19th of Drakonis, Dragon 9:43
On our way out of the dungeon and the city, I finally managed to get something resembling a straight answer out of that apostate mage (fella named Jeffry, by the by). Seems he used to be the scion of some Val Royeaux noble family that booted him out when they discovered he had the gift for spell-slinging. I guess folk in this town really don’t appreciate that sort of thing! So, he struck out on his own, and the ensuing wacky adventures were what led to him squatting in a cave in Ferelden with a demon wrapped around his brain. Now that he’s loose again, it looks like his plan is to keep biding his time until he can come back to Val Royeaux properly and take what’s rightfully his. Or something like that. Also, apparently he knows Emery, which somehow fails to surprise me.
Anyway, we got the hell out of town right quick, with a tip to the innkeeper and a last flagon of mead for the road. Jeffry came with us, along with the dwarf that was in the cells (who was apparently a servant of Legnar’s brother, and now seems to be serving him instead), the wee apostate lad, and the Tal-Vashoth — apparently not a Qunari after all, making us 0 for 4 — that he’s attached himself to. Since we were moving with a quickness, we made pretty good time across Orlais, and as the sun was setting we found ourselves in the middle of farm country. The smell of fresh-baked pie was coming to us on the wind, which tempted a few of us into trying to find the source, in the hopes that we could get a good meal and a roof over our heads tonight. Me, I was fine with jerky and a bedroll, especially if the alternative was forcing some innocent family to harbor wanted fugitives. The point was shortly rendered moot, though, as we heard a scream coming from the same direction, and heroic types that we are we couldn’t just ignore that.
We arrived at the farmhouse to find it overrun with more darkspawn than I’ve seen above ground since that business with the rage demon and the elf fuck-up. Luckily, they were focused on the house and had their backs to us, so we launched an ambush, punched through their lines, and moved to secure the house. The farmer was holding off the darkspawn on the stairs with a wood-axe, and doing a damn fine job of it, I must say — I’m half-convinced that if his axe had broken he could have bludgeoned the darkspawn to death with his cast-iron balls. Thankfully it didn’t come to that; we were able to take down the spawn in the house and establish enough of a perimeter to hold off the second wave, even when a great big darkspawn spell-slinger arrived to complicate things. Soon the last of the darkspawn were dead and burned, and the farmer and his wife were offering us room and board for the night in gratitude. Well, I wasn’t going to turn my nose up at it if freely offered!
Over dinner, and a fresh pie that they were kind enough to bake for us, we learned that the farmer and his wife had originally planned to raise a great big family to help them tend their farm, but it seems the lady’s lady-parts weren’t holding truck with that idea. I could see her looking at the apostate lad with a mighty longing; me, I can see a hundred different ways that could go wrong, but ultimately we let the boy make that decision. He decided to stick with the Tal-Vashoth, to the woman’s palpable disappointment. Before we leave, I’ll have to talk to her about the orphanage situation in Val Royeaux; if she wants to be a mother that badly, I’m sure there’s no shortage of unclaimed children in the city that would jump at the chance.