The casteless dwarves of Orzammar have few prospects. Consigned to live in a crumbling ruin on the social and economic fringes of the mighty dwarven capital, most resort to begging, prostitution, or crime. Just as all rivers eventually join the sea, all casteless who turn to crime eventually become part of the Carta.
—From The Stone and Her Children: Dwarves of the Dragon Age, by Brother Genitivi
-Dust Town, Orzammar-
Hidden in the dirty and dark alleyway, Aria T'Loak flexes the fingers of the metal claws of her gauntlets experimentally, feeling the cold steel against her smooth silken fingers. She concentrates on her left hand, letting the internal rage and frustration activate her new abilities. The gauntlet begins to glow with a crystal azure light, swirling around her fingertips, a maelstrom of force just waiting to be unleashed. A deep breath from Aria allows the magic to dissipate, the light dwindling slowly. She does the same thing with her other hand, making sure she has complete control. The outfit feels a bit heavier than her normal tight-fitting jacket and pants, but it does feel....oddly appropriate for her. The straps of her breastplate criss-cross over her back comfortably, and the dark steel greaves still allow her to keep her agility intact. Even she has to admit, the fur trim on the shoulders was a nice touch, adding to the already imposing image. She takes a breath before looking around, "Now then, where have I wound up?"
The area is unfamiliar to the queen of Omega as she wanders down the rundown, ramshackle alleyways. "Why am I surrounded by people that are the size of Volus?"
"Hey there duster. What brings a woman of your caliber to our part of the world?"
"I'm sorry. I know you didn't just insult me. You must have been talking to yourself."
The dwarf gives a low whistle, "Got quite the mouth on you...don't you? I wonder if you know how to use it properly."
Aria rolls her eyes in disgust, "No matter the world....males are all the same."
The dwarf pulls a particularly rusted and blood-stained dagger from his belt and holds it against her side, "I should bring you back to the boss. He'd be sure to give me a decent bit of gold for you."
"Boss, huh? What kind of organization do you work for?"
"You've never heard of the Orzammar carta? We run the smuggling, black market, and merc forces for most of Orzammar. Our new boss really helped turn things around after Jarvia and Beraht bit the blade when that Warden came through town."
Aria's mind is already awash with possibilities with an organization like that. "I think I'd like to be a part of a team like that."
The thug blinks in surprise, "Wait...you want to join?"
"Is that a problem?"
"Uh.....no, not really. But you'll have to talk to the boss first. Leske's very particular about new recruits."
Her voice takes on a seductive tone, and she brings a claw underneath his chin, raising his head to meet her gaze, "Leave him to me. I can be very persuasive."
The dwarf gives a blank, blissful stare for a moment before handing over a strip of cloth with a rune on it. "Here, you'll need this so the boys don't shank you when we enter."
She winks at him, and brushes the side of his face gently, "You're so sweet. What's your name anyways?"
"Uh......Venar. Venar Kirol."
"I see great things in your future Venar. The name's Aria. Shall we go meet your boss?"
"Right...the boss. Come on. This way."
Aria smiles to herself as the dwarf leads the way. And so it begins again.....just like Omega. Change the battlefield, change the war.
"Warden-commander, we've just received an urgent message from the Ferelden Circle."
The calm and noble form of the Hero of Ferelden stands on the balcony with his back to the soldier, his clothes showing the hints of his noble lineage of the Couslands while the imposing sword on his hip shows his warrior blood. He turns to face the soldier, the subtle black tattoo on the right side of his visage criss-crossed with a series of scars, the stubble barely visible on his chin, his kind bright blue eyes seeming to see right through you. "What's wrong Remy?"
Remy Ganne, new recruit of the Keep, fumbles with the pouch on his belt, his nervousness apparent in every fiber of his being. The Warden smiles, "It's alright Remy. Take your time. There's no need to be nervous."
"I'm sorry Commander. I've....I've just heard the stories about you during the war. I just find it hard to believe that I'm serving under the Commander of the Grey."
"Who's the message from?"
"The First-Enchanter. He sent a spirit bird with this."
He holds out a small lyrium-infused stone with Dalish markings to the Warden, who takes it gently before nodding at the soldier to leave. "What could be so important Irving to send this artifact out of the Tower?"
The lessons he had been taking from Velanna on reading Dalish script allowed him to understand the symbol. Roughly translated it means "Blood". He takes a small throwing knife from a pouch on his waist, and gently pricks the thumb of his calloused left hand, allowing the blood to trickle down over the stone. The blue lines of lyrium absorbing the crimson liquid, beginning to glow with a scarlet light. The Warden places the stone on his desk and the form of First-Enchanter Irving materializes in front of him. The stone is a memory stone, allowing the user to store memories or messages in it. The Chantry made it known that anyone using these would be imprisoned due to the nature of storing requiring blood to activate it.
The ghostly form of Irving begins to speak. "My friend, I hope this message finds you well. I do apologize for the abruptnes, but circumstances are forcing my hand to circumvent the Chantry and more importantly....Gregoir. It seems we have.......visitors to our lands. Some look perfectly human but some are unlike anything we have ever seen, and we both know that I would not say that lightly. No matter what the templars say, I believe they are not here willingly, nor do I believe they mean harm to anyone. Our guest calls herself Liara T'Soni. She may not be human, but she has magic in her veins. I've received messages from other Circles who all claim that strange flashes of light have been spotted all over Thedas, from Orlais to Kirkwall. I would suggest finding a way to bring them all to Vigil's Keep, which would allow you to keep them safe from those who would do harm or manipulate them. I worry that Gregoir is going to try to execute Miss Liara so I will be sending her to you by way of Denerim."
Alexander Cousland's brow furrows in thought as he absorbs this information. Before he can process even a quarter of this information, Irving's form continues to speak, "One more thing. People have claimed to see a High Dragon flying around over the Korcari Forest. I fear that......"
The image vanishes abruptly, as the stone cracks down the middle, lyrium dust spilling across the tabletop. Before he can react, a feral roar sounds from the skies above the Keep, before the sounds of the watchtowers' alarms go off, alerting the entire Vigil to the danger. Alexander swiftly dons the ebony Armor of the Sentinel that he brought back from the Blackmarsh, and unsheathes Starfang, the blade gleaming with unearthly light as the runes etched into the blade glow bright. Upon reaching the center courtyard he spies the dragon, her billowing amethyst-colored wings flapping as she hovers above the keep. Seneschal Garavel motions to the archers on the walls to prepare to fire at the beast. "Hold Garavel."
"Yes.....she's here for me........tell the men to be ready if she tries anything."
Alexander looks up into the golden eyes of the dragon and hollers up at her, "I don't have time for your theatrics Flemeth. If you have something to say...say it, otherwise shove off."
The dragon starts to glow with white and gold light, the wings slowly retreating into its back, the neck slowly shrinking, long silver strands of hair begin to unfurl from its head. After a few moments, the imposing figure of Flemeth stands in front of her one-time slayer. She smiles wickedly at the expression of menace on his face, and laughs that same eerie laugh as always. "Well hello again.......my old friend. It's been a long time."