A/N: evening, name's Ikasury, long time reader, generally decent at writing a hilarious story and 'mildly' okay writer :3
This lovely amount of 'crazy' actually comes as a spin-off of my other DA:O story 'To Smite in Winter' and the next chap, or as i've been referring to with my cohort as the 'intro', is chapter 12 of that, and while i'll leave it there i'll also repost it here for sanity's sake :3
Now, its not 'required' to read 'Smite' but would be nice to get a better grasp of my Warden, or you can just play along and figure her (or him?) out from here :3
now, as a courtesy and suggestion from my dear friend i've been using as a pincushion for this, nh09jrb, i wrote this little 'prologue' as a means to 'introduce' where this is coming from for new readers and a small glimpse at my Warden, Tess, a Female, Elf, Arcane Mage-Shapeshifter with white hair, dark tan skin, crystalline blue colored eyes, and red-bricksh colored thorn-like tattoos, before all the insanity that will ensue from this delightful idea of a 'quest line' i'm experimenting with here :3
ahh, the crazy things that can happen before quite reaching the Landsmeet XD
Dis: Bioware is crazy-awesome and owns DA:O, i just got Tess, Bal's name, and the shenanigan's about to ensue :3
so, without further ado...
Things Mr. Welch can 'No Longer' do…
On the road to Denerim…
The Grey Wardens and party were traveling along the northern road towards Denerim, the capital city of Feralden, seat of the surprisingly much sought after throne, a particularly good brothel, certain slums few ever wanted to mention again, along with every manner of backstabbing brutality 'nobles' were want to inflict on themselves and those around them. In both Wardens' minds it was an evil, evil place neither quite wanted to step foot into ever again…
"Why are we going back there again?" Alistair, a young bastard trained in Templar arts and known for his love of cheese, slow-witted-ness according to certain witches, an inability to cook, sew, and remain 'unharmed' in a fight even if it were to save his life, again according to certain witches, and a rather dashing if notably naïve, according to certain assassins, young man who groaned as he was trudging along the path around the back of the group in his full suit of Ancient Warden Armor…
A bark was his first response, as Balthezar, the large painted Mabari just gave him an intelligent look as if he should quite gripping before snorting in discontent at the man he'd never quite 'liked' and trotting ahead towards the head of the group.
Alistair pouted at the Dog's response.
"For once it seems he and I agree," the not-quite-Templar looked groggily to the side, spotting the rather familiar stance of majestic cruelty and sneering personified in that lilt black haired form. Morrigan, a younger Apostate Mage, commonly referred to by 'silly people' as a 'Witch of the Wilds', or by their leader 'Sole-remaining Witch of the Wilds!', was walking in quiet well-adapted to nature steps as she practically glided over the terrain with little to no difficulty, even if it was a road, with her arms crossed, the perpetual demeaning scowl on her face as the woman looked as far down her nose at the taller strawberry blonde man with those poignant golden eyes of hers.
Alistair narrowed his eyes comically at the woman walking next to him, practically at her level since he was slumped over from the prospect of their destination, and all it entailed, and she, as always, had that tall back of hers straight as a board with shoulders flat ready to prove you were smaller than her. He knew better than to ask but jumped on ahead with the game they had gotten used to playing anyway, "What was it this time, hm?" hands went on his hips as he straightened just the slightest with that can't-be-taken-seriously pout on his lips, "'Stop complaining and face this like a man?' hm?" a strawberry blonde brow cocked upward as his features tried hard to suppress the smirk wanting to loose itself.
The immediate response was narrowing of golden eyes, "T'were it merely that, I'd not agree with him, twit," further narrowing as her face garnered a sharper look, becoming more threatening even though neither of them knew it really was. Her shoulders shrugged with the weight of her staff and pilfered sword and dagger as the witch looked him dead on whilst they continued walking, "I'd have corrected him then, saying you'd nought thought of such a thing..." a sudden peak found its way across her lips, turning her scowl into a sneer, "Seeing as you're not quite a man in earnest…" Black eyebrow rose at the hinted insinuation known to all the party as completely true…
Nearly two years ago, when this journey had started when the two of them had just met back in the Kokari Wilds with their vaulted leader, Alistair would have jumped at the woman's suggestion of his manhood quite violently and quite loudly. Almost two years later and all he did was squint his eyes at her, leaning over with a rather girlish pose with his hands on his hips before smacking his lips in a way that cause the mighty Witch of the Wilds to wince at before forcibly, and failing miserably, making his voice higher as he continued with his pose, "Pah-lease!" he waved one hand in a decidedly not-masculine way, "Whatever do you take me for then?"
The Witch's shutter was quite obvious before she took a step back and practically growled at the man, "An incompetent fool not worthy of his bloodline!"
That evil I'm-a-bastard-and-I-know-it grin widened across the man's face, "Oh now I see what the big charade is all about, hmm?" growling ensued as a response along with vocal threats to masculinity and a few choice words about certain peoples' mothers ensued…
Moving further up in the party line, Wynne, the old, surprisingly still alive despite actions NOT age, healing mage just sighed deeply while shaking her head at the ensuing verbal 'war' those two were want to get at again. She looked up at the sky, noting the position of the sun further along and closer to the ridge of the Frostback Mountains then it was the last time she'd checked, noting perhaps a few hours had passed since the last one, "I think they might actually be getting better…"
There was a lilting laughter to the older woman's right, "Truly you think?" the elder mage looked at her travel companion, the younger-then-her-yet-seemingly-older-then-most Orlesian Bard just giggled with a light in her eyes of someone far younger and innocent. Leliana, the former chantry sister and 'ex'-Bard had been traveling with the 'arguing' pair behind them for nearly as long as they had themselves and as far as she could tell they still fought as bad as the first day she'd met them as they did every hour since.
"Si!" both woman looked to the left as a short, pointy eared man with all the stealth and charm of a golden minx wheedled his way up their side, mostly Wynne's, as he grinned at both women that debonair smile and over flowing charm of his, "Our two friends have certainly gotten better, yes?"
Blue eyes from the bard glared flatly at the overly flirtatious Antivan elf as she rather appropriately put her hands on her hips, "And what makes you say that, hmm?" both rogues looked back at the arguing pair conspiratorially while the mage in the center just rolled her eyes with a soft chuckle at the follies of youth. Leliana's eyes remained narrowed on the two, lost in their own little world of belittling and verbally backstabbing each other, "Looks the same as the day I met them…"
"Aaaah, but not to me!" There was a dangerous smirk, if still playful by the assassin's standards as he eyed the pair not far behind, watching as the two had halted a moment to growl directly in each others' faces, "They were agreeing quite eagerly the first time I saw them…"
The red haired bard looked over at the Antivan quite queerly, "Zevran, they both only agreed to kill you the day they met you," she blinked at his absurdity, knowing this account first hand seeing as she had been there herself and at the time, quite foolishly, thanked their leader in sparing the man's life despite the opposition of those two actually agreeing for once in killing the man that had been hired to kill the two Wardens. Thinking back on it now, she probably would have let them kill the man, at least then the chantry sister would have been more apt at keeping her vows if not for the sinister temptations of 'the game' the damn elf brought with him.
"Si!" the golden elf said with that same joviality as the two were walking again up right with their mage companion quietly watching them both, "and a good idea in my mind, quite intelligent in fact, I would have done the same," he said it so flippantly Wynne had to give him a look which he grinned suavely at, Leliana grew immune to his charms long ago and just rolled her baby-blue eyes. His ear twitched at sensing his efforts ignored and turned his light colored eyes back on the younger human woman, "But that's not the point, no?"
"Oh?" a red brow rose skeptically, "And what is the point?"
The grin spread on his lips as he leaned in closer to the women as if revealing a secret, "The point, my friends, is seeing them argue in such a fashion brings joy to my loins," somehow he kept a straight face and an innocent smile despite his words.
Leliana put her head in her hands, "Why do I bother?"
Wynne loosed a well-kept breath, maintaining her composure through years of experience with teenage mages and over a year in the elf's company, "Still after Alistair, hmm?" she raised a wizen brow, knowing to some extent the intentions of the elf.
The smaller man grinned with sparkles in his eyes at the elder mage, "My Darling Wynne! You know me so well!" he dramatically opened his arms as if to envelop the older woman in a hug, "Let us share this touching moment by letting me rest my head on your magnificent bosom!"
The older human woman only dignified the constant request with a flat glare.
Leliana on the other hand started laughing into her hand, watching the familiar scene of the debonair elf trying, and failing, to yet again experience the pleasures of his dubbed 'magestic bosom'.
There was a bark at the Bard's side, softly only garnering her attention as the large Mabari nuzzled his head against her free hand.
The human woman grinned at the dog, ignoring the attempts at reconciliation and recompense going on next to her as she scratched the dog's big head, "And what do you think, hmm?"
The large war-dog snorted disapprovingly, but the bard knew it wasn't because he thought all bipedal species were silly, but because he didn't like Alistair one bit near the woman of his adorable, if misguided, affections.
The red head laughed in her throat, giving his big mastiff head a good scratch before watching him trot off further along the group.
The dog came upon the golem and dwarf, he sniffed a moment before snorting loudly and moving along, never quite liking the scent the berserker dwarf had around him, and he was a dog.
"Pfft, big nug dunno what he's snorting at," Oghren, a warrior caste dwarf scoffed at the pooch as it tucked away its stubby tail and moving ahead. He took a swig of his seemingly endless decanter and let out a loud belch, "Ahh that hits the spot," the little red head chuckled wiping his braided mustache, "Wonder if there's an alehouse in Denerim…"
"I'm sure there is," the golem sounded miffed, Shale the sole 'female' golem looked ahead bored. Since her discovery of previously being a 'female' 'dwarf' the little man had stuck around trying to 're-teach' her all the things a 'proper' woman of the warrior caste ought to know… She often informed him about how she couldn't drink and the little squishy would just laugh claiming there wasn't a thing alive that couldn't drink. The ensuing debate wasn't worth repeating. Glowing eyes narrowed as the construct looked down at the perpetually drunk dwarf, "Looking for another place to run around streaking, hmm?"
The little man let out a boisterous laugh, "Like I'd need an alehouse for that!" that was a complete understatement if the deep sighing from in front and behind them was any indication, "Naw, just looking for another person to appreciate my special brew," despite being unable to be affected by such a brew even Shale gave a slight shutter at the idea, "Gotta get more'n one opinion on this new batch…"
"Hmm," the golem sounded completely disinterested but that wasn't going to stop the small man from talking at her, "Thought the elder mage had quite the taste for brews?"
"By the stone she does!" the little red head nearly jumped in delight before looking oddly contemplative, "Though like I said, need someone else to test it, one good set of tastebuds ain't enough for anything… uhh… certain?"
"Conclusive," the golem added without any effort, "Not had any of the others try it?"
Another boisterous laugh, "Pah-lease, them surfacers would fall flat on their faces if they had a swig 'a this!" the golem rolled her glowing eyes completely ignoring the desire to correct him by stating the 'elder mage' was a surfacer. The scruffy man rubbed his beard in thought, "Tried ta get the red head and elf to try it, though neither have a taste for ale, all them froof-froof drinks they like ruining their tastes," he stuck out his tongue with a followed, "Bleh."
The golem raised a brow as much as her stoney features would allow, "It speaks of the painted elf, yes? Not It?"
That garnered another belly-aching laugh from the dwarf, "That girl tried, got a sip and dropped like a nug before a crawler, quite the sight!" his laughter continued before settling in an oddly respectable grin, "Girl's got the heart ova dwarf but sadly build like them pansy elves…"
The golem snorted, "Thought It was an elf…"
"Psh," Oghren waved his hand dismissively, "Girls got stone in her veins well enough, that damn tree-blood and pointy ears was a fluke…"
Oddly the construct chuckled, "It certainly is an odd one, that's true…"
The two children of stone chuckled to themselves over their leader as the Mabari caught up the the largest man in their group. The war-dog gave a happy bark trotting up the Qunari's side, panting openly up at him wagging his stubby tail before nudging the man's hand.
Sten, the Qunari captain, a foreign follower of the Qun come to the lands of Feralden to discover the threat of the blight for his people had been a captive set on dying before their leader's intervention and with the small elven woman's help had been set free and regained his sword and honor to continue his mission. The large quiet semi-giant respected the junior Warden for her deeds and actions, along with her stubbornness to not back down to him despite her diminutive size and gender, the woman had proven long ago her worth as a fighter, jumping in headlong into a fight with massive sword in hand despite being a 'mage', in his opinion she certainly contradicted everything he was ever taught about women, elves, and mages, but that was something about her and many of the peoples in this foreign land he'd come to a certain level of terms with. The Mabari nudging his hand was something else entirely, a war-beast meant and breed as a living weapon for its master, he had been the first of this group to earn his respect, the golem next perhaps since it too was a weapon of war, a warrior giving up everything to become a living weapon, a truly respectable feat, and the rest had earned his respect in battle, but none so much as the woman standing ahead of him.
Tess, 22 year old elven arcane mage and shapeshifter stood with one hand on her hip and her helmet under her other arm in her favored juggernaut armor with the Yusaris strapped to her back as she surveyed the area with keen crystalline colored eyes. The white haired dark skinned elven woman scratched along the brick-reddish thorn-like tattoos on her cheek as a pointed ear twitched, "Hmm…" white brows furrowed before she looked back at Sten, "Guess this is as good a spot as any, huh?" she gave the large grey skin man a smirk looking down and seeing her beloved Bal panting next to his feet. Her smirk became a wide grin, "C'mere boy," she waved her hand and the Mabari gave a playful bark before going towards his master, stubby tail wagging.
The Qunari gave that familiar dismissive growl as he shrugged his shoulder, tired of carrying all the camping gear, "As good a place as any…" his violet eyes eyed the smaller woman as a thought flitted through his mind, "Not trying to shirk your duty to return to Denerim as quickly as possible, Warden?" if the Qunari could smirk the look on his stone like face was as close as it got.
The little elven Warden stiffened for a moment, ear twitching was a sure sign of something fishy about what she was about to say, before she stood up straight and looked the man in the eye with a funny scowl on her face, "I'd do no such thing, Qunari…"
The edge of the large man's lips stayed up just the slightest, oh he knew the truth, but that didn't stop him from going about setting up camp as usual, letting her scowl at him all she wanted as the rest fell into their routines about setting up their lodging for the evening. True it was relatively early for them to be stopping on the road, and there was certainly a town not far down the road many of them were sure, but since no one really was in any hurry to get to Denerim and deal with nobles and whatever insanity the Landsmeet would provide, even if it was still a ways off, the party went about setting up camp with little to no complaints.
Meaning, Alistair tried to set up his tent while Morrigan giggled evilly at his apparently failing to do so before he snapped a post and everyone watched that tent tumble on the two, another fight ensuing. Wynne shaking her head having her nighttime accommodations already set, as her and Leliana had finished their tent easily and watched as the guys continued fumbling with there's while enjoying the 'entertainment'. Shale wondered the parameter, Sten removed his armor to clean it, Zevran watched the two fight, Oghren enjoyed a good drink, and Tess sat on an appropriate log with a smirk enjoying the evening's shenanigans as Bal laid at her feet.
It was to this scene that the sudden sixth sense of coming battle registered to them all, immediately all the party stiffened in anticipation as something leapt out of the bush and went raving through the camp.
Tess, being the calmest and closest to whatever-it-was had just enough time to slip on her helmet before she turned to see something fuzzy as something heavy and blunt knocked said helmet right off her head. Dizzy and seeing stars from the ringing the junior Warden had just enough time to see that whatever-it-was had a really big mace before the thing became intimately familiar with her face…
The pain blotted out whatever happened next as the next thing she registered was the weightless feeling of falling before hitting the ground hard on her head. When the lights disappeared she saw the sky as Bal rushed up to her sniffing her spinning before howling and running off… as things became hazy and the feeling of pain all over her face numbed she registered a white blot and something that sounded like a scrap before consciousness completely slipped away…
"… Bloody hell what was wrong with that man!"
"Dunno, but that was damn funny… HA! Right on the head…"
"Was right hilarious, first time saw It downed so quickly…"
"T'was a mace to the face… suppose the fact she's still breathing is rather remarkable…"
"Ow! Can't you be more gentle!"
"Hmm, thought I heard some twit complaining…"
"Morrigan focus on him, this isn't the time to be snippy…"
"What was that?"
"Just saying T'is hard to concentrate… my head's still jumbled a bit, sure you can't handle him? You are the better healer…"
"And I've got to stabilize Tess, girl, now use that training I spent time giving you and right his arm…"
"… yes, mage…"
"Aww, you can do it with a smile…"
"Don't try me, twit…"
"So about our… friend? … What do we do with him?"
"I'm sure there's a bounty or something we can get in the town near here…"
"Gold sounds good, Leliana my dear, mind helping me with this…"
"… sounds good to me…"
"Oy! Get a room while yer at it! Ain't stayin' out here with madmen roaming about!"
"…hmhm, is the mighty warrior caste scared of a few brigands?"
"Psh, brigands I can handle... just not without a good ale and them Wardens down, though…"
"…Sides that sodden bastard was a bit ticked in the head iffin' ya ask me, feel a bit safer in an inn then out here… ugh, and feelin' a bit woozy from that blow'a his…"
"…Yes… I hear meeting the ground head first can be quite disorienting…"
"Stuff it stone an' help me grab this stuff…"
"How is she?"
"Stable… for now… that was an odd blow… take care transporting her, I healed the external wounds, no idea if there's any damage further in though…"
"Come on, Kadan, she'd want you by her side now…"
"Ow! Maker's breath woman, have you no bedside manner!"
"I've no idea what that means, twit… hold still…"
"… when you're done, come along you two…"
"I heard that…"
"I didn't say anything!"
"But you were thinking it…"
"So, spider-form and carry me, hmm? I'm injured and all…"
"Don't push your luck fool… and you've no idea what it's like to be hit in six out of eight eyes with a mace, so no I'll not be taking that form for quite a while yet…"
"… ow… that just hurts thinking about it…"
"You've no idea… come along crybaby…"
"And stop that simpering… T'is an irritant…"
"Aww, you care so much…"
Light and the feel of fuzz in 'her' head was the first thing Tess registered. Then the fluffy feeling of a bed as opposed to her normal bedroll and furs from 'her' tent. Despite the odd fuzz the Warden raised a hand and rubbed 'her' eyes, feeling oddly stiff and overall weird. Lowering 'her' hand the dark skinned elf opened 'her' eyes and stared at an unfamiliar ceiling. From the condition 'she' assumed they'd grabbed a couple rooms in a relatively cheap inn.
'She' snorted, feeling weird as 'she' wiggled her nose and stiffly tried sitting up. The last thing she recalled was that magnificent blow that popped off 'her' helmet then seeing stars, sky, Bal then that familiar languid world between the fade and consciousness.
Blinking crystalline eyes the elf looked around, the room given her had a bed, dresser and door. Rather sparse but 'she' got the feeling if 'she' opened that door it would open into another room not the hall, for some reason whenever they got rooms at an Inn 'she' usually got some room to 'herself' and Bal with a kind of 'meeting' room attached, the elf-mage assumed it had something to do with being 'Leader' and 'Warden' but it was surely efficient.
'She' stretched; something about the blanket slipping off 'her' chest didn't feel right. Blinking curiously the white haired elf looked down and noticed somethings decidedly missing…
"HOLY SWEET MAKER!" the unusually deep voice leaving 'her' throat caused the elf to squeak as a tan and tattooed hand jumped to 'her' throat and noticed a relatively large bump that definitely should not have been there.
Crystal colored eyes twitched as they looked down and one hand grabbed the blankets and tossed them… THAT definitely should NOT have been there…
A strange manly scream echoed throughout the Inn as 'Tess', Elf, Mage, and Warden discovered 'she' had woken up a man.
A/N: i'll say this, even though i say it in the next chap but might as well here too :3
this draws inspiration from KylaBosch's 'First Impressions', a 'Things Mr. Welch can no longer do in an RPG...' inspirational poster about the cursed 'Mace of Masculinity/Femininity', as well as my own experiences in D&D :3
oh the shenanigans that will ensue... this might actually be a bit more serious then its parent story, but i plan to have quite the bit of examination of the different looks at Gender-Bending and the differences in psychology of men/women as well as the effects of sudden hormone swapping on people's personalities...
again, i'd love to shout out and thank nh09jrb for their help, and constant poking, to get me to get this up... go read their stuff, its good an they're better then me with consistant updates :P
Comments, questions, opposing views (Review :3)
Till next -salute-waves- Sayounara, Mina!