|ѳԲ tɦɛ wiʆɗร (swampwitch) wrote in theconsolelog,|
@ 2018-06-18 18:00:00
|Entry tags:||alistair theirin, morrigan|
WHO: Morrigan & Alistair
WHERE: Magic Crafter Mountain
WHAT: Paying the dragons a visit, and making a deal with them
WARNINGS: RIP random druids
|When Morrigan had said ‘mountain’ Alistair was expecting something a little more dire. Yet the edge of Magic Crafter Mountain was hardly that. It would almost feel ancient if it weren’t so well kept. Even the frosted caps and winter flurries weren’t troublesome in lieu of the elaborately set stone path that had been carved all the way up. Dragon symbols and other things he couldn’t read stayed clear of snow or harm. |
Magic, of course. The Mountain didn’t get it’s name as a rouse.
The thick blue mail of his Warden armor kept the cold from biting him as he waited for the witch. What she wanted to know from the dragons exactly, he wasn’t sure. But Alistair knew what he was going to ask. Elissa wasn’t well, and he had to help his friend.
That was of course if this pack of dragons wanted to share that knowledge. The only speaking to a dragon he’d heard of was Wardens understanding the Archdemon. Not sitting down with a cup of tea and exchanging pleasantries...but that’s what his sword and shield were for.
Morrigan actually liked the cold. It was winter’s serenade, and the frigid air had a way of rejuvenating her and also at the same time keeping her focused - though the chilly temperatures could wick away body heat faster than it could be replaced. Because of this, she’d dressed accordingly. No ‘swamp rags,’ the kind she favored so long ago - it was a velvet dress, long-sleeved, boots, with a thick cloak that practically swallowed her. Golden eyes were always visible from beneath the material though, gazing out in that eerie way.
She felt the breath of winter on her skin as she approached Alistair, pleased that he had come. Morrigan would have gone alone, of course - she had supplies, her staff strapped to her back and ample amounts of coin - but a companion was much better. Despite the fact that it had taken her so long to admit such things, or even learn how to ask for company at all.
“So you thought about it and decided to show,” she spoke, a tinge of warmth in her tone. More so than usual, anyway. “Shall we visit those dragons, then? The path is clear. ‘Tis not difficult to see, at least.”
“I’d like to not come up with something less than clever to tell Kieran should you get eaten.” And now he had his own agenda for coming. “Yes, maybe they’ll even have gift baskets when we get to the top.” His words were sarcastic but his tone was gentle. This seemed less ominous than he’d previously thought. And he was generally curious as to what sort of dragons they were dealing with here. He knew they came in all shapes and sizes—but all of which usually just wanted to set you on fire and eat you.
And they didn’t exactly lay out a path to their dens either. Much less a welcome rug.
His shield tucked safely against his back, Alistair began the descent alongside Morrigan. He wasn’t about to go first. He let his hand run along the carvings in the side of the mountain, an occasionally well made statue here and there as well. “It’s so...well kept. What sort of dragons do you suppose they are?” She’d have more knowledge than he would.
“Intelligent ones,” Morrigan replied, also noting the carvings and attempting to decipher them. “This language, it’s complex - they do not seem as territorial as the high dragons in Thedas.” Of course, the certainty of that remained to be seen, but the path was laid out here clear as day and it almost seemed like the creatures who lived here were, in some way, expecting visitors.
Their own language, their own way of communicating - it was fascinating, really. High dragons were extremely territorial in Thedas, guarded by the drakes (male dragons who were without wings) and requiring massive dwellings for those guardians and their dragonlings. “I wonder if there is a harem of males meant for one female whom they worship and protect,” she added with a smirk, glancing over at Alistair. “‘Tis the way of the dragons in Thedas. An intriguing system.”
No, these dragons - they were more advanced, perhaps? In the sense that they could develop rapport with humans. Though why you would want to, a pessimist like Morrigan could not say. She despised most human folk.
Unless of course these dragons were so intelligent they figured if they made the entrance to their lair so appealing, all those using couldn’t possibly sit to think ‘hmm, walking right into a dinner plate’. But Alistair hadn’t gotten any bad feelings in his gut just yet. All the same, he kept a free hand rested on the hilt of his sword as they walked, the long way of mountain stone twisting about up into the mountain itself. Conveniently lit.
It was strangely beautiful. Hopefully not part of the deception.
“Sounds an awful like unwanted servitude.” Alistair retorted about her lessons in the high dragons and their male harems back in Thedas. “No wonder they’re so angry and want to be left alone.” Not that he wouldn’t think a pack of wild animals, least of all males, would do anything for a female. No. He’d seen some pretty pathetic human males himself.
The statues within the dwelling became larger, large pots with elaborate decorations began to appear, and the mountain became luminescent with the stalactites above them. Or were they crystals? “I don’t suppose that’s imbued with any sort of magic we should concern ourselves with...”
Morrigan studied the glittering formations, eagerly taking her steps with her staff strapped to her back; no need to use it, not currently - though no doubt they were being watched. There were enemies afoot, most likely? She was incredibly curious, and this place gave her plenty to be curious about. “There’s magic everywhere,” she noted. “I can feel it - the whole...heartbeat of it, within the rocks and stone itself.” It flowed in and out, all around - to her it was obvious, but she was a mage herself. No wonder it felt like life to her.
So did the cold - to be flesh and bone amidst the chilly atmosphere was thrilling in its own way. A mere dot in the diary of this place. “But nothing we have to be concerned with,” she paused. “At least not at the moment. Let’s keep going.”
“Lovely, it’s all alive.” His grip tightened at the hilt of sword as they continued their decent. Oddly enough the more they descended up the peculiarly inviting path the mountain the air did not become quite as unbreathable as it should have been. What with the torches, statues, and pots he was half waiting to walk into the dragons having an elaborate feast.
Maybe they were the sharing sort?
At least Morrigan was tickled at the idea of all the magic, and not intimidated. If ever. But the Warden thought he caught something at the corner of his eye. There was a grand arch in the open area that the path continued along some sort of peak was open and from behind a statue Alistair definitely saw something. It was green and not hiding very well. A large, derpy thing that was misshapen in face and..drooling. Alistair drew his sword while the odd creature jumped out, failing horribly to scare them, and made blubbering sounds.
“I doubt these are comrades guarding the dragon’s den.” The monster growled and moved to charge but Alistair pulled the shield from his back to knock it up the jaw, a sturdy blow of brute force following sending the large thing toppling backwards….and turning into a gem? Much like the mushrooms had turned to coins. “Alright, I just don’t get this place. Gems, coins...ogre things. You don’t just turn into currency when you die!”
Morrigan went right to the gem - she had her magpie tendences, certainly, and held a certain fondness for shiny things. Hence why she adored the locket Elissa had given her - besides the fact that it was a gift given genuinely from a friend (and that was foreign to her), there was also the fact that it was pretty to look at.
Alistair was pretty to look at too, she would admit. The thought made her chuckle to herself.
“You must learn to be more open-minded,” she chided, softly, with a bit of teasing there. “Perhaps the dragons will have more answers. I’m mostly curious about what that green blob even was.”
She pocketed the gem for the time being, in time to spot another distraction coming toward them - it looked like a tornado, but wasn’t so much a green blob. More a swirling blue blob, caught in a storm. The tornado was able to be dodged, and before she knew it she’d grabbed her staff and shot a ball of fire at the thing. When it doubt, light it on fire was one of her favorite mottos.
It seemed to work. Carefully, Morrigan fixed her hood which had gone all askew from the gusts of wind. Now it smelled like smoke and something that had been charred. “Did that one leave a gem behind too?” she asked hopefully.
The Warden couldn’t help but scoff. He thought given all the circumstances, he was incredibly open about..most things. He’d been through a lot. A giant Ogre thing turning into a currency and now a..was that a magic creature?
Alistair was more alert now, less eager to investigate the “shiny” things because they could potentially be dangerous. Not that he thought that little poof of a tornado was something to go running off the mountain for. “Another gem. That maybe belong to the—“ was that a growl outside? Or a yawn-growl? Alistair had his shield and sword drawn and at the ready to go and find out.
From the cavern within the mountain that lead to an opening, more statues, more pots, and..dragons. Yes. A decent handful of dragons. All shapes, sizes, colors, and were those..beards? Not as large as the high dragons in Thedas, but larger than a horse. “..they..they look like old men that belong in a library.”
One of them was literally reading a book in the middle of the clearing, coughing lightly in his paw. Alistair looked at Morrigan quizzically, dropping his shield.
Now this was not what Morrigan was expecting. Not at all. The dragons in Thedas certainly didn’t lie around reading books - they were beautiful creatures, ones that should be respected, but resembling old men? No one would have made that comparison about Thedosian dragons.
“They do not,” she huffed, hoping that they wouldn’t get kicked out right away after already coming this far. The witch cleared her throat, holding her chin high, and lowered her hood. Golden eyes glittered with unquenchable curiosity. “Greetings,” she spoke a little louder.
May as well start the conversation so they didn’t think humans came by just to mutter about their appearance. And in the name of the Maker she didn’t believe in, she never really thought she’d see the day when she was attempting diplomacy. “I am Morrigan, this is Alistair. We are new to these lands.”
At first the dragon busying itself with the book seemed alarmed, standing to it’s full height on it’s haunches, which Alistair thought was far more creepy than when they walked on all fours. But it studied them very closely, more particularly, Alistair and the sword in his hand, shield in the other. Friend or foe, it was probably thinking and as much as he didn’t want to, the Warden sheathed his sword and slipped the shield onto his back.
The beast seemed to untense, closing the book with it’s claws. “Well then, we haven’t had anyone approach the top of the mountain in a very long time...other than those druids and brutes who keep causing a ruckus.” He grumbled, moving his large haunches to come closer to Morrigan, studying with his large yellow eyes.
“We’ve seen many new creatures surface about the land. What brings you here?”
It was then Alistair noticed the other dragons, perhaps a little ‘younger’ training their eyes on what he imagined was their elder. Best to be on his manners. “Sorry to disturb your morning reading, er, sir? My friend here believes you might have some information that could help us. Such as why we’re here along with the other...creatures.”
Morrigan had never heard a dragon speak before, in such a dignified manner. Even in her own dragon form, she couldn’t talk - what sort of magic was this, she had to wonder? It was fascinating.
“We took care of a couple of those,” she said. “The...druids, I mean. They were not so welcoming.” Much unlike the dragons, who actually took the time to speak to visitors. “Our aim was to try to learn as much as we could about these lands - why we are here, what it means. We are also curious about your mountain dwelling. About your magic.”
She too had her weapon put away, the staff strapped to her back once more and not in her hands. No, she merely wanted to learn - for a mage such as herself, learning about the mystic arts of this world was quite invaluable.
The old and faded purple dragon flared his nostrils, paws pushing against his beam so he could peer closer down at the two before him, still making judgment. A few of the other dragons began to walk closer, which Alistair did not like, but he would keep an eye on them while also listening carefully.
“And what about our magic has your curiosity? To what purpose?” He could see that this woman had magical properties herself. So many questions and still they did not know who these creatures were.
As such, younger looking dragon approached from behind the elder, sniffing Alistair and testing the Warden’s reserve for holding still. “Are these creatures bothering you, Cosmos?” He was orange and looked a lot more deadly than the older one, Cosmos. “No Cedric. Just trying to decide if they’re a threat..though they defeated the druids at the entrance. I don’t suppose giving them information will hurt..”
Alistair squinted under the hot scrutiny of Cedric’s breath, taking a small step backwards. “And information is all we want. If you would be so kind as to tell us. We’re only a little lost.”
At least the question about why she was curious was easy enough to answer. “I was what you call an arcane advisor in my homeland.” Morrigan replied. “I crave knowledge and hold a respect for magic - especially old, powerful magic and traditions that have been discarded over time. ‘Tis an unfortunate occurrence where I come from - mages, for so long, were treated as prisoners and abused. Forced to go into hiding, on the run, if they wished to escape confinement and shackles.”
Her quest for knowledge, for power and freedom in what that knowledge gave her, was a prime motivator in her life - she knew of how to shift into dragon form after drinking from the Well of Sorrows. She even knew of the Dark Ritual, blood magic, because of her studying those traditions that were hushed and secret, barely a whisper anymore. Shapeshifting, as a craft, hadn’t been taught in the Circles in ages. Even blood magic had its uses, if it was learned properly - but so many foolishly used their fear as an excuse. They let it control them.
Morrigan carefully opened her bag and procured a leather-bound book, black, with a tree on the cover. “An exchange of information, perhaps?” she offered. “This is a grimoire that arrived with me. You appear as if you enjoy reading - may you find it interesting.”
While Cosmos immediately seemed intrigued by the book, large lizard eyes dilating as he reached for the book, Cedric kept his eyes trained on Alistair and Morrigan. Most likely to protect his elder. That’s...what Alistair had hoped.
He had his own questions. For Elissa and the calling but that would have to wait. They needed to gain trust first.
As much as it bothered him, he’d let Morrigan take lead on this, remaining quiet and staying beside her in case things went wrong. They usually did, but he would be “optimistic”.
“An arcane advisor, very intriguing.” The old dragon mused as he reached out with his claws to accept the tiny book. “So you’ve come to the Mountain of Magic Crafters in search of more knowledge...and these lands.” He set the book down and cast his attention back to the mage and human, motioning around them with his paw. “All dragons here are capable of different magiks. The druids attempt to use it or steal it from us but are more of an inconvenience. The magic, like personality, varies from each of us. Unfortunately, while I can tell you what I know of my own land and magic, we know nothing of these other lands you speak of. You see..there are other dragons from our world that we have been able to reach or see for some time, and we are unable to leave the mountain.”
“Do you wish to leave? Are you held against your will?” Morrigan frowned a bit. Unable to leave the mountain seemed quite strange - while she and others who had been brought to this world were unable to leave entirely, they could obviously travel freely throughout the terrains. Did that mean there was no danger of civil war, of fighting in-between the various cities? That could be a good thing, but it also made the cynical side of her rear its head and planted the notion that they from other worlds must be here for some...purpose. Or a glitch. Something gone wrong.
Perhaps she was wrong, yet it was still interesting that the dragons were kept apart from others. She was also quite intrigued by their magic, and wanted to know more. She glanced at Alistair; he had his own questions, no doubt, and she would attempt to give him an opening to ask.
“And your magic - does it draw upon the power of the mountain itself, or is there some other source?”
“We merely wish to make contact with our kin. We are the Magic Crafters, this is our place, all we know is that we have been unable to leave, and you are the first to enter we’ve seen in some time.” So they were just as clueless to the odd stretch of different worlds that all seemed to be connected. They lived in their own worlds, unknowing the others outside of it.
And each world has its own people, rules, and capabilities. Ignorance was bliss.
Alistair glances back at Morrigan before looking back to Cosmos, then Cedric, who was still keeping an eye on him. Probably because of his very shiny armor.
“Our magic comes from within. But this mountain does have magical properties, our ancient texts that we protect, a safe space to practice. Nothing like a power source I’m afraid, but a home for magic all the same. And what of you and your knight friend? What do you want from our magic?”
Clearing his throat a little, Alistair raised his hand. “I’m actually a Warden, no magic from me. I just protect people from Darkspawn...er, disease ridden beasts.”
A knight. Morrigan’s lips twitched a little in amusement. She supposed that Alistair did look like one - though naturally a Warden’s role in the scheme of things was much more complicated. “They must endure a ritual that connects them to the Darkspawn indefinitely - they become tainted with the very blood of those creatures. This turns into...corruption, if you will.”
She heard herself talking, and later if you asked her she would say that she didn’t know why she was compelled to say what she did. Perhaps because this world, its cities separated by invisible barriers and odd terrains, was infinitely less complicated than Thedas. Or because she knew, deep down inside, that Alistair had gotten a raw deal when it came to the Joining - Grey Wardens were meant to protect the world and then march off to die, no other course. But with Kieran, that changed things. She saw how happy her son was to have his father in his life finally.
“In our world, the dragons are the ones who are resistant to the effects of the tainted blood. ‘Tis the knowledge I seek now - I want to cure him,” she added, straightening her shoulders. She distinctly avoided looking at Alistair. “That cure may lie in your magic as well - a combination of what I know, and what I can learn from you.”
Cedric did not at all like the idea of the word ‘taint’ and immediately sniffed Alistair again. Ugh. His breath was awful, but at least the elder one looked on quizzically. “An illness that turns into corruption. Intriguing. Yet also dangerous.”
Oh yes. It was veryher last hearing of the call. He heard nothing. For now. “If there’s anything you could do to help, I’d be indebted to you greatly.”
Cosmos tapped his claws on the edge of his stone tablet as he thought, clearing his throat. “Your world and it’s magic is new to me. However, we will agree to help aide in your study for this cure. In return, we ask that you or Alistair will help to rid us of the druids who come to bother us and share your own knowledge...do we have a deal, Arcane Advisor Morrigan?”
She didn’t hesitate - if all those druids were as blocky and simple as the one she and Alistair encountered on their way up the mountain, then it would be no hardship at all. They were pests, not necessarily a great danger to her. “Indeed we do,” she nodded. “We will rid your mountain of these druids in return for your assistance. And I quite look forward to the exchange of knowledge.”
Morrigan knew that her companion here must have questions - she caught that quizzical look on his face. But she was not going to explain herself at the moment. Maybe later.
“For now, we will not take up any more of your time. Anything else?” she asked of Alistair, finally turning those stranger, amber-colored eyes to him. They had a long trek back down ahead of them; she had to think of what to say. Curing Elissa was also important. She might just focus on that rather than discuss her own emotions and the microscopic speck of goodness that lived within her black swampy heart.
“I’ll keep watch in case more show up while you are doing your research.” Because those mushrooms and other creatures that he’d destroyed for coins seemed to come back the next day. Sometimes, within the very same day. He had no doubt they would return again and stay gone.
Cosmos nodded his approval, his paw contorting to point a claw at the gems he noticed sparkling in one of Morrigan’s bags. “I’ll notify the others of your presence. You’re free to keep the gems that the druids have stolen. Should any dragon question you, be sure to show them the gem. They’ll know. They may also grant you magical favors in exchange for the gems, should you wish.”
Well wasn’t that just the most pleasant conversation with a dragon one could hope to possibly have? Alistair nodded his head, catching one last glance at Cedric, who had resigned and returned to the field to speak with the other dragons, no doubt to tell them about them. “Well then, thank you kindly, we’ll just...be on our way then. Can’t keep our boy waiting, can we, Morrigan?”
Normally he might have opted to let her go first. But the Warden was content to be the first to exit, not only to look for druids, but to get the high Maker’s ass out of there.
Being able to keep the gems just about made Morrigan’s day. Though the possibility of magical favors, in exchange for these gems, was also appealing. Decisions, decisions. “Of course. Thank you for meeting with us,” she said to Cosmos before following an obviously eager-to-exit Alistair out of the space.
“That was not terrible, was it?” she spoke, before noticing a rather wide opening that seemed carved from the stone of the mountain - there was a gem glittering toward the top, and this was what drew her in. She could feel the magic emanating from this doorway or whatever it was, and it did not feel malignant in the slightest.
Her curiosity and comfort with the fact that there was not anything here, in this vicinity, that would harm them had her stepping toward the opening and the gem. She just barely had time to grab Alistair before what was apparently a portal whooshed them back to her room at the castle. Andraste’s tits
“What were you saying about terrible again?” The Warden asked, un-amused and unmoving as they had literally just walked through a bloody portal that she had obviously not just conjured. The dragons hadn’t exactly said they would do so for them either--or warn them about it.
Would they ever get to understand anything about this land? Ugh. As long as they were down at the mountain, safe, and back close enough to Kieran. “Ugh,” rolling his shoulders, Alistair moved closer to the heat of the fire in her room, glad to be away from the dragons and the cold.
A fine little deal they’d made. If it would bear fruit. Yet, Alistair didn’t hear the calling anymore, so he wasn’t necessarily looking to ‘cure’ himself just then. For now, he’d do it for Elissa’s sake. And since Morrigan thought she would be in charge of making decisions for other people without talking about them, Alistair didn’t feel the need to speak with her about it. He wasn’t going to pry, and he certainly wasn’t going to play any games. That time was long over. “Well, I think that was enough excitement and enlightenment for one day.”
“Indeed,” Morrigan replied, rolling her eyes. It honestly wasn’t that bad - they’d gotten back quickly and did not have to endure the cold, which she considered a positive. Though her friend didn’t really seem to be too excited about the prospects and possibilities that had come as a result of their meeting with the dragons - did he not wish to be free of the effects of the Taint? Did he have a death wish? “Has my cynicism rubbed off on you, Alistair? I am pleased.”
The words came out in a silken purr, because misery did tend to get her all hot and bothered.
She stepped closer, behind him as he stood by the fire. Her hand rested upon his shoulder. “Thank you for joining me. I would have gone alone, of course, but your companionship was not as awful as I anticipated it being.”
Leave it to Morrigan to give such interesting compliments.
No, Alistair did not have a death wish. But he also did not wish to be a useless Warden. He couldn’t help protect Thedas from another blight should it come. He wouldn’t be able to protect Kieran. An oath was an oath, and there was no reason he could not live as long as he could serving it until the time came to cure it. If in fact they would find one. But he didn’t expect Morrigan to understand such a thing.
“Don’t mistake cynicism with a basic sense of survival.” He glanced at her over his shoulder, unimpressed with her ‘compliment’. And her hidden agenda.
He wouldn’t press her on her complete and utter hogwash of a statement that was trying to hide Maker knows what, but the Warden did shake his head at her. A few years ago he might have said ‘I didn’t go for you’--and he hadn’t. But she was trying to be ‘nice’ or faking it as opposed to being cruel. So he wouldn’t be hostile. There was no reason. “You didn’t anticipate it being awful, or you would have gone alone or asked Elissa...In any case. I hope you find what you’re looking for. We may not have more answers about where we are, but it’s something.”
Something, yes. Morrigan was always hiding something though, wasn’t she? Her reasons for wanting to cure Alistair, they were buried under pounds of sand in a box in the deepest of oceans - perhaps even hidden from her conscious thoughts, but either way, she didn’t think now was the time to go over them.
She couldn’t stand him. Couldn’t stand the thought of being without him, either. How incredibly revolting.
“I find their company interesting,” she spoke of the dragons. She respected their magic, their power - it was a pleasing thought, considering a shift into her own dragon form and just living that way, like her brethren would, but now with Kieran she wasn’t as tempted to lose herself in the sanctuary of the wilds. “Though I suppose this visit uncovered new questions. Things to discuss.”
She glided her fingers down his arm, pet pet, the contours and shape of the muscles. “Do not worry, I shall come to you.” In what form, however, she didn’t say. She’d let it be a mystery.
“Of course you do. At least they’re more...advanced than the dragons of Thedas. And taking care of their pest problem should be easy, for now.” He probably shouldn’t have said the word ‘easy’ out loud, but oh, they had much to discover and little to lose in this world. Other than their son. And Alistair would not let it ever come to that.
Alistair watched her uncharacteristically physical interaction. Not quite sure what to make of it, yet, not exactly as forthcoming either. Because she was still keeping things from him. Trust was everything to Alistair and he only knew he could trust Morrigan with very, very little.
His blue eyes were not cold as he stepped away from her finally, enough of her teasing and magic dragons for one day. “Oh, stop. I’ll go fetch Kieran for you and tell Elissa of our findings. I’ll be ready to set out again when you are.” If she showed up as a snake or anything else terrifying or unfunny, he would not be pleased.
“Very well,” Morrigan agreed, with a golden glint in those eyes - a good or bad glint, well, who could say? It was always a puzzle with her. Perhaps one day she’d open up more, and let honesty pour forth - but today was not going to be that day.