- I’m sorry you had to stay with me, man.
- No need to apologize. Someone has to watch that injury of yours while the rest have fun at the conclave. Besides, those stories about you Dalish people are probably more interesting than the Divine’s speeches.
The injured elf tried to laugh, but the pain in his side made him hiss. Keaton was about to stand up and help the Dalish but he refused any assistance by raising his hand. That archer was stubborn and didn’t want to be a burden to anyone, Keaton knew that. As lady Trevelyan’s second in command, Keaton was aware of his men virtues and flaws.
After a long sigh, the human stood up. He was a tall man, almost two meters high, and the little wood cabin they got at Haven made him walk hanging his head.
- I’m going to grab something for lunch. Have some rest, Yevven.
The small village of Haven was still quite full, although the conclave had already started. The head of the Chantry, the Divine, was trying to achieve a peace treaty between mages and templars, who had been involved in a terrible war for more than three years. The snow covered everything, but Keaton was not cold. He grew up near the Frostback Mountains in Ferelden, and he used to train swords with his father back there during winters. After his parents were killed by the Avvar, he travelled around Thedas as a mercenary, and ended up working for the Trevelyan family in Ostwick. The weather at the Free Marches was softer, but he never got used to it. That cold made him feel good.
He looked to the clear blue sky and took a deep breath. Then his eyes went down to the top of the mountain where the Temple of the Sacred Ashes was. He wondered if lady Trevelyan would be alright in the conclave: she was a fighter, and despite being a noble she had a special aversion to social meetings. Keaton knew she had some issues with her parents, and the fact of her being the head of the family guard was some sort of punishment. He had no idea what she did to deserve that kind of banishment, but her temper probably had something to do with it. Therefore, sending her with most of the family guards so far away from the Free Marches was probably part of her parents plans to drag her away from home. In any case, she was the boss, and Keaton respected her deeply, as all her men did. She was clear, direct and sincere, and she always fought on the front line. That was far more than Keaton’s former bosses ever did.
Suddenly, a greenish flash forced the warrior to close his eyes for a moment. As thunder, the sound of a big explosion followed. The ground shook so hard some people fell down. Keaton looked up again to the Temple of the Sacred Ashes: the mountain top was covered by smoke and, just above of it, an enormous green twisted hole started to toss some sort of green meteors.
It took Keaton a few seconds to get over the explosion and react. He ran back to the cabin and found his mate almost up on his feet to get ready to fight. Keaton explained him what happened while preparing his armour.
- I’ll see if I can join any rescue party to the Temple, pray to Andraste or any of those elven gods you have for the lady’s sake. You should stay here.
He didn’t pay any attention to the Dalish complaints while putting on his full plate armour. Broadsword on his back, mace and shield ready in his hands. Keaton just closed the cabin door after leaving, making his decision to keep Yevven away from the fray clear. However, as soon as he looked upon the village plaza, his blood turned ice. During the few minutes he took to equip himself, green shadows and demons crawled on Haven, and more were falling from the sky. It was a complete slaughter, as most of the guards, templars and mages where at the conclave while many merchants, companion and servants stayed at Haven. Some cabins were on fire while people tried to flee from the demons.
Keaton didn’t think twice about charging forward to the enemy. He ran up to the first shadow and tried to hit it down, only to discover that his mace just went through the enemy’s body. The shadow turned to him, and raised its claw shaped hands. Keaton prepared his shield when suddenly lightning struck the shadow and made it disappear with a ghostly scream. The warrior noticed another scream behind him, so he realised the lightning also hit another enemy. Therefore, someone saved him from a sneak attack.
The man put down his shield and searched for the source of the lightning. A slim figure stood across the snow: a hooded man wielding a staff. The mage nodded at him, recognising the warrior and stating his will to help. No words were needed. They both turned to the chapel, they thought that if any sort of resistance was underway, it would probably be there. They had to fight more demons and shadows on their way, until a shout got their attention.
- I’m a legend, you fucking demons! You can’t beat me!
A middle aged dwarf was standing between a woman with a child and three demons. He was trying to dissuade the enemies by talking, which didn’t seem to have any effect.
- I’m Oerik from Redcliff, and I will be your death!
The dwarf pulled out an axe, but he didn’t seem to be willing to charge. Keaton saw the situation and moved to action, followed by the mage.
Once the battle was over, they all moved to the chapel with the rescued woman and child. There, they found a couple of templars and a blonde man giving orders to take shelter inside the building, while asking those able to fight to form up outside.
- Please, help us to defend the chapel! As soon as we secure Haven, we’ll set up a rescue party. Any help will be welcomed and paid if we survive this!
The blonde man seemed to be in charge. Keaton was sure about what to do, but he wanted to know about the men he was fighting with.
- I have to go to the Temple and see if my boss survived the explosion. You both seem like good fighters, will you come with me?
- They said they’re paying, so I guess I’m in. Oerik, at your service. – the dwarf stated.
- I’m Keaton. What about you, mage?
- I want to see that breach by myself. I don’t know what sort of magic that is, and I don’t like it. You can count on me, master Keaton, as long as you cover me. My name is Malan.
- An elf, a human and a dwarf. This promises a story worth being written.
With the dwarf’s conclusion, our story begins.