Chapter 1- I’m supposed to WHAT?
She opened her eyes to the feeling comparable to a hangover of steroids. Her entire body throbbed with pain and her stomach was doing its level best to imitate a ship in a maelstrom. She groaned and rolled over, curling into a small ball against the pain. “Hey I think I found another survivor!” Someone called but she heard very little.
Hands reached down and grabbed her, hauling her upright. She pried open her eyes, forcing them to focus on the wavering figures before her.
“Maker’s breath what is she? Look at her hair!” The figure on the right exclaimed. She shook her head, finally rattling the pieces of her mind back into place. Two men stood on either side of her whilst three more stood in front of her, swords drawn.
“Abomination! Kill it!” Another cried. The biggest one pulled out its sword as the two holding her leapt away.
“I’m not an abomination.” She growled out at them through gritted teeth as she pulled herself up to her full height. Standing tall, she towered over the men in front of her, which she felt was odd seeing as she was only six foot. This thought was halted by the men leaping at her with their swords raised. She leapt up and away, back flipping neatly over the men and landing twelve feet away.
She frowned. That jump should not have had that effect. The Force screamed and she leaned to the left, avoiding the wild slash at her neck. What followed was almost comical. The men slashed and hacked at her as she avoided their blows with only a hairs width of room to spare. As this happened, she looked around where she was standing.
In a word, it was devastation. The earth was scorched and the carbonized corpses of those caught in the blast were frozen in their final moments of agony. Strange red crystals sat around the ruins, reeking of evil to her senses. The air was filled with thunder and green meteors streaked the sky, striking the mountains and valleys.
“Just hold STILL!” One of the men bellowed in frustration, bringing her attention back to what should have been a deadly dance. She frowned at the statement, spinning away from a thrust that would have pierced her chest.
“Why?” She asked curiously as she bent backwards till her head touched the ground before doing a handless cartwheel over another swipe. “If I stop you’ll kill me. I don’t feel like dying right now anyway.” She told them as she
landed nine feet from where she had intended to land.
Seriously, something was messing with her jumps and it was beginning to annoy her.
The men spun to glare at her and she sighed. “I don’t have time for this,” She told them extending her left hand palm outward. “Sleep,” She commanded. As one, they all dropped to the ground like puppets whose strings had been cut. She looked at them in surprise. “Seriously?” She asked their prone bodies. “Just how weak-willed are you guys?”
Shaking her head at the soldier’s lacklustre performance, she knelt down and reached out to the Force. She could feel the pain and sorrow that permeated this place. Not just from recent events, but from centuries of sadness, pain and darkness.
This place was not healthy for the soul she decided. Also, at random locations, were places were the Force cried out in pain and discomfort as it was being violated by the rifts. She frowned. If they were painful now, how would the react to being closed?
The Force sent her a nudge and she followed it. She saw small groups fighting for their lives against demons. They were black holes in the Force, openly leaking dark energies that poisoned the surrounding environment.
With a determined expression, she opened her eyes and held out her right hand. Her staff flew into her hand and she used it to push herself up to her full height.
Casually, she held out her left hand and a thin leather bound book materialized in her upturned palm. Leaning her staff into the crook of her arm, she flicked open the cover and read. “Mission is to ensure the death of Corypheus and the sealing of the breach. Optional side quests, make sure the inquisitor gets laid?” She read out loud, disbelief colouring her tone.
The offending words in the book shimmered and were replaced by the words, “Gets a love interest.”
She stared at the page, horror still etched on her face. “I can’t believe you put that in my journal!” She exclaimed at the book. “Is nothing ever sacred?” She demanded.
The book sat there demurely before an extra line wrote itself into existence. “By the by. The gravity here is not what it was in your rest dimension.”
She narrowed her eyes at the book, her hair started to buzz and rattle and a faint glow began in her eyes. “Just how is it not what it was?” She hissed at the book.
The pages shivered and the answer wrote itself out meekly, “Your mutation is such that you are to withstand a great deal more. As an experiment we’ve been raising the gravity gradually over the course of the last three hundred years.”
Her hair was truly shaking now, sounding like a nest of enraged maraca players. “How high?” She growled.
There was stillness as if the world was holding its breath before the answer came. “Five times that of standard,” It answered. Her eyes blazed and ice blue smoke began to pour from her tear ducts. Her hair stalks were fluffed in rage as it began to rattle before she suddenly shut her eyes and went as still as a statue.
There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no chaos, there is harmony. There is no death, there is the Force. She recited carefully, exerting her will over her raging emotions and bringing them back down to an acceptable level. She never wanted to be at the mercy of her emotions ever again.
She would not let herself lose control. She took a deep breath in through her nose and released it before she turned to the next page titled Cover Story she read through it and quickly committed it to memory. She would need it to give a credible explanation later. Once she had finished she tucked the book into the small bottomless leather pouch that sat next to her elven sword.
Then, with purposeful strides, she began to walk toward where the Force told her the people she was meant aid were. She picked her way through the ruins of the valley. She passed by groups of soldiers.
She aided them by reaching out to toss the demons away into ruins, off cliffs and even impaling several on the red crystals the littered the landscape. When the soldiers first saw her, they cheered only to fall silent as she drew closer.
Swords were draw but none approached, afraid by what she had done. She climbed one of the more unscathed hills and came upon the sight of four people battling demons amongst snow covered ruins.
She extended her hand and, with a gesture, flung the last shade off the mountain. She watched dispassionately as it smashed against the rocks far below. She turned her attention to the rift.
The Force shuddered and squirmed around it making her grit her teeth in discomfort. Her hair stalks raised slightly in an instinctive reaction to make her look bigger. She watched as the bald elf grabbed the hand of a petite figure with long red hair and thrust it into the rift.
“Quickly before more come through!” He cried as he did so. The moment the mark connected with the rift the Force screamed in torment, causing Miranda to clutch her head at the pain. Her staff fell with a clang and she swayed on her feet as the Force writhed in agony.
Then suddenly it was blissfully quiet. All that was left was a scar on the Force. She let out a shuddering breath to stabilize herself before she looked around to see the others staring at her with their weapons drawn.
“Well that was unpleasant.” She joked shakily before straightening and shaking the discomfort from her bones, summoning her staff in a move that made everyone jump. “On the bright side we now know your mark seals the rifts, nasty feeling though. I’ll be ready for the next time,” She told the assembled crew happily she looked at the little elf and smiled at the tiny girl.
“It’s good to know that we won’t be ass deep in demons forever now isn’t it?” She told the girl who shuffled looking uncomfortable while the beardless dwarf next to her gave a small chuckle.
“What are you?” a fierce looking woman in armour covered in a black and white surcoat with short black hair, sharp black eyes and a scarred cheek demanded. Miranda turned to look at the woman warrior and blinked. The game truly did not do the woman’s glare justice she decided idly, running her eyes over the group.
“What am I? Ehh jury’s still out on that one. I’m just me I guess. Though if you want to submit a name for me, applications must be submitted by the end of the week,” She told the woman blithely. She gracefully strode over to a snow covered wall and took a seat with elegance one would see in the courts of royalty. She tucked her staff into the crook of her elbow and crossed her legs.
“You can call me Miranda, Miranda Starsinger. Well, technically, Jedi Master Miranda Starsinger but I was never one for titles. Far too stuffy.” She added looking thoughtfully at the group who still stood in aggressive positions.
The dwarf who could only be Varric had the business end of his crossbow, aka Bianca pointed her way with a bemused half smile on his face.
A bald elf stared at her with dark, unfathomable eyes and a face carved from stone with his staff in both hands. Curious, she looked at the Herald. The tiny female elf stared back at her looking to be around eighteen or nineteen. Large emerald green eyes wide and fearful.
Elegant forest green lines twined over her face and ringed her eyes like ferns. Her crimson hair in disarray and her pale skin had a sickly cast to it. She clutched a staff crosswise across her body and her feet were planted in a fighting stance, but Miranda could see a tremor in her hands.
The woman who was clearly Cassandra still stood aggressively, sword at the ready and her eyes fierce. Miranda rolled her eyes at the warrior. “Oh put that away before you hurt yourself,” She told Cassandra exasperatedly. “If I wanted to kill you, you would know.”
She paused. “Well I guess it’s hard to know when your dead… but you get the idea,” She told them, her mind drifting a little before snapping back to the present. They continued to stare at her though they all looked thoroughly confused.
She tried to stifle a giggle. She really did, but it still slipped out and that seemed to snap Cassandra out of her daze. “Why are you here Demon,” She demanded, the last part becoming a hiss.
Miranda pouted. “Me? A demon? Don’t make me laugh. I handed in my demon card ages ago.” She leaned in as if telling them a secret. “Did you know that they don’t even offer health or dental? I mean they expect you to go around eating gods know who, who’ve been Force knows where.
You spend all your time fighting other demons or heroes and all you get are some crappy living conditions and some dubious powers.” She whispered indignantly before laughing as she leaning back.
“If you don’t believe me, ask the cue ball over there. Seriously, do you polish your scalp to get it that shiny?” She asked looking at the elf she was pretty sure was Solas. Said hairless elf blinked in confusion.
“Oil it actually,” He admitted dazedly before his eyes widened. He clamped his mouth shut and glared at her.
There was a moment of dead silence. Then she cracked up, laughing uproariously as she clutched her staff, trying to keep herself upright. She heard a tiny giggle and a few smothered chuckles from her audience. She wiped her eyes, sitting back up and looking at the group.
Varric’s eyes were twinkling with mirth and the Herald had her hand in front of her face as she tried to smother her giggles.
Solas looked a cross between indignant and annoyed while Cassandra now just looked confused.
Miranda grinned. She loved messing with the big bad warrior types. Cassandra looked like she would be almost as fun to mess with as Mace Windu and Ki-Adi-Mundi. She grinned widely at the memory the fun she had had at the master’s expense.
Cassandra felt an icy shiver of fear run down her spine at the stranger’s grin. Some instinct in her warned her that whatever the woman was thinking would only bode ill for her.
Miranda waited a few moments, waiting to see if anyone would take the initiative. Seeing no, one, she sighed and turned her attention to Varric. “I do believe that the polite thing to do when meeting someone is to introduce yourself,” She prompted.
Varric blinked then shrugged, putting Bianca up. “Oh what the hell,” He muttered before giving a sardonic bow. “Varric Tethras milady, handsome rogue, story teller and unwelcome tag along,” He told her, a glint of mischief appearing in his warm brandy coloured eyes as he winked at Cassandra. The warrior made a disgusted sound as she glared at the dwarf.
Miranda grinned and nodded cordially to him. “Charmed,” She told him with a smile. Her eyes then roved to Solas and she raised an eyebrow expectantly though she did mentally scoff at his appearance. Honestly did he not know how to sew? The patches on his clothes were clumsy, with uneven stitches and the garments didn’t quite fit him.
They sat a little too wide on his shoulders and around the middle. Who did he think he was fooling with the wolf fur? It just screamed emotional angst. All he was missing was some black eyeliner, black lipstick and a ridiculous hair cut to complete the look.
“I am Solas. What manner of Spirit are you?” He asked curtly, though a sliver of curiosity shone through toward the end. She stared at him before laughing again.
“Oh Solas, don’t you know? I’m the spirit of kicking ass and taking names,” She told him with a roll of her eyes and sarcasm thick in her voice. Then she ignored him and turning to the tiny elven woman. “And you little one?” She asked with a gentle smile. The girl met her eyes squarely almost as if she was searching for something.
Miranda allowed her intentions to pour out of her frame, giving her an almost palpable aura of peace and good will. The girl smiled slightly before speaking. “I’m Elariel of the Lavellan clan,” She chirped in a clear soprano.
Miranda blinked at the swift change of attitudes then smiled broadly. Oh Miranda was definitely going to keep her. She was just so damn cute!
“A pleasure to meet you Elariel. Call me Miranda, everyone does.” The elven girl nodded and Miranda turned to face Cassandra again. “Ready to be civilized darling? I do believe we have an abomination of nature to see to, do we not?” She asked with amusement leaking into her voice.
Cassandra almost growled before sheathing her sword. “Cassandra Pentaghast. Try anything and I will kill you.” She snarled.
Miranda blinked and cocked her head to the side. “So I’m ok as long as I always succeed or if I just decide to try and stand up you will attempt to relive my shoulders of my head?” She asked in mock confusion.
A flash of annoyance crossed Cassandra’s face. “No, as long as you don’t do anything suspicious.” She clarified but Miranda wasn’t going to let her go that easily.
“Ahh so as long as I stand perfectly still and not breathe? Because moving and breathing are suspicious I’m ok?” She asked with false innocence.
Smoke almost started to leak from Cassandra’s ears. “NO just…. Ahhhhhhh!” The warrior stomped away, throwing her hands in the air. Miranda grinned at the Seeker’s retreating back.
Elariel looked at Varric, Miranda and Solas uncertainly before she seemed to make a decision. “Would you like to accompany me to the forward camp?” She asked the three.
The dwarf merely smirked. “Oh I’m staying for this one. If the breach swallows the world, then there will be no one left to tell my outlandish stories to.” He told her seriously. His eyes flicking to Miranda who grinned and Solas who nodded solemnly.
Miranda smiled at the girl. “Of course I’m coming. I want to relieve the idiot who thought ripping the sky apart was a good idea of his head.” She stated happily, bouncing to her feet.
“Are you coming Cassandra?” Elariel called to the fuming warrior who growled at Miranda but nodded.
“Great!” Miranda cried clapping her hands together. “Then we had better get going before the ground decides to follow the sky’s example.” She exclaimed. She turned to skip down the path and hopped over the waiting barricade.
In her wake, the quartet stared after her with bewildered expressions. “Come along you lot, we’re wasting daylight!” Miranda’s voice echoed up the mountain.
Elariel shook her head as if to clear it before taking off after the strange woman. Cassandra closed her eyes tightly in a brief wish that when she opened them the world would be a little less weird. She opened them and sighed in disappointment as she jogged after the departing elf.
Varric shrugged and trotted away in the same direction leaving only Solas to stand there.
The elf frowned heavily. Whatever that woman was she was dangerous. His instincts screamed at him to not make her angry and the Fade seemed afraid to touch her. Still deep in thought, he followed the rest of the part down the mountain.
4,393 total views, 7 views today