Invisible Chains

Chapter Four

A Kidnapping and a Murder

As the group leaves the bar with Kynedrin, followed by Alizera. Aedan sends a letter ahead with his trusty Mabari Fenrir. Arriving down the alleyway Ozoren and Crastis are initially confused about what the dog wants, when they notice the message attacked to his collar they read it and prepare. Crouching down in the alleyway pretending to be beggars they await their quarry.

Arriving at the alleyway, the parlour group pass their two friends pretending not to notice them. Alizera, seeing the beggars, pulls a knife and tells the Qunari and Elf to get out. As the two scuttle out of the alley they turn and attack the assassin. Ozoren throws his axe, which misses and hits Bertrand instead. Crastis, shaking her head at the Qunari's efforts, attacks with an Arcane Lance, although the spark of energy bounces off the assassin's coat she notices the attack and spins, drawing out her weapons she prepares to strike the two beggars. Using the momentum from the Arcane Lance, Crastis draws a glyph right at Alizera's feet. Not having enough time to doge out the way the glyph activates freezing the Assassin mid stride. The group then knocks her out.

Kynedrin, now realising that it was all a stunt, thanks the group for saving his life. He then informs the group that he can deal with Alizera and that they will need a plan to deal with Blaen. Taking the unconscious woman on board his cart, he goes to find an inn for the group to stay at, and also to meet his contacts to deal with Alizera. Being left alone again the group splits up: Pelekor, Bertrand, and Abelard go inside to have a drink, while Aedan, Crastis, and Ozoren remain outside.

Inside the Parlour Abelard runs into his old friend Rein, though they parted in somewhat acrimonious circumstances. Discussing each other’s current lives, Rein brings up his wife and asks Abelard to pay him a visit as she is deathly ill. Initially sceptical Abelard agrees to visit Rein's home, before getting back to drinking.

Bertrand, upon entrance of the Parlour, notices a Templar wearing a strange cloak. Recognising him as one of his trainers at Templar school, Garret, he approaches the man to reintroduce himself. Initially confused by the Orlesian commoner, Garret slowly recognises him. After a brief conversation Garret explains that he has left the Templar Order and joined the Purifiers, an extremist group of ex-Templars who views the Order as under the Chantry's thumb, and believe that it's not doing enough to combat magic. Remembering that the young commoner held derogatory viewpoints on both mages and elves, the ex-Templar attempts to recruit Bertrand. Bertrand, unsure of himself and in a new city, tells his old trainer that he will think about it, Garret agrees to let him think about it, he will contact him later to elicit his response.

Pelekor drinking at the bar runs into Fellis Kingmire who explains that Pelekor’s brother Valdek has hired her to find the Article of Thiags. Kadorn Thiag has been taken over by the Garrison of Black, and his brother wants the Article to request direct rule from the High King of Orzammar. Unfortunately Fellis had been unable to obtain a copy, having heard that the University of Orlais has a copy, relaying this information to Pelekor she explains that she has to leave the city and offers Pelekor all the money that his brother paid her to get the article if she does the job for him. Pelekor agrees at once, concern for his home outweighing the little money he is getting.

Both Ozoren and Aedan find notes directed to them. Ozoren is hand delivered a note by a runner, directing him to a meeting of the Val Royeaux Tal-Vashoth Mercenary groups, anticipating a trap; Ozoren is sceptical but ready to go along with the ruse for further gain. Aedan, seeing a posting on the nearby wall, finds out that his family is dead and one Ser Michael Kersten is hiring people to kill Howes. Aedan then runs off to find Michael, Ozoren runs after him not noticing the dropped not. Crastis, noticing the dropped note, picks it up and reads the information. Knowing the others must know of this she attempts to enter the Parlour, worried that someone will stop her she treads carefully, when no one does she steps fully into the Parlour. Having a tough time finding her friends she sees an elf in the robes of a Tevinter Magister. Believing him to be the elf that Kadrial spoke of, she approaches him, and discussing matters in Tevine she learns that her former master and the Magister she embarrassed are both after her. The elf introduces himself as Ullrich Caunish, the Left Seat of the Archon, and promises to deal with Crasts’ problems if she delivers a package. When asking about it Ullrich explains that the package will come with instructions.

Cratis, finishing her conversation with her fellow Tevine elf, finds her friends and shows them the note that caused Aedan to run off. Believing that the two men will be back, the group decide to relax.

Arriving at the Drunken Fish, Ozoren having catched up with Aedan, the Qunari ask what’s going on and he explains what’s happened and they both decide to go into the bar. Finding the bar smelly, dirty, and almost empty, they easily locate Ser Michael Kersten who is drinking. Aedan goes over and slams his hands startling the man, he looks up and, recognising Aedan, he explains to both men what happened.

Soon after Aedan left Castle Cousland, word came from the south that the Darkspawn were amassing a huge army, and Fergus led the Cousland army to the south to help in the King’s battle. Soon after, with the castle undefended, assassins from the Howe family who killed the Teryn and Ternya, allowing with all the servants, Fergus’ wife and child, and the dogs. Kersten explains he only survived by pretending to be dead in the courtyard, and then sneaking off when no one was watching. When asked what the plan is, Kersten explains that now that Aedan is here he plans to get vengeance on Arl Rendon Howe by killing his brother Brendon who is a scholar at the University of Orlais. Kersten also explains how his brother is believed dead at the battle of Ostagar following the betrayal of the Grey Wardens.

Agreeing to go through with his plan for later in the night, Aedan decides to discuss the plan with his allies and get them to help.

Both men journey back to the Parlour, explaining what’s going on a child runs up and explains that Kynedrin has gotten them rooms in the Moonlight Cat Inn on the other side of town. The group follows the runner through the city.

Half way to the Inn the group is waylaid by a carriage and a group of soldiers, the leader of whom points to the two mages and asks them to get in the carriage. After some faffing about, Abelard and Crastis agree to travel in the carriage, as the carriage moves off Ozoren follows at a jog. Seated opposite is Nemmaya, the founder and leader of the Elevated Brotherhood. Nemmaya takes the time to explain about the political situation in Val Royeaux, she explains the relationship between Blaen and the Purifiers. Finishing the explanation and asking the two mages to join the Brotherhood and help spread Tevinter influences throughout the south. Deciding to consider the offer, they are dropped off back where they had first bordered carriage; with Ozoren pulling up the rear.

Continuing the journey the group arrives at the inn, meeting Pelekor again who gives them their room keys, the group gather up and prepare for dinner.

As the group gathers in a private room for dinner, they discuss the events of the day. Deciding to help each other, they agree to travel to the Orlesian university campus and get Aedan some sweet revenge.

Turning to other matters, Kynedrin explains that in order to defeat Blaen they need to attract attention from Blaen’s enemies. In order to do that Kynedrin has found two jobs, one is an expedition to the deep roads, and the other is a job for the Grey Wardens. The group, having faced down Darkspawn before decide to work with the Grey Wardens instead of facing that horror. Needing time to sort out the job Kynedrin gives the group a free day.

Deciding to start with Aedan, the group plus Kynedrin journey back to the Drunken Fish, and, with Ser Kersten in tow, travel to Brendon Howe’s house.

Arriving at the terraced houses that serve as homes for the academics on campus, the group finds the house guarded. Kersten knowing there is an entrance round back takes the group on a short journey through three back gardens. Aedan, Crastis, and Abelard are discovered easily just as they prepare to enter the back gardens. The leader of the guards calls out to them, Kersten tells the group to keep moving.

The leader of the guards asks why Aedan is sneaking in the gardens. The Fereldan lord responds that he and Brendon are friends and they like to sneak into each other’s houses. Sceptical the guard inquires if Aedan Cousland is on the list, not finding him the Guards are about to turn him away but Aedan manages to convince them to let him in. They agree as long as Crastis and Abelard remain outside.

Thanks to Pelekor’s lock picking skills, the group enters the house at the same time as Aedan. Journeying up the stairs, as quiet as possible, unfortunately the group manage to wake up Brendon Howe who comes onto the stairway, noticing nothing he goes back to bed. The group continue and burst into Brendon’s room. As the light turns on Kersten rushes in and, punching Brendon, drags him out of bed holding a knife to his throat.

Begging the group to take what they want, Aedan explains who he is and what Brendon’s brother did to his family. Despite telling them that he hasn’t seen his brother in decades and he won’t care if he kills him. The group, not wanting to see Aedan become a murderer, gets involved in a tussle with Ozoren and Bertrand attempting to stop the Ferelden. It is all for naught however, as Aedan stabs the scholar through the neck killing him.

The group seeking to leave the house sends Aedan first so the guards aren’t suspicious. The guard captain, however, hearing a commotion upstairs, enters the house and calls in to Brendon, meeting Aedan as he attempts to leave the guard asks what’s happening. Just as Aedan is about to convince the Guard that everything is fine, he sees Ozoren in the shadows and send three Guards to capture the Qunari. After taking a hit, Ozoren surrenders and the three guards stand around him swords out.

Kersten attacks the guard sent to investigate upstairs while Aedan gets into a fight with the lead guard who shouts out to the remaining guard to get reinforcements. The single guard runs off just as he is hit by an Arcane Lance from Abelard.

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