Dragon Age: The Blades of Andraste

Session 1

(Written by Amasa)

The four adventurers gather: Knight Sergeant Shavok Kinnon, Knight Initiate
Tygra of Lothering, Sister Helle of Gwaren, and Maximus Amell of the Circle of
Magi. Hand-selected by the Grand Cleric of Ferelden, they are brought to the
upper floor of the Denerim Chantry to wait the Reverend Mother’s pleasure.

After brief small talk, they are summoned to Grand Cleric Altrynne’s office.
She explains that they are the beginning of a great experiment, one that
might change the very nature of the Templars in Ferelden. Just like the
Orlesian chevaliers, the Fereldan Templars, all trained solely to arms, travel
the land in teams of five, announcing their presence and their mission.
Though this is effective at killing mages, it isn’t as effective at finding them.

This group has been selected, she continues to explain, because they have the
potential to be finer instruments, better capable of investigating and rooting out
maleficarum and apostates. Though there is some controversy in the concept of
having non-Templar servants of the Chantry on traditionally Templar missions,
the Grand Cleric is putting her hopes in this exemplary group of individuals to
prove her thesis correct.

She grants them the authority to do whatever they deem reasonable to hunt
down, capture, or kill apostates, in addition to maintaining peace in Ferelden in
ways that the Crown and other civilian and secular authorities might not be able
to do. She tells them to begin by going to the town of Vevinter, near the Brecilian
Forest. The Chantry at Vevinter reports trouble, possibly magical in nature, that
requires investigation.

After she hands Ser Kinnan some maps and a Templar signet, they leave the
room, and Max retires to pray before the journey. While he is gone, Tygra thanks
Kinnon for expressing worry about the presence of a mage in this party, though
Helle is confident and unconcerned. Tygra explains that she lost a loved one to
an abomination, which is what prompted her to seek service with the Templars.
In the chapel, Max feels that he hears a soft, feminine voice, but he ignores it.

After a few days’ march, the party decides to stop at a nearby farmhouse just
east of Vevinter, held by the Fuldor family. But everything is quiet, and the
holding is rank with the smell of rotting flesh. Carrion crows are circling over
claw-ravaged bodies, mangled by some unnatural creature. Just as Shavok
examines the bodies, they are attacked by blight wolves.

They manage to drive off the persistent beasts with great difficulty, but they
hear a moan from a nearby barn and go to investigate. Hidden under the hay is a
young elf woman, grievously wounded and febrile, who faints even as she tries to
back away. Max, a healer, manages to stabilize her.

Examination of the young woman reveals fairly little except that she is Dalish
and that her wound is similar to the claw gashes found on the bodies outside. It
seems the same creatures attacked her. She carries no means of identification or
anything of value save for a small leather pouch at her waist that holds a heavy
link, forged out of silver, about the size of a man’s hand. It has been broken and
twisted by some great force.

The party debates whether or not to wait until the young woman wakes up.
They decide to find a beast of burden and take the young woman to the Vevinter
Chantry for the urgent care she needs. Near the Chantry, a Sister Arda meets
them. She takes the young woman off their hands for healing. Later, they explain
what befell the farm they ran across.

Sister Arda is clearly troubled by this and after some prodding, she admits that
two weeks ago, the village held its annual harvest festival. The nearby Dalish
came from the woods to trade and participate in the festival diversions. The
blacksmith and some other drunkards started trouble with some of the Dalish
over a trifle, but the village sheriff, Tarl Dale, intervened before any blood was
shed. She worries whether or not the Dalish have returned in arms.

Sister Helle points out that the Dalish prefer bows and arrows, while the bodies at
the farm were mauled by beasts with claws. The party must wait until the young
woman awakes and is recovered enough to speak before they can learn more
information about what attacked the farm.

Late that night, a mob gathers at the Chantry, furious that the Chantry is
harboring one of the Dalish. Though Shavok manages to talk them down,
their show of violence at the Chantry door offends Max enough to provoke
him to shout at them. Shavok chastises him firmly for speaking out of turn at
such a dangerous and inopportune moment, and the tense moment passes.

Within a few days, the young elf woman, Eshara, has recovered enough to speak
with the party. She is a Dalish of the Sallowfoot Tribe. She explains about the
scuffle at the festival, adding that one of their hunters, Harralan, was the one
who attacked the blacksmith. After the scuffle was resolved, the elders gave him
scouting duty as the clan made its way through the Brecilian Forest, but he was
the first to disappear. Other scouts and hunters began to go missing as well,
including those sent after him.

Three days after Harralan’s disappearance, demons attacked the camp in the
dead of night, taking the entire clan. Those who fought were beaten or killed,
and Eshara was taken along with the rest to an ancient ruin in a rift valley deep
in the forest, off the trails. The master of the demons was an abomination called
Mythallen, which is elven for ‘child of vengeance.’ But Eshara escaped, and she
took with her the broken link of silver she found there laid out as if on a shrine.

The demons pursued her, accompanied by beasts. Eshara was wounded, but
managed to avoid them until finally she stumbled on the farm and managed to
conceal herself in the hayloft as the demons attacked. She begs them to help her
people and stop Mythallen.

After hearing the story, the party is incensed with fervor. There is no question
they must hunt this monster down. Max asks to see the silver link, which is
clearly magical in nature and seems to glow a dull blue from the inside. The blue
glow spells runes of binding, but the runes are broken or twisted. Whatever the
link had bound, it no longer holds.

Shavok asks about repairing the link, and Max reluctantly states that it is
possible to do so, though he agrees with Tygra and Sister Helle that the
creature should be killed, not bound. Completing the glyph would require that
whoever struck the final blow held the link while a spell was simultaneously cast.

It seems that the servants of Mythallen might be searching for this link, so the
party agrees that they should take the link away from this village. They debate
whether or not to return Eshara to what remains of her people, but because her
people has been so decimated and she is still weak, and they don’t know how
to contact any other Dalish clans, they decide it best for Eshara to remain in the
village, with guards posted by the sheriff.

Max doesn’t want to be stuck holding the link if demons are coming after it, so he
gives it to Shavok, and the party decides to head into the forest without further
ado, following Eshara’s map.

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Session 2

(By Amasa)

The forest greets them with little more than spiders in Sister Helle’s hair at first,
but they aren’t far from the village before the blacksmith, Caolan, steps out of
the trees along with several other men, all armed. They attack, and the party
defends themselves, taking care to only knock the men unconscious, not kill
them. Though Shavok tries to reason with them, it is only when their numbers fall
that they finally turn and run, leaving Shavok badly injured. But they regroup and
take a breather.

Their breather is interrupted by a taunting, rasping voice; a small, strange crow,
perched on a nearby branch. Even Max has nothing in his knowledge of lore to
explain this mocking creature, and Tygra nearly attacks it. The crow states that
it is delivering a message — Things are not as simple as they may first appear
here— and flies off.

Disturbed, the party can come to no conclusion regarding the creature’s
provenance or purpose, though Tygra suggests that some evil force might have
driven the villagers to this poisonous rage. The silver link Shavok carries has not

changed. The men are stirring, so the party moves forward.

They come across the abandoned remains of the Dalish encampment, not far off
the track in the forest. The elves’ wagons form a circle around the cold ashes of a
campfire’s remains in a shallow pit. The wagons as well as the debris around the
camp show signs of a struggle. Shavok and Tygra investigate more closely and
discover from the patterns of blood that the attack was not a wholesale slaughter,
but there are no bodies at the campsite.

Helle notices clear tracks that lead towards the south/southeast, as on Eshara’s
crude map. All footprints seem to belong to the elves, with no signs of tracks
made by their attackers. Did the elves leave under their own volition? Did they
destroy their own camp?

Max hears whimpering, which, when Tygra investigates, turns out to be a tiny
kitten with a broken leg inside one of the overturned kettles. (Helle finds ten
silver and a bottle of wine.) Tygra bandages the kitten up, and they decide to
keep it. Max, it turns out, is explosively allergic to the cat.

Shavok fondly recalls Anders and his cat, Ser Pounce-A-Lot. Max recalls Anders
much less fondly, but nonetheless, the name sticks. Tygra and Shavok set up a
defensive perimeter blocking most entrances to the camp. They divvy up watch
and proceed with the night.

Max wakes up two hours into the night with the kitten on his face and has an
allergy attack, which startles Tygra at just the right time, as she hears something
off in the distance. The sound of faint, mocking laughter seems to drift out of the
trees. Dark, mysterious figures, like jackals with glowing red eyes, surround and
attack the party.

Tygra goes through them like a thresher. In death, the creatures change their
form, becoming what looks like Dalish elves, bearing wounds similar to the
ones Eshara sustained. The party is shocked, but before they can even process
their shock, the strange bird returns to mock this tragedy. The bird speaks of
Mythallen as a fool and states that it is no animal. It denies having a master, and
warns the party that Mythallen has their scent and will not rest until they are
gone. Then it flies off.

The kitten pokes its head out of Max’s pocket, meows happily, licks his face and
sends him into another round of sneezes, to Tygra’s delight. The party decides
they need to rest and sleep, as well as tend to the bodies. But they are split over
when to do so; Max and Tygra wish to cremate them immediately, while Shavok
and Helle don’t think it wise to create a pyre with so many uncanny creatures out
hunting for them.

The rest of the night, they are plagued with haunting dreams, and when they

awaken to burn the bodies, they have disappeared. Shavok is annoyed with
himself for not having burned them. Following Eshara’s map, they come to a
massive tree that has fallen across a deep chasm in the forest, forming a natural
bridge to the far side. The chasm is nearly a hundred feet deep, with a river
rushing across tumbled rocks below.

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