Title: Darkspawn Origins: Prologue
Game: Dragon Age
Characters: Original Characters, Dumat the First Archdemon, Darkspawn, Tevinter magisters. As this is set before the events of the dragon age game, you will probably not see many of the actual characters in the game. However, you'll see familiar historical figures and themes.
Disclaimer: The story is completely my own, but is generally consistent with the history of Thedes, world of Dragon Age.
She had never known darkness before this.
Oh yes, she'd been in the deeper places of the woods of Elvhenan, before the magisters burned the place to ash. She'd walked among the spirits of the Dream Realms, in her training as a Keeper's First. She'd seen the darkness of the hearts of the shemlen, or humans as they called themselves. All these dark places she had encountered and walked away from unscathed. But this darkness
this was unbearable. The only thing that lit the way was fire, held in the palm of one of the magisters who led the way down through the Deep Roads into the bowels of the earth. The fire itself scared the elven slave almost as much as the shadows it threw onto the walls. The Tevinters were power-hungry, and greedy for glory, just like all shemlen were, deep down.
She didn't know how the dwarves could stand living here, day after day. It had been a long time since she had lived in the forest, with nothing but the thick tops of the trees separating the earth and sky. But even in the Tevinter cities, where she lived as slave and bodyguard to the magisters, there were patches of bare sky between the buildings of the bodies of trees and stone. But down here, she could feel the weight of the earth, miles and miles of it, pressing in on the tunnel from all sides. She didn't want to be buried down herenot in a place where there were no trees to plant over her grave. Through the fear pounding in her throat, her lyrium tattoos, which had been burned into her flesh by the magic of the magisters enslaving her, began to glow. She felt slightly comforted from the rush of strength that filled her body. The cool, silver-blue light that flooded from her marks lit the tunnel more naturally than the harsh, magical fire that flooded from the magister's hand.
"Shut that bitch off," the magister holding the flame grunted, without turning around. "She'll bring the Deep Stalkers onto us." The slave girl felt a sharp blow to her back, along with the burning of mage hands. She cried out, resisting the urge to punch out his heart with the strength that filled her limbs. She might get the one, but she would be dead in seconds if she tried anything. Fearing for her life, she allowed her tattoos to dim and fade, the comforting strength leaving her body. Once again, the only thing lighting their way was that terrible fire.
Death wasn't usually a very large worry to the elves. Of course, there was the occasional hunter lost to a pack of wolves, or the soldier felled in battle. But, unlike the shemlen, the elves did not grow old and die. Ever since the humans and elves had begun to interact, however, the immortal children of the forests had begun to age as well. The elven girl put a hand to her chest. She, too, felt the quickening growing upon her from her interactions with the shemlen.
"We're almost there." The voice came from the man walking behind herthe man who had burned her to stop her from glowing. The girl suddenly halted, fear flooding through her. Some instinct told her that she didn't want to know what 'there' was. These Tevinter magisters were up to something cruel. Probably something to do with their cruel magic and strange dragon gods.
"You! Keep moving." She felt herself shoved from behind by the same hot hands of the magister following her. The girl let out a stream of prayers in her native tongue, praying to the Creators that whatever they were planning would fail, so she could go back home to the forests. She cut off her words as she sensed the magister ready to strike her again, but under her breath she continued muttering. "Vir Bor'Assan. The Way of the Bow. Bend, but never break. Vir Bor'Assan
The first Deep Stalker struck out of nowhere, cutting down a magister who walked to her right. He fell with a cry, unable to even prepare his magic before six more were on him, raptor-like claws tearing, their strange, worm-like mouthparts gnashing to make their terrible, chattering noise. The remaining five magisters reacted quickly, readying their spells, cutting down two of the beasts. They realized they were being attacked and turned, leaping for another of the Tevinters. Five spells were shouted at once, and the Deep Stalkers were incinerated on the spot.
The slave hadn't joined in on the fight, but she watched the Deep Stalkers fall with a sad smile. Children of the Earth, I know you tried to stop the evil they are about to do. Elgar'nan, the God of Vengance, has seen your brave acts.
The lead magister conjured a flame in his hand once more. "Let's move on," he said in his hateful, smooth tones.
Another magister hesitated by the body of the one that had fallen. "What about
"He's dead. Let's press forward, before we follow him." The man's eyes scared the elven girl more than anything else. They were a slitted gleam of violent purple, like the eyes of a demon. No man should have eyes like those. The six of them that remained pressed forward once more, deeper into the earth's embrace.
It wasn't long before the magisters stopped. The elven girl had heard their steps echo slightly, and felt the air around them open up. She could sense that they were in a cavern even before the magisters lit an orb of shining energy, lifting it up above the place. The walls were strangely smooth, as if man had made the cavern, rather than the cracks that branched off the dwarven Thaigs. The elven girl suddenly felt a growing feeling of dread. She knew, without a doubt, that no earthly creature was permitted here. She sank to her knees, shaking. "Creators forgive me
Creators protect me
" For once, the magisters didn't stop to shut her up. They were looking at each other with expressions of savage delight across their faces.
Each of the magisters stepped up to one of the runes carved onto the floor of the cave. There was one too many runesone was obviously meant for the dead magister. For a moment, the girl's hopes lifted, but fell again when the shemlen with the demon eyes raised a hand, his magic pushing her onto the last rune. "Lucky for us, we brought an extra," he said, and the other magisters howled with laughter. The girl closed her eyes, not wanting to see what the magisters were about to do, but there was nothing to stop her from hearing their words, and nothing to stop the harsh, colored light that was blazing through her eyelids.
"Today," the lead magister said, demonic eyes sweeping over the others as they chanted, magic streaming from their hands, "We prove that the Tevinter Imperium possesses powers unlimited. Today, we walk the lands of the Gods, and show them that we are their equals."
The girl felt her marks writhe on her skin, then begin to glow, quickly filling her with strength. But the energy was channeled out from her, into the rune, which streamed to the others with magic. She couldn't stand not looking. She opened her eyesjust for a moment, as the room suddenly flashed with a dazzling light, and the girl felt her body torn away from the cavern.
Suddenly, she was surrounded by soft golden light. She looked around, dazed, to see a beautiful paradise of a city, golden and great, with the presence of life all around. The magisters were still standing in a circle with her, blinking dazedly for a moment as they took in their surroundings. The lead magister suddenly gave a cry of triumph. "We have done it!" he said, taking a step forward. "The Golden City! Feast your eyes on the throne of the Gods!"
But the city was changing. The slave girl noticed it before the rest, as she watched tiny black spider web markings branch from where she was crouching across the beautiful golden floor, creeping up the archways. The sky suddenly darkened, causing the magisters to stop celebrating abruptly. From their feet lanced the black stain, covering the pure gold of the godly realm. "Creators forgive me
I have brought my sin into this divine realm
The ground suddenly shook, a terrible screeching roar forming from the air around them. The magisters and the elven girl all dropped to the ground as a dazzling, white light appeared on a pedestal that rose from the sin-stained ground. The six earthly creatures looked up at the figure and felt their eyes burn from the magnificence. The elven girl quickly dropped her gaze, but the others continued staring, awestruck. The divine being opened its mouth, and words formed from the air around them.
"I am the Maker."
Yes, this was a true god. A true divine entity. And this was this eternal being's throne, which they had tainted with their sin. The girl closed her eyes, but was unable to get the face of the Maker out of her mind. It was burned into her brain. Creators
"You have looked upon the face of the Maker. You have entered the Fade in bodily form. And you have tainted my throne with your sin. Now, you, and all of mankind will face their punishment."
" a magister gasped, hands covering his face. "Divine Spirit
"I have shown mercy to man one time too many. You use the gifts I have given to you, and you have used them in sin. You foolishly bring that sin back to my throne. Face your own tortured souls, magisters. I condemn you to an eternity of living as your own sin. You will become the spawn of the darkness you have brought here."
" the magisters wept, as the creature raised its hands. The elven girl screamed, rolling onto her back, hearing her screams echoing in the voices of the men around her. She felt the blackened roots of the Golden City reach up into her body, up into her mind. Bolts of pain struck her like lightning, as she felt her heart blackening, her limbs twisting. The city disappeared from around her, and she felt herself lying once more on the cold ground of the cavern.
But as she picked herself up, she found that her heart was filled with hate, her mind twisted and corrupted. She breathed in the darkness that clung to her like a cape, feeling it around her. She looked towards the other magisters, and saw that they were men no more. The Maker had turned them into twisted reflections of their own hearts. The spawn of their own darkness. Darkspawn.
But she was different from them, still. Perhaps it was because she was elven, or perhaps she had cursed the Golden City with a different type of sin. But for whatever reason, her back was hunched, while the others stood straight. Her claws were long and deadly, her head egg-shaped and rounded. She opened her mouth, and a high-pitched shrieking sound emitted from it, answered by the bellows of the former magisters. And, deep within her mind, she heard another call. A whisper, which she was unable to resist, telling her to come
The six Darkspawn rampaged through the tunnels, destroying the few living creatures in their path. They tunneled deeper and deeper into the earth, following the seductive whispers in their mind, telling them to hurry
The Darkspawn who had once been the elven girl no longer noticed time passing. Only the relentless search for the Old God who called to them in the voice they could not resist. At length, they came to another cavern, similar to the one they had used to enter the Golden City. A huge, hulking mass of scales and spikes coiled in the center of the room, breathing gently. All six of them cried out in their tormented voices, calling to the creature who lay in deep slumber.
A reptilian eye opened. The dragon uncoiled, wings fanning wide, neck arching as it brought forth a burst of flame, standing, claws cracking the stone. The former magisters, with some beaten part of their mind that vaguely remembered their human lives, recognized the creature for what it was. The old GodDumat, Dragon of Mystery. But it, too, had been twisted by the sin, the Taint, of the creatures they had become. It was no longer one of the false Gods worshipped by the Tevinter Imperium, but a new, powerful leader, risen from its grave to lead the Darkspawn. The most powerful of the new demons.
And so the first Blight was unleashed upon the world.