Sometimes I wake, sometimes I sleep. I can't tell which is which anymore. The only constant is pain, a sense of loss. The eternal present is a torment I want to forget. I wish I was dead. Sometimes I think I am.
It is a long, cold journey to Orlais. The roads are bogs of mud that even the horses refuse to tread, forcing detour after detour. Once across the border, the chevaliers eye Kyle with disdain. No true knight, they laugh as they pass. Somehow, Kyle knows where they are going. Not to Val Royeaux, but to a small hold north of there along the Imperial Highway. Moss covered, stone blackened by an old fire, it stands sentinel, alone on the grassy plain. There are no merchant wagons here, no stables or inns. Just endless brown grass and the faceless walls of the keep.
Kyle's expression is grim. He whispers ony, "Mother," and rides forward.
Kyle's expression is grim. He whispers ony, "Mother," and rides forward.
A force of guardsmen occupy the courtyard of the Keep. The group can see them clearly through the open gates, armor gleaming in the shafts of light that occasionally pierce the cloudy sky. One man steps forward, "Halt!"
The group stops their horses and starts to dismount. Tegnar commands Duke to stop and looks very curious all around. Adrienne stands on Kyle 's left side, while Mari looks at him waiting for him to speak. The warrior steps forward, majestic with the falcon Tim always perched on his shoulder, and bows to greet the guard "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my good men." Mari holds her breath.
"I am Commander Avery. What is your business here? We expected no guests."
Kyle gives the guard his best smile "We are travelers, we come here to trade for food and water, and also to see your marvelous castles"
Mari smiles awkwardly. She doesn't know what to say. George is wondering if Kyle has a plan or just improvising...
"You are welcome to trade for our goods but you cannot enter the Keep itself. We have dangerous prisoners housed here for questioning. It would not do for you to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," the captain says, nodding.
Tegnar looks to the others, then to Kyle, and finally smiles at Duke. “Maybe this will be fun”, he whispers at the dog.
Adrienne whispers to Kyle "Shall we enter already?"
Mari scans the walls for places to sneak into the keep just in case and then looks up at Kyle and Adrienne. “I'm not sure they'll allow us to enter,” she whispers. “But maybe we can wait until night”
Lauren looks at Håkan and gives him a worried look. Håkan nods at her with dead serious face.
Kyle swallows and continues to speak "Please, but we are exhausted! To tell you the truth, we can defend ourselves and will be of no trouble to you!". Kyle reaches his hand into his backpack and fondles the little pouch of gold. Should he? The movement disturbs the falcon who flies away with a protesting shriek. Mari sees his gesture and hesitates "Can we afford it?", she warns him. But he doesn’t listen.
Captain Avery narrows his eyes, "I could allow you into the servant quarters I guess. You will have to leave your weapons here though."
Adrienne doesn't like the part of leaving her weapons there. Neither George does, the thought of leaving his axe Maya makes him glare slightly at the captain. Mari, always practical, wonders if she can keep a concealed dagger.
“It's okay, then”, tries to conciliate Tegnar. “Don't you think?”
Mari looks at Kyle again: “Do you agree to enter in those terms?”
Adrienne looks at the rest of her companions and stares at Kyle , waiting
Timmy flies down and lands back on Kyle 's shoulder, yellow eyes glaring at Avery.
“Should we leave our staves as well?”, asks Håkan, concerned.
Kyle sighs and hands out the gold pouch "Please, this is for your trouble. You know very well we can't be too careful on a journey, my good men. Please try to see our reasons."
Mari slaps her forehead. "Just tell me you didn't give him all your money!", she whispers. George stares at DAT GOLD....
Avery looks at the pouch, then hands it back, "I don't take bribes. Drop your weapons, all of them, and you can take rest in the servant quarters." Mari looks grateful at the guard and thanks the Maker for men of honor
“We don't need the weapons, guys”, insists Tegnar, wisely. “We will protect the ladies ...with our own hands”
Kyle then puts back the gold grudgingly and very slowly, eyes on the guard. “Okay, let's not delay the guard's duty anymore, guys”, and then proceeds to take off his shield and swords. The daggers stay, though. Tegnar takes off his bow and his quiver. He has a visible dagger in the belt, too, but he keeps it on. George pouts and reluctantly hands over his axe.
Adrienne leaves her sword slowly. "Have I to leave my shield too??"
“Of course, Adri”, says Kyle, sadly.
Adrienne leaves her shield too, not very sure about what are they doing. Håkan keeps his staff
Captain Avery frowns, "All your weapons, please. You won't need them to rest. I guarantee you will get them back."
Adrienne whispers "I hope so..." and stares to the guard
Kyle takes off his dagger after thinking that the Keep will have a lot of weapons they can use later. Mari leaves her usual dagger and sword, the ones she has on sight, but doesn’t reveal the concealed ones. Then she stands up showing her bare hands. "That's all I have"
Tegnar stares seriously at the guard and takes off his dagger “I can keep my dog with me, right?”
“Ah...also the staff?”. Lauren is reluctant to leave it
Håkan still keeps his staff, while holding Lauren's shoulder. “Staves aren't weapons, Lauren, they are tools”
"Keep the dog, lose the staff, mage. It isn't difficult…" Avery points out.
Lauren stares at the guard: "As he said...it isn't a weapon"
“And as Circle Mages we're authorized to carry them with us everywhere”, Håkan adds, stubborn, staring at the guard
Captain Avery shrugs, "Then you can wait here. A staff is a weapon in the hands of a mage. I am no fool."
Tegnar looks at Duke: "C'mon, boy. Do we have to leave the horses here?”
Kyle gives out his best poker face while Tim tilts his head in annoyance. Tegnar looks at Håkan and Lauren concerned.
"Come on, just leave it so we can move on already...", George frowns
“I can cast spells even without a staff, good man, it's a principle”, Håkan insists. “Would you hasty to a priest to leave thir amulets to enter? Or to a lord to leave their signet ring?”
Mari stares at Håkan. She’s starting to regret having asked the mage to come. “Is it really THAT important, Håkan?”
Håkan stares at Mari dead serious “YES, it is”. Lauren frowns at Mari and repeats the mage’s words.
George glares at the mages, while Tegnar looks to Avery, waiting for an answer to Håkan, who glances at the keep.
"I have my orders. Mages are always a danger. Leaving the staff is a polite formality. Nevertheless, it is required."
“Calm down, people, I understand your principles”, says Adri, also pissed off by the mages stubbornness. “I don't like to leave MY weapons here, but we have no choice...please”
“Guard”, tries to negotiate Tegnar, “maybe you can put an escort for us, and then they can enter with their staves”
“Acting like this you are insulting the institution of the Circle of Magi itself, meaning the templar's order, and meaning the chantry itself”, continues preaching Håkan.
“So either we argue here until dusk or we leave the mages outside?”, sighs Mari. She’s starting to consider seriously the second option.
Lauren swallows and looks at Håkan and then at the Keep again, while George slaps his forehead as he realizes they're never getting in at this rate.
“Besides,” the stubborn mage continues, “your orders are ‘no weapons allowed’. A staff is not a weapon, is a tool”.
"On my honor, you will be unharmed within and your items returned to you. It is no insult to comply with courtesy. Even the Empress' guards go unarmed within."
"Eugh.... Mari, if you're suggesting we go on in without them I'm with you...". Mari smiles at George’s agreement. “I'm starting to consider it seriously. But then they'd like it, to be alone outside”, Mari teases, “So no way”
“And if you are so eager to not introducing any potential threat you shouldn't allow mages inside at all… or dogs, or even armored people”. Håkan could go on and on the whole night, decided to spoil the others if he can’t get what he wants, like a spoiled child.
Adrienne sighs "Håkan , Lauren...please, just leave the staves, we all are leaving our weapons, tools or whatever you call it..."
“My dog is not a weapon, is a friend and companion”, protests Tegnar. What they needed, to bring the attention of the guards about the dog.
“He can bite, Tegnar”, continues the mage in a ‘Or I get my staff in or nobody enters’ way.
"Great Hoakan...”, frowns George. “Keep on giving them more reasons to not let us in....."
“I can bite too, Håkan”, replies Tegnar, meaning it.
“My point exactly”
Adrienne stares at the others and crosses her arms waiting
“We’re going nowhere this way”, sighs Mari.
“That makes no sense”, agrees Tegnar.
Avery sighs, "I am no wise man, to debate with a mage. I follow my orders. Leave the staff and come in or keep it and stay here. It is your choice."
Lauren, encouraged by her mage companion, makes her own try. “Just…ah...if we were carpenters, would you...uh...ask us to leave our tools? Or...uh? Our hammer if we were blacksmiths?”
The captain looks at Lauren, "I would. Unless they needed them inside. My Lord was very clear and I will not disobey him without good cause."
Håkan looks at the others and glances at the keep, as if that gave him the reason. Tegnar looks to him, confused, while it is clear that George is getting pretty pissed off at the mage. Even Lauren is getting nervous.
Kyle whispers to Håkan and Lauren "I'm sure we can find other weapons in the Keep. Or we can just slaughter our way in."
Mari looks at Lauren and Håkan again, already tired of all this non sense. “Seriously… you can wait outside if you prefer...”, and then gets closer to them
Håkan whispers to her "I'm not leaving my staff, I'll explain later"
“Maybe we can find a way to sneak into tonight”, she whispers back, trying to reason with him, but it is useless. Lauren's eyes go from the guards to Håkan. “He's not going to change his mind, you two”, the red haired elf continues, determined to end with all this. “So I'm afraid the staves are out. With or without you”
Håkan frowns at Mari. "You'll regret this", he whispers to her, creeping her out.
“I'm already regreting it”, she whispers back.
Tegnar groans. He whispers to Adrienne and George: "Are you coming in with me?"
"Yes, Teg...", nods George.
Adrienne whispers to them "I'm ready when you're ready"
“May I know your name sir?”, asks Håkan while giving the staff to the guard
“Captain Avery Bellefonte, of Val Royeaux. Second son of Montaignard Bellefonte. In service to Jules Prideaux, mage. Be welcome."
"Very well. I want to know exactly to who I have to send my complaints through the Circle. Templars are not pleased when mages are harrassed this way."
"Really?” whispers wickedly George. “I thought templars enjoyed harassing mages?"
"Not when it's not their doing, anyway", Håkan frowns.
Lauren looks again at the keep and sighs. Finally she gives her staff too
“Well, seems he finished taking off the staff”, Tegnar sighs, relieved.
Kyle smiles wickedly at the mage: "Maybe you can seduce your way in, Håkan", he whispers
Håkan growls loudly "Shut up"
Lauren takes Håkan’s arm and stares at him. She shakes her head.
Mari tries to see where the weapons are stored. But she’s unable to see anything; the guards take them with them and disappear.
“Finally!”, says the dwarf, happy that they can get in. “I expect you have beer inside!”
Kyle nods "All in good time, good ser." Then he takes Mari's hand to guide her in. The elf holds it tight and follows him. Adrienne smiles a bit angry to the guard.
Kyle whispers to Adrienne "Calm down, sister, we can do this."
“It’s just that I don't like leaving even my shield there...argh", she whispers back.
“Me neither”, Mari agrees.
“No one likes it”, adds George. “I miss my axe already...”
Adrienne makes a sad smile to them two and keeps walking following Kyle, while George closes the group.
Inside, the Keep is dim, even with the torches lit at frequent intervals. Captain Avery escorts them inside. "Bedrooms are here. We have a small staff, so sleep where you like. The kitchens are down this hall. Talk to Madame Alyse to trade” Avery smiles at Håkan , "Take it up with Lord Prideaux if you like. I will take my leave of you now."
“C’mon, Duke”, calls Tegnar. “I'm too tired, and too hungry. Anybody comes to eat with me?”
“Ah...no, thanks, Tegnar”, denies Lauren. “I'm not hungry right now...”
“I'll go with you, Tegnar”, offers Kyle with a wide smile.
“Me too Teg!”, adds George, with his stomach growling.
“And me!”, says Mari enthusiastically. She’s always in when food is involved.
“Fine, let's go to find that Madame... whatever”, says the dwarf.
“Alyse” points out Mari, with her usual talent to fake foreign accents.
“Alyse? What a stupid name”, Tegnar scowls
“Orlesian”, replies Mari as if it explained it all.
“Pffft, orlesian! Hellouuu, hog age youuu?”
Adrienne can't help herself but laughing at Tegnar's comment. “Well, let’s see if she has that accent”. George laughs too, while Mari giggles. The dwarf’s sense of humor always makes things easier.
Håkan whispers to Lauren: "We should try to understand what's going on". He’s tempted to cast a little fireball on Avery's ass but resists.
Lauren nods and whispers "yes...I know..." She shakes her head "I don't like this. Did you...ah...did you see that?" glances at the Keep
Mari looks at Kyle “What now? Do you have any clue about where to find her?” she asks.
“I'd try to look around on my way to the kitchen first”.
"Do you want me to go with you, Kyle?” George offers.
“To the kitchen, then”, decides Tegnar, and starts walking ahead.
There are several doors along the hall to the kitchens. Food can be smelled cooking and here the chatter of servants. But before the group follows the dwarf, Håkan grabs Kyle. Lauren notices his look and frowns "Hoekan..."
“What?”, Kyle looks at Håkan's grasp, and panics slightly.
Håkan whispers "IF I unreasonnally insist on keeping my staff, don't you think I DO have my reasons?" Adrienne stares at Kyle and Håkan, ready to separate them if she feels it is needed. George gives Håkan a worried look. But the mage just keeps whispering "Be careful, there's something going on here, and I don't like it."
Mari jumps in defense of her beloved. “Håkan, you know we would still be on the door if you had not left the staff”
“Better on the door than in a graveyard”, replies the mage, cold.
“We are here for a reason...”, Mari continues, thinking Håkan doesn’t want to understand.
Lauren sighs "Yes...but still..."
Kyle whispers back to Håkan, always conciliator. "I understand, and I'll be extra careful. But I have to do this."
“Then we should be together, just in case”, says Adrienne. Lauren agrees. “That”
“A Keep gotta have a dungeon, right?”, says Kyle
“You think she's in the dungeon?” Mari shivers and hugs herself
“Fot the prisoners, I guess, yes”, replies Adrienne
“Ah...they said there are prisoners, right?”, remembers Lauren.
Tegnar approaches in that moment, joining the conversation. “What are you whispering there?”
“Yes. We might need to look out for weapons first though”, is saying Kyle. There were no weapons in the room or the hall, so they have to look down one of the other halls or in the kitchen.
“Perhaps we can go and find some weapons, yes”, suggests Adrienne, “but we have to find where is the armory or something first”.
“I kept a dagger”, whispers the elf, all proud of herself.
Kyle whispers back "Good job, love. But do try to be careful." Mari smiles at his comment, always in need of his approval.
“There might be some knives in the kitchen?”, whispers George.
“We can go to the kitchen”, agrees the dwarf. “Kitchens have knives”
“Okay, let's split.”, decides Kyle “You guys go to the kitchen, I'll go check the other halls”.
Mari grabs Kyle’s arm. “I go with you”, she says determined. She gives him a warning look, like saying ‘Don't even think otherwise’
Kyle smiles at Mari "Of course you do."
“Only the two of you?” Adrienne looks at the couple, concerned. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, don't worry, little sister”, Kyle comforts his childhood friend.
Adrienne sighs “Okay, but take care, please”. She smiles to Mari and pats Kyle’s shoulder
Håkan looks to Lauren: “We should meet this Proudever guy... or avoid him.”
Lauren nods to Håkan “yes”
"Which one?”, ponders the mage. “If we meet him we can make a fuss and have our staves back...or meet our doom and if we are VERY lucky have HIS."
Lauren clicks her tongue "We should probably try to find him..."
“Okay, George, Adrienne, to the kitchen”, organizes Tegnar “C'mon, Duke, with me”
“I'm following you”, agrees Adrienne
“Let’s go then?” George starts walking towards where his nose tells him the kitchen is, and they soon separate from the rest of the group.
The doors from the hallway mostly lead to bedrooms. One goes to a wide hallway. Another to a staircase with steps up and down. The halls are empty, no servants or anybody to be met. Lauren grabs Håkan 's arm and they walk upstairs trying to find a servant, disappearing from sight. The young couple is now alone.
“I’ll go first, Kyle ...”, suggests the thin elf. “They will have it hard to notice me”, and she starts moving some steps before him to make sure there's no danger so silently and carefully even her own boyfriend has it hard to see where she is.
Kyle then proceeds to go to the wide hallway walking normally so he appears to be strolling about it. The hall is wide and empty. It leads to a grand chamber at one end, with a huge spiraling staircase up
“ No dungeon here”, the warrior comments aloud.
“Unless they're upstairs”, whispers the girl back. “Maybe we should have gone to the stairs which led downstairs”
“Maybe. But let's continue”.
“To the stairs?”
Kyle thinks it's time for Tim and him to do a little sightseeing. He releases the bird, who goes up the spiraling staircase.
“ If we get caught, we can say that we have been chasing Tim”, he says.
Mari smiles: “Clever idea”
Kyle smiles back, blushing, while starting to climb the staircase. Mari follows him, looking at him with adoration. She would have never thought such an excuse.
The stairs lead to an opulent floor nearly the length and breadth of the Keep. Each room is full of ornate furniture and clothing. One room is a library, and one room is locked. Mari looks at Kyle and then at the locked door
“Do you want me to open it?” the elf asks, feeling she needs to ask permission first.
Mari uses her lock picking tools to unlock the door. The door pops open. The chamber beyond is covered in complex arcane designs, interlocking one atop the other. There is no furniture and no windows.
“Now I wish either Håkan or Lauren were here....”, Mari sighs.
“Sound like Håkan was right”.
Mari stares at Kyle, a bit upset. She DOESN'T miss the staves, she misses the mages only.
Kyle looks around frantically for sign of traps. Mari glances at the signs wondering if she can understand anything, but all those magical gibberish say nothing to her.
“Great. Remind me why did we leave the mages downstairs?”, she complains again. Then she realizes what her boyfriend is trying. “Do you think it is safe to enter?”
Kyle nods, stepping into the chamber and staring at the walls. The room is empty except for the designs carved into every surface of the walls, floor and ceiling. The inscriptions glow faintly in a kind of light blue color. That is the only light in here. Kyle feels the walls, trying to see if there are any secret passageways, while Mari, curious as always, touches one of the inscriptions, but half to her deception, half to her relief, nothing happens.
“We should go back and bring one of the mages here, Kyle”, she says reluctantly. She can almost hear the tall mage saying again and again ‘I told you, gnegnegnegnegne!’. And they dare to treat HER as if she were a child! “I have no idea of what this is... but it is creepy”, she adds.
“Oh dear maker, it's lyrium”, Kyle says suddenly..
“Lyrium?”, asks the elf. “That thing Ser August had to drink?”. The only contact Mari has had with that blue substance is the drug which stole her mentor’s memories step by step.
Kyle looks back at Mari "Yes, we probably should go look for Håkan and Lauren."
Mari nods: “Let's go back, please”. She’s starting to feel at unease there.
“Of course. Are you still able to move silently?”
“Sure, my love”
Kyle calls back Tim and proceeds to go downstairs, preceded by the young elf. A servant passes them in the hall and smiles, "Watch your step! Just mopped the stairs."
Mari smiles and nods: “We'll take care!”, trying to be natural, while Kyle just nods and smiles, getting carefully back to the hall where they saw the mages for the last time.
The stairs are narrow and rickety, and go on for awhile. They lead to a small room at the top of one of the towers. Stone and dried blood, chains and hooks on the walls. And a wooden chair in the center. Lauren takes a step back and holds Håkan’s arm
“I'm so going to kill Kyle when all this is over...”, the mage mumbles.
Lauren looks at the hooks and swallows. It appears to be a torture chamber, although there are no tools in here. Only the chair, the chains, and blood. The veil feels thin here too.
Lauren looks at Håkan, worried, thinking ‘Oh, great!’ “I think I'm going to let you kill Kyle”, she agrees.
Håkan looks for furniture, any chest, armoire, or just a sign of living or dead beings, but there’s just the chair, the chains, and the blood stains. Suddenly he catches something moving at the corner of his vision but when he turns, no one is there.
Håkan starts to complain. “I hate the veil. Why did the Maker make it a veil? Couldn't it be... dunno... the "leather curtain"? The "stone wall"? The "steel panel"?, instead of the squishy, thin, strip of reality separating you from demons…?”
Lauren latches on to Håkan and chuckles nervously "Yes...Yes I get it..." Håkan holds her.
"Don't worry, we'll... oh, we're not PROPERLY in danger right now, are we?"
“We...ah...we should leave and find the others”, Lauren says hesitantly.
Suddenly they hear a sound, like someone crying from very far away. There is a sense of menace in the room. Lauren moves her ears when she hears it, while Håkan tries to remember which kind of spirit used a crying sound as a bait.
"I'd... leave. Like... now...”, says the mage, terrified. He finally remembers no specific demon does that, which means it could be anything.
“AGREE”, Lauren almost shouts.
Håkan gently pushes Lauren back towards the stairs looking behind himself, and they rush to the stairs again. They arrive in the hall just as Mari and Kyle get back. Lauren breathes, more relieved now
Håkan stares coldly at Kyle, who gives out his best poker face "Did you find anything?"
“You know if we make it alive outside of here you'll owe us like... fetching me fresh fire glands from a High Dragon, right?”
Lauren grabs his arm to calm him down. "We should really find the others"
"I'll give you the whole body if you get my mother back, Håkan. Now what did you find?"
Håkan looks around to see if there is any servant in ear range. “There's a torture room upstairs, though... the veil is VERY thin there, and I'm not going there without a staff”
“A torture room?”, Mari shivers.
“Yes...” Lauren mutters.
“It looked like one”, adds Håkan
Kyle asks frantically "The veil? Anything else? Any presence? Any trace of my mother?"
“There was "something" but I don't know if it was her, because some demons use crying sound as bait”, the mage explains, while Lauren looks at him and nods. “BUT…”
“But WHAT?”, asks the knight, impatient.
“…I'd explore other possibilities before heading there heads down charging”
“See I...we... there's something going on in this Keep...”, adds Lauren.
“We found something weird on the other side too”, says Marilyn.
“ It might be Lyrium inscriptions”, adds Kyle
“We thought you should see them”, Mari finishes the phrase, looking at Kyle concerned
“Look”, says Håkan, “like... get us some decent weapons, because if there's not your mother but a pride demon baiting knights in shining armor I don't want to have only my will and my fists to fight it”
Lauren gives him a little smile "At least you could burn it"
“I could burn the whole castle down, but this doesn't mean is the smartest thing to do”
“No, definitely no”, admits Lauren.
“Okay”, says Kyle. “I agree. I need you to take a look at this room upstairs first though, Håkan”.
Håkan looks at Lauren "Shall we try to see that room they were speaking about?"
“Yes, Hokaen”, mispells Lauren again. “We should check that room, first, and then get our staves back”.
“If we want weapons we should go back to the guards quarters”, suggests Mari “And then I'd look downstairs.” The mages nod, agreeing for once. “Ok, then come with us”, says the elven thief. Kyle moves to the front to lead the way, but Mari rushes to keep her pace to his side, while the mages follow them. They go back upstairs to the Lord's floor, and Mari leads them to a locked door at the end. She kneels and unlocks it again
“Go on right ahead”, proposes Kyle. “I think I should keep watch”.
Mari points at the room beyond. “That”
The room is lit by a faint blue light from runes inscribed on every surface, interlocking. The walls, floor, and ceiling are covered with them.
Lauren just gasps “Uh”, and Håkan tries to understand what kind of runes are these
“Kyle says it may be lyrium”, Mari points out, waiting for confirmation. For her, lyrium was something drinkable, no more. Her boyfriend’s knowledge always surprises her.
“It IS lyrium. A lot”, the mages agree. “Have you walked in?”, asks Lauren.
“Yes”, admits Mari. “Nothing happened, not even when I touched the signs”
“No traps, thanks the maker”, adds Kyle from behind, trying to help..
“ I didn't even get dirty”, continues the girl, showing her hands up. Ignorance is a daring thing, after all. Lauren stares at her for a second, and then she looks at the lyrium runes and gasps. She turns at Håkan
“Demon hierarchy”, he mumbles. “But what are the other symbols?”
“I don't know”, says Lauren looking at them, trying to understand
Mari looks at them as if they were speaking in Andersfellan. She doesn't understand what's happening but it is clear this is no good. Kyle curses under his breath upon hearing what the mages say. Demon rituals....could his mother be involved?
Håkan observes the rune sequence to see if it forms a specific pattern, if the way it's repeated, follows a design of a symbol or another rune, glyph or something. It goes from the lowest demon, rage, to the highest, pride, but other than that, the pattern just starts in the center and spreads from there. The ceiling mirrors the floor, the walls continue the pattern until the one from ceiling and floor meet, pride sigil against pride sigil, like two spirals.
“ I don't understand if it's a cage or a battery...”, wonders Håkan, “or both... or none...”
“You are not making much sense, Håkan,” comments Kyle.
Lauren wonders if they should walk in the room. Probably not
“Circles and spirals are generally meant as barriers”. ‘To hold something in or keep something out’, thinks Håkan while staring at Kyle. The warrior whistles. “Although I don't understand if this thing is meant to capture something or use something inside as energy source… demons probably”
“But it is empty, isn't it?”, says Mari hopefully.
“But...whatever it is...”, asks Lauren, “if it's a cage...what it's locked up? Or what do they want to have inside? And...if it's a battery, what for...?”
“Which is worse?”, asks Mari, her curiosity winning over her fear.
“It could also be a... uhm...”, Håkan continues, ignoring the elf… “safe zone in case of demonic invasion… but this is refined lyrium, mages would be hurt by it so it would be useless for a mage”
“Which is worse in this case?”, ask Kyle in his girlfriend’s behalf.
Lauren looks at the floor again “But a mage must have done it, right?”
“Then why doesn't it hurt you?”
“Because we haven't touched it, Mari”, says Lauren like addressing to a small child, staring at her again. Mari feels uncomfortable, asking didn’t harm.
“...because I didn't enter the room or touch it?”, adds Håkan, a bit rude. “I'd like to see how it reacts to magic, but I don't want to make something that could alarm all the keep”
“Ah...” Lauren considers what Håkan means by react to magic. “No, better no...”
“You see my point…”. The tall mage smiles at her.
“Ah, no. Better not make people be aware of us...”, Mari agrees, shaking her head. “Have you finished here? I will lock the door again when you finish”.
Kyle is still trying to connect the dots in his head.
“Ah...” Lauren takes a last look at the runes, specially the ones she doesn't recognize. “Yes..”
“Okay”, smiles the elf, while closing the door to lock it again. Better not leave any trace of their stay there.
Tegnar enters in the kitchen shouting: “Hello! We want to eat something!”, followed by George and Adrienne. “Is Madame Aloise here?
Madame Alyse and about five servants are working, cooking and preparing a lot of food
"Guests? Captain Avery said you might need supplies." Alyse is a very chubby older woman with bright red cheeks and a happy smile. She wipes her hands on her apron and extends them to Tegnar.
Tegnar bows and kiss the hand. “Nice to meet you, my lady”
Lady Alyse giggles, "Polite guests! Oh, my!"
“Nice to meet you, lady”, greets Adrienne looking around to find where are the knifes and other kind of tools that can hurt. She sees carving knives and things lying around on counters, but nothing particularly dangerous though.
George walks over to the nearest woman working in there. He leans against the counter she's preparing food on. "Well, hello there. What's for dinner my lovely?" Meanwhile, he tries to steal a knife from the counter sneakily.
The serving girl giggles at George and does not notice him take the knife, "You like spicy, sir?"
George gives her a flirty smile "I like spicy. very. much.", while hiding the knife under his
“That's a nice keep, isn't it?”, continues Tegnar with his usual golden tongue. “How many people live here?”
“Yes, yes a very nice place in our way, indeed!”, agrees Adrienne. She is holding her iron pan, wondering if she can actually cook something
Alyse smiles at Tegnar, "Well, just the ten servants, the guards which I can't keep track of, the Lord, and then his guests. About fifty people."
“Fifty people? And prisoners too?”
"Fifty people including prisoners. We call them his guests. Very special guests at that."
Adrienne looks at George and Tegnar, then she turns at Alyse and makes a sweet smile "Well, Lady Alyse, I wonder if I can use your kitchen to cook something for me and my companions, will it bother you?"
Alyse looks at Adrienne, "We've got space if you've got talent. Plenty of food too. The Empress favors her inquisitioner."
Adrienne makes a sweet smile again "Oh, how kind of you, thank you dear lady!"
George smiles at Adri. He's pretty hungry actually. The serving girl doesn’t notice and winks at George, "My room is just on the left," she whispers
"Good to know" George smiles at the serving girl and then walks over to Adri.
“George, you do have potatos, don't you?”, the Antivan warrior asks.
"Yes of course!", smiles George. It is like asking him if he has legs.
“Then gimme some of them and try to find oil, will you?”
“They two are excellent cooks, you know?”, says Tegnar to the Lady,
George opens his pack and hands Adri some potatoes, then he looks around for oil. The serving girl hands George some oil with a smile. Adrienne glances to the helper then to George, who takes it and hands it to Adri, enjoying the situation. Adrienne takes the oil immediately.
The serving girl tells George, "I can make you some potatoes, ya know." George chuckles at the serving girl, feeling slightly uneasy as he was just using her to get that knife...
While Tegnar approaches to each servant to see what are they cooking, Adrienne takes a knife and goes to a place to cook far away from the servants look, to start cooking. “Come here and help me, will you?” she says a bit harshly.
George goes over to her. “What do you need?"
“Help me with the potatoes”, Adri says.
Tegnar counts gruel, soup, roast lamb, and some sort of pastry in the different bowls and plantes. All the servants are doing something, if there’s anyone not working, they must be in their rooms. The roast takes two servants, one to spin and one to pour sauce on it. Even Lady Alyse is chopping veggies while talking to Tegnar.
At that moment, the rumble of Kyle's voice can be heard from the hall, followed by Håkan’s squeaky reply. George turns to look at the door, wondering what's going on.
“You seem a really good cook!”, Tegnar flatters Lady Alyse, trying to keep her attention focused on him.
"As soon as we're done here I think we should go find the others...", George whispers to Adri.
"You keep helping me here, I have a knife and the pan with boiling oil, what do you have?", she whispers back.
“ I have a fairly big knife”.
“Nice, and I agree. Let's eat some potatos while Tegnar ends his flirting thing”
Georgk giggles a little and nods. Dem potatoes!, while Adrienne keeps cooking, listening to Tegnar and the cook.
“For who are these veggies, lady?”, continues Tegnar, distracting the woman.
"These are for the special guests downstairs. Lord Prideaux keeps them well fed. It helps them survive his scrutiny."
“Are there many "special guests" downstairs?”
Alyse laughs, "Only a few. We never have more than ten or so guests. Most don't stay long."
“Where do they go?”
She shrugs, "Back to the Empress or the templars, I guess. Haven't had one up and die on us in years. Prideaux is very careful."
Adrienne makes a worried sign to George and whispers "Do you think the others are already doing...you know, something about Kyle and his..."
"Maybe... I don't know. I wanna go... I have a bad feeling about this place.."
The serving girl looks at George, "What was that? Oh . . . it's not bad living here."
“ Oh, here is your frieeeend”, whispers Adrienne, amused.
George jumps slightly as he didn't realize the serving girl could hear them....
“And the guests are... men? Or are women too?”, continues the dwarf.
Alyse sighs, "Sin and treachery darken man and woman equally. It is very sad."
“Yes, very sad...”, agrees Tegnar, looking to the others worried. “Have you finished to cook that?”
"Err... yes. We're done.", George replies.
“I think our friends are waiting for us, milady”, Tegnar turns back to the cook. “I want to eat some of these potatoes”
Alyse smiles, "Well, you know where to find me ser dwarf. Enjoy your stay!" Alyse turns back to her work, chiding her girls, "Come on! Our guests won't feed themselves, dears."
Adrienne holds her pan and stands up. “Here we have the potatoes, Tegnar”
Tegnar takes one and eats. “Mmm, fo delifious, infeef!”, spiting a bit while he eats.
Adrienne does the same, but doesn't keep the pan out of sight, it's near her hands
George eats a potato. Everything feels slightly better with potatoes “there is always a smiling potato in every bag”, is his motto.
“What do you have?”, Tegnar whispers when he comes close to them.
“A knife”, says George.
“A knife and my iron pan, hot as a rage demon and with some oil too”, adds Adrienne.
"Let's go then?" George points to the door.
“Go on, then”, whispers Tegnar.
Tegnar yells: “See you then, milady, we're going”
“Thanks for all, lady, bye!”, shouts Adrienne, too.
Alyse waves absently
George walks out of the kitchen, pausing for a second by the door to wink at the serving girl before leaving. Tegnar pushes them, whispering: “Go, go, go”
The trio goes back to the hall where they meet back the two couples. Lauren is talking to Håkan "Do you still think we should try to find that man, Prideaux?"
“I think we should”, Håkan replies, “or at least one of us. We could act as decoy, distracting him while the others look for Kyle’s mother, OR have the source of any magical mess at hand. Though I don't really look forward to meet him”, he finally admits
“I would like to look downstairs first”, mumbles Mari. At the other’s questioning glances, she continues. “Well... the guards talked about prisoners… and she doesn't seem to be a servant here”
Adrienne looks at the others "Oh, there we have them"
“Hey, guys”, waves Tegnar, approaching the group. “What did you find? Have you found weapons?”
“ No, not yet”, replies Mari, noticing the newcomers.
Kyle sounds tired "No, only rooms with lyrium etchings."
“Only bedrooms”, Mari adds, realizing suddenly she didn’t loot anything in them “and magic wibbly wobbly”
“We have knives and a hot frying pan...”, announces George.
“Sounds dangerous”, smiles Mari. “Specially the frying pan”
Adrienne smiles wickedly "It is, my dear"
Mari smiles back at Adri and loves her even more.
“It will get cold soon”, admits Tegnar, a bit in a spoilsport mood.
“I used a frying pan on a templar once...”, reminds Håkan “It was super effective”. He clearly remembers how he hit the Templar Carroll with one in self-defense once.
Adrienne looks at Tegnar "Exactly, pans can be dangerous even cold". Then she turns concerned to her childhood friend. "Is it everything ok, Kyle?"
Kyle smiles back "It's okay, Adrienne. I'll be fine."
“So, what do you propose now?”, asks Tegnar “Put Duke to work?”
Mari rolls her eyes “Can we start going downstairs? Before monsieur Pridejenesaisquoi notices us?”
Adrienne looks confused to Mari "who?"
“I can't recall his name, okay?”
“So, downstairs then?”, asks Adrienne
“Yes, downstairs”, repeats the elf.
“I support that”, adds Tegnar “What do you think, Duke?”
Kyle is already on his way downstairs. Mari rushes to reach him
George follows Kyle and Adrienne goes just behind Mari, holding the pan. Tegnar goes behind the others, commanding Duke to go just before him
Lauren looks at Håkan "then...what do we do about...well you know, that?"
The stairs down are sturdy and well worn stone. Torches every few feet keep it well lit. They seem to go on forever, until you are sure you are well below the keep
Adrienne whispers “Guys, do you actually know where are we going?"
“To the deep roads, at this pace”, replies Mari, a bit concerned.
Kyle whispers to Adrienne "Just keep going. And give me that frying pan."
Adrienne sighs "All right, take it if you want it" and takes the knife then. “But I want that frying pan back, okay?”
“Thanks, I will use it well”.
Mari reaches her hidden dagger just in case
Tegnar trusts that if Duke, the dog, smells something wrong, he’ll warn them. Tim, though, continues on Kyle’s shoulder, afraid by the thick, dark walls.
Håkan looks at Lauren: "Manure?"
Lauren nods at him. “Lots”
Suddenly, Cold Feet leaps from Håkan and disappears
Lauren gasps. “That fakking mouse!”
“He’s a smart mouse...”, Håkan tranquilizes her. “He'll be fine...I hope...”
“Duke, follow the mouse!”, commands Tegnar, but Håkan shouts “NO!”, and the dwarf asks the dog back. “Duke, come here”. Anyway the mouse has already sneaked out a small hole so Duke can’t reach it.
“What...?”, asks Lauren, confused. “Ah...guys, be careful...”
“What…? The mouse?”, asks Adrienne too.
The stairs end at a stone corridor. The hall is line with cells, most empty. Mari looks into the cells, feeling a chill, and testing which ones are locked. Kyle moves across them, try to search for a sign, anything that could lead him to his mother. Tegnar looks curious at the cells. A few are occupied, the people in them asleep or sitting quietly, staring into nothing. They seem to be breathing but they don't notice the newcomers.
“Hello?”, calls Kyle.
“Are they... alive?”, asks Tegnar aloud. “What's going wrong with them?”
“I think they're sleeping...or something like that”, says Adrienne.
Mari checks if any of them are female elves, but she finds none. There is a locked door at the end of the hall. Mari heads to that door, with Adrienne is looking around, keeping close to her. George doesn't like this. He grabs his knife and feels a bit better. “This is creepy....”
Adrienne is getting a bit nervous
“But they...uh..aren't”, Lauren starts.
“It's no use”, says Kyle, “let's move forward. Be on your guard”.
Now it is Lauren’s turn to get nervous. Kyle wields the frying pan, ready for trouble.
Mari goes to the end of the hall and examines the locked door, followed by George. It is a solid wooden door, not a cell door. Adrienne holds the knife and prepares herself to fight if it's necessary
Tegnar approaches to one of the cells and looks at the prisoner very close. “Hey, you! I’m talking to you! Are you okay?”
Lauren looks at the prisoner. “No...Tegnar .. don't do that” Tegnar looks to Lauren and his concerned sight. “They are...ah...in the Fade?”, she says, looking at Håkan for help.
“They look like”, the tall mage agrees.
“The... the fade?” Adrienne looks concerned to Lauren
“I-uh-I don't know”, hesitates Lauren, “but they look like that...”
Tegnar moves away from the cell “What do you think, Duke?”, he asks to the dog trying to keep calmed. Duke just whines.
George doesn't know much about the fade but he doesn't like this. Adrienne keeps holding her knife and waiting to see what happens with that door
Mari moves her ears when hearing about the Fade but doesn't want to think a lot about what that implies. She’s been there before and doesn’t like it, so she concentrates on unlocking the door. The door swings open. Beyond is a clean room with racks of gleaming tools, very very clean ones, not lyrium or anything, just shiny metal.
“Uhm”, groans Håkan
Kyle goes in and examines the tools closely. Mari looks around, following him closely. George follows Kyle inside, and Adrienne goes with Mari again. Tegnar commands Duke to stay out of the room and to bark if someone comes, but it’s too late. From the other side of the corridor, the group can hear the sound of voices, servants coming with food.
“Ah shit...”, says Adrienne
“ Uh... we run before we get caught?”, whispers George.
“Ahh, ok”, replies Adrienne.
Mari rushes to turn the door close so they don't notice it, when she realizes Tegnar is still in the corridor, making gestures. “We can enter in a cell!”, he proposes. Kyle is searching for more things to use as weapons.
“Tegnar, come here, quickly!”, calls Adri, using all the authority she inherited by her mother.
“Duke, come on!”, obbeys the dwarf while running to the door.
“Mari, close the door again, please”, asks Adrienne, at the same time that Tegnar. Mari does it quickly. And as the door shuts there is an odd click and a flash of light. The entire group is knocked unconscious. “Don't breath anybody!” are the last words of the dwarf, while Mari makes a last effort to fall over Kyle’s body.
When they wake up, they look around. They are all in a village square, their favorite toys lying in the grass. Everything seems so tall . . . and they feel very small... They are all five years old children. Dressed in children's clothes. With kid toys.
Kyle just blushes, helps Mari get up and looks around. “Not again”, he complains.
Mari looks around and sees her story book lying around. “What is this doing there?”, she says, rushing to take her book back and making sure the cover is not damaged.
“Oh, dear Maker...that is my old sword, made by my father in wood...”, says Adrienne, taking the wooden sword from the ground. “ I hate this...”
George bends down and picks up a tattered teddy bear he recognizes. He examines it, confused.
“Maker, I hate this place!”, protests Håkan.
Lauren facepalms "Not again..."
“FOR THE ANCESTOR, WHAT'S THIS PLACE?”, shouts the dwarf, astonished.
“Welcome to the Fade, dwarf”. Håkan is not amused
“ THE FADE?” continues shouting Tegnar. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME, BOY?”
“Why am I...”, wonders Kyle… “Oh dear...I'm a kid again. Well, at least my favorite Highever tabbies are over there”. Kyle proceeds to play with the cats.
“The fade?”, asks George.
“ Dwarves don't go to the Fade!!”, protests Tegnar, as if shouting would make it true.
“It takes a powerful spell to lead one here...”, Håkan admits.
Adrienne bites her lips and remembers what happened the last time she was in the fade...
Lauren looks at Håkan and frowns "Why are you still so tall?"
Mari looks around and sees Tegnar as a child “You look funny, Teg. No daddyTeg anymore”
“So, funny, Mari, so funny all of this!!”, shouts the dwarf, freaked out.
Kyle meows, playing with is cats, while George hugs the old, stinky teddy bear. It has patches and stitches all over it from being repaired hundreds of times. Somehow they’re all aware they’re not really children, but they can’t resist greeting their old toys back again. Adrienne looks at the others and can't help herself but smiling at the scene .George looks at the others and giggles at the sight. Even Duke is there, as a cute puppy. Tim, though, is nowhere to be seen.
“Ahhh, Duke!”, says Tegnar, seeing the puppy playing happily. He hugs him, terrified
Lauren looks at the wooden frog her dad painted bright green for her. Finally decides not to touch it, but it takes a big effort
Mari then looks around again searching for Kyle. He notices her looking for him and waves. She rushes by his side and kneels to touch his face. His right eye is back, the scar, again, is gone. “Your eyes!”, she whispers, a knot in her throat.
“Yes, Mari, I know”, he smiles. He can't help but stare at Mari's childish features "You are so cute, love."
Mari giggles, blushing: “You too. Hey, for once we have the same age!”.
Kyle hugs Mari like he used to hug his teddy bear. Mari hugs him back trying to hide she's very very scared.
Håkan looks at the puppy dog thanking the Maker he’s a cat person. He hasn’t seen Kyle’s tabbies yet. George is trying to stop giggling. "You all look very cute, guys."
“It's not funny, guys! IT'S NOT FUNNY!”, Tegnar shouts again.
“Maybe... just a liiitle bit funny?” George can’t help it, he loves teasing the pissed dwarf.
Lauren moves her ears "Yes...ah…we do...but …we should try to get out of here”
“I agree with Lauren, I don't like this place”. Adrienne looks at her clothes, a dress with a red
ribbon in her hair "Oh dear Maker, no this dress", she mutters.
Håkan is thinking. “Lauren?”
Lauren keeps looking around them: "Yes?"
“Do you remember Wynne's lessons about the fade?”
“I'm trying to...”, she replies.
“What to do if trapped in the fade unwillingly?”, he continues. “How was that? Find the source and defeat it?”
Lauren looks at him and smiles "Yes! That was it!!"
The play area is very real, right down to a plate of cookies and a pitcher of milk on a stone bench. Beyond that, the world shivers and changes, from city to village to wilderness. The edges are smeared and indistinct
“I'm going out this place!”, decides the dwarf, getting up and stating to walk.
“Wait, Teg!” George shouts. “We should stick together!”
A woman's voice interrupts, "Kyle? Maker . . . is that you?"
Tegnar stops when hears the voice, really terrified
At the sound, Kyle stands up and takes Mari's little hand in his, turning to the direction of the voice: "MOTHER?", he shouts. Mari holds his hand tightly, determined not to leave it.
“Mother??”. Adrienne stares at Kyle, concerned
A woman appears at the edges of the play area and walks forward. An elven woman. She smiles broadly at Kyle and holds her arms open.
“For the Ancestors! Who's her?”, asks Tegnar.
Håkan looks at the elven woman
Adrienne looks at Kyle, then to Laruen and Håkan "What do we do now?"
Kyle releases Mari's hand and runs toward the elven woman without looking back. Mari runs after him, desperately.
“And...don't trust...any...ah thing”, is continuing Lauren.
Adrienne is getting nervous again
“WAIT KYLE”, shout Håkan and Lauren at the same time, but it is too late.
“MARI STOP HIM!”, adds the mage, seeing the elf is running like crazy after her beloved.
“MARI!”, shouts Lauren, running after her and trying to catch her hand.
“KYLE!!”. Adrienne runs towards him and tries to grabs his arm.
The woman sweeps him into a hug, spinning him around. "I thought I would never see you again! Kyle ..."
Kyle holds her tightly, she feels so real..., ignoring poor Mari, who is trying to catch his hand again.
The woman looks around smiling at the group, "These are your friends, sweetie?"
"Yes, mother.", Kyle nods, burying his face in her shoulder and giggling cheerfully.
George doesn't really know what to do. This is all very confusing to him.
“Mari!”. Adrienne goes near her and grabs her arm
Mari slaps Adrienne away, and realizing trying to get Kyle’s hand is useless, she tries to drag the woman's attention to her by grabbing her skirt.
“Mari...” Now it is Lauren who takes her arm and tries to keep her away from the woman.
Mari continues struggling against the two girls, while she looks at the woman straight to the eyes. “No! Let me speak to her!”
Lauren grabs her by the shoulders. “No, Mari...listen to me, I don't think it's a good idea”
“Why not?”, says the red haired elf, tears in her eyes, trying desperately to get rid of the blonde one. Lauren glances at Håkan and then at the woman. “Well...uh...”
“Mari, this is the fade, leave the mages tell us what to do...”, says Adrienne, wisely.
“If she's his mother, there's no risk. If she isn't, I'm not going to allow her to take him away from me”, argues Mari, stubborn.
The woman then notices Mari and smiles at her, "What is it you need, dear? I left out milk and cookies, and all your favorite toys ..." George realizes he still carries his old teddy bear in one hand and releases it, blushing.
“My need? My need is him… Lirya” Marilyn says bravely, pointing at Kyle in her arms.
Lirya hugs Kyle , "Go play with your friends, son. They miss you!"
Mari reaches Kyle 's hand, while he still looks up at his mother "What about you? Where are you? I...I miss you."
Håkan approaches the woman and tries to cast a "test magic" to her, to see if she reacts to magic. But nothing happens, so he turns to Lauren, who is still trying to push Mari back.
“Lauren, can you cast anything?”
Lauren looks up at the mage and does as he suggests. “Me...ah...”. She frowns and blinks, and finally shakes her head "no...I can't."
“Ok, this wouldn't work as a proper test but...”. Håkan walks silently behind the woman and unexpectedly, he pinches her butt. Adrienne looks concerned and George stares at him, now sure Håkan has gone crazy: “... What...?”
The woman jumps when Håkan pinches her and smacks his hand, "Naughty! Very naughty, little boy."
Adrienne looks at the others. Kyle gives Håkan an evil look, but George can't contain his giggling and Mari puts her hands over her mouth not to laugh. Tegnar, thought, is paralyzed, still freaked out about that entire Fade thing, and Adrienne is very worried
“I need something”, Håkan says.
“You need a good beating, you mean”, says Kyle, offended. If the woman weren’t still having him in her arms, he surely would have already beaten the mage himself. Mari continues holding tightly her lover’s hand, her little fingers white from the effort.
The elven woman sets Kyle down. "I have been gone for so long, but I could feel your need, your desire. I am here for you now."
“Okay”, says Håkan, “desire demon...”
Duke licks his masters’ hands and brings him back to real life. George pats Tegnar 's back. "Don't worry, bro. We'll get out of here in no time"
“WHAT?”, he says, hearing Håkan comment. “A DEMON?”
“We need to do something...I don't like being here”. Adrienne is getting nervous again “Tegnar, calm down, I'm trying not to freak out too, ok?!”, she yells at the dwarf.
“Maybe for you is easy”, Tegnar replies to Adrienne, “but dwarves don't go to the Fade, not even in dreams!”
“Mari, stop that”, Lauren asks her friend. Mari doesn’t wait to be told twice and tries to pull Kyle backwards.
“So you know I need my staff, right?” For a moment Håkan holds a staff and then it is gone
“Are you sure she's your mother, Kyle?” Mari tries to reason with him. “Really really sure?”
Kyle looks back at Mari and shakes his head. Then he looks up at the elven woman again. "If you are not here right now, then where are you, mother?", he asks.
Lirya looks at Kyle , "I was trapped, but you have come to me. I knew you would."
“She's a desire demon, Kyle”, Håkan tries again. “She's a fraud. You don't want this. You want the real one”
Lauren looks alarmed, and tries harder to push Mari back. She frowns and stares at the woman "Let him go!"
“Listen to Håkan , Kyle!”, shouts Adrienne. Mari moves between Kyle and Lirya and stares at him, eyes begging him to pay attention to his friends. “Kyle, don't listen to her. Don't let her fool you”
Kyle glances at Håkan and then looks into Mari’s begging eyes, then turns to Lirya. "Where is she?"
The woman looks confused, "I am right here, son. I will always be here for you now."
“No, Kyle, uh- she isn't your mother, don't listen to her”, stammers Lauren.
“He meant the real one, demon”, spits Håkan. “If you were the real one, you'd find at least ‘unusual’ that he looks like a 5 years old child”
Lirya looks at Håkan. "It is what he wanted. To be here, like this, again."
“Okay, OKAY!”, says Tegnar. “If she's a demon, why are not punching her?”
“Exactly my question, Teg...”, agrees George
Kyle hesitates. Punching someone who looks exactly like his mother? Adrienne is wondering if a good slap would work with him
“SHOW YOUR REAL FORM DEMON!”, shouts the mage. “AND OURS!”
Kyle then tries to process his friends' words. "It's really what I wanted. But not in this way. Not like this."
Mari desires with all her strength to look like an adult again, but nothing happens. Håkan also tries to focus his will in his adult form holding a staff. But it is when Lauren closes her eyes when all the children’s forms begin to waver, changing to adults, but still unarmed. Except for Håkan, who holds a staff now. George looks down at himself in adult form again. "This shit is fucked up..."
Suddenly Tegnar screams and runs to the elf. “Die, you! I'm going out of here!”. But he is shoved back and sent sprawling.
Håkan points the staff on the demon. “Release us. NOW”, and casts a flame burst at her, but it has little effect on the demon.
Lirya's form changes, and before them stands a desire demon. "So rebellious. Silly children ... Well, we will fix that."
Mari is still trying to push Kyle away and she realizes it doesn't work. Now the warrior is much bigger and stronger than her. So she changes her tactics. “Now she doesn't look like your mother anymore, Kyle!”, but before she can do anything else, Lauren puts Mari behind her and shields her.
“WAAA! A DEMON!”, shouts Tegnar. “I knew it!”
“How did you get staves?!”, asks George to the mages.
“That's what I'm wondering too!!”, says Adrienne.
“Håkan , we need weapons. Now”, demands Kyle.
“I ONLY CAN FOCUS ON ONE THINGH AT THE TIME, MAN!”, shouts Håkan.
“I... what the... this place...” George is so confused
The play area dissolves into a dank, bloody cavern. The walls are covered in tiny sharp chains and spikes. Tunnels lead off from it, and screaming is heard in the distance.
Lauren closes her eyes again. She imagines them all just like they were when they arrived to the Keep. Lauren thinks about George and how much he loves his axe. He loves his axe...he names it after his sister... Shortly after, George's axe wavers into being.
“Tunsha, demon!”, shouts the dwarf. “Duke, attack!”. The dog runs to bite the demon fiercely, while Tegnar punches her in the stomach. Duke is thrown back, and Tegnar manages to hit the demon but she doesn't seem to notice. “WITCHCRAFT!”, shouts Tegnar.
Kyle curses under his breath and runs to attack the demon with his bare hands. He flings himself at her but she holds him back, laughing. "My will is still stronger, naughty children." Kyle kicks violently at the demon. His kick lands and she shrieks, throwing him to the ground, "This is my realm. You are helpless."
Adrienne can't wait more and charges to the demon with her own shoulder. She charges forward, hitting the demon. It is like slamming into steel “SHIT!!”
George wields his axe happily. "My axe!" To make it better, Håkan sets George's weapon aflame. He rushes to the demon and swings Maya aiming at her stomach. But George is tossed aside like a rag doll, axe disappearing into nothing, and since Håkan's spell has no target anymore, nothing happens.
Kyle curses loudly and rushes forward to take hold of the demon, trying to limit her movements. Tegnar see Kyle’s intentions and goes to help him
Mari decides to attack the demon even if she has not daggers. She rushes from behind and tries to sink her fingers on her eyes. Mari hits the demon, clawing at her face but it is like
trying to dig her fingers into granite...
Lauren still has her eyes closed, focusing. Mari's daggers...Mari's daggers... Lauren tries to remember. They're different...she seems to like one of them better. She found it the first time she was with Kyle ... But somehow it doesn’t work. Far away screams distract her. She moves her ears and tries to find the origin of the screams. Håkan can hear the screams too, and he shouts to Lauren, “Follow the screams, I'll hold her!!!”
Lauren looks at them and nods, holds her staff and runs following the scream
Kyle grips the demon's form tightly, keeping her in place and shouts to Håkan "FIREBALL, Håkan!!!".
“Everybody, CLEAR!” Håkan starts casting inferno, and at his shout George quickly gets to his feet and our of the way
“Well, works anyway”, mutters Kyle before he is thrown off the demon and into a wall. The chains and spikes rip into his flesh.
Mari is still attacking at the demon's face, hoping it won't be able to see, when Håkan’s shout reaches her. “MARI LET THAT BITCH GO!”
Mari is tossed to the ground as the mage prepares to cast. The demon smiles at him and begins to move forward. Adrienne rushes to pick up Mari and carry her behind Håkan, grabbing her arm, but the elf hears Kyle groaning in pain, still trying to get up right away. When Tegnar sees Kyle, he goes with him. Mari notices Kyle on the ground: "Kyle!"
“Håkan!”, shouts the knight. “STAY AWAY FROM HER!”
Håkan really wishes something can stop that demon... like a bear trap or something
Kyle rushes toward the demon again, trying to take hold of her. Mari releases herself from Adri and goes to help Kyle “Mari!” the Antivan shouts. Tegnar stays besides Kyle, waiting for the mage's attack, and George attemps to tackle the demon to get her attention away from Håkan, but the demon grabs Håkan , interrupting his spell. "I don't like fire, you little fool."
Håkan spits in the demon's eye and then focuses on George holding a huge axe with a large blade, very heavy
George slams into the demon from behind, but she doesn't notice him. George staggers back slightly, feeling like he ran into a wall. He recovers and aims a punch at the demon's head. Tegnar charges to the demon's back. He bounces off the demon and she finally takes notice, sending ice magic to hold both of them in place
Adrienne tries to help Kyle holding the demon, she can't see what else she can do in this moment. Mari rushes to the wall and tries to grab one of the chains from it to use it as a weapon. She pulls of the chain trying to take it off the wall. Adrienne notices what is trying to do Mari and helps her with the chain. Kyle was going to help Mari with that, so he give Adrienne a disappointed look. But the girls are cut open by the chain, edges sharp and dangerous. “Shit”, curses the elf. “SHIT!”, echoes Adrienne.
“So you don't like fire?”, Håkan asks to the demon, before puting a hand on her face and casting flame burst. For a moment, the demon looks displeased, then she tosses the mage into the wall. The chains wrap around him, digging into his flesh
Mari tries to ignore the pain. “I need a weapon, damn it!”. Impotence is frustrating her. Adrienne bites her lips. “I hate this place, it's always the same, damn it!”
George struggles against the ice holding him. The situation seems lost.
Kyle rush toward the demon at this, and jump on her back to keep her down.
Håkan focuses on the chains imagining them releasing him. The chains release Håkan and he falls to the floor, robes cut into ribbons.
Mari looks around desperate, starting to consider biting the demon’s tail.
Håkan casts fireball on the demon, hoping the Friendly Fire area should partially melt the ice in which George and Tegnar are. But the fire spell has no effect on demon or ice. The group are all crushed against the floor by another spell.
"Pointless disobedience. What naughty children . . . i will have to punish you."
Kyle looks up to plead with her "No. Leave the others. It's me you wanted."
“Kyle , don't be silly!!”, shouts Adrienne
Mari looks at Kyle : “Don't you dream with that. I'm not leaving you”
"I will take you all. More dreamers to fuel my power," she laughs
“Damn bitch!”, curses Adrienne.
The demon gets an odd look on her face, surprised and angry, at the same time that Håkan casts another fireball at her. "That rotten little bitch!" She turns and races down the path Lauren took. The fireball hits the empty space where she was for an instant
Mari tries to get up.“Lauren!”. Kyle also tries to catch up with the demon.
George struggles against the ice again. Since the ice releases as the demon flees, George and Tegnar fall to the ground.
They all run down twisting halls, each covered in grotesque tortured bodies. They should be dead, but some groan as you pass. At the end is a bloody chamber. Lauren is alone, kneeling on the floor
“Lauren?”, asks Mari. Lauren stands up and smiles at her
Håkan rushes to the elven mage. “Are you ok?”
“Lauren!!”, shouts Adrienne “Maker's breath, what the...?”, while George asks "Lauren?! You ok?"
“Is it over?”, asks Mari to the mage,
“Lauren...”, says Håkan “can you block her?”
Mari takes Lauren by the shoulders: “Weapons! We need weapons!”
“I ah...” Lauren looks at Mari and the rest and tries to focus.
Suddenly the demon appears from nowhere and swipes at Lauren, pulling her from Mari’s hands. "Where is she?"
Tegnar looks at lenght the room. It is a bloody chamber with chains lying on the floor. Lauren is on her knees and has just been hit by the demon. The demon is between the group and Lauren.
Lauren looks up at the demon and casts a glyph of paralysis on her, but the spell has no effect on the demon as she rages at the mage for freeing her prisoner. George slams his fist into the back of the demon's head. So not learning from his mistakes, it connects with flesh. And this time it has an effect. The demon shrieks, clawing at him.
Adrienne glances at the demon "Don't you dare to do it again, bitch!!", and charges again to the her. Mari tries to jump over the demon again and scratch her face and Kyle rush forward to punch the demon in her face. Tegnar punches the demon again. His fist hits her side as Adrienne charges in. Kyle 's blow lands, and knocks the demon
"When I yell, clear the way... FAST!", says Håkan when he starts casting inferno again.
Kyle continues throwing heavy punches on the demon's head, trying to stun her. George attempts to kick the demon in the stomach, jumping back before she can hit George, but she grabs his fist, wrenching it around painfully. Tegnar kicks her in the chin, and Adrienne punchs the demon in the face. Tegnar 's kick lands but she does not seem to notice. Kyle hits her repeatedly until he is blown back by a cone of cold. Adrienne is knocked back before she can hit the demon again.
Lauren aims at the demon with her staff and casts a dart. Lauren's dart hits with little effect. All but Lauren are in the cone of cold, movements slowed but not frozen
“EVERYONE BEHIND ME!” shouts Håkan
Mari jumps back and tries to pull Kyle away on her way, away from the demon and behind Håkan. Kyle follows Mari's lead and moves back.
"Argh! She's kind of HOLDING ME HOAKAN!", George struggles
“ George, beware!”, shouts Tegnar
Lauren looks at Håkan and runs to him
“Lauren will heal you, George”, says the mage. Lauren smiles awkwardly, trying to cheer him up “ Sure!”. Mari facepalms, hating the mages for a moment.
George "fine.. what. ever." George glares at Håkan and prepares to get burned. Finally he manages to free himself at the cost of a broken wrist and runs with Adrienne behind Håkan. Just in time, the inferno explodes into the room.
Tegnar stays behind Håkan , looking at George
The demon shrieks in the flames, shriveling and burning until all that is left is a pile of ashes
“Damn, bitch!”, shouts Adrienne, while Kyle is enjoying this. The fire and the ashes.
“ Finally!!!”, jumps Mari
“George? Are you ok?”, asks Håkan. Lauren rushes to him “George! You all right?”, while Adrienne goes near him too.
George glares at Håkan. "my wrist... I think it's broken... otherwise ok"
“Amgarrak, guys!”, shouts Tegnar, thumbs up.
Mari makes sure Kyle is okey, and Kyle smiles at Mari to tell her that's he fine.
“Don't worry, we'l...” Lauren stops when she sees that behind the demon’s ashes, a pedestal appears “oh!”
”...uhm” Mumbles Håkan
Kyle then stand up to examine the pedestal “Håkan , Lauren ? Take a look at this”. Mari stands up and follows Kyle
“Håkan , what's that?”, asks Adrienne, pointing the pedestal.
“I hope this doesn't mean what I think it means...”, he replies.
George turns to look at the pedestal, while Tegnars cheers him: “ hey, boy, you will be fine! You're a nice warrior, you did it right!”
Lauren walks to the pedestal to examine it closer, but she doesn't touch it
“I think it's a fountain...”, says Håkan, “though I don't know if it leads outside or to another Island...”
“Exactly...”, says Lauren.
“I've only read about those...” he continues.
“ Which means?”, Mari asks. “In Fereldan, please”
“What you are talknig about, mage?”, adds Tegnar
“Ah..”, tries to explain Lauren.
“Which means that we may have to fight other demons”, says Håkan, optimistic as usual.
Adrienne sighs "But this is the only way to get out of here, right?"
“It can take us outside”, agrees Lauren.”…Or to another place in the Fade”
George is confused.
“Oh great”, scowls Mari, definitely tired of magic.
“But we can't know for sure...”, continues Lauren.
“ Then heal us first, Lauren”, Mari says. “And then we take the risk”
“Well, I guess we just have to try...”, admits Håkan
“I don't know how it works, but...what else can we do?”, points Adrianne.
“My thought exactly, sister”, nods Kyle.
Lauren looks at them and raiser her brows “oh my! yes! sure!”
George is clutching his hurting wrist. Adrienne goes near George and pats him "you did it right, George, at least you could free yourself..."
“ For the ancestor, it's not over yet?”, protests Tegnar.
Lauren works on healing them. She realizes that just wishing them to be healed again is enough.
“ Maybe you can wish our weapons back too”, suggests Mari when she sees it, “So we don't appear unarmed”
Lauren nods at Håkan "yes, we can work on that, right?" Lauren focuses again and wills them healed with their weapons and armors. Håkan wishes he had some lyrium. No lyrium magically appears, but the weapons materialize
“Yay!”, smiles Mari. “I felt naked without my daggers!”
“My bow...?”, says Tegnar with tears in his eyes.
“Oh yes! My dear dear dear sword, did you miss me?”, says Adrienne hugging it. Adrienne holds her sword and shield "thank you Lauren!"
“ah..no problem Adri!”. She replies.
Kyle equips his shield and swords right away, feeling a lot more confident. Tim, though doesn’t appear. The bird didn’t get into the Fade.
George feels so much better after healing and with his axe in his hand.
“So now we can risk and try to go wherever that thing brought us?”, asks Mari.
“As long as we can go together”, coments Adrienne.
“I think so”, says Lauren, grabbing Håkan 's hand. "You ok?"
Håkan mutters "Why didn't I buy some lyrium potions before leaving...?. Because I was expecting a normal keep with normal thugs and have my staff to cast dart when i'm out of mana, not this…” Håkan glares at Kyle “But, yes, I'm fine. just... exausted”
“Uh, what did I say?”, asks the warrior, confused. “And how does this thing work anyway?”
“Ask the mages...”, reply Adrienne and Mari at the same time, and they giggle when they realize it. Kyle smile at the pair.
Adrienne looks at Lauren and Håkan "so, what do we do?"
“ah...”, says Lauren. “Yes, we touch it, I guess..”
“yes”, agrees Håkan
“At the same time? Holding hands or something?” Adrienne sighs "then let's go"
Mari takes Kyle 's hand, looks at him and raises her hand to touch the pedestal: “Ready?”
"Always, love", he replies, looking at her with that warm smile she loves so much.
"oh, for the maker's sake..." says Håkan at the cheesy scene.
Tegnar doesn't want to say in loud voice "plase, don't let me alone here"
Mari smiles and touches the pedestal at the same time than Kyle. Then Håkan grabs Tegnar's and Lauren's hands and puts them on the pedestal with his. Tegnar is embarrased, but follows Håkan. Adrienne and George also touch the pedestal at the same time with the others.
The pedestal glows and they find themselves in a stone room, lying on cots, naked. There is an older elven woman, rail thin, dressed in a cotton shift, crying on her cot. Mari looks at the woman and hits Kyle with her elbow
“Uhm”. Håkan tries to focus on himself wearing his robes, but nothing happens. And it's rather cold in here. “Ok”, Håkan says. “We're out of the fade”.
Håkan then realizes the nakedness. “Oh manure”, he mutters.
Kyle tries to forget about his unclothed state and move forward, trying not to scare the woman. "Excuse me?" Mari covers herself with her hair and follows Kyle. She’s the only one who doesn’t seem to care a lot about being naked.
Tegnar is REALLY embarrased now
“Ehh... where are we?” George is not amused
Lauren hugs herself, envying Mari's hair. Adrienne tries to cover some parts of her anatomy... then lets her hair do the work of covering her breast, and concentrates in looking to her own...feet. George can't help himself from checking out the others, approving of what he sees.
The woman looks a bit like the demon did, but older, thinner.
"Lirya?", calls Kyle, sweetly.
The woman in the cotton shift looks up, "Who’s there? Lirya? Is that my name? Do you come for me?"
"It's me”, Kyle says “I've been looking for you everywhere!" Mari stands besides Kyle holding his arm
Kyle feels embarrassed to hug his mother being naked, so he looks around for a tablecloth or something.
Tegnar stays quiet, don't move. He sees folded cotton shifts on a table to the side, so he goes slowly to put on one of them, not looking at anybody, blushed, while he's putting it on. Adrienne follows him and tries to cover herself with another too. “Now, this is better...”, Adrienne sighs, relieved. George also grabs a cotton shift to cover up with
Håkan goes to the table and takes some shifts, one for himself, and passes the others. Lauren coughs "ah..uh...thanks"
Mari takes two and hands one to Kyle, reluctantly. She was sort of enjoying the view.
Kyle takes one from Håkan and wraps it around his torso.
Håkan and Lauren put their shifts on, while Mari looks at the one she has took for Kyle and finall she discards it to put hers on too
Kyle then moves to sit on the bed, and look straight at Lirya. "Don't you recognize me?"
Lirya suddenly ignores Kyle and looks over at Lauren, "You - you rescued me!"
Lauren gives her a little smile "yes...I...are you ok?"
Adrienne looks at the woman with a concerned face "hmmm...maker..."
Kyle looks at Lauren with respect.
She looks back at Kyle , "I know you? . . . I don't know. You said your name is Kyle . . . I feel like I know you . . . but I remember nothing."
Lauren takes Lirya's hand. “Lirya, he's Kyle . He's your son...”
Mari looks at Lirya and at Kyle , alternatively. Kyle was prepared for this since he found the lyrium etchings, but he can't help but feel like crying.
She shuts her eyes for a moment and then opens them again, shaking her head. "All I remember is an eternity in chains . . . pain."
"What did they do you?", he asks, his throat aching. Mari rubs Kyle 's back, trying to comfort him. She knows she can do nothing, and she feels broken because of it.
Adrienne goes near Kyle , right behind him and Mari, staring at the woman
Lauren tightens the hold of her hand "Lirya..it's...it wasn't real. You were trapped"
"The mage has had me here. Always, I guess. I was looking for something, I think. And then there was pain . . ." She hugs Kyle , tearing up.
“The mage?”, Lauren frowns
"so... who's the mage that did this?", asks George.
“mister Proudpants?”, guesses Håkan
"Prideaux. He is an evil man", Lirya remembers for a moment
Kyle feel tears running down his face and holds Lirya tightly. "It's okay. I will get you out even if it's the last thing I do."
“but..uh..who is he? Why did he have you there?”, asks Lauren.
There are sounds coming from above, boots running on stone, shouts.
"Some of us were here for questioning. The rest . . . he gives us to the demons and they give him life. He told me once he has been doing this for four hundred years…". She holds on to Kyle tightly. Adrienne is trying not to cry too, she barely achieves. Mari shivers
"Four hundred years?! wow... that man is OLD", George is astonished.
“But doesn't look a day over twenty five, young man”, Lirya says, her eyes lost in the distance.
Lauren raises her brows and gives at Håkan a what the fade look
“Sounds like blood magic, plus entropy magic with an extra kick of a demon's deal”, the mage replies at her silent question. Mari looks at him as if he were speaking in Andersfellan again
“And you've been here... all those years?”, Mari asks, her heart shrunk.
Lirya looks at Mari over Kyle 's shoulder, "I don't know. I feel as if I have been here forever."
“If Tim was there we could send a very interesting message to Val Royeaux and the Seeker's headquarters...”, Håkan says to Kyle.
"Sound like the templars would love to have him.", the warrior agrees.
“ Indeed...”, says Adrienne.
“And we would see legions of templars strolling happly in these dungeons”, sighs the mage
“I want to see that”, says Tegnar happily.
“Can we just get out of here, for...now?”, asks Lauren, tired.
Kyle then picks Lirya up to carry her out. Lirya lets Kyle pick her up. It doesn't look like she could walk anyway. Mari looks at the cell's door. It is looked.
Suddenly Håkan screams “GOOD MOUSE!”
“Cold-Feet?”, Lauren asks.
Mari is still looking at the door. “Mmh, I don't have my lockpick tools here...”, she mumbles, wondering what can she use to pick this lock. The challenge appeals to her.
George turns to look at Håkan. The mage kneels and picks Cold Feet from the floor, taking a key from his tail. “Try this one, Mari”
“Nice mouse...”, approves Tegnar.
Mari takes it and smiles at Håkan
“Good mouse!”, says Lauren, stroking him between the ears.
“This way it is not funny, Andy”, teases Mari, but the mage doesn’t listen to her. He’s speaking to the mouse: "One day you'll have to show me how you tie things to your tail..."
"That mouse... is too smart for a mouse..." George says suspiciously.
“I think too, he's too smart... mmmm...”, agrees Tegnar in a whisper.
Mari sighs and opens the door, while Håkan kisses the mouse. Adrienne is confused with the mouse thing. Once out of the cell, servants and soldiers run through the corridors in a panic
Mari tries to use her stealth, but she soon realizes it is not necessary. People is too panicked to pay them any attention.
“Okay, no one notice us yet, let's slip by them”, says Kyle.
“We could stun a soldier or something and steal his weapons”, suggests Mari.
Kyle covers Lirya’s head with a cotton shift. No one should see her. "Sorry, mother, bear with it for a moment."
There is a large chest at the end of the hall. The people are too busy to worry about you. Mari runs to the chest. Adrienne goes right behind Mari, and Håkan tiptoes after them. The others follow soon.
Mari opens the chest, and her eyes shine of happiness. All their belongings, including weapons, are in the chest. Also, a dress. It is the one Lirya was wearing the last time Kyle saw her. Kyle takes out the dress and hand it to Mari "Dear, can you help Lirya with this?"
“Sure, love”, she replies. Kyle smiles, then proceeds to put on his armor and weapons.
Mari helps Lirya but glances to Kyle from time to time. Lirya stands, wobbling, as she dresses. Her hands move as if she has not done this in a very long time.
Mari ,when Lirya is done, puts also her clothes and weapons. Tegnar puts his clothes on, quickly, and then takes his bow and the quiver. Adrienne is putting on her own clothes and armor, weapons included "ohhh I miss you too, my dear shield...". Håkan puts his robe directly on the shift
Lauren grabs her staff and her satchel,then she rushes to find the flask inside her bag and smiles" AMBROSE!" . The frog croaks and jumps inside the flask
"My axe! George grabs his stuff and puts on his armor and fastens the axe on his back
Adrienne looks at the others "Are we ready?"
“Yes, Adrienne”, says Tegnar. “Go on”
"Yep", says George
Mari finishes buttoning her shirt: “Me too”
Adrienne smiles at them "Let's get out of this shit already"
Lauren takes her clothes "Yes", and jumps a bit while she finishes putting her boot on
Kyle comes over and put his hand on Lirya's shoulder to support her. "Lean on me, mother, it's okay."
Lirya leans on Kyle , closing her eyes, "I almost feel like I have done this before. Why?"
"It's okay, mother, don't push yourself, let's get you out of here first."
Lirya looks up at Kyle. “You’re a shem”. No recognition at that “mother”. Kyle’s heart breaks in pieces. Mari stands at Lirya's opposite's side, helping her too, though she feels it’s her fiancé who needs support, more than the elf.
One of the passing guards stops, "You! What are you doing down here? Get out while you can, you fools!"
“What happens?”, ask Mari and Håkan at the same time. “They look like an Archdemon awoke in their bed...”, adds the mage.
"There's been a collapse upstairs and no one can find Lord Prideaux! The whole keep is coming apart."
Adrienne makes a confusing face and looks at the others "What the fade??"
“Like I need you to tell me that, we're leaving right now!”, replies Kyle.
“Yeah, we're leaving!”, agrees Tegnar, and whispers at the others: “Guys, just run!”
Mari grabs the other arm of Lirya to help her run away. “Then let's go! Thanks for warning!”
“Let's get out of here!” says Adrienne, running forward Kyle and Lirya to protect them
“Oookay...”, mumbles Håkan. “May I suggest to run?”
"Ah shit..."George mumbles, starting to run.
Suddenly Lirya stumbles and falls to her knees. Mari kneels to help her
“Kyle ... take her. She can't run”
Kyle quickly come over and kneels by their side too. "Get on my back, mother, quick."
“Yes...that”, says Lauren. “don't worry, we'll protect you”
“They won't touch you, I swear it...”, agrees the Antivan warrior.
Lirya holds on to Kyle . The stone shakes around them. “RUN”, they shout almost at the same time. With Duke opening the way, they run like is not tomorrow, Kyle trying to keep his balance so Lirya don't fall, Mari making sure she’s always by his side, Håkan behind Kyle to be sure he or his mother doesn't fall, the others doing their best to keep the pace. They finally manage to get out of an open door as the stone crumbles around them. All that is left of the Keep is grey dust, blowing across the plains. The dungeon is a gaping hole torn into the earth, a wound. None of the prisoners made it, except for Lirya. The guards and servants that got out look around, confused and frightened. Mari looks around to see if the horses are still around, but they scattered. She sighs, not sure if laughing or crying.
Mari counts: “One, two, three... I think we all are safe...”. She only regrets not having had time to loot. Then she sees Kyle holding lovingly his mother and smiles. For him, that is the best loot ever.
“That was close”, comments Kyle. “Anyone got hurt?”
“I'm fine”, says George, looking around at the destruction. “... wow... this was... interesting...”
Lauren pants and looks at the rest "Ah...I think we all are...fine"
“I'm fine, I think...you okey?” asks Adrienne.
“Duke and Tim did it too?”, wonders Mari
“Duke is here, yes”, says Adri, and a shriek makes them look above. Timmy is wheeling around in the sky, watching it all with his golden eyes. Kyle breaths with relief.
“Guys, we're not safe yet!”, adds Tegnar, running to the closet horse
“So... what about that mage?”, wonders George. “You think he died in there or did he get away?”
Adrienne looks worried to the others "We should better go now everyone is focused in saving their lives!"
“It would be wonderful if we can get a carriage back”, comments Kyle. “Lirya....”
Lirya drops to the ground with a sigh. "I am free. I never would have believed it. Perhaps this is only another dream."
"No. You are not dreaming. You are really back here, with me, can't you feel it?"
“It's real, Lirya”, says Mari, feeling very sad and looking at her. “That I can tell you for sure”
Lirya looks up at Kyle and smiles. No recognition sparkle in her eyes, though.
Adrienne looks around for a cart or something. Captain Avery walks over, looking worried, "You all made it? Good. I have never seen anything like this . . ."
“It's all your fault!”, Tegnar yells at Avery “What kind of keep was this?”
Håkan just stares at the captain. Kyle then stands up and walk over to look Avery in the eyes "You have a lot to explain, mister."
Mari thinks it isn't the captain's fault, and that it would have been better trying to be unnoticed.
Avery looks uncomfortable, "I don't know what happened. One moment everything was fine… now this. I am sending men to Val Royeaux. You could accompany them if need be."
Adrienne is very tired and angry at this situation
“Of ocurse I will accompany them!”, shouts Tegnar.
"Damn right, I will”, agrees Kyle. “And I demand a carriage."
“Do you have a cart or something?”, Mari asks politely, and then she points at Lirya. She’s not using her prisoner clothes, maybe they won’t suspect. “This woman got hurt, she won't be able to walk”
"One of my men is bringing a coat cart. Your companion can ride in it with our supplies."
“Great!”, almost claps Mari, relieved. “I'll go with her to make sure she's all right”
“Nice,” agrees Adrienne. “At least she will be fine there”
“You should go too”, whispers Håkan to Lauren.
Lauren gives a last look to the destroyed keep and nods “Yes, I will”
“Lirya looks bad, and... well, we sould also make sure she's herself”, continues the mage.
“I know, I know”, Lauren nods. “She isn't fine”
Lauren hugs Håkan before following them. Håkan leans and kisses Lauren on the forehead.
“Yeah! A cart for the ladies I demmand!”, says Tegnar “And I demand food too!”
“That's a good idea, Teg”, whispers Adrienne.
The Captain looks at the dwarf, "Everything was in the keep. If you want it, go after it little man."
“Are you kidding me, young man?”, scowls Tegnar, starting to walk to the cart
“That's not a good idea, Teg”, changes her mind Adrienne.
"Don't worry Teg, I have some potatoes left in my pack... We'll survive", smiles George.
Adrienne giggles "George's potatoes! what else!"
Kyle is still fuming, his mother deserves better, but he does not want to push his luck. Mari goes with Lirya, helps her to climb to the cart, and profits to eye what those supplies are. “Just carrots and potatoes”, she sighs. “Oh, well, George will enjoy some of these”, and decides she’ll pocket some for him during the way. “I'm sure Monsieur Pridejenesaisquoi is alive and kicking. What do you bet?”, comments Mari to nobody in particular, while Lirya settles into the cart to start the long walk back to Val Royeaux.