We're arriving to Denerim's harbour on the 3rd day of Cloudreach. We've missed all of you so much that we can't wait to go to the Merry Mabari to meet you... maybe you can come to Denerim to fetch us? We have presents for all of you and the last to come, may not find Antivan chocolate left!"
Marilyn Mallory (whoa, did you read it??? Mallory!!! That's me!!!)
After the usual greetings, sometimes exaggerated, the group organizes themselves and they head back towards the Merry Mabari Inn. Adrienne, George and Tegnar ride their own horses, while Gem rides a rented one. For the rest, Kyle rented a cart, not only because Mari doesn't like the four-legged furry vehicles, but also because they have a couple of trunks of luggage to carry. They had quite the hard time trying to fit all the luggage, the two mages and the newlyweds into it. Lauren and Håkan stay in the back, still fluffy after their reconciliation. Mari and Kyle are in the coachman's seat, leading the way. Mari is still chewing a piece of chocolate and chatting happily with Adri , who rides by her side, giving her the latest news about her country and some gossip about the people she knew there, when suddenly Kyle , who didn't take his eye away from the road, makes a gesture for her to stop chatting.
"What happens?" the young elf says, surprised.
"Ambush" is the only word from the dark-haired warrior. He sniffs the air, and slows the horses. "Prepare your weapons", he whispers.
But before he can continue speaking, a group of heavily armoured people rush from behind the trees and attack them. They only have time to hear George asking, surprised, "Templars?" before combat is upon them.
Thanks to Kyle’s opportune warning, the group can be sort of ready for the attack. Tegnar draws his bow, prepares an arrow, still on the pony, like a dwarf boss, while Kyle himself, stays in the cart to shield Mari and counter attack his nearest opponent, pulling out his sword and immediately swinging it towards him. Gem draws her daggers and rides towards the closest attacker, jumping on him from the horse, daggers stabbing, and Adri, sword in hand, rides Furia to overwhelm the closest templar, followed by George in his gigantic horse. Håkan, still inside the cart, draws his staff and waits in defensive stance, and Lauren grabs her staff too to wait by him.
The templars are on foot, so they surround the group trying to make the mounted people fall. There are 5 templars. One attacks George, other Adri , other goes to Gem and the other two rush to the people on the cart. They are already very close to the cart, one on each side, since it was a narrow road, which gives them not a lot of space to manoeuvre, and they both aim to the driver's seat. Suddenly, Mari screams when one of the templars grabs her by the arm and makes her fall of the cart. Kyle turns fast, but he can’t do much, since he’s busy blocking the attack of the second templar. He slashes at the templar's arm to try to disable him, cursing between his teeth, while Håkan tries to shoot a fire blast at the templar that has grabbed Mari, trusting that, since she fell, she should be out of the spell range. But to the tall mage’s astonishment, the spell doesn’t work.
"Ok, they're genuine...”, he mumbles, looking at his staff sort of deceived.
Tegnar 's dart hits the warrior who is with Adri, but it doesn’t seem to harm him much. The arrow confuses him, though, and he falls to the ground when Adri rides against him. George spurs his horse forward and Patience attempts to trample the templar, but he avoids the attack and tries to hit the redhaired man. George keeps riding forward in an attempt to avoid the attack. Then, the third templar, the one with Gem, parries the attack, putting his sword in fort of him. Gem kicks out with her foot as she sees the sword coming up to knock down the templar, or at least avoid the sword, but he dodges and hits her on the face with his elbow, yelling: "Kill the abomination!"
Gem stops a moment "abomination?!", and tries to move without being noticed by the templar. But it doesn’t work, the templar sees her, and continues shouting while charging at her again with his sword.
Mari moves quickly and hits the templar who has grabbed her with her dagger, making him release her: "Leave me alone, you bastard!". Lauren casts a dart to the templar attacking Mari, but as with Håkan, the spell doesn’t work. Håkan, realizing what happens, thrust his staff aiming to the templar's head, taking him by surprise. His helmet goes "Clonk!" and he shouts "Ouch!" Mari takes advantage to stab the templar in the joint of the arm.
The templar Kyle attacks dodges and swings his sword at Kyle back. He's a bit behind the cart, so it is difficult to reach him from the coach. Then Kyle leaps off the cart and swing his sword down the templar's shoulder at the same time with all his strength
Adri makes Furia go over the templar and tramples him, aiming to his head, but he avoids the horse and stands up quickly. The templar with George fails the attack and tries to follow him. George gets off his horse and Patience runs away from the fighting, frightened. He grabs his axe and charges the templar, who fails to dodge and receives the hit on his shoulder. "Yeeergh!", he screams.
Mari's templar yells at the dagger attack and slaps her as a reflex, shouting "You bitch!" Mari totters back. A hand with a gauntlet hurts. Lauren casts a glyph of paralysis on the templar attacking Mari, but like the dart, the spell fails again. Lauren gets out the cart, disappointed, and moves her ears to the “Kill the abomination’s” shouts of the templars. Håkan jumps off the cart after her, almost falling with his face in the ground, and as soon as he recovers he swings his staff aiming to the templar's knee.
At the other side of the cart, Kyle's templar blocks his hit, but the strength of the blow makes him step back a couple of steps. Kyle takes the chance to thrust his sword in the templar's shoulder, then turns his head toward the templar who slapped Mari and gives him a “you're next” look.
Gem rolls to avoid the sword and takes an upward jab at the templar from below. He receives the hit, jumping back away from her. Tegnar wishes to shoot an arrow after the other, creating a rain... but he realizes all his friends are on the area, so he finally shoots his arrow aiming carefully at the templar fighting Adrienne Soreil. George pulls out his axe from the man's shoulder and hits him with the cheek of the axe aiming for the man's head to knock him out.
Lauren, stubborn, tries to casts a glyph again, but the templar just seems immune, swears and turns against Håkan "Another mage?", he shouts.
"The first you're seeing ser, not counting the other elf behind me", tries to reason Håkan. "And both of them members of the Circle on research, so if you don't tell me what are you trying to do to us there will be problems… For you, I mean".
Mari notices the templar is now focused on Håkan so she disappears amongst the trees, like a shadow. Lauren glares at her staff puzzled, and then she looks around not knowing if trying to help Kyle or Mari and Håkan or what
Gem approaches the templar slowly, trying to get him to make a move. He looks at her, a bit angry: "Kill the abomination!" then runs in her direction, with his sword charging
Gem twists as the templar gets near her, to get behind him and stabs at his neck and shoulders with both daggers. He falls on the trick and dies.
Adri gets off her horse and quickly, tries to charge against the templar she is fighting. But he avoids the attack and strikes back with his sword. George hits and knocks the templar, who falls on the ground, at the same time Tegnar 's arrow hits the other templar, who steps back before attacking Adri.
Kyle 's templar receives the blow in his left shoulder, even if he tries to block it with his shield. The pain makes him furious and he charges ahead, his sword pointing at Kyle 's abdomen. The warrior jumps back to get out of danger zone and get his shield out, while shouting to the templar "Who sent you?". The movement allows him to dodge partially, but his shield makes the sword go down and it gets through his thigh by one of the armour’s joints.
"Then explain us why are you protecting the abomination", the templar is saying while Håkan parries his sword with his mage staff.
"There are no abominations here”, the mage says, “we're the only mages in the group."
The staff makes a weird sound, and Håkan feels that, even if it's not broken yet, it might not resist the next Templar's blow. Lauren holds her own staff and yells at the templar attacking Håkan "STOP IT! There is no abomination here!"
"Of course, what else would you say?" The templar replies, irony easily noticeable under his helmet.
"We are the only mages here and we're not abominations!", shouts Lauren.
"It would help if you tell us who you think is an abomination... and if you quit swinging that sword when we're talking.", continues Håkan, trying to dialog.
Håkan and Lauren's templar stops a bit at the fact that the mages actually want to speak, as if such unusual information needed time to reach his brain. Meanwhile, George charges against the templar attacking Adri, who is trying to block it with her shield. The templar doesn't notice George’s attack and is hit on the side, falling on the ground, dead. Now of the five templars attacking the group, two are dead and one is knocked, so Tegnar approaches to the cart still riding Smile and charging another arrow, and shouts: "Are you okay there?".
"Please, please. This is a huge mistake...", is trying to explain Lauren.
"Who do you think is an abomination? Because we spent the last months with these people, and we would have noticed if they were possessed..." Håkan mentally adds: "at least when they were in the fade".
Lauren is still holding her staff behind Håkan "Please...We ah.. Stop the attack. We don't want anyone to get..."
At the other side of the cart, Kyle falls from his wound in the thigh, grunts and get back up, holding his shield in front of him in case of an attack. "You templars sure play nice!", he shouts.
The templar just grins, and prepares to give a final blow to his victim. But he doesn’t expect a red haired figure that suddenly jumps behind him, and sinks her daggers in his throat while shouting "DON'T YOU TOUCH MY HUSBAND!"
Lauren stops talking. She was going to say “hurt” but then OH MARI KILLED ANOTHER TEMPLAR. SO COOL. She shakes her ears, disappointed.
The templar hesitates. "You... want to collaborate?"
Håkan frowns. "WE WOULD IF YOU TOLD US WHAT THE FADE IS GOING ON, SALTPETER!", he shouts.
"But we were sent to kill the abomination. They told us we couldn't trust him"
Having nobody else to kill or to fight against, Adrienne spits and ties the knocked templar. She leaves him against a tree and goes with the others "What's going on here? I assure you that I'm not amused at all" she says, glaring at the templar who is with the group. George also walks to stand next to Håkan still with his axe raised but not charging, standing there looking threatening just in case, while Tegnar just listens on his pony. Gem just smiles and takes advantage to search on the body of the templar she killed, seeing that everybody seems to control the situation.
When she helps him to crawl from under the body of the last dead templar, Kyle gazes at Mari with pride in his eyes. "Thanks, love."
Mari kneels besides him. "Are you all right?"
Kyle grunts a little, his wound is bleeding "I think I might need some elfroot paste, they are in my backpack..."
Mari smiles at Kyle "Sure" and she reaches for it. Kyle tries to smile back at her, but he gradually feels sleepy as his wound continues to bleed.
The mage is still speaking. "What's this story? Since when you people attack blindly caravans of travellers without even warning?"
The templar looks at Håkan as if he was a very rare bird but finally speaks. "We were informed that a very dangerous criminal had been seen in Denerim. Someone wanted, preferably dead. We had also reports that he is an abomination"
"And this dangerous criminal is...?" Håkan stares at the templar like he stares.
Lauren holds out her hands "Yes..We ah...we want to collaborate. Just stop this, please. There is no one like that here..."
The templar looks at Kyle in the ground, still pointing with his sword at the mages. "No? A tall warrior. Black hair. Only one eye. Latelly seen in the company of a female redhaired elf. I think the description fits quite accurately"
Lauren turns to look at Kyle "Whaaaat?"
"What in the fade?", mumbles Kyle, a bit out of his stupor, while Mari is busy applying elfroot to his thigh and trying to stop the bleeding.
"And where does this information come from?" Håkan asks, crossing his arms, watching how Gem, who has finished looting, slowly approaches to them.
"Exactly...what is that information?”, agrees Lauren. “Our friend isn't an abomination..."
"He's not even a mage...”, adds George. “Can regular people be abominations?"
"You...templars....see abominations everywhere....hnnng...", moans Kyle, exhausted.
The cloth Mari is using to stop the haemorrhage is now soaked, and blood continues pumping out of the wound. It seems the sword cut an important vessel. Mari’s eyes have it hard to control the tears when she shouts "Help! Lauren! Heal him!!!". Lauren turns to Mari's calling and rushes to them.
Lauren ducks by Kyle "all right...you know how this is...don't ah move, let me see that"
"Besides, he was in the Circle with us not long time ago, you know that place full of mages and templars...”, Håkan continues reasoning. “They would have at least NOTICED if he was an abomination, wouldn't they?"
"I'm not the one to judge the information our superiors give to us", the templar says
Kyle tries to fight the sleepiness that came upon him and raise his voice "Does your superior have a name? Tell me..". His voice breaks in the last moment, and Mari tries to calm him, while Lauren examines the injury.
The templar ignores’s Kyle’s question while looking at him. "Anyway, it seems our work is almost done. He won't survive to that wound"
Lauren glares at the templar: "Of course he will". But even if she’s casting healing spells again and again, her magic is blocked, to her own and Mari’s despair. Kyle’s life is slipping through her fingers and she can do nothing. But seeing the concerned face of his wife, Lauren looks at Mari and puts a little smile. "My satchel is in the cart; bring it to me, please?"
"Aren't abominations... like... ugly monsters...?", asks George to nobody in particular.
"Who is your superior?" insists Håkan
Adri looks at Kyle and the templar, confused, while Gem seems more worried about their friend. He looks pale and weak, and still agitates to shout: "Tell me!!!!"
"Kyle ...what did I say?”, frowns Lauren. “Don't move and stop wriggle and yelling and...that”
Kyle looks at Lauren and sighs "Sorry..."
George rushes over to Lauren and Kyle and kneels down next to them "I have a health poultice". George pulls it out and hands it to Lauren, who thanks him and makes Kyle drink it. Even if it doesn’t stop the bleeding, it helps the knight to recover some strength.
The templar looks both at Håkan and Kyle. "My Knight Captain, who else?"
"And does this Knight Captain have a name?", asks Gem.
"I want his name... and yours”, the mage continues, staring at the templar. “Courts like to have names clear when it comes to trials for assault and murder of a Theryn protégé."
"He told us to come because of the abomination information. We don't usually chase normal criminals. But the order to kill this man is an old one, and comes from a higher person".
"Oh really? Does that order include a name?"
Kyle chuckles "It seems like I have made some enemy in high places...hnnn." Just back with Lauren’s satchel, Mari shivers, wishing he would shut up.
Lauren shakes her head still trying to control the bleeding. “George”, she whispers, “keep Mari away, she'll freak out and won't let me work. Will you, please?" Then she raises her head and addresses to the templar. "We aren't criminals. HE isn't a criminal. I don't ah...care what your information is but it's WRONG"
"I... o-okay...", whispers George back. But he’s still frozen. How can he bleed so much?
"I don't get it...this must be a misunderstanding!”, shouts Adri pissed off. “You better explain yourself templar, and quickly, I have no patience!"
Mari gives Lauren the satchel with the medicines, trying to be useful. "Can you do something, Lauren?"
"I ah...I'm trying to stop the bleeding...It's fine ah...". Lauren eyes George.
George gets up again and grabs Mari’s shoulders gently to turn her away. "Come Mari... let's leave Lauren to her work... she needs to concentrate...". Mari resists a bit, but she knows what’s better for them and finally follows him, while Lauren tries to cast heal again with a magic which obviously doesn’t work.
The templar glances at Kyle and smiles. He definitely is trying to gain time. Adri draws her sword again and her shield, glaring at the templar.
"What is your abomination name?" asks Håkan. "Or you have orders to kill people on sight based on a description? If the abomination would be a blond elf you kill every blond elf you see?. That's not how I recall templars work."
"Do you really think there are many warriors which fit this description.. and that company?", the templar stares at Håkan
"Half of the tavern I live in to begin with"
The templar smirks. "The report even mentioned a very tall blond mage, obviously gay, who might be part of his group". Against his will, George can’t help but chuckle at the templar’s comment. Mari would have too, but her concern about her husband has all her attention now.
"Ser templar, this man is innocent”, says Lauren politely, “you have ah...attacked the wrong group. NOW PLEASE stop this and allow us to...I need to heal him NOW"
"Besides, if the order comes from a 'higher power' as you say, who do you think will pay for a mistake? The higher power or you?" the mage continues, unaware that a mage threatening a templar with punishement coming from templars themselves doesn’t have any effect on this particular templar.
Adri raises an eyebrow "Seriously, templar?"
"I'm sure Knight-Commander Gregoir would love to hear how his men WORK, so precisely", adds Lauren trying to sound self-confident.
Håkan counts up to five. "Lauren, your magic works?" But the elf shakes her head.
The templar looks again at them. He seems to be enjoying. "I am pretty sure I am not mistaken"
"Now I really...wish I was an abomination....so I can smash your damn face in!", insist Kyle, wasting the strength the poultice gave him. Mari struggles in George’s arms.
Lauren shakes her head "Kyle ...not helping"
"I'm getting tired of all this chatting!”, shouts Adri “Say the name, templar, who sent you?"
"That's a pity, Adri ... we have no templars left alive for understand what's going on..". The mage’s tone implies a threat, but George spoils it all. "I knocked one out... he's tied up”.
"GEORGE " says Lauren. Then she looks at Håkan and at the templar "Don't you think that if this man was an abomination he would have done something instead of..."
The latest struggles finish Kyle’s remaining strength, making feel lightheaded, and suddenly lose consciousness. Mari screams. "Do something soon! He's going to die!"
Tegnar approaches quickly where Kyle and Mari are: "Kyle , Kyle! Are you okay? Oh, ancestors..."
Lauren slaps Kyle softly while still trying to control the bleeding. "hey... Kyle ...Kyle ...Stay with me, uh? Tell me ah...tell me again that ah...thing about that Antivan cat..:" She keeps talking to Kyle , trying to keep him awake.
Gem rushes to Mari and grabs her around the shoulders, turning her away from the sight if her injured husband and hugs her. That allows George to leave her, so he decides to act by himself so they can fucking heal Kyle.
"I want to think we were quick enough to avoid him using his magic", the templar says, obviously proud of himself. The fact that Kyle has fainted seems to give him a secret pleasure.
"HE'S NO MAGE, MANURE", screams finally a furious Lauren, while pressing on the wound and continuously trying to cast Heal. "HE IS A WARRIOR AND YOU WERE TRYING TO KILL AN INNOCENT TARGET”
"He's a criminal and a murderer!" the templar finally shouts. “He's been wanted in Gwaren for years!”
Adri starts to loose her patience and charges against the templar, just to hit him and make him get confused or something, but in that very moment, George approaches the templar from behind and hits him in the head with the cheek of the axe to knock him out too. She almost stumbles at the body her boyfriend has made fall, so she starts kicking him and finally spits over his face. Even Håkan takes advantage to hit his crotch with the staff.
George looks down at the unconscious templar by his feet "Why didn't we do that in the first place?"
"Because in theory they are the law", spits Håkan:
"Screw the law... screw templars..." George walks away from the unconscious templar mumbling and ranting something about templars being useless bloody idiots
"Stupid templars...”, mumbles Adrienne. Then she walks to the other one and drags him to put them two together against the same tree, the two of them tied to the tree. Finally she kicks a templar once again before she walks to the group with a worried face "Is Kyle all right now?"
Tegnar looks at Kyle , then at Lauren: "Oh, please, please..." The elf casts Heal once again, and this time she can feel the magic out of her fingers, sealing the injured vessel, and stopping the blood river coming from the pale’s warrior’s leg. Lauren sighs relieved and puts a little smile, still healing him "all right...that...Kyle , you there?"
Gem is still trying to comfort Mari, but the redhaired elf seems better now that Lauren's spell has made Kyle's wound close and his face starts recovering a healthier colour. Then Lauren uses a second spell to help him recover faster, and Mari thinks she would kiss Lauren in the lips right now. Then Gem lets her go of, so she can go to Kyle. She rushes to her husband and starts caressing his cheeks: "Are you all right, love? Please, please, please, talk to me!"
Kyle stirs a little and opens his eye. Everything is spinning in front of him. Then he recognizes Mari's voice. "Love...."
Mari kisses his face, crying. "You're back, you're back, for a moment I thought I had lost you!!!"
Tegnar whispers: "Thanks to the ancestors...", and George stops ranting to make sure Kyle is not dead...
Kyle feels his awareness coming back with Mari's kiss. He chuckles and tries to muster his strength to stand up. Mari tries to stop him: "Don't move, love, you're still too weak"
"That... Kyle, don't move. You still need to rest", agrees Lauren, then she smiles at Kyle and stands up again, leaving them alone to lean on the cart, a bit tired
Adrienne pats Kyle’s shoulder "Listen to your wife, broh, rest for a while, you need it, we are all alright", with a reassuring look to him and Mari, who still feels that “wife” word sounds sort of weird.
Kyle sighs and gazes at Mari. "Okay, love, as long as you are here." Still pale as a corpse, he turns to Adri and Lauren to show that he's okay, but the mage knows he’ll need some time and warm food to recover completely.
While Mari keeps cuddling her husband, the group moves around the results of the fight. Three dead templars and two stunned ones. A very pale injured warrior and some information.
"Let's hide the bodies, guys, we don't want to have people wondering what happened here, right?", Adrienne suggests, discarding George’s idea to burn them since it would attract more people, while both agree they should question the alive ones. Meanwhile Lauren checks everybody for bruises or injuries, including the living templars, and heals them.
"I'm with Adri on the bodies", says Gem after looking over the other bodies to see if there's anymore loot.
Tegnar stands up. "So... Gwaren he said...?", says the dwarf, who doesn't think hiding bodies is a good idea. He would prefer to be nice and report to someone.
"We should try to figure out what's going on" agrees Håkan: "We could wake up one of them and interrogate him further. At least we could find the Knight Captain and prove to him Kyle 's not an abomination..." Håkan glares at Kyle. "...'Cause you're not one, right?"
Mari stares at Håkan. "Of course he isn't!", while Kyle gives him an apologetic look the mage simply ignores.
"But... aren't abominations big ugly monsters?", asks George, a bit confused.
"Not always, only when the demon takes over", replies the mage.
Tegnar stands near Mari and Kyle, not very interested on the conversation, and only worried about his friend. Lauren gets into the cart and returns with a waterskin she hands to Kyle. “Here...drink slowly and don't move"
The warrior takes it with a whispered thank you "Yes, Madam Lauren."
Mari looks at Kyle concerned. "Do you have an idea about who wants to see you dead?"
Kyle chuckles, and then turns to look at Mari "That...I have a lot of ideas. Did you find out anything from the templars, after I fainted?"
"Right, we should check them...", says Håkan, aware that only the dead ones have been searched by the rogue. He approaches to the stunned templar who was talking to them, while Gem, Adrienne and George start dragging the dead templars bodies to the bushes, to hide them. The couple gives a last look to their clothes and weapons before leaving them, but apart from some rancid food, seems Gem already took all the valuables.
"They are templars even to loot them”, snorts Adrienne, comparing her sword to the templars ones.
"Bastards”, adds George.
After finding some dry bread, Adrienne kicks the random templar and then walks back to the others "Have you found something?"
George, more lucky, has found a rancid piece of chocolate: "oh… nice...” He follows Adrienne chewing it. He's eaten worse, even if it may make him have diarrhoea the day after. He stands by Adrienne and Tegnar, who seems to disapprove everything, and the trio listen to the others talk. The Antivan looks at him chewing. "Dear…what is that?", she whispers.
"Cho..chocolate? Are you sure you want to eat it?"
"It smells a bit funny but tastes fine..."
Adrienne stares at the chocolate, then to George “Tú mismo.." she mumbles in Antivan.
"Kyle?”, stammers Lauren, concerned “I ah...I know you are ah...I mean...What they say about Gwaren and all that, isn't true, right?"
"Lauren, if it was true, we would have seen his demon form when we were in the fade in Orlais... and when we were fighting rage demons... and when we were rescuing George 's sister... and everytime we ended up there" starts Håkan, still searching the fallen templar.
Kyle stirs a little when he hears 'Gwaren'. "What did they say about Gwaren, Lauren?"
"I don't mean the abomination part...” explains Lauren to the know-it-all mage. “You know they are ah...templars, it all seem to come to be an abomination or ah...something. Just the murderer, in Gwaren... I know Kyle isn't like that, but what would they have that information?". She pauses for a moment and then continues. "I mean...why would they try to imply Kyle in something like that...? because the ah...description of Mari and yours… A dark haired warrior with just one eye? With ah...a redhaired elf and a tall blonde mage? That isn't that common” Lauren omits the gay part, but everybody remembers it.
Håkan stares at his girlfriend for a moment. The stunned mage had a letter in his purse, with a Knight Commander’s seal and an accurate description of Kyle and most of the people who usually went with him… including a tall, blonde mage… and the letter actually warns about his gay manners. He frowns. Why the Fade everybody has to think the same about him?. Also the name of the person who wants the “abomination” dead: Ser Urard, Lord of Tavell and cousin of Bann Ceodric, from Gwaren.
Lauren is on her knees by Kyle and Mari. "All right...drink some more water, yes?", she says, offering him the waterskin again. "Then...do you know why someone would ah...want to have the templars after you?. With all ah...manure about the murdering and being and abomination"
Kyle drinks, thinking hard on the words 'murder' and 'Gwaren', and becomes silent. But Håkan doesn’t allow him to stay so for long. "Have you ever been in Gwaren, to begin with?", he asks, seriously.
"I.....I once attacked a noble who is responsible for my lover's death” Kyle swallows. Mari rubs his hand, trying to comfort him. “I did not kill anybody," he continues.
"In Gwaren?", insists the mage, harsh.
Mari eyes Kyle "But that was in Denerim, wasn't it?"
Kyle turns to Mari "Yes, Denerim....strange....maybe that bastard fled to Gwaren."
"And ser Urard, lord of Tavell? Rings any bell?" Håkan shows the letter in his hand. "There's a letter here that says he's the one who ordered the attack..."
"Lord of Tavell?" asks Lauren, freezing.
Kyle chuckles at Lauren "Actually that part, I have no idea. And my memory is a bit foggy now....did the damn templar put something that sword?"
"Maybe... but if it is him..." Mari stops suddenly, looking at Kyle , worried.
"I think it's time for payback, Mari.", Kyle smirks
Lauren blinks "Håkan? Can ah...can I see that letter?"
"What does the letter say?”, asks Gem, more practical.
Håkan replies while giving the letter to Lauren. "Just what he was saying: there's a description of Kyle, of us and that the order comes from that man... Ser Urard"
"Perhaps we should find this 'Ser Urard'?", ponders Gem.
Adrienne looks at Håkan then "So we are wanted? How nice..."
Lauren reads the letter "That...that's my village...well ah....you know, where my family lives..." She wrinkles her nose as reading certain part of the letter
Kyle moves uncomfortably, feeling a bit guilty for the situation. Mari strokes his hand, and looks at Lauren: "Seriously? Your village?".
"I ah...I don't know much," Lauren replies. "Yes, Mari. I ah...grew up there, before they took me to the Circle...And ah...you see, I know the name, I never met Ser Urard but ah...This is so strange"
Mari looks back at Kyle. She knows what does this mean, and she doesn't know if being worried or grateful. "The time has come, isn't it, love?"
Kyle just smiles back at Mari and takes her hand "I will not ask this of you, but you are coming with me no matter what, aren't you?" He sighs and kisses her forehead "Then stay close to me."
"Of course. You know you can't leave me behind in this", Mari nods and hugs him. "It is a chapter you have to close... and I'll be there to be sure you do", she says, determined. Then she shrugs with a sad smile. "I guess this means that at least, you and me, must go to Gwaren..."
Lauren looks at Kyle very serious, still holding the letter "Kyle? You've been in Tavell? Yes or no? Do you know this ser Urard?". But the couple is too busy cuddling to pay her any attention.
Some steps away, another couple is cuddling. George smiles at Adri. "Are you ok? You didn't get hurt in the fight right?"
Adrienne smiles back at him. "No, I'm fine, love...how about you?", she asks stroking his hair lovingly.
George hugs her "I'm fine". Adrienne hugs him back and keeps listening the others, waiting for Kyle to answer Lauren's questions. She didn’t know about that part of Kyle’s life.
Lauren stares at Kyle, turning paranoid for moments. She looks at him like our description is here and if this involves my family I'll prune you. Also Gem is looking at Kyle and Mari, trying to figure out what's going on. Finally Kyle turns to look at Lauren and Adrienne "I have never been in Tavell. However the name Urard did ring some bell...he is a bastard and he is going to die."
Lauren frowns. "Do you ah...have to be that cryptic? ALWAYS?"
George lets go of Adri and gets closer to the others. "Can someone explain...?"
"I'm waiting for the explanation...", Lauren says, arms crossed
Håkan stares at Kyle "Explanation now, drama later", he supports his girlfriend.
"Sorry for dragging you into this” Kyle apologizes, not wanting to go into details. “Urard is the noble who is responsible to my Lindy's death. I chopped off one of his arms."
"Kyle. My sister's family lives there. If ah...if this mean they...oh…"
"I'm sorry, Lauren, maybe we are already too late", he mumbles.
“You cut his arm and he says around you are an abomination? Isn't that..?" Lauren suddenly stops and glares at Kyle "Late? Care to rephrase that?"
Mari looks at Kyle puzzled too: "Late? What do you mean?"
"That's interesting... a noble that hires the Order for a personal revenge... the Chantry would be so glad to hear that, if they aren't involved in the scheme..." Håkan mumbles to himself, seeing conspiracy theories everywhere as usual. Suddenly he realizes what Kyle said. "What?"
Gem has no idea who Lindy or Ser Urard are, but listens anyway
Kyle swallows. "Urard wants payback. He wants everyone who's related to me dead. It's possible....um...just possible, that he is already on the move…"
"Then we better get moving too!", shouts George, staring at Kyle.
"We had better find him", agrees Gem. "Whatever you need, I'm with you all the way Kyle”
"Exactly!”, says enthusiastically Kyle. “Friends, I need your help, but I don't want to put you in danger, so you are free to go if you want, now."
"Not going anywhere," starts George. "Except to wherever it is we need to go I mean..."
"No, not going”, agrees Tegnar. “You married Mari for some reason and now I have to protect you if I want her being happy"
Mari looks at George and Tegnar relieved. "For a moment I thought...”
"Of course we are going with you!”, shouts Adrienne. “I'm not letting any of you alone...and if that man touched Lauren's family, he is certainly going to pay". She nods to Mari, then looks confused to Kyle "He won't touch anybody else...will he?"
Mari turns concerned to his husband, thinking paranoia is the last thing he should be spreading. "Do... you really fear... he can harm Lauren's family?”
Kyle looks to Adri and Mari "I know he is capable of anything. If they are not...then they might be taken as hostages."
Lauren swallows: "Look. I don't ah...I don't care being involved in your things. Or that any of your, our pasts returns to bite us or whatever… But if something happens to my family, I'm making you responsible of this. AM I CLEAR, KYLE ?" Lauren stands up and walks away from Kyle before she strangles him. She leans on the cart again and rubs her face, nervous.
George goes after Lauren "... it's going to be ok...", he says, hugging her shoulders.
"It better be”, Lauren sighs. “I don't want Nora to suffer more...I think she doesn't even know about Val… Maker, she doesn't need this. I swear, if something happens to them I'm going to kill Kyle ...or ah...or don't know...I'll do something"
Kyle wipes a drop of sweat from his forehead at Lauren's response and swallows "Um, thanks, everyone. You all have my deepest gratitude." Mari stares at him, like saying Why on earth had you to say that? As if we had not enough with a paranoid mage in the group…
"I so knew that I hat to keep some of my explosive...", mutters Håkan. Then he turns to the redhaired elf. "Uhm, Mari?....Do you still have Edanhor's phylactery, have you?"
"Ah... yes. I do. Why?", she replies.
"Because if he's around and he's really checking on us this lord whatsisname may have a more powerful enemy than us..."
"Do you think Edanhor is on our side???", Mari asks, confused.
"He may be involved in this... or maybe not...”, replies the mage. “Just... keep checking on it from time to time...Before ser U-thing showed up I was thinking that would have been his kind of prank..."
Mari takes the phylactery out of her bag. It doesn't do anything unusual. "He doesn’t' seem to be around", she says, and Håkan sighs in relief
Adrienne looks to Håkan and Mari "One less to worry about, for the moment..."
Kyle nods at them and finally lets himself catch some breaths.
After some debate, and leaving the unconscious templars tied up so other passers-by can find them, the group decides to go to Tavell as a whole, and they approach the village in a few days. It seems quiet and even a bit boring, as usual. The group is tired and weary, but even Kyle has recovered in the meanwhile. It is a bit late in the afternoon. Like the last time, Tommy sees them arrive and waves them welcome, offering to take care of their horses.
"Lauren... if we meet your sister...", whispers Håkan, "let's keep the Val's missing thing between us and don't worry her more than she would be..."
"I know, Håkan...I'm not idiot. I'm not telling her about Val is missing", replies Lauren lowering her ears "Sorry. That was… I..."
Tommy rushes to greet Lauren: "Look who's back!!! Lauren!!!! I don't see you in ages and now I see you twice in half a year! What happens?"
Lauren forces herself to smile "Tommy! Hello!". Håkan, jealous, stares at Tommy, who steps back a little, since he makes him shiver. Lauren, unaware, gives her old friend a small hug he gives back, eyeing Håkan just in case. "Are you going to visit Nora again? She'll be grateful... she's a bit down since... well, since Val had to go". Then he steps back and releases Lauren quickly.
Adrienne and George don’t hesitate to let Tommy take their horses "Thank you", says the Antivan girl, and Tegnar gives Smile to him with a warm smile. Gem climbs off the horse and hands the reigns to the young man too.
Adrienne whispers to George "We should check if Lauren's family is all right, no?"
"Of course... that should be first priority...", whispers the redhaired warrior back.
Lauren steps back and clears her throat nervously "we ah...we were on the area and ah...we thought of drop by since we're here. You've seen her lately? Today...how is she?"
Tegnar looks at Lauren and Tommy, listening, as well as George, while Gem stands to the side, absentmindedly thinking that she would like to have her own horse one day.
"She... she's quite well, considering what happened. But a bit pissed off since she has had no news from the Circle, nor from you. Maybe she'll yell at you... a bit, when she sees you", replies Tommy, a bit overwhelmed by all the horses he's now trying to hold. "I should go and take care of these horses... If... if you have time, pay us a visit too... Mom didn't have a chance to say thanks for that times you healed me".
Lauren lowers her ears "oh...right...yes..that's ah so her. I think we should go...”
"We come for this, actually”, says Håkan making up an excuse. “We learned the circle has some problems of internal security and has forbidden to the apprentices to write home, we wanted to warn Nora..."
Tommy scracthes his head, a bit embarrased, and waves them goodbye. Kyle almost feels like kneeling over in relief when hearing Nora’s all right.
Lauren holds Håkan's arm "thanks..."
Gem looks to Kyle and Mari waiting to see what they plan to do, but the mages seem to have taken over the scene. Adrienne looks concerned to Lauren "At least the rest of you family seems to be fine..."
"I think your sister should leave anyway... just in case..." insists Håkan: "And maybe find a place where they can stay where we can bring Val to after... we find him"
"I know, but she wouldn't move, at least not with the baby...", ponders Lauren.
Mari looks at them worried. "Are you sure you want to pay a social visit as our first step? You... you already know she's all right... shouldn't we find that Urard first?"
"Nora should leave town as soon as possible, Mari. What if the lord noticed us and is sending for them right now?"
"Håkan has a point there", says Gem, not helping.
"We kill him and problem solved. If we spend the afternoon talking to Nora about how cute are her children, he may do something even worse", says Mari quite disappointed. Suddenly everybody seems more concerned by a family who is all right and with no known threat than by the people who has actually tried to kill them, but nobody is interested on listening to what Mari has to say. Mari pulls Kyle’s arm to force him to say something, but the warrior is overwhelmed by the others majority.
"Like make a garrison of templars come? Good point" says the mage for once.
"What if some of us find a way to Urard's place and meet the rest later? so Lauren can visit her sister first...", adds Adri tying to help.
"Yes..we ah...we are a big group and ah...at least tonight, or while we solve this"
"Then perhaps we should split up?", asks Gem.
"Maybe we can solve it somehow and...Mari I'm sorry, but I'm not letting my family alone while solve the problem", insists Lauren, stubborn. "At least we must warn them and take the children away"
"I'd say warn them at least..." agrees Håkan.
"Then we go to talk to the templars first. Weren't they the ones who sent their men to kill us?", tries again to reason Mari, but she’s alone. George stays silent, letting the others decide, while all the others seem to be determined to waste their time going to visit Lauren’s family first.
"Are you sure that is a good idea, Mari?", says Adrienne with a concerned face
Håkan stares at her, trying to say something, but then Kyle spoils it all saying: "Right. We need some information, Lauren, maybe you can ask your family to look out for sign of trouble?"
"To look out. Kyle, I'm not involving my family into this" snorts the elven mage.
Mari frowns. "Didn't you know the Knight Captain here? Let's go and ask him"
"Not with the children”, is continuing Lauren, when she realizes Mari’s remark. “and...Yes"
"Maybe if we can find that Campbell guy... he looks competent and honest at least" agrees Håkan, saying something intelligent for once.
Kyle sighs "It's for their own safety, Lauren. And I'm not sure I want to meet another templar after what happen...what if they know my face?"
Mari looks at Kyle a bit puzzled. "So you don't think seeing what the templars know is a good idea?". If her husband is also on their side, there’s nothing to do.
Kyle sighs "Of course, but it's too dangerous....oh....I'm not much use to you here if Urard made sure the templars know what I'm look like."
Mari snorts. "You know I'll go with you, love, wherever you go"
"Maybe Kyle and Lauren should go to Nora's and we can go to the templars..." ponders Håkan. "Kyle 's presence should discourage Nora to keep them too long, and the templars won't see Kyle with us. If the order has been tricked by the lord to fulfill a personal vengeance of a noble, that would piss them off... I'd rather have them as allies than enemies”
Adrienne shrugs "Ok then...you want me to go with you two? Lauren, Kyle?"
"Look...I just want to go there and make sure they all are all right. Maybe they can go to Gwaren for a few days while we're here dealing with the templars and ser Urard"
Mari continues trying to make Kyle understand that going to Nora’s house is a waste of time, and finally he gets it."Okay”, he says, turning to the group. “Let's not run from this. One way or another we are going back to the templars, so let's go there first."
"Then...who is going to the templars?", asks Adri confused.
"I think you shouldn't go Kyle , what if they attack us again seeing you?" insists Håkan, who seems to have all the time in the world. And since everybody listens to him, the battle is lost.
"Håkan has a point there, broh...”, says Adri, while Gem wishes they would just make a decision already... "Why don't we split up?", she insists.
"...And I'm not going to the templars quarters or wherever before warning Nora” continues Lauren in paranoid mood, unable to grasp the idea that probably the templars didn’t relate her to Nora, since they had no names. “You guys can do whatever you want"
"I think it's better to bring the fight to them first”, tries to reason Kyle, “rather than wait for them to ambush us like before."
"Kyle , shut up", shouts Laure, rude.
"Kyle , seriously... an entire garrison?", adds “know-it-all” Håkan, who this time didn’t know the real size and importance of the small village. Mari shakes her head. As long as mage paranoia is involved, reasoning has nothing to do.
“Lauren, Kyle and Mari can go to Nora and the rest of us can investigate the templars”, tries to conciliate Gem.
"I'm going with Kyle anyway", states the faithful Tegnar, staring at Kyle
Adri nods to Tegnar and Mari "Be carefull! If anyone else is going with them, then I'll go with Håkan to the templars”, she adds.
Lauren grabs Kyle 's arm "you come with me". And there’s nothing else to say. Kyle lets her pull him along, defeated. “Kyle , I don't care about what you want. If something happens to my family I'LL PRUNE YOU”. Still...what if they see Kyle and it attracts them to NORA?, she suddenly thinks, a bit of light crawling into her paranoid brain.
"They want me dead, Lauren”, grunts Kyle disapprovingly. He wants to face the templars “And they will stop at nothing to do that. You can stay here if you want."
"I'm not asking you, Kyle . And still, you always get into more troubles than the ones you solve...You ah...you'd probably end up with another wound and I wouldn't be there to heal you" Lauren is still dragging Kyle "so shut up and stand there being all mysterious and ah...I don't know...brooding or ah something so Nora doesn't want you around the kids”
Kyle opens his mouth to protest, then closes it, meek. He sighs. "You have saved my life countless time. Yes, I remember. Sorry, Lauren".
Mari runs behind Kyle and Lauren shaking her head, missing the old times in which Kyle was considered sort of a leader. When did things change so they had to do what the paranoid mages commanded? "I hope your sister is not the hen type and she doesn't invite us to tea and cookies", she mumbles.
"She is the hen type. She always has cookies..." sighs Lauren, thinking she will apologize later for being mean or whatever...
Tegnar follows the married couple and the blond mage. Kyle turns to look at Mari to see if she's approving of his choice. The way she’s frowning while Lauren leads, or better said, drags Kyle, Mari and Tegnar to Nora's house, seems she doesn’t.
Adri looks to the rest of the group "Shall we go?"
"I guess..." say George.
"Yes... Let's get going", sighs relieved Gem. "I suppose we should find the chantry. I haven't been here before, any of you know where it is?"
Håkan looks for the chantry, followed by George, Adri, and Gem. The chantry in Tavell is a very small one, easy to find, since the village itself is small too, and the chantry is in the middle. The group don't even have to ask to find it, they can see the bell tower from afar. There's a templar on the door, guarding it. He's standing with his hands on the back, bored, and has a helmet covering his face.
"Good morning ser, We'd like to report to the Knight-Captain Campbell." Says Håkan, while Adri just stands next to him looking bossy.
"Knight Captain Campbell?" The templar's voice laughs sadly from inside his helmet. "Well, you have found... part of him". He lends his hand to you, and you see the familiar prothesic one, while with his left hand he takes his helmet off.
"Oh, good", mumbles the mage.
"Look what do we have here. My friends from Highever. What are you doing here again"
"Can we talk? In... private?" asks Håkan. Gem and George let the mage do.
Adri raises an eyebrow: "If you don't mind, ser"
Campbell makes a gesture. "I guess so. This village is so damn boring I think I can leave my post of a while to talk to some old friends". He indicates the group to follow him into the chantry. Håkan and the others follow, why not?. Once into the chantry he leads them to a small room where another templar is dozing. He shakes him by the shoulder and tells him to go outside for a while in his place. Campbell leans on the wall and looks at them. "Is this private enough for you?”
"There's a grave matter going on, I think the order has been... tricked." Starts Håkan: "We've been attacked by a group of templars, not to long ago. They were ordered to kill a friend of ours, by order of a local lord, ser Urard. Thing is the accusation wasn't true, as they thought he was an abomination - which he's not. Moreover, Urard and our friend had... issues. So we believe he lied to the order to accomplish a personal vengeance."
Campbell listens at Håkan's information without blinking. "A group of templars, by Ser Urard's order? I doubt so... Ser Urard is the local noble... but he has no command over us. But it is true he's been searching for years for someone... who looks a lot like one of your friends".
Håkan gives the letter to Campbell, who takes and reads it. "This is the seal of the new Knight Captain", he says at a first glance.
Adri frowns at Campbell "So..?"
"So the order comes from our Knight Captain himself... And, damn it..." He looks at the group and back at the letter. "How is it that he has such a description of the group?" He chuckles at a part of the letter, looking at Håkan
"We don't know. He probably had been following us", says Håkan, trying to ignore it.
Adri shrugs "Ser Urard, maybe?"
"Ser Urard? The Knight Captain? I have no idea, that's all we know" Håkan continues "And we thought to make our situation clear before attempting anything."
Campbell walks around the small room and leans on the table. "All right. I'll tell you what I know". Adri crosses her arms and listens. "One of your friends fits perfectly the description of a criminal our Lord Urard has been searching for more than ten years"
Gem listens too, while George thinks they should've gathered even more info from Kyle first, instead of being so eager to get rid of him. Håkan thinks "The one who cut off his arm?"
"I saw him when I went to see you in Highever, but... well, I had more important things to talk about than warning you about him. Specially since... well, he didn't seem a criminal when I saw him."
"I thought so. Go on, please. If he's the one that cut his arm off, the version we know is different, and shouldn't involve the order anyway. There are guards for this, aren't they?"
"Definitely, templars have been away from this during all this time. It was a civil affair. But when I got demoted... because of that unfortunate documents issue... The new Knight Captain, Ser Farrell, seemed quite interested in the issue personally. I know he sent some of us to chase an abomination latelly, but I didn't know it was related to this"
"Why would the Knight Captain be interested in him?" asks Gem.
"Well, if he is an abomination, he is our division", states Campbell.
"Uhm... funny thing is that the 'abomination' was our friend... which didn't seem a criminal to you..." makes clear Håkan: "And I think you would have recognized one, when you see it, am I right?"
"There is no way Kyle is an abomination...", says George, sure of what he says.
"But remember what I told you a month ago in Highever?. I sensed another mage in the wedding... Maybe your friend is... hiding you something?", hesitates the templar.
"We know who he was, ser. A dangerous apostate disguised as a waitress," adds Håkan
Campbell startles. "Dammit. A pity I didn't stay a bit longer". Catching that apostate would have helped him not to fall so down in his career. Adri looks very concerned now
"And... may I speak freely?" continues Håkan: "We've been trapped on the fade more than once with him, and he was no mage nor possessed by anything. You can of course examine him, as long as you don't attack before doing so, like your men did. Honestly, the only being that possessed him is his wife during the honeymoon", teases Håkan
"Indeed", Adrienne chuckles at Håkan's comment, followed by Gem and George.
"They're not longer my men, young man", smiles Campbell. "Maybe you should ask to Knight Captain Farrell. The letter is his"
"But they could be your men again. If we are right the new Knight Captain has showed a despicable attitude to be fooled... if not for corruption. Am I right?" says Håkan
Campbell seems thoughtful. "Farrell never seemed a person easy to corrupt... But one never knows. I still think we should talk to him. Do you want me to go with you?"
"I think that's a good idea... guys?", asks Adrienne.
"It probably is...", agrees Gem, while George nods
"We'd rather go with you, ser. He's always a templar, and we're not sure who's side is on... You'd be at least a... reliable witness. Just in case”, says Håkan: "And maybe you'd want to see our friend before... to make sure we're not lying?"
Campbell nods. "It will be more interesting that watching this boring door all the day, and I owe your elven friend one... after having her nephew stolen from my custody. I know it won't be the same, but if I can help you with this, I will feel a bit better"
"Oh... by the way..." reminds Håkan, at the mention of Val "We didn't tell his mother... we want to look for him first...Did you...?" Håkan suddenly realizes he’s befriending a templar... and his eye twitches. What am I doing?
Campbell snorts. "I've tried, but I have not a lot of clues. But my companion, the one who was supposed to protect him... he says he thinks he heard something about him being brought to... ‘The Dandy Deepstalker’ tavern or something like that. Maybe we should look near Orzammar?"
George frowns. "The Dandy Deepstalker... never heard of it..."
Adrienne starts walking to the door "Ah...no, I don't know that tavern...But, guys, we should move on, let's go. The sooner we get done with this shit, the better..."
"I meant... did you tell Nora?" Håkan insists
"No. I didn't find the courage. And I prefer to tell her when I have some good news"
"Well... let's keep it between us, then...", says Håkan while heading for the door. "You want to check our friend first or you want to go directly to the Knight Captain?"
Campbell rubs his chin. "Maybe check him would allow me to speak to the Knight Captain more accurately? It is easier to defend a person accused of being an abomination if you are sure that he is NOT an abomination"
Håkan nods, following him. Adrienne is already out, waiting them to lead the way. "Let's go to meet them, then", she says.
Everything is very quiet outside Nora’s house. Lauren knocks the door. She has being getting more nervous as they came closer because she has no idea of what to tell to her sister. Mari snorts. She has no idea what the hell are they doing there. Kyle, already paranoid too, has set Tim free outside to be a lookout.
Nora opens the door and becomes pale when sees her sister. "Lauren!", shouts, running to her arms. Lauren puts a little smile "Ah...Hello", while she’s glomped.
Mari looks at Nora. It is true that she looks a bit like Håkan. Kyle smiles at her and tries not to look broody.
"Oh, Lauren! Are you okay?". Nora ignores the rest.
Lauren nods " Nora! Yes, yes I am...You and...Aldric, and the kids? Everything is fine?". She smiles, relieved to see her safe, and grabs her hands "Well ah...well, you already know Tegnar, these are my friends Mari and Kyle "
"Everything is fine, Lauren, but..." Nora waves sadly to Mari and Kyle , then at Tegnar "Please, come in..."
Mari waves back, not very sure about what to say. She looks around to see if everything is in order. Kyle nods at Nora and wait for Mari to step in the house before he follows. Mari enters the house before Kyle, dragging him by the hand
Lauren’s smile freezes again and walks in, worried again. "What is it? Edmund was fine, right? Has something happened...?"
"No, no, everything is fine, but I didn't receive news about Val... is he okay? Do you know anything?" Nora looks at Lauren, very worried.
Lauren clears her throat "I ah...I guess he is...They ah...they were taking him to the tower". Nora makes a sad face. "You see ah...they're having some security and bureaucratic issues and ah..."
"They are still taking him?" Nora raises a brow
Lauren decides to use Håkan's lie "I've heard they forbid the apprentices to write home. At least until things settle down a bit more there, I think. I've heard...That"
"Oh... I see then…" says Nora, not very convinced. She’s still worried.
"But don't worry, he...he'll be fine. Kinloch Hold is a nice place...HOW IS THE BABY? HE HAS TEETH YET?" Lauren doesn't know a thing about babies, but she changes the topic like a boss.
"Oh! That!". Nora jumps from the couch "Yes, yes, he has one, in fact". She gets up to take the baby from the cradle.
Mari elbows Lauren: "Are you going to speak about babies?" she whispers, bothered
Lauren whispers back "No, I just wanted her to stop talking about..."
She stops when Nora comes back with the baby. "There he is... say hello to you auntie Lauren..." Lauren mentally facepalms.
"Oh ah... Hello Artyn... Maker he's grown ah...Nora, dear. Are the children at home? I came to see if you all were all right and…"
"Oh, yes, they are... You want to hold him?", Nora asks, all motherlike.
"I ah...I don't know...I'd probably let him fall...I'm awful with this" Lauren stares at the baby like he's about to explode.
"Kiiiids!! Come here, Lauren is hereeeee!" Lauren mentally facepalms again, when the two kids appear running.
"Hi, Lauren..." The kids wave at the people, a bit scared at the man with one eye
Kyle, who stayed quiet and admiring the furniture, approves of the kids' presence. It makes him relax somehow. A kid whisper to the other and point at him: "He has an eye, only one... ohhhh". Kyle notices this and tries to smile at them before turning away to stare at the curtains again.
Mari steps back a bit. She doesn't know very well how to handle children. But the other one is already pointing at her: "And she has the hair so loooong...."
"You admire it but you don't touch it, right, kiddo?", she says, waving her hands... those creepy dirty fingers messing with her hair? Eeecks!. Kyle smiles and wonders how the kids would react if he suddenly crouched down and looked straight at them. He can’t wait to have his own children.
Lauren clears her throat and spoils the nice scene. "Nora...? Would it … ah...be possible that you leave the town for a few days?. All of you...I mean"
Nora looks confused at Lauren. "What?"
"You can take the children to Gwaren or something...to see the port…?" Lauren moves her ears nervously "Look ah...one my friends has ah...some issues with Lord Urard and while we're here solving it, I ah...I don't want you to get involved, just because you are my family"
"But Lauren... we haven’t a place to stay there... and... I can't go, I don't have money enough to rent a room there for a few days, all the family...". Nora doesn’t understand what does this have to do with her. Mari neither.
"Oh ah...that's no problem!" continues Lauren "I ah...I'll give you some money and you can rent a room in a inn there...You need holidays...with all the stress because of the baby and ah...” she pauses… “you know, Val...” Then she changes the issue "and I'm sure Edmund would love to see the ships, right?" smiles at him
"And what if some news from Val arrive and I'm not here to receive them?", asks Nora raising an eyebrow, but Edmund is already making puppy elven eyes at her. "Oh, yes! Please, mom..."
"I ah...well you can tell Tom to keep the letters...and I'm sure if something happens the Circle would write to me too". Mari listens to that and wonders if Lauren really believes she’s that important or she’s just trying to calm her brother. Lauren ignores it and smiles at Edmund "See? Please, Nora..."
Nora doesn't seem pretty sure about all of this and bites her lips. Mari can’t blame her.
"Just a few days”, insist the stubborn elf. “I ah...I'll be more relaxed if I know you all be fine and you need some holidays..."
"I don't know, Lauren, are you sure about this?"
"And I owe my nephews so many Satinalia gifts anyway, right?" Lauren eyes the children, who smile back at her.
Kyle moves uncomfortable, feeling guilty and bad for not being able to do more for Lauren. He needs to check his budget after this and give her everything she need, even if Mari will kill him if she finds out. Mari eyes Kyle . He's still thinking to give his money away??? Kyle feels Mari's disapproval. He just feels so bad for bringing his friend into this, now that he's not caught up in rage, not aware that it was her friend who brought herself, caught into her own paranoia.
"Maybe you are right, Lauren... the other day...", starts Nora, then shuts up, thoughtful
Lauren tilts her head "the other day...?"
"The other day a strange shem arrived at the town..."
"Oh...why he was so strange, Nora?"
Mari snorts. Seems Nora got the paranoia too. "Pfft. Now gossips? Seriously, Lauren..." Kyle puts a hand on Mari's shoulder to comfort her. Lauren glares at Mari, while digging around in her satchel to find her purse
"I don't know... I’ve never seen him before..." Nora seems thinking "He was all the time asking to see the templars... Something about a wanted man” Kyle gets immediately tense when he hears that.
"Asking for templars...?" Lauren takes two golden pieces out of her purse and hands it to Nora "this should be enough...I think.."
Nora eyes at Lauren's gold: "Okay, Lauren... thanks a lot..."
"And why did that guy wanted to speak to the templars?", ask Mari, her curiosity awaken now against her will.
"And the other man he was talking about...?"
"Maybe he was a friend of them..." Mari shrugs
Nora takes the money and looks at Kyle for a second, then at Lauren again. "Now that I think about it... the wanted man he was talking about… one ser Urard has been looking for for ages… is like... him..." Nora points Kyle with her head
Lauren turns to Kyle "Like him? Kyle looks like someone who is wanted here?"
Mari decides she wants to get out of that house before Nora sells them to the guards. Suddenly somebody knocks on the doorjamb, making her startle, and Håkan enters, followed by Gem. "Excuse us... Ser Campbell wants to take a look at Kyle."
Kyle turns to the door at Håkan's voice. What now?..
"Mmmm... yes?", asks Nora. "Oh, Jojkan, it's you, glad to see you, dear"
“We explained the situation to him, and he wants to help us." Continues Håkan. Mari looks at the mage wondering if he has finally decided to sell Kyle to save his gay ass
"Oh ah...Håkan? You found ser Campbell? Oh...". Lauren gives a little wave at them
Campbell hesitates. He's not sure if he wants to face Nora. Finally he breathes deeply and enters, smiling at Nora. "Hello... madame". He shows his hands up. "I swear I'm not going to mess with your family this time". Nora notices Campbell and glares, so the templar quickly turns at Kyle . "So... this is the man... He definitely fits the description." Kyle stares at Campbell, not quite understanding what he's here for. Campbell steps towards him. "Good afternoon, Milord. First of all, congratulations for your marriage. Your friend... Ho.. Haj..” he stumbles upon Håkan’s name and finally says “the tall mage, has explained me some templars have accused you of being an abomination ".
"Ah..Nora was telling use that a man arrived ah...asking for the templars, something about Kyle ..." says Lauren. Tegnar looks to everyone, a bit confused. Gem stands to the back, uncomfortable being in someone's home that she doesn't know George waves a greeting to Nora and then keeps on listening to the others silently, and Adri does the same as George Lauren is sticking next to Nora, feeling embarrassed for invading her home again like this
"A man?". Campbell stops to think. "Now that you mention it... Yes, there was that man from Denerim... he wanted to see the Knight Captain". While talking, he walks around Kyle , looking at him carefully, but he does nothing strange. Adri frowns staring at Campbell, worried.
"Look, I'm just going to say this : I'm not an abomination.", starts Kyle.
"We know that, Kyle,” says Håkan, “and he believes us, he just want to be sure."
"Probably, but words won't convince the Knight Captain", says Campbell. "So if you allow me to... check it, I can speak in your behalf to him"
Kyle sighs "Very well, check all you want." Mari grabs Kyle 's arm and looks at him like saying "let him do". Unlike the others, she thinks templars, like any other men, should be given a chance to be listened. Kyle gives Mari a reassuring look. She looks back at him, not feeling as reassured as she wants to feel
Håkan whispers to George: "Talking about possession..."
"Wait ah..." starts Lauren, but in that moment Campbell steps back and mumbles. "He seems clean"
"oh...all right" Lauren glances again at the kids. She was afraid they would do something unaproppiated in front of them
Campbell hesitates. "I mean... I feel... I feel something strange. But I definitely don't feel him being a mage.
"Something strange?" Håkan narrows his eyes. "Like a magic on him?"
Kyle raise his eyebrows at Håkan, then turns to Campbell "Thanks the maker. Now are you here to help me clear my name? I need to meet this 'man from Denerim' of yours."
"What do you mean, 'strange'?", asks Gem
"Can't describe it... But it is not magic", ponder Campbell. "More like... haunting"
Adri sighs of relief...kind of "At least magic is not involved!"
Campbell shrugs, trying not to give it more importance. "Or maybe I need my Lyrium dose. I've skipped it for too long. Let's go to the Knight Captain's office"
Håkan nods. Campbell goes out the first, not wanting to talk to Nora for long. Gem follows Campbell out. Adri agrees "Yes, let's go...it was nice to see you, Nora", waves goodbye and walks outside again. George nods goodbye to Nora and follows
Kyle nods goodbye to Nora, then take Mari’s waist to walk alongside her. He grits his teeth. “He’s sensing my curse”, he whispers to Mari while walking.
“Your curse? You mean being married?” she teases, trying to cheer him up.
Kyle looks at her tenderly: “I don't know, I think that's more like a blessing”. Mari melts at his comment. Then he sighs. He does not even know if he's in the clear yet or not.
Lauren holds Nora's hand a last time and smiles to her "Will you do as I told you, please?.We'll try to solve this as soon as possible, but ah...in the meanwhile..."
Nora smiles at Lauren, still confused: "Okay, if you say so..."
Lauren tiptoes to kiss her cheek "I'll try to come back later if everything is fine, all right?". She waves to the kids and follows the others. Nora waves goodbye at the people, not much aware about what happened here.
Campbell leads them to the Knight Captain's office. It's in a small building near the chantry, and it is actually part of his home. Campbell sighs when he approaches there... it is obvious the home goes with the rank. The templar knocks on the door and a voice replies "Come in!". He opens it and they all enter.
"Ser Farrell...", Campbell salutes. "I have some people here who want to speak to you"
Håkan shortly nods to the Knight Captain. Knight Captain Farrell is sitting behind some kind of desk. He's a man in his early thirties. He doesn't raise his head to look at Campbell, but he suddenly stops looking at his papers when he notices all the people. He freezes when he sees Kyle. "Campbell? Why do you bring this people here?”. He points at Kyle with his quill "Please tell me /he/ is under arrest"
Kyle looks at the Knight Captain straight in his eyes, defying. "Greetings, Knight-Captain. A pleasure to see you too."
Håkan puts the most unsettling look he can give. "According to /what/ charges he should be under arrest, Knight Captain?"
Farrell doesn't seem intimidated by Håkan’s stare. He eyes Kyle . "Murder. Attacking our Lord Ser Urard. And being an apostate and abomination"
Mari grabs Kyle 's arm and looks up at him concerned. Adri stands by Kyle, crossing her arms very serious. Gem stands with Kyle with a look on her face like "You'll have to get through me first"
"Right... Apostate and abomination... you must be a mage to be such, right?" says Håkan, self-proclaming himself Kyle’s lawyer. "And we have the real thing, ser. Is he a mage?"
Kyle glares at the Knight-Captain. "I see that intelligence is not the templar's strong point."
"...And ah...he's clearly not, right ser Campbell?" Lauren looks at the templar
"We have witnesses..." says the Knight Captain, serious.
Campbell steps ahead. "I've checked this man, Knight Captain... I don't know about the other charges. But he doesn't have magic powers"
Farrell looks at Campbell. "Do you question my sources, Ser Campbell?"
"Captain, we think /you/ should question them. He's here, do you wish to check him like ser Campbell did?" continures Håkan: "And the other charges are not under the Order's jurisdiction, are them?"
Farrell crosses his arms. "Indeed they aren't. But if we catch a criminal, it is our duty to deliver him to justice, as it would be /yours/ too" Farrell and Campbell stare at each other. Finally Farrell stands up. "Maybe he should face someone who knows the truth" Farrell moves out of the room looking at Campbell like saying "Don't let them go or I demote you even more"
Gem thinks that Farrell is a guy she would love to headbutt Håkan is pondering to send a letter to Greg to recommend that Farrell guy, the best way to ensure he's sent to par vollen forever... Lauren gasps : "What ah...what did he mean by /someone who knows the truth/?"
Kyle let out a long sigh. "Oh, now this I love."
"A witness?" Mari looks at him worried
"Possibly fake, possibly real, but did not know the whole story." Kyle sighs "Either way, things does not look good. He is so determined to get me."
Adri shakes her head and whispers to Kyle "so that was true? what I heard from Ryan?"
Kyle nods at Adri "I owe Ryan a lot, and that's the truth."
Some minutes later, Farrell comes back. A young woman, in her twenties, comes behind him. When the woman sees Kyle , she grabs Farrell's arm and starts to shout. "It's him! It's him! The abomination!!! Kill him, kill him!!!"
Lauren startles at the woman screaming, and Adri raises an eyebrow at the woman, obviously crazy. Gem looks at the screaming woman, thinking she's a few darkspawn short of a blight... The woman's eyes are full of hate. But she stops screaming. Now she just stares at Kyle. "He did it", she says calmed. "He must pay for his crime"
Kyle looks at the woman trying to recognize her. He shakes his head, she is too young, must've been only a little kid when his Lindy was killed. "You ask a mad person to be a witness? Do you think this is a joke, Knight-Captain?"
Farrell glares at Kyle . "Beware who do you call mad person, you criminal. You're addressing to my wife". Kyle thinks things are not looking good....
Lauren blinks and moves her ears "oh...so this is a personal matter?"
"Did what, exactly?" Håkan stares at the woman like his usual way.
The woman look at Håkan. "He murdered my brother, in front of my eyes".
"...ugh..." this looks so bad...”, comments Adri.
“Oh, really? When this happened?" asks Håkan
"Thirteen years ago. He burst into our lord's home, and didn't care that my brother was only eight. He was a monster, an abomination. He killed everybody in his path. Including an eight years old kid, who was already begging for his life"
Kyle looks at the woman, then closes his eyes and start to remember. His eyes clouded in rage. The man who killed Lindy, trying to run away. He was only able to see the blood. The blood in her throat, her eyes empty. Her last message in those eyes… “Avenge me”. And his sword in front of him, opening the way to the bastard noble… no matter who was in the middle, ignoring Ryan and Seth’s cries to stop. Mari sees his face and gasps, grabing Kyle 's arm tighter
"Uhm. How old were you, ma'am?" Håkan takes him out of his thoughts.
"I was twelve. Training as a servant at our lord's home", she says
Lauren glances at Kyle "And ah...you sure it was him? I mean, it was thirteen years ago..."
Tegnar disapproves all of this, and Adri looks at Kyle concerned "I can't believe it..."
"And he used magic powers to do so?" is asking the mage.
The woman shrugs. "How could he do it if not? I swear he was a beast, a demon. His shouts were not human. As far as I know, only abominations do that”.
"Oh... I see..."
"I ah...it must have been a traumatic experience, surely...”, concedes Lauren. “But ah...How can she tell he was a monster...? Yes. And one must be a mage to become and abomination and /he/ isn't" Lauren keeps blinking, looking at the woman. Gem nods, agreeing with Lauren
"A man consumed with rage is nothing less than a monster." Mumbles Kyle.
The woman stares at him. "It's what I saw. A monster. And monsters must be killed"
"Then if you /saw/ a monster or a demon, how can you judge and identify him with this man? He..." starts Lauren, but she stops when she sees Kyle moving.
Kyle looks at Mari and smiles, then walks forward one step and kneels down before the woman. Mari tries to grab him. "Don't do it, she's crazy!", but he’s faster.
George wonders what the fade Kyle is doing, and Adri frowns at what Kyle 's is doing "Kyle ..!"
The woman looks at the warrior kneeling in front of her, then she looks at her husband, not sure about what to do. Finally she mumbles to her husband. "Arnold... your sword"
Kyle looks up at the woman "I was not aware of what I was doing. My Lindy was an innocent woman, and he killed her right before my eyes! He mocked me and pushed me until I lose control."
Lauren, George and Gem stare at Kyle. Adri glares at the woman and Farrell "What...the sword?"
Farrell shakes his head. "You don't plan..."
The woman's face doesn't change. "You killed my brother. You left me alone. What had my brother done to you?. I don't want your explanations, I want justice"
Mari rushes to grab Kyle back. "Don't be stupid, she wants to kill you!"
Kyle pauses and adds "Urard used your brother as a shield. I was not able to stop myself. I killed him."
"Justice isn't just killing for revenge, or to..." Lauren stops and looks at Kyle
The woman starts to cry. Farrell steps and takes his wife by her shoulders. "You killed him! You admit it! You killed him!" Finally the woman burst into tears while her husband hugs her.
George doesn't believe it "Kyle ... what... is all this really true?" George feels sorry for the woman
"Knight Captain, you should take this woman away, we have learned what we needed." Reasons Håkan
Adri : "Urard used the kid as a shield? is that so?" looks concerned to Kyle
Mari grabs Kyle 's shoulders. She looks up at Adri , but says no words. It is Kyle who has to speak. Kyle seems aware of it and raises his head "I'm sorry."
The woman punches Farrell's chest. "He has to die! He has to die!" but her punches have no strenght. Farrell just whispers at her ear. "Hush, Sylvia, hush..."
Gem mumbles to herself "That's awful...", feeling sad for the woman and that Kyle was forced into that situation, and Lauren just looks at the floor, uncomfortable.
"Ma'am, do you realize what /you/ did to your husband?", tactless as usual.
Farrell looks up at Håkan. "My wife did nothing to me. Don't put more sorrow over her shoulders"
"Knight Captain, you have given an order to kill a man, out of you jurisdiction, under the accusation of being an abomination made by a woman that was twelve and shocked, for an event that's thirteen years old. /Kill/ him, not capture him. But as the woman is your wife you involved the order into a matter of common law If any knight commander knows about this, you'd be sent to the Korcari Wilds." Håkan pauses to breath, secretly enjoying threatening templars with what the order will do to them, as if he really knew. It seemed to work with Carroll so he sort of thinks it will work with the rest. "Is her revenge worth this?" Gem nods agreeing with Håkan
Farrell stares at Håkan. "I did what I thought I had to do. We kill abominations. Would you have taken the risk of leaving an abomination live?"
"He's -NOT- an abomination" Håkan insists. “And you have the testimonial of two mages and a templar about this."
"But he's not an abomination...and you ah...you didn't have any proof of him being it" Lauren shakes her head "you just had the word of a years old girl, after THIRTEEN years"
He hugs his wife tight. "I had a reliable witness"
"And you believe that a year old girl /knows/ what an abomination looks like?!", asks Gem, confused.
Lauren shakes her head "Ser...I don't ah...I don't intend to be rude, but the fact that she's your wife doesn't make her a reliable witness.."
"You've been blind because it was your wife the witness...", says Adrienne too.
"I also had a report from another person. Someone who confirmed it"
"That he used magic?" adds Håkan
Lauren : "and you cared to check it before order his death???!!!"
"Yes. He said he was a dangerous apostate and blood mage"
George asks "Who said this?", while Adri rolls her eyes "Pfff by Andraste's sacred pants..."
Farrell shakes her head, tired of the newcomers scepticism. "Come on. He's a wanted criminal. OUR lord has put a prize over his head. And I have my wife's statement. And finally a third person’s report. Honestly, if he wasn't /your/ friend, what would you have done?”
"Check my sources, to begin with." Says know-it-all Håkan. Sure, Mari thinks. Specially if he were a templar. "You didn't tell us who was this third person."
"I would have looked for myself first”, agrees Gem. “People can lie to suit their own needs" Adri adds: "Exactly what they said"
But before Farrell can say anything else about that third person, Kyle rises to look at the Knight-Captain "Well, it's true after all. I'm a murderer. But there is a hand behind that knife I thrust into the boy's chest that fateful day. And that hand is of a true abomination."
"Kyle , you're not helping" says Håkan, his protagonism risking to be stolen. George thinks that metaphor sounded somewhat suspicious. Gem looks at Kyle and can't see him as someone who would murder a child
Mari raises up with Kyle and looks at him again. "No, no. Listen to him. Let him tell you why did he do it". Kyle is a man who doesn’t speak a lot, but this time he must do it. It is his past which is being judged here. Mari shakes her head. "I think... all of you know... what happened to Kyle 's first girlfriend?" Gem looks at Mari and shakes her head. She doesn't know much at all
"He killed the girl I loved,” continues the warrior, “and challenged me into an unfair duel, deliberately set me up and mock me, knowing I would lose control. And he used that boy as a shield! Is there any justice in that?.”
George isn't sure what to think. Mari realizes it and looks at George : "George ... what would you do if someone killed Adri ? How would you react?"
George looks taken aback by the question. He finally shakes his head "I... I don't know what I'd do..."
Mari still looks at him . "Well. I know what I'd do. If someone killed Kyle , I'd kill the bastard. And nothing on Thedas would stop me" Mari's words make Gem think of her parents and how she would love to get her hands on the thieves that killed them
"I know what you're saying Mari,” the redhead accepts. “I'd probably do the same... it's not what's bothering me. but nothing can justify that boy’s death”.
“Knight-Captain,” is now sayin Kyle. “If you remember anything the Maker had taught you, you will help me find him and bring him to justice! Only then I will accept any punishment you deemed fit”
Farrell looks at him, still hugging Sylvia. "Find him? Find who?”. Then he finds back his composure. "You're still the one accused of murder... Even if you're not mage or apostate, the one who must be brought to justice is still you"
"Then call the guards" says Håkan, proud to have found another way to spit his despise at the templars "And let's see which kind of 'justice' the Order allows."
Campbell and Farrell stare at each other. Farrell finally orders him "Call the guards"
"No!”, shouts Kyle. “I was not the only murderer that day! You want to bring me in, you will bring him in too. His name is Urard, a nobleman."
"But it wasn't Kyle 's fault either if Urard was using the kid as a shield...”, adds Adrienne. “Sometimes you don't have the time to react when you're fighting!"
"He was just a little boy...”, Lauren agrees. “Why isn't anyone blamming ser Urard? He's the one who ah dragged the boy into that...". Lauren shakes her heard, still looking at the floor
"You should defy him in a duel to prove you're right, Kyle,” continues Håkan. “The Chantry may give the terms."
"He wouldn't play fair...”, notes Mari. “He didn't the first time"
"With the templars around?" Håkan points at Campbell, who has not moved to call the guards, still staring at Farrell. "Ser Farrell and ser Campbell may be the judges."
"In a neutral battlefield?" asks Adrienne
Kyle turns to Håkan "Well, that sounds tempting."
"Besides Kyle was alone the first time. Now he's not" adds Håkan. "In case he won't play fair and he has some backup, we can always intervene. Am I right?"
"Now he has us by his side" says Mari proudly
"You think they'd agree to this?" doubts George.
"I think it is a fair idea", Campbell says, defying Farrell
Mari nods. "Good idea, Håkan... but don't get used to this".
"...Who are you and what did you do to Mari?" mumbles Håkan.
"I like the idea", says Gem
Lauren sighs and mutters "and another fight? what would that solve?". George thinks Lauren has a point but says nothing because they wont listen anyway
Kyle smile at his friends and Mari. He will never be able to not feel bad about dragging them into this. "You won't go alone, love", Mari says then to Kyle . "You'll have to nail me to the ground to prevent me from following you".
Kyle chuckles nervously "I suspect even that won't stop you, love."
Adrienne puts a hand on Kyle 's shoulder "I'm not leaving you alone either, broh" Kyle smiles at Adrienne, he's real glad she believed in him without hesitation.
Farrell pats Sylvia's back and looks at them. "Well. You'll be in his house. In the worse of cases, we would have delivered them to him. What do you think?" Sylvia nods, and still looks at them with a glare full of hate.
Håkan smiles "A trial by ordeal, Lauren. If Kyle wins, he's innocent." Campbell looks at Håkan like saying "Not even you believe that"
"He /is/ innocent...and in any case what?”, argues Lauren. “He kills Ser Urard and what happens next?"
"It's a way to settle matters" shrugs the mage.
Lauren sighs again "Do whatever you want...I'll just prepared some poultices"
Mari smiles at Lauren: "Oh, come on... You know this is the only way to solve this!"
Gem adds on to Mari's comment "and it will rid the world of scum like Urard"
"Urard won't let him have a rightful trial, and would buy testimonials, that's the only way to show the truth." Reasons Håkan
"No. There must be another way to solve this,” still insists Lauren. “We just ah...don't know it. Just let draw your swords and do whatever you want..."
"Lauren,” says Mari sadly, “if... if you knew the whole story... I think that man won't listen to reason"
Campbell moves and says "All right. I think we all should go together to the Lord's State"
George partly feels that /both/ Urard and Kyle should be punished but disapproves only silently. Kyle smiles sadly at Håkan and George. "Look, you want to see me as a murderer, okay. One day I will die for what I did, but I will not die while Lindy's killer still lives."
George looks at Kyle . "Fair enough. Urard needs to be punished."
Mari then glares at Kyle for what he says. "Don't you dare to speak about dying too soon, Kyle Mallory!"
Kyle just smiles tenderly back at Mari "I said 'one day', Mari, and it's not today. We’ve just got married. My life is just beginning. I’ve got something to fight for, more exactly, a girl worth fighting for”. He pauses and takes her chin. “Besides, we are going to have children." Mari blushes suddenly at Kyle 's comment, wondering what would her father do if she were pregnant.
Campbell starts pushing everybody out of the room. "Yeah, yeah, that, that. Let's go before it's pitch black out there"
"Lauren, sometimes fighting is the best way...not always, but...", is saying Adrienne while she is pushed out of the room. Lauren is quiet as being pushed outside, while Kyle then just move along and goes outside followed by the others.
Adrienne looks at the others "Sooooo how do we manage to do this...duel thing?"
Campbell leads the group. "I'll be the one to speak to Lord Urard to get in. You just follow me"
George follows looking all grumpy and brooding and disapproving. Lauren does as George, just holding her staff and looking at the ground. Gem follows. Adrienne is always standing by Kyle or Mari, bossy mode
Lord Urard's state is a minor noble manor. It is slightly fortified, but it looks more like a mansion than a real castle. There are thought a couple of guards at the doors. The sun is getting down now, since they’ve spent all the afternoon with the search and the visits to Nora and the templars. The guards stop Campbell with a "Who's there?"
Campbell speaks to them. "Knight Campbell. We need to speak to Ser Urard. Tell him we found someone he definitely wants to see again".
Kyle chuckle nervously "It's like I'm some kind of delivery. Charming."
When the guard, who obviously knows Campbell, gets into the manor, the templar looks at the group with a sad smile."If you kill Ser Urard I'll be sorry... He was the one who paid the dwarf engineer who makes these beauties". He points at his prosthetic hand
"Okay, I'll leave him alive enough to sign the bill if that's what you want” ,Kyle says, bit upset. Adrienne smirks, thinking that dwarf could teach her brother, Salazar, and make good profit to the business.
"Well, he already paid for that, didn't he?" shrugs Håkan
Campbell chuckles. "Oh, yes. Good point". But he sighs. It will mean nobody to inherit the improved prototypes from, nobody to fix it when it breaks, nobody to adjust the mechanics when they hurt. The guard takes him out of his thoughts and makes them a sign to follow him. Gem looks around starting to question the safety of entering a place with so many guards, but Kyle doesn’t hesitate and follows the guard, already putting his battle face on. The rest of the group follows.
They arrive to some kind of reception hall. The noble waits for them, amongst a couple more of his guards. He starts to smile when he sees Campbell, but his smile freezes when he notices Kyle behind him.
"You found him?", he says. "Why do you bring him here, instead of the dungeons?"
Adrienne walks beside Kyle and whispers "Be brave, Kyle , I know you can do it" Mari doesn't leave Kyle's side either. Lauren looks around nervously and stays next to Håkan
Kyle smiles at Adrienne and turn to the noble "Our duel was not finished yet, Urard, remember?"
Urard looks at the group with a mad expression. "You want to fight again? Didn't I teach you a lesson that time, you arrogant kid?" Urard is a middle aged man, with quite an arrogant pose. They all can see he also has a device in his right hand, similar to Campbell's. While he's talking, he attaches a short sword to it. "Last time we met, you lost an eye and a girlfriend... What do you want to lose now?"
"And he lost a hand... that seems like a tie, to me..." whispers Håkan, trying to be funny and failing. "Apart from the girlfriend thing, I mean..."
"Really Håkan?" whispers back George, not happy.
"Not helping..." whispers Lauren too, glaring at Håkan. George smiles at Lauren, to emphasize their brotherhood.
Gem wonders if Håkan is on to something, and Adrienne clenches her fists, wanting to break Urard's nose, but says nothing...for the moment
Kyle tries not to cringe at that familiar tone of voice. Time has been good to the noble man, it seems. Urard looks fatter now than the first time Kyle met him, but he seems self-confident enough and doesn't move like a clumsy person. Or maybe it is that he relies in his personal guard.
"Are you afraid of me now? All these years and still a coward? I have come to clear my name, Urard, and I will."
"Beware who you call coward, you northern rat. I still can defeat you, like the last time"
"And I see this time you didn’t come alone"
Kyle smirks at Urard "Well, I figure if you play the '50 guards' card again, I can always use a spare....hand."
Urard grins. "So you expect a duel again?"
"Just to be clear...”, whispers Håkan again, “if he cheats, we cheat too. If any guard moves, I fire."
Lauren nods at Håkan. "All right...I'll prepare some glyphs..", she whispers back.
"Come on, call for the ordeal..." , continues mumbling the mage.
"A murderer, a wanted person... and you want a fair duel...", is still speaking the noble. "Why should I give it to you now?"
Campbell steps ahead. "Because a fair trial has to be hold, Milord"
"Careful, Urard, the templar is here”, agrees Kyle. “Fair duel one-on-one. Winner takes all."
"Does it mean that if Kyle lose you become... his wife?", whispers Håkan to Mari.
Mari glares at Håkan. "What, jealous?". Lauren slaps Håkan's arm. That was not funny. Even if Gem giggles at Håkan's joke
"You're in the presence of a representative of the Chantry. The Maker will tell us who is the innocent and who is guilty". Campbell feels a bit uneasy saying that. As if he didn't believe it.
Urard sighs. "The winner takes it all. That was kind of... unnecessary... "
Kyle glares at Urard "Someone like you would say that...you who are so used of stepping on others..."
Suddenly he bursts towards Kyle , trying to slash him with his short sword, while screaming "Because you're taking nothing, except my blade!"
Mari gasps and jumps back, while Kyle quickly reacts by bringing his shield up to block the attack.
Lauren startles when ser Urard attacks and gasps. She then holds her staff with one hand and Mari's arm with the other. Håkan holds his staff with a hand without equipping it, just in case, and starst looking at the guards. George surprised too, jumps back, and Gem looks to Urard and Kyle , startled by the attack.
Urard's blow hits Kyle 's shield and the noble swears. Then he quickly steps back, out of range of Kyle 's sword, and starts to walk slowly around the warrior. He's clearly in disadvantage, since he's not as heavily armoured and has no shield. Kyle quickly grabs one of his daggers and throws it at Urard's head, aiming to kill.
Adrienne shouts, excited "Come on, broh! show him who you are!!" She will always support her broh ...unless he does something stupid, then she slaps him with love...
Kyle moves his hand to make her stay away. “Adri , stay out, it's my fight”
Urard dodges and the dagger barely touches his left arm, slashing his shirt. But it bleeds
Kyle smirks, then takes out his sword and points it forward while running toward Urard. He swing the sword along with his shield, trying to stun the nobleman. Gem watches the fight intently while Håkan keeps checking the guards in case one of them moves, and Adrienne looks at Mari to check if she's all right, and sighs of relief seeing Lauren is still holding Mari's arm. The rogue is watching the fight tense, aware that she mustn’t intervene, but with her heart in a grip.
Urard steps aside again, always dodging and moving in circles. He gets between him and the group to make sure Kyle doesn't throw more daggers, then he makes a sign to his guards.
Gem sees it and readies herself for trouble, moving to the back of the group to go unnoticed. There are two guards in the other side of the room who rush forward to fight the group. One of them approaches to George, who raises his axe, another to Adrienne, who draws her sword and takes her shield to block the attack. "Oh..I see, nice..."
From the guards who were in the doors, behind the group, one grabs Lauren from behind, forcing her to release her grip on Mari from the shock. “AYEEEEEYYY!!", she shouts. Mari falls onwards, caught by surprise. The other heads to fight in the middle of the group.
Håkan , as soon as the guards move, prepares himself to cast a fireball on them, but suddenly he sees one of them is holding Lauren, who kicks the air and wriggles trying to get rid of him, as a hostage... So he changes his strategy and hits the guard in the face with his staff. Lauren tries to hit him with her elbows...or the head...or the staff if she's still holding it. Gem sneaks up behind the guard holding Lauren and stabs upward with both daggers under the ribs. The poor man receives Lauren's elbows, Håkan's staff and Gem’s daggers at the same time and he releases his grip. Gem takes both daggers and slices the blades across one another across the guards neck, and he falls down, choking.
George charges the guard approaching him and swings his axe in a powerful downwards arch fueled by his momentum. But the guard avoids the attack jumping. George stares, hating rogues. George attempts a new attack to his target aiming for his arms
The one with Adrienne is hit by her shield and screams in pain, tries to attack back, but fails. Adri charges against the guard taking advantage of his failed attack, but he also avoids the attack jumping and faces her again Adri makes a disgusting face "Damn rogues..." and hits him with her sword, the one with the fire Rune Kyle gave to her for Satinalia.
Tegnar takes his crossbow and aims. There's a chance that other guards can arrive, but right now there are only four and Urard. Kyle tries to reassure himself, remembering that the last time he did kill them all by his own so his friends should be fine. Urard is between Kyle and the group, so the latter keeps attacking relentlessly, trying to drive the noble into a corner. He walks around Urard, occasionally slashing out, slowly driving him far from his friends, using his same hit and run tactic. Urard continues dodging Kyle, not daring to face him in a fair fight. Unfortunately, Mari's movement has put her into his reach, so he grabs her with his whole arm and uses her as a human shield again. Mari kicks and tries to stab back with her daggers, but she stops when she feels Urard's dagger under her chin
Kyle stops moving as soon as Urard does that. "Let her go!". A quick glance reassures him that the falcon is just one whistle away.
"Ser Campbell, may I fire?" asks Håkan sarcastically.
Ser Campbell nods. "Of course, my pleasure"; he grins
Håkan prepares to cast a fireball BEHIND Urard, so that he and Mari are not hit but they are knocked forward by the explosion. But Urard is moving towards the centre of the room again, keeping people in the middle, and Håkan doesn’t dare to risk to hurt George, Adri or Teg, so he decides to wait until he has no one or only guards behind him. At the same time, Lauren rushes away from the guard and eyes Mari and ser Urard. Casts a glyph or paralysis on him, but he seems immune.
Campbell looks at Lauren with a "eeer... sorry" look. Urard wears an antimagic defense… and Campbell was the one who had provided it.
Lauren glares at Campbell like SO??? “CAMPBELL. What is this manure?”
Håkan, Lauren and Gem are in one side. Campbell on the center. Adri , George and Tegnar are fighting in the other side. And Kyle is at the other part of the room with Urard and Mari in the middle
The guard with George is hit and tries to step a bit far from George , spiting on the ground: "I'm gonna kill you!"
"I'd like to see you try" George teases as the guard charges. Then, instead of moving out of the way, George swings his axe in a broad horizontal swing when the man is close enough. He hits the guard with strength, and he falls on the ground, screaming
The guard with Adri receives her sword hit. He looks at her, hurt on the shoulder: "Damn!" He charges. Adri blocks him with her shield, making him a bit frustrated.
"Come on!! Is that the best you have?" the girl roars, charging against the guard with her shield this time
Mari is grabbing Urard's hand, trying to keep the dagger away from her neck and telling him insults some of them haven't ever heard. He snorts. As if it wasn’t enough difficult to move dragging a kicking elf with him. "So you replaced Lindy with this knife-eared bitch? *Sigh*. I must admit she's light, easy to handle and delicate... but I miss the beauty of our old Lindy so much... don't you?. I can't blame you, I doubt you could find anyone who could compare to her. But replacing her with this flat-chested tomboy...”. He holds Mari a bit closer “I can't understand it. I'm sure Lindy would be rolling in her grave if she knew".
As he can't fire at Urard, Håkan closes the door from which they entered and seals it magically, glad he had a useful spell. ‘If I set the room on fire’, he thinks, ‘I can unlock the door’. Then he rushes to the other door while checking if he can have a clear shot to do what he inteded to do before.
Gem enters stealth again, planning to sneak up to Urard and stab him from behind with paralysis poison, and Campbell is fighting Adri 's Guard because he's a knight and has to help a lady. Adri hits the guard again, but he avoids. George brings his axe down upon the man and makes him two halfs... He then looks down at the remainings by his feet and frowns "cocky son of a bitch..."
Urard sees the situation and calls for more guards, hoping they’ll arrive before the crazy mage seals the second door. Then he grabs Mari closer and shouts "Stop, or I kill her!"
Kyle shouts to Urard "If you kill her, I will kill you!". Kyle doesn’t hesitate for a second and whistle for Tim to come over and attack Urard. So in the very moment Håkan arrives to the door, a bird passes through it, just before the mage can close and seal it. Tim shrieks and attacks Urard on the face.
In the chaos Tim provokes, Urard waves his hands quickly screaming "Take him away, take him away, take him away!!", and releases Mari, pushing her to the ground.
"Mari!”, shouts Kyle “Get away from him!"
She, though, can't avoid the dagger's tip and at the same time she falls, a trail of blood flows from her throat. She falls and stops moving there, a crimson line around her throat, like a creepy necklace. Kyle moves forward to pull Mari behind him and whistle for Tim to fall back, lest Urard damage it. Gem abandons her stabbing plans and rushes to Mari too, still stealthed, helping Kyle pull her away from the chaos.
"Lauren! Mari's wounded! We must take her somewhere safe!", shouts Kyle
"LAUREN! On Mari!", commands Håkan from the other side of the room
Lauren rushes to Mari to check if she's fine. She still breathes, and even if the wound is very outrageous, it's just a superficial one. Though, it needs to be healed soon or she will choke in her own blood. "All right...we need to move her away from here while he's ah.../busy/" Lauren checks again to see if it's safe to try to move her herself.
George rushes over to Urard when Mari drops to the ground and tackles him. Kyle glares at him. Urard is Kyle 's problem, but the redhaired warrior only wants to distract him from Mari. Urard is screaming like a sissy while trying to take Tim away from his face, and Adri and Campbell are fighting the last of the guards. Adri charges AGAIN against the effing guard the guard avoid the attack, but Campbell, who is behind him, take him by the back and knocs him by a hit head to head
Kyle , afraid that Urard is going to wound Tim at this rate, calls the falcon back. Tim leaves Urard's face, some feathers left, but safe, when George falls over the noble and makes him fall to the ground. Kyle turns to glare at Urard and sees George pinning him to the ground. "Leave him to me!"
George turns his head when he hears Kyle 's voice and then gets off Urard, leaving him to Kyle. The noble stumbles upon his feet again. He moves his head like dizzy and suddenly sees Kyle running quickly towards him, swinging his sword right at his throat. Kyle jumps over Urard with a deep roar. It is more the roar of a beast than the roar of a human being, if there was some sense in him, it is now ruled by his bersekerr fury. Urard puts his arms up to protect himself, but that's the only thing he can do before Kyle's sword falls over him. It's hard to see what happens, but after a clean blow from Kyle's broadsword, there’s blood all around, followed by a loud noise... and three short "thumps".... Those are from his head and his arms, which fall a bit appart from the rest of his body.
Kyle begins to pant, then look upon what's left of Urard with distaste.
Gem stays in stealth looking between Adri 's guard and Urard, ready to assist if needed. In the meanwhile, Lauren is kneeling besides Mari, healing her. George rushes over to them "is she ok?"
Lauren glances to George "it's just a small cut...It'll be fine"
Lauren casts her healing spell. But this time Lauren's spell doesn't look like the ones she used to cast... it is more like smoke... which enters into Mari's body. Also, while kneeling by Mari’s side, everybody can see like a ghost figure near her, who, following Lauren's magic flux, which shines a kind of white-blue glow, enters Mari's body like smoke. You have never seen Lauren's spells act this way.
"That's... unusual..." mumbles Håkan
"You don't tell me..." says Lauren, furrowing her brows.
"Errrr.... what was that Lauren?" George has a weird feeling and looks around the room suspiciously.
Adrienne is too busy kicking the unconscious guard, but Gem moves closer to Mari. She wonders why the smoke looks like that. She's never seen it do that before. Tegnar looks worried at Lauren. Mari still doesn't move. Lauren leans over her, concerned "Marilyn?", and slaps Mari's face softly, trying to wake her up
Lauren looks at her hands, worried and then again at Mari. She shakes her softly "Mari? Wake up, dear..."
Kyle turns to look at Mari's still figure laying on the ground. "What? What happened to Mari?"
She's out of danger thanks to Lauren's fast intervention, but even so, she's still unconscious. Suddenly she opens her eyes and gets up. But there's something strange in her. Her eyes are not brown anymore, but a sapphire like shade of blue.
Lauren : "Mari...?"
"Mari?" Tegnar approaches to the elves
George looks at Mari concerned.
Mari gets up, looking at Kyle There's something strange, yet familiar with her. She also sort of glows. Lauren blinks and stares at her "Mari? Can you hear me? Do you see me?"
Adrienne notices everyone is staring at Mari and turns to face her too "What...?"
She doesn't speak to anybody, just looks at Kyle and walks towards him a bit like floating. There's definitely something different in her... and if they don't stare at her, if they look at her from the corner of your eye, they’d swear it's not the Mari they know, but another woman, taller, fuller, darkhaired. A human one
Håkan rubs his chin "Uhm... how was your fiancée called, Kyle?"
"Lin...Lindy?", stammers Kyle, unable to take his eye away from her. Mari smiles. Kyle drops his sword and shield and reach forward with his hand.
Adrienne looks around her, just in case more weird things happens. Lauren looks at Kyle and then at Mari, back at Kyle "What...?"
Tegnar tries to see Mari closer. "Mari...?"
Håkan pats on Tegnar 's shoulder "Not yet, Teg..." He hopes she's here only to say hello
Tegnar eyes at Håkan: "Wha...?"
Lauren blinks and stops staring Mari "She's not Mari, Teg"
"What? Of course she's Mari!"
"I ah...I don't know. She looks like Mari but she's not. Not right now"
Mari approaches slowly to Kyle, stops in front of him, and speaks to him with a voice which is not hers. "Thank you my love. Thanks to let me rest in peace at least".
Kyle hesitantly touches Mari-Lindy's cheek with his hand "I'm sorry...I'm so sorry....." Kyle doesn’t even realize he's crying.
Mari smiles and takes his hand. "It's all right, my love" She walks a bit closer, and raises her hand to touch his face too
George stares at Kyle and Mari. "Someone explain what the fade is going on?", he whispers.
"Later... and only if you promise you won't freak out..." says Håkan. George gives Håkan a paranoid look.
"He will freak out. /I/ am freaking out", adds Lauren.
Håkan: "Lauren... just relax... she got still five minutes before start to worry..."
Tegnar is freaking out , looking with eyes very open, and Gem is stunned by what she is seeing. George stares at Kyle.
While she caresses the right part of his face, Kyle feels pain in where his right eye is not supposed to be, and suddenly it starts to bleed.
"...Ok, five seconds, what is she doing?" Håkan corrects himself.
"She'd better, or I'd take her out of...", starts Lauren.
Then she leans towards him and kisses him softly in the lips, closing her sapphire looking blue eyes.
"Kyle?" gasps Lauren.
"Farewell", she whispers. After that the magic disappears, the glow fades and Mari, the Mari all of them know, collapses in front of him. Kyle catches her before she hit the ground.
"ANCESTORS!", shouts Tegnar.
Gem realises she's still in stealth and exits stealth "What was that?"
Mari opens her eyes. They're brown again. She sees Kyle 's face bleeding and suddenly panicks "What happened? Kyle !! Your face!!!"
Kyle blinks, then looks at Mari puzzled "I have no idea what's happening...."
Håkan moves closer to them, followed by Lauren “Kyle , let Lauren see that..." He checks Kyle 's right eye thinking aloud "Pff, and maybe that girl made it regrow..."
"Kyle”, she agrees “...let me see that, you are bleeding" Lauren moves a bit Kyle 's fringe "Håkan, an eye just doesn't /regrow/" Then she frowns. "His scar...it's like it's open again”
Gem looks at Kyle 's face and sees the blood. "Yes, Lauren should take a look at that"
George and Tegnar rush over to them too. "Mari, Mari!", shouts the dwarf.
Mari stumbles and finally gets on her feet again, a bit embarrassed. "Did I faint? Oh maker!! You killed him? YOU KILLED HIM!!!"
George looks at Mari with concern "are you ok?"
Kyle blinks once, twice and realizes now that there is something very different in his vision. "I can see with my right eye again. I can see....with my right eye...again!"
Mari is overexcited now. "What? You can see again? What is THIS???"
Tegnar looks at Kyle , confused. Lauren has taken a compress to clean his eye "Whaaat? That's not possible, you ah...you CAN'T regenerate ah...like that...”
"Wait... she DID give your eye back? That's... that's..." Håkan, for once, doesn’t know what to say. "Who need fairytales when you live our life...", finally scowls.
"ANCESTORS!" repeats Tegnar, really freaking out
George stares at Kyle. Adri thinks this is very WEIRD, and is amazed, so amazed she can't even move. "You...you have your eye back?"
Kyle then smile "Actually, no, but I can feel it....I feel like a light is finally lit...I just know."
Adri gets closer to Kyle too, she needs to see it by herself "..no way.."
"That's that....this is amazing, inconceivable. It's...it's like growing..." insists Lauren
"You mean mages can't do that?", asks the dwarf.
Gem stares in awe: "That's unbelievable!". She finds all this amazing but then decides to go and loot the corpses. Someone has to do it.
Håkan turns to Campbell. "Haunted, you said, uh? I think he was in a good sense..."
Campbell is still trying to react. Finally he nods, thoughtful. "Seems so”.
Håkan goes to check lord Urard prosthesis and examines it.: "I just wonder, though..."
"Well even I know some spirits from the Fade are benign ones"
"Farrell spoke of a third whitness..."
"Yes, he did. Maybe we should find him" Campbell nods. “Eeer… do you mind if I keep that?”, he adds, pointing at the prosthesis.
Håkan weights it, thoughtful. “I wanted to study it… I need a new hobby”, he teases. Then he throws it at the templar. “But if it is compatible, you can keep it”
“Thanks”, says the man, examining it with interest. “Urard always got the newer model, and gave me the discarded ones. Hope this time they solved some fixing issues… Sometimes it hurts as hell”.
"I'd tell the story to Knight Captain Farrell and suggest him to take a vacation..."
Kyle then just takes Mari in his arms and begins swinging her around, overjoyed by the thought of what just happened. Mari laughs of joy like a little girl.
Lauren is scratching her head, trying to understand what has happened...the smoke magic and how is Kyle 's eye possible… Maybe Lindy was the spirit healer she has felt helping her lately? She creeps out, she doesn’t like the idea of a dead girl haunting her around. But whatever… she’s gone now.
Adri stares at Kyle "Kyle ? can I..can I see it?"
Kyle stops to put Mari down and looks to Adri "Yes, sister." Mari stays by his side, holding his waist in a possessive way. George continues staring at Kyle
Adri looks closer Kyle 's face "I can't believe it!". She smiles widely "Kyle!"
Kyle beams "I know, Adri . I can't wait to tell Ryan about this."
Adri can't help herslef but hugging Kyle "I can't either!" laughs very happy. Kyle embraces Adri wholeheartedly, while Mari waits a bit impatient to claim his husband back.
Gem and George return with all the goodies they’re returned from looting the corpses. Gem seems reticent, but finally she shares with everybody. Mari’s eyes sparkle for a while… Married life is expensive, after all… but soon Kyle leaves Adri’s hug, his lips look for hers, and she gets lost again in the only treasure she now cares for.
Håkan can’t stay silent. “Did you know he cheated on you while you were possessed?”
“Oh, Håkan, shut up”, replies Kyle stroking Mari’s hair. “They were my wife's lips”
“Her eyes weren't your wife's”
Mari ignores him. She looks into her husband’s eye. Lindy is gone. His lost eye is probably back. It will never be a reminder of what happened, she will never stand between them again. Now Lindy rests in peace, avenged at least… and he’s now hers. Only hers.
Who could have tell her, when they left Denerim, that the heart of a shem would be more valuable to her than all the loot in the world.