a better view of what lay beyond the gates and the guards, and eventually she was rewarded with the sight of a familiar face.

“Mara!” Vandi wasn’t always the most affectionate or cheerful person around, but the way her smile didn’t fill her features like it used to sent a new wave of worried thoughts into her mind. What had Vandi learned while she was gone? “Where’d you leave Kitten?”

A practical question with a practical answer. “She’s back in the woods, probably bounding around her old haunts. Not as many rifts around for her to get into any trouble, but I’d be more worried for any demons that cross her anyway.” She tried to use the joke to lighten her spirits, and it worked, if only for a few moments. There was business to be done, and the sooner the better.

“So what did I miss, Vandi? So far it looks like good news,” she gestured at the repairs going on not far away and hoped she was right. Maker, she could really use some good news for once.
 

Siali Arnith

Prominent member
Grey Warden
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
51
#4
Mara had made for good company, at least by Siali’s standards. The other woman had been mostly quietly, focusing most of her attention on the enormous creature that she’d given the frankly unlikely name of Kitten. Siali had initially been a little wary of her, one eye on those sharp fangs, but the animal was well under Mara’s control and Siali had come to appreciate her presence. Not only was she quite enjoyable to watch, slinking through the woods with an easy grace, but between a pair of Wardens, two large horses, and Kitten, they hadn’t had a single encounter with bandits or wild creatures the whole way south.

It also turned out she knew their scout, which was a plus. When the lean woman with a gangly, still-young wolf at her heels (apparently everybody was training up predator animals these days) reached the gates, she recognised Mara immediately and greeted her. A brief moment of banter passed between them, but nobody was really in the mood for a lengthy conversation. The silence from the Redcliffe Wardens weighed too heavily on their mind. “So what did I miss, Vandi? So far it looks like good news.”

Siali turned her attention to the building works nearby. Like the Hinterlands, Redcliffe appeared to be recovering well from the recent chaos, although she didn’t miss the fact that quite a few people were looking at them askance in a way that wasn’t usual when they were in uniform. Their kindness in taking in the mages had been badly repaid and Siali hoped they weren’t about to find out that the Grey Wardens had been tied up in that mess somehow.

She let the pair speak for a bit before joining the conversation. “Where is the compound situated? I think that would be the best place to start.”

Hopefully, they’d find all the Wardens still there, recovering from whatever the Venatori had done to them, and some story about a delayed message to explain the silence that had followed. Siali didn’t think it likely.
 

Vandi Morganach

Inquisition Scout
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
24
#5
The two Wardens were looking around intently, which likely meant they didn’t have any new information on the Redcliffe Wardens, and Vandi didn’t have any good news to give them. She gave Hafter a down signal before she approached, and he obediently settled to the earth a short distance away, ears pricked forward with curiosity. Most horses reacted to wolves about as well as they did big cats, so teaching early to maintain a distance was important.

“She’s back in the woods, probably bounding around her old haunts,” Mara responded when Vandi asked about Kitten. “Not as many rifts around for her to get into any trouble, but I’d be more worried for any demons that cross her anyway.” She smiled as she said it, but the underlying strain was evident in her expression. The Wardens here had been friends, brethren.

“The Herald’s done a good job of dealing with the rifts in these parts,” Vandi told her. “Unfortunately, they weren’t the only ones. We’ve found them across Ferelden, and reports have them appearing as far away as Rivain. Hopefully, closing the Breach will cause the smaller rifts to vanish, as well.” If not, Sati was going to be busy for a long time.

“So what did I miss, Vandi?” Mara asked, nodding to the workers working to rebuild a section of wall in one of the houses nearby. “So far it looks like good news.”

Vandi glanced to the redhead, who seemed to be the one in charge … and who also didn’t seem to be one for unnecessary chatter. Fair enough. “Well, the ‘Vints are gone, at least,” she replied, her upper lip curling distastefully. “The King’s still pissed, mind you.” As well he might be with such a brazen attempt at a coup from a foreign power. “The mages have all gone to join the Inquisition … it was either that or be banished from Ferelden altogether.” Because King Alistair had really been pissed, which from all accounts of the man, was a significant achievement. “Arl Teagan and his family are back; I talked to him, and to Tessa’s mother.

“The Wardens here started acting antsy a few days before the ‘Vints showed up,”
she reported. “Stopped talking to people, withdrew into their compound. Tessa’s mother said that she seemed upset about something, but wouldn’t say what. Then, one or two days before Alexius arrived - no one’s really sure - they vanished in the night. Arl Teagan said that it looked like people just stopped what they were doing and left. Door was left unlocked. There were cups of tea and glasses of wine sitting half drunk, plates of food on the table, books open on desks. They took their weapons, but didn’t take the time to put on their armor. There’s been no sign of them since.”

Given the timing, it didn’t look hopeful, particularly in light of what else she knew. “I checked with the Nightingale, and she confirmed that the Grey Wardens of Orlais also vanished a few weeks before the Conclave. The only one the Inquisition has been able to locate is a bloke named Blackwall. He was out on his own recruiting and has no idea where the rest are.”

The senior Warden finally spoke up. “Where is the compound situated? I think that would be the best place to start.”

Vandi nodded. “This way,” she said, gesturing for the Wardens to follow, a low whistle bringing Hafter to his feet to trot at her heels.. Anxious eyes followed them. Grey Wardens were popular in Ferelden, and Tessa had been a daughter of Redcliffe. Their vanishing was seen by many as a bad omen.

‘Compound’ was a grand name for a large, two-story stone structure that had once been an inn at the edge of town. The townsfolk hired to cook and clean went home at night, so no one had witnessed the Wardens’ departure. “Arl Teagan locked the doors, but the ‘Vints broke in and ransacked the place,” she said as they approached the door that had been tied shut. “Don’t know if they were looking for something or just being assholes. The Wardens left their horses behind, but the ‘Vints stole them, trying to get away from the Inquisition.” She smiled thinly. “They didn’t make it, so if the horses have any brands or you have someone who knows what they look like, send word to Haven and we’ll get them back to you.”

She stepped aside, waiting for the Wardens to enter first. “Arl Teagan gave orders that it wasn’t to be touched until you arrived.”
 
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