Dan (Cazmus), Hillary (Alorenval), Nick
The Fereldens meet Nick’s character, an Antivan merchant who’s business partner, Baroness Brienne Valmonte du Val Firmin betrayed him to gain his share. The three plot their escape in the evening when the guards make camp. However, before they enact their plan their wagon is overturned and the sounds of battle permeate the air.
Freeing themselves from the wagon the group views a pitched battle between the guard and a raiding party of Genlocks and blight wolves. Following a path of debris from their wagon to the middle of the campsite they also see an ogre swatting a group of guardsmen with a tree.
Alorenval makes a dash across the campground to the supply wagon where the guards sequestered her gear. Cazmus picks up a fallen guard’s longsword and rushes headlong into battle against an ogre. Nick’s character decides to push several of the other prisoners out of the smashed wagon as a distraction before making a mad dash to the guards’ supply wagon.
Alorenval is beset upon by by several Genlocks as she tries to retrieve her gear from the supply wagon. Nick’s character assists her as best he can using a heavy-laden lockbox. Cazmus manages to distract the ogre by tripping it into the campfire in the middle of the battle. however several grievous wounds from the ogre, make him reconsider his headlong rush into battle. Cazmus regroups with the others and helps them dispatch the last of the Genlocks.
The group runs off into the forest leaving the raid behind them. After several tense hours evading the darkspawn, made more miserable when a torrential downpour soaks the party to the bone, the group loses their pursuers.
The group stumbles across a small hamlet and decides to rest there. The peasants watch the sodden trio warily but their attention is soon focused on an even stranger duo, a dwarf and a qunari wrapped in heavy cloaks. The qunari takes a table in the corner while the dwarf has a quiet conversation with the barkeep.
Fearing that the two are bounty hunters of some kind, the trio also observes the unlikely duo. The barkeep motions towards the party and the dwarf nods. With a confident stride the dwarf approaches the party and asks them about their travels. Nick’s character notices a symbol on the dwarf’s armor, a griffon, the symbol of the Grey Wardens.
Nick’s character asks the dwarf why Grey Wardens have an interest in the party’s travels. the dwarf quietly explains that there have been rumor of darkspawn raids in the southern parts of Orlais and being that the party are not part of the town they are also more likely to have seen or heard something.
Alorenval professes an abbreviated tale about the caravan being attacked, leaving out the parts about them being prisoners. The dwarf immediately heads out with Alorenval to retrace their tracks but the rainfall has obscured their path. Returning to the inn the dwarf introduces himself as Riegger and his qunari compatriot as Grakkus of the Grey Wardens. The dwarf elists the aid of the party to retrace their trail as best they can in the morning. Nick befriends the local blacksmith and bargains a deal to purchase a small cart and horse.
The next day the group retraces their path to the prison caravan. As they search the caravan the group notices that none among the dead are women. Alorenval mentions that there were at least two other women among the caravan. The dwarf and qunari share a troubled look and state that they need to hurry and follow the darkspawn.
However before the group can depart a squad of cavalry wearing the surcoats of Baroness Valmonte’s Sunguard approach the party and order the surrender of the Cazmus and Alorenval. Riegger, not wanting to lose his only link to the darkspawn attacks, informs the knights that the former prisoners have been conscripted into the Grey Wardens and are no longer the knight’s concern.
The two get into a heated argument until Riegger loses his impatience and attacks the leader. A massive brawl ensues. Two of the knights manage to escape the onslaught but the party does not leave the battle unscathed. Grakkus is severely wounded and the rest of the party is injured as well, although Nick’s medical expertise helps the party along.
The dwarf mentions that they should loot the bodies and quickly move on before the ogre’s tracks become too difficult to read. The party strips the dead knights and take their gear and horses and continue to follow the ogre’s tracks.
That evening Riegger takes the party aside and informs them that he did not intend to actually conscript them into the Grey Wardens as he had told the knights. However he does mention that with Grakkus injured they will need help braving the Deep Roads and asks the party if they would be interested in joining making no illusions as to the danger. (“The pay sucks, people don’t like you, and you’ll most likely die in the dark all alone. But on a good day you save the world. So what do you say?”
Nick declines but offers to assist the group in their journey and afterwards using his merchant contacts to getting a decent price on the formidable loot the group carries. Cazmus readily agrees after Riegger’s appraisal of his ogre-fighting skills. “You went up against an ogre with no armor. Kid you’re my kind of stupid”. Alorenval agrees as well not wanting to leave her fighting partner.
Riegger takes the two aside and performs the Joining ritual. Both pass the trials. The dwarf explains that now the two are Grey Wardens he can inform them of the urgent need for rescuing the kidnapped women. That the darkspawn take females prisoner to turn them into broodmothers. He also informs them that few outside of the Grey Wardens know this secret and the Grey Wardens intend to keep it that way even if it means silencing those who learn too much, like Nick’s character.