Ulricha Aeducan

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Of Ale & Ogres

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Once she was finished teasing young Kaiden --something which she often did-- Kapka turned to grab her own ale. The first mug she gulped down quickly before grabbing a second, but then she was distracted by the leaving of Brim.

"Bye!" she hollered, waving after him. Even if he had not been impressed with her taking his axe, she'd had fun. Perhaps she'd find him in the city one day to get another look at that beaut... 

But for now, she had a party to attend to. When Kaiden took his own ale and gulped it down, she smirked at him before turning to the rest of the girls. "So who are we beatin' the shit outta next?" she questioned, grinning widely.

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It wasn't really something she wanted to talk about much when they were supposed to be having fun so Sid lied and said, "I've been helping mother out so I've not had a lot of spare time." She actually had way too much spare time but she did not want to put Ulricha in danger by hanging out with her in the Diamond quarter. Sidonnie didn't want to be beaten nearly half to death again either. Evenso, she felt like a coward and it was depressing her. So she emptied her tankard and filled it again then turned their attention to Kapka (though Kapka did not need anyone giving her more attention!

"Let's go deeper into the thaig and see what more we can find? Maybe rock wraiths?!"

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"That does sound like fun..." the princess smiled and admitted to her friends, "But I really prefer to bring my brother back home in one piece."

She debated maybe putting it off for later, taking some long dip sips from her ale, but eventually added, "Besides, I sort of have an announcement..." Ulricha stopped again and looked, mostly at Sidonnie and Rosamund, with worry. She honestly didn't know how they'll take it, but suspect it won't be great to say the least.

"Miri had an idea, and I mentioned it to the king..." she continued, "He's going to get the Assembly to allow me to go on pilgrimage to the surface, without losing my caste. Me and... the people going with me."

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Kaiden had of course known that the party might be dangerous but he wanted things to get dangerous, he knew life must be something more than just stay at home, the Diamond quarter at the most. But then his sister made her announcement.

 

Both his jaw and mug dropped, the mug made the most noise. He had not known about this, he was shocked. Both because this was really, really big and he could hardly believe that there was a chance that it would be done. The king would hardly get to the Assembly about this if he did not think that they were likely to agree on it. But at the same time it was a strange thing, all who came to the surface became casteless. It had always been so, at least in his lifetime, albeit short as it was. But soon he regained his speech.

"Ulricha.. What.. What is a pilgrimace?"

Maybe he was still too stunned to recall exactly what it was but right now he had no idea what it would mean more than it required a trip topside. And that it was likely to be something relating to the Chantry and Andraste. The assumption was easy to make since it was to his mind the only reason for his sister to venture to the surface that he could see and he knew that she did not share the belief in the Paragons as most of the other dwarves. Kaiden himself was a bit unsure to be honest, he had not thought that much abut what he believed in when his mind was more occupied with how things worked.

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"Awwww!" Kapka whined when Ulricha denied them the opportunity to go after rock wraiths. She had thought that a grand idea and when Sidonnie suggested it, she had already been picking up her daggers and preparing to go! 

But Ulricha's announcement caught her attention and Kapka cocked her head in confusion. Briefly, she dug her finger in her ear, wondering if she heard right and thinking that they were blocked with wax! But no, there was not much that came out, and the others' reactions confirmed what she'd heard! 

Kapka wasn't sure how she felt about the top, but she was already casteless, so what did it matter if she went? "Yer goin' up?" she questioned, considering it. "There people to fight and beer to drink?" she questioned. As long as she had that, and maybe some people to bone too, she was probably fine going! 

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"We... we would not be topsiders..." Sid asked, though she suspected that even with permission she might still feel like a topsider. There was no thought about if she were going either. If Ulricha was then so was Sidonnie!!!

"So.. sorta like the Ambassadoria... but all the way up top?" Sid was trying to wrap her head around it and wasn't doing a great job of it she felt. "I mean, where are you going to go? What do dwarves have to pilgrim to?" She asked, utterly taken aback by the announcement.

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Ulricha was beginning to realize that this wasn't the best way to tell her friends about this, but it was too late now. The nug was already out of the bag. "There's a temple on the surface, not very far from here. The Sacred Ashes of Andraste are kept there, and many andrastians go there on pilgrimage, and... I feel that I need to go there too. It's not just for my own benefit, though," she continued, trying to explain, "This will be good for our political ties with the surface kingdoms as well as the Chantry, the King said so himself. And this will be an adventure."

The truth was she was a little worried as well, and she was definitely not going to pressure anyone into anything, but it had to be done. She had to try for her uncle Piotin's sake.

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The idea of going topside.. He had wanted to see how things looked p there, especially after Ulricha had showed him some of the interesting things that came from there. But now that going up there seemed to be a real thing he was less confident about it. It was a very strange world and if Ulricha would go then he would be without her for a very long time. Now it seemed to have been a really good idea that he had sneaked into this party or else he might have missed these news. Despite the ungraeful puking.

 

He notied that Kapka was ready to go to the surfae, which was not surprising since she was always ready to do things, like drinking and fighting. Kaiden wondered how muh fighting there would be with a pilgrimage under the approval of the king. But still, he looked to his sister.

"But if those who go on this pilgrimage do not become surfacers... Can I come with you?"

Now he had taken the plunge, she could say no to him but that would make him very sad since it would mean that he would be without his dear sister for a very long time, perhaps longer than it took when she was off fighting darkspawn for real and not just to clear for a party. He would very much like to se the surface even though the thought of going up there made him nervous. Then again, his sister would be right there with him.

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"What's a pilgrimage?" That was the one part that Kapka didn't understand, but it sounded all proper. Heck, a lot of it did, especially the part about making 'political ties.' She wasn't really the best for that kind of thing, or at least no one else thought so anyway! But it didn't mean that she wasn't curious about going. Even if it made her a topsider, what did it matter? She didn't have much anyway and really only had a roof over her head, food in her belly, and ale in her mug by staying with Ulricha! If there was anything she would do, then it was beat up anyone who tried to hurt her. It was the least she could do and besides, it was fun! 

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Sid had forgotten all about the Chantry in Orzammar and its "Circle", not that there were actually any magi there but it was still a connection to the surface that Bhelen seemed to want to maintain.

"When are we doing this then?" She asked, then she punched Kaiden in the arm and said, "Like you'd ever be allowed to go!"

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Agreeing with Sid, the princess nodded and told her brother, "I'd be happy to have you with us, Kaiden, but I doubt our distinguished parent Nodal Aeducan will ever agree to that. I'll help you try if you really want to, though."

Answering her friends' questions, Ulricha said, "It will probably be a year until we actually go topside, anything that requires assembly approval takes forever to do. But don't worry Kapka, I'm pretty sure that this trip will involve more than just going there and back. And I don't mean the religious and diplomatic stuff, we'll have fighting and drinking to do as well."

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He thought about it, even as Sid gave him a punch. He knew she was just doing it to tease him so he did not get upset at all by it, he had seen Ulricha's friends being like that to eachother so he felt like one in the group. But he was still thinking about the future. That there would be lots of time between now and when the pilgrimmage was going to happen would work in his favour. It would give Kaiden the chance to make a convincing argument of why he should go with them.  He did not have anything solid just yet but there was still lots of time.

 

And although he was himself interested how things worked on the surface, he was a bit glad to hear that Kapka might have things to do as well. A bored Kapka could be scary sometimes.

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"Well, if the kid wants to go and yer old man says no," Kapka said, giggling at her rhyme before continuing, "I know plenty of ways out." She was ex-Carta, after all. There were a lot of little alleyways that she knew could lead them out to the surface. 

In all truth, Kapka was beginning to become bored with just talking. At least thinking of how to sneak Kaiden out was amusing her for the time being. She chortled at her various ideas, turning to get another mug of ale. 

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Relieved that it would not happen any time soon (or if the Assembly was wise, not ever!) Sidonnie too got more beer, determined to get drunk before hunting more darkspawn.

"So, are we clearing out this thaig or not?" She asked, showing them all her toothy grin, the one she always had when she was on the way to getting drunk!

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It seemed that everyone's immediate concerns about the pilgrimage were answered, and the conversation moved on to other topics. After all, one thing they definitely (and in Ulricha's opinion unfortunately) had plenty of was time before they'll be going Topside.

The truth was, even though Sidonnie was clearly not a fan of the news, telling her friends about this plan has gone a lot better than Ulricha expected. Of course, telling Rosamund and Dungan will be a blight of a lot harder, but after the reaction she just received the princess was a little more optimistic.

Taking a refill of ale, she answered Sidonnie's question, "I'm not really sure it's a good idea to bring Kaiden for a spawn-hunt. I did see wild bronto tracks on the way... It's been a while since we last had a rock-licker race, no?" The princess smiled, clearly not considering that riding wild broncos, although admittedly safer than fighting Darkspawn, was far from a safe activity.

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Kaiden did also thought the rhyme was a bit funny too, making him smile. Though he wondered what Kapka meant by her having plenty of ways out. He knew that she was casteless but she was with his sister so she was not like those thugs that Nodal was warning him about right?

 

Then it seemed that their fun was changed from hunting darkspawn to bronto racing. He was not exactly seeing the fun in fighting monsters but riding rock-lickers did sound a bit fun so he perked up a bit when Ulricha mentioned it. And he refilled his mug as the others go more ale, now t tasted a lot less than puke in his mouth and more like true ale. Though he did not take too much since he was still young and his stomach could not handle as much as the elder in this company.

"Yes, that we could do!"

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Hearing that the conversation was now over and fun ideas were put in the air, Kapka grinned widely. “I’m in,” she agreed, drawing another mug of ale from the cask and downing it. She then turned and strode down the tunnel in the supposed direction of the brontos, determined to have first pick of the best on.

“Last one there’s a elf-licker!” she called back to her friends, laughing loudly.

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Catching a bronto was about as hard as it sounded! Sidonnie had never been particularly good at catching them, but one hustled she was very good at racing them! So it was not unusual for her to be the last to get on one, so she did not panic when they arrived in a huge cavern where a herd was drinking from a stream. Instead she climbed to the highest ledge and watching, trying to pick out the best racer, not just the first one she could catch!

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Ulricha really was an elf-licker, so it was fitting that she'd be the last one there. It was only once, with a servant from an orlesian delegation, but there was definitely lots of licking.

Wild brontos weren't very different from regular ones and, aside from the obviously quite likely chance to get stomped to death, were pretty passive and easy to control. The only real difficulty is to mount the beast's back before it crushes yours, like her uncle used to say.

Choosing a smaller and more docile-looking bronto for Kaiden, she approached it slowly - careful not to alarm the small herd. Then, in one swift motion, she jumped on its back and it was already too late for the poor animal to stop her. The rest of the herd started moving about a bit, but they weren't really alarmed yet so the princess silently called her little brother over. Once he was on his bronto, the rest of them could get theirs.

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It was not often Kaiden got to see a herd of brontos and to do that with his sister and her friends just meant it would be really fun. And wgen they saw them he saw that a few of the ones in the herd were really big ones. They were not the ones he wanted to ride. But then Ulricha caught up with them and found one that looked smaller and perhaps more friendly. But as she was last to get there he couldn't help but o tease her, even if it was just a little bit.

"Hah, you're an elf-licker!"

He did not fully understand what it meant but he wanted to be oene of them, his sister and her fun friends.

 

He remembered their uncle's word so when she got on top of the beast and then signalled to him to come over he got there as fast as his little legs could carry him, jumping up on the bronto right to where Ulricha was, it seemed like the best spot on it's back.

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Having a soft spot for Kaiden, Kapka actually waited long enough for him to get his own mount before picking out her own, knowing that her tactic would likely spook the herd. Once he was safely on, however, it was to each their own!

Having climbed up onto a high rock, she had picked out the biggest and meanest one of the bunch. Then, with a shout, she jumped right down onto it’s back!

“Yahooo!” she yelled as it roared and took off, thrashing in an attempt to dislodge her!

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With all the others mounted Sid tried not to fall into panic and then just pick any of the herd! Instead she watched as one of the faster and smallest Bronto ran through the crowd. The way it avoided hitting others and swerved to the left when it found it impossible to go right Sid braced herself... and then she jumped...

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