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Situation Normal: All F***ed Up [Closed]

Cauthrien

Warden-Constable of Ferelden
Staff member
Canon Character
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
342
#1
((19 Haring, 35 Dragon; Deep Roads; Sofia di Castelbuono ))

It had been two days since the Wardens had entered the Deep Roads from Orzammar. Or maybe not quite two days. Or maybe a little more. Already, time had taken on a nebulous quality in the absence of the rising and setting of the sun. Decisions to stop for food or rest were made based upon levels of hunger or tiredness, and such stops were generally no longer than they absolutely needed to be. None of them wanted to linger down here, and according to the maps they’d been given, they had nearly a week of travel ahead to reach Cadash Thaig.

They had encountered little in the way of hazards thus far, a fact that had Cauthrien’s nerves on edge in anticipation. They’d run across a Legion of the Dead patrol several hours ago, and the dwarves had reported with some disgust that they’d seen no darkspawn on this outing, which might have been a relief but for the fact that all of the Wardens could feel the presence of the creatures dancing just past the edge of awareness. Combat was inevitable, and even knowing that the delay conserved their strength and their stores of lyrium and healing supplies, a part of the Warden-Constable was itching to get it over with. The giant rats that lurked around the outskirts of Orzammar and were notorious for attacking individuals and even small groups shied away from nine armed and armored Grey Wardens and a golem.

Dirthon … was still with them, but Cauthrien doubted that even a smaller rat would be intimidated by the cringing dwarf. He’d never before set foot outside Orzmmar, and everything about the Deep Roads, from the impenetrable darkness beyond the light from the mages’ staves and Shayle’s crystals, to the tattooed and profane members of the Legion, to the deepstalkers that attacked mindlessly but were easily defeated, terrified him. He stayed close to Shayle, who ignored him, and Cauthrien could hear him muttering what sounded like prayers when he was within earshot.

Perhaps because her nerves were on edge, Cauthrien heard the first faint scrape of rock on rock overhead as the group moved through a narrow fissure. Cave-ins were a hazard they had all been warned of; they were spread out, with Shayle bringing up the rear, Cauthrien and Sofia taking a turn on point, the mage’s staff providing the light with the Warden-Constable the designated meat shield, and the rest of them spread in a loose line of ones and twos, each mage close to a warrior or rogue, each one able to see the next one before and behind. She was already in motion as the first rock struck her helmet; shouting a warning to those behind, she pushed Sofia forward and to the ground, crouching above the mage to shield her as scrape and clatter grew abruptly to a rumble and roar.

Dimly, she could hear the shouts of alarm from behind and Dirthon’s wails of terror. She gritted her teeth and ducked her head, grunting as a sizable stone bounced into her ribs. Not until the rumble and roar had died back down into scrape and clatter, then to silence did she push herelf cautiously to her feet, waving a hand to clear the dusty air away from her face.

“You all right?” she asked Sofia, holding out a hand to assist the mage in rising, heart still racing at the close call - or perhaps more than close. A few shouts through the rubble confirmed that the others had all pulled back in time to avoid more than a few bumps and bruises, but the pile of rocks that lay between them stretched as far up as the light from Sofia’s staff could reach.

“Shit,” she muttered, glaring up at the unstable heap and thinking with resigned irritation of a term she’d learned early in her time in the military from the seasoned and cynical veterans: S.N.A.F.U.

Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.
 

Sofia di Castelbuono

Prominent member
Grey Warden
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
95
#2
No sane person liked the Deep Roads. Even without the benefit of Grey Warden senses warning of darkspawn skittering around on their periphery, they were dark, hot, crawling with deepstalkers, and every sound made sent a hundred eerie echoes through the still air. There was no sense in stealth down here. Nonetheless, they travelled mostly without speaking, save Dirthon’s occasional whimpers and the occasional muttered conversation with the Legion of the Dead. The risk didn’t just come from darkspawn and the other monsters of the Roads; the combination of tedium on the long path ahead could dull the senses over time. Sofia kept a mother’s eye on everybody she could, watching for signs of fatigue.

She could not spread her attention everywhere, however, and so missed the meaning of the ominous groan above until something knocked sharply against her skull. Before she could raise her hands to cast something to protect them, she was hit by what felt like an armoured bronto, sending her crashing to the floor. The bronto turned out to be Cauthrien, now crouching above her and shielding her from the debris they hadn’t managed to escape. Sofia flung up her hands against Cauthrien’s breastplate, trying to channel a rock armour spell through the other woman that would hopefully protect her from the worst of it, but by the time she’d gathered her magic it was over. The air filled with a choking dust, although it wasn’t the only thing affecting Sofia’s breathing - having a fully armoured warrior on top of her was not the stuff of romances, and she was struggling a bit to get air in her lungs. Fortunately, Cauthrien got up within moments.

“You all right?”

Sofia took the proffered hand, wiping some of the dirt from her face on instinct as she rose to her feet. “Yes. Thanks to you.” She possibly would have made it out unassisted, but Cauthrien’s instincts had definitely saved her from worse injury. “How are-”

Her own inquiry about Cauthrien’s wellbeing stopped in her mouth as they both looked up at the pile of stone that completely blocked their previous path. The fall stretched all the way to the ceiling, and the rocks that had fallen were not of a small size, either. Cauthrien swore, and Sofia was inclined to agree with her.

It sounded as though everybody had survived, at least, but now they needed to work out how they were going to get out of this. “It would take hours to clear this, even with magic.” And that would cost them not just valuable time, but also energy they needed to conserve in case of a fight. “Do you have a map with you? It might be easier for them to find an entrance further back and for us to find another way to them.”

Assuming one existed. Cauthrien might well decide it was the better option for them to stay put and do what they could to clear the passage; Sofia would defer to the senior Warden. Although - she eyed the other woman critically. “Do you need healing? It sounded as though quite a few big ones hit you.”
 

Cauthrien

Warden-Constable of Ferelden
Staff member
Canon Character
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
342
#3
Sofia had sustained no serious injury, and after a shouted exchange through the fallen rock, it appeared that those on the other side were unharmed, as well. Which addressed one concern, but left another very firmly in place.

“It would take hours to clear this, even with magic,” Sofia remarked, studying the barrier.

“And risk bringing the rest of the mountain down on our heads,” Cauthrien agreed. With the initial adrenaline rush fading and her worry for the immediate welfare of the others assuaged, annoyance was assuming primacy. This was time they could ill afford to waste, but there was nothing to be done for it now.

“Do you have a map with you?” Sofia inquired. “It might be easier for them to find an entrance further back and for us to find another way to them.”

“I’ve got one.” So did Mysaria and Siali. Cave-ins were a known hazard in the Deep Roads, and other circumstances could lead to separation; multiple maps served as insurance. She slipped her own copy from the scroll case, angling it to catch the light from Sofia’s staff. A few bellowed exchanges later - interrupted more than once when more rocks clattering down sent them scrambling backward - they identified a branching tunnel that they had passed a couple of hours earlier that took a longer path to the chamber that this one reached, though it looked as though it would take better than a day … assuming nothing else happened to delay them further.

“Do you need healing?” Sofia’s question cut through Cauthrien’s broodings over potential threats. “It sounded as though quite a few big ones hit you.”

Cauthrien lifted her arm, rolling her shoulder experimentally and drawing a deep breath, then wincing. “Wouldn’t hurt,” she conceded reluctantly. “Feels like I cracked a rib or two.” Despite her worries, the others at least had the numbers to best most foes they might encounter. Two alone in the Deep Roads would be at a decided disadvantage; anything that might hamper her fighting ability needed to be addressed.
 

Sofia di Castelbuono

Prominent member
Grey Warden
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
95
#4
Sofia generated enough light for them both to study the map - but just that. While the taint drew Wardens and darkspawn together in a fashion that made stealth difficult, there was no need to alert any other type of enemies to their presence either. Especially since it appeared that for the next few hours, it would be just the two of them. It was not a tantalising prospect, especially as this would cost them time, but Sofia had been in worse situations. She wouldn’t fret over it until something really bad happened.

After a bit of shouting back and forth, they chose their route, but before they began on their way Sofia wanted to check Cauthrien for injury. The other woman had shielded her from taking the brunt of the damage but in so doing had likely absorbed a bit of it herself, even armoured as she was. Fortunately, Cauthrien wasn’t the type to downplay an injury only to have it come back and bite her later. “Wouldn’t hurt,” she admitted, in response to the query about healing. “Feels like I cracked a rib or two.”

Sofia nodded, stepping forward and resting her hands against Cauthrien’s side. Normally she would prefer to insist on stripping Cauthrien out of the armour and examining the injury visually as well as with magic, but it was too risky.Without a third to watch their backs, it was better to err on the side of caution. At least drawing from the Fade was a comfort - despite the number of times she’d been in the Deep Roads, she couldn’t help but feel that the weight of all that stone might cut her off from it. But the magic flowed as freely as usual, Sofia applying it with a light touch around the cracked bone as she sensed it. As delicately as a seamstress, she knitted the fracture, and then for good measure gave a small extra shot to provide Cauthrien with a boost of energy. “There. It’ll still be a little sore for a few minutes, but a bit of walking will stretch out the muscles and then you should be fine again.”

She straightened up and rolled her shoulders, before looking along the length of the passageway that awaited them. The persistent pressure on the back of her skull caused by proximity to darkspawn was present, but not insistent enough to suggest any were nearby. A small mercy. On the chain around her neck which held her Warden’s Oath was also a small medallion of Andraste; Sofia held it now, offering a silent prayer for protection before they proceeded forwards.

“How long approximately do you think it will take?”
 
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