Dragon Age: Whispers of the Past

Session Twenty-One
In which they go on a blood drive

As the party prepares to go off in search of the ancestral ruins, they are stopped by the arrival of the Grey Warden Kilina. Her offer to allow them to Join is expiring, and Lawren is forced to choose. He reaffirms his decision and receives his first instruction: attain a vial of Darkspawn blood. Not just any blood will do, however…the blood of a powerful being must be brought as well as that from a mere Genlock or Hurlock.

Conveniently enough, there is a hidden entrance into the Deep Roads within reasonable travelling range. Inconveniently, it lies in the exact opposite direction from the ruins where they had hoped to snatch the highly-coveted key.

The party swiftly marches off and finds the location from the map easily enough. A cavern leads them downward into the bared arms and teeth of a band of Hurlock with their blighted wolf companions. They were dispatched rather quickly and made their way deeper to encounter a much more interesting foe: An Ogre and it’s two Genlock companions.

These went down only slightly more painfully and, triumphant, the party returns and leave Lawren to the questionable attentions of the Warden.

His Joining consists of a cocktail of blood and lyrium, taken in secret away from his companions. He survives the ritual and, some hours later, returns to the rest, unchanged on the outside at least…

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Session Twenty
In which the party digs into Rolain dirty laundry

After succeeding in slaying the Wyvern and failing to see any sign whatsoever of Roselle, the party returns back to Val Royeaux to claim the victory for Lawren’s family. No sign of Roselle was seen on the way or heard of upon return and so, after returning and reporting victory to Lawren’s aunt, the party departs for his ancestral estate to use it as a base for seeking out the nearby temple where they hope to find the next key.

Once there, as Lawren asks around about visitors, the two Qunari dug into his family records. The pair soon find records of Lawren’s grandfather who had left the previous record. They find that he had enjoyed a long and somewhat tumultuous life, having been both an ambassador to Tevinter and, in subsequent years, chosen for the Wardens only to turn them down in the end.

More interesting than this discovery, however, is an old writ from Emperor Freyan of the Storm Age. This writ charged the Rolain family with the oversight and protection of the ruin in question (as well as all other ruins in their territory), a writ which the modern family appears to have been ignorant of and/or ignoring. Moreover, shortly after that date, all signs of that ruin were cleansed from the records in a notable fashion.

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Session Nineteen
In which the party is reminded magic is dangerous

The party meets Roselle and her people the next morning as plan. Her party is not quite as diverse, being mostly human (Orlaisian and Ferelden) with a Daelish archer among them. The Qunari make short work of distressing the poor Mage, Marden, within minutes by staring at him intently without much notice paid to the other two. A brief discussion of ‘keepers’ and references to Cayda’s growing stave collection serve to forever alienate the mage.

The rumors place the wyvern some distance away, leaving the group with a choice of how to reach the area, southeast of Verchiel. Still rich with Tourney winnings, the party secures a ferry ride across the Waking Sea toward the old road near Lydes. The trip proves blissfully dull and the party and their mounts arrive on the far coast none the worse for wear.

Travel overland goes somewhat well, though the party learns shortly that someone matching the description of Julien, Roselle’s roguish companion, has been seen here for a few days prior. Further bad news makes itself known as the party moves onward, only to learn that someone is trailing them for unknown purposes. Small towns along the way confirm their direction and soon enough they find their quarry…along and amidst traps by an unknown party.

The party soon realizes the wyvern has circled and was now stalking them. They used this to pick an ambush point. During the skirmish that followed, Lova draws upon her people’s path and brings forth a spirit of Valor to join her in battle, allowing for a swift and explosive end to the beast. Before it’s death it manages to bite and poison Lova but the party’s preparations ensure that the inconvenience is minor.

Just as the cleanup begins, however, Marden staggers toward them. The reason for his untimely demise is soon made clear as a Shriek and two Hurlocks follow him over the rise.
In an event that would prove in time to be the source of much internal, and potentially loud and vocal, debate, Cayda’s magic slips her control for the first time since her first spark of power. Lawren suffers the spell meant for their enemy and Mavi, for the first time since becoming Arvaarad, is forced to use the Saarebas’ control rod.

Through the supporting efforts of his comrades, Lawren is able in time to throw off the wracking affects of the magic. An argument ensues between Mavi and Lova over the Saarebas’ condition, an argument which does little if anything to console Cayda when she is able to control herself once more. After several minutes of terse exchange about the understanding of magic and, more specifically, the signs of an Abomination aborning, the party collects themselves enough to go searching for the rest of the ill-fated Marden’s party.

Not far distant, the group finds what remains of the mage and the elven archer. Only Roselle is missing, and larger-than-human tracks lead on and away…

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Session Eighteen
In which Lawren gets drawn into a Duel of sorts

After several weeks of travel from the ruins, the party arrives in Val Royeaux. Lawren’s family is quick to learn of his arrival and a summons from his Aunt comes in short order. After the briefest of pleasantries and some mistakes by a certain Avvar, Lawren learns that he has been chosen to defend the family lands from a neighboring family by means of a duel. His opponent is to be a woman named Roselle, a friend from childhood.

When Lawren and Roselle met, however, she was quick to propose a non-standard, and probably non-lethal, alternative to the traditional duel; a wyvern hunt, her companions against his, with the first to slay the beast the victor. After brief contemplation and the barest agreement from the party, Lawren agreed. After learning all they could of the creature they would fight, they purchased antidotes for the venom and prepared to march out first thing the next morning.

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Session Seventeen
In which the party dungeon crawls

The party, with the Saarebas exhausted, mystically-speaking, decides to rest and attempt to catch the foe unawares in the night. Though unmolested, the party feels itself under watch and confirms this fact when, upon awakening, they find the enemy well underway again.

As the party travels, however, the Qunari ponder their destination and, between them, come to the conclusion that the Tevinter must be headed to a ruin nearby. After trailing them to the ruin they pause and send Mavi in to scout. She sees what seem like surprisingly-unshambling-for-undead zombies and returns to the party to share what she’d seen: That they had, apparently, wiped out the Tevinter and were looking to kill a few more.

The party, after killing the Darkspawn with relative ease, follow the hapless Tevinter inside. The temple soon proves to be old and full of idolatry for the Old Gods. A stair, which had once been hidden beneath the altar, lies open. It leads to the reliquary, in which an altar holds something in a glass jar.

In front of the jar, the party find Claudia and a handful of guards, one of whom has a flailing Darkspawn on a collar. After a brief exchange of unpleasantries, the party and the Tevinter fall into lethal combat. Claudia and Cayda exchange a salvo of walking bombs (which Cayda won) while her raised undead and soldiers go after the rest. After the Magister exploded, her remaining guards fled, leaving the party to recapture the Darkspawn and crush the few remaining skeletons before surveying the room’s contents.

Amidst Claudia’s remains is a large locket with a key that fits the Qunaris’ book! Another, similar key sits besides parchment under glass on the altar at the room’s center. The text is in Orlesian, an older form, but too rolled together to read. After a bit of study, the group works out that the Darkspawn is somehow key and literally lob the bleeding creature at the warded globe’s direction. It’s blood shatters the globe and the party reclaims the prizes.

Lawren reads the note, realizing to his amazement that it was drafted by his own great-grandfather. It says, simply, “Never again, you Tevinter bastards.”

Meanwhile the Qun quickly unlock two of the padlocks on their mysterious book, leaving it still held closed by two keys.

As they explore the remains further, they find a mystical map. Five locations are marked, with the party’s location being one of them. The known lyrium repository has a marker and two other spots, Orlais and Kirkwall, gleam faintly. The final spot, in Ferelden, is dim.

Given that one of their number comes from Orlais ,the party agrees to venture to that location first.

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Session Sixteen
In which the party tries to heat up a cold trail

The next day, after a supply run, the party manages to trace the departing Tevinter from two gates; one, the main body, headed north. The other, smaller group, went north-east. Anticipating that vengeance followed the lesser number, the party set out in that direction. Though starting later, the party was mounted whereas the Tevinter are not.

As the party catches up, they come across a party left arears to try and slow or stop them. Six lancers put up a good showing but the party rolls through them with relative ease. An hour or so later they come across a second band, this one far more dangerous than the first. Though fewer in number, this group includes a man as heavily armed and armored as Lova, with whom he quickly closes and participates in a duel of champions. Many blows were struck and much blood was spilled, yet in the end the party once again proved victorious.

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Session Fifteen
In which the party bonds with Dwarves via fighting.

With Shesalla’s words to spurt them away from their revels, the party departs posthaste toward the last known headquarters of the Bleakwatch. Mavi, entering to scout, finds the place in a state not ill befitting an abattoir, with bodyparts and blood scattered throughout. Massive numbers were clearly involved but no Tevinter seem to have fallen inside.

While the party are looking about, they hear the sounds of movement outside. A quick reconnoiter shows that there are approximately fifty Tevinter soldiers surrounding the building, demanding the party lay down their arms and surrender. The party refuses, the choice made easier based on the sudden arrival of the Kal-Sharokian dwarves. Their leader, Lyulf Azahary, seems delighted to have had the chance for a good fight and to assist what he considers ‘one of the few allies they have’.

Among the dead the party does not find Claudia, whom had revealed herself to be behind the attempted trap. More than half of the attackers lived to flee, leaving a dozen and a half dead on the street.

With nothing more pressing to do, the party, along with their Dwarven companions, did the logical thing and returned to the party and freely flowing alcohol…

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Session Fourteen
In which the Tourney ends

Lova, in her first quarterfinal match, has the misfortune of fighting the Lord of Kal-Sharok. He soundly defeats her, a trend that continues until he takes the match and is crowned the Champion for this year’s Tourney.

The party, though not victors, are nonetheless heroes. For preventing the massive explosion planned by the Culd of the Last Moon, Lord Aerenthal praises the party and bestows the rewards he promised. The Warden, Kilina, offers the chance to Join the order, an offer which Lawren, after much thought, accepts. Wealth, fine armors, and the praise of all the land flow over the companions, ensuring that when they choose to depart it will be in a markedly better state than how they arrived.

As they celebrate at one of many parties, Shesella staggers to Mavi and, gasping out her last breath, manages to warn her that the Tevinters had seized the Lyrium and utterly destroyed the Bleakwatch in the process…

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Session Thirteen
In which a lot of fighting takes place

Lova, as one of the final sixty-four in the Grand Tourney, has her first match and declares for the blood of the Avvar. She fights an Antivaan named Beliran who fights for the Lost and is victorious. Other notables to pass the initial semi-final include a chevallier and a member of the Legion of the Damned

Midday the Dwarves get into a fight. Fisticuffs only at first turns into flying axes and the lord of the Orzammar dwarves dies in the scuffle, which comes down to Kal-Sharok blaming the Orzammar dwarves because one of their Smiths, Eldrik, had been found slain. Lova is able to draw their attention and stop the fighting for a time. After Mavi points out the possibility that the Tourney may be cancelled and their lost Hammer forever taken from their grasp if such antics continue, the fighting ends, leaving Cayda to patch up the wounded before all return to their drinks and their spectating.

The next day brings the next round of combat and finds Lova matched against a Chevallier. Today Lova fights for the honor of all warriors while her opponent fights for something he names in Orlesian, which Lawren pompously refuses to translate. The fight is brutal and short and Lova wins again, though this time her opponent does not retire nearly so graciously.

During the celebrations, Clara the barmaid tells Mavi that she had been visited by Paulie. She said he had acted very strangely and warned her against attending the finals, though he would not say why. Clara clarified that Paulie is apparently now living in the tent city and Mavi told her not to worry, she would track Paulie down before the end. With the rest of the party in tow, Mavi spends the evening looking for Paulie and manage to find him, sitting and rocking and mumbling to himself. Just as they were able to calm them, he was suddenly exploded by a very familiar spell.

Combat with very familiar cultists and a less familiar Blood Mage ensued, resulting in six corpses and one captive mage. When questioned, she revealed the stadium had been stuffed full of what they considered sufficient gaatlok to kill the entire populace of observers. She mentioned the ‘Last Moon’ and how this act would bring thousands to their banner.

With everything learned, the party decided to ‘gift’ the mage to the dwarves of Kal-Sharok. In gratitude (and a massive desire not to be blown to bits before reclaiming their hammer) the dwarves as well as the local guards were able to search the stands and find over 20 locations of crates full of gaatlok in the scaffolding. The two Qunari, who had sacrificed their share of the gold for the ‘honor’ of assisting with the destruction before everyone went off to rest before the final day of the tourney…

{{Level up to 6}}

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Session Twelve
In which the party gets shanghaied to fight cultists

The Grand Tourney continues apace and the party proves to be surprisingly proficient at side events. Lawren proves victorious in the archery tournament and Mavi wins the throwing contest.

As minor victories are celebrated, the party turns in only to be woken rather abruptly in the wee hours by the house guard of House Aerenthal, the house of Rainer Aerenthal, sponsor of the tourney. He, and a guest Kilina, a Grey Warden, are concerned with the ritual murders happening throughout the city near the river. Kilina, having survived an assassination attempt, was able to identify the cult as Followers of the Last Moon, a group who worship one of the Tevinter Old Gods.

Little is known about the Cult, save that they are escalating. They are purported to follow Lusacan, god of Night and not as of yet altered to an Archdemon. Victims thus far include dockworkers, a watch patrol, a unit of the Aerenthal house guard patrol, an Orzammar dwarf, and all of the investigators sent out to date.

On the way back from the meeting, the party is suddenly ambushed by crossbowmen. Though they had numbers, they lacked skill and soon fell, their bodies revealed them to be tongueless and tattooed with a crescent moon…

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