Last time on Diablo Redemption:
Unknown to Moreina and the people of Haven, who were celebrating their brief victory, the Breach gave a slight flash, and two objects fell from it, close together, it looked as though two figures held each other, falling from the breach, and landing in the country known as Orlais.
The impact scattered wildlife, and within the crater lay two people, a large man with dark skin, wearing gold armor, with a sword strapped to his back, and in his arms, a woman with silver and blue armor, long blonde hair, falling past her shoulders, and a huge mace and shield on her back.
The two lay there silently in the wilderness.
Chapter 7: Trouble in the Hinterlands.
Moreina stood before the women, and girls who were willing to do what was necessary for the defense of Haven and their families. The youngest of the girls was a fourteen year old elven girl, which just happens to be the age Moreina was when she was taken in by the Sisters of the Sightless Eye.
“You are here, because you are willing to fight, against whatever threatens your home, and families.” Moreina said, her voice coming out strong, confident.
The women and girls looked nervous, but there was a fire in their eyes, that told of the desire to protect all they held dear.
“You are all probably thinking. ‘How can we fight? We aren’t as strong as the men.’ Wrong! You can be every bit as strong as the men, maybe not physically, but mentally, and in spirit.” As she continued she saw them looking a little more confident.
“To fight, you will need only two weapons. Your brains, and this.” As she said that she lifted her bow showing it to them, the elegantly carved weapon was clearly crafted by a master fletcher.
Her gaze passed over them, each of them eyeing her bow, listening to her every word.
“For now, you don’t have your own bow, but the Inquisition has generously given bows to you to train with, until you are able to make your own.” Moreina said slipping her bow back behind her back.
Under Moreina’s instruction the women and young girls who could handle a bow to start learning began training, standing in front of targets, drawing back their bows and shooting, Moreina had to correct a few stances however.
The elven girl who Moreina learned was named Lily proved her race’s natural archery ability, impressing Moreina. As the last of the women went to their homes bows in hand, Moreina approached Lily with a smile.
“You are quite skilled with a bow young one, much like I was.” Moreina said.
“Oh thank you Serah.” The elven girl blushed shyly, as she looked at her feet.
Moreina gently lifted the girl’s chin with her finger. “No, don’t lower your head, be proud, Lily.”
Lily gave a small smile, and Moreina grinned in return. “That’s it. Lily, I want to take you as my apprentice, you have a skill with a bow that could one day rival mine.”
Lily blushed, fiddling with her bow. “T-that’s because I’m an elf, I think.”
“Well whatever the reason for it, you could be one of the greatest archers, and I would be honored to help you on that path.” The Rogue said with a warm smile.
X C X
“Where do you think we are Tyrael?” Johanna asked as she tended the fire they sat near.
“I do not know, Crusader. But I felt Diablo’s foul presence as we arrived.” The former Archangel of Justice said grimly.
“Yes, I did as well. Also something more. I think it has to do with that green vortex we fell from.” Johanna said her gaze rising to the green scar in the sky.
Tyrael frowned, it was true he didn’t feel Diablo’s foul presence from the scar, but he could feel the Prime Evil’s presence all the same. Terror, hatred, destruction, lies, sin, anguish, and pain filled the air, like a miasma.
“I think we should split up, find out what we can about this world, and if anyone has noticed a demon of Diablo’s like.” Johanna suggested.
Tyrael frowned not liking the idea of splitting up from Johanna but knew the Crusader was right.
“Very well, let’s see what we can learn of this world.” Tyrael said.
As he began to walk away he turned to look at her. “Please be careful, Johanna.”
Briefly surprised and touched by the former Archangel’s concern, and use of her name, she gave a smile.
“You too, see you as soon as possible.” She said.
The two briefly going their separate ways.
During the week Moreina trained the women in archery, pushing Lily even harder than the others, knowing the young elf would possibly rival her as an archer, and wanted to see the girl grow into a skilled marksman.
Moreina smirked proudly as she watched the women she had trained in the art of marksmanship grow into their skill, especially Lily who could snap out a shot faster than when she started.
She turned at the sound of footsteps and nodded at seeing Leliana, the Spy Master returned the nod.
“You've been training them very well.” Leliana said, complimenting Moreina.
The rogue smiled, as she turned back to her trainees.
“They are all talented, especially Lily.” Moreina said, her voice soft.
Leliana nodded looking at Lily who was training diligently, as though she had something to prove, and wanted to make her mentor proud.
“I did notice you were pushing her harder than the others.” She commented, glancing at Moreina.
Moreina nodded, clasping her hands behind her back in a traditional parade rest, a wistful smile forming.
“She reminds me of myself, when I was younger….well younger than I am now.” Moreina said, since she was still rather young.
Leliana nodded, and looked once more at the women who were training to be archers, rogues Moreina had called them.
“We’ll be making an excursion into the Hinterlands soon, Aedan will most likely want you to go with him.” The former Bard said giving Moreina a half smirk.
“A good team should always have a archer...or two.” Moreina said without missing a beat.
Leliana’s smirk grew slightly, the spymaster had heard from Aedan his opinion of the Rogue Archer, and that romantic Orlesian side of her wanted to play matchmaker, though Moreina did have a lot of baggage on her shoulders, she felt that the Rogue needed some happiness.
Moreina waved to her trainees and drew their attention, the twenty women, plus Lily turned towards her watching her expectantly.
“You have all had a great start, and I know, that you will be great rogues in the future….You are the first of the new Rogue Sisterhood on Thedas, in alliance with the Inquisition. You will represent women across Thedas, no matter what race, Thedas is our world, and we shall fight for it.” Moreina told them.
The women, human and elf stood straighter, and Lily smiled up at her mentor, Moreina saw this and smiled.
“Take time to train yourselves and develop your own styles of archery, when I return from the Hinterlands with the Herald, I will instruct you on crafting your own bows and arrows.” Moreina told them.
As the Rogue Trainees went their separate ways, except for Lily who made her way towards Moreina, the Rogue Captain turned to Leliana.
“I will join Aiden and the others in the Hinterlands, but I want Lily to join me, she could use some field experience, and perhaps an extra bow will help defend the people.” Moreina said, her tone that of an officer.
Leliana studied Moreina’s expression, and nodded. “That’ll be fine, there will be more than enough for her to help out with, if my agents in the Hinterlands are right.”
Moreina nodded and looked to Lily, the petite elf standing straighter. “Lily, pack some provisions, and get yourself some arrows, tell them I sent you, then meet me and the others at the gates.”
Lily snapped into a salute as Moreina had taught her, and answered crisply. “Yes, Captain Moreina.”
Moreina gave her protege a warm smile, and returned the salute. Watching the girl run off to do as she had been told, reminded the Rogue Captain of herself, as a novice, after she joined the Sisterhood.
“I’ll get my new gear ready, and meet Aiden and the others at the gate, let him know, please.” Moreina said, before turning and walking towards her small house.
Leliana watched the Rogue Captain, for a moment remembering her own lover, who was similar in personality to Moreina and went to inform Aiden, of what the Rogue had said.
Moreina walked into her house, it was a small modest place, with a single bed, and a small cooking pot, with a chest to store her gear, inside was a set of leather armor she had commissioned from the Blacksmith Harritt.
The outfit consisted of a leather vest that wrapped around tight around her torso, accenting her somewhat large bosom, with straps crossing in an X between her breasts, and around her shoulders, her midriff was bare, showing her well toned stomach.
Her bottom half was covered in a pair of leather leggings, with one pant leg removed to show off her shapely thigh, with three straps wrapped around that thigh, holding a small sheath that carried her dagger.
Hanging over her shoulder and dangling at her bottom, was a quiver, which held her arrows, with her bow ‘Light’s Redemption’ which was a testament, to her second chance. Slinging her bow across her shoulders, she slipped on her knee high, heeled boots, she stepped out the door.
Aiden, Cassandra, Solas, and Varric stood waiting along with the young elf that claimed that Captain Moreina had instructed her to meet them at the gate. Cassandra was not pleased by this, and upon seeing Moreina approach walked up to her.
“Moreina I hardly think-” Cassandra started before Moreina raised her hand, halting her protest.
“Cassandra, I understand your concern, but I believe some field experience, will do Lily some good, and I've seen how some humans treat elves in this world. I thought this will allow everyone to see an elf helping to bring order, and not to constantly see them in a negative light.” Moreina explained patiently.
Cassandra frowned deeply and was about to speak when Aiden placed a hand on her shoulder.
“She's right, Lily can help, besides, I can tell she's already quite attached to Moreina.” The warrior pointed out.
The seeker huffed, and started walking off, Aiden shook his head and followed, along with Varric.
Moreina patted Lily on the shoulder, and gave her an encouraging smile.
“Ready to go?”
“Yes Captain!” Lily said, with a salute.
The trip to the Hinterlands was supposed to be uneventful, according to Leliana. However the journey turned out to be far from uneventful.
The group stared in horror at what they were seeing, three people, a family were hanging from a tree, disemboweled with their innards hanging out, and pentagrams carved into their skin, a Mother, Father, and daughter hung limp.
Moreina drew her bow and looked around with sharp eyes, while the Thedasians looked horrified.
“Maker’s mercy, what did this?” Aedan asked his voice shaken.
Moreina saw them in her mind’s eye the demons Fallen by the looks of the remains tearing into the humans who lain strewn around the farmstead.
“Great Eye protect us….” The rogue captain muttered.
Aedan and the others looked at her seeing the haunting dread in her brown eyes.
“Moreina….what did this?” Aedan asked her.
Moreina looked at them her lips trembling as she uttered a single word, a word that caused them such fear they felt their hearts nearly stop.
The group made camp, setting up tents and watch, they sat around a fire, as they watched Moreina, she stared at the flickering flames with haunted eyes, Varric had seen such eyes before, as had Cassandra, and Aedan, Lily was the only one who was young enough to have not seen such. Yet the young elven girl was terrified, she had retched in the bushes after having seen the hung corpses.
Moreina took a deep breath to collect herself, then she looked at those sitting across from her, her arm gently wrapping around Lily’s shoulder.
“As most of you know, I'm not from this world. The world I'm from is called Sanctuary. My world was caught in the middle of a war between the forces of Heaven and Hell, with Sanctuary as the battleground. It was a war that makes your war between Mages and Templars seem like a minor skirmish.
Demons plagued my world, using mortals as pawns in their games, the worst of these demons are the Lords of Hell, seven of the most powerful demons in Hell. The three Prime Evils, Diablo the Lord of Terror Mephisto the Lord of Hatred, and Baal the Lord of Destruction, and the four lesser evils Belial the Lord of Lies, Azmodan the Lord of Sin, Andariel the Maiden of Torment, and Duriel the Lord of Pain.
During the early eras of Sanctuary, the Lesser Evils banished the Prime Evils from Hell to Sanctuary. It began an age of darkness. The prime evils were eventually captured and sealed away by a group of mages known as the Horadrim. Diablo was sealed inside a Soulstone and hidden beneath the small town of Tristram.
Tristram was plagued with demons, as Diablo’s influence grew, in response, my order The Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye sent me to investigate and possibly help the people of Tristram. There I met a mage of the Vizjerei Clan Jazreth and Prince Aiden of Westmarch.”
Moreina noticed Aedan react to the similar sounding name. She took a moment to take a drink from her waterskin seeing that she had everyone's attention even Varric who looked like he was salivating at the thought of such a good story.
“We delved into the catacombs beneath Tristram and fought our way down through the labyrinth fighting demons and the undead even fighting the cursed remains of Aiden’s father King Leoric who became known as the Skeleton King.
We eventually reached Diablo who had possessed Aiden’s brother Albrecht we defeated Diablo at the cost of Albrecht’s life, but the price we would pay was far worse. Aiden took the Soulstone and jabbed it into his own forehead to seal the demon within himself. Aiden Jazreth, and myself returned to our homes, but the nightmares we endured changed us.”
“How did you change?” Aedan asked watching Moreina with worry in his tone.
Moreina took a breath as she prepared to tell them they could easily see the regret in her eyes, and her words as she spoke reflected that.
“I returned to the Monastery that served as the home for the Sisterhood, and was tormented by nightmares, one night I took a walk to clear my head and came across a woman she was beautiful with red hair she spoke to me, her words were charming she lured me to a cave and I was ambushed by demons.
She revealed herself as Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish and she had her demons torture and rape me, until I was screaming for mercy, once she broke me she had one of her demons possess me, I became a passenger in my own flesh watching as the demon inside me took control, and forced me to betray the sisters I loved, I became known as Bloodraven, I was finally freed when I died, killed by the spear of an Amazon.”
Tears ran down Moreina’s checks as she finished telling her story, her sobs came unbidden. She felt a strong pair of arms wrap around her shoulders and looking she saw Aedan holding her she buried her face into his chest and wept.
The others sat quietly contemplating Moreina’s story even Varric who had seen and heard much tragedy as a storyteller couldn't even begin to match the story of the Otherworlder who had fallen into their world.
Lily, young and curious had to ask. “If you died, how are you here now?”
Moreina gave a sad smile, as she looked to her elven protege, the young girl’s eyes shimmered with unshed tears that came upon hearing Moreina’s painful story, and the Rogue Captain could see the hope in her eyes for something of a happy ending.
“I was brought before the Angiris Council within the High Heavens where my soul was judged, I was given a second chance after Tyrael the Archangel of Justice saw the injustice that had befell me.” Moreina said.
Cassandra frowned she had only gotten the abridged version of Moreina's story before, the rogue hadn't revealed the more painful parts of her past, though looking back on what they had witnessed the demons and their victims it was obvious to the Seeker that Moreina was preparing them for the worst.
Moreina stood up grabbing her bow, she looked at her companions. “I shall find us some food.”
“Mind if I go with you?” Varric asked, standing up.
Moreina looked at Varric, seeing not distrust in his eyes, but genuine concern, the dwarf she could tell would be one of her closest friends. He was someone who understood tragedy, maybe not to the extent of what Moreina had experienced but he had seen it. She gave a small smile, and nodded.
“Two bows are better than one.” She said, then she looked at Lily. “Make that three bows, hunting will be good training for a young archer.”
Lily smiled, and stood up taking up her own bow. With Moreina leading the way, the three archers went searching for fresh game.
As the three left, Cassandra looked at Aedan. “That explains why she looks at you oddly, you share the same name as her companion.”
Aedan nodded, his gaze distant, as he watched where Moreina had walked off. “Yeah, what were facing, seems mild in comparison to what she faced, this Diablo...Maker if we had to face such an evil…”
Solas frowned as he looked to the two, his eyes haunted by the story, even during his time as the Dread Wolf Fen’harel, he had never heard of such an evil. “We need to be wary, if what Moreina said is true, then this Diablo has already come to this world.”
Cassandra shook her head. “Maker what a mess...first The Breach, now a powerful Demon Lord?”
“This changes everything, we will need both the Mages ,and the Templars, we can’t afford to be picky.” Aedan said, turning his gaze to the fire.
Moreina leading the way crept silently, Lily behind her working hard on being just as quiet, with Varric taking up the rear. With bows in hand, they searched for something edible. Her eyes sharp from years of training as an archer Moreina had adapted her eyes to seeing at night.
The night was quiet eerily so, not even crickets making a sound, it was the three archers realized unnerving.
“Hey! What’s that?” Lily spoke quietly, pointing to a shape twenty feet off.
Without waiting for Moreina or Varric, Lily approached. The shape turned out to be a young elven child, female, with brown hair, Lily’s eyes widened as she realized the child had been half eaten, her legs were gone, and her dead gaze stared horrified.
Lily opened her mouth to scream, but Moreina’s soft hand covered her mouth, turning the young elf away from the scene, and holding her against her breast. Varric swallowed the bile that rose in his throat.
“Andraste’s tits” Varric said, as he turned away from the grisly scene.
“We need to get out of here, quickly.” Moreina said, her voice hoarse.
Moreina gently led Lily away from the scene, Lily was sobbing, and shivering uncontrollably. The three returned to the camp silently, save for Lily’s sobs. Varric looked troubled, Moreina’s eyes were haunted, frowning they reached the camp, where Cassandra, Solas and Aedan waited.
Cassandra stood up, and opened her mouth to ask, but seeing the state of Lily, looked to Moreina. “We need to leave now, this forest is not safe.”
Aedan, Cassandra and Solas looked at Moreina, seeing the look in the Rogue Captain’s expression, seeing Lily sobbing, and Varric much to Cassandra’s surprise looking as troubled as he did.
“Right, let’s go.” Aedan said, as he stood up, and worked to gather his gear.
The others quickly followed suit, except for Moreina and Lily, Moreina already had her gear on her, and Lily was clinging to Moreina, her eyes terrified by what she had seen.
Breaking camp, the group continued carefully on their way, going in formation, with Aedan and Cassandra taking up the lead, swords at the ready, Lily coming up next, holding her bow like a lifeline, and Moreina and Varric taking up the rear, Raven’s Wing, and Bianca at the ready.
A.N: Ending the chapter here. I’m making this a two-part chapter, the next chapter will conclude the group's journey to The Cross-Roads, and we will see more evidence of Diablo’s presence on Thedas.
A few things as well, first off somethings will be changed to make everything come together, such as both the Templars, and the Mages siding with the Inquisition. Secondly is I’m still deciding on where I want Johanna and Tyrael to join the Inquisition, and so far I’m looking at soon for Johanna, and a bit later for Tyrael. So look forward to that.
Thanks to all of you who have read this fiction so far. Hope you enjoy this latest chapter.