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Some practice writing I did whilst working on an RPG. I apologize dearly for any uncaught errors; I’m quite franky a terrible proofreader. The exposition is a bit light, but I tried to at least make it somewhat understandable for a non-DA fan. -------------------------------------------- The world, calm for a hundred years, lies on the brink of the Third Blight. The threat of extinction lingers in the air, and only a few can even sense death’s approach. This is the story of two experiences; a Morning with a sun and a Morning without, both dawning on Thedas alongside the menace of the Darkspawn. --- : ----- : --- : ----- : --- It was the morning, though there was no sun to do the telling. Deep below the earth, a group of heavily armored dwarven warriors marched through the Deep Roads. In the ancient days, these tunnels had been massive roads between the cities of the great empire. These warriors, however, were no representatives of a great empire. They were the scouts for its last surviving city – Orzammar. For many, it is a pleasing sight not to encounter ones enemies. Six hundred years before, the Darkspawn had risen from the tunnels beneath the earth to bring destruction to the world, starting with the dwarven kingdoms. Horrible, twisted creatures whose only goal seemed to be total annihilation of their enemies, they most certainly fell into that enemy category. Yet while on a normal day they flooded the tunnels, not one remained within on this day. “Something isn’t right about this.” The patrol leader said as she scanned over the area. “The spawn should be swarming these tunnels, and yet we haven’t seen a single one all day.” “Could they be planning an attack?” one of them asked. “Since when do Darkspawn actually plan?” asked another. “Since about a century ago.” Replied the one furthest to the back, grimly. The more formal nature of his armor, incorporating a cloth tabard and design elements foreign in appearance, marked him as a figure of some importance. “What are you suggesting, Warden?” asked the patrol leader. “So there are a few Darkspawn missing, but what does that matter?” The Grey Warden shook his head. “No. I don’t think so. This has been going on for well over a week. The only Darkspawn we’ve seen have been stragglers, but fiercer. Their direction has been too effective.” The patrol leader stared down the tunnels, before releasing a sigh. “You may be right, Warden. I can only pity those who are now on the topside, all of this considered.” The Warden nodded, as his thoughts raced. For centuries, they had been the ones who stood vigil against the Darkspawn. And when they rose to the surface, it was the Wardens who faced them in battle. Each of these Darkspawn surges – these Blights – had been met with heavy cost. And now, he feared that the Third lay on the horizon. --- : ----- : --- : ----- : --- It was morning, and the sun shone brightly. As its light pierced the highest Chantry window, it melted away the winter’s frosty coating, bringing in the dawn. There was a deathly silent in the holy place, with nary a soul present; neither man nor woman breathing, even in the private chambers adjoining the chapel. There was no sound present, and had not been for well over a year within the Chantry. The last sound to be made was that of blood dripping onto the floor, flowing from the numerous bodies which lay scattered about the room. Among them were folks from all walks of life – peasants seeking sanctuary, priests who helped tend to them, and a small number of armored Templar knights who had once protected them. Among them, also, were the scattered forms of those whom they had once failed to stand against; the enemy which they had faced. The doors to the Chantry opened, and into the building entered its first visitors in many years; three Grey Wardens, though much younger than their ally who marched in the Deep Roads. The first among them, a scruffy looking man clad in robes which bore the Warden’s griffon crest and clutching only a staff for a weapon (clearly the sign of a mage, for no other would be so bold as to move unarmored), knelt down almost immediately as he observed the scene. “Need we any more proof?” he asked. “Definitely Darkspawn work.” his nearer companion replied; this one, a dwarf, wearing armor and clutching a largish crossbow. “Just like the other villages. Lots of bodies, and completely untouched by rot.” “Hardly the most obvious sign here.” the mage replied, pointing to the foreign bodies which lay scattered amongst the refugees. While it was weapons marks which had mutilated the villagers, the twisted Darkspawn corpses were already a horrible sight. “There can be no doubt at this point; our dreams have proven right.” “Can we truly be sure?” the third questioned, as his armor reflected the light which pierced through the stained glass windows above. “We’re only thirteen miles from one of the Deep Roads entrances, and for one of the bigger ‘spawn to lead a group here…” The mage merely shook his head, as he stood back up. “Possible? Almost anything is, and if that were true, it would bring me no small comfort. But look at the signs… there were not that many Darkspawn. Even a village this small has enough Templars assigned for a body count to be much more visible than it is.” “We must face facts.” The dwarf said. “These are the same warnings that they had in the Anderfels before the beginning of the Second Blight. There is another one on the horizon.” There was an almost tangible feeling of silence which hung in the air. Eventually, the mage spoke up and said, “We’ll need to report this back to the commander as soon as possible, so they can prepare. No doubt there are other scouts, but we may be the only ones in this area.” “We can’t just leave their bodies rotting with the Darkspawn. They should be committed to the Maker.” The other human said. “Just doesn’t seem right.” The mage turned to the dwarf, who shrugged and said, “Not much for your topsider religions, but he’s right. Wouldn’t just leave a dwarf rotting here." With that said, the mage nodded, before saying, "What’s another fire compared to the days to come?” --- : ----- : --- : ----- : --- The three set out once again by midday, the funeral pyre reaching high into the sky behind them. And the Wardens, now more so than anybody else, knew that these oncoming years would be far from easy. All they could do was try to prepare. At the same time, the dwarven Warden returned from his travels as empty-handed as before. That very day, he addressed the assembly who led Orzammar, informing of them of what was most certainly to come. For as the surface prepared to fight, they would prepare to defend. For if humans and elves were to fall, then they would most certainly be next. -Toa Levacius Zehvor