narrative: it could be worse Who: Ser Mortimer, singing Templar NPC extraordinaire. Where: The northern highway, near Denerim. When: Some unholy hour of the morning, 19 Molioris. Following this. Summary: Ser Mortimer wakes up with possibly the most embarrassing concussion a Templar has ever received, tied to a tree in a lighting storm. If this had been proceeded by a bachelor party instead of a one-sided fight with two kids barely out of their teens, it might at least become a funny story someday. Rating: Pretty harmless.
When Ser Mortimer opened his eyes he saw only blackness, his head awash with pain. His thoughts jumbled, a flash of panic ran down his spine and gripped him with a wild, irrational terror. Sweet Andraste save him, had he gone blind? Disoriented, he tried to lift his hands to his face but found them held fast behind him. The plates of his armor ground together with the shrill noise of metal upon metal as he labored to free arms stretched painfully over the joints of his gauntlets by the manner in which they’d been bound. A flash of lightning in the distance dimly illuminated the trees around him, and the relief that flooded through him in that moment of blessed sight gave him clarity. This was the blackness of night, only night, and there had been a storm. The sullen rumble of thunder reached him moments later.
Oh Maker, hear my cry Guide me through the blackest nights
He ceased his fruitless struggle, tried to rest his head against the tree at his back and found that the back of his skull smarted with pain at the touch. His memories lurched to cobble together an explanation for all of this, sluggish and petulant through the throbbing in his skull. The apostate girl with the knife. The boy’s voice from behind. Some good apologies did him now, the ache of being tied here for who knew how long now soaked deep into his bones like the rainwater into his undergarments. Rain continued to patter in a light trickle through the leaves above him; he’d missed the entirety of the downpour to his concussion. He was cold, stiff, wet, felt like his skull might crack open, couldn’t see and couldn’t move…
But he was alive.
Pleasant surprise. The girl had the stomach for the job, he had little doubt of that. He’d looked into her eyes while she held a knife to his throat and there hadn’t been anything in them but contempt. So why wasn’t he dead in the road? The boy? He remembered the awkward apology and didn’t quite know whether he ought to stay angry. Mort wanted to, but he had the nagging feeling that he should just content himself with being grateful it hadn’t been worse. He’d been stupid. They’d caught him off his guard. Point to team apostate, penalty to the Templar.
Lightning flashed again and Mortimer took bleary care to absorb as much of his situation as he could. There were drag-marks in the wet dirt and leaves where his young attackers must have pulled him through the muck to tie him here. His old mace, neatly arranged near his outstretched foot, looking almost apologetic laying there as though it felt rather sheepish about failing him so utterly. His helm in his lap- hadn’t he dropped that the first time they’d hit him? No sign of his packs. No hint of the apostates, not that he expected them to be hanging around in the rain waiting for him to wake up. Despite the discomfort he found himself in, his rebellious brain argued compellingly that he should go back to sleep, worry about all of this in daylight, let the pain be numbed once more by unconsciousness. Mort forced himself to keep his eyes open and his chin off his chest. He could sleep when he was in Denerim. Maker, even just a few hours in a soft bed. Perhaps one in the infirmary. Agh, his head!
More stubborn than sensible, he began to flex and twist his arms and chest carefully, getting a feel for his bindings. The rope looped around his wrists and again under his elbows and he found that he could not slip his gauntlets, but- there, resistance. The pointed edge of his left gauntlet caught under the rope, giving him just enough clearance to shrug his shoulder in a sawing motion. The edge of the metal was not sharp, but with an hour, maybe two… maybe more, he could get through this. A few hours and a prayer and he would worry then about where the road was, and maybe by then it would be dawn. He would get out of this soon, be on the road back to Denerim. He would look for those phylacteries, as much as he knew what he should expect to find. Then he would make his way to the city, report everything, and be reamed out for his hideous lapse by the garrison commander worse than he had in a long, long time.
Then, once this humiliation ended, he would find those kids before they did anything worse.