“Don’t leave me here,” Vaellen quietly repeats, as though he can read my mind. Deep down, even he knows it’s too dangerous for him to come with us.
That leaves only two options, and I don’t like either of them.
Leave him here, or put him out of his misery.
Guilt is eating away at me, and I can’t seem to break away from Vaellen’s stare. I’m not usually so indecisive, but I can’t make myself draw my blade to do what I know I have to.
“Look away,” I hear Caleb whisper, and then he moves in front of me, blocking Vaellen from my view.
For just a moment, I see the glint of the small dagger Caleb keeps at his belt, and I turn away. It only takes a moment. There’s a soft gasp, a rustle of fabric, and then I hear Vaellen quietly sink to the floor.
“That wasn’t necessary,” Sylas says, scowling at Caleb.
“You know it was,” Caleb says, shaking his head as he moves to stand beside me again. “Whatever blood magic Karinn has been using on him, it brought demons right to him. He was possessed.”
“We don’t know that,” Sylas insists, but I hold up a hand.
“It’s done,” I say, feeling a twinge of regret. I know it was the only real option, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. A possessed dreamer is a threat to everyone, everywhere. “We have to tell Briall what we found.”
I feel like we’re being watched as we make our way down the darkened streets, towards Briall’s home. Caleb and Sylas are uneasy too. We’re all gripping our sheathed weapons, just in case, and watching the shadows in the alleys.
I see the house ahead, and start to relax. That’s when I feel the charge in the air, making the hair stand up on the nape of my neck. Spinning around, I draw my swords. The others move to stand beside me, and I see a woman several yards down the road.
She’s an elegant older woman, her gray hair streaked with white. Her fancy, red mage robes identify her as one of the upper class in Minrathous, and I know this must be Karinn.
“You did this,” she hisses. “You killed him, and ruined everything!”
Swinging her staff wildly, she sends blasts of fire shooting through the air. We’re forced to scatter, dodging to the sides, as she hurls fire at us over and over again. She doesn’t seem to care if she burns the whole street to the ground. All she wants is to make us pay.
I try to make my way closer, but I can’t. She’s in too much of a frenzy. I’m trying to find a clear path to her, when I see Briall walk calmly past my hiding place.
He’s shielded by his magic, and I can see the white-knuckled grip he has on his own staff. Fireballs hit his shield with dull thudding sounds, flames licking over the surface for a moment before fizzling out, but what catches my eye are the tears I see on his cheeks.
He must have heard her screaming that we had killed Vaellen.
“Briall!” I shout, but he ignores me.
And then he’s sending tendrils of lightning snaking out away from his hands. Karinn’s shields hold up, and then they’re firing spells back and forth, neither one backing down.
Karinn starts to tire first, having wasted a lot of energy attacking us. In the chaos of them fighting, I manage to find a path around the house I’m hiding behind, and sneak up in her blind spot.
Briall moves closer, sending more lightning her way as I run up behind her.
She turns in time to deflect my blades with her staff, and she sneers at me as she shoves me away. I leap out of reach, then right back in, swiping with my blades. She blocks again, and swings her staff to create more fire, when suddenly she gasps, going completely still.
I pause as her eyes widen on me, her mouth hanging open in shock, and follow her gaze down as she looks at her stomach. The tip of a blade is sticking out of her abdomen, blood slowly staining the front of her robes.
Over her shoulder, I see Briall’s face, cold with hate. He pulls the dagger free with a vicious tug, and she falls to the ground between us. His chest is heaving with exertion as he stands over her, his grim gaze fixed on her still body. “For Vaellen.”
The street is silent for a long moment, and Caleb and Sylas come to stand with us.
“I’m so sorry,” I say, and his watery eyes finally meet mine.
“There was nothing that could be done,” Caleb says.
“Thank you for trying,” Briall answers quietly. He’s keeping it together, but I can tell he’s in pain.
Sylas rests a hand briefly on his shoulder, and we walk him back to his house.
We talk for a while, telling him everything we found, but we don’t stay long. I know that he needs to be alone right now.
We manage to get some sleep, but I don’t think any of us rest easy. Leaving early, we head to the hideout of the Silent Blades contact. Clearing our names has to be our first step, even before going after Jeremiah.
Luckily, the contact tells us that she’s been receiving strange reports about Jeremiah recently. Between that, and the letters we give her, she sides with us. She even goes so far as to pledge the handful of men she has in the city to helping us apprehend Jeremiah.
“That’s all we need,” Caleb says, ready to go after him this second.
“We should call on the Blades in Denerim,” Sylas says, his brows drawing down in a frown. “We don’t know what’s waiting for us.”
Caleb shrugs. “It’s Jeremiah,” he says simply. “We’ll be fine.”
“He has a lot of men,” Sylas says. “And you should know by now not to underestimate him.”
While the two of them bicker, I consider my choices carefully. Jeremiah is a strong strategist, after all, and he has to have heard about Karinn’s death by now.
(What do you choose?)
~ Rally Silent Blades to join me. (5d: Leader)
~ Go alone. We’re more than enough to take Jeremiah down. (5e: Alone)
For easy navigation, and do-overs. ~ DA FF: Blades (Chapter Master Post)
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, lore, etc. are the property of BioWare, and their respective writers. The only things that are mine are the original characters and plot of this story – DA FF: Blades. I am in no way associated with BioWare. No copyright infringement is intended. This is for entertainment purposes only.