Marius Whitby had always been good at sneaking around, and listening to things that maybe people didn't want to be heard. He couldn't help it, really. He'd always been the curious sort, and his mum had never thought to correct him on it. Now he was too old to change.
He mostly didn't pay attention to rumors and empty gossip. But when news came of the Warden-Commander charging back into the compound with an elf woman slung over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, he took notice. When he heard how angry she was, he wanted to look into it more. So preoccupied with Miriam, however, he hadn't had the chance. Now Miri was actually on the mend all proper like, and he could breathe a little easier.
He'd been meaning to talk to Niamh, to see if she knew anything. He also didn't want to bother her, because of Anders. And then he felt guilty, because of Anders. Niamh had been close to him, and now he was gone. She couldn't have taken that very well. So Marius wandered up to Niamh's door and knocked, not even sure if she was in there. "Hey, it's just Marius," he said lightly enough, shoving his hands into his pockets.
Niamh sat on her bed, holding a small book in front of her. Her face was scrunched up in concentration, as if she was regarding a dangerous foe. Her lessons with Bethany were progressing and her time with Velanna had only made her eager to put her reading skills to the test. If sh practiced enough, she’d almost certainly impress her fellow Dalish when the time came for even more tutoring. Wouldn’t Velanna be surprised?
The trouble was that reading was very hard without a tutor. She’d eventually worked through her first story with Bethan. It had been bittersweet. The magical tree gave up everything and the boy grew old. This new story was also something of a cautionary tale.
“If..if ya give a.. moss..ma-wse mouse a c..a c-oh-key,” she began to sound out slowly. She didn’t know where the story was going. It started with milk and cloth to wipe his face seemed to be building more and more. She knew how the first part of the sentence went; it had been repeated enough times. But making sure she understood how the letters worked was important. Every time she turned the page, the words looked as jumbled as ever.
A knock at her door caught her off guard and she looked up with curiosity. Very few people came to her room without her knowing ahead of time. She wondered if it was Nathaniel or, barring that, Leliana. Someone with business to attend to. Deep down, she dared to dream it was Anders, returning from some secret adventure. Perhaps Falon’Din had sent him back after some daring deed in the Beyond.
“Hey, it's just Marius," a voice came from the other side. She immediately sprang up and shuffled to the door and opened it up.
“Aneth ara, Marius. Come in. I were just readin’. Sorta.” She gestured for him to enter and took her seat on the bed again.
"Weren’t expectin’ ya,” she noted. “But I’m glad yer here. Feels like forever what I were chatting’ with ya.”
Post by Marius Whitby on May 6, 2017 12:23:35 GMT -5
Marius heard some shuffling from the other side of the door, and then it opened. “Aneth ara, Marius. Come in. I were just readin’. Sorta.” Niamh gestured for him to come in and she hopped back over to her bed. "Weren’t expectin’ ya,” she said. “But I’m glad yer here. Feels like forever what I were chatting’ with ya.”
"Yeah, I've been dealing with some things," Marius said vaguely, waving his hand a bit. He wasn't prepared to tell her that Miriam had almost died, on top of everything else that had happened. He pulled out the desk chair and sat down on it backwards so that he could rest his arms on the back. "I wanted to talk to you sooner after... everything. I didn't know how, I guess. I'm sorry." He gave her an apologetic look and cocked his head to the side. "Are you doin' alright?"
Niamh was glad to see Marius, although she didn't quite know what to say. Of the Wardens who'd gone on the mission into the Wilds, he was one of the few that had remained. Cauthrien had her injuries and duties, Anders and Alden were dead, and Cahaya was as scarce as ever. It seems so long ago that the handful of them were riding along wooded paths and laments the tenacity of varterrals. Marius had been with Niamh through the toughest moments. During her initial days in Denerim, as she struggled with Anders' rebuke, and during the mission proper. She loved him as a brother.
"I wanted to talk to you sooner after... everything. I didn't know how, I guess. I'm sorry." He tilted his head and she merely nodded a tired nod. "Are you doin' alright?"
The hardest question to answer. Niamh opted for honesty when in doubt and she paused only to find the proper words for her thoughts before speaking up.
"Me heart hurts," she tried to explain. There was a longing in her soul for something that had been taken from her. Her heart cried out not just for Anders but for a part of her that was torn away. Even as she grew more reliable now, that pain remained. "I work hard, every day... so that we ain't gotta lose no one ever ag-"
A horrible pain flooded her gut and Niamh stopped talking to let it pass. She did not want Marius to see her cry. Not again. She'd grown so much and she was not going to let her sadness claim her. She would no be defined by her losses. "Well, I'm workin' hard, s'all.."
There was little else to say. She'd train her body and mind as hard as possible. She'd be a Grey Warden. And she'd never feel so helpless again.
Post by Marius Whitby on May 9, 2017 11:29:12 GMT -5
Niamh was quiet for a moment. "Me heart hurts," she said. Marius nodded. "I work hard, every day... so that we ain't gotta lose no one ever ag-" she stopped short to compose herself and then finished: "Well, I'm workin' hard, s'all.."
"It's not easy. Losing people." Marius hard more experience with loss than he liked to think about. The pain would lessen over time, but it never truly left. There were days where, even despite his happiness with Miriam, that he missed Sybil. "I half expected to see Anders doing whatever it was he did between injuries the last time I was at the infirmary." He let out a chuckle. It was weird, knowing Anders was gone but not having any closure. They never saw the man's body.
He looked at the book that Niamh was reading and smiled. "Anders taught a friend of mine to read. Did you know that? She said they worked with... different books and stuff, though." Dirty books. Of course, Kahrin and Anders had been together at the time.
“It's not easy. Losing people." Marius’ words hit Niamh in the gut. She’d done her best to bury her pain and although she’d slipped up on the marketplace with Conrad, she’d done a good job of hiding behind her smile. But it hurt so much. She thought of Aoife. She thought of Anders. And all it did was stretch the hole in her heart, that place where something had been torn from her, and made it bigger. She said nothing, listening to Marius with an impassive expression.
"I half expected to see Anders doing whatever it was he did between injuries the last time I was at the infirmary."
Niamh chuckled, although she did not understand why. She knew that feeling so well. The slight hope that Anders would wander around a corner or bump into her while she was patrolling the market. But he was gone and it felt terrible. He’d left in the night and that was it. Like smoke wafting into the wind.
“When Nathaniel told me, I thought he was joking,” she admitted, her voice even and words clear. “I ran out into the hall and started yelling at Anders like he would pop out of a bush and stop tricking us. But he wasn’t.”
Marius looked at the book she’d been reading and Niamh suddenly felt very self conscious. Reading had been both an exciting adventure and a frustrating battle. She could not explain it but the letters often looked jumbled. Not at all like she knew they were supposed to. "Anders taught a friend of mine to read. Did you know that? She said they worked with... different books and stuff, though."
She sighed. “Bethany’s been a good teacher ‘an Asha Velanna wants me to learn more too," she explained, her normal cadence returning. "It’s confusing’ though. I stick to books fer kids ‘an ever those are hard.”
Shifting on her bed ever so slightly, she looked at Marius with curiosity. He was a good friend but he seemed so distant today. As if she could reach out for miles and never touch him. The recent losses hit everyone hard and she hoped that Marius could find some solace.
“You know, Marius,” she started carefully. “If ye need to talk ‘bout it all, I’ll listen good. Dunno if ye’ve told Miri what happened or spoke with her but.. if ye need anything, I ken help. S’all I want, really. To be a good warden ‘an protect all ‘o ya..”
Post by Marius Whitby on May 16, 2017 19:29:04 GMT -5
“When Nathaniel told me, I thought he was joking,” Niamh said. “I ran out into the hall and started yelling at Anders like he would pop out of a bush and stop tricking us. But he wasn’t.”
Marius gave her a small, sad smile. Anders was so present and loud it was hard to imagine him ever going anywhere. He supposed that it would happen with all of them eventually, but it was still weird to know Anders wasn't ever coming back.
He saw the book she was reading and asked if she knew that Anders had taught Kahrin to read. Bethany was teaching Niamh.
“Bethany’s been a good teacher ‘an Asha Velanna wants me to learn more too," Niamh said. "It’s confusing’ though. I stick to books fer kids ‘an ever those are hard.”
"Asha Velanna?" Marius quirked a brow upwards. "That's the other Dalish, yeah?" He tried not to sound too interested, though he desperately needed information about her.
Niamh shifted on the bed slightly and looked at him thoughtfully. “You know, Marius," she said carefully. "If ye need to talk ‘bout it all, I’ll listen good. Dunno if ye’ve told Miri what happened or spoke with her but.. if ye need anything, I ken help. S’all I want, really. To be a good warden ‘an protect all ‘o ya..”
Marius couldn't tell Niamh what had happened to Miriam, that she'd also come so close to death. The thought made his chest squeeze uncomfortably and a lump form in his throat. Instead he gave a little shrug and blew out a breath. "I told her what I could tell her. Which wasn't a lot. Just that I lost a friend. Since Alden's off at Weisshaupt and all." He still didn't understand that but there was no point in voicing that. "I'm alright, though. It's just hard to think about, y'know."
"Asha Velanna?" Marius seemed quite interested. "That's the other Dalish, yeah?"
Niamh nodded, a tightening of her lips pulling to a sly smile. "That's her, aye," she said warmly. "We've been spendin' time so's she ken teach me more about the people 'an our stories. Says I'm gonna learn sorta like how a First learned from a Keeper, 'cept not as formal-like."
It was a honor, to be sure. One that the young woman already cherished. To be able to walk forward confidently as one of her people, even removed from her clan, meant more than she could ever expressed and more than Marius would likely understand. The human world was full of confusions. There was love that brought equal amounts of grief. Loyalty and friendship that nevertheless were marred by the impassible barriers of different peoples and ideals. Love mixed with endless anxiety. But one thing was sure: she was Dalish. If all else failed, she would be that.
But would Marius be? A friend. A warden. If so, that was good enough and she would stand by her friend as much as she could. For now, that meant listening. To his worries and his disappointments. And that meant turning the subject towards Miriam, who he loved with so much clarity.
"I told her what I could tell her. Which wasn't a lot. Just that I lost a friend. Since Alden's off at Weisshaupt and all." The confusions was clear in his voice. All Niamh could do was shrug, not dismissively but in solidarity. She did not agree with Nathaniel's decisions more than anyone else, although she would abide by them. "I'm alright, though. It's just hard to think about, y'know."
"Hard fer me too," she said. "Keep Miri close, I sez. She's good fer ya, particular-like with all the confusin' stuff. Plus, she'll keep yer arse outta trouble. 'Cuz I know yer probably up to no good, ain'tcha?"
She laughed a bit, unsure why her heart felt so heavy. When she spoke again, she told him something she'd not managed to say until then.
"....I want to go home, Marius," she said. That was the truth of it all. She'd work to be the best warden. She'd learn from Velanna and all her other teachers so she could do her best. She'd anchor herself to Moira. All those things would sustain her. But at the end of the day, the call of the forest was overwhelming.
Niamh looked at Marius once more, self conscious in her vulnerability. "Waddya say we get our rears outta this room? Climb a roof or summat, the two of us troublesome wardens?"
Post by Marius Whitby on May 23, 2017 19:23:21 GMT -5
"Hard fer me too," Niamh said. "Keep Miri close, I sez. She's good fer ya, particular-like with all the confusin' stuff. Plus, she'll keep yer arse outta trouble. 'Cuz I know yer probably up to no good, ain'tcha?"
"Aren't I always?" Marius gave her a grin, resting his chin on his arms. He did plan on keeping Miriam close. Especially now.
Niamh laughed a bit, though it was clear there was something weighing on her mind. "....I want to go home, Marius," she said after a moment.
"I know," he said gently. Niamh could visit her Clan, he supposed, but it wouldn't be the same anymore. No matter where she went, Niamh was still a Grey Warden and bound by the oaths she had sworn to, just like him. "I did, too. At the beginning."
"Waddya say we get our rears outta this room? Climb a roof or summat, the two of us troublesome wardens?"
"I say you're on to something, my friend," Marius grinned again and sat up in his seat. "You wanna stick around the compound? See what trouble we can find in the market?"
Two warring impulses pulled at Niamh's heart. One was responsible. It was the part of her that wished to uphold her duties as a Grey Warden and to be a dedicated partner to Moira. To live the life she'd found and be the best possible warden she could be. That was what she'd focused on. Training her mind and her body so that when the time came, she could protect her brothers and sisters. She'd fear no darkspawn and never hesitate. The silly Dalish girl would grow into a respected fighter.
But there was the other half as well. A less rational half. The half that had ran from home to begin with. The half that ran into Anders' arms. Fickle and flighty. Changeable as the wind. Niamh looked at Marius and it was that side that took over. So she admitted how much she wanted to run again. Back home. To her mother and her people. To a life before the Joining.
"I did, too. At the beginning."
It was reassuring to hear and Niamh, ever odd but always sweet made her way over to Marius and hugged him softly. She would not run but it did her good to know that her fear was normal. Marius felt like a brother and if he had doubted, she felt less guilty about her own faltering. Breaking the hug, Niamh decided to focus on keeping her mind occupied with good company and some mischief. It's what Anders would want.
"You wanna stick around the compound?" Marius asked. "See what trouble we can find in the market?"
The elf shook her head. "Not quite the market or compound," Niamh said with a grin. "Been thinkin'... ever since that there trip to the wild, I ain't got to ride no horse again. I liked that sweet Daisy, I did. So.. dy'a wanna scurry off 'an go fer a ride?"
Post by Marius Whitby on May 25, 2017 16:28:57 GMT -5
Niamh came over and gave Marius a soft hug. As much as he had not wanted this life for Niamh, he was glad she had survived her Joining. She was a good friend, and the thought of not having her around was not a good one.
They talked about what sort of mischief they could get into and it seemed that the elf had an idea.
"Not quite the market or compound," Niamh said with a grin. "Been thinkin'... ever since that there trip to the wild, I ain't got to ride no horse again. I liked that sweet Daisy, I did. So.. dy'a wanna scurry off 'an go fer a ride?"
Marius hadn't ridden Kong since they'd returned. He'd gone to see the horse a few times, sure, but he hadn't ridden her. He matched Niamh's grin and nodded.
"Alright, let's do it." He stood up from the chair and held a hand out for Niamh to go ahead of him. "Should be fun. It's a good day for a ride."
"Alright, let's do it." Marius said, standing up from his chair. It was enough to make Niamh leap from her bed and set about buckling her boots. "Should be fun. It's a good day for a ride."
The elf’s excitement was palpable as she hurried to put herself together. If there was one thing she’d truly liked about the Wilds, it was the chance to ride a horse. When she was a child, Hahren Neilina would occasionally let her ride in the halla pen on one of the sweeter does and she’d loved every second of it. The stories were full of heroes riding into battle on horses and even griffons; her imagination often conjured grand battles that she end while riding triumphantly into the fray. There was no room for horses in the deep thickets of the forests and the clan only maintained the necessary amount of halla for their aravels. Riding a horse during the trip the the wilds had been a dream come truth even if she was not particularly skilled as a rider.
“Marius, this is gunna be great!” Niamh half squealed with joy as she left the room, turning a few heads in the process. She laughed a bit at the prospect of riding off with Marius. Would Miriam be jealous? “Daisy were a great gal ‘an I figure iff’n I’m gonna ride to Blackwood or whatevers, I should learn to handle meself.”
The made their way through the compound, her nose catching the faintest smell of fresh food from the kitchen, eliciting a weak grumble from her stomach. She ignored it for now until they were outside and by the stables. If there was a proper protocol for how to take out one of the horses, she didn’t know it nor did there seem to be anyone around at the moment.
Walking around in search of Daisy, she found the kind creature in a small stall. She stirred a bit as Niamh approached, the elf scooting back for a moment before walking forward and running her fingers through her mane.
“By the Creators, yer still sweet as ever,” Niamh said kindly before turning back to Marius. “So.. what now? D’we just take ‘em?”
Post by Marius Whitby on Jun 4, 2017 17:52:06 GMT -5
Niamh was excited, nearly bursting with it really, as they left her room and started heading for the stables. “Marius, this is gunna be great!” Niamh squealed. “Daisy were a great gal ‘an I figure iff’n I’m gonna ride to Blackwood or whatevers, I should learn to handle meself.”
Marius grinned at her. It was hard not to match her excitement. It was contagious. "Yup, you need to make sure you're ready to go. That horse'll be, whether you can ride or not."
When they reached the stables, Niamh began searching for her Daisy. Marius found Kong, and gave the mare a gentle pat on her nose. She snorted and pressed into his hand.
“By the Creators, yer still sweet as ever,” Niamh said to the horse before turning back to Marius. “So.. what now? D’we just take ‘em?”
"Yeah, guess so," Marius said, looking around. "We'll just tell someone out there that we're going for a ride. Shouldn't be a problem, I don't think." He walked down to the other door and poked his head out and found one of the stable hands raking at some hay. "Me and Warden Niamh are takin' a couple horses out for a ride."
The stable hand nodded. Or shrugged. Either way, Marius didn't wait for an answer and walked back to Niamh.
"This'll be fun. Do you remember how to get the saddle on her?"
Niamh was very excited to go for a ride, since it was the one the few things she truly enjoyed about their mission to the Wilds. Fishing with the Warden-Constable and riding a kind mare? Yes. Having her heart temporarily broken and facing off against trees made into beasts by the Creators? Not so much. Her enthusiasm must have showed, as Marius smiled at her. Niamh didn't mentioned it but his smile always looked like he was up to no good.
"...you need to make sure you're ready to go. That horse'll be, whether you can ride or not," he noted when Niamh mentioned traveling to Blackwood and learning how to properly ride. She nodded.
"Warden Niamh, of Clan Ròcas," she announced grandly. "Ridin' into the village on her trusty steed Daisy to protect folk from the darkspawn 'fore rushin' off to kiss her gal."
It was a romantic notion and she knew that the reality would a little less glamorous but Niamh always felt a bit silly when talking to Marius, content in the knowledge that he would play along while also providing a steady hand as needed. Niamh imagined she'd have to rid a horse plenty over her career as a Grey Warden and it would not always be so pleasant. It was best to learn riding, even if that just meant a simple session with her friend.
"Glad yer here t'help, Marius," Niamh said as they reached the stables. "Yer a good friend."
The elf set off to get Daisy and happily pet her once found, smiling lightly and thinking back to the time when she'd studied under Hahren Neilina to manage the clan's halla. Niamh always felt comfortable with animals in a way that she could not quite express, as if she could see their thoughts behind their eyes. And she could swear that Daisy was happy to see her too.
"This'll be fun. Do you remember how to get the saddle on her?" Marius walked up behind her and Niamh shrugged.
"Never did it comepltely meself, no," she explained. Indeed, she'd never really saddled Daisy by herself. Anders took up the task of helping when their commander was indisposed. "I remember Anders brushin' a bit 'fore bein' real careful-like with that saddle."
She chuckled a bit, a hint of pain in her voice. "He rode like his horse would buck him off without a thought," she noted. "Silly bastard held his reins tighter than I did.."
Post by Marius Whitby on Jun 24, 2017 9:18:00 GMT -5
Marius asked Niamh if she remembered how to get Daisy saddled, and she said she shrugged.
"Never did it comepltely meself, no," she said. "I remember Anders brushin' a bit 'fore bein' real careful-like with that saddle."
"Yeah, it's not too hard once you get the hang of it," Marius said. He showed her how to do it, and how to make sure to strap the saddle around Daisy's middle - tight, but not too tight to be uncomfortable for the mare. "Try wigglin' it around to see if the saddle moves. You want it to have a little give, but not enough that you'll wind up upside down underneath her when the wind blows."
"He rode like his horse would buck him off without a thought," she said about Anders. "Silly bastard held his reins tighter than I did.."
"Anders did everything like that, I think," Marius gave Niamh a smile, patting her on the shoulder. "C'mon. Let's get out of here, and let these girls stretch their legs a bit, yeah?" He got the saddle on Kong and led her out of the stable before climbing up to sit.
Cyn: No posts this weekend, sorry! It's D&D crunch time and I've gotta write half a campaign by noon tomorrow or I'm so very screwed
Sept 9, 2017 20:49:59 GMT -5
JWhitey: Is anyone around?
Sept 10, 2017 1:11:36 GMT -5
Innes Cameron: Hello, JWhitey! If you need to speak to someone, PM one of the Staff directly (if you haven't already!) ;D
Sept 10, 2017 4:39:25 GMT -5
JWhiteyGames: Hello! And thanks! I did. I was just looking to see if anyone was on in general. After reading the guidelines and peeking a bit more though, I realized the box isn't used the same as before.
Sept 10, 2017 13:58:14 GMT -5
ann: *peeks head in* So, returning rp'er to the dragon age universe. I was wondering who of the staff one should poke about character concept? Just to run it by and get and oki.
Sept 17, 2017 11:35:05 GMT -5
Innes Cameron: Welcome to WV, ann! Feel free to PM any of us about a character concept and we'll get back to you shortly. If we need to consult with the other Staff about the idea first, we'll let you know ;D
Sept 17, 2017 14:01:09 GMT -5
Marius Whitby: If you're looking at a templar character, hit me up!
Sept 17, 2017 20:28:15 GMT -5
ann: I was originally but given the current state of timeline I went with a slightly different route^^ will keep it in mind, Marius!
Sept 18, 2017 12:00:52 GMT -5
Cyan: Wow I'm surprised this site is still active. Good job people.
Sept 19, 2017 20:49:59 GMT -5
Cyn: Don't thank us, thank Kahrin Quirke Ainsley, she's the one running around here putting out fires and fixing up hull breaches with duct tape.
Sept 19, 2017 21:52:11 GMT -5
hanamene: New to the game! Just wanted to say hello whilst I build my char profile. Any updates to the game's world state I ought to know about? In addition to the OOC info threads, I mean - i.e. active/major story-lines to consider. PM me for the latter.
Sept 20, 2017 12:07:39 GMT -5
Leliana: Welcome to WV, hanamene! If you check out the various links beneath 'Site Links' on the left hand side, that will give you all the information you need to know! If you have specific queries, however, please contact a member of staff.
Sept 20, 2017 12:55:22 GMT -5