seeking_truth: (armor and shield)
Cassandra Pentaghast ([personal profile] seeking_truth) wrote2016-02-06 09:57 am

Pre-entry OOM: Arrival in Kirkwall

The Hero of Ferelden has vanished, it seems, or at least is nowhere that any of Leliana's spies have yet been able to discover.

They cannot afford to wait. They must continue their search, in order to be ready before the Conclave. Besides, Cassandra had argued, there are other preparations that need to be made.

(That argument had resounded from the very stones of the keep. Fortunately, both Hands are long used to each other's ways by now.)

In the end, Leliana had conceded the need to act, while Cassandra had agreed that the Nightingale's spies should keep looking for the Warden-Commander, just in case.

* * * * * * *

Kirkwall is a ruin.

Not as much of one as it had been, of course, but Cassandra's gaze is still drawn like a lodestone to the spot where the Chantry had once stood, before the apostate Anders's work.

It does nothing to improve her mood.

"Find him," she snaps to the nearby lieutenant. The Seekers she has brought with her are enough to suffice almost any need, without being quite enough to constitute an official invasion, and are already spreading out to establish their base of operations. Nearby, Leliana is deep in low-voiced conversation with her most trusted scouts. "Guard-Captain Vallen as well. All of them. Now."

"Right away, Seeker Pentaghast."
howtoactfereldan: (champions of the just)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-06 08:01 pm (UTC)(link)
It had been a late night and an early morning: the boy who usually does the bulk of the care for his armor has some kind of ague, so Cullen told him to stay in bed, arranged for someone to bring him broth and fetch a healer, and then cleaned and oiled his armor himself. The usual bad night followed -- bad enough that Cullen attended both the Vigils and Lauds services -- and now, the long-feared day has arrived.

It's not an Exalted March -- that much is evident -- but any templar knows that when the Seekers of Truth come to town, trouble is afoot, and heads will roll. Perhaps literally.

Cullen didn't call off any patrols, and told Donnic before his squad left to keep them out as long as possible. (Cullen didn't have to say that he'd do his best to make sure Aveline didn't catch any more attention than she had to.) If the Chantry has finally come to town, Cullen wants to make a point: they're the ones who have been keeping Kirkwall running, not the Chantry, and now that visitors have come they're not important enough to disturb the functional routine.

So Cullen stands alone -- by design. He's at the top of the steps leading to the Viscount's Keep, where the Seekers and the Hands of the Divine must come, eventually. The mages are ready to go into hiding at a moment's notice; the guard, more numerous than Cullen's templars, is watching carefully to carry word.

He rests his hands on the pommel of his sword --

Blessed are the peacekeepers, he thinks, the champions of the just.

-- and waits for what will come.
howtoactfereldan: (champions of the just)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-06 11:44 pm (UTC)(link)
"Knight-Captain Cullen, yes. Rutherford is my family name."

Cullen returns the lieutenant's gimlet gaze without emotion. "You're one of our visitors."
howtoactfereldan: (champions of the just)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-06 11:58 pm (UTC)(link)
"Please inform Seeker Pentaghast that we cannot leave our base at this time, though she is certainly welcome to join us here. I imagine she'll want to look through our records regardless."

The Viscount's Keep is one of the most defensible places in Kirkwall. Cullen doesn't plan to leave unless he must.

And if the lieutenant insists, Cullen will give the signal to go hide the mages: he can't protect them from whatever it is the Seeker has in mind.
howtoactfereldan: (champions of the just)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-07 01:28 am (UTC)(link)
My father is dead, Cullen doesn't tell him, and he would never be here giving orders in someone else's house.

But the lieutenant's response is its own signal; Cullen decides he wants one more. Just to make sure. "Oh?" Placid. "I was under the impression it was standard protocol across Thedas for visiting dignitaries to present themselves at the seat of government before opening talks with local leaders."
howtoactfereldan: (blessed are the peacekeepers)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-07 01:43 am (UTC)(link)
"And in their absence, the guard-captain and I have been keeping the peace," Cullen says, "and coordinating relief efforts in the absence of any assistance from the Spire or the Grand Cathedral."

That last was a little flinty; Cullen takes the opportunity to rub the back of his neck. "But if the Hands of the Divine believe it their right to act in this particular regard -- "

Particular here meaning you come into MY HOUSE. Meaning without courtesy, without respect, without consideration for the innocents in Kirkwall, and just like the rest of the damned Chantry.

" -- then you might lead the way, I suppose."

(Behind Cullen, one of the guard has lifted an arm, very briefly, in what looks like it could be an idle stretch. Another, further up the courtyard, does the same.

Two more city guard go inside the keep.

Just as they were ordered, should this come to pass.)
howtoactfereldan: (should they set themselves against me)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-07 01:56 am (UTC)(link)
The mages, with guard and templar escort, should be headed through the tunnels to the small dock below Hightown. Aveline can hold the Keep with the guard she has, for a little while. Their charges will be safe, and Cullen's keeping his word to Donnic: that's what matters. Aveline, Donnic, Brennan, Merial, and Rylen have their instructions about writing Cullen's sister, should this go the way Cullen thinks it might.

(There's a small pang at the thought of Ysalwen: he never could figure out a good contingency plan to get word to her. Perhaps Ci will figure something out. It's beyond his control now, anyhow.)

They pass one of Rylen's windlass systems for the removal of rubble, and Cullen tamps down another wave of rage: how dare they march in here and assume they're in charge?

Safer, then, to be silent as they walk.
howtoactfereldan: (should they set themselves against me)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-07 02:04 am (UTC)(link)
Now there are pleasantries.

"I was under the impression that I had very little choice in the matter."

Inadvisable, impolitic -- and Cullen doesn't care.

(That's the other side of making all the necessary preparations he can.)
howtoactfereldan: (should they set themselves against me)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-07 02:14 am (UTC)(link)
"Oh, no," Cullen says.


"Merely overseeing the safety of the city in the absence of any other authority or assistance. But I understand you might not think that's too important, given that you've just sent your bulldog to retrieve my counterpart."
howtoactfereldan: (the one who repents)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-07 02:20 am (UTC)(link)
"Is it going to be a few hours?" Cullen raises his eyebrows. "Is that all? Are you quite sure? Or did you have other plans?"
howtoactfereldan: (the one who repents)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-07 02:35 am (UTC)(link)
You cannot, Cullen doesn't say. Neither does he smile back.

He folds his arms. He knows how interrogations work. He's not falling for it.
howtoactfereldan: (blessed are the peacekeepers)

[personal profile] howtoactfereldan 2016-02-07 02:44 am (UTC)(link)
"No doubt some would say the same of the apostate Anders, as I'm sure you're well aware."

They're off to a great start.