A Letter

Nov. 5th, 2015 09:45 am
igetthatalot: (oy)
Hey. It's me.

If you're getting this, you're probably as confused as it gets right now. Let me just start by saying that yes, you're in a tavern, and no, you're not in the secret extra weird level of the Hanged Man. It's called Milliways. It's some kind of magic bar. It's not the Fade. I know that one window looks like the kind of thing you hear the humans describing in stories about it, but they also say you're supposed to be able to see the Black City from anywhere in the Fade, and there's nothing matching that description out there. Maybe the Black City has a bar in it and that's why you can't see the rest of the place, but from the way the Chantry talks about it I don't think that's likely.

By now you've probably said 'this is bullshit' to yourself at least two or three times. Fine. Your name is Varric Tethras. So is mine. Your father was Andvar Tethras, your mother is Ilsa Tethras, and your brother's an asshole. (The kind of asshole who abandons people in the Deep Roads because some piece of treasure turned his head a little too far, as a matter of fact. You're going to want to watch out for that.) When you were eighteen you published 'The Dasher's Men', which is a matter of public record, and bought two bottles of Antivan port and a chicken pot pie with the first payout of the profits, which is not. Have I proven myself to your satisfaction yet?

That being said, yeah, I know, this is weird. Getting a letter from yourself always is. If you want to keep the headache to a minimum, try telling yourself you wrote a note and forgot about it. It's a total lie, of course. You never wrote this. I did. I'm you, but I'm a different you, or maybe a you from the future-

Maferath's balls, now I'm getting a headache.

Anyway. The point is that you're in a bar and that people here say it's at the end of all things. Some of the people here will think they know you, because they've met me. Most of them won't. There's this one guy, Bossuet or Lesgle or something, who sounds like an Orlesian but says he's from somewhere named France. He likes talking about writing and books, especially the Hard in Hightown stuff. There's a couple of other people, too. Most of them... aren't from Thedas.

No, I don't know how that works.

They're from somewhere called Earth, and they've never heard of Thedas or Kirkwall or darkspawn or Qunari or anything. I can count the number of people I know here from Thedas on one hand and still have enough fingers free to pick my nose. Haven't seen the Antivan elf lately, though. It's probably best just to assume that everybody here is from somewhere you've never heard of and see if any of them manage to prove you wrong.

They've got a lot of magic here, too. No demons or abominations or templars, at least not that I know of. The bar's enchanted, and she'll give you drinks if you ask for them. I suggest you pay up instead of running a tab. I don't know what happens to you in a place like this if you skip out when they call the tabs in. The food's good, too. They've got rats running it out to the tables, but frankly the rats are smarter than most of Kirkwall's nobles, and none of them smell like they've been drinking. I wouldn't worry about it.

I've rented a room upstairs on an ongoing basis, just in case. You're welcome to it if you need it.

Say hi to Hawke for me. If you haven't met Hawke yet... don't worry. You will soon.

-Varric
igetthatalot: (what did you do to my book)
Because when you're going after treasure, it's always good to keep notes.

Today there were dragons. Well, one dragon and a bunch of little baby dragons. I don't know if those count.

Considering what darkspawn taint does to anything that eats it, I have to wonder what dragons are actually feeding on down here. Somehow I can't see it being nugs and mushrooms, and there's not enough bronto carcasses to make up the shortfall.

--

A Lot Later - Today shit got weird. Really, really weird. Ancient dwarves building golems older than Caridin, kind of weird. Remind me to fill in the details later, after we clear out this next hallway.

--

A Lot Later Plus A Little Bit - OH FUCK YOU, BARTRAND.

No, seriously. Fuck you. You might be my brother, but if I get hold of you again I'm gonna take that lyrium idol you were so happy about finding and cram it up your *INKBLOT*

--

*MORE INKBLOTS*

- something called profanes, apparently they used to be ca*smear*

*several lines scratched out*

--

After That

Okay, there was a demon. Some kind of rock spirit wraith thing, but I think we all know a demon when we see one. It tried to make Hawke a deal to get us out of this stinking pit of an ancient thaig. She laughed in its face, and then she took a swing at it, a nice clean roundhouse punch. The result was the kind of violence I only wish I could adequately capture on parchment. I'm going to have to write about it properly once we get back to the surface. Because we can do that now. It's just going to take us a while, because treasure is heavy.

And there's a lot of treasure coming with us.
igetthatalot: (oy)
Varric does not like being underground.

He's said this before, plenty of times. It's a known fact. He hasn't mentioned it since five minutes after they stepped into the Deep Roads (how Blondie managed to secure those Gray Warden maps of the entrance he doesn't know, but he's grateful). It would be bad form, considering how much of this expedition was his idea in the first place.

But, Maker, it's been four days now- he thinks- and they're still picking their way downwards with no sign of treasure anywhere to distract him from the knowledge of just how much stone is positioned directly over his head. This... this is not his idea of a good thing.

They'd better find the good stuff soon. This is getting way too old for his liking.
igetthatalot: (oy)
Here, friend barkeep, is silver. You'll note that there's a moderately respectable amount of it. I'd appreciate it if you'd give me something extremely strong in exchange for some of it, and then continue refilling my tankard each time I empty it until there is no more. I've got a taste I want to wash out of my brain. Its name is Sister Petrice.

No, not that kind of taste. Don't be disgusting.

Understand, when it all started it was another matter altogether. Hawke and I-

Yes, as a matter of fact, all my stories these days do start with 'Hawke and I'. Until you start giving me coin to hear other things, that's how it's going to stay for the foreseeable future.

Anyway. Hawke and I were passing through Lowtown one night recently when we ran across what we thought for sure was a suicide in the making. I mean, honestly. What else do you call going out in Lowtown after dark without armor or a guard and offering money to heavily armed strangers? And following them into a dark alley? Personally, I would've passed the whole thing by. Far be it from me to interrupt someone so obviously bent on her own death. But, well, if you know Hawke's name at all these days you know she won't stand for that kind of thing. So we followed ourselves, and when the swords came out, we got involved. Call it civic-mindedness. And an opportunity to go through the pockets of the fallen, if you must. I won't deny that part.

When the swords had stopped flashing and the blood had stopped steaming, our would-be suicide came forward and admitted she'd been a little out of her element, I suppose in much the same way that earthworms aren't all that much at home in fire. She said she'd been looking for someone who was, and I quote, 'someone of bloody skill, but also integrity- perhaps the kind who might leap to someone's defense'.

Now, that's either foolhardy idiocy, deliberate manipulation, or a desperate attempt by a really bad liar to cover their ass after being caught doing something that backfired. Considering that she was wearing a Sister's robes it was just possibly a case of all three, since some of them have weird ideas about divine protection. On the other hand, she went on to say that she had someone who needed safe passage from the city, and that she was willing to pay to get them out...

So that's how we wound up rounding up Isabela, Hawke's sister, and Hawke's giant dog and cramming the whole merry bunch of us into a little hole in an unremarkable part of Lowtown. Our new friend, it turned out, was named Sister Petrice, and she and her pet Templar had a Qunari they wanted to sneak out of town, if you'll believe that. A mage, even! Yes, the ox-men have them. They cut out their tongues and sew up their lips and bind them in collars and masks and other charming tactics for keeping them from getting out of hand, but they have them. Sister Petrice said she didn't know his actual name, but she called him Ketojan and said he'd survived their Tal-Vashoth infighting. Since she figured the Viscount would just turn him over to the Arishok in the name of appeasement, she wanted to help Ketojan get away.

Don't think we didn't ask her all kinds of questions at that point. I mean, really. Why not use the Chantry resources to help, why not appeal to the Arishok, how did we know he really wanted to get away- you name the question, and believe me, it came up. I'm just not going into detail here because I know for a fact you'd be bored off your nut if I did. The important part is, in the end Hawke and Bethany decided there were worse fates than accepting a nice heavy pile of coin to help a mage get away from people who treated him poorly. Surprise, surprise.

I won't bore you with the details of what happened next. I'll give you a hint: it involved tunnels through the Undercity and a lot of giant spiders. Maker's breath, I hate being underground. And the part where we ran into actual humans down there wasn't much fun either- although calling that lot human's stretching a point as far as it'll go. Kirkwall's down-and-out don't harbor any love for Fereldan refugees even years after the fact, but this bunch-

Well, you know how these things go. 'Leave us alone', 'you outsider scum are stinking up the last free place in Kirkwall', 'grrr, argh', and next thing you know the air stinks of magic and flaming, angry Qunari. Looked like no collar and no tongue wasn't enough to stop him from doing magic after all. Not that he could talk, yet. Just blast those thugs into little person-shaped piles of rag and bone. Isn't that nice to know about the fellow whose motives you don't understand in the slightest?

We made it out eventually, all of us. The tunnels came out in a mountain pass high above the city. One that, unfortunately, was chock full of Qunari. Not Tal-Vashoth, either. They spotted us before we could back off or get a bead on them, and their leader stood up and told us to halt where we were. Said he was called Arvaarad, and that he claimed possession of Saarebas.

It's not a name, it's a title. Apparently it means 'very dangerous thing'. I checked.

Anyway, he said the members of his... something, I didn't write it down- they'd been killed by Tal-Vashoth and the trail had led the Qunari right to where we were now. Hawke pointed out that we were coming from the other direction, which made it a little hard to leave a trail, but that didn't help. Arvaarad was more interested in our mage and how he was running around loose, with us holding his leash. As far as he was concerned, the big guy was his responsibility, and they were there to pick him up and make sure he was 'properly contained'. Well, you can imagine how well Hawke and her sister took to hearing that, and how well they handled seeing the big fellow kneel when Arvaarad demanded he show his submission to the Qun even now. When it came out that Bethany was a mage herself...

You're not giving me good enough alcohol for a properly epic retelling of the battle that followed. What did you water this swill down with? You really expect me to do justice to three humans, one dwarf, and a dog against a whole troop of Qunari warriors in righteous rage-driven battle frenzy? I don't think so. You get 'they knocked out Ketojan first, and then there was a scene of unimaginable violence'. Seriously. Give me the stuff I'm paying for next time if you want better than that.

When all of the Qunari were dead Hawke went over to check on our companion, and found the ... thing, some kind of wand, I think... that they'd used to knock him out. She got him back on his feet and popped the mask off his face with it, and that's when we found out he could talk after all. Guess they didn't get around to the tongue thing before his last bunch of keepers got killed. He thanked us for fighting for him, and for our good intentions, and said we were worthy of following. I suppose that was his idea of a compliment. Hawke didn't get much time to bask in that, because the next thing our companion said was that he had to return to his people. The Qun demanded it.

I'm not really very fond of the Qun right now. Can you tell?

Hawke could tell where this was going, and she asked him if he really wanted to die after everything that'd happened. He said no, but he did want to live by the Qun, and that since he'd been outside his karataam thing, he had no way of knowing whether or not he'd been corrupted past the point of being redeemed. It was up to him how he returned to the Qun, and he, apparently, felt that the best way of doing that was by dying.

Hawke pointed out that we could get him back to Petrice, if he wanted to try to find some other way, and that's when I heard the closest thing I've ever heard to a laugh come out of one of his kind. "The sister," he said, "was not honest. I cannot say what she wanted, but it was certainty not of the Qun. And her guard smelled of death."

Now, given that we'd been hired to get him out of the city because Petrice swore that the best thing was to see him free, and that she was just sure any thinking being would want to be free... well, that didn't go over well at all. Not with any of us. Although we probably could've done without Isabela sing-songing "I could have told you that" under her breath- not that it matters. That was the point when Hawke threw up her hands and said, "You know what? My job ended when we exited the city. What happens now is up to you."

And, you know? That turned out to be the right thing to say, at least as far as our companion was concerned. Apparently he set a lot of store by certainty and borders, and seemed to think Hawke would do pretty well with her role under the Qun if she took it up. He handed her some kind of talisman, told her to remember this day, and burst into flames.

No, seriously. Fwoomp. Just like that. Seven feet of flaming oxman, right in front of us. And he didn't even make a sound. He just stood there flaming until his tendons snapped, and fell over and burned until he died.

I'm going to need a refill now.

Ah, much better. Well, as I'm sure you can imagine, we all decided that we needed to have Words with Sister Petrice. Someone had set a trail to lead to that secret passage opening, and it sure wasn't us. We headed on back to the city and to Petrice's little 'safe house', which- surprise, surprise- she and her pet Templar were busily trying to scour clean and evacuate. I've seen killers make less effort to hide their tracks at a murder scene. Oh, she tried to act grateful when she saw us come back in, but none of it reached her eyes. That Qunari mage had been right about her.

Hawke took the opportunity to indicate that the bodies of the mage's karataam were a little on the incriminating side. And Petrice, Maker bless her black and shriveled little heart, got snippy at her for using Qunari words in her presence- and started spilling the beans like someone'd cut the bottom out of her bag. IF such a plot existed, IF the Qunari had murdered us for trying to help their slave mage, then maybe people would've realized appeasement wasn't going to work and our deaths would've been a tragic necessity, but all we had NOW were some dead oxmen and the word of a sympathizer. And since Hawke was just a Lowtown thug, nothing bad could be attached to the Chantry and nobody would believe any accusations she might make. So Hawke should just take her coin and leave, because the stakes involved in dealing with the Qunari were all eternity, and that was just too high.

So, yes. We got paid. Good gold coin for doing dirty work for one of the more repulsive schemers I've ever met. Hence the need for drink.

Speaking of which, I think I'm going to go look for Hawke now. I'm just complaining until I get my morning headache, but she's... really not taking it well at all. The whole situation's hit her pretty hard.
igetthatalot: (oy)
You know, there are some days when I can't help regretting ever getting out of bed in the first place. No, I'm not talking about hangovers. If I was, you'd know. This is something else- not that I wouldn't mind getting started on a hangover in the first place.

Why, thank you. I had no idea they even had Honnleath brews in the storerooms here.

Now, where was I... Oh, yes. All of this started when Hawke and her sister and a mutual friend of ours- if you haven't heard of Isabela, I feel sorry for you, friend- and I were making our way through the foothills outside of Kirkwall. A journey for which, I assure you, we had perfectly respectable reasons. The place may be crawling with apostates and giant spiders and other unsociable types galore, but we were doing our civic duty and tidying up the place a bit. You know, making the world a little safer for the everyday traveler and merchant.

A fact which I bring up because when we reached the area called Dead Man's Pass, we found exactly that. The merchant part, specifically. A fellow dwarf, as it happens. And, I suppose, the dead man part as well, given how badly the fellow's guards were being torn apart by the giant spiders. I'll tell you, my friend, those things aren't something you forget. Never seen them? Count yourself lucky. They've got fangs like nothing in the world, and smell like something death itself wouldn't want to cross paths with. And they've got the speed to back it up, too, as the humans found out the hard way. Those things were ripping the guards limb from limb and looking for more when we arrived.

At which point, well. Generally as far as magic goes, I prefer to give it a wide berth and I expect the same courtesy in return. Dwarf, after all. But I'll tell you, when those spiders swung around our way, I don't think I've ever been so glad to be traveling with a mage. That girl practically lit up with the stuff, and the next thing you know those spiders found themselves so stuck in whatever spell it was she threw at them that a crippled, half-blind, centenarian human could dance rings around them. Not that they didn't keep trying to attack us, but between what Hawke did with her daggers, what Isabela did with her daggers, and Bianca here- well, let's just say that it was all over for the spiders already, and they just hadn't figured out it was time to lie down and die yet.

When the spell finally died away and the spiders had stopped twitching, the only things left standing were us and the dwarf. Who, I might note, was looking pretty much as you'd expect a man who'd just had a near miss with death to look, but at least didn't seem to be bleeding. "The danger is past," Hawke told him. "Are you all right?"

Well, he snorted, and as I recall, he kicked the nearest corpse. "No thanks to this lot," he said. "Can't get a decent blade at a bargain any more." Now, I've never been the most reverent man in the world, but that comes across to me as pretty poor taste. So does following it up with, "You, though. You're what a man needs- a skilled enthusiast."

I suppose it's a compliment, but really. Hawke just gave him the coolest look you can imagine and said, "Your mess just picked me up on the way by."

"Still," the dwarf said, "better than what I had. Look, the name's Javaris Tintop. I need someone to help pacify the Qunari."

Pretty tall order from somebody you only just met, eh? I had a feeling he wasn't talking about singing them a lullaby.

"Those horn-heads in Kirkwall have a powder," he went on. "That explodes. And it's just dust- no lyrium, no demons. Anyone can use it."

Isabela took a moment away from tidying up her blades to note, "He's right. That stuff's why no sane captain will take on one of their ships without some sort of trick up their sleeve."

"Sounds like magic," Hawke said, but Javaris just shook his head. "Did they offer this to you? I doubt they were eager to sell."

"That Arishok of theirs said I wasn't worthy," Javaris said. "Told me only their outcasts, the Tal-Vashoth, were that mercenary. I said, 'great, I'll go talk to them. Didn't go over well. But, it made me think- maybe he'll bargain if I get rid of something that bothers them more than, well, me."

"The Tal-Vashoth, you mean," Hawke said, and Javaris nodded. "The Tal-Vashoth," he told her. "Are you up for some paid hunting?"

Now, understand, Hawke wasn't exactly swimming in coin at the time. A little bit of the opposite, in fact. On the other hand, she's anything but stupid, and Javaris' story sounded about as reliable as a paper sword. "Your people must have something like that already," she said.

Javaris shrugged. "Small things, shaped to crack faults, not shatter the earth," he said. "Plus they're mostly lyrium. Expensive, poisonous, the Chantry controls it topside, the glow makes you a target. Problem after problem."

All valid points, to be fair. Then again, Javaris wasn't exactly covering himself in trustworthiness at this point. Still, Hawke was thinking several steps ahead, and more for her benefit than his, which is the sign of a healthy thinker. "I suppose there could be a reward for those Tal-Vashoth," she said.

"As long as you do it, I'm happy," Javaris said. "Now, best I could figure, they're up the Wounded Coast, a whole camp of them. Take their heads off and meet me at the Qunari compound in Kirkwall. Get this right, and we'll be richly rewarded. Richly!"

And that was pretty much the end of that, since Javaris went straight to rifling through his dead guards' pockets. Hawke shook her head and we kept moving, but I distinctly remember her saying, "I can't say I enjoy the prospect of working with that man."

Well, Hawke isn't the kind of person who sits around on her duff waiting for the right moment to pursue a way out of an unpleasant situation. We were already on the road; why not take a turn for the coast and head downhill instead of up? Simple enough, and probably a lot less prone to spider attacks. True, it meant running into all kinds of nests of human outlaws, but- well. When you're already hunting one sort of outlaw for a reward, another kind isn't really that much of a change of pace. For Hawke, those raiding bands were nothing but a warm-up. And she was plenty warmed up by the time we found the... you know, I don't know what to call him. 'Renegade Tal-Vashoth' doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, since Tal-Vashoth are renegades to begin with. He was standing at the base of a long, narrow trail like a guard, but when he saw us coming all he did was hold up a hand and call out, "No further, human! Tal-Vashoth control these passages." Didn't draw his weapon or anything.

Hawke, of course, responded exactlly as you'd respect. Which is to say she told him, "I am more than capable of meeting any threat." As if that were ever in doubt.

"So I see," the big bronze fellow said, and I'll tell you, he almost sounded apologetic. Not the sort of thing you expect from an oxman. "I expected to warn off a caravan, not a well-equipped tracker. The path ahead is littered with my kind. If you are as skilled as you look, it would please me if you killed them."

I'm dead serious. That's exactly what he said. 'It would please me if you killed them.'

Well, once Hawke got her eyebrows out of her hairline, she asked him if he'd really turned his back on his kin. And wouldn't you know it, our new-found friend nodded. "Yes, for a second time," he said. "I did not like my- role- so I left the Qun. I do not wish to be a murdering thief, so I left these Tal-Vashoth to warn their victims. You are no victim, so now I will leave."

Wasn't that interesting?

Hawke asked him just what she could expect- not that she trusted him, exactly, but it was worth trying. He said, "They are revelling in chaos. It is a wretched kind of freedom. I still need order, even if I insult the core of the Qun by selling my honor as a mercenary."

"Mercenary?" said Hawke, but, well, he wasn't that mercenary; he wouldn't go after the others with his own hand. Just with ours. There was a lot of that going around, it seemed like. The last thing he said to us was, "You have my word of caution, human. Heed it, or do not." And then he just up and walked off, just like that.

As long as I live, I'll never understand the Qunari.

Not that it matters, mind you. We had our target's location, and we had confirmation that they were repulsive enough that even some of their own members couldn't stand them. If that wasn't enough to coax a proper reward out of the Arishok, what was? Hawke got her daggers ready, I made sure Bianca was loaded and ready to go, and we headed off down the path.

I'll tell you, my friend, the Qunari who wind up outcasts are an unpleasant bunch. I don't know if that's why they leave, or if they get that way once they're off their Qun's leash, or what. All I know is we spent the next several hours up to our eyeballs in battle against the worst bunch of vicious, foul-tempered oxmen I've seen in a long, long time. Both on the surface and in the caverns nearby. They might not have been part of the Qun any more, but they had enough sense to make themselves at home in places they could properly fortify. That was probably my least favorite part of the whole thing- I don't mind battle, never have, but Maker's breath do I hate being underground.

What? I'm not that kind of dwarf.

Anyway, we slugged our way through, leaving the walls practically painted with Tal-Vashoth blood. It would've gone faster if it weren't for the traps they'd set along the way, just in case anyone ever showed up to call them out for what they'd done. When we finally made it to the cave their leader had holed up in, there were probably at least as many of them in there as we'd already run into on our way down, and just the four of us and the dog. So, pretty much an even fight. At least until that blasted Qunari mage came along- you didn't know? They've got mages. They keep them in collars and chains and cut out their tongues, but they're out there. And they pack a mean punch, too. Bethany had her hands full countering that one's spells and not getting cut down in the process. We all did. But in the end there wasn't a single one of those Tal-Vashoth left standing, magic or no, so we swept over the remains of the place and took pretty much everything that wasn't nailed down. If there wasn't a reward from the Arishok, we figured we were at least entitled to that much.

When we made it back to Kirkwall, Isabela remembered an errand she had to run and suddenly left us. At least, that's what she said, but I saw her eyeing a particularly... mm, strapping... example of a sailor haggling at one of the market stalls just before she spoke up. What can I say? The woman's an opportunist. She went her way and we went ours, which involved Hawke going right up to the guard at the gate to the Qunari compound and telling him "Let me pass, I have business with the dwarf Javaris and your Arishok" before he could so much as open his mouth. Which got her a look- you know the one, if you've ever met Qunari- and a comment of, "The short mouth, yes. Enter if you must, basra."

One day I'm going to ask somebody what that word means.

Anyway, we headed on in and over to where Javaris was waiting for an audience with the Arishok. He saw us coming and told the Qunari guards, "My right hand arrives! Summon your Arishok- the bargain is done." And as soon as the guard turned away he said, "About time you showed. I've been here for hours."

Now, is that any way to treat somebody who's just done all your dirty work for you? And before anyone's been paid, either. There's no manners in this world any more.

Fortunately, the Arishok arrived before Javaris could open his mouth again. Let me tell you, if you've never seen him, he cuts one hell of a figure even for a Qunari. The man's huge even by his race's standards, and the horns on him would put wild oxen to shame. Throw in the armor he was wearing and it was like seeing a castle wall sit down in the audience chair. He looked at us, and then he looked at Javaris, and he didn't say one single word.

Which, naturally, set Javaris off. Some men just can't keep their mouths shut under pressure. "I'm here to report that your hated Tal-Vashoth were felled one and all," he said. "Right? Yes? Yes, they were. So! I'm ready to open negotiations. For the explosive powder. As we agreed."

The Arishok looked at him again. Ever see the look on a jeweler's face when he screws his loupe in and finds that the stone he's been handed isn't so much a slightly off-colored diamond as a very badly doctored piece of quartz? It was that kind of a look. You knew what was coming the instant it started, if you had any sense at all, but I can't say Javaris was a sensible kind of man. A sensible man wouldn't've been shocked when that face said, "No."

And a sensible man would not have turned to Hawke and whispered, "He's not getting it! Talk to him, make him understand!"

I'm surprised Hawke managed not to roll her eyes, frankly. She did turn to the Arishok, though, and she said, "I'd heard Qunari don't abandon their debts. May I ask for clarification from the Arishok, please?"

"I have a growing lack of disgust for you," the big fellow answered, leaning forward with his hands on his knees. "The dwarf imagined the deal for the gaatlok. He invented a task to prove his worth, when he has none."

"So there was no bargain to begin with," said Hawke. "I see." And she gave Javaris a pretty hard look of her own.

"If you faced Tal-Vashoth, he is not worthy of dying to you, as he was not worthy of dying to them," the Arishok said. Guess he must've assumed the worst from Hawke's look. Can't say I blame him for that. After what we'd been through, she was looking a little murderous. "Let him live. And leave."

"You'd better take this opportunity to go, Javaris," said Hawke. Polite enough, but with real steel behind the words.

Which, of course, set my erstwhile countryman to sputtering. "But- he has to sell- it's a product! People want it!"

"There is no profit in empowering those not of the Qun," the Arishok told him. "The means of creating the gaatlok is ours alone. It shall be dispensed only to our enemies, in the traditional manner."

"You," said Javaris, "are a frustrating people. And you're fired." That was to Hawke, of course. "Sodding bunch of oxmen and dog lords. The whole lot, breathing smoke. Bah!"

He stomped out, but the Arishok turned to Hawke and said, "You will leave as well, human. There's no more coin for you here."

And that... was pretty much that. A day spent running all over the place outside the city on an errand from someone who practically makes me ashamed to be a dwarf, one that only barely paid for itself in terms of loot, given how much we spent in healing ourselves up afterwards, and not a hair of reward in sight. I'll tell you, if I'd just had the sense to stay home and work on my idea for a romance serial, I'd have come out ahead in the end.
igetthatalot: (what did you do to my book)
Here's the thing about Qunari. By and large, they generally do one thing with their lives, and they do it really, really well. A Qunari who bears the title of Arishok? Is really, really good at getting other Qunari to obey him without question. And most of the time, what impresses Qunari warriors enough to obey without question is martial prowess.

Hawke just barely survived her duel with one.

Varric is only the latest in the line of attendants at Hawke's bedside the day after her duel with the Qunari leader. Healing magic can't accomplish everything, so someone's got to keep an eye on her until she comes around.

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Varric Tethras

November 2015

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