Adventurers of the Inquisition: A Dragon Age RP (started)

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Leading the way with Berund and noting the oddities along the way, Jarrett stopped with his friend at the split path for the moment, waiting for the others to arrive and assess the situation. Thankfully it wasn't long however. "Good timing, you've all noticed the situation?" He stood quietly at the split allowing the group a moment for discussion.

"Which way do we go? Or do we split up here?"

"My professional opinion? We split up we increase the chances of running into serious trouble. A pack of 'spawn that the lot of us could handle, might pose too great a challenge for a smaller party. Whatever way we go, I suggest we all go."

"Aye the giant speaks the truth, boss man. If there's safety in numbers on the surface, doubly so for down here. The more ears and eyes we have grouped together the better our chances."

Laughing to himself at there share concern, Jarrett sighed then spoke, sounding deadpan, sarcastic and comically irritated. "But if there's the possibility of a dragon down here, we'll be safe to split right?" His expression made it clear he wouldn't let that go. "I vote right. It's more likely the immediate threat."

"Sorry for the shock!"

Hearing those words from Ash lit the positive thoughts of his mind, and it seemed to push his other side further away. It was a certainly a confusing personal situation for the Templar, but at least he could control a part of himself, for now. "No problem." Von said, giving a more cheerful smile and a thumbs up. Turning back to their leader and Anso, he gave a more respectful nod to the two, especially Calien, before leaving the conversation.

Walking around the encampment, the mood was as dark as the environment. Some of the dwarves seemed to have a fire in their eyes, while others seemed to beg for death to come for them, or as known in their culture, return them to the stone. Yet as seen before, would that be anything good for them, or would they become another specter in the eternal war that seemed to plague parts of the Deep Roads?

This place was a lesson to everyone, that anywhere and everywhere can be dark and full of monsters. Shaking those dark thoughts out of his mind, Von found the supplies, took a couple of health potions, a shield, and knelt down for the rest of the preparation time, praying for everyone within this place. Feeling his heart lighter than before, the group departed for deeper paths.

The time seemed to pass both fast and slow, for some areas, Von was calm and steady, other times he was alert, looking upon every shadow for those fiendish Shrieks to come out to fight. It soon came to him that this is the definition of "living nightmare". Looking upon Ash, the Templar could tell the Lyrium was affecting him as well. While it may sound different, Lyrium had a scratching sound, as if the addiction was just begging to taste a little bit.

Coming to the point where vials of red Lyrium decorated the half-chewed bodies of Darkspawn, Von was biting on his own finger. Instead of light scratching, it was violent clawing that echoed within his head. Letting go of his index finger, Von bit his lip. In his position of the pack, he was several paces behind Ash, and a couple in front of Kari. While the human felt somewhat annoyed of her attitude before, right now, he shared the feelings she wore. Von's body couldn't help but tense up as his mind wondered what did this.

The group continued on, and as they drew away from the red Lyrium, the soft scratching came back, and to Von, that was a dream in itself. When the group came across the split path, blood, and the possible feeling of blood magic, the Templar started muttering silent prayers.

"Which way do we go? Or do we split up here?"

Easily thinking up on his own decision, it seemed that everyone shared Von's thoughts. A larger pack was a safer pack, at least when it came to the hordes of Darkspawn that seemed to hide forever in the damned cave networks. Lifting his own lantern, Von could spot the monster marks, and that only sent a worse shiver down his spine. Blood magic and a giant monster, it spelled nothing good. Not only that, but combined with the element of Darkspawn and the eternal maze that is the Deep Roads, it was as if hope to see the sun again was thinning out.

"But if there's the possibility of a dragon down here, we'll be safe to split right?"

"If we're forced to. As I was talking about with Calien, those Shrieks could be anyway, waiting for us to depart from one another, and that... well, you don't want." Von spoke up, his face somewhat determined, and somewhat afraid. It took him a second, but he became a lot more calmer. "I too... would like the pack to stick together. Also, the right path seems better. Red Lyrium only seems to, worsen, my problem."

"Which way do we go?" Calien asked, glancing between Ash and the rogues "or do we split up here?"

"Well, much 's I'd like ta see what's holdin' all that red Lyrium," Berund began, scratching his scruffy chin with eyes turned towards the path on the left as he considered the possibilities. His gaze returned to Calien and offered a shrug and a wide smile. "But, consensus seems ta point in the opposite direction, s'pose right it'll have ta be. 'Sides, I'm far more inclined to meet what's been killin' the 'spawn is such great swaths and personally shake its hand."

"But, consensus seems ta point in the opposite direction, s'pose right it'll have ta be. 'Sides, I'm far more inclined to meet what's been killin' the 'spawn is such great swaths and personally shake its hand."

"Right it is then, since we're all agreed," Calien said, returning Berund's broad grin with a nervous smile of his own "I suppose the lyrium isn't going anywhere after all."

Slowly the group began to move down the tunnel, walking past steadily deepening claw marks and the growing stench of darkspawn blood. Foul magic could be felt in the air itself, sounds of chanting a magic incantation spoken in a guttural voice, alongside the tearing and chewing of flesh. Then at last the tunnel widened into a vast chamber, broken columns and mosaics were scattered on the ground and in the center of it all stood a pile of darkspawn corpses. Feasting on them was a monster unlike anything the group had ever seen.

It stood almost ten feet tall and was much longer, the closest animal it could be compared to would be a centipede or perhaps a spider. A long body plated with natural armor with numerous insectoid legs jutting from it, jagged fragments of red lyrium broke the otherwise smooth black chitin. The only part of the thing that was not covered in this armor was its face, which was white flesh caked in filth and blood, like some toad-like approximation of a human face. The thing's legs ended in vicious claws, and some legs were much longer than others, these raked through the pile of bodies slicing them into thin strips and delivering the foul meat to the beasts maw. Any familiar with the events of the darkspawn raids some ten years ago might recognize this thing as one of 'the children' but even for those creatures it was huge.

It was not alone in the room however, a single hurlock emissary stood nearby, chanting its spell. With each word and gesture power resonated through the air, and the flesh of the monstrous 'childer' seemed to flow as the spell washed over it. Such a spell was surely more complex than what an ordinary darkspawn was capable of and the emissary was utterly absorbed in it, just as the monster was in its meal leaving the group unnoticed for the time being.

Berund took it upon himself to maintain a strong lead, occasionally stopping to examine the deep gouges in the stone walls. He knew not many creatures could make those sort of markings, at least of those that dwelled in the Roads. They weren't the signs of crude tool work. They were made as mindlessly as footprints in the dirt. The same could be said for the swaths of darkspawn blood that painted the tunnel. There was little difference in the markings than the crushed bramble made from a bear in search for berries. But this creature's appetite was for something gruesome. And the dwarf had a feeling that it was none too particular about who it ate.

When the group moved into the clearing, Berund observed the beast's feasting from a cautious distance. He'd heard of The Children in his time in the Legion but until now hadn't seen one for himself. It was far uglier than any stories had described. And far more harrowing. He was thinking of his first move as he wrung his hands around the shaft of his maul. He was going to take the initiative while there was opportunity. Finally his hands rested and he took a deep breath. He knew what to do.

"How's this fer a handshake?" Berund muttered as he took a few paces forward. His strides were great in length and in the same motion he raised his hands over his head with the maul at his back. On his last step forward, throwing all his strength and weight into his movement, he swung his arms forward and loosed the maul from his grip. His weapon was propelled through the air, almost singing as it flew.

The maul struck the emissary in the back with a loud CLANG that reverberated throughout the cavern, interrupting the spell and nearly flooring the hurlock. It staggered as it recovered, muttering curses at the dwarf's intrusion. It raised a jagged gloved finger towards the former Legionnaire, accusatory and spiteful.

"Yeah, that's right, ye gibberish-spouting bug charmer," Berund shouted, withdrawing his axes with a dexterous twirl and a quick flick of the wrists as he steadily walked towards the emissary. "Me."

Watching the back of the group as they moved on, Kari got more and more uneasy as they advanced. It wasn't so much the dark, the ever deepening gouges or even the Maker damned stench; it was the thought of dying down here. She'd grown up and lived in the woods, only even visiting the small town near her home infrequently, so finding herself surrounded by stone on all sides was starting to get to her.

Easy girl, She thought. You could handle Val Royaux. You can handle this; at least on the Deep Roads you know who your enemies are. Giving herself a mental shake to steady her mind, she caught up with the others. "By the Dread Wolf!" She muttered softly as she saw the Hurlock and the...thing...that was obviously responsible for all the dead 'spawn.

Okay, Von suppresses the... Her line of thought was brought to a screaming halt as Berund charged forward and nailed the emissary with his flying hammer. "I swear to any Gods listening, if we survive this I'm going to beat that man to death with his own hammer." She growled. She'd been hoping to do w something similar to what Berund had fucked up last time; get the mage focused down quickly by most of the party while the remaining members kept the heavy weight distracted.

Tightening her grip she moved forward, towards the insect-like abomination. "Von, Jarrett, Cailen help that dumb fuck! Ash, Nola on me!" She shouted, breaking into a charge with her sword held forward like a spearman about to face a cavalry charge. Reaching the creature with haste, she attempted to drive her blade home in the soft spot between a leg and the body.

"Right it is then, since we're all agreed, I suppose the lyrium isn't going anywhere after all."

"I'd rather not go there at all," Ash admitted, then went to follow. He was very well aware of that they were going in the likely most dangerous direction, but it didn't scare him much. It worried him, sure, but fear was a difficult emotion to him.

The most frightening out there is in the fade, after all.

Even so, he knew that dying was not on his list of things to do, and that he would rather keep being frightened than dying. Sometimes, he wondered if he wasn't just being a little too stubborn, perhaps it would be better to just give up.

Ashtalan stopped in his thought and walk, as he noticed the darkspawn. One attempting to do something with blood magic, the other being a large insect-like creature he had never seen before. Whatever the emissary was doing, it was affecting the creature, the flesh flowing, pulsing, along with the chanting. His initial reaction was to wait, perhaps listen to one of the others giving him a task, but instead, as he saw Berund attack the emissary, he decided to use blood-magic, try to hold the larger creature paralyzed so that the dwarf wouldn't get himself murdered.

"Von, Jarrett, Cailen help that dumb fuck! Ash, Nola on me!"

"Already on it," Ash replied, feeling his control over the blood inside the creature, ripping at it and boiling it, forcing the creature to stand still. Or at least he hoped it would be sufficient. Ash kept his distance as he attacked it, he didn't particularly like the idea of having blood magic used on him either. Still, his eyes was kept on the large... bug-like, armoured thing.

What in Andraste's bloody name is that?

He was curious, but he also sort of wanted it dead, and kept holding it in place. He was careful not to mess too much with the blood where Kari was aiming, would be rather terrible if she got boiling blood all over her, after all.

Last thing she needs is a boiling blood shower.

Well, at least it was on the list of things she probably would not appreciate.

"Right it is then, since we're all agreed, I suppose the lyrium isn't going anywhere after all."

"We can only hope now," Jarrett said uneasily. "Something could move it, so let's hurry."

"I'd rather not go there at all."

"But would you rather let the lyrium fester and harm?" Jarrett said as he moved by Ash towards the front of the group, not stopping to look the mage in the eye.

As the group continued on and noticed the emissary and the monster next to it Jarrett stopped dead in his tracks. "That maggot..." So disgusted by the thing in front of them, his body and voice became devoid of emotion. Jarrett's only visible movement being his eyes tracking the monster and the reveal of his hidden blades held between his fingers. On the inside however, he could think of nothing but ripping such a monstrosity in as many cruel ways as possible. Lost in thought for but a second, his eyes instantly shifted to Berund making his move, curious as to what the dwarf's "plan" might be.

"Von, Jarrett, Cailen help that dumb fuck! Ash, Nola on me!"

"Von give me an opening first." Not bothering to complain aloud that Kari had asked him to deal with the emissary instead of the monster, Jarrett calmly walked into the shadows. Now hidden, he moved into a small jog approaching the Hurlock, waiting for the prime opportunity.

Everything from before was quickly thrown out of mind, as the monstrosity came into sight. Now the Templar's thoughts remained on the insect-like beast. To put it plain and simple, it was something out of a myth, tale, or a fast spreading nightmare. Yet this was something of flesh, blood, and something beyond the veil of reality. If anyone wasn't somewhat shocked at the being, Von would have the nerve to call them a monster, for no race, surface or Deep Road, could see this thing as normal.

Trying to keep the thing in his sights, the sudden moves of Berund had all eyes on him. Witnessing the dwarf charge into a very different battle scenario, the Templar had no idea to call him courageous, or insanely stupid. Right now, the latter spoke to him, and judging reactions, many shared the thought. "Oh... so much for a plan, eh?" He jested half out of anger, and half out of fear.

"Von, Jarrett, Cailen help that dumb fuck! Ash, Nola on me!"

"...Yeah... yeah, I'm fine with that order." He muttered to the Qunari. Within a flash, his blades were out, and he entered the fight, but not before spotting Ash, and his extreme power concentrated on the unknown monster. A growing respect fell upon Von, so as his figure rushed by, he spoke up. "I don't care what others say anymore, if that magic can hold that thing in place, it is a damn godsend!" Von said before charging by with a somewhat confident chuckle.

"Von give me an opening first."

Hearing the elf's voice, he shook his head. "I hate orders, but I'm on it." Von called out, replacing one sword for his little shield he borrowed earlier. His steps fell heavy as he approached Berund and his confrontation against the Emissary, yet with a hard pound against the stone, he launched himself into the air. With a twist of his body and wrist, the shield was shot forth towards the Darkspawn magic user. As the Templar landed, a noise described as THUNK, could be heard by the trio in the area.

Looking back upon the fight, the shield was on the ground, but the Emissary now had a dent in his head, and stumbled as if he challenged a dwarf to a drinking challenge. "Jarrett, kill it!" He called out, knowing that he wouldn't even need to say such a thing. At the moment, Von certainly had the urge to 'relay' both his and Kari's feelings, but he felt it would be something better to do after the fight.

"I hate orders, but I'm on it."

With the order underway, Jarrett's body language regained significant motion and he started quietly giggling with glee. Stopping in his tracks as Von delivered his attack Jarrett stood a few meters away from the emissary. He then began to position his feet at an angle ready to dash behind the Hurlock as the shield Von threw fell to the ground. With the dent in the Hurlock's head, all subtlety was abandoned and Jarrett's laughter echoed throughout the cave loud and maniacal.

"HeheheAHHAH! Weakling, Weakling, WEAKLING!" And flicking his fingers a storm of small blades flew forward at the dent. Leaping with his right foot and drawing his primary daggers before the blades hit their mark, it didn't take more than a moment to get in position for a back attack. With a true maniac's laugh he lunged at the Hurlock's skull, hoping to slam the small blades deeper by forcing the Hurlock forward.

Nola felt unsettled at best when she saw the creature. Darkspawn were horrendous, Darkspawn mages were worse, but this thing? This was a whole different story. Her grip had tightened on her blade as they approached, a plan forming in her head on how to deal with this disturbing pair. Of course none of her plans involved Berund throwing his hammer at the Emmesaries head. He was getting reckless, someone was going to have to have a talk with the ex-Legionnaire. And if Calien didn't she would.

"Von, Jarrett, Cailen help that dumb fuck! Ash, Nola on me!"

"Right behind ya." She called as Kari charged forward. She brought her shield up and began to circle around the insectoid darkspawn, the flat of her blade ringing against the wall of metal. She then lashed out with her own blade, striking at the closest joint in the Darkspawns spindly leg. She fully intended to get as much of an opening for Kari's blade as she could.

The maul took the emissary off its feet disrupting the spell entirely, incoherent yelling filled the air as the creatures incantation changed to a string of curses. Even as it heaved itself to its feet a shield struck it, leaving a bloody gash on the monster's forehead. Hate glimmered in the creature's eyes even as dark blood ran from the wound and it slammed its twisted metal staff onto the ground, surrounding itself in a barrier of pure force off of which Jarrett's blades bounced harmlessly. Protected for the moment but seemingly unable to attack from within its barrier the monster caught its breath, eyes flashing over the group.

"Kill them Child," it said to the Childer "rend their flesh, the Last commands it."

Its meal disturbed the Childer let out a bone rattling shriek, staggering the group with the sound of it. Then it moved, faster than one would have thought possible given its size, sweeping away Kari's blade with a nimble swipe and turning to face the Qunari. It raised two of the larger legs to attack when Ash's spell struck it. It convulsed in pain, blood leaking from around the red lyrium crystals that studded its hide and began to thrash back and forth slashing out at random. Nola's clanging gained some measure of its attention in its pained state and it wheeled to face the dwarf.

"You DARE raise your hands against the last Child of the Mother?" the emissary hissed indignantly at Ash "you will suffer!"

The advantage seemed to be theirs, with the new opening Kari's blade found a soft spot and blood oozed from the wound she left, Calien circled around behind the sphere of force ready to pounce on the emissary when his defenses ended, and the Childer staggered from the injured leg leading its swipes to glance off of Nola's shield only shredding off a strip of the steel rather than the dwarf herself. But then something changed, the lyrium crystals pulsed with crimson lightning and Ash could feel his spell's effects thrown off of the creature. The blood oozing from its wounds began to crystalize into more of the wretched substance and the monster let out another screech as its strength renewed.

The emissary cackled as this took place, its voice barely audible over the shrieks of the monster "The Child is invincible!" he declared "It will end you all! You, the dwarves, the wardens, the Mother will be avenged!"

"You DARE raise your hands against the last Child of the Mother? You will suffer!"

"You just dare trying!" he replied, but he felt a bit unsure of whether it was a good idea to taunt the creature. Especially if it was capable of blood-magic.

I'd rather not have it turned on me, thank you very much.

As Ashtalan felt his magic twist, and the blood crystalize, he ended his magic. It was almost instinctively, akin to when you touched a hot surface and withdrew your hand. A completely natural reaction, though one that made him curse under his breath. Yet again, there was something to ruin his magic, control him and make him close to useless.

"The Child is invincible! It will end you all! You, the dwarves, the wardens, the Mother will be avenged!"

More words, what a cocky creature.

As if we'd let you do that.

For a moment, he didn't think about it, but suddenly it dawned upon him.

"Is that... darkspawn talking?" He was too used to demons talking to consider it strange at first. "Isn't that..." he trailed off, there was always time for questions later. Ash drew his short-sword, and pointed it at the emissary.

"I can't do anything but to either keep my distance and keep using blood magic against the childer in order to ensure he can't afford to stop twisting it and attack any of us, or try to cut that guy. Use me as you see fit," he said, looking towards both Kari and Calien. Ash could act on his own, but he wanted to ensure there was a sense of order.

As Jarrett was moving to finish the emissary, it erected a barrier that repelled the attacked. Jarrett jumped back a few steps wanting to re-evaluate the situation and be wary of any possible counterattack. Raising an eyebrow in curiosity as the creature healed, he decided to test just how potent this was.

"The Child is invincible! It will end you all! You, the dwarves, the wardens, the Mother will be avenged!"

"More ways to defeat something than killing. That barrier of yours, how long can it last? Look around, you're surrounded. Even if this 'child' lives, you can't hope to survive. But personally..." With eyes focused turned on what he guessed was the Child's smallest leg, Jarrett launched his chain at the leg and leapt through the air.

"MY hope is that you live long enough just to despair!" Tackling the leg with full force, Jarrett drew his main weapons and launched an unforgiving chain attacks against the same spot before jumping into merciless strike against it. Before the blades fell against the monster, Jarrett was careful to keep his mouth shut as he was almost bursting with anticipation. He thought to himself, "Since it can, how deeply can it bleed? Deep enough to lose a leg perhaps!"

Staying in constant motion, Kari parried a blind kick and took a few slices at soft spots as the opportunities presented themselves. While the Childr's attention was directed at Nola, she used the moment to catch her breath, and ready herself. Backing off a bit, she switched to a 'half-sword' grip and charged to creature, bellowing as loud as she could.

Slamming into one of its hind legs as hard as she could, she rammed the tip of her blade into a soft spot, before lunging away to clear its counter-attack. As the beast turned towards her, she thrust with an archer-like accuracy towards an eye on its abomination of a human face. The threats of the cowering Emissary were drowned out by the sound of her heartbeat pounding in her ears.

About to attack alongside with Jarrett, Von stop as he pulled his sizzling dagger out. Each of the metallic blades bounced off harmlessly, and the Emissary was safe inside its cowardly bubble. The Templar spat on the ground. "Damn coward, allowing this beast..." He started yelling, but took a single look at the battle against the monster. It seemed well for the rest of the group, for now, but this man was supporting it. "...To fight for you!" He bellowed, and surprisingly, the Darkspawn twisted its lips.

"Kill them Child,"
"Is that... darkspawn talking?"

"Maker... I've heard the stories, but it is true. There are intelligent Darkspawn." Von said to nobody in particular, but the clarification of this tall tale sent a shiver down his spine. "I'd hate to imagine that the Darkspawn have grown intelligent." He muttered, but his mind came back to the battle and he started running to the battle against the thing known as "the Child". Then the scratching started again, the hard noise echoing within the Templar's eardrums. Stopping immediatly, he gazed on, quickly spotting the Red Lyrium that decorated its hide. "Maker damn the thing that made the red mineral!" He yelled.

"It will end you all! You, the dwarves, the wardens, the Mother will be avenged!"

The Emissary mocked within his own prison, and Von's eyes turned into rage. This thing made fun of the group, making use of a beast that should no exist, for its very design was joke against life. Ignoring the urge to bring The Child down to annoy the Darkspawn Mage, but the shining blades of the Templar faced the Emissary. "Maybe, but it will end for you first!" Von said to the Darkspawn, taking a careful look at Ash, and immediately charged, muttering several phrases before picking up the dropped shield, and immediately stopping in front of the force shield.

Thrusting his palm towards it, the Lyrium within the Templar was drawn, to blown away all magic around the Darkspawn, taking down the shield. Von then finally ended it by using the momentum to once again throw the shield at the Darkspawn, but at extremely close range. "Say goodnight!"

Berund looked at the emissary in mild shock. Apparently gibberish wasn't the only language it could speak. Either way, he wasn't prepared to allow it to continue speaking much longer. That was until it raised a barrier that deflected even the elf's blades. It was a strong one, that much was certain.

The dwarf turned his gaze towards the Childer, the red crystals pulsating with electricity. His eyes narrowed onto the glowing gems as it lashed out with its gaining strength. Jewelry doesn't suit you, worm, thought Berund as he turned his axes around. He charged the beast at a dead run and leapt onto its back. He dug the pick of an ax deep between two chitinous plates of the creature, holding it firmly like a bucking horse's bridle.

Berund held fast against the Childer's thrashing, though with no small amount of effort. When he managed to keep himself steady, he struck with the pick of his free ax, wedging it beneath the flesh that encapsulated the Red Lyrium crystal. The dwarf pulled and pried in an attempt to loose the glowing rock. But it didn't give way. He withdrew the pick and struck the gem forcefully with the narrow point, swinging like a miner that spotted the glint of gold. Hoping he rattled some slack in the socket, he planted the pick again and continued to pry. "C'mon, budge, ye bleedin' bastard!!"

Nola was thankful the thing stumbled as it's claws lashed out at her. Judging from the sharp scream of steal metal rending and the sliver of metal she saw rise over the edge of her shield, that thing would have sliced right through her armor. This only made her angry. She had just finished this shield damn it, and now this thing was cutting through it like wet parchment. "Ancestors damn creature! I just made this!" She called angrily, not backing down. She lashed out with her blade at what she could only guess what was the things face. Followed quickly by a bash from her shield, her aim to make the thing stagger back on those spindly legs.

"I can't do anything but to either keep my distance and keep using blood magic against the childer in order to ensure he can't afford to stop twisting it and attack any of us, or try to cut that guy. Use me as you see fit,"

"Focus on the Childer!" Calien called, while he himself remained behind the emissary, waiting for a lull in its defenses.

Jarrett's onslaught of blows, while impressive, had no effect on the shimmering barrier of pure force. Each glanced harmlessly off of the barrier causing nothing more than brief flashes of light from their impact. Von's powers however had a noticeably greater effect, the shield of force vanished all at once and the emissary stumbled backwards for a moment, barely managing to deflect the thrown shield with its metal staff even then having the thing clip it in the side staggering it further. Calien siezed the opportunity and pounced aiming to drive his blade into the creature's back. It's armor deflected the blow into its shoulder and he drew blood but the emissary turned and with monstrous strength grabbed him and flung him aside.

Hissing with anger the injured darkspawn was pushed back on the defensive by Jarrett's renewed assault, temporarily deprived of its magic all it could do was fend off his blows with its staff though the elf was steadily gaining ground inflicting ever greater cuts on the monster.

Meanwhile Kari's blade bit deep into the Child's face, striking bone and being deflected by it. Nola joined in on the effort and the creature emitted yet another horrifying scream, this time seeming to shake the very ground. Berund's strike to the lyrium crystals however sent the beast reeling, stumbling to the side as though struck by much more force than the dwarf had mustered. Black, toxic blood seeped from the broken crystal, and red lightning crackled from the things hide shooting off at random into the air, striking the ceiling and cracking the stone itself leaving angry red scars in the rock that seemed to spread as the stone weakened. The Emissaries eyes widened briefly at this, and then he called up what magic he had left to throw back his attackers turning to run as the cavern ceiling began to crumble.

"Fall back!" Calien called out "we don't want to be crushed!"

The Child, still reeling from the blows it had suffered, scurried back with incredible speed as the rocks fell down around and upon it. Soon enough nothing remained of their battleground but a wall of stone and rubble separating them from their foes.

Calien exhaled deeply, shaking from the adrenaline of the fight "Somehow I think it's too much to hope they were crushed," he said "is everyone alright? Anyone know what in Andraste's name that was?"

Kari let out a snarl of triumph as her blade bit, but it turned to disgust as she realized she's missed her target. Clearing away to avoid a potential counter-attack, she was about to launch another strike, when the cavern started to shake. "By the Dread Wolf!" She yelped as a fist sized stone bounced of her helm.

"Fall back! We don't want to be crushed!"

She didn't have to be told twice, as she scampered clear of the falling rocks she saw the creature scuttle to safety. Once the dust had settled a bit, and it was obvious their opponents were nowhere to be found, she sat on a convenient, former, chunk of ceiling.

"Somehow I think it's too much to hope they were crushed, is everyone alright? Anyone know what in Andraste's name that was?"

Unfortunately, she shared Cailen's opinion; there was no way they were that lucky. "I'm good." She replied, spitting some inhaled rock dust on the floor. "I saw some pretty fucked up things during the Blight, but Andraste's Puckered Asshole, I've never seen anything like that." As she spoke, she couldn't help but look towards the two Dwarves...hopefully one of them knew something.

"Focus on the Childer!"

Ash nodded, and again, focused his blood magic upon the weird creature. It was an uncomfortable feeling, letting his magic get twisted on purpose, and while he was hesitant to simply let it happen, he pushed through it. Every now and then, he changed the shape of it, and, when the emmissary was occupied or simply not quick enough to react, he managed to do some damage.

I'm not helpless, even in front of this guy.

That was good, at least. In the meanwhile, the others battled the Childer, with Ash standing the furthest apart. There was little reason for him to move, and instead he stood mostly still, feeling the chills of the creature's screams, but none of the fair. Suddenly, Calien told them to get back, and Ash nodded. He had no difficulties getting away from the cave in when the emissary made a rather dangerous mistake. Suddenly, the battle was over.

That's... a bit anticlimatic, isn't it?

Of course, it didn't seem like the enemies had been defeated, too few pained screeches for that.

"Somehow I think it's too much to hope they were crushed. Is everyone alright? Anyone know what in Andraste's name that was?"

"Shouldn't we... do something about it?" Ash asked, as he started patching up the slice in his arm. He had acted a little too quickly, and cut a little too deep. It had helped during the battle, but now it caused him to go so far as to drink another of his health potions.

Running a bit low now.

He could always make new ones, if he got the time. As he looked at the others, he took a few steps while still standing in the same position, trying to shake off a bit of nervousness. "Or at least get out of here. We're not certain they can't get through, should they be aggravated enough. Though, I think the most dangerous thing is what exactly will happen if we do let it survive..." he looked at the others. Could they even chase after it? Would it be worth it?

"I don't know," he then said, seemingly out of nowhere. "I think we should do something, at least. Not just stand around and act all horrified. It wasn't... it wasn't that scary. A bit strange, but not scary."

Nola's head shot up to watch the first few bits of sealing crumbling down. She looked back to the Childer with a growl as Cailen called for the retreat. She didn't want to let this abomination go, but getting herself squashed trying to kill the damn thing wasn't gonna help anyone. She turned and ran with the rest of the group. When they made it to safety, she put her hands on her hips as she breathed heavily. She looked back at the collapsed cavern, and began to laugh. "Oh by the Ancestors! I missed this!" She said happily. "Not the darkspawn mind you, could do with out those creepy bastards, but this? The dark, the warmth, even the cave ins! Any chance the Inquisitor wants to set up a base underground?"

"I saw some pretty fucked up things during the Blight, but Andraste's Puckered Asshole, I've never seen anything like that." Nola shook her head with a shrug. "Sorry, those damn things are new to me. I've heard rumors about the talking 'spawn but I always dismissed them a drunkin ramblings."

"I think we should do something, at least. Not just stand around and act all horrified. It wasn't... it wasn't that scary. A bit strange, but not scary."

"Well sure we're gonna do something about it. But even with magic it's gonna take a while to dig through that." She said jerking a thumb towards the cave in. "Frankly it be easier to go around and hope we run into it again so we can kill it, if it even survived."

Leaping away from the Child after his final strike Jarrett then begrudgingly retreated as the area began to collapse. He laughed at the situation. "It's not over! This opportunity will only serve to throw you deeper into the despair of failure!" Jarrett cried out mockingly towards the emissary as the ceiling finished collapsing.

"I saw some pretty fucked up things during the Blight, but Andraste's Puckered Asshole, I've never seen anything like that."

"Sorry, those damn things are new to me. I've heard rumors about the talking 'spawn but I always dismissed them a drunkin ramblings."

"Same with me on Nola's first point. Darkspawn were never something I thought would concern me. My interests lie in dealing with... other threats." He gave a brief chuckle at the last bit. He knew that with his introduction to thinking darkspawn rampaging for insane interests, the threats he discussed weren't too different.

"I think we should do something, at least. Not just stand around and act all horrified. It wasn't... it wasn't that scary. A bit strange, but not scary."

"Agreed that we need to do something but I'm sorry to suggest we take the other path with the lyrium. With the crystals in that Child, I don't want it getting near any more lyrium."

Seeing the outcome of his projectile attack, a smirk immediately began to grow on the Templar's face. It almost made no effect, but with Calien making a sneak attack, it all made it worth while. Von quickly gave the Antivan Agent a thumbs up for the effort, but a counter was quickly launched, and the Inquisition Agent was simply thrown away. "Curse it. You damn talking demon!" Von spat, and began to take several quick steps towards the Emissary.

That was when red lightning struck.

"Fall back!"

The command was quickly issued towards the group, and Von managed to take a single glance at the ceiling before dashing away. It was an annoying maneuver that saved their lives. Still, the Templar was annoyed, for they faced a monster that goes beyond anything they have faced. In Von's eyes, it was something that should not exist, not in this world, the fade, or even the Black City itself. Barely avoiding contact with the falling rocks, and with a final roll, he was reunited with everyone.

Breathing deeply, Von quickly placed his weapons back into their homes, and took a swig of water. Ah, and there goes that nice shield, Von though as he gazed at the cave-in. Turning back to the group, he made a shrug. "Red Lyrium, talking Darkspawn, and a monster straight from a book. Ah, what a lovely day this has become." He said with straight sarcasm, which turned to a sigh. "All I know, is that we should kill it and that talking darkspawn. I... I don't know how to describe it, I feel that it shouldn't exist." Von said with a grim tone, before going silent.

Tried as he may have, Berund just simply couldn't keep a firm seat on the beast once it thrashed in agony. He was thrown from its back and he scraped across the cavern floor on his back, his axes skittering to a stop just ahead of him. Sitting up and looking on, he watched as lightning shot up from the open wound-the energy striking the ceiling and coursing through the stone like poison through veins.

"Fall back!" Calien called out. "We don't want to be crushed!"

"Don't need to tell me twice," the dwarf muttered as he jumped to his feet. He sheathed his axes and dashed towards the escape, plucking his maul from the floor as he ran. He was nearly crushed by falling rocks but fortunately avoided being crushed beneath the rubble.

"Is everyone alright? Anyone know what in Andraste's name that was?"

"Seems all is accounted for, save for peace of mind I think," said Berund as he dusted himself off. "As for what that was, somethin' I've never seen in all my time on the Roads. Though I have heard stories. And paired with what that bug-charmer was mouthin' off about, it's definitely not somethin' we want alive for much longer. Pray that it was crushed beneath all those rocks, because much as I want to see it dead, I'm not about to dig through all that."

Calien listened to the groups comments, seeming relieved that none of them were severely hurt, though the fact that none of them knew what the creature was seemed to visibly trouble him.

"Agreed that we need to do something but I'm sorry to suggest we take the other path with the lyrium. With the crystals in that Child, I don't want it getting near any more lyrium."

"Yes," he said "that was our original objective wasn't it? Hopefully we can manage it before those ghosts rise again. Talking darkspawn and whatever that thing was, as if we didn't have enough freakish things to deal with down here."

He shook his head then began to lead the way back down the tunnel, knowing what sort of monster had left the claw marks in the wall did little to ease his nerves but still he moved quickly as quietly towards where they had sensed the crystals before. Red light, disturbing and unnatural, began to light the tunnels as they drew closer and the sensitive members of the group could hear the song louder and louder. Finally they reached their destination, emerging into a large room to find a horrid sight.

The room looked to once have been a mining site, and at some point a shelter for dwarves fleeing the lost thaig. Their skeletons lingered still piled in a corner. Flesh did not decay under the influence of the taint, so poisonous it was that it prevented even the microbes that cause decomposition, so scraps of it clung still to some of the gnawed bones. In the center of the room a vein of lyrium, still largely blue and uncorrupted, lay exposed, creeping up the walls in places though fortunately it was solid and the air itself seemed clear of its influence. Standing atop it though there was a pillar of red lyrium, growing from the bodies of darkspawn, some still twitching as the crystals engulfed them and grew down into the lyrium vein. Not all those who had been consumed to make the pillar were darkspawn though, a few dwarves, largely dead, were among the pile though one could be heard muttering incoherently.

"the song, the song I can hear it," he said, his feverish mutterings filling the room.

"Poor bastard," Calien said, face twisting into a disgusted expression "someone should put him out of his misery. How do we go about destroying this though? I doubt my bombs would do enough..."

As they pushed deeper into the caves, and the eerie red light began to grow, Kari began to feel more and more uneasy. "This is wrong..." She muttered. Finding the remains of the miners, and the red lyrium growing out of both darkspawn and dwarves, did little to dissuade her feelings of unease.

"The song, the song I can hear it..."

"Maker save us...he's still alive." She'd seen some terrible things in her life, especially after having lived through a Blight, but this...this was a whole new level of just plain wrong.

"Poor bastard, someone should put him out of his misery. How do we go about destroying this though? I doubt my bombs would do enough..."

Kari's armour rattled slightly, as a shudder of revulsion ran through her. "You're right..." Readying her blade, she walked over to the encased dwarf and stopped, the tip levelled at his chest; turning slightly, she looked back at Berund and Nola. "Do either of you want to say something?" She asked softly.

Nola stared at the surroundings her head swiveling to try and take it all in. Once more she was glad she had her helmet on. It hid the horror that no doubt had slid across her face. This.....this was wrong. She couldn't think of anything that described it better. Somehow this was worse than even the Darkspawn.

"The song, the song I can hear it..."

She turned when she heard another voice, horrified that it was coming from a dwarf she had thought dead. "by the stone....." She mumbled, her grip tightening around the hilt of her blade.

"Poor bastard, someone should put him out of his misery. How do we go about destroying this though? I doubt my bombs would do enough..."

Nola nodded. She wanted to step forward and do it herself, but....she couldn't. Not until Kari stepped forward at least and put her blade to the dwarf's chest. "Do either of you want to say something?" Nola swallowed and stepped forward. If she couldn't put the man out of his misery, she could at least see him off the right way. She knelt by the dwarf and put her hand to the man's head. "Atrast Tunsha, Brother. Atrast tunsha. Totarnia amgetol tavash aeduc. Know that you are returning to the embrace of The Stone." She mumbled before gently brushing his eye closed.

Ashtalan frowned has he heard the others talk, deciding to head down the path with the Lyrium.

"Yes, that was our original objective wasn't it? Hopefully we can manage it before those ghosts rise again. Talking darkspawn and whatever that thing was, as if we didn't have enough freakish things to deal with down here."

"Do we have to?" Ash asked, he'd rather take his chances with this "Childer" than go through the passage of nothing but bad. Although, could they blame him? None of the others, not even Von, could sense it to the degree he could, the red Lyrium, the regular Lyrium, he didn't have to see it or even hear it to sense its presence. The red variation kept whispering, singing, while the clear one made it difficult to breathe. Eventually, it became a little too much for him -too much too quickly- and Ash covered his ears, cursing the others under his breath.

Stupid morons. Couldn't only some of us have gone in? Couldn't the rest just... wait outside the cave entrance, or...

Part of him wanted to close his eyes, he was seeing too much red around, pillars, while the walls had regular Lyrium veins everywhere.

"I don't want to be here," he whispered to himself, weakly, while looking at his feet. The caverns were tall, but he still kept his head down a little, as far away from the ceiling and walls as possible. "Can't we just leave?" He couldn't hear his own voice, nor any of the others, both because he was covering his ears, and because it did very little to keep the sound of the red Lyrium out. Ash ignored everything else, while he had spotted the pillar with the darkspawn and the Dwarves, it had not really stood out to him. Not now, not while in this state.

Entering the new area of the caves with everyone, Jarrett was unperturbed by the corpses but what little living remained caused him to go silent.

"The song, the song I can hear it..."

"This is..." Jarrett reacted with horror at what he saw, something he had seen many times at the end of his weapons. "...the face of true despair."

"Poor bastard, someone should put him out of his misery. How do we go about destroying this though? I doubt my bombs would do enough..."

"Grant me a moment, then you'll have me to destroy what you see fit." Jarrett past Nola after she was done with he assumed was a prayer and kneeled down close to the unknown dwarf. "Despair closes in but it needn't consume. Tell me your final wish, one to spread the last of your hope across Thedas." This was a charity he meant with all his heart but Jarrett was foolish and so he kept a weapon hidden ready to defend himself should the need arise.

"Atrast tunsha, Brother. Atrast tunsha. Totarnia amgetol tavash aeduc. Know that you are returning to the embrace of The Stone."

Kari lowered her sword while Nola gave the miner his last rites, she assumed. As she finished, Jarrett stepped in past Nola and said something Kari couldn't quite make out; the miner's lips moved softly committing his final words to the elf. Once Jarrett stepped back, Kari raised her sword once more, and with a sudden thrust drove her blade through the dwarf's heart.

Pulling it free, she made several large steps away from the corrupted lyrium. "What I wouldn't give for a draft wagon or three of gaatlok." She said, eyeing the crystals. To the best of her knowledge, she had no magical talents, but this stuff was making her skin itch just being near it.

Remembering the lingering red glow of the other path, Von desperately had to the urge to offer resistance, yet noticing his comrade's acceptance, he forcefully swallowed it down. Blasted, damn Darkspawn! His thoughts hissed, for they were the ones to make the group take such a path. It was as if the path to the Golden City was suddenly destroyed once again, all thanks to the dark beings. Biting his lips, the Templar sheathed his weaponry and flipped his hood over his head, awaiting for the worst to happen.

The tunnel, for others it might have been a uncomfortable walk in the shadows of the red glow, but Selthen, it was a bright red world, as if he had passed into the homeland of demons. His body felt hot and heavy, like if invisible fire licked at his form, hoping he would be cooked from the inside out. It wasn't even the worst part, for The Templar clutched at his head, as violent scratches clawed at his mind, trying to drag him over to their side. For a bit, Von muttered, "No, no, no..." softly.

Barely passing the urge to claw or stab his ear drums, Von was a experimental subject to those scratches, and soon enough, they sounded like voices, yelling at him, insulting him, and demanding that he came over to their side. Knowing what that would mean, the liquid of Lyrium and the return of them. He refused, and a couple of times he groped the walls, his fists tightening around rock, until he was forced to march on.

Soon enough, the group emerged into the nightmare cavern, which the Templar barely noticed, as he positioned himself away from the Red Lyrium caves, and dropped into a kneel. Quickly, the violent itching and scratching subsided, into a more gentle touch. For a fast second, he could swear that there was a song within that noise. Focusing his attention, his parched throat called for refreshment, and not the water kind. Ignoring its plea, Selthen pulled out his canteen and started drinking.

Finishing up with a satisfied gasp, he witnessed the look of the cavern. "Did we finally reach the Black City... heh." He huffed.

Berund looked on as the tainted dwarf was given his last rites and ultimately put out of his misery and would hopefully return to the Stone, no longer tormented by the songs of the red lyrium. He started to hear the songs himself, and there was something off about them. He'd heard lyrium songs before, but the songs of the red lyrium were just...unsound. Harrowing. He did his best to shake the singing from his mind and regain focus.

"Did we finally reach the Black City... heh."

"I think not, friend," Berund spoke softly. "Ye can be thankful for that." He paced around the cavern looking for ways to bring down the ceiling and bury the tainted gems for good. He'd almost wished that creature would show up again and give the room a good thrashing. It was a fleeting thought however. Of course he wasn't very keen on the idea of ever laying eyes on that monstrosity again. But the matter of what to do about the red lyrium remained.

The former Legionnaire's eyes fell upon some old mining equipment. He had no idea how long it had been since the tools were of any use, but he wondered if there was still some use for them yet. He inspected the walls of the cavern all the way up to the ceiling. Far from an experienced miner, Berund felt that it shouldn't be all that difficult to find something the resembled a weak spot. "Y'know, Calien, we mightn't need many of those bombs if we can find the right spot to put 'em. Least I wouldn't think we might."

Calien watched quietly, nodding his head respectfully as Kari gave the dwarf mercy. If the dwarf felt much pain he did not seem to express it, his eyes simply rolled back into his head and he fell limp and silent, around him the red lyrium cracked but did not shatter.

"Can't we just leave?"

"I forgot how dangerous lyrium is to you," Calien said, voice somber "go keep watch further down the tunnel Ash, we'll meet you there when we're done."

"Did we finally reach the Black City... heh."

"Too much red for that I'm afraid," Calien said, then perked up slightly as Berund offered a solution.

"Y'know, Calien, we mightn't need many of those bombs if we can find the right spot to put 'em. Least I wouldn't think we might."

"Truly? Do you think you could find these weak points? It would certainly beat hacking at this stuff with a sword," he fished around in his bag before offering a number of bombs to Berund, largely fire bombs mixed with a few lightning bombs "here's what I have."

Scanning the room there were certainly a number of faults and flaws in the crystal, even more since Kari's mercy killing had cracked it. Lyrium was unstable besides so an explosion could be doubly effective in destroying it, though potentially hazardous for those who were too close. Certainly at the very least an explosion would kick up lyrium dust into the air from the vein the red lyrium was growing on.

"---dangerous Lyrium is to you, go keep watch further down the tunnel Ash, we'll meet you there when we're done."

Ash hadn't noticed that Calien was talking to him at first, but then he removed his hands from his ears. He felt powerless, like a little child, but nodded. "Okay. I'll... I'll try to keep watch. I don't know how much I'll see... but then again, that's not really the point is it?" he chuckled, carefully. Everything was ringing in his ears, and his head had started to hurt, both due to the strain from the noises and visions, and because the red Lyrium seemed... to crack? Or something, he wasn't sure. "Sorry," he finally whispered, as he walked away from the others.

Eyes kept on the ground, he wandered as far as he felt he needed, and sat down, trying to keep watch, feet close to his torso and staff in his hands. Honestly though, he wasn't sure how far he had gone now. Not too far, he hoped, he hadn't walked for a long time. His mind was getting groggy, he felt an odd sort of sleepy, knowing the amount of Lyrium had messed with what balance he had in his mind. He wasn't going to run around stabbing people, of course not, but he felt like he might enter the state where he was unsure of whether it was real or not.

I told them I didn't want to go inside.

He frowned. Ash didn't want to be alone either, sitting out in the dark cave -illuminated partly by his staff-, hearing the song of the red Lyrium, and not being confident in his ability to know if something dangerous was going to happen or not.

I'll be fine Ash. You've survived this far, and it's only a short amount of time. I should... probably rest a little.

He closed his eyes, intending only to rest them a little. Slowly, however, he started falling deeper into sleep, pictures in his mind dancing far before he was actually asleep, dancing along to that particular melody.

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