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Dragon Age Fan Fiction
by Erik Larson
You know your father will kill you if he finds out what you’re up too. The shouting match you had last night didn’t help. You had announced your intention to join the Gray Wardens, the warrior fraternity that defended all from the scourge of the Darkspawn. He had made it clear that such an act would lead to disownment. You thought you were ready for that but, it hurt more then you ever thought it would.
You had walked the entire night from your farm and into town, looking for anyone who could help put you into contact with the Gray Wardens. After asking what seemed like every single merchant you finally heard of a drunk in the local tavern, one who says they used to travel with and trade with the Gray Wardens. He spends his days drinking and talking to anyone who will listen about the horrors of the Darkspawn. If anyone can tell you were to find the Gray Wardens, it would be this wreak of a man.
The tavern is smelly and crowded, filled with both ruffians and those who work in the village just looking for drink and whores.
It takes a few moments but, finally, you see what you came for; the old trader is face down at his table, two empty bottles of ale serving as the explanation for his current state. Despite this, you know he is the only one who can tell you what others refuse too. You take a seat across from him and kick the legs of the table, waking the drunk.
“Andrastis tits, what is it?!” The disheveled figure looks on after rubbing his eyes and finally focuses. “Oh, another young one looking to hear stories of horror and dread, huh?”
“Yes, in a way,” you mutter, trying to ignore the wafting scent from his breath. “I wish to join the Gray Wardens against the Darkspawn. None will help me find them but I have heard that you use to trade and travel with a band of them. I wish to learn where I might find them and join them.”
“Brave. Stupid, reckless and a waste of life, but brave.” The drunk reaches out to grab one of the empty ale bottles. Disappointed in its contents, he chucks it over his shoulder, crashing into bits behind his chair. He grabs the other bottle and, finding it equally empty, sends it to join its brother. “Well, you want me to talk kid, you’ll have to grease the gears.
With a sense of disgust, you summon one of the wenches who returns will a full ale bottle. “Ok, now you’ll tell me all you know about the Gray Wardens, right?”
“Keep your tunic on, kid,” the drunk says, taking the cork out of the bottle with his rotten teeth and spitting it to the ground. He takes a long swig from the bottle, and you watch as the pleasant burning sensation is etched on his face. “Well, how about I start with what you will be fighting, kid? If it don’t scare you, I’ll tell you the rest I know.”
“I’m not afraid of the Darkspawn,” you say, trying to be as courageous as possible to reinforce the words.
“Then you don’t know ogre shit about them, kid,” The Drunk muttered. “You know what the Darkspawn are? Where they come from? I know, the Gray Wardens told me all about it when I was traveling with them. What do you know about the Tivinter Imperium, those self-important bastards up north? The old one, from like 2000 years ago. You think those fucks are full of themselves now, high and mighty? Back then…”
“They had this idea, kid, that power is the ultimate goal. They were mages, see, and they became so powerful, they were controlling all the lower class by invading their dreams. I don’t know about you but, with some of my dreams, it might scare them straight or at least disgust them enough that they’d leave me alone. But, anyway, even with that kind of power those sons of whores felt it wasn’t enough. Funny thing about power, no amount is ever enough. So, they got it in their heads that the only thing more powerful than them was the Maker himself. Take a wild guess what they were thinking after that?” The Drunk takes another swig from his ale and burps. “Tell me, kid; you ever seen The Fade? I mean, like, been in it?”
“No, never,” you say, trying to dodge the invisible sour cloud.
“Well, if you ever get there, take a look out and beyond where ever you are. Way off in the distance you’ll see this floating rock island with black towers. I mean blacker then any night, like the color you expect the cloak worn by death to look like. That’s all that’s left of our salvation, kid. That use to be the golden city, were the Maker lived. But those damn mages found a way in and…well, mortals aren’t perfect. What do you think happens when those who aren’t perfect enter a city that has only known perfection? Now, imagine you’re the Maker and your city had just gotten corrupted by a bunch of mages looking to take your power? What would you do? Well, the Maker didn’t like it. He took those sons of whores and he…corrupted them. Of course they had to be a lesson to everyone so, instead of leaving them in the fade he cast them back to the mortal world.”
“The first of the Darkspawn,” you say with a sigh.
“Yep, and wouldn’t you know, they started to grow like a sickness,” The Drunk says, taking the last of the ale in one final swig. “More ale, kid, if you want me to keep talking.”
You wave for another bottle and look back to The Drunk. He doesn’t seem to be with you at the table anymore, like he’s reliving something in his head. “Hey, you think that scares me old man. Every child knows that story from the chantry.”
“Yeah, but they don’t tell you what the Darkspawn do it you. What they do to the land. What they do to those they take alive.” The bottle is placed on the table but this time, the drunk doesn’t take it right away. He looks up from the table and into your eyes. “What I’ve seen them do, kid…It’s why I stopped traveling and trading with the Gray Wardens. I don’t care how much gold they have…’cause you can’t buy back your soul.”
“I saw this one man. Strong and healthy, a farm hand like you, young. The Darkspawn came knocking in the woods nearby, and I was with the Gray Wardens when we got there. The daughter was kidnapped, the father killed. We found the mother holding the son in her arms, a gash along his arm. You could see his veins, pulsing with the black of death. He was in pain, dying without dying you could say. The Gray Wardens wanted to put him down but, the mother wouldn’t let them. That night the kid…he got up and killed…killed his own mother when she tried to keep him in his room. He tore her apart with his bare hands, with his teeth, like he was a crazed beast. He had become like a ghoul.”
“That’s how the Darkspawn…well, spawn, right,” you say.
“Who told you that?” the Drunk asked, looking at you with a shade of anger in his eyes. “I can see why some people might think that. What really happens…” The Drunk finally grabbed the ale bottle and opened it the same as the last. “You really want to know how they spawn.”
You nod, looking The Drunk in the eyes.
He takes another long draw from the bottle. “We found the daughter of that farmer’s family a few days later. The Gray Wardens I went with didn’t want to leave anyone in the hands of the Darkspawn. The caves we found in the woods lead to what was left of the old roads of a dwarf city. We found…” The drunk pauses for a long time before looking to you again. “What we found…The Darkspawn are birthed but, not by themselves. They take women, it doesn’t matter the race…they feed them flesh tainted by the Darkspawn blight till they become this…thing. It gives me nightmares still. The daughter was this bloated mass of flesh, writhing and gurgling. Her face was contorted and twisted. She was surrounded by these…tentacles that reached out and ripped one of the Wardens in two. She was like an insect queen, Darkspawn young emerging from her body and attacking all of us. This thing that had once been an innocent young girl…”
The Drunk finished his bottle and placed it on the table carefully and slowly. “The Darkspawn are the stuff of nightmares, kid. Not for just what they are or what they do to you. But for what they can make you become because of them.” He looks up to you and sighs. “What do you feel kid? Fear?”
“Anger,” you answer. “Of course, I’m afraid. But people have to stand up to these things or what happened to that farmer family is going to happen to every family. I’m angry enough to fight, that hasn’t changed.”
The Drunk looks you over then stands up. “Alright then, young one.” You look in amazement. There is no sign of intoxication in this ragged man. As he removes the rags on his body you see that he is wearing an ornate leather armor with a griffin crest on his chest. “You wish to join the Gray Wardens still after hearing of the darkness you will face. Very well. Come with me.”
Your mind tries to catch up. “Wait! This whole time you were…”
“Yes,” he says, grabbing a small satchel and beginning to walk to the door. “And your training begins now.”