My Fathers Shoes (Complete)

A reasonable demand, so Henri-Julien thought, yet Lessa still took her time considering it. As if she would even get into the rowboat without his assistance! Finally, she hauled herself back onto her mount, casting a glance towards him. Stubbornly, Henri-Julien remained where he stood, refusing to mount his horse until she made clear her acceptance of his condition.

"Better lead on then," she finally said. "Before you decide to change your mind regardless of wether i give my word or not."

Not good enough. He folded his arms across his chest, waiting for an outright agreement.

"And for the record i would never have actually used the conscription thing." So said everyone until there was some crisis or another. Wasn't that why the Hero of Ferelden had become a Grey Warden in the first place? It certainly had not been a willing choice. "I don't even want to be a Grey Warden, i wont conscript anyone unless they are tainted and ..." Her expression rippled with disgust "...of use to the order."

Henri-Julien rolled his eyes. He still did not hear the requisite words. Only when Lessa had begun to trot away did she throw her promise over her shoulder, leaving it to hang in the air. Now wishing he had put more conditions on this increasingly wild nug chase, Henri-Julien returned to the saddle, guiding his horse after Lessa's.

The remainder of the journey to Lake Calenhad was blissfully quiet. Of course, Lessa felt the need to break that as they neared the lake, the water lapping gently against the shoreline. "

"You are actually a handsome chap Burrows, when you are not scowling." What in the Maker's name did that mean? Served her right that her speaking had brought about the scowl once more! "So lets get this done, i might or might not find out about my father and we can go our separate ways again."

Rolling his eyes, Henri-Julien dismounted, entering into The Spoiled Princess and arranging care of their horses for the night. If they were gone longer, the price would double each night. He informed the owner that his companion, that illustrious Grey Warden out there, would be covering the costs. A part of him hoped she did not have enough coin so she would be doomed to stay in this Maker-forsaken place until she earned enough to cover her debt. Wishful thinking.

Once the arrangements were made, he returned to the docks, not even bothering to speak to Lessa before approaching the Templar standing by the rowboat. Despite the man's mind clearly addled by lyrium, Henri-Julien's fake scenario was sufficient to gain his reluctant acknowledgement, and the Templar agreed that both Henri-Julien and Lessa should be permitted to cross the Lake.

They arrived at the island upon which the imposing tower of Kinloch Hold stood. Even out here, and even with his lyrium withdrawal, Henri-Julien sensed the damage to the Veil. Oh, repairs had been made, but it could not obscure what had happened here. Uneasily, he glanced up towards the very top, his mind wandering to the battle which had been waged between the Hero and the blood mages who had run amok here. Maybe he should grant Theirin more credit.

No. That was crazy. Almost akin to possession by a demon. What else would prompt him to think such a thing?

"Welcome to Kinloch Hold." An older woman strode towards them as they were ushered through the heavy main doors. "Your business here?" She looked to Henri-Julien for answers, responding to the Templar insignia he wore, but her gaze slid across to Lessa in her Grey Warden colours.

"I am seeking an apostate," Henri-Julien replied. "They claim to be a Grey Warden.

"Are they called Anders?" the woman asked, flatly.

Henri-Julien could not help but snort. Every Knight-Tracker in Ferelden had known the name 'Anders' at one time. Briefly, he wondered where the man had disappeared after the departure of the Hero. Probably dead somewhere. Hardly as if he was a danger to anyone save himself.

"No," he assured her. "In fact, I am certain that they are a Marcher, not Fereldan. But may I check your records for any apprentices and mages who would be about nineteen years old?" Then, because there was no other way to broach the subject, he added, "my companion also has a matter to discuss, if you would be willing. It is of a more personal nature."
The more time Alessandra spent in Henri's company the more painfully obvious she was getting on his nerves. She paid for the Horses upkeep without complaint that was fine but his eyerolling was getting on her nerves and, whilst she had a lot of patience, even her deep well of it was starting to run dry. She said nothing when they boarded the boat, yes she has heard what had happened here during the blight, it was essential reading in the Grey Warden Archives, how to deal with blood mages Hero of Ferelden style, she had to admit the place looked creepy. 

Like most Chantry raised children, Lessa was raised to not completely trust a mage, thankfully her own mind came into play and whilst she didn't exactly want to be in the way of flying fireballs or dancing lightening, she tended to treat mages with a modicum of respect, granted more so since joining the Order, still, being here at the centre of it all caused goosebumps to raise on her arms, so she let Burrows do the talking, albeit through a silted gaze. She had already had enough of his eye rolling and his holier than thou attitude and was considering digging his eyeballs out and feeding them to the ravens if he did it again. She kept her thoughts to herself though, the Warden Commander might not look too kindly on that kind of behaviour, she'd enjoy it though. 

"Welcome to Kinloch Hold Your business here?" 

Well it made sense that she'd speak to him first but Lessa was not too sure about why she turned her gaze on her and, not surprising given how she was raised, she found herself transported back in to time to when she was 7 and (not for the first time) standing before the Revered Mother waiting to get her knuckles switched. It was an, uncomfortable feeling to say the least. 

"I am seeking an apostate," Henri-Julien replied. "They claim to be a Grey Warden."

"Are they called Anders?" the woman asked, 

lessa turned her head for a moment, she had heard of Anders, who in Vigils Keep didn't know the mages escape artist? and it won't matter if  the Templars caught him again, they couldn't keep him here, regardless if he was a Grey Warden or not. For an Order that saw itself as the protector of Mages and Citizen alike (more Citizen depending on where you lived in the world) they weren't very good at keeping thier mages in the damn tower. 

"No, In fact, I am certain that they are a Marcher, not Fereldan. But may I check your records for any apprentices and mages who would be about nineteen years old?"  he added, "my companion also has a matter to discuss, if you would be willing. It is of a more personal nature."

The older woman shifted her gaze fully onto Lessa now and she felt even more like she was back in the Revered Mothers office. Lifting her necklace from under her armour She took it off, looked at it for a moment, this really was it, one way or the other,  and handed it to the Old Woman. "I was told this could help me locate a Templar.

"Your interest would be what?" The old woman asked looking over the pendant. "We are not a seek and find service Warden although i would be interested to know where you got this." 

I know your not a bloody seek and find service she thought to herself but stood taller and squared her shoulders "I was told by the Left Hand that it belonged to My father, i was hoping someone here might be able to tell me something about him."  

She was sure the old woman was going to tell her no, cause the Templars were as notorious as the Wardens for thier secrets, and then she would have to hear the insufferable I told you so tirade from the blockhead next to her. a cute blockhead but a blockhead never the less. When one of the Knights nearby walked over, taking an interest in the pendant. he took it from the woman and held it upto the light for a moment. 

"Your father gave this to you?" the Knight asked cautiously. 

"Left it with my...birth mother would be a better description." 

The Knight, a senior by the looks of him, nodded once then looked at both the Wardens "Follow me please, both of you." 

Lessa didn't say much but followed Burrows and the Templar wondering why the old woman was giving her the curious eye, or maybe the evil eye who could tell with Templars? He showed Henri to the records and told Alessandra to wait there and it wasn't going to be a short wait, it was then she realised the Senior Knight had taken her necklace and not given it back.
Unsurprisingly, the Templar had questions over how the pendant had come into Lessa's possession. However, her questions drew the attention of another Knight passing by, who took a personal interest in the object. He offered both of them a nod, inviting them to accompany him through the large doors into the library of Kinloch Hold, covering most of the ground floor of the ancient building.

He gestured that Henri-Julien would find the relevant records in a particular corner then told Lessa to stay here. Without another word, the Templar walked away, heading for the stairs leading to the upper levels of the Circle.

Since Henri-Julien could not resist the call of study, even for a fabricated purpose, he made towards the records before realising that Lessa was standing gormlessly where the Templar had left her. Rolling his eyes, he retraced his steps and hissed at her, "follow me." He did not touch her but it was clear that he expected she should follow him.

"You'll cause them to suspect us if not," he added in a harsh whisper. "They are being accommodating because of my title as a Knight-Tracker." The solitary nature of his role meant that he did not align with the same hierarchical structure as those within the Circles. "Unless you want to force them to consider whether they accept me foremost as a Templar or a Grey Warden, you need to act as though we are searching for an apostate and the pendant is just coincidental.

Locating the relevant ledgers and records, Henri-Julien pulled a handful from the shelf and spread them over a nearby table, opening them and making a good show of reviewing the information. He spared a fleeting glance towards his companion. "That was a Knight-Captain, by the way," he remarked in low tones. "The one who took your pendant. They do not often concern themselves with minor matters." Begrudgingly, he gave her a small nod of respect. "Whatever your father did to earn it, you should have a full answer in due course."
"follow me." Henri's voice brought her out of her thoughts. "You'll cause them to suspect us if not," he added in a harsh whisper.

Did he not know any other tone than neutral or harsh? I'm not a fragging recruit. She sourly thought. Although there was sense in what he was saying, even if he could at least have been less. authorative about it.

"They are being accommodating because of my title as a Knight-Tracker. Unless you want to force them to consider whether they accept me foremost as a Templar or a Grey Warden, you need to act as though we are searching for an apostate and the pendant is just coincidental."

"Right, cause Templars are such a ray of sunshine and radiate Andrastes warm welcoming embrace." She sarcastically muttered, but followed him to the table anyway. 

"That was a Knight-Captain, by the way," he remarked in low tones. "The one who took your pendant. They do not often concern themselves with minor matters. Whatever your father did to earn it, you should have a full answer in due course."

"I'll either get my answer here or in Kirkwall," she coldly replied and looked over the ledgers, 

When Henri made the comment about the Knight that took her pendant being a Knight Captain and she saw the slight nod of respect she didn't say anything. It didn't really mean anything to her. So to, carry on with this Charade she sat herself down, took one of the ledgers and began to look through.  

She didn't even know how long she was sat there, but her back began to ache from sitting in a hard chair for so long and her eyes were almost straining from reading the small script.  So many names and maker did they really keep ledgers of those who had been chosen to be conscripted into the Wardens? She put that line of questioning out of her mind because that could lead to a whole maze of trouble. Relations between the two orders were cordial at best and down right hostile at worst. 

She didn't see the Templar watching her and Henri as he came out the doors. 

When the Knight Captain had come into his quarters he had stood up, the Knight Captain didn't come to him. it was usually he went to him. Over the years David had got used to the level of which members of his order addressed him. They all knew he had the award but they didn't know how he got it or why he was awarded it it didn't matter, he was always treated with a modicum of respect. 

The Kinloch Medal of Our Blessed Lady was only awarded for the most heroic of acts, and over the years there had been those who had cajoled, reasoned. bribed and tried to pry the reason of him getting such a rare award, but they never got the answer they wanted. Besides he had given it to a woman who was supposed to have gone to his parents. So he had been looking at his pendant as he sometimes did, and had it open, wondering, not for the first time what fate had befallen the child with the raven hair. 

So when the Captain had come in and not only called him Sil which caused a raised eyebrow, only his squad called him that, but then produced his award he felt his jaw begin to drop. When he asked where the Captain had found it he was told that a young Grey Warden had brought it in, claiming to be his daughter. He had left his room then and gone down to the archives. Coming through the doors his eyes scanned the room. There, at the far table.  He stopped in his tracks, he was prepared to have the Warden thrown out as an imposter, until he laid eyes on her and the man with her. 

David himself was an imposing well muscled figure, his armour fit him well and looked like it was moulded to him. He had a burn mark on the side of his neck going up to his lower jaw, and although he was handsome, he had a hard look in his eyes. A man who had seen what Mages were really capable off and lived to tell the tale.

"She does look like you Sil." The Knight Captain remarked and looked around "Perhaps it might be better if you took this somewhere more private? You can use the Captains office if you like." 

"Thankyou Ser." David replied and closing his fist over the pendant he took a deep breath and made his way over. He nodded a little in respect towards Henri, the man was a Knight Tracker so he had been told. One did not treat them like the rank and file. not with what they could do. Every Templar could hunt Mages, but not every Templar could track them, it took a certain type of tenacity and stubbornness and Maker given skill to be able to track an escaped mage. "Knight Tracker." He quietly said, his Gwaren accent strong and respectful. He turned his hazel brown eyes on the young woman, Maker she looks like her grandmother. he thought She even had his hair colour and the white fringe.  

David Sat across from Lessa who was watching him and Henri "I believe you have been looking for me Warden." He held his hand out to show her the pendant "I think we have a lot to talk about, I am Knight Lieutenant David Silvestrie," The more David took in her appearance, the more he realised it was like looking in a mirror. His hard gaze softened a moment before resuming its hard look. 

Lessa's eyes widened and her jaw fell a bit and for the first time in her life she had not idea what to say. 
Predictably, Lessa did not appreciate the truth. Clearly in a huff, she trailed after Henri-Julien and sank into a hard-backed chair, idly flicking through ledgers. 

"I'll either get my answer here or in Kirkwall," she retorted to his remarks, tone as cold as a winter in the Frostbacks.

Henri-Julien rolled his eyes. If she intended to travel to Kirkwall, she would do so alone. He had no interest in that forsaken city. Instead, the pair fell into strained silence, looking through the meticulously kept ledgers. Even though Henri-Julien had no genuine reason for examining the information, he did so anyway, falling into old habits from his days as an initiate. Aside from the fact that he took pleasure in study, he had learned over the course of his training how vital such incidental information could be, coming in useful at the most unlikely of moments. Perhaps something he read here today would prove crucial in a matter of months.

Just as Leesa began to fidget, a new arrival interrupted their quiet. The tall man inclined his head towards Henri-Julien. "Knight-Tracker," he acknowledged in a deep baritone, clipped with Gwaren inflections.  His gaze slid across to Lessa, surprise flashing across his expression.

"Knight-Lieutenant," Henri-Julien returned the respect, gesturing to the chair across the table. "Please, join us."

The man sat down opposite Lessa. "I believe you have been looking for me Warden." He opened his fingers to reveal the pendant clasped in his palm. "I think we have a lot to talk about, I am Knight Lieutenant David Silvestrie." He rested his gaze on his daughter, a softening in his demeanour for a moment.

By Henri-Julien's side, Lessa stared at the man, gawping a little. Henri-Julien had to look away, irritated beyond belief that they had travelled all this way only for the biggest mouth in Vigil's Keep to forget how to speak! Were it not for his hope to source more lyrium during his visit, Henri-Julien might have stood up and departed, leaving Lessa to her disbelief.

Instead, he forced himself to rein in his temper. "My companion held high hopes for an answer to the puzzle of her pendant," he remarked. "To be able to have you answer her questions in person is entirely unexpected."
Lessa caught the eyeroll again and this time she fixed Henri with such a stare that even the dwarfs might have run for the hills. she thought that if he rolled those eyes one more time she was going to pluck them out and use them as dice the next time she played a game of dice with the other wardens. She returned her attention to the Knight across from her who rose from his seat and beckoned them to follow him. away from the prying eyes, and if anything she had heard about any order was true, they all loved to gossip. 

They were led into a private office where three goblets of wine was poured and handed out. David didn't sit behind the desk instead he motioned for them to sit on a couple of chairs and sat himself down. Lessa took in the view around her. A well kept office with books lining one wall and the Templar Order insignia on the wall behind the desk. She half expected a portrait of the Divine to be hanging up but that would have made this even more awkward than it already was. She sipped some wine, more to clear the dryness that had settled at the back of her throat. 

"My name is Alessandra Howard." Lessa finally said "The sisters at the Orphanage named me.

"Orphanage? then your mother is....."

"Living in Kirkwall." Lessa finished with, perhaps not surprisingly with a distinct bitter tone in her voice. She honestly didn't think it would affect her the way it had. She had been given a good life, hard in some places like the religious studies but a good life never the less. Now knowing that her father really was alive, and judging by the surprise on his features he had expected her to be dead, and her mother had made some sort of life for herself in Kirkwall and left her in a fracking cabin to the mercy of the wilds was a bitter pill to swallow. 

"makers Breath." David sat back "Had i known..." He saw Lessa's look and realised it was probably not what she wanted to hear, and in truth what could he say to make that revelation go away.

"What were you told?" Lessa finally asked "About what happened to me and...Camilla Knight Lieutenant?"

David looked at the Pendant and set it down, then took his own off and set that down. "When I was told your mother had given birth to you i made arrangements. I sent a message to my parents and told your mother to take that." He pointed to the award "and to go to thier home in Gwaren, there you would be looked after by your grandparents. When my mother wrote to me and told me that you and your mother had not arrived I believed that bandits or something had taken you." 

"But you didn't take the time to look?

"No," David shook his head "My templar duties at the time were paramount. For that i am sorry, i should have checked the Orphanages between Gwaren and Amaranthine. Where were you taken?

"At least your honest about it." Lessa replied and sighed "I was found by a travelling merchant and his wife and taken to Denerim." 

That revelation made the Templar's brow crease, any Revered mother would have known what the award was, even if they did not know what it was for. Someone should have informed the order.  He looked at Henri once more "and how is it Knight Tracker, you have come to be in the company of a Grey Warden?

Lessa kept her face deadpan but glanced at Henri for a moment Oh this should be interesting. she thought to herself after all wouldn't want the Templars to know one of thier order is a grey warden.  

His intervention in what would otherwise have been an incredibly awkward silence meant that the Knight-Lieutenant led the pair to a private office. Once they were settled on chairs and goblets of wine provided, Lessa finally found her voice.

"My name is Alessandra Howard," she explained. "The sisters at the Orphanage named me."

"Orphanage? Then your mother is....."

Now, call him churlish, but Henri-Julien had no interest in the family history of these two. So while Lessa and the Knight-Lieutenant exchanged faltering questions with one another, Henri-Julien instead focused on the office around him. How anyone could remain in one place was a mystery to him. It did not occur to him that the very thing he abhorred was the very same thing he expected all mages to endure. 

It was only when the Knight-Lieutenant addressed him directly that Henri-Julien returned his attention to current company. "And how is it Knight Tracker, you have come to be in the company of a Grey Warden?"

"There are many apostates who seek to evade the Chantry through the Joining," he replied, ignoring the subtle changes to Lessa's demeanour. He was not a liar and would not outright lie to the Knight-Lieutenant. However, he had no wish to disclose his... demotion... to Grey Warden if it were not directly necessary. "It is prudent that I should maintain watch for apostates who have already escaped and may make false declarations when accosted." He gestured towards Lessa. "Our two purposes combined to lead us here."

Sensing that he would only provide further distraction, Henri-Julien stood. "In fact, if I may ask your leave, I would like to resume my search of your records while the pair of you discuss matters." He hoped that would ensure that Lessa finished her business before they were required to spend the night within the Circle itself. Perhaps the Templars and mages who lived here had grown immune but Henri-Julien could sense the lingering imprints of demons and abominations here. For the one and only time, Henri-Julien envied Lessa and her inability to sense the Veil and all those beings which existed within it.
The room Lessa was shown to was sparse. reminded her of her room at the barracks in Denerim back when life was, a little more simpler. The Knight Lieutenant and her had talked for a while, a good while, so much so that the candles in the room had burnt down meaning a return to the mainland was not advisable. She was sure that Burrows had something to say about it but she wouldn't listen, if he wished to return to the mainland then that was his affair he had after all kept his word and got her here. 

She looked at the pendant once more, she had been more than shocked when her father had shown her the locket he had worn all these years with a lock of her hair kept within. Now here she was, spending the night within the walls of a circle that was most definatly creepy, very creepy. very fricking creepy indeed. Even the shadows had shadows attached to them. Heaving a sigh she lay on top of the bed. her arm tucked behind her head and closed her eyes.

How long lessa was asleep for she didn't know but she was woken by whispering. 

Lessa, why have you left me here Lessa? You are a Grey Warden you can come and find me now.

Lessa sat bolt upright as the whisper entered her room and her mind unbidden. The voice of a woman that she had not heard in years, not since the night before the battle of Ostagar.  

"This is just my imagination." Lessa told herself "This place is just playing tricks, its just my imagination

The shadows on the wall seemed to take a life of thier own and coalesce into a shape that seemed to morph between human and something else. 

Come and find me Lessa, please

"An ...Andrea?" She swung her legs out of bed and pulled her boots on "Where in the makers name am i going to find you?" Opening the door to the room she had been given to sleep in, she picked her sword up and made her way through the circular corridor. "Andrea" She hissed "Where are you!"

You need to come to the top of the tower Lessa, they have me trapped here. 

That, didn't sound right and Lessa shook her head several times but still the voice didn't abate and as the fog clouded her mind she had no idea if her own memories were hers or someone else's. She made her way past the room Burrows was in. her sword gripped in her hand. if they were holding her dearest friend here after all these years then she would make them pay. 

In a room off the main corridor a group of mages sat in a circle with a woman and a man quietly speaking, the woman. an Enchanter by the name of Ava smiled "She's ours now." 

Henri-Julien was furious. The little heart-to-heart between Lessa and her long-lost father had lasted so long that it was not advisable to make the crossing back to shore. Why he had not just left the woman in Kinloch Hold, he could not explain. Perhaps Henri-Julien resented the notion that Lessa should spend more time amongst Templars than he. Not that Henri-Julien welcomed any interaction from the rank-and-file Templars who served in Circles, but that was besides the point. He was the Templar around her, not Lessa!

Regardless of the how and why, Henri-Julien had claimed one of the sparsely furnished guest bedrooms on the lower floor. He had not asked for a message to be conveyed to Lessa. Serve her right if she roamed the hallways all night because she didn't know who to ask about accommodation arrangements. Yet that distinctly uncharitable thought was precisely why Henri-Julien was listening out for the familiar heavy-tread of the woman. She moved like a bronto.

Sensing his opportunity, he leapt from his bed, opening his bedroom door only to glimpse Lessa disappear around a corner with her sword in-hand. Even for the uncouth woman, that was strange.

He followed after her on light steps, slipping into the habits of a tracker. Naturally, it was easier to keep sight of someone in the limits of a building, but the higher that Lessa climbed within Kinloch Hold, the more alarmed Henri-Julien was forced to become. He did not sense magic upon her, but something was definitely not right.

"Lessa," he called out at last, breaking into a slight run to close the distance between them. He awkwardly laid a hand on her shoulder, shaking her slightly. "Lessa!" He peered at her glassy eyes, recognising the signs of someone who was not fully in control of themselves. The question was, who was in control? He still did not sense either magic or a demon.

With little other option, Henri-Julien decided to participate in whatever fantasy was leading her this way. Not that anything good could come from visiting the worst affected areas of Uldred's rampage through Kinloch Hold. Damage from that battle was more and more evident the higher that they went. Clearly, few ventured as far up as here anymore. "What are you planning to do? You need me to help."
The more Lessa climbed the more. closed in she felt. Stone walls gave into rock and the corridors of the Tower became the deeproad's. Above her the sounds of Ostagar played out. She frowned a little. this was not...something was not right here. She was not a Grey Warden during Ostagar, she was a guard of Denerim recruited into the Kings Army...wasn't she?

Lessa please, help me

That put any doubt out of her mind that was Andrea's voice. 

"Ande. where are you!" she looked around her. climbing ever higher ignoring the empty halls in this level. To her mind she was in the deep roads, not the tower of Kinloch Hold. the dread here didn't touch her on a level it would anyone else who knew about what happened here. but the dread was a different kind, the dread one felt whenever she entered the blasted cursed fricking deep roads. 

The Mages knew she had never been here before. All it had taken was a little probing of her dreams, gentle magic so she would not even realise.  She had nightmares this one, ones that were close to the surface but hidden away enough so no one realised. A lost friend, a dead lover not to mention the gossip that she was the long lost daughter of the hero of Kinloch Hold. Mages and some Templars loved to gossip. She was thier way out.


She hadn't heard the voice call her name the first time but she felt the hand on her shoulder. 

That's him Lessa, the bastard who brought me here, that's him, he's trying to stop you getting to me. 

The mages in the room that was no longer used for fear of bringing the restless dead through or something could hardly believe thier luck, when the one controlling the Grey Warden saw a mage hunting templar with her. Oh the fates were indeed smiling on them, all they needed to do was get her to bring the hunter here then they could have thier fun with him, show him for once what it feels like to be at a mages mercy for a change. Uldred was not forgotten. 

"What are you planning to do? You need me to help." 

Lessa turned and saw him, in her captured mind she saw a man with hands red as blood, and yes there was blood dripping from his gauntlet. If he threw Andrea in this forsaken place then she was going to throw him to the things here and see how he survived, once she had killed him that is. 

Lessa shrugged Henri's hand off, and punched him away from her drawing her sword and shield, her face a feral snarl. "I am going to kill you for what you did to her!" She snarled and launched herself at her fellow Grey Warden. 

No sooner did Lessa turn around than she threw off his hand from her shoulder. In the next instant, her fingers closed into a fist and she aimed a punch - only narrowly missed courtesy of his agile reflexes - before seizing her sword, teeth bared and eyes wild. "I am going to kill you for what you did to her!"

"What the fu--!" Henri-Julien swore, diving out of the way of the madwoman. Dreaming. The word thrummed through his thoughts even as he scrambled back onto his feet, angling himself so that he was always facing Lessa. She raged around the landing space, the walls still bearing scorch marks from the battle against Uldred.

Foolishly, Henri-Julien was unarmed. He had his lyrium abilities but he was in withdrawal. Yet he supposed that if there was anywhere which was 'safe' to exhaust what little lyrium was in his system, it was in a Circle of Magi. He would at least be granted one vial to help replenish his reserves. But it was still risky in case it led to further questions. 

"Did what to who?" he demanded, deciding that diversion was as good a tactic as any. Fortunately, he was able to evade Lessa, something about the hacking stilted manner of her attacks confirming that she was not in control of her own mind. Although he would cut his tongue out before admitting it, he respected how Lessa fought, having witnessed first-hand the way she held her own while they battled the Harvester. The difference between then and now was akin to night and day.

Work this out, he told himself. The point of Lessa's sword almost caught his shoulder and he was lucky that she stumbled at the last moment. How is she being controlled? There was still not the telltale pull of mana, but perhaps his senses were dulled due to his withdrawal. Yet he wondered if it could be something else. Just because Kinloch Hold was in Ferelden did not mean that only Fereldan mages and apprentices lived here. Maybe this was some other magic from the likes of Rivain? His lip curled at the thought.

Time for outright confrontation... while still evading her slashes and blows. "Lessa, for the love of Maker, what are you talking about?" he snapped.
"Did what to who?

It didn't matter what this thing said it could be in denial all it wanted, if she didn't kill him he was going to show her where Ande was. She charged at Henri again, her footsteps sure in her mind, she was going to cut this sonofabitch down. 

Don't play coy with me beast!" she snarled "Where is she!

Lessa launched at him again and the more he dodged her the more irate she got. Anyone that knew Lessa, knew this was not how she operated, she kept most of her primal emotions under control, sure Warden Burrows tended to grate her last nerves and bring out a side of her that not many people saw, but right now she was angry. Angry that her best friend had been taken by this thing, this beast in the form of a man, or woman, it was hard to tell under the armour sometimes. 

The mage controlling her had no idea how warriors fought and they had no idea how rogues fought, directing the Wardens actions were not as simple as point and stab and as a result Lessa was slower in her actions and reactions than she would normally have been.

You took her down with you!" she seethed, her mind lost in that awful day "You dragged her into hell than brought her here! What did you expect to gain you sonofabitch!" She let a war cry go and using her shield charged him, even sticking her foot out to try and make him trip. 

"If we keep on like this we will burn her out!" One of the mages warned "I only got a little of her blood when she cut herself on the cup i brought out." 

"This is for Uldred i don't care if it burns her out, every Templar in here will die and she will kill the one that came with her!"  one of the others snarled, not the leader but one of them. Ever since the Hero of Ferelden had charged through the tower and slain thier great leader, she had a burning hatred within her. She had spent every waking hour studding Uldreds words in secret and managed to find four others who shared her visions. Neranda wanted revenge, not only on the Templars but the Grey Wardens too. Having one of each walk into the circle looking for the so called Kinloch Hold Hero was just as if it was send from Uldred himself.

Kill him Lessa, kill him then come find me and take me home. 

Lessa, for the love of Maker, what are you talking about?"
it was quiet, but in Davids mind it wasn't.  He had spent the last part of the evening just staring at the locket he had worn since the day she had been born. He had never dreamed in even his wildest imaginings he would be reunited with a child he had thought lost. It sucked that she was a Grey Warden, despite for all thier worth and what they had done with defeating the Archdemon and all, he did not trust Grey Wardens. Thier attitude to mages was one of the reasons. 

David had taken to walking the corridor's as he did so often at night, his thoughts his own. Mages needed to be protected from themselves and those who thought they were responsible for all the ills in the world, and the people needed protecting from mages like Uldred, only a tower could do that. However, his child was one and maybe, just maybe he could cut them a little slack, of course he would rather she was a templar, but thier conversastion had touched on that. Brother Bernard, he did not know the name but it seemed he had tried to convince her to become a Templar but Lessa had said that she wanted to give something back to the people of Denerim, the city had after all raised her, clothed her and fed her. 

She had fought at Ostagar and at the battle of Denerim and he had felt pride that she had taken to the warrior path so well. He just felt guilty that he had not searched for her better. He looked in on the dorms and was about to continue his walk when he stopped and stepped back. The only Mages awake at this hour were those who were preparing for thier Harrowing in the days to come. Those he knew about, they would be going through thier own meditations to guard thier souls against whatever they would face. Of course they didn't know when the Templars would come for them, but that didn't stop some of them going through whatever they needed to pass thier final test and not be food for whatever lay beyond. 

He looked around five were not in thier chambers. Enchanters all, Neranda, Manny, Stefano, Holgar and Helana. He walked through the corridors checking every room and every study area, his stride quickening as he realised they were no where about. They couldn't have escaped? Aside from the accursed Anders, no one bothered trying anymore figuring it was safer in here than out there. 

David moved to another level and looked around, he didn't like being here, memories of being trapped here by Uldred were not pleasant. Not to the Mages who had survived or the Templars, he took a breath and, hand on his swords hilt he walked on checking the room when he heard the sounds of fighting and a voice demand to know what was going on. That was the Mage Hunters voice he was sure of it. 

David broke into a run and took the next level two steps at a time. He burst into the last chamber to see Lessa advancing on Henri, her moves were wrong, her steps not her own even he could see that. Moving he put his shield in the way of the sword strike and saw the  glazed look in her eyes. 

Blood magic his mind seethed and he had to wonder where they got her blood from? Then it dawned on him, the cup she had cut her finger on. Makers arse was there nothing sacred in these bastards minds. He pushed her back and helped Henri to feet "Blood Magic" he muttered to the other Templar and got his shield ready "Makers arse they are using her blood." 
Lessa had, in layman's terms, lost her bloody mind. Possibly literally, as Henri-Julien was certain that her ravings were the work of some malevolent mage. Were it not for the timely arrival of the Knight-Lieutenant, there might have been more blood spilled in this accursed tower. Fortunately, Ser Silvestrie's shield came down in front of Henri-Julien, deflecting Lessa's inelegant swipe of her sword.

"Blood Magic," the older man muttered, yanking Henri-Julien back onto his feet. "Makers arse they are using her blood."

"I agree, but how?" Henri-Julien panted. He was in excellent physical shape, both from Templar training and by virtue of being a Warden, but Lessa's possession was akin to dancing with an ogre. At least with an ogre, he was intent on bringing the thing down any way necessary, not endlessly evading its attacks! "Even the newest Templar would sense blood magic being cast from such close quarters."

Lessa made another shuffling lunge attack but both men were able to scatter from her.

"There must be at least another mage who is somehow obscuring the blood magic," Henri-Julien called across the room. Now that Lessa's attention was divided, he was able to search through some of the rubble and abandon crates, finding himself a pair of basic iron daggers. At least he was now armed. "And if they're doing that, both must be somewhere nearby. It would affect the potency of the blood magic."

He ducked beneath a swipe of Lessa's shield, moving closer to David so they might confer in something a little more subtle than shouts. "We have to disarm and capture her, or somehow break the link. I..." He gritted his teeth. "Cannot use my Templar abilities at this time." It felt like he was required to admit that truth to every damned person in Ferelden right now!