[[ooc: I've gone against my own rules and God-Modded Alistair and Morrigan in this post just to get us started. I promise it'll be the only time I do it, I just wanted to get something up. Most of the conversation is taken directly from in-game for this post because I'm still not feeling 100% today and that lazy voice in my head insisted that this was the best option. Anyway, feel free to jump in anyway you like and let's get this thing started :)]]
"Well, there it is. Lothering. Pretty as a painting," Alistair murmured as we stepped up over the last hill of the Kokari Wilds and could see the gates of the village, below. It wasa relief to finally be free from the tall, looming trees and the ruined remains of the few structures in the Wilds. There was on unsettling aura to the area and Lydia had felt as though there were constantly a set of eyes on the party, though they had seen little in the way life save for the odd wolf. She'd been on edge, constantly scanning the area around them and straining her ears expectantly for some sound that would alert her to any unwanted presence. Morrigan, in contrast, had seemed at ease; used to her surroundings and seemingly unaffected by the ominous feelings that Lydia was experiencing. The town was pretty; all green fields and farmlands. Lydia didn't know a lot about Lothering, but recalled that it supplied goods to Redcliff and the surface dwarves outside of Orzammar.
"Ah, so you have finally decided to rejoin us, have you? Falling on your blade in grief seemed like too much trouble, I take it?" Morrigan spoke up, turning her gaze on Alistair.He came to a stop, his arms crossing over his chest and Morrigan slowed too, watching him in amusement. Lydia, on the other hand, sighed and continued walking. She was eager to be within the village now and didn't want to waste anymore time by listening to the two of them bicker. Hunter trotted along next to her and she scratched behind his ears. She didn't have far to reach; the head of her Mabari was above her waist and he was as stocky as he was tall.
"Is my being upset so hard to understand? Have you never lost someone important to you? Just what would you do if your mother died?" Alistair demanded behind her. Lydiawas torn between letting them fight it out and telling Morrigan to be more sympathetic. After all, she knew exactly how he felt. She had also lost everyone close to her and it was not an easy burden to bear. She pushed away thoughts of her family before they could evolve into something darker and focused instead of the soft padding of her leather boots on the flagstones beneath her feet.
"Before or after I stopped laughing?" Morrigan asked, and when Lydia slowed her pace and turned to face them she could see no hint of either remorse or laughter on her face.Morrigan's relationship with her mother seemed...strange. She appeared somewhat emotionally disconnected from her in a way that was unusual to the rogue. Though, perhaps she would be too if her mother were centuries old and a very powerful witch. One that could save two people from a tower filled with darkspawn. She hadn't ever told them how she'd done that...
"Riiiight, very creepy. Forget I asked," Alistair muttered, starting forward again with a roll of his dark eyes. Lydia was thankful when Morrigan said no more for the moment andthe two women picked up pace beside him once more. Lydia bit down on her bottom lip for a moment; surveying Alistair's expression and wondering if perhaps he wanted to talk about what had happened in Ostagar. They hadn't had much of a chance as of yet.
"You have been very quiet, Alistair," she said gently, not wanting to upset him further. He looked down, avoiding her gaze in preference for his boots while he answered.
"Yes. I know. I was just...thinking," he responded quietly and I opened my mouth to offer him some words of comfort, only to be cut off.
"No wonder it took so long, then," Morrigan piped up; her mood seemingly lifting while Alistair's dropped. She really was not helping. Then again, Lydia imagined it was neverher intention to help where it didn't suit her. Hunter whined, sensing the tension in the air, and Alistair's expression hardened once more as he rounded on her.
"Oh, I get it. This is the part where we're shocked to discover how you've never had a friend your entire life," Alistair shot back, his voice laced with sarcasm as he gloweredat the alleged Witch of the Wilds. Lydia resisted the desire to cover her ears with her hands and hum the Chant of Light.
"I can be friendly when I desire to," Morrigan objected, though there was still a smile in her voice. Clearly she was enjoying this. "Alas, desiring to be more intelligent does notmake it so."
"Enough. Both of you," Lydia scolded, finally. I will throw myself to the darkspawn if they continued on like this for the rest of our time travelling together, she thought,suppressing the heavy sigh that would most likely only serve to irritate them more. "We're here now so let us just find somewhere that we can have a hot meal. I wish we'd stayed for some of Flemeth's stew," she tacked on, her tone tinged with regret now that she realized how hungry she was.
"My stew," Morrigan corrected. "I was the one who prepared it."
Alistair perked up a little at that and didn't look so much like he'd like to feed Morrigan to an ogre.
"Oh, you can cook?" he asked with obvious interest and Morrigan seemed reluctant to answer. She narrowed her eyes at him, tilting her head slightly to one side.
"I...can cook, yes," she allowed, finally, and Hunter barked happily in response. He bounded over to the apostate and pressed his nose against Morrigan's hand, wanting to makefriends. Lydia, too, was pleased to learn this about her companion. Having grown up within a noble family she had never had to prepare food for herself before. As a result, her cooking skills were close to non-existent.
"Good, you can substitute for Alistair," Lyd teased, nudging him with her shoulder and then wincing when the action reminded her of her recent wound. While Flemeth had allbut completely healed her skin where the arrows had shot through, it still ached dully on the inside; especially when she knocked it. She would have to build up her shoulder muscles again if she was going to use her bow. There was no time for her to be weak and useless.
"Right, my cooking will kill us. That's all I meant," Alistair agreed with a nod, not so hostile towards Morrigan now that he'd learned this new tidbit about her, but she still didn'tlook all that impressed.
"I also know of at least fifteen different poisons that grow right outside of this village. Not that I would suggest 'tis at all related to cooking." She offered them a smile then andfor a moment Lydia thought she really might be planning on poisoning them. She shared a brief worried glance with her fellow Grey Warden, before speaking once more.
"Alright," Lydia began, a little unsure. "Let us just buy ourselves a meal, for today. There should be a tavern, nearby. I feel like I'm starving to death," She grumbled, resting ahand over the midsection of her leather armour while her stomach rumbled in response to the mention of food. She had never felt such desperate hunger as she did in that moment and she was sure that she would die if they didn't hurry A result of the taint? she wondered, absentmindedly.
Lothering was much more populated than Lydia imagined it would normally be. What with everyone was fleeing from the Blight, Lothering provided the first of many stops wherepeople could rest and rebuild their supplies. Many escapees had set up tents just outside of the village gates - most likely unable to get a room within the village due to lack of space or coin. The guards, who looked like they'd rather be doing anything else, were urging everyone to move on before the darkspawn invaded and warned those entering the gates that both the Chantry and the Tavern were incredibly full as it was. Perhaps they wouldn't get a meal, after all. At Lydia's insisting they stopped a farmer, regardless, and asked him to point them in the direction of the tavern.
"You know," he grumbled impatiently, crossing his arms over his chest and furrowing his brows at them. "I'm not here just to give directions to every refugee that passes by."
"We're not refugees," Lydia assured him, inclining her head towards Alistair. "We're Grey Wardens."
She wasn't sure what she had been expecting, really. Recognition. Respect, perhaps. The Grey Wardens had always been regarded highly throughout Ferelden and the rest ofThedas. Instead, the farmer looked disgusted.
"Then you best clear out," he spat, glancing towards the guards at the gate before returning his disapproving gaze on the group. "We're loyal to the King here and word fromthe North is that the Wardens betrayed King Cailan. Teyrn Loghain has a bounty on any who survived."
[[ooc: Dun dun duuun. I realized after I'd finished typing this up that it would most likely have taken several days (correct me if I'm wrong) for them to travel from Flemeth's hut to Lothering but for the sake of my sanity can we pretend it only took them the best part of a day? I've got to go for a bit and I don't have time to rewrite. Sorry for my clumsiness! The indent button also doesn't like me. The lines look fine when I preview the post but when it actually saves it comes out strange. I'll fix it later.]]