Dragon Age: Faith Misplaced

Terror in Vintiver

Humans and elves suffer at the hands of hate.

Gathering their thoughts, the group took a look about the farm. The animals stood quietly in their barn and the fields where they grazed about as if nothing had happened. The body they found in the fields of the Fuldor farm was joined by bodies of men in other fields, women and girls in the farmhouse, and even the corpse of a murdered newborn still laid in the crib.

The carnage was punctuated by a single word on the wall inside the farmhouse, written in blood: “Mythallen”, the elven word for justice.

While searching the barn, a small moan of pain could be heard in the hay. The heroes hurried to the injured voice and found none other than Eshara, from Alora’s Goldenhawk clan. She was weak and injured; her wounds were old and she ran a fever. Collapsing as soon as she was found, Asha quickly healed her festering wound, stabilizing her. She needed sleep before she could truly recover.

In Eshara’s pocket was a strange item: a large chain link, about the size of a man’s hand, made of silver and etched with magical runes. Asha could feel magic about it, but its purpose was unclear.

Investigating a noise outside the barn, Kallian locked eyes with a young human boy. The boy had clearly seen things he was not meant to see. He shivered in fear and slowly backed away from Kallian. His slow steps soon turned to sprinting towards the village of Vintiver.

Kallian’s quick feet stopped the boy from running to tell the humans, and his fear was soothed by Asha’s words and Linnea’s earnest assurances. He was simply looking for one of the girls who lived here. The heroes shared uneasy glances.

Linnea offered to escort the boy home in case more wolves lurked about. She left the elven members of the party at the farm, knowing quite well what most Fereldens might do with groups of elves, Dalish or not. Meanwhile, Alora, Asha, and Kallian began to clean the farm of the carnage. Fearing what the possible repercussions of being discovered among what small-minded people would call evidence of them perpetrating the crime, the heroes took steps to clean the farmhouse and move bodies closer together for burial.

Before Linnea entered the town proper, she spotted a pair of humans who appeared to be heading in the direction of the Fuldor Farm. She made a point to caution them about what they would see. Confused and worried, the two men split up: one headed to the farm while the other returned to town for a larger search party.

The boy was returned home to his lovable family at the local inn, and Linnea sat down to explain the situation.

While cleaning the blood with water from a nearby well, Kallian is the first to notice a frantic human man running down the dirt road to the farm grounds. Alora only noticed him as she took Eshara’s sleeping body to a hiding place outside the property of the Fuldors. The human noticed Alora too.

He confronted Alora, demanding the situation. Alora was joined by a cautious Asha, who attempted to salvage the situation, while Kallian looked on from hiding. It became apparent many times that this human was not listening. He insisted that their appearance at the sight of carnage just so soon after bad blood had been boiled between a Dalish clan and the townsfolk of Vintiver. He was adamant that the Dlaish had come back to take revenge. He deflected Asha’s words as Dalish games of the mind and stomped back to Vintiver to tell his people of the “Dalish plot”.

Linnea could see the search party gathering through the inn window and decided that she should return to her allies. She was correct in assuming they would benefit from her presence.

Three stressful hours passed, and an angry mob marched to the place the human last saw Asha and Alora. A mob of thirty or more angry men and women shouted accusations of witchery, tricking the farmers into the open to be picked apart by the wolves, or moving a Dalish “plot” to destroy the town. They demanded she “answer for the crimes of the treacherous elves and face justice”. It was clear from the farm implements, torches, and wild looks in the humans’ eyes that “justice” meant torture if the heroes were lucky.

Leading the mob was the human blacksmith of Vintiver, Coalan. He found it unsurprising to see Alora among the group. He demanded that they surrender easily. The heroes stood tall and defended themselves. They cited their recent arrival, human and city elf allies, and their certain lack of magic. The mob cried for blood, while the heroes cried for reason.

When Linnea mentioned their patronage to Bann Nicola Baranti, gasps and awe washed over the crowd. While some of the mob called their words “mind games”, the heroes got through to many of the villagers with reasoning and the integrity of the Bann. One by one the farm tools were dropped, torches were put out, and feet began to shuffle away towards the village. Disgusted by the weakness of his brethren, Coalan stomped back to Vintiver without a final word.

Stepping down from a horse as the mob marched to town, Tarl Dale, the local lawman, and a sister of the Chantry, Sister Arda approached the group. The Tarl thanked them profusely for halting the falling of blood in Vintiver if only for a little while. Dale was reasonable and Arda was a surprisingly lenient sister. They inquired the heroes’ business in town and offered them to stay the night. The heroes respectfully declined.

As if on queue, Eshara finally awoke from her slumber. She thanked the newcomers and turned to Alora with worried eyes. She explained that the Goldenhawk clan had been taken hostage. After several days of Alora and her hunters going missing, and the hunters sent after them going missing as well, strange darkspawn began to appear from the forest. They surrounded the camp and quickly quelled any resistance. With so many of the hunters missing the clan couldn’t put up much of a fight. Eshara was caught along with the rest, but managed to escape with a strange link of chain. She thought that it may have some significance.

Eshara’s explanation soon became a plea: she pleaded Alora and the others to save the Goldenhawk clan from these jackal-like darkspawn and their leader, a horrid creature of madness and anger: Mythallen.

Alora needed no persuasion, and the rest saw that their journey to Logerswold should be postponed. Eshara guided the heroes towards the Brecillian Forest to their clan’s camp.

Ambushing the heroes was a discontent Coalan and several strong-arms from the village. Not sharing any words beyond racial slurs and curses, they threw fists and clubs at the heroes. Coalan eagerly swung about his smithing hammer as a makeshift maul. After a small struggle, the heroes managed to knock the humans unconscious, and dragged them back to the village before continuing on.

They found the camp after two days of walking, and it was in no good shape. The halla had thankfully run off during the scuffle, but not a soul could be found. There weren’t even bodies to find, they appeared to have been all carried off elsewhere, deeper into the forest.

As the heroes searched the campsite, strange laughter echoed from the trees. Glowing red eyes emerged from the underbrush, and the revenger darkspawn revealed themselves. Their tight grey and sickly skin drew back across mockeries of smiles lined with sharp and misaligned teeth. They licked their claws and giggled at the idea of slicking them with the blood of the heroes. They threw themselves at the heroes, eager to cut them down, but were pushed back and slain.

To the heroes’ horror, when they cut down the revengers, they shifted to the form of an elven hunter in death. Something truly horrid was happening here. As the last revenger retreated into the wood, Eshara demanded that it be followed to the center of the madness.

Looking back on the elves they had slain unwittingly, the heroes knew this must be stopped before more victims began to pile up. A slain farm was enough.

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