“This was the introduction to another roleplay I wanted to participate in. To those not familiar with the term, it’s almost like collaborative writing that multiple people participate in over certain forums online. Unfortunately my partner for this one on one roleplay never got back to me, so while I really enjoyed this piece, this was all that went into the story, so think if it as the start of a Dragon Age fan fiction that I may or may not finish in the future.” -Justin, December 2015.
Somewhere near a road by Redcliffe Village. 9:42 Dragon
Maker damn this luck.
A battered looking man stumbled through the underbrush of the Ferelden forest near Redcliffe, using his battle scarred equipment as crutches to aid him in his flight. Under the blood, grit and grime covering the soldier, there appeared a relatively handsome man with dark brown hair and green eyes. The soldier continued forward, away from the fading sounds of battle. As the cries of war and screams of pain and agony left his ears, the relatively young man pushed forward, almost limping as quick footsteps could be heard following him. With a battered long sword in one hand and an equally worn down shield in another, Farrell Vassell came to a ravine, and stared at the face of the cliff that surrounded him 160 degrees in front of his eyes.
A dead end, quite possibly a literal one.
As Farrell turned and faced his pursuers, the veteran experience shone in his eyes despite his age, he reflected upon his late lot in life and how it led to this moment where his back was once again literally against a wall. About three weeks ago he got his finally payment as a hired sword in Orlais, specifically Lydes. Deciding to try his luck elsewhere, possibly somewhere with less fighting, the twenty something years old headed for the Ferelden capital of Denerim, hoping to catch a ship anywhere but Kirkwall, preferably a quiet corner of the Free Marches somewhere.
When he finally crossed the Frostbacks and arrived at Gherlen’s Pass, one of the trade caravans offered him a quick contract to head southeast to Lothering, which had just completed its reconstruction. It wasn’t much of a choice since King Alistair decided to mobilize the Ferelden army for some reason and nearly every inch of the Imperial Highway that ran across the Coastlands was clogged up with troops and military support. So Farrell shrugged his shoulders and joined the caravan, and thus went south.
About three days into their journey, some upstarts with more guts than brains decided to pick up some weapons and attack, which honestly wouldn’t have been a problem. In fact, at first it broke the monotony of having nothing much to do but practice and walk all day, so Farrell was actually kind of glad to get some fighting done. Just as the bandits began getting some sense after seeing a few of them cut down by Farrell and the other guards, the mabari dung hit the fan.
Darkspawns rushed out of the treelines, swarming into the battle and killing anyone and everyone they got to. The combatants that survived the initial assault wisely forgo all hostilities with each other and began fighting the blighters, or rather fighting for their lives. Farrell cut down monsters left and right, familiar at least with these fiends from his previous experiences, but more just kept coming. Knowing they were terribly outnumbered and that none of them were Grey Wardens, Farrell tried to muster what men he could get to and fight their way out. However he couldn’t get close before the others were surrounded. With the merchants already dead, the captain of the guards called out to the others to make their own way to nearby Redcliffe and get some Warden help from there. Farrell knew the situation to be helpless, but still felt the distinct guilt as he turned and ran into the forest.
Now Farrell stared forward as three genlocks came out from the brushes in front of him, led by a hurlock. Fortunately for the tired soldier they all had melee weapons, and none of them had a shield. However they began to spread out, using an advance formation to allow all of them to spring upon their prey at once. Farrell readied his weapon and shield, and stared at each of the opponent. He thought it might be his imagination, but it looked like the Hurlock was actually grinning at him as they approached.
Oh I’ll give you something to smile about, you sodding whoreson. Farrell gritted his teeth so hard his jaw began to hurt. If he was going down, these bastards were coming with him. So Farrell opened his mouth and roared, “You want some? COME AND GET IT YOU BLIGHTERS!” and charged the nearest genlock.
The Darkspawn evidently didn’t expect an offensive by their cornered opponent, as the Genlock didn’t respond in time to stop the long sword from entering its skull, though with the dulled edges it was more like a smash from a bludgeon at this point. Perhaps they thought Farrell would drop his weapon and beg for their nonexistent mercy. Whatever it was, Farrell had already taken his element of surprise as well as his hyperactive adrenaline fueled body and rushed to a second Genlock, who had raised enough of its weapon to actually block the sword slash. It couldn’t do anything about the following strike with the shield though, and the edge of the round shield crashed into the neck of the short Darkspawn, crushing its throat and sending it to the ground, dead.
By now the remaining Darkspawn had recovered enough by now and both decided to rush Farrell at the same time, forcing him back from his initial assault. The Hurlock slashed its sword at Farrell’s shoulder, only for the blade to smash into the soldier’s shield, while the Genlock to attack from the other side. Farrell threw all of his strength into an overhead smash at the smaller of the two opponents, and while the blow as blocked, sent the Genlock back while giving him a few precise seconds to front the Hurlock in the chest, sending it back a few steps and allowing the soldier to deal with the Genlock as it stepped up again. Farrell rushed the Genlock like he did with the others, thought this time using his shield as cover. He pushed the Genlock using it, trapping its weapon between the shield and its body, and pinned it against the cliff side before sticking his sword over the shield and into the Genlock multiple times. He finally let the pressure eased from the Genlock when he felt no more resistance and the Darkspawn slid down to a sitting position against the cliff, with a trail of black blood covering the cliff where it touched it.
Just then the Hurlock placed a diagonal slice into the back of Farrell, and by the Maker’s blessing, somehow the armor had endured so that the tainted weapon didn’t penetrate through. Still the force of the impact was enough to smash hard into Farrell, causing some series bruising, if not braking something. Crying out in pain, Farrell barely stepped out of the way of a second strike, which had caught the guard of his long sword, knocking it out of his hand and out of reach. Off balanced already, Farrell fell backwards to the ground just as the Hurlock shoulder checked him. The Darkspawn continued to smash down with its sword, only to be met with the wooden and now quickly breaking shield of Farrell. The soldier could feel his strength weakening as he crawled backwards and defended himself, both from the combat before his flight, the chase and the combat now. Another strike sent his shield to the side of his body, literally having it fall apart against the ground. The Hurlock raised its weapon for a final stab, pausing for a moment as it gave a victorious laugh.
This would be a story Farrell later tells others as an example of never gloating in the face of seeming victory.
Just as the Hurlock paused, Farrell’s empty hand reached out and touched the fallen weapon of one of the dead Genlocks. Gripping it, he rose quickly and thrusted it forward, directly into the midsection of the Hurlock, who abruptly stopped its laugh with an frozen expression of surprise and disbelief. Farrell got up and shoved the weapon deeper into the Darkspawn, causing more blood to spill out and splashed over his armor. Farrell thanked the Maker later that he didn’t have any major wounds, as he would have surely caught Darkspawn disease had that been the case. Still furious green eyes met the tainted ones of the Hurlock and Farrell watched as the life went out in the Darkspawn’s gaze.
“Give your precious Archdemon my regards, you sodding prick.” With that he ripped out the blade from the Hurlock, letting more blood flow freely out of the dead Darkspawn as it fell to the ground before dropping the tainted weapon himself. Farrell slowly stumbled over to the cliff side and sat down against it, breathing heavily and really letting his fatigue set in. He looked to the dead Genlock a few feet away from him, sitting in the same position and wondered what to do now. With no weapon, and barely enough money for a few nights in a tavern, Farrell figured his situation didn’t have the best outlook. Still he took a moment to rest, not even caring that there might be more hunting/searching parties by the Darkspawn in the area.