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 Blame it on my ADD baby

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Niamh
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PostSubject: Blame it on my ADD baby   18/1/2015, 16:37


Skyhold had great walls of heavy stone, which were good for protecting against enemy forces, but a fort in the clouds did little to shield men from their own most basic needs. The walls could not shelter them from the elements; cold shook the bones of every man, woman and child that had taken refuge there; and some physical requirements for survival, such as food and water, were in high demand. Hunger settled inside empty bellies like grief on a widow’s lips, draining colour from the most colourful and laying them as thin and pale as the freshly fallen blanket of snow. They bore it well for the most part; putting their faith into their Inquisitor as if she were Andraste herself and feeding of the security that the Inquisition promised them; but there was no mistaking the strangled cries of hungry children that carried through the courtyard with each coming of night. The smallest ones could not hide their truest feelings that formed after the need as well as their parents could; and exhaustion gave no way to sleep. So they cried. And everyone in the great fortress listened.

A small fire burned near hunter lodgings, but there was no one to curl up beside it or draw on the warmth and comfort from the low dancing flames. In Haven there'd have been ten, twenty around a fire to warm each other with laughter and song, their spirits soaring high past the tragedy to bring some joy to their hearts. In comparison, the crackling of coals and faint traces of conversation seemed a terribly loud silence to bear. Their efforts brought an occasional smile or whispered thanks, but many thought they just weren’t working hard enough. Stretched thin across the lands in areas held by the Inquisition, a measly seven camped and hunted in the Hinterlands, stood watch on the Storm Coast and near Crestwood. Aside from these vast areas, two remained at Skyhold to hunt outside the walls; to receive new trainees or oversee the hunt. Even if they replaced some of their numbers, the burden they carried was heavy. Twenty had been lost in Haven. No all dead, perhaps, but the Inquisition could not wait for a scattered few who had no knowledge of the attack or where the people had gone after. Three managed to pick up on their trail and had joined on the road; yet four others were lost to demons while hunting in the wild that very night.

There were volunteers, soldiers that’d come along to try and help, but they weren’t hunters, not really. They lacked the proper skills to track their prey, for one, so they'd be lucky if they stumbled on a fennec. The clanking of their metal shields and heavy armour usually scared away all game and there wasn’t much around the fort in the first place. But the trained men were good for some things, like keeping watch nearby in case a lone hunter needed help or hauling the heavy rams back to the hold. Not everyone was happy with the job, but it gave them something to do at least. They fought bandits and demons alike; groups that single hunters wouldn’t be able to handle on their own. And most days, thankfully, everything was in order; other days, however–

“One ram,” Bellen said, casting a critical eye over the sheep. Rather small for an adult, some 200 pounds, if that. “Not much for a full day. How many can we feed, five hundred? Six?”
Niamh rubbed her neck, looking regretfully over the game. “Smaller rations. It should go on for two or three days.” “Guess it's ram stew for everyone again.”

Bellen looked to his elven friend, sort of shrugging his shoulders helplessly. “'T might ease the hunger, if only the people weren’t growin' sick of it.” “Sick or not, is all we got,” she said, brushing a strand of hair away from her face. “'s not worst they had. We’ll have bigger problems soon, people should be freezing. They’ll  be wanting to line their coats with wool and we just won’t have enough for everyone.” Some were already falling ill and the oncoming chill would only make it worse. It’d be a joke to tell, if they all died of frost and fever before the sky had the chance to fall onto their heads. The creatures of flesh and fade trying the walls each night might just die of laughter then.

“'fraid it does get worse,” Bellen frowned. “Lefty sent a runner who swears all over she and Halfgrip caught 'nother ram as well. Big one, too, not like this poor thing. Had a good week so they sent it in from the coast.” “Where is it then?” “That's the thing; neither they know and nobody else's seen it. Lefty’s runner says soldiers brought it back to Skyhold, but it's gone since.” “They must have had orders to bring it to us.” “Seems like someone hasn't been following up then.” “Shit.”

There was good reason why game was brought to the hunters first; they knew how to get the most out of what they caught, ram especially. Wool, hide and meat were just the beginning. There was also fat to melt down for candles. Bones to fine into arrow tips; to crush into powder and mix with the soil for a healthy crop; or charred and ground into ink powder. Horns to make into war horns, drinking cups or to fit mage staves. Anyone else would just take the meat and everything else would go to waste. Niamh could swear no one besides her company knew how to skin a ram proper. And if the people have started stealing from each other there'd be a mess to look to.

“Who were the soldiers bringing it in?” “Niv- don't.” “I need names, Bell.” He sighed, scratching his cheek thoughtfully before giving in to Niamh's stare. “They were Bacquet's men,” he said. “Peyrat and what's-his-name. Garde. Stirring up trouble with them might not be the wisest.” “A three hundred pound ram can’t just disappear,” Niamh said, looking carefully to Bellen's warning expression. “Don't worry. I’ll ask nicely where they lost it.” “At least leave your bow behind!” As if she would.

‘Twasnt hard to find Bacquet’s men; they all wore the same armour with the house crest, a yellow arrow over some sort of hyena-like beast. Stuck together most of the time; weren’t the only group like that either.  All men looked the same to Niamh if she were honest, but she learned to tell the groups apart by their armour and, more closely, by the leather they wore.  Bacquet’s men wore canine leather; western approach hyena. Smelled like a bunch of dogs, too.

“Evening, gents,” Niamh called to them, doing her best to keep a polite, if a bit strained, smile on her face. “Might you point me towards two of your colleagues? Peyrat and Garde are their names.” “Whatchu want those two for?” “There seems to have been a- mix up with our delivery. Maybe your boys know what happened.” There was a pause in which they all just looked at one another; then one of the men stood, spitting on the ground as he did so, one hand held at the hilt of his sword. “I’m Garde. Peyrat’s up the tavern sticking it into some wench.” As he spoke an ugly grin grew on his mouth. “Could do you one if you want him.” The company of men laughed heavily.

“I’m sure I’ll be fine,” Niamh shot back. “We won’t be needing your friend if you know what’s happened.” Indeed, she’d drag Peyrat out by his tool herself if Garde gave her trouble. “I seem to be missing a ram.” “Sure it din’t run off?” More laughter.

“Don’t think a dead ram can run, ser. I’m led to believe you and Peyrat were the ones carrying it in from the coast, with the rest of the supplies.” “Weren’t no ram in the cart I remember.” “Are you certain? Our hunters say-” Garde stepped forward, clearly angered, features twisting into a grimace, “Yer callin’ me a liar, knife ear?”

She regarded the man coldly, thoughts racing, fingers itching and twitching for her weapon. He towered over her easily, but she’d be dead before he intimidated her. Wasn’t the first time game had gone missing and with the way Garde was acting it was pretty obvious that he and Peyrat were guilty. ‘Twasnt as if she didn’t understand. Soldiers needed good meat to stay strong, not the stew they were getting instead. And on a good day they could have it, so long as they let her and Bellen take care of everything else first. “Either you’re a liar or a blind fool. How else would you miss 300 pounds of sheep?”

It was absolutely the worst thing to say considering; Niamh swore she could hear Bellen groaning all the way across the courtyard, but she’d be damned before she took shit from men like Garde. They were all hungry. She was tired. She didn’t really give a fuck.

“Teach yer some manners, elf,” the man had his sword in hand now. “Get my hands on yer and I’ll make you squeal like the bitch yer are.” Niamh had her bow at ready before he was done talking. “Take one more step and I’ll put an arrow through your eye.”
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Nethra Lavellan
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PostSubject: Re: Blame it on my ADD baby   20/1/2015, 00:36

There were a hundred and one things on Nethra's mind at any given time. She thinks about the tear in the sky, elven artifacts, and how many hours a day she wastes in the war room. Were the herbs in the garden growing ok in the hard soil? Would there be enough food this winter? How many new recruits were on their way to Skyhold this very moment? Where was Dorian going with that bottle of brandy? And for Mythal's sake, he wasn't planning to drink that whole thing himself, was he?

All she wanted was an afternoon where nothing went wrong and nothing had to be thought about. Just a few hours, even. She could make a the best of a few hours. There were times when she thought she had it – a moment of peace amid the commotion of the Inquisition. She was invariably let down. There was always something.

Just after dinner she was on her way to the stables to meet with Horse-master Dennet. She had recently received news that a new company of mercenaries would be arriving at Skyhold within the next few days and each member had their own horse to add to the already cramped lodgings. With any luck Dennet would know what to do with the extra animals and they would not be left out in the cold open air of the the courtyards, but Nethra couldn't imagine where he was going to put them. Already the mounts were held two to a stall with little room for maneuverability. Skyhold may be big, but it lacked the sheer number of out buildings needed to house a force the size of the growing Inquisition. All that could be rectified, if only she had the time and man power to restore it to the glory it must once have had. But that was just another wishful thought; her men were spread thin enough as it was. There was no one left to make repairs or improvements.  

Unless I took up a hammer and nails myself. It wasn't entirely out of the question, though where she would get someone to teach her to make a hut was another question she had no answer for. Maybe Blackwall? He worked well with his hands and Nethra was certain he could be more than happy to help. To ask him, or to ask anyone else, to do extra duties was not something she wished to consider just yet, though. Her men needed rest, and time to recuperate. Renovations would just have to wait, it seemed.

The camp fires were spread farther apart than she remembered seeing them lately, as if the people were slowly removing themselves from each other until they were alone and lost amidst their own thoughts. It was disheartening to see, but not something Nethra could devote time to mulling over. If she worried about one more than she was afraid her heart would cave in on itself until it was nothing but a slowly beating mound of withered flesh. She would have to suffice with asking Cullen about the morale of his troops, and Josephine of the people now making their home in Skyhold. She must learn to put more trust in her advisers, or else she was sure to suffer a breakdown she could not afford.

Her mind was on what she will say to Dennet and the things she must do after her meeting as she makes her way past another campfire. Maybe she will be able to steal a few minutes to check on Keerla, who was Andruil knows where at this hour. Keeping track of her sister's whereabouts and activity in Skyhold was proving more difficult than she imagined, which was just another straw on her back. In all honestly she hoped Keerla would have been safely on her way back to the clan by now. She was showing to be just as stubborn as Nethra remembered, though, and remained determined to be a part of the Inquisition.

No one bothered her as she walked the grounds. Dressed in doeskin leggings and heavy coat she barely looked the role of Inquisitor. Most of the common folk would never recognize her by sight like this, which was just fine by her. She was just another elf in the castle and it allowed her to get more things done without constant interruption.

That is, until she ran into situations that called for a voice of reason and authority.  

Up ahead, silhouetted by the glow of the fire behind them, two figures were brandishing their weapons. The flames glinted off the metal of a sword, and the unmistakable curve of a bow, arrow notched and ready. Nethra groaned, mentally adding another problem to the growing list in her head.

“What's going on? Put your weapons away right now! This isn't a battlefield!” She hurried into the range of firelight, a slight figure among the large humans that were gathered nearby. Her voice was stern and commanding – a trick she had learned from imitating Cassandra. It was likely she did not cut an imposing figure, but with the authority in her voice most people would listen to her until they figured out she was indeed the Inquisitor herself.

In the meantime she looked to the two who were very nearly about to break into a fight right in the courtyard. The man with the sword tight in his fist looked brutish and smug, as did the other men around him. They all appeared to be from the same company, as their clothes bared a common insignia. Nethra for the life of her couldn't recall who it belonged to, but what did it matter? They worked for the Inquisition now, and they all needed to work together. No matter their differences. Nethra had to put personal squabbles and feelings behind her when she joined, and now so must they.

Her eyes shifted to the bowmen as she caught sight of the pointed tips of the unmistakable elven ears. Dear Mythal please don't let it be Sera or Keerla.

Nethra had a least a little bit of luck on her side this evening, as it wasn't her sister or Sera who had drawn their bow on a fellow agent. By the flickering of the flames the face of the elf swam before her eyes and Nethra was forced to take half a step closer to examine the face she could swear was familiar.

“Niamh?” The name felt curious on her lips, as if they had forgotten how to form it. It had been nearly ten years since they had, and so it may very well be understandable that it sounded odd to her.

The woman standing before her, bow still raised, was one Nethra had known much of her life. She looked different from the young girl she remembered: harder, more dangerous, but still the fellow clan mate who grew up at the same time as she did. To see her standing here stunned Nethra into momentary silence. Two visitors from her clan in as many weeks must be more than coincidence. Was Elgar'nan trying to tell her something? That perhaps her place was not here, but back among her people? It was as unsettling feeling that filled her when she thought of it, and so she pushed it aside in order to deal with the problem at hand, which had suddenly become much more delicate.
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Niamh
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PostSubject: Re: Blame it on my ADD baby   22/1/2015, 00:10


Niamh’s fingers twitched on her bow. She heard the voice and briefly her eyes darted to its source before fixing back on Garde. Didn’t think the woman was anyone of importance. She was ready to shoot Garde if he so much as blinked when suddenly Bellen was beside her, hand on her weapon, lowering it for her when she didn’t. “Hey,” she complained immediately, tugging the bow away from his grasp. Garde on the other hand seemed startled; as soon as the other elf appeared he’d dropped his sword and gave this sort of salute in greeting. “Inquisitor!”

The men from Garde’s company had fallen silent, their eyes on the fire, the ground; anywhere but Garde or the hunters or indeed the Inquisitor. Made sense that they recognized her, receiving orders from Cullen they’d have seen her sooner or later. Bellen knew her by face too, but he made a poor job of describing her to Niamh.  She’d only heard that the Inquisitor was one of the people; she’d never actually seen her in person. One time she actually made a public appearance, Niamh was outside the walls hunting. And now, this was her? This smallish figure in a coat that seemed twice her size? The Inquisitor stepped closer and Niamh startled into realization that the truth was about ten times worse; she was unable to mask her surprise, her outrage, when firelight revealed faded, yet still familiar features. “You have got to be kidding me.”

Nethra looked- she looked different for sure, but it was still Nethra, much like Niamh remembered her. She seemed sharper, her eyes looked tired, but it wasn’t like she changed all that much. In fact it looked as if the more drastic change in her appearance took hold in the past couple of months. Nethra had always stood straight, but now her stance radiated authority. Niamh could almost see the top of her head and yet she felt smaller than her, just like she did all her life. It annoyed her to no end. In the lost years she thought often of what she might say if she ever again met some of her clan. But the woman in front of her was hardly just that and Niamh too was so changed, so forgotten of her past with the clan that she promptly thought that no, I’ve no longer anything in common with this person. If anything it surprised her that Nethra should remember her name or in fact, that Niamh should remember hers. The women behind those names were gone. They knew nothing of one another.

“Please pardon us, Lady Inquisitor,” Garde found his voice before the rest of them and was looking to Nethra with what might’ve needed to be an apologetic expression. “W’re just playin.” “Fuck you,” Niamh addressed him immediately, pointing an accusing finger at him. “You’re a thief, Garde. You and Peyrat.” Garde glared at her but when he spoke it wasn’t to her. “Did nuthin wrong. Neither me or my partner,” again he tried to appeal to Nethra. “Lady Inquisitor, yer hunter must be tired. Seems convinced, but is simply ain’t true.” “There’s a whole ram missing!” “Like I said ‘fore, weren’t no ram.”

“Niv,” Bellen begged her, gently drawing her attention to him by placing his hand on her shoulder. “Mayhaps we should tell the Inquisitor what the problem is.” Mayhaps they should but when did Niamh ever listen? He knew as much and squeezed her shoulder in silent warning. “Fine, okay! Fenedhis’ sake. Well.” She eyed Garde with such contempt that the man actually flinched under her gaze. Trouble was, she had no way of proving he’d taken the ram or that he in fact still had it. Where would he and Peyrat have hidden it anyway? It had to be somewhere still, unless they managed to eat it whole on the journey in from the coast. Even if they did, Niamh wished they’d brought the rest of it back at least. If only the meat had been lost she’d have let it go. Probably. Now she had to hope Nethra would take her word over that of a soldier. “You’re the Inquisitor. It’s inquisition property. Want to do something about it?”

“Sure we can work it out, mam,” Garde said. “I’ll accept an apology.” Oh no he didn’t. “You what.” He’s not worth this. “Inquisitor as my witness, won’t demand compensation for yer insults if yer say yer sorry.” Niamh froze. This was a familiar scene; for just a moment Garde bore the features of a man she once knew. And then Bellen removed his hand from her shoulder, almost like a permission. He should. He of all people knew she wouldn’t allow someone make her feel guilty instead. Helpless. She wasn’t any more. Not like before. Almost pleasantly she said, “You wanna run that by me again?” Her mouth smiled but her eyes did not. Garde spoke through gritted teeth, “Yer wasting the Inquisitor’s time, elf.” Okay then.

In one swift movement Niamh strung up her bow and released an arrow into Garde’s leg. This close it stuck deep at an odd angle, peeking its head out on the other side of skin and muscle. His leg gave out from under him and Garde fell to his side, letting out a cry of pain. How’s that for an apology? Accept my arrow? Fucking shemlen. “My hand slipped,” she said. “Sorry.” “Fucking bitch! You shot me! She shot me!” Several of his men got up to help him, but not one looked to Niamh. “Lady Inquisitor, you saw! You saw what she did! I demand she be strung up and flogged! Hanged!” He kept yelling as two of the man got him to his feet; another breaking the arrowhead to pull it out of his leg. “Aagh! Give me my sword, I’ll kill her myself!”
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Nethra Lavellan
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PostSubject: Re: Blame it on my ADD baby   22/1/2015, 19:48

Nethra chose to ignore the biting venom in Niamh's voice as recognition spread over her face. The girls suffered disagreements in the past, but that was what it was: past. She could barely recall any of the reasons, nor had she even thought of the other elf for so many years it seemed as if she were trying to remember the way fog rested on skin.

Instead she focused on the bickering that was growing louder and now aimed at her. It was a struggle to keep up with the insults and accusations being flung about with no regard. Try as she might she could not discern the real cause behind the fighting, as no one thought to stop and actually explain it to her.

“I can't do anything until I get a straight answer,” she curtly responded to Niamh's sharp comment no doubt about her abilities as Inquisitor. Was she under attack now too?  

Instead of answering her Garde again tried to appeal to her, attempting to make himself look the victim. That did not go over well, nor did she approve of the way he spat his words out at Niamh, demeaning both her and Nethra's own race in the process.

“I will decide who's wasting-” she couldn't even reach the end of her sentence before the situation started to spiral out of control. To her right Niamh moved like lightening, the bow in her hand raising again and releasing too fast even for Nethra's quick reflexes to stop. Her target was only a few feet away and it was with no surprise the arrow found its mark with perfect accuracy. A well of blood formed immediately around the arrow now lodged in Garde's leg, tip pointing grotesquely from the back of his calf. He tumbled to the ground, shouting all manners of curses and threats that echoed off the stone walls of the courtyard. People were gathering and stopping as they walked by to inspect the scene unfolding.

Just what I need.


Nethra the elf, Nethra the woman – she wanted to clasp Niamh on the shoulder for a job  well done. The man deserved what he got. There had been no need to hurl insults or demand apologies, likely just because Niamh was a woman and even worse, an elf. It sickened Nethra to know there were men living in her home and fighting for her cause  who put so little value in those traits. She herself wanted to raise her fist and punch him in the jaw, right in front of the men he no doubt inspired with his disgusting behavior.

But Nethra the Inquisitor? That was out of the question. It was just another part of herself she had to suppress. She couldn't take any action without careful consideration on the behalf of the Inquisition and perhaps even of all Thedas. She wondered if there would even be a Nethra the elf left after all was said and done.

So how did she she handle this as the Inquisitor?

There had to be someone else better suited for this. The soldiers, they belonged to Cullen. He should be watching them and preventing such scum from insulting the other members of the Inquisition. And the hunters – well, Nethra didn't know who they belonged to, but there must be someone in charge of them. Why weren't they here settling this? Why must she handle everything herself? It made her angry; she had so many other things to be doing and yet here she was, stuck dealing with a group of people acting like children.

“Do not give him his sword! You, put that bow down and you,” here she addressed one  of the men in Garde's company. “Go get a mage, or the surgeon. Whoever you find first.” The human just stared at her blankly, in shock from the attack on his leader and at being spoken to by the Inquisitor. “Now!

She took another step forward, to wedge herself in between Garde and Niamh. Her shoulders were raised within the large coat, her back straight and tall,  and a look of severity on her face mirrored the stance she was attempting to pull off. She may appear small and unassuming but when she spoke it was with regality and purpose, and gods help those who did not shut up and listen.

“I will not have this infighting! And I will not have you addressing your fellows in such a manner.” Her head snapped to Niamh, not letting her get off without a warning as well. “Or shouting accusations around.”

She looked from one to the other, then around at Garde's men and the other hunter who stood behind Niamh. Her eyes met each set in turn, doing her best to memorize them in case they caused future problems. “We do not hang people here, or flog them! Or shoot them! We are all adults and we will act like it.”

She moved to the human's side and placed a small hand on his arm. Despite his attitude and obvious anger, he was hurting. The shaft of the arrow was now held in one of his men's hands, coated in blood. It flowed steadily from the hole in his leg, wetting his pants and dripping to the frozen ground beneath his feet. She tilted her head up slightly to look him in the eyes and her voice took on a softer note when she spoke. “Garde, was it? Are you alright? As soon as your man gets back with a healer we will get you taken care of.” A slight smile was offered – faked but believable, to maybe sweeten Garde's disposition.

“Now, explain to me exactly what the problem is. Calmly.” She had stepped back, giving the men room to help hold up their leader. If one of them so much as twitched a finger on their swords, or Niamh on her bow, she was ready to jump back in. For now, though, she expected them to follow her order and speak.

“Nia-ah, hunters. You first.” She nearly slipped up. It would be wrong acknowledge her association with Niamh just yet. She could not show any sort of favoritism, especially to someone who had just shot one of her soldiers. If Garde had any suspicion that she was giving special treatment to the elf due to a shared history there would be worse problems than the ones she had now. Josie would kill her if she lost the support of a company over a minor squabble. Even if the loss of a man such as Garde would be no real loss in Nethra's mind, it would be to those more martially concerned.
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Niamh
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PostSubject: Re: Blame it on my ADD baby   4/2/2015, 12:13


Niamh took a step back, enough to stay safely out of reach and yet not to appear as if she backing out completely. She’d already lowered her bow; no one had to tell her twice. Shooting Garde was satisfying enough, more so that he was denied a sword to cut her down. If he could have stood on his own Niamh had no doubt he’d jump on her and strangle her. She could see the want in his eyes. But Nethra stood between them and Garde’s men helped him to the logs around their fire and sat him down. He must have been high on adrenaline or otherwise just really, really pissed at her to grind his teeth and growl occasionally instead of paying attention to his wound. It hurt; Niamh knew it did, because she’d made it so it would. She just wished Garde would feel it. She hoped he’d feel it before his men returned with someone to fix him up anyway.

“’Twasn’t without good reason,” Niamh said immediately when she was called out. “If he just-” “Andraste’s tits, what’s with all this crowd?” Niamh looked to the source of yet another interruption, eyes locking onto a man as large, and just as ugly, as Garde. “Peyrat,” Bellen sighed into her ear; and then continued, in a hurried whisper. “Get lost, go. If he sees your face, he’ll remember it. I’ll handle this.” “Bell,” Niamh spoke through tight lips and squeezed his arm when he tried pushing her behind him. “I’m a big elf, ok? I ain’t running.” Bellen's concern for her was touching, really, but misplaced. Sometimes she wished he didn’t care so much. If she couldn’t handle men like Garde or Peyrat and kept hiding behind others, she would have been dead by now.

“Garde?” Peyrat saw his wounded colleague first. “Herald!” Nethra was next. His eyes flew over Niamh and Bellen like they weren’t even there. “What happened here?” Another man from the company came back running with a surgeon; she clicked her tongue and set to inspect Garde’s wound without a word. Nethra had just announced that there’d be no hanging or flogging (a silent win for the hunters), though Niamh could not help but snort at the ‘no shooting’ part. Honestly, her stupid tongue would get her hanged one day. “But we shoot people every day.” Okay so maybe she shouldn’t have. Bellen elbowed her in the ribs to make sure she understood that she was, in fact, acting like a child. “Stop it,” he hissed into her ear and she had to bite back a smile.

Peyrat still stood glaring at each of them in turn; only looking to Nethra politely when she was talking. He shot a look to Garde that clearly said You better not screw this up or I’ll kill you and Garde replied with an equally terrifying grimace. “’m fine,” he said to Nethra as soon as her attention was on him; expression suddenly that of a tortured animal. “Thank you for yer concern, Inquisitor. Me wound may be painful, but it herts more ‘at we have such uncivilised hunt-” Garde stopped mid-sentence, his voice curling around another cry of pain. He barked at the surgeon next, “Watch what yer doing you incompetent hag!” Peyrat shook his head, hitting his forehead with one large hand.

On her side, Niamh was trying to figure out what to say. Give a straight answer. Right. She could do that. Maybe. If they hadn’t drawn a little crowd around themselves, no doubt seeking entertainment in the little scene they were causing, might’ve been easier too. Niamh took a breath to steady herself; after all talking wasn’t really her strong suite, she’d sooner act upon impulse like she did. She was a hunter, not a diplomat. She had Bellen for that other thing. So, how did she calmly explain the problem, as Nethra so kindly asked of her?  “Okay so there’s this shipment coming in from the coast right? Plenty carts all sorts of shit and Lefty sends us ‘cause they’ve had a real good week and ram’s been scarce these mountains. And I know cause her report’s among the others, except there’s no ram in the carts, and this guy here,” she pointed to Garde “and Peyrat were supposed to have brought it in ‘cept they didn’t. And Garde says there wasn’t no ram in the first and with all due respect, he’s a filthy liar.”

Bellen placed a hand on her shoulder when she was done, giving a little cough before he said, “If I may, Inquisitor.” He may all right, if Niamh had any say in it; she needed him to translate for her. “What Niv is trying to say is, one of our hunters sent a runner ahead with a message that we should expect a ram in the next shipment. They’re doing better down the coast, so they can afford to spare some wool or meat on occasion. We receive carts with goods like metal and herbs, sometimes fish and fruit; and there’s always a list to go with it. Just like the runner had informed us a couple of days prior, there was a ram on the list of supplies for the hold. You see, the runner is necessary because there had been problems with the list before; small things here and there that never arrived to Skyhold. We had much left to spare then so we didn’t bother with them, but with nearwinter at our doorstep, a whole ram makes all the difference. Niv here was asking these nice men where they lost it. She gets a little jumpy and she’s sorry she shot Garde, right Niv?” “No I’m really not.” “She’s sorry.”

Bellen looked to Peyrat, who’d fallen silent listening to their side of the story. His eyes were moving from Garde, to Niamh, to the Inquisitor; they even fell on Bellen for a moment, but he did not speak. His expression was unreadable at this point. “My turn?” asked Garde, lifting his chin to address them proper. “Good. Keep it simple. Peyrat’s ‘ere so e’ll confirm what I say and I said it before. Weren’t no ram. Don’t know about the runner or the list, but someone on yer side must’ve fucked up.” He looked to Peyrat, certain that his fellow soldier would back him up. But Peyrat looked him square in the eye and said, “Have you hit your head recently? We’ve been dragging that cart back for days. You kept complaining how heavy the ram was. You haven’t forgotten, have you?” He lifted his gaze to the hunters and then moved it to Nethra. “My apologies, Herald. We brought the ram back. I don’t know where it is now; I thought it had been delivered to the hunters as instructed, along with all the other goods. But I give you my word that we’ll find it,” he promised, once more looking to Garde and speaking in a significantly more menacing tone. “Won’t we, Garde?” Garde, who looked quite a bit paler and a lot less smug than just moments before, seemed to have difficulty swallowing. “Uh.”
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Nethra Lavellan
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PostSubject: Re: Blame it on my ADD baby   10/2/2015, 20:51

Nethra listened in silence as Niamh attempted to explain the situation in colorful language and choppy sentences that left Nethra no clearer on the issue than before she had started talking. When her partner interrupted with a request to take over Nethra happily obliged with an enthusiastic nod of her head. After he had finished, the two humans had their chance to redeem their side of the story, but fell short when it came to light that Niamh was indeed correct: Garde was lying. His fellow solider did nothing to protect him or back his story, but instead

For a minute Nethra remained silent, her head swimming with the stories she had just heard. Children. That's what this was. It was children fighting over a lost toy, only this toy kept her people from starving in the harsh winter. She was inclined to side with the hunters; how could someone misplace an entire ram? It was either complete incompetence, or deliberate thievery. Neither of which she needed in her troops. Peyrat could be covering the tracks he himself had made. It may not have just been Garde who had let the ram slip through his hands, but he may have been the only one not intelligent enough to charm his way out of the situation. Peyrat may know exactly where the ram is, and only now that he was being scolded was he willing to put things right.

What was she to believe? Nethra could feel the stress knot inside her as she deliberated over what to do. One day soon she was certain she would break under all the pressure that was put on her, but today did not seem to be that day.

“Ok.” She ran an exasperated hand through her hair, fingers catching on the knots that had yet to be brushed out. It was difficult to keep the annoyance from her voice, to keep it steady and unbiased. “Make finding this ram a priority. I want confirmation the moment it gets returned to where the hunters need it. From both of you. There's not going to be any more of this confusion, right?” She looked from Peyrat to Bellen, from Niamh to Garde. Her stern expression said it all, and looked suspiciously like that of a mother scolding her children.

“I'm leaving the rest of this in your hands, Peyrat. I'll be waiting to hear from you” She turned to the injured man who was still slumped down as his leg was tended to. Nethra had a difficult time keeping the disgust from her face, yet when she spoke it was with perfect professionalism. “Garde, you're going to report to Commander Cullen first thing in the morning. You're going to need a new assignment until your leg heals.” And it's not going to be one you'll enjoy.  Nethra was not letting the pig get off as easy as it may seem to those watching. She added a late night visit to Cullen's office to her mental list of things to get done tonight, already trying to figure out how she would explain this mess to him.

Finally she addressed the two hunters, “You two, come with me. We have things to discuss still.”

Nethra did not wait for confirmation before she started to walk away. She had learned it was better to expect people to follow than to wait around and appear indecisive. At first it was difficult – why would anyone jump to heed her commands? Now it came as second nature; there was simply no time to mill about waiting.

She pressed through the small group of people who had gathered, hoping to catch a glimpse of some altercation or act. Mumbled greetings washed over her as many of the spectators spoke to her, to which she did her best to offer a smile in return. With luck now that the scene was over these people would return to their lodgings and tents, or onto what business they had been headed to. The hope that their tongues would lay still in their mouths and not speak of the unrest between Inquisition factions while doing so was slim, though. Rumors had a way of spreading like wildfire through Skyhold. Nethra could hardly do anything without hearing about it second hand the next day, garbled beyond recognition. Her spirited reunion with Keerla in the courtyard had generated such rumors that Liliana was forced to deploy agents to spread counter rumors, which were much closer to the truth than the fantastical stories there were being whispered around the keep, such as the younger elf being the Inquisitor's secret lover, or long lost daughter. Andruil help her if she wanted her private life to remain such.

The courtyard was dotted with small fires at this time of the night, but Nethra continued on past the more lively spots until she found a less inhabited corner. She had no notion of where the hunters tents were set up, or if she had just lead the two others out of their way, but the spot suited her fine. There were few people in the area to overhear whatever was to be said.

She turned to the human who had spoken for Niamh, and who had stopped her from further outbursts. He looked much as other human's did. There was nothing that stood out to Nethra, other than the way he had so skillfully handled the situation he found himself in. It would do well to have more hunters like him: those able to do their job while also keeping the peace. If he was not yet in a position of power Nethra must do what she could to rise him up in the ranks.

“Thank you for remaining calm and keeping your companion here from doing anything else rash.” She turned slightly to Niamh, and gestured off into the distance. “Do you mind if I have a few words with her alone? You won't miss her long, it will only take a moment.”

When Bellen had left, Nethra turned her full attention to Niamh. She took time to fully digest her appearance, as she now could spare the focus since they were quite alone. Were there traces left of the young girl Nethra had once walked forest paths with? There must be, somewhere in the hardened features and scowl that Niamh wore. Looking at her was like looking into the past, but it was not the light, comforting past she saw when looking at her sister. Instead it was the long hours working for the clan, the nights spent willing herself to continue on one more day through the pain of loss. It was the fighting and the side long looks of differing opinions, and most of all it was the shadow of secrets.

She shifted from one foot to the other and ran a hand through her hair again. She really did not have time for this, but now that she knew Niamh was here she could not in good conscious leave her without a conversation first. What was there to talk about, though? She would not ask about the other elf's years away from the clan; it was not a topic Nethra felt was her place to inquire about. Niamh had left suddenly, and she never knew the reason behind the disappearance. It was safe to assume that the following years were also none of her business. Besides, what she had been doing for ten years was of no consequence, just as what Nethra herself had been doing in the years leading up this moment was of little importance. What mattered now was that they were both here, and both presumably working for the same cause.

The disciplined look of the Inquisitor fell from Nethra's face as easily as silk sheets as she looked at Niamh. Replacing it was concern that lined her brow, and worry that bled through her words. “Niamh, I hadn't expected to see you,” again, “here. Have you just arrived? You should have sought me out straight away. I would have-” what? What would she had done? Certainly not welcomed her with open arms and tears of joy as she had Keerla. She could hardly afford to show such favoritism again. Would she have offered a warm bed and hot meal as she had her sister? It would be instinct to do so, but so frowned upon that she may not have had the option to offer even that. It twisted at her heart as she looked over the other elf, who had not come to announce her presence. Had she become the Inquisitor so fully that those who were once part of her life did not even wish to make themselves known to her?

“I would have liked to see a familiar face.” Nethra salvaged her words, and they once again were all truth. “You look...good.” Her eyes flickered over the chain leading from one of the many holes in Niamh's ears to her nose. Interesting style choice, she thought, if a bit impractical. “Keerla is here, too. If you recall her. She may like to see you, if you have time to spare her.” Niamh might prove to be another chip for Keerla to play in her ploy to become part of the Inquisition, but Nethra could hardly refuse to tell her of their old clan mate’s presence. Niamh and Keerla were both hunters, and Nethra was certain that her sister would love to see her.

“Do you need anything? Do your hunters need anything that has not been given to them? I can expedite any requisitions you have put in, if it'll help.” Nethra placed her hand on Niamh's arm, a gesture she had picked up as a young child and kept through her life. It was meant as a reassurance and a comfort, as well as a way to show that her intentions were pure and that the recipient was her primary concern.
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Niamh
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PostSubject: Re: Blame it on my ADD baby   18/3/2015, 14:31


Feeling more confident that the matter would be resolved properly Niamh put her hands on her hips, hardly able to supress a look of triumph crossing her features. Not even Nethra’s scolding expression could put her out of her sudden good mood and, as Peyrat offered a formal gesture in show of agreement, “Of course, Lady Inquisitor,” she too nodded her head heartily. Garde wouldn’t look Nethra in the eye any longer; he stared at his leg and made a low sound at the back of his throat, followed by a quiet “Yes mam.”

What more Nethra would need them for Niamh didn’t know and she shared a look with Bellen before they both moved after the Inquisitor. He kept a hand on her arm while they pushed through the crowd and so until they stopped in Nethra’s chosen corner. Niamh immediately took to shifting from foot to foot; growing more restless as Nethra requested they be left alone. Bellen thanked the Inquisitor, polite as he was, but hesitated to leave for which Niamh was grateful. Was she to receive punishment after all? If so, she didn’t see why Bell had to leave. “All right,” Bellen said at last, seemingly more convinced than his partner that all should be in order. “Be good now,” he told her and she made her best betrayed face at him as he was leaving.

She knew Nethra was studying her and did her best not to look back at her and do the same. There were far more interesting things around her anyway, like the way fire flickered off in the distance and how the wind carried the smoke above their heads. She couldn’t stay still either; she kept moving her hands, now folding them behind her back, then reaching up to scratch her nose, crossing her arms and uncrossing them. Her eyes kept flying over to Nethra and away as she spoke, but she couldn’t keep her gaze on her for long. Whatever had caused her concern seemed excessive to Niamh; she doubted Nethra had thought of her in the past ten years at all, so it was entirely unnecessary. Undesirable, even. Unpleasant.

She sneered when Nethra expressed her surprise at seeing her. “Yeah, you’re telling me,” she said. It struck a nerve that she should think Niamh had only just arrived when she’d been hunting for the Inquisition for months, but Nethra can’t have possibly known that, of course. In fact, she can’t have expected to know many agents outside her inner circle. Still she thought to say, “I’ve been here since Haven actually. We lost a lot of good hunters there, did you know?” She didn’t say in the avalanche, but Nethra might’ve have known that much, having caused it in the first place. It wasn’t fair that Niamh should blame her for it, but it still hurt; she’d lost friends that day. She’d felt better not knowing the Inquisitor, but now the words left a bitter taste on her tongue. “Look, I didn’t know you’re the Inquisitor.” And if she had, she most certainly would not have sought her out straight away, what the fuck even? See a familiar face? What a joke.

“Well that makes one of us,” she said, her mouth forming a tight lipped smile. It was not entirely true, but to her, meeting anyone from the clan was painful; it only reminded her that she’d made a mistake when she ran away. For years she’d wondered what she would do if she saw them again; if she’d be able to face them. Though Nethra acted quite pleasantly, Niamh had no idea how to deal with kindness; she’d expected scorn at best. Was it possible that those who knew what she’d done did not speak of it? Even so, she’d have thought that the Keeper’s First would have known. But then, Nethra wasn’t the Keeper’s First now, no, she was the Inquisitor.

She made no comment in response to the one about her appearance, though she hoped her expression and a raised eyebrow showed she couldn’t care less what Nethra thought about that either. She didn’t miss her eyeing the nose chain cocked her head purposely in order to make her uncomfortable for staring. “I… guess?” Niamh remembered Keerla, sort of. She got along well with her brother anyway. If Niamh missed anyone from the clan it was Faolan, though she resented Nethra for making her think about him. “I can’t imagine why; I didn’t know her that well.”

“We do well on our own, thanks. Not many of us left, but have so far,” she said. They had clothes on their backs and boots on their feet; a tent and a fire to warm them at night and their bows and knives to get work done. It was enough. They thanked the volunteers in person; she didn’t feel the need to extend that thanks to Nethra. “If that’s all-” she started when Nethra touched her; a gesture that made Niamh flinch back and step away to escape it. She covered up her round-eyed fear with another well-placed frown. She’d grown used to Bell, maybe, but such surprise contact still brought discomfort. Especially when she could see the hand going up; she never knew if it would come down to hit her. “I’d like to go back now.”
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Nethra Lavellan
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PostSubject: Re: Blame it on my ADD baby   3/4/2015, 02:23

Nethra was glad she was secluded in a shadowy part of the courtyard, as the bitterness on her face at Nimah's words would surely have given life to more rumors. A scorned lover perhaps? Or an elven spy, giving news on an impending uprising. She didn't want to think of what could be said – the truth was enough to deal with.

She knew there were some that blamed her for Haven. It was inevitable when so many good people had been lost. But for Nimah to bring it up with such venom in her voice, and to imply that Nethra did not care was beyond inconsiderate. She put up with a lot of double edged comments and sticky sweet insults dealing with nobles and commanders, as it was imperative to Inquisition. Letting Niamh's comment slide, though, was not something she was willing to do. The girl had no idea what she was talking about.

She had thought she was going to die in that avalanche; was certain of it, and was ready to face that eventuality with faith that it would help others survive. She would have gladly given her life so more could escape, but she had lived. Some days she wasn't certain which she would have preferred.

The bitterness fell from her face and was replaced with a blank slate, and eyes that bore into the other elf's with no more emotion than a stone. “I saved who I could. If you have have a problem with the way I handled the situation I suggest you keep it to yourself, as there is nothing that can be done about it now.”

She looked away for a time, scanning the courtyard full of tents and people who flocked to her banner looking for solace and hope. She had let these people down once already, and those who survived seemed likely to never let her forget that. What could she do, though? She had tried doing what she thought was right, and many had died. How many more would she lose before this war was over? Faces swam before her eyes – faces that if lost would haunt her for the rest of her days. What if Keerla was among the dead, or Varric? Or even Niamh, though she barely knew the woman now in front of her. She was responsible for these people now; all of them, not just the ones she knew and cared for already. If she had to sacrifice some to save the rest, she would do it.

Niamh couldn't begin to understand how Nethra felt, nor the burden on her shoulders. When she looked back to the other elf her expression was colder, her tone sharp. “I'm sorry if you lost friends but I did what I had to. If you need someone to blame go ahead and put it on me, but don't you dare think anything you say will make me feel worse than I already do.”

After that Nethra didn't listen carefully to what the other elf said; she was lost in her own thoughts. She did not fail to notice how Niamh flinched at her touch, however, and did nothing to bring awareness to it. Whatever made her uncomfortable was not likely to be shared, and right now Nethra couldn't concern herself over it. Live and let live, as the Keeper used to tell her. Some things were not worth digging into, especially when Niamh already seemed unwilling to open up.

She retracted her hand, letting it rest on her hip. Niamh's request to leave saved her the trouble of extracting herself from the conversation herself. “Yes, go. Find me when the ram has been returned.” She did not wait for a response, nor another scathing comment likely already on Niamh's lips.

Leaving Niamh standing alone in the dim light felt strangely satisfying. At first she had been happy, if a bit surprised, to see another member of her clan. Now, after speaking with her, Nethra only felt bitter. She had brought up painful memories, and had seemed none too happy about Nethra being the Inquisitor. Well, if that's how it was going to be, there wasn't much she could do about it. Trying to get the elf to like her was only a waste of precious time; Niamh could just go back to hunting and she could go back to living in constant stress.

She probably wouldn't even see her again. Hunters were always coming and going in Skyhold, as was Nethra herself. As she changed course to climb the stone steps leading to the battlements Niamh's face was washed from her thoughts, and replaced with maps and numbers, and of hungry mouths and wounded soldiers. She had enough to think about.
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