Dragon Age: Rise of the Runelords

The Hunted (Tamarel)

“Lamashtu” Goddess of monster and mal-births. This was hardly an insight, though Tamarel. The fact that a demon was worshipped as a god did not make the latter truth. Still, it’s presence in the fade was of note to Tamarel. Tamarel heard whispers and prayers, indications of rituals calling upon gods and demons. Lamashtu was apparently being called upon somewhere within the city, homage to some dark sacrament. These were dire omens, not necessarily connected to the awakening of an archdemon, but the fact that demonic worship occurred in a city was certainly a sign of increased demonic activity, which always precedes a blight.

Her mind traveled through the twisting ether of dreams and magic. The fade was bare before her, a realm of madness and chaos. Anchors to the world remained in the fade, in approximation to the physical location of such an anchor. Mages built towers and other arcane structures around these spots, drawing upon the power therein for their own purposes.

So it was with the mage towers of Magnimar. Here, arcane fuels and energies were drawn to aid in the construction of golems, the industry the city was most well-known for. Tamarel has sought the use of the tower for her divination, but intentionally omitted her purpose to the circle mages or their Templar hosts. Divination without sanction was strictly forbidden in Ferelden. Tamarel had no reason to think otherwise here, or to provide excuse for the circle’s refusal of aid.

Her body sat quietly in an upper-level antechamber. She did not need the use of the divination chambers for a quiet and quick trip into the fade. Besides, her presence in the divination chamber would make her purpose quiet obvious.

Tamarel was about to recall, observing nothing of use, when she suddenly felt the presence of others in this proximity of the fade. The fade was not like a material realm, a consciousness did not occupy a certain space per se. Still, she could tell by the potency of the communication that the diviner was close. Whispers swirled around her in old and arcane tongues.

Tamarel set her focus and composed a spell, drawing upon her own arcane power to allow her to understand even the most obscure of languages. Faint echoes and images of twisted masks assaulted her mind.

“Norgorber” This name Tamarel recognized as well. Religious doctrines in Varisia indicated Norgorber as one of the ascended, and generally associated this god with thievery, secrets, and sometimes assassinations. Rumors persisted of an even more vile aspect of Norgorber than this, however.

In any case, these insights were more troubling than she anticipated. She dared not to risk communication with any Ferelden circles, or even the few mages among the Grey Wardens. It was best to slip away from the fade unnoticed and send word by more conventional means. Without any solid answers, Tamarel still had enough to determine something had disrupted the fade here in Varisia within the last few years, awakening spirits and demons alike. The awakening of an archdemon could easily have led to this, and their timetable needed to be accelerated. If the Wardens were to combat a blight, preparations needed to start now, in the open, with an eye towards war. Duncan needed to be warned now, the king alerted and his armies mobilized towards Ostagar with all haste.

Tamarel slowly drew along her silver strand toward her body. Whispers faded and the fade began to recede. She could see her body below here, time standing still in the material world. As she began her descent a shock of force suddenly threw her aside her path. Tamarel could not have anticipated the amount of force she felt and it was all she could do to maintain a hold on her strand lest her mind be lost to its body.

Turbulent waves batted her spirit violently as fear gripped down on her. A new presence emerged, old and powerful. It was no archdemon. She’d never felt anything as strong or evil now as she did in the circle’s towers in Lake Calenhad all those hundreds of years ago, when she first delved into the fade, at the cusp of the fourth blight. It was folly to divine during a blight, as the demonic energies of the archdemon swept across the fade, mirroring the dark march of the darkspawn armies across the lands. She had barely escaped what was only seconds into her divination then – but what seemed hours in the fade. Her psyche barely survived that first encounter and she remained in defensive trance for days afterward.

This presence, glowering eyes affixed an immense runed countenance, pressed down upon her now. Ancient and powerful magics, the likes of which the world had not seen in many ages, swirled and drew her in. Her mind blanked and her perceptions blinded. Searing pain was all she knew. Above the din a name echoed, but her mind could not comprehend.

In a last, desperate effort, Tamarel’s instincts flickered to action. Her mind went inward and shut, as a single word left her lips.

The explosion of light could be seen throughout all of Magnimar, its swift blare followed, ceasing all other sounds at the moment of impact.

The Templars reached the apex of the tower to be met with open sky. All that remained of the upper levels was the polished marble of the floors and Tamarel’s motionless body. Luckily, the tower was otherwise unoccupied that night. Debris littered the Golemworks in an even circle, expanding out two hundred feet from the tower’s base.

“Stand guard” the commander ordered as they cautiously approached Tamarel’s body. With weapons drawn and lyrium coursing through their veins, the Templars moved to flanking positions. The commander stepped forward, nudging Tamarel with his blade.

“Ka…r…zoug” was the only sound to escape Tamarel’s lips, although she did not regain consciousness.

“Take her to Justice Ironbriar,” the commander frowned, “it seems he may have been wrong about cultish demon worship in Magnimar.”

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