10 Guardian 28th Year of the Dragon Age
Upon entering Briarham, The Shits heard the sound of a crowd coming from the town triangle. They chose to investigate and as they got closer, so did the cheers and shouts become louder. A large group of people were surrounding a small area outside the remains of the Blacksmiths shop. The Shits pushed themselves through the crowd to see what the fuss was about. In the centre of the circle of people, a brawl was taking place, or rather had taken place, as the champion had just claimed victory.
The announcer, brought upon an applause from the crowd, cheering the victory of the champion. Our heroes recognised the announcer to be the town’s blacksmith, Brevin, the man whose smithy had been blown up by Brannek the last time they had been in the village. Brevin called for more potential opponents for his champion, Valron to fight, promising one gold if they were victorious in defeating him. Boreas and Banal’ras-Vun were certainly interested, and so approached the smith, where they asked for the rules.
Four rules were made by the Blacksmith. First: pay ten silver as an entry fee for the tournament. Second: Combatants must not kill their opponents, losers must yield. Third: Combatants must use weapons and armour provided. And fourth: No outside interference was permitted. On hearing the third rule, Banal’ras-Vun became less interested in participating, because Ebony and Ivory were special to her, but Boreas was more than happy to oblige to the terms, considering the most powerful two handed sword of the selection was the same as his, though less fancy, and the ten by ten yard area of the arena meant that he could wear the hardiest plate armour without having to worry about moving around too much.
As he prepared for the battle, Yeran and Mah’jeek placed their bets on the fight. Both bet on Boreas, of course, though they both decided to choose different rounds on when Boreas would win, Yeran choosing Round Three and Mah’jeek Round Four. They both bet twenty silver on the Avvar. After doing so, they made their way to join the crowd. All suited up for his fight, Boreas was raring to go. However, Brevin whispered to the warrior that if he yielded in the 4th round he’d pay him 20 Silver. Boreas’ pride as a warrior, as well as the temptation of the one gold prize, had him refuse Brevin’s offer and he continued to prepare. Boreas and Valron entered the ring, to thunderous applause.
Brevin introduced him to the audience. He was given a warm welcome as a challenger and Boreas reveled in the admiration the crowd was giving him. Brevin then counted down to the start of the fight. Boreas took a stance, as did Valron. As soon as the Blacksmith shouted “Fight!”, Boreas took the initiative and charged with a rush of adrenaline. Though his opponent too wore plate armour, the Avvar managed to carve his way through thanks to a bunch of powerful attacks, high rolls and tasty stunts.
Ultimately, Boreas wiped the floor with the so-called “champion”, and beat him before Brevin could call the 1st round. His opponent yielding before collapsing. The crowd cheered on the victor and Boreas basked in the glory. This was a bittersweet victory though, as Yeran and Mah’jeek had both lost twenty silver, and Brevin was furious. He hid it as he congratulated the victor. Before the crowd whisked him off on their shoulders, the Smith whispered in Boreas’ ear, “I won’t forget this…” Boreas wasn’t the slightest bit worried, and cheered as the crowd hoisted him up (with some difficulty) and carried him to the inn for free drinks and food for the night. Banal’ras-Vun was just as happy with herself, as she managed to pickpocket sixty silver during the course of the brawl.
With drink in their blood and food in their bellies (especially Boreas’), The Shits turned in for the night at the inn. The next morning, Mah’jeek pointed out to Banal’ras-Vun that it was here in Briarham that Brannek had first acquired Ebony and Ivory. Her interest piqued, Banal’ras-Vun followed her comrades as they led her to the general goods store. The Elven shopkeeper, Eladril, recognised and welcomed The Shits. He even kept a smile when Boreas reminded him that it was he who had pissed on his doorstep. He asked about Brannek and was saddened, if only a little, to hear of his passing. The Shits introduced him to Banal’ras-Vun, and he was delighted, for had not met a Dalish before.
Banal’ras-Vun presented the daggers to the shopkeeper and asked where he had originally procured them. He informed her that he had found them deep in the Brecillian Forest, a fact that impressed Banal’ras-Vun as even she had not been so deep into the forest. Their business concluded, Boreas proclaimed that he would visit the Blacksmith (forgetting the resentment that the Smith held against him), and order a set of plate armour to be made for him. The shopkeeper however, informed him that the Blacksmith had left the town after yesterday’s event. He informed the group that the entire reason why the tournament was taking place was to acquire funds to fix the Smithy. The Shits looked at Boreas, but then shrugged and left the building.
They stayed comfortably at the inn for the next couple of days, waiting for Grigor to arrive. When he eventually appeared Sigge arrived with him, much to the surprise and delight of The Shits. She was introduced to her gang’s newest member, Banal’ras-Vun. After that, she handed out armbands to each of them. Made of leather, they had engraved on them ‘Sigge’s Shits’ as well as a symbol of a man defecating into his fallen enemy’s mouth. Sigge then said her farewells and soon left to attend to other matters, leaving her Shits in the hands of Grigor.
Grigor promptly departed with the group towards Dandervale, passing a heavy bag to Yeran for him to carry. On the way, he told tales of his adventures, although they could tell some were slightly exaggerated, while most were very much exaggerated. The weather turned dull as they neared an encampment a few miles outside the town. Grigor led The Shits into the encampment, where soldiers, mages and Templars alike were bustling around, which made our heroes uneasy to say the least. They all entered a large tent in the middle of the camp, which was essentially a war room, with a map of Dandervale and its surrounding areas marked out.
As Yeran passed the bag back to Grigor his eye was caught by a strange light emitting from the bag. When questioned about it Grigor pulled out an orb, the size of a fist, radiating an ominous crimson. Grigor explained that the artifact was on loan from the Circle and that it possessed the ability to detect the use of blood magic in its vicinity. The fact that it was glowing confirmed Grigor’s suspicions. Blood magic was in use in Dandervale and it was probably being used by Gianna.
He filled them in on the situation. Gianna, a blood mage who was part of the same group as Davrik was suspected to be hiding out in the area around Dandervale. Obviously, the plan was to stop her from creating havoc in the village, but also to look for any information regarding her master, Falinesti. Grigor added that they had already dispatched an undercover scout, going by the name of Rjordain. Rjordain was known for always checking in when expected, and so it was worrisome that he hadn’t for the past couple days. Therefore, Grigor tasked our heroes with finding Rjordain and making contact with him, tracking down Gianna hopefully with Rjordain’s help and then killing her. He offered them an extra reward if they were successful in finding out any more information about Falinesti particularly any lead on where he might be. He also gave them a special code to speak to anyone who they suspected to be Rjordain, as well as the correct response that Rjordain should give.
The Shits accepted their new quest. They tried to get Grigor to give them supplies, particularly in the form of Lirium and Health potions for the mages, but the rain must have given Yeran a headache or something, as his persuasive tactics didn’t suade Grigor in the slightest. Before they left the tent, Grigor warned them that a kill order has been given to all the guards on the perimeter until the orb stopped glowing, meaning that anybody who tried to leave the village would be executed on the spot, even those who were considered allies. That, on top of Grigor’s refusal to provide any further supplies, didn’t amuse our heroes. They left with a huff and headed towards the village of Dandervale.
As they followed the road with a small stone wall erected on one side and woodland on the other, Banal’ras-Vun heard a rustling in the woods and several beasts the size of deer emerged. One spat a fireball at the group, missing Boreas by a few inches. Banal’ras-Vun drew her weapons, while the rest of the group floundered around in confusion. The beasts came forward, revealing the scaly, slender bodies of Dragonlings.
Boreas’ eyes lit up with delight. They weren’t Dragons, but probably the best comparison he’d ever find. He wanted one. The Dragonlings didn’t care for Boreas’ admiration, and so started attacking with fireballs. They aimed at the mages and their squishy bodies, though the flames didn’t seem to do too much damage. Seizing an opening, Banal’ras-Vun attempted a backstabbing, but failed… twice.
The Dragonlings saw that their attacks weren’t doing much. Therefore they changed tactics and focused their attention on Banal’ras-Vun, dealing much more damage with their melee attacks. The Elf tried to defend herself with attacks of her own, but things didn’t seem to be going her way and she missed. The mages protected themselves by jumping over the wall while Boreas ran in to smack them, though his luck from the brawl had seemed to run out, as his attacks didn’t too much. The Dragonlings continued their assault on Banal’ras-Vun.
The mages cast spells, Mah’jeek cast Walking Bomb on one of the Dragonlings, and Yeran healing the wounded Banal’ras-Vun. Banal’ras-Vun meanwhile ran away and jumped over the wall. Boreas made the first decent attack of the fight on one of the Dragonlings before they could run after Banal’ras-Vun. They were very, very dedicated with attacking her. Two of them jumped over the wall to land beside the Elven rogue, but she didn’t give them a chance to attack as she jumped back over the wall and activated her secret technique of running away.
Yeran continued his support for Banal’ras-Vun, but didn’t manage to get jump over the wall, leaving him susceptible to the Dragonlings’ wrath. Mah’jeek too didn’t jump over the wall, but cast another Walking Bomb on another of the Dragonlings. Boreas attacked the Dragonling that didn’t jump over the wall, but the lizard got scared of him, and so chased after the sexy Elven lass instead. The other two ignored the mages, jumped over the wall and chased once again after Banal’ras-Vun. She attempted to run again, but didn’t manage to get over the wall. She cursed under her breath as she turned to see her pursuers closing in on her.
Realising the potential danger, Yeran healed Banal’ras-Vun once again, but very effectively. Mah’jeek joined the healing brigade and helped Banal’ras-Vun some more. He achieved a lovely stunt, dual casting Mind Blast on the ground beside two of the Dragonlings, knocking them prone and sedating them for a bit. Boreas ran to Banal’ras-Vun’s defence, but they all simply ran past him, leaving him to stand like an embarrassed little schoolboy.
Banal’ras-Vun ran and jumped over the wall once again. Mah’jeek and Boreas continued their attack, with the Avvar managing to slay one of the Dragonlings. The beasts still took no notice of those that were ACTUALLY dealing damage to them and continued to chase Banal’ras-Vun, who also kept up her secret running the fuck away technique. Boreas gave a spectacular display, starting with a charge, led by a six-point stunt, injuring one of the Dragonlings severely. He tried to determine if he would be able to tame the other using the weird stunt powers of empathetic mind reading. He found that these creatures were wild and likely wouldn’t listen to him if he caught one, but God damn it he wanted a Dragon pet. He didn’t give up hope.
The two remaining Dragonlings continued chasing Banal’ras-Vun, but they couldn’t catch up to her, each having their different reasons. One of them simply couldn’t reach her due to Yeran casting a Weakness spell. The other bumped into Mah’jeek on the way and so attacked him instead.
Fed up with her secret technique, Banal’ras-Vun decided to be her own woman and attacked one of the Dragonlings, this time managing to do some damage. Yeran chilled out on the sidelines. Mah’jeek, inspired by Banal’ras-Vun’s independence, decided to go on the offensive and fired a lance at one. The Dragonling catching the magical bolt in it’s mouth and swallowing it, causing its insides to explode… all… over… Boreas… Mah’jeek thought to himself ‘Karma, bitch’.
With the death of his comrade, the last Dragonling ran away, and escaped, much to Boreas’ disappointment. The Shits continued their journey and soon entered the town of Dandervale. The weather was dreary and as they looked around the town, the atmosphere was as well. They wandered on and soon approach a building. The windows were boarded up, as if it were abandoned. However, there was a light in the window, which was quickly snuffed out upon their approach. As the darkness consumed the unsettling house, a bird flew into the dark skies above them, and off into the distance.
As if by some curse brought about by the ominous house, the heavens wailed and The Shits looked around frantically for a place to get out of the heavy rain. A man approached and invited them to come out of the miserable weather and into the Inn. Not five minutes after entering the inn, and Boreas was already munching his way through a meal. The others sat with him, along with the man, who introduced himself as Mason, the night watchman of the town. He offered them drinks and small talk, starting off with talk of their Dragonling infestation in the surrounding forest.
After some chatting, the subject of the ominous building came up. Mason dismissed it as a haunted house, but The Shits goaded him into spilling the beans. Mason told the story behind the building, a story of betrayal and ghosts. After telling his story, he bade them farewell (more cheerfully) and left, at which point The Shits noticed an elf with a scar across his face and a hood over his head watching them from a corner. Yeran walked up to the bar, ordered two glasses of fine wine and brought them to the Elf’s table. He spoke the secret code. There was a tense pause before the Elf responded correctly and told them to get a room, which they promptly did. They went up to their room and awaited the arrival of the mysterious Elf.