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The Dawn Will Come [Closed]

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
102
#1
[Cloudreach, 9:41 Dragon]

So. This is death.

Sati had never given much mind to what followed life. Her attention had been more preoccupied with how she could stave off the end of it for as long as possible, and of course she knew of the Fade. She'd hoped to see some old faces, but the enshrouding darkness and silence did not take her much by surprise.

The cold did, though. She felt it creeping in at the edges of her fingers, up through her limbs until a tremor seized her, bringing with it an agonising shaft of pain. Sati fought the urge to curl in on herself. Instead, she lay very still as she made an inventory of her injuries, testing each part of her body carefully.

There were many. Besides the injuries she had sustained fighting the red templars, being thrown full body against the trebuchet had cracked at least a couple of ribs, and her arm ached viciously from dangling from Corypheus' grip. Not to mention falling down through scaffolding into…

Where was she now?

Beneath Haven. Yes. She'd seen the distant flare of light on the hill, indicating that most of the Inquisition were almost to safety, and she'd fully expected to die trying to buy them more time from the persuing army. She'd hoped to take Corypheus down too, but his pet dragon had swooped him to safety as she fell down into the dark.

By now she'd acknowledged she wasn't actually dead, but she could feel the breath of it on her neck. Fighting had already exhausted her, her body was broken in numerous ways, and if she just lay here with her eyes closed, the cold would soon take her. In the end, it would be a remarkably gentle way to go.

But the Inquisition still existed, and nobody else had heard Corypheus' ravings. She might be the only one who knew. And besides, even though the Breach was gone, there still might be rifts. Corypheus could tear them open himself.

Very slowly, Sati shifted beneath the planks and rubble that covered her, gingerly sliding herself to freedom before gaining her feet. Thin light from deep mushrooms, and the ambient green shimmer from her hand, provided enough light to show that she'd fallen into one of the mines. There would be a way out onto the far mountainside, and then...and then she would go looking for the Inquisition.

Ruin had been lost, thrown back in the blast before Corypheus and his dragon had shut her off from the others. Fortunately there was still a dagger at her waist, but it was a moot point anyway. She was in no shape to fight, and the memory of that moment didn't help. She'd been nervous about jobs before, startled, even horrified, but at no other time in her life had she felt so utterly scared and helpless. The dragon could have swallowed her whole, and she was unable to do anything to Corypheus other than take a swing at him. At least setting off the avalanche had felt like taking her death into her own hands.

Just getting to the end of the tunnels was tiring, and on the far side, a blizzard blocked the way. If she'd had any supplies at all, Sati would have remained, making camp and waiting out the storm. But there was nothing. If she waited here, either cold or hunger would see her off.

And there was the faintest glimmer of hope. Between the swirling flakes, she thought she could see a distant yellow smudge. A campfire. Something she could aim for, rather than blundering around in the snow until she expired.

Gritting her teeth, Sati wrapped her cloak around her face, tucked her hands up under her arms, and pushed out into the storm.

The snow was deep and soft. Each step sent Sati sinking almost up to the knee, and pulling her feet free again sent off fresh tangles of pain. The pain was good. It kept her awake, it kept her focused. All she had to do was make it to the campfire, and then she could succumb to the growing urge to simply collapse into the snow.

Think of something else.

They’d all thought their problems solved. The Breach had been sealed. Everybody wanted to celebrate, and while each member of the council had voiced concerns over things yet to be done, it seemed a fitting moment to let down their guard. The problems of how to house their mage allies now that Ferelden’s protection had been revoked, and whether more rifts remained, could wait a week or so. Out of habit Sati had remained poised for further bad news, but after a few drinks and watching faces normally drawn tight loosen a little in merriment, she’d allowed herself a moment of respite.

Then the scouts had come, shouting reports of the approaching army. In the midst of the fighting, Roderick of all people had proven himself useful, providing Haven’s population with a way to safety. The arrival of the strange boy who came with a more dire warning. For a while, Sati thought they might stand a chance of saving the town - the trebuchets saw off many of the invading templars, and the Inquisition’s soldiers proved the worth of Cassandra and Cullen’s training. They’d almost won, up until that dragon had arrived.

Sati didn’t know what had happened to her companions after she’d been cut off from them. Hopefully they’d heeded her shouted order to get away. It was best not to think about that. She’d find out the truth when she reached the campsite -

Lost in her thoughts, it took a moment for her to register the crunch from underfoot had not come from snow, but branches. Blearily, she gazed down at the blackened twigs that had once formed the basis of a fire.

She’d missed them.

But there were tracks; the blizzard yet hadn’t obliterated the wide trail left by the fleeing crowd. There was the smallest fragment of warmth in the twigs. It hadn’t been a campfire, but a guide fire, lit by the scouts to help herd the bulk of the people through the mountain paths. It had likely only just burnt out. Which hopefully meant the others weren’t too far ahead. All she had to do was catch up with the rearguard.

Sati peered up through the swirling snow, and found the fork between the two mountain peaks. There. She had to get there.

As she trudged, she revisited other occasions in which she’d been bogged down, by rain or mud or baggage, grimly pushing her way forward towards her destination. She was seventeen again, making her way back to where she’d last seen her parents, still carrying her grief over Ser Lehmann’s death inside her like a deep wound. In her less lucid moments, she sometimes thought she’d seen him out of the corner of her eye, keeping steady pace beside her.

He was with her now, and although she knew he was the result of her weakening grip on reality, Sati found his presence comforting. He wasn’t hampered by the snow, stepping easily through it, wearing his tourney armour - battered, but shining. “A warrior tends to their armour, as thanks for its protection. However, no knight of any worth has armour without dents.” The sleek silver head turned towards her. “But perhaps, for now, yours has served its purpose.”

Sati stumbled, then paused. It was dangerous to stop, but with cold fingers, she started to unbuckle the piecemeal armour she’d managed to strap to herself after Haven had been attacked. There had been no time to get her own. Shed of the weight, she found it a little easier to walk. The illusion of Ser Lehmann nodded approval, although his expression was sad.

“A knight carries many burdens. Knowing how to manage them is key. I tried to teach you this, but I couldn’t have prepared you for what you were to face. All I can tell you is to keep going.”

Sati knew it was her own mind talking to her, but she took it as an order. One foot forward, then another. The elevation steepened, and her breath started to rasp in her chest. The cold was inside her lungs now, and no matter how deeply she pulled, the air was too thin for her. Eventually, she had to remove her hands from under her arms, grasping forward on hands and feet to continue her journey up. Within moments, they were burning; then they started to go cold.

She’d never really believed in the Maker. But if He existed, and had put her through all of this only to die on the side of this mountain while a darkspawn magister proceeded to lay waste to Thedas, she was going to murder Him. She was no Herald of Andraste. She was just one mercenary who had been in either the very right or very wrong place at the moment she needed to be. But she had to do this. Whether by divine meddling or simple chance, she had ended up in the middle of all this, and she had to keep going…

Her hand met empty air. Her weight carried on forward, and then suddenly she was rolling down, floundering over and over in the snow until it thickened enough to break her landing. She’d made it over the top, but now she was lying down, and pushing herself back up again was almost more than she could bear...until she saw the fires. Multiple of them, and not too far off.

The snow had cleared, but it was dark, and if she collapsed now before anybody saw her, she wouldn’t be able to get back up again. Sati gathered the last lingering threads of her strength, and charged forwards, flinging herself down the hill towards the light.

She stumbled and flailed, pain ringing around her body like a gong as each injury jostled another in its bid for attention. There was a startled shout somewhere off in the distance, then Sati’s feet twisted in one another, and this time when she collapsed to her knees, she knew that was it. She had nothing else left.

She’d made it. Torches bobbed towards her, armoured footsteps clanked and crashed against the ground, then a pale face pushed itself towards her, eyes widening, before pulling away again to shout into the darkness.

“It’s the Herald! The Herald lives!”

As the cry went up across the mountain, Sati fell forwards, sinking gratefully into a black oblivion.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
102
#2
She’d been floating. Voices murmured around her, and hands poked and prodded at her, but to Sati she felt it all as though she’d been mummified in thick wool. She came close to the surface of consciousness a few times, and receded. At one point her head was tilted back and liquid rolled down her throat, burning a path down into her stomach and setting her coughing, then her throat cleared and the cold numbness that had consumed her as she battled her way up the mountain was replaced with a pleasant, warm languor. She sank back into an entirely unfamiliar softness, finally comfortable.

However, when her thoughts finally reknitted themselves into a recognisable pattern, Sati forced her eyes open. She didn’t have the time to be sitting idle, and creeping in at the corners of her consciousness was the realisation that she was listening to an argument. The council talked over one another, strident opinions clashing, then voices lowering again for a few moments before raising once more. She needed to be out there, she needed to see they were all present -

A hand pressed gently against her shoulder, and it was a solid indication that she was still weak that Sati could barely resist it. She looked around blearily, and was surprised to see Mother Giselle sitting at her bedside. The priestess’s eyes were lined with exhaustion. Her robes were all but ruined, a shawl pulled around her shoulders and her hood was pushed back; it took Sati a moment to place her.

“Sssh, Sati. You must rest.” She glanced towards the entrance of the tent. “I have asked them to keep their voices down, but. They worry. They have the luxury to fight over what comes next, thanks to you.”

Sati rubbed her hand over her eyes - they still felt immensely heavy. Her body ached, but at least the pain had receded. “How many lost?”

Mother Giselle rested a hand over Sati’s, and Sati braced herself to receive the blow. “Hundreds.” She squeezed, softly. “But your council all live. As do your influential companions. By the Maker’s grace, your friends survive.”

Sati pulled her hand away - not rudely, but firmly. “I think what I have to say about the Maker and His designs right now are not for your ears.” Hundreds. She’d felt a wash of relief on learning that her companions all lived, but many more had died, and she couldn’t have done anything else to save them. All along, they’d been doomed. If there was a creator god up there, his meddling had cost all those people their lives.

“I think you, of all people, have earned the right to speak your mind on the subject. But I appreciate your civility.” Mother Giselle smiled, faintly, then her gaze cut towards tent flap, through which Cassandra’s strident tones were sounding clearly. “It has been a little in short supply since we set up camp. Infighting may prove a threat.”

Sati shifted upwards on her pillows with a grunt. “I should speak to them. There’s a lot I need to let them know anyway.”

“I think they may know more than you expect. Your companions remained a long time, trying to get past the flames which separated you from them. Much was overheard - although I suspect you gathered more than most. But charging in to add another heated voice will not help, I think - and you are still convalescing.”

Mother Giselle dropped her gaze. “You should understand. It was thought for some time after we had escaped into the mountains that our defender was gone. We thought there was nothing to do but keep running, and now that you are alive and well, everybody has their own opinion on what to do. There was great grief over you, and that emotion needs to be redirected. Many have chosen frustration and anger, others have been made steadfast in their belief that we can stand against anything because you have now stared death in the face twice and kept going. To everybody, you seem miraculous - and the cause, and cost, seem righteous.”

And all this without Corypheus’ claim to be a darkspawn magister being general knowledge. The Inquisition’s quasi-religious connections had always made Sati uncomfortable. It was going to become a lot more pointed from here on out.

Assuming they could continue. The council’s organisational skills were not to be underplayed; with very little notice, they’d managed to evacuate most of the civilians and from the sounds of it quite a few supplies. But they would still be a fraction of the force they’d been at Haven, and once news of the attack got out, the ties they’d forged could well be severed and they would need to start again. From the sound of the argument outside, they didn’t even know where they were going next. There was no chance they could just camp out here in the mountains, in the thick of winter.

“The cause is lost unless we keep those who remain alive.” Sati sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the pallet. “We can argue about how to face the enemy once we’ve got our people safe.”

She got halfway to standing before her legs gave out, and she slumped back on the pallet with a grunt.

“You need to also be safe, Sati.” Giselle pulled the blankets back over Sati, a gesture so surprisingly motherly that Sati didn’t fight against it. Either that or just standing left her so weak that she couldn’t even bat away a priestess. “The first order of business is for you to eat; the healers have already looked you over. You were fortunate not to lose anything to frostbite.”

“The council-”

“The council will keep. You’ve had half a mountain dropped on you, and then climbed back up the other half; I think they can survive another half hour of waiting.”

It was immensely frustrating to be spoken to in such a fashion, and normally Sati would have responded by simply walking away. But she knew Mother Giselle was right. Until she had a little of her strength back, she would be of no use at all. Sati arranged herself on the pallet into the most comfortable position she could find, and let herself drift in quiet - but wakeful - reverie.
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
27
#3
“The night is long
And the path is dark
Look to the sky
For one day soon

The dawn will come.”

The last strains of the refrain died away, but the echoes of scores of voices united in song thrummed in the still mountain air for several seconds longer, tapering out into a silence that felt almost sacred. After a few moments more, those who had gathered began to filter away, alone or in small groups, speaking in hushed voices, if they spoke at all. The atmosphere of the camp, which had been one of unremitting clouds of despair and dread, shot through with crackling firebolts of recrimination and anger, had stilled into something that, if not quite hope, was nonetheless a vast improvement on what it had been. The reappearance of Sati Adaar, seemingly from the dead, had been cause for a surge of jubilation, but the extent of her injuries had muted the celebration, and the realization that the obstacles they faced remained unchanged had not been long in following.

Josephine drew a slow, deep breath and released it. For several minutes in the heat of the argument between the members of the council, it had felt as though the already thin air was being sucked away, and she had been unable to help the shrillness in her voice as she tried to make the others see reason only to be drawn into the arguments by the terrifying sensation of everything sliding beyond control.

“Thank you,” she said quietly to Mother Giselle. The cleric’s voice had started low in the sullen silence that had reigned after they had turned away from each other in frustration, but had grown stronger, rising into the night, joined by one, then two, then a dozen, then a host of voices, the folk scattered throughout the makeshift encampment coming closer together as though drawn by a fire’s warmth, their weary faces hungry for the message carried on the words.

Giselle smiled gently, brown eyes tired but kind. “Darkness is simply the absence of light. Even a single candle drives it back, and gives others enough illumination to light their own.” She had worked tirelessly to encourage the survivors as they struggled through the snow-choked mountain passed, tending the wounded, comforting the dying. Josephine had seen tears shining on the weathered cheeks more than once, but never had she seen the older woman’s faith falter.

Josephine was not so strong. “Candles will burn out without fuel.” They had no destination to strive toward, no plan to guide them. Their months of work building the Inquisition into a respected power in Thedas had been undone in less than an hour. The world likely thought them dead, and if they did not soon find a place of refuge, the world might well be right. Even if they did, they would have to begin anew, convincing their allies that the retreat that they had been forced into and the loss of their base of operations and hundreds of their people were setbacks that could be overcome. Just the thought of it was enough to make her head spin and her chest tighten anew. She thought longingly of the two dolls that she had secreted to Haven, hidden in a box beneath her bed. Yvette teased her for it, and she would wilt in mortification if any of her peers knew, but fussing with their clothes and hair had long been a private ritual where she could create order and control, regardless of the chaos that might reign elsewhere. She would frequently come up with ideas to solve her thorniest dilemmas in these private meditations. But Babette and Ynez were buried beneath tons of snow, and that comfort, small as it might be, was denied her.

“I … do not know if I can do this,” she admitted in shame, tugging her cloak more tightly around her and wondering if she would ever feel warm again. Haven had seemed a primitive backwater compared to the comforts of Antiva City and Val Royeaux, but this hellish trek through snow past her knees (Cullen had at least found her a pair of boots) with the wind howling night and day and barely enough wood to be scrounged to heat water for tea, was nothing she had ever been prepared for.

“You cannot.” The reply surprised her, and shamed her further, to know that her weakness was so apparent, but Giselle was not done. “None of us can. Not alone, and it is not the Maker’s will that we do so. Just as many voices lift a song further than only one, so many hearts and minds united may do what is impossible for one.”

“Many believe that the Maker has abandoned us, or that He does not exist.” Josephine was not among that number, but her prayers brought her little comfort these days.

“The Maker is.” The cleric’s words were suffused with a steadfast conviction. “He does not require belief to exist, and I believe that He forgives when our faith in Him falters. It is in each other that we must believe, and each other that we must lean upon, allowing them to lean upon us in return. In such moments, the Maker is present, whether we believe in Him or not.” She glanced back to the tent, where Sati could be seen in silhouette, sitting up on her cot. “To follow His will in the absence of faith is far better than to believe and not act, but without faith to sustain her, she needs you and the others to bolster her. Much has been placed upon her shoulders, and even more will be now.”

And they had all been squabbling like children within easy earshot. Josephine felt her cheeks flush. “We will support her,” she promised and meant it. Sati’s survival seemed nothing short of miraculous, her solitary stand against a monster from nightmare and her struggle to find those who had left her behind the stuff of legend. The friction among the council had been solely over the steps to take next; none of them faulted the Herald.

“I know,” Giselle said, “but does she?” Before Josephine could answer, the cleric continued. “She would benefit from your company, I think.”

Josephine nodded, taking her leave and approaching the tent. “How do you feel?” she asked, wincing at the bruises that were still present. The mages had healed the worst of her injuries, but some of it had to be left until she had regained strength. Magical healing drew from the body’s reserves; pushing too far could be almost as harmful as the injury itself. “Can I get you anything - tea or some hot soup?” Scant reward for what she had accomplished, but all they had at the moment.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
102
#4
The singing had come as a surprise.

And yet, Sati had found it oddly soothing. Giselle’s voice had been quiet, but clear; then Leliana, revealing her skill as a performer; joined in. That attracted more, and by the end, it seemed as though every last survivor was there, proudly announcing that while their situation appeared bleak, they would make it to the next morning. It was a sentiment worth holding on to. Sati was a strong advocate for making it past any trouble through sheer stubbornness, although she was paying for her own right now. The healers had taken care of the worst of her injuries, but she couldn’t remember ever having been as sore in her life.

Solas had been hovering in the background. He usually looked quite serious and especially now; but he hadn’t tried to approach her yet, simply indicating that there would be a conversation to follow later. Sati was relieved that he hadn’t tried to press it on her right away. There were logistical necessities to discuss, not to mention the designation of tasks that would ensure the survival of the Inquisition until they made it to a safe space, but she was still almost as weak as a kitten. Sati wanted to rebel against being made to stay in her tent, but she knew she would be of no use to anybody if she kept passing out. She would just have to wait until she’d undergone another round with the mages.

That didn’t mean she was disappointed to see Josie, however.

The Antivan ambassador looked distinctly the worse for wear after the flight up the mountain, and that she was still exhausted was clear from the fact that she didn’t even try to hide her flinch as she took in Sati’s face. Sati couldn’t blame her. Just by probing at the skin she’d been aware that she was liberally scattered with bruises. Time would take care of those. The mages had already healed the fractures and torn muscles she’d taken from the fight.

“How do you feel?

Sati tended to keep small gripes about injuries to herself - a mercenary who whined every time they earned a bashing didn’t get a lot of work - but she also wasn’t stupid enough to lie about the damage. “Honestly, like a bag of coin that’s been given a good shaking. A lot better than I did before, though. The healers know what they’re doing.”

“Can I get you anything - tea or some hot soup?”

“I’m fine for now. I really want some meat and bread, but I’ve been told I should eat lightly for a while. Or I might make myself sick.” Sati pulled herself up to sitting properly, not quite fighting back a wince as her stomach muscles protested. She hid it quickly behind a dry smile. “You’d think after being blown up once and then bringing a mountain down on myself, they’d think I was capable of keeping down a meal.”

Of course, there was also the issue of supply. The Inquisition had done an incredible job, to save as much and as many as they had, but now they needed to be careful with it. Until they figured out where they would settle next, they had no trade lines, and Sati would be extremely put out if the Inquisition resorted the tactics of an army on the move, stripping lands of anything they could take as they went. So rationing was a must.

“How is everyone coping?” She met Josie’s gaze directly. “How are you?”
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
27
#5
Josephine had been aware of Solas staying close, but she remained unsure of how to deal with someone who spoke of interacting with spirits as casually as she spoke of speaking with diplomats. Add to that the odd young man - Cole - who had appeared in advance of the attack on Haven, and the continued jangling of her nerves as a result of the attack and its aftermath, and she had little left to spare to ponder what the resident Mysterious Elven Apostate had on his mind. For now, knowing that Sati was alive was sufficient.

“Honestly, like a bag of coin that’s been given a good shaking,” the Vashoth admitted ruefully when asked, rolling her head on the column of her neck experimentally. “A lot better than I did before, though. The healers know what they’re doing.”

“They do,” Josephine agreed. Vivienne, Dorian, Solas, many of the mages from Redliffe, had worked ceaselessly alongside the chirurgeons to tend the wounded, saving many lives that would otherwise have been lost. They had been exhausted when Sati had stumbled down the mountain and into the arms of a scouting party, but they had rallied to the task of tending her most severe injuries to stabilize her. More could be done when they had rested, but perhaps she could offer something?

“I’m fine for now,” Sati refused the offer of tea or soup. “I really want some meat and bread, but I’ve been told I should eat lightly for a while. Or I might make myself sick.” She sat up on the cot, grimacing briefly before her bruised features shifted to a stoic grin. “You’d think after being blown up once and then bringing a mountain down on myself, they’d think I was capable of keeping down a meal.”

Briefly, Josephine debated taking it on herself to offer the Herald something more substantial. “They … have been trained in such matters,” she offered apologetically instead, knowing from experience the frustration of having her counsel overridden by those who were sure they knew better. “I could speak with them, suggest something a bit more filling.” That would at least employ her own skills in the endeavor as they were meant to be used.

“How is everyone coping?” Sati asked, violet eyes lifting to meet Josephine’s with her customary directness. “How are you?”

Easier to answer the first question. “They are better now that they have seen their Herald return alive,” she replied, smiling warmly at Sati. It still felt like a miracle. “I am -” She laughed softly. “Suffice it to say, this is not Val Royeaux or Antiva City … or even Haven.” She had thought that the remote village was the most primitive condition she would be forced to endure. She had been so very wrong, but she was determined not to be the pampered, coddled noble who became a burden on the rest. “Most of my notes and correspondence were regrettably left behind, but given a bit of time, I am confident that I can - I can -”

Her resolve wavered, and she regarded the other woman helplessly. “Oh, Sati … what was that … that horrid creature? And the dragon - was it an Archdemon?” Would they be forced to endure another Blight on top of the rifts and demons? How could she rebuild the fragile alliances that would have been severely strained by the defeat at Haven when she did not fully understand what had happened, let alone if it could happen again?
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
102
#6
Josie admitted that the healers knew what they were doing, although her rueful expression suggested that it made her uncomfortable. To Sati’s mind, the more substantial a meal she received, the more strength that gave her to heal, but her mercenary years had taught her one thing with regards to healers - shut up, follow instructions, and you’ll live to fight another day. She allowed herself the indulgence of grumbling about it a little, though. Even if she hadn’t fallen into the tunnels and smashed half her body in the process, that climb in the blizzard would normally have entitled her to half a cow.

But there wasn’t even that to spare right now, anyway. They were an army on the move, and would need to ration their supplies accordingly. Although it’d be easier to work out how much rationing needed to happen if only they knew where they were going. Uncertainty could sap the strength from a soldier as much as hunger could, and with that in mind Sati asked for an update on morale. She wasn’t expecting much. Although if she were completely honest, she was most concerned by how this was affecting Josie.

“They are better now that they have seen their Herald return alive,” Josie offered, but stumbled over her words in a way Sati hadn’t seen before. “I am - suffice it to say, this is not Val Royeaux or Antiva City … or even Haven. Most of my notes and correspondence were regrettably left behind, but given a bit of time, I am confident that I can - I can -”

And then Josie wavered, the helpless expression on her face hurting Sati almost as much as her aching ribs. “Oh, Sati … what was that … that horrid creature? And the dragon - was it an Archdemon?”

Sati was not about to admit that she had been more scared by Corypheus than by anything else she had encountered in the course of her life. Not out of pride, but because that wouldn’t help Josie at all right now. She eased herself up on the pallet, regretting it slightly, but for some reason she didn’t want to be lying down when she spoke about him. “His name’s Corypheus. He thinks he’s a god, or a god-in-waiting.” She opened her palm, revealing the scar. “Apparently this is called the Anchor, and is tied to his attempt to claim that godhood. Somehow, I got in the way.”

More than ever the gaps in her memory were aggravating. But as she’d been lying down the last few hours, she had had a bit of time to think through what she did know. “I’m certain he was at the Conclave - probably even behind the explosion. But he’s not immortal, or invulnerable. If he was, he wouldn’t have bothered with separating me from everybody else, or trying to outrun the avalanche.” A twinge of pain flashed through her stomach, and she flopped back - sitting up was still out of the question, apparently. “Now our enemy has a face. We’ve healed the Breach, now we have to take care of him."
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
27
#7
Being optimistic was a long-cultivated habit for Josephine. From brokering diplomatic agreements to struggling to reverse her family’s dwindling fortune, she put on a brave face in public, only allowing her doubts to emerge once she was alone. In the Inquisition, only Leliana had generally been permitted to witness such lapses, but the events of the last few days had decimated her coping mechanisms.

If Sati found her breakdown unseemly, she gave no sign. “His name’s Corypheus,” she reported somberly, shifting uncomfortably on her cot. “He thinks he’s a god, or a god-in-waiting.” Josephine frowned at this, but said nothing, watching as the other woman opened her hand, the mark flaring green against the walls of the tent. “Apparently this is called the Anchor, and is tied to his attempt to claim that godhood. Somehow, I got in the way.”

“The Anchor.” Josephine tested the term uncertainly, then turned her attention to the circumstances attached to it. “Is he the one who -” She broke off, unable to finish. For so many weeks now, she had believed that if the one responsible for the explosion and the deaths at the Conclave could only be identified, they could be brought to justice. But if the being who had engineered the destruction of Haven was responsible -

“I’m certain he was at the Conclave -” Sati confirmed grimly, “probably even behind the explosion. But he’s not immortal, or invulnerable. If he was, he wouldn’t have bothered with separating me from everybody else, or trying to outrun the avalanche.”

It made sense, but though he might be mortal and vulnerable, he had still been powerful enough to put them all to flight. All but one. Sati grimaced in pain and dropped back to her bed, but her face was set in resolve. “Now our enemy has a face. We’ve healed the Breach, now we have to take care of him."

“First we must take care of ourselves,” Josephine responded as the wind rattled the canvas, swirling a dusting of snow through the opening. “Even if we manage to salvage food and supplies from Haven, we must find shelter.” Every step took them further from Fereldan lands and deeper into the Frostback Mountains, where winter still maintained a stubborn grip. “And you must heal.” She crouched beside the cot, taking up one of Sati’s hands in both of hers. “It feels like a miracle that you survived,” she said softly. “When we saw the avalanche and the dragon and that … Corypheus fly away, we feared the worst. What happened? How did you best him?”
 

Sati Adaar

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#8
Josie had her own opinion, and as ever it was well expressed; before they stood a chance of taking a shot at Corypheus, they needed to tend their own wounds first. “Even if we manage to salvage food and supplies from Haven, we must find shelter. And you must heal.”

Sati nodded. “Normally I’d volunteer to help search as soon as I was able to stand, but I’ve already been given some firm directives on taking it easy.” She managed a smile, of sorts, but it was frustrating having to lie here while there was so much that needed doing. Still, she knew that if somebody she was commanding had been through what she’d been through, she’d order them to their bed and damn their frustration until they’d slept and had a few days of being properly fed.

Josie crouched down by the cot, warm fingers lacing with Sati’s. “It feels like a miracle that you survived. When we saw the avalanche and the dragon and that … Corypheus fly away, we feared the worst. What happened? How did you best him?”

“Best is not exactly the word,” Sati admitted. She’d succeeded in what she’d wanted to do, which was to hinder him from following the escaping Inquisition. When the dragon swept in, she thought she might have failed. “I was...extremely lucky. When he was talking to me, he had me hoisted in the air by one arm. He finished speaking, and threw me against one of the trebuchets.” Snapping at least two of her ribs in the process, but Josie didn’t need that detail. “He clearly intended to kill me, but when I looked up at him, I saw behind his head the lights from the torches of the Inquisition heading up the mountain - and the remains of his army following. I managed to stagger upright and grabbed a sword; he was so busy mocking me for even trying to fight him that he didn’t realise I was going to cut the trebuchet rope until too late.”

Another twinge of pain flashed through her; or maybe it was the difficulty of the memory itself. She’d gone into battle knowing it could mean her death so many times, but it was different to be bringing it about by her own hand.

“The avalanche descended, wiping out most of the army following. I had also hoped it might hit him, but his dragon flew him to safety. And - somehow, I don’t remember exactly - I fell through the ground into the tunnels beneath Haven.” She let out a breath. “It was a while before I was able to stand. I was pinned under some of the rubble; I had to dig my way out. Then when I came to the end of the tunnels, I saw the flickers of a guiding fire in the blizzard. So I followed. I don’t know where Corypheus is gone, but he didn’t follow the retreat.” She smiled, thinly. “And at least he’s minus half an army, now.”
 

Josephine Montilyet

Ambassador of the Inquisition
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#9
That the Inquisition would challenge this Corypheus went without saying, as terrifying as the notion was to Josephine. She had known - in theory - that whoever had been responsible for the Breach must command powerful magics, but the reality of it had been beyond her worst imaginings. Even attempting a rematch now, with their forces battered and demoralized and their base of operations lost to them, was unthinkable. They must find a place to heal and regroup in safety.

To her relief, Sati did not protest when she said as much. “Normally I’d volunteer to help search as soon as I was able to stand, but I’ve already been given some firm directives on taking it easy.” She smiled as she spoke, but every line of her spoke of restlessness battling against exhaustion.

“I will add my own voice to that.” Josephine softened the firmness of her words with a smile. “Lace, Vandi, and the other scouts have been striking out each sunrise.” And returning each sunset with nothing more than whatever game they had managed to kill on their trek and news of snow-covered mountains stretching for miles in every direction. At least, they had been able to identify more treacherous areas, allowing the main body to avoid them, but what use was a safe passage if nothing lay at its end? “You can best serve the Inquisition - and yourself - by recovering as fully as possible.” If they were attacked on this journey - Maker forbid - Sati’s skill and courage would be needed, but for now, the Inquisition’s scouts were more than capable of the tasks at hand.

Sati was as modest as ever in describing how she had survived her encounter with Corypheus. “I was...extremely lucky,” she admitted ruefully. “When he was talking to me, he had me hoisted in the air by one arm. He finished speaking, and threw me against one of the trebuchets.”

“Maker’s breath,” Josephine murmured, flinching and giving the hand that she held a sympathetic squeeze. Sati Adaar was not a small woman; to lift and toss her required great physical strength, on top of the magical prowess that they already knew that their adversary possessed.

“He clearly intended to kill me,” Sati went on with considerably more dispassion than Josephine would have been capable of, “but when I looked up at him, I saw behind his head the lights from the torches of the Inquisition heading up the mountain - and the remains of his army following. I managed to stagger upright and grabbed a sword; he was so busy mocking me for even trying to fight him that he didn’t realise I was going to cut the trebuchet rope until too late.”

Josephine blinked, briefly confused, then gasped. “That is what triggered the avalanche!” she exclaimed. “We saw it happen, but not what had caused -” She trailed off, eyes widening as the whole of it became clear. “You had to think that you would be killed along with him.” The courage in that act was breathtaking; by all rights, she should be dead, and Josephine reined in the impulse to scold her friend. There had been little in the way of options by that point. “What happened then?” she asked instead.

“The avalanche descended, wiping out most of the army following,” Sati told her. That, they had all seen, and more than one had attributed their deliverance to the Maker. “I had also hoped it might hit him, but his dragon flew him to safety. And - somehow, I don’t remember exactly - I fell through the ground into the tunnels beneath Haven.” Her expression suggested that the descent had not been an easy one, and she released a slow breath before continuing. “It was a while before I was able to stand. I was pinned under some of the rubble; I had to dig my way out. Then when I came to the end of the tunnels, I saw the flickers of a guiding fire in the blizzard. So I followed. I don’t know where Corypheus is gone, but he didn’t follow the retreat. And at least he’s minus half an army, now,” she concluded with a grim smile.cked

“Half of an army made up of soldiers such as the ones that attacked Haven is still something to be reckoned with,” Josephine observed with a shiver. “Corypheus is likely the ‘Elder One’ that was spoken of in that future that you and Dorian saw, is he not? And those … templars -” Many of the attackers had barely been recognizable as human, only the insignias on their armor marking them as members of an order dedicated to the service of the Maker. “They resembled your description of the people … embedded with red lyrium.” They had hoped that Sati’s return and the foiling of Alexius’ plans had meant the end of that dark future, but that hope seemed very fragile right now.

“Arl Teagan told us of those tunnels when we first arrived for the Conclave,” she said, deciding that there was little use in brooding over questions they could not even begin to answer. “The cultists who built Haven expanded the caverns beneath the mountain, sometimes coming dangerously close to the surface, but we had never had any issues. For one to open beneath you at just the time needed to save your life -” She stopped there. With everything that had happened and all that she had witnessed, Sati had not budged from her stance of wary agnosticism, and Josephine would not push her. “I am just glad that you are alive,” she said, daring to briefly press her cheek to the hand that she held.
 

Sati Adaar

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#10
Sati spared few details, but Josie correctly ascertained one that she had attempted to breeze over; in setting off the avalanche, she had fully expected to be obliterated. She didn’t have a death wish, but since taking up with Ser Lehman she had always known - in fact, expected - that she would die in battle, and if it couldn’t be sword to sword, at least she had wiped out hundreds of the enemy on her way out.

“Half of an army made up of soldiers such as the ones that attached Haven is still something to be reckoned with,” Josie pointed out. It was a valid point. In their current situation, they were in no place to be resting on their laurels, which made her current state of weakness even more irritating. “Corypheus is likely the ‘Elder One’ that was spoken of in that future that you and Dorian saw, is he not? And those...templars. They resembled your description of the people...embedded with red lyrium.”

Sati’s mouth tightened as she nodded. Her behaviour in that nightmare had not been her proudest moment. In it, her horror and her rage had brought her to the brink of a madness that had almost consumed her when she found the lyrium tainted versions of her companions trapped in the dungeons. Small wonder that the Dorian had held her at arm’s length for a while. While it was justified, what she had done was not so much fight as slaughter. She would never let that future come to pass.

“They can be killed. It has to be done tactically, we cannot send people in to try and overwhelm them en masse, but they’re not invulnerable. And Corypheus is not infallible. In all likelihood, he thinks I’m dead now. I certainly thought I was.”

Josie was reflecting on Sati’s unlikely survival. “Arl Teagan told us of those tunnels when we first arrived for the Conclave. The cultists who built Haven expanded the caverns beneath the mountain, sometimes coming dangerously close to the surface, but we never had any issues. For one to open beneath you at just the time needed to save your life-”

Sati gave her a warning glance. She had not and would not accept that she had been ‘chosen’ for anything - that sort of thing led to delusions of power she couldn’t afford to indulge, and from the beginning she’d been clear that she didn’t want to hear a theological debate about her position in all of this. But Josie wasn’t straying down that path just now, and the worry eased from her brow a little. Gently, the ambassador guided Sati’s hand to her cheek. Despite the cold, Josie’s skin was soft and warm, and the first comforting sensation Sati had experienced since before Corypheus had appeared. “I am just glad you are alive.”

Sati chuckled dryly, some of the tension leaving her. “Me too. Even if my entire body hurts at the moment.” She brushed her thumb over the line of Josie’s cheek, tone softening a little. “I’m glad you’re alive too.”
 
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