18th day of Nubulis, 44th year of the Dragon Age
At first light the next day, Daryel, Sebastian, Thomas and myself left Aneth’Ara for Denerim. Marcellus did not accompany us; apparently she (and not he, as I had previously assumed) has no stomach for demons, or mages, or fire, and being forced to deal with all those things in rapid succession has convinced her that it would be best for us to part ways. I certainly cannot hold this decision against her, and I wish her the best in the future.
My companions and I had intended to purchase whatever supplies we required in Denerim and then charter a ship for the Anderfels with all haste. Fate, of course, had other plans. Within minutes of our arrival in the city, we were accosted by a dwarf — who was clearly more than he let on, and doing a particularly poor job of hiding the fact — seeking help with tracking down a cult that had been abducting local children. It was a curiously trivial matter to locate some of the cultists, who were indeed in the midst of another kidnapping, babbling all the while about “stilling the tongues of heresy” or some such nonsense. The cultists were easy enough to subdue, but tragically, the child they were carrying had already been injured, and during the skirmish they succumbed to their injuries. Investigating the defeated cultists’ possessions revealed a scrap of paper with an address, so we left it to the arriving town guards to mete out proper justice and made our way there swiftly.
The given address was a moderately-sized manse that abutted the city wall and a token guard on the ground floor. We quickly dispatched the cultist sentries and made our way upwards. A truly bizarre sight awaited us on the second floor: the interior walls had been removed, turning the entire floor into a single large chamber, and hung upon the walls were dozens of mirrors. A woman dressed in the robes of a Chantry sister stood in the center of the room, the bodies of two unconscious guards crumpled at her feet, rotating slowly to gaze upon her reflection in each mirror in turn. As we entered, she turned to us with a beatific expression on her face, asking if we had come to offer tribute — but the fragile mask of serenity quickly cracked when she realized we had come with hostile intent.
As is my custom, I offered the woman the opportunity to surrender and come quietly. While she was willing to leave the city without conflict, she refused to answer to the Chantry or the town guard for her actions, and we were obviously loathe to simply allow her to start this madness again in another city. Before we could leap to the attack, however, the woman wove some kind of spell with her voice that drained our hostile intent. Luckily, we kept our wits about us enough to maintain a sense of purpose even through the haze of enchantment. Even as my mind and body turned against me, I kept trying to stoke my rage, like applying a flint and steel to a wet torch; eventually, the spark flared, and wielding my greatsword like a spear I pierced the witch’s throat and, heh, stilled her heretical tongue.
Shocked into unconsciousness from my blow, the witch offered no further resistance, and indeed it seemed that some possessing spirit had fled her when I struck. It was a trivial matter to rouse the fallen guards and deliver our captive into the hands of the Chantry. I was sure to leave a very specific and detailed report regarding the abilities of their captive and how we had subdued her; while the woman may have been an innocent victim of some demon from beyond the Fade, she might still have some lingering witchcraft about her, and it would be foolish to underestimate her. Our task complete, we retired to a local tavern, where some liberally-applied alcohol convinced the dwarf to reveal his nature as a low-ranking Antivan Crow, tasked with observing our group and turning our quest to his masters’ advantage. For now, our goals seem to align, and so we will allow him to accompany us on our way to the Anderfels.
Speaking of which, it would appear that a local worthy was sponsoring the effort to apprehend the cultists, and now wishes to meet with us and commend us for our efforts. Perhaps we can convince her to finance our voyage to the North — if we can make ourselves presentable in time for dinner this evening.