Dragon Age: United
Hawke panted hard as he ran from the darkspawn. His whole team had died in mere seconds. There had never been an ogre emissary until now, but there he was. He could resist knockdown, thanks to being a fore mage, but only he was left. And even his magic wouldn't save him now. He was running out of room, the only way down being filled with jagged rocks and certain death. He neared the edge of the cliff and sighed, jumping as he remembered Flemyth's last words to him. "You have my gratitude and my sympathy..."
He plunged into the ice cold water, arrows flying in after. He swam further down and stayed still for a few minutes. After a while the darkspawn began to run off. He wasn't sure why or what, but they all took off. He swam to the coast and saw what was calling them. A dragon....No. An Archdemon...Hawke felt his body shrink in comparison to the creature. He knew there was nothing he could do. So he ran.
Aedan Cousland had spent months tracking the dark spawn movements. He was certain that another blight was coming but no Archdemon had been found, the other Wardens told him he was simply looking for an adventure like the one that had ended with him becoming the King of Fereldan. His wife was even worse when he confided his fears in her. Over the past ten years they had grown from a marriage of political fortune to that of friendship and perhaps even love.
The Warden had been about to give up on his search when he came across another group of dark spawn. They thankfully hadn’t sensed him yet and he was able to follow from a distance. He could never recall seeing dark spawn move with such a purpose without an Archdemon commanding them. Then his worst fears and all of his suspicions came to be as he saw the massive dragon that was calling to the dark spawn just off the coast.
Though still as good if not a better warden than when he had originally defeated the Archdemon in Denerim he was only one man. He’d had armies at his command and he had started this search by himself, because no one believed him. He needed to make it back, to gather the Grey Wardens and all the allies he had made over the years. Anora, she would be able to help… if he made it back to her. He was about to sneak off the way he had come when he saw a mage fleeing the dark spawn.
“Maker preserve us,” the Warden whispered as he unsheathed the swords he dual wielded. With a cry meant to distract the dark spawn he surged forward, he hoped to buy the mage time; uncertain as to what the mage was doing out this way with no one else around.
Hawke heard the sound of a battlecry. He wasn't sure whose it was, but he noticed the darkspawn running after him again. Hurtlocks, genlocks and the ogre emissary charged at him and...someone else. He didnt have time to ask who. He was just glad to not be alone this time. He cast a series of fireball spells at the enemies, moving to higher ground as they waited for the flames to subside. "I don't know who you are," he shouted over the roars of his flames and the darkspawn. "But I'm glad to see a friendly face!"
After the flames died, the darkspawn roared and ran up the hill, only to be burned to ash by a well-placed fireball. The emissary growled and ran up the hill. Before he could react, Hawke felt himself being lifted into the air. He groaned as he felt the creature's grip tighten around him. He pulled out his staff and stabbed the ogre in the eye. It screamed and dropped him to the ground. He was too badly injured to capitalize, but at least e could breathe.
Aedan ran a gentlock through with one of his blades and used the other to behead it before turning to the other dark spawn. Thankfully, only a handful of the dark spawn had taken any interest in them. Their battle was serving the purpose of killing dark spawn and moving them further away from the horde at the same time. The mage proved to be more than competent in battle with his fireball spells. The ogre emissary charged forward, and Aedan rolled out of the way only to find that the mage had been caught in his grip. To his credit, the mage didn't panic, using his staff to stab the beast in the eye. The mage was dropped to the ground but Aedan didn't stop to check on him. He took a running leap and sank his blades into the ogres flesh, using his swords to climb up until he could sink one blade through the ogre's chest and into it's heart. The ogre fell onto its back with a death groan.
Aedan turned back to the mage and helped him to his feet. "Well met, Mage. I am Aedan Cousland, a Grey Warden. Might I ask what you were doing out here, alone?"
Hawke spit up some blood but nodded to the greeting. "M-my name is Hawke ser..." he uttered after a few breaths. "I was out here searching for a treasure that was rumored to be worth a great deal. My team and I were trying to free a friend of ours, but as you can see, things went awry." He looked the man over a few times. "You're too heavily armed to be from around these parts. What are you doing out here?" He was far too injured to fight him if they were after the same treasure, but he held his staff firm all the same.
"I have some poultices in my pack if you need it," Aedan offered as he watched the mage cough up blood. "Is your friend still alive? Should we turn back?"
Aedan smiled at Hawke's response to his arms and armor. "Grey Wardens are typically so armed. I had a sense there was an Archdemon about and it seems I was right. Perhaps you know of my wife if not of me, Queen Anora Cousland of Fereldan. If you don't want to go back for your friend because he is lost, might I suggest that we move to a more hospitable location and decide what to do from there?"
"My friends were long dad before you came." Hawke coughed up some more blood. He could barely see, let alone talk. He motioned for a poultice and pulled himself off the ground. He pulled a lesser health poultice from his pack. "Even if you are a Warden, I am already lost. The Taint...It got into me with that last battle..." He groaned as he felt a bloody wound in his side heal. The ogre had been successful in at least finishing him off slowly.
"You are not lost yet, Hawke. The decision is yours, though I do technically have the right to conscript you I would prefer you join willingly," Aedan pulled his pack off his back. Ever since the battle of Denerim he had made a point of carrying the materials necessary for a joining around with him. He fortunately had enough Archdemon blood for one joining.
He mixed the proper contents up in a goblet and handed it to Hawke, "These words were said at the first joining and every joining since. Join us, brothers and sisters. Join us in the shadows where we stand vigilant. Join us as we carry the duty that can not be forsworn. And should you perish, know that your sacrifice will not be forgotten. And that one day we shall join you."
Hawke didn't need much convincing. He stood for the words and quickly drank the cup of liquid, choking and gagging as it flowed into him. He passed out after a few moments and had an awful nightmare. there were dragons in the world. Not just the one they'd seen on the beach, but another, looming over the hills of Amaranthine. They laid the areas to waste and razed the land with an army of darkspawn at both their backs....One looked at him and seemed less intent on killing him and more on...recruiting him? A dragon was trying to call him into service...Hawke hastily refused and wthe dragon responded with not anger or revenge but confusion. It was as if the beast had never been denied before. As the creature's gaze moved elsewhere, Hawke's dream ended.
Aedan was glad that Hawke had survived the joining, not all recruits did. The man had passed out and his eyes moved back and forth under their lids, he was having his first dream of the Archdemon calling to him. Aedan took some bandages out of his pack and quickly patched the man up, they needed to leave and quickly. Aedan though a formidable foe would not be able to fend off all the darkspawn that would surely find them if they stayed put. He hefted Hawke onto his shoulders and took off as quickly as he could manage without exhausting himself.
Hours later when his arms ached and his knees protested the effort of standing Aedan made camp in a cave that did not appear to be inhabited by any creatures and did not extend into the depths below where the darkspawn lived. He placed Hawke down, putting his own roll beneath his head before making something to eat, he had no doubt that Hawke would be starving when he awoke.