Tavius

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An Auction of No Worth

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Summer 1

 

Date.png9:39

Location.pngPyrrn, Rivain

Characters.pngMalvae, Tavius

Players.png@Claire, @Simon

Requirements.pngclosed

Notes.pngPart of the plot, Our Rebellious Friends in the North

Links.pngResolutionists Hub

Summer Divider 1.png

 

“Malvae!” His voice was low but Tavius could not hide the urgent tone therein. The mage turned his head, keeping an eye on his surroundings as his fellow Resolutionists stirred around him. He was not comfortable situated as they were, at the edge of a dark alley barely a few yards from the busy city road. Pyrrn might not have been in the hands of their enemies but that did not stop Chantry allies from holding sway within.

The elf signalled to the other cloaked and hooded figures and they settled down in response. Even with the rain very few of the group felt even a modicum of trust that the environment would sufficiently maintain their cover. At least, that was part of it. Tavius knew that many in the group were waiting for proof that they could trust the new party leader, no matter how much he vouched for the former Dalish hunter.

As the seconds passed Tavius concentrated on his own breathing, holding onto the control of his body that Furia had taught him with hours of meditation and physical exercise. He could hear the nearby crowds, as the many people of the city rushed here and there in an effort to evade the rain; the mage knew there was little point in listening out for Malvae, her trained steps too soft for his untrained ears. 

All he could do right now was trust that she would return soon. And he had enough trust in her to last for countless seconds.

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Of all the Resolutionists there gathered there was none with the skill the Dalish hunter possessed. She had, since a da’len, been skilled at tracking and sneaking, her kill rate far above what her clan ever needed. Over time she’d been forced to hide her kills so as not to alert her lin, but that had not been enough in the end. Thank the Creators for the resolutionists and for Tavius for finding her.
 
It was that gratitude that kept her close and inspired obedience and it was that loyalty that made sure she never put a foot wrong. If she failed it was because of circumstances out of her control, but that was not to be this night. Tonight the rain was a boon and she used it to her advantage.
 
The Dalish elf wore no cloak, her clothes were sleek, tight fitting, and her hair braided. Every aspect of the elf was designed for stealth, no loose clothing would betray her, and her weapons were the only part of her that broke the smooth curves of her body. Thus, when she returned to the alley not a single on of them heard her. They only saw her when she was but five feet from Tavius.
 
“The path is clear.” She told them all with a smirk. It was time to move out.

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The mage gave a short nod in response to the woman’s words before stepping out into the main alley and towards the busy road. He controlled the urge to signal again to the group, aware of how important it was that they follow Malvae’s signals in this instance, and assumed that the others followed the path he chose to take. The former hunter would hold her position and keep to the rear of the group, utilising a mix of her honed skills and newly gained knowledge of the area to keep the group as safe as possible.

Pyrrn had flourished in recent decades, having survived centuries of conflict primarily between Tevinter and the Qunari. The city was cradled in Sunright bay, which had become a favoured port location for those who travelled through the Venefication Sea, and had gathered enough influence and wealth over the last two hundred years that the citizens of the inland settlements were able to establish the necessary infrastructure to create a local government. Trade organisations and other guilds were brought to agreements by the Governess, Adora Venci, who many political observers consider a strong contender to the Rivaini throne.

Of course, all of this meant that the city was full to the brim with the exact kind of sycophantic Chantry supporters that were not so valuable to attack but dangerous enough to avoid, especially in large crowds where they could display their loyalty to all who surrounded them. As such, Tavius moved quickly with his head lowered enough so that his undoubtedly elfish appearance was mostly hidden. He immediately cut through the throng of people populating the wide main road, keeping away from the bright lights of the buildings on either side of it, and stopped as he found another darkened alleyway, this one on the other side of the road.

After a quick check back to make sure the group had kept up with him, he then turned back and followed the alleyway into the second block of buildings back from the main road. The air changed here, filling with the heavy scents of labour rather than the heavier scents of perfume from the main road. The elf wasn’t sure which one turned his stomach more.

“Quick!” He spoke with urgency again, this time waving the group on ahead of him to the steps that hugged the side of the nearest building and lead down into the lower levels of the large, dark structure. The mage’s eyes flickered from the people who had passed him to those who were catching up and back again, waiting to catch sight of Malvae again.

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The group were not entirely trusting of Malvae and that would lead to their downfall if they did not buck their ideas up quickly! The Dalish huntress kept to the rear, making sure no one took note of the group that stretched out between her and Tavius along the street attempting to seem apart from each other. Malvae had to walk across them and barge them in the crowd a little to make it seem less contrived, the elf tempted to simply take them aside and tell them to leave. If they could not handle simple blending then what were they doing there?! The problem was she knew that the reason they messed up was because of her - or more specifically because of their lack of trusting her.
 
 
When Tavius disappeared into the next alleyway Malvae became even more vigilant, if that were even possible! And it was lucky that she did. It seemed that when the Antivan elf was out of sight the others became complacent, especially those furthest back, closer to her. One managed to even draw the attention of some zealot spouting the Chant, or their version of it, the ranting clerics brows knitting together and following the dark head of the human mage in front of Malvae. To save the situation she pushed her way through the crowd and linked her arm with the surprised mage, kissing him on the cheek and then pretending to point to the docks. The cleric watched them, but with less ill intent, and Malvae guided the mage another way around, leaving the group temporarily to drag the clerics attention away from the others.
 
Upon finding the darkness of the second alley she shoved him into the wall and almost drew her blades. Instead his fiery gaze pinned him and she whispered, Do that again and I will end you myself. You will wish you were back in the Circle, shem!”

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Tavius sighed as the rain suddenly withdrew from the air, revealing the sight of Malvae confronting a member of the group. He took a quick look at the rest of the group, confirming that they had all descended to the doorway below before turning his attention back to the source of the group’s faltering progress. A frown touched his brow for a moment as he saw the man Malvae had backed up against the wall, the human looking more than a little startled at whatever it was the elf was saying to him.

Then came the sound he was dreading most. Footsteps.

The elf turned his gaze this way and that, attempting to peer into the darkness but quickly having his sight compromised by the returning rain, a sudden heavy downpour obscuring anything beyond a few feet in front of him. The mage could not take any risks at who might be approaching and so quickly marched towards the lingering pair and raising his voice, “I don’t pay you to piss about in the rain! Move!” The Antivan spoke with a voice that had been well trained from the earliest years of his upbringings, an eloquent speech that held the exuberant flare of his country’s common accent at the edges. He had used this ploy before, taking on the identity of a disgruntled travelling Antivan merchant and could only hope that it continued to work, placating whomever approached from the shadows ahead.

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The Dalish elf flinched at the sound, knowing this was not entirely put on for the sake of obscuring their identities and actions. She pulled her own cowl tighter to hide her vallasin before shoving the mage forward towards Tavius.
 
As it turned out the footsteps were a mother chasing after a toy that her little one had thrown into the alleyway in a tantrum! Malvae rolled her eyes, picking up the toy that landed at her feet. Forcing a smile to her lips she handed the wooden puppet to the woman who took it gratefully. She glanced about those gathered, having heard the shout from the Antivan.
 
“Sorry to get you in trouble.” She told Malvae, then she retreated to the street where Malvae heard the child crying. She could barely see since the rain was torrential now, but she frowned. Was this a ploy like her own had been only minutes ago? It seemed too elaborate but their enemies were nothing if not clever.
 
After everyone had been ushered down the steps Malvae followed, leaving Tavius to come in last.

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The hall was dimly lit with but a few bracketed torches along the walls, all of a low light and joined by a large fireplace at the end of the room that had only a small flame within. It was a thin room that had no decoration other than the fireplace and brackets within it, yet it was well made; the bricks barely showed any ageing and even the heavy rain could not get in. The long table stretched from exit to entrance, with a number of chairs positioned around it. Even this furniture reflected the clear intent of whoever had brought the room into existence, the hard wood the result of careful work with an particularly keen eye on stability. The entire place spoke of the desire for security, even privacy, and Tavius was thankful for that.

“Light the fire, keep watch at both doors, and send word of our arrival.” The mage spoke with ease, his voice no louder or quieter, calmer or more urgent, whilst his body language also expressed exactly what he intended; he took his gloves off and tossed them onto the table almost carelessly, before dropping into a chair and leaning back into it. The rest of the group took the Antivan’s behaviour for the signal that it was and immediately also settled into the room, barring those who had tasks to complete.

The fireplace soon roared into greater life, whilst the torches upon the wall joined the flames from within it to provide light where shadows had mostly lay. Tavius looked about for Malvae, curious as to whether she was too busy with the man that had preoccupied her in the alleyway to notice that they had indeed stopped to a purpose.

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Malvae needed to be finished with the shemlen fool for if she did not disengage then she would sink into an anger she would not be able to recover from. It was stress and pressure that had her in this mood and fortunately she was aware enough to barge through the gathered group, putting the length of the table between her and the idiot human.
 
The elven asha did not sit though, she was too on edge to relax, so she stood in front of the fire, listening. There was dull chatter, inane conversations and the distant sound of rain, perhaps even thunder. The town’s streets were all but empty now, she imagined, just a few poor souls doomed to brave the storm because they had no other choice. At least she was in the relative warm, and she was getting dry having removed her coat and placed it by the fire. Her hair was dry as she’d had her cowl up when not under a room or shelter so the amber hue of the fireplace alighted the red tones in her long tresses. Usually she tied it back, but her coat and hood had kept it out of the way and it kept her ears warm on such a cold and miserable day.

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A man and a woman sat near Tavius and began talking to him. He spoke with ease, letting the security of the room touch his mood as the other two did most of the work to carry the conversation. Finally his gaze landed on Malvae and his eyebrows raised a little as her eyes caught sight of his; there was little to the expression, though he did chastise himself inwardly for it. The mage disliked spontaneous behaviour such as that.

The small interaction was broken for a moment as the low sound of the rebels all interacting with each other was raised, with most people turning their attention to the door that lead further into the building. Tavius saw the dark hair before he heard the sharp words but he only needed the former to identify the newcomer.

He would recognise Furia in the dark.

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The scout had sharp eyes but she did not yet know the mage well enough to understand the meaning of such an expression. As it was she felt confused but she brushed such feelings aside to focus on the change of atmosphere in the room. Unlike the others Malvae was not so in tune with the state of affairs and she did not sense the magical potential of them all either. Instead she saw the body language and expressions of those gathered and she was on her guard.
 
Standing up slowly she tied back her hair and kept her gaze focused on the elf entering the room. She knew him, at least, but that did not give her cause to relax. No one else was letting their guard down so why would she?
 
Why indeed?

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The room began to quieten as Furia took his place at the middle of the table. Those around him sat down whilst he remained standing.

At the moment he opened his mouth and began talking to the whole room Tavius caught Malvae’s attention and signalled for her to follow him. He left the room by the other door, the one that lead further into the building; on the other side of the door was a small corridor that was barely lit and plainly decorated. The silence of the close air was broken only by the low murmur of activity from within the rest of the building. Apparently they were quite unnoticed.

The mage leaned back against the wall next to the door and crossing his arms loosely he closed his eyes, taking in the quiet of the corridor whilst waiting for Malvae to join him.

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Catching the signal to leave the Dalish elf resisted the urge to furrow her brow and question, she was too well trained by now to openly object or demand answers. Instead she moved out of the room, smoothly weaving between the many bodies now packed into the basement. It was a relief to be out of it, she hated so many people in close quarters, she felt trapped and a trapped Malvae was never a good thing.
 
Once free of others company and having spotted the mage further down the hallway, out of earshot of anybody near she supposed, she wondered why he had left Furia to his little gathering? Did Tavius already know what was to come to pass? It would not have surprised her, he seemed to know everything - at least when it came to the Resolutionists.
 
“If you are tired I am sure there is a bed that can be found.” She teased, she knew full well how he mirrored her desire for far less people in such close quarters. Putting her back to the opposite wall she crossed her arms under her breasts and finally raised an eyebrow at him, questioning his summoning of her. Not that she minded, she was just curious as to his purpose.

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“Alas we are bound for more work.” The mage answered immediately, his voice low in the low light. He kept his tone even, unsure even of himself as to whether he favoured such an idea as Malave had teased; certainly there was no doubt that he favoured her… form.

Tavius shook his thoughts clear of distraction, maintaining a steady gaze upon Malvae’s face as he did so, and offered his arm in a gesture to point away from the room where Furia now held court. “Let’s wander a little.”

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With a shrug she took his arm and allowed him to lead, used to him guiding her in moments such as this. It was not that the asha did not have a mind of her own, she was just used to Tavius having some plan or another, it was easier to see it unfurl and then react. She had always been good at reacting.
 
As they walked she took note of the halls and rooms they passed, noting that the building was rather large and empty. They were still in the belly of the edifice, roaming around in the near dark, conversation casual but underpinned by purpose.
 
“What is this place?” She asked, finally. Her curiosity had gotten the better of her.

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“Boring, for the most part.” The Antivan replied immediately, his face soon welcoming a small smile to accompany his words; he could not help himself, especially now that they had put some distance between themselves and the others.

The rooms they passed became less empty, though the figures within did not show even the slightest hint of acknowledging their existence; instead, if anything, their interest in whatever purpose they held within the room only intensified. It seemed they were not to be impeded upon, even if their identity was not as obvious to see.

Furia had chosen the location well.

“The room ahead will let you know enough about this place.” Tavius spoke in a low voice, his manner more of a distracted nature than anything else. “Tell me, do you know anything about Pyrrn?”

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“What is to know?” She replied, mimicking his bored tone. It is a shem town like most others, it seems.” Malvae had done about as much research as she could on the place but she still knew very little. What she needed to know she was normally briefed with, so she was curious why she was only learning more - potentially - about it now.
 
Referring to the rooms they had passed she asked, What is going on in here?” The Dalish asha frowning as she asked. And what is our purpose here?” That seemed the more important question but Malae knew well enough from being around shifters that things were hardly ever what they seemed.

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Tavius stopped before a particularly large set of doors, not passing them but instead leaning against the wall next to the doors. He did not signal for a stop, nor show any obvious indication to do so but he was confident that Malvae would know to also not pass in front of the doors; the Dalish showed great promise as far as intuition was concerned, even if they had not necessarily developed a full repertoire of shared subtle behaviours from which they could read each other.

“This city began as a settlement for human scum, as is so often the case.” Though his tone was matter-of-fact, he could not keep an edge from it. “But the world turns and now they are scrambling, at least those that are capable of seeing the truth of their lives; they are not worthy of leading this world at all.”

As he finished he offered a slight shift of his glance in the direction of the room and let out an extended breath; an invitation to finally take a look within. If Malvae chose to do so she would see one thing more than anything in the hall, filled to the ceiling as it was with weapons, armour, and all kinds of other equipment that could only be for warfare…

She would see the symbol of the Qun.

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The Qunari were hardly anything for a Dalish to fear, the two cultures seemed to get along and her own father’s clan were friendly with them. Thus, when she saw the symbol she was merely intrigued.
 
Nosing around the room, taking a closer looking at the tools of war she threw her fellow elf an inquisitive glance, asking him why they were there.
 
“Is this just a stop on the way or the final destination?” She asked. Was this the true reason for even being in this damned town?

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Perceptive as ever. Tavius smiled at Malvae’s words, seeing again the link that he could not deny; she had come to know him better than some who had known him for years. The Antivan gave her a slight nod to the outside of the room, in the direction that they had been following.

The halls became a little less worn and a little more decorated as they made their way in silence, the mage having decidedly stopped talking. Soon enough the soft glow of well maintained light began to permeate the well worn air of the lower levels from whence they had come and it was clear that they had entered an entirely different section of the building; the appearance of framed paintings and luxurious furnishings only served to emphasise this point.

Soon enough the sound of people inevitably drifted up to the pair as they entered the upper level of a large hall. Below was a gathering, mostly of humans, and most of them clearly of the wealthy classes. Their indulgent laughter was enough to antagonise Tavius but he worked hard to keep his temper in check, clenching his fists as the temptation to unleash his magic on the crowd worked its way through his mind.

Eventually he stopped and leaned against the wall opposite the metal rail that lined the corridor they were in, looking over the hall as it was, and indicated towards the rail. “You see, the shem hold their celebration even as we pass into this building with barely any resistance. They have grown fat with their arrogance.”

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Still hugging the darkness Malvae gripped the metal railing, her knuckles turning white. She was silent and breathing rapidly, the anger she felt at seeing these fat, clueless shemlen was difficult to hide and in front of him she did not want to conceal it. He knew how much she detested them, he knew how much she wanted to murder them all! Bringing her here was a test of her control, and it was obvious she was fighting her murderous instincts and only barely winning.
 
“When do we get to slaughter them?” She asked, talking as if those below had been brought to this place just for Malvae to slake her blood thirst.
 
She withdrew her dami, the small decorative blades given to her when she had come of age in Clan Dia’dami. They were her primary weapons, the knives that she used to slaughter most of her victims. It had been too long since she had been free to use them and the Fury inside of her was calling for blood. Her breast rose and fell rapidly and her hands gripped the railing so tightly the muscles in her forearms flexed continuously.
 
Then, as if speaking to the shemlen she hissed, Ar tu na'lin emma mi…

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“That,” Tavius replied, stepping forward to join Malvae as he spoke, “Is a good question.” The Anitvan let his words hang in the air, looking below just as Malvae was. He might not have been clinging to the metal of the rail but the mage was exerting energy to maintain his own self-control. It was bad enough that even spitting at the humans would have granted some relief.

“Unfortunately it is not in this moment. Instead, we need to overlook the crowd for a familiar face. There,” he stopped for a moment, pointing at the latest figure to enter the hall; a man who was clearly of noble birth, with dark hair and eyes. “Keep an eye on that one, he is our agent for this particular occasion.” 

The mage then turned to walk away from the rail and back entirely into the shadows to where thin columns of stone that separated the main corridor from the exposed edge stood in support of the ceiling above. He then took a seat at the base of the nearest column, closing his eyes as he stopped to rest his back against the stone; there was, after all, no longer a need to hide his tiredness as was the case in the room where their fellow rebels were still located.

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Dedicated as Malvae was to any task he gave her she kept her keen eyes upon the noble figure and watched his every move, his every interaction. If she had taken a moment to look back to see Tavius in such an obviously tired way two things would have occurred. She would have taunted him, telling him how his years in the Circle had made him weak, but then she would have told him to find a chair or bed and take his rest. Surely they had the time and facilities?
 
She did none of these things though as she was dutifully keeping watch, and also taking note of other interactions she saw that she thought might be of note. Not that the young Dalish asha knew what nobles talked about or why they were even there but she had an excellent instinct for such things. It was why she had been chosen. It was why Tavius needed her. Well, one of the reasons at least.

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